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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Shuggie Otis, perhaps best known as the son of legendary bandleader, Johnny Otis plays some mean guitar on this CD. Shuggie is also the composer of "Strawberry Letter #23," which was a Top 5 Pop and #1 R&B hit for the Brothers Johnson in 1977. In this varied twelve track set, Shuggie shows his mastery of traditional blues guitar. He has clearly been influenced by the best including B.B. King, Elmore James, Son House and Robert Johnson. The extensive liner notes on the CD give you a nice track by track breakdown as well as background information on Shuggie himself. It's hard to pick a favorite track because they are all first rate. "Shuggie's Old Time Slide Boogie" which closes the set, has been processed with crackling pops to sound like an old 78 rpm recording from the late 1920's. It's so good, that it leaves you hungry for more. The mostly instrumental set features vocals by Sugarcane Harris on "I Can Stand to See You Die." If you like that down home blues, you'll love this CD. That said, let me also mention that the earliest of these tracks were recorded when Shuggie was only fifteen years old. Simply amazing.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Kenny Wayne and Johnnie Lang are great, but here is the original real-deal teenage blues guitar powerhouse. Shuggie was only 15-17 when he cut the tracks on this record from '69 to '71! Amazingly fluid and accomplished in his guitar stylings, Shuggie draws on Mike Bloomfield, BB King and other greats of the era but uses this to craft his own visionary approach. He didn't have Stevie Ray to cop licks from and therefore plays in a style that is far less derivative then todays young blues-rock guitarists.
I often wonder what Shuggie's been up to over the past three decades. He certainly deserved a lot more attention and esteem than he got way back when. If you like funky blues guitar and are looking for something apart from the usual Hendrix/SRV template parlayed today, check this out.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Shuggie Otis is at the top of the "Whatever Happened To" file of talented musicians who burned brightly and then seemingly disappeared from public view. His last official album was cut in 1975 when he was still only 22 years old! This disc covers Kooper Sessions: Al Kooper Introduces Shuggie Otis (tracks 1 and 12), Here Comes Shuggie Otis (tracks 2, 3, 4 and 11), Freedom Flight (tracks 5, 8 and 10), and The Johnny Otis Show (tracks 6 and 7). "Cold Shot" is a previously unreleased track from 1970. Otis's vocals were not his strong suit--he does a decent enough job on "Me and My Woman," however, and Sugarcane Harris does vocals on "I Can Stand To See You Die"--but the rest of the album places the focus squarely on his guitar playing. With influences ranging from B.B. King to T-Bone Walker to Freddie King to Son House and Elmore James, Otis combines these elements to create a style all his own. Keep in mind that every track on this album was recorded before Otis turned 18! The only reason I did not give this five stars is that there is nothing from 1975's Inspiration Information, which contains his original version of "Strawberry Letter 23" before it became a huge hit for the Brothers Johnson a couple years later. RECOMMENDED
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Shuggie Otis or Johnny Otis Jr. is somewhat of an anomaly. Shuggie's dad, Johnny Otis senior played guitar and sang with the best of them for many, many years. In 1968 Johnny introduced his 13 year old son to the world on Johnny's comeback CD, "Cold Shot" and the kid was hot. So hot in fact that he was courted by the Rolling Stones and hailed by fans and media alike as a new guitar hero. But it seems Shuggie had other plans and, after releasing a couple of CD's and playing with Frank Zappa on a couple of tracks on Frank's "Hot Rats" CD, Shuggie just quit playing. He retired from the music world at the ripe old age of 22. This compilation pulls from the blues songs he actually recorded and shows us what might have been. The guitar playing is fantastic although the recordings seem a little weak causing you to turn up the volume just to get a decent tone. The material is a little dated but it's a valuable addition to any collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2009 "SPV Blue Label" IMPORT VERSION ***

Like most people, I came across this superlative guitar player in a roundabout kind of a way - via The Brothers Johnson and their huge Funk/Soul hit of 1977 "Strawberry Letter No. 23" (which Otis wrote). I remember looking at the A&M Records label credit at the time and wondering, who the hell is the funky-sounding Shuggie Otis? And while this mid-priced import reissue doesn't feature Shuggie's 1971 original (it's on "Freedom Flight") - it's a truly stunning compilation of his rare and desirable funky blues output in the early Seventies. It's a bargain at twice the price. But there's a lot on here, so let's get to the details first...

Released March 2009, SPB Blue Label 306422 CD is a UK reissue of a 1994 USA Columbia "Roots N' Blues" CD compilation. It uses the same front-cover artwork and name (though this time it's in a card digipak rather than a jewel case) but has had its original quota of 12-tracks bumped up by 2 - so 13 and 14 are 'Bonus Tracks'. It breaks down as follows (65:16 minutes)

Tracks 1, 12 and 13 are from the AL KOOPER LP "Kooper Session - Al Kooper Introduces Shuggie Otis" released January 1970 in the USA on Columbia Records CS 9951 and in the UK on CBS Records S 63797

Tracks 2, 3, 4, 11 and 14 are from Shuggie Otis' debut solo album "Here Comes Shuggie Otis" released February 1970 on Columbia BN 26511 in the USA and in the UK on CBS Records S 63996

Tracks 6 and 7 are from the JOHNNY OTIS LP (credited as The Johnny Otis Show) "Cuttin' Up" released 1970 in the USA on Epic Records BN 26524. "I Can Stand To See You Die" features Shuggie Otis on Guitar, Bass, Harmonica, Organ and Piano with SUGARCANE HARRIS on solo Lead Vocals. "I Got Walkin' Blues" has the same instrumentation but features duet vocals between Johnny Otis and Sugarcane Harris.

Tracks 5, 8 and 10 are from Shuggie's 2nd solo LP "Freedom Flight" released September 1971 in the USA on Epic Records KE 30572 [produced by Johnny Otis]

Track 9 is an October 1970 recording featuring Johnny & Shuggie Otis and had remained unreleased until the 1994 "Roots N' Blues" CD compilation

Originally mastered for Columbia by Roger Lomax at Ro-Lo Studios in the USA, the sound quality is uniformly excellent and at times 'so' sweet. But it's the material that blows you away. His debut "Here Comes Shuggie Otis" is the very definition of lost classic and 'cool album' you must hear before you die.

Musically it's a little instrumental B.B. King ("Purple") meets trippy Albert King on Stax ("Sweet Thang") meets the straight-up blues workout ("12:15 Slow Goonbash Blues") - it's hugely impressive stuff and strangely diverse too. The fantastic soulful organ shuffle of "Bootie Cooler" - an instrumental I regularly put on a 70's Fest CD - always brings customers to the counter asking after the 'cool' tune that's playing. The false 78" crackle put on "Shuggie's Old Time Slide Boogie" by Al Kooper in 1970 now sounds a tad gimmicky (even if the old-time National Steel blues guitar feel of the track is great), but it's quickly sorted out by the organ-guitar driven "Shuggie's Shuffle" - great stuff.

His 'talking about his influences and past' song "Shuggie's Boogie" (lyrics above) features him name-checking every great Blues player and then imitating their licks for about two minutes before the band kicks in. The track sung by Sugarcane Harris "I Can Stand To See You Die" and the unreleased instrumental cover of "Cold Shot" are more indicative of the Fifties/Sixties Rhythm'n'Blues stuff he would play with his Dad in the mid to late Seventies. Those tracks were issued by Johnny Otis on his own US label and featured huge R'n'B and Blues stars of old (that period is covered extensively on another superb CD called "In Session" from 2002 on the Goldenlane label). "Gospel Groove" sounds like Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac on a churchy tip - a slow-paced Blues groove with organ - 'so' good. And we should make special mention of Otis' incredibly accomplished guitar playing throughout which completely belied his 20 to 21 year's old age when it was all recorded.

"Shuggie's Boogie: Shuggie Otis Plays The Blues" is the kind of superlative little reissue that might pass you by - don't let it. It's a genuine voyage of discovery for lovers of Seventies Blues - especially those who like their particular poison with a slightly soulful tint.

Recommended like a preacher feeling the groove on a Sunday morning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is one of my very favorite CD's that is in constant rotation in my player .

I find it shocking that Shuggie Otis is not a household name as , in my opinion, he is of the greatest blues guitar prodigies that ever lived .
There is more soul in Shuggie's little finger than in most of the so-caleld greats out there .

Once you have listened to this CD, a new world will have opened up for you and you will never settle for mediocrity again.
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HALL OF FAMEon September 3, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Shuggie Otis was the prodigal child,(influenced by B.B.King)the wunderkind of the electric guitar. Far away in our memory resound his audacious riffs and absolute conveyance for the instrument. These were tomes of Titans of the guitar: Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, Ritchie Blackmore, Jeff Beck, Duane Altman, Leslie West, Roy Buchanan, Alvin Lee, Rory Gallagher, Carlos Santana and Rick Derringer. Meanwhile in the jazz, Pat Metheny, George Benson, Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour illuminated the stages. More than Titans, this constellation of Gods of the guitar was -if I may- an unique explosion of creative talent around the world. But nevertheless, his virtues as guitarist of blues allowed him to achieve a special status even these circumstances.

This admirable compilation will reserve you (in case you don't know) an amazing surprise or an immediate return of those lost images and sounds of the seventies.

A legendary guitarist who played with admirable honesty and personality.
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on May 11, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
The cd that I purchased called "Shuggie's Boogie", turned out to be one of the best purchases I ever made. I thoroughly enjoyed the musical tunes that emitted from the product. It was sold to me as a used product that was suppose to be in good condition, but is you asked me...I'd say they made a mistake and sent me a brand new cd. The sound quality is excellent. Plus, the cd arrived with all of it's artwork and a sealed casing. The biggest credit that I give is that it arrived in my mailbox much earlier than the estimated date that it was said to arrive.
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on April 18, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Heard the song "Purple" in the movie "Dallas Buyer's Club" and sought out the album. At least a half dozen excellent tracks on this album. Shuggie Otis is the very definition of "If Only", as in: If only he never retired and dedicated himself to be a blues guitarist, he probably would be considered one of the all-time greats today. Unfortunately, we only have a very small collection of his brilliance, and I am thrilled to add these track to my blues library of tunes
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on March 19, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
First listened to Shuggie Otis in San Francisco in '73, while watching the fog roll in. Bought that same album in different formats several times over. Love it. This one is Shuggie Otis all grown up, deeper, stronger, powerful and moves me in '13 like '73.
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