Dave Mason

Future's Past

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In the six years since his last offering, the excellent 26 Letters 12 Notes, Dave Mason & Traffic Jam -- his road band -- have toured exhaustively, playing a wide range of material from his long career as well as new songs. Future's Past is a studio document that represents their various interpretations of that material and, just as the live show, it reflects songs he's played since his time with Traffic in the late '60s. The opening read of "Dear Mr. Fantasy" reveals how the tune's arrangement has shifted in his oeuvre since that time; "World in Changes" is now a faux reggae number; while "As Sad and Deep as You," with its nuevo flamenco intro, reveals that Mason has broadened his musical horizons -- and that he remains in excellent voice as a singer. "You Can All Join In" walks the line between the Kinks' post-Village Green-era pop jauntiness and Delaney & Bonnie's R&B influence. Mason also reminds us that his first real love was playing the Delta blues, as the rowdy reading of Robert Johnson's "Come on in My Kitchen" attests. Closer "That's Freedom" is the lone new song here. It's a brooding rocker that reveals Mason's guitar chops are sharp as ever. Future's Past is fun, but it's an album for dedicated fans only. At this stage, however, what Mason recording wouldn't be?

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