12 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Heralded by many as possibly one of the best soul albums ever—and created by one of its best voices—1973’s Memphis Unlimited really does its title justice. Made by the same team responsible for Al Green’s million-sellers, the album is rich with Willie Mitchell’s clear, groove-heavy production. It focused on tight bass and drums (courtesy of the Hi rhythm section) and a blipping, howling horn section (courtesy of the great Memphis Horns). Wright—whose R&B hits began in 1965 and was often referred to as “the boss of Southern soul”—gyrates with ease between measured ballads (“Please Forgive Me”), boss singles (“I’d Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy”), and midtempo crushers where he might as well be heading up a sweat-drenched tent revival (“You Must Believe in Yourself,” “I’ve Been Searching”). Then “I’m Coming Home (To Live with God)” takes traditional gospel to sexy heights, while the slow, heady “Ghetto Child” (written by Johnny Copeland) is as profound and topically rich as anything Curtis Mayfield ever did.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Heralded by many as possibly one of the best soul albums ever—and created by one of its best voices—1973’s Memphis Unlimited really does its title justice. Made by the same team responsible for Al Green’s million-sellers, the album is rich with Willie Mitchell’s clear, groove-heavy production. It focused on tight bass and drums (courtesy of the Hi rhythm section) and a blipping, howling horn section (courtesy of the great Memphis Horns). Wright—whose R&B hits began in 1965 and was often referred to as “the boss of Southern soul”—gyrates with ease between measured ballads (“Please Forgive Me”), boss singles (“I’d Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy”), and midtempo crushers where he might as well be heading up a sweat-drenched tent revival (“You Must Believe in Yourself,” “I’ve Been Searching”). Then “I’m Coming Home (To Live with God)” takes traditional gospel to sexy heights, while the slow, heady “Ghetto Child” (written by Johnny Copeland) is as profound and topically rich as anything Curtis Mayfield ever did.

TITLE TIME
2:39
3:17
2:34
2:48
2:42
3:28
2:44
4:06
3:11
3:32
3:32
2:46

About O.V. WRIGHT

A truly incendiary deep soul performer. O. V. Wright's melismatic vocals and Willie Mitchell's vaunted Hi Rhythm Section combined to make classic Memphis soul during the early '70s. Overton Vertis Wright learned his trade on the gospel circuit with the Sunset Travelers before going secular in 1964 with the passionate ballad "That's How Strong My Love Is" for Goldwax in Memphis. Otis Redding liked the song so much that he covered it, killing any chance of Wright's version hitting. Since Wright was already under contract to Houston-based Peacock as a gospel act, owner Don Robey demanded his return, and from then on, Wright appeared on Robey's Backbeat subsidiary. Wright's sanctified sound oozes sweet soul on the spine-chilling "You're Gonna Make Me Cry," a 1965 smash, but it took Memphis producer Willie Mitchell to wring the best consistently from Wright. Utilizing Mitchell's surging house rhythm section, Wright's early-'70s Backbeat singles "Ace of Spades," "A Nickel and a Nail," and "I Can't Take It" rank among the very best Southern soul of their era. No disco bandwagon for O. V. Wright -- he kept right on pouring out his emotions through the '70s, convincing his faithful that "I'd Rather Be (Blind, Crippled & Crazy)" and that he was "Into Something (Can't Shake Loose)." Unfortunately, he apparently was -- drugs have often been cited as causing Wright's downfall; the soul great died at only 41 years of age in 1980. ~ Bill Dahl

  • ORIGIN
    Leno, TN
  • GENRE
    R&B/Soul
  • BORN
    October 9, 1939

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