Minnie Riperton / COME TO MY GARDEN (180 gram Vinyl)
Personnel includes: Minnie Riperton (vocals); Phil Upchurch (guitar); Ramsey Lewis (piano); Cleaveland Eaton (bass); Maurice White (drums); Kitty Hayward, Elsa Harris (background vocals). Recorded at Ter Mar Studios, Chicago, Illinois on November 24-26, 1969. Originally released on GRT (30001). Includes liner notes by Bill Dahl. All tracks have been digitally remastered. 1969's COME TO MY GARDEN is Minnie Riperton's debut solo album, recorded after her tenure with the psychedelic soul outfit Rotary Connection but still produced and co-written by that group's leader, Charles Stephney. The heavy rock aspect of that band is absent here, replaced by lush orchestrations and a jazzy soft-pop feel that complements Riperton's magnificently expressive, multi-octave voice beautifully. The songs, mostly by Riperton and husband Richard Rudolph, are mostly minor-key ballads, with alternately sorrowful and poetic lyrics. The singer/songwritery results recall early albums by Roberta Flack as well as the contemporary work by Riperton's future employer/mentor Stevie Wonder, but the album was a couple of years ahead of its time and so was not a commercial success. Regardless, it's a quiet gem.