Shuggie Otis spent the better part of the last few decades relegated to pop music’s margins. Sure, the singer-guitarist’s third album, 1974’s Inspiration Information, has been sampled by Beyoncé and OutKast, but, as SPIN’s David Marchese recently noted, the “dreamy, virtuosic collection of lilting funk, guileless pop, and drifting soundscapes” was long cherished by only a select group of devotees.
Otis enjoyed some national exposure last night (April 12), though, as he dropped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon for a funky twofer. During the television broadcast, the cult legend performed the title track off Inspiration Information, which will be reissued on April 16 as Inspiration Information / Wings of Love, a two-disc package collecting previously unreleased live and studio tracks recorded between 1975 and 2000. The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time honoree then followed that effortless groove by offering the strut-worthy “Special” as a web exclusive.
Forgive the false start on “Special” — Otis has been waiting a while for a gig like this; he’s earned the right to request a second take.