About Barbara Mason
Prolific multi-instrumentalist Barbara Mason is among the purest vocal expressionist to happen upon the ever-changing entertaining spectrum. Possessing photogenic charm and a lucidly enchanting style, Barbara’s storybook rise to stardom is a fascinating journey from pigtails and bobby socks to high-heels and high fashion.
The history of Barbara begins with the her on August 9, 1947 in the City of Philadelphia. Her precocious musical curiosity peaked at the age of 12 as she began to experiment with piano and composing songs. Thereafter, she began forming groups with neighborhood friends, and participating in local talent shows. Barbara’s passion for music only increased and she knew any gained experience would prove to be invaluable.
William Arthur McDougal, III, a member of the Philadelphia soul group, The Larks, saw something special in Barbara and offered her a chance to to perform at the B and R Night Club in Philadelphia. Barbara took the chance that evening and delivered her rendition of “ Moon River” and received a standing ovation for her performance. McDougal thus offered her the opportunity to record.
Barbara became quite proficient at keyboards and her lyrical finesse blossomed. It was obvious that she was destined to to become not only the creator of the “Philly sound” , but the inspiration for one of the greatest love ballads ever produced, “Yes I’m Ready.”
McDougal then introduced Barbara to local dj/promoter, Jimmy Bishop. Bishop would later finance her debut single, “Troubled Child”. Following Troubled Child, she was signed to Crusader Records. In 1964, at the age of seventeen, Barbara cut her first hit single, “ Girls Having Feelings Too” under Artic Records. However, it was her third Artic single that Barbara will always be remembered for, “Yes I’m Ready” issued in May 1965. The single touched down at the #3 spot on the R & B charts and rose to #5 on the competitive pop charts. “Yes I’m Ready” is an evocative , unyielding tune with potent lyrics and a flowing orchestral movement of lavish string arrangements. It exposes the innocence of the young, but accentuates their eagerness to learn to learn and be loved by a special one. This electrifying mid-60’s hit song ignited the airways with such impact that rhymthic reverberations of epic proportions are still resounding today, eclipsing all other versions. The song remained on the charts for 35 weeks, jockeying with artists such as, The Beatles, and the Rolling Stones for number one. Joe Tarisa, owner of Philadelphia’s legendary Sigma Studios credits “Yes I’m Ready” , as the song that originated the “Philly Sound.”
In 1966, her next release, “Sad, Sad Girl”, soared to #12 and to top 20 on the pop charts. In 1967 after two more hits with, “Oh, How It Hurts” and “I Need Love”, Barbara left Artic Records in 1970 and joined the music label, National General. Through this label, Barbara released her her first album, “ Raindrops Keeps Falling on My Head.” National General closed its doors, and in 1971, she then joined music innovator, Neil Bogart’s Buddah Records.
At Buddah Records, Barbara collaborated with icon, Curtis Mayfield who produced two songs for Barbara’s debut album, “Give Me Your Love.” The two singles, “Give Me Your Love” and “You Can Be With the One You Don’t Love” became top 10 R&B hits.
“Transition” in 1974 and 1975’s, “Love’ s the Thing” which contained the smash hit, “ From His Woman To You,” a response to Shirley Brown’s, “Woman To Woman.” All three were top 20 R&B album releases. During this 70’s period, she found time to captivate us with her sultry vocals on the sound tracks “Sheba Baby” starring Pam Grier and “Gordon’s War” starring Paul Winfield, two black film classics. She also garnered the 1972 NATRA award for best female vocalist.
In 1977, Barbara signed with Mr. Mayfield’s Curtom Records where she released the well received, “Locked In This Position,” a collaboration with Philly Soul producer, Bunny Sigler. In 1978, Barbara signed with pioneer dance music label, Prelude Records where she released the album, “I Am You Woman, She Is Your Wife.” Harry Casey, a.k.a., K.C. of the Sunshine Band and pop vocalist, Teri Desario recorded a duet version topping the Pop charts reached at #1.
Through our the seventies, Barbara appeared regularly on many national variety and talk shows such as; Soul Train, The Mike Douglas Show, Don Kirschner’s Midnight Special, and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. She also hosted her own nationally syndicated program, “Lady Love” -Day and Night which featured some of Soul music’s all- time legends; The Four Tops, The Spinners, The O’Jays, The Temptations, and Billy Paul, filmed live in Philadelphia’s Japanese Pagoda.
In the early 1980’s, Barbara returned to her roots in Philadelphia and signed with WMOT Records which produced the LP, “A Piece Of My Life”, a chronicle of her career to that period and the smash, “She’s Got Papers (But I Got The Man).” The song was an answer to Richard “Dimples” Field’s hit, “She Got Papers On Me.” In 1984, Barbara scored success with the huge international club favorite, “Another Man” and released the LP “Tied Up” on the West End label. The song remains popular today on many Club DJ play lists throughout the world.
Ms. Mason throughout the 1990’s toured with various Classic Soul artists and she remains extremely active on the touring circuit. In 2002, she appeared in the widely viewed PBS special, “Rhythm, Love and Soul” hosted by Aretha Franklin and Lou Rawls. Barbara appeared in Memphis, TN in December 2004, as part of the Dave Guest Holiday Extravaganza where she appeared with music legends; Martha Reeves, Kim Weston, Mel Carter, Dionne Warwick, Jerry Butler, Billy Paul, Archie Bell, Gene Chandler, Carla Thomas, Cand Stanton, Freda Payne, The Box Tops, and the Doobie Brothers. Barbara has also toured and shared the stage with B.B. King, Bobby Blues Bland, Art Blakey, Al Green, The Manhattans, Blue Magic, Jackie Wilson, The Impressions, Peaches and Herb, Al Wilson, The Delphonics, The Intruders, The Isley Brothers, The Turtles, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Staples Singers, Bloodstone, The Stylistics, The Dells, Miles Davis, Four Tops, Isaac Hayes, Zapp, The Moments, Gladys Knight and Pips, Gloria Lynn, Tyrone Davis, Johnny Taylor, Fontella Bass, The Futures, and countless other major recording artists in a career spanning five decades.
To date, Barbara’s classic hit, “Yes I’m Ready” has been awarded for having over 3 million performances air play, by The Performing Rights Organizations, BMI. Barbara also adds to her credit a commercial from Lever Brothers, for Caress Soap, which was a sponsor for the 1992 Grammy Awards using once again her al-time famous, “Yes I’m Ready.”
Barbara has twelve album releases. Her songs have been recorded, covered and sampled by an array of artists from, R&B and Hip Hop to the Pop and Jazz genres. Her music can be found on various Classic Soul and R&B compilations, as well as soundtracks for the the motion picture, “Auto Focus”, and the acclaimed Indie film, “Jesus’ Son.” She has founded her own recording label and music production company, Lioness Recordings and Mason Media Entertainment. In 2006, Ms. Mason graciously accepted the prestigious Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, thus cementing her place as a true living legend of Rhythm and Blues music.
Ms. Mason, Philadelphia’s First Lady of Soul continues to be a true music legend. She has performed her music nationally and internationally. From 2005 until present, Ms. Mason has traveled to Washington D.C. to perform her music in various venues. In 2007, she performed at The Arco Arena in Phoenix, Arizona and at the The Excalibur in Las Vegas , Nevada. She has also performed in Staten Island, New York at The Annual Mahoney Park Event. She frequently travels to California to perform at venues located in Palm Springs, Los Angels, and San Diego. She has also appeared at the The Gibson Theatre in San Jose, California and The Warner Theatre in San Pedro, California. She has toured and performed at the Continental Clubs in New Orleans, Louisiana and Memphis, Tennessee. In September 2008, Ms. Mason traveled to London, England to perform at The Jazz Café Club. Once again, Ms. Mason took London by storm, at the Indigo 2. Most might say she had an extraordinarily, fabulous performance.
Currently, Barbara performed for a SOLD OUT SHOW at the Alpine Village in Torrence, California where she celebrated 50 years in the music industry, and she also performed a SOLD OUT SHOW in Bilbao, Spain with a magnificent solo performance. While performing a Head Lining show, Barbara had yet another SOLD OUT SHOW in Long Beach, CA at the Queen Mary. The Queen Mary over sold tickets and the result ended in the crowd becoming frustrated and out of control due to not be able to accommodate seating beyond capacity. This was the first time in Barbara’s 30 years in the music business that this had ever happened. Needless to say, Barbara deeply appreciated the idea of how so many people appreciated her music. She definitely felt the love in Long, CA that evening during her performance.
|Sheba Baby||Soundtrack-Starred Pam Grier|
|Gordon’s War||Soundtrack- Starred Paul Winfield|
|Jesus’ Son||Feauring-“Yes I’m Ready”|
|Auto Focus||Feauring-“Yes I’m Ready”|
|Lady Love Day and Night||
Featured-Four Tops, O’Jays, Spinners, and Temptations
|People Are Talking||Filmed in 1973|
|ABC Television Series-Better Off Ted||Featuring-“Yes I’m Ready”|