9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Near perfect, angel,
This review is from: Les Fleurs - The Minnie Riperton Anthology (Audio CD)
A well-chosen anthology spanning Minnie Ripperton's most creative and musically satisfying decade from the late sixties onwards.
Minnie is best known for LOVIN' YOU - which is rightly included here as, despite a little over-familiarity, it still stands as a deeply affecting performance of a truly great song. But evidently there is much, much more to Minnie than that.
As LOVIN' YOU demonstrates, Minnie was in possession of a breathtaking multi-octave vocal range. However, this collection also testifies to the sheer quality of her songwriting and breadth of musical vision. Minnie's talent clearly included the ability to co-produce her own songs, choose the best producers and musicians to work with and the refusal to waste her vocal talent on throwaway material (a frequent flaw in so many performers in this field). It is true that this is an album of mostly sweet, mid-tempo soul rather than out and out dance floor material but it really does encompass most of the enduring sounds and textures of 1970s Black American music.
The price of the album is justified on its own for the pair of Charles Stepney productions (LES FLEUR and I AM THE BLACK GOLD OF THE SUN), which are two achingly beautiful acoustic-psychedelic soul masterpieces dating from the very late '60s. Both were revived much later on by DJ Gilles Peterson and later covered by 4 Hero and Masters At Work (as Nu Yorican Soul).
You could also say the same for the much-sampled soul-jazz of INSIDE MY LOVE from 1975, which, like so many of Minnie's songs is just incredibly yet understatedly sexy. It was co-written and produced by Minnie and will also be familiar to anybody who has seen Quentin Tarrantino's "Jackie Brown". MEMORY LANE, from 1979, is very much in the same rich vein as Curtis Mayfield's best `70s output and is probably my favourite tune on the whole album (and, as I recall, a big Norman Jay tune from the days of his Original Musiquarium show on KISS FM). Another highlight is YOUNG, WILLING AND ABLE, with its jazzy, Roy Ayers-like feel.
In all, there are 15 tracks - with no fillers as far as I am concerned. As you will learn from Dean Rudland's excellent sleeve notes, in 1979 Minnie died tragically young at the age of just 31. This album is a fantastic tribute to her amazing, enduring talent and is ultimately a great collection of top quality soul music.