Certified Live/Let It Flow
Great Britain's Beat Goes On (BGO) imprint continues its definitive Dave Mason reissue series with this two-fer containing excellent remasters of his 1976 Certified Live album and his 1977 studio effort, Let It Flow. Certified Live was released in the aftermath of Peter Frampton's massive success with Frampton Comes Alive! At the time, it was thought by Columbia Records that -- since both men were regarded as British guitar heroes and Mason had experienced some pop success on his own (some six years earlier with the single "Only You Know and I Know" and the album Alone Together) -- this would net great rewards. This was not to be, obviously. That said, Certified Live is a deeply satisfying concert offering. It was recorded absolutely live with no studio overdubs and contains a couple of tunes he recorded with Traffic, including "Pearly Queen." However, its true highlights are the funky opening version of "Feelin' Alright," his faithful but emotionally deep and ragged version of the Eagles' "Take It to the Limit," his own "Sad and Deep as You," the blues classic "Goin' Down Slow," a 12-minute guitar-slinger version of the stellar "Look at You, Look at Me" (written with Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi), and, of course, "Only You Know and I Know." The second disc in the package includes an album that defined Mason ever after in Let It Flow and its Top 40 single, "We Just Disagree." Despite the single, there are other fine tracks here, including the R&B-influenced "Let It Go, Let It Flow," the lilting ballads "Seasons" (with Stephen Stills and Yvonne Elliman on backing vocals) and "Spend Your Life with Me" (with a great saxophone solo by Ernie Watts), and the Caribbean-rhythms-meet-guitar-jam "Takin' the Time to Find." Along with the two-fer Alone Together/Headkeeper, this double-disc set provides an excellent introduction to Mason's wide range as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter.