[Review] Dave Mason (1974)

A mix of originals and covers that again sounds like an Eric Clapton record running on fewer cylinders.

Kronomyth 6.0: I’m a grover, not a fighter.

On this album, the parallels between Dave Mason and a certain blues icon can no longer be ignored. I’m talking, of course, about Grover. Oh, sorry, that would be a blue icon. I meant to say Eric Clapton. Both Mason and Clapton made middle-of-the-road rock records in the mid Seventies using a mix of original material and covers that looked like a Ringo Starr record without the long guest list (e.g., “Get Ahold On Love,” Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me”). Columbia also seems to have wisely cut its losses by replacing the star-studded casts of the past with a steady lineup (here billed as the Dave Mason Band) featuring Mike Finnigan, Bob Glaub, Rick Jaeger and guitarist Jim Krueger. As bands go, they’re a solid group, with Krueger even taking a few solos and Mason flexing his vocal muscles a little more than usual (perhaps because he didn’t have to worry about multitracking the voice and guitar parts this time).

Despite charting better than his last record (one of the great mysteries of the universe, that), Mason’s second album for Columbia still didn’t contain a hit single, and this at a time when Eric Clapton was scoring hits with “Willie And The Hand Jive” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” Personally, I liked It’s Like You Never Left a little more, but there are some solid album tracks on here including “Relation Ships” (and this would be a good time to note that song titles are not Mason’s forte), “It Can’t Make Any Difference To Me” and “You Can’t Take It When You Go.” There are signs on Dave Mason that suggest he was running out of creative steam, from the number of covers (three) to the decision to recycle his past on “Every Woman” and “All Along The Watchtower.” Or maybe I just have pogonophobia, since some people really seem to like this album.

Original elpee version

A1. Show Me Some Affection (4:18)
A2. Get Ahold On Love (2:45)
A3. Every Woman (3:01)
A4. It Can’t Make Any Difference To Me (Lane Tietgen) (2:17)
A5. All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) (4:03)
B1. Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke) (2:55)
B2. Harmony & Melody (3:35)
B3. Relation Ships (5:02)
B4. You Can’t Take It When You Go (4:08)

All songs written by Dave Mason unless noted. Horn arrangements by Dave Mason and Mike Finnigan; strings written & arranged by Nick DeCaro.

The Players

The Dave Mason Band: Dave Mason (guitar & lead vocals), Mike Finnigan (keyboards & vocals), Bob Glaub (bass), Rick Jaeger (drums), Jim Krueger (guitars, vocals & lead solos on tracks 4, 6 & 7). Augumented (which I guess means they fought over who they were going to add) with Gary Barone (horns), Richard Bennett (pedal steel guitar), Harry Bluestone (concert master), Jock Ellis (horns), Jerome Jumonville (horns), Sal Marquez (horns) and Tim Weisberg (flute). The album was produced by Dave Mason, with Al Schmitt handling the engineering and mixing.

The Pictures

Original album design by Dave Mason and Lorrie Sullivan. Photography by Lorrie Sullivan.

The Plastic

Recorded at Sound Labs in Hollywood and released on elpee and quadrophonic elpee on October 1974 in the US (Columbia, PC/PCQ 33096), the UK and the Netherlands (CBS, 80360) and Japan (CBS, SOPN-102) with picture innersleeve. Reached #25 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in 1992 in Japan (Sony, SRCS-6181).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc on October 31, 1995 in the US (One Way Records, ONE-26080).
  3. Re-packaged with It’s Like You Never Left on 2-for-1 compact disc on October 29, 2002 in the US (S&P Records, SPR-705).
  4. Re-packaged with Split Coconut on 2-for-1 remastered compact disc on November 25, 2008 in the UK (Beat Goes On, BGOCD-848).

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