One Track Mind: The Doobie Brothers, "Nobody" (2010)

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by Pico

The Doobie Brothers’ first new album in ten years deserves a little investigation. Especially since the current line-up contains the two most important band members Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons.

World Gone Crazy went on sale September 28 to relatively little fanfare, although the band is currently on the road promoting it. Besides the presence of frontmen and main composers Johnston and Simmons, there’s another reason to take this release a bit more seriously: the return of the Ted Templeman, the producer for all of their albums from their 1971 self-titled debut through up to their 1982 split-up. There could hardly be a stronger signal that the Doobies wanted to get back to the things that made them great in the first place.

The track “Nobody” is their most direct link to their past, because it was the very first cut from their first album 39 years ago. Templeman wasn’t happy with the way the recording came out the first time around (actually, the whole record suffered from subpar production), so he persuaded the group to take another crack at Johnston’s song. A great suggestion, as this time Templeman got the mixing right. The rich blend of acoustic and electric guitars, the strutting rhythm and those sumptuous backing vocals are there just like the hitmaking days. Johnston, as before, takes the lead vocal and all the years and health issues hadn’t worn down his R&B pipes one iota.

In spite of the good effort, the rest of the album just doesn’t quite do it for me; the newer songs don’t hit the sweet spot like “Nobody” does. That doesn’t mean that I’m not happy to see this band still alive and kickin’ and making a record. They proved they can still recapture that old feeling, even if an old song is required to do it.

 

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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