Cass Elliot has been gone just over 35 years now. She emerged from the Greenwich Village folk scene as a member of The Big Three and The Mugwumps to join The Mamas & The Papas. Her voice was instrumental in creating their sound. Their career would be short, 1966-1968 with a short reunion in 1971, but their impact would be lasting. John Phillips superb songwriting and production, the gorgeous harmonies, and a sound that appealed to all ages of listeners enabled the group to produce such classic songs as “Monday Monday,” “Dedicated To The One I Love,” “California Dreamin’” and “I Saw Her Again” plus sell over forty million albums. They would be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998.
Mama Cass Elliot would release several solo albums during the group’s first break-up. They were light pop that were carried by her pure vocals. They would achieve some chart success in The United States.
By late 1971 she had signed to The RCA Label, and would issue three albums for them during the next two years. She would drop the Mama from her name and just go by Cass Elliot. These albums would not fare well commercially and quickly disappear from view. Collector’s Choice Music has combined her two 1972 releases onto one disc plus added some bonus tracks. Cass Elliot and The Road Is No Place For A Lady are seeing the light of day for the first time in 39 years.
These albums show Mama Cass moving toward mainstream pop. She certainly had the voice for it as these remastered songs show. The first disc is highlighted by such songs of the day as “Disney Girls,” “Baby I’mYours,” “I’ll Be There,” “Jesus Was A Cross Maker,” and “It’s All In The Game” which is the albums best track. The songs from the second album are a little more obscure but just as enjoyable and probably a wise decision on her part at the time to stay clear of well known material. The title song by Leah Kunkel, “Say Hello” by Paul Williams, “Saturday Suit” by Jim Webb, and “Oh Babe, What Would You Say” by Hurricane Smith are the highlights.
The CD package features excellent liner notes by her personal historian Richard Campbell and her daughter Owen who directed the project.
Who knows what musical roads Cass Elliot would have traveled. She died of a heart attack July 29, 1974 after performing at two sold out shows in London. While she will be best remembered for being a part of one of the eternal pop groups in American music history, these final recording of her career feature a number of hidden gems and are well worth the time and price.