LOS ANGELES: Minnie Riperton, the singer with a distinctively high upper vocal range, topped the charts around the world in 1975 with Lovin' You, one of the period's most distinctive and iconic hits. But the song only scratches the surface of Riperton's remarkable musical career, which began in her teens and ended prematurely with her untimely passing in 1979, at the age of 31. And it's only one facet of the extraordinary album from which it emerged, Perfect Angel.
Minnie's many facets are explored on Perfect Angel: Deluxe Edition, to be released as a 2-CD set, and in standard digital and 96k/24-bit high-resolution audio formats, by UMe on December 1, in celebration of the singer's 70th birthday. This set brings home the fact that, though not known at the time for contractual reasons, the original album is essentially a collaboration with Stevie Wonder, who: co-produced the album with Minnie's husband Richard Rudolph; arranged the tracks with his band, Wonderlove; played keyboards, harmonica and drums; and wrote two songs. The set offers an excellent representation of Riperton's interpretive gifts and remarkable talent, all the more extraordinary for Wonder's contributions, which were made while he was winning GRAMMY awards for Talking Book and Innervisions, and working on another LP, Fulfillingness' First Finale, which featured Minnie as a background vocalist on that album's "Creepin'" and was eventually issued just weeks after Perfect Angel in the summer of 1974. Wonder, a Taurean, was credited on Perfect Angel as "El Toro Negro"—the Black Bull.

"Minnie was my dear friend," said Stevie Wonder. "She was an extraordinary, vibrant person with an extra-special voice. I was a big fan of hers before we met and it was my honor to produce the album with Minnie and her husband Richard. Minnie had a positive energy that radiated throughout these sessions and throughout the rest of her life. When Minnie lived, she lived. She continues to live through this release."

"The whole experience was a total surreal experience and a pure joy from start to finish," Richard Rudolph now says of the making of Perfect Angel. "Working with Stevie Wonder in that intimate setting really was more that just a dream come true. And you can feel the 'wonder' throughout the entire album," Rudolph continues. "Minnie would be overjoyed to know that her music continues to touch people's lives."

(Posted on 28 October 2017, 1679536669 34O239O173O144)