The Doobie Brothers Stampede on Numbered-Edition Hybrid SACD from Mobile Fidelity
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: Eclectic 1975 Smash Now Sounds Absolutely Brilliant: First Doobies Album Featuring Steely Dan Guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter as a Full-Time Member
Record Boasts Significant Contributions from Curtis Mayfield, Maria Muldaur, Ry Cooder, and Victor Feldman
The Doobie Brothers’ illustrious career is marked by a string of hits, two of which, “Sweet Maxine” and “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me),” are included here. But Stampede offers much more. In terms of musical dexterity, the 1975 set stands as the group’s peak studio moment.
With ex-Steely Dan guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter finally a full-time member of the band, the California quintet steps up everything from the arrangements to the songwriting. The group also invited several distinguished guests along for the ride: Vocalist Maria Muldaur, soul legend Curtis Mayfield, slide guitarist Ry Cooder, and jazz hand Victor Feldman among them. The results are as good on record as they appear on paper.
A definitive staple of 1970s rock, Stampede traverses a wellspring of soulful genres while remaining tethered to a rootsy anchor. Western-themed rock, retro blues, and rousing boogie flavors pepper the songs, all of which stand the test of time and both reference and advance ideas generated by the Byrds, Eagles, and Steve Miller. Connoisseurs of fine-tuned playing need to tune into the stripped-down acoustics of “Slat Key Soquel Rag” and Baxter’s classically styled instrumental “Precis.” As far as virtuosity is concerned, few mid-70s albums equaled the balance of Stampede.
The record’s highlights are legion, yet the best quality may be the Doobies’ unwillingness to play it safe. Whether it’s Mayfield’s arrangements on the forceful “Music Man,” Cooder’s tasty accents on “Rainy Day Crossroad Blues,” or Muldaur’s passionate vocals on “I Cheat the Hangman,” the band brings it all to the table, and then some. If you only know the Doobies by way of radio smashes such as “Listen to the Music,” you are in for a treat.
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab engineers invested tremendous care into the mastering of Stampede from the original master tapes. Akin to the other titles in Mobile Fidelity’s Doobie Brothers catalog restoration series, this 1975 classic breathes with new life that’s on par with Keith Richards receiving a blood transfusion. Not only does the instrumental finesse of the guest musicians shine, the Doobies’ rhythms and melodies come on with a tube-like warmth and plentiful airiness that enhance the enjoyment of the record. This is a killer album that no one should be without, particularly now that it sounds absolutely fantastic!
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Doobie Brothers Stampede Track Listing:
1. "Sweet Maxine"
2. "Neal's Fandango"
3. "Texas Lullaby"
4. "Music Man"
5. "Slack Key Soquel Rag"
6. "Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)"
7. "I Cheat the Hangman"
9. "Rainy Day Crossroad Blues"
10. "I Been Workin' on You"
11, "Double Dealin' Four Flusher"