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Steve Peake

This Week's Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Maria McKee's "Can't Pull the Wool Down (Over the Little Lamb's Eyes)"

By May 24, 2010

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mariamckeesolodebut.jpg I've been building content for this '80s music website for almost four years now, and I just decided that my current output of three Maria-McKee-related pieces during that time simply isn't enough. Though usually remembered most for her emergence as teenage frontwoman for the critically revered L.A. cowpunk/roots rock band Lone Justice, McKee actually kicked off her quiet, creative whirlwind of a solo career in 1989, with a terribly underrated, self-titled debut release.

McKee's impossibly eclectic range of influences really begins to grow apparent upon a close listen to the album's 11 exciting tracks, which cut a lively swath across country rock, Celtic-tinged lush pop, and torch song balladry. Still, I have to say I prefer McKee's defiant, wild-woman songwriting persona on her twangier tunes, including the snarling "Drinkin' in My Sunday Dress" and a song later covered (less than famously, for some reason) by the Dixie Chicks, the moving "Am I the Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way)." However, "Can't Pull the Wool Down" finds McKee at her most playful and vulnerable, a combination that renders an already fascinating woman into full-fledged goddess material. I implore you never to miss an opportunity to become more familiar with one of rock music's finest female singers and songwriters, a phrase I use while fully cognizant of its multiple meanings.

Album Cover Image Courtesy of Geffen

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