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Ruth Pointer keeps music in the family
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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For over three decades The Pointer Sisters have been entertaining and making hits, including "I'm So Excited" "He's So Shy" and "Automatic." From the beginning, Bonnie and June Pointer began the group with Anita and Ruth joining soon after.

The sister act has really turned into a family affair over the years with Ruth, her daughter Issa and granddaughter Sadako forming the current lineup.

Whether the crossover artists are singing country music from their first hit "Fairytale" or doing the "Neutron Dance" to the Beverly Hills Cop Soundtrack, the Pointers keep their listeners on their toes and having a good time.

They plan on "jumping for our love" at Market Days this year. Windy City Times talked with Ruth before her trip to Chicago.

Windy City Times: Hi, Ruth. When is the last time you have been to Chicago?

Ruth Pointer: We haven't been to Chicago in a while. We love Chicago!

WCT: Who is in the current line-up?

Ruth Pointer: It is Anita and myself; we alternate between my daughter and my granddaughter. Anita has had some health issues recently so we try to give her a break when she needs it. When that happens we bring my daughter in to fill in for her. I am not sure what the line-up is for Chicago at this moment. My daughter has been with us for almost 10 years, anyway.

WCT: That is great.

Ruth Pointer: Yeah, she stopped to have a baby then my grandmother stepped in for her so we just work it out.

WCT: This has been a family project from the beginning.

Ruth Pointer: It still is!

WCT: You have been the glue to hold it together all of these years.

Ruth Pointer: Yes, I guess I am. You know it is a miracle that I ended up in that position. I was the last one to come into the group and I have more children than anybody does, oh Jesus Lord! But the older I get the more I love it. I realized traveling is not what it used to be. That part is not fun anymore. The actual show itself is my lifeline. I just love being up there.

WCT: How do you pick the songs?

Ruth Pointer: We try to sing what people want to hear, which are the hits like "He's So Shy," "Fire," "So Excited" and "Neutron Dance." Those are the songs that people have related to throughout our career. These are songs they have come to love, and have brought back memories from '80s and '90s. We would really like to put more of our older things in the show. Anita and I were just talking about it lately. It just takes time to put it all together.

WCT: There is such a variety of genres. How long has it been in the game?

Ruth Pointer: Next year will be 40 years.

WCT: You have to throw a big party.

Ruth Pointer: We are trying to do that. We want to put something together. It has really been a great ride for us. We have no regrets. I can't say that I wouldn't do something differently if I had to do it again, of course I would but so far I can't complain. It has been beautiful and I love it. I love our material and I love singing with my family.

WCT: Well, Market Days will be fun but, hopefully, not too hot.

Ruth Pointer: There would have to be a lot of heat to make it too hot for us!

WCT: Hilarious—well, expect big gay crowds.

Ruth Pointer: Hey, the more the merrier. We have always had a huge gay following from San Francisco. I was just watching Unsung the other day and Bootsie Collins was on. I was just interested in his career; then they had Sylvester on and all of a sudden they flashed our picture. I thought, "Well all right," because that was the first person I did professional singing with in San Francisco. That was with Sylvester, myself and my sisters. He dressed me up in all of his garb and I was having so much fun. I think I made $15 that night and I was the happiest bitch on the planet!

WCT: That is funny. Do you have time to write new music or just mainly stick to playing the hits?

Ruth Pointer: It is mainly the hits. I guess you could say life takes over. Because we are not all up and coming and don't live in the same location, it is a little more difficult to do the things that we used to do. I live in Massachusetts, Anita is in Beverly Hills, my daughter lives close to me and my granddaughter lives in Atlanta.

We have to organize and get ourselves in one place in order to accomplish new material if that is what we are going to do. We would have to get someone to help us out with that. We would love to get some new material out there. My oldest son, Malik, has a band and is an incredible songwriter. I would love to perform some of my son's material. We have been talking about that lately. So there is a possibility that I could get some things from him and we will wind up doing something together.

WCT: Your family has such good genes!

Ruth Pointer: If they can't sing then they can write. Bonnie is still performing. She is an incredible songwriter as well.

WCT: Who sings the low range in the group?

Ruth Pointer: That would be me.

WCT: I was hoping that was you, because that is favorite part!

Jump on over to Market Days, where the Pointer Sisters perform at the North Stage Rivers Casino (close to Addison Street) at 9:05 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11. For the complete line-up, visit .

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