Early career phase and his stint with Traffic
David Thomas “Dave” Mason was born in Worcestershire, England in 1944. By his teens, Mason had become already a professional musician. He joined groups such as the Jaguars and the Hellions, both of where he met drummer Jim Capaldi.
In 1967, following Steve Winwood’s departure from the Spencer Davis Group, Winwood formed Traffic along with Mason, Capaldi and flautist Chris Wood.
Mason’s history with Traffic was rather uneven. He recorded the group’s debut albumMr. Fantasy (1968) but left soon after. Mason recorded his first single “Little Woman” in early 1968 before joining Traffic again halfway through their recording sessions for their eponymous second LP (where Mason wrote “Feelin’ Alright?,” which was later covered by Joe Cocker in 1969). Traffic broke up but shortly after the split they reunited, but this time without Mason who was considered as the odd one out by his band mates. Mason later returned to the group and briefly toured with his band mates but then left again. In 1969 Traffic disbanded, but would reunite the following year.
Mason had collaborated with his friend Jimi Hendrix, who covered Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” in which Mason also played lead guitar.
Mason worked with several acts, including the Rolling Stones (on their albumBeggars Banquet), Delaney and Bonnie and Friends (with Eric Clapton and George Harrison), Harrison (in his album All Things Must Pass), and Derek and the Dominos (with Clapton again). He had also collaborated with producer Phil Spector.
Continuing with his solo career
In 1970, Mason launched his solo career while he was working with many projects. He released his own debut album Alone Together that same year. Its leadoff single “Only You Know and I Know” peaked at #42 on the US Billboard Hot 100, spurring the album to a decent #22 peak position on the Billboard 200 and to gold certification.
In 1971, Mason and former The Mamas & The Papas singer Cass Elliot worked together. They released a joint album simply called Dave Mason & Cass Elliot (1971) which reached #49 on the Billboard 200.
Mason’s second solo album Headkeeper (1972) was a part-live recording, and peaked at #51 on the pop album chart. The title track, meanwhile, topped the rock singles chart.
In 1973, Mason moved to Columbia Records, and it was in the same year that he released his first album on the label It’s Like You Never Left. It was followed by his eponymous album in 1974 (#25 on the Billboard 200) and Split Coconut (1975).
A major hit single and later recordings
Mason’s biggest chart success up to this time was “We Just Disagree” in 1977, from the album Let It Flow. It featured Jim Krueger, who served as Mason’s backup guitarist. It reached #12 on the Hot 100 and #19 on the adult contemporary singles chart.
Let It Flow might have charted relatively lower than its predecessors (it peaked at #37) but the album’s long and enduring chart presence eventually earned it a platinum certification. The follow-up album Mariposa De Oro (1978) also went gold. The album’s single was Mason’s cover of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” which was to be his last Top 40 hit in the US (at #39).
His last album on Columbia, Old Crest on a New Wave, was released in 1980. Its single “Save Me” featured his duet with none other than the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. It became a minor hit on the Hot 100, peaking at #71.
After Columbia, Mason released a couple of more albums on different labels, Two Hearts (MCA) and Some Assembly Required (Maze Records). Two Hearts’ single “Dreams I Dream,” was Mason’s duet with Phoebe Snow and made it to #11 on the Billboard’s adult contemporary singles chart.
In the mid-1990s, Mason joined Fleetwood Mac for a time and recorded Time. In 1998, he reunited with Capaldi to do a series of tours. The tours resulted in a live album being released the following year 1999 Live: 40,000 Headman Tour.
In 2002, a live DVD Dave Mason: Live at Sunrise was released. Six years later, Mason released his first studio album in 21 years, 26 — 12 Notes on Megaforce Records. He still performs in many shows up to this day, and if you want to know everything about this immensely talented musician, check out his website for news, tours, etc.: http://www.davemasonmusic.com/