- Excellent sound throughout with both sides rating a solid Double Plus (A++)
- Natural Thing, China Grove and Long Train Runnin’ all sound great – smooth, rich and full of energy
- Credit Donn Landee with the full-bodied, rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of these good copies
- Allmusic 4 1/2 stars: “The Doobie Brothers’ third long-player was the charm, their most substantial and consistent album to date, and one that rode the charts for a year.”
There are some great songs on this album, songs that still get plenty of play on the radio: China Grove, Long Train Running and South City Midnight Lady all come to mind. It’s tough to find great sounding copies, but it’s worth all the trouble when you get one with this kind of rich, full tonality, punchy bottom end and real space and ambience.
Credit DONN LANDEE (and producer Ted Templeman as well) with the full-bodied, rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of the best copies of The Captain and Me. He’s recorded or assisted on many of our favorite albums here at Better Records.
Most of the better Doobies Brothers albums are his; all of the good Van Halens of course; Lowell George’s wonderful Thanks I’ll Eat It Here; Little Feat’s Time Loves a Hero (not their best music but some of their best sound); Carly Simon’s Another Passenger (my favorite of all her albums); and his Masterpiece (in my humble opinion), Captain Beefheart’s mindblowing Clear Spot.
What do the best Hot Stamper pressings give you?
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t back there somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt (Donn Landee in this case) would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Long Train Runnin’
Dark Eyed Cajun Woman
Clear As The Driven Snow
South City Midnight Lady
Busted Down Around O’Connelly Corners
The Captain and Me
The Doobie Brothers’ third long-player was the charm, their most substantial and consistent album to date, and one that rode the charts for a year.
It was also a study in contrasts, Tom Johnston’s harder-edged, bolder rocking numbers balanced by Patrick Simmons’ more laid-back country-rock ballad style. The leadoff track, Johnston’s “Natural Thing,” melded the two, opening with interlocking guitars and showcasing the band’s exquisite soaring harmonies around a beautiful melody, all wrapped up in a midtempo beat — the result was somewhere midway between Allman Brothers-style virtuosity and Eagles/Crosby & Nash-type lyricism, which defined this period in the Doobies’ history and gave them a well-deserved lock on the top of the charts.
Next up was the punchy, catchy “Long Train Runnin’,” a piece they’d been playing for years as an instrumental — a reluctant Johnston was persuaded by producer Ted Templeman to write lyrics to it and record the song, and the resulting track became the group’s next hit. The slashing, fast-tempo “China Grove” and “Without You” represented the harder side of the Doobies’ sound, and were juxtaposed with Simmons’ romantic country-rock ballads “Dark Eyed Cajun Woman,” “Clear as the Driven Snow,” and “South City Midnight Lady.”
Simmons also showed off his louder side with “Evil Woman,” while Johnston showed his more reflective side with “Ukiah” and “The Captain and Me” — the latter, a soaring rocker clocking in at nearly five minutes, features radiant guitars and harmonies, soaring ever higher and faster to a triumphant finish.
We actually recommended the Nautilus Half-Speed in the old days, but the last time we played one (mid-2007) the sound was Pure Audiophile BS — compressed to death and totally whomp-free. The average domestic copy is terrible too, but that’s no excuse now is it? Not to worry. When we put Hot Stampers on the site they ROCK!