Shuggie Otis’ first-ever live album, Live in Williamsburg, is due out on October 14 on Cleopatra Records.
This show was recorded at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 19, 2013, as part of his recent comeback tour. Otis played with a live band including his son Eric on guitar and his brother Nick on drums. (His son Lucky has also played in the band, although it seems that he wasn’t involved in this particular show.)
This live CD will be followed by a DVD version of the same concert. Otis also has a new studio album in the works and more tours on the horizon.
1. Inspiration Information
2. Tryin’ to Get Close to You
3. Aht Uh Mi Hed
4. Island Letter
5. Me and My Woman
6. Sparkle City – Miss Pretty
7. Sweetest Thang
8. Picture of Love
9. Wings of Love
10. Doin’ What’s Right
11. Shuggie’s Boogie
12. Strawberry Letter 23
In the end, Shuggie Otis and his band set a new standard for funk, soul and blues shows that’s going to be pretty hard to beat. … Shuggie’s guitar solos were mind-blowing torrents of notes, delivered at hard-bop speed without sweating a drop. Both he and his wind section went to town with a range of complex harmonic relationships that would make Charlie Parker jealous. Otis may have played most of the parts himself on his albums, but his choice of bandmates couldn’t have been more appropriate, and they followed his every move with incredible feel, making what was insanely difficult look easy.
Read the complete review at Nashville Scene.
Photo credit: Angelina Castillo
Q: What did your father teach you about the blues?
A: That “feel” is the most important. You can play all the right notes with the wrong feel, and it won’t sound right. On the other hand, you can play the “wrong” note with the right feel and make it work. That might sound confusing, but if I played what I meant, it would make sense.
Q: You were self-producing your own records in the ’70s, about 30 years before that became a typical thing. What was the toughest part of that?
A: Convincing everyone else I could do it. HAHAHA! My father believed in me once he saw me in the studio and saw how serious I was. It took some convincing to make other people understand how clearly I knew what I wanted to achieve in the studio.
Read more from the Shuggie Otis interview at Nashville Scene.
Currently on tour and with an upcoming show scheduled for October 12 at the House of Blues in New Orleans, Shuggie Otis was recently interviewed by The Times-Picayune about his music career. Here is an excerpt:
Q: It’s been 40 years since you released an album, although you didn’t stop writing and recording. Why is now the right time to put out the material, and play live shows?
A: If it were up to me, I would have been releasing my music the entire time. I spent many years sending tapes and taking meetings with every label in the industry. I was turned down by everyone at least twice. Now, most of those labels don’t exist anymore. So when Sony contacted me about re-releasing “Inspiration Information” along with the companion “Wings of Love” album, I suppose it was the universe – and not me – that had decided now was my time to get back out there.
Q: Growing up with your dad as a famous music personality, what kind of music do you remember listening to or experiencing live? What are some of your favorite memories from being around him as a musician?
A: I had so many great experiences. Seeing him play at places like the Apollo Theater, and play with people like Lionel Hampton and Etta James. My most memorable experiences with him were the sessions we did together at home – just him and myself. We had a studio in back of the house, and he’d be in the live room playing drums while I was in the control room working the tape machine and playing bass. Just me and him cutting tracks together. Those were memorable moments.
Read the complete Shuggie Otis interview at NOLA.com.