Livin’ On The Fault Line Songs Ranked

Livin’ on the Fault Line is the seventh studio album by the American rock band The Doobie Brothers. The album was released on August 19, 1977, by Warner Bros. Records. It is one of the few Doobie Brothers albums of the 1970s which did not produce a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 (although “You Belong to Me” was a hit as recorded by co-author Carly Simon). Still, the album received modest critical acclaim. Tom Johnston (guitar, vocals) left the band early in the sessions. He is listed as part of the band (appearing in the inside group photo) but appears on little or none of the actual album; despite writing and singing five songs during the sessions for the album, they were not included in the final release. Much of this consistently mellow album has a jazz tinge, and the influences of R&B are palpable throughout. The track “Little Darling (I Need You)” is a remake of the Marvin Gaye 1966 hit. Here are all of Livin’ On The Fault Line songs ranked.

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10. Larry the Logger Two-Step

“The LP ends with an acoustic instrumental called “Larry The Logger Two-Step” in crystal clear audio. Acoustic guitar track. The only truly disappointing one on the album and stylistically out of place.”

9. You’re Made That Way

“This, the second of McDonald’s outings with the band, makes clear its intentions right from the start, with the warming, first three notes of “You’re Made That Way” played on his trusty electric piano with barely a guitar in sight.”

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8. Need a Lady

“And the Doobies always manage to avoid heavy over production-never afraid of lean,stripped down arrangements.On “Need A Lady” bassist Tiran gives it his all over a pure blues piece done up ALL funky!”

7. Echoes of Love

“Echoes Of Love”, with band-member Pat Simmons picking up on a Hi Studios song first intended for Al Green and transforming into a (s)light and airy number the likes of which you could almost picture the Starlight Vocal Band trilling in the afternoon.”

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6. There’s a Light

“Another McDonald original, the sombre but vaguely churchy “There’s A Light” fulfils his solo quota for the album, before the more traditional Doobies’ sound tries to break through for a surprise touchdown on “Need A Lady” but meets its match in McDonald’s staunch keyboard and vocals defence and indeed fumbles the ball itself with an especially weak lyric.”

5. Little Darling (I Need You)

“A great take on a Motown classic, McDonald’s vocal is great. The ersatz Motown cover of Marvin’s “Little Darling (I Need You”) only gets the toes tapping where the original had you clearing a space out on the floor before MM returns with another quietly persuasive song, “You Belong To Me”, one perhaps better known through co-writer Carly Simon’s own hit version of it soon afterwards.”

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4. Chinatown

“A beautiful and somewhat haunting extended piece with brilliant playing. “Chinatown” is a great tight groove,as is the latin tinged funk of the title track-very California cool all around.”

3. You Belong to Me

“Michael McDonald of course wrote “You Belong To Me” with and for Carly Simon (and this grooving version frankly WIPES THE PANTS with hers). His crooning on “You Belong To Me” is wonderfully, distinctly different from the Carly Simon hit.”

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2. Nothin’ But a Heartache

“Nothin’ But A Heartache” where ironically he gets closest of all to that crisp and clean production sound of the Dan-men. Of course, Becker and Fagen would never have similarly grafted on such a straightforward lovey-dovey lyric, not that this is a bad thing, as I often find Steely Dan’s lyrics to be as pretentious as they are impenetrable.”

1. Livin’ on the Fault Line

“So, as to the album’s title Livin’ On The Fault Line, earthquakes don’t just happen, instead they are caused by things beyond our sight, things going on well below the surface. Seems the band knew the album was a shattering mistake when they named it.”