Friday, April 20, 2007

Get The Funk Back In Here!

This week three tracks from psychedelic soul/jazz/funk/pop pioneer genius (and son of blues guitarist Johnny) Shuggie Otis , who blazed a totally original musical trail for himself in the early-mid 70s, as composer, arranger, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist (piano, synth, bass, drums, drum machine programming, vibes, lead and rhythm guitar) - a trail not picked up successfully by anybody again until the arrival of Prince a decade later.

The Shuggie song you will know if you know any at all will be 'Strawberry Letter 23', a candypopfunk confection taken Top 40 in the UK and to number 1 in the US in 1977 by The Brothers Johnson and featured twenty years later on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. The cover's good, but the original has a kind of tie-dyed innocence it's hard to better.

The album to get is Inspiration Information (1974), re-released a few years ago with extra tracks from 1971's Freedom Flight on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label (buy it).

Frequently defying categorisation - but prepare yourself for extended free and mellow jazz workouts, lush orchestrations, electro-funk and proto-synth pop - this is music far, far ahead of its time, and it seems to me that this man is long overdue the credit and acclaim he deserves.

(PS: the first ten seconds of the first track below are the best theme music for the best Starsky & Hutch episode you never saw...).

Shuggie Otis - 'Ice Cold Daydream'
Shuggie Otis - 'Sparkle City'
Shuggie Otis - 'Strawberry Letter 23'

Nice. Enjoy your weekend.


  1. it's aht uh mi hed that gets me going but these are marvels.
    i'm dancing already.
    i like the idea of friday funk i'm robbing it for my own torment tuesday

  2. Good to have the Friday Funk back in there, Dave.


  3. Ally - Winsome Wednesday? Thoughtful Thursday? The possibilities are endless...x

    Mart - good to have you commenting dude. Hope the music's a good support to Friday nite cookin' ;)


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