Minnie Riperton

Petals: The Minnie Riperton Collection

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Although her 1979 death at 31 still reverberates through pop and R&B, Petals: The Minnie Riperton Collection is one of the first sets to successfully celebrate the joy, sensuality and wonder inherent in Minnie Riperton's music. This two-CD set has 34 tracks spanning the years 1966-1979. Unlike other compilations this culls work from all of her styles, including the cutesy but derivative R&B/pop she recorded under the name Andrea Davis. The collection also includes tracks from her stint with the often ho-hum, rock/R&B group Rotary Connection. The challenging and baroque songs from Riperton's first album, Come to My Garden, are much better. The tracks including the title, "Les Fleur," "Completeness," and "Expecting" are a collaborative effort between Riperton's husband Richard Rudolph and the brilliant Chicago writer/producer Charles Stephney. A few years down the line, she appeared to be an even more confident singer. Tracks like "Take a Little Trip," "Perfect Angel," and "Lovin' You," all from 1974, were all produced by Stevie Wonder in a relaxed and spare style. This set demonstrates other producers like Stewart Levine, Freddie Perren, and Jeremy Lubbock were also inspired to excellence by the style defined by Riperton and Rudolph. The evocative and powerful "Adventures in Paradise," "Inside My Love," and disco-ish "Young, Willing and Able" all have Riperton's sweetness and intelligence prominent in the mix. The later tracks, including the gorgeous "Memory Lane," finds the formula reaching perfection. Her five-and-a-half octave range is on full display here, and Petals: The Minnie Riperton Collection assembles a plethora of definitive songs.

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