(18 Apr 2013: BB King's New York)
In the heart of Times Square, tourists and fans alike came out to see Shuggie Otis perform a very funky set at BB King’s. The virtuoso blues rock guitarist shot to fame in the early ‘70s but his success tapered out quickly back then. In the generation or two since his last album, Inspiration Information Otis has been rather quiet, but in the past week, with the re-release of that album, he has booked several sold out shows. Starting in Chicago before three nights in New York, then with stops in major coastal cities and a Europe tour this year, Otis is back and in high demand with buzz beginning to build for the album re-release at the end of last year. Check out the photos below and read the perfect score review of that album on PopMatters. If that doesn’t encourage you to see or hear Otis, then maybe sharing some other knowledgeable musical folks’ thoughts (from the press release) about this talented artist will.
In his native Los Angeles and around the world, the name Shuggie Otis is spoken in reverential tones by his peers, as a multi-talented instrumental genius (most notably on guitar), songwriter, producer and all-around reminder of the musical joys of the psychedelic era. In his liner notes essay for Inspiration Information/Wings of Love UK-based writer Chris Campion ranks the original LP alongside such late-‘60s/early-‘70s breakthroughs by black artists as Love’s Forever Changes, the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Axis Bold As Love, Sly & the Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Going On, and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions.
Another longtime fan is Columbia recording artist Raphael Saadiq, who has said: “Millions of thoughts fly through my mind when I think about the music of Shuggie Otis. The word ‘genius’ is frivolously used these days, but when it comes to Shuggie and his brilliant body of work, it is not used often enough. His music is passion personified and you would have to be deaf not to hear it.”
Otis is on tour for a short while with dates on both coasts before visiting Europe. He’s got two more shows in NYC though so you can catch him again, or merely for the first time.