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Maria McKee
Life Is Sweet, Geffen CD GEFD-24819, 1996 (50:38)

Passionate vocals

I've been stalking Maria McKee since her Lone Justice days, but our relationship really heated up after I heard her self-titled solo debut back in 1989. To promote the record, she made an appearance on David Sanborn's "Night Music" and performed "Breathe" accompanied by Bruce Brody on piano, Don Alias on field drum and someone on cello, I think (you can't blame for missing the cellist can you?). It knocked me out. The passion, the control, the power, the emotion. I set up a small Maria shrine in my apartment and listened to no one else for awhile. Of course, it was too good to last. By the time she released her second solo record, You Gotta Sin To Get Saved, I'd already started seeing other people, and she had stopped returning my phone calls. Call it sour grapes if you want, but I couldn't be bothered with it at all.

But old flames have a way of smoldering long after you think they're out. So when I heard that she was back with Life Is Sweet, I picked up the phone and ordered the CD. Ahhh. That voice. Just like the old days. All breath one moment, gasping cry the next. Literally sends shivers down my spine.

Sounds like she's bought a few guitars since the last time we were together. And she and co-producer Bruce Brody (who is this guy, her boyfriend, or what?) have learned a studio trick or two. Those gorgeous pipes (mmmmm...) now share center stage with crunchy Marshalls, more cellos, and a host of patented George Martin/Angelo Badalamenti multi-track effects. It's all put down quite beautifully, a gilt frame for her velvet throat.

I still rarely have any idea what she's singing about, but I'm pretty sure that her life (especially her love life) is about four thousand times more complex than mine. Whatever's driving her to write and sing and play as she does is fine by me, though. I don't tire of it. She still sparkles through. This isn't Lone Justice, but it is Maria McKee. -  Jason Staczek

production notes & song titles

Maria McKee, vocals, guitars; Bruce Brody, Hammond organ, piano, Moog synthesizer; David Nolte, bass; Ric Kavin, drums, percussion; Susan Otten, vocals, percussion.

Produced by Maria McKee, Bruce Brody and Mark Freegard; engineered by Mark Freegard; mixed by Mark, Maria and Bruce; mastered by Bob Ludwig.

Scarlover | This Perfect Dress | Absolutely Barking Stars | I'm Not Listening | Everybody | Smarter | What Else You Wanna Know | I'm Awake | Human | Carried | Life Is Sweet | Afterlife

of related interest

If you like Maria, you'll probably dig Patti. But you already own this one, don't you?
Patti Smith,  Horses, BMG/Arista CD 7822 83624, 1975

Copyright © 1996 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.