Carolyne Mas' first album shows her wearing a top hat, a white scarf and a dark jacket. All very prim and proper. Not many prospective record buyers noticed the torn buttonhole down near the bottom of the photo or the fact that the jacket was about three sizes too large.

'It looks like I was wearing a suit,' Miss Mas said in a telephone interview from her home in New York. 'I wasn't wearing a suit. That picture was taken in my bathroom, and I was wearing unbelievably ripped-up pants. That all got cropped out.'

But the damage was done. Billboard magazine talked about Carolyne Mas, at 24, trying to break out of her 'cabaret image.' It didn't help that she had been accepted to The Juilliard School in New York or that she had exercised her powerful voice on songs by Gilbert and Sullivan long before Linda Ronstadt got the idea.

Her second album, 'Hold On,' corrected that image problem. The cover shows her singing wild-eyed and full-volume. On the inner sleeve she looks like she's trying to drive her guitar into the ground. Most importantly, the record is full of energy, pure rock 'n' roll.

'We recorded 'Hold On' in six days,' she said. 'David Landau, my guitarist, who is no longer with me, was set to go on tour with Warren Zevon, but we could not get the studio any earlier than a certain date. We had to do it. It was great because we could do it. We had been doing these songs live, so we just came into the studio and played them live. There was little overdubbing.

'Sometimes pressure can be a very good thing. I realized it's no big deal making a record. On my first one, I was too concerned with technical details, on making it perfect. Now, I know a lot can be done with spontaneity, even errors.'

Miss Mas just completed a tour of the Midwest and is returning to North Carolina for the second time this year. Among her stops will be The Attic in Greensboro Sept. 10, which will be videotaped as a pilot for a possible series of rock club concerts on cable television.

Ironically, video rock frightens her, because it may become an excuse for record companies to end the already diminished practice of supporting performance tours.

'With the growth of technology,' she said, 'a lot of people are only concerned with making records and never get around to performing live. It's great to make records, I mean, people actually pay you to go into the studio, but the days for tour support seem to be numbered. With videodiscs, people are saying that live performances will be extinct.'

Which will be a sad day for the woman whom Billboard describes as 'explosive as a 20-megaton bomb' onstage.

'We don't really stop,' Miss Mas said. 'Funny thing about working all the time. When you take a break, after two days you get incredibly bored. You just have to go back.'

She never bothered going to Juilliard, by the way.”