Because spring is sprung, and because it opened the BBC 6 Music People’s Playlist on the Lauren Laverne Show this week… and because I suggested it for that playlist. And because it’s beautiful, uplifting, and rousing.
Les Fleur or Les Fleurs? No-one seems quite sure on the spelling - Fleurs might be grammatically accurate, and seems to be the accepted spelling where the track appears on compilations, but the label on the original 7” back from the early 70s drops the s, so that’s the spelling I’m going with.
Either way, it must surely be impossible to be uncheered by it. Sung initially from the perspective of a flower(!) that wonders to whom it will bring joy:
Will somebody wear me to the fair?
Will a lady pin me in her hair?
Will a child find me by a stream?
Kiss my petals and 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
Les Fleur surfs a psychedelic soul wave on Riperton’s remarkable vocal range, and an orchestral arrangement by Charles Stepney. Stepney had already worked with Riperton as members of Rotary Connection, a sort of experimental jazz/soul fusion collective for whom Riperton was recruited while working as a receptionist at Chess records. Here, he dials it down, allowing Riperton’s stunning voice room to express itself without overworking, but at the same time he knows exactly when to bring it up again for the big chorus. The strings might not be the first section you notice, weaving their subtle tendrils through the song’s melody while the brass section opts for the more direct path, but it would undoubtedly be a strange and empty track without them.