I saw the Doobie Brothers live a long, long, time ago. It was an afternoon show at a suburban amphitheater, and I smoked a shitload of what I thought was pot but turned out to be PCP. And before long all the Doobies were 9-feet-tall and changing colors like chameleons, and played every single song at about 300 mph, in effect inventing hardcore. Or at least that’s how I remember it. That PCP was some good shit. I recommend it to everybody.
Nobody pays much attention to the Doobies nowadays, except to laugh at them. I know I laugh at them; I can’t even hear their name without cracking up. They were, even during their heyday, the least hip and most faceless big-name act in rock, and since then they’ve become the punch line to a joke that goes something like, “Why did the Doobie Brothers cross the road? To get away from the Doobie Brothers.”
Unhip and faceless the Doobs may have been, but back in the day they were big—scary big, in fact—with rock’s protletarian audiences (i.e., the same folks who loved BTO, Grand Funk, etc.). This can be attributed to one of two things. Either The Doobie Brothers were a pretty decent rock’n’roll band, or the musical wasteland of the early to mid-seventies left rock fans so hard up they were reduced to lapping up all manner of crapulous corporate swill, including the Dööbiemeisters.
I may be the only one, but I think it’s high time for a reassessment of the Doobie Brothers. And since their career was so neatly bifurcated into pre- and post-Michael McDonald periods, I decided it would be only fair to review 1976’s Best of the Doobies, which while skewed toward the band’s earlier work includes two McDonald-era songs, although it omits (because they were, duh, released later) such McDonald hits as “What a Fool Believes” and “Minute by Minute.”