The Ray Mason Band has been an established outfit in the New England area for many years. Their new Ocean Music disc, Between Blue and Okay, is a re-release of an album that originally came out in 1994; the Chunk disc Missyouville, which came out in 1995, is actually the bands most recent recording.
Theres some very nice, chugging guitar work on many tracks of Missyouville. The title track is a gentle, touching ballad featuring the stellar guitar work of Cheri Knight. The first two tracks, Big Hug and My Lips Are Lonely, find Mason pounding his trademark Silvertone guitar and sounding eerily like Levon Helm when hes singing.
Hitchhiking In the Land of No Cars is a humorous rocker, and Everybodys Into Their Own is a tongue-in-cheek slow number that explores love and offers the observation Love is not crazy / Its about going blind. The instrumental Flow Producer is haunting and melodic; I nearly expected Chris Isaak to start singing at any moment. Up Among the Rafters, the most country-oriented track on the disc, again is reminiscent of Helm and The Band, and includes great mandolin playing by Tom Shea of the Scud Mountain Boys.
Not faring as well is Between Blue and Okay, which is much lighter and seems more built for AAA radio. There are a few bright spots, including Lesley-Ann, an eerie, quiet tune that appears to be an apology to an old girlfriend. The down-home sounding Since Him is a nice touch, too, with an extremely funny trumpet solo which lasts exactly two seconds. Another highlight is I Wanna Be A Holiday, on which Mason plays a very gentle, restrained, but gorgeous guitar. But other than those, the songs Between Blue and Okay are run-of-the-mill roots/mainstream fare. The record doesnt have a hint of the edge Missyouville possesses, and the lyrics are far inferior.