When asked point blank in an exclusive interview regarding whether she has any desire to collaborate with a hip producer on new material, Ruth Pointer, the eldest member of gorgeous ’70s R&B songbirds the Pointer Sisters, adamantly states, “I especially love Timbaland and Pharrell. Those guys are incredible producers, and I would love to work with them.”
Admitting that the unjustly neglected group hasn’t had any substantial offers to enter the recording studio in recent years—the non-charting Only Sisters Can Do That was their last studio album released some 22 years ago while “Goldmine” was their final Top 40 pop single in 1986—Ruth still actively tours with her younger sister Anita and either granddaughter Sadako or daughter Issa. June, the original third member of the team, struggled with substance abuse for years and passed away in 2006 from cancer.
Ruth doesn’t wallow in the past, instead keeping her musical ear tuned squarely to the ground. She admits, “I listen to all kinds of music, but my favorite is gospel. I have SiriusXM satellite radio in my car and listen to the gospel-praise station (Kirk Franklin is on constant rotation) and Soul Town, which plays classic soul / R&B songs. One of my favorite songs of the past few years is Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ featuring Pharrell and T.I.”
The natural-born altoist will allow fans to learn much more about her fascinating life and career in February 2016 with the publication of Still So Excited! My Life as a Pointer Sister via Triumph Books. Co-written by eminent Steve McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill, it will be the first tome dedicated to the platinum selling trio, responsible for launching some 16 Top 40 hits like “Fairytale,” “How Long (Betcha’ Got a Chick on the Side),” “Fire,” and “Neutron Dance.”
- DON’T GO ANYWHERE YET! Ruth’s brief comments above merely scratch the surface of a 7,000-word conversation available as two installments in this column. Check out “The Gospel Roots of the Pointer Sisters: Childhood Memories with Ruth Pointer” or “Soul Deep with a Natural-Born Singer” for the complete, mind-boggling scoop.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…based on a true story about Anita Pointer’s illicit affair with a married KSAN radio deejay in San Francisco, the jilted country vibe of “Fairytale” vaulted it all the way into the Top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100, notably becoming the Pointer Sisters’ second hit. To acquire further insight on how it opened doors for the harmonically gifted quartet, consider investigating a newly written article exploring the matter entitled “Inside ‘Fairytale,’ the Pointer Sisters’ Defiant Country Kiss-Off Covered by Elvis Presley.”
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Further Reading: The Sweet Inspirations remain one of the premier female vocal quartets of the mid-20th century, harmonizing on iconic recordings by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, Jimi Hendrix, and the Bee Gees. But their work as Elvis’ backup singers for eight years in concert garnered them significant notoriety, too. The group’s most unified statement as an album is quite possibly Estelle, Myrna and Sylvia. Produced by David Porter (his songwriting partner was Isaac Hayes), the album was recorded during the nadir of Stax Records’ influence on popular music in 1973 and received little support from the Memphis-based label. To learn more about the definitely underrated album, as well as the Sweets’ essential songs, head on over to “‘Estelle, Myrna and Sylvia’: The Perfect Sweet Inspirations Playlist”.
Further Reading No. 2: Solomon Burke experienced a nearly 50-year recording career. Inexplicably, he never gained the level of fame afforded to his R&B contemporaries including James Brown, Al Green, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, or Sam Cooke; instead, white artists such as The Rolling Stones and the Blues Brothers introduced him to a wider audience through their cover versions. In fact, “Cry To Me” appeared over 20 years later in the 1987 blockbuster Dirty Dancing, garnering renewed interest in the singer. To read about the song stylist who not coincidentally recorded with The Sweet Inspirations during his Atlantic Records heyday in the late ’60s, visit the following link: “Remembering Soul Legend Solomon Burke: Hit Singles and Definitive Performances”.
Exclusive Interview: Rick Nelson was on the verge of a comeback when his plane tragically caught fire en route to a 1985 New Year’s Eve gig. A rockabilly-themed album was nearing completion, and the singer had found a new record label in Nashville – Curb Records. Unfortunately, the project was promptly placed in the dustbin whilst various figureheads argued over rights and whether Nelson’s vocals were satisfactory. The “Garden Party” songwriter’s manager, Greg McDonald, recently made a surprise appearance on satellite radio and gave a very encouraging lowdown on the current status of the project and whether it might see the light of day in time for the 30th anniversary of Nelson’s passing.
- Exclusive Interview No. 2: John Denver will forever be remembered as the consummate singer-songwriter. The radio friendly, environmentally conscious entertainer possesses an incredible body of work with such landmark recordings as “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Back Home Again,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Annie’s Song,” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” all staples of early ’70s AM radio. Denver’s final pianist, Chris Nole, recently agreed to revisit his memorable relationship with the singer on the commemoration of his 70th birthday. Stick around as Nole discusses how he came to join Denver’s band, what it was like to have a single rehearsal and then debut in front of thousands of fans, Denver’s homespun sense of humor, whether the singer had any pre-show superstitions, their final conversation, and much more.
Exclusive Interview No. 3: Cherie Currie, best known as the former lead singer of ’70s female punk icons the Runaways, lived the ultimate rock and roll fantasy until it came crashing down in a raging sea of inner band turmoil, trashed hotel rooms, financial mismanagement, and substance abuse. After an extended lost weekend invigorated by the success of The Runaways, a film based on her shocking memoirs and starring Dakota Fanning and Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart, Currie is ready to rock ‘n’ roll all night. In an extremely personal chat [“Believe in Yourself: Words of Wisdom From…”], the blonde bombshell revisits the eclectic music she would take with her if stranded on a desert island, whether there is such a thing as the perfect guy, what she is most passionate about, what makes her angry, facing online criticism, the tragedy of seeking unattainable pipe dreams, and much more.
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