The Doobie Brothers head ‘Southbound’

“Listen to the Music.” This is just one of the songs on the new record “Southbound” by The Doobie Brothers. The Doobie Brothers’ 14th album, released on Nov. 4, featured the band’s greatest hits from their five-decade long career as a California pop rock band with a new country twist. 

The album features lead and back-up vocals from a variety of country stars including Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Sara Evans, the Zac Brown Band, Chris Young, Hunter Hayes, Love and Theft, Casey James, Tyler Farr and Charlie Worsham.

The Doobie Brothers was one of the most popular pop-rock bands of the 1970s and evolved from hippie boogie to soulful pop. The Doobie Brothers became extremely successful, producing a handful of gold and platinum records and a number of radio hits, which included “Listen to the Music,” “Black Water,” “What a Fool Believes,” “China Grove,” and “Long Train Runnin’.” 

The band’s first self-titled album was released in 1971, which featured acoustic guitars and three-part harmonies, which reflected country influences of the time. While the record was not very popular and didn’t make it to the charts, The Doobie Brothers became widely popular when they performed at many local venues in San Jose and Santa Cruz.

In 1971 the band recorded songs for their second album, “Toulouse Street.” Their second album featured several songs with Dave Shogren on bass, guitar and vocals, but due to disagreements between the band management and Shogren, the songs were not released. Shogren was replaced by two new band members, including Tiran Porter, singer, songwriter and bass guitarist, and drummer Michael Hossack. Porter gave the band a funky bass style and rough baritone voice, which when paired with Johnston and Simmons, gave a rich three-part harmonic vocal mix.

“The Captain and Me,” the 1973 album, released hit songs which included Johnston’s “Long Train Runnin’” and “China Grove”. 

In 1974, Steely Dan co-lead guitarist Jeff  “Skunk” Baxter became The Doobie Brothers’ third lead guitarist and joined them on their current tour. Baxter joined the band in the studio and as a “special guest” on previous tours but he became an official member of the band that year. 

The 1974’s album “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits” featured Baxter on the pedal steel guitar in “Black Water.” Simmons’ “Black Water” was the band’s first No. 1 single, which included the notable verse: “I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland, pretty mama come and take me by the hand.” 

“Black Water” climbed to the top of the charts and pushed the album to multi-platinum status.

The Doobie Brothers continued to be successful with the release of three gold albums, two more platinum ones and one last multi-platinum release.      

The band’s newest studio album “Southbound” included their chart toppers “Black Water,” with featured vocals by the Zac Brown Band, “Listen to the Music,” with featured vocals by Shelton and Hayes, “What a Fool Believes,” with featured vocals by Sara Evans, “Long Train Runnin,’” with featured vocals by Toby Keith and Huey Lewis, and “China Grove,” with featured vocals by Chris Young.

“Southbound” is an exciting, upbeat record with fan-favorites of The Doobie Brothers. It also includes remarkable collaborations with famous country stars.