The last time I liked two in a row from Eugene, the streak was broken. I did like the last two, one surprised me. The other I didn’t know what to expect. Eug and Jon are both still behind but I’m trudging along. Here’s this week’s entry:
#31 – Another Mother Further by Mother’s Finest.
I had heard of this band and do have one of their albums on vinyl, but not this one. I wish I did have it, though. The first thing I hear when this starts up is
“Custard Pie” “Mickey’s Monkey,” a song that first appeared 14 years prior to this version from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and sounds very different, as well. So, there’s the question. Who was copying who? I know Led Zeppelin gets a lot of flack for “stealing” songs but in their defense, “Custard Pie” doesn’t really sound like Smokey’s version of “Mickey’s Monkey.” But, MF’s version of “Mickey” does have the same bones as the original but sounds a lot like the Zep tune in tone and form. The Zep tune came out two years prior. I have listened to both back to back and there’s certainly some copying going on. But, I like both so who cares, right?
This album has everything. It has hard rock. It has funk. It has soul. It has disco. It has slow jamming R&B. In some ways, it reminds me of a harder rocking Sly and the Family Stone and I love me some Sly. If you’re not familiar with Mother’s Finest, first, shame on you, and shame on me, because I did know about them, just not that they were this good. Anywhat! They are a rock band (some even call it “metal” although we don’t use that term much on this list) comprised entirely of African American musicians. They were worried they’d not get their hard rock cred because of their ethnicity so they didn’t put pictures on their albums. This was the 1970s and I can see their conundrum. But, I don’t care if you’re burnt umber, polka-dots and plaid, good rock is good rock. This is great rock. And, with the other elements they bring, that makes it even better. Ask The BCPF what happens when some 1970s or 1980s slow jams come on the radio. I get my soul on and I’m not afraid to admit it.
So, “Mickey’s Monkey” isn’t the only cover on this album. They do a kick-arse version of Elvis’ “Burning Love,” too. I like this version better; it rocks just right. And, these aren’t even my favorite songs on the album. My absolute favorite is “Thank You for the Love.” That’s just an awesome tune. But, I also really dig “Baby Love,” “Hard Rock Lover” and I especially dig “Dis Go Dis Way, Dis Go Dat Way.” I love the riffs and disco feel. Groovalicious!
I prefer the vocal stylings of Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy over Glenn Murdock but both are fantastic and their harmonies intertwine perfectly. Gary “Moses Mo” Moore’s riffs on the guitar are tasteful, clever and he shows he can hang with his contemporaries. Mike Keck’s keyboards are what fill all the cracks and his clav work is so 1970s but so juicy. I think the clavinet can be annoying when used willy-nilly and Keck uses his powers for good on this album. Drummer Barry “B.B. Queen” Borden has some serious chops. Listen to “Hard Rock Lover” and see what I’m saying. But, he can also pull back and add a simple back beat that completely brings out the soul in the music, rocking or not. The bass stylings of Jerry “Wyzard” Seay are not only perfectly laid down, but that tone is amazing. So lush and rich but still cuts through. My biggest complaint with most recordings is when the producer, as well as the band/performer, allow the bass to become background noise. That is certainly not the case here. I love listening to his playing.
Speaking of producers, Tom Werman had a lot to do with some fantastic albums from the 70s and 80s ranging from Cheap Trick (including In Color, Heaven Tonight and Dream Police my three faves by them) to Molly Hatchet and Blue Öyster Cult to Twisted Sister, Kix, Stryper and Poison and more. He’s got some big guns in there. Crisp, clean and easy to hear all that is going on. That’s exactly the case here, as well. And, coming in just under 35 minutes the album is jam packed yet easy to get through.
So, to answer the unasked question: yes, this time, there were three in a row that I liked from Eugene. Thanks so much for introducing this to me, Eug and I await your review and Jon’s as well. This is going on my “want list” for both Underdog Records and Discogs.
Until tomorrow, happy funky listening…
“You give me good feelings. You give me good feelings. You give me good feelings. Ooh, I want to thank you for the love. Thank you for the heartaches. Thank you for the tears I’ve cried. Thank you for all those lies.” – “Thank You for the Love” (Mother’s Finest)