Inspiration Information


The son of R&B legend Johnny Otis, Shuggie was a precocious artist, joining his dad’s band on guitar at age eleven, playing with Al Kooper at fifteen, and recording three solo albums soon after, his masterpiece, Inspiration Information, landing when he was only twenty-one. You can hear that he’s been carefully studying Sly & The Family Stone’s capacious and unpredictable grooves, but he takes soul and R&B to surprising places, stretching riffs out like rubber bands, tapping along to the clack of a primitive rhythm box, and on side two, imagining a mini-fantasia, mostly instrumental, so gorgeous and pellucid you’d suspect Prince borrowed it in its entirety for his own album Parade. It’s no surprise that in the nineties, artists like Sean O’Hagan of The High Llamas and John McEntire of Tortoise picked up on Otis’s uniqueness and off-the-cuff creativity.

Jon Dale