by Lone Justice
Released: Jan 1985
This album hasn't exactly aged well, thanks to its slick, '80s production, but Maria McKee's voice still stands as a potent force. She alternates between a wailing banshee (a la Joplin), a sweet country girl and the occasional hiccupping kid (a la Cyndi Lauper). McKee could sass like nobody's business, as the band's single "Ways to Be Wicked" attests. With Heartbreaker Benmont Tench on Hammond organ, the band's rootsy sound flourished. But the star is definitely McKee, whose vocals on songs such as the plaintive "Don't Toss Us Away" could stop you in your tracks. With a lilting twang steeped in vulnerability, she sings, "I still love/ I want you to stay /Darling please/ Don't toss us away," and you know somewhere Patsy Cline is smiling.