Moms Mabley Sings "Abraham, Martin & John" (1969) & The Pointer Sisters Live (1975) - Birthdays for Moms & Ruth Pointer
We were not supposed to listen to Moms Mabley when I was a kid. Her humor was too risque. So of course, we listened to her whenever we visited our friends. Some of them knew her off-color jokes by heart and would recite them in the cafeteria while the nuns patrolled the aisles to make sure we were behaving ourselves. I still laugh when I recall the way we tried to imitate Moms' raspy voice, retelling her jokes as if we knew all about the life we were being protected from. Example: A burglar breaks into Moms' bedroom. She wakes up and says, "What do you want - I hope."
Anyway, in 1969, at the age of 75, she sang an unforgettable version of "Abraham, Martin & John," which made it to Number 2 on the music charts. It was one year after Dr. King's assassination. This voice we associated with vulgarity perfectly expressed the pathos of the moment. See for yourself in the following clip from her performance on The Merv Griffin Show. I suppose I could have tweeted this, but I had to have it on my website. I just had to.
Ruth Pointer Turns 68?
Here she is with her sisters in a live concert recorded in 1975. This was when they were doing their '40's thing. And they're terrific. You can see and hear the craft that led to later hits like "Jump" and "Neutron Dance" and so many others. And let's go ahead and include "Jump" too. It's a celebration. Happy Birthday, Ruth!
I'm a storyteller whose background includes talk radio, newspapers and TV news. I've hosted a morning-drive classical music program on the California coast and published nationally in Reader's Digest, the Christian Science Monitor, and Playboy. I've won awards for my journalism and my fiction. One of my essays even made it into an anthology for college English courses. For real? Yes, for real.
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