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Livin' on the Fault Line fell between two of the Doobie Brothers' biggest-selling records. The album had no hit singles, and one-time leader Tom Johnston kept a markedly low profile (this would be his last record with the group, not including a later reunion). Despite this, Livin' on the Fault Line contains some of the most challenging and well-developed music of the band's career, with Patrick Simmons and Michael McDonald really stepping to the fore. There's a vague mood of melancholia running through the songs, as well as a definite jazz influence. This is most obvious on the title track, which has several instrumental passages that showcase the guitar abilities of Simmons and Jeff Baxter. Similarly, "Chinatown" is a spooky mood piece not unlike the smooth fusion of late-period Steely Dan or Little Feat. But "Echoes of Love" and "Nothin' But a Heartache" are both intelligent, glistening pop songs that confirm Simmons and McDonald as first-rate tunesmiths. The record slips a little at the end, with a plodding R&B song and a Piedmont guitar instrumental thrown in as filler. Overall, though, this is a chapter in the Doobie Brothers' history that deserves a second look.
|Label:||Warner Bros / Wea|
Performance CreditsDoobie Brothers Primary Artist
Michael McDonald Keyboards,Vocals
Victor Feldman Percussion,Vibes
Norton Buffalo Harmonica
Tom Johnston Guitar,Vocals
Patrick Simmons Guitar,Vocals
Dan Armstrong Sitar,Electric Sitar
Jeff Baxter Guitar,Steel Guitar
Rosemary Butler Vocals,Background Vocals
Keith Knudsen Drums,Vocals
Bobby LaKind Conductor,Conga,Vocals
Maureen McDonald Vocals,Background Vocals
Tiran Porter Bass,Vocals
Ted Templeman Percussion
John Hartman Drums
Technical CreditsDonn Landee Engineer
David Paich String Arrangements
Bruce Steinberg Art Direction,Cover Design
Ted Templeman Producer