What ever happened to…Shuggie Otis?
Word has it he’s living on a farm somewhere in California. Shuggie Otis is definitely one of the most under-rated musicians ever, and I mean ever. He made his mark on modern music, but never got as much credit as he should have. His records have been sampled to death and the Brothers Johnson landed a chart topper with their version of his ‘Strawberry Letter 23‘.
Shuggie has not just got a very cool name, he was also a musical talent from early on. Aged 15, he played guitar and got title credit on all the tracks of Al Kooper’s ‘In Session’ and played bass on the Frank Zappa track ‘Peaches on Regalia‘. He released two solo albums.
Here Comes Shuggie Otis was followed by Inspiration Information, on which he was in his element: he played all the instruments on all songs, except for the string & horn arrangements, and also did early experiments with drum programming. After the album was released in 1974, it all got pretty quiet on the Shuggie front – mainly because he didn’t get the exposure he was hoping for. He withdrew from music and popped back on the scene in the 1990s with irregular appearances. He’s an urban legend who came up with some amazing tunes.
What’s he doing nowadays? No one knows. There’s a short video of Shuggie bigging up raresoul, in which he looks a little shaky, a performance with Mos Def and most recently, he contributed a track to the Novemberin’ compilation – whatever happened, it sounds like the man’s still got it.