It is still an amazing feeling to discover by accident an album that has such an incredible power...
You’ve heard at least two or three songs of this American guy, by his real name Johnny Alexander Veliotes. No? It doesn’t ring any bell? Not even ‘’Strawberry Letter 23’’ or ‘’Sweet Thang”? Do you want me to sing it for you?
This album named ”Inspiration Information” was originally released back in 1974, but David Byrne’s record label Luaka Bop reissued this material in 2001, as the second part of the ”World Psychedelic Classic” series comprising five releases. I don’t know what were they thinking when they released this soul /sweet funk-ish album under such a serious belt as psychedelic classic, since I don’t reckon any resemblance with that ”music genre”, as stupid as this idea of genres might sound.
Anyway, a few years after the Luaka Bop release, this prankish album got reissued once again, this time by the record label Epic, a record label launched in 1953 by CBS. But the Luaka Bop version of the release comprises a few more tracks from Shuggie Otis, than the other two releases. But who really gives a shit about all this useless information? Inspiration Information? It is not like it’s the end of the world not knowing what label this was first released on, or what stupid chart was this album featured on at some point in the successful musical career of this American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born in Los Angeles on November 30th 1953.
Like most of the good things in my life, I’m missing the point on this one as well: it’s not about where this came out, if it was reissued or not, if the record is worth 5 bucks nowadays or 45 euro for a limited gold pressing. It is about the music. So, the album opens up with the track that gives the name of the album. I wouldn’t consider it the best track from this album, even though it is a very soft and good start.
I pour some tea and I drink, and after that I pour some more tea and I imagine myself driving a classic convertible Ford Mustang, while this album plays loudly in the car. I am alone, but the music is so present here, that I could say I’m with a buddy who’s not disturbed at all by my silly and ugly voice. So I sing out loud and drive through tight mountain streets, the sun is up and shinning, my head glows in the wind and I could say I am the living proof of the European cliché (adapted from the American cliché of the almost perfect guy driving his shitty convertible and feeling sexy from the Shuggie Otis tender grooves. I can be whoever or whatever I want. Yes, tracks like ”Sparkle City” or ”Not Available” definitely set this kind of mood, which is the right mood, by all means.
Not a bad album by the oldest son of bandleader, musician, talent scout, political activist, author and artist by the name of Johnny Otis. Hey, don’t throw stones at me if you find this ridiculously cheesy! For your own protection, maybe you should relax and have a cheesecake, if this is not sweet enough for your taste.
Tracklist:A1. Inspiration Information
A2. Island Letter
A3. Sparkle City
A4. Aht Uh Mi Hed
B1. Happy House
B2. Rainy Day
B5. Not Available
C1. Strawberry Letter 23
C2. Sweet Thang
C3. Ice Cold Daydream
D. Freedom Flight