The ultimate in pop music snobbery may be to admit that you think Alan Parsons Project essentially sold out after releasing Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I can remember hearing that I Robot was a sellout and that Alan Parsons Project’s first album was some kind of anomalous virgin birth of a new kind of music. It was theatrical and showed an understanding of Poe equal to that of many an English professor and, by that standard, the subsequent albums continually failed to be as brilliant as the first. By the time Pyramid was released in 1979 Parsons had a whole new audience in tow. There was never anything like the first album again, but what followed has managed to straddle the line between obscure instrumental and mainstream pop.
Supergroups are almost always disappointing, the whole (forgive the cliché) usually much less than the sum of its parts. An exception was the first incarnation of Asia.
I missed Mojo, sort of, when it came out in 2010. I say sort of because I read reviews and chose not to pursue it further. The reviews came in as low as two stars and averaged three and that did not seem worth the chance. When Hypnotic Eye came out recently, though, and I realized what a great album it is, I decided to give Mojo a try, given that it is the previous album by Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers.
Dave Mason’s 1970 LP Alone Together was part of that era’s music-collective spirit, the same one that saw the release of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen and other great collaborative releases of the time. Mason’s may be lesser known, but it is one of the best mass collaborations to come out of that sharing spirit of the time. Even those who may not remember the music may remember the LP itself. The vinyl was multicoloured, having a sort of cloudy, marbled looking vinyl LP (though, perhaps surprisingly, not one of the first to be issued!). It also had a great album cover, but it is memorable for more than its appearance and place in music history—as Dave Mason himself recently proved with the release of Future’s Past in 2014.