Here’s a new, occasional series: Albums that, in my estimation, everyone should experience at least once.

First up: Lone Justice’s self-titled debut, which was released on April 15, 1985.

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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.”

  1. “East of Eden” (Marvin Etzioni) – 2:37
  2. “After the Flood” (Maria McKee) – 3:40
  3. “Ways to Be Wicked” (Mike Campbell, Tom Petty) – 3:28
  4. “Don’t Toss Us Away” (Bryan MacLean) – 4:19
  5. “Working Late” (Etzioni) – 2:45
  6. “Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling)” (Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, McKee, Benmont Tench, Steven Van Zandt) – 4:12
  7. “Pass It On” (Etzioni, McKee) – 3:40
  8. “Wait ‘Til We Get Home” (Etzioni, Hedgecock, McKee) – 3:18
  9. “Soap, Soup and Salvation” (Etzioni, McKee) – 4:04
  10. “You Are the Light” (Etzioni) – 3:59
Comments
  1. HERC says:

    You fell under their spell a few months before I did, but Lone Justice became a favorite when they opened for Tom Petty on July 30, 1985, during his Southern Accents tour. (I don’t think I had watched my Live Aid VHS tapes, recorded a couple weeks prior from MTV, at this point yet and I was obviously oblivious it was McKee on the Streets of Fire soundtrack from the year before even though I listened to that album A LOT.) From what I remember of seeing her on stage for the first time, she was sexy as hell; along the lines of a Belinda Carlisle but with a wicked twang. Their music fit in with the Los Lobos, Blasters, Cruzados, Long Ryders, Rank and File, Jason & the Scorchers and others I was listening to circa 1985-1986.

    A friend (my roommate?) bought the Lone Justice album on vinyl back then and I didn’t pick it up myself until more than a decade later on CD. She next appeared on Dwight Yoakam’s “Bury Me” in 1986 but after that, I sadly lost track. I have since caught up with her recorded output, though, so don’t worry about me.

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  2. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  3. […] I became a fan of her old band, Lone Justice, on April 17, 1985, which is when I first heard the “shotgun blast of sonic newness” that was, is and will always be (to me, at least) their self-titled debut LP. Time and […]

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  4. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  5. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  6. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  7. […] February; and others that I’ve long-since forgotten. Other albums in frequent rotation included Lone Justice’s debut, the Long Ryders’ State of Our Union, Jane Wiedlin’s solo debut and the Three O’Clock’s […]

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  8. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  9. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  10. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  11. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  12. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  13. […] written about this album, and spotlighted this song, many times before, of course, including in my first Essentials entry. It’s a genre-shattering, epoch-changing album that set the stage for the alt.country boom a […]

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  14. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  15. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  16. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  17. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  18. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  19. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  20. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  21. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  22. […] to two finds at HHH Records in Hatboro, which has fast become my favorite store: Lone Justice’s stupendous debut, which I’ve written about many times, and the Pretenders’ Extended Play, a five-song set that I […]

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  23. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  24. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  25. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  26. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  27. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  28. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  29. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  30. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  31. […] Lone Justice circa 1985. The song is still a shotgun blast of sonic newness to my ears, as is their self-titled debut as a whole. (And I didn’t realize until just now that I bought it 33 years ago this […]

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  32. […] band needs no introduction on these pages. It sounds as fresh to my ears now as it did then. It was the first pick for my occasional “Essentials” […]

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  33. […] you’ll see that I cribbed part of the review for use in my “Essentials” entry on the Lone Justice debut. I subscribe to recycling, don’tcha […]

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  34. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  35. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  36. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  37. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  38. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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  39. […] noted in my first Essentials entry, this is an occasional series in which I spotlight albums that, in my estimation, everyone should […]

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