Daily News photo/JOHN EBY Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason left Dowagiac “Feelin’ Alright” Saturday night with his wedding album.

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Dave Mason jams for Dogwood

Published 4:27pm Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason left Dowagiac “Feelin’ Alright” Saturday night with his wedding album.

Something old. He wrote his signature song at 19 on an island in Greece. “We could probably pick it up really cheap right now,” Mason said. “It has like 45 cover versions and just keeps going in movies and all kinds of stuff. You probably best know it done by Joe Cocker — but Dave wrote it.”

Mason made his way through 45 years of music, from Traffic’s first album in 1967 for “Dear Mr. Fantasy” to “Only You Know And I Know” with Delaney and Bonnie, “Let It Go, Let It Flow,” “40,000 Headmen” and his 1977 hit, “We Just Disagree.”

Something new. “Good to You.”

Something borrowed. His encore at the middle school Performing Arts Center, Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Mason played on Jimi Hendrix’s  version on Electric Ladyland.

Something blues. “Good to You.”

Dressed all in black in loose pants and shirt except for sensible white shoes, Mason mopped his shaved skull and wiped his glasses with white towels between each song and hydrated constantly with bottled water and orange Gatorade.

Mason, who turned 66 May 10, kept patter to a minimum, letting his guitars talk for him. The guitar he taught himself to play at 15 is very articulate.

“It’s good to be here,” Mason said. “It’s good to be anywhere.”

To a reference to January 1970, a woman calls out, “I remember,” to which the musician quips, “If you can remember, you weren’t there.”

Mason only became verbally animated talking about veterans, introducing his second public performance of “Thank You” with guitarist Johnne Sambataro.

Though the ballad notes, “War is never the answer,” “This is one of the things they’re fighting for, my right to do this,” Mason said.

“The media has suddenly become enamored about vets. Why it’s taken them so damn long, I have no idea. Four and a half years ago, a couple of friends and myself started a charity for vets. We are the only ones who do this. We have no overhead. We’re just a small mom-and-pop organization so 98 percent of everything we get goes to helping vets start their own businesses. Unlike Washington, we have a works program that actually works.

“Our philosophy is we’re not into giving handouts. We are into giving hand ups. That’s what we believe in and that’s what made America great. We started Work Vessels for Veterans with a boat because the founder was a lobster fisherman in Mystic, Conn. There’s a link on my website, davemasonmusic.com. We have a farm in Jacksonville, Fla., where they’re growing blueberries and raising tilapia. They hire vets and train people.”

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