4 out of 5 Stars!
From Atlanta, Georgia, Mother’s Finest burst out of the starting gate during the early ’70s to offer something truly unique in the Hard Rock genre—a seemingly perfect blend of Hard Rock and Funk, with touches of Metal, Soul, Jazz, and Pop-Rock performed by a multiracial line-up. And to increase the uniqueness factor even more, the band featured a female singer, an African American powerhouse by the name of Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy. Actually, to be more precise, the group included a male lead vocalist as well named Glenn “Doc” Murdock, also quite forceful and adept, but for me (and no offense to Murdock) it’s Kennedy, whether belting out leads or background harmonies, who truly stole the show and kept me coming back for more.
Mother’s Finest’s 1976 self-titled second release (not to be confused with the self-titled debut from 1972) is the one that initially caught my attention and remains a collection of tracks I enjoy even to this day. On rollicking songs such as “My Baby,” “Rain,” “Fire,” the controversially titled “Niggizz Can’t Sang Rock & Roll,” and the blazing “Give You All the Love (Inside of Me),” Kennedy’s clean, crisp, and soulful voice simply kills, cutting through the air like the proverbial siren and drawing in the listener, while Murdock and the other talented musicians offer up ultra-tight, deft, catchy, and percussion-rich “Hard Rockin’ Funk.” My only gripe with this album when I initially purchased it is that the band delivered only a total of seven tracks, collectively not quite reaching the thirty-five-minute mark, and I instantly yearned for more.
Regardless, it’s still a wonder to me why Mother’s Finest, with more than a dozen albums to its credit, the last one being released only a few years ago, remains so horribly obscure, and why Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy isn’t more widely acclaimed for her fantastic set of pipes. Holy crap, this gal can sing, and this album rocks (and funks) out!