Artist: Shuggie Otis
Album: Live In Williamsburg
Label: Cleopatra Records
Release Date: 10/14/2014
“Hello Brooklyn, we finally made it,” Shuggie Otis proudly declares following the opening track of his first ever live release. While Shuggie has been a stranger to the live album he is certainly accustomed to crafting genre-defining music; he has been doing it since the ‘60s. Somehow, Shuggie managed to evade the live record for nearly his entire career until now with 2014’s Live in Williamsburg.
Live in Williamsburg manages to capture the psychedelic soul of Shuggie’s earlier work while also giving a few tracks extended live treatment, including an 11 minute version of “Sweetest Thang” that sounds equally Santana as it does Albert King. The record opens with an excellent rendition of one of Shuggie’s most beloved songs, “Inspiration Information,” which features a tasteful guitar solo and excellent lead vocals that make it difficult to believe that the frontman was 59 years old.
Clocking in at over an hour, this album demonstrates funk in its many varieties over 12 soulful tracks. If you are a fan of ‘70s Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers or Al Green this album will certainly satisfy your cravings. Though Shuggie Otis is not tackling any new ground on Live in Williamsburg, he manages to demonstrate why his music has remained both potent and relevant almost 50 years after originally being released. This album is a must for any funk or soul lover’s collection.
– Landon Gampel