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Bare Back Rider

Mason Proffit

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Album Review

Mason Proffit's second major-label album and fifth album overall was similar in construction to its predecessor, Rockfish Crossing. Once again, the Talbot brothers and their supporting players turned in a combination of effective originals that touched on subjects from romance to politics with some enthusiastically performed country covers, notably a version of "Setting the Woods on Fire" that sounded like a deliberate attempt to impersonate Jerry Lee Lewis and featured a furious kazoo solo. The political element came out in "Black September/Belfast," with its reflections on Northern Ireland and Vietnam. You'd have thought that music this impressive could get a hearing, but Mason Proffit appeared at a time when music fans were more polarized than musicians, not only by music but by politics and culture. Despite the band's evident affection for traditional country music, their left-wing political stance and status as hippie rock musicians meant they could never be accepted in Nashville. And their music was too overtly country for them to score a pop hit. Thus, they were doomed to appeal only on the country-rock-oriented Los Angeles club scene and to some music critics. Bare Back Rider did a little better than Rockfish Crossing had, even scraping into the charts for a couple of weeks, but that wasn't the level of success a major label expected, and Mason Proffit was forced to hang up its spurs.

Biography

Formed: 1969 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Mason Proffit is widely considered by obscure rock aficionados to be one of the best bands who never made it to the big time. Although they are mostly overlooked today, along with the Byrds, Michael...
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Bare Back Rider, Mason Proffit
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