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
the Free Text