Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The tragic death of Minnie Riperton on July 12, 1979 - 32 years ago today - silenced one of the truly great voices of American soul music. She is remembered for her wonderful musical contributions featuring an amazing voice which could span more than five octaves and reach a very high pitch.

Minnie started her musical career as a backup singer for a number of great artists signed to the legendary Chess label, such as Etta James, Fontella Bass, Ramsey Lewis and Muddy Waters. While at Chess, she also sang lead vocals for the psychedelic soul band Rotary Connection, best known for its spiritual soul anthem I Am the Black Gold of the Sun.

The song was remade by the Masters at Work for their Nuyorican Soul album released in 1997. Here's the 1971 original.

Minnie kept some of the psychedelic soul sound for her first solo album Come to My Garden, especially for the lovely track Les Fleur.

It took four years before the second solo album Perfect Angel was released. It contains Minnie's greatest hit Lovin' You. The chorus beautifully brings out her amazingly high-pitched voice.

Other gems from Perfect Angel include the opening track Reasons, Take a Little Trip, The Edge of a Dream, Every Time He Comes Around and the title track. In 1975, the third solo album Adventures in Paradise was released. Here's the title track retouched by Scratchandsniff.

Other notable songs from the album Adventures in Paradise include Baby This Love I Have and Simple Things - not to mention Inside My Love, which was later picked up by Quentin Tarantino for the soundtrack to the movie Jackie Brown. Here are some recent re-edits.

Minnie's final album was Love Lives Forever, released posthumously in 1980 and completed by bringing in other soul singers. Favorite tracks include Here We Go as well as the more funky Strange Affair.