Contest: This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes – Omnivore Recordings

Lone Justice

Lone Justice was the gateway band for much of the music that I have loved and written about over the years.

Maria McKee, Ryan Hedgecock, Marvin Etzioni, and Don Heffington helped define the term “Cowpunk in 80’s L.A. and were famous for their blistering live shows (which, alas, I never got a chance to see) The “Ways to Be Wicked” video entered the synth-gelled hair-florescent fray with unabashed roots-rock with McKee sporting her sultry sneer, garbed in vintage dress, and belting out the song of a jilted lover.

After only two excellent albums the band folded under label and internal pressures. McKee embarked on a successful solo career and Lone Justice helped shape the musical landscape forever.

Before it all LJ went into Suite 16 Studios in December of 1983 and recorded much of the set list they were packing Los Angeles area clubs with.

Recorded direct to 2-track tape by engineer David Vaught and with no overdubs, those twelve tracks can finally be heard in their entirety on “This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983.” As Billboard’s Chris Morris writes in his thoughtful liner notes, the release “offers the best representation of the band in its infancy—hot, full of piss and vinegar, and ready to take on the world.”

Nine of these twelve tracks are previously unissued, and include originals (including “Soap, Soup And Salvation”, which would appear on their Geffen debut two years later) to the covers they made their own in concert (Johnny Cash and June Carter (Cash)’s “Jackson” and “Nothing Can Stop My Loving You,” written by George Jones and Roger Miller.)

Available on CD and LP (with the first pressing on translucent red vinyl) by Omnivore Recordings, in addition to Morris’ liners, the package contains an essay from the band’s Ryan Hedgecock, as well as a remembrance of David Vaught from Marvin Etzioni and an loving endorsement from Dolly Parton. With unseen photos and memorabilia, this collection is what Lone Justice fans have been waiting for. This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983 takes us back to a time when music had an energy that was hard to contain.

For a chance to win a copy of red vinyl + digital download card just leave a comment below describing your favorite Lone Justice song and why or a memory from a show.

A winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Sunday 2/23 at 12 Noon Central time.

Good luck pilgrim.


19 Replies to “Contest: This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes – Omnivore Recordings”

  1. Lone Justice’s song Shelter is STILL one of my all time favorite songs! when I hear Maria’s voice I can’t help but sing along! It’s a great soul-wrenching worship song way ahead of it’s time when it came out!

  2. Shane Fontayne was a badass – licks that were both crunchy and smooth. And Maria had my heart. There was something special about this band and it’s a shame it was so short lived.

  3. I still play a blonde Telecaster because I wanted to rock like Maria McKee. In comparison, I suck. At least my guitar is cool.

  4. I’m not a religious person, but hearing a song like ‘Soap, Soup and Salvation’ really lifts me up. I can understand the fervor that fundamentalists feel (even if I don’t agree with their ideologies)

  5. What a band! I think I have to go with Ways to be Wicked because I am a sucker for a Petty cover.

  6. So many great songs, but I’ll go with “Don’t Toss Us Away”–just a stunning piece of songwriting by Bryan MacLean and Maria puts so much emotion and power and heartbreak into it.

  7. Man, what nice memories this release brings up. I love hearing Shelter the most, but I honestly haven;t heard a song of theirs that I dislike. Great band. Love it.

  8. Never got to see Lone Justice live, or Maria solo. I did see Marvin open for Sam Phillips about twenty years ago in Columbus. He did 45 minutes straight on the mandolin and did my favorite song of the band’s – You Are the Light.

  9. In the middle of 1985, Lone Justice played two nights at The Stone in San Francisco, then one at The Keystone in Palo Alto (both of those places long gone). This picture is from the third show in Palo Alto. It’s me handing Maria the roses. Photograph standing behind me in the crowd waited for the handoff, then had to chase me down later to get my mailing address.

  10. “Sweet baby” played in 86 on Canada’s Much Music, so when I moved to London I went to see them at the Town and Country (thanks BBC for that album) and then again followed them to Paris. Great and very different gigs. Thanks LJ!

  11. Ways to be Wicked was the song that started it all off for me. I love Lone Justice and was thrilled to find a copy of Maria’s You Gotta Sin To Get Saved on vinyl in Shanghai!

  12. As much as I love the Petty cover, “You Are the Light” is still my favorite. Maria just sings the heck out of it.

  13. “Wheels” is not just my favorite LJ song it is one of my favorite songs overall. It is so beautifully composed and recorded and builds so perfectly to an emotional crescendo at the bridge that, after 28 years of listening, still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. If music, as an art form, is created to evoke emotion, Maria and the band recorded a masterpiece in this one.

  14. It’s gotta be ‘Don’t Toss Us Away’. It always brings tears to my eyes. Almost makes me want to break up with my girl, so I can play her that song and we’ll live happily ever after. The song that made me a big big fan of Maria and Lone Justice.

  15. I’ve previously professed my love for Lone Justice elsewhere, but wanted to share this again.

    Missing Lone Justice in concert is a regret that still lingers, but I finally had the pleasure of seeing Maria McKee, one of my favorite singer-songwriters to be sure, on a couple of occasions as a solo act, the last time at The Bluebird Theater in Denver in April 1996. It was an incredible experience, even though the turnout was surprisingly small. I remember a lot of empty seats closer to the stage and Maria enticing everyone to move closer, which we all did. That was shortly after Life Is Sweet (another one of my faves) was released, and she tore through most of those songs on an electric guitar, including the title cut, “Scarlover” and “”Absolutely Barking Stars.”

    This was years before I started writing about music and interviewing musicians, so it took a lot of courage (and a few beers) to go backstage and talk briefly with Maria. She was kind enough to sign the liner notes to the Life Is Sweet album, and I said something dumb like “You sure play a mean guitar.”

    That thrilling night remains one of my all-time favorite concert-going moments.

  16. Ways to Be Wicked. Back on the day, Lone Justice was a game changer, creating really, what became Americana. And, with more than a little in your face punk attitude.

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