Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Free Spirit of Bonnie Pointer by Alan Mercer

All Photos:  Alan Mercer   Lighting:  Eric V.

The founding member of ‘The Pointer Sisters,’ Bonnie Pointer began her performing career in San Francisco nightclubs in 1969. Soon joined by youngest sister June, then by elder sisters Ruth and Anita, ‘The Pointer Sisters’ released a string of hits on Blue Thumb, trailblazing from genre to genre, including funk and jazz, and won their first Grammy award for the country song ‘Fairytale,’ written by Anita and Bonnie, which would be recorded by Elvis Presley two years before his death.

Bonnie Pointer was born in Oakland, California.  She began singing in the choir of her father Reverend Elton Pointer's church.  Bonnie and youngest sister June began singing together as teenagers and in 1969 the duo had co-founded The Pointers, otherwise known as ‘The Pair.’ After Anita joined the duo that same year, they changed their name to ‘The Pointer Sisters’ and recorded several singles for Atlantic Records between 1971 and 1972. In December 1972, they recruited oldest sister Ruth and released their debut album as ‘The Pointer Sisters’ in 1973. Their self-titled debut yielded the classic hit ‘Yes We Can Can.’  

Between 1973 and 1977, the Pointers' donned 1940‘s fashions and sang in a style reminiscent of ‘The Andrews Sisters.’  They also melded the sounds of R&B, funk, rock and roll, gospel, country and soul.  Bonnie recorded five albums with ‘The Pointer Sisters.’

In 1977, Bonnie left the group to begin a solo career.  In 1978, she married Motown Records Producer Jeffrey Bowen and signed with Motown.  Bonnie released ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You,’ which reached No. 11 on Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her debut album is considered a classic and includes beautiful ballads written by Bonnie.

In 1979 Bonnie released her second and final album on Motown. Her third album ‘If The Price is Right’ came out in 1984. Bonnie sings the songs ‘Heaven’ and ‘The Beast in Me’ on the soundtrack to the movie ‘Heavenly Bodies.’  In 2010 Bonnie released her fourth album titled ‘Like A Picasso.’ Every soul filled cut on the album stands out.  

Bonnie continues to perform today with some upcoming gigs this summer and fall. She reunited with her sisters on two separate occasions, when the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994, and during a Las Vegas performance in 1996 singing ‘Jump (for My Love).’  It’s no secret that Bonnie has suffered through substance abuse issues over the years but she has found the help she needs through her family and is working hard to stay sober and healthy at this time in her life.  Bonnie has always been a vivacious, beautiful and intelligent woman with a lot of musical talent.  I love her!

A special THANK YOU to Roxie McKain and Gregeory Batsch

AM:  Bonnie, I get the feeling that you are very free spirited and what you see is what you get.

BP: Exactly.

AM:  I also know you are the one who started ‘The Pointer Sisters.’  What gave you the belief that you all could make it as pop stars?

BP:  I knew I didn’t want to work a regular 9 to 5 job.  I wanted to do something that I like to do.  I am an entertainer and I’ve always done that since I was a little girl.  My Mother always used to tell me to dance for her friends.  When my parents went to church, me and my sisters would get up on the coffee table and sing.  We would use a pie pan as a tambourine.  Then, when I was in high school someone told me I could sing.  I never thought I really could.  I would sing along with Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.  So when they told me I could sing I started to believe them.

AM:  You’re a great singer Bonnie.

BP: I love singing.  I love entertaining.  We sang with Sylvester once on a gay cruise.  We had the best time.

AM:  Who else did you work with?

BP:   Alice Cooper, Grace Jones, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin, Taj Mahal, Dave Mason, Elvin Bishop, Boz Scaggs and Bobby Womack.  It’s been a fun life.  We played the Fillmore West and the Fillmore East.

AM:  You were really driven to be a performer weren’t you?

BP:  It was desperation.  I wanted out of the ghetto.  I wasn’t even in the ghetto really, but I still wanted out.  I was smarter than the average student and I went to Mills College at Berkeley University of Arts and Crafts at an early age.  I was ahead of my time.   I wrote poetry with Angela Davis.  We started the Black Panthers party in Oakland.  Huey Newton was my boyfriend.

AM:  There are so many stories that people don’t know about.

BP:  I’m just remembering all these things because I don’t work as hard as I used to so I have time to sit back and reflect.  It’s so fun to think back about all the shows we were on like Carol Burnett, Flip Wilson and Helen Reddy.

AM: The Helen Reddy Show was your television debut.

BP:  Yes it was.  We also did the Cher show and went on tour with Carol Burnett.  We had the greatest time!

AM:  The concert you did in South Africa when you went with Muhammad Ali is out on DVD now.

BP:  On the way to Zaire, James Brown tried to kill Bill Withers with a butcher knife while we were on the plane, over Denise Nicholas.   It was us, Sister Sledge and the Spinners and we were all screaming, “No!”  We were in that plane for 27 hours.  Muhammad Ali was waiting for us every day to go watch him at training camp.  We were saying, “I hope Muhammad Ali isn’t waiting for us.  Please don’t let him be there.” We wanted to go shopping! (Laughter)  Ultimately it was all fun.  I look back now and I really appreciate it all.  At the time we were just moving so fast traveling all over the world.

AM:  How did you all get into that vintage 40‘s look?

BP:  Anita was a legal secretary and Ruth was a key punch operator at the toll gate in San Francisco.  We had to go to church and all they wanted was for us to get saved.  I told them I wasn’t ready to get saved.  I had a little more sinning I wanted to do!  (Laughter)  I told the women at my father’s church that I wanted to wear their old sinful clothes, the ones they wore going to the Cotton Club.  I wanted to wear those dresses.   So we went to the Old Saints Church and raided the closet and got all those "sinning clothes" out.  We wore them on the cover of our first album.  So we started getting thrift store clothes that I wore to school all the time because we couldn’t afford the things that I liked.

AM: How did the people at school react to your fashion choices?

BP:  I was always getting kicked out of school for being over-dressed.  I would wear a hat and look like Bette Davis or Greta Garbo.  I got kicked out all the time for disturbing the peace in the class.  The kids would laugh at me.  I was the first one in my class with an afro.    

AM:  Did you like the 40‘s music too?

BP:  I heard Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and liked that 40‘s sound.

AM:  How did you get your first break?

BP:  We were stuck in Texas one time and I found a card I had, so I called David Rubinson and Bill Graham.  I told them they had never heard of me, but my sisters and I can sing.  If you get us out of here I’ll show you.  They sent us plane tickets the next day and all of a sudden we were Elvin Bishops’ back-up group.  That’s how we got our start.

AM:  Bonnie you recorded the standard ‘Black Coffee’ when you were very young.  How did you even understand the emotion you were singing about?

BP:  I always felt older than I was.  I’m an old soul.

AM:  Would you consider a project where you recorded some old standards now?

BP:  Absolutely!  I love it!  I’m such a drama queen, you have no idea!  I love the drama of a smokey blue club.  I want to be draped across a piano.  I’m a living Erte’.  I would love to do a club show in West Hollywood every week.

AM:  You could do that or you could do dance music.

BP:  Did you know ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’ was the very first digital recording?

AM:  No.

BP:  I got the first Billboard award ever at Roseland in New York.

AM:  Did you want to record ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’?

BP:  Yes I wanted to do it as a dance song.  The Elgins recorded it first.  I heard the Village People sing ‘YMCA’ so that gave me the idea to sing it like that.  That’s where we got the rhythm and the beat.  So I called up Berry Gordy and told him that’s what we had to do.  I didn’t know I was going to scat.  That was impromptu.  I just did it in the moment out of inspiration.  Aretha’s sister Carolyn Franklin sang background for me on the song.   She was the only other singer on my album.  I did all the other vocals.

AM:  I’d love you to record an album of your own ballads as well.

BP:  I would love to do that.

AM: How do you feel these days Bonnie?  You seem like you are feeling good and doing good.

BP:  I feel wonderful!  I’m in a program that will be finished in September.  I’m working at the Eisenhower Theater in New York.  I’m working, writing, walking and exercising and trying to stay healthy.  My niece Roxie is helping me.  She is my savior and I love her.  I don’t even know how to express how thankful I am to have her in my life and how much I love her.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cynthia Manley (Official FB Fan Group)

I just got word the video will be up on youtube on the 4rth of July. I hope you enjoy, and meanwhile, pick a mix you like( or all 12 for $6.99) and SUPPORT INDIE MUSIC !! Loving you, Cynthia Manleyhttp://www.cdbaby.com/cd/cynthiamanley

Monday, April 22, 2013

ADORING SESSION:“Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Cynthia Manley

ADORING SESSION: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” - THE NEW CYNTHIA MANLEY SINGLE! We just finished a shoot for the elegant video on Sunday, April 22nd. Cynthia is a dream to work with. We had a fantastic time and shot beautiful footage! The video will be ready by mid-May - it is now in post-production. The track is produced by the very talented Mr. Paul Goodyear and features Jessica Williams and Joyce Vincent on backup vocals! Listen for Cynthia’s new single! This incredible lady has been with dance music since the 80s and you can feel the heart she puts into her respect and love for the music and the fans of it. Thank you, Cynthia - it is always a joy to work with you!
Glenn Rivera.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Disco Awards 2013, 30 March

David Charles LaRue

D.C. LaRue's DISCO JUICE: Broadcasting "live" every Saturday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm Eastern Time on www.NewTownRadio.com. It's music from the D.C. LaRUE "personal" DISCO COLLECTION…his own dance music recordings. So welcome aboard and enjoy the refreshing sounds "Disco Juice"...it is truly "MUSIC THAT'S GOOD TO THE VERY LAST BOOGIE DOWN DROP!!"

 About the photo: D.C. LaRue and dear friend Carol Douglas.