A Glimpse of Blue-Eyed Soul

It’s become moderately fashionable to over-appreciate and impersonate the genius of Michael McDonald. After living in the wayback of the public consciousness for the better part of two decades, the former Doobie’s legacy and career were resurrected by two important events: First came the Ain’t No Mountain High/Ain’t Nuthin’ Like the Real Thing MCI commercials pegged to his 2003 Motown album, then the 40-Year-Old Virgin brilliantly canonized that ol’ Yacht Rock image.

I’ve been a Michael McDonald fan forever. Well, more accurately, I’ve been an ardent supporter of giving him the business for as long as I can remember. I don’t think there’s a better ’80s tune than his Sweet Freedom, the theme song to the Billy Crystal/Gergory Hines vehicle Running Scared. His back-up vocals on Steely Dan’s Peg get my juices flowing. Takin’ It To the Streets gives me a semi-erection. Minute By Minute gets it up all the way. And don’t even get me started on the personification of greatness that is his duet with James Ingram on Yah Mo B There

So when my buddy Curly Bamboo told me he’d just returned from a Rita Hayworth Award fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association where Mikey serenaded the lucky audience, I glazed right over the “They raised $3 million” crap and begged for a full description of the setlist, the atmosphere, the crowd reaction and the shape of his beard. Instead, I got this picture and word that he sang all his Motown stuff:

Michael McDonald

Bamboo added that McDonald was introduced by Dan Akroyd and Donna Dixon Akroyd, and attendees included Ivana Trump, Bryant Gumbel and Ahmad Rashad (no word if Michael Jordan’s cock was seated next to Rashad). Oh lord, I wish I could’ve been in the same room with such a blue-eyed soul brother, but I guess that’s for people richer and more charitable than me. Who’s got my Alzheimer’s miracle?

Related audio: For sticking with this post, let’s reward you with The Doobie Brothers at the Philadelphia Spectrum on 11/16/76. It’s fucking incredible.

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18 Responses

  1. Should I have written a Backyard Garbage Fire post instead? At least at the end of this one you get an incredible show to listen to for a while. Seriously, take one listen to that Doobie Brothers show and tell me those guys can’t fuckin’ play — most of those tunes are off-the-charts fantastic. The Black Water is top-notch, the Long Train Runnin’ is the bees’ knees, and there’s a WICKED Star Spangled Banner tease in the Listen To The Music jam that’ll make you do a double take…

  2. Of course, the Doobies were good musicians. The band just sucked after adding McDonald. His most notable vocal, BTW, is singing backup on Christopher Cross’s hit.

    He turned the Doobs in to lite jazzbos, and should be flailed for doing so. HIs seminal contribution to “Yacht Rock” is something he will burn in Hades for. Along with Pablo Cruise . . .

  3. Don’t listen to the haters, Ace. I am with you 100%. No, make that 1000%. Although, the fact that you have written one post and one comment and STILL left out “What A Fool Believes” is a crime against Doobies Nation. Let’s just say that when Fagan brought out McDonald to do “Peg” this summer in Jones Beach, I crossed off #57 on “100 Things I Need To See In My Lifetime.” However, I must point out to you loyal readers that I believe I inquired as to whether or not you’d be at that Steely show and you answered “No.” Can you explain yourself, or are you simply a terrorist in Doobie Nation?

    And Yacht Rock rules. I’m not being Shlitz-drinking ironic Williamsburg moustachioed hipster about that, either. Check my iPod. I’ve got Pablo Cruise, Hall & Oates, Christopher Cross, and Leo Sayer. Hell, I just downloaded “Romeo’s Tune” by someone seriously named “Steven Forbert”. Those are seriously great songs.

    Keep the dream alive, Ace. More Doobies!

  4. In middle school, we had one of those drama troupes come in and do a “don’t do drugs” play for all of us in the auditorium. The only thing I took from that was hearing ‘Takin’ It To The Streets’ for the first time and loving it! It’s still one of those songs I always crank when it comes on the radio.

    oh, and don’t do drugs

  5. And as far as the Doobies losing something when Mike Mac entered the band, “Listen To The Music” and “Blackwater” get just as many plays on Lite FM as “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.” Listen to that show from ’76 and tell me the Doobies aren’t a full fledged jamband, whereas Justin Timberlake well….

  6. Chilly, you always being an awesomeness to the proceedings that is unparelleled in the Sweet Blahg Commenting world. Stick around, we’ve got a special chair being made for you. It says, “Brahphecy Director” on the back.

    I couldn’t hit the NY/NJ shows because of Slack LaLane co-founder Don Fiedler’s weeklong bachelor party — I tried to get everyone to consider the Camden show, but alas, I was outvoted 11-1. It was on my radar for so long, but it wasn’t to be for ol’ Ace. Sucks to be me. I need a DVD of that.

    HP Anything, you’re a bastard old man. Go listen to some more Queens of the Stone Age and get off my train! Folks, this guy fucking sides with Robbie Robertson in The Band vs. Robbie debate, and that’s all you need to know!

  7. Ace,

    I feel the love. I also feel you should be living on a yacht–given your musical tastes.

    Michael McD made the band turn off the loud guitars and they stopped doing things that rocked, like China Grove, Long Train Running, Jesus Is Just All Right, etc. By the time he was finished with the Doobs, they might as well have been Kenny Loggins backup band.

    Just as The Band was Robbie Robertson’s backup band.

    None of the above, of course, have any current relevance. I might add that the Band’s junkie leader, Bobby Zimmerman, matters today primarily because he’s in Victoria’s Secret ads. You want relevance? Go get Death Cab For Cutie, Opeth, and Queens Of The Stone Age.

    Ace, until you stop hoping for Jerry and Trey to walk out of a morgue arm in arm, you’re not going to find happiness. Or intellligence.

    Over and out.

  8. I thought HP was about to go into the Pitino/Celtics speech. “Jerry Garcia is not walking through that door, fans. Ron McKernan is not walking through that door, and Brent Mydland is not walking through that door with a cashed syringe dangling from the crook of his arm.”

    I gasped when I read the “Band as Robertson’s back-up band” comment. HP – you must be a true friend of the Cowboy, else his vengeful spirit would force it’s way into the internet before blasting through your monitor and burning out your eyes. May the ghosts of Danko and Manuel haunt you tonight.

    And fuck everybody that doesn’t get McDonald. And how has “I Keep Forgetting” missed being mentioned here?

    I should check this more frequently, Ace. Both The Band and Mikey McD needed my defense this week, and I have failed them both. Shame on me.

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