Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wine, Whites and . . . Doobies!

The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan have more than Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and Michael McDonald in common. They are both ubiquitous 1970s pop-rock bands that I've come to love despite my best intentions to steer clear of obvious pop-music fodder. Just like with The Dan, I had a moment years ago when hearing either "China Grove" or "Long Train Runnin'" for the 100th time that I had to stop in my tracks and remark to myself, 'damn, that's a great song.' Once that happens, it's hard to go back. I'm not trying to say I'm a super fan and unlike The Dan, I haven't seen the Doobies live, but I also wouldn't pass up the opportunity if it presented itself to me.

As far as "Weed, Whites & Wine" goes, The Doobies pick up where a lot of the Laurel Canyon/SoCal country-hippies left off. My office-mate and friend grew is quick to point out that The Doobies are probably the most famous band from the South Bay/San Jose area and you can hear the similarity to other country-rock outfits from these parts, namely Creedence Clearwarter Revival. The Bay Area scene was more indebted to R&B it would seem then the SoCal scene, which had a little more folk and pop influences, depending on the artist. Most of The Doobies' repertoire doesn't fit too well in the WWW bag, but when I stumbled upon their first album from 1971 I was pleasantly surprised to hear the humble country-ish beginnings of one of the 70s biggest rock bands. You'll note that the line-up on the album is merely four people, three of which continue on to later albums and the smaller size is reflected on the more subtle songs when compared to the larger line-ups and baroque arrangements of later years. Sure, they never would have made it big if they kept it like this, but the following tunes show that they were on to something interesting back in 1971 . . .

The Doobie Brothers - Nobody
The Doobie Brothers - Greenwood Creek
The Doobie Brothers - Feelin' Down Farther

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