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Inspiration Information / Wings of Love

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Originally issued in October 1974, Inspiration Information was reissued in 2001 by David Byrne's Luaka Bop label. In 2013 it was re-released as it is here by Sony Music, with the original album and four previously unreleased bonus tracks, plus the Wings of Love collection of unreleased studio and live material. Shuggie Otis is best known for writing "Strawberry Letter 23," a 1977 hit for The Brothers Johnson. Otis' reclusive ways led him to obscurity; he was eventually rescued by continual interest from his fellow musicians and stars like Prince, Lenny Kravitz, David Byrne, and even Stereolab's Tim Gane. Otis played nearly all the instruments on the album, except for horns and various string instruments. An electronic rhythm box provides the beat for the soulful organ-and-flute tune "Aht Uh Mi Hed" and the weird "XL-30" and "Ping!" Jazzy, Latin-flavored '70s R&B flows throughout the original album, while the Wings of Love material often grows grander, as showcased on "Special," "Give Me Something Good," and the 11-minute "Wings of Love."

Customer Reviews

Good to see Shuggie back.

I bought the original re-release of Inspiration Information back in 2001 (which also had 4 cuts from Freedom Flight, including the original "Strawberry Letter 23.") Upon first listen, I immediately said, "This is from 1974?!" I thought sure it was some PR joke cooked up by Luaka Bop and David Byrne. But, not so.
Granted, it's not as if there were no musical precedents for what was showcased on Inspiration Information. On the title track and "Sparkle City," you can hear Shuggie's admiration of Sly Stone's and Stevie Wonder's auteurism come through, loud and clear. But there's also Chicago blues and jazz, deep in his playing, too. Just listen to the guitar licks on "Rainy Day." There are even hints of Stravinsky in the string arrangements (the bridge on "Aht Uh Mi Hed.")
The songs are deep and funky, yet bathed in California sunshine and Pacific ocean breezes, all at once.
All in all, it's worth the $15 to get the core of the original Inspiration Information album (tracks 1-9).
The bonus tracks and the core of the Wings of Love album, on the other hand, are somewhat hit or miss. There are some interesting outtakes and leftovers that never really take off, first of all. Then, some tracks ("Fireball of Love," "Give me a Chance") are a downright cringe-worthy with their dated, 80s cheesiness.
But when the songs hit ("Special," "Miss Pretty," "Trying to Get Close to You," "Destination You!"), they hit hard. These tracks in particular feel like long lost Prince compositions that are just overflowing with exuberance and soul. TRY to sit still while listening to "Special." I double-dog dare you.
The man should have been a 70s superstar. Instead, he's a modern legend, and I think that's an even more fitting tribute to his genius.

Just saw SHUGGIE OTIS on Tour... HE is BACK. And powerful. Record great! BUY...!

This is that rarity, a comeback that is really a RESUMPTION of a career that got wrongfully side-tracked by record industry mistakes. Now let's all GET BEHIND the fact that SHUGGIE OTIS is the missing link between BB KING, JIMI HENDRIX, sly Stone and ARTHUR LEE... A true Psychedelic Blues Cat with R&B Bones and hands of steel.

A true legend indeed!

I just saw him on tour as well, he is full of life and incredible on the axe. You will not be disappointed if you are able to see him live, worth your effort and time.


Born: November 30, 1953 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Shuggie Otis may not be a household name, but his "Strawberry Letter 23" is in the record collections of millions of households. The Brothers Johnson's cover of "Strawberry Letter 23" has sold over a million copies, peaking at number one R&B and number five pop on Billboard's charts in summer 1977. It was on their LP Right on Time, which went platinum, selling over a million copies, holding the number one R&B spot for three weeks and making...
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Inspiration Information / Wings of Love, Shuggie Otis
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