The Singers: We’ve written about the Pointer Sisters in this space before for their hit “Slow Hand,” but today’s selection just feels appropriate, given last night’s events.
The Song: “Yes We Can Can” was the first big single from the Pointer Sisters, recorded when they were still a quartet. The track was written by New Orleans music magnate Allan Toussaint and originally recorded by Lee Dorsey (who scored big with Toussaint’s “Working in a Coal Mine”). It’s a little too fast to be a true slow jam, but the groove is undeniable thanks to that gritty two-note bass line and the Sisters’ stacked vocals. But the theme of unity and of fixing our social ills from the inside is something we can all get behind.
The Video: This Soul Train clip, like many before it, features the singers lip-synching the songs as groovy youth dance along. How did this show ever get cancelled?
Hipster Cachet: Barack Obama turned “Yes We Can” into his campaign’s rallying cry, using the phrase to punctuate his acceptance speech in Chicago late last night. But the track and its message is a non-partisan at its core, and it served as a song of rebirth and rebuilding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It received many revisions after the hurricane, including one by Harry Connick Jr.’s, who included the song on his 2007 album Oh My NOLA. A clip from The Late Show with David Letterman is below.
-- Christian Schaeffer