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  MOTHER'S FINEST
'Goody 2 Shoes And The Filthy Beasts'
(Steamhammer/SPV)
Release Date: 30th March 2015


Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland



mothers finest

Mother's Finest are one of those bands who have been around for a long time and somehow managed to keep going through thick and thin.

When I say a long time, I mean the band originally formed in 1970! Apart from a few years on hiatus in the 80s they have taken the groovy funk rock they invented long before the Chilli Peppers or Living Color were even formed and made a career out of a hardcore fanbase in parts of the US and Europe without obtaining the mainstream exposure their best material certainly deserves.

Hailing from Funk Rock, Georgia (well that's what they like to say) they have a style which originally involved taking some funk and soul roots and then infusing them with some searing rock guitar making an original and exciting sound. Over time they have experimented with toning things down and being more soulful on albums like 'One Mother To Another' and have gone in a heavier direction with more success on 'Iron Age' and the fiery 'Black Radio Won't Play This Record'.

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However the band are at their best when mixing some mean riffing guitar with funky driving bass and soulful vocals from Glen 'Doc' Murdock and especially the powerful voice of Joyce 'Baby Jean' Kennedy.

Despite regular tours new material has been thin on the ground since 2003s 'Meta-Funk 'n' Physical' with just four new songs added to the 'Right Here, Right Now Live At Villa Berg' album in 2005. However after a successful funding campaign on Kickstarter here we have the splendidly titled 'Goody 2 Shoes & The Filthy Beasts' to enjoy.

Age seems to have mellowed the Georgia band's fire a little as this is an album choc fool of groove but with the guitar riffs of Gary "Moses Mo" Moore and John "Red Devil" Hayes kept low in the mix. The songs are pretty strong overall though and even understated guitar makes the likes of 'Cling To The Cross' irresistibly toe-tapping good. Vocals on that are from Doc but lead vocal on most of the songs features the high energy powerful soul of Baby Jean herself as is traditional.

The toll of forty plus years on the road has meant that she can't hit the earth shattering notes of yore but there are still some impressive vocals here from the gentle grooves of 'Tears Of Stone' to the typically MF guitar driven funked up 'She Ready'.

mothers finest

I really like the soulful rocked up funk grooves here but get a little frustrated that the band don't break out the total rock firepower at their disposal enough. There's a nice fiery mid-section to 'All Of My life' but the little electronic tinge to the smooth funk rock of 'Take Control' seems to be more typical of where they want to be right now.

Final studio track 'Mr Badd' does its best to provide some fire with fine driving riffs but there is nothing on here to match the heavier moments of 'Iron Age' or 'Black Radio...'.

I said that 'Mr Badd' was the last studio track as on most of the versions of the album available you get a bonus live tune of a medley starting with 'Illusion' from the 'Iron Age' album and making it's way through the Stones' 'Satisfaction' and Steppenwolf's 'Born To Be Wild'. It is tremendous and is certainly evidence that there is plenty of fire and power left in the live version of Mother's Finest.

Despite the lack of any out and out heavy riffing I still think this is an excellent and very enjoyable example of Mother's Finest's original and unfortunately unpatented version of funk rock. The production sounds a little primitive but the rhythm section of Dion Derek on drums and the outstanding bass playing of Jerry 'Wyzard' Seay provides a fantastic platform for some really cool and irresistibly groovy songs.

There is certainly enough guitar to keep the hardcore fans happy and Baby Jean herself is still a superstar vocalist. It's such a shame that the European tour yet again has no UK dates included. If rock with a real genuine soulful groove is something you like this album is as good as it gets right now.

Line up:
Joyce "Baby Jean" Kennedy – vocals
Glenn "Doc" Murdock – vocals
Jerry "Wyzard" Seay – bass
Gary "Moses Mo" Moore – guitar
John "Red Devil" Hayes – guitar
Dion Derek – drums


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19.3.15















 


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