shuggie otis


Guitarist Shuggie Otis played bass on 'Peaches En Regalia', a track that appeared on Zappa's "Hot Rats" album.

It is said that Shuggie Otis actually took part in the recording of three tracks for the "Hot Rats" album, but that only one of these tracks was used.

Shuggie was the son of the great band leader Johnny Otis.


The picture on the right (taken in the early eighties) was sent in by Jazmaan.




  1959 crayton, pee wee- pee wee crayton  (bass, guitar)  
  1968 otis, johnny- cold shot  (bass, guitar)  


frank zappa: hot rats
   (1969, lp, usa, bizarre)

  196?  love, preston- omaha bar b q  (guitar, bass (electric))  
1 al kooper & shuggie otis: kooper session
    (1969, lp, usa, columbia)
al_kooper_shuggie_otis.jpg (20012 bytes)
  1970 snatch and the poontangs  
  don 'sugar cane' harris: don 'sugar cane' harris  (1)
    (1970, lp, usa, cbs / columbia epic lp 26286) - featuring shuggie otis
2 shuggie otis: here comes shuggie otis
    (1970, lp, usa, epic)

shuggie_otis_here_comes.jpg (22024 bytes)

  1971 otis, johnny- live at monterey  (bass, guitar)  
3 shuggie otis: freedom flight
    (1971, lp, usa, ??)

shuggie_otis_freedom_flight_epic.jpg (23627 bytes)

  the johnny otis show: cuttin' up
    (1971, lp, ??, ??) - feat. shuggie otis
  1973 jordan, louis- great rhythm and blues  (bass, guitar, keyboards)  
  1974 diddley, bo- big bad bo  (guitar)  
4 shuggie otis: inspiration information
    (1974, lp, usa, epic )

shuggie_otis_inspiration_information.jpg (13720 bytes)

  1975 kooper, al- al's big deal (unclaimed freight)  (guitar)  
  1975 preston, billy- it's my pleasure  (guitar)  
  1977 johnny otis- great rhythm and blues oldies vol. 8  
  1982 otis, johnny- new johnny otis show  (guitar)  
  1986 james, etta- blues in the night 1  (guitar)  
  1986 james, etta- late show (#2 blues in the night)  (guitar)  

1992 otis, johnny- spirit of the black territory bands  (guitar, guitar (rhythm), guitar (acoustic))

  1993 otis, johnny- johnny otis presents  
  1993 jordan, louis- best of rhythm & blues  (organ, bass, piano, guitar (rhythm), engineer)  
  1993 liggins, joe- best of rhythm & blues  (organ, bass, guitar, guitar (rhythm), engineer)  
  1993 otis, johnny- best of rhythm & blues  (organ, bass, guitar, guitar (rhythm), engineer)  
  1993 turner, big joe- best of rhythm & blues  (organ, bass, guitar, guitar (rhythm), engineer)  
  1993 vinson, eddie "cleanhea- best of rhythm & blues  (organ, bass, guitar, guitar (rhythm), engineer)  
  shuggie otis: shuggie otis plays the blues
    (1994, cd, usa, epic records / legacy recordings) = compilation album
  1995 otis, johnny- otisology  (guitar)  
  1995 otis, johnny- hand jive 85  (guitar)  
  shuggie otis: in session
    (2002, 2lp, usa, goldenlane) - reissue? originally on cleopatra records?  //  = compilation album

shuggie_otis_in_session_goldenlane.jpg (21403 bytes)



random notes

Born: December 2nd, 1953 
(NOTE: I'm told this date is incorrect.  What is it really?)

     From: Zut Bof
In 1969, Shuggie recorded three tracks for Frank Zappa's Hot Rats (Barking
Pumpkin) album, one of which--"Peaches en Regalia"--was used on the album.

     From: unknown
Shuggie Otis played guitar.  In case you didn't know, he was the son of the great band leader Johnny Otis who provided a bridge between big band jazz, jump band swing and rock and roll in the early to mid
50's introducing such acts as Little Eva.  Shuggie, a pretty damned good guitar player, was featured on an album entitled Cold Shot! and recorded something else produced by Al Kooper (of Blues Project and BST fame).  
Since then he appears to have gone to ground.

     From: unknown
You say that Shuggie Otis has "gone to ground." Not so. First, his father, Johnny Otis still maintains a band that plays weekly in Santa Rosa, California and tours a lot. Second. Shuggie has his own band in northern California. Third, Shuggie's son Lucky Otis plays bass with Johnny Otis's band. So does another of Johnny's sons, Nicky Otis. (Other band members include Diane Swan, Ronald Wilson, Larry Davis, LArry Street, etc.) -- Anyway, the entire male portion of the Otis family seems to be in the music business.
Oh, and another of Johnny's grandson's (forget which son is his father, though) is Eric Otis and he plays guitar, although only a teeenager and still in school. The Johnny Otis show can be heard every Saturday
morning on KPFA radio, 94.1 FM, out of Berkeley, California. And Johnny and Nicky have an organic apple orchard and bottle their own brand of apple juice. 

     From: Patrick Neve
Here is the official Shuggie Otis website:

Also, it looks as if Shuggie played with Paul Humphrey for Bob Dylan's band in 1986. I found this tape listed in a Dylan tape trading site:

A rather rough amateur recording, compromised by a good bit of rumble and tape hiss. Etta James shares vocals, Paul Humphrey on drums, Jack McDuff on the organ, Shuggie Otis on guitar, and Richard Reid on bass. 60 min.

     From: "W. Larsen"
     Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998
Shuggie Otis is scheduled to play tomorrow night(JULY 2) at the Swiss
Tavern in Tacoma Washington.  In his band will be none other than JEFF SIMMONS on piano and Jack Lavin from the Powder Blues band on bass.
Should be an incredible evening seeing as Shuggie has become a
distillation between Hendrix and John McLaughlin.

     From: Batpuller
Shuggie Otis is still gigging up and down the west coast. Hell, his whole
family gigs up and down the west coast. Anybody within range of KPFA in Berkeley may listen to the wonderful '' Johnny Otis Show " Saturdays from 9-12noon. The living embodiment of R&B.

     From: David Fairweather
Your Shuggie Otis discography seems to be missing the legendary "SNATCH & THE POONTANGS" lp.   It features Shuggie and Johnny Otis with Delmar Evans and consists of material that was too bawdy to be released on the "COLD
SHOT" lp.


"For Adults Only!"

  • Produced by "The Hawk" (Johnny Otis)

  • Vocals by "The Mouth" (Delmar Evans)

  • Guitar, Bass and Organ by "Prince Wonnerful" (Shuggie Otis)

  • Drums and Piano by "The Hawk" (Johnny Otis)

  • Cartoons by "The Hawk"

  • Engineered by "The Hawk"

The only date on it (other than the 1983 autograph I got from from Delmar Evans!), is on the lewd R.Crumb style artwork by "The Hawk" which is dated 1970.   So I guess 1970 it is.  This has to be one of the rarest lps in my entire record collection.  It was a holy grail when I found it in the early eighties.  Now more than fifteen years later, its got to be worth a bundle.

The picture on the right shows Delmar Evans (taken in the the early eighties). (sent in by Jazmaan)


Delmar Evans

     From: Zach Silver
I found out about him by checking the credits on a Brothers Johnson
record- he wrote their hit Strawberry Letter 23, you know it?

     From: "R. Kane"
For your television viewing pleasure this week.

From the webpage at:



Blues Deluxe

Guitarist Shuggie Otis steps centerstage

By Greg Cahill

          It was love at first sight. At a time when most kids were playing sandlot baseball and dreaming about joining the big leagues, Shuggie Otis had his sights set on the stage. At age 4, he started drumming on his own traps, a three-piece white-pearl drum set that his famous father, bandleader Johnny Otis, had given him for Christmas. But it was the guitar that really intrigued him. Not just any guitar, but a bright red glittered Telecaster that Pasadena R&B wonders Don Harris and Dewey Terry used to play whenever they came over to Otis' big house in the Sugar Hill district of Los Angeles. "I remember seeing my father's band rehearse and seeing Don and Dewey come in with their red-glitter guitar," says Shuggie, reclining on the sofa in the living room of his home in Petaluma. "I may have been more interested in the drums at the time, but the guitar thing was something that I was watching in the back of my mind."

Johnny Otis Jr.--the oldest son of the R&B pioneer and the prototypical blues prodigy--made his recording debut in 1962 at the tender age of 12, playing guitar behind former Raylette singer Ethel Fort.

In the past four decades, the 42-year-old guitarist, songwriter, and arranger has played his tasteful staccato licks behind most of the legends of R&B and recorded with everyone from Charles Brown to Sugarcane Harris, Louis Jordan to Frank Zappa. His own recording career peaked in the early to mid-'70s with a string of solo albums on the Epic label. Most recently, he played acoustic rhythm guitar and arranged about half of the songs on Johnny Otis & His Orchestra's Grammy-nominated Spirit of the Black Territory Bands (Arhoolie). He currently leads a crack four-piece blues band of his own that features his brother Nicky on drums and his son Lucky (Johnny Otis III) on bass. That band performs this week at Magnolia's in Santa Rosa.

Not surprisingly, Otis grew up surrounded by music, mostly the early rock 'n' roll, blues, and R&B heard on his father's popular records and radio and television shows. At 13, he began performing R&B on nightclub stages with his father. In the early evening hours, they held court at the Club House in Santa Monica, moving at closing time to an after-hours joint called the Blue Bunny in neighboring Montebello. As his interest in the guitar grew, Shuggie began ditching classes and eventually dropped out of high school, all with the blessing of his father, who figured that Shuggie's future lay in the music industry anyway.

In 1967, he recorded his first sessions with Johnny Otis and His Orchestra, playing a simmering blues guitar on his father's 1968 comeback album Cold Shot (Cadet). It was Frank Zappa who suggested to the owners of Cadet Records that they give Johnny Otis a call. On the strength of that platter, Johnny signed a lucrative major label deal with Epic Records. That deal helped set up a number of important recording projects for them and paved the way for Shuggie's solo recording career.

In 1969, Shuggie recorded three tracks for Frank Zappa's Hot Rats (Barking Pumpkin) album, one of which--"Peaches en Regalia"--was used on the album. But 1970 proved a high-water mark for Shuggie. At 15, he released his solo recording debut, Here Comes Shuggie Otis! (Epic-BN 26511), and shared songwriting credits with his father on "Shuggie's Boogie." Johnny Otis produced the album. Later that year, Shuggie, sporting a full-blown Afro, was showcased on the classic Live at Monterey! album, performing an impressive live version of "Shuggie's Boogie" and backing such blues and R&B legends as Joe Turner, Roy Brown, Little Esther Phillips, Ivory Joe Hunter, Pee Wee Crayton, and Margie Evans.

He hit his stride with 1974's ambitious Inspiration Information, which features Sly Stone-style '70s funk arrangements that hold up surprisingly well two decades later. Unfortunately, Otis spent so long recording the album that the record label dropped his contract. Ironically, keyboardist and ace session player Billy Preston phoned Otis around that time to say that the Rolling Stones wanted to ask him to join the band and fill the lead guitar spot vacated by Mick Taylor. Shuggie declined. "I had my own group. My own label deal," he says. "I just wanted to do what I want to do. I had my own identity." 

These days, Shuggie has revamped his own band and is looking for a niche for his unique blend of power blues, rock, jazz, funk, and country. "I think it's a real honor to be regarded in some quarters as a great bluesman, but I don't even consider myself to be a blues player," he says. "I'm a music man. What I want to do is play it all. Believe me, I'm thankful to be known at all, but I don't want to be labeled. I don't think it's right to label people."
"All I know is that I'm anxious to get it goin'. "

Additional informants:

David Fairweather


frank zappa  / musicians timeline



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