The Doobie Brothers - What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits

The Doobie Brothers – What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits


I gushed big time over the Doobie Brothers 1973 album ‘The Captain And Me’, a glorious affair really, and when coupled with this album the following year, it makes for compulsory listening.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: The Doobie Brothers
ALBUM: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: W 2750
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Patrick Simmons – guitar, vocals * Tom Johnston – guitar, vocals * Tiran Porter – bass, vocals * John (Little John) Hartman – drums * Michael Hossack – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Song To See You Through * 02 Spirit * 03 Pursuit On 53rd Street * 04 Black Water * 05 Eyes Of Silver * 06 Road Angel * 07 You Just Can’t Stop It * 08 Tell Me What You Want, And I’ll Give You What You Need * 09 Down In The Track * 10 Another Park Another Sunday * 11 Daughters Of The Sea * 12 Flying Cloud



The other week I gushed big time over the Doobie Brothers 1973 album ‘The Captain And Me’. A glorious affair really, and when coupled with this album the following year, it makes for compulsory listening and acquisition in the best quality medium you can obtain.

Thankfully, Warner Bros have done such a thing, you should be able to find remastered versions of both albums, bringing to life many things not immediately apparent on those old vinyl copies from way back when. The Doobies Brothers continue the style and sound from ‘The Captain And Me’, with a mixture of songs sourced from both Tom Johnston’s and Patrick Simmon’s lyric books.

The Songs

‘Song To See You Through’ is a lightweight opener with an emphasis on brass parts. Not quite Blood Sweat And Tears and equally not quite Chicago but you get the picture.

Second up is the excellent pastoral sounding ‘Spirit’. A combination of bayou fiddle music and country. Strange you might say but it works a treat! ‘Pursuit On 53rd Street’ returns the Doobie Brothers to the hard rock zone with its familiar lyric ‘I believe..’ shining through.

‘Black Water’ is another of those bayou meets delta blues numbers which came from the pen of Patrick Simmons. The vocal mash up at the end is very memorable. Surprised to find this track was reluctantly turned into a single after solid Radio Station backing. It eventually became the band’s first #1 single.

‘Eyes Of Silver’ is the first of two significant commercial offerings. This mild funky tune has an assortment of brass and it’s been one of their signature songs over the years. My preference for the ultimate Doobies sound is when they rock a little harder – something that would diminish from this album onward unfortunately.

But with a track like ‘Road Angel’ you can hear them in their prime. The guitar work is heavied up and the overall arrangement works wonderfully. ‘You Just Can’t Stop It’ has a Steely Dan vibe with thos ever-present brass parts hiding in the shade. ‘Tell Me What You Want (And I’ll Give You What You Need)’ is another easy on the ear tune, the Patrick Simmons written tune takes country, folk and light rock styles and melds them together like a dumpling.

‘Down On The Track’ is trademark Tom Johnston fare, his songwriting notably harder in approach here, though he does taper off for the rather lovely ‘Another Park Another Sunday’, a classic rock staple if ever there’s one. ‘Daughters Of The Sea’ for mine is timestamped on my memory banks, a track that glides through speakerspace with ease.

The finale, a two minute instrumental ‘Flying Cloud’ was written by bassist Tiran Porter. This one segues quite nicely after ‘Daughters Of The Sea’, and is a sweet exit moment for the album.

In Summary

Three singles came from the album: ‘Eyes Of Silver’ and ‘Another Park Another Sunday’ which reached #52 and #32 respectively, while the aforementioned ‘Black Water’ the surprise packet of the album reaching #1. The album itself went as high as #5 in the Billboard Charts. Beyond this album, the Doobies would release ‘Stampede’ with Steely Dan member Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter joining the band.

By 1976 Johnston developed health issues which resulted in a forced layoff from the band. It also paved the way for another Steely Dan member Michael McDonald to be invited into the Doobies fold, the inclusion changing the Doobies Brothers style altogether as you can hear on ‘Takin’ It To Streets’, ‘Livin’ On The Faultline’ and 1978’s mega-selling ‘Minute By Minute’.


Black Water

The Doobie Brothers - Black Water (Official Music Video)

Eyes Of Silver
Eyes of Silver

Road Angel
Road Angel

Another Park Another Sunday
Another Park Another Sunday

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