Toulouse Street

The Doobie Brothers

Warner Brothers, 1972

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Any band that is known for specific songs knows the challenge of getting the album cuts recognized as being in the same class as the hits. Sometimes, putting in the effort to listen to them is well worth the time; other times, you wonder why you even made the effort to give them a try,

The Doobie Brothers faced such a challenge with their sophomore effort Toulouse Street, as it opened with “Listen To The Music” and “Rockin’ Down The Highway.” Any album that had a one-two punch of songs like that, and you’d be sitting there wondering, “Wow! What’s next?”

And while this effort—the first featuring bassist Tiran Porter and the dual drum attack of Michael Hossack and John Hartman—is a step in the right direction, it showed that the Doobie Brothers were still learning their craft, and weren’t at the top of their game just yet.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There’s no denying that the three big hits on this one—the third being “Jesus Is Just Alright,” a song that honestly was never one of my favorites—put Tom Johnston and crew solidly on the AOR map. I personally don’t care that these songs are now 50 years old; they still sound good and put a smile on my face when I hear them on the radio.

So, that’s 30 percent of the album declared “solid.” Of the remaining tracks, you occasionally hear what might have been the birth cries of such songs as “Black Water” in the guitar licks, but tracks like “Cotton Mouth” and the title song don’t quite live up to early expectations. Others, such as “White Sun,” “Snake Man” and “Don’t Start Me Talkin’” are listenable enough, but they don’t have the same level of excitement as, say, “Listen To The Music.” Honestly, had one of these tracks been released as a single in 1972 in place of the better-known songs, we might be saying something different.

The one undiscovered bright spot is on “Disciple,” a song that was too long for radio play at just under seven minutes in length, but one that suggests The Doobie Brothers were close to being locked in with their musical formula. Whether they would achieve this goal on their next disc The Captain And Me… well, that’s another review for another day. But “Disciple” has the solid songwriting and catchy guitar licks and lyrics that the hits all had, and in another era, could have been a well-played hit song.

As it stands, though, Toulouse Street is a slight step in the right direction for The Doobie Brothers, but if you just had this and their self-titled debut to listen to, you might not have been ready to declare them as kings of their genre. It’s a decent enough listen, if not just a bit bland at times.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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