Barbara “Lady Love” Mason is a popular singer/songwriter and one of the true pioneers of Philly-Soul when she entered the music scene as a teenager. Mason was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 9, 1947, to a homemaker mother and a father who worked for the Philadelphia water department.
At the age of 12 Mason was the lead singer in groups she formed after winning local talent shows. She lived next door to Bill Oxydene, a member of the Larks who in turn introduced her to Weldon Arthur McDougall III, a record label executive. McDougall then introduced Mason to Jimmy Bishop, a local deejay and founder of Artic Records. Bishop signed Mason to his Artic Record Company and released her debut single “Trouble Child” before she was 15.
In 1964 at the age of 17, Mason released “Come To Me/Girls Have Feelings Too” which was a moderate success. In 1965 18-year-old Barbara Mason recorded “Yes I’m Ready” which became her first hit, peaking at no. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart, no. 3 on US Cash Box Top 100, and no. 5 US Billboard Hot 100. It even ranked at no. 12 on the Canadian Top Singles chart.
In October 1965 Mason’s second hit of the year, “Sad, Sad Girl,” peaked at no. 12 on the Billboard’s chart followed in 1966 by “I Need Love” which peaked at no. 5. Her 1968 hit, “Oh, How It Hurts” peaked at no. 11 on the Billboard’s chart. In 1970 she released “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head/If You Knew Him Like I Do” which peaked at no. 38 on the Billboard pop chart.
Mason began recording with Buddah Records in 1972 and later that year released “Bed and Board” which peaked at no. 24 on the Billboard’s chart, followed in 1973 by “Give Me Your Love” which peaked at no. 9 and “Child of Tomorrow” which peaked at no. 79 on the Billboard R&B chart. Mason’s two 1975 releases, “From His Woman to You” and “Shackin Up” peaked at no. 3 and no. 9 respectively on the Billboard R&B chart. Three years later, “I Am Your Woman, She is Your Wife peaked at no. 14.
In 1980 Mason signed with WMOT Records (We Men of Talent) and the following year released two singles “I Never Love the Same Way Twice” and “She’s Got Papers, But I Got The Man.” It was clear however that her own success was waning. She formed her own publishing company, Marc James Music, named after her son, but shortly afterwards left the record industry.
In 1992 producer Alan Beck invited Mason to sing at the famous Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Following that stellar performance Mason began to do periodic performances. In 2007 she released “Feeling Blue” and two years later, “The Soft Touch,” both on the Sunswept Music label. After that point she retired from recording and performing.