Toulouse Street

The Doobie Brothers

Warner Brothers, 1972

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


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.

Rating: B

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