Doobie Brothers Over The Years – Jesus Is Just Alright

You get to see some things in a different light over time.  What was once something great is not so great over the years.  What was a bit naff one time, now has got some merit.  It is always good to come across something you thought was alright and then like fine wine see it mature over time.

I first was a keen admirer of Michael McDonald and that took me to some of the work of the Doobie Brothers and initially I posted just one version of their track Jesus Is Just Alright (JIJA) and thought nothing of it.  Recently, however I came across some developments on this that made me appreciate so much how a group like the Doobie Brothers can just get better and better over time.

So take for example this early version of JIJA.  Listen to it on headphones if you can – those cosy, thick things that make you think you are closed off from the rest of the world.   If you can just listen to the luscious sound of the instruments in this warm environment and rock to the refrain. It keeps you going without being tediously monotonous.  Also check carefully the relatively slim-line version of the Doobie Brothers.  You hear it, you see it and you enjoy it.

Then you skip forward a decade or two and already the band are grizzled and world weary.  The line-up is a bit more beefy and you feel like the bank are richer and fuller in sound and feel.  Also note how the main vocal has gone to the organist (where did he come from?) who adds that bit of gospel to it that you didn’t appreciate before.  The song is established in the psyche of the listeners, but the audience still appreciates the effort put in by the band who are by no means doing this thing by rote or phoning in the performance.  You’re grateful for the beef they’ve added and the maturity it brings to your enjoyment of the song.

This is the most up to date version I found and things have moved on again.  Our organist has passed on and the main vocals have reverted to the original guitarist.  There is a weightiness in this version that comes from experience and a knowledge of how you do this live performance music thing.  The band is more substantial in size and feel than ever before and so make for an even richer version without degrading their previous efforts.  You really rock with where they’re going before chilling for the mid-section before it builds to its climax which again is different to previous efforts.  Quality stuff all round and proves the point that some things just get better and better over time.  Enjoy.



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