After a totally forgettable first album, the Doobie Brothers‘ sophomore effort Toulouse Street  may just be the strongest second act of the Seventies. So remarkable a turnaround in songs, sound, and good fortune is the July 1972 release that even some longtime Doobie Brothers fans still mistakenly refer to Toulouse Street as the band’s first. 

Formed in San Jose California, the original songs were a musical gumbo consisting of a balanced blend of distinctly American styles including country blues, Stax soul, acoustic folk, and chugging rock and roll, while the choices by the Doobie Brothers of outside material to cover on Toulouse Street were a colorful mosaic running the gamut from Sonny Boy Williamson to Seals and Crofts.

Growing up in Visalia in Central California before attending college in San Jose, Doobie Brothers singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Johnston points out that the album is named after an actual thoroughfare in New Orleans’ French Quarter, literally 2000 miles and culturally a world away from Northern California. Yet Johnston, singer/songwriter/guitarist Pat Simmons, and  tandem drummer John Hartman do not deny that the Doobies incorporated many aspects of the imagery and instrumentation of the Deep South.

You could still experience it yourself as Johnston  and Simmons led the Doobie Brothers on stage in concert in 2017 at the enormous LA Dodger Stadium alongside The Eagles, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, and Earth Wind and Fire as part of the Classic West concerts, and the Doobie Brothers repeat with the same superstar line up at New York City’s CitiField for Classic East . All of those bands except one have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, ponder this: highly regarded sax player Cornelius Bumpus, as well as drummers Keith Knudsen and Mike Hossack, have all passed away without the Doobie Brothers being admitted into the Rock Hall. – Redbeard