ON THIS DATE (37 YEARS AGO)
May 22, 1975 – Minnie Riperton: Adventures in Paradise is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# Allmusic 4/5 stars
Adventures in Paradise is the third studio album by Minnie Riperton, released on this date in May 1975.
The album was a modest success, but didn’t match the success of Perfect Angel. After Lovin’ You and Perfect Angel finished their chart run, Epic wanted a follow-up disc, and fast. With previous co-producer Stevie Wonder busy recording his Songs in the Key of Life (which Minnie would also turn up on singing backup on “Ordinary Pain”), Minnie and husband Richard Rudolph hired Stewart Levine to co-produce her next album. More songs came from the Riperton/Rudolph camp as well as collaborations with Jazz Crusader Joe Sample and songwriter Leon Ware (who was enjoying a hot streak thanks to his work on Marvin Gaye’s album I Want You). Guitarist Larry Carlton was brought in as an arranger.
The album’s best known song is the sensual “Inside My Love”, which went to number 26 R&B during the summer of 1975, but stalled at #37 on the pop listings. Much of pop radio balked at playing the single due to the lyrical content (“Do you wanna ride, inside my love[…]”) even though Leon Ware claimed that the words were inspired by a church preacher he heard speak when he was a child (the minister said, “let us come into the house of the Lord”). Riperton made it quite clear during the track’s initial release that the song wasn’t about a woman asking a man to have sex with her. It’s about going deeper than that, attaining true intimacy. Despite the singer’s groans, a closer listen to the lyrics will prove that in this case love dealt with something way below skin-deep. “Inside My Love”
by Andy Kellman, allmusic
Adventures in Paradise, the follow-up to Perfect Angel — an album featuring Minnie Riperton’s biggest hit, much assistance from Stevie Wonder, and several of his associates, as well as an iconic outer sleeve — tends to be viewed as a flop, at least by those who disregard Minnie as a novelty one-hit wonder. If the album is a flop on principle because none of its three singles was as big as “Lovin’ You,” or because Stevie was no longer around, so be it, but it’s borderline classic by any other measure. The key collaborators here, outside of Minnie’s songwriting husband Richard Rudolph, include keyboardist Joe Sample, guitarist Larry Carlton, saxophonist Tom Scott, and harpist Dorothy Ashby. Hardly poor substitutes. Most importantly, the album’s three central songs were co-written with Leon Ware, who had come up with the Jackson 5’s “I Wanna Be Where You Are” and was on the brink of writing what would become the entirety of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You, along with his own excellent Musical Massage. Each of the Riperton/Rudolph/Ware songs ooze playful sensuality, desire, and lust — especially “Inside My Love” (a Top 30 R&B single), a swooning slow jam filled with double entendres. If it weren’t for the supremely seductive innocence in Minnie’s voice, the words would likely fall flat in their directness (“You can see inside me/Will you come inside me?/Do you wanna ride inside my love?”) The opener, “Baby, This Love I Have,” is even more heated, with Minnie’s frustrated yearning wrapped around a lithe arrangement. (It’s gentle six-note guitar-and-bass intro would later resurface in A Tribe Called Quest’s “Check the Rhime.”) The songs written by Minnie and Rudolph alone match up well with the best of Perfect Angel, and they’re deceptively eclectic, mixing and matching soul and rock with touches of country and adult pop. The album was tailor made for the kind of ’70s radio format that would not balk at spinning Boz Scaggs, LTD, and Fleetwood Mac back-to-back-to-back. But, for whatever reason (poor promotion, closed minds), it did not do nearly as well as it deserved.
“Baby, This Love I Have” (M. Riperton, L. Ware, R. Rudolph) – 4:02
“Feelin’ That Your Feelin’s Right” (Riperton, Ware, Rudolph) – 4:22
“When It Comes Down to It” (Riperton, Rudolph) – 3:24
“Minnie’s Lament” (Riperton, Rudolph) – 4:10
“Love and Its Glory” (Riperton, Ed Brown, Rudolph) – 5:10
“Adventures in Paradise” (Riperton, Joe Sample, Rudolph) – 3:15
“Inside My Love” (Riperton, Ware, Rudolph) – 4:45
“Alone in Brewster Bay” (Riperton, Rudolph) – 4:25
“Simple Things” (Riperton, Rudolph) – 3:44
“Don’t Let Anyone Bring You Down” (Riperton, Rudolph) – 2:55