July 1970 – Dave Mason Alone (Together with a Bunch of Friends)

July 1970: Dave Mason – Alone Together

There are individuals in my world of music interests whose names I heard or read often as a younger adult, who are considered to have made important contributions and are highly regarded musicians, songwriters, etc., yet when it came down to it I knew next to nothing about them or their work for a long time. Dave Mason was one of those artists. Even after I discovered Traffic for myself in the late 80’s and learned Mason was on their first few albums it still didn’t click. His best known Traffic song, Feelin’ Alright?, in my opinion is not in the same league as Joe Cocker’s cover. In my mind rightly or wrongly (o.k., wrongly), Traffic was Winwood, Capaldi, and Wood, period. Fully acknowledging my ignorance, Mason was the guy who sang 1977’s We Just Disagree, and that was about it. Yet there his name appeared in liner notes of albums by Jimi Hendrix, the Stones, Delaney & Bonnie, George Harrison, Crosby & Nash, and many others. It was a long time before I had my “ah-ha” moment with Mason, and it came a year or so ago when listening for the first time to his debut solo album Alone Together, released 50 years ago this month.

Roots Vinyl Guide

The instrumental tracks were of the somewhat standard fare for 1970, with rhythm section, keyboards, and mostly acoustic guitars and just the right touches of electric guitars on top. The best known track on the album is Only You Know and I Know, a song which Delaney & Bonnie covered. Highlights for me include the uptempo gospel influenced Waitin’ On You, the tasty acoustic guitar and keyboards of World in Changes, the acoustic guitar and piano combined on the wistful Sad and Deep as You, and the powerful closer Look at You Look at Me, which combines the best of most everything on the album onto its longest track at 7:38. My favorite track of all is Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave, which closes out side one and, somewhat ironically, harkens back to Traffic. I realize I’ve just listed almost every track on the album, but yeah, it’s one of those releases. It sounds rather organic, straight forward and unfussy. It’s a solid rock album of its time, and it has aged very well.

Dave Mason – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre

There was much cross-pollenation on albums around this time among artists such as Delaney & Bonnie and George Harrison (on whose albums Mason appeared that same year), as well as Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, and Leon Russell. Mason had help on this album with a list of well known musicians whose names popped up frequently around the turn of 1970’s, including drummers John Barbata, Jim Capaldi, Jim Gordon, and Jim Keltner. There were also contributions by Don Preston (Mothers of Invention, Plastic Ono Band) on keyboards, bassists Chris Ethridge (Flying Burrito Bros., Gene Clark, and many others), Larry Knechtel (see Wrecking Crew), and Carl Radle, as well as the aforementioned Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell and, of course, the then-ubiquitous vocalist/muse Rita Coolidge. But other than the Capaldi co-credit on the closing track, Mason was the sole songwriter. What set the better albums apart during the album rock explosion of the era was just the right batch of songs combined with just the right session players (on solo albums) and production. With Alone Together it all came together for Dave Mason. It was his peak. This one should’ve been on my shelf with those others all along.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Only You Know and I Know
  2. Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving
  3. Waitin’ On You
  4. Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave

Side Two:

  1. World in Changes
  2. Sad and Deep as You
  3. Just a Song
  4. Look at You Look at Me

-Stephen

https://www.allmusic.com/album/alone-together-mw0000193512

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alone_Together_(Dave_Mason_album)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Just_Disagree

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Mason#Discography

17 thoughts on “July 1970 – Dave Mason Alone (Together with a Bunch of Friends)”

  1. You can count me among the folks who essentially didn’t know Dave Mason. In fact, when I saw the title of your post, my first thought was (Pink Floyd’s) Nick Mason – that’s how much I knew about Dave Mason! 🙂

    At least, I’m happy to report that “Only You Know and I Know” sounded familiar. On the other hand I’m not sure about “We Disagree”!

    So thanks for highlighting this album and helping fill one of my many knowledge gaps in music, which evidently exist, even after 40-plus years. And that’s exactly why I dig music blogging and exchanging thoughts with fellow bloggers as much as I do!

    As for “Alone Together,” I definitely like what I’ve heard thus far!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the comments! If you’re still wondering about that other song, does this ring a bell?: “There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy, it’s only you and me and we just disagree (ooh ooh ooooooh ooh)…”

    Like

  3. Only You Know and I Know is the one that I know really well off this album. That song is so loose and free…it’s tight without sounding that way.

    I didn’t know he played with so many artists. That floored me. The only ones I knew about were the Stones and Hendrix.

    Everyone seemed to be drawn to Delaney & Bonnie.

    Good write up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes, D&B seemed to be a common denominator around that time. There’s a really good filmed show of theirs on youtube from Copenhagen in December ’69 with Harrison and Clapton. I’m surprised it doesn’t get more attention for its historical value, plus it’s just great music. I can see why other musicians were drawn to it. It had to have been fun to play.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Stephen! I’m watching it now and it will be in my working background today. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this…very loose so far. It does seem cool…like an informal jam.
        I read a little about them in the Gregg Allman book…He talked about how Duane enjoyed playing with them…and making an album in a hotel room.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m reading a very well-done book which focuses on Harrison’s music by Simon Leng. He describes very thoroughly how Clapton and Harrison came to be involved with them. And, of course, all those band members ended up playing on All Things Must Pass and Layla. Dave Mason was also in the band on that tour, but he’s not on that particular show in Copenhagen that I can see. Billy Preston is hidden behind Bobby Whitlock. Note Delaney’s guitar – that’s the one George played on the rooftop and gave to him as a gift for letting him play in the band. And of course George is playing “Rocky.”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh yes that guitar was a Fender Telecaster prototype…it was really heavy but sounded good. I think the Harrison estate bought it back at some point. Fender released around 100 copies not long ago…Only two were sent out originally… one to Hendrix and one to Harrison…Hendrix died before he played it. Sorry I’m a guitar geek. It’s cool to see it in action again here.

        It always seemed to me they were a traveling jam band the way musicians came and went. So much freedom in what you could play. I see the attraction for George for what he went through at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always been grateful to Dave for Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright”. In my youth, I assumed he was the main guitarist in the group and that was him soloing on “Dear Mr. Fantasy”. When I realized it was Stevie blowing my mind with that guitar work, Dave sorta fell off. The album you speak of in this post reminded me I posted on Facebook a few years back about the amazing jacket for the album and the wonderful things it “did” confirming that vinyl is the best way to collect music! Did you notice Wikipedia’s description of the jacket? If you can access FB, you can read my post here: https://www.facebook.com/gary.wells.56211/posts/834298763403237

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been running into a few Dave and Traffic fans lately. A good thing. Just cool that you would give this some ink. Man did you squeeze a lot into that take. I’ve been listening to him for a long time. First Traffic, his solo work and as a guest. He’s back on my spin cycle. Good stuff. I’ll be back.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a friend I’ve run into on these takes. He has an internet radio station out of NY. ‘The Grand. Roots, Rock Radio 365’ (plug for him). He loves and plays a lot of Mason , Capaldi and lots of other good stuff. He got me back into both of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Back when the DJ would fall asleep and the record would skip for 1/2 an hour. Yeah the Grand is good. He has an “Otto’ play but goes live Fridays 9 EST. Him and his bunch are doing a record draft also. He’s going to play a couple cuts off everybody’s picks.
        Just dropped the needle on ‘All Things”

        Liked by 1 person

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