Mason Proffit “Wanted”

Wanted

Mason Proffit were an unknown country-rock band that released 5 good albums between 1969 to 1973. They originally formed out of the ashes of Sounds Unlimited, a hard edged Chicago garage band with a good sense of melody and song structure. Mason Proffit had strong elements of blue grass and folk in their sound but could also rock hard when the mood suited them. They were all excellent musicians and wrote poetic lyrics that occasionally reflected the times (war, protest, and religion).

Wanted was one of the first country-rock records, released off the Happy Tiger label (Dunwich) in 1969. Terry (guitar and vocals) and Johnny Talbot (guitar and vocals) were the foundation of Mason Proffit and often sang beautiful tenor harmonies. Wanted should really be up there with the country rock innovators but many feel that Mason Proffit lacked notoriety because their records were released off small independent labels. It’s an ambitious album to say the least and similar to latter period Byrd gems The Ballad of Easy Rider (1969) and Untitled (1970).

Two Hangmen is a folk-rock song that received lots a radio exposure back in the late 60’s and is now considered a folk-rock classic. It’s by far the most popular song on this record that has many more impressive moments throughout its 30 minutes plus running time. Some songs have sweeping orchestrations, such as the excellent country-rocker, You’ve Finally Found Your Love and a sensitive banjo ballad, Till The Sun’s Gone. Other tracks such as Voice of Change and Rectangle Picture are tuneful, quality songs that skillfully integrate political views and protest the current Vietnam War. A personal favorite is Sweet Lady Love, a pounding bayou rocker with pedal steel guitar and a great acid fuzz solo towards the end. It almost sounds like a great lost Creedence Clearwater Revival track and justifies purchasing this album alone.

For many years Wanted was unavailable but in 2006 the Water record label gave this great album a new lease on life. Mason Proffit would go on to make 4 other fine records though Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream (1971) is often quoted as their masterpiece.

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“Sweet Lady Love”

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7 Comments.

  • Thank you for introducing me to Mason Profitt.
    This is a a great album. Wonderful harmonies and ensemble playing.
    I’m going to check out the rest of their catalogue now.

  • I was at the local record store yesterday, and lo and behold there in the $1.00 bin I see this record staring right up at me! If it weren’t for your site I doubt I would have given it a second glance, but I picked it up and it really is an excellent album.

    Thanks! Nik

  • Mark

    Jason
    I find it amazing how our perception of music, our supposed individual tastes, and our sense of history itself, are filtered through the lens of popularity and the record industry in general. Not that the Byrds are not excellent (I, too, am drawn into their music and compelling images…), but your site has revealed a rich terrain that lies just outside… For this I thank you. Specifically, Mason Proffit: the compilation “Come and Gone” has been my first purchase since stumbling on your site two weeks ago (following my interest in Joe Byrd and The United States of America, Field Hippies et. al). I thoroughly enjoy their work! Yes, they are not as strong in their musicianship as, say is evidenced in Notorious Byrd Brothers or the Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark (or No Other — Gene’s masterpiece). However, they seem to be searching for something deeper than a good trip. I am impressed by their social conscience and their dedication to their work. Great vocals too! I will continue to return to therisingstorm.
    –Mark

  • Jason

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the comment, we always appreciate insightful comments here. I have heard that Come and Gone has recently come out on cd again. Mason Proffit were a band who were always on the verge of breaking thru to the masses but just didn’t have the luck or commercial appeal. It’s a shame but the music has held up much better than many acts that made the dollars and had the fame. If your into the country rock sound I recommend an album Brendan reviewed – Louie and the Lovers – Rise. A little different than Mason Proffit, Rise has a sound closer to Medacino by the Sir Douglas Quintet but it’s a good roots rock album. We will continue to review these records for quite some time – I guess till we run out of good music to listen to!

  • Ed

    Jason
    I find your description enriching. I first heard Mason Proffit in 1970 in a small town around Omaha. They were one of my foundations but almost loss only that I was never able to find the Wanted Album. I gave up my greatest hits album to a good friend in 1999, along with the rest of my record collection. I am back to over 700 CDs but until today I could not find. I always give my library a quick look before buying on line.

    I believe the Talbots went into Gospel didn’t they, I seem to remember seeing the brothers on a gospel album. Hey I have it all, blues, country rock (Outlaws), country, rock, Rap, jazz and gospel. I just love music.

    Thanks, Good site. Ed

  • Randy

    Just found a promo copy on HT for 3 bucks, looks un-played. Look forward to hearing it!!

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