Bits of blues blended with smooth vocal harmonies and finger-picked acoustic guitar and violin parts, the Doobie Brothers are an absolutely delightful American rock n' roll band. Influences of country music are easily heard in the band's style, and their easygoing voices can draw any listener into their music.

Old black water, keep on rollin'
Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shinin' on me

The Doobie Brothers' songs are so much fun, yet are also laid back and very technically masterful. The above quotation is from "Black Water," probably my favorite song of theirs. It adds dashes of blues and gospel to their typical sound, and features a great a capella vocal section. It's a bit experimental for them, but their casual attitude that made their live shows so memorable for their fans shines through in such pieces.

Pat Simmons, a guitar player native to Washington state, got his start by playing guitar at coffee shops and local theaters in California, where he went to school. He played a lot of blues and folk music, influences which are obvious in his later work. Keith Knudsen is a percussionist for the group. He cites the influences of Elvis, Johnny Burnett and the Everly Brothers on his work. Another guitar player for the band is Tom Johnston. He credits Skip Spence as being a major player in his development as a musician. Skip was the original drummer for another legendary American rock n' roll band: Jefferson Airplane, and went on to become a founding member of another major influence on the Doobs, Moby Grape, which was one of the finest bands to come out of San Francisco in the 1960's. It is Mike Hossack who adds a vital element to the Doobies' music: a second drummer. He joined the group after a groundbreaking jam session that he had with the band, and they discovered how wonderfully the drummers worked together. John McFee rounds out the group's roster, filling in on guitar, violin, vocals, and several other instruments. His wide range in musical taste has helped the band expand its horizons, and shares their passion for blues, country, and jazz. When illness forced Johnston to leave the band in 1975, Michael McDonald stepped in and brought the band to even further fame with the song "Takin' It To The Streets," written by McDonald. Another major influence on the band is the multitalented and ecclectic guitar player Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, who also worked a lot with Steely Dan as did McDonald.


The Doobs represent some of the best music of American rock n' roll. Formed in 1969 in San Jose, California, the band was coming out of an era of so called "hippie music," lots of edgy rock. They developed their style from these influences as well as the legacies of past generations of music genius. Untamed, rough edges around their sound always make their music interesting to me. If you're unfamiliar with their music, try listening to "Black Water," "Long Train Runnin'," "Takin' It To The Streets," and "China Grove" for a sense of some of their best and most popular work.

And if it rains, I don' care!
Don' make no difference to me ...

*Thanks to Professor Pi for his reminder about Baxter. =)

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