Here’s one of my favorite songs of all time. Not a lot of lyrics, but these three lines pretty much tell the whole story.
The Rotary Connection – Want You to Know
The Rotary Connection were made up mostly of backing musicians and singers from the Chess Label. They included a receptionist at Chess’s office with a remarkable voice named Minnie Riperton. Minnie had actually been recording for a while, first as a member of the group The Gems, and later under the pseudonym Andrea Davis, but never found much success. Her time with The Rotary Connection didn’t help her quest for fame much either, but it did allow her to display her astonishing vocal range for the first time. The Rotary Connection did end up recording 6 LP’s (including a Christmas album) between 1966 and ’71 for the Cadet Concept label, a psychedelic Chess Records offshoot that was the brainchild of Leonard Chess’s son Marshall. I guess it kept him off the streets.
Post Rotary Connection, Minnie recorded one solo record with Charles Stepney, one of the producers of the RC albums, called Come To My Garden which is one of the most beautiful things ever put on tape. It features Les Fleur, a song that’s become something of a classic. After that, she was in semi-retirement raising her kids, Marc and Maya Rudolph in Gainesville when an intern at Epic Records rediscovered her. The fourth single off her first album for Epic was Lovin’ You which would become one of the most iconic songs of the 70’s, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized she sings Maya’s name over and over again at the end of that song.