Interviews

Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Gerry Galipault

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Five Songs with … Dave Mason

Though he co-founded Traffic in 1967, Dave Mason’s tenure in the band was short but sweet.

The Worcester, England-born singer, songwriter and guitarist contributed several songs on their debut album, “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” including “Hole in My Shoe,” one of their biggest U.K. hits.

The dreaded “artistic differences” led to his departure after the album was finished; he returned briefly enough to offer up a few more songs for their self-titled follow-up in 1968. That album included his signature hit, “Feelin’ Alright?,” later covered by Joe Cocker, Grand Funk Railroad and many others.

Time heals all wounds. Ten years ago, Mason and former Traffic band mates Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and now Mason finds himself revisiting his vast catalog with his touring Traffic Jam.

“We’re playing bigger venues than I thought we would and we’re selling them out a lot of them,” Mason said during a recent tour stop. “It surprised me, because I just didn’t know how it would be received. You just never know. This is a strange business.”

Mason’s Traffic Jam includes Tony Patler (keyboards), Jason Roller (guitar) and Alvino Bennett (drums).

He’s also performing original material off his new “Futures Past” EP, which is available at his shows and at davemasonmusic.com.

“I don’t look at music as being old songs, they’re either good songs or they’re not good songs,” said Mason, 67. “I’ve always tried to write timeless songs, songs that would stand the test of time. Basically, I’m all about the songs.”

Mason touches on five songs that are part of his impressive résumé.

1) “All Along the Watchtower,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience

“Jimi was a good friend of mine. I was in between bands at the time, having just left Traffic. I played a 12-string guitar on that track and also sang backup on ‘Crosstown Traffic.’ At the time, I was going to take the part of Noel Redding in the Experience, but it just didn’t work out. Still, Jimi was a great player, one of the greatest ever, and they were doing some innovative stuff in the studio. I would sit there during the sessions and go, ‘Wow.’ Jimi was a great guy.”

2) “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave”

“That’s from my debut album (‘Alone Together’). It was never made to be a single, but it’s still part of our set and it gets a huge reaction from the crowd. They love it. There’s just something about that song.”

3) “Only You Know and I Know”

“That’s another one from my first album. It’s one of those songs that’s always part of the repertoire, and it still sounds just as fresh today. Delaney & Bonnie, though, had a bigger hit with it.”

4) “Here We Go Again,” with Cass Elliot

“We did a whole album together (‘Dave Mason & Cass Elliot,’ in 1970) for Blue Thumb. I knew her from when I first came to America and we spent a lot of time together. On paper, it seems like an odd pairing, but she was a wonderful singer.”

5) “We Just Disagree”

“Jim Krueger wrote that. He was my second guitarist for like 18 years. It was one of the first songs he had ever written. He played it for me, and I loved it personally, and it has a universal theme to it, but I thought it was too nice of a song to be a hit. It ended up being my biggest hit. Sadly, Jim died about 20 years ago.”

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About the Author

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.



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