Mason Proffit was a folk/country/rock group formed in the late 1960s by the Talbot Brothers -- John And Terry Talbot -- who were the driving force behind the '60s band until it broke up in 1973. They were notable pioneers of the 1970's country-rock sound, and also of what became known as "Christian rock." Like their Midwestern contemporaries, Brewer & Shipley, the Talbots often explored spiritual themes, and appealed to an audience of what was once known as "Jesus freaks," which is to say, sex-and-drugs-friendly hippies of an evangelical bent. After disbanding Mason Proffit, the Talbots each went "solo" (though they frequently worked together) and recorded quite a few Christian rock and contemporary Christian albums. John Michael Talbot became an ardent Catholic, founding his own monastary, while Terry Talbot eventually re-formed the Mason Proffit band, and continues to record under that name from time to time. Here's a quick look at their work...
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Mason Proffit "Wanted" (Happy Tiger, 1969)
Mason Proffit "Movin' Toward Happiness" (Happy Tiger, 1971)
Mason Proffit "Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream" (Ampex, 1971)
An archetypal hippie-rock/Jesus freak album, with gooey, sometimes goofy lyrics and high ideals for man and mankind. The title track was a cover of Ed McCurdy's anthemic folk classic, while the album ends with a track called "Country," a mellow country-rock rendition of "My Country, 'Tis Of Thee," a patriotic lyric that dovetails nicely with the band's spiritual aspirations and general grooviness and optimism. Plus, there's a steady stream of sweet pedal steel running through every song... and I dig it!
Mason Proffit "Rockfish Crossing" (Warner, 1972)
Mason Proffit "Bare Back Rider" (Warner, 1973)
Mason Proffit "Come And Gone" (Warner, 1974)
This double-LP was actually a reissue of their first two albums on the Happy Tiger label... The Talbot Brothers had all but flown the coop at this point, but it was still a nice way for fans to hear some "new" music from the group, before they rode off into the sunset...
The Talbot Brothers "The Talbot Brothers" (Warner Brothers, 1974) (LP)
(Produced by Bill Halverson)
Beautifully produced, classic-sounding '70s country-rock, with an explicit religious overtone. The Talbot Brothers -- John And Terry -- were the driving force behind the '60s band Mason Proffit, where they had explored some spiritual themes, but here they reveal themselves as what was once known as "Jesus freaks," which is to say, sex-and-drugs-friendly hippies of an evangelical bent. The siblings pioneered what became known as "Christian rock," with an impressive lineup of top talent behind them: in addition to a bunch of rock-scene studio cats such as David Lindley, Leland Sklar and Russ Kunkel, twangsters like Josh Graves, Randy Scruggs and Sneaky Pete Kleinow add to the country vibe. Most of the songs are Talbot originals, although Little Feat's Lowell George contributes the album's opening track, "Easy To Slip," and outlaw country songwriter Lee Clayton contributes the slinky, swampy "Carnival Balloon." It's a very nice, very '70s record, one that fans of Brewer & Shipley would appreciate -- although you gotta be willing to hang with the Christian messaging, because it is inescapably present. One track, the gear-jamming "Moline Truckin'," has a raunchier, more secular feel -- a fun song that apparently that track got left off the later reissue LP, which was retitled Reborn. Go figure.
The Talbot Brothers/Various Artists "Firewind: A Contemporary Dramatic Musical" (Sparrow, 1976) (LP)
After making a go of it as "the Talbot Brothers," the Talbot brothers went both indie and more explicitly religious, recording a bazillion Christian pop records under separate names, though often working on each others' albums. I'm not gonna list them all here, but they're out there if you want them. John later used his full name, John Michael Talbot on his records.
Terry Talbot "No Longer Alone" (Sparrow, 1976) (LP)
Mason Proffit "...Is Back!" (Mason Proffit, 2003)
Mason Proffit "Still Hangin' " (Mason Proffit, 2005)
Hick Music Index