Picks and Pans Review: Damaris
Carbaugh grew up in the Bronx, the daughter of evangelist parents. She got into the singing business by doing commercial jingles ranging from beer to the New York State Lottery. Her own musical tastes run to Barbra Streisand, Michael McDonald and Dionne Warwick. In fact, Carbaugh sounds like a combination of Warwick, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Wilson and a neophyte opera singer; if there's anything displeasing about this debut album, it's an uncertainty of style and approach. Carbaugh won the $200,000 to make this album in a contest sponsored by the American Song Festival, which usually searches only for songwriters. Jingle maven Deborah McDuffie, who produced the album, gave Carbaugh a middle-of-the-road sound with an occasional excess of strings and a lot of vocal versatility. To their credit, McDuffie and Carbaugh avoided any semblance of disco-funk sounds—a temptation for any black vocalist—in favor of ballads such as Patrick Moten's pensive What About My Love? and subtly charged up-tempo numbers like McDuffie's Hooray for Love. Carbaugh has clearly earned herself more attention. (Columbia)
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