|Compilation produced by Bill Levenson with Joe Reagoso|
|Released on September 21, 1999|
|no chart information|
|Find it at GEMM|
|545 086-2 cover
[high resolution scan]
H ip-O drops the ball with Dave Mason, confining a long (if admittedly uneven) career to a single disc and making some costly, curious choices. The two-disc Gold showered on Pete Townshend has fast become my new gold standard for how these things should be done. Instead, Ultimate Collection lingers too long at Alone Together, ignores important singles like “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “Save Me,” and digs into Traffic’s vaults for three tracks. The Traffic stop doesn’t bother me so much as, say, putting a Who song on a Townshend compilation (which Hip-O wisely avoided), because the early Traffic albums were essentially combined solo albums by Mason and Winwood. However, I’m sure the world wouldn’t end if one Dave Mason compilation didn’t contain “Feelin’ Alright.” The most egregious error is the inclusion of “Two Hearts” at the end. Maybe the temptation to reconcile Mason with his past was too strong, but it ends the disc on a sour and disjointed note. Mason is further confined by chronology, which clumps together his earthy and sometimes underwhelming acoustic, psychedelic R&B (“Only You Know And I Know,” “Just A Song,” “Look At You, Look At Me”). The truly sweet stuff arrives with “Walk to the Point” (my personal favorite Mason track), and I think Ultimate Collection would have benefited by spreading the sweet stuff around. Working a song like “Baby... Please” or “Satin Red And Black Velvet Woman” earlier into the mix would have shaken things up nicely and, as was the case with Townshend’s Gold, added some much-needed contrast to his earlier tracks. No complaints with the liner notes (William Ruhlmann is alright in these parts) or the generous 19-track helping from a single platter. Ultimately, though, no single-disc collection of Dave Mason could be definitive, especially one that ignores entire albums like Old Crest, Split Coconut and Mariposa (Some Assembly really isn’t required).
|545 086-2 back sleeve|
Pat Lawrence -- executive producer
William Ruhlmann -essay
Ilene Weingard & Vartan -- art direction
I Design Studio -- design
Dennis Keeley, Michael Ochs Archives, Showtime Archives -- photos
return to DAVE MASON discography
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|US||September 21, 1999||Hip-O||CD||545 086-2|
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