August 13, 1984 12:00 PM

Karen Kamon

The cynical among us may want to take this tale with a grain of salt—maybe 15 or 20 pounds of it, actually: Kamon, 28, says she got signed to make her first album on the basis of an over-the-transom demo tape she sent to producer Phil Ramone, who records the work of such people as Paul Simon and Billy Joel. The fishy part is that Kamon is Mrs. Ramone; she is supposed to have put the name “Stephanie Boyle” on the demo tape, and Ramone is supposed to have not recognized her voice but to have said, “Gosh! This girl’s got it!” or whatever record producers blurt out at inspired moments. Anyway, the resultant LP is a felicitous bit of fluff, reminiscent of ’60s girl-group material. The daughter of Japanese-American parents who both worked for the federal government in Washington, D.C., Kamon has a sweet, if slightly shrill, voice that is embellished, and at times overembellished, by all sorts of echoes, overdubbing and background chorusing. The record includes a spiffy version of the foolproof Da Doo Ron Ron, a hit in 1963 for the Crystals and in 1977 for Shaun Cassidy. There are also the bouncy Don’t Just Stand There (Do Something to Me) and the more sugary title tune. Michael (Maniac) Sembello co-wrote a song too; it is called Sweet Little Girl and it is extremely boring. (Kamon, like Sembello, sang on the Flashdance sound track; Manhunt was her solo.) Sembello and his wife, Cruz, Peter Frampton (on guitar), Tom Scott, Steve Gadd and Mark Hudson are among the horde of backup artists; people invade countries with less support than Ramone musters for some of his albums. In this case they all help Kamon make a solid if unspectacular debut. And now everyone, including her husband, knows what her voice sounds like. (Columbia)

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