As we stride ever onward, now into a summer that promises to be one like we have never experienced before, we continue to take a moment each day with music. Throughout these next few months, look for some more offbeat choices, many more of your own community selections and comments, and as ever, a little injection of faith, hope, and love into your day.
Got a song you just love? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell Jeff about it!
Today, a lesser known but very highly regarded piece of R&B/soul history. Before she broke big with the whistle-tone classic “Lovin’ You,” Minnie Riperton was pioneering the forthcoming sounds of Black music as we have seen it evolve. In collaboration with producer Charles Stepney, himself a major player in the architecture of funk and soul, Ms. Riperton released Come To My Garden, often considered to be the first R&B masterpiece album. The whole record is truly wondrous - if you’ve got the space in your day for it, play it through! Her virtuosic vocal abilities are unstoppable, and with Stepney’s influence, we get a wild and exciting mix of sounds - swelling orchestrations, Minnie’s voice doubling on horn parts or replacing them altogether…the soundscape that results is a world unto itself. Stepney would go on to be instrumental in the creation of Earth, Wind, and Fire’s signature sound, and of course, Riperton’s big hit was yet to be; tragically, it wouldn’t be a full decade before both of them had died. I can only imagine what music we never got to hear from them. But they indeed live on in this stunning piece of art.
The album opens with this song, “Les Fleurs.” It begins from the point of view of flowers, an interesting choice to be sure. Early on, one can sense that there’s much more sound to be heard than what we get at first. But then, as it winds up and finally explodes into all the enormity it has to offer, it’s still surprising and almost even overwhelming to me, like a swell of waves. Paired with lovely lyrics, it’s a one-of-a-kind listening experience. Turn this one up and get ready to be carried away!
Will somebody wear me to the fair
Will a lady pin me in her hair
Will a child find me by a stream
Oooh, kiss my petals, weave me through a dream
For all of these simple things and much more
A flower was born
It blooms to spread love and joy, faith and hope
To people forlorn
Inside every man
Lives the seed of a flower
If he looks within he finds beauty and power
Ring all the bells, sing and tell the people everywhere that the flower has come
Light up the sky with your prayers of gladness and rejoice for the darkness is gone
Throw off your fears let your heart beat freely at the sign that a new time is born
Holy One, Thank you for bold creators, and of course, thank you for the flowers.
We also lift up the following prayers shared during last Sunday's worship service:
For healthcare and front line workers that are already greatly affected by the Delta variant. Stress and PTSD are showing up.
For the work being done on the Little Free Food Pantry. Thanks to all! -Dave
Even in our separation, God, help us to feel the deep delight of your love for all. Amen.