When the 59-year-old Shuggie Otis played Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom Jan. 10, his first New York City date since 2001, the buzz was palpable in the room. The West Coast-based soul/funk singer/songwriter/guitarist has largely been out of the limelight since the 1974 release of his third album for Epic Records, Inspiration Information.Greg Aiello
Shuggie Otis, Highline Ballroom, NYC 1-10-13
On the recording of Inspiration Information, now a cult classic, Otis, the son of legendary rhythm and blues bandleader Johnny Otis, played virtually all of the instruments, and arranged and produced the album as well. The psychedelic-cum-romantic, Hendrix-esque lyrics are his too. Released in the era of Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters and a year after Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Inspiration Information is also one of the earliest examples of electronic music, featuring synthesizer sequencing that would seem passé today—if the music weren’t so delightfully damn campy.