By Carol Anne Szel
The Doobie Brothers “World Gone Crazy,” their first release in over a decade, is much what you’d expect and then some.
Starting with “A Brighter Day” which is a leap into an array of instruments that Ican only describe as a Jamaican-flavored uplifting sound which softens up the lyrics that is a sort of call to arms for world harmony. Driven by the organ sounds of Bill Payne, this really sets the pace for an album full of fine musicians bringing us through a variety of sounds.
With the Doobie Brothers being Pat Simmons and Tom Johnston handling acoustic and electric guitars and backing/lead vocals, John McFee handling not only guitars but also violin, mandolin, banjo and backing vocals, the core of the band is rounded out by Michael Hossack on drums. What makes this album stand out from the pack, in fact, is the additional mix of instruments and artists that are peppered and featured throughout.
Willie Nelson lends his distinctive and classic vocals are featured on “I Know We’ve Won,” which takes us on a journey to past love and heartbreak, two things Nelson is famous for singing about. Original Doobie Michael McDonald makes an appearance on “Don’t Say Goodbye,” a harmonica/salsa/jazz sounding song that is reminiscent of the Doobie Brothers from days gone by. A very good tune that I can see being an AOR hit.
“My Baby” is one good one, with a church-like rock pace and lyrics that meander through a tune of country lust about his baby, with a Wurlitzer and banjo that make this one a real listening treat that had me singing from the first play.
One standout tune is “Nobody” with its great steel guitar and instrument intro, reminding one of a Skynard southern rock song full of acoustic guitar picking and front porch rock sound. But, a real highlight on the album for me is “Old Juarez,” tune that is hard core picks the album up and brings us to the front table at a lazy Mexican street pub with a Corona listening to a song.
Although “World Gone Crazy” could have done without the bonus tracks of “Little Prayer,” which is way too cliché and trite lyrically, and “New York Dream,” which sounds a little too much like an after-thought, this cd is definitely one for any fan of good, quality, diverse, and tight rock and roll.
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