The Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute (1978)

LPFrontCover1The Doobie Brothers are an American rock band from San Jose, California, known for their flexibility in performing across numerous genres and their vocal harmonies. Active for five decades, with their greatest success in the 1970s, the group’s current lineup consists of founding members Tom Johnston (guitars, vocals) and Patrick Simmons (guitars, vocals), alongside Michael McDonald (keyboards, vocals) and John McFee (guitars, pedal steel, violin, backing vocals), and touring musicians including John Cowan (bass, vocals), Bill Payne (keyboards), Marc Russo (saxophones), Ed Toth (drums), and Marc Quiñones (percussion). Other long-serving members of the band include guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (1972–1979), bassist Tiran Porter (1972–1980, 1987–1992) and drummers John Hartman (1970–1979, 1987–1992), Michael Hossack (1971–1973, 1987–2012), and Keith Knudsen (1973–1982, 1993–2005).

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Johnston provided the lead vocals for the band from 1970 to 1975, when they featured a mainstream rock sound with elements of folk, country and R&B. Michael McDonald joined the band in 1975 as a keyboard player and second lead vocalist, to give some relief to Johnston, who was suffering health problems at the time. McDonald’s interest in soul music introduced a new sound to the band. Johnston and McDonald performed together as co-lead vocalists for one album, Takin’ It to the Streets, before Johnston retired fully in 1977. Frequent lineup changes followed through the rest of the 1970s, and the band broke up in 1982 with Simmons being the only constant member having appeared on all of their albums. In 1987, the Doobie Brothers reformed with Johnston back in the fold; McDonald, who had previously made several guest appearances since their reformation, returned to the band full-time in 2019 for their 50th anniversary tour.

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The group’s fourteen studio albums include six top-ten appearances on the Billboard 200 album chart, including 1978’s Minute by Minute, which reached number one for five weeks, and won the band a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, while the single “What A Fool Believes” from the album won three Grammys itself. The band has released six live albums, and numerous greatest hits compilations, including 1976’s Best of The Doobies, which was certified diamond by the RIAA for reaching album sales of ten million copies, the band’s best selling album. The band’s sixteen Billboard Hot 100 top-40 hits include “Listen to the Music”, “Jesus is Just Alright”, “Long Train Runnin'”, “China Grove”, “Black Water” (#1 in 1974), “Takin’ It to the Streets”, “What A Fool Believes” (#1 in 1979), and “The Doctor”, all of which remain in heavy rotation on classic rock radio.

The Doobie Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on November 7, 2020. The group has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.

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Minute by Minute is the eighth studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, released on December 1, 1978, by Warner Bros. Records. It was their last album to include members John Hartman (until Cycles) and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

The album spent 87 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart and spent two weeks at number one. In the spring of 1979 Minute by Minute was the best-selling album in the U.S. for five non-consecutive weeks. It was certified 3× Platinum by the RIAA.

The song “What a Fool Believes” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1979 and became the band’s biggest hit. The title track and “Depending on You” were also released as singles and reached the top 30.

Minute by Minute made The Doobie Brothers one of the big winners at the 22nd Grammy Awards. The album got the trophy for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and received a nomination for Album of the Year; the single “What a Fool Believes” earned them three Grammys, including Song and Record of the Year. (wikipedia)

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With Tom Johnston gone from the lineup because of health problems, this is where the “new” Doobie Brothers really make their debut, with a richly soulful sound throughout and emphasis on horns and Michael McDonald’s piano more than on Patrick Simmons’ or Jeff Baxter’s guitars. Not that they were absent entirely, or weren’t sometimes right up front in the mix, as the rocking, slashing “Don’t Stop to Watch the Wheels” and the bluegrass-influenced “Steamer Lane Breakdown” demonstrate. But given the keyboards, the funky rhythms, and McDonald’s soaring tenor (showcased best on “What a Fool Believes”), it’s almost difficult to believe that this is the hippie bar band that came out of California in 1970. There’s less virtuosity here than on the group’s first half-dozen albums, but overall a more commercial sound steeped in white funk. It’s still all pretty compelling even if its appeal couldn’t be more different from the group’s earlier work (i.e., The Captain and Me, etc.). The public loved it, buying something like three million copies, and the recording establishment gave Minute by Minute four Grammy Awards, propelling the group to its biggest success ever. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (guitar)
John Hartman (drums, percussion)
Keith Knudsen (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Michael McDonald (keyboards, synthesizer, vocals)
Tiran Porter (bass, background vocals)
Patrick Simmons (guitars, vocals)
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Lester Abrams (piano on 10.)
Byron Berline (fiddle on 08.)
Norton Buffalo (harmonica on 05. + 08.)
Rosemary Butler (background  vocals on 01. + 04.)
Ben Cauley (trumpet on 01., 04. + 10.)
Tom Johnston (background vocals on 05.)
Bobby LaKind (percussion, background vocals)
Nicolette Larson (vocals on 07,  background vocals on 04.)
Andrew Love (saxophone on 01., 04. + 10.)
Sumner Mering (guitar on 06.)
Novi Novog (synthesizer on 06.)
Bill Payne (synthesizer on 02. + 03.)
Herb Pedersen (banjo on 08.)
Ted Templeman (drums on 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. Here To Love You (McDonald) 4.03
02. What A Fool Believes (McDonald/Loggins) 3.46
03. Minute By Minute (McDonald/Abrams) 3.29
04. Dependin’ On You (McDonald/Simmons) 3.47
05. Don’t Stop To Watch The Wheels (Simmons/Baxter/Ebert) 3.29
06. Open Your Eyes (McDonald/Abrams/Henderson) 3.20
07. Sweet Feelin’ (Simmons/Templeman) 2.44
08. Steamer Lane Breakdown (Simmons) 3:24
09. You Never Change (Simmons/McDonald) 3.30
10. How Do The Fools Survive? (McDonald/Sager) 5.17

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More from The Doobie Brothers:
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