Dave Mason: It’s Like You Never Left (1973)

[Kronomyth 5.0]
The Ballad of Shanghaied Noodles.

Honestly, in some ways, it’s like he never left Blue Thumb. Dave Mason’s first album for Columbia Records features many of the same musicians from his earlier sessions and even includes a new version of “Head Keeper,” the title track from his last studio album. And the album again failed to generate a hit single. (Some things will never change.) What makes the record interesting are a couple of high-profile cameos (George Harrison adds his distinctive lead guitar to “If You’ve Got Love,” Stevie Wonder plays harmonica on “The Lonely One”) and a new batch of acoustic and electric rock songs that includes “Misty Morning Stranger” (which bears a striking resemblance to Steve Miller Band’s “Jungle Love,” a song that guitarist Greg Douglass actually demo’d for Mason before he joined SMB) and two songs that feature mostly Mason multitracking himself: “Maybe” and “Silent Partner.” Yet with each new album, it was becoming increasingly clear that Mason would never attain the status of an Eric Clapton, George Harrison or Steve Miller, despite using many of the same players (Jim Keltner, Carl Radle, Lonnie Turner). Instead, Mason could be counted on to muck about in the middle field of 70s music—electric rock, acoustic folk, flirtations with reggae and disco—with mildly pleasing results. Of course, that would describe more than a few Clapton and Harrison albums too, but somehow their legend (and a well-placed hit or two) made those albums a more compelling purchase. It’s Like You Never Left is a solid enough effort that continues the slight decline from his auspicious Alone Together and is recommended to those who wish to delve a little deeper into his solo catalog. Oh, and the Kronomyth (the what?) refers to Noodles the Cat, pressed into service on the album’s cover.

Original LP Version
A1. Baby… Please (3:15)
A2. Every Woman (1:40)
A3. If You’ve Got Love (3:19)
A4. Maybe (4:03)
A5. Head Keeper (3:35)
B1. Misty Morning Stranger (4:30)
B2. Silent Partner (3:03)
B3. Side Tracked (Dave Mason/Mark Jordan/Rick Jaeger/Lonnie Turner) (3:30)
B4. The Lonely One (4:42)
B5. It’s Like You Never Left (3:03)

All songs written and arranged by Dave Mason unless noted.

The Players
Dave Mason (vocals, guitars, Moog bass) with John Batdorf (vocals on track 6), Norma Bell (horn), Son of Harry (George Harrison) (guitar on track 3), Rick Jaeger (drums), Mark Jordan (piano, organ), Jim Keltner (drums), Clydie King (background vocals), Steve Madaio (horns), Dennis Morouse (horn), Graham Nash (vocals), Nastyee (conga on track 10), Carl Radle (bass), Chuck Rainey (bass), Greg Reeves (bass), Rocky (conga), Kathleen Saroyan (background vocals), Julia Tillman (background vocals), Lonnie Turner (bass), Maxine Willard (background vocals) and Stevie Wonder (harmonica on track 9). Produced by Dave Mason; co-produced and engineered by Malcolm Cecil, who also provided Moog programming on track 2. Al Schmitt is also credited with engineering and mixing, and Glen Kolotkin with engineering.

The Pictures
Original album design and artwork by Jimmy Wachtel (with Wild Studios). Photography by Lorrie Sullivan.

The Plastic
Recorded at several studios in L.A. and San Francisco (Sunset Sound, Record Plant, CBS Studios) and released on elpee on October 29, 1973 in the US (Columbia, KC 31721), the UK and the Netherlands (CBS, S-65258), Japan (CBS/Sony, SOPL-234) and New Zealand (CBS, SBP-474148); reached #50 on the US charts. The original elpee featured a gatefold cover.

  1. Re-released on quadrophonic elpee in 1974 in the US (CQ-31721) with gatefold cover.
  2. Re-issued on elpee and cassette in the US (Columbia, PC/PCT 31721).
  3. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in the US (S&P Records, S&P-503) with gatefold cover.
  4. Re-issued on compact disc in 1994 in Japan (Sony, SRCS-6363).
  5. Re-issued on compact disc in 1995 in the US (One Way Records, A-26077).
  6. Re-issued on compact disc in 2005 in the US (Repertoire, RR-2320).
  7. Re-packaged with Dave Mason on 2-for-1 compact disc on October 29, 2002 in the US (S&P Records, 705).
  8. Re-packaged with Dave Mason on 2-for-1 compact disc on March 13, 2007 in the UK (Acadia, ACA-8137).

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