Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Charles Wright & Watts 103rd S|
In the Jungle, Babe / Express Yourself
Genres: Pop, R&B
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
Two Albums, One Cd From Watts' Funk Soul Brothers
J P Ryan | Waltham, Massachusetts United States | 06/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"And as my title intends to communicate to anyone who's interested, Warner Bros.' superb remaster of two Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band gems - "In The Jungle, Babe," was first released in 1969, and the better known "Express Yourself" (the title track was a national smash hit) followed in 1970 - is the way to hear these underrated gems. I emphasise the twofer because it's still available, and at a low price, despite the fact that Collectables has more recently released each title individually. But true to form, Collectables' packages are relatively shabby - the front cover, an unappetizing coupon on the back of the 'booklets' you can send away should you want the label's catalog. No liner notes, annotation, nothing. Warners provides the background scoop on Wright and his very accomplished band and the titles at hand, which were issued at the group's popular - and arguably, creative - peak, some nice graphics and photos, and a sonically superior remaster. The Wright band was a seminal funk and soul outfit, actively making albums (and a few hits) from 1967 - 1975.
Charles Wright had been active in the music industry since the late doo-wop era, when an encounter with Jesse Belvin opened doors to his early songwriting and session work. At first, the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band seems rather like a looser cousin to Sly & The Family Stone, without Sly's songwriting and production genius. And it is true, there's no "Family Affair" or "Everybody Is A Star" herein, but really, no one has reached those astonishing heights. These guys have a loose-limbed, relaxed style all their own, with funk tracks seemingly coming together effortlessly, thanks no doubt to the high level of superfine musicianship, and soul aplenty; their best work is rhythmically compelling, full of infectious riffs and deep grooves. There is the occasional less-than-essential cover version, but overall these albums - like the group's catalog in general - make for highly enjoyable listening and will likely inspire those so inclined to get up and dance around the room. Warners still has a very good compilation of their work in print, but this deeper look at the group's music is not likely to be around forever.
In the past couple of years Water Music has reissued some of the other Warners albums (as has Collectables, in a less coherent fashion). I'd still petition for a reissue of Wright's last Warners album,"Rhythm & Poetry" (1972). I had a copy on vinyl once, but it has inexplicably disappeared! In the mean time, I'll content myself with what's here and available now, and pass it on to anyone who will listen."