Mason Proffit

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Mason Proffit
OriginChampaign, Illinois, U.S.
GenresFolk rock, country rock
Years active1969–1973
LabelsHappy Tiger, Ampex, Warner
Past members

Mason Proffit was an American country rock band from Champaign, Illinois, that released five albums between 1969 and 1973.[2] They are known for their song "Two Hangmen", which garnered a significant amount of Album Oriented Rock airplay.


John Michael Talbot at Coe College in 1971

Brothers Terry Talbot and John Michael Talbot played together in several local bands around Indianapolis, Indiana and later in Chicago. After their group Sounds Unlimited disbanded, in 1969 they formed Mason Proffit with a focus on the emerging blend of folk, country and rock that would come to be called country rock.[3]

"Two Hangmen", written by the older brother, Terry, and released on their first album, Wanted, became a regional hit. This helped their second album, Movin' Toward Happiness, chart on the Billboard 200. Wanted was nominated for Best Album Cover for the 1971 Grammy Awards mistakenly as being entitled Mason Proffit.[4] In 1972, the band signed to Warner Bros. Records and continued touring, performing up to 300 concerts each year. Some of Mason Proffit's opening acts during that time included The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, John Denver, and Mac Davis. Their country-rock-bluegrass style was innovative yet difficult to place in a marketing genre. Their live shows were high-energy. And once, while jamming with The Scruggs Review, John Hartford and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Earl Scruggs called John Talbot "the best banjo player I've ever heard."[This quote needs a citation] The Talbot brothers opened for the Eagles on a national tour.

Rock poster, circa 1971

Warner Bros. re-released their first two albums as a compilation, Come & Gone which garnered a Grammy for best album package in 1974.[5] It also released Rockfish Crossing and Bareback Rider. Mason Proffit disbanded when brothers John and Terry Talbot left the band and began performing as a duo. Warners then released The Talbot Bros., the first of three duo albums with the remaining two released on Sparrow Records. Sparrow eventually re-issued the first Talbot Bros. album, minus the track "Moline Truckin". After the break-up, the Talbot brothers began to record contemporary Christian music on Sparrow Records, earning themselves a Grammy Award nomination and several Dove Award nominations.


Year Title Chart Position Label Number
1969 Wanted Happy Tiger 1009
1971 Movin' Toward Happiness 177 1019
Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream 186 Ampex A-10138
1972 Rockfish Crossing 211 Warner Bros. BS-2657
1973 Bare Back Rider 198 BS-2704
1973 Come & Gone * 203 2S-2746
2005 Still Hangin' Mason Proffit

* double album reissue of Wanted and Movin' Toward Happiness


  1. ^ "NME Artists - Mason Proffit". Muze UK LTD. 2008. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
  2. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Mason Proffit Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  3. ^ Krakow, Steve (October 23, 2008). "Mason Proffit". The Secret History of Chicago Music (Interview). Interviewed by Nick Digilio. Chicago, Illinois: WGN. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  4. ^ "Grammy Awards 1971". Awards & Shows. Awards and Shows. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  5. ^ "17th Annual Grammy Awards (1974) Winner". Recording Academy Grammy Awards. Recording Academy. Retrieved January 2, 2020.