1974 Minnie Riperton – Perfect Angel

Perfect Angel is the second studio album by American singer Minnie Riperton, released in 1974 by Epic Records. The album contains the biggest hit of Riperton’s career, “Lovin’ You”, which topped the U.S. Pop Singles chart for one week in early April 1975.

In 1973, a college intern for Epic Records found Riperton in semi-retirement. She had become a homemaker and a mother of two in Florida. After he heard a demo of the song “Lie In The World”, the rep took the tape to Gracie Allen, VP of A&R for Epic. Riperton signed with Epic Records, and the family moved to Los Angeles.

Riperton’s husband, Richard Rudolph, said that shortly after she was signed to Epic, Ellis asked them who they wanted to produce the album. Riperton requested Stevie Wonder, who was very busy at the time with his band Wonderlove. Rudolph said that Wonder was a huge fan of Riperton and agreed to produce Perfect Angel under one condition. According to Rudolph, Wonder was signed to Motown and concerned that they would not allow him to work on the project. Wonder then said that he would only produce it under a pseudonym and with Rudolph as co-producer. Therefore, Rudolph recounted, they created the name El Toro Negro for Wonder and a production company called Scorbu Productions.

With associate producers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff on hand engineering and programming the synthesizers, Riperton and company recorded Perfect Angel at the Record Plant in LA, Stevie Wonder’s choice of studio on the West Coast. Perfect Angel was a musical romp through rock (“Reasons”), easy-going pop (“Seeing You This Way”) with a wonderful message song that closed out side one (“On The Edge Of a Dream” – written in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr). Wonder wrote the title tune as well as “Take a Little Trip”.

At the end of production, there were eight completed songs; Wonder wanted one additional song to bring the album closer to the industry standard of a 40-minute run time. He asked Riperton and songwriter-husband Richard Rudolph to come up with a tune that they considered to be their “most embarrassing song”. With hesitation, Riperton did mention a lullaby she sang to her daughter Maya to put her to sleep at night so that she and Rudolph could spend “grown-up time”. With Rudolph’s help, Riperton eventually created “Lovin’ You” from that lullaby, and the song was quickly recorded with Wonder on electric piano and synthesizers. Rudolph supplied the chirping birds from a sound effects reel.

Tracks

1Reasons (Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph)3:26
2It’s So Nice (To See Old Friends) (Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph)4:44
3Take A Little Trip (Stevie Wonder)4:08
4Seeing You This Way (Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph)2:44
5The Edge Of A Dream (Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph)4:21
6Perfect Angel (Stevie Wonder)3:42
7Every Time He Comes Around (Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph)3:54
8Lovin’ You (Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph)3:43
9Our Lives (Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph)5:58

Media

Musicians

1 Reasons

BassReginald McBride
DrumsStevie Wonder
GuitarMarlo Henderson
VocalsMinnie Riperton


2 It’s So Nice (To See Old Friends)

BassReginald McBride
DrumsOllie E. Brown
GuitarMarlo Henderson
PianoStevie Wonder
VocalsMinnie Riperton


3 Take A Little Trip

BassReginald McBride
DrumsOllie E. Brown
GuitarMichael Sembello
GuitarMarlo Henderson
PianoStevie Wonder
VocalsMinnie Riperton


4 Seeing You This Way

BassReginald McBride
DrumsStevie Wonder
GuitarMichael Sembello
PianoStevie Wonder
VocalsMinnie Riperton


5 The Edge Of A Dream

BassReginald McBride
DrumsOllie E. Brown
GuitarMarlo Henderson
PianoStevie Wonder
PercussionKwasi Dzidzornu
Background VocalsDeniece Williams
Background VocalsLani Groves
Background VocalsShirley Brewer
Background VocalsYvonne Wright
VocalsMinnie Riperton


6 Perfect Angel

BassReginald McBride
DrumsOllie E. Brown
GuitarMarlo Henderson
PianoStevie Wonder
Background VocalsDeniece Williams
Background VocalsLani Groves
VocalsMinnie Riperton


7 Every Time He Comes Around

BassReginald McBride
DrumsOllie E. Brown
GuitarMarlo Henderson
PianoStevie Wonder
Background VocalsDeniece Williams
VocalsMinnie Riperton


8 Lovin’ You

BassRichard Rudolph
DrumsOllie E. Brown
GuitarMarlo Henderson
PianoStevie Wonder
VocalsMinnie Riperton


9 Our Lives

BassReginald McBride
DrumsOllie E. Brown
GuitarMichael Sembello
GuitarMarlo Henderson
PianoStevie Wonder
HarmonicaStevie Wonder
PercussionKwasi Dzidzornu
VocalsMinnie Riperton

Liner Notes

Producer – Scorbu Productions
Arranged By – Wonderlove
Engineer (Assistant) – Gary Olazabal
Engineer, Producer (Associate) – Malcolm Cecil, Robert Margouleff
Mastered By – Kent Duncan
Remix, Engineer (Assistant Remix Engineer) – Baker Bigsby

Design – Anne Blackford Garner
Photography By (Cover) – Barry Feinstein

Recorded At – Record Plant, Los Angeles
Remixed At – Westlake Audio
Mastered At – Kendun Recorders
Copyright (c) – CBS Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – CBS Inc.
Manufactured By – CBS Inc.
Manufactured By – Epic Records
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria
Mastered At – Customatrix