December 01, 1980 12:00 PM

The Doobie Brothers

Michael McDonald is one of the best things to happen to the Doobies and the devalued state of California rock. Just as David Clayton-Thomas of Blood Sweat and Tears had the perfect swaggering voice for ’60s macho, McDonald’s ethereal tenor projects ’80s masculinity: burliness underlying vulnerability and sensitivity. And McDonald’s lyrics, more slick than substantial, don’t matter, since he writes such captivating melodies, ideal for his voice. The Doobies, thanks in part to producer Ted Templeman, have always set high standards of musicianship. But McDonald’s influence has been growing since he replaced co-founder Tom Johnston in 1975. This LP, rooted deep in jazz, Latin and R&B, is first-rate, affecting and highly polished music.

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