From the Vault...


Doobie Brothers
"The Captain And Me"

© Warner Bros. Records

Year of Release: 1973

track listing
  • Natural Thing
  • Long Train Runnin'
  • China Grove
  • Dark Eyed Cajun Woman
  • Clear As The
    Driven Snow
  • Without You
  • South City Midnight Lady
  • Evil Woman
  • Busted Down Around
    O'Connelly Corners
  • Ukiah
  • The Captain And Me

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    Doobie Brothers
    "The Captain And Me"

    The Doobie Brothers return this week with their 1973 release, The Captain And Me. This is the early Doobie Brothers, before Michael McDonald took over on lead vocals. Some say the pre-McDonald is the true Doobie Brothers, true Rock and Roll. Some called it the beginning of Southern Rock. No matter how you look at it, this album definitely is a very good Rock album. Comparing to many bands in this style from the 1970s: The Grateful Dead, Marshall Tucker, maybe a bit of the Eagles. The band was lead by Tom Johnston, and the biggest hits from this album are considered two of their most signature songs -- "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."

    As I was growing up, I didn't really have a lot of the Doobie Brothers records. I pretty much discovered them when Michael McDonald took over, as "What A Fool Believes" was the big hit at the time, from their album Minute By Minute. No doubt, I had heard of their previous hits, as I did have a Greatest Hits album by them. But it's always those "deep cuts/album tracks" from their original albums that makes you wonder how great of a band the Doobie Brothers were, whether before, during and after Michael McDonald. (Same thing went for The Eagles original albums as well.) Sometimes a "Greatest Hits/Best Of" compilation just may not be enough, as you often wondered, what other songs did they do, that a "greatest hits/best of" get ignored?

    For those who grew up on the Doobie Brothers' music, The Captain And Me was considered one of their best. And it's true -- there isn't one bad song on here. It is straight good rock and roll. Maybe defined as "Southern Rock" or "Country." This is a great album.

    "Natural Thing" leads it off, as it is a good rock track, and compared slightly to the Grateful Dead. Another very impressive song, is the soulful blues'ish "Dark Eyed Cajun Woman." The guitar solos reminds me of B.B. King. (In fact, this song, as seen by Tom Johnston, was a tribute to the blues and B.B. King.) The Marshall Tucker Band comes to mind on the next track, "Clear As The Driven Snow," as this song was written as a warning about recreational chemical abuse. This was part of the bandmembers' lifestyles at this time. "Without You' is definitely a ROCK'in track, and was the third single from the album. This song was written as a kind of tribute to the band The Who. "South City Midnight Lady" is easy-styled, reminding me of the late Doug Sahm. It also was written about San Jose, and not regarding any woman as the title claims. The Doobies get a little into the harder rock (maybe compared to that of Grand Funk Railroad), on Evil Woman." Country'ish acoustic guitar on the short 49 seconds of "Busted Down Around O'Connelly Corners," as it was the intro lead to the next track, "Ukiah." The last two tracks are simply good rock and roll songs -- "Ukiah" and the Grateful Dead'ish title track.

    The Captain And Me wasn't written for anyone in particular being "The Captain," as the lyrics were written at the last minute, and according to Tom Johnston, really has no meaning.

    Like many other artists, The Doobie Brothers have yet to be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The band has been in existence for over 40 years now, and with the popularity and well-known hits on oldies radio, it is a wonder why they have yet to be inducted. They are still together and recording. Obviously their personnel has changed, as Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons remain the only original members, since the band started in 1970. They recorded albums throughout each decade since their existence. Their latest was released last year (2014), entitled Southbound.

    The two big hits "China Grove" and "Long Train Runnin'" are most remembered from The Captain And Me. However, there are some other good tracks worth listening to. The most impressive is the Blues/B.B. King tribute "Dark Eyed Cajun Woman." As mentioned, there isn't one bad song on this album. Doobie Brothers fans will enjoy this one.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Bros. Records and is used for reference purposes only.

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