The first time I saw Maria McKee live I realised that the singer with Lone Justice was nuts but in a good way the second time I saw her she came across all Diva-ish which was strange as she was playing King Tut’s, not the Royal Concert Hall. I don’t know what had happened during the intervening 15 years but after her performance that night I wasn’t persuaded to go and see her again and on her subsequent 2 visits to Glasgow that I know of I had no desire to attend.
The first Lone Justice album, at the time was absolutely amazing, it was country but not Country if you know what I mean. I remember it being described as cowpunk somewhere. Even the fact that Bonzo raved about the band didn’t put me off. It was an album that I played over and over again and have had to replace a couple of times after lending it to people and never getting it back.
The follow-up album, Shelter released the following year in 1986 was a huge disappointment. It was over produced with all the rough edges which made the debut so good all polished away and there was the use of drum machines and synths when none were needed, in other words very mid eighties. It is not an album that I have returned to very often.
After the poor reception to the album McKee broke up the band and decided to go it alone and in 1989 released a solo album which was a return to form with a couple of lovely ballads, a gorgeous cover of Richard and Linda Thompson’s Has He Got A Friend and the brilliant Drinking In My Sunday Dress, which I had to buy the cd as well for as it wasn’t on the vinyl. The album not only shows that McKee had a fabulous voice but how talented a song writer she was as well, not on a par with Roddy Frame but then again who is.
McKee to date has released another 5 solo albums but for me none are on a par with either the first Lone Justice album or her first solo effort, in fact I took the 4th one back to Fopp I was that disappointed in it and din’t even bother with the 5th one.
Here are a couple of tracks from that first solo album.
Maria McKee – Drinkin’ In My Sunday Dress
And here she is on the Whistle Test with Lone Justice from 1985, magic.