The Captain and Me, released March 2 1973, is commonly considered the creative peak of The Doobie Brothers. It's chock full of their good time strumming, double drumming, California rock'n'roll featuring two monster hits "Long Train Runnin " (US#8) and "China Grove" (US#15) as well as a nice couple of Patrick Simmons tunes including "South City Midnight Lady" ( featuring future Doobie Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on pedal steel guitar.
The band admits this was a bit of a rush job following up on the success of Toulouse Street and "Listen to the Music". "Long Train Runnin'" was a re-write of a Tom Johnson instrumental called "Osborn". Producer Ted Templeman suggested the song be about a train so Johnson sat in a bathroom at Amigo Studios in Burbank and knocked out the lyrics:
Down around the corner half a mile from here/
see them long trains run and you watch them disappear