There's nothing all that special about Let the Music Play: The Story of the Doobie Brothers, but it's a well made, thorough documentary of one of the biggest bands 1970s and early 1980s and sure to be one fans of the band will enjoy.
Overly long at 2 1/2 hours, Let the Music Play is a straightforward, chronological retelling of the story of the band. Everyone who's still alive -- even the band's manager Bruce Cohn, who adds some keen insights -- participated, and while the story is bloated, fans will be thrilled with the depth of storytelling given to the band's formative years and early albums, with special attention given to the failure of the Doobies’ 1971 eponymous debut as well as its breakthrough 1972 sophomore album Toulouse Street.
But perhaps the most interesting parts of Let the Music Play come as Michael McDonald is "discovered". To some McDonald hijacked the Doobies' sound, but his joining also gave the band a new lease on life in a changing marketplace with monster hits like “Takin’ It to the Streets” and “What A Fool Believes”.
Of course the same forces that took the band to those new heights tore them apart in the early 1980s, so the film's last 1/3 takes viewers through the endless reunions of the past 30 years, with a touching vignette on the Doobies' charity work.
There’s a bonus feature including nine undated Doobie Brothers performances of songs like “Listen to the Music,” “Black Water” and “China Grove”. The quality is decent and fans will love them, but unfortunately this one won't stand up to repeated viewings by more casual fans.
This article is copyright 2013 by Jeff Slate. No part may be reprinted or referenced without permission and/or attribution. All rights reserved.