Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Band – What Can You Bring Me

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St. Band

What Can You Bring Me 45

Here we go again Flea Market Funk family. I have to give a huge shout out to all who have been checking out this ever growing blog o’ mine. I’ve really been getting some great feedback about the records I’ve been sharing, and here is a first for me, an actual request to review a band. A big up to Buffalo West and his blog for keeping upstate New York blanketed with the Funk and Soul we all love. It’s also fantastic to hear from my UK and German peoples who have thrown a little love my way here through cyberspace. I am available for DJ gigs, so if you’re looking for some funk and soul across the pond, hit me up. I’m definitely excited about the Calvin Arnold record I got, and from the looks at my hits and downloads, you guys are too. This next band really needs no introduction, and was a request from Polk a few days ago: Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Band. I was eventually gonna get to this record, but since someone requested it, I think sooner rather than later is just fine with me. This is the second copy I was able to find of this particular 45, the first I scored at a record show from Laylow (and the damn thing skipped!). I was pissed but was able to get a clean copy over the last few weeks. I played it during the first Asbury Park 45 Sessions, but had to start it at the yell, because the break skipped. Either way, a hot little slice of funk pie.

A down South boy, Charles Wright was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His family relocated to Los Angeles, CA when he was a boy, which one can assume shaped his musical future. A country boy in the city, taking those traditional country Gospel, Blues, Soul and Jazz and coupling them with the hustle and bustle of the big city’s sound to come up with a unique sound of his own. A short stint performing and writing doo-wop material, being an A & R man for Delphi, Wright eventually became an in demand session player while simultaneously holding it down as a nightclub player with his band: Charles Wright and the Wright Sounds. Doors would soon open fast for Wright as he soon would be hand picked by Bill Cosby to back him up with the Watts band on Cosby’s “Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings” on Warner Brothers. The label would also sign Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Band, making them one of the first successful R & B acts on the label. We’re all familiar with “Spreadin’ Honey”, “Do Your Thing”, and of course “Express Yourself”. I’m gonna dig a bit deeper and hit you with “What Can You Bring Me”, an upbeat funk number featuring The Watts 103rd St. Band, and one of the best drummers of our time, one Mr. James Gadson. For those unfamiliar with Gadson, check the resume son: Dyke and the Blazers, Earth, Wind and Fire, Bill Withers, Rose Royce, Bloodstone, Steely Dan, recently Beck, and every-friggin’-body else who ever put out something funky. On a side note, check out B+’s Keeping Time, that pairs DJs Cut Chemist, Babu, and J-Rocc with Gadson and Paul Humphrey, and lets them go freely back and forth, improvising and imitating each other. I saw this on one of DJ Shadow’s tour at Irving Plaza, and spoke with B+ after the show about it. He was a really nice guy. He’s a great photographer as well as a great film maker. If you can get a hold of this movie I highly recommend it. Support a brother who’s doing things his way.

Let’s cut this slice of funk from 1971 and eat the damn thing. Gadson starts this off with some hard drums. Bring in those horns (I believe they were sampled by Diamond D for Brand Nubian), add a tough bass line and “What Can You Bring Me” in short terms, brings it. The Watts band is taunting this woman to bring it to them. She needs to bring it hard and fast, and don’t waste any time. Working fast is ok, because Wright and his band mates do not waste any time either, and in 2 minutes and 45 seconds prove that they don’t need much time to funk your ass up. This particular song has always been my favorite by these guys, and in the 90’s was been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest on their “The Love Movement” album for the track “Rock and Roll Y’all”, featuring Mos Def. Charles Wright is still around making music, getting sampled (which is a good thing), and getting the respect he deserves. Long live the funk. Keep Diggin’!

Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Band What Can You Bring Me ripped from the WB 45

Before I forget, we do have another installment of The Asbury Park 45 Sessions coming up on May 11th at the Asbury Lanes . If you can make it, I’d love to have you. It should be a good time as always.

45 Sessions # 3

8 responses to “Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Band – What Can You Bring Me

  1. I’ve been waiting to review this (it’s my fav Charles Wright), but my copy had a skip on the break, and come on, that’s the best damn part. I could loop that for days and not get tired of it. Glad you enjoyed it. Lots of good records coming up as well.

  2. Pingback: NetInfoWeb 2.0: Soul, R&B, Jazz and Blues on the ‘Net » links for 2007-04-24·

  3. Damn! Sho is funky in here. Thanks, brotha, for posting this Charles Wright side. We can, and will, get the good folks past ‘Express Yourself’ and deep into the real soul grooves with slammin’ tracks like this. Wright and The Watts Band MUST be heard.

    Other CW tracks to check out, for all you neophytes:

    I’m Aware
    Doing What Comes Naturally
    I Got Love
    High As Apple Pie
    Ninety Day Cycle People

  4. My favorite Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Band song is a bit of a departure from this one and the ones listed above (although I do like all of them, too). It just shows the versatility of this great group. I’d love to hear it if you ever come across it: “Loveland.” It’s the song that introduced me to the band back in the day. I ran out and bought the album it was on right then and there when that song came across the airwaves.

  5. Incredible song. It feels like this is a lost and forgotten sub-genre. Hard to peg. Glad I found it. May you be rewarded 100-fold for taking the time to rip from vinyl! – from Missouri

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