To continue our series of long-standing careers in this crazy business known as music, we would like to highlight the career of Charles Wright. We all know that staying power will always be a difficult task but there is proof that it can be done with hard work and catchy music.
The funk and soul musician was born in Clarksville, Mississippi. Music was a big part of his childhood and the doo-wop scene of the time was a big draw to Charles Wright. He played guitar and sang in several doo-wop groups including, “The Twilighters, “The Shield” and “The Gallahads”.
He also became a big player in the business side of the scene as he briefly worked as A&R Director for Del-Fi Records and was responsible for the hit recording of “Those Oldies But Goodies” (“Remind me of you”) by Little Caesar and the Romans in 1961. By 1964, Wright formed his own band called Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds which included, John Raynford, along with Daryl Dragon, “Captain” of Captain & Tennille. The group kept growing and went on to be known as the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band.
The big hit came for Charles Wright and his new band in the 1970’s with “Express Yourself” released by Warner Brothers Records which went on to hit #3 on the R&B chart and #12 on the Pop Charts. That song gained much bigger recognition in the 1980’s when many Rap artists sampled the track for some of the big hits of the time. The list of groups that borrowed from the song include N.W.A., Brand Nubian Funk; Naughty By Nature, Gang Starr, and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Making music has never stopped for Charles Wright and recently released the song “She Don’t Believe In Love”. The track has a fun funk vibe that brings back the memories of an earlier and funner time. The vocals of Charles Wright pour out emotion and a true soul sound that draws in any listener. Whether you are bopping your head or tapping your toes there is no resisting the groove of “You Don’t Believe In Love”.
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Music legend Charles Wright and filmmaker Matty Rich, are the featured headliners at the 10th anniversary of the Leimert Park Book Fair.
Rich is a pioneering film director turned author whose work includes the critically acclaimed films “Straight Out of Brooklyn” and “The Inkwell.”
Wright, now also an author of the best seller “Up From Where We Come,” is the writer of the hit song “Express Yourself,” which has been sampled heavily over the years by several rappers including N.W.A.
Rich will discuss “Bev,” his gripping best-selling 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. Rich has secured the movie rights to the book for a film adaptation.
Wright will talk about his new book, which highlights historical accounts of his past long before he gained status as a music legend.
The Leimert Park Book Fair is one of our community’s most important and treasured events attended by hundreds every year. As an author myself who did a signing at the festival, I look forward to this event every year.
Other local and new authors who will be signing their books include Shaun-Teka Joyner, author of” Don’t Get Rejected: How to Get into the College of Your Dreams,” and Chris L. Hickley Sr., author of “Admired Man.” Both books are available at Amazon.com.
Whatever you do. Don’t make the mistake I did last year and head to Leimert Park. The Leimert Book Fair will be held at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Aug. 20, starting at 11 a.m. For more information, visit www.leimertparkbookfair.com.
So how is this supposed to make a black person feel!!?
Since it’s the only channel I know that has an African show, I’ve often watched CCTV. SO I recently told a friend I was proud of the fact that, instead of exploiting the African people as the Western world had. The Chinese seemed to have entered into a genuine partnership with the African people.
But then I saw this commercial and was awfully disappointed!!!
One of the Main problems is; being influenced by Western media, the Chinese may think this is cute. However, it definitely is not!
So please, let me know how you feel about this situation. And join me to let the Chinese people know, this kind of behavior is absolutely not acceptable.
I am Charles Wright, and I’m simply expressing myself.
Up from Where We’ve Come by Charles W. Wright is an autobiography by the world-renowned musician and songwriter. He is best known as the leader of Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, and for recording the enduring 1971 classic “Express Yourself”.
Wright’s book provides a first-hand account of racism and depicts how he went from poverty to prosperity. Written in the raw dialects and rhythms of how blacks and whites communicated with each other in the era, the book, available as an epub or pdf, is an insider’s riveting glimpse into the realities of the times. Visit <mileshighproductions.com/images/tracks/charles_wright/>. This interview was conducted via email.
What compelled you to write Up From Where We’ve Come?
Wright: Hello Seth, It’s as simple as this, I always wanted to write my life story. I used to tell people all the time that I was writing a book and I was. It just took me 40 years to finally decide to finish it and to go through the grueling pains of publishing it.
What do you aim to convey to readers?
The end of an era which codified the relation between slavery and sharecropping. It was an important event in American history, which took place without the least bit of fanfare, yet it was an important event in my life.
Can you give readers a sense of what made this era so important to you?
This was a time when black people were finally giving up the idea of living in the South and in semi-slavery. Consequently, many moved to Northern cities like Chicago or St. Louis, Philadelphia and New York City. It was also a time when America’s technology presented the invention of the cotton picking machine and chemicals, which could curtail the growth of grass and weeds. Thus, there would soon be no need for human beings to do such laborious chores such as chopping or picking cotton in the sweltering sun from sunup till sundown. Fortunately, my family relocated to California, which in my estimation is one of the best cities of the lot and especially where the weather is concerned.
How did living on the West Coast shape the evolution of your music in terms of culture, politics and teachers?
There was little if any politics involved in the music I grew up with on the West Coast. However there was so much emotion in the music of great arrangers like Maxwell Davis, Ernie Freeman and Rene Hall. These were the gentlemen who set the pace for R&B music on the West Coast. I indulged myself as deep as I possibly could in the works of these particular men as well as the music of many East Coast producers. There were so many great artists recorded and produced by these gentlemen in fact, too many to mention on a single page.
What instrument(s) did you play in the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band that recorded the 1971 classic “Express Yourself” (#3 R&B, #12 Pop – Billboard), “Loveland ” (sung by drummer James Gadson later a top session musician in Los Angeles), “Do Your Thing ” (featuring lead guitarist Al McKay later with Earth, Wind & Fire) and the racial equality anthem “Comment” (recorded by jazz legend Les McCann, alternative rockers Wilco and others)?
I played both guitar parts on that particular track. I played piano on “Loveland” and guitar on “Do Your Thing” of which Al Mckay played the lead guitar. “Comment” was covered by even more people than you mentioned in fact, I heard a beautiful rendition, but only once, by the master himself, Ray Charles.
Which writers did you read prior to penning your book?
One of the everlasting stories that is still haunting me was a book titled Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement by Devery S. Anderson. I hope you’ll read it and be as amazed of its content as I was.
Seth Sandronsky is a journalist and member of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From The Progressive Populist, March 15, 2016
Time to funk up this gloomy morning with some new tunes from soul music legend, author, and founding member of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Charles Wright. He sent us over the single from his new album called “She Don’t Believe in Love” and we got a whole earful of funk.
What was great about the track was that it had that classic get down and boogey funk sound with some contemporary sounds. Another great thing about Mr Wright’s tunes is his distinctive soul voice, it really peaks through the funk around it giving you something to grab on to and enjoy — overall a solid track
Peep “She Don’t Believe in Love and leave your thoughts in the comments. If you are feeling his sound, pick up the full length album, Something to Make You Feel Good, from your favorite digital retailer.
On Sunday, July 20, 2016 I had the pleasure of sitting in at Agape Church. The speaker was moving and inspirational and I look forward to coming back. Thank you to brothers Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith and Akili Beckwith for the invitation.