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Having A Party

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Album Review

Released in 1977, Having a Party was the Pointer Sisters' final album during a five-year stint with Blue Thumb Records, and the ladies' first offering of new material sans co-founder June Pointer, who exited in late 1975. Despite the merriment intimated in the title (and the cover of the 1962 Sam Cooke hit), there seems to have been little to celebrate within the band. It had been nearly two years since they released Steppin' in 1975, and creative differences with producer David Rubinson resulted in Bonnie, Anita, and June wanting the opportunity to seek greener pastures. The boisterous atmosphere on the aforementioned opener, "Having a Party," was contagious, but only enough to attract a little airplay and even less sales. The entire LP is far from a washout, however, as demonstrated by the slinky space-age groove on "Don't It Make You Crazy," which is not too far removed from the likes of Parliament/Funkadelic as it trips along girded by a definitely disco-influenced and bopping uptempo melody. "I Need a Man" drives behind an edgier rock-oriented feel that ultimately fails to evolve beyond the repetitive beat. Worse still is the lightweight "Waiting On You," which suffers as much from being a product of its time as it does from being a half-hearted dance number. Somewhat better is the undercurrent of reggae beneath the Bonnie Pointer co-penned "I'll Get by Without You," perhaps projecting a similar style that would resurface on the early- to mid-'80s Pointers sides — such as their remake of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire." Both Anita and Bonnie collaborated with Stevie Wonder on "Bring Your Sweet Stuff Home to Me" — arguably the most inspired selection with a motivated tropical buoyancy. The concluding "Lonely Gal" is the sole tune that all three Pointers contributed to, indicating that when left to their own devices, the three could come up with excellent songs and above-par performances to boot. After the album had been out of print for nearly 20 years, Hip-O Select issued Having a Party on CD in a limited edition of 5,000 copies.


Formed: 1971 in Oakland, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Pointer Sisters were as chameleonic as David Bowie, if not more so. The sibling group backed Grace Slick and Boz Scaggs, made stops at Sesame Street and the Grand Ole Opry, won a country Grammy, and appeared in the movie Car Wash, all before scoring four consecutive Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 hits in the mid-‘80s. From their early ‘70s releases on Blue Thumb through their ‘80s commercial run on Planet and RCA, the Pointers moved through boogie-woogie, bebop, blues, country, funk, disco, soft rock,...
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