A Groovy Kind of Silent Night
:: Rotary Connection - Silent Night ::
So what's not to like about some groovy '60s kids from Chicago, mixin' up the races and the sexes and making some mellow, psychedelic, acidic and sometimes funky pop? Nothing, I say.
From 1967 through '71, Rotary Connection were well known in the mid-west, but never made it beyond their regional popularity. I'd never heard of them until a couple of years ago, 30+ years after they existed.
One of the three lead vocalists of the group had made her mark on my psyche though. I remember hearing "Lovin' You" by Minnie Riperton in 1974 and just going, "Jesus Christ!". The fact is, Minnie had a vocal range well beyond any of your Yma Sumacs or Mariah Careys, and it was used to great effect within the chamber pop trappings of Rotary Connection's dense arrangements. Of course the tragedy is, after years of toiling in relative obscurity and then finally achieving the stardom she deserved, she died of breast cancer at the age of 31.
Peace was Rotary Connection's 3rd album, and while it is a Christmas album, it's no less an artistic statement than any of their 5 other albums. Featuring full-blown production straight outta Ter Mar Studios with arrangements by legendary Chess man Charles Stepney and co-produced by Stepney and Marshall Chess, Silent Night (which is actually revisited several times during the course of the album) is a trip from beginning to end. I recommend you listen to this with a nice cup of nog by a warm fire with someone special. Happy holidays!