Minnie Riperton: she was the black gold of the sun.

Minnie Riperton was, of course, so much more than her 1976 smash “Loving You”.  I won’t even attempt to jam her legacy into a blog post.  She was a mother (to SNL alum Maya Rudolph), a lover, (to Dick Rudolph) and a righteous songbird.  Riperton (pictured above, 1968 [photo courtesy jeff lockard]) and her soaring soprano were featured in the Rock-Soul outfit Rotary Connection.  Rotary Connection was the jazzy soulful dirty hippie baby of genius producer Charles Stepney and Marshall Chess (son of Chess Records founder Leonard Chess, and a visionary in his own right).

Certainly their most anthologized track is “I am the Black Gold of the Sun” (above), but each of their albums produced its crop of nuggets (my favorites are “Songs”, “Hey Love”, and “Aladdin”).  The sound was a cross-section of Rock, Gospel, Soul, and Jazz nearly as big as the City of Big Shoulders that spawned it.  Featuring Minnie Riperton on lead vocals for a number of their cuts, her other-worldly wails are the sound that almost never was.

Below, my short audio interview with Sidney Barnes of Rotary Connection (pictured far right), on how Minnie Riperton got the strength to embrace her own voice in the days when sopranos weren’t considered soulful.

Love Thyself: Sidney Barnes Talks Minnie Riperton

About ayanacontreras

i love the transportive powers of sound. i am a radio host/producer, DJ, Sound designer, 45rpm collector, and art lover living in the city of wind. View all posts by ayanacontreras

2 responses to “Minnie Riperton: she was the black gold of the sun.

  • Perfect Angel «

    [...] while in Rotary Connection, Minnie came to accept her unique voice in the era of Aretha Franklin, click here).  She also recorded her solo debut, 1970′s Come to My Garden, co-produced by labelmate [...]

  • Anita

    Wonderful article, thanks so much for sharing! That interview with Sidney Barnes sounds AMAZING, is there any chance it could be reuploaded? This type of in-depth information and insight on Minnie Riperton is incredibly hard to come by.

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