Minnie Riperton

Minnie Riperton (Nov. 8, 1947 — July 12, 1979) was an American soul singer from Chicago who first recorded with Chess singles act The Gems during the mid-1960s. In 1967, she joined the soul-psych band Rotary Connection, which released six albums over a four-year period on Cadet Concept.

She debuted as a solo singer with the album Come to My Garden, released in 1970 on GRT. In 1974, she released the album Perfect Angel on Epic, followed by two further albums on the label between 1975 and 1977. Her fifth album, Minnie, appeared on Capitol in May 1979, two months before her death from cancer at age 32. Additional material from those sessions was posthumously released on the album Love Lies Forever in 1980.

Riperton was born Minnie Julia Riperton Rudolph on November 8, 1947, the youngest of eight children in a musical family. At her parent’s encouragement, she took operatic vocal lessons at Chicago’s Lincoln Center, where she mastered the ability to phrase and breath simultaneously over elongated notes.

At age 15, Riperton joined girl group The Gems, which issued two singles on Wall Records behind singer Pearl Woods in 1962, followed by six singles on Chess between 1963 and 1965. They subsequently issued a single apiece as The Girls Three and The Starlets. The group also served as session singers at Studio Three, where they sang backup on “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass.

In 1967, Riperton joined Rotary Connection, a soul-psych ensemble directed by vibraphonist and arranger Charles Stepney. Between 1968 and 1971, they issued six albums on Cadet Concept. While still a member, Minnie recorded her first album with Stepney at the console.



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