Mr. Wright

Nothing to Write Home About – Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band from You’re So Beautiful

Well, I had to write about this song.  It’s the namesake of my blog.  I discovered Charles Wright and his band on the excellent Soulsides blog (which I recommend to everyone).  However, like most people, you’re probably familiar with at least one of their songs.  That would be the superb Express Yourself (a separate entry on that song coming soon).  You know it either by the song itself, or more likely the sampling of it for the N.W.A. song of the same name.

Mr. Wright is no one hit wonder.  Wright starts Nothing by asking the band if they’re all ready.  Oh yeah, they’re ready.  Horns, drums, a wooo! from the female backup singers.  Wright coughs, clearing his throat.  Then he begins a vicious song that should be a standard for anyone wanting to break up with someone via song.  “Every time you come into my life/something goes wrong/cause you don’t want to love us true/all you want to do is use me/ that’s all you want to do.”

The song effectively shifts between an uptempo beat with horn stabs, a guitar meandering in the background, and a slightly slower tempo towards the end of the verses where the backing vocals, horns and guitar take an almost orchestral sound (especially round the 1 minute mark).

The last verse ends with Wright saying “cause the time you spend with me is nothing to write home about”, then repeating the song title, turning it over to the backing singers to repeat it a few more times and the funky drums and horns adding the exclamation points.

So why do I love a song with such bitter subject matter so much?  I’m certainly not in a place in my life where I’m feelin’ what Charles is singing about (nor do I plan on feelin’ that way).  I think it’s the juxtaposition of the decidedly happy music (and even Wright’s singing is pretty upbeat) with the biting content of the lyrics.  A withering break-up song that makes you nod your head and want to dance.  Probably even if you’re on the receiving end of it.

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