Friday, May 30, 2014

FDF Volume 3 Issue 338 - Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

Album – Inspiration Information
Artist – Shuggie Otis
Key Players – Shuggie Otis – lead and backing vocals, guitar, bass, drums, organ, piano, vibraphone, percussion, drum machines. Jack Kelso – saxophone, flute. Jeff Martinez – french horn. Carol Robbins- harp. Doug Wintz and Jim Prindle – trombone. Curt Sleeten and Ron Robbins – trumpet. 

Produced By – Shuggie Otis

Release Date – October 1974

Overview - This is the third album released from, but his first seen as a solo “adult” artist. Shuggie, born Johnny Alexander Velitoes, Jr was born to musician and bandleader Johnny Otis, had his dads help on two prior releases. Shuggie would gravitate towards analog drums and electric sounds and fell in to the psychedelic soul genre. It took three years to complete and was a struggle for the label to support Shuggie. It was re-issues on compact disc in 2001 and had another re-issue in 2013. It is considered a cult classic. After this album was finally released Shuggie was approached to to open for the Rolling Stones on an upcoming tour. He refused.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Otis is pretty much a one man band outside of the horns and strings you might here. The original record is just nine tracks long. Opening with the title track "Inspiration Information"    it has a smooth soul feel and you are quickly brought to attention. The organ stands out and Otis has a nice strong voice that mixes some falsetto with a nice tenor. The bass and guitar compliment the whole track. “Island Letter” is even more smooth, awash with the strings and a funky, yet laid back guitar. “Sparkle City” has a bit more on the bass and it finds a solid blend of that funk and soul, but it doesn't seem to really launch as your toes might like. Otis wants you to be with him, for the duration and its hard to turn away. “Aht Uh Mi Hed” (say it slow..Out of My Head) is a real sample of his abilities. He uses the horns and strings, but the overall feeling he has on the track is what pulls you in. The simple and soothing croon he has as it builds and the progression with it has been lifted a thousand times or more since. “Happy House” is a very short track, just 1:16 that has some fun play with the bass and keyboard. The melody is fun, but its a wonder why he didn't expand the fun feel he had here. “Rainy Day” is an instrumental track that showcases his light guitar playing, very smooth indeed. The analog drum machine comes in to play as “XL-30” starts up. The accent off the keyboards and fun running bass line grab you from the start. It too is an instrumental track. The same feel of the prior track starts up “Pling!” albeit a bit on the slower side, you can still find that sort of click/pop to the drum machine. It too is instrumental and you sort of want it to open up, or change direction or tempo. It feels a little plodding at times and not overly interesting. That changes on the closer “Not Available” which has a bit more of rocking feel, with Otis seeming to push himself out of the slower stuff. He is a great guitar player (as well as all the other instruments) its a great way to close it out as it takes off and it re-captures the “psychedelic soul” of the early part of the record.

Where are they now? Shuggie last toured in 2013 but his output has mostly been collections of previously unreleased material.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting Off? - Its a very interesting listen. The whole story of the time it too him to complete it, how accomplished of a musician he is etc. It is easy to understand why, once heard, it gets that “why haven't I heard this before”. Very much worthy of seeking out, chances are good you'd only find expanded editions with even more tracks to find out about!

Links, find out more, follow em and buy!

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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