Miss Sugar Pie DeSanto
“Listen -Sugar Pie DeSanto – Go Go Power – MP3″
The tune I bring you today is the very definition of ‘hard as fuck’.
I’ll start out by admitting that I slept on the recordings of Sugar Pie Desanto for a long time, knowing her name but not the sounds that she put on wax.
Desanto – born Umpeylia Balinton – is one of the great journeywoman R&B singers, with a career that has lasted more than half a century.
Though she was born in Brooklyn, she grew up in San Francisco and got her start as part of the Johnny Otis Show, eventually moving on to a stint with James Brown. She had her first chart hit in 1960 with ‘I Want To Know’. She recorded a string of dynamite soul sides (and a 1961 LP) for Checker between 1961 and 1966, including her burning collaboration with Etta James ‘In the Basement’.
The tune I bring you today was the a-side of her final 45 for Checker, and is another entry into the shit-hot records used for TV ads in the UK list*.
Desanto was a hard edged soul shouter, and ‘Go Go Power’ may be the best thing she ever did.
I’d been looking for a copy of this 45 for a while, and recently found it (along with a couple of other long time wantlist items) in a box of – how do they say – premium priced 45s at a record show. Fortunately for all concerned it was early in the day, and I had a pile of green burning a hole in my pocket, so I took it out and let it burn a hole in the record box, and Sugar Pie came home with Daddy.
‘Go Go Power’ sees Sugar Pie wailing over a heavy bass/drums/organ foundation, aided and abetted by a rock solid horn chart. It’s a dance floor burner guarantee to get the wallflowers up and moving.
Following her tenure with Checker, Desanto continued to record through the 70’s for San Francisco’s Jasman label. Since the early 90’s she has recorded a number of bluesy LPs and continues to perform today.
I hope you dig the tune.
*In this case, for Nivea. The list also includes Ernie K. Doe’s ‘Here Come the Girls’