Shuggie Otis spent virtually his entire young life playing in and around the various Johnny Otis bands which introduced such R&B legends as Big Jay McNeely, Wynonie Harris, Charles Brown, and Little Esther Phillips. Shuggie was finally "discovered" by Al Kooper during his stint as a Columbia Records A&R staff producer starting in the late-'60s. Kooper's second Super Session LP, Kooper Session: Al Kooper with Shuggie Otis (early 1970) essentially introduced Shuggie, the guitarist on all seven tracks, who was a 15-year old wunderkind when he recorded the album.
He was a year older when he recorded Here Comes Shuggie Otis (late 1970) for Epic, his first official LP under his own name, produced by Johnny Otis and featuring the cream of L.A. jazz session players. Freedom Flight (1971), again produced by Johnny Otis, was Shuggie's second solo LP in two years, and is the source for "Strawberry Letter 23," a No. 5 Pop hit for the Brothers Johnson in 1977. Shuggie had much more of a hand in the arrangements here and played everything from guitars and bass organ to various percussion instruments. The seven genre bending tunes are drenched in a beautiful blend of funk, rock and soul.