I’ve always loved The Doobie Brothers because of Tom Johnston’s songwriting, but it wasn’t until I saw them live that I realised that Pat Simmons and his fingerpicking style is just as important to the band’s sound.
Simmons’ fingerpicking is most notable on their later hit single Black Water, but it’s all over this album. The interplay between what he brings to the table, together with Johnston’s voice and second guitar, really is the sound of The Doobie Brothers.
This debut is incredibly laid-back and it’s almost hard to believe that this band would go on to record some really big hits throughout the ‘70s. They almost sound too chilled-out to orchestrate anything as contrived as a pop single, and perhaps that’s more the influence of producer Ted Templeman than anything else.
Hidden Gem: Chicago