The Captain and Me

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The Captain and Me
The Doobie Brothers - The Captain and Me.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 2, 1973
StudioWarner Bros. Studios, North Hollywood, California
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerTed Templeman
The Doobie Brothers chronology
Toulouse Street
The Captain and Me
What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
Singles from The Captain and Me
  1. "Long Train Runnin'" / "Without You"
    Released: March 28, 1973
  2. "China Grove" / "Evil Woman"
    Released: July 25, 1973
Professional ratings
Review scores
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[2]
The Great Rock Discography7/10[3]
MusicHound Rock2.5/5[4]
Record Collector[5]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[7]

The Captain and Me is the third studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers. The album was released on March 2, 1973, by Warner Bros. Records. It features some of their most popular hits including "Long Train Runnin'", "China Grove" and "Without You". The album is certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA.

It was voted number 835 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).[8]

Recording and content[edit]

There was pressure on the band to move quickly and to save time they began reworking old tunes.[9] One of Tom Johnston's songs, "Osborn", had been an improvisational piece that the band played live. After laying down the track, according to producer Ted Templeman, "We still really didn't have it, and I said, 'Make it about a train, since you have this thing about 'Miss Lucy down along the track.' So he came up with "Long Train Runnin'."

Synthesizers and strings were brought in to record The Captain and Me. Synth programmers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff were brought in to engineer the opening track, "Natural Thing". Striving for a synthesized sound like that of The Beatles' "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", they would overdub individual notes to create chords for the song's bridge.[10]

"Dark Eyed Cajun Woman" was a bluesy track (one of the band's earliest) and seen by Johnston as a tribute to the blues and B.B. King. "South City Midnight Lady", while being about South San Francisco, is not about any woman in particular. Jeff Baxter of Steely Dan played pedal steel guitar on the track. He would become an official Doobie Brother in 1974. Cecil and Margouleff also added the synthesized effect of a woman whispering at the end.[10]

"Clear as the Driven Snow", according to Johnston, is a warning about recreational chemical abuse, which reflected the band members' lifestyles at that time.[10]

The second side of the album opens with the rocker "Without You". This song, like many others, had begun as a jam. "That song had both drummers playing at the same time," Johnston stated. "It was kind of a tribute to The Who. We did it in concert for quite a while."

Patrick Simmons' short solo guitar piece "Busted Down Around O'Connelley Corners" segues into "Ukiah", which Johnston wrote in tribute to the area. Johnston said, "We played a few shows in Ukiah, and I used to camp out a lot in the area when I was going to college." The song's back-to-the-land sentiments also reflected some of his feelings at the time, although he admitted he probably couldn't make it as a farmer. This track segues into the album closer and title track, "The Captain and Me". According to Johnston, the captain is no one in particular and the lyrics were written at the last minute and have no real meaning. The song was released as a single in the Netherlands and received some airplay there. Ron Blomberg recalled he and Yankee captain Thurman Munson liking the song for its positive message "about people coming together to change things for the better," describing the song as having "pretty cosmic" words, and named his book about Munson after this song.[11]

Surround releases[edit]

The album was originally released in Quadraphonic sound on the CD-4 Quadradisc system and also on Quadraphonic 8-track tape. The album was also released in 2002 remixed into 5.1 multichannel DVD-Audio,[12] and on 14 September 2011, on hybrid stereo-multichannel Super Audio CD by Warner Japan in their Warner Premium Sound series.[13]


The artwork found on the front and back of the album features the band, including manager Bruce Cohn, dressed in 19th century western garments and riding a horse-drawn stagecoach beneath an unfinished modern freeway overpass. "All that stuff came from the Warner Bros. film studios lot," Tom Johnston said. "It must've been a lot of work for the guys who brought up the horse team and the carriage and the clothes. It was fun to do—they had coffins out there, all kinds of crazy stuff." The photography was done by Michael and Jill Maggid. The setting for the cover was located at the Newhall Pass interchange of the Interstate 5 and California State Route 14 freeways near Sylmar, California that collapsed during the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. This same section of freeway would collapse again during the 1994 Northridge earthquake.[10]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Natural Thing"Tom JohnstonTom Johnston3:17
2."Long Train Runnin'"JohnstonJohnston3:25
3."China Grove"JohnstonJohnston3:14
4."Dark Eyed Cajun Woman"JohnstonJohnston4:12
5."Clear as the Driven Snow"Patrick SimmonsPat Simmons5:18
Side two
6."Without You"John Hartman, Michael Hossack, Johnston, Tiran Porter, Simmons[nb 1]Johnston, Simmons4:58
7."South City Midnight Lady"SimmonsSimmons5:27
8."Evil Woman"Simmons[nb 2]Simmons3:17
9."Busted Down Around O'Connelly Corners"James Earl LuftInstrumental0:48
11."The Captain and Me"JohnstonJohnston4:53


The Doobie Brothers:

Additional players:



Chart (1973–74) Peak
Canada (RPM)[16] 10
New Zealand (RIANZ)[17] 12
US (Billboard 200)[18] 7


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[19] Gold 20,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Bruce Eder. "The Captain and Me - The Doobie Brothers". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  3. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (2002). "The Doobie Brothers". The Great Rock Discography. The National Academies. ISBN 1-84195-312-1.
  4. ^ "The Captain and Me". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Paul Rigby. "The Captain & Me - Record Collector Magazine". Record Collector. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  6. ^ Bud Scoppa (1973-05-10). "The Doobie Brothers: The Captain & Me". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 253. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  8. ^ Colin Larkin (2006). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 259. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  9. ^ Leviton, Mark. "The Doobie Brothers' 'The Captain and Me': Polishing a Diamond" (REVIEWS: ALBUM REWINDS). The Doobie Brothers. BEST CLASSIC BANDS. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d "Old Black Water Keep on Rollin': 30 Years of the Doobie Brothers". Long Train Runnin': The Doobie Brothers 1970–2000 (CD Booklet). Warner Bros. Records. 1999. p. 20. 75876.
  11. ^ Blomberg, Ron; Epstein, Dan (2021). The Captain and Me. Triumph Books. pp. 133–134. ISBN 9781629378541.
  12. ^ review of The Doobie Brothers’ The Captain and Me DVD-Audio
  13. ^ (in Japanese) Warner Premium Sound 14 September releases Archived 2011-08-13 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  14. ^ "The Captain and Me by The Doobie Brothers". Classic Rock Review. February 21, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  15. ^ Templeman, Ted; Renoff, Greg (2020). Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music. ECW Press. p. 178.
  16. ^ "RPM Search Engine" (PHP). Library and Archives Canada. March 31, 2004.
  17. ^ "The Doobie Brothers" (ASP). New Zealand Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  18. ^ "The Doobie Brothers Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  19. ^ "Was It Any of These Men?" (PDF). Cash Box. February 28, 1974. p. 51. Retrieved November 15, 2021 – via World Radio History.


  1. ^ The album package credits this song to "The Doobie Brothers" rather than to the individual band members. This group credit is also used for the song on Best of The Doobies even though the band's lineup had changed by that time. The live album Rockin' Down the Highway: The Wildlife Concert credits the song to Johnston only.
  2. ^ Early LP copies credit this song to "The Doobie Brothers." This is corrected on later copies of the album.