Thursday, April 24, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Teddy Wilson

Artist:Teddy Wilson f/Benny Goodman
Song:If I Had You
Album:Nice Work If You Can Get It

So I am featuring this CD for Benny Goodman fanatics who collect all his recordings. Though this CD is credited to Teddy Wilson, half of it is from a Benny Goodman live recording that doesn't appear in Goodman's discography. Off labels like Laserlight will do stuff like that though the recordings are valuable to fans. Of course pianist Teddy Wilson is probably the greatest sideman of all time and he is best known for his work with Goodman. If I Had You was written by Irving King (British songwriters Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly) and Ted Shapiro for the 1929 film Our Modern Maidens. It is not to be confused with the Irving Berlin song also titled If I Had You. Wilson recorded If I Had You in 1937 and then he arranged it for the Goodman band. The song is a jazz standard. Wilson still toured with Goodman in the 80s and the recordings on this CD were from a 1982 Washington, DC concert. But they have never been on a Goodman album. The musicians are probably the same ones that are on the video; Eddie Duran on guitar, Al Obidenski on bass and John Markham on drums. But that's just one half of the CD. The other half is from a 1976 Black & White Records album Three Little Words. This has Teddy Wilson on piano, Milt Hinton on bass and Oliver Jackson on drums and was recorded in Nice, France. Fortunately this CD is available as a budget CD. It is mainly recommended to Benny Goodman fans who collect all his recordings as they are only available on this CD and are not listed in Goodman's discography. So why did Laserlight release these Goodman recordings this way? There are only six songs, not enough to fill a CD. And they owned Three Little Words. That's why I am always very careful with off labels. They will do all kinds of weird things. Here's Teddy Wilson with Benny Goodman performing If I Had You at the Aurex Jazz Festival in Yokohama, Japan Sept. 7, 1980.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Babyface

Song:Every Time I Close My Eyes
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Babyface

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds was the most successful record producer of the 90s. He wrote and produced many hits for many different artists. His own singing career almost seems like a sidebar. But he had five top ten pop hits including Every Time I Close My Eyes in 1997. He was a regular on the R & B charts. Edmonds was born Apr. 10, 1959 in Indianapolis. His brothers Kevon and Melvin Edmonds had the successful group After 7. Edmonds started out in Bootsy Collins' band. Collins gave him the name Babyface. He was in the 70s group Manchild. They recorded two albums. Edmonds joined The Deele in 1981 and that's where he met Antonio "LA" Reid. The Deele recorded three albums for Dick Griffey's Solar Records and Edmonds recorded two solo albums. In 1989, Edmonds and Reid left The Deele to start LaFace Records. Probably Edmonds biggest success as a producer was Toni Braxton. But he wrote and produced for Boyz II Men, TLC, Whitney Houston and many others. Edmonds finally released the solo album For The Cool In You in 1993 on Epic Records. When Can I See You reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. His 1996 album The Day did even better. It was certified 2XPlatinum. Every Time I Close My Eyes was one of two top ten pop hits from that album. You'll notice that Mariah Carey performs backup vocals. But they seem like an afterthought. And Kenny G is credited with a sax solo that doesn't appear on the video but he does appear on other versions of the song. This song was Edmonds' final top ten pop hit. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. He was so busy as a producer that singing was always going to take a back seat. Edmonds currently has his own label SodaPop and he recently released the CD Love, Marriage & Divorce with Toni Braxton on Motown. He continues to produce other artists and will tour in June.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

VV Mei swallows pride, signs with DEEP JEWELS

VV Mei, Yukiko Seki
DEEP JEWELS announced today that VV Mei has signed and will fight Yukiko Seki on the May 18 Shinjuku FACE show. This is a major concession as Mei obviously wanted to remain freelance. Of course she has fought for JEWELS before. And despite the name change to DEEP JEWELS, it's still owned by DEEP. It always was owned by DEEP. The big difference is they won't hire freelancers anymore. Mei tried to get around signing a contract with DEEP JEWELS by taking fights in Guam and the Philippines. But she lost both fights so now her choices are limited. So why is DEEP JEWELS insisting fighters sign contracts? Because they want to prevent them from working for PANCRASE. Of course the ironic thing is that Emi Fujino is under DEEP JEWELS contract which got her a deal with WSOF who has a working relationship with PANCRASE. Uhhhh. Mei is now training at Riki Fukuda's offshoot of Grabaka. Her opponent Yukiko Seki has been around for years. She's 43 years old and has a record of 12-23. She's smaller than Mei and this fight will be at 48kg. Mei should win. DEEP JEWELS Flyweight Champion Ham Seo Hee will be an interested observer as Mei is a potential challenger. Ham will be kickboxing on this show. The dirty old men will be happy. And last week DEEP JEWELS added some filler matches like Ayaka Miura vs British fighter Ella Wu. Both are making their pro debuts. I saw a pic of Ella. The dirty old men will like her too. Tomo Maesawa will face Brittany Decker. Brittany is an American who has trained in Japan for a few years at WK Hearts. This will be her pro debut. And Shiori Hori will face Maya Dobashi. Several fighters tweeted today that DEEP has closed their gym in Tokyo. I'm not exactly sure what that means. My guess is DEEP is tight for money and are scaling back. I've said for the last year that DEEP JEWELS should close and be folded into DEEP. Maybe they will do that to save money.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Angelique Kidjo

Artist:Angelique Kidjo f/Henri Salvador
Song:Le Monde Comme un Bebe

Angelique Kidjo has been hailed by Time Magazine as Africa's premier diva. Though she was born in the west African country of Benin, Angelique has lived in Paris since the 80s and usually writes all her songs with husband Jean Hebrail. She has performed and recorded with a lot of different artists. On this particular song, she is performing with legendary French singer Henri Salvador. Angelique was born on July 14, 1960 in Cotonou, Benin. As a child, she performed in her mother's theater troupe. After recording an album at home, political pressure forced Angelique to move to Paris in 1983. While she was studying music at the Paris school CIM, she met and married musician Jean Hebrail. She recorded three albums as lead singer of the jazz rock group Pili Pili. She left to go solo and signed with Island Records in 1989. Among those who have appeared on her albums are Branford Marsalis, Manu Dibango, Carlos Santana, Cassandra Wilson, Kelly Price, Kenny Kirkland, Gilberto Gil, Dave Matthews, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Peter Gabriel, Ziggy Marley, Dianne Reeves, Bono, John Legend, Roy Hargrove, Lionel Loueke, Christian McBride and most recently Dr. John. So you may not have heard of Angelique Kidjo but all these musicians like her enough to record with her. She has a great voice. Oyaya! was released in 2004 and was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. Angelique and husband Hebrail wrote all the songs and the music is a mix of her African roots with Latin elements. French singing legend Henri Salvador appears on Le Monde Comme un Bebe. He has been a big deal in France since the 50s but is otherwise unknown. Salvador was 86 years old in 2004. He died in 2008. Angelique's latest CD Eve was released on 429 Records in January. She has been working a lot lately with jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke who was also born in Benin. She is currently touring Europe and will begin a US tour in June. Here's Angelique Kidjo and Henri Salvador performing Le Monde Comme un Bebe on the TV5 show Acoustic in Paris Nov. 2004.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Review of WWE Total Divas Season 2 Episode 5

The big story on this week's episode of WWE Total Divas is the marriage of Trinity McCray and Jon Fatu Jr. The other two storylines could best be described as recycled dreck from season one. It seems that the general consensus of the Total Divas cast is Nattie Neidhart is a prude. She doesn't even know what doggie style is. So Ariane thinks that the weirdo sex therapist she and Vincent saw last year could help Nattie and husband TJ Wilson. Nattie and TJ aren't so sure but they agree to see her. Meanwhile Trinity and Jon have been engaged for two years and Trinity wants to get married. They will do it in Hawaii. Trinity wants Jon's dad Rikishi to come but Jon's not so sure. They aren't that close. Remember Rikishi was on the road when Jon was growing up. He didn't see him that much. So they approach Rikishi when he was on RAW in Baltimore and he agrees to go to the wedding. Meanwhile in Tampa, Eva Marie is having female plumbing problems. Husband Jonathan takes her to the hospital. This is very similar to when Ariane got sick last year. The big issue is she is estranged from her parents because of Jonathan. She's afraid to call her mom. But Jonathan calls her and forces Eva to talk to her. They come and praise Jonathan for taking care of her. Maybe he's a good guy...or maybe they overreacted. The scene with the sex therapist and Nattie and TJ is really weird. They claim she helped them by getting them to try role playing and spice up their sex life. It seemed phony to me and recycled from last year. When the wedding party arrives in Hawaii, the only person missing is Rikishi. Jon's mom and the rest of the family is there. Jon finally tells Trinity that Rikishi isn't coming. She wants to know if it is because she's black. It's a fair question. But Jon's twin brother and tag team partner Joshua says that isn't the reason. He says the rest of the family is here and they support the two of them. The wedding goes on without a hitch. Trinity's dad sees her in her wedding dress and starts bawling. That was a great scene and the wedding was the best thing so far on season two of WWE Total Divas. I predict there will be another wedding later this season. Yeah, I know it's a safe prediction. Enjoy the video!
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AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Carrie Underwood

Artist:Carrie Underwood
Song:Don't Forget To Remember Me
Album:Some Hearts

Carrie Underwood is probably the most successful American Idol winner. Her 2005 debut CD Some Hearts was a huge seller with five big hits including Don't Forget To Remember Me. Her record sales have steadily decreased and at some point she may have to change things up to get back on top. I'm not sure she has that in her. She was born Mar. 10, 1983 in Muskogee, OK. She sang at local events and one of her admirers took her to Nashville to audition for Capitol Records when she was 14 years old. They were going to offer her a contract when company management changed and then nothing happened. So she gave up on singing and earned a BA in mass communications at Northeastern State University. She had various jobs and performed occasionally and entered beauty pageants. In the summer of 2004, she auditioned for American Idol in St. Louis. AI judge Simon Cowell not only predicted that Carrie would win but that she would outsell previous Idol winners. And according to the AI producers, Carrie won season four easily. It wasn't even close. So then she went into the studio to record Some Hearts with Rascal Flatts producer Mark Bright and session guitarist Dann Huff producing. The first single Jesus, Take The Wheel topped the Country Singles chart. That is probably her signature song. Don't Forget To Remember Me was the third single from Some Hearts. It reached #2 on the Country Singles chart. It was written by Morgane Hayes, Kelley Lovelace and Ashley Gorley. Morgane Hayes is a backup singer who was on Some Hearts. Kelley Lovelace usually writes with Brad Paisley. Ashley Gorley has written two other Carrie Underwood hits. The next single Before He Cheats crossed over to the pop top ten. Some Hearts was certified 7XPlatinum. To date it's her most successful album. Carrie Underwood has continued her success with several number one country hits. I noticed her album sales have decreased steadily. Her 2012 CD Blown Away sold just over a million copies as opposed to over seven million for Some Hearts. She's working on a new album for a 2014 release. Maybe she needs a new producer. She still works with Mark Bright. I also noticed she is writing more of her own songs. Maybe she isn't a very good songwriter. If sales keep decreasing, something will have to be done. Maybe she wants to do more acting. Carrie recently starred in the NBC production of the musical The Sound Of Music. She is married to NHL player Mike Fisher. She is also a big animal rights activist. Recently it was reported that she is the highest paid American Idol alumni at $31M. But I wonder if she is concerned about those declining sales numbers. Time will tell. I think she's a pretty good singer who could take more chances with her music. That's a hard thing to do when you're that successful. Here's the video for Don't Forget To Remember Me by Carrie Underwood. Carrie's mom appears in the video.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Miesha Tate vs Liz Carmouche

Here's the fight video of Miesha Tate vs Liz Carmouche from last night's UFC show in Orlando. There was a lot of whining after this fight that Liz got jobbed by the judges as all three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Miesha. I wasn't impressed with either of them and I scored the fight a draw. Miesha came out in round one like she was in a fog or something. And though Liz won the first round 10-9, she needed to be more aggressive. Getting a takedown is one thing but she needed to be more active on top and she wasn't. That's why the fans were booing. And Liz's trainer Manny Hernandez told her between rounds to be more aggressive and that Florida judges are weird. He told her the right thing but she didn't listen. Round two started like round one with Liz getting a takedown. But with about two minutes left in the round, Miesha managed to get Liz in a very poorly applied guillotine choke. Joe Rogan oversold it as usual. And it appears the judges liked it too as they all scored the round 10-9 for Miesha. I thought they gave Miesha way too much credit for the guillotine. At the very least, the round should have been scored 10-10. But I scored round two 10-9 for Liz. She had control for most of the round. But as Manny told her, she wasn't aggressive enough. Liz needed to do more than sit on Miesha. Miesha finally woke up in round three and was completely in charge with a rear naked choke attempt. I thought she won the round 10-8. So my score was a draw. I don't think either of them did enough to win. So how did all the judges score it 29-28 for Miesha? As I have said many times, judges are very reluctant to score rounds 10-10 or 10-8. That's why we get weird decisions sometimes. Should round two and three have both been scored 10-9 for Miesha? Of course not. Round three was a much bigger round for Miesha. But they scored those rounds the same. It's ridiculous. I don't think either of them deserved a win. But judges are told not to deliver a draw. Miesha is already talking about fighting Sarah Kaufman in Vancouver in June. That will probably happen. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Boyz II Men

Artist:Boyz II Men
Song:End Of The Road
Album:End Of The Road: The Collection

Boyz II Men was one of the most popular groups of the 90s. End Of The Road was their first number one pop hit in 1992. They started out as Unique Attraction when they started out in a Philadelphia high school led by Nathan Morris and Marc Nelson. Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman joined the group. One day they were practicing in the high school bathroom and Michael McCary walked in and started singing with them. He joined the group. The obvious influence on the group was the teen R & B vocal group New Edition. So they named themselves Boyz II Men after a New Edition song. Their big break came when they sneaked backstage at a New Edition concert and auditioned for Michael Bivins. He was just starting his own production company and got Boyz II Men a deal with Motown. Before they could record, Nelson left to go solo. He would have success with the group Az Yet. Boyz II Men had success with their first single Motownphilly. Critics complained that Boyz II Men sounded too much like New Edition. Bivins says that was deliberate. He wanted them to appeal to New Edition fans. So the first Boyz II Men album Cooleyhighharmony was very successful. While on tour, Boyz II Men returned to the studio briefly to record End Of The Road for the 1992 Eddie Murphy film Boomerang. The song was written and produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 13 weeks. Originally End Of The Road was only on the Boomerang soundtrack and later added as a bonus track to a reissue of Cooleyhighharmony. Then they changed management from Bivins to Edmonds. Boyz II Men's other number one hits were I'll Make Love To You and On Bended Knee in 1994 and 4 Seasons of Loneliness in 1997. What all these songs had in common was they were all weepy ballads and they are all on this British budget comp. Boyz II Men started having problems with Motown over the CD The Remix Collection which they were against releasing. There were also some health problems. They started their own label and tried to leave Motown but couldn't. They did leave after the 2000 CD Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya didn't sell. They signed with Arista for the 2002 CD Full Circle and reunited with Edmonds. But the CD didn't sell and McCary retired due to health problems. Boyz II Men is now a trio. Their latest CD Twenty was released in 2011. They have a permanent home at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. They appeared on a recent episode of How I Met Your Mother. Here's the video for End Of The Road by Boyz II Men.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Switch

Song:There'll Never Be
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Switch

Switch was an R & B band that bounced around quite a bit before having success with Motown in the late 70s. There'll Never Be was their 1978 debut single and their biggest hit. At first they were Barry White's backup band White Heat with Greg Williams, Eddie Fluellen, drummer Jody Sims, Phillip Ingram (James Ingram's brother) and Bobby Debarge. Except for Debarge, they were all from Ohio. Debarge was from Grand Rapids, MI. And except for Sims, they all sang, wrote songs and played various instruments. White Heat recorded a 1975 album for RCA but then White closed his production company. They changed their name to Hot Ice. By this time, Bobby Debarge's brother Tommy Debarge joined to play bass. Hot Ice recorded a 1977 album for German producer Bernd Lichters that was only released in Germany. The band got the attention of Jermaine Jackson and changed their name to Switch. Jackson's wife Hazel Gordy got them a deal with Motown. Jackson produced Switch's 1978 debut album with Motown house producer Michael B. Sutton. There'll Never Be was the first single. It reached #6 on the R & B Singles chart and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written and sung by Bobby Debarge. Switch recorded five albums for Motown and had three top ten R & B singles. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. The Debarge brothers left to form Debarge with their siblings in 1981. Phillip Ingram left to go solo and has had a long career as a session singer. Switch brought in new members and after recording a 1984 album, they split up. Bobby Debarge died in 1995. Williams, Fluellen and Ingram reformed Switch in 2003. They toured for a few years but it looks like they disbanded as they closed their website. Here's Switch performing There'll Never Be on Soul Train 1978.

Friday, April 18, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Rebecca Luker

Artist:Rebecca Luker
Song:Falling In Love With Love
Album:The Boys From Syracuse: 1997 Original New York Recording

Rebecca Luker is a Broadway veteran and has been nominated for three Tony awards. This recording of The Boys From Syracuse was a one time revival in 1997 as part of the New York City Center Encores! series. Rebecca has been  a regular of that series. She was born Apr. 17, 1961 in Helena, AL. She earned a BA in music the University of Montevallo and performed in the 1984 Michigan Opera Theater production of Sweenet Todd. Rebecca moved to New York and was Sarah Brightman's understudy and eventual replacement in the 1888 production of Phantom of the Opera. Other Broadway roles include The Secret Garden, Show Boat, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Nine and Mary Poppins. She has been nominated for three Tony awards. Encores! is a series of concerts of Broadway musical scores that The New York City Center has produced since 1994. The Boys From Syracuse was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and was first produced in 1938. As I said, this was a one time performance released on CD by DRG Records. These kind of studio cast recordings are available and Rebecca Luker has appeared on plenty of them. Rebecca also performs in clubs and has released a few CDs. The latest is a Jerome Kern tribute CD. And she had a recurring role in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. She was in the 2013 Broadway revival of the show Passion and she is currently touring to promote her new CD. Here's Rebecca Luker performing Falling In Love With Love on the 1998 PBS special My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies hosted by Julie Andrews.