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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Mason, Dave - 1987 Two Hearts
Mason, Dave - 1987 Two Hearts

ARTIST: Mason, Dave
ALBUM: Two Hearts
YEAR: 1987


LINEUP: Dave Mason - lead vocals, guitars, piano, drum programming * Jimmy Hotz - co-production, drum programming * Kenny Lee Lewis - rhythm guitar * Mike Lawler - synthesizer, piano, bass, horn, slide guitar * Phoebe Snow - co lead vocal ('Dreams I Dream') * Steve Winwood - synthesizer, organ, backing vocals * Steve Neives - saxophone, backing vocals * Peter Seibert - bass, horn, keyboards * Larry Cohen - bass * Bobbye Hall - percussion * Mike Finnigan - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Two Hearts * 02 Just A Little Lovin' * 03 Forever * 04 Dreams I Dream (with Phoebe Snow) * 05 Something In The Heart * 06 Ballerina * 07 Fighting For Love * 08 Replace The Face


Remember the band Traffic? A 60's institution, which spawned the solo careers of Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi. Let's not forget the band also contained guitarist Dave Mason, who also found a successful solo career as an artist in his own right, plus that of a songwriter. Dave has released a boatload of albums since the early 70's, and most have been in a rockier/blues style. If you listen to his 1973 album 'Its Like You Never Left', it has more in common with a band like Firefall for instance. Moving ahead into the 80's, Dave followed the prevailing styles of the decade. His 1987 album 'Two Hearts' was indicative of this, and is a far cry from his earlier work. Many fans decry 'Two Hearts' for being a commercial sellout, with the use of studio gimmickry, drum machines, and a gravitation to commercial pop in the vein of his former Traffic colleague Steve Winwood plus a weaker Mike + The Mechanics being the end result. Though the melodic commercial nature of 'Two Hearts' might appeal to most here at GLORY-DAZE, it would be at a stretch.. I would suggest.

The Songs
The album was co-produced by Jimmy Hotz (a.ka. James Christian), where according to Jimmy (via his website), he tried to update the Dave Mason sound with use of synthesizers and drum machines. Considering Dave's track record, that sounds like a recipe for disaster. 'Two Hearts' isn't the disaster that everyone makes out it is, it's just different (for Dave that is!). You hear this from the outset with the heavy drum backbeat and synth glides on the opening title track. The studio synthetics continue on 'Just A Little Lovin', the warmth provided by the lead and harmony vocals. 'Forever' is a bit syrupy, the sax work will either please or annoy.. you decide. Moving into synth pop territory is 'Dreams I Dream', perhaps taking a leaf out of Steve Winwood's 80's material, this one features solo artist Phoebe Snow on shared lead vocals with Dave. One of the better tracks here is 'Something In The Heart' which has Winwood all over this one, the distinctive synth work a dead giveaway. 'Ballerina' is a tight composition with a certain amount of charm, again the hi-tech production values wash over this song. I quite liked 'Fighting For Love' too, however it's more keyboard than guitar based, which will have long time Mason fans scratching their heads.. lol! The closer 'Replace The Face' is an energetic workout played with a funky 80's synth pop attitude. The song is filled with a load of wahwah laced guitar lines, just to remind everyone that he is best remembered as a guitarist - first and foremost.

In Summary
One thing I do like about the album is Dave's vocals, which sounds a lot like Mervyn Spence (Wishbone Ash, O'Ryan), which is well suited to this style of music. Mason had released an album earlier in 1987 called 'Some Assembly Required', and it was his first album since 1980's 'Old Crest On A New Wave'. Unusual that after an absence of seven years, he leaves two albums in 1987! 'Two Hearts' is not a commercial success by any means, nor was it a recording that was met with praise after several years off the circuit. As mentioned, it might have some (limited) appeal to this readership, more so that die hard fans. Mason and MCA parted ways after this recording, however Dave is still extremely active in the here and now, he was even inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during 2004, alongside Winwood and Capaldi.

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#1 | Eric on February 09 2009 23:41:10
Wonderful to see this here George.
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