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Mothers Finest - 1989 Looks Could Kill

ARTIST: Mothers Finest
ALBUM: Looks Could Kill
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: 48988-2
YEAR: 1989


LINEUP: Joyce Kennedy - vocals * Glenn Murdock - vocals * Moses Mo - guitars * Jerry 'Wyzard' Seay - bass * Dion Derek - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 For Your Love * 02 Im 'n' Danger * 03 Legs And Lipstick * 04 Dream Come True * 05 Stilloveach Other * 06 I'll Never Be The Same * 07 Brave And Strong * 08 Your Wish Is My Command * 09 Cherish Your Love * 10 Heartbreaker * 11 Call Me Mister * 12 Too Serious


Mothers Finest have a huge following here at GD. Considered by many to be a pure rock band, the band have been pigeon-holed into every other genre by people who have no clue. Sure, the band have deviated on occasion, but not so that their legacy has been compromised. One of those deviations was 1989's 'Looks Could Kill' which fuses R&B, funk, soul, rock, pop and urban hip-hop/rap. It's heavy on thick bass and percussive aspects, but considering Mothers Finest had been out of commission since 1983, they can be excused for such dalliances. It was the 80's after all. It's true that this seemed to be a logical follow-on from Joyce's solo albums during the mid 80's, and that the whole affair isn't really Mothers Finest at all.. but enough, I digress.

The Songs
Big brash percussion and synth bass announces the opener 'For Your Love', this is so 80's I can feel the breath of that decade's pop culture fold in all around me! Even more centered on that decade is 'I'm N Danger', I'm thinking the worst here, but Mothers Finest are only exploring what was popular at the time. At 6 minutes, 'Legs And Lipstick' is high on electronic arrangements, perhaps too much, it's followed by the ballad 'Dream Come True' which is far better, even if it is a copycat for Chaka Khan. 'Stilloveach Other' (that's the way it's spelt on the credits) is my favourite song on the album, as close as it gets to melodic rock, and compares nicely to Robert Hart's band from the same year Distance. 'I'll Never Be The Same' returns to the hi-tech percussive funk groove heard earlier, it's got a fantastic hard chorus which adds toughness to the overall effect. 'Your Wish Is My Command' is mid-tempo melody with a hint of rock, it's carried by Joyce Kennedy's amazing vocals. 'Cherish Your Lover' is commercial ballad material which blends into a slow jam.. I like it. 'Heartbreaker' is more big and brash funk, 'Call Me Mister' is just too urban for my liking, the closer 'Too Serious' doesn't add much to what's gone before.

In Summary
Released in late August 1989, the album didn't set the world on fire in the rock demographic (not surprisngly), but did touch up the R&B market, 'I'm N Danger' making it to #11 on Billboard's R&B charts. Producer Attala Zane Giles had worked with the likes of Gladys Knight, Con Funk Shun and Vesta, and tried to change their sound to fit in with the territory he was familiar with, but ultimately, MF are a rock band first and foremost. Not one of their best albums, but an interesting sidetrack nonetheless.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on June 02 2013 11:37:56
The band, with Moses, opened for Maze in the UK in 89. I saw them at Hammersmith Odeon and the Soul/R'n'B crowd were left mystified as to how a rock band were on the same bill. MF were like the second coming of Led Zeppelin that night. They rocked, and even the songs like 'Legs And Lipstick' from this record were given a total makeover.
I had tried to arrange an interview with MF through the label, but as Capitol were only interested in featuring them in 'the Black press', I sadly wasn't given the opportunity, but at least I got a ticket to see the show (didn't bother staying to see Maze). Needless to say, when Joyce, Glenn and Wiz heard about the refusal by Capitol to arrange an interview with 'Kerrang!' when I did meet them a couple of years later they were not impressed at all.
As an aside, I wish Joyce Kennedy's two solo albums are released on CD some day. That woman could sing the phone book and I'd buy it!
#2 | david on June 02 2013 21:22:23
Dave, i saw MF play a small club some where around the Notting Hill Gate area. Must of been around 89. I swear i went with Kelv, but he says he has not seen them. Did they support Dan Reed and play a one off gig. Hope you can shed some light on my poor memory
#3 | reyno-roxx on June 03 2013 07:31:37
They toured with Dan Reed on the latter's 'The Heat' tour in the mid 90s. They also opened for Badlands at the Astoria and played a one-off show at the Hippodrome after 'Black Radio..' was released.

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