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Reviews: The Doobie Brothers: what were once vices are now habits

Reviews: 6

Review by analogue May 10, 2012 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The Doobie's were on an incredible roll during this time in the early to mid 70's. This particular album was a slight expansion to their earlier attempts and its a pleasure to listen to this sacd.

This is the 4th Doobie sacd to be released by Mofi and for my tastes its the best overall sonically. This is not to say that it doesn't have some slight problems but by and large its the best one because it is ......from start to finish completely consistent in its sound. Previous sacd's had a strange hodge podge of variances in the sound from track to track. Some tracks were rendered very flat while others had sunken vocals. This new sacd has none of those problems. Thankfully.

However.....its still a tad flat for me and by that I mean that I still prefer some subtle EQ ing from mofi to better approximate the actual sound of this disc from back in the day. In trying to account for the flatness of their sacd releases I wonder if they employ sound reduction as no tape hiss is heard. I also am used to a better channel separation that is gotten from the best sacd's. I am used to vocals floating from the speakers in 3 d. I am also used to instruments being better distinguished in rock albums. Its not achieved as well as I would have liked on this disc. I am used to more transparency although this disc has a tad of it but a hint of dullness still is there.

Okay...now for the good stuff. This Doobie album is pure killer. What a fabulous release. Gotta love the music. This sacd is nicely inviting and warm. It has to be cranked higher than usual. Actually the higher the better. There is a nice analogue feel to the sacd sound thats great to listen to. It invites the listener in. There is alot in different instrumentation going on, nice drum work, excellent singing and guitar playing and textures abound. Everything we come to expect from the Doobie's during this time frame. There is some experimentation with a more countrified influence on some tracks and some excellent fiddle playing. Black Water sounds very excellent. There is also a touch of soul too. In fact there is not a bad track to be had on this album.

This is a good effort by Mofi and their best Dobbie release thus far because from start to finish the sound is consistent from track to track. The mixing is also better here as well. A tad of dull feel is what mars this release.

Very much recommended.

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Review by jackan June 21, 2012 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
First off, this is my favorite Doobie Brothers period. What Were Once Vices are now Habits, and Stampede are my favorite Doobie Brothers albums. To me, it is where the lineup had jelled, and they had matured into a song writing and performance groove. More coherent than the first couple of albums, and with the original feel, before burn out and health issues forced the personnel change to the Michael McDonald era. The tracks were very well done, with few exceptions. The bands experience in dynamics and space is a huge part of a very successful album. Especially in the rhythm section. Laying down a very consistent bed for the rest of the band. Particularly for the early seventies when a lot of rock bands didn't understand the musical performance concept of multi tracking. The result is a great close miced drum sound. A small quibble is that sometimes some of the cymbals lack fullness. At the start of Down in the Track there is a small guitar fart. It has always been there, and is now more obvious. One note.
All of the familiar parts are there, and then some. The guitar work seems more immediate than I remember it from past formats. I think that this version manages to improve on the sonics, while being true to its original self. Everything I have come to expect from SA-CDs. Improved resolution, dynamics, clarity, without changing the original feel or intent of the production.
This is now my favorite SA-CD. And everyone that I play it for is impressed. Either because it is better than they remember it, or that such good work came from back in my day. ;-)

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Review by p59teitel August 13, 2012 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A classic album from the Doobies' early-mid 70s peak as a rock outfit before Michael McDonald's pop sensibilities took them in a different direction. Great tunes, great playing.

The MFSL SACD presents the blackest, quietest background of any version to date, along with a clean treble, a sweet midrange and a smooth overall flow.

Unfortunately, while the bass is tight and extended, it does not have the heft and power of either the original LP or the initial Warner's CD released in 1990, which I think may remain my go-to version despite how clean and melodic the MFSL SACD is from the midrange on up.

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Review by pvcmusiclover January 16, 2013
Performance:   Sonics:
One of the best Doobie albums done by mo-fi. Great punch, clean highs, definition and separation of instruments. Downsides? It's a bright in some tracks and the low (sub 60hz) bass need to be brought up a bit.

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Review by Ricoflashback April 4, 2014
Performance:   Sonics:
Absolute killer of an album and playing this MOFI release reminded me why I loved the Doobie Brothers back in the 70's. What a rare combination of power and vocals - - especially the fabulous harmonies. The Memphis Horns really added some weight to this classic album.

Unfortunately, and as a another member noted - - the bass is really lacking. I do not know how you remaster something with such a puny punch.

A "Sonic Two Star" because the bass is a mouse fart and really unconscionable IMHO.

You can use "Extended Stereo," if you have the setup and I cranked up my system (220 watts per channel - 7.1) and even then, I had to extend the sub woofer volume to almost max. What you gain in bass is lost in the original solid stereo mix.

So - - while I recommended the SACD - - it's really more an endorsement of the Doobie Brothers as opposed to MOFI's effort.

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Review by Marpow March 14, 2015 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The Doobie Brothers: what were once vices are now habits Hybrid SACD Stereo Only

This MOFI, a 2011 release. My MOFI #01387


What were once vices are now habits. Ain't that the truth. I have been addicted to everything including writing music reviews, but I am having fun.

Performance: This disc really gets it. Coming off the success of The Captain and Me, this band just keeps being a rock hit machine. There 4th album released in 1974. I love this disc and all of there recordings, they are an American staple as far as I am concerned. This performance recorded by Ted Templeman who really nails the Doobie's sound. Electric guitars coming a little harder with this disc but they never give up there acoustic sound. Blackwater, an American classic if there ever was one. Adding Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and the Memphis Horns which adds a little Tower Of Power sound on You Just Can't Stop It.

Stereo Sonics: Speaking of Blackwater, you want proof of this reissue, just listen to this one tune. The little twinkling in beginning fills the room to an almost mch sonic brilliance. Huge sound stage on entire disc. Some times it felt like to me that sonic glory went beyond, way beyond the normal sound stage of my room. Brilliant mix of all musicians. I would be wasting your time with slick audiophile adjectives. It sounds fantastic.

Packaging: Cardboard gatefold mini LP. Slick paper unlike Toulouse Street. Cool photo of the band and entourage in front of there plane called Doobie Liner. I never knew they had there own plane. Small historical read on inside. Also a mini paper book that has track list, personal, pictures and MOFI advertising. Basic MOFI re recording notes.

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