sugarcane, tall tropical perennials (species of Saccharum, chiefly S. officinarum) of the family Gramineae (grass family), probably cultivated in their native Asia from prehistoric times. Sugarcane somewhat resembles corn and sorghum, with a large terminal panicle and a noded stalk. In biblical times, one of the known sweetening agents in the world was honey. It was not until the Middle Ages that the "Indian honey-bearing reed" was introduced to the Middle East and became accessible to Europe, where sugar was sold from druggists' shelves as a costly medicinal or luxury. Later, sugarcane plants were introduced by Spanish and Portuguese explorers of the 15th and 16th cent. throughout the Old and New World tropics, and the large cane industry rapidly took shape. Today, sugarcane and the sugar beet (see beet), a temperate plant developed as a commercial sugar source c.1800, are the only two major economic sources of sugar. Cuba and India together produce a large percentage of the world's tropical sugar, cane sugar. Cane is harvested by cutting down the plant stalks, which are then pressed several times to extract the juice. The juice is concentrated by evaporation into dark, sticky sugar, often sold locally. Refined sugar, less nourishing as food, is obtained by precipitating out the non-sugar components. Almost pure sucrose, it is the main commercial product. Byproducts obtained from sugarcane include molasses, rum, alcohol, fuel, livestock feed, and from the stalk residue, paper and wallboard. Sugarcane is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Poaceae (Gramineae).

See A. C. Barnes, The Sugar Cane (2d ed. 1973); B. Albert and A. Graves, ed., World Sugar Economy in War (1988).

Don "Sugarcane" Harris (June 19, 1938 - November 30 (or December 1), 1999) was an American rock & roll violinist and guitarist. Harris was born and raised in Pasadena, California, and started an act called Don and Dewey with his childhood friend Dewey Terry in the mid 1950s. Although they were recorded by Art Rupe on his Specialty label, mostly utilizing the services of legendary drummer Earl Palmer, Don and Dewey didn't have any hits. However, Harris and Terry co-authored such early rock and roll classics as "Farmer John", "Justine", "Leavin' It All Up to you", and "Big Boy Pete," all of which became hits for other artists.

At some point in his career, Harris was given the nickname "Sugarcane" by LA bandleader Johnny Otis and it was to remain with him throughout his life.

After separating from Dewey Terry in the 1960s Harris moved almost exclusively over to the electric violin. He was to reappear as a sideman with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and Frank Zappa, most recognized for his appearances on the Mothers of Invention albums Hot Rats, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, and Weasels Ripped My Flesh. His lead vocal and blues violin solo on a cover of Little Richard's "Directly From My Heart to You" on Weasels, and his extended solo on the lengthy "Little House I Used To Live In" on Weeny are considered highlights of those albums.

Harris's struggles with substance abuse were to lead to his becoming erratic, not so much as a performer while on stage, but as a person whom it became increasing difficult to get on stage.

During the early 1970s, Sugarcane fronted the Pure Food and Drug Act which included drummer Paul Lagos, guitarists Harvey Mandel and Randy Resnick, and bassist Victor Conte, who was the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO).

In the 1980s, Sugarcane was a member of the Los Angeles-based experimental rock band Tupelo Chain Sex.

Harris died on November 30, 1999.


  • Don „Sugarcane“ Harris – 1970
  • Keep On Driving – 1971
  • Fiddler On The Rock – 1971
  • Choice Cuts – 1972
  • Sugar Cane’s Got The Blues – 1973
  • Keyzop – 1973
  • Cup Full Of Dreams – 1974
  • I’m On Your Case – 1974
  • Key Stop – 1975
  • Flashin' Time – 1976
  • Anthology Volume One – 2001


  • John Lee Hooker: Folk Blues – 1959
  • Little Richard: Little Richard is back – 1964
  • Johnny Otis: Cold Shot – 1969
  • John Mayall & Bluesbreakers: The Best of John Mayall – 1969
  • Frank Zappa: Hot Rats – 1969
  • The Mothers of Invention: Burnt Weeny Sandwich – 1970
  • The Mothers of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh – 1970
  • Frank Zappa: Chunga's Revenge – 1970
  • Little Richard: Well Alright! – 1970
  • Johnny Otis: Cuttin’ up – The Johnny Otis Show – 1971
  • Harvey Mandel: The Snake - 1972
  • Pure Food & Drug Act: Choice Cuts – 1972
  • New Violin Summit (with Jean-Luc Ponty, Michał Urbaniak, Nipso Brantner, Terje Rypdal, Wolfgang Dauner, Neville Whitehead, Robert Wyatt) - 1972
  • Ken Little: Solo - 1973
  • Harvey Mandel: Shangrenade - 1973
  • John Mayall: Ten Years Are Gone – 1973
  • John Lee Hooker: Born In Mississippi – 1973
  • Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee: Sonny & Brownie – 1973
  • Frank Zappa: Apostrophe (') – 1974
  • Don & Dewey: Don And Dewey – 1974
  • Spud: Happy Handful – 1975
  • John Mayall: New Year, New Band, New Company – 1975
  • John Mayall: Notice To Appear – 1975
  • John Mayall: Banquet In Blues – 1976
  • Billy Bang: Changing Seasons – 1980
  • Tupelo Chain Sex: Ja-Jazz – 1983
  • Tupelo Chain Sex: Spot The Difference – 1984
  • Don & Dewey: Bim Bam! – 1985
  • John Mayall: Archives To Eighties – 1988
  • Don & Dewey: Jungle Hop – 1991
  • John Mayall: Room To Move (1969–1974) – 1992
  • Freddie Roulette: Sweet Funky Steel – 1993
  • John Mayall: Cross Country Blues – 1994
  • Frank Zappa: The Lost Episodes – 1996

References and external links

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