June 09, 2020
As one of the original Pointer Sisters, Bonnie Pointer, who has died aged 69, brilliantly wrongfooted her audience by hopping from blaxploitation films to Nashville
Bonnie Pointer: from country to disco, this Sister did it for herself
There were effectively two different versions of the Pointer Sisters. There was the 80s hit machine, a trio whose sound existed somewhere between soul and shiny synth-pop, authors of the ubiquitous I’m So Excited and Jump (For My Love). And there was the Pointer Sisters that existed before them, when Bonnie Pointer was still a member, who were a very different and far more intriguing proposition: a quartet, dressed in a chaotic, charity-shop approximation of 1940s glamour, whose sound zigzagged wittily and unpredictably between jazz, soul, blues and country.
They could make music that matched their outfits, sounding like an African-American equivalent of the Manhattan Transfer, or of Bette Midler belting out The Lullaby of Broadway and Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy to the delight of the patrons of New York’s Continental Baths. Alternatively, they could turn out a tough take on Willie Dixon’s Wang Dang Doodle or the humid New Orleans funk of Allen Toussaint’s Yes We Can Can. They could do disco, as on 1977’s Waiting on You; equally, they could win a Grammy for the best country performance by a duo or group, as they did for Fairytale (1974).
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