Formed in Atlanta by vocalists and husband-wife duo Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy and Glenn “Doc” Murdock, Mother’s Finest has been wowing audiences for over 50 years with their unique fusion of funk, rock, and soul.
“We’re such spiritual people and we attach everything to a higher power,” Kennedy said. “That’s how we got together and how we’ve stayed together.”
According to Kennedy, the story of Mother’s Finest began in the early 70s when she met Murdock in Chicago and the two began singing as an R&B duo.
“Doc and I are from Chicago and we had a little duet going on where we traveled all around the world,” she explained. “Eventually, we were booked to perform in front of the Herman Miller Band in Dayton and that’s where we met our guitarist Mo. At the time, Mo was in the house band called ‘the Raspberry Blues Band,’ and one thing led to another and we ended up hooking up with them.”
After performing dance sets with the Raspberry Blues Band for a period of time, Kennedy and Murdock headed to Miami to audition as singers for a band but it wasn’t meant to be. They eventually made their way to bassist Jerry Seay (Wyzard), reconnected with Moore, and settled in Atlanta to form Mother’s Finest. Kennedy says that the musical connection among them was unique and immediate.
“We didn’t plan our sound, we didn’t plan the people…it was just kind of a natural affinity for each other,” she said. “Even though my background was in Gospel music, Doc brought a lot of the doo-wap, and we collectively as a group listened to a lot of Jazz. Mo and Wyzard brought their own unique styles and we tried to incorporate all of that into our music which brought the heart and soul of each of us.”
Kennedy says that although the group didn’t start out writing original music, she feels that they brought a certain level of originality with their take on covers from artists like the Beatles.
“When we were starting out we were performing a lot of covers, but we always had our own arrangements,” she said. “People would recognize Eleanor Rigby, but it was our own version of it and I think that’s what set us apart. We did start writing our own music eventually.”
Over the course of their long musical career, Mother’s Finest has received a lifetime achievement award from the Black Rock Coalition and is a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame with Top 20 hits “Baby Love” and “Love Changes.”
They have also shared the stage with The Who, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and several other iconic rock groups from the 1970s.
In addition to Kennedy and Murdock, the current lineup features guitarist John Hayes, bassist Juan VanDunk, guitarist “Mo” Moore, and their son and drummer Dion Derek Murdock.
“We love each other,” Kennedy said. “We tried splitting up once…we actually split up for six years and nobody found the same connection. We just have something special that has kept us going all of these years and I’m absolutely blessed to share the stage with such awesome people.”
Mother’s Finest will hit the stage at District Live on Thurs,, March 24 at 8:30 p.m.
To purchase tickets or for more information visit ticketmaster.com and search for the band.