GOING FROM BACH TO ROCK
MUSIC/BY BOB HERBERT
"Carolyne Mas has come out of the closet, which is a wonderful thing for rock fans. The diminutive singer with the powerful voice and supercharged style was once so paranoid about her love for rock 'n' roll that she smuggled records into her Long Island home and kept them hidden.
'I was a closet rock freak,' she laughs. 'My parents wanted me to be an opera singer and my entire musical background was classical. But I loved rock.'
She has been dsecribed as a 'female Bruce Springsteen' because of the colossal amount of energy she expends during a performance. Her appearance at The Other End in Greenwich Village last month was such a rambunctious success that the management has asked her back for a special two-night engagement, Feb. 20 and 21.
There will be a difference this month, however. In January, Carolyne was virtually unknown and received second billing behind bluesmen Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. This time she's the headliner.
STAY FOR SECONDS
Paul Colby, manager of The Other End, noted how customers were lined up in the January cold, waiting for tickets to see Terry and McGhee. Once they got inside, they were captivated by Carolyne, and by the time the show was over, all kinds of people were asking to stay so they could see her again.
'I've been around here for many years,' said Colby, 'and I've spotted a lot of the good ones when they were real young and still unknown--peope like Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young. When you first hear them perform, you feel something. You feel the excitement. You know this person is going to make it. That's the way it is with Carolyne.'
It almost wasn't that way at all. In the summer of 1974, Carolyne was well on her way toward a career in classical music. She was 18, had been accepted at Juilliard and had already spent a year with the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
But then she got a letter from a friend inviting her to perform at a folk rock festival in Pennsylvania. Good-bye Juilliard.
END OF CLASSICS
'I had so much fun down there,' said Carolyne, 'I just came back, packed my stuff and left.' She severed her ties to classical music and devoted herself to the perilous road of rock 'n' roll.
She played all over Pennsylvania, for coal miners, college students, the United Farm Workers, pizza parlor customers--whoever would listen. From Pennsylvania she moved out to California, where she got to play with a lot of big-time rock professionals at the famous Troubadour in Los Angeles.
'That was a blast,' she said. 'They'd have Joe Cocker's drummer or Donovan's bass player. I learned a lot out there.'
Now she's back home, living in Greenwich Village and playing at places like the Ballroom and Kenny's Castaways, and The Other End. At each place, the audience reaction is the same: intense.
'I'm not really surprised by it,' Carolyne said. 'It happens when I play. It's something that I've always been able to do.'
Paul Colby's not surprised either. 'There's a lot of good acts around,' he said. 'But she's better.'"
Bob Herbert - DAILY NEWS (2-3-79)