Minnie Riperton – Perfect Angel And Adventures In Paradise

Albums Review by EDF

Minnie Riperton is a name people would associate with two of her well known songs, LOVIN’ YOU and INSIDE MY LOVE. What most people will not know is what happened to Minnie and the answer is actually quite startling. In 1976, Minnie announced on a national chat show that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, talking openly about this subject was still a bit taboo but Minnie dedicated her time and energy to make people aware of the cancer. She also spent much energy on her music career and did not let her situation get her down. While making the MINNIE album, she discovered that her cancer was terminal and lost her fight on July 12, 1979 at the young age of 31. EMI have released four of her albums as two “2 on 1” CD’s.

PERFECT ANGEL was released in 1975 and was produced by the great Stevie Wonder. The opening track REASONS is a great funk track but it is not a real representation of what the rest of the album is like. IT’S SO NICE, sounds more like the Eagles than it should do while TAKE A LITTLE TRIP has a slight jazz feel to it. The style settles down from THE EDGE OF A DREAM onwards to a relaxed soulful mood, which is what you would expect from Minnie. Things get hot and sexy on EVERYTIME HE COMES AROUND which leads into Minnie’s only UK hit, LOVIN’ YOU. On both of these tracks you can only be in awe at what a fantastic voice Minnie had. In fact, you realise that Mariah Carey has been copying Minnie when it comes to hitting those high notes. The last track on the album, the slow burning OUR LIVES, features the recognisable sound of Stevie Wonder on the harmonica. It is the sound of Minnie without a care in the world.

ADVENTURES IN PARADISE opens with BABY, THIS LOVE I HAVE, a slow but funky track, which was the first sign that Stevie Wonder was not available to help out with the album. There are more of the same slow soul tracks here such as FEELIN’ THAT THE FEELING’S GOOD and MINNIE’S LAMENT, which has got to be one of the saddest songs I have ever heard. The uplifting LOVE AND IT’S GLORY is like an answer to her woes, where love will help people through the hard times. There are a fair number of funky tracks on hand such as WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT and the title track, ADVENTURES IN PARADISE. Of course we have the mistakenly notorious INSIDE MY LOVE, which some people took it to be about sex but Minnie maintained that it was about the spirits of two people meeting. I’ll let you make up your mind but even in the socially loose 1970’s, some radio stations banned this track. The final track DON’T LET ANYONE BRING YOU DOWN really says it all.

PERFECT ANGEL is a good album while ADVENTURES comes across as a more coherent collection of songs that might have benefited more from Stevie Wonder producing them, if he had been available.

PERFECT ANGEL  3 stars

ADVENTURES IN PARADISE  4 stars

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