17
Jul
19

The Doobie Brothers “Minute by Minute”

This record came out certainly after I had stopped liking The Doobie Brothers—1978—by that time, it was punk rock for me, not these lame, saggy-ass hippies. The kind of classic b&w band photo cover with the six of them posing like a soccer team is nice. Which one would you make out with? If you said anyone but Michael McDonald, you’re just being contrary, because you know he’s the only one without skunk-weed breath. Though I am a “Skunk” Baxter guy from way back. There is an inner sleeve with a giant blowup photo of a roach—no, not a cockroach!—a nearly consumed marijuana cigarette—I’m guessing it’s blown up X10. Just in case you thought “Doobie” referred to a high school track coach, or a submarine sandwich, or someone’s pet, or dick—well, here it is, spelled out in plain English. Or maybe that’s not a roach at all (squinting), but an artist’s rendition of an alien craft, from the school that believes UFOs will not be all sleek, smooth, and symmetrical, but all fucked up. It actually looks like some alien vessel from Lost in Space, the original TV show, the early episodes from 1965, which were in black and white and sometimes truly frightening (and first introduced me to the idea that when we, Earthlings, are traveling out there, Space, then we are the aliens).

On the other side is a lyric sheet! I am so excited! Now I can finally find out what they are singing on “What A Fool Believes”—something that’s been driving me crazy now for forty years. It starts out, “He came from somewhere back in Malongo.” Where in the hell is “Malongo?” Well, it’s not Malongo, it’s: “in her long ago.” But what does that even mean? And then, “As she rises to the Apocalypse, or the Acropolis”—what’s that about? But no, it’s “her apology.” Actually, when I really listen, I can’t understand any of the lyrics. Is that the key to a number one song? I’m here to make that statement: the key to a hit song is to sing the lyrics so no one can understand them. Anyway, this is after Michael McDonald pretty much took over this band, at least on paper. Who knows, really. I’ll look forward to watching that 12 hour Doobie Brothers documentary, that’s got to be out there, or being made, on a double feature with a Yacht Rock documentary, which of course features Michael McDonald. I used to hate the guy; maybe I associated him with the lame side of the late Seventies, you know, that horrible beard and football jersey combo look. Or maybe I associated him with that most heinous of all hamburger chains. But now I pretty much love the guy, which I suppose says something about me, not him, or time, or the sewer flowing into the river, and the river flowing into the sea.

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2 Responses to “The Doobie Brothers “Minute by Minute””


  1. 1 JC
    July 18, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Personally, I think that “what a fool believes” is that a Doobie Brothers record is at all listenable. You deserve some high (so to speak) commendations for braving such a thing. Surprisingly, what I always thought were the lyrics to that song turn out to be (at least in the examples you give) actually the *right* lyrics. But man, what a loathsome group. For some reason I have always tended to conflate these guys with the Allman/Almond Brothers, who *might* be microscopically less loathsome. I’m just really crossing my fingers for you that the next record that comes up isn’t a Hall & Oates one. As for “Yacht Rock,” while I actually truly enjoyed and laughed out loud at the YouTube video series of that name that was a mockumentary of these terrible 70s bands, in a way I really kind of wish they had never made them, so that maybe there would not today be such a big revival of apparently non-ironic interest in that dreck. Even with Steely Dan included among them (which, really, I’m not so sure they ought to be..) as the possible outlier band of substance, every last one of those groups/performers should have been left to the trash heaps of history. In related news, are you going to see the David Crosby documentary?

    • July 20, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Not Hall & Oates next, but the Eagles! But please don’t stop reading. Some more contemporary stuff coming soon. I didn’t know there was a David Crosby documentary. I’ll see it. By the way, I was trying to remember what year it was when I SAW the Doobie Brothers, a concert in which, if I’m remembering correctly, Foreigner opened for them. Now I can’t remember if it was in Toledo or Bowling Green, I think the later, but I’m not sure. There seems to be no mention of it in my memoirs.


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