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shuggie otis

Shuggie Otis

b. Johnny Alexander Veliotes, Jr., 30th November 1953, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Shuggie Otis is an accomplished singer-songwriter, who hails from Los Angeles.

Shuggie is the son of the R&B bandleader, Johnny Otis.

His mother, Phyllis Otis, nicknamed the singer ’Shuggie’, a reference to the word ’Sugar’, when Shuggie was a baby.

Coming from a musical background, Shuggie learned the guitar very early in life.

Shuggie Otis

with his father, johnny otis

He is also a multi-instrumentalist.

Shuggie’s early musical influences included Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, and Arthur Lee.

Shuggie OtisShuggie Otis

cold shot! - 1968 / kooper session - 1969

In 1969, Al Kooper asked Shuggie to perform on his album ‘Kooper Session’.

Shuggie was 15 years old when he recorded the sessions in New York.

Back in L.A., Shuggie performed with his father (and singer Delmar Evans), on the Kent Records album ‘Cold Shot’, the same year.

This trio also recorded the album ‘Snatch & The Poontangs’, with Shuggie performing under the name of ‘Prince Wunnerful’.

Shuggie OtisShuggie Otis

here comes shuggie otis - 1971 / freedom flight - 1971

In 1971, Shuggie released his first solo album, entitled ‘Here Comes Shuggie Otis’ on Epic Records.

The album featured the musicians Leon Haywood, Al McKibbon, Wilton Felder.

Across this era, Shuggie recorded sessions with several other artists, including Frank Zappa, Etta James, Eddie Vinson, Richard Berry, Louis Jordan, and Bobby 'Blue' Bland, amongst others.

In 1971, he released his second Epic Records album, entitled ‘Freedom Flight’, which featured his single ‘Strawberry Letter 23’.

The albums and single reached the Billboard Top 200 and the Billboard Hot 100.

‘Strawberry Letter 23’ was picked up by the Brothers Johnson, who covered the song, turning it into a hit all over again.

The parent album featured the late George Duke and Aynsley Dunbar.

Shuggie OtisShuggie Otis

inspiration information - 1974 / in session - 2002

In 1974, Shuggie's album was called ‘Inspiration Information’, which became his third and last album for Epic Records.

All the songs were written and arranged by Shuggie, who played nearly every musical instrument on the album.

The album was later to become popular on the rare groove scene, many years later, with the song ‘Aht Uh Mi Head’ being particularly notable

Shuggie was then approached by Billy Preston (representing The Rolling Stones), with a view to recruiting Shuggie for an upcoming world tour.

He declined this, along with an offer to work with Quincy Jones, which led to the closing of his Epic Records contract.

‘Freedom Flight’ and ‘Inspiration Information’ were both highly regarded releases by fellow performers and reviewers alike, which led to a series of re-releases in the new millennium.

Shuggie Otis

inspiration information & wings of love - 2013

An album entitled ‘Wings of Love’ was also released (comprising of unreleased material recorded over the years).

Shuggie still tours today, with his band ‘Shuggie Otis Rite’.

Shuggie Otis

Ever since 2012, Shuggie’s band is currently on the ‘Never Ending World Wide Tour’, that began late that year.

Real Player


Kooper Session: AI Kooper Introduces Shuggie Otis (Columbia Records 1969)

Here Comes Shuggie Otis (Epic Records 1970)

Freedom Flight (Epic Records 1971)

Inspiration Information (Epic Records 1974)

Omaha Bar-B-Q (Epic Records 1976)

Shuggie's Boogie: Shuggie Otis Plays The Blues (Epic/Legacy Records 1994)

In Session (RPM Records 2002)

Inspiration, Information/Wings Of Love (RPM Records 2013)

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