Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sugar Pie Desanto - Down in the Basement

Cindy J, Leather Trio Productions:
Living right here in San Francisco there's a cool blues and jazz singer who calls herself Sugar Pie Desanto. Her real name is Umpeylia Marsema Balinton. She was born in New York 53 years ago, but she was raised in San Francisco. In the sixties she lived in Chicago where she recorded whole lots of cool songs for Checker records. She returned to San Francisco in the seventies and has remained here ever since.

Last year (1988) Chess put out an album of Sugar's best sixties stuff called Down in the Basement--The Chess Years. Everyone go out and get a copy right now. Listen to that voice. Sultry, sassy, bluesy, falling all over those R&B songs with a fiery punch. Just the way she sings the line "don'tcha know you gonna messa my mind" on "Can't Let You Go" is enough to make you wonder how a woman who did not even grow past five feet tall can sing with the voice of a giant. The title song, a duet with ultracool Etta James, is all about not having any money, and going down into the basement to do lotsa naughty bad things. Like sweat and dance and get funky.

But the sexiest song of the bunch is "Soulful Dress." Listen to the way Sugar's voice attacks the line, "with that tight fittin' waist and that low neckline." And then at the end when she says to the guitarist, "play it any way you wanna." And the guy gets all raunchy and crazed. Isn't it amazing how us girls can say the simplest thing and guys will get all raunchy and crazed? So everyone let's all go down into the basement and get real funky with Sugar Pie Desanto. "Do any dance you wanna do cause there's no one under you in the basement..." Ooh yeah.

Album Network, February 24, 1989
"Soulful Dress" and "In the Basement" on iTunes Sugar Pie DeSanto - Chess Chartbusters, Vol. 1 - Soulful Dress

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