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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dave Mason - Alone Together (1970 uk, fabulous classic rock with drops of psych folk, japan remaster edition)

Like Traffic's album "John Barleycorn Must Die", former Traffic member Dave Mason's Alone Together is a good album -- careful, well played, occasionally brilliant and well-conceived -- but like John Barleycorn, Alone Together never breaks its vinyl bonds and soars. The songwriting talent of Mason remains undiminished on Alone Together, and his easy fluid voice, long in Traffic vocalist Stevie Winwood's giant shadow, is used to maximum effect.

This is, of course, the marbled LP, a brilliant burst of color spinning on the turntable, the grooves barely discernible so the needle seems to be floating across the record. Maybe the next step could be a little cartoon around the edge of the record, like those flip-the-pages funnies, or a slow inward spiral so you could be literally hypnotized by the record.

The music is vintage Mason, veering here and there towards commercialism but never quite getting there, slick but not offensive. Falling in line with the rest of Great Britain, Mason chose old Delaney and Bonnie sidemen for the session, including Leon Russell, Jim Keltner, Carl Radle and Rita Coolidge, plus old Mother Don Preston. Russell, as always, is much in evidence, and his piano (if it is him -- the album doesn't say and we have only internal evidence), particularly on "Sad and Deep As You," is masterful.

The high point of the album is clearly "Look at You Look at Me," a song Mason wrote with Trafficker Jim Capaldi, whose tight, urgent drumming on the cut moves the song along with descretion and skill. Mason's singing is simply superb. The other exceptional cuts are "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave" (Mason is not, between you and me, a great song titlist), which features the best wah-wah guitar since Clapton's initial exposition on "Tales of Brave Ulysses"; and "World in Changes," with Mason's deceptively simple lyrics pulled along by some brilliant organ work.

High commercial potential on the album is represented by "Only You Know and I Know," which has a rick-ticky rhythm reminiscent of "You Can All Join In." It's really a trivial song (like others on the album, particularly "Waitin' On You" and "Just A Song"), but it will sound great on a tinny AM radio at 60 miles an hour.
by Jon Carroll, Rolling Stone, 9/3/70.

1. Only You Know and I Know (D. Mason) - 4:05
2. Can't Stop Worrying, Can't Stop Loving (D. Mason) - 3:02
3. Waitin' on You (D. Mason) - 3:05
4. Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave (D. Mason) - 6:00
5. World in Changes (D. Mason) - 4:30
6. Sad and Deep as You (D. Mason) - 3:35
7. Just a Song (D. Mason) - 2:59
8. Look at You, Look at Me (J. Capaldi, D. Mason) - 7:22

*Dave Mason - Guitar, Vocals
*Delaney Bramlett - Guitar, Vocals
*Bonnie Bramlett - Vocals
*Leon Russell - Keyboards
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Chris Ethridge - Bass
*Larry Knechtel - Bass
*Jim Capaldi - Drums
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Michael DeTemple - Guitar
*Don Preston - Keyboards
*John Simon - Keyboards
*John Barbata - Drums
*Rita Coolidge - Vocals
*Mike Coolidge - Vocals
*Claudia Lennear - Vocals
*Lou Cooper - Vocals
*Bob Norwood - Vocals
*Jack Storti - Vocals

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  1. Many thanks for that great post , Dave Mason is a fine guitarist and composer and Alone Together one of his best record . Do you have Headkeeper, Dave Mason Is Alive & Certified Live in lossless ,it shouldbe a great thing ...Thanks again for your great work here & in PHROCK !!!

  2. Thanks Marios, you're a wizard!

  3. It would be interesting to check, since my old European edition sounds pretty murky. Thank you, Marios!

  4. Thanks Marios! I've been enjoying Mason's live version of Sad And Deep As You on Traffic: Welcome To The Canteen for nearly 40 years but had never gotten around to looking up the source.

    Quite the all-star lineup. Interesting that with the exception of Mason and Delaney Bramlett, each artist is credited with doing only one thing, either instrument or vocal.

  5. Dave Mason's writing is similar to that of Graham Nash, uncomplicated harmonies with an irresistible melody. His way of playing the guitar like Steve Stills, not very technical but with the right notes at the right place with beautiful melodic lines. A great artist, one of my favorites and I hope this post has a follow-up. Thank you Marios.

  6. I love this album. I love "Look at You, Look at Me". Thank you very much.

  7. Thanks for this remastered version of a brilliant album. Shame that Mason never did another one nearly as good.

  8. Gracias por este post, es un clásico. Excelente edición la japonesa, aunque ninguna se puede comparar con el LP. ¡Que portada!

  9. This is my favourite album by Dave Mason and I've played my old MP3 version to death. It's wonderful to get a new perfect remastered version at last. Many many thanks, Marios.

  10. A necessary item in my Traffic collection (and a solution to the question where the hell two of the tracks in "Welcome to the Canteen" came from!)
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Any chance you can upload "Dave Mason Is Alive" as opposed to "Certified Live"? It has a killer version of "Walk to the Point" as well as "Look At You Look At Me". The whole thing is awesome and is near impossible to get anywhere. Thanks for all you do to add to my library!

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  13. A great LP, but Jon Carroll's review from 1970 contains a few errors. John Simon (who produced The Band, Janis w/Big Brother, BS&T, Seals & Croft, and Leonard Cohen to name but a few) contributed piano on 'Sad and As Deep As You.' Additionally, the Don Preston who participated in these sessions was *guitarist*, Don Preston (, not the Don Preston best known for his work with The Mothers of Invention (

  14. Thank you very much Marios. A landmark now - 50 years old !! And still as great as when I first heard it.

  15. Muy agradecido por compartir la música de Dave Mason.