Charles Wright | 2016 August
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“Answer to My Prayers” is a simmering R&B song with an emphasis on the blues. The lyrical turns embrace a familiar theme, but Wright spins them into something signature with his charismatic performance. His rhythm section is stellar throughout the release and they lay down the first of many impressively solid, yet elastic, outings on the album.  He burrows deeper into the blues with the lightly comedic “Looking for an Ugly Woman”, but it’s the particularly nuanced vocal that pushes this tune over the top. The vocal varies between moments of smirking amusement and lightly rueful passages. Moody brass section work distinguishes “I Got Feelings Too”, but it’s Wright who shines brightest thanks to a painfully intimate vocal that rises and falls well with the music. “She Don’t Believe In Love” will jolt listeners to life with its high octane funk stride cutting through the speakers with the visceral physicality of a blade. Wright’s performance has the same urgency he brings to bear on every preceding song.

Read The Full Review Here 

Available now at The Store and Amazon

Kirkus Review

Wright describes his childhood in the cotton fields of Mississippi in this debut memoir.

The author, who fronted the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, is best known for his hit 1970 funk song “Express Yourself,” which has been widely featured in movies and ad campaigns and provided the signature sample for the 1988 NWA song of the same name. Yet in this book, the first in a series of planned memoirs covering the entire course of his life, there’s almost no talk of music. Rather, it concerns his earliest years as one of 12 children born to an impoverished sharecropping couple in the Mississippi Delta. As a child in the 1940s, Wright worked beside his parents in the fields, “picking and chopping cotton sunup ’til sundown—WITHOUT ANY PAY!” The author claims that his memory stretches back to three months before he was born, and he displays a preternatural maturity in depicting the complex, often combative relationships between members of his family and the neighbors, fellow sharecroppers, and landowners that made up their hardscrabble community. The exploitative extremes of sharecropping are so troubling—and so reminiscent of depictions of slavery—that readers will find it almost inconceivable that such practices represented the status quo in some parts of the country as recently as the 1950s. This volume ends with Wright’s escape to Los Angeles, with a future of music and self-expression yet to come. Although the conclusion finds the author still in elementary school, readers will be left with the sense that the young Wright has already lived a lifetime. The book’s presentation is a little odd, with awkward formatting and a lot of stock photos. However, Wright is a highly adept storyteller with an excellent sense of detail and momentum. The overall reading experience is almost akin to sitting on the porch of a small, rickety farmhouse listening to the author spin yarn after yarn. “This is my story and most of it is one hundred percent true,” writes Wright, and in so doing he summons a whole host of American memoirists who’ve managed to transmute tragedy and fear.

A remarkable, well-told story of youth.

Read the original article here

If all men are truly brothers, why can’t we love one another? Love and peace from ocean to ocean, somebody please second my motion.

If all men were born to be free then, what about you and what about me? In a world filled with hate, there’s nothing left, you enslave me, and you’ll never rescue yourself.

Those are the lyric of one of my most recorded songs yet none of, the host of artists who’s recorded it thus far produced a hit with it. Several white artists one, a group called Courtship and another called Wilco recorded it. Wilco, due to the fact that they’re white, has enjoyed more success than I have through the use of the song.

I suspect I might have blown my entire career when I wrote this song? For no sooner than I released it, it was over. I suddenly went from being the hottest new thing to a step slightly below zero in nothing flat. And in fact, there are still those who strive to hide my name from the public’s eye, but I’ve got God on my side. And besides, I’m good. I’m one of the best at what I do.

God has also gifted me with the foresight to see into the future. If you don’t believe that, then that’s up to you, but I’ve known it would come to this since along time ago. But a stable full of hogs is just that, a stable full of hogs.

Some black, some white. Some pink or black and white and some appear to be all mixed up yet, I’m willing to bet they all taste the same. Anytime I’m cut I bleed, just as anytime you’re cut you bleed, but there’s one thing you simply cannot do and that is, to tell me that I did not see what I saw.

The other day I saw two white policemen murder a black man in Baton Rouge Louisiana. I saw another policeman pointing his pistol directly into the face of a brother he’d slaughtered. And even as he oozed his very last breath, the policeman, who was breathing excessively, continued to point his gun at the dying man’s body.

Yet, I sit hear watching as main street media use the situation as a ploy to glorify cops. While the tragic death of Alton Sterling‬ and Philando Castile‬by the hands of brutal policemen, takes a back seat.

My song got me into a whole lot of trouble, simply, because, some white people could not come face to face with the truth. Yet, the truth is still the truth, which we will definitely have to deal with sooner or later, so why not now. Why don’t we just stop and sort it out right now, and get on with the rest of our lives.

Express Yourself,
Charles Wright

 

Fishbone is a talented group and I enjoyed my time in the studio with these brothers. I know they are going to do well at the AfroPunk Festival this weekend.

The Leimert Park Book Fair was an amazing Success. Thank you to all who stopped by the booth or listened in during my interview.

Read what the Los Angeles Sentinel had to say about the Interview I did with Matty Rich

Dozens of local and national authors greeted their fans on the Plaza Promenade where the genre of books ranged from autobiography and inspiration to mystery, crime and science fiction.

Filmmaker and author Mattie Rich (“Straight Out of Brooklyn” and “The Inkwell”) interviewed legendary musician Charles Wright, (“Express Yourself”) whose autobiography, the gripping “Up From Where We Come,” chronicled the early part of his life from growing up in Jim Crow Mississippi to his early rise in the music business.

“It took me 40 years to write this book,” confessed Wright, founder of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, whose iconic song, “Express Yourself,” has been sampled in 80 television commercials and 30 movies.
“Every time I start reading the book, I start crying,” said Wright, whose book depicts the back breaking poverty experienced by his family.

Above, from left, are Dominique DiPrima with authors Dr. Julianne Malveaux, April Ryan and Erin Aubry Kaplan. Photo by Malcolm Ali

“Slavery was supposed to end in 1860, but in 1960, there was still a form of slavery called sharecropping,” recalled Wright, who said his father sharecropped cotton for a cruel boss named Mr. Miles. “No matter how much cotton my father picked for Mr. Miles, my father was never able to dig himself out of the (financial) hole,” Wright sadly recalled.

Wright, a musician for 60 years, also delivered his opinion on the state of Black America. “The problem is we can’t get together because we don’t know where we came from. Until we get together, we are going nowhere. No one is coming to save us but us,” he said frankly. “And I still want my 40 acres and a mule.”

“Where are you going to put the mule?” Rich jokingly quipped.

Rich discussed his gripping novel that centers on the real-life story of a little-known figure in the Civil Rights movement – a white social worker by the name of Beverly Luther who organized marches for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rich has also secured the movie rights to the book for a film adaptation. “The Civil Rights Movement was not just an African American movement. All races participated in it,” Rich pointed out, who added that he read about Luther several years ago.

Featured Stream: Charles Wright – Looking For An Ugly Woman

Charles Wright is “Looking For An Ugly Woman” so he can get some respect and keep his money!

Yes Charles is back with his sense of humor intact and his own special brand of vocal delivery and funk and R&B to get your body in motion and the laughs rolling.

Of course many beautiful woman are featured in the video and he never does find that ugly one to take the place of the doll causing him so much grief.

Good funky music with a great storyline is what Charles provides again. He always seems to come through.

Check the stream and the video, a double shot for ya all!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

Now Available at The Store and Itunes