Bonus playlist Wednesday: dessert edition


(Download Part 1, “Soul Food: dinner edition,” here.)

The connection between sweetness and pleasure is part of our evolutionary makeup. Sweet flavors are the first we develop the ability to sense; the message that calorie-rich, life-giving sustenance is on the way floods our brains with dopamine and makes us seek out more sweet flavors, creating a cycle of desire and reward.


It’s not just chemicals, of course; the inarticulate craving for sweets, and the immediate gratification they bring, can reduce the most mature adult to a little kid in seconds. Want. Want. Now. What else can bring us to our knees like that, except the thrill of attraction? Candy and sex: both override all reason.


Little wonder that most languages use some variation on sweetness to connote love and its parallel cycles of desire and pleasure. That brings us to today’s “soul food” mix: dessert!


I’m pretty sure that when Nina Simone sings, “I want a little sugar in my bowl,” she’s talking about something else. So are Sam & Dave when they plead, “Keep on givin’ me brown sugar.” More recently (and less cleverly), both 50 Cent and Lil Wayne released songs urging women to “lick their lollipop.” Compared to these guys’ crude double entendre, the apocryphal source of “Jelly Roll” Morton’s epithet is downright literary. So, for your listening pleasure: sweets, snacks, and the inevitable cup of coffee. (A 20-ounce Starbucks and an iPod is the adult equivalent of a warm bottle and a blankie…but that’s another post.)

1. Sexy Coffee Pot—Tony Alvon & The Belairs
2. Chocolate Cherry—Joe Tex Band
3. Strawberry Letter 23—Shuggie Otis
4. Savoy Truffle—Ella Fitzgerald
5. The Whoo Pee—Sugarpie Desanto
6. Soul Sister, Brown Sugar—Sam & Dave
7. Spreadin’ Honey—The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band
8. Cola Bottle Baby—Edwin Birdsong
9. Sugar—Carla Thomas
10. Sugar Dumpling—Sam Cooke
11. I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl—Nina Simone
12. Sugar Daddy (Pt. 1)—Betty Padgett
13. The Popcorn—James Brown
14. Cookie Time—Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
15. Candy Store Rock—Led Zeppelin
16. Honey Bee—The New Birth
17. Hot Milk—Jackie Mittoo
18. Black Coffee—Peggy Lee
19. Pop, Popcorn Children—Eldridge Holmes
20. Sugar’s Delight—La Playa Sextet
21. Salt Peanuts—Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker
22. Candy—The Astors
23. Little Miss Chocolate Syrup—The Dirtbombs

4 responses to “Bonus playlist Wednesday: dessert edition”

  1. lane says:

    wow i havn’t even read this, but THIS is one fine lookin’ post!

  2. lane says:

    as middle class westerners are wont to say . . . “sweet!”

  3. g.a. says:

    This is a fantastic mix. Been enjoying it all day. I keep forgetting it’s a theme mix, too. Nice variety of sounds, but a pleasant consistency too.

  4. PB says:

    “I’m pretty sure that when Nina Simone sings, “I want a little sugar in my bowl,” she’s talking about something else. ”

    favorite line!!! I love the pictures and can’t wait to listen. And I agree with Lane, I love when smart and pretty are in the same post. xo