Apparently able to hit an octave above what is normal for most people - the legendary voice of Rotary Connection's Minnie Riperton could break glass at ten paces (some people claim). And my God - do you get that shiver down your spine when you hear the vocal peaks Minnie Julia hits on these two fabulous slabs of Seventies Soul. All this and the monster Number 1 hit "Lovin' You" - easily up there as being one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. Here are the angelic details...
Released February 2004 - EMI/Stateside 597 1972 (Barcode 724359719726) gives us the albums "Perfect Angel" and "Adventures In Paradise" by MINNIE RIPERTON on 1CD and breaks down as follows (77:07 minutes):
2. It's So Nice (To See Old Friends)
3. Take A Little Trip
4. Seeing You This Way
5. The Edge Of A Dream
6. Perfect Angel [Side 2]
7. Every Time He Comes Around
8. Lovin' You
9. Our Lives
Tracks 1 to 9 are their album "Perfect Angel" - released August 1974 in the USA on Epic KE 32561 and October 1974 in the UK on Epic EPC 80426
10. Baby, This Love I Have
11. Feelin' That Your Feelin's Right
12. When It Comes Down To It
13. Minnie's Lament
14. Love And Its Glory
15. Adventures In Paradise [Side 2]
16. Inside My Love
17. Alone In Brewster Bay
18. Simple Things
19. Don't Let Anyone Bring You Down
Tracks 10 to 19 are her 3rd solo album "Adventures In Paradise" - released June 1975 in the USA and UK on Epic PE 33454 and Epic EPC 69142
The album "Perfect Angel" hit the prestigious Number 1 spot on the American R&B Billboard charts in August 1974 - ploughed into that position by its centrepiece - the gorgeous "Lovin' You". To this day the melody and the power of her vocal delivery on that aching love song can reduce people to tears. And I've always thought that the B-side "The Edge Of A Dream" equal to the A - a perfect Soul single really. The album also benefited from an unsung/uncredited presence. Arranged by 'Wonderlove', liner notes by a 'fan' and instruments played by the mysterious 'El Toro Negro' - all of it lead to one obvious conclusion - it was Stevie Wonder under a pseudonym (avoiding being contractually sued by Motown). In fact of the nine songs on the album - "Take A Little Trip" and "Perfect Angel" are Stevie Wonder originals while the other seven are co-writes between Minnie Riperton and her then husband Richard Rudolph (including the Number One smash "Lovin' You"). Denise Williams and Lani Green added Backing Vocals to many tracks including the excellent "Every Time He Comes Around" which also features Marlo Henderson playing an Isley Brothers blinder on guitar (the track was also the flip of the album's other wicked single - "Reasons"). It finishes with the pretty "Our Lives" with Stevie playing his distinctive harmonica style.
"Adventures In Paradise" featured a stellar cast of musicians too - Larry Carlton and Dean Parks on Guitars, Joe Sample of The Crusaders on Keyboards with Jim Horn and Tom Scott on Saxophones and Jim Gordon on Drums. Songs like "Simple Things" and "Minnie's Lament" clearly had the magic of "Perfect Angel" and it's easy to see why the sexy "Inside My Love" was picked as a single (with the equally lovely "Don't Let Anyone Bring You Down" as its B-side). Wonderful stuff...
In 1976 she announced on the Johnny Carsons Show that she had contracted breast cancer and had already undergone a mastectomy to combat it. An untalked-about topic and family destroyer - her speaking out on public television caused shock waves - and for all the right reasons. Minnie then spent the next three years recording as much as she could and campaigning for better research funding. The then President Jimmy Carter awarded her a courage award in the White House in 1978 - but in July 1979 and aged only 31 - the disease took her - a star quite literally put out.
We at least have her stunning recorded legacy to remind us that life is precious and music is a healing part of that...