Carolyne Mas on Mercury, 1979-1981

Mercury SRM-1-3783
(9110 121)
Carolyne Mas Carolyne's eponymous first record album appeared in 1979 and got at least a measurable push from her record company: the inner-sleeve art, a reproduction of her 1961 kindergarten report card, made its way into at least one record-store display window I know of. Instrumentation is mostly piano and guitar, a little more trebly than the E Street fare of that era, and indeed some short-sighted individuals (including your present writer) made some utterly unnecessary Springsteen comparisons. Mercury issued "Stillsane" as a single (2-76004); it spent five weeks in the lower reaches of Billboard's Hot 100 chart, peaking at #71.
Carolyne Mas: Lead and background vocals, electric guitar, piano ("Call Me")
David Landau: Lead electric and acoustic guitar, background vocals ("Quote Goodbye Quote")
Robbie Kondor: Keyboards
Crispin Cioe: Saxophones
John Siegler: Bass
Andy Newmark: Drums
Steve Burgh: Tambourine and synthesizer
Jimmy Maelen: Percussion ("Snow", "Sittin' in the Dark")
Bernie Shanahan: Background vocals ("Sadie Says", "Call Me")

Produced by Steve Burgh for Actual Music
Engineer: Glenn Berger (Assistant: Brad Leigh)
Recorded at A&R Studios, New York
Mixed at The Power Station, New York
Engineer: Bob Clearmountain (Assistant: Raymond Willhard)
Mastered at Sterling Sound by Ted Jensen
Track listing:
  • Stillsane (Mas)
  • Sadie Says (Mas-Landau)
  • Snow (Mas)
  • It's No Secret (Mas)
  • Call Me (Crazy To) (Mas)
  • Quote Goodbye Quote (Mas-Landau)
  • Never Two Without Three (Mas)
  • Do You Believe I Love You (Mas)
  • Sittin' in the Dark (Mas-Landau)
  • Baby Please (Mas)

Mercury SRM-1-3841
(6337 105)
Hold On Contrary to usual practice, the second album rocks even harder than the first; Carolyne herself says that HOLD ON is much closer to the sound she was looking for, with live ambience and an absolute minimum of overdubbing. Some of the same musicians are on hand, configured as a band named Big Heat. Among the best tracks here are the acid-tinged "He's So Cool", a sort of Barry-Greenwich bouncer with bite (and indeed, Carolyne quotes directly from "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" therein), the punchy Western "Thomas Dunson's Revenge", straight out of Howard Hawks' Red River, and a cover of Steve Forbert's "You Cannot Win If You Do Not Play" that leaves Forbert's original in the dust.
Carolyne Mas: Vocals, electric guitar, twelve-string guitar, piano
Big Heat:
Bobby Chouinard: Drums
Crispin Cioe: Alto, tenor and baritone saxophones
Ivan Elias: Bass
Charlie Giordano: Piano, organ
David Landau: Electric guitar
Bernie Shanahan: Background vocals ("All for You")
Steve Burgh: Tambourine
George Gerdes: as "The Duke" ("Thomas Dunson's Revenge")

Produced by Steve Burgh for Actual Music
Engineers: Larry Alexander, James Farber (Assistant: Raymond Willhard)
Mix engineers: Larry Alexander, Steve Burgh
Recorded and mixed at The Power Station, New York
Track listing:
  • Hold On (Mas)
  • Stay True (Mas)
  • You Cannot Win If You Do Not Play (Forbert)
  • Running from the High Life (Mas)
  • Go Ahead and Cry Now (Mas)
  • All For You (Mas)
  • He's So Cool (Mas)
  • Remember the Night (Mas)
  • Thomas Dunson's Revenge (Mas)
  • Amsterdam (Mas)

Mercury SRM-1-4022
(6337 181)
Modern Dreams A new production team was enlisted for Carolyne's 1981 album. Phil Chapman and Jon Astley turned down the treble and ordered up some synthesizer bits here and there, though the sound is still recognizably Mas-ian. Some of her best songs are on this album: "Love Like Stone" is a wonderful R&B pastiche, "Dirty Lying", despite its title, is a rueful, funny look back at a botched relationship, and had Mark Knopfler been born a woman from New York, Dire Straits might have recorded something like "Laurielle". While Modern Dreams was also issued in Europe, it was far outsold by a live set, as we shall see.
Carolyne Mas: Lead and backing vocals, guitars, synthesizer, mandolin ("Easy Love"), percussion ("Little Baby of Mine")
Bobby Chouinard: Drums
Crispin Cioe: Saxophone, flute
Rick De Sarno: Guitar
Ivan Elias: Bass
Charlie Giordano: Keyboards
Lyon Jates: Additional guitars and percussion, backing vocals ("Laurielle", "I Waited All Night", "Easy Love")
Uptown Horns (Crispin Cioe, Robert Funk, Arno Hecht, Paul Litteral): Brass ("Love Like Stone")
Stephanie Fuller, Robin Beck: Backing vocals ("Signal for Help", "Under One Banner")
Chip Taylor: Backing vocals ("Laurielle")
J. T.: Additional piano ("It's Important")

Produced and engineered by Phil Chapman and Jon Astley
Assistant engineer: Don Wershba
Recorded and mixed at Mediasound, New York
Mastered at Masterdisk by Howie Weinberg
Track listing:
  • It's Important (Mas-Chapman)
  • Signal for Help (Robinson-Martin)
  • I Waited All Night (Mas)
  • Little Baby of Mine (Mas)
  • Dirty Lying (Mas)
  • Laurielle (Mas)
  • Easy Love (Mas)
  • What Is It About You Baby (Mas)
  • Love Like Stone (Mas)
  • Under One Banner (Nicholls)
Note: The Mercury recordings can be heard on Carolyn's YouTube channel.

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Copyright © 1997-2010 by Charles G. Hill
Cover photos by Elliot Landy
(Carolyne Mas); Peter Cunningham (Hold On); David Gahr (Modern Dreams).
Recordings described herein are copyright © 1979, 1980, 1981 by Polygram Records, Inc.
Chart data from
Billboard is copyrighted by Billboard Publications, Inc.