Minnie Riperton – 1970 – Come To My Garden
This is the collaboration of two great talents who are unfortunately no longer with us: Minnie and Charles Stepney. Stepney’s gorgeous production of jazzy bossanova and lush strings are a perfect fit for Minnie’s angelic voice. The songs are at once romantic, dramatic, engaging, relaxing, joyful, and sweetly sad…similar to Bacharach, but different. The best way I can describe this sound is progressive easy listening — but even that’s unfair
This is music that is a far cry from Minnie’s later hit-driven work. It is music to come home to relax to. It is music to chill out to with a special one. It is music to challenge your way of thinking (the trippy lyrics).
“Come To My Garden” is a timeless piece of work.
1 Fleur (3:18)
2 Completeness (3:34)
3 Come to My Garden (3:21)
4 Memory Band (4:09)
5 Rainy Day in Centerville (5:24)
6 Close Your Eyes and Remember (3:43)
7 Oh, by the Way (3:05)
8 Expecting (3:56)
9 Only When I’m Dreaming (3:29)
10 Whenever, Wherever (3:34)
Mindblowing work from Minnie Riperton — her first solo album, cut at the end of the 60s, after a number of years of work with the group Rotary Connection. The album builds off the now famous sound of Rotary Connection — but takes it to the next level, with arch-baroque production by the greatCharles Stepney — who couches Minnie’s fantastic vocals in a suite of shimmering soulful tracks that mix strings, horns, jazzy piano, and slight touches of bouncing rhythms. The overall sound is impossible to describe — sort of a cross between Burt Bacharach on A&M, Scott Walker’s 3rd album, and the sound of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On. The album’s pure genius all the way through — one of the highlights of the Chicago scene of the 60s — and proof that Riperton, Stepney, and crew were shooting for the outer limits of soul music!
This record is really truly an unbelievable masterpiece….she sounds so so so so pretty on this Album (as though all of her albums) but this one shines like crystal…. amazing vocal acrobats ,and the most beautiful part about it , she was a black woman with incredible talent and remarkable ability …. she brought the opera + r&B + soul = Minnie Riperton …… i love all of her music but my songs that I have to repeat at least 2 times are definitly “Close You’re Eyes And Remember” , “Completeness” , “Les Fleur ( The Flower )” , “Rainy Day In Centreville” …. the closing of the song “Close You’re Eyes & Remember” the way she turns her octaves at the end when her backup singers are harmonizing the words “close your eyes and remember,fireflies,close your eyes and remember,summertime” so pretty … I really love Mrs.Riperton ,I really honestly do …. she was one of those type of singers who could do it alllll …. hit unbelievable notes and still have a dynamite singing voice….i can literally say there will never be another Minnie Riperton EVER AGAIN!!!! that is why i am such a huge fan of hers…..god really did make you special Minnie ……
Minnie Riperton’s solo debut is in many respects her finest hour — devoid of the overly syrupy production that hampers her later work, Come to My Garden instead couches her miraculous voice in the elegant arrangements of the great Charles Stepney, striking a perfect balance between romantic melodrama and sensual nuance. Call Stepney’s singular approach “chamber soul” — the nimble melodies and insistent grooves swell with orchestral flourishes, while the jazz-inspired rhythms (courtesy of Ramsey Lewis’ group) at times evoke Van Morrison’s masterpiece Astral Weeks. Stepney creates the ideal backdrop for Riperton’s soaring vocals, which reveal a subtlety and restraint absent from the glass-shattering bombast of her subsequent performances — the opening “Les Fleurs” (covered decades later by 4Hero) crystallizes the entire record, embracing both intimacy and majesty to haunting effect