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Pop/rock singer/songwriter/guitarist Dave Mason was born May 10, 1944, in Worcester, England. He was a professional musician by his teens and, as a member of the instrumental group the Jaguars, made his recording debut on a locally released single, "Opus to Spring," in 1963. It was with the Jaguars that he first encountered drummer Jim Capaldi, and the two became members of the Hellions, who played around the U.K. and in Hamburg, West Germany, as well as cutting a few singles in 1964 and '65. Mason quit the Hellions in the spring of 1965 to study music formally, while also sitting in occasionally with another band featuring Capaldi, Deep Feeling. In early 1966, he took a job as road manager for the Spencer Davis Group, where he encountered Steve Winwood; various reports suggest he also played with the band on-stage and may have sung backup vocals on the hit "Somebody Help Me."
In March 1967, Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group and formed Traffic with Mason, Capaldi, and flautist Chris Wood. The group's first single was the Winwood/Capaldi composition "Paper Sun," followed in August 1967 by Mason's "Hole in My Shoe," which hit number two in the U.K. Mason also participated in Traffic's debut album, Mr. Fantasy, but as it was being released in December 1967 he left the band. He recorded a solo single, "Little Woman," in early 1968, then rejoined Traffic. "Feelin' Alright?," a song expressing his ambivalence about his association with the group, was released as the first single off the second album, Traffic, in October 1968; although the single did not chart, "Feelin' Alright?" would go on to become Mason's signature song, particularly after it was covered by Joe Cocker in 1969. Mason left Traffic again, and it broke up shortly afterward in the fall of 1968, as Winwood joined Blind Faith. Mason, Capaldi, and Wood teamed with Mick Weaver in the short-lived Wooden Frog.
Mason moved to Los Angeles and joined Delaney & Bonnie & Friends in 1969. In 1970, he signed a solo contract with Blue Thumb Records and released his debut solo album, Alone Together, which reached number 22 and went gold in the U.S., spawning the chart single "Only You Know and I Know." Despite this success, he continued to work in group contexts, serving temporarily as second guitarist in Eric Clapton's band Derek and the Dominos; recording with George Harrison on All Things Must Pass; and forming a duo with Cass Elliot. He and Elliot recorded an album, Dave Mason & Cass Elliot, released in February 1971. The LP reached number 49, but they quickly broke up. Mason rejoined Traffic for a few dates in the summer that resulted in the live album Welcome to the Canteen.
Meanwhile, Mason was preparing his follow-up to Alone Together, but a royalty dispute with Blue Thumb led to the company's assembling the half-finished, half-live Headkeeper, which was released in February 1972 over Mason's objections; it reached number 51. As the legal conflict continued into 1973, Blue Thumb released the chart LP Dave Mason Is Alive!, also without the artist's approval. After a settlement, Mason signed to Columbia Records, which released It's Like You Never Left on October 29, 1973; it got to number 50. Mason formed a band and toured extensively, raising his profile sufficiently that his second Columbia LP, Dave Mason, released in October 1974, reached number 25 and went gold. Split Coconut, his third Columbia album, released on September 19, 1975, was another success, getting to number 27, as he played major venues such as New York's Madison Square Garden and the Spectrum in Philadelphia. His appeal as a concert attraction was confirmed by the appearance of the double-LP Certified Live in the fall of 1976; it hit number 78.
Mason reached a new career plateau with his next studio album, Let It Flow, released in April 1977. It reached an early peak at number 37, but stayed in the charts 49 weeks and went platinum on the success of the single "We Just Disagree" (written by Mason's backup guitarist, Jim Krueger), which reached number 12. (The singles "So High [Rock Me Baby and Roll Me Away]" and "Let It Go, Let It Flow" also charted.) Mariposa de Oro, Mason's next album, was released in June 1978, preceded by a cover of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," a Top 40 single; the LP reached number 41 and went gold.
Two years passed before Mason released New Crest of an Old Wave in the summer of 1980. After it peaked at number 74 and produced the chart single "Save Me," he parted ways with Columbia. Another major-label berth was not forthcoming, but he continued to tour, paring down to an acoustic duo with Krueger. In 1987, he released two albums, Some Assembly Required on the Canadian label Maze Records and Two Hearts on MCA, the latter featuring "Dreams I Dream," a duet with Phoebe Snow that reached number 11 in the adult contemporary charts. In 1993, Mason joined a new lineup of Fleetwood Mac, appearing on the 1995 album Time, but soon after, the band reverted to its previous configuration. In 1998, Mason reteamed with Jim Capaldi for a tour that produced the 1999 album Live: The 40,000 Headman Tour. In 2008, Megaforce Records released the first Dave Mason studio album in more than 20 years, 26 Letters 12 Notes.
David Thomas "Dave" Mason (born 10 May 1946) is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist from Worcester, who first found fame with the rock band Traffic. In his long career, Mason has played and recorded with many of the era's most notable pop and rock musicians, including Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Delaney Bramlett, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Fleetwood Mac and Cass Elliot. Mason's best known song is "Feelin' Alright", recorded by Traffic in 1968 and later by many other performers, including Joe Cocker, who had a major hit with the song in 1969. For Traffic, he also wrote "Hole in My Shoe", a psychedelic pop song that became a hit in its own right. "We Just Disagree", Mason's 1977 solo hit written by Jim Krueger, has become a staple of Classic Hits and Adult Contemporary radio playlists.
In 2004, Mason was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of Traffic.
Musical career 
Mason's tenure with Traffic was disjointed. He co-founded the group, but left following the recording of their debut album, Mr. Fantasy (1967), only to rejoin halfway through the sessions for their next album, Traffic (1968), after which he left again. Last Exit (1969), a compilation of odds and ends, features little material by Mason apart from his song "Just For You". Traffic later re-formed without Mason, although he briefly toured with the band in 1971 as captured on Welcome to the Canteen. Even during his brief spells with the group, Mason never quite fit in; Steve Winwood later recalled "We all [Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood] tended to write together, but Dave would come in with a complete song that he was going to sing and tell us all what he expected us to play. No discussion, like we were his backing group."
Mason was a friend of legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix, whose career was launched in England in 1966. Hendrix first heard the song "All Along the Watchtower", by Bob Dylan, at a party to which he was invited by Mason, and promptly decided to record his own version. That night he recorded the song at Olympic Studios, South West London, with Mason playing 12-string acoustic guitar. According to session engineer Eddie Kramer, it took Mason about 27 takes to get his part recorded satisfactorily, because he had difficulty mastering the tricky rhythmic 'turnaround' in the introduction. The song was released on the Electric Ladyland album in September 1968. When it came out as a single in October, it hit #5 on the UK Singles Chart and was a Top 40 in the U.S. Mason later recorded his own version of the song on his self-titled 1974 album, Dave Mason, with Bob Glaub on bass.
Mason appears on the Rolling Stones' 1968 album Beggars Banquet, although uncredited. Mason's connection was Jimmy Miller. Miller served as producer for the Stones and Traffic. In 1969–1970, Mason toured with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends along with Eric Clapton and George Harrison. Mason appears on George Harrison's 1970 solo set All Things Must Pass. In 1970, Dave was slated to be the second guitarist for Derek and the Dominos, but left the group before they entered the studio. He co-wrote the song "Big Thirst" on Oh How We Danced by Jim Capaldi (Mason's bandmate in the Hellions, Deep Feeling, and Traffic), as well as playing the guitar solo on "Don't be a Hero".
After Traffic, Mason pursued a moderately successful solo career. His first single, "Just for You" had "Little Woman" as the B-side, with Family backing him, following his production of Family's first album. His song writing and sound culminating on his 1970 album Alone Together with backing of drummer Jim Gordon. In the early 1970s he enlisted his friend, singer-songwriter Ray Kennedy to tour and write for his next album. In the mid-late 1970s, he toured and recorded with guitarist Jim Krueger, keyboardist Mike Finnigan, bassist Gerald Johnson and drummer Rick Jaeger. The 1976 album, Certified Live is a display of Mason's songwriting, arranging, vocal and guitar talents. In 1977, Mason had his biggest hit with "We Just Disagree", written by Jim Krueger. Reaching #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was later successfully recorded by country singer Billy Dean. Mason played himself in the film Skatetown, U.S.A., performing two songs in a roller disco as well as writing and performing the film's theme song.
Mason's 1980 single, "Save Me", featured a duet with Michael Jackson. For a brief period in the 1990s, Mason joined Fleetwood Mac and released the album Time with them in 1995.
In 2002, he released the DVD, Dave Mason: Live at Sunrise. It featured a live performance at the Sunrise Musical Theater in Sunrise, Florida, backed by Bobby Scumaci on keyboards, Johnne Sambataro on rhythm guitar (who rejoined Mason for the DVD, after previously touring with him in 1978), Richard Campbell on bass and Greg Babcock on drums.
At one time, Mason lived in the Ojai Valley in California. As of 2005, he was performing about 100 shows a year with the Dave Mason Band across the U.S. and Canada.
Mason is a proponent of music education for children. In 2005, he signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a non-profit organization that provides free musical instruments and lessons to children in public schools throughout the U.S. He sits on the organization's board of directors as an honorary member. Mason also is a founding board member of Yoga Blue, a non profit organization devoted to teaching yoga and other holistic practices to those recovering from substance abuse and other self destructive disorders. Mason, together with his longtime friend John Niekrash, is also involved in the program Work Vessels for Veterans (WVFV), an all volunteer movement that provides veterans transitioning to civilian work with tools that have ranged from computers to boats to tractors.