Here Comes Shuggie Otis (LP)Shuggie Otis
Well before Shuggie Otis (Born Johnny Alexander Veliotes, Jr.) cut his debut album, musicianship and performance had long been a part of his life. The son of rhythm and blues legend Johnny Otis, Shuggie learned to play guitar as early as the age of two, and performed professionally with his father's band at eleven. Throughout his long and illustrious career he'd performed on records for the likes of Frank Zappa, Al Kooper, Etta James, and George Duke, to name a few. In spite of all this, widespread mainstream success eluded Shuggie for much of his career, though he'd penned the Brothers Johnson hit "Strawberry Letter 23", and would experience a resurgence in 2013 with the reissue of his most famous album, Inspiration/Information.
His career as a session musician stretched across many years, but his solo career started in 1970, with his full-length debut Here Comes Shuggie Otis. The album was produced and contained contributions by his father Johnny Otis, plus a potent roster of session greats like Wilton Felder, Stix Hooper, Leon Haywood, and Al McKibbon, to name but a few, with Shuggie himself at the helm, performing lead vocals, guitar, and various keys instruments. Here Comes Shuggie Otis is a hybrid of lush, baroque harpsichords and strings mixed with bouncing, hard edged funk and blues, reminiscent of a combination of 60s chamber pop and the best elements of Stax Records. Gritty and wild, while also lush and sprawling, Here Comes Shuggie Otis is a solid benchmark of production flair and improvisational aptitude.