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Pop - Released June 28, 2019 | Rhino

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Rock - Released February 6, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released October 29, 1976 | Rhino - Warner Records

Featuring 11 of the group's best-known songs from 1971-1976, Best of the Doobie Brothers contains the boogie rock band's very best songs, including the big hits "Listen to the Music," "Jesus Is Just Alright," "Long Train Runnin'," "China Grove," "Black Water," and "Takin' It to the Streets." For most casual fans, The Best of the Doobie Brothers is the perfect summation of the group's early career, before they turned into a slick, jazzy blue-eyed soul band in the late '70s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Rock - Released June 30, 1975 | Warner Records

The Doobie Brothers' third long-player was the charm, their most substantial and consistent album to date, and one that rode the charts for a year. It was also a study in contrasts, Tom Johnston's harder-edged, bolder rocking numbers balanced by Patrick Simmons' more laid-back country-rock ballad style. The leadoff track, Johnston's "Natural Thing," melded the two, opening with interlocking guitars and showcasing the band's exquisite soaring harmonies around a beautiful melody, all wrapped up in a midtempo beat -- the result was somewhere midway between Allman Brothers-style virtuosity and Eagles/Crosby & Nash-type lyricism, which defined this period in the Doobies' history and gave them a well-deserved lock on the top of the charts. Next up was the punchy, catchy "Long Train Runnin'," a piece they'd been playing for years as an instrumental -- a reluctant Johnston was persuaded by producer Ted Templeman to write lyrics to it and record the song, and the resulting track became the group's next hit. The slashing, fast-tempo "China Grove" and "Without You" represented the harder side of the Doobies' sound, and were juxtaposed with Simmons' romantic country-rock ballads "Clear as the Driven Snow," and "South City Midnight Lady." Simmons also showed off his louder side with "Evil Woman," while Johnston showed his more reflective side with "Dark Eyed Cajun Woman," "Ukiah" and "The Captain and Me" -- the latter, a soaring rocker clocking in at nearly five minutes, features radiant guitars and harmonies, soaring ever higher and faster to a triumphant finish. ~ Bruce Eder
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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

There have been plenty of single-disc Doobie Brothers collections released over the years. There have been two-part vinyl Best of the Doobies, there have been budget-line collections, and there have been OK overviews as well as excellent generous discs with all the big hits. There's even been a comprehensive four-disc box, but what there hasn't been is a double-disc set -- something that falls between the conciseness of 2001's terrific Greatest Hits (the first CD to contain all the big hits on one CD) and 1999's four-disc Long Train Runnin' 1970-2000. That's what 2007's The Very Best of the Doobie Brothers is, a double-disc helping of the Doobies' biggest songs from "Listen to the Music" to "The Doctor." Actually, this Very Best stretches a little further than "The Doctor," which arrives five songs from the end, illustrating the point that for the average listener, this may be just a little too generous at 33 tracks. That's a long running time, providing room for all the hits plus a bunch of album tracks that weren't necessarily on album rock radio, so this may be too much for listeners who just want the hits; they should stick to that 2001 Greatest Hits. But for fans who want a lot of the Doobies' best without investing in either the original albums or the box, this Very Best is welcome. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Country - Released November 3, 2014 | Arista Nashville

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A throwback to the golden age of star-studded tributes, the Doobie Brothers' 2014 Southbound essentially follows the same playbook as the Beach Boys' 1996 album Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1: team up a classic rock band with a bunch of contemporary country stars to sing the hits everybody knows and loves. Where Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1 was an uneasy fit -- the Beach Boys are many things but a country band is not one of them -- Southbound feels smooth and natural, possibly because nobody involved dared to mess much with the original arrangements, a move that underscores how this is very much a record where singers are sitting in with the Doobies and not the other way around. Whenever there's a flash of modernization, it is minimal, as on the light decorative rhythmic loops and mandolin samples on "Listen to the Music," where Blake Shelton takes co-lead with Tom Johnston as Hunter Hayes lays down some beefy guitar. Johnston and Patrick Simmons dominate Southbound because their songs lend themselves better to country singers; they're either driving rockers or backwoods-inflected boogie, settings that are comfortable for neo-jam bands (Zac Brown Band, "Black Water"), swaggering cowboys (Toby Keith, "Long Train Runnin'" and Chris Young, "China Grove"), modern-day strummers (Jerrod Niemann, "South City Midnight Lady"), and arena country heroes (Brad Paisley, "Rockin' Down the Highway"). That said, the three Michael McDonald tunes -- "What a Fool Believes" (Sara Evans), "Takin' It to the Streets" (Love and Theft), "You Belong to Me" (Amanda Sudano Ramirez, featuring Vince Gill on guitar) -- all feel at home because this is a Doobie Brothers album, after all, and they've long ago found a way to reconcile the two sides of their musical personality. If there isn't much reinvention to be found on Southbound, that's fine: the record was meant as an open-hearted celebration of the Doobies' biggest hits and that's precisely what it delivers. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released June 15, 1987 | Warner Records

The Doobies team up with the Memphis Horns for an even more Southern-flavored album than usual, although also a more uneven one. By this time, Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, and company had pretty well inherited the mantle and the core (and then some) of the audience left behind by Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty, with Johnston songs like "Pursuit on 53rd Street," "Down in the Track," and "Road Angel" recalling pieces like "Travelin' Band," while Simmons' "Black Water" (their first number one hit) evoked the softer side of the "swamp rock" popularized by CCR. Actually, in some respects, given the range of instruments employed here, including an autoharp (courtesy of Arlo Guthrie) and viola, the songs on the original LP's first side suffer somewhat from a sameness that makes What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits a little less interesting than the albums that preceded it. The original side two had a lot more variety, which is as good as any full album the band ever recorded: Simmons' "Tell Me What You Want (And I'll Give You What You Need)" and Johnston's "Another Park, Another Sunday," which both outdo the Eagles and Poco at their respective country-rock games (and keep a certain soulful edge, too), Simmons' lyrical, ethereal, slightly spacy "Daughters of the Sea," and the very spacy, shimmering instrumental "Flying Cloud" (written by bassist Tiran Porter). In all, despite the weakness of its original first side, it's got a lot more to offer than the single hit, and has at least six numbers (out of 12) that rate with the better album tracks the group has ever done. ~ Bruce Eder
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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Rock - Released December 11, 1974 | Warner Records

Talk about greatness -- the Doobie Brothers, with Jeff "Skunk" Baxter added to their lineup, delivered their best album to date helped by a fairly big hit, though "Take Me in Your Arms" never did anything close to its predecessors despite some chords and modulations that recalled "Black Water" ever so slightly. Stampede's virtue was its musicianship, which, in addition to new member Baxter, was also showcased in the guises of some impressive guests. The Doobie Brothers' rootsiest album to date, Stampede was virtuoso soulful countrified rock of a gritty nature, crossing over into blues as well as reaching back to a raw, traditional rock & roll sound that wouldn't have sounded too out of place 20 years earlier. That was the opener, the searing "Sweet Maxine," which just might've made a good single with an edit or two to bring it down to three and a half minutes; the record gets better with the bouncing "Neal's Fandango," which is highlighted by lyrical as well as instrumental acrobatics on the verses and a delicious guitar and piano break. "Texas Lullaby" is one of the prettiest pieces of country rock (though it's a little more "Western rock") to come out of the genre since the Byrds and the Beau Brummels had treaded into it eight years earlier, and gets a magnificently soulful performance from Tom Johnston. And speaking of soul, Curtis Mayfield is the arranger on Johnston's hard-driving "Music Man." The group strips down to its acoustic basics for "Slat Key Soquel Rag," which could have been an outtake from the group's self-titled debut album; Maria Muldaur is the guest vocalist on "I Cheat the Hangman," representing Patrick Simmons' songwriting at its most ethereal. Baxter's "Précis" was the group's nod to classical and Spanish guitar technique, and "Rainy Day Crossroad Blues" provides guest artist Ry Cooder with a gorgeous canvas on which to paint his slide guitar licks. And the album lands with its feet firmly in 1970s-style roots rock on "I've Been Workin' on You" and "Double Dealin' Four Flusher." ~ Bruce Eder
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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Rock - Released June 30, 1975 | Warner Records

Toulouse Street was the album by which most of their fans began discovering the Doobie Brothers, and it has retained a lot of its freshness over the decades. Producer Ted Templeman was attuned to the slightly heavier and more Southern style the band wanted to work toward on this, their second album, and the results were not only profitable -- including a platinum record award -- but artistically impeccable. Toulouse Street is actually pretty close in style and sound at various points to what the Eagles were doing during the same period, except that the Doobies threw jazz and R&B into the mix, as well as country, folk, and bluegrass elements, and (surprise!) ended up just about as ubiquitous as the Eagles in peoples' record collections, especially in the wake of the singles "Listen to the Music" and "Jesus Is Just Alright." But those two singles represented only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this group had to offer, as purchasers of the album discovered even on the singles -- both songs appear here in distinctly longer versions, with more exposition and development, and in keeping with the ambitions that album cuts (even of popular numbers) were supposed to display in those days. Actually, "Listen to the Music" (written by Tom Johnston) offers subtle use of phasing and other studio tricks that make its seemingly earthy, laid-back approach some of the most complex and contrived of the period. Johnston's "Rockin' Down the Highway" shows the band working at a higher wattage and moving into Creedence Clearwater Revival territory, while "Mamaloi" was Patrick Simmons' laid-back Caribbean idyll, and the title tune (also by Simmons) is a hauntingly beautiful ballad. The band then switches gears into swamp rock for "Cotton Mouth" and takes a left turn into the Mississippi Delta for a version of Sonny Boy Williamson II's "Don't Start Me Talkin'" before shifting into a gospel mode with "Jesus Is Just Alright." Johnston's nearly seven-minute "Disciple" was the sort of soaring, bluesy hard rock workout that led to the group's comparison to the Allman Brothers Band, though their interlocking vocals were nearly as prominent as their crunching, surging double lead guitars and paired drummers. And it all still sounds astonishingly bracing decades later; it's still a keeper, and one of the most inviting and alluring albums of its era. ~ Bruce Eder
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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released July 24, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

This expansive box set from Rhino features all nine of the Doobie Brothers' studio albums from their original 1970s Warner Bros. run plus their 1983 Farewell Tour live album. Beginning with their 1971 self-titled debut, when the band was fronted by founding singer/guitarist Tom Johnston, through 1980's Michael McDonald-led One Step Closer, it covers their two major eras as they slowly shifted from boogie rock bar band into the soulful soft rock giants of their later years. Hits like "China Grove," "Black Water," "Takin' It to the Streets," and "What a Fool Believes" are all here as well as their first live album, which mostly features their late-period lineup with the addition of a couple of special Johnston appearances that serve as an end cap to their career. Although the Doobies would reunite again in the late '80s, their original Warner Bros. years remain their best-known period. ~ Timothy Monger
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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Rock - Released March 12, 1976 | Warner Records

The group's first album with Michael McDonald marked a shift to a more mellow and self-consciously soulful sound for the Doobies, not all that different from what happened to Steely Dan -- whence McDonald (and Jeff Baxter) had come -- between, say, Can't Buy a Thrill and Pretzel Logic. They showed an ability to expand on the lyricism of Patrick Simmons and Baxter's writing on "Wheels of Fortune," while the title track introduced McDonald's white funk sound cold to their output, successfully. Simmons' "8th Avenue Shuffle" vaguely recalled "Black Water," only with an urban theme and a more self-consciously soul sound (with extraordinarily beautiful choruses and a thick, rippling guitar break). "Rio" and "It Keeps You Runnin'" both manage to sound like Steely Dan tracks -- and that's a compliment -- while Tiran Porter's hauntingly beautiful "For Someone Special" was a pure soul classic right in the midst of all of these higher-energy pieces. Tom Johnston's "Turn It Loose" is a last look back to their earlier sound, while Simmons' "Carry Me Away" shows off the new interplay and sounds that were to carry the group into the 1980s, with gorgeous playing and singing all around. ~ Bruce Eder
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Rock - Released August 26, 1977 | Warner Records

Livin' on the Fault Line fell between two of the Doobie Brothers' biggest-selling records. The album had no hit singles, and one-time leader Tom Johnston kept a markedly low profile (this would be his last record with the group, not including a later reunion). Despite this, Livin' on the Fault Line contains some of the most challenging and well-developed music of the band's career, with Patrick Simmons and Michael McDonald really stepping to the fore. There's a vague mood of melancholia running through the songs, as well as a definite jazz influence. This is most obvious on the title track, which has several instrumental passages that showcase the guitar abilities of Simmons and Jeff Baxter. Similarly, "Chinatown" is a spooky mood piece not unlike the smooth fusion of late-period Steely Dan or Little Feat. But "Echoes of Love" and "Nothin' But a Heartache" are both intelligent, glistening pop songs that confirm Simmons and McDonald as first-rate tunesmiths. The record slips a little at the end, with a plodding R&B song and a Piedmont guitar instrumental thrown in as filler. Overall, though, this is a chapter in the Doobie Brothers' history that deserves a second look. ~ Peter Kurtz