After releasing 1974's Inspiration/Information, his third and final album, California singer/guitarist Shuggie Otis spent the next three decades slowly drifting into cult status on the strength of his brief solo career and of that album in particular. Largely ignored upon its release, the elegant psych/soul/funk sounds he created (playing almost all of the instruments himself) lived on through record collectors, eventually earning a reputation as a lost classic before receiving its first reissue on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label in 2001. A sort of companion album called Wings of Love appeared as part of a 2013 reissue bundle, but it was mainly a collection of unreleased material and not necessarily a new album. While a follow-up to his acclaimed masterpiece might never arrive, the renewed interest in his work inspired Otis to put together a new band and enjoy a late career resurgence as a live act. Recorded at Brooklyn's Music Hall in April 2013, Live in Williamsburg marks Otis' first ever live album and the renditions he offers up here are loose, spirited, and charming. With a band that features his son Eric on guitar and his brother Nick on drums, it's an engaging live representation of his songs and his abilities as a player and frontman. Peppered with horns and keys, the group plows through career highlights like "Aht Uh Mi Hed," "Island Letter," and the 1977 hit he penned for the Brothers Johnson "Strawberry Letter 23." More than just a long-awaited victory lap, Otis and his band sound like they're having fun and it comes across on this release.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger