The Doobie Brothers – Toulouse Street – Templeman, Barncard and Landee Work Their Magic

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Two of our favorite engineers worked their magic on this one: STEPHEN BARNCARD and DONN LANDEE. This copy surely has all the Tubey Magic one could ask for, but it’s the size, space and clarity here that really shocked us.

After listening to one smeary, veiled mess after another it was a thrill to hear one rock like this.

The vocals have room to breathe, the acoustic guitars are big and up front with extended, correct harmonics, and the bass has more punch and definition than we had any right to expect.

The huge bass on the better copies of this album has to be the handiwork of STEPHEN BARNCARD (American Beauty, Tarkio), although DONN LANDEE (Little Feat, Van Halen), one of the other two engineers here, likes plenty of bass as well.

Back in the day I had no idea this record could sound so punchy in the bass, be this dynamic, yet still have smooth, silky, oh-so-analog vocals.

Some copies have wonky, bloated bass. Others have a bit of a boost at 10k, adding a sparkly unnatural quality to the vocals and cymbals, somewhat like a MoFi pressing.

The best copies have none of those problems. You have never heard ‘Listen To The Music’ sound better. It’s everything a good Ted Templeman produced rock record should be.

The vocals are sweet and natural, not something you would expect on a Doobie’s record, but here they are anyway.

Further Reading

We’ve identified a number of Demo Discs for Bass on the site, and there are surely many more to come.

Whomp is a quality of the bottom end we look for here at Better Records. If you have speakers that move a lot of air down low and like to play your music loud you know what whomp is all about.

We have a section for Audio Advice of all kinds.

You can find your very own Hot Stamper pressings by using the techniques we lay out in Hot Stamper Shootouts — The Four Pillars of Success.

And finally we’ll throw in this old warhorse discussing How to Become an Expert Listener, subtitled Hard Work and Challenges Can Really Pay Off.

Because in audio, much like the rest of life, hard work and challenges really do pay off.


Side One

Listen To The Music 
Rockin’ Down The Highway
Toulouse Street
Cotton Mouth

Side Two

Don’t Start Me To Talkin’
Jesus Is Just Alright 
White Sun 
Snake Man

AMG Review

Producer Ted Templeman was attuned to the slightly heavier and more southern style the band wanted to work toward on this, their second album, and the results were not only profitable — including a platinum record award — but artistically impeccable… it all still sounds astonishingly bracing 30 years later; it’s still a keeper, and one of the most inviting and alluring albums of its era.

In Depth Review


Although it had its charms, The Doobie Brothers only hinted at what this band could accomplish, a fact proven on the sophomore follow-up Toulouse Street.

Positioned somewhere between Creedence Clearwater Revival and the early Eagles, the sound of this music draws on a variety of sources – blues, Caribbean, gospel – and gives it a Southern rock twist by way of California. That may seem a contrived way to describe all this but it’s accurate, and time has only sharpened the diversity of the music and how well it flows together.

Heard with fresh ears in their album-length versions, classic rock staples “Listen To The Music,” the bracing “Rockin’ Down The Highway” and the gospel-inflected stomper “Jesus Is Just Alright” are better than you remember. The group interplay is solid and the vocal harmonies – a forgotten strength from these guys – strengthen these warhorses. “Jesus is Just Alright” in particular is still a joy to listen to, an infectious, non-pandering tune with great guitar work

The best song here is the title track, an acoustic paean to love, New Orleans, and the spell of a fading summer’s evening when something slightly mystical is in the air. An elegant flute solo divides the verses to round out the piece. A side note: When the band hand-picked their favorites for their Doobie’s Choice album, this one made the cut, but none of the aforementioned hits did.

The guys attempt a boogie funk hybrid on “Cotton Mouth” and a Caribbean feel on “Mamloi;” the former is moderately successful, the latter trite and irritating. A cover of “Don’t Start Me To Talkin’” is Allman Brothers lite, not too bad, while “White Sun” also bleats along pleasantly, the CSN&Y harmonies canceling out the goofy lyrics. Finally, the seven-minute “Disciple” plows through territory already covered for three minutes before turning into a guitar showcase; it obviously wants to be an Allman-esque epic but falls just short, though it sounds fine as it plays. “Snake Man” is a fun closer, a jaunty two-minute blues-inspired tune. One wonders if it could have been developed into something more, but alas.

Toulouse Street is miles ahead of the band’s debut and would only be bettered by its immediate successor, The Captain And Me. Worth checking out if you enjoyed the hits and wanted to dig a little deeper into the band’s back catalog. At the very least, try to get “Toulouse Street” somewhere and listen to it at dusk.