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4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon January 19, 2014
This album, never before released save for three out of 12 tracks, brings you Lone Justice in the studio at the very beginning of their short-lived career. This was a year after the band's 1982 formation amid the Los Angeles' cowpunk scene, which included such great groups as X and The Blasters. LJ had recently started writing their own songs, but another year would pass until they landed a contract with Geffen Records, and two years would elapse before they released their first commercial LP. Despite support from the likes of Tom Petty (who wrote a song for them) and U2 (with whom they toured), they produced just two records before disbanding in 1986.

Lone Justice fused the energy of rockabilly and punk with classic country music, crowning it with the amazing vocals of Maria McKee, harmonies from guitarist Ryan Hedgecock, bass by Marvin Etzioni, and drums by Don Heffington. McKee, who went on to a long and successful solo career, was the undisputed star of the band. As Robert Hilburn wrote in the L.A. Times, she had "the vocal purity of Linda Ronstadt, the intensity of Janis Joplin and the seductiveness of Chrissie Hynde." Ronstadt herself recommended the group to Geffen; McKee also cites Dolly Parton and Exene Cervenka as strong influences.

A number of the songs that LJ performed in 1983 were covers, including the first two tracks on this CD, "Nothing Can Stop My Loving You" by George Jones and Roger Miller, and "Jackson" by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. But the next few tracks -- "Soap, Soup And Salvation (which appeared on their eponymous debut), "The Grapes of Wrath," and "Dustbowl Depression Time" -- are originals with a clear theme, as are mini-dramas like "Rattlesnake Mama" and "Cactus Rose" (later the flip side of the hit single "Ways to Be Wicked"). These songs take advantage of the powerful edge in McKee's sublime, untamed voice.

Ryan Hedgecock sings lead on the original ballad "When Love Comes Home to Stay," but all of the other songs on this recording are taken at a blistering pace and feature McKee on lead, including propulsive versions of Merle Haggard's "Working Man's Blues" and the Jim Reeves gospel tune, "This World Is Not My Home," which wraps up the album. It's an undiscovered treasure long hidden in the vaults, a raw, rootsy portrait of the music as it really sounded (two tracks, no overdubs), and a must-have for fans of Maria McKee and Lone Justice.
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on February 9, 2014
So great to have this finally released. This band was so great. And Maria McKee was the star and she tried to play along with Jimmy Iovine and his vision for airplay - but it was for naught. Even though Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash were fans , and went to their shows, they didn't fit the bill for MTV and modern rock radio. This band had so many line-up changes, that it's no wonder that they never made it.

This album is where it all started, and had they stuck with the formula, regardless of the line-up changes, they would've been huge. They were THAT good live!

The beauty of this album is the purity of its intent. Listen and be amazed at Maria McKee and the safety net this band provided that later line-ups would not provide.
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on February 27, 2014
These people can flat out play. And McKee has such great command of her voice while being loaded with emotion. Lone Justice in retrospect is one of the groups that led us to what today is called "Americana." Would like to see them re-form, record, and perform again.
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on March 10, 2014
What is not to like? As the title of this review indicates, this is prime Lone Justice. The sound quality is excellent, McKee is in fine form. So sad that the band put out so few records, but anyone who loved or even like Lone Justice has to get this record.
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on May 10, 2014
This vinyl or CD is freakishly great.
To me it's rock n roll, but it 's punk rockabilly with shots of country .
very creative .
very alive .
I didn't know about this band before this year .
don't be that stupid.
check out the other reviews to learn about them .you can't miss out on this one.
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on September 7, 2014
Lone Justice before the over production . We will never know how big they could have been , but these demo tapes show unique talent and I suspect they would have did better in Nashville than L.A. I always shop other options and bought this disc at a very low price . Fairly new release and much better than a lot of new music today
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on March 24, 2015
Lone Justice was one of the first Americana bands ever, and they were fueled by the incredible voice and personality of Maria McKee, backed by veteran drummer Don Heffington, songwriter/producer Marvin Etzioni, and guitarist Ryan Hedgecock.

Unfortunately, Geffen set them up with producer Jimmy Iovine and they suffered the classic process of the record company screwing with the line up, the sound and attempting to mold them into something different from what they were.

This record captures them before all that, and truly captures the charm of Lone Justice before the Geffen machine folded, spindles and mutilated them.

David Vaught recorded the band, capturing the moment without getting in the way. RIP, Dave.

p.s. There is no justice, cause Jimmy Iovine is now a billionaire and these four talented musicians are still working late to make ends meet (as far as I know!)
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on October 30, 2015
This is a fantastic album. It has some rare tracks on it that are just great. It makes me sad that the original band didn't stay together longer than they did. They put out some really great original sounds. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Lone Justice and/or Maria McKee.
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on June 6, 2014
Not much to add to the other reviews except marvel at the relentless energy of this music. "Cowpunk" was a pretty apt description of the early Lone Justice sound and these early recordings perfectly capture that spirit. Maria McKee's vocals are bursting with vigor and vitality, and the other band members deftly support her throughout this short but pleasing set of songs. If you thought the band's studio albums were a bit too slick, this is the one that'll turn your head around. Very cool reissue, and the booklet that comes with the CD is informative too.
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on February 20, 2014
The best album hitherto never released from Lone Justice. What kind of career trajectory would the band have taken if this had been their debut? This band deserved to be heard all over the world.
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