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Dave Mason – Alone Together

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  • This outstanding copy of Mason’s Masterpiece boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Listen to how big and rich the dynamic chorus gets on the first track, Only You Know and I Know – what a thrill to hear it like that
  • A killer Bruce Botnick recording – Tubey Magical Analog, smooth and natural, with the whole production sitting on a rock solid bottom-end foundation
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Alone Together represents Dave Mason at his peak… everything comes together perfectly.”

Before I get too far into the story of the sound, I want to say that this album appears to be criminally underrated as music nowadays, having fallen from favor with the passage of time.

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 no filler here. (more…)

Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks – Striking It Rich

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Striking It Rich

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Normally this record sounds thick and dead. It’s very rare to find a copy like this that has any real transparency. The vocals are sweet and silky and the string instruments are more clear in the mix.

There’s nothing more frustrating than a record that defies every effort to hear into it, typically the feeling I get when listening to Dan Hicks’ recordings. But on this pressing I could actually appreciate the music without having to fight the sound.

The tracks with violin accompaniment tend to sound the best for some reason. Some tracks are recorded a bit dry for my taste, but others are just right.

This is probably the band’s masterpiece, all things considered. It’s the most consistent album of theirs overall and has wonderful high points in I Scare Myself and Canned Music.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

You Gotta Believe 
Walkin’ One and Only 
O’Reilly at the Bar 
Moody Richard (The Innocent Bystander) 
Flight of the Fly 
I Scare Myself 
Philly Rag

Side Two

The Laughing Song 
Canned Music 
I’m an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande) 
Woe, the Luck 
Presently in the Past 
Skippy’s Farewell  
Fujiyama

AMG Review

Striking It Rich features 14 more sides of hipster acoustic swing from Hicks and his helpmates, including the fan favorites “I Scare Myself” and “Canned Music.” The band’s musicianship remains mostly on the mark, but there are elements of the album that go beyond kitsch and the humor here is considerably darker than in the past…

Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks – Where’s The Money?

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Where’s The Money?

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This live album has White Hot Stamper sound on side two, with sound that is rich, real and musical in ways that we have never heard ANY Dan Hicks record sound. Who knew it could sound like this? Certainly not us. 

The dryness, the flatness, the you-are-so-not-thereness of their studio recordings is nowhere in evidence on this side two, which is as good and probably better than any side we heard in our shootout. It’s not an easy record to find in clean condition in the first place.

Side Two

A+++ White Hot Stamper Good As It Gets sound, so transparent and full of life. The female singers’ voices are so clear, breathy and sweet on this copy, we were a bit taken aback. On a Dan Hicks record? That just never happens! (more…)

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.  (more…)