26 Letters 12 Notes

26 Letters 12 Notes

5.0 1
by Dave Mason
     
 
Dave Mason is a co-founder of the legendary rock band Traffic. He's played on some of the greatest rock albums in history: Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, and Delaney & Bonnie's Motel Shot<

Overview

Dave Mason is a co-founder of the legendary rock band Traffic. He's played on some of the greatest rock albums in history: Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, and Delaney & Bonnie's Motel Shot among them. 26 Letters 12 Notes (issued on his own Out of the Box imprint through RED Distribution) is his first new album in a decade. Originally produced by Mason at home in California, additional recording was done in Detroit and Miami. It's a back to basics, '70s style rock and Brit soul record. It contains some modern co-production by a number of folks including the Motor City's Mark and Brian Pastoria (some of the mixing was also done in Detroit). It reveals Mason not only as a solid, focused, and relevant songwriter in the rock idiom, but as an expressive vocalist of uncanny power and depth (he's actually gotten better over the decades). His guitar playing has continued to develop and grow: he is a far more interesting player than his peer Eric Clapton is at this stage of the game. There isn't anything showy or hyper-consciously "dazzling" in the presentation, Mason's always been humble, and he sets his playing and singing to be true to his songs. There are some stellar guests on the set, including Willie Nelson (playing guitar, not singing), and percussionist and vocalist Sheila E. The big surprise is soul/gospel vocalist Beth Griffith belting it out with great firepower. The production is warm, lively, and immediate. It's not in your face; instead it concentrates on presenting the music as alive dynamically, though it is rich and deep in its textures. The opener, "Good 2 U," is classic Mason, with a bluesy guitar riff backed by a taut string arrangement. The blues ring out in fills against Mason's open, emotional baritone. The guitar winds around a funky backbeat on the refrain, complete with a chorus of backing vocalists, a tight snare, and a slithering B-3. "One Day" opens with the same raucous Stratocaster playing a gospel blues, with Mason belting it out on top. The chorus, piano, and organ interact with that guitar and are infectious. The keyboard sounds meld into Mason's rough-edged guitar in a chorded riff; they feel like the sound of the mid-'70s radio rock roaring out of the dashboard speakers. This is a highway anthem disguised as a broken love song. Mason's lyrics serve his voice; they are wonderfully written. In "How Do I Get to Heaven," his writing is emotionally worthy of Barrett Strong and lyrically of Bob Dylan. This is a hymn to busted love so emotionally authentic, we keep expecting the singer to break down. There's a beautiful pedal steel here played by Dana Keller that does exactly what it's supposed to do: add a ton of atmosphere without being intrusive. Mason loves late R&B and early rock & roll, as evidenced by the swagger in "Ain't Your Legs Tired Baby," with a smoking baritone sax adding raunch to the roll. Other winners include the midtempo torch song "Passing Thru the Flame," and two pumped up slippery funk tunes in "That's Love," and "World of Hunger" with Sheila E. There's also a happening Spanish guitar-tinged instrumental called "El Toro." The set ends with the country-ish "Full Circle and Then," a gorgeous love song with wonderful acoustic and electric guitar work as well as Mason's deeply committed vocal. 26 Letters 12 Notes stands tall in Mason's catalog; it's proof that some veteran rockers are still hungry for the Muse; they've have been stashing diamonds in the dust of age -- this album is full of them and proof that Mason doesn't rest on his laurels.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/14/2008
Label:
Out The Box Records
UPC:
0897584050022
catalogNumber:
500

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dave Mason   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Willie Nelson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Ralphe Armstrong   Bass
Eddie Baytos   Piano,fender rhodes
Alvino Bennett   Drums
Tal Bergman   Percussion,Drums
Sheila E.   Percussion,Background Vocals
Mike Finnegan   Hammond Organ,Background Vocals,Hammond B3
Angelo Morris   Bass,Piano,fender rhodes
Mark Pastoria   Percussion
Carmine Rojas   Bass
John Sambataro   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Billy Mason   Hammond Organ,Hammond B3
Renato Neto   Bass,Piano,Strings,fender rhodes
Brian Zsupnick   Drums
Robert Vilera   Percussion
Jaime Hanna   Background Vocals
Beth Griffith   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Lead
Jonathan McEuen   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Alex Drizos   Bass
Suzanne Paris   Background Vocals
Angela Bostic   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Lashawn D. Gary   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jenean Presberry   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Pamela Bowie Smith   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Mike Mindingall   Organ

Technical Credits

Jim Capaldi   Composer
Dave Mason   Composer,Producer,Artwork,Audio Production
Steve Alaimo   Producer
John McEuen   Composer
Howard Albert   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Ron Albert   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Phil Bonanno   Engineer,Audio Production
Jon Ingoldsby   Composer
Brian Pastoria   Producer,Audio Production
Mark Pastoria   Programming,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Ted Perlman   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Christopher "Tricky" Stewart   Executive Producer
Renato Neto   Orchestral Arrangements
Calvin Cairns   Artwork,Cover Art
Dale Jensen   Executive Producer
Kristen Foster   Publicity
Peter Langone   Artwork
Ramesh Sawhney   Executive Producer
N. Hernandez   Composer
N. Earle   Composer
D. Hollster   Composer
Tre Perry   Audio Production
J. Williams   Composer

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

26 Letters 12 Notes 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
BP57 More than 1 year ago
Dave Mason is a co-founder of the legendary rock band Traffic. He's played on some of the greatest rock albums in history: Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, and Delaney & Bonnie's Motel Shot among them. 26 Letters 12 Notes (issued on his own Out of the Box imprint through RED Distribution) is his first new album in a decade. Originally produced by Mason at home in California, additional recording was done in Detroit and Miami. It's a back to basics, '70s style rock and Brit soul record.

It contains some modern co-production by a number of folks including the Motor City's Mark and Brian Pastoria (some of the mixing was also done in Detroit). It reveals Mason not only as a solid, focused, and relevant songwriter in the rock idiom, but as an expressive vocalist of uncanny power and depth (he's actually gotten better over the decades). His guitar playing has continued to develop and grow: he is a far more interesting player than his peer Eric Clapton is at this stage of the game. There isn't anything showy or hyper-consciously "dazzling" in the presentation, Mason's always been humble, and he sets his playing and singing to be true to his songs.

There are some stellar guests on the set, including Willie Nelson (playing guitar, not singing), and percussionist and vocalist Sheila E. The big surprise is soul/gospel vocalist Beth Griffith belting it out with great firepower. The production is warm, lively, and immediate. It's not in your face; instead it concentrates on presenting the music as alive dynamically, though it is rich and deep in its textures.

The opener, "Good 2 U," is classic Mason, with a bluesy guitar riff backed by a taut string arrangement. The blues ring out in fills against Mason's open, emotional baritone. The guitar winds around a funky backbeat on the refrain, complete with a chorus of backing vocalists, a tight snare, and a slithering B-3. "One Day" opens with the same raucous Stratocaster playing a gospel blues, with Mason belting it out on top. The chorus, piano, and organ interact with that guitar and are infectious. The keyboard sounds meld into Mason's rough-edged guitar in a chorded riff; they feel like the sound of the mid-'70s radio rock roaring out of the dashboard speakers. This is a highway anthem disguised as a broken love song. Mason's lyrics serve his voice; they are wonderfully written. In "How Do I Get to Heaven," his writing is emotionally worthy of Barrett Strong and lyrically of Bob Dylan. This is a hymn to busted love so emotionally authentic, we keep expecting the singer to break down. There's a beautiful pedal steel here played by Dana Keller that does exactly what it's supposed to do: add a ton of atmosphere without being intrusive. Mason loves late R&B and early rock & roll, as evidenced by the swagger in "Ain't Your Legs Tired Baby," with a smoking baritone sax adding raunch to the roll.
The set ends with the country-ish "Full Circle and Then," a gorgeous love song with wonderful acoustic and electric guitar work as well as Mason's deeply committed vocal. 26 Letters 12 Notes stands tall in Mason's catalog; it's proof that some veteran rockers are still hungry for the Muse; they've have been stashing diamonds in the dust of age -- this album is full of them and proof that Mason doesn't rest on his laurels. Thom Jurek-All Music Guide