Archive for the ‘Sugar Pie DeSanto’ Category

Sugar Pie DeSanto

Saturday, November 6th, 2010


Listen: Slip-In Mules / Sugar Pie De Santo SugarPieSlipIn.mp3

I was so taken by her name from the very first time I saw it: Sugar Pie De Santo. You see I’m a pushover when it comes to cakes, pies, basically anything from bakeries. And there are none quite like the ones in mainland Europe. I first travelled there in ’87 with X and 10,000 Maniacs and had just become an unbearable militant vegetarian, basically making all my friends uneasy whenever they ate any meat. At least I had Natalie and Exene, both vegetarians, on my side for the trip, but still, not very nice I realize now. Those bakeries were safe neutral ground for us all. The places were so good, especially the ones in Holland and Switzerland. Oh and Denmark too. I still think about them.

There was a great record store just down from The Paradiso in Amsterdam, where both bands were playing. The window was jammed with Checker/Chess records and we were just staring at all the great sleeves. It was late and the place was closed. There were at least two from Sugar Pie De Santo. And next door was a Bakery & Sweet Shoppe. It must have been there for decades. Ever since, I’ve associated her with bakeries, good ones too.

I attended the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Awards show in Philadelphia September ’08, Vivian Green was singing with Chaka Kahn. It was heaven on earth for rubbing shoulders with legends: Bill Withers, The Dixie Cups, Mable John, Aretha Franklin, The Marvelettes, Earl Van Dyke, The Soul Brothers, Martha & The Vandellas, so many, they were all there.

I had no idea until arriving that Sugar Pie De Santo was being inducted. Plus she even performed and no one was ready. She owned the place, wow, what a fireball and a voice to stop most others in their tracks. I’m inclined to say she stole the show, but Bill Withers doing ‘Grandma’s Hands’ was pretty fierce too. ‘Slip-In Mules’ has always been my favorite single by her, although I have many. Her phrasing of toes into toesies is classic.

Worth getting immediately: SUGAR PIE DE SANTO / GO GO POWER: THE COMPLETE CHESS SINGLES 1961 – 1966 (Ace CD 317). It’s all her Chess A & B sides, including this one. Pretty much a must-have.

Sugar Pie DeSanto

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

sugarpiesoulful, Sugar Pie De Santo, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Pye International, Chess, Checker

Listen: Soulful Dress / Sugar Pie DeSanto

Proof that you can never have too many Sugar Pie Desanto singles.

Sugar Pie DeSanto

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

sugarpiedesantouk, sugar pie desanto, chess, checker, pye

Listen: Use What You Got / Sugar Pie DeSanto

You need only get the new cd, GO GO POWER – THE COMPLETE CHESS SINGLES 1961 – 1966, open the booklet and begin your lusting for Sugar Pie DeSanto. The liner notes should be essential reading at Harvard, but they can’t touch the photos. She was more of a firecracker than I’d ever imagined. I missed out on seeing her during the heyday. Luckily, I did get to watch a still sizzling Sugar Pie DeSanto last fall at the Rhythm And Blues Foundation Awards in Philadelphia. Yum. Still hot.

Happily there are a bunch of must-haves amongst her Checker/Chess singles. The bump and grind vamp of ‘Use What You Got’ might be one the world’s greatest B sides. It started out as the A side in the States, but was flipped for the UK. This copy’s from the Tony King collection, it dips a toe into the vast pool of RnB pressings he amassed. Musically, not unlike The Cramps, or should I say they were not unlike Sugar Pie and the label’s house band: Leonard ‘Baby Doo’ Caston (organ), Gerald Sims (guitar), Louis Sutterfield (bass) and Maurice White (drums). Listen and you’ll see what I mean.