Dave Mason

Alone Together (Blue Thumb '70) Rating: A
The first and best solo album by ex-Traffic member Dave Mason (perhaps best known for writing Joe Cocker's "Feelin' Alright" and his own "We Just Disagree") is one of several excellent early '70s albums aided by the "Delaney and Bonnie gang" who also played with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Leon Russell, and others, and it's an unjustly overlooked classic that deserves to be rediscovered by a much wider audience. I recently became acquainted with this album via SiriusXM radio (where have you been all my life?), specifically the terrific "Deep Tracks" station which played the excellent extended guitar epic that ends this album, "Look at You Look at Me." Duly impressed, I bought the album and was duly impressed by the rest of it as well. I was already familiar with "Only You Know and I Know" from both Delaney and Bonnie (who also recorded it) and classic rock radio where it has had a minor presence over the years, and sure enough this loose yet rocking yet catchy groover is another superlative effort, this one beginning the album. In between there's plenty of goodness too, as Mason delivers a nice mix of acoustic and electric guitars, as well as sensitive laid back ballads and more up-tempo yet always soulful rockers. For example, "Can't Stop Worrying, Can't Stop Loving" is a slow, pretty ballad, "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave" is a soulful wah wah-ed power ballad, "World in Changes" is a moody dramatic semi-ballad on which the drums and keyboards in particular stand out, and "Just a Song" boasts an easy going groove that's highlighted by some nimble banjo pickin' and tasty female backing vocals (which appear elsewhere as well). Containing a mere 8 songs that span approximately 35 minutes, there's no filler here, just good-to-very good-to-great songs performed by an excellent all-star cast of musicians, including Leon Russell, Jim Capaldi, Eric Clapton, Rita Coolidge, and Delaney and Bonnie, among many others. Mason may not be a great singer, but he is above average, certainly good enough, and he may have gone on to a journeyman career of underachievement given his stellar work here and previously with Traffic, but he really nailed it his first time out, and Alone Together deserves to endure as a minor classic of loose 'n' lively, rootsy rock 'n' roll with lotsa soul.

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