Lone Justice lead singer Maria McKee and John Mellencamp perform “Pink Houses” live at the Farm Aid concert in Austin, Texas on July 4, 1986. Maria McKee is stunning in her interpretation of the Mellencamp classic. She opens the song with her rock and roll country voice just killing it. John Mellencamp joins her on the first chorus of the song. John Mellencamp then takes the lead on the song’s second verse. Both singers trade-off on the song’s third verse. Lisa Germano surrounds them with her charming and soulful violin playing. The cinematography is just perfect. It’s wonderful to still have access to this once in a lifetime duet between John Mellencamp and Maria McKee.
In 1985, Farm Aid was started by Neil Young, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp to help family farmers maintain control of their land. The concerts drew big crowds and highlighted many wonderful duets between performers.
Maria Mckee had recorded two albums with the band Lone Justice before embarking on a solo career of critically acclaimed solo albums and live performances. Her exciting and passionate filled concert performances with the band Lone Justice often caused critics and fans to compare her to Bruce Springsteen. The Lone Justice material was often characterized as cowpunk. However, it really was just solid rock and roll songs sung with an earnest southern belle style that captivated many rock and roll fans.
The band’s short lived career was very disappointing to fans who fell in love with the band. However, Maria McKee did not disappoint her fans by releasing a long string of spectacular solo albums. Her solo concert performances are still mesmerizing. In her solo shows, she has also performed some clever cover versions including a rare performance of Bruce Springsteen’s “Backstreets.”
While on the topic of Bruce Springsteen, one must be reminded that John Mellencamp was also often compared to Springsteen early in his career. Mellencamp’s first few albums featured lyrical content and musical arrangements that echoed the work of Springsteen. However, it was once John Mellencamp got rid of the piano player that he found his own unique sound. Mellencamp has released numerous albums over a long 40-plus year career. His albums Scarecrow and The Lonesome Jubilee are often hailed as his best work.
Listen To John Mellencamp & Maria McKee Tear It Up On Pink Houses article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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