Dave Mason

Ultimate Collection

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Even Dave Mason will tell you that his songs have been rehashed and repackaged more times than he can (or cares to) remember. "Feelin' Alright" alone has been covered nearly 50 times and has even been denigrated to the level of car commercials (Nissan, no less!). This latest, however, may in fact be the greatest. Though it only spans 20 years of Mason's self-taught and self-(mis)directed career, this "ultimate" Dave Mason collection includes most of his best-known songs and a number of rarer gems, giving a solid introduction to this oft-misunderstood musician. This compilation shows many sides of Mason: the opening hippie bounce of "You Can All Join In"; the grammatically questionable Delaney and Bonnie-d roots chug of "Only You Know and I Know" (produced by Tommy Li Puma and featuring the likes of Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, and fellow gridlocker Jim Capaldi); the easy dedication and advice of "Can't Stop Worrying, Can't Stop Loving," "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave," and "To Be Free"; the rhythmic undertones of "Look at You Look at Me"; the cowbell-driven shuffle of "Let It Go, Let It Flow"; and the quick jangle of "Satin Red and Black Velvet Woman." Though licensing litigation probably prevented inclusion of Mason's collaborations with Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney, the album does include the puzzlingly productive pairing with Cass Elliott ("Walk to the Point") and his 1987 bi-studio pop reunion with Steve Winwood ("Two Hearts"). And what Dave Mason compilation would be complete without his highest-charting hit, "We Just Disagree"? Certainly not this one. After all, it is the "ultimate."

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