Sunday, May 1, 2011

Deep Album Tracks: Livin' On The Fault Line


The Doobie Brothers: Livin' on the Fault Line


Underneath us all
There's a world that we always forget 'til it moves us,
Where the moon on the bay dances all alone.
Ramone, he draw the razor swift, it slice the air,
No more lovely dreams of those summer nights
Down in Santo Domingo.

Livin' on the Fault Line was the second album in the Michael McDonald era of the Doobies, and is considered a sleeper, only in that it didn't sell a bajillion copies like their next album, Minute by Minute, did. Unlike the rest of their stuff, this 1977 album saw no single hits, even with the Carly-Simon-penned "You Belong To Me" and a Marvin Gaye cover, "Little Darlin' (I Need You)".

The unheralded title song is probably the jazziest of any Doobies tune, on what is a pretty jazz-rock-y LP in toto. Written and sung (mostly) by guitarist Pat Simmons (although there's no mistaking McDonald's vocals in there, too), it features noted jazz vibraphonist Victor Feldman (of Seven Steps to Heaven fame).

I think the reason this album carries such affection with me is that I listened to it pretty much nonstop when I was road-tripping alone in SoCal in the summer of 1978. It's got that nostalgia thing going for it, you see, so if I were indeed stuck on that fabled desert island, I'd be playing this with memories of being young and cruising through California.

Dammit man, the Doobie Brothers broke up! Sheee-it! When did that happen? (Jack Colton, Romancing the Stone, 1984)

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