Dave Mason

Old Crest on a New Wave

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Dave Mason ushered in the '80s and ended his contract with Columbia Records with this, his final release for the label where he had his greatest success. He tries desperately for a hit with the opening track, "Paralyzed," produced to sound exactly like what was selling on pop radio at the time, but falls short due to a clunky chorus and a written-by-committee feel that makes it sterile even with Mason's committed vocals. And so it goes for the next nine tracks, none of which connect with the breezy, introspective soulful style that Mason turned into gold on songs like "Every Woman" and especially "We Just Disagree," despite everyone's best efforts. One of the oddest duets in music history finds Michael Jackson, who was making his Thriller album in the same recording complex, adding his vocals to "Save Me." The guest appearance still didn't help the song register on the charts, although Jackson's presence is likely responsible for the tune ultimately turning up on Columbia's Long Lost Friend: The Best of Dave Mason collection. Supposedly, Jackson once sang "Feelin' Alright" on a Diana Ross TV special, which helps explain the connection. Regardless, these songs aren't terrible, just bland and predictable, although things do improve considerably whenever Mason takes a guitar solo such as on the otherwise limp "Talk to Me." But the stifling, clich├ęd, and very dated '80s production along with the sense that everyone involved is trying so hard to create a hit in the style of the time leaves no doubt as to why the label jettisoned him when the album stiffed after making it to number 74 on Billboard's album chart.

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