Archive for Mother’s Finest

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Joan Armatrading- The Key

Posted in Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Key,_Joan_Armatrading_-_album_cover

In Laina Dawes’s book, “What Are You Doing Here?,” which is about a black woman’s liberation through heavy metal and the prejudice she experienced as a female metalhead of African origin, she mentions great black female rock singers like Joyce ‘Baby Jean’ Kennedy from Mother’s Finest and Skin from Skunk Anansie, both of whom have made a big impact on the rock scene. However, I don’t remember, though I could be wrong, any mention of another great lady who belongs with the two already mentioned, Joan Armatrading. Note to self: find and reread that book. The two Joan Armatrading albums I’ve listened to, the 1981 album “Me Myself I” and her 1983, “The Key,” are both great rocking albums. Therefore, I am forced to think that Joan doesn’t get the musical respect she deserves.

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Way back in 1983 during my final weeks in the marines, Joan’s single from the album, “I Love it When You Call Me Names,” got a good amount of airplay. I love the hard rocking edge to the song and the lyrics just cracked me up. This song appears to be about a sado- masochistic couple who get off on abusing each other. The lyrics, “He loves it when she beats his brains in” are sufficient evidence to the fact and there’s a cool guitar solo at the end. That song continues to amuse me to this day and I’m a little surprised that no thrash band has covered it.

While it may not have the amusing lyrics like the single, the rest of “The Key” is a really cool album. There are the straight forward rockers like “Drop the Pilot,” “Tell Tale” and “What Do Boys Dream.” Then there’s the power ballad, “Everybody Gotta Know” and while “Foolish Pride” incorporates horns, it is still a decent song that will dent anyone’s belief that horns can’t be used in a rock tune. Joan does show her versatility with the reggae sounding title track. This is a good bouncy song that has you repeating the chorus, “I found the key to your heart,” for several minutes after the song’s conclusion, a fine album by a fine singer.

Track Listing:

  1. I Love it When You Call Me Names
  2. Foolish Pride
  3. Drop the Pilot
  4. The Key
  5. Everybody Gotta Know
  6. Tell Tale
  7. What Do Boys Dream
  8. The Game of Love
  9. The Dealer
  10. Bad Habits
  11. I Love My Baby
Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading- lead vocals, guitars, piano

Adrian Belew- guitar

Daryl Stuermer- guitar

Gary Sanford- guitar

Tony Levin- bass

Larry Fast- synthesizer

Stewart Copeland- drums

Jerry Marotta- drums

Julian Diggle- percussion

Mel Collins- saxophone

Annie Whitehead- trombone

Guy Barker- trumpet

Dean Klavatt- piano

Jeremy Meek- bass vocal

I never realised it before but there are some great musicians who play on “The Key.” One reason why this album is so good. However, this takes nothing away from Joan and her great vocal ability and song writing skills. She is certainly a power force in rock.

Next post: ZZ Top- Eliminator

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1981: Mother’s Finest- Iron Age

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2014 by 80smetalman

MOTHERSFINEST_IA

Back in 1981, I remember hearing of the band Mother’s Finest. I remember listening to some of their music and I remember liking it but that’s all I can remember. Like quite a lot of things with me, the band Mother’s Finest was filed away into some dark cabinet inside my mind only to be pulled out thanks to Laina Dawes in her book “What Are You Doing Here?” The band gets quite a lot of mention in the book and rightly so because they were a brilliant hard rocking band. Why did they slip my mind? Well, I will say that it would not have been intentional nor would it have anything to do with the fact that several members of the band were African American. However, for some reason, I didn’t listen to them like I should have and that was a major loss for me.

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After listening to “Iron Age” I have refamiliarised myself on the hard rock yet funky and melodic band Mother’s Finest are. The guitars groove in a very unique way but are no less harder. “Movin’ On” is as good an album opener as any opening songs on what history has considered the more classic albums. “Rock And Roll 2 Nite,” “Time” and “Evolution” are all great memorable tracks and former the foundation on which this album is built and you can’t fault any of the other tracks either. But what makes “Iron Age” or Mother’s Finest themselves for that matter stand out for me is the vocals of Joyce ‘Baby Jean’ Kennedy. Her vocals mixed with the music sound just like Aretha Franklin goes metal and that’s a wonderful thing. Her vocals are right up there with the Queen of Soul in power and tune. I can’t think of any other way to describe them, I’m at a loss here.

Blues Brothers with Aretha Franklin

Blues Brothers with Aretha Franklin

Track Listing:

1. Movin’ On

2. Luv Drug

3. Rock And Roll 2 Nite

4. U Turn Me On

5. All The Way

6. Evolution

7. Illusion (C’Mon Over to My House)

8. Time

9. There Goes Th’ Rain

10. Earthling

Mother's Finest

Mother’s Finest

Joyce ‘Baby Jean’ Kennedy- vocals

Glenn Murdock- vocals, guitar

Wizzard- bass

Moses- guitar

B.B.- drums

Note: I know there are seven people in the photo but the album on lists these five

 My theory (and that’s all it is) as to why Mother’s Finest didn’t get the recognition they so richly deserved was down to the attitudes of the time. Even in 1981, I began seeing music dividing up along several lines and unfortunately one of those lines was racial. I remember both black and white marines referring to music as ours and yours. The problem was that because of the mixed racial make up of Mother’s Finest, some people didn’t know where to put them and consequently they got pushed out. Damn shame because people need to hear what a great band they are. On a happier note, one of my objectives for this blog and for writing “Rock And Roll Children” in the first place was for people to get out their old music and listen to it all over again. It gives me great delight to discover that like me, many of you have never stopped. Saying that, I think we should all give Mother’s Finest a good listen.

Next Post: Johnny Van Zant- Round Two

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London