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Come and Gone

Mason Proffit

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Album Review

After Mason Proffit signed to Warner Bros. Records, the label reissued the band's first two albums, Wanted! Mason Proffit and Movin' Toward Happiness, as a double-LP set under the title Come & Gone. "Hear the voice of change," commanded the Talbot brothers at the opening, and the song, "Voice of Change," was both a political statement calling out to President Nixon's "silent majority" and a statement of purpose from the band. Like their peers on the West Coast, the Midwestern Talbots attempted to merge the musical and social concerns of the folk-rock movement with elements of traditional country. But they were a bit more Western-styled than the Flying Burrito Brothers and less of a good-time outfit than Poco. The music took off from folk and country sources into progressive rock, the pedal steel guitar and fiddle augmented here and there by strings, while the brothers' tenor harmonies gave the group a distinctive vocal sound. Mason Proffit wanted to change musical tastes and political beliefs at the same time. They lamented the plight of Native Americans in "Flying Arrow," and while they could pick a mean hoedown on "Old Joe Clark," their version somehow managed to express antiwar sentiments. They recognized the connection between the cowboy myth and the independent spirit of truck drivers, and they mixed it all in with a sort of primitive Christianity. In this, they were very much of their time. Mike Cameron's "Good Friend of Mary's" fit into the Jesus cult that identified the Christian savior as a proto-hippie, preaching peace and love while wandering the country in long hair and sandals, and the Talbots sang it with their warm tenor harmony in complete sincerity. Such music wasn't going to make it far out of the early '70s, but in 1973 it remained appealing.

Customer Reviews

Wanted, not Two Hangmen

Their first album was titled "Wanted" not "Two Hangmen." I think you can buy it separately from iTunes for a little less. Frankly, I never liked the second album anywhere near as well, either (I'm responding to the first review, above) but the difference in price for the whole second album, _Movin' Towards Happiness_ isn't much, $5 or so. And it has some nice things. Also on the first album are songs like the stunning "Buffalo" about the Native American and his displacement by our majority culture. And the beautiful "Till the Sun's Gone" and great weird Hippie-Christian-Country-Rock songs like "Voice of Change" and "Walk on Down the Road." Looking at the second LP songs, without relistening to snippets, the only song I can really remember is "Good Friend of Mary's" but I think I liked it a lot better than that might imply. Of course, I still have my LPs--both the originals on ??Wooden Nickel? (was that their original label?) and the _Come & Gone_ reissue on Warner Bros. I really love the _Bareback Rider_ album, too, especially the quite songs like "Sail Away" (which I think were probably mostly written & sung by John Michael Talbot, rather than his brother, Terry, who was more the front man. After Mason Proffit, of course, John became a huge star in Christian music as a kind of Catholic ??monk? who recorded lots of LPs and may still be going. I think Terry's career was more traditional and he's revived the band more recently. My favorite album may have actually been the rockiest, which isn't available here on iTunes, except perhaps for a track or two on the EP: _Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream_ and spawned a minor hit single, "Hope," at least it was top 40 in this MN market.

A St. Louis Classic

If you lived in St. Louis in the 70s and 80s, you knew Two Hangmen VERY well. Before the national radio chains homogenized and destroyed rock stations, St. Louisans had a very idiosyncratic taste in music during this period, where songs almost unheard anywhere else were played several times a day on all the rock stations. These songs included No Time to Lose by Nantucket Sleigh Ride, Lake Shore Drive by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, Under the Boulevard Lights by Chuck Francour, Never Been Any Reason by Head get the picture. Anyway, Mason Proffit's Two Hangmen was at the top of the airplay list on KSHE and KWK like it was Top 40, so it is a MUST HAVE for me. Ah, the fond memories!

This album is a must have if you are an Eagles or Doobies fan

If you haven't heard of these guys, you didn't grow up in Chicagoland. "Voice of Change" is the anthem for the late 60s. Two Hangmen was so controversial, it was banned by the FCC. It was one of the number one cover songs in Chicago for bands and most did it poorly compared to the original, but the words..... the way it was constructed.... Hotel California comes to mind. I have this on vinyl. I converted it to MP3 but it sounds like vinyl. I think I'll go ahead and spend $10 more than when I bought it originally and upgrade my collection!


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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