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Refined Sugar

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Album Review

A veteran blues/R&B performer, Sugar Pie DeSanto has been an underrated but talented performer ever since Johnny Otis discovered her in the mid-'50s. Although her voice has aged and become a bit raspy, there is no shortage of energy on this 2005 outing, which mostly finds Sugar Pie performing her own material. The music ranges from blues and ballads to R&B romps, all performed with spirit and fire.


Born: 16 October 1935 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Born Umpeylia Marcema Balinton, this artist was given her stage name as well as her recording debut by rhythm and blues ubermensch Johnny Otis. He dubbed her "Little Miss Sugar Pie" in 1955, and not because she had a sweet tooth or liked to bake. "While we were in the studio he named me Sugar Pie," DeSanto recalled in an interview, "Because I was so little. I wore a size three shoe and I weighed about 85 pounds. I was very tiny." She's a half-pint in size, true, but in talent or voice assuredly not....
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Refined Sugar, Sugar Pie DeSanto
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