26 Jan 2009

Soul Siren: Part 1

Work was bringing me down today. Just pretty bored with many of the people who I work with. In those moments like probably a millions people stuck in offices around the world I tend to wander and while I can't whistle or hum and ultimately sing, I like to think about songs I like.

And what I like often is soul. So I thought I would share some of this passion and this week I will be giving a rundown of my five favourite funking soul sirens. And after that occasionally I will drop in some other random favourite fives. Nobody likes list all the time but as a treat they go down well.

First up is the ultra octave heroine, Minnie Riperton. I wont waste time with a big bio. As usual wikipedia provides a concise introduction and if you have time have a short read.

The thing about Minnie is her her voice. I think that's going to be theme in this little series. Obviously a singer's voice is important but there are voices, especially in soul music, which really carry the whole range of messages and emotions in the music. Combining anger with pride or loss with love. You get it.

Minnie Riperton's voice is a instrument in itself. Flying to extreme highs while coming back to earth gently, unlike so many R'n'B warbling superstars. My experience of her songs is that they were far removed from much the likes of Motown, Stax or Philly Soul. For me the sound is early soul-funk infused was california rock and a smidgeon of female euro pop. The arrangements of her work with Rotary Connection are really all over the place in a interesting stylee, and this continued in her solo work. Check her out on the Soul Train for a beautiful example:

Wasn't that nice.

I have included three tracks below. Seeing You This Way captures her voice gymnastics perfectly, Inside My Love is incredibly sensual (honey dripping off a teet sensual) and Rainy Day In Centerville shows that Rotary Connection arrangements I mentioned.

I don't listen to Minnie Riperton all the time. I need to be in the mood. But when you are she wraps you up and looks after after you while you dance and smile along.

Minnie Riperton - Seeing You This Way
Minnie Riperton - Inside My Love
Minnie Riperton - A Rainy Day In Centerville

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