It can be difficult to capture the live power of band in a studio recording. Luckily for us, Lone Justice (Maria McKee, Ryan Hedgecock, Marvin Etzioni, and Don Heffington), forerunners of the alt-country movement, went to Suite 16 Studios in December of 1983 and laid down much of the set list with which they were packing Los Angeles area clubs.
Recorded direct to two-track tape by engineer David Vaught and with no overdubs, those 12 tracks can finally be heard in their entirety as This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983, out January 14, 2014 on Omnivore Recordings. As Los Angeles music journalist Chris Morris writes in his 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 the tracks are previously unissued, and include originals (such as “Soap, Soup and Salvation,” which would appear on their Geffen debut two years later) as well as 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, LP (the first pressing is on translucent red vinyl) and digitally, the package includes, in addition to Morris’ liners an essay from the band’s Ryan Hedgecock, as well as a remembrance of David Vaught from Marvin Etzioni — even a loving endorsement from Dolly Parton, who writes, “I have loved Lone Justice and Maria McKee since they first started out as a group. I remember going to see them at the Music Machine in Los Angeles in 1983; I was so impressed. I especially love this album. It has some of my favorite old songs on it and some new favorites that I’ve never heard. Hope you enjoy Lone Justice, everybody! I know I will.”
With unseen photos and memorabilia (including images from the band’s personal archive), 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.
Thanks to that studio in Van Nuys, Calif., and this release, Justice has been served!