The Doobie Brothers‘ breakthrough second album, Toulouse Street, was released 50 years ago today.
The 10-track collection features the band’s first two top-40 hits, “Listen to the Music” and a cover of the 1966 gospel tune “Jesus Is Just Alright,” which reached #11 and #35, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. The record, which also includes the classic-rock staple “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” peaked at #21 on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 1 million copies in the U.S.
The album saw the Doobie Brothers lineup expand from a quartet to a quintet, as founding singer/guitarists Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons and drummer John Hartman were joined by a second drummer, Mike Hossack, and original bassist Dave Shogren was replaced by Tiran Porter.
Johnston wrote five of the album’s 10 songs, including “Listen to the Music” and “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” while Simmons composed two tunes, and the remaining tracks were covers — the aforementioned “Jesus Is Just Alright,” Seals and Crofts‘ “Cottonmouth” and blues great Sonny Boy Williamson‘s “Don’t Start Me to Talkin’.”
Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne is featured on “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “Don’t Start Me to Talkin’,” “Cotton Mouth” and “Jesus Is Just Alright.”
On Toulouse Street, The Doobie Brothers’ deep Americana roots are on full display. As Johnston explains to ABC Audio, “Everybody came from different musical backgrounds, and that all got thrown together and it worked. Me coming from blues and R&B, soul music, plus rock ‘n’ roll, of course. Pat coming from rock ‘n’ roll, but also folk blues, a lot of fingerpicking…[T]hose two elements basically guided where the band was gonna go early on.”
Johnston adds, “[W]e’re what you might call a quintessential American band.”
Here the full track list of Toulouse Street:
“Listen to the Music”
“Rockin’ Down the Highway”
“Don’t Start Me to Talkin"”
“Jesus Is Just Alright”
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