Dave Mason: Mariposa De Oro (1978)

After the success of Let It Flow, Jim Krueger flew for greener pastures. Mason soldiered on with this respectable if slightly discofied followup.

Kronomyth 10.0: NO KRUEGER ADDS FOR DAVID. You would think it impossible to play bottleneck slide in a leisure suit. And you would be wrong. Mariposa De Oro is a strange hybrid: the army of backing vocalists and orchestral arrangements are clearly influenced by disco, but the songs themselves are California rock with tasteful slide guitar and solid playing from a crack session band that now included Jeff Porcaro, Gerald Johnson, Mark Stein and songwriter Jerry Williams. Jim Krueger, Dave Mason’s primary collaborator up to this point, was off making his own solo album, so Williams was brought in to fill the gaps, and fill them he does with some terrific material including “Share Your Love,” “All Gotta Go Sometime” and “No Doubt About It.” The album’s big hit was an update of the old Shirelles song, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” which is a bit like shooting a fish in a barrel but at least not the beating a fish to death with a club that Jim Capaldi’s “Love Hurts” was. Stephen Stills, who appears here on two tracks including the a capella “Warm And Tender Love,” arrived at much the same place musically on his next album, Thoroughfare Gap. Both Mason and Stills were products of the Sixties who were trying to sell their product in the disco-crazed landscape of the late Seventies. They made some concessions to the times but continued to turn out good product. Like Stills and Eric Clapton (who would later retain the services of Mr. Williams), Mason gets some much-needed support from backing vocalists, experienced studio hands and an infusion of energy and ideas from a second guitarist (George Terry, Donnie Dacus, Jim Krueger, Jerry Williams, and there were plenty more where they came from).

Stayin’ Alive: The Vampire Diaries
And yet, there was something vampiric in the way these stars got their energy. Krueger died at 43, Williams at 57. Subtract the songs not written by Mason, Clapton or Stills, kick out the crowd of vocalists, and what you’re left with is a good guitar player with half a good album and a middling voice. Mason tries to compensate for his own vocal shortcomings by adopting a throatier style (e.g., “Don’t It Make You Wonder”), but it feels forced. By album’s end, his creative tank empty, Mason is forced to use songs from Jim Krueger and Jerry Williams to go the distance. When all is said and sung, the band is more important than the brand, and you wish that Columbia didn’t slap a leisure suit on Mason and thrust him into the spotlight as a star when he’d shine only half as bright without the reflected glory of his bandmates.

Original LP Version
A1. Don’t It Make You Wonder (Dave Mason/Kathy Nicholas) (3:00)
A2. Searchin’ (For A Feeling) (Dave Mason/Jerry Williams) (2:46)
A3. All Gotta Go Sometime (Dave Mason/Jerry Williams ) (2:46)
A4. Warm Desire (Dave Mason) (4:17)
A5. Warm And Tender Love (Bobby Robinson/Irral Berger) (1:42)
A6. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) (5:03)
B1. Share Your Love (Jerry Williams) (4:09)
B2. Bird On The Wind (Dave Mason) (3:41)
B3. So Good To Be Home (Dave Mason/Jerry Williams) (3:36)
B4. The Words (Jim Krueger) (3:21)
B5. No Doubt About It (Jerry Williams) (4:46)

The Players
Dave Mason (vocals, 12 string acoustic guitar, lead guitar, slide dobro, slide guitar, electric guitar), Ron Greene (percussion, background vocals), Rick Jaeger (drums), Gerald Johnson (bass), Allan MacMillan (string & horn arrangements), Mark Stein (organ, synthesizer, electric piano, background vocals), Jerry Williams (12 string acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, background vocals) with Gerry Beckley (background vocals on A1/A4), Mike Finnigan (organ, clavinet, piano, background vocals), Jim Getzoff (concertmaster), Bob Glaub (bass on A1), Jim Krueger (background vocals on B1, acoustic guitar on B4, electric guitar on B5), Graham Nash (background vocals on B5), Jeff Porcaro (drums on A6/B2), John Sambataro (background vocals on B5), Stephen Stills (background vocals on A5/B1), Ernie Watts (tenor saxophone on B1). Produced by Dave Mason and Ron Nevison; engineered by Ron Nevison.

The Pictures
Photography by Mara. Lettering by Jim Wood. Art direction by Tony Lane. Design by Tom Steele.

The Plastic
Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track on June 1978 in the US (Columbia, JC/JCA 35285), the UK (CBS, S CBS/40- 82625), Canada (Columbia, PC/PCT 35285) and Japan (CBS/Sony, 25AP-1064) with innersleeve; reached #41 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record). 8 track has different track order.

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in 1994 in Japan (Sony, SRCS-6365).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in 1996 in the US (One Way, A 26887).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc on April 4, 2010 in Japan (CBS Sony, SICP-2653).
  4. Re-packaged with Old Crest On A New Wave on 2-for-1 remastered compact disc in 2010 in the UK (BGO, BGOCD934).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *