Johnny Otis – The New Johnny Otis Show With Shuggie Otis (1981)

FrontCover1If you think of any job in the music industry, Johnny Otis has done them all. During the ’40s, he cut his teeth on big band swing music, and was a driving force during the early years of rock `n’ roll. At the time (1981), this was Johnny Otis’ first recording in almost a decade. He contributes songs, piano, vocals, and vibes. His 26-year-old son Shuggie, a brilliant child prodigy, expertly handles all guitars. Together they are backed by distinguished newcomers and seasoned veterans on a steaming collection of new songs. The result is a CD full of merriment.

“Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” has a bit of rhythm from Johnny’s biggest hit “Willie and The Hand Jive”. During this pleasure of drinking wine tale, the Greek-American delivers 1950s style rock `n’ roll vocals with lots of emphasis on the bass – Bowzer from Sha Na Na comes to mind. In the vein of “Tramp”, “Jonella and Jack” contains hilarious bantering. “Every Beat Of My Heart” is a love ballad that’s lovely. It features Charles Williams’ fantastic voice over a classic arrangement from a past era. Surely, teenage dancers would have packed their high school gymnasium during this song. Williams’ vocals and Shuggie’s guitar are as smooth as fine scotch on the radio-friendly “What Else Can I Do?” This pop soul number is made of hit material. “Half Steppin’ Woman” features Shuggie’s bottleneck guitar rocking out while Johnny’s rumbling piano keeps the song on track.

Johnny+ShuggieOtisJohnny Otis with his son Shuggie …

With a large and diverse singing cast, you are sure to prefer certain vocalists over others. Without a doubt, Vera Hamilton (a former Otisette) and Charles Williams steal the show on “Why Don’t You Do Right?” At a youthful age, Williams displays talent usually begot by years of experience. This 37-minute rock `n’ roll and R&B revue-style CD is a complete package. The winning songs, robust vocals, and splendid band augmented by Shuggie on guitar makes for a wildly entertaining disc. This is the only Alligator recording by the legendary Johnny Otis. It is a witness to his renewal. (by Tim Holek)


Johnny Otis (* 28. Dezember 1921 in Vallejo; † 17. Januar 2012 in Los Angeles)

Talmadge Baker (percussion)
Zaven Jambazian (harmonica)
Plas Johnson (saxophone)
Johnny Otis (piano, vocals)
Nicky Otis (percussion)
Shuggie Otis (guitar)
Earl Palmer (drums)
David Pridgen (piano)
Edgar L. Willis (bass)
The singers:
Linda Dorsey – Delmar “Mighty Mouth” Evans – Vera Hamilton – Wendell D. Perry – David Pridgen – Charles Williams

01. Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (Williams/McGee) 2.40
02. Every Beat Of My Heart (J.Otis) 4.50
03. Jonella And Jack (J.Otis) 3.26
04. What Else Can I Do? (Pridgen) 2.46
05. Half Steppin’ Woman (J.Otis) 4.13
06. Why Don’t You Do Right? (McCoy) 4.01
07. Big Time Scoop (J.Otis) 3.46
08. I Never Felt This Way Before (Pridgen) 3.14
09. Don’t Deceive Me (Willis) 4.16
10. So Fine (J.Otis) 2.48
11. Unknown (hidden track) 0.11.


ShuggieOtisShuggie Otis