More than 40 years after busting out of West Oakland, Calif., Ruth Pointer says The Pointer Sisters “know today how damn good we were.”
Others could have told her that, of course. The sibling act — first a quartet, then a trio — logged 13 Top 20 singles, including “He’s So Shy,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” “Slow Hand,” “Automatic” and “Jump (For My Love)” — and a few equally successful albums. And even though the Pointers’ heyday is well behind them, Ruth — who at 64 is the eldest — says she and sister Anita have “just never stopped,” even after sister June passed away in 2006.
“We had to bring in my daughter (with The Temptations’ Dennis Edwards) Issa and we had to train her to sing the parts that June was singing,” Ruth says. “It was a little difficult trying to remember, first of all, what June was singing, ‘cause most of the time we just sing it, y’know?
“So it was quite a challenge to figure all of that out and rehearse and re-learn each person’s part note-for-note. And when we did that, I think Anita and I realized how good we were and how difficult some of what we were doing was.”
Ruth says the Pointers these days are happy “to sing just what people want us to,” which means the hits and, among them, “He’s So Shy,” which turns 30 this year.
“That’s one of my favorite ones to sing live — and one of my favorite songs in general,” says Ruth, noting that Anita has taken over June’s lead part — which led to a “feud” when the song was originally recorded.
“Anita really wanted the song, but (producer) Richard Perry thought June should sing lead on it. I remember feeling being a little tight there. June got the song, but here of late I think Anita thinks that, ‘Well, not that I wanted it this way, but I do finally get to do it after a long time.’ So it all worked out.”
The Pointer Sisters perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $42 and $38. Call 313-309-4700 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to