DAVE MASON – ” Alone Together ” Released June 1970 (52 Years Ago)

Posted: June 5, 2022 in MUSIC

“Alone Together” was the debut solo album from Dave Mason, released in June 1970. “Only You Know and I Know” reached #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The LP record itself was not the traditional black vinyl as about 30% of the albums produced were a swirled mix of pink, brown and beige.

Performing with Mason was a roster of guest musicians, including Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Jim Capaldi, Rita Coolidge, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon.

As with so many artists, Dave Mason’s first solo album is probably his best. Perhaps it’s because he had a backlog of songs that Traffic had never recorded, but 1970’s “Alone Together” is chock full of great songs. On the other hand, it’s easy to see why Mason left Traffic even before that group’s (temporary) breakup in 1969; the soft rock sound of “Alone Together” is hard to place in the context of the jazz-pop experiments Traffic would explore when they reunited in 1971.

The eight lengthy songs take time to unfold, and the peerless musicianship, with Mason’s lyrical guitar and Leon Russell’s inimitable boogie-soul piano in the centre, treads the line between chops and soul with nary a misstep. The classic single “Only You Know and I Know” is the clear highlight, but every song is a winner.

The Original ROLLING STONE Review:

Like Traffic’s new 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 song writing 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.

But the album is more potential than realization. It is, in a very real sense, flawless, but, as Paul McCartney is beginning to learn, great music is much better than flawless music. Jon Carroll (September 3rd, 1970)

TRACKS:

All songs written and composed by Dave Mason, except where indicated.

Side one

1. “Only You Know and I Know” – 4:05

2. “Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving” – 3:02

3. “Waitin’ On You” – 3:05

4. “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave” – 6:00

Side two

1. “World in Changes” – 4:30

2. “Sad and Deep as You” – 3:35

3. “Just a Song” – 2:59

4. “Look at You Look at Me” (Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi) – 7:22

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