The Doobie Brothers – Takin’ It To The Streets

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this 1976 release – exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • With the awesome Michael McDonald contributing songs and vocals, this is the kind of Doobies album we can get behind 
  • Credit must go to Donn Landee for the full-bodied, rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of the best pressings such as this one 
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…shows off the new interplay and sounds that were to carry the group into the 1980s, with gorgeous playing and singing all around.”

Who in his right mind thought this record could sound this good? We’ve been buying pressings for years, with very little to show for it. Most copies have no real top or bottom; that’s what separates the men from the boys on Takin’ It to the Streets. That shrunken, flat, two-dimensional, lifeless, compressed, midrangy sound you’re so used to hearing on Doobies Brothers albums is the rule, and these sides are the exceptions.

Why go to all the trouble? Because we love the album! This is the first album to feature Michael McDonald’s infusion of white soul into what was otherwise just another radio-friendly boogie rock band, and ’70s soul is precisely the Doobies sound we love here at Better Records.

Most copies of this record are such a letdown, it’s hard to imagine that many audiophiles could be bothered to take it seriously. But they should; the band cooks on practically every song, and the writing is some of their best, with essential Doobies tracks like Losin’ End and It Keeps You Runnin’ and no real dogs in the bunch.

Hot Stampers

What do get for your money on the better Hot Stamper pressings of Takin’ It To The Streets?

  • 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.

Engineering Excellence

Credit DONN LANDEE (and producer Ted Templeman as well) with the full-bodied, rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of the best copies of Takin’ It To The Streets. 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.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Wheels of Fortune 
Takin’ It to the Streets 
8th Avenue Shuffle 
Losin’ End

Side Two

Rio 
For Someone Special 
It Keeps You Runnin’ 
Turn It Loose 
Carry Me Away

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

The group’s first album with Michael McDonald marked a shift to a more mellow and self-consciously soulful sound for the Doobies, not all that different from what happened to Steely Dan — whence McDonald (and Jeff Baxter) had come — between, say, Can’t Buy a Thrill and Pretzel Logic.

They showed an ability to expand on the lyricism of Patrick Simmons and Baxter’s writing on “Wheels of Fortune,” while the title track introduced McDonald’s white funk sound to their output, successfully.

Simmons’ “8th Avenue Shuffle” vaguely recalled “Black Water,” only with an urban theme and a more self-consciously soul sound (with extraordinarily beautiful choruses and a thick, rippling guitar break).

“Rio” and “It Keeps You Runnin'” both manage to sound like Steely Dan tracks — and that’s a compliment — while Tiran Porter’s hauntingly beautiful “For Someone Special” was a pure soul classic right in the midst of all of these higher-energy pieces.

Tom Johnston’s “Turn It Loose” is a last look back to their earlier sound, while Simmons’ “Carry Me Away” shows off the new interplay and sounds that were to carry the group into the 1980s, with gorgeous playing and singing all around.

Discography

As one of the most popular California pop/rock bands of the ’70s, the Doobie Brothers evolved from a mellow, post-hippie boogie band to a slick, soul-inflected pop band by the end of the decade. Along the way, the group racked up a string of gold and platinum albums in the U.S., along with a number of radio hits like “Listen to the Music,” “Black Water,” and “China Grove.”

Allmusic

The Doobie Brothers (1971) 
Toulouse Street (1972) 
The Captain and Me (1973) 
What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974) 
Stampede (1975) 
Takin’ It to the Streets (1976) 
Livin’ on the Fault Line (1977) 
Minute by Minute (1978) 
One Step Closer (1980) 
Farewell Tour (1983)