Desert Island Jazz
Sugar Pie DeSanto (2013)

Visit Website

Although born in Brooklyn, NY, singer-songwriter Sugar Pie DeSanto grew up in San Francisco's Fillmore district, and has been a fixture in the Bay Area for decades. She's small in stature but has a big voice, two characteristics she shares with her friend, the late Etta James.

In 1955, Sugar did some touring with the Johnny Otis review, and it was Otis who gave her her stage name by which we know her. In 1959 and 1960, she was with the James Brown review, and she rose to fame with her single "I Wanna Know" with her husband, Pee Wee Kingsley.

After their marriage ended, Sugar took off to Chicago, where she signed with Chess Records, where her records included "Slip-In Mules", "Use What You Got", "I Don't Wanna Fuss", and her biggest hit for Chess, "Soulful Dress". In 1964, she toured in the American Folk Blues Festival with a Who's Who of stars, and by that time she was truly one herself. She also started a very successful writing career with Sheena DeMell, hitting the charts with a couple of duets with Etta James, of which the best known is 1966's "In the Basement".

Sugar eventually worked her way back to the Bay Area, settling in Oakland. Her manager and friend of over 40 years, Jim Moore, has been tireless in getting her albums back out so that people can hear them. She got married a second time, to the love of her life, Jesse Earl Davis, who sadly perished in a house fire in Oakland in 2006.

Sugar is a celebration of pioneering spirit, raw talent, and what it means to be a lifelong performer, taking what life hands out, moving on, and singing about it.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Billie Holiday Ken Burns Jazz Fine and Mellow Verve
# 2 Billie Holiday Ken Burns Jazz Lover Man Verve
# 3 Nina Simone The Ultimate Nina Simone I Loves You, Porgy Verve
# 4 Nina Simone Forbidden Fruit Where Can I Go without You? Colpix
# 5 Dinah Washington The Definitive Dinah Washington This Bitter Earth Verve/Blue Note
# 6 Dinah Washington The Ultimate Dinah Washington Cry Me a River Verve
# 7 Etta James At Last! At Last Chess
# 8 Etta James At Last! A Sunday Kind of Love Chess
# 9 Sugar Pie DeSanto Sugar Is Salty How Many Times? Jasman Records
# 10 Sugar Pie DeSanto Refined Sugar Git Back Jasman Records
Book Etta James and David Ritz, "Rage to Survive"
Luxury Item Casino games on, e.g., Nintendo DS
Castaways by date
Melissa Aldana
11 Mar
Ron E. Beck
29 Apr
Pascal Bokar
07 Oct
Shanna Carlson
18 Mar
Sara Caswell
25 Mar
Carlos D'l Puerto
22 Jul
Kellye Gray
15 Jul
David Hart
04 Nov
Ellen Johnson
17 Jun
Steffen Kuehn
02 Dec
Paul McCandless
08 Jul
Allison Miller
15 Apr
Melissa Morgan
29 Jul
Linda Oh
05 Aug
Dafnis Prieto
24 Jun
Jim Pugh
30 Sep
Fred Randolph
05 Feb
Harvie S
03 Jun
Jake Shapiro
10 Jun
Marcus Shelby
15 Jan
Bria Skonberg
04 Mar
Mark Soskin
20 May
Leslie Stoval
19 Aug
John Stowell
08 Apr
Toots Thielemans
02 Sep
Roseanna Vitro
26 Feb
Paul VornHagen
14 Oct
Don Was
12 Aug
Danielle Wertz
27 May
Howard Wiley
28 Oct