Here’s a new, occasional series: Albums that, in my estimation, everyone should experience at least once in their life.
First up: Lone Justice’s self-titled debut, which was released on April 15, 1985.
Flashback to that April: I read a review in Rolling Stone touting the album as a good, not great, affair that was highlighted by the vocal power of the girl singer, who supposedly possessed a style reminiscent of Janis Joplin.
I bought it (on cassette) days later, on April 17th; and the album proved great, not just good, to my ears. As I wrote in Top 5: April 1985, it “was a shotgun blast of sonic newness that infused country-rock with punk, rock, gospel and soul. The music roared, soared and seeped from the speakers, and the mercurial Maria McKee’s vocals forged palpable emotions from the simplest of phrases.” I loved it, in other words; and made damn sure to play tracks from it on my college radio show—”You Are the Light” more often than not, as I deejayed a folk music show…
…but, on occasion, “Don’t Toss Us Away” – which, it should be mentioned, was written by her brother Bryan MacLean. But what the hell? Some (early) Sunday mornings I slipped in “Ways to Be Wicked,” too.
And is there a better song, by anyone, than “Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling)”?! When I listen to it, I think not. After it’s over? Sanity settles in. But to borrow from a review for the Lone Justice This World Is Not My Home compilation that I penned for Da Boot way back when, “her sweat flows from the speakers as if from her brow, and her heart … hell, her heart beats like a rhythm section all its own.”
- “East of Eden” (Marvin Etzioni) – 2:37
- “After the Flood” (Maria McKee) – 3:40
- “Ways to Be Wicked” (Mike Campbell, Tom Petty) – 3:28
- “Don’t Toss Us Away” (Bryan MacLean) – 4:19
- “Working Late” (Etzioni) – 2:45
- “Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling)” (Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, McKee, Benmont Tench, Steven Van Zandt) – 4:12
- “Pass It On” (Etzioni, McKee) – 3:40
- “Wait ‘Til We Get Home” (Etzioni, Hedgecock, McKee) – 3:18
- “Soap, Soup and Salvation” (Etzioni, McKee) – 4:04
- “You Are the Light” (Etzioni) – 3:59