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Saturday, 30 December 2017

Black Ivory “Don`t Turn Around” 1971 US Soul Funk (Best 100 -70’s Soul Funk Albums Record Collector)


Black Ivory “Don`t Turn Around” 1971 US Soul Funk-Best 100 -70’s Soul Funk Albums (Record Collector) 
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https://open.spotify.com/album/68M5gU3GC54bAhGv2O10r1

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Another great Soul Funk lp by this talentuous young vocal band. Including theses superb “surrender” & “i keep asking your question” dj cut…~


Produced by Patrick Adams and featuring Leroy Burgess. Absolutely the roots of the soul disco revolution starts here!…~


Leroy Burgess, Stuart Bascombe, and Russell Patterson were Black Ivory, an exceptional and occasionally brilliant soul group from Harlem that recorded throughout the ‘70s and returned sporadically during the decades following. The trio developed out of the late '60s as a group called the Mellow Souls and were eventually taken under the wing of Patrick Adams. Adams had been in a group called the Sparks, but he developed his skills as a songwriter, arranger, and producer with Black Ivory. 
Adams scraped together all the money he possibly could in order to have the group record their first single, “Don’t Turn Around.” Adams took the demo to several unimpressed labels before hitting Today Records. That label had a very different opinion and signed the group on the strength of the recording. “Don’t Turn Around,” written by Adams, became a Top 40 hit on the R&B chart, hitting number 38 in 1971. Black Ivory had their first taste of success. Not only that, but Today offered Adams – still a teenager at the time – an A&R position. 
Don’t Turn Around Another batch of singles that charted in the Top 40 supported the trio’s first LP, 1972’s Don’t Turn Around. The album remained on the charts for nearly five months and peaked at number 13, an impressive feat for an album released on a small independent. The group’s hot streak was capped off that year with a second album, Baby, Won’t You Change Your Mind. That album spawned another series of singles and topped out at number 26. Today went through financial troubles and the group, unhappy about unpaid royalties, ended up riding out the last year of their contract. 
Once the contract with Today ran out, Black Ivory joined the Kwanza label for a brief spate. “What Goes Around (Comes Around),” written and produced by the Akines-Bellman-Drayton-Turner team, hit the lower rung of the R&B chart. The group’s popularity was on a steady wane when they signed to Buddah, a label with a bigger budget, but further attempts at gaining back that degree of popularity from early on failed. Furthermore, Adams was no longer producing the group and was apparently out of the picture entirely. 
Burgess left the group on good terms in 1977 to focus on a number of projects. However, he temporarily returned a year later to give the group its most spectacular song, the disco classic “Mainline.” Leonard Adams, the group’s manager at the time, called the departed Burgess and asked if he had any songs to give to the group, who were preparing to make another album. It just so happened that Burgess had two songs written that were originally intended for a project that didn’t reach fruition. So he provided those two songs, “Mainline” and “Hustlin’ (You Gotta Be Dancin’),” and wound up returning to the group briefly to provide arrangements and backup vocals for those songs. “Mainline” became the group’s best-known song and an extremely beloved one on dancefloors. 
By the dawn of the '80s, Black Ivory was no more. The name was resurrected by Patterson in the mid-'80s, who partnered with David Hart and Lenny Adams. As one can guess, the fact that two-thirds of the original group wasn’t involved left the new Black Ivory hamstrung. This incarnation did not last long. However, Bascombe, Patterson, and Burgess hooked up again in the early 2000s to play sporadic dates. Burgess had long since become a cult legend as one of the primary instigators of house music. Under a gaggle of pseudonyms, Burgess was behind an even greater number of disco and boogie cuts that fans of melodic dance music continue to enjoy. He continued to collaborate on and off with Patrick Adams, another pioneer – and a primary influence – who arranged, produced, wrote, and played instruments on several seminal recordings. Patterson also worked a little with Burgess in the intervening years, contributing vocals to the spectacular Salsoul singles released in 1981 under the name Logg….by Andy Kellman…allmusic…~



Black Ivory is a Classic Soul / R&B vocal trio founded in Harlem, New York in 1969. Leroy Burgess, Stuart Bascombe and Russell Patterson were just teenagers when they were signed by Perception/Today Records and released their first hit single, “Don’t Turn Around”. This was soon followed by an album by the same name and a string of hit singles produced by the legendary Patrick Adams. These included “You and I” and “I’ll Find A Way (The Loneliest Man in Town). They continued to produce hits throughout the 70’s on Today Records, Kwanza Records and Buddha Records. The most popular of these were "Time Is Love”, “Spinning Around”, “What Goes Around (Comes Around), "Will We Ever Come Together” (written by Robert John and Michael Gately) and “Mainline” (mixed by Michael Gomes) which was destined to become a club cult classic. Most well known for a style of soul which features a male falsetto lead vocal, classic Black Ivory can be compared to artists such as The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Blue Magic, The Moments, The O'Jays, Earth, Wind and Fire and Prince. The group also engaged in a fair amount of musical genre-bending and were no strangers to funk and disco. One of the groups primary creative forces, Leroy Burgess left the group to forge his own legend as the voice and musical genius behind groups such as Convertion, Logg, and The Fantastic Aleems. He wrote the smash hit “Over Like A Fat Rat” for Fonda Rae and has come to be referred to as “the patron saint of Boogie”.Black Ivory’s recordings have been sampled by numerous hip hop artists including Raekwon, Q-Tip, Nas and 9th Wonder. Now, after close to thirty years, the original members have reunited on an album that reflects their growth as individuals and their refinement as songwriters, producers and recording artists. With a rich musical history behind them, Black Ivory steps into the future with Continuum……~





Tracklist 
Don’t Turn Around 3:30 
Surrender 2:30 
I’ll Find A Way 3:22 
I Keep Asking You Questions 3:06 
She Said That She’s Leaving 2:45 
If I Could Be A Mirror 2:35 
You And I 7:21 
Our Future 3:05 
Find The One Who Loves You 2:55 
Got To Be There 4:12 

Shuggie Otis “Inspiration Information” 1974 US Soul (Best 100 -70’s Soul Funk Albums Record Collector)


Shuggie Otis “Inspiration Information” 1974  US Soul -Best 100 -70’s Soul Funk Albums (Record Collector) 
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 One Of The Best Soul Lp Ever !!! Awesome album from 1974 where Johnny Otis’ outrageously talented kid plays everything! This is a great all round LP especially good for late night chilling out. Check the excellent “title” track, the much sampled “Sparkle City” and the excellent electronic experiment “Aht Uh Mi Hed”… Great !!!!…~


Ignored upon its release in 1974 and celebrated upon its reissue in 2001, Shuggie Otis’ fourth and last album Inspiration Information exists out of time – a record that was of its time, but didn’t belong of it; a record that was idiosyncratic but not necessarily visionary. It was psychedelic soul that was released far too late to be part of any zeitgeist and it was buried at the time. Yet no matter what Luaka Bop’s grand poobah David Byrne claims on the sticker – he says Shuggie’s “trippy R&B jams are equal to Marvin’s and Curtis’, but somehow more contemporary sounding…closer to D'Angelo meets DJ Shadow” – this isn’t revolutionary. It can occasionally sound modern, such as on the rolling head trip “XL-30,” but only because it’s the kind of groove Shadow would sample and build on; the slow, liquid instrumental head trips sound the same way. Perhaps that’s why it can seem more contemporary – contemporary ears are more attuned to these relaxed, warmly trippy soundscapes. Otis crafted all of this essentially alone, playing each instrument himself, and it’s quite clearly a reflection of his inner psyche, and no matter how much it floats and skates upon its own sound, it’s a welcoming, inviting sound. But, no matter how much the partisans claim – and their effusive praise is plastered all over the liner notes, with Sean O'Hagan claiming that it shocks you out of a rut, Stereolab’s Tim Gane says it is “almost like a new style of music that could’ve developed but never did” – this isn’t revolutionary, even if it’s delightfully idiosyncratic. So, don’t fall for the hyperbole. This isn’t an album that knocks your head off – it’s subtle, intricate music that’s equal parts head music and elegant funk, a record that slowly works its way under your skin. Part of the reason it sounds so intriguing in 2001 is that there just aren’t that many musicians that doggedly pursue their individual vision while retaining a sense of focus. But it isn’t a record without precedent, nor is it startling. It’s a record for people that have heard a lot of music, maybe too much, and are looking for a new musical romance. [Luaka Bop’s reissue contains four fine bonus tracks, including the original version of “Strawberry Letter 23,” which the Brothers Johnson later had a hit with. The reissue also replaces the original cover – which is nowhere to be seen in the liner notes – with a “hip,” self-consciously retro cover. Also, it has put in the “World Psychedelic Classics” with Os Mutantes, which is slightly misleading and a little unsettling – with that subheading, there’s just a little too much self-conscious, scholarly distance at play.]….by Stephen Thomas Erlewine…allmusic..~


Like Stevie Wonder and Allen Toussaint before him–and Prince and D'Angelo afterward–Shuggie Otis was a musical visionary whose early 1970s recordings showed he could do it all, writing, arranging, performing, and producing some of the decade’s most satisfying, innovative, and, unfortunately, overlooked music. This reissue of his 1974 Inspiration Information album–a soulful song cycle that took three years to create and was worth every minute–ranges from early drum machine-driven experiments like “Xl-30” and “Aht Uh Mi Hed” (note the Sly Stone spelling influence) to Otis’s most stunning pop confection ever, “Strawberry Letter 23.” (The latter song, which ended up being a big hit for the Brothers Johnson, is one of four bonus tracks taken from Otis’s 1971 Freedom Flight album). Otis, who once turned down an offer to replace Mick Taylor in the Rolling Stones, continues to perform around the Bay Area on his own and with his father, bandleader Johnny Otis. Hopefully, the long-awaited resurrection of this material will help bring him the attention he deserves. –Bill Forman….~


WOW! BRILLIANT! GENIUS! 

Those are the few words I could utter as I listened to this disc. I decided to buy this disc after a few contemporary artists that I enjoy mentioned Shuggie Otis as an inspiration to them. I had never heard of him so when I talked to a few people about whether to get this disc or his previous release - those who HAD heard of Shuggie told me to definitely get this one first. I was assured that I’d fall head over heels in love with his music and that has turned out to be true! 
I was mezmerized by this entire disc - Shuggie mixes funk, pop & r&b so successfully that it was almost impossible to pick out just one or two tracks as standing out above others - THEY’RE ALL MAGNIFICENT. The info contained in the liner notes made me sad to think that the public didn’t “get” this music when it was originally released but maybe a new generation of fans can help get this genius the musical recognition he deserves. 
To the undecided - in agreement with the reviewer’s notes, if you love Prince, Maxwell & D'Angelo, you will ADORE this disc if you give it a chance - it is MAGNIFICENT!!….by… Geminigirl….~


Strawberry Letter 23 by the Brothers Johnson has always been one of my favorites. I considered it the perfect song. For years it never occurred to me that there was another earlier version of the song out there. So when someone told me that the original was composed and sung by some guy named Shuggie Otis, I shrugged it off. No way it could be as good as the Brothers Johnson, I thought. My mistake. 
I happened to hear Shuggie’s version and was intrigued. But fearing there would be just one good song among clunkers, I was reluctant to buy the whole CD. Others persuaded me to buy it and I’m glad I did. 
With his futuristic, laid back bluesy yet funky vibe, Shuggie proves to be the missing link between Sly Stone and Prince. Although drum machines are way overdone today, in 1971 it was still relatively rare and Otis puts them to good use. Songs like Strawberry 23, Aht Uh Mi Hed and Sweet Thang could still be considered visionary today. 
This CD is a gem. It’s too bad the record didn’t see fit to keep Shuggie after less than sterling sales. He should have received more recognition and appreciation….by…eclectictastes…~


Inspiration Information grinds to something of a halt in the middle of its second side, reaching its nadir with “Pling!”, a song that’s nowhere near to be exicting enough to justifty the exclamation mark. It’s disappointing, but it’s literally the only thing I can find that stops this from being a masterpiece. This might be THE definitive psychedelic soul album; it’s astonishing to think that he played the majority of the album, contributing on every instrument, at the age of 21(!). This music just feels so alive and organic, managing the neat trick of being wistful and sexy all at once. Has anybody else in soul done that as well as this does? Off the top of my head, I can only think of Terry Callier, and Marvin on Let’s Get It On. 
The real star of the show here is the guitar, though. If anybody out there plays the guitar, and wants to know how to play with soul, they could do a hell of a lot worse than to get a copy of this album and just sit back and listen to it. Otis can play, seriously; even on my first listen to this I could hear ideas and sound I’ll probably end up stealing. It’s been a while since I got that feeling from a guitarist; like new doors were opening in front of me. 
The bonus tracks on the re-issue are brilliant too, as good as anything on the album proper - better even, in a couple of cases. The production’s great, too - I mean, I could sit here forever praising this album. If you feel cynical about the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (and I know a lot of you are), gems like this are what’s going to blow the cobwebs away….by..iai…~


After an over two years long hiatus the still barely in his twenties young Shuggie had recovered his breath and, as shown on the back sleeve photo, let grown an impressive Afro (yes I’ve always been fascinated by those hairdos); stupid remarks apart, this time around papa Johnny was only assigned the executive producer’s role, whereas Shuggie took care of production and the already usual songwriting and arranging duties on his 3rd Long-playing, which clocking at under 33 minutes is not really that long (it’s actually the shortest of the trio); not that the inspirational well had dried out, on the contrary, it’s only that its fuel burns with a slightly different smell, and though hypothetical naysayers might say a strongly different stench I’m not willing to share such an extremist point of view. 
Not that this is an especially flattering remark, albeit it certainly is a reason for millions to check it out, but “Inspiration Information” certainly was the place where Prince draw a substantial chunk of the inspiration for his style, instrumental and vocal esthetics and the technical information for his working methods, starting on the slack-hitting title track, probably proceeding with the intermittently swelling horns infused and chunky and squawky guitar rhythms driven Funky-Soul of “Sparkle City” (the highlight of the series), continuing with the pop-corn rhythms of “Aht Uh Mi Hed” with its quasi-disco strings fills (although I do respect and admire some of its elegant and attractive vocal melodies and inflections and nice woodwinds’ touches), and the condensed chunk of info provided by the slapped bass against syncopated organ and the hushed vocals on the barely above 1 minute long “Happy House”. 

The latter is an extreme case, yet the album actually mostly consists of similarly short and concise inspirational flashes, if I dare say! An welcomed exception is the longer and tranquil “Island Letter” which albeit starting like a dissemination of smooth Soul/Pop seeds, is arranged with really pleasantly soothing scintillating vibes and chiming guitar fills, and the vibe and tempo shift which takes place midway through the track when a Jazzy electric piano starts floating atop subliminal wah-guitar rhythms, certainly attest to Shuggie’s songwriting singularity; it’s this same sort of sophistication he reveals on the meditative “Rainy Day” where meaty Jazzy guitar melodies are intercalated by strings and woodwinds, as bass and drums cook an ear-pleasing backdrop: 

But Shuggie goes further, delineating ideas for the next decades (exactly as the titles suggest) on the bass-keyboard lines fuelled “XL-30”, a drums’n’ bass sketch with swirling keys providing a sci-fi vibe, or when he delves into a proto chill-out field with chiming or fat electric piano notes and percussive clips that might have been used to program a drum-machine on “Pling!”; and that the album closes with the premonitorily titled “Not Available” a melting pot of good-ol’ bouncy Funky-Soul, with sudden stop-times and vibe changes, a bunch of George Benson like ideas, the fattest bass you can imagine, hand-clapping and Disco-ready strings/horns fills, is testimony to Shuggie’s before-his-time visionary mind, which speculatively could have been the defining traits of a tortured soul which was never able to record another album again. 
This incomprehensibly most reissued of Otis albums has been recently made available once again, this time along with its older siblings on the Original Album Classics“Original Album Classics” series….by…comusduke …~


This is a fantastic soul+funky+psychedelic album. 
It is Shuggie Otis forth and last album (at 21 years old!), and it’s and underaprecciated gem. I think it has started a new kind of sound, that was never developed. It is mostly laid-back sounding but it sounds extraordinarily different, even for today standards. It is sure way ahead of its time. 
Luaka Bop release is recommended for the bonus tracks, especially the epic ‘Freedom Flight’, and the classic 'Strawberry Letter 23’. 
What an excellent surprise!..by…ivoliveira …~


What a great underrated and almost unknown masterpiece! 
Shuggie Otis is the son of Johnny Otis and his first two solo albums were kind of bluesy in tone. Then, after refusing to join the Rolling Stones and become a millionaire, he recorded Inspiration/Information and shocked the world by moving into a stripped-down mode that pairs his guitar with spare drum machine rhythms, flanged-out deeply soulful vocals (I think Prince learned more than a few things from this album). 
He was blamed by the blues community for this album, that remains a solitary pearl in his discography. After it he returned to play great but much more conventional blues….by..beppax…~


Those who only give this album a cursory listen and then pass it off as a product of adult-contemporary‘70s listening will sadly miss the point. This is the ultimate soul-chill album. Shuggie is extremely versatile and this album exploits that ability. He might take you through a blaxploitation-era-sounding L.A. street walk as in the opener and “Strawberry 23”, a dub-influenced Hammond organ tune in “Aht uh Mi Head”. “Happy House” almost sounds like a millennial drum and bass piece. “Sweet Thang” might be one of the best soul jams on a blues number I’ve ever heard (here he’s successfully aped Duane Allman on guitar). He tries for some experimental stuff on his beat machine, some of it clearly dated, the songs that shine being when he allows his guitar to create the atmosphere. 
Shuggie’s excellence is extremely subtle due in part to his highly laxed and soft vocal style and his tendency towards quiet groove. But this IS a 2am come down lazy groove album in the best sense. Don’t give up on the album in the middle instrumental section which drops off, as the album’s second half picks up starting with “Strawberry 23”. The high point of the album is the groove he kicks on the second half of “Island Letter”. 
All this, and the fact that Otis was practically a toddler when he made Inspiration Information, set the tone for what is certainly one of the most underappreciated albums and artists of all time….by..HarlemBrother …~



Inspiration Information will be looked at as one of the best records ever to all that hear it, providing that people are actually exposed to it. Shuggie Otis was first brought to my attention based on his work with Al Kooper on Kooper Session when he was only 15 years old. He followed that up with some blues solo work, namely Here Comes Shuggie Otis and Freedom Flight which is remembered for the Strawberry Letter single. In 1971, when he was 17, he began a long, almost insane quest to make the greatest album ever. This would become a three year long session, during which his label dropped him from his contract due to lack of output. He remained undeterred. He used an early drum machine and layered instruments one by one on to each track and continued in this fashion until he was completely satisfied with every instrument. He used a string quintet to embellish a few tracks and conducted them himself. All of this was virtually done solo. Shuggie ran the show, and no one was to tell him that something couldn’t be done. When all was said and done, he was left with a work of astounding genius, a record that, musically, contradicted his age. He showed great wisdom in how he chose to decorate each track, and recorded very understated vocals, reminiscent of Bill Withers. The title track is an early highlight. It begins very suddenly; you’re thrown into a sea of sustained organ stabs, wah-wah pedals and falsetto vocal waxings, then the groove kicks in, and thus begins a classic album that remains largely overlooked like so many other great albums from the period of 1965-75. Do yourself a favor and seek this out, it’s currently released under David Byrne’s label Luaka Bop and boasts 4 extra tracks, all of which were on Shuggie’s previous album, Freedom Flight. Represent….by….AppleScruff…~


Inspiration Information is the third album by Shuggie Otis. Released in 1974 on Epic Records, it reached No181 on Billboard’s Top 200 Pop Albums list, and its featured single (with the title of the same name) also reached No 56 on the U.S. R&B charts. 

Widely considered a cult classic, Inspiration Information was Otis’ debut project as both an adult and a producer, having been a teenager backed on his two previous solo efforts by his father, R&B pioneer Johnny Otis. The change of overseeing the production himself would result in a less traditional approach to songwriting in regards to Otis’ deep upbringing in the blues. In addition, the utilization of analog drum machines gave ‘Inspiration’ a newer electric sound that at the time were being used by only a handful of Otis’ contemporaries, notably by Sly Stone on Sly and the Family Stone’s 1971 hit album, There’s A Riot Goin’ On. 

Otis’ relationship with Epic came under heavy scrutiny as he would take three years to finish Inspiration and fulfill his three-album contract, as this would also be the final release for Otis on the Epic label. 

Inspiration was re-issued on CD by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne’s independent label Luaka Bop Records. This version, released on April 3, 2001, included the original album in its entirety as well as four songs taken from Otis’ 1971 album Freedom Flight, including «Strawberry Letter 23». 

The album was re-released again in 2013 with four previously unreleased tracks from 1971: «Miss Pretty», «Magic», «Things We Like To Do» and «Castle Top Jam». The re-release also features a second CD entitled Wings Of Love featuring 14 previously unreleased live and studio tracks recorded by Shuggie between 1975 and 2000….~

Shuggie Otis was a genius. 
If you’ve never heard of his name, then you have no idea how true that statement is. He is the epitome of the UNSUNG artist. Only made a few albums under his own name, including this, his masterpiece, and then disappeared into the annals of musical obscurity forever. What a tragedy! If he had died, it would be understandable for no more music to be released from the man. But how did such a talented guy simply disappear and at such a young age? 

The only way most people know him is either by the fact that he was the son of R&B legend Johnny Otis (& played in his band for many years) or by his only well-known song, “Strawberry Letter #23” which was made famous in 1977 by the Brothers Johnson. But he was so much more than that. A guitar prodigy at an early age, rumour has it he was wanted by the Rolling Stones to replace Mick Taylor on lead guitar (he turned them down). He also cut sessions with Frank Zappa and Al Kooper. Shuggie was also an accomplished drummer and vibraphone player, and was one of the pioneers of drum-machine technology, along with Sly Stone and George Clinton. 
This album was his third solo album & was his best. Only in his early 20s when he made Inspiration Information, he had total artistic control, handling almost all of the production and arrangements himself. A quite remarkable feat, as this was highly sophisticated music. 
He also performs most of the music himself (except for horns & strings) – he was basically copping Prince’s one-band-man routine about 4 years early (he even looks similar to what Prince looked like when he first came out). 
The album was short, with few actual songs. It was mostly made up of brief, strange instrumentals with odd titles like “Pling” and “XL-30” and had an unfinished demo-like quality to it but it’s a captivating listen nonetheless. There’s simply not a wasted note on the album. Unlike nowadays, albums used to be judged solely on quality, not quantity. 
It also includes what is his second brilliant, timeless song (along with “Strawberry Letter”), the title track, which should have been a huge hit for him. It’s catchy, funky and brilliantly sung & played. Sadly, it was not to be. Some classic albums and songs have gotten lost along the way, due to record company indifference & lack of promotion. Sometimes the artist is just simply too far ahead of his or her time. But if you like Sly’s early 70’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On / Fresh vibe, as well as Stevie Wonder & later Prince, there’s no way you could not love “Inspiration Information.” It is the perfect summertime song. Like I said, this song SHOULD have been huge. A definite #1 single if I ever heard one. 
Second song, “Island Letter” has a dreamy, introspective quality to it. Simply beautiful, with lush orchestration, which then segues into an almost-funky jam. Then an organ appears out of the ether to add to the mystical atmosphere. Very jazzy & spacy. It sounds like other things you’ve heard before but can’t quite put your finger on exactly where. 
“Sparkle City” is a funky number featuring horns. Another coulda-been hit that never was. 
At 6 minutes, it’s the longest number on the album, with long stretches of instrumental brilliance. 
The strangely worded “Aht Uh Mi Head” (out of my head) uses a combination of real and electronic drums and is yet another coulda-been smash. Very catchy. 
“Happy House” unfortunately lasts only a little more than a minute. This adds to the seemingly-unfinished demo-like quality of the album. As soon as you start to really get into this song, it quickly fades out. “Rainy Day” follows. A jazzy instrumental filled with Shuggie’s brilliant, introspective guitar playing. It sounds like a mellow summer day. You could definitely picture this being played in some movie love scene. 
“XL-30” is a bizarre but enjoyable organ-dominated, proto-techno instrumental. Very cool. Shuggie certainly knew how to make brilliant use of space & texture in music. And he had an incredible knack for quirky sounds. I think of Prince as another genius who knows how to add to a song, by inserting cool, interesting sounds in key places. The kinds of things that most artists don’t have the imagination or skill for. But also to know how to add some quirky sound or little hook that will also stand up to repeated listenings without getting annoying. Few artists out there know how to arrange. It’s a dying art I think. 
The ambient “Pling” is followed by the funky, jazzy “Not Available” to end the album on a high note. Like I said, this album is short and leaves you wanting more. But it also leaves you wanting to go back to the beginning and listen all over again. And again. 
And that was it. Shuggie more or less retired after this album. He only made sporadic live appearances after that. Maybe lack of success discouraged him? Perhaps if he had come along a few years earlier or maybe a few years later, things could have been different for him. Who knows. But for a few years, whether anyone realized it at the time or not, he was one of the great ones. We are starting to realize it now (due to this fleshed-out 2001 reissue). Better late than never….by…Jay Mucci…~

Inspiration Information is the third and last album produced by Epic. After this last effort, the record company decided not to renew the contract of a musician yet unconventional. Shuggie Otis found himself on the floor after refusing a Rolling Stones proposal. If it ends up completely disappearing from circulation, its reputation never fades over the years. David Byrnes of Talking Heads decides to reissue Inspiration Information in 2001 on his label Luaka Bop. This reissue is part of Shuggie Otis’ long process of rediscovery. In 2013, Inspiration Information is back again with many new bonuses. We will discuss in this chronicle the original album as it came out in October 1974. 
At the beginning of the seventies, Shuggie Otis is loved partly because of his very young age. A 15-year-old teenager who can knit blues solos with disconcerting virtuosity is bound to attract attention, especially when the same teen gets the unwavering support of his father Johnnie Otis, then producer of his first two albums. 
After the release of Freedom Flight, the deal changes. Shuggie Otis grows up and begins to break free from the paternal grip. On Inspiration Information, he composes all the tracks, in addition to mixing, producing and arranging. Evidence of this total control of his work, he plays an incredible number of instruments and even uses rhythm boxes (Analog drum machines in English) that reflect the stylistic evolution of Shuggie Otis. 

Indeed, the latter completely abandons the blues of his debut. Inspiration Information is a mix of funk, soul, jazz and elegant experimentation. The result is breathtaking. Shuggie Otis still took three years to record this album. This long gestation was one of the reasons for his eviction of Epic. To make matters worse, the reception of the disc proved disappointing after the beautiful promises of Freedom Flight. Only the single “Inspiration Information” worked hard on the charts. 
Each song is neat to the millimeter. Thanks to its almost synthetic funky rhythm, its impeccable vocal line and its perfectly brought guitar solo, the title track introduces the album with delight. More melancholy, “Island Letter” enjoys sumptuous arrangements, between sentimental orchestrations and psychedelic shimmers. Shuggie Otis never follows a straight path, but follows convoluted and unpredictable paths. The emotion settles gradually after many detours and intermediate passages. For example, “Sparkle City” is an oddly constructed piece, which from a rather common initial riff moves into a complicated song, composed of several strata, rhythmic, vocal and orchestral, which overlap or intermingle. Conversely, 
On the short “Happy House” there are funky rhythms that will certainly influence the acid jazz current in the early nineties. This interlude of one minute could have been the subject of a longer song. Once more elusive, Shuggie Otis decides not to linger and continues with an astonishing suite of instrumental pieces. These hard-to-label titles give him the opportunity to experiment with atmospheres and textures. First classic on the melancholy “Rainy Day”, it lets go to sounds more modern and sought after on “XL-30”. With his barely scratched rhythm and melody that emerges with little touches, “Pling! "Exudes a unique and magical atmosphere, cleverly constructed by this wizard of Shuggie Otis. Beside, 
Just like Freedom Flight, Inspiration Information is a brilliant album that unfortunately was left unfulfilled. After being fired from Epic, just like his father, Shuggie Otis thought it would be a few weeks before signing a new contract. In fact, his wait will have lasted for many decades. Forty years after Inspiration Information, Shuggie Otis is miraculously preparing to release a new album … will magic once again be at the rendezvous? To be continued…By MANIAC BLUES…~



Tracklist 
A1 Inspiration / Information 4:07 
A2 Island Letter 4:40 
A3 Sparkle City 5:55 
A4 Aht Uh Mi Hed 4:14 
B1 Happy House 1:08 
B2 Rainy Day 2:39 
B3 XL-30 2:05 
B4 Pling! 4:24 
B5 Not Available 2:26
Discography 

Studio album 

Here Comes Shuggie Otis (1969), Epic Records 
Freedom Flight (1971), Epic 
Inspiration Information (1974), Epic 

Collaborations 

With The Johnny Otis Show 
Cold Shot! (1968), Kent Records 
Snatch & The Poontangs (1969), Kent Records 
Cuttin’ Up! (1969), Columbia Records 
The Johnny Otis Show Live at Monterey! (1970), Columbia Records 
The New Johnny Otis Show with Shuggie Otis (1981), Alligator Records 
Into the Eighties (1984), Charly Records 

SHUGGIE OTIS KOOPER SESSIONS 51EGH0L sm 

With Al Kooper 
Kooper Session (1969), Columbia Records 
With Preston Love 

Preston Love’s Omaha-Bar-B-Q (1969), Kent Records 

With Guitar Slim Green 

Stone Down Blues (1970), Kent Records 

With Frank Zappa 

Peaches en Regalia from the album Hot Rats (1969) 

Compilations 

Original Album Classics: Shuggie Otis Epic Records/Legacy Recordings 

Shuggie’s Boogie: Shuggie Otis Plays The Blues (1994), Epic Records/Legacy Recordings 

In Session: Great Rhythm & Blues (2002), Golden Lane Records 

Inspiration Information/Wings of Love (2013), Legacy Recordings 

Kool And The Gang “Kool And The Gang” 1970 debut album US Soul Funk (Best 100 -70’s Soul Funk Albums Record Collector)


Kool And The Gang “Kool And The Gang” 1970 debut album US Soul Funk-Best 100 -70’s Soul Funk Albums (Record Collector) 
full spotify
https://open.spotify.com/album/2qLc5mFHx8qH0DkO1FEG3u


Classic first Funk Lp and the most rare of the band, beautiful album! Including “kool & the gang” a serious & good dj tune & locking dance !!!



This was the 1970 debut album by Kool and the Gang, and it remains an important one in their deep catalogue. As you would expect from this early 70s version of the band, the music is a lively stew of jazz, soul, and funk influences. Horns and guitars galore in these mostly instrumental workouts. None of their relatively lame “Ladies Night” 80s type pop tunes, but good and greasy soul-jazz jams. All of the songs were written in collaboration with album producer Gene Redd, the one exception being a dynamite cover of the Smokey Robinson song “Since I Lost My Baby.” I only recently found this CD and heard the entire thing and I’m really impressed. This album is a real jewel, ripe for discovery, especially if you enjoy the funky soul sound of the 70s. This is the real Kool & The Gang sound to “celebrate.”…by..Doland E Gilililand…~





Kool & The Gang has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and influenced the music of three generations. Thanks to songs like ‘Celebration’, 'Cherish’, 'Jungle Boogie’, 'Summer Madness’ and 'Open Sesame’, they’ve earned two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits, and 31 gold and platinum albums. Kool & The Gang has performed continuously for the past 35 years, longer than any R&B group in history. Their bulletproof funk and tough, jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled band of all time. In 1964 Khalis Bayyan (A.K.A. Ronald Bell) and his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, joined Jersey City neighborhood friends Robert “Spike” Mickens, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to create a unique musical blend of jazz, soul and funk. At first calling themselves the Jazziacs, they went through various names – The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, Kool & The Flames – before settling on their moniker. Over the next several years, they solidified their musical chemistry on the rough-and-tumble East Coast music scene, supporting acts like Bill Cosby, Ritchie Havens and Richard Pryor. Their self-titled 1969 debut album introduced their signature instrumental sound and fierce horn arrangements, and spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single, 'Kool and the Gang’. In 1969 Kool & The Gang released their self-titled debut album. It was the introduction to a theme, music is the message, that Kool & The Gang stands by today. The instrumental album was an expression of their deep love of music. It was also an introduction to their signature sound and the fierce horn arrangements created by Khalis, Dee Tee, and Spike. Their debut album spawned their first Billboard R&B charted single 'Kool and the Gang’ and later 'Let the Music Take Your Mind’. In 1970, their audacious sophomore set Live at the Sex Machine peaked at #6 on Billboard’s R&B chart and yielded three hit singles: 'Funky Man’, 'Who’s Gonna Take the Weight’ and 'I Want to Take You Higher’. Next came The Best of Kool & The Gang, Live at PJ’s, Music is the Message, and Good Times, all of which helped solidify a sound that wowed not only fans but such contemporaries as James Brown and Nina Simone. The band’s stellar reputation grew with each album, but 1973’s gold disc Wild and Peaceful took Kool & The Gang to another level (#6 R&B, #33 Pop), spurred by the immortal party anthems 'Funky Stuff’, 'Hollywood Swinging’ and the platinum smash 'Jungle Boogie’.Hits like 'Higher Plane’ (#1 R&B), the classic 'Summer Madness’ (featured on the Grammy-winning soundtrack to Rocky) and LPs Spirit of the Boogie, Love & Understanding and Open Sesame followed. The latter’s title track was featured on the top-selling movie soundtrack of all time, Saturday Night Fever, earning the group their second Grammy. In 1979, Kool & The Gang unveiled a smooth new sound with 'Ladies Night’. Produced by the legendary pop/jazz musician Eumir Deodato, it became their first platinum album. The #1 R&B title track also reached #8 at Pop. It was followed by 'Too Hot’ (#3 R&B, #5 Pop). The '80s would see them dominate the mainstream, starting with the double platinum-selling album Celebrate! (driven by the international monster hit 'Celebration’, which spent six weeks atop the R&B chart and became a #1 Pop single). 'Celebration’, which played as the American hostages returned from Iran, remains de rigueur at joyous occasions worldwide. The smashes 'Get Down on It’, 'Take My Heart’, 'Let’s Go Dancing’, 'Joanna’, 'Tonight’, 'Misled’, the #1 R&B, #2 Pop giant 'Cherish’ and the #1 R&B anthem 'Fresh’ (these last three from the multi-platinum LP Emergency) solidified the group’s international superstardom. Kool & the Gang landed global commercial endorsements, supported countless charitable causes and were the only American group to participate in Band Aid’s 1984 'Do They Know It’s Christmas’ project for famine victims in Africa. With the explosion of hip-hop in the '90s, Kool & the Gang’s incredible catalog of grooves made them DJ favorites, and they were second only to R&B icon James Brown as sources of rap-music samples. 2004’s The Hits: Reloaded found the band collaborating with such acolytes as Lil’ Kim, Sean Paul, Ashanti, and Blackstreet, among others. The band re-entered the Billboard R&B chart with 2006’s Steppin’ into Love. In 2006, Kool & The Gang received the NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) Chairman Award for lifetime achievement in record sales. In 2009 Kool & the Gang traveled to Cuba to perform a historic free concert. The band continues to perform around the world…~





Kool & The Gang, 1970. L-R Ronald Bell, Robert Kool Bell, Claydes Smith, Robert Spike Mickens, George Brown, Ricky West

Tracklist 
A1 Kool & The Gang 2:54 
A2 Breeze & Soul 5:29 
A3 Chocolate Buttermilk 2:14 
A4 Sea Of Tranquility 3:34 
B1 Give It Up 3:40 
B2 Since I Lost My Baby 2:08 
B3 Kools Back Again 2:48 
B4 The Gangs Back Again 2:46 
B5 Raw Hamburger 3:36 

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