The man who wrote ?Feelin? Alright? has no beef with Joe Cocker, even though the grizzled, raspy-voice singer had a bigger hit with his version of it.
In fact, Dave Mason, one of the founding members of Traffic, the band that originally recorded the ambling, shuffling jam, is humbled by the song?s lasting popularity.
?It?s just another love song, love gone bad,? laughs Mason. ?I love Cocker. Because of Cocker, I?ve got so many cover versions of that tune. It?s been in so many movies, [and] it?s been in so many commercials, it?s just ridiculous.?
A never-ending stream of royalties has allayed any jealousy Mason might feel toward Cocker. And Mason isn?t the least bit upset with Cocker for altering the mood of the piece from Traffic?s down-trodden version to an upbeat celebration of the human spirit.
?He focuses on the ?Feelin? alright? part, whereas, see when I wrote it, it was ?Feelin? alright/Not feelin? too good myself,?? explains Mason. ?That?s how I wrote it. It was a semi-down kind of song.?
Included on Traffic?s eponymous second album, ?Feelin? Alright? was written by Mason when he was going through the trial separation from Traffic he embarked on in 1969 after the band?s classic first record, Mr. Fantasy.
Soon, he would rejoin Traffic in America, where Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood were recording. The reunion wouldn?t end well.
?I wrote that, and I wrote ?All Join In,? and I was back in the States, and the other three were recording the new Traffic album at the Record Plant in New York, and I went down to the session ?cause I was in New York too, and they were like, ?Well, we?re doing the album, and we?ve got five songs,?? recalls Mason. ?And I said, ?Well, I?ve got five songs here guys. What do you want to do? Should we go at it?? And they said, ?Yeah, cool.? So, we had 10 songs. We had an album. And then, again, when it came out, my stuff got pulled out for the singles, and that, at that point as much as I can figure out, is what put the nail in the coffin as far as me not being in that band anymore.?
Mason survived the split, going on to record his underrated, folk-rock gem Alone Together in 1970, a Delaney & Bonnie/Leon Russell-assisted project that went gold, and scoring a chart hit with the Jim Krueger-penned breakup ballad ?We Just Disagree? in 1977. It went to #12 on the charts.
Whether his most recent release, Dave Mason Live The Deluxe Edition, a Friday Music release that captures Mason performing in the XM Satellite Radio studios, does as well remains to be seen. For Mason devotees, the extras are enticing.
?It was recorded at XM, but what I?ve done is I?ve added three things that nobody?s ever heard, one of them being a live version of ?Take It To The Limit,?? explains Mason. ?And then, I have a studio version that I did when Jim Capaldi was out here before he died four or five years ago of me and him doing ?40,000 Hitmen,? which is a pretty good version. Other than the song being the song, it?s a different approach, way bluesier.?
And Mason doesn?t stop there, tacking on a traditional, Mason-style ballad that?s never seen the light of day called ?Deaf, Dumb and Blind? (sitting at #8 on record industry trade publication Friday Morning Quarterback?s Adult Contemporary chart at press time) that he?s ? … sat on actually for nearly 20 years, though the vocal on it is pretty recent.?
Mason also revealed that a ?somewhat finished? studio album will be released ? … hopefully, towards the end of the year.?
Years removed from his somewhat contentious time with Traffic, the fascination with Mason?s departure remains. Formed in the late ’60s, Traffic was an amalgam o