November 8, 2019 post
Today is Minnie Riperton’s birthday – born on November 8, 1947 ~ July 12, 1979 (sadly passing at 31 years of age). What an amazing lady, brilliant vocalist, musician and artist.
Today I have been invited as featured guest on Eastside Radio, ‘Consumed By Soul’ with presenter Christopher Zinn to talk about my time working with Minnie and the highlights of her amazing contributions to ‘R&B soul music’ and her career, including her early days as lead vocalist with The Rotary Connection and her association with George Clinton (the mastermind of funk – no relation to Bill or Hillary).
The live broadcast is at 6:00 pm – Eastern Standard Time, on 89.7 FM Sydney Australia – or online at:
My time working with Minnie was one of my most treasured moments of my career, playing on her concert tours 1977-1978, and opening for George Benson, plus my most fortunate opportunities to have co-written with her and her husband Richard Rudolph, co-penning her last single ‘HERE WE GO’. I cried a few minutes this morning thinking about her, and the moments I shared with Minnie and her beautiful family, which includes her amazing son Marc and her gorgeous daughter Maya Rudolph (now a superstar actress / comedian). Thinking about you Richard, Marc and Maya today! The world lost her beautiful soul 40 and a half years ago – mamma mia, how times passes. Minnie – keep on singing your soaring 5 octave range up there with all the other ANGELS…..the entire planet is still ‘Lovin’ You’.
Here’s a special treat – the ORIGINAL RECORDING of ‘Here We Go’, which was never released from Epic Records. The story – Minnie’s contract on Epic ended a few months after the album was finished, but as Epic did not release in time, the album was shelved and frozen in time – as they were not allowed to release after the deal ended. Minnie then signed with Capitol Records and recorded the album ‘MINNIE’, her final work. After her passing, some 18 months later, Capitol Records, Ken Fritz Management, Richard and her estate were able to negotiate a deal to purchase back the original 2″ masters from Epic, BUT with the proviso that they could only have her vocal tracks, NOTHING MORE. All the backing tracks, arrangements and orchestrations had to be scrubbed (erased), only leaving Minnie’s vocals. In that day and age this was a daunting task.
They then realized entrepreneurship at its best, and undertook more than solutions about how to proceed with the recording around her voice, as they embraced innovation and change where they decided to include other famous artists performing duets with Minnie, such as a duet with Michael Jackson, another with Stevie Wonder, another with George Benson, and on my song, Here We Go, a dual duet with Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson. This opened the gates for further opportunities to reach new audiences and fan bases across the industry, which cleverly created a long-tail effect that lives on some 40 years thereafter and will continue beyond.
‘Here We Go’, for example, has been re-recorded by many artists and sampled a multitude of times with big selling rap artists, where the original writers, Richard Rudolph and I, have co-shared in approximately a dozen new copyright titles.
Not many have had the opportunity to hear this unreleased version of ‘Here We Go’, but as the co-writer of the song and as a special remembrance to Minnie today, I decided to share the original recording which has a true ‘spirit of life’.
I gratefully acknowledge the amazing producer of this recorded version, Leonard Caston, who is still producing the most awesome works back in the USA. Leonard is credited as Minnie’s vocal producer on the Capitol Records release, ‘Love Lives Forever’ (1980).