First Solo, Alone Together

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Dave Mason’s 1970 LP Alone Together was part of that era’s music-collective spirit, the same one that saw the release of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen and other great collaborative releases of the time.  Mason’s may be lesser known, but it is one of the best mass collaborations to come out of that sharing spirit of the time.  Even those who may not remember the music may remember the LP itself.  The vinyl was multicoloured, having a sort of cloudy, marbled looking vinyl LP (though, perhaps surprisingly, not one of the first to be issued!). It also had a great album cover, but it is memorable for more than its appearance and place in music history—as Dave Mason himself recently proved with the release of Future’s Past in 2014.

Now Then

Future’s Pastis a rare find, a brilliant reworking of back-catalogue material into a coherent and immensely satisfying album.  Two of the best realized tunes on Future’s Past are from Alone Together, “World in Changes” and “Sad and Deep as You.”The new iterations are completely rethought, reworked—to the point where they are not immediately recognizable, and yet they still work. Not a bad accomplishment for tunes that were well realized 44 years ago. And that’s the thing about Future’s Past, Mason had great material to revise.

After Traffic, 1970

Alone Togetheris a partial who’s-who of the era. On keyboards alone we have Leon Russell, Don Preston, and John Simon. Drums? Jim Keltner, Jim Gordon, Jim Capaldi, and John Barbata. On bass you have Chris Ethridge and Carl Radle and for guitar you have Mason’s brilliant work, as well as Bonnie and Delaney for guitar and vocals.  Other vocalists include Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear (who sadly disappeared after one solo album, though recently featured on 20 Feet from Stardom).

It’s a great album by a great group of musicians.  Those who know Mason from his 1977 hit album Let It Flow and the follow-up Mariposa de Oro may overlook this initial solo album after Mason’s years with Traffic—and perhaps, also, the fact that Hendrix chose him as a guest artist on Electric Ladyland and other works. The guy can play guitar.


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