The Doobie Brothers: Live At Wolf Trap

Crowd-pleasing live set from West Coast vets.

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While their higher-profile Californian contemporaries like The Eagles have made their break-ups and make-ups into a public soap opera, the Doobie Brothers have been jogging along perfectly nicely despite umpteen line-up changes and this reissue of their 2004 live album (with more tracks on the DVD equivalent) shows that the timeless quality of their best songs can do the business in any era.

The crystal-clear recording quality serves classics like Jesus Is Just Alright and Long Train Runnin’ well, even if the obligatory addition of sax and guitar solos on virtually every number might have country rock purists reaching for the skip button now and then. On the other hand, the horn section and gospel-ish backing vocals that always betrayed their soul influences remain welcome.

The heavy reliance here on material from their first four albums makes it sound like (1975-’82 co-songwriter) Michael McDonald never happened, but unlike some of the bigger names of their era, they are grateful enough to their fans to give them exactly what they want.