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Livin’ on the Fault Line – The Doobie Brothers

Livin' on the Fault Line - The Doobie Brothers Artist: The Doobie Brothers
Album: Livin’ on the Fault Line
Release Date: August, 1977
Duration: 34:26
Genre: Pop/Rock, R&B
Styles: Album Rock, Boogie Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Soft Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul, Soul
Recording Location: Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood, CA; Warner Brothers Studios, Hollywood, CA; Western Recorders, Hollywood, CA

Livin’ on the Fault Line fell between two of the Doobie Brothers’ biggest-selling records. The album had no hit singles, and one-time leader Tom Johnston kept a markedly low profile (this would be his last record with the group, not including a later reunion). Despite this, Livin’ on the Fault Line contains some of the most challenging and well-developed music of the band’s career, with Patrick Simmons and Michael McDonald really stepping to the fore. There’s a vague mood of melancholia running through the songs, as well as a definite jazz influence. This is most obvious on the title track, which has several instrumental passages that showcase the guitar abilities of Simmons and Jeff Baxter. Similarly, “Chinatown” is a spooky mood piece not unlike the smooth fusion of late-period Steely Dan or Little Feat.

But “Echoes of Love” and “Nothin’ But a Heartache” are both intelligent, glistening pop songs that confirm Simmons and McDonald as first-rate tunesmiths. The record slips a little at the end, with a plodding R&B song and a Piedmont guitar instrumental thrown in as filler. Overall, though, this is a chapter in the Doobie Brothers’ history that deserves a second look.

Title/Composer Performer Time
You’re Made That Way / Jeff Baxter / Keith Knudsen / Michael McDonald The Doobie Brothers 3:30
Echoes of Love / Willie Mitchell / Earl Randle / Patrick Simmons The Doobie Brothers 2:57
Little Darling (I Need You) / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie Holland The Doobie Brothers 3:24
You Belong to Me / Michael McDonald / Carly Simon The Doobie Brothers 3:04
Livin’ on the Fault Line / Patrick Simmons The Doobie Brothers 4:42
Nothin’ But a Heartache / Michael McDonald The Doobie Brothers 3:05
Chinatown / Patrick Simmons The Doobie Brothers 4:55
There’s a Light / Michael McDonald The Doobie Brothers 4:12
Need a Lady / Tiran Porter The Doobie Brothers 3:21
Larry the Logger Two-Step / Patrick Simmons The Doobie Brothers 1:16
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