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Inspiration Information/Wings of Love

Album: Inspiration Information/Wings of Love
# Song Title   Time
1)    Inspiration Information
2)    Island Letter
3)    Sparkle City
4)    Aht Uh Mi Hed
5)    Happy House
6)    Rainy Day
7)    XL-30
8)    Pling!
9)    Not Available
10)    Miss Pretty - (previously unreleased)
11)    Magic - (previously unreleased)
12)    Things We Like to Do - (previously unreleased)
13)    Castle Top Jam - (previously unreleased)
1)    Intro - (previously unreleased)
2)    Special - (previously unreleased)
3)    Give Me Something Good - (previously unreleased)
4)    Tryin' to Get Close to You - (previously unreleased)
5)    Walkin' Down the Country - (previously unreleased)
6)    Doin' What's Right - (previously unreleased)
7)    Wings of Love - (previously unreleased)
8)    Give Me a Chance - (previously unreleased)
9)    Don't You Run Away - (previously unreleased)
10)    Fireball of Love - (previously unreleased)
11)    Fawn - (previously unreleased)
12)    If You'd Be Mine - (previously unreleased)
13)    Black Belt Sheriff - (previously unreleased)
14)    Destination You! - (previously unreleased)
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Liner Note Authors: Chris Champion; Raphael Saadiq .
  • Photographers: Ed Caraeff; Adam Farber.
  • As Shuggie Otis never capitalized on his newfound success in the '90s, somehow incapable of cobbling together a new record in the wake of the 2001 Luaka Bop reissue of Inspiration Information, it may be easy for partisans to overrate the 2013 Legacy pairing of that 1974 album with Wings of Love, a new collection of material Otis recorded between 1975 and 2000. That quarter-century span should be a tip-off that this is not a lean, coherent, purposeful album, but rather a collection of every listenable thing Otis completed over the course of 25 years and, in that sense, it's pretty good. Part of its appeal is that it is so thoroughly out of phase with the present that some songs seem to date either much earlier or much later than their original recording (for instance, the title track "Wings of Love" feels heavily inspired by Todd Rundgren's 1975 classic "Real Man," but apparently wasn't tracked until 1990). All of Wings of Love has a slightly woozy, trippy feel, something characteristic of its one-man-band origin, where keyboards and compressed microphones create a hazy tapestry, and part of the appeal of this music is how it feels like the late '70s and early '80s without belonging to its time; it certainly doesn't feel modern, but it can't be pinned to any specific year, which is appropriate, as Otis essentially dropped out of sight and made this music in a vacuum. That isolation is certainly part of the appeal of Wings of Love, particularly because Otis isn't entirely unaware of what constituted a hit in 1987, so he overloads "Give Me a Chance" with drum machines and synthesizers that belong to the spring of that year, and part of the fun is to hear the disconnect between Otis' aspirations and what made for a hit in 1987, or how "Give Me Chance" isn't that far removed from 1977's tinny, pulsating "Don't You Run Away." Both of these are good songs, and there are other good moments here, some sounding quite different than expected (the overloaded Hendrixian guitar of "Fireball of Love"), but the fact that the 1977 and 1987 tracks do not have a great distance in either their production or sensibility doesn't speak to a unique vision, it illustrates how far into his own world Otis was; Wings of Love is the sound an eccentric who was able to run wild for years on end, never caring about whether his music would be heard. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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