Where Are They Now: Charles Wright

By Nyla Wissa

Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band is known for the soulful sound that were formed in the 1960s. They received the most recognition between 1967 and 1973 when the reached the Billboard charts with nine singles and released their 1970s single “Express Yourself.” Some of their most known hits include “Do Your Thing” and “Love Land.”

Wright was born in 1940 in Mississippi and decided to venture off into his singing career by moving to Los Angeles in 1950. He sang in several groups while working at A&R and Del-Fi Records. In 1962, he took matters into his own hands and formed his own group, Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds. The first members of this group included John Raynford and Daryl Dragon. Over the course of the group, more group members were added such as James Gadson, Melvin Dunlap, Ray Jackson, and Al McKay.

Between the 1967 and 1968, different members were in and out of the group. Eventually though Wright reformed the Watts 103rd straight from Wright Sounds and recorded Hot Heat. In 1968, Wright recorded a live session at a local Los Angeles recording studio, and released Together, which had the hit single “Do Your Thing.”

In 1969 though, the group began to dissolve and eventually Al McKay left the band and joined the soulful group Earth, Wind, and Fire. McKay was replaced with Benorce Blackmon and the group recorded you’re So Beautiful, but the group continued to dissolve. Eventually Wright decided to leave and released four solo albums. The group will always be known for their hit single “Express Yourself” and their soulful funk.

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