Over the course of eight years, The Numero Group has journeyed to scads of tiny island nations in search of rare and previously unknown recordings. This time we kept it a little closer to home, unearthing a soul-folk curiosity on the one-stoplight cay of Nantucket. By no means a thriving musical community in the 70s or otherwise, the limerick-inducing isle played home to Greenwich Village folk singer Willie Wright for a few years, producing his second and final album in the process.
Born of Harlem doo-wop roots and refined by Boston’s counterculture scene, Wright arrived in Nantucket in 1976 well worn by two decades of street corner and club performing, eager to make the easy money only a private yacht clientele could guarantee. Trapped on the island over winter, a set of original songs poured into his cover-heavy set. Tales of Wright’s native roots, straight life, his abandoned four children, and the many women he had known flooded his loose leaf notebook before finally being set to tape in New York the following spring.
Tracked with George “Buzzy” Bragg and Herry Jensen (of Skull Snaps and Jimmy Castor Bunch fame, respectively) in one day with minimal overdubs, Telling The Truth was, and would remain, Willie Wright’s brightest and most inspired moment. Sold from the trunk of a car and from a handful of resort stages, the humble album disappeared into the collections and garages of Nantucket tourists, taking what was left of a near-30-year career along with it.
Available for the first time since 1977, this expanded edition of Telling The Truth gathers Wright’s lone 45 and only original composition from his first LP to tell the definitive Willie Wright story. The deluxe LP edition includes a replica 7″ of his cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Right On For The Darkness” (with his original “Africa” on the flip), while the CD takes that same single and shrinks it to a portable 4.72″ record that actually plays!