Once in a while, I get an email promoting a book or cd for review. Mostly I have to pass for reasons of time and I’ll have to pass on the one I got today, promoting a new autobiography by sixties-era L.A. funk trailblazer Charles Wright. Wright, as leader of the 103rd Street Watts Rhythm Band, was one of those underrated figures who used to be called “band leaders.” He certainly had gifts as a composer, player and vocalist. But his great gift was for finding and shaping talent, which was why the men who left his bands tended to land with Hall of Fame acts like Bill Withers or Earth, Wind and Fire, or else backing his fellow L.A. funk legend Arlester Christian (of Dyke and the Blazers’ fame), all of which made Wright a semi-invisible shaper of a future we’re still living in.
But having said all that, I can’t say I’ve kept track of him, so news that he’s alive, kicking and working is certainly welcome.
Even more welcome was the realization, available through the video link his publisher was kind enough (or savvy enough) to include with the marketing campaign….which basically shows that he hasn’t lost a thing…Including his sense of humor: