The Classic Midnight Album – The Captain and Me of the Doobie Brothers
Tonight (December 27) on the famous midnight classic album on Radio Nova, we play The Captain and Me by the Doobie Brothers.
The album is presented in its entirety, without advertising or interruption.
Named for their love of a certain illegal substance, the Doobie Brothers were formed in San Jose, California in the early 1970s with original training from singer / guitarist Tom Johnston, drummer John Hartman, guitarist Patrick Simmons and by bassist Dave Shogren.
The band’s eponymous debut album in 1971, without commercial success, was a predominantly acoustic and country-influenced affair. The Doobie Brothers found success with their 1972 successor, Toulouse Street, which saw the band introduce southern rock, R&B and soul influences into their repertoire, establishing what we now consider to be the quintessential Doobie sound. Brothers.
In 1973, the Doobie Brothers added a second drummer in Michael Hossack and replaced bassist Dave Shogren with Tiran Porter. This new formation entered the studio to record their third album, The Captain and Me.
Doobie Brothers label Warner Bros. lobbied the band to quickly release a new album to capitalize on the success of Toulouse Street. To save time, the band reverted to some of the early unrecorded material, reworking old tunes to fit their new sound. One of the band’s most famous tracks, Long Train Runnin ‘, was born when lyrics were added to an instrumental piece the band had performed at concerts. Without You, an album track that would become a favorite with radio DJs, also began as an instrumental jam originally developed to feature their two drummers and composed as a tribute to The Who.
Lyrically, much of the album reflects the hippie ethos of California at the time. Most of the songs are written by Tom Johnston, who sings about his love for the land and the benefits of people working together to make the world a better place. On Clear as the Driven Snow, Johnston acknowledges the toll the group’s drug use was starting to take on them.
Producer Ted Templeman expanded the sound of the Doobie Brothers by adding strings and synthesizers, creating a “cosmic” sound on some tracks that comes across as a more playful American cousin of the British progressive rock movement of the day.
Little Feat pianist Bill Payne and Steely Dan guitarist Jeffrey ‘Skunk’ Baxter will join the group on The Captain and Me, who will join the group the following year.
In its original version, The Captain and Me offers 11 tracks. On side A is Natural Thing; Long Train Runnin ‘; grove of China; Cajun woman with black eyes; and clear as dragged snow. Side B gives us without you; Midnight Lady of the Southern City; Evil woman; Busted Down Around O’Connelly Corners; Ukiah; and The captain and me.
The Captain and Me was released on March 2, 1973 and peaked at # 7 on the US Albums Chart. The singles Long Train Runnin ‘and China Grove would reach positions 8 and 15 respectively in the US, while the former peaked at number 7 in the UK charts and reached number 30 when covered by Bananarama in 1991.
You can revel in the Doobie Brothers’ distinctive mix of rock, country and R&B at midnight tonight when we play The Captain and Me in full without a break.