There was a reason the Mamas & the Papas were such a popular band, racking up ten Top 40 hits in two and a half years, The Road Is No Place For a Lady is evidence of just how important Mama Casswas to the hit mix. This album is an exquisite high, from the opening piano of the Albert Hammondclassic that almost made it twice -- "(If You're Gonna) Break Another Heart" to the slick adult pop ofWebb's "Saturday Suit." With legendary session guitarist Cris Spedding providing little touches of wah-wah on "Walk Beside Me" to Elton John percussion guy Ray Cooper adding his magic, this album is a work of art. Just play it next to David Cassidy's failed The Higher They Climb to feel the difference.Cass exudes real power from within, and the superb arrangements by Larry Fallon and Del Newmanare what give Lewis Merenstein's production real depth. This is Elliot going deeper into her Judy Garland phase. Great album cover by photographer Ave Pildas has Elliot's living room spread out on railroad tracks, an owl in a glass case reflected in the mirror, Elliot's only company for afternoon tea. The final track on side one, "All My Life" contains all the loneliness depicted on the front and back cover photos. The tragedy of this album is that "(If You're Gonna) Break Another Heart" didn't destroy the charts upon release. It is total pop sophistication, Mama Cass' voice soaring over the strings, piano, and backing that is a Phil Spector hit without the wall of sound. Really brilliant pop to be studied and cherished. Her solo hits coming in 1969, this 1972 recording is the singer just two years before her passing. Say Hello has real pop magic that Bette Midler fully understood on her 1972 debut. This album is almost like the passing of the torch. "Who in the World is exquisite, a real departure from the rest of the album; beautiful Larry Fallon strings help Elliot convey the sentiment. Fallon hit with "Brandy" by Looking Glass that same year, and Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller had Fallon add strings to an unreleased version of "Wild Horses." That so many talents in their prime help Mama Cassdeliver on each song, the sweeping chorus of "Love Was Not a Word," the tremendous early version ofPink Floyd producer Hurricane Smith's "Oh Babe, What Would You Say" who would hit with it just a few months later, to the title track, emphasizes what a musical time the early '70s were, and how respected Mama Cass was in musical circles. An uplifting album by an underrated star. AMG.