Rotary Connection – 1971 – Hey Love


Some of the trippiestsoul music ever recorded — an amazing collection of work by the legendary Rotary Connection — early home to vocalist Minnie Riperton and arranger Charles Stepney!

Some of the most godlike soul music to be recorded on this planet, and one of the best-ever album by this amazing Chicago collective that included the late Minnie Riperton, and who were arranged and produced by the great Charles Stepney! album feature swirling complex arrangements, filled with strange time changes, chord passages, and nice jazzy bits. Inside it all, the group’s cool male/female vocal sound rings out — with Minnie singing on some cuts along, and in duet on others. Includes the band’s classic I Am The Blackgold Of The Sun

 

The Band
Minnie Riperton
, soprano (voice)
Kitty Haywood, soprano & alto (voice)
Shirley Wahls, contralto (voice)
Dave Scott, tenor (voice)
Charles Stepney, piano, harpsichord, organ, electric piano
Sydney Simms, bass
Donny Simmons, drums
Phil Upchurch, Pat Ferreri, guitar
Master Henry Gibson, congas
Produced by Charles Stepney

Tracks

A1If I Sing My Song (2:53)
A2 The Sea & She (3:30)
A3 I Am The Blackgold Of The Sun (5:20)
A4 Hanging ‘Round The Bee Tree (3:32)
A5Hey, Love (4:00)

B1 Love Has Fallen On Me (4:10)
B2 Song For Everyman (5:32)
B3 Love Is (4:42)
B4 Vine Of Happiness (4:36

 

The Reviews
A massively beautiful piece of work by “the new Rotary Connection” — a version of this groundbreaking Chicago soul ensemble which featured Phil Upchurch, Henry Gibson, and Charles Stepney — the cream of the Chicago production scene! Minnie Riperton’s still in the band on vocals, and her work on the LP is similar to that on the legendary Come To My Garden LP. The album features the incredible track “I Am the Blackgold of the Sun” — a haunting soul anthem that has been a favorite of groovers for years, and which was later made into a house track by NuYorican Soul. A great album all the way through, and filled with loads of excellent cuts! Other tracks include “If I Sing My Song“, “Hey, Love“, “Love Has Fallen On Me“, and a cover of Terry Callier’s “Song For Everyman

The Rotary Connection’s final album, “Hey, Love” is, in my opinion, their very best. The light Brazilian “If I Sing My Song” will put a smile on the face of the most critical listener. Our heart strings are gently pulled by “The Sea & She” and we remember sweetly. The jazzy-funky “I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun” takes us back to a time of self realization and acknowledgment of human spirit. We are then intellectually reminded of the paradox and complexity of “Hangin Round The Bee Tree“. The title track, “Hey, Love” is a bountiful and jazzy tune that is enjoyed just as much in 1999 as in 1971. “Love Has Fallen On Me” (covered by Chaka Khan in 1978) is an upbeat blues/gospel tune. And if all of this brilliance wasn’t enough, Rotary Connection sweetly and lovingly covers the Dell’s classic “Love Is“. “Vine of Happiness” is the perfect final track as is “Hey Love” the perfect final group effort.

The Charles Stepney headedpsychedelic soul band that introduced the world to the voice of Minnie Riperton.The Rotary Connection were Chess/Cadet records answer to the late sixties and early seventies flower power movement.Now this could well have been a total disaster as the label went looking to cash in on the hippy market.Well with Stepney at the helm writing,producing and arranging as well as playing keys we get a soul gem on an orchestral scale that has four singers,some incredible Stepney production and one of the greatest songs ever written namely I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun. Just wonderful music that lifts the spirit.



 

Definitely one of my 20 Soul favorite LP’s of all time.

Buy the Album

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18 Comments
  • djmark
    Posted at 03:27h, 07 May 2008 Reply

    stumbled across yer blog tonight, good stuff. been looking for this Rotary Connection, thanks.
    -djm

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 04:21h, 07 May 2008 Reply

    this is one of my all time favorites!

  • DJ Abe
    Posted at 12:56h, 10 May 2008 Reply

    Thank you…..

  • robert
    Posted at 22:42h, 12 May 2008 Reply

    i heard the NuYoricanSoul version of Black Gold first, was totally blown away by it and tracked this LP shortly after. it’s so great!

    thanks!

  • SPC
    Posted at 00:13h, 03 August 2008 Reply

    Beautiful LP, I’ve really enjoyed listening to this. Thanks for all the quality stuff on your blog, it’s been a revelation.

  • FLAVIOLA
    Posted at 20:19h, 15 April 2009 Reply

    BIG THANX FOR THE ROTARY SHARE!! GREAT BLOG- AND SOUND!

  • CLARENCE
    Posted at 15:41h, 20 May 2009 Reply

    I LOST THE VINYL LP AND EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO FIND IT HERE. I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS AND THERE IS NOT ONE BAD SONG ON THIS ALBUM. THE BLENDING OF THE HARMONIC VOICES SOUND LIKE A FULL ORCHESTRA WHICH HAS YET TO BE DONE BY ANY OTHER GROUP PERIOD EVER. THIS ALBUM SHOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS A NATIONAL TREASURE WITH A VINYL COPY KEPT AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. IF ALIENS WOULD LISTEN TO IT THEY MIGHT CONSIDER EARTHLINS AS INTELLIGENT. OFTEN I PUT HEY LOVE ON REPEAT AND ET IT GO ON AN ON…

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 20:48h, 20 May 2009 Reply

    Clarence, just to mention that this album is in my top 25 soul albums of all time. I fully agree!!!! Minnie Riperton and Charles Stepney! What a killer combination!

  • CLARENCE
    Posted at 23:55h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    NIKOS1109
    NIKOS1109

    FINALLY ONE WHO KNOWS QUALITY MUSIC AND ITS A GREAT RELIEF THAT SOMEONE ELSE IS OUT THERE.

    ONE WHO RECOGNIZES GOOD MUSIC IS ALSO A GOOD HUMAN BEING AND THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENT

    WOULD YOU SUGGEST SOME EQUALLY GOOD ALBUMS I SHOULD LISTEN TO

    I MOSTLY LISTEN TO STUDIO ALBUMS BECAUSE THEY TEND NOT TO BE REPETITIVE

    CBLIVERPOOL@JUNO.COM

    THANKSO MUCHO

  • beebe
    Posted at 07:31h, 26 June 2009 Reply

    many props for this gem!!! heard alot of talk about this and have been DYING to check it out ever since i heard the late and great minnie riperton fronted it! well worth the search! you should be on a payroll for dropping this much knowledge and TRUE music on all of us. much love

  • soti
    Posted at 00:28h, 19 July 2009 Reply

    many thanks for this post, niko!!!

  • brotherpete
    Posted at 15:41h, 29 September 2009 Reply

    thanks a lot!!!

  • Zmeya
    Posted at 18:14h, 04 February 2010 Reply

    Thank you! I added this page to bookmark)) I think would be useful …

  • F. S. Finlayson
    Posted at 18:48h, 01 July 2010 Reply

    Interesting listening after decades. Very solid project coming out of Chi-town in ’71, I presume. It sounds a bit distant, but the depth and effort is amazing. Not sure about the “top twenty soul LP’s” comment. It is a wonderful piece, and thanks for the post

  • The greek
    Posted at 14:32h, 28 July 2010 Reply

    Kickass album>melody,groove,voice,arrangements…This album is a no-brainer

    i am so glad i discovered this beauty.And your blog.

    Excellent blog Nikos , thank you very much.

  • David Inglesfield
    Posted at 13:56h, 15 September 2010 Reply

    This is one of my all-time favourite albums. I had never heard of the band before but in 1991 came across a battered vinyl copy, which I still own. My favourite track is ‘Vine of Happiness’, closely followed by ‘I Am The Black Gold of the Sun’.

    I agree with the comment above that ‘IF ALIENS WOULD LISTEN TO IT THEY MIGHT CONSIDER EARTHLINS AS INTELLIGENT’

  • Mafu
    Posted at 19:03h, 03 February 2012 Reply

    i love rotary connection and i’ve never heard this album but black gold sounds just how i like it thank you

  • Two Summer Saturdays | Rick Wakeman's Cape
    Posted at 17:47h, 17 August 2015 Reply

    […] sealed reissue of The Rotary Connection‘s final album, first released in 1971, called “Hey Love” (credited to ‘The New Rotary Connection’). I also found a Lonnie Liston Smith LP […]

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