Strawberry Letter 23

Shuggie Otis

Song Review by Matthew Greenwald

A huge late-'70s hit for the Brothers Johnson, "Strawberry Letter 23" started life as a track from the author's (Shuggie Otis) 1971 Freedom Flight album. Although the Brothers' version is excellent, this early, self-produced version is superior. A combination of whimsical, psychedelic, and orchestrated soul music, it paved the way for many artists, namely Prince. In fact, the entire affair sounds like an outtake from the Purple One's Around the World in a Day. A true period piece and masterpiece.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Freedom Flight 1971 Epic 3:57
Inspiration Information 1974 Narada / Luaka Bop 3:58
Free Soul Graffiti 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:56
Off Centre: A Riot on Old Street 2001
Various Artists
BBE 3:58
As We Travel: Folk Funk Flavours & Ambient Soul 2002
Various Artists
Harmless 3:59
AnotherLateNight 2003 LateNightTales 3:54
Here Comes Shuggie Otis/Freedom Flight 2003 Raven 3:57
Uncovered [EMI] 2003
Various Artists
Family Recordings 3:56
Luaka Bop Remix 2005
Various Artists
Luaka Bop 7:34
Pure... 70s Dance Party 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:59
Pure... Psychedelic Rock 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:59
The Box Set Series: '70s Soul 2014
Various Artists
Legacy / Legacy Recordings 3:58
FTG Presents the Vaults, Vol. 5
Various Artists
Funky Town Grooves 4:03