Most folks tend to know Minnie Riperton via her octave breaching signature 70s hit Loving You, and for giving us doe-eyed funny girl Maya Rudolph (her daughter with composer and husband Richard Rudolph) . However any rare groove merchant worth his or her dusty fingers will tell you it ends far far from there. Riperton started her career singing backup for her childhood idols (Check Berry, Ramsey Lewis, Etta James) before joining hippie soul collective Rotary Connection. From there it was upwards to her solo career as a staple 70s folk soul singer. Lurking behind the shadow of Loving You are a handful of solid albums and whose tracks have not gone unoticed, nor unsampled, by hip hop artists like Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre, Cut Chemist etc., the list is ever growing.
For those that just want to enjoy some beautiful urban folk, my money’s has always been on Riperton’s Les Fleur. A simple yet epic ode to a flower, it’s where the sound of 60s idealism collides with 70s soul, wrapped up in in a whirlwind of psychedelic orchestration. All that desererved hyperbole aside, Loving You can kiss it’s ass.
I’m kind of giddy for this sunday morning post as we got a handful of stellar Les FLeur interpretations from some of my personal favorites. Keeping that grandiose sounding funk intact are broken beat/phuture jazz pioneers 4 Hero, who have made a career of taking their Rotary Connection influence off their sleeve and rewiring it. Next is the UK duo Chungking, whose easy on the eyes lead singer Jessie Banks practically coos her lush downtempo version into your left ear. Also really digging The Decoders take. The Decoders, known for providing arrangements for peeps like TV on The Radio and Quantic, change things up with a quality, smooth skanking reggae version with male vocalist, and MuthaWit Orchestra founder, Boston Fielder. And lastly is jazz great Ramsey Lewis. Technically the original composer of Les Fleur (along with Richard Rudolph) we have his original 1968 instrumental and later, smoother 1983 remake (not my cup of tea but definitely one for the completists)
PS Flower children of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fan Club, original Fleur and a nice little re-edit on the wall for ya…