Shuggie Otis

Inspiration Information (Luaka Bop / Virgin)

Record Reviews

Shuggie Otis Inspiration Information (Luaka Bop/Virgin)

Had 1974 only known what its Billboard legacy was to be, it might have killed itself, perhaps sparing the world "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" and "Seasons in the Sun." In 1974, Duke Ellington died, and the Stones lost Mick Taylor and invited young soul virtuoso Shuggie Otis to fill in. He declined. Son of blues legend Johnny Otis, Shuggie was only 15 when fellow West Coast musicians began to compare the prodigy to Hendrix and Sly Stone, and merely 16 when he played on Zappa's Hot Rats. In his early 20s, Shuggie produced two solo projects, playing all instruments, writing all songs. Released in 1974, Inspiration Information remains another reason why that year should hang its head in shame: Nobody heard it. One listen to this reissued treasure offers a glimpse at what could have been, had Curtis Mayfield, William DeVaughn, and Miles Davis ruled the pop charts in 1974. They didn't, and neither would Shuggie's experimental soul psychedelia. The world would have to wait … a few years for the Brothers Johnson to make a platinum hit out of his genre-bending, pre-trip-hop jazz blaster "Strawberry Letter 23" … until the Eighties for Prince to take the funk throne … and another decade or two for the rest of pop to catch up to electronica. Shuggie's work stands as the missing link between that magical period of early Seventies soul and today's sensual electronic wonder groove, something 1974 can hold its head up and be proud of.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Phases & Stages
Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators
Keep Reachin' Up (Record Review)

Audra Schroeder, July 20, 2007

Texas Platters
The Monstas
Meet the Monstas (Record Review)

Margaret Moser, July 6, 2007

More by Kate X Messer
The Gay Place: It's Aliiive!
It's Aliiive!
You can't keep a Gay Place down; just ask Sarah Marloff

Jan. 20, 2016

Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You
Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You
K(X) THX BYE

Jan. 15, 2016

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle