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Friday, June 8, 2007

Blues In Schools And The Legendary Frank Sugerchile Robinson

I have returned from my long road trip to Chicago to do a blues in schools class. I worked with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who lived up in the far northern suburbs. I think they enjoyed the class, and it was fun to play and talk about the blues, and Chicago blues with the kids. However, the hit of the day was a video that I have on the website of Sugar Chile Robinson. (click here) The kids loved watching this little guy play piano. So today I was digging through the net to find more info on him, and had no luck. Just the same repeated stories, and there seems to be at least two, which are probably more fantasy then reality. One is that he was 17 when he made the films, not seven, but that is highly unlikely. for instance the link above he was much younger, than the video I have embedded in this post. Check out his hands. In the first video he has to use his fist, and uses creative hand movement to play the notes. in the second video taken he is taller, and his hands and fingers have no trouble reaching the keys. He is also a few years older, and has gain some weight. So it is doubtful that his career was over because he was discovered to be older than advertised. What probably happened is that he got older, and wasn't as cute and cuddly anymore, and there went his fame. The other story that seems to repeat itself is that he had some hand in a Detroit record company in the 1960s, and was going to play some sort of an old timers gig. However, no one has found any evidence that the show ever happened, or what the name of the show was. It has almost an urban legend to it. One poster on Youtube insisted that they were going to see him play that weekend, and yet they have never replied to inquires about where and when the show was!! Also another poster insisted that he died of a drug overdose, yet I have found no information about that either. I assume that they may have mixed up Robinson with Frankie Lyman. If you have any ideas feel free to post them or email me

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