Charles Wright – Something To Make You Feel Good – Album Review
Back again with Mr. Charles Wright venturing into solo-music aside from his role as leader of the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band – I was looking forward to what the man might come up with this time around. A highly-skilled musician, we had slightly mixed feelings on the lead-single “She Don’t Believe In Love” from his new album Something To Make You Feel Good when we checked that out a couple months or so back – but it wasn’t due to lack of skill or know-how, it was just an unexpected combination. After listening to Something To Make You Feel Good…I suppose those unexpected sounds & songs should have come at me a little more naturally this time around…but nope…Wright continues to surprise with the directions he’s taken on solo.
Much of that feeling…like how “Answer To My Prayers” begins…comes from the vocal-department. On the one hand, you’ll appreciate the freedom of expression in Wright’s music…on the other hand, you might find yourself wishing the notes, tones and production on said-vocals might match the strengths of the music more than they do. “Answer To My Prayers” was a great meter-stick to measure with and as the first song, naturally sets the impression for what we might hear on the record to follow. Wright sings with passion…and I like that…he’s missing a few tones and notes by more than a few inches wide of the mark…and that I didn’t like so much. It’s tough to evaluate someone like this that you know beyond the shadow of a doubt has an ear for music…it makes you question your own sanity as a reviewer really…makes you wonder if the music can be as spot-on as it is – what holds back Wright from staying in the studio for just an hour or two more to put in vocal performances that match the energy of the music?
Because LISTEN to the rhythm and groove of “Apartment Living” – and you’ll get what I’m saying. A track like this…with the music coming through so vibrant and strong…it deserves just as much time spent on those vocals as it does the music in my opinion. The bass-lines alone make “Apartment Living” worth the price of admission…great percussion tightly backing it up, same with the guitar notes – they’re sounding great too. When the vocals creep into the song, you can hear that slight addition into the atmosphere of the mix as well…which is usually an indication that they’re sitting just a bit too high up in the track. Using the repetition of its title, “Apartment Living” keeps the song simple by just using this one statement to act as the vocals and add additional rhythm to this second-cut on the record…and as a result of its sparseness, gains a few points by being driven strongly through the instrumentation.