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
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
*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
1969-71 Plays The Blues
1970-71 Here Comes / Freedom Flight
1970 Easy Does It
1973 Naked Songs
with Blues Project
1966 Live At The Cafe Au Go Go
1967 Live At Town Hall
1973 Reunion In Central Park
with Blood, Sweat And Tears
1968 Child Is Father To The Man