Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Doobie Brothers: One Step Closer [Warner Bros., 1980]
The absence of must-hums brings into stark relief the magnitude of their debt to Steely Dan. Michael McDonald, of course, but more significantly Skunk Baxter, now departed and and you can't even tell, so sedulously do the other guitarists emulate his virtuoso harmonies. The Doobies are now socially responsible artists, stopping at nothing in their battle to let the radio audience taste musical quality in the breaks. If the songs themselves had any content, well then obviously there'd be no chance to enlighten the masses. Don't dare ask them to abandon this mission. B-