January 30, 2020
Review and Photos by Greg Perry
Mother’s Finest Makes Triumphant Return to Columbia
The masters of funk rock delighted the music fans of Columbia, S.C. as they returned once again to the area and delivered yet another fantastic show at “The Senate” Thursday night. Although Mother’s Finest originated in Atlanta back in 1970, it has always felt as though they belonged to Columbia equally as they have performed in the area countless times over the year going all the way back to the early 1970’s when they were regulars at the bars and clubs along the city’s “Rosewood Drive”. The band acknowledged how supportive Columbia has been over the years as Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy even shared with the crowd during the show, “We’ve been coming over here playing for y’all for 50 years!” Led by three original members, Joyce Kennedy and Doc Murdock on lead vocals and guitar master Moses Mo on the axe, all augmented by a killer band of top-notch musicians as a group they never fail to deliver a great show!
After an entertaining 40-minute opening set from the D.B. Bryant Band, Mother’s Finest hit the stage a bit before 9 P.M. and, as the lights came up, the band fired up their instruments to loud cheers from the crowd that were amplified to great heights as Joyce made her appearance and took center stage. They immediately jumped head long into a no break 4 song stretch that pushed the large audience hard and got their blood pumping as the band rolled through “Funk a While”, “Burning Love”, the always huge crowd favorite “Truth’ll Set You Free” which along with “Burning Love” were the first two tracks to appear from the landmark 1977 album “Another Mother Further”. They finished the run with “Can’t Fight the Feeling” from 1978’s hit record “Mother Factor”. As they took a moment to catch their breath, founding member Glenn “Doc” Murdoch stepped to the mic and addressed the audience for the first time asking them how they were feeling? The wave of thunderous approving applause let him know everyone was feeling pretty fine on this night. He grabbed the mic once again and lead the band to musical heights which produced a ton of smiles, jumping, singing and dancing from the audience as they performed their killer version of the classic “Mickey’s Monkey”. As the song ended, the crowd was buzzing with excitement.
The band slowed things down a bit in the mid-section of the show as they performed “I Believe” followed by “I Don’t Mind” which before performing it, Doc and Joyce shared with the audience that it was a newer song from their last album, 2015’s “Goody 2 Shoes & The Filthy Beast”. Both numbers were excellent, highlighting Doc and Joyce’s fantastic vocals and, as always, the amazing Gary “Moses Mo” on guitar provided the killer riffs to power both tracks to new heights. Joyce took to the mic once again and introduced the huge crowd favorite “Thank You for the Love”. While the band performed the fantastic song from 1977, couples throughout the audience slow danced, hugged and shared a love embrace much to the band’s obvious delight. After a wonderful performance of “Gone with the Rain”, they hit the home stretch with the high energy classic funk rocker “Give it Up” with Joyce and Doc harmonizing the vocals to perfection all while the band laid down that funky beat. The audience freely joined in and helped out on the vocals throughout. As the song came to a close, a huge round of applause from the audience rained down upon the band. Joyce took to the mic starting slowly with an extended intro before launching full power into the monster Mother’s Finest signature classic “Baby Love”. As Joyce belted out those iconic lyrics, every soul in the Senate sang every word to the top of their lungs and upon completion, the applause was deafening. Without giving anyone a chance to catch a breath, they powered right into the iconic “Piece of the Rock” with Doc starting it off with his signature “Ba-boo-ba-boo bo yeah” opening as he leaped full bore into the song as it was being powered by the bands driving beat, and as it closed the audience was in a complete frenzy of excitement. As the applause poured on them, the band exited stage left. After a few minutes of shouts, yells and stomps they returned for a three song encore and closed the show with their excellent version of “Somebody to Love”. As they left the stage for the final time, the audience once again loudly shared their approval of yet another great show performed by our adopted hometown band, the incredible “Mother’s Finest” .