The Doobie Brothers - Minute By Minute

The Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute


Hard to believe that after twenty years of writing reviews, we’ve only got around to this one from The Doobie Brothers, a huge selling album during 1978, and yet it didn’t really feature on my radar. Go figure.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: The Doobie Brothers
ALBUM: Minute By Minute
LABEL: Warner Bros
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Michael McDonald – lead and backing vocals, keyboards * Patrick Simmons – lead and backing vocals, guitar * Jeff Baxter – guitars * Tiran Porter – bass, backing vocals * Keith Knudsen – drums, backing vocals * John Hartman – drums

Additional Musicians: Bobby LaKind – congas, backing vocals * Tom Johnston – backing vocals (#5) * Nicolette Larson – duet vocals (#7), backing vocals (#4) * Rosemary Butler – backing vocals (#1, 4) * Norton Buffalo – harmonica (#5, 8) * Herb Pedersen – banjo (#8) * Byron Berline – fiddle (#8) * Lester Abrams – electric piano (#10) * Bill Payne – synthesizer (#2, 3) * Andrew Love – saxophone (#1, 4, 10) * Ben Cauley – trumpet (#1, 4, 10) * Novi Novog – synthesizer solo (#6)

TRACK LISTING: 01 Here To Love You * 02 What A Fool Believes * 03 Minute By Minute * 04 Dependin’ On You * 05 Don’t Stop To Watch The Wheels * 06 Open Your Eyes * 07 Sweet Feelin’ * 08 Steamer Lane Breakdown * 09 You Never Change * 10 How Do The Fools Survive?



Hard to believe that after twenty years of writing reviews, we still haven’t got around to this one. It was a huge selling album during the northern spring of 1978, and yet this one didn’t really feature on my radar, and I have a reason for that.

During that year, I was heavily tied into bands such as Boston, Styx, Kansas, Blue Oyster Cult, The Cars, Van Halen, Thin Lizzy and of course: Journey. Though the Doobie Brothers s were a part of my earlier musical upbringing (especially around 1973-74), the lighter in sound they became the more they disappeared off my scope. I still managed to hear them on the radio but I never bought any of their albums during the late 70’s.

Yacht Rock or 70’s era West Coast hadn’t quite pulled into my harbour in 1978, I only came to appreciate those genres until I landed into the early 80’s. ‘Minute By Minute’ sees the blossoming of Michael McDonald, further taking the Doobie Brothers into West Coast territory and away from the guitar rock era built by Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons.

The Songs

Many of these songs should ring the bell for some of you, with several hits generated from the album, the title track ‘Minute By Minute’ and ‘What A Fool Believes’ are two songs still played on classic rock radio to this day. Not that this album is a two-hit wonder, oh no.

‘Here To Love You’ opens up this set, a piano powered number coupled with a shuffling drum beat that Toto would be proud to own. ‘Depending On You’ sung by Pat Simmons lifts the bar, lots of Chicago like brass work, McDonald’s piano still prominent and a guitar solo pulled from yesteryear.

‘Don’t Stop To Watch The Wheels’ is another of the rockier cuts onboard, it’s tempered by a return to West Coast climes with ‘Open Your Eyes’, a track that fits 1978 like a hand to glove. ‘Sweet Feelin’ features Nicolette Larson on duet vocals, a cruisy pop number, a far cry from the overly countrified instrumental ‘Steamer Lane Breakdown’, with its hoedown style straight out of Hicksville USA.

‘You Never Change’ epitomises the Doobie Brothers mid 70’s career change (excuse the pun), not quite all-out rock nor West Coast as such, sort of a pop fusion sound which works well, even if it is brief. The band return to that shuffly Steely Dan meets Toto sound for ‘How Do The Fools Survive?’, its topped by some sax and trumpet. The guitar solo from Baxter invokes memories of Grant Geissman, the six string general from Chuck Mangione‘s band.

In Summary

Released on December 1st 1978, the album would occupy the charts in those early months of 1979 with’ What A Fool Believes’ going to number 1 in April 1979, the track would be the best selling song of their career. ‘Minute By Minute’ and ‘Depending On You’ also made the Billboard Top 40 singles chart, coming in at 14 and 25 respectively.

After the commitments for this album were complete, Jeff Baxter left to go off for further musical adventures including production work, while John Hartman retired to look after horses on his ranch but would eventually return to the Doobie Brothers in the late 80’s around the release of the ‘Cycles’ album.


Minute By Minute

The Doobie Brothers - Minute By Minute (Official Music Video)

What A Fool Believes

The Doobie Brothers - What A Fool Believes (Official Music Video)

Entire Album (Select Tracks)
Here to Love You

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