Dave Mason – Alone Together on MCA Heavy Vinyl

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Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. I confess I actually used to like and recommend the Heavy Vinyl MCA pressing. Rest assured that is no longer the case. Nowadays it sounds as opaque, ambience-challenged, lifeless and pointless as the rest of its 180 gram brethren.

We struggled for years with the bad vinyl and the murky sound of this album. Finally, with dozens of advances in playback quality and dramatically better cleaning techniques, we have now managed to overcome the problems which we assumed were baked into the recording. I haven’t heard the master tape, but I have heard scores of pressings made from it over the years. 

It is a surely a MASTERPIECE that belongs in any Rock Collection worthy of the name. Every track is good, and most are amazingly good. There’s not a scrap of filler here. The recording by Bruce Botnick is hard to fault as well.

1970 was a great time in music. Tea for the Tillerman, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Moondance, Sweet Baby James, Tumbleweed Connection, After the Goldrush, The Yes Album, McCartney, Elton John, His Band And Street Choir, Deja Vu, Workingman’s Dead, Tarkio, Stillness, Let It Be — need I go on?

Even in such illustrious company — I defy anyone to name ten albums of comparable quality to come out in any year — Alone Together ranks as one of the best releases of the year.

Clean and Clear Yet Rich and Sweet

This copy managed to find a near-perfect balance of the above four attributes. You want to keep what is good about a Tubey Magical analog recording from The Golden Age of Rock while avoiding the pitfalls so common to them: poor resolution, heavy compression, thickness, opacity, blubber, inadequate frequency extremes, lack of space and lack of presence.

How’s that for a laundry list of all the problems we hear on old rock records (and classical records and jazz records; all records really)? What record doesn’t have at least some of these faults? Not many in our experience. A copy with few or none of these problems would have White Hot Stamper sound indeed.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Only You Know and I Know
Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving
Waitin’ on You
Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave

Side Two

World in Changes
Sad and Deep as You
Just a Song
Look at You, Look at Me

AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review

Alone Together contains an excellent batch of melodically pleasing songs, built on a fat bed of strumming acoustic guitars with tasteful electric guitar accents and leads. Mason’s vocals are embellished with harmonies from Rita Coolidge, Claudia Lennear, and Delaney & Bonnie. Besides the well-known semi-hit “Only You Know and I Know,” and which was also a number 20 hit for Delaney & Bonnie, highlights include the bouncy gospel-inflected “Waitin’ on You” and the banjo-bejeweled “Just a Song.” “Look at You Look at Me” and the wonderfully wah-wahed “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave” are reminiscent of Mason’s former band, Traffic, whose drummer, Jim Capaldi is among the all-star cast assembled here. Alone Together represents Dave Mason at his peak… everything comes together perfectly.

Billboard

Mason with help from friends Jim Capaldi and Leon Russell proves his mastery of the rock idiom once and for all. The lyric content and music content of every song catches the senses of the listener and creates excitement. There is no doubt about the power of this album, and it should prove a top chart item.