Luaka Bop, 2001
Original Release, 1974
I first heard this album when I was living in Los Angeles. I was driving around Santa Monica with a buddy of mine when he put this album on. It was one of those times when the music you're listening to and your surroundings kind of meld into one. The world suddenly became a sunny, groovy place, man. Then we ended up in East LA which quickly backhanded me out of my music-induced stupor.
This is a perfect summertime album and it's a soul/funk masterpiece of the highest order. Otis truly is a musician's musician and the sound he was experimenting with in 1974 wouldn't sound out of place on a hip hop record from today.This album didn't make much noise back in '74, but Otis is still highly regarded by artists of all genres. You may recognize "Strawberry Letter 23" from this album, as it was covered by the Brothers Johnson who made it a hit. I'll take Shuggie's version any day though.
David Byrne, in his infinite wisdom, re-released Inspiration Information on his Luaka Bop label in 2001, which is just another indication that Byrne is quite possibly God. If you get this version (which is widely available), you will also be blessed with the four bonus tracks that Byrne included from Shuggie's previous album, Freedom Flight.
This really is a classic album from a man who was way ahead of his time and if you pick it up you will not be disappointed. Believe that.