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10 Sep 2016

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band “Express Yourself”1970 US Soul Funk

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band “Express Yourself”1970 US Soul Funk masterpiece… recommended…..!!

A masterpiece of messed-up LA funk – and one of the crowning moments in the career of Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band! Charles and crew do an excellent job with all the tracks – most of which are more open ended than some of their earlier ones, and run on for longer than usual with some good trippy instrumental moments that really stretch out the groove from their funky 45 days. The album includes the stoner funk classic “High As Apple Pie“, done here in two “slices”, plus the classic “Express Yourself“, a monster number that still sounds great every time we hear it – even though it’s been used on commercials and sampled plenty of times over the years! ……. 

Los Angeles, CA — Borrowed by Dr. Dre, Madonna and Diplo; sampled looped by N.W.A. and themed by the NBA, Charles Wright’s “Express Yourself” has touched the lives of generations since 1970; being deemed the most licensed song. Yes, you’ve heard it on ESPN, Burger King commercials, and numerous movies, the song has taken on its’ own personality to the point it over shadows the creator’s name Charles Wright. In fact, when N.W.A. introduced the song to the hip-hop generation, youth could not believe it was originated by Wright. …. 

The quintessential Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band record, Express Yourself displays the purposefully loose rhythms and shout vocals that would make this band a legend in soul circles. Every track on this album is a classic, from the oft-sampled and high-charting pop single “Express Yourself” to the first of many readings of “I Got Love” that would appear on the band’s records – and even Wright’s solo works for years to come. The aching balladry of “Tell Me What You Want Me to Do” and the complex compositions “High as Apple Pie – Slice 1” and “High as Apple Pie – Slice 2” showcase a versatility found in other West Coast collectives such as War. Perhaps the treasure of this album is the opener, “Road Without an End,” a charming, stepping groover punctuated by choppy horns and snapping drums that blend beautifully with one of Wright’s best vocals of his career, all accented by sweeping strings. Express Yourself is ‘70s soul at its most creative and allmusic…… 

Somewhere between the Funk formalism of James Brown and free-spiritedness of Sly Stone can be found Charles Wright. In a perfect world, this enormous talent would be mentioned in the same breath as Redding, Gaye, and Green, but Wright’s long-term success was hobbled by the line-up changes of his various backing bands, inconsistent records, and other music biz unpleasantries. Though he recorded lots of great music–even his weakest efforts are at least worth hearing–this record is his shining moment. Its title track is its most famous (and most sampled), but other tracks like I Got Love and the free-form funk freakout, High as Apple Pie parts 1 & 2, give it a Gospel-like sense of joy. Few reissued records have caused as much confusion as this one. The original release kicked off with a tight little number called A Road Without End. Future pressings, however, replaced that track with Love Land, which appeared on his previous LP, In the Jungle Babe. Love Land is a great song in its own right, but it doesn’t suit the feel of Express Yourself as well as the track it replaces. For this reason, an original pressing of the record is well-worth tracking down. –Richard P …. 

Funk so loose and home-fried it’s a miracle it ever got on the radio, most of this sounds like it was recorded by teenagers in a rec room somewhere near Crenshaw Boulevard in 1971, except that the Otis-style croaker up top is too old–somebody’s uncle, maybe he financed the instruments. In fact, however, they were groundbreaking pros who’d peaked by then–“Do Your Thing” hit in February 1969, same as the Meters’ “Sophisticated Cissy” and six months before Kool or Funkadelic, and by the end of 1970 “Express Yourself” was history. It was also their only classic. But if you’ll settle for unfettered creativity, soul culture that doesn’t yet fear present or future, pick almost anything. ….. 

The band is also creative in the ways they used shouts and claps in their songs. A song like “Express Yourself” certainly calls for it, but the extended album closer “High As Apple Pie – Slice 2″ offers plenty of this. It feels like they had way too much fun during recording sessions, and the overjoyed feeling spilled over on into the track, where you can hear finger snapping and crooning in the background, though I’m sure this was by design. This track is the most instrumentally heavy, with fender Rhodes taking over for a good chunk of the middle, as a wide array of scats are heard at different times. “High As Apple Pie – Slice 1″ is certainly the more packed version, though its still 7 and a half minutes. Both songs feel like an ambitious celebration of rushing musical momentum, which ranges from gentle and low to unabashed and spry. “I’m Aware” draws upon more of the 60′s Soul influences that are rooted in the group, mainly because of the synchronized nature of the vocal performance. The rolling saxophone for the last minute is most welcome as it really gives the song that signature summery flavor of the Watts sound. 

“Tell Me What You Want Me To Do” is an almost ballad-like song, with the focus on the singing more so than the arrangements. Though the latter refuses to take a back seat and bursts through in many different ways, via horns, drums, and strings to enhance the vocal performance. This is a real gritty, confessional type song, so the atmosphere is heavy and folksy, and these elements come together is glorious fashion, making for yet another uplifting song. Seems The Watts don’t know the meaning of somber tones, or at least refuse to acknowledge it through their music. This a collection of 7 jam-packed tracks that will keep you entertained, enriched, and engaged throughout, and I highly recommend it. ….. 

Tomorrow is a big day in the US: Election Day. In honor of the season, listen to a deep funk cut that perfectly Charles Wrightexpresses the current spirit: 1970’s “Express Yourself” by Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Its message remains timeless, and the garage-band quality of the recording adds to its charm and catchiness. 

The band’s roots trace back to Clarksdale, Mississippi, the birthplace of group founder Wright. The multifaceted singer and musician–he played guitar and piano–recruited the eight-piece band from Watts, Los Angeles, although they originally dubbed themselves the Soul Runners. Remarkably, their big break came through comedian Bill Cosby, who hired them to perform at some of his 1967 appearances. This exposure eventually led to a record deal with Warner Bros. in 1969, and their debut album Express Yourself was released the following year. The lead single proved to be a big hit for the now titled Charles Wright and the 103rd Street Rhythm Band–it peaked at number three on the R&B charts and number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album fared better on the R&B charts than the pop, but has since become a classic in funk music. 

Two elements make “Express Yourself” such a standout: first, the music. The complicated beat, along with an all-over-the-fretboard bass line, all but command the audience to dance. Horns add even more soul to the proceedings, while guitars subtly add the melody. The performance possesses an artful sloppiness, an intentional looseness that suggests a block party setting rather than a formal concert. One can imagine the band jamming at a house party, with leader Wright encouraging each musician to outdo one another while soloing. The effect may not be a smooth as a Motown, Philadelphia International, or Stax record, but its energy and improvisational feel make for an unforgettable tune. 

Second, “Express Yourself” contains lyrics that address a variety of audiences. Coming off the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the lyrics can be seen as a cry for pride and courage: “You don’t never need help from nobody else/ All you got to do now/ Express yourself!” However, the theme applies to virtually anyone who has felt marginalized due to any kind of prejudice, as Wright spits out lines such as “It’s not what you look like, when you’re doin’ what you’re doin’/ It’s what you’re doin’ when you’re doin’ what you look like you’re doin’!” In a roundabout, tongue-twisting manner, Wright suggests that appearance means less than action. “Some people have everything, and other people don’t/ But everything don’t mean a thing if it ain’t the thing you want,” Wright cautions, urging listeners “whatever you, do it good.” Only by expressing yourself (and Wright perhaps intentionally omits any specifics) can you achieve what you really desire. His ecstatic scatting toward the end of the track adds a party-type atmosphere, keeping the tone playful yet positive. 

Charles Wright and the 103rd Street Rhythm Band had a surprisingly short life–they disbanded in 1973–but their signature track has lingered in popular culture. The track has become a fixture in television ads, and hip hop artists have frequently sampled its irresistible beat. In fact, when younger generations first hear the thumping beat, they most likely think of NWA’s 1988 take on “Express Yourself,” a decidedly angrier, gritter version that nevertheless retains Wright’s original vocals. 

Throughout this election, Americans have been engaging in heated debate, whether through print, broadcast, or social media. Tomorrow, Election Day, presents the ultimate opportunity for expressing ourselves through voting. As we do our civic duty, put Charles Wright’s classic song on and reflect on how far we’ve come–and how much further we need to travel. ……by deepsoul….. 

Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band is a pioneering American soul and funk band. Formed in the early 1960s, they had the most visibility from 1967 to 1973 when the band had 9 singles reach Billboard’s pop and/or rhythm and blues Hot 100 lists, such as „Do Your Thing“ (#11 Pop, #12 R&B), „Till You Get Enough“ (#12 R&B, #67 Pop), and „Love Land“ (R&B #23, Pop #16). They are best known for their biggest hit on Warner Bros. Records, 1970’s „Express Yourself“ (#3 R&B, #12 Pop), a song that has been sampled by rap group N.W.A. and others. ….. 

Tracklist : 
1. Road Without an End [Wright] (3:09) 
2. I Got Love [Wright] (3:39) 
3. High as Apple Pie - Slice I [Wright] (7:23) 
4. Express Yourself [Wright] (3:53) 
5. I’m Aware [Wright] (3:46) 
6. Tell Me What You Want Me to Do [Rahman, Wright] (5:48) 
7. High as Apple Pie - Slice II [Wright] (9:30) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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