Enter Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on slide guitar for the Doobie Brother's fifth album. Add diverse elements of power rock, funk, folk, country with the outstanding song writing team of Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons and Ted Templeman leading the production and what do you get? The finest Doobie Brothers album of the band's long career. Unfortunately for the band, and for the fans of this promising young band in 1975, this would be Tom Johnston's final album with the band (until the 1989 reunion with the lackluster "Cycles" album). Due to his declining health, he was forced to exit the band during the Stampede supporting tour. The Doobie Brothers, post Johnston, would morph into an altogether different band with the newly recruited Michael McDonald (but that's a different story). Stampede, although not the apex of the band's commercial success, would be the apex of the band's focused and consistent rock and roll, and the high water mark of the band's creativity.
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