Today's artists are an American R&B singing group from Oakland, California, that achieved mainstream success during the 1970's and 1980's. Spanning over three decades, their repertoire has included such diverse genres as pop, disco, jazz, electronic music, bebop, blues, soul, funk, dance, country and rock. ... N'joy
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As children in West Oakland, the Pointer sisters and brothers were encouraged to listen to and sing gospel music by their parents Reverend Elton Pointer and Sarah Pointer. However, they were told rock and roll and the blues were "the devil's music", and it was only when they were away from their watchful parents that they could sing these styles. They regularly sang at the Church of God in Christ in West Oakland, but as the sisters grew older their love of other styles of music began to grow. When June, the youngest sister, brought home a copy of the Elvis Presley record All Shook Up, she was surprised that her mother allowed her to play it, until discovering that her mother had been pacified by the song "Crying in the Chapel" on the "B" side of the record.
After leaving school Ruth, the oldest sister, was already married with two children Faun (born 1965) and Malik (born 1966), Anita, the second oldest sister, also was married with a child Jada. Bonnie, the third oldest sister, and June sought a show business career and they formed a duo, "Pointers, A Pair". Later, Anita quit her job to join the group. They began touring and performing and provided backing vocals for artists such as Grace Slick, Sylvester James, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop, and it was while supporting Bishop at a nightclub appearance in 1971, that the sisters were signed to a recording contract with Atlantic Records. The resulting singles that came from their Atlantic tenure failed to become hits but, nevertheless, the sisters were enjoying their newfound recording career. The temptation to join them finally overwhelmed Ruth and, in December 1972, she joined the group. The quartet signed to Blue Thumb Records and began to record their first full-fledged album.
In 1972, they were asked to record "Pinball Number Count" for a series of educational cartoons teaching kids how to count. It made its debut on Sesame Street in 1977 and was a feature on the show for many years. They made their television debut performance at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles on The Helen Reddy Show. In 1974 they joined Reddy on the track "Showbiz" which appeared on her "Free and Easy" album. Their self-titled first album, was released in 1973 and received positive reviews, with the group being lauded for their versatility and originality. The group was backed up at this time by Bay Area stalwarts, the Hoodoo Rhythm Devils. The first single from this album, "Yes We Can Can", reached number 11 on the pop charts, and would go on to establish itself as an R&B classic. The Allen Toussaint penned song had been a small R&B hit for Lee Dorsey in 1970. The album's second single was a cover of Willie Dixon's Blues stomper "Wang Dang Doodle". It reached the R&B top 40 and the group's thrift shop style began to catch on with fans, many of whom would attend their shows in similar attire.
The following year they released their second album titled That's a Plenty. It continued in the jazz and be-bop style of its predecessor but provided one exception that caused a great deal of interest. The song "Fairytale", written by Anita and Bonnie, was a country song that reached #13 on the pop charts, and #37 on the country charts. Based on this success, the group was invited to Nashville, Tennessee where they achieved the singular distinction of becoming the first black female singers to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. In 1975, the quartet won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Fairytale". Anita and Bonnie were also nominated as songwriters for the Grammy Award for Best Country Song. The song would later be covered by Elvis Presley.
Their third album, Steppin' was released in 1975. Steppin' produced their Grammy-nominated number one R&B single, "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)", which was sampled by female rap icons Salt-N-Pepa a decade later. The Pointer Sisters also scored another R&B hit from the album with "Going Down Slowly", another Allen Toussaint cover, and in 1976 appeared in the classic blaxploitation film Car Wash. Their song from the movie, "You Gotta Believe", made the R&B top 20 in early 1977. They were featured on the 1977 album Saffo Music by Italian R&B singer Lara Saint Paul and produced by Leon Ware, with bass by Chuck Rainey, guitar by Ray Parker Jr. and mixed by Bill Conti. It was released in Italy under LASAPA records. Their last album as a quartet was the jazz/funk album Having a Party, released in 1977. Though this album neither produced any major hits nor had strong sales, it did feature the Bonnie-led "Don't It Drive You Crazy", which would become a cult hit in the UK as part of the rare groove phenomenon.
In 1979 the trio released an album with a harder-edged rock sound entitled Priority, and though it was not a huge commercial success it received very positive critical reviews and further strengthened the group's reputation for being versatile. Over the next few years they achieved their greatest commercial success and continued to demonstrate their versatility. In 1980 the soulful pop single, "He's So Shy", reached number three on the charts, and the following year a slow, sultry ballad, "Slow Hand", reached number two. The follow-up, "Should I Do It" was classic girl-group. Richard Perry then switched distribution of Planet to RCA Records in 1982. The first release from this new union was "American Music", a patriotic-themed, modernized take on the girl-group sound while "I'm So Excited" was an influential, exuberant dance track. All these singles were significant hits in the US and were also successful in Australia, where all but "American Music" reached the Top 20.
"I Need You" had been the lead single from the album, and was a significant R&B hit, peaking at #13 on the Black Singles charts. The album's last single, "Baby Come And Get It", did well on the Black Singles charts too but missed cracking the pop Top 40 by a hair. (It would be brought to life again in the next millennium through its use in Burger King television commercials.) They received Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Jump (For My Love)", and Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices for "Automatic". These songs also followed "Slow Hand" into the UK Top 10, with "Automatic" peaking at number 2 in that country.
These Planet singles marked the end of their run of Top 10 hits in the US, with their subsequent RCA releases "Dare Me" in 1984 (the Sisters' last Australian Top 10 hit), and "Goldmine" in 1986, reaching numbers 11 and 33 respectively. In 1985 Ruth became a grandmother for the second time. The sisters eventually left RCA Records to record for Motown and then SBK, releasing several group albums and individual solo albums along the way, but these projects did not achieve the level of success of their earlier work.
In recent years the sisters have maintained a lower public profile but have continued to perform. Anita became a grandmother in 1990 when her only child Jada gave birth to Roxie. On September 8, 1990 Ruth married a man named Michael Sayles (born 1957). The sisters entertained US troops in the Persian Gulf in 1991 with Bob Hope. By 1991, June Pointer had ended her thirteen-year marriage to William Oliver Whitmore II. In August, 1993 at age 47 Ruth Pointer gave birth to twins Ali and Conor Sayles. In 1994, the Pointer Sisters were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and began touring with a production of the Fats Waller-based musical Ain't Misbehavin'. In 1995 Pointer Sisters recorded "Feel for the Physical" as a duet with Thomas Anders (of Modern Talking fame) for his album Souled. They were also one of the featured acts at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
In 1995-96 the Pointer Sisters returned to their original jazzy incarnation touring nationally in Ain't
In 2004 Issa Pointer officially replaced June Pointer in the Pointer Sisters trio being featured on the live album The Pointer Sisters - Live in Billings recorded April 2004 at the Alberta Bair Theatre in Billings, Montana. The first studio recording by the Pointer Sisters to feature Issa Pointer was "Christmas in New York" for YMC Records www.ymcrecords.com recorded in the summer of 2005 for release for the multi-artist seasonal release Smooth & Soulful Christmas Collection on YMC Records: "Christmas in New York" afforded the Pointer Sisters their last appearance on a Billboard chart to date, the track reaching #21 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Christmas In New York was written by Nathan East and Chris Christian and produced by them. The group's next recording was a remake of the Eurythmics' "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" recorded with Natalia: this track spent sixteen weeks in the Top 20 of Belgium's Flemish chart from October 2005 with a peak of #2. In 2008 Anita Pointer and Ruth Pointer recorded the last Pointer Sisters album to date The Pointer Sisters Favorites consisting of remakes of ten of the group's biggest hits: recorded in response to the group's failure to receive royalties from the inclusion of any Pointer Sisters' hits on multi-artist hits compilations, "...Favorites" was sold exclusively at the group's live gigs and at the website ThePointerSisters.com, but was added to iTunes in 2013.
In November 2000, the sisters lost their mother Sarah; in 2003, sister Anita lost her only child Jada to cancer. Jada was the subject of the 1973 song "Jada". On April 11, 2006, June Pointer died of lung cancer.
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With a big push from their Blue Thumb label, who introduced the band by way of a full-page ad in Billboard magazine, the Pointer Sisters took their eponymous debut straight to the top of the R&B charts in summer 1973 on the strengths of their penchant for mixing classic '60s R&B with fresh forward-thinking grooves. Add the sisters' harmonies and complex vocal moves, and there's no doubt the group was destined for a fast rise. Produced by David Rubinson, The Pointer Sisters contained effusive covers that cradled two of the Pointers' own compositions. That remarkable combo, then, allowed the Allen Toussaint classic "Yes We Can Can" to rub shoulders with the original "Jada," a boogie blues-shaded slab of jazz, and a perfect fingerprint of the eclectic style that would define the Pointers' core. That same bent also allowed them to give equal energy to the Willie Dixon gem "Wang Dang Doodle," a song which quickly became a live set favorite, and also to their own "Sugar." Other high points include "River Boulevard," a mid-tempo vocal that gives way to a light rock riot. It was easy to see exactly where the Pointer Sisters were headed. With talent to spare and an energy that was fresh and unending, this set emerges a cohesive and joyous cabaret, allowing the quartet to do what it does best.
The Pointer Sisters - I (flac 293mb)
01 Yes We Can Can 6:02
02 Cloudburst 3:12
03 Jada 4:40
04 River Boulevard 5:52
05 Old Songs 4:01
06 That's How I Feel 7:07
07 Sugar 2:19
08 Pains And Tears 2:36
09 Naked Foot 3:46
10 Wang Dang Doodle 7:34
The Pointer Sisters - I (ogg 115mb)
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For their second studio long-player, the Pointer Sisters -- consisting of singing siblings Anita, Bonnie, June, and Ruth Pointer -- cut loose with a powerful collection of vintage pop, jazz, and modern R&B. Stylistically, 1973's That's A Plenty is as diverse as their eponymous debut and proves that the immense talents of the Oakland-born quartet were far more than just a one-off fluke. In fact, it was their multiplicity that may have initially prevented them from getting the exposure they deserved. The opening medley couples the tongue-in-cheek saga of their humble beginnings on the tastefully (if not a tad dramatically) arranged "Bangin' On the Pipes" with the rollicking bop of "Steam Heat," derived from the 1954 score of The Pajama Game. Things are cranked up considerably on the Pointers' breakneck rendition of Dizzy Gillespie's bebop classic "Salt Peanuts." The selection is taken at such an accelerated pace that the flurry might leave the listener exhausted by the song's conclusion. Of equal note are the accompanying instrumentalists, who ably keep pace with substantial verve and sonic savoir-faire. Although almost a musical antithesis, the uptown blues-infused take of Son House's "Grinning in Your Face" (aka "Don't Mind People Grinning in Your Face") unleashes a decidedly funky East Bay vibe. While steeped in the original, it is at once a wholly unique presence. "Shaky Flat Blues" is one of the two Pointer-penned pieces, as the Sisters take their cues more from the sophistication of Duke Ellington than anything happening in early-'70s pop or soul. That's A Plenty's title track is a hot-steppin' Dixieland rag with a tricky syncopation and mile-a-minute lyrics, while "Little Pony" is another classy remake of a venerable jazz number, this time from the luminous Count Basie catalog. The Pointers definitely do it justice by bringing it to an entirely new audience. The surprising rural twang of "Fairytale" is undoubtedly the most incongruous entry on the LP, garnering the ladies their first foray onto the country singles survey. The success resulted in not only a guest appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, but formidable lauds as Elvis Presley covered it to great effect both in the studio -- where it surfaced on 1975's Today -- and on the road. All the more compelling is the dark and lymphatic torch reading of "Black Coffee," brooding and seething with an undercurrent of palpable emotion -- especially during the improvised double-time scat vocals at the tune's conclusion. Perhaps saving their best for last, the redux of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's "Love in Them There Hills" is an extended outing that churns and burns into an inspired eight-minutes of unfettered funk, proving that the Pointers are easily as relevant as any of their contemporaries.
The Pointer Sisters - That's A Plenty (flac 315mb)
01 Bangin' On The Pipes / Steam Heat 5:39
02 Salt Peanuts 5:10
03 Grinning In Your Face 4:49
04 Shaky Flat Blues 4:41
05 That's A Plenty / Surfeit, U.S.A. 3:42
06 Little Pony 4:43
07 Fairytale 5:04
08 Black Coffee 6:07
09 Love In Them There Hills 8:30
The Pointer Sisters - That's A Plenty (ogg 113mb)
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Keeping their forward momentum at warp speed, the Pointer Sisters brought the effusive Steppin' to bear in summer 1975. Having already danced into the spotlight across their first three albums, it was no surprise when the David Rubinson-produced LP, which boasted one of the era's best cut-out sleeves (slingback high-heeled tap sneakers!), cruised to number three R&B. Keeping their feet planted firmly in the older soul tradition which had served them so well, the Pointer Sisters continued to look ahead, carving their own niche in a genre soon to be glutted with contenders. This set is a thriller, from the opening funk groove of the number one hit "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)," which remains a delicious collision of mid-period soul, funk, and nascent disco, to their energetic cover of Stevie Wonder's "Sleeping Alone" and "Chainey Do," which sports jazz fusionist Herbie Hancock on clavinet. Sparklers like these only serve to whet the Pointer Sisters' own appetite, though, as they work their way through a hefty course of vibes. Their love of early standards blossoms across the smoky, sultry, six-minute "I Ain't Got Nothing but the Blues" -- a wonderful tribute to Duke Ellington sung in medley form, allowing the quartet's vocal harmonies to shine across a big band backdrop. Elsewhere, they take a spin through Allen Toussaint's "Going Down Slowly," which scored them another R&B hit at the end of 1975. And although the Pointer Sisters are best-remembered for the mid-'80s disco soul they plied so well, it's albums like Steppin' which best capture the sisters' true spirit.
The Pointer Sisters - Steppin' (flac 258mb)
01 How Long (Betcha' Got A Chick On The Side) 7:21
02 Sleeping Alone 4:29
03 Easy Days 3:37
04 Chainey Do 6:05
05 I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues (A Medley In Tribute To Duke Ellington) 6:08
06 Save The Bones For Henry Jones 3:10
07 Wanting Things 3:11
08 Going Down Slowly 7:56
The Pointer Sisters - Steppin' (ogg 93mb)
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