Shuggie Otis: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma Slathered with Some Stanky Guitar Licks
When you talk about Shuggie Otis it’s so easy to get caught up in the remarkableness of his story. Whether it be that he is the son of the famed band leader, talent scout, and Bay Area disc jockey Johnny Otis. Or that he is a prodigy who was playing the guitar professionally at age 13 with his own first full length album at 16. Or that he rejected an opportunity to be the guitarist for The Rolling Stones. Or that after being dropped from his label in 1974 he slipped into complete seclusion quitting music entirely until his return this year.
However, the real story of Shuggie is in his music and really nowhere else. When people mention his name in the same breath of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Sly Stone and BB King, you know you are dealing with one bad dude. A truly raw & creative master on the guitar, Shuggie also incorporated his ability to play drums, organ, bass, and other instruments into his records. On his last album before his hiatus, Inspiration Information, he recorded nearly every instrument for all the songs. Although this last offering is currently regarded as a masterpiece by many high profile music lovers (Wax Poetics, Questlove, Mos Def, blah, blah, blah.), it wasn’t enough at the time to keep him from being dropped from his label, ultimately causing his disappearance from music. However, unlike the tragic talents of the 60’s and 70’s, Shuggie is alive, well, and back touring once again after the release of his new double album featuring an expanded Inspiration Information and previously unreleased material on Wings of Love. So I hope you feel Shuggie’s Boogie and perhaps are inspired to see in concert one of the most slept on talents of all time….I mean the dude slept him on himself for over 35 years….that’s how hard he is slept on….jus sayin’.