Sunday, October 26, 2014

inspiration information

Shuggie Otis took three years creating the simmering rare groove dream storm of this visionary underground psychedelic soul classic.  The acclaim afforded his second album 'Shuggie's Freedom Flight', raised expectations on the followup 'Inspiration Information'.  

For the first time, Otis took the reigns and did practically everything himself.  The album features Shuggie Otis on lead and backing vocals, guitar, bass, drums, organ, piano, vibraphone, percussion, and analog drum machines;   with Jack Kelso on saxophones and flute;   Jeff Martinez on french horn;  Carol Robbins on harp;  Doug Wintz and Jim Prindle on trombone;  Curt Sleeten and Ron Robbins on trumpet;  and strings by Barbara Porter, Brian Asher, D. Jones, J. Parker, Louis Rosen, Marcia Zeavin, N. Roth, Steve Boone, and T. Ziegler.  

Otis says:  "My father believed in me once he saw me in the studio and saw how serious I was. It took some convincing to make other people understand how clearly I knew what I wanted to achieve in the studio...That "feel" is the most important. You can play all the right notes with the wrong feel, and it won't sound right. On the other hand, you can play the "wrong" note with the right feel and make it work. That might sound confusing, but if I played what I meant, it would make sense."

With minimal promotion from a frustrated Epic Records, 'Inspiration Information' peaked at number one hundred and eighty one on the US album chart; but it has gone on to be a cult classic.   Epic dropped Otis and he went four decades before he would release another album.  He famously turned down offers to work with the Rolling Stones and Quincy Jones as well.   'Inspiration Information' fell out of print for many years; but was reissued in 2001 on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label and again in 2013 on Sony's Legacy Recordings label with a second album of new tracks called 'Wings of Love'.  

Otis looks back:  "Not getting a record deal was never my choice. It was like someone put out a bad word on me. But I didn't want to just (be a session guitarist), I wanted to come out on my own.  I never felt rushed, though, probably because my father's studio was in our house. And I guess I was a little lackadaisical. I always thought I had more time, and here we are ... If it were up to me, I would have been releasing my music the entire time. I spent many years sending tapes and taking meetings with every label in the industry. I was turned down by everyone at least twice. Now, most of those labels don’t exist anymore...I performed a lot during those years, with my father’s bands along with a few of my own. Throughout the years, my music never stopped being the most important thing to me. I never quit. Some publications started a rumor that I “retired” at 21 years old. Not true. There were periods during which I slowed down a bit...just to live my life. But I never stopped writing, recording and performing...I’ve always loved the music business, and I was very lucky to have someone like my father to look out for me at that age. I feel kind of bad for young entertainers who don’t have someone like that in their lives ... I had my own group, my own label deal.  I just wanted to do what I want to do. I had my own identity."

about "Pling!"

about "Aht Uh Mi Hed"

'Inspiration Information'
full album:

All tracks composed by Shuggie Otis

"Inspiration Information" - 4:07
"Island Letter" - 4:40
"Sparkle City" - 5:55
"Aht Uh Mi Hed"- 4:14
"Happy House" - 1:08
"Rainy Day" - 2:39
"XL-30" - 2:05
"Pling!" - 4:24
"Not Available" - 2:26

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