Monday, August 6, 2012

The Doobie Brothers--Listen to the Music (1972)

     The beginning of the group came about as drummer John Hartman arrived in California to work with former Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape artist Skip Spence. Things didn't work out musically between the two, but Spence introduced Hartman to singer/guitarist Tom Johnston. The duo began working together with a rotating crew of musicians under the name, "Pud" for about a year until teaming up with bassist Dave Shogren and Patrick Simmons. They changed their name to "The Doobie Brothers" and began to tour through Northern California, being especially popular with the Hell's Angels.
     They were signed to Warner Brothers and released their first album in 1971. "The Doobie Brothers" didn't make a dent on the charts, but from a listen you could see all of the elements that would come to fruition just a year later. Shogren was replaced with Tiran Porter and added a second drummer, Michael Hossack.  The addition of Porter's voice completed a three part harmony which became vital to the Doobie's sound. Pianist Bill Payne (from the group, Little Feet) contributed on the follow up recording as well.
     "Toulouse Street" added a glossier production, but not so much that it would be considered slick and that suited the sound of the band perfectly. It is a classic album of the early 70's California sound much like the Eagles, but with more jazz and r&b underpinnings. The first single, "Listen to the Music" became their first top 20 hit and would lay the foundation for the Doobie's sound for the next three years. 



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