Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

You're So Beautiful - 1971

Following the massive one-two punch of 1969's In the Jungle Babe and Express Yourself the following year, Charles Wright and his Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band understandably began to run out of gas when it came to constructing tight, heavily orchestrated mini funk masterpieces. By the time You're So Beautiful was released in 1971, the band was frayed and loose; their uplifting soul anthems replaced by slow loping jams that bordered on despair and a general unease that drifted in an out of the grooves like an instrument in itself. If the band wasn't in tatters, it was damn close, with a number of members jumping ship throughout 1969 and 70, making the band that recorded You're So Beautiful and altogether different animal than the one that cut its two predecessors. Its easy to draw parallels to what was going on at the same time with Sly and the Family Stone, and though it doesn't quite mirror the hauntingly stark funk that became There's a Riot Goin' On, You're So Beautiful is an album that benefits heavily from a band falling apart at the seams. Loose, wearily funky and at times directionless to the point of amusement, the charm of the LP is in how good the music sounds despite it all, and how far out Charles Wright took himself and his band in just a year's time. This was to be the Watts 103rd's final album, thought Wright would continue to record solo records throughout the early part of the decade.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Anyone ever seen a re-release of what I think was their first album? Had a Bob Zoel cover and the version of "Do Your Thing" that made its way onto the Boogie Nights soundtrack.