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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shuggie Otis - In Session Information (1973-77 us, spectacular blues, funky soul, roots rock, RPM digipack edition)



Around about the time that Shuggie Otis was finishing recording work for what would become his DIY soul funk magnum opus, Inspiration Information, he was also hard at work producing and appearing on a number of sessions for father Johnny Otis’ Blue Spectrum series.

Otis Sr launched the series with six titles in 1974 and followed these up with a further seven in 1977, from household R'n'B names including Charles Brown, Big Joe Turner, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson and, inevitably, Johnny Otis himself. The 15 tracks here are drawn from the entire Blues Spectrum catalogue, with each designed to “spotlight the contribution of Shuggie as featured artist, rock steady guitarist, bass guitar pattern weaver and ‘sound stylist’”. 

With all tracks laid down at Hawk Sound Studios in LA, Otis flavours his various collaborations with a roll-call of R'n'B greats who made their name long before the funk era dawned, with generous servings of his trademark downhome funkiness. It’s an inventive cross-generational approach that pays handsome dividends, most notably on Johnny Otis’ Country Girl and The Signifying Monkey, Roy Milton’s I’ve Got A Big Fat Mama and Charles Brown’s Black Night 'n' Trouble.
by Grahame Bent


Tracks
1. Doin' It (R. Berry, J. Otis) - 3:16
2. Country Girl (J.Otis, D.Evans) - 2:35
3. The Signifying Monkey (J.Otis, D.Evans) - 3:04
4. I've Got A Big Fat Mama (R. Milton) - 2:58
5. Sugar (J.Otis) - 3:07
6. Trackin' Machine (R.Berry, J.Otis) - 2:41
7. I Wanna Make You Happy (R.Berry) - 3:13
8. Black Night (Robinson) - 3:07
9. Louie Louie (R.Berry) - 2:16
10. Willie And The Hand Jive (J.Otis) - 2:44
11. Big Legged Woman (J.Otis, S.Otis, C.Brown) - 2:53
12. Trouble (C. Brown) - 2:41
13. Ooh Baby I Love You (R.Berry) - 3:48
14. Round About Midnight (R.Berry) - 4:03
15. Boom-Chick-A-Boogie (J.Liggins, J.Otis) - 3:44

Musicians
*Shuggie Otis - Guitar, Piano, Bass
*Richard Berry - Vocals, Keyboards
*Johnny Otis - Drums, Piano, Vocals
*Kurt Sletten, Doug Wintz - Horns
*Gene Conners, Melvin Moore, John Ewing - Brass
*Jack Kelos, Rene Bloch, Freddy Clark - Reeds
*Hootie Galvan - Drums
*Melvin Wonder - Guitar
*Al Edgar Willis - Bass
*Mighty Mouth Evans Dlemar - Vocals
*Roy Milton - Vocals
*Melvin Preston Lovi - Horns
*Larry Reed - Piano
*Eddie Vinson - Vocals, Saxophone
*Charles Brown - Vocals, Piano, Organ
*Joe Liggins - Vocals, Piano
*Little Willie Jackson - Alto,  Baritone Saxophone
*Jack Kelso - Tenor Saxophone, Horns

Shuggie Otis releases
1969  The Kooper Sessions
1969-71  Plays The Blues
1970-71  Here Comes / Freedom Flight

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Al Kooper And Shuggie Otis - The Kooper Sessions With Shuggie Otis (1969 us, superb psych blues rock)



Well, who is Shuggie Otis? No doubt the thought's crossed your mind if you've gotten this far. It crossed mine when I picked up a Kent LP earlier this year called 'Cold Shot' featuring the Johnny Otis Show. Johnny, as you should know, is one of the pioneers of R'n'B music, bandleader, disc jockey, musician, singer, writer, arranger and now proud father. Shuggie is Johnny's son. 

This is Shuggie's second album (the first being 'Cold Shot'), but whereas 'Cold Shot' was a biting, traditional blues album, Shuggie gets a chance to play in many directions here: old-time slide music, straight blues, gospel music, R'n'B and pop.

John Hammond, Sr., a proud father himself, first turned me on to Shuggie. One listen was enough. I wanted to record him. Unfortunately, he was already signed, but fortunately to Epic Records, headed by my friend, blues aficionado Larry Cohn. It was an easy task to "borrow" Shuggie for this record.

Shuggie flew in to New York from LA (where he lives) on September 15,1969. We met at my house that night and sat around listening to records and getting to know each other. I played a lot of records that night, but two stuck out. One of them was an out of print Swan Silvertones gospel album and the other was an old Little Buster single.

Shuggie loved the Silvertones, and we eventually listened to all their albums later on. Because of this, we decided to do a gospel-oriented cut on the album, hence 'Bury My Body'. I also asked Hilda Hams and Albertine Robinson to get some of their friends and come down to the studio. They can be heard on 'Bury My Body'and the old Little Buster tune I mentioned before, 'Lookin' for a Home'. 

'Double or Nothing' is of course a Booker T. tune. 'One Room Country Shack' is an old Mercy Dee Walton tune popularized by Mose Allison and popmusicizBd by Shuggie and me. 'Snuggle's Shuffle' and '12:15 Slow Goonbash Blues' are two post-midnight one take jams. 'Shuggie's Old Time Slide Boogie" is an attempt at re-creating the bottleneck-piano duets available only on old 78's. 

The album is subdivided into "The Songs' and "The Blues". "The Songs' are tour quickly arranged pieces while The Blues" are three unprepared jams. The supporting musicians are important to the success of this album. Stu Woods, formerly of Ars Nova, turns in a fine job on bass.

Wells Kelly, whom I never heard before the first session (everyone recommended him), was a pleasant surprise on drums. Listen to him push holy (no pun intended)  hell out of us in 'Bury My Body". Mark Klingman is featured playing piano on half the album. Mark has played with Ian & Sylvia, Eric Clapton and many others.

I believe that Shuggie is the Star of this album. In this respect, it is a debut album for him. Oh, one more thing, Shuggie is fifteen years old.
Peace, Al Kooper, 1969


Tracks
1. Bury My Body (Al Kooper) - 9:00
2. Double Or Nothing (S. Cropper, B.T. Jones, D. Dunn, A. Jackson Jr.) - 2:29
3. One Room Country Shack (M.D. Walton) - 3:37
4. Lookin' For A Home (E. Forehand) - 5:52
5. 12.15 Slow Goonbash Blues (Al Kooper, Shuggie Otis) - 9:29
6. Shuggie's Old Time Dee-Di-Lee-Di-Leet-Deet Slide Boogie (Al Kooper, Shuggie Otis) - 4:05
7. Shuggie's Shuffle (Al Kooper, Shuggie Otis) - 6:27

Musicians
*Shuggie Otis - Guitar, Bass
*Stu Woods - Bass
*Wells Kelly - Drums
*Mark "Moogy" Klingman - Piano, Keyboards
*Albertine Robinson - Vocals
*Harris Singers Robinson - Vocals
*Hilda Harris - Vocals
*Valerie Simpson - Vocals
*Melvin Jernigan - Wind
*Al Kooper - Organ, Vocals, Ondioline, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano

Shuggie Otis
1969-71  Plays The Blues
1970-71  Here Comes / Freedom Flight

Al Kooper
1970  Easy Does It 
1973  Naked Songs
with Blues Project
1966  Live At The Cafe Au Go Go
1966  Projections
1967   Live At Town Hall
1973  Reunion In Central Park
with Blood, Sweat And Tears
1968  Child Is Father To The Man

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