After Dave Mason‘s sporadic tenure with Traffic, he gave fans of his voice and songwriting talents a reason to hang around with his solo works. Beginning with his first solo album, he was to gradually build upon his fan base with increasingly popular albums like his debut on Blue Thumb Records. After a time, Mason signed with Columbia Records and recorded seven albums for the label. One of those was the highly successful Let It Flow album, originally issued in 1977. That album provided three hit singles (“Let It Flow”, “So High (Rock Me Baby And Roll Me Away)”, “We Just Disagree”) as well as popular FM favorites (“Seasons”, “Mystic Traveler”).
To consider the greatness of Dave Mason outside his career with Traffic, one would have to take into strong account his works with Columbia Records. To that end, Real Gone Music, a popular compiler of classic songs and albums by neglected artists, has compiled a 30-track anthology of Dave Mason’s work as found on the Columbia label.
What stands out about The Columbia Years – The Definitive Anthology is the excellent selection of every album released on that label. Of course, the hits weren’t ignored, especially from the Let It Flow gem. But I was pleasantly surprised to see “Seasons” included simply because it was a superb track. And those kinds of under appreciated gems tend to get left off such compilations as this one. However, Real Gone has found it right to not ignore the obvious.
Every Columbia album is represented with carefully extracted songs. From the beginning of the Columbia era with It’s Like You Never Left (1973) all the way through the end of it with Old Crest On A New Wave (1980), the archivists at Real Gone Music selected a brilliant collection for inclusion into their 2CD Anthology. For me, there really isn’t a bad Dave Mason track. There may be some that I listen to less than others. I actually even enjoyed his one album tenure with Fleetwood Mac on their 1995 Time album.
Apart from the excellent selection of tracks, there is a rich 24-page booklet. The booklet is of heavy gloss paper giving it a sturdy construction to last a long, long time. In side the booklet is a parade of full-page album covers, an essay that explores each Columbia album in close detail, and two pages of track-listings and full credits. The CDs are stamped with the classic era red Columbia label that featured the circle of the Columbia logo at the outside of the label. Inside the jewel case that houses both CDs, there is a montage of each album and their respective red Columbia labels.
Simply put, this is a welcome anthology for the serious Dave Mason fan. You will not only get the more popular tunes from each album, but you also get the obvious great ones, the ones that were not as anointed as the others. And that what makes me appreciate the work that Real Gone Music does as they reissue excellent albums and anthologize forgotten artist. I have quite a list of my own that I’d love to see them revisit.
Dave Mason: The Columbia Years – The Definitive Anthology is indeed a remastered must have. Pure goodness!