Mother’s Finest, a racially mixed Rock/Funk band from Atlanta found their greatest commercial success with their third album released in 1978, Mother Factor.  Oddly enough, or maybe not given how narrow-minded radio can be, the song that charted the highest was the least Rocked-out song on the album, the power ballad, “Love Changes.”  The band’s original lineup was the two co-founders Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy (lead vocals) and Glen “Doc” Murdoc (vocals), along with Gary “Moses Mo” Moore (Guitar), Barry “B.B. Queen” Borden (drums), Jerry “Wizzard” Seay (bass) and Mike Keck (keyboards).  I had the privilege of seeing Mother’s Finest in D.C. around ‘78 at a Funk concert with Parliament-Funkadelic, Cameo and some other heavy thumpers.  I was amazed that in D.C., the Funk capitol of the world then, they knew all of Mother’s Finest’s heavy-hitting Rock songs while back in Detroit, we only played, “Love Changes.”  I envied the open-mindedness of the D.C. audiences.  Their motto seemed to be, “If it had a thumping beat, bring it!”  Check out the song I was re-introduced to at that D.C. concert and it’s been my jam ever since; from the ’77 album, Another Mother Further, “Baby Love,” by Mother’s Finest.

posted by pasdebill

As I was raising my two children (one male, one female) I introduced them to a wide variety of music forms.  Of all the genres of music they were exposed to, they refused to give Rock a try.  I told them that the inventors of modern day Rock were Black musicians but… nothin’.  I must have seen the Rock musical, “Tommy,” four times and loved the music, even though it had been transformed for musical theatre.  When I came to my one year old daughter singing the soothing melody, “See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me,” she screamed bloody murder… every time.  She doesn’t remember it but I still can’t figure that one out.  I was exposed to Rock at Cass Tech High School in Detroit where our parties had live bands who played Rock… and we danced to it’s unpredictable beats all night long.  The bands had either Black and White musicians or they were all Black.  The songs they played?  How about some “Foot Stompin’ Music” (Grand Funk), “Black Dog” (Led Zeppelin) “South California Purples” (Chicago Transit Authority), “Down By The River” (Buddy Miles), “Hocus Pocus” (Focus)… straight up 70’s Rock & Roll.  I still loved me some R&B but my mind was opened up to a whole new catalog of music. 

Living Colour is a Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band from New York.  The group was founded by guitarist, Vernon Reid, with vocalist Corey Glover, bassist Muzz Skillings and drummer Will Calhoun.  They splashed onto the music scene with their first album, Vivid, in 1988.  Living Colour were named Best New Artists at the ’89 MTV Music Awards and they won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for the song that brought them into everybody’s consciousness, “Cult of Personality.”  Check it out.

posted by LivingColourVEVO

I looooove The Family Stand.  This is one of those groups that can play anything but mostly chooses to hit it hard with a Funk/Rock flare.  Peter Lord, the vocalist/keyboardist is so underrated or unknown it’s not funny.  V. Jeffrey Smith and Sandra St. Victor, both bad in their own rights, combine with Lord to make up the trio.  Jacci McGhee replaced Sandra for a stint and was featured on the 1998 Connected album but St. Victor has returned to the group and McGhee is now out.  Why this group isn’t a household name, I will never know.  Talent should always count for something but we all know that’s a “perfect world” scenario and this is far from a perfect world… unfortunately for far too many really good performers.  Their biggest commercial success was co-writing the Paula Abdul song, “The Promise of a New Day” but they are most known for the snappy song from their first album, “Ghetto Heaven.”  The Family Stand departed from their Funk/Rock roots with the Connected album and created some truly beautiful R&B songs.  Had I not been watching Video Soul on BET that one fateful day when they were performing live, I would have never heard about the Connected LP.  I never heard one song from this really polished (mostly Soul music) album on the radio.  Seek this album out when you can and see if you don’t agree.  However, this story is about BLACK BANDS THAT ROCK and when The Family Stand rock out, they rock out hard with pretty chord changes.  They are still slammin’ with their 2010 album, “In A 1000 Years,” that can be purchased on-line.  Check out this live performance of, “Shades Of Blue,” from 1992.

1992  posted by CheekyMofo7722

 These next two artists I may be stretching into the category.  Fine Young Cannibals, a group with a Black lead singer and Terence Trent D’Arby are both more Pop than Rock but they do display Rock roots.  I think you’ll enjoy seeing these two Euro artists do their thing.

posted by Back2the80sagain

posted by scoobdoggydogg

 I know I missed some Black Rockers but we couldn’t feature them all.  You may even know some that I was never exposed to.  Feel free to share.  I’m always game for finding new (old) music.

To round out this BLACK BANDS THAT ROCK conversation, I’m gonna leave you with a solo performance from Corey Glover, lead singer for Living Colour.  He tears this song up so I thought I’d share, especially for those who have never heard it before.  You’re in for a treat.  He’s a Hard Rock singer who has a phenomenal singing voice; something that isn’t always required.  Because of his great singing voice, you can understand the lyrics as they are coming out of his mouth.  Please enjoy the “power ballad” entry, “April Rain.”

posted by Pasquerel