MASON DARING AND JEANIE STAHL
[Philo PH 1070]
Not all small, independent record labels produce albums which are most easily categorized as pogo clones, numbers one through infinity. One such alternative "indie" is Philo Records, and Mason Daring and Jeanie Stahl's Heartbreak is a fine example of its catalogue.
Heartbreak is stylistically eclectic (ballads, easy jazz, country, soft rock) and at its best when Stahl is up front on vocals (which is most of the time). She has synthesized the better aspects of Linda Ronstadt's, Joni Mitchell's and Rickie Lee Jones' vocal styles in arriving at her own: One with variety, depth and precision. Her forte seems to be easy jazz, where she excels on songs like "Paint the Town Blue" (which could easily become a standard), "Nevertheless" and her own composition, "Mr. Cool" (about the hippest 14 year old on the block).
Low points on the album come, oddly enough, when the man with top billing (Daring) is leading the way. His songwriting is good enough (the aforementioned "Blue" and the beautiful "Cinderella"), but his vocals drone and his Eagles-isms circa 1974 on "He and She" (complete with Santa Ana winds and deserts) tend toward dated boredom.
Heartbreak is an album not without flaws, most of which could be corrected next time if Jeanie Stahl's name (and voice) come first. (If unavailable locally, send $7 per album ordered to Philo Records, The Barn, N. Ferrisburg, VT 05473.)
- Steve Hurlburt