Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mason Proffit: Hope

For our Wooden Music Wednesday, I turn again to another band that had a cult-like following: Mason Proffit. I have spoken at length concerning this folk-country-rock band out of Chicago that spawned the Talbot Brothers: Terry and John Michael. By the time the band signed to their only major record label, Warner Brothers, the band was heading towards its natural end. Since the The Byrds, Poco, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Eagles had already blazed this musical trail, Mason Proffit would appear as imitators when in reality they had been among the innovators.

Mason Proffit was not plagued by their musical abilities, their song crafting, or the production of their recordings. Their downfall was signing to small record labels with even smaller budgets. Their first two albums were released on Happy Tiger Records – the musical arm of the Flying Tiger Freight Company.

The first album, “Wanted,” failed to take off; although, it is quite good. “Movin’ Toward Happiness,” their second, was their highest charting album at #177. Their third, “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” saw the bands movement to the ill fated Ampex Records.

While Mason Proffit had a Midwestern following, they were never able to move from a regional band to a national act. Although they released three albums for Warner Brothers and the Talbot Brothers’ first album fulfilled the band’s contract of four albums with the label, most people remember and clamor for the albums on Happy Tiger and Ampex.

At least one single was released from the “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.” It is a perfect prelude of the positive music recorded by the Talbot Brothers as contemporary Christian music artists. Released in 1971, “Hope” failed to chart; however, the album was their second most popular release charting at #186.

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