Lots going on these days over here at FMF. Summer gigs approaching, the warmer weather hopefully (while we’re at it, when did NYC become Seattle?), and time for more digging to bring back the gems for you. While going through some stacks of “to review” records, I came upon this one. What a find, because I had to move it up to the top of the pile. Nod your head to Minnie Riperton with “Baby, This Love I Have” from her 1975 Capitol release Adventures in Paradise.
Born in 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, Minnie Julia Riperton grew up on the South Side of the city, where she had an art and cultural filled education. Studying dance, drama, and music at Chicago’s Lincoln Center, her musical interest and love led her to be a member of the teen girl group The Gems, despite her training for a career in opera. Riperton’s tepid success with The Gems didn’t stop her, as she and her band mates would manifest to session back up singers Studio Three, and bands The Starlets and Girls Three. Riperton would then go on to release two singles under the name Andrea Davis, “Lonely Girl” and “You Gave Me Soul” on Chess. Her next project was Rotary Connection, a Psychedelic Soul group put together by Marshall and Leonard Chess, that featured arranger Charles Stepney and FMF review alum Phil Upchurch. In 1970, she released her first solo record Come To My Garden, and just three years later would see Riperton out of music, a mother of two, and out of the industry. That was until someone brought her demo to the attention to an A&R, which started her whirlwind music career once again. She signed to Epic, moved her and her family to LA, and started on her second LP, Perfect Angel , which had a song written by Stevie Wonder. The record sales were slow, until she released her fourth single “Lovin’ You”, which sent the album to Gold status. She followed up with this record Adventures in Paradise, with collaboration with Joe Sample and the Crusaders, and also sang back up on Stevie’s Songs in the Key of Life. Riperton, strangely was attacked by a lion while filming a commercial. Here’s the clip on the Sammy Davis Jr. show where she explains the whole thing. While recording her final record, Minnie, Riperton contracted Breast Cancer. She then underwent a mastectomy and not given more than six months to live. That was in 1976. She toured in 1977 and 1978, a testament to her strong will and dedication to music. She was also the national spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. Sadly, Minnie Riperton passed away in 1979, but her legacy as a talented musician lives on today.
This slice of smoothness is great on it’s own. I mean I know I often talk about the birth rate going up when certain songs were released, but come on, this had to have it skyrocket! With an all star line up, this record smokes. Check out a digger’s delight of artists who released heat in their own right: Larry Carlton, Joe Sample, Tom Scott, and Dorothy Ashby. No wonder ATCQ felt it necessary to sample it on “Check the Rhyme.” Ok the sample is sped up, but either way, it’s hot. Let’s not forget Talib Kweli flipping it on Black Star’s “Knowledge of Self” and Common, and a tune I will definitely be playing at the Ace, Chocolate Boy Wonda aka Pete Rock’s “Play Dis Only at Night”. Simply stated, the original should be just played at night. Get down with your better half, and keep the legacy of Minnie Riperton going. She did her part, now you do yours for good music. Keep Diggin’!