Dave Mason: Alone Together (1970)

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The debut solo album by Dave Mason, who had been a member of the group Traffic.  Forty-nine years later, this may still be Mason’s best album.  It’s a gem.  The songs are bright, the sweet smell of optimism that the early 1970s brought.  This is a guitar album, folksy, with a natural aire to it.  Most are acoustic-based songs, but “Look at You Look at Me” is an exception, a powder keg of electric guitar. Imagine a bunch of hippies gathered, strumming guitars, harmonizing, enjoying a riff.

Mason had a quirky relationship with Traffic.  He bolted the group after the first album and returned briefly in the 1970s.  In the 2000s, he celebrated the music of traffic on his concert tours and openly tried to reunite with Steve Winwood, but the relationship is very complicated and perhaps not likely to heal.

Mason used many of the musicians that were in the sphere of Delaney and Bonnie, and work on albums by Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and George Harrison.  This was an interesting blend of American and English musicians.

Only_You_Know_and_I_Know_-_Dave_Mason

All tracks are written by Dave Mason, except where indicated.

No.      Title            Writer(s)         Length

  1. “Only You Know and I Know”  4:05  Perhaps Mason’s best known song, instantly recognizable. Maybe the anthem for the times, there’s a truth we share, not everyone else is in on it.  When you mention Dave Mason, this is the song that comes to mind.  A great way to lead off the album.
  2. “Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving” 3:02 A mid-tempo song about carrying on, just being yourself and living life.  Lots of nice guitars.  Reminds me of a Crosby, Stills & Nash song.
  3. “Waitin’ on You”   3:05  This song is a more uptempo number, with lots of guitars and jangley piano, this could be an Allman Brothers song, it has an R&B vibe with a country sensibility.  Another song about facing life straight-on.
  4. “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave”  6:00  The second most recognizable song on the album and a Mason classic. This fit perfect with the times, respect and doing the honorable thing.  The guitar work is crisp and excellent.  The song is one of Mason’s longer song, giving room to air out his guitars.
  5. “World in Changes”  4:30  Great interplay between guitar and organ, this is in the style of Santana.  The song has gentle, warm moments, then heats up with guitar and organ.  Mason is reflective on the times, the world is changing and these is a lot to learn, about the world and each other.  Mason was known for his electric guitar skills, but he was a fine acoustic player and it is evident on this album.  The organ work is similar to his former Traffic mate Steve Winwood.
  6. “Sad and Deep as You”  3:35  Acoustic guitar and piano duet.  The piano work by Leon Russell is very soulful.  A tender ballad.
  7. “Just a Song”    2:59  A gentle, rolling song with a slight country flavor with banjo.  A simple, but pleasing song.  Just a song.
  8. “Look at You Look at Me”   (Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi)   7:22  Another Mason classic, this song is similar in style to “All Along the Watchtower” with a slow build of acoustic guitar, piano, bass and drums, then become more forceful with electric guitars.  This is a concert favorite that Mason still performs today.  A great way to end the album.

The Players

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

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Produced by Mason and Tommy LiPuma
Engineered by Bruce Botnick, Douglas Botnick

 

In recent years, Mason has toured behind Alone Together, performing it live.

Mason was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Traffic.


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