The Doobie Brothers

Capitol, 1989

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


After taking most of the 1980s off, the Doobie Brothers reunited at the end of the decade and attempted to pick up where they left off, evidently pretending the entire decade hadn’t happened and the world still wanted boogie-rock to which they could drink beer and chill.

It worked, to a point. “The Doctor” was a successful single and the tour was a hit as well, beginning the long (and still, as of 2022, not over yet) cycle of nostalgia-filled tours playing mostly the hits to an appreciative, ever-aging audience. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Cycles was intended for those fans, as opposed to aiming for the pop charts or setting the world on fire, and on those merits it’s a fine, albeit unmemorable, basic rock record.

Gone is Michael McDonald and his blue-eyed soul, which invigorated and/or ruined the Doobies in 1976, depending on who you ask. The songs come straight from the Captain And Me/What Were Once Vices/Stampede era; “The Doctor” is basically a rewrite of “China Grove,” and is placed as the first song to hook the curious listener.

The songs that follow are various shades of decent; “South Of The Border” has a great guitar solo and a solid beat with a touch of ’80s drums about it, “Need A Little Taste of Love” is another update on an r&b track and “One Chain” adds some horns, some blues grit and a breakdown in the middle where the percussion and the band’s vocal harmonies take center stage. There are several ballads too, none of which make an impact; one wonders if McDonald would have made a difference singing “I Can Read Your Mind.”

There are very few stylistic tweaks that colored the original Doobies albums, making the album a straight-ahead reunion disc that gets the sound right, for longtime fans, while adding the slightest touch of modernity for the time. Those touches, of course, sound hokey and dated now, as evidenced on the drums and songwriting of “Too High A Price,” the only instance where perhaps the band is aiming for AOR territory.

Put simply, fans will find a few decent moments here, but very little that they’ll return to, and those who only know the band from their hits aren’t missing much. Cycles was necessary to re-establish the band as a touring entity, but it doesn’t really accomplish much else.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2022 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.