I suppose I never really discovered Gladys Night and the Pips. They somehow seemed to be always with me.
But there is one very memorable event that I will never forget that is associated with them.
My dad worked as an engineer on American oil tankers since he was about 16 years old. He started as an apprentice and after some years eventually became a chief engineer. Of course this meant we were separated for long periods of time as I was growing up.
Of course he was away from home most of the time, and my sister and I were brought up mostly by my mother (who is ethically Chinese) and my grandmother who is ethically Japanese but Ryukyuan by birth.
Our family business is a sugar cane plantation and processing factory and my grandmother and my mother ran this business while my dad was at sea.. So of course I had strong female role models growing up . . . .. . . . but I have always been a daddy’s girl ! ! !
My dad has a huge collection of blues, soul, jazz and rock and his collection of Motown records is really comprehensive.
When my dad was home on his leaves, we did not go to school but spent the time with together with him. We would spend hours together listening to music and singing along to the different tracks from his collection.
One time, he had been away at sea for nearly a year and before he came home my mother, sister and I decided to put on a show for him when he came home.
I suppose I was about seven years old and my sister was six. My mum found a video of Gladys Night and The Pips performing Midnight Train to Georgia and my sister and I learnt the song and of course the dance moves the guys made to accompany the song. We practiced the song and the dance moves so hard every evening after school until eventually my dad came home.
When dad finally arrived, we had dinner together and then my mum made up a set in the living room and introduced us put the record one, and we sang and did the dance moves we had learnt to Midnight Train To Georgia.
We concentrated so hard to do it right but I think we must have been OK.
When we stopped I saw my dad was crying and I was really upset because I thought he did not like it, but he hugged us and told us he loved us and how proud he was of us. And we all cried and laughed together – even my mother ! ! !
It is my most precious childhood memory
Dad – I Love you ! ! !
Gladys Night & The Pips “Midnight Train To Georgia”