Music

Rock Goes Country: The Doobie Brothers' Deep Cut 'Texas Lullaby'

The Doobie Brothers' 1975 album Stampede, the California rock band's final release before Michael McDonald replaced Tom Johnston as lead vocalist, featured only one classic rock standard, a cover of Motown songwriters' Holland-Dozier-Holland's "Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)." Beyond the one obvious single, Stampede includes multiple tracks which reflect a deep appreciation for Laurel Canyon's country-rock giants, Nashville's more progressive songwriters and various styles of Southern music.

Examples of this include "I Cheat the Hangman," a six-and-a-half minute musical journey featuring bottleneck guitar accompaniment from Ry Cooder and guest vocals from Maria Muldaur. There's also gentle acoustic number "Slack Key Soquel Rag," fast-driving rockers "Neal's Fandango" and "Double Dealin' Four Flusher," blues nods "Rainy Day Crossroad Blues" and "I Been Workin' on You" and one of the best country-leaning rock songs not by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Texas Lullaby."

Johnston, the voice heard on "Black Water" and other Doobies standards, wrote and sang lead on "Texas Lullaby," a nostalgic trip that deserves a spot on any Southern rock playlist. It's briefly accentuated by guitarist and former Steely Dan member Jeff "Skunk" Baxter's skill as a steel guitarist.

Read More: 15 Hits By Overlooked Country Bands and Duos

Songs like "Texas Lullaby" may lack the cultural impact of the Johnston-sung hits off the Doobie Brothers albums Toulouse Street, The Captain and Me and What Were Once Vices are Now Habits, but they still serve as excellent examples of rock songwriting that honors popular music's roots.

Like prior releases, Stampede was produced for Warner Bros. by Ted Templeman.

"Texas Lullaby" Lyrics

Sittin' by myself in the summertime, when the heat is burnin' down
Watchin' the golden crops in the field just growin' without a sound
I was a boy raised in the country and it's still a part of me
And you see no matter where I go it's a beautiful memory
Rise with sun at the break of day, lookin' out my window
It's the same as yesterday
Sittin' under an old oak tree, pickin' my guitar in the shade
That old tree spreadin' over my head is the closest friend I made

Just me and some lonely wooden music, floatin' through air
The grass is rustlin' and the birds are singin' and my heart don't have a care
Still another day finds me in the fields, sweat is soakin' up my ragged clothes
But I'd rather work than steal

Watchin' the sun settle down over open Texas land, looking at the cattle and the horses runnin' wild as they can

Life was different in the old days, you just get a day's work done
When you were finished workin' in the fields, there was chores at home to be done

I was always hearin' music, always wanna play me some
As a full-time friend or the way to ease the end of a woman that swayed me some
Hearin' those tunes always had a way of soothin' out my soul
When times got hard and work got slow it was music that kept me whole
Sun beatin' down through the trees, gets so hot bring a workin' man to his knees
Part of my heart, part of my soul, part of a melody
Hands are clappin' and people swayin' in simple harmony
Life was different in the old days, you just get a day's work done
When you finished workin' in the fields there was chores at home to be done

Late in the evenin' on the front porch when the sun is settin' in the west
Me and the boys pass around the bottle and sing what we like best
Sing about our wives, sing about our children, singin' out the Delta blues
We're simple folks and we like it that way, got nothin' left to lose

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Rock Goes Country: The Doobie Brothers' Deep Cut 'Texas Lullaby'