Picks and Pans Review: State of the Heart

updated 07/03/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/03/1989 01:00AM

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Every once in a while, Carpenter seems a bit like a tomato without quite enough salt. Most of the time, though, she's so lively a singer and songwriter, blending touches of country, blues, rock and folk, it's easy to overlook the tanginess deficit.

This is her second album and like her first includes a lot of storytelling songs, echoes of a life spent on highways and in not-so-swanky drinking establishments, and some tempered views on romance.

The clear high point is "Read My Lips," which for Carpenter has a relatively lovey-dovey theme: "Well, you could give it up/ Or you could just give in/ Now it's a choice between the two/ But you weren't born no yesterday baby/ I wasn't born a fool." "How Do," about a lady propositioning a cowboy type in a bar, has a few nice twists too. "Slow Country Dance" sets a pleasant, waltzy scene.

Carpenter rounded up an energetic band, including co-producer John Jennings, and seems to have a keep-it-all-in-perspective approach. The company she created to handle publishing rights to her songs, for example, is called GETA-REALJOB Music. (Columbia)

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