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Sugar Pie DeSanto
Main events at
Historic Ashland Armory
208 Oak St., Ashland
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Doors open 6PM for dinner
Music begins 6:30PM

Sugar Pie DeSanto has been called a great R&B singer as you will hear on her three CDs, "Sugar Is Salty" (1993), "Classic Sugar Pie" (1997) and "A Slice of Pie" (1999), all on the Jasman Records label. Yet, DeSanto, born Umpeylia Marsema Balinton in San Francisco, who was dubbed "Little Miss Sugar Pie" by bandleader Johnny Otis when she made her recording debut with him for Federal Records in 1955, is far more than a great blues singer. She's also a first-class soul. singer, a commanding jazz stylist, an uproarious comedienne, a show-stopping dancer and an expert tunesmith.

In 1959 Sugar Pie recorded "I Want To Know" on Bob Geddins, Sr.'s Veltone label and which rose to the No. 3 slot in Billboard Magazine charts and earned her a contract with Chess Records and a nationwide tour. At that time, Chess Records artists included Etta James, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and Bo Diddley.

She made over twenty appearances at the Apollo in New York and appeared regularly at The Regal in Chicago and The Howard in Washington, D.C. It was at the Apollo where she was spotted by "The Godfather of Soul", James Brown and became his dynamic opening act for the next two years.

Over the years she has written in excess of 100 tunes two of which she recorded as a duo with Etta James ("Do I Make Myself Clear" and "In the Basement" reissued by MCA, the latter being included in the soundtrack of the 1999 movie "The Hurricane"). Other songs of hers have been recorded by Fontella Bass, Billy Stewart, Little Milton, Bobby McClure, Minnie Riperton, Jesse James, The Dells and The Whispers.

DeSanto was the only female act on the bill with the American Folk Blues Festival that toured Europe in 1964. Other headliners included Willie Dixon, John Henry Barbee, Sleepy John Estes, Clifton James, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Lightnin Hopkins and the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson. This Lippmann and Rau Production was publicized as "featuring the best Blues Artists of America."

The song "Hello, San Francisco" is the latest chapter in a prolific career that has taken Sugar Pie from her hometown to Chicago (where she wrote and recorded many classic slides for Checker) and back again. Her latest albums magnificently demonstrate that she is one of the most talented and versatile artista that has ever come out of the San Francisco Bay Area -- or anywhere, for that matter.

While Sugar Pie has made some memorable records over the years such as "I Want to Know", "Slippin' Mules" and "Soulful Dress", it is her live performance that people particularly never forget.

DeSanto's awards include "Best Female Live Blues Performer" from Canada's Real Blues magazine in 1997 and 1998, a 1999 Bay Area Music Award for "Outstanding Blues Artist" and was honored in 2003 as a Blues Legend by the California Music Awards. She was also a contributor to the book Harlem of the West - The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era by Elizabeth Pepin and Lewis Watts.


"Saturday. singer Sugar Pie DeSanto, who scored only a handful of minor hits in the early 1960s, proved that at the age of 62 she has even more raw talent and sex appeal than most popular female vocalists half her age. The 4-foot-11 dynamo took the stage, kicked of her shoes and immediately won the crowd over with her earthy stage presence and powerful voice. Performing her own song, "Slip-In Mules" (written as a woman's answer to "High-Heal Sneakers"), DeSanto exuberantly jumped down from the raised Main Stage, boogied in the snow-fenced photographers' area for a moment and then bolted into the crowd to pump the energy level of the audience even higher." St. Louis Post


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Payment Options:

1) Pay with PayPal here. There is a $1 mailing charge until 10 days before the concert. Tickets bought less than 10 days before a concert will be held at will-call.

2) Music Coop in the A Street Marketplace, Ashland

3) Send a check, letter indicating which shows and how many tickets, and self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

Ariella St. Clair
St. Clair Productions
P.O. Box 835
Ashland, OR 97520



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