Friday, June 24, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Barbra Streisand

Artist:Barbra Streisand
Album:Super Hits

Of course Barbra Streisand is one of the biggest stars of all time. She has been successful in movies, TV and music. But she started out on Broadway. So when she left Broadway in the 60s, it was a sad day on the Great White Way. The 1985 album The Broadway Album marked a return of sorts. It was surprising at the time because in the 70s, Barbra's hit singles were either film related like The Way We Were or Evergreen or she was recording contemporary pop like the disco song No More Tears with Donna Summer or You Don't Bring Me Flowers with Neil Diamond. Her most successful album of that era was the 1980 album Guilty produced by Barry Gibb and the number one hit Woman In Love. After that she directed and starred in the film Yentl. And then she recorded the 1984 album Emotion. That album was standard 80s pop. She worked with several producers including Maurice White, Richard Perry and Jim Steinman. The album was certified Platinum but it didn't do as well as her previous albums and there were no hit singles. Then she decided to return to recording show tunes for the 1985 album The Broadway Album. She got Stephen Sondheim to write additional lyrics for Send In The Clowns and Putting It Together. It was her first time recording this kind of music since the 60s and she worked with many of the same musicians. Somewhere from West Side Story was the first single from the album. It did well on the Adult Contemporary chart and that led to the album topping the Billboard Hot 200 and it was certified 4XPlatinum. Somewhere was produced by David Foster. And I guess the most notable thing about the record was the synthesizers played by Michael Boddicker and arranged by Randy Waldman. The main arranger on the album was Peter Matz who worked with Barbra in her early days. Somewhere is on this budget comp which is a good basic intro to Barbra's music. For a more comprehensive comp, check out the 2CD The Essential Barbra Streisand. And The Broadway Album is available as a budget CD. In 1988, Barbra recorded several songs for a second Broadway album with Rupert Holmes. But she wasn't happy with it and it was scrapped. After a few years concentrating on film, she released the 1993 album Back To Broadway. It didn't do as well as the first album. Barbra will release Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway in August. This is an album of Broadway duets with Anthony Newley, Hugh Jackman, Melissa McCarthy and others. Here's the video for Somewhere by Barbra Streisand.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Paige VanZant vs Bec Rawlings added to Aug. 27 UFC show

This morning, Paige VanZant appeared on ESPN's SportsCenter to announce that she will face Bec Rawlings at UFC on FOX 21 Aug. 21 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver. This match will probably air on the main card on FOX in the US and CTV2 in Canada. Paige has been getting a lot of attention recently for her run on Dancing With The Stars. I don't watch that show so I can't comment about it. Of course it raises the question among fans about whether Paige wants to be a fighter or something else. And then In May, Deadline Hollywood reported that Paige would join the cast of Kickboxer: Retaliation. That just added more fuel to the speculative fire. She decided not to do the movie and so now she is returning to the cage. The last time we saw Paige, she was getting clobbered by Rose Namajunas. She went a little too far into the deep end of the pool. Look, I was never convinced that Paige was much of a fighter anyway. Maybe she would be better off in acting. This fight against Bec might give us a better idea of where Paige is as a fighter. In March, Bec returned from a long injury layoff to win a close decision over Ham Seo Hee. Bec is mainly a striker with no ground game. I didn't see anything new from her in that fight. She was just marginally more effective than Ham. So I think Bec and Paige are at a similar level and whoever wins should be able to go up the ladder a bit unless one of them is dominant. But I don't expect that. This fight should go to a decision.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Doug E. Fresh

Artist:Doug E. Fresh f/Slick Rick
Song:The Show
Album:The Greatest Hits

As the original human beatbox, Doug E. Fresh was a key figure in the early days of rap. The Show is probably his biggest hit. Today he's considered a hip hop legend. He was born Douglas E. Davis Sept. 17, 1966 in Christ Church, Barbados but he grew up in Harlem, New York City. His first appearance was on the 1983 single Pass The Budda by Spoonie Gee. But what really got him noticed was his performance in the 1984 film Beat Street doing the human beatbox. He released a couple of one shot singles and then he signed as Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew with Reality Records. The first single was La Di Da Di with The Show on the B-side. MC Ricky D who would later go on to his own career as Slick Rick was the lead rapper on La Di Da Di. The problem was they had to go back and reedit that record to due an unauthorized sample. The original version of La Di Da Di doesn't exist. In the meantime, The Show was released as a single and it reached #4 on the R&B Singles chart. Of course it samples the theme from Inspector Gadget. This would turn out to be Doug E. Fresh's biggest hit single. Today it is praised as one of the building blocks of hip hop and it is frequently sampled by hip hop guys. MC Ricky D left soon after to launch his solo career as Slick Rick. Doug continued to record but he just didn't have the same success with other rappers. This comp CD which looks like it is an Amazon production, has all of Doug's hits. Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick reunited in 1995. Doug recorded for Island and Epic but he wasn't as successful. Doug E. Fresh still performs. He last recorded in 2007. But he says he's working on new music. I guess he's a nostalgia act at this point. Here's the video for The Show by Doug E. Fresh featuring Slick Rick.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Larry Carlton

Artist:Larry Carlton
Song:Smiles and Smiles To Go

Guitarist Larry Carlton was already a very successful studio musician when he decided to begin a solo career in the late 70s. He was very successful in the 80s with songs like Smiles and Smiles To Go. He was born Mar. 2, 1948 in Torrance, CA. He learned to play guitar as a child and got into jazz as a teen. His main influences are Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel and the classic Miles Davis album Kind Of Blue. He moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and he released his solo debut on UNI in 1968. Then he got into session work and he joined The Crusaders in 1971. Among the artists he worked with in the 70s were Helen Reddy, Barbra Streisand, Tom Scott, David Cassidy and Albert Hammond. He also got into film and TV work with Henry Mancini. Carlton's most significant performance from those days was his solo on Kid Charlemagne from the 1976 Steely Dan album The Royal Scam. Then Carlton released a couple of albums on Warner Bros. But what really launched Carlton as a solo artist was when the theme from the TV series Hill Street Blues became a top ten hit in 1980. Carlton played lead guitar. Carlton was also a member of the 80s band Fourplay. He moved to MCA in 1983. And Carlton had a lot of success in the 80s mostly on the jazz charts. Smiles and Smiles To Go is one of Carlton's most popular songs. It's from his 1986 album Alone/But Never Alone. On this album, Carlton plays acoustic guitar. Other musicians are Terry Trotter on keyboards, Abraham Laboriel on bass, Rick Marotta on drums and Michael Fisher on percussion. Smiles and Smiles To Go is on this 1988 budget comp. There is also a Collection Vol. 2 available. Carlton continued to record for MCA/GRP through the 90s. In recent years, Carlton has recorded on his own label 335 Records. He released a live album with David T. Walker last year. Carlton continues to tour as a leader and also with Fourplay. And he sells instructional videos on his website. Carlton has won numerous awards. He's one of those guys that even if you have never heard of him, You have heard him as he has played on so many records. Here's Larry Carlton performing Smiles and Smiles To Go at the 1990 Montreal Jazz Festival.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Alice Cooper

Artist:Alice Cooper
Song:School's Out
Album:Mascara & Monsters: The Best Of Alice Cooper

School's Out was the biggest hit for the band Alice Cooper. Later on Cooper would have success as a solo artist. And I think the blurred lines were confusing to fans. But Alice Cooper lead singer Vince Furnier knew the difference. He was born Feb. 4, 1948 in Detroit. His family moved to Phoenix and he attended high school there. His father and grandfather were preachers. So Alice Cooper grew up in church. 16 year old Furnier formed The Spiders in 1964 with guitarist Glen Buxton and bassist Dennis Dunaway, both future Alice Cooper members. They released a couple of singles that went nowhere and then they moved to Los Angeles where drummer Neal Smith joined the band. They wanted to call themselves Nazz. But Todd Rundgren was using that name. So they needed to find a new name. Furnier wanted to do horror movie tricks on stage. And he thought that having an innocuous name like Alice Cooper would add to the shock value. The band bought into this. At first it wasn't successful until they auditioned for Frank Zappa and he signed them to his Straight label. One of Zappa's other bands, the all girl group The GTOs, helped with the Alice Cooper look. They got a rep for stage antics including the infamous chicken incident in Toronto in 1969. The publicity helped but the band's Straight albums didn't sell. So for the 1970 album Love It To Death, Alice Cooper worked with veteran producer Bob Ezrin. They finally scored a hit with I'm Eighteen and Warner Bros. bought Alice Cooper's contract from Straight. And that's when Alice Cooper really became successful. School's Out reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in n1972. And of course the song became a huge anthem with kids. And they were still doing the horror movie stuff on stage. Furnier officially changed his name to Alice Cooper and he released his first solo album Welcome To My Nighmare in 1975. The other band members formed Billion Dollar Babies which didn't really pan out. This budget comp covers Alice Cooper's entire career. Cooper is still around. He released a live CD last year and he still tours. But I'm sure long time fans remember a time in the 70s when Alice Cooper was notorious. Just remember it was all an act. Here's Alice Cooper performing School's Out on Top Of The Pops 1972.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Analysis of Invicta FC 18 card

Today Invicta announced most of Invicta FC 18. It looks like there will be a couple more prelims to be added. The show will be July 29 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City. This will air on UFC Fight Pass. So that's the first disappointment. The original plan was to run in Las Vegas during International Fight Week. When that didn't work out, Invicta stupidly returned to Kansas City where MMA just doesn't draw. Of course the other problem is there are no title matches on this show. Cris Cyborg was supposed to be on this show but she recently was bitten by a spider so she's not available. They probably would have been better off delaying the show but maybe they can't do that contractually. The main event will have Mexican Alexa Grasso vs Jodie Esquibel for a Strawweight title shot. The last time we saw Alexa she beat MIZUKI in Feb. 2015. She has twice pulled out of fights with injuries. Cross your fingers, folks. Jodie recently failed to make TUF 23. She hasn't fought since Nov. 2014. She's OK but she's one of those dreaded points fighters and you all know I don't like points fighters. I think it's a weak main event. Alexa's teammate Irene Aldana will face Brazilian Talia Santos. This will be for a Bantamweight title shot which neither deserve. Irene just isn't anywhere near as good as her teammate Alexa. Talia has a fishy smell. She has a 13-0 record but most of those of those fights have been for Aspera Fighting Championships which is located in her home of Santa Catarina. Her record seems heavily padded. I don't know if she's any good and neither does Invicta. This bad habit of bringing in unproven Brazilian fighters for main card fights needs to stop. She should be on the prelims. It seems like a setup to hand Irene a title shot on a silver platter. I could be mistaken but it smells bad. Then you have Talia's teammate Claudia Rey vs Polish fighter Agnieszka Niedziewicz. Claudia's 6-0 record has padding similar to her teammate. She's never beaten a fighter with a winning record. She's unproven. Agnieszka is 7-0 mostly beating no name European fighters. This fight should be on the prelims. Then we have Cindy Dandois vs Jessamyn Duke. Both are very popular with Twitter fanboys but neither is very good. Megan Anderson will face Peggy Morgan. Megan seems to have improved since moving to the US from her home in Australia. She is probably the next opponent for Cris Cyborg. Most fans will remember Peggy from TUF 18. I didn't think she was any good on the show and I still don't like her. Manjit Kolekar will face Lynn Alvarez. Manjit is from India and she has fought mostly for Super Fight League. She's 8-0 but unproven otherwise. Lynn is 6-3 but those losses were to high profile fighters like Carla Esparza and Jessica Aguilar. I haven't been impressed with her. And Sijara Eubanks will face Amberlynn Orr. Amberlynn is making her pro debut after a lot of amateur experience. Sijara is 1-1. She won her pro debut on a 2015 Invicta show. I understand a couple more matches will be added to the prelims. I think there are too many unproven fighters on the main card.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Poison

Song:Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Album:The Best Of Poison: 20 Years Of Rock

Poison had success in the dying days of heavy metal before grunge took over in the early 90s. Every Rose Has Its Thorn was their only number one hit in 1989. Poison is from the Pittsburgh suburb of Mechanicsburg, PA. Lead singer Bret Michaels (real name-Bret Sychak), drummer Rikki Rockett (real name-Richard Ream) and bassist Bobby Dall (real name-Robert Kuykendall) had the band Paris in 1983. They decided to move to Los Angeles and change their name to Poison. Guitarist Matt Smith decided not to go with them. So they auditioned guitarists and hired C.C. Deville (real name-Bruce Johannesson) famously over future Guns 'N' Roses member Slash. One of the reasons Deville was chosen is he was into the glam thing that Poison wanted to do and Slash was uncomfortable with wearing makeup. Poison signed with Enigma Records with EMI Capitol distribution. Their debut album Look What The Cat Dragged In was released in 1986. The producer was Ric Browde who was into the glam thing. The album was certified 3XPlatinum and the single Talk Dirty To Me was a top ten hit. For the 1988 album Open Up and Say...Aah!, they worked with veteran hard rock producer Tom Werman. That album was even more successful. It was certified 5XPlatinum. The power ballad Every Rose Has Its Thorn would turn out to be Poison's only number one hit. Their 1990 album Flesh and Blood was certified 3XPlatinum and Unskinny Bop and Something To Believe In were top ten hits. Then they started to fade. They were having problems with Deville who was addicted to cocaine. After a Michaels vs Deville fight backstage at the 1991 MTV Music Awards, Deville was fired and replaced by Richie Kotzen. Their 1993 album Native Tongue did not sell well. the recording of their next album was interrupted by Michaels suffering serious injuries in a car crash. The album was shelved and they released a couple of new songs on a Greatest Hits CD. Deville returned in 1996. Poison remained the same and they continued to tour until 2012. You can get all their hits on the 2006 budget comp. Of course Michaels has been involved in acting and reality shows. He released a solo album in 2015. The other members of Poison now tour as The Special Guests. They play Poison songs but they don't have the right to use the name. Here's the video for Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Randa Markos vs Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger

Here's the match video of Randa Markos vs Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger from last night's UFC show in Ottawa. This fight aired on UFC Fight Pass. For her last fight, Randa trained at Tristar in Montreal. She says they tried to turn her into a more patient or cautious fighter. So she moved back to her home in Windsor and her old camp Michigan Top Team in Dearborn, MI led by former UFC fighter Daron Cruikshank. Randa is a wrestler who needs to improve her striking. Jocelyn is a former RFA champ who came to the UFC for a short notice fight against Tecia Torres in Dec. Jocelyn is mainly a striker and she trains at MMA Lab in Phoenix. The main thing I saw in that fight is that Jocelyn lacks quickness especially in counterpunching. There are things in MMA that can be improved or fixed. I don't think Jocelyn can improve her quickness in short order. I saw the same thing in this fight. The fight was mostly standing and Randa's striking was much quicker than Jocelyn. So did Randa improve her striking or is Jocelyn react too slowly. It's the same thing I saw in Jocelyn's first UFC fight. She's not quick enough for the UFC. And it's not a problem that will magically go away. Randa won by unanimous decision and I scored it 30-27 for Randa. The only thing that surprised me was that Randa didn't go for a lot of takedowns. I guess she figured out that her striking was good enough to win the fight. Enjoy the video!

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Joanne Calderwood vs Valerie Letourneau

Here's the match video of Joanne Calderwood vs Valerie Letourneau from last night's UFC show in Ottawa. This aired on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. This was the first UFC women's fight at 125lb. This is a weight class the UFC plans to start probably in 2017. Joanne says she asked matchmaker Sean Shelby if she could fight at 125 and the UFC agreed to it. And Valerie should never have to drop to 115 again. After much personal turmoil, Joanne moved from her home in Scotland to train at Tristar in Montreal. This was her first fight since that move. Valerie is a native of Montreal and she used to train at Tristar. She now trains at ATT in Florida. Plenty of folks praised her toughness in her title fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. But the only reason Joanna didn't finish Valerie is that Joanna broke her hand early in the fight. The story of this fight was the terrible performance by ref Jerin Velal. In round one, Joanne dropped Valerie with a spinning back elbow. I thought the fight should have been stopped right there as Valerie seemed to be out cold. Velal must have been out for a coffee because he missed it completely and the fight continued. His job is to protect the fighters and he failed. Even if Valerie was only out for a second, to allow the fight to continue is asking for brain damage. And for the rest of the fight, Valerie seemed to be in a fog. Velal even messed up in round three before he finally stopped the fight. If he had done his job, this fight never would have gone past the first knockdown. I know that Velal was trained by Big John McCarthy so I hope John goes over the fight with him. We can't have reffing like that. I was asked on Twitter last night about Valerie's top. If you watch the fight, you'll notice she adjusted it several times. And for the record, I noticed it at the time. And if you watch the other women's fight, Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger also had trouble with her top. This has been an ongoing problem with the Reebok tops. I guess they don't fit properly. For that reason, Julianna Pena and Michelle Waterson were allowed to wear non-Reebok tops. I know there have been complaints about ill fitting tops. You guys should know by now that I hear about everything that goes on. Obviously this is something that the UFC and Reebok need to rectify as it's a known issue. Congratulations to Joanne for the big win. It's too bad that the poor reffing and wardrobe problems overshadowed it. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John Klemmer

Artist:John Klemmer

Though he didn't know it at the time, today sax player John Klemmer is considered to be one of the pioneers of Smooth Jazz. The 1975 album Touch is probably his most successful album. He was born July 3, 1946 in Chicago. He started out playing guitar as a child and then switched to alto sax. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and Interlochen's National Music Camp and he played in local clubs. Upon graduating from high school, Klemmer signed with Chess and he recorded several albums for Cadet Records. Some of these albums were early efforts of jazz rock fusion. Klemmer was urged by Eddie Harris to take up the electronic sax. In 1968, Klemmer moved to Los Angeles and he was a key soloist and arranger for Don Ellis' big band. Then he signed with ABC Records in 1970. After recording four albums for Impulse, Klemmer convinced ABC to let him record commercial jazz so he could cross over to pop and R&B. What Klemmer tended to do was he would alternate albums of commercial jazz with more adventurous jazz. He wrote and produced all his own music so he knew what he was doing. The 1975 album Touch was so successful that what would later be called Smooth Jazz was called "Touch" music. The musicians on Touch were all Smooth Jazz pioneers including Dave Grusin on piano, Larry Carlton on guitar, Chuck Domanico on bass, John Guerin on drums and Emil Richards and Joe Porcaro on percussion. The success of Klemmer's music set the stage for the success of Smooth Jazz. Touch is available as a budget CD. When MCA bought ABC in 1978, they only wanted Klemmer to record commercial jazz. So he left MCA and recorded the 1979 album Nexus for Arista's Novus label. Then he signed with Elektra. Eventually he returned to MCA and Grusin's GRP label. Now Klemmer seems to be semi-retired. He recorded his most recent album on his own label in 1998. And though he occasionally performs in Los Angeles, he doesn't seem to tour anymore. But he was certainly a big deal in the 70s. Here's John Klemmer performing Touch probably in the late 70s.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Carol Robbins

Artist:Carol Robbins

The harp is not an instrument that most folks would associate with jazz. It's mainly a classical instrument. A few years ago I wrote about pioneering jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby. Carol Robbins is one of her students and Carol now works as a session musician. And she has also recorded a few CDs as a leader. Carol was born in Chicago but she grew up in Los Angeles. She learned to play piano as a child. At age ten, she began to study the harp and Dorothy Ashby accepted her as a student. Carol's mentor in jazz is veteran pianist Billy Childs. She is a member of his band Jazz Chamber Ensemble. Carol has recorded with The Manhattan Transfer, Dianne Reeves, Brian Wilson, Boz Scaggs and most recently Carmen Lundy. And she is an in demand session musician for film and TV work. Carol has recorded four CDs on her own label Jazzcats. Moraga is her latest CD from 2012. It's straight ahead jazz with Billy Childs on piano, Larry Koonse on guitar, Gary Meek on soprano sax, Darek Oles on bass and Gary Novak on drums. Carol wrote most of the songs on the album. When Carol is not in the recording studio, she tours with Billy Childs. She appeared on his very successful 2014 CD Map To The Treasure: Imagining Laura Nyro. Here's a video for Moraga by Carol Robbins. Many thanks to for the Carol Robbins bio. Check them out for more on jazz harpists.