Monday 10pm: LP Lounge with Willie B

This installment of the LP Lounge feature two CD4 (Quad) LP’s from the Doobie Brothers.

What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits is the fourth studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers. The album was released on February 1, 1974, by Warner Bros. Records.

Tom Johnston’s “Another Park, Another Sunday” was chosen to be the album’s first single. “It’s about losing a girl,” stated Johnston. “I wrote the chords and played it on acoustic, and then Ted Templeman had some ideas for it, like running the guitars through Leslie speakers.” The song did moderately well on the charts, peaking at #32.

The second single released was “Eyes of Silver”, another Johnston penned tune. According to him, “Wordwise, that one really isn’t that spectacular. I wrote them at the last minute.” That song didn’t have much success on the charts either. Grasping for chart action, Warner Brothers re-released the band’s first single, “Nobody”. This release was soon overshadowed when radio stations discovered “Black Water”. Other stations joined in and the song was officially released as a single that went on to sell over a million copies and became the Doobie Brothers’ first #1 hit. “Black Water” had been featured as the B-side of “Another Park, Another Sunday” eight months earlier.

Stampede is the fifth studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers. The album was released on April 25, 1975, by Warner Bros. Records. It was the final album by the band before Michael McDonald replaced Tom Johnston as lead vocalist and primary songwriter. The album has been certified gold by the RIAA.

Stampede showed the band diversifying elements of their sound more than ever before, combining elements of their old sound as well as country-rock, funk and folk music. Many guest musicians contributed on the album including Maria Muldaur, Ry Cooder and Curtis Mayfield.

The first and most successful single released from this album was “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)” on April 23, 1975, a classic Motown tune written by the legendary songwriting trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland. Tom Johnston had wanted to record the song for several years. “I thought that would be a killer track to cover,” he said. “It’s probably one of my favorite songs of all time. I thought our version came out great.”

The next single, released on July 8, 1975, was “Sweet Maxine” which was more akin to the Doobie Brothers’ earlier hits style-wise. “Pat wrote the music to this and I wrote the words, ” Johnston recalled. “And Billy Payne had a lot to do with the sound of the song, because of his incredible keyboard playing.” The track stalled at #40 on the Billboard charts.

The third and final single was Patrick Simmons’ “I Cheat the Hangman”, released November 12, 1975. It is a somber outlaw ballad that was inspired by the story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce. “It’s about a ghost returning to his home after the Civil War and not realizing he’s dead,” said Simmons about the song. The album version of the song is a progressive rock-style composition ending in a twisted collage of strings, horns and synthesizers made to sound like ghostly wails. “We’d cut the track, and we kicked around how to develop the ending-I thought about synthesizers and guitar solos. Ted [Templeman] got to thinking about it, and he ran it past [arranger] Nick DeCaro for some orchestration ideas. ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ by Mussorgsky really inspired the wildness of the strings, and Nick came up with the chorale thing at the end.” The ambitious “I Cheat the Hangman” only managed to reach #60 on the music charts.

“Neal’s Fandango” was inspired by the Santa Cruz mountains and was an homage to Neal Cassady, Merry Prankster bus driver and former Jack Kerouac sidekick in On The Road. It was occasionally played on San Francisco Bay Area classic rock station KFOX “K-FOX” (that means KUFX) because of the Doobie Brothers’ South Bay roots. – Wikipedia

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