Willie Wright - Telling The Truth LP

(Hotel Records, 1977 - Numero Group, 2011)

 β€œTelling the Truth has its moments of deeply felt poignancy, but its real value lies in its highly creative and endlessly listenable assimilation of soul, pop, rock, and folk signifiers. A refusal to cleave to one particular genre hindered Wright's commercial prospects throughout his career, which found him bouncing back and forth between New York and Boston for most of the late-60s and early-70s before settling in the mid-70s on Nantucket Island. Given that the prevailing sound of R&B at that time was glossy funk and Philly soul, Wright's music is an idiosyncratic marvel. Basically, imagine Lou Rawls fronting Van Morrison's Astral Weeks-era band with a Duane Allman soundalike occasionally dropping by to lay down some lyrical guitar lines and you've got a pretty good idea. Flute filigrees and gently tugged basslines abound, and Wright's earthy vocals perfectly complement the mellow, spacious grooves of "Nantucket Island", "I'm So Happy Now", "Indian Reservation", and "It's Only Life, That's All"-- the latter two tunes also tossing off shades of Dylan and the Band's supremely contented mid-70s rambles. Much of Telling the Truth is ideal summertime barbecue fodder, though Wright also demonstrates facility with babymaking fare on the casually seductive "Lady of the Year" and "In the Beauty of the Night." - Joshua Love for Pitchfork