Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Song:There Once Was A Man
Album:Harry On Broadway Act 1
Harry Connick Jr. made his name as a singer who sounds like Frank Sinatra. But he's more diverse than that. And for this 2006 Broadway revival of the musical The Pajama Game, the inexperienced Connick wisely chose veteran Broadway performer Kelli O'Hara as his co-star. He knew she could carry him. Connick was born Sept. 11, 1967 in New Orleans. his father was a Louisiana Supreme Court justice. Connick was a child prodigy on the piano and he signed with Columbia Records in 1988. Connick became famous when he performed several songs in the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally. And he made his acting debut in the 1990 film Memphis Belle. Since then, Connick has recorded many different styles of music very successfully. In 2000, he wrote the score for the Broadway musical Thou Shalt Not and he starred in a TV production of the musical South Pacific with Glenn Close. So now he has the itch to appear on Broadway. After he finished filming the 2007 film Bug, Connick starred in a revival of the musical The Pajama Game. His co-stars were Kelli O'Hara and Michael McKean. The show opened on Feb. 23, 2006 and closed on June 17, 2006. It was supposed to be a short run. Connick is so busy he could never do a year long run. The original cast recording of Pajama Game was released on the 2CD set Harry On Broadway. The Second CD is Connick's show Thou Shalt Not also co-starring Kelli O'Hara. Let's just say that Kelli adds a lot of value to these shows. The CD was nominated for a Grammy. Connick returned to Broadway in the 2011 revival of On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. The show only ran for a month. And as I'm sure you know, Connick will be a judge on the new season of American Idol. Doesn't he have enough going on already? Here's Harry Connick Jr. and Kelli O'Hara performing there once Was A Man on Today Feb. 14, 2006.
Monday, December 09, 2013
This is probably the first episode of WWE Total Divas where all three major storylines seem to be based in real life instead of at least one being phony. The first big storyline is The Bella Twins are bickering as usual. The subject is that Nikki Bella has been out with an ankle injury for five months and Brie starts to think that she won't return. Brie has a shot at the WWE Divas Championship coming up at Night Of Champions. She says she never thought she would get that chance. But she has actually held the title a couple of times. Not all of us have short memories. I guess it's more dramatic this way. I believe this storyline because these two idiots bicker about everything. Next we have a big crisis at Nattie Neidhart's house. Her beloved cat Gismo collapsed and she rushes home to take him to the vet. The vet tells her he suffered a stroke and the best course of action is to put him to sleep so he doesn't suffer. A pet dying is very traumatic and in addition Nattie's husband TJ Wilson is returning to the ring after a serious knee injury. TJ is so upset about Gismo, he's thinking about delaying his return. Trinity McCray of The Funkadactyls is doing a photoshoot for Jet Magazine. That's a big deal for her. But fiancee Jon Fatu Jr. doesn't want her to pose in a bikini. Both Trinity and Jet veto that. And she is told by Mark of Talent Relations that the WWE is planning on doing a romance angle with Trinity after Night Of Champions. So TJ returns to the ring in a dark match against NXT champ Bo Dallas. He is one of two sons of retired WWE wrestler Mike Rotundo who now works backstage in the WWE. His other son is Bray Wyatt. TJ and Nattie return home to say goodbye to Gismo. Of course it's very sad but regular folks have to do this too and I thought TJ and Nattie handled it very well. This has been my favourite Total Divas storyline to date. The Bella Twins are still bickering and Nikki and Eva Marie are to accompany Brie to the ring at Night Of Champions in Detroit. But plans change and the WWE decides not to have them do that. And they have also told The Bella Twins that they may split them up and have them feud. The girls don't want that. They did tease a split on TV but didn't go through with it. I would like to see a split and see how it affects their behaviour. WWE Talent Relations tells Trinity that Jon nixed the romance angle. Trinity is pissed. She goes to Brodus Clay (George Murdoch) for advice and he tells her to confront Jon. And she does. He admits he is jealous about Trinity kissing another guy even in a storyline. But she tells him this is business and they are actors and he should trust her. She wants the TV time and he shouldn't jeopardize that. Jon apologizes and they do make up. But I doubt he has learned his lesson. I liked Trinity before but now I really like her. She's a badass. The episode ends with TJ bringing home a kitten that looks remarkably like Gismo. Nattie is delighted and dresses him up. That was a great ending. Next week is the season finale of WWE Total Divas and the teaser at the end of this video is a must watch. No spoilers from me. Enjoy the video!
WWE - Total Divas - Season 01 - Episode 13... by wwetotaldivas
WWE - Total Divas - Season 01 - Episode 13... by wwetotaldivas
I'm sure you have heard that Holly Holm won her fight on Saturday by unanimous decision over Angela Hayes. The fight was promoted by her manager Lenny Fresquez. Tristin Critchfield of Sherdog was at the show and did video interviews with Holly, her trainer Mike Winklejohn and Fresquez. The interviews with Holly and Winklejohn are pretty standard. But in his interview, Fresquez says he wants a six figure UFC contract for Holly or she will keep fighting tomato cans in Palookaville. OK I have to stop laughing now. Obviously Holly is a former boxing champ and she has star potential as an MMA fighter. But I think her future is questionable as long as this bumbling idiot manages her. The UFC has said that they have already made inquiries about Holly and have been told she isn't ready. And she won't be ready as long as she is facing mediocre competition. At least in Invicta or the UFC, she would face a higher level of competition. That's what she needs to improve. Apparently, Fresquez doesn't want that. I've seen managers attempt this kind of strategy before. It doesn't work and it makes him a laughing stock. Fresquez did announce that in March, Holly will face Brazilian fighter Juliana Werner in a Legacy FC championship match. I would describe Juliana as unknown as opposed to suspect. It's actually similar to how Japanese promoters use foreign fighters sometimes. Bring in an unknown and because no one has seen her, it can't be said that she isn't qualified. Juliana has a 7-3 record but two of her losses were to Vanessa Porto. One of those fights where she was choked out in 30 seconds is on Youtube. She made her MMA debut in 2005 and then took a five year break and returned in 2011. She hasn't lost since her return but she hasn't beaten anyone with a winning record. And all her fights have been at 125lb. I see this a lot in Brazil. There are a lot of female fighters there but a good number of them aren't very good. It can be difficult to identify the elite fighters because the general talent level isn't high. Of course it's ludicrous that someone who hasn't fought outside Brazil is getting a title shot. But I guess Fresquez doesn't care if Holly ever fights a credible opponent under his watch. Check out the video.
Song:Be Deedle Dee Do
Album:Takin' It There
Graham Dechter is normally the guitarist for The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. But he has branched off and recorded two solo albums that will be of interest to jazz guitar fans. Dechter is from Los Angeles and he started playing guitar at five years of age. His father Brad Dechter is a composer and arranger who has worked for Johnny Mathis and Barbra Streisand and on plenty of film scores. Dechter's influences lean more towards old school guitarists like Wes Montgomery and Barney Kessel. As a teen, Dechter trained with Marshall Hawkins at the Idylwild Arts Academy and attended the Eastman School of Music. At age 19, he joined The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and has toured with them ever since. They are one of the top big bands in the US. In 2009, Dechter signed as a solo artist with Capri Records and has released two solo albums. And his bosses are very supportive and play on both CDs. John Clayton plays bass and also wrote the CD liner notes and Jeff Hamilton is on drums. Tamir Hendelman is on piano. Dechter's version of the Barney Kessel song Be Deedle Dee Do is from his latest CD Takin' It There released in 2012. Jazz guitar fans should check it out. Graham Dechter is only 27 years old so I'm sure we will hear more from him in the future. Here's Graham Dechter performing Be Deedle Dee Do San Pedro, CA 2012.
Sunday, December 08, 2013
|Barb Honchak punches Leslie Smith|
Album:Hard To Find 45s On CD Vol. 9: 1957-1959
The husband wife team of Art & Dotty Todd were a lounge act in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. But they had a top ten hit with Chanson D'Amour in 1958. This was at a time when Rock 'N' Roll was taking over but a lot of radio stations preferred the pop music of the early 50s. And that's how oddball hits like this were born. Dotty Todd was born Doris Dabb June 22, 1913 in Elizabeth, NJ. She learned to play piano as a child and gave a piano recital at Carnegie Hall in New York at age 13. Guitarist Art Todd was born Mar. 11, 1914 in Baltimore. They met when both were accidently booked to play the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, RI. They married in 1941. After WWII, they moved to Los Angeles and settled in playing clubs. They were known as a lounge act. They recorded for RCA in the early 50s and their 1953 recording of Simple Wings was a top ten hit in England. In 1958 they were the house act at the Chapman Park Hotel in Los Angeles. Songwriter Wayne Shanklin approached Art Todd and gave him Chanson D'Amour. Shanklin co-wrote the 1951 Frankie Laine hit Jezebel and the 1959 Jerry Wallace hit Primrose Lane. The Todds recorded a demo and sold it to Herb Newman's Era Records. As I said, at that time some DJs hated Rock 'N' Roll and jumped all over Chanson D'Amour. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. The Fontane Sisters version of Chanson D'Amour was released at the same time and reached #12. The Lettermen had a hit with it in 1966 and The Manhattan Transfer did well in Europe with their 1977 recording of Chanson D'Amour. Danny Boyle used the Art & Dotty Todd recording of Chanson D'Amour in his 2013 film Trance. You can get it on this various artists comp from Era Records. Art & Dotty Todd never had another hit. But they continued to play clubs in Los Angeles and then Las Vegas until they moved to Honolulu in 1980 and opened their own club. Dotty Todd died on Dec. 12, 2000 at age 87 and Art Todd died on Oct. 10, 2007 at age 93. Here's a video of Chanson D'Amour by Art & Dotty Todd.
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Here's the match video of Julie Kedzie vs Bethe Correia from last night's UFC show in Brisbane, Australia. In addition to foreign fans who didn't get to see the show, there were transmission problems with Fox Sports 1 in the US. So I think a lot of fans didn't get to see the first half of the fight. Though Julie Kedzie is a women's MMA pioneer and a veteran fighter, she hasn't finished a fight in a long time. So I expected this to be a close fight. Round one was a very hard round to score because neither fighter did much. Bethe is stronger so Julie's strategy was to keep her on the outside. But she generated very little offense. And at least Bethe landed a couple of hard punches and then a takedown at the end of the round. So I scored it 10-9 for Bethe though one never knows how judges will score rounds like this. Julie was busier in round two and she was more effective. So I scored it 10-9 for Julie. Both corners are telling each fighter that she won the first two rounds. I don't know why they would do that. I think it was too close to tell them that. I thought Bethe won round three 10-9. She was more effective in that round. But I said right after the fight that I expected a split decision. Two judges scored it 29-28 for Bethe and one judge scored it 29-28 for Julie. Bethe Correia wins her UFC debut. I scored it 29-28 for Bethe but I don't think either fighter did enough to win decisively. After the fight, Julie Kedzie announced her retirement. I assume her UFC contract was up. She says the decision to retire was made before the fight. She will continue to work at Jackson's MMA. I'm glad she got to fight in the UFC as she can use that experience to help others. But the UFC probably wasn't going to renew her contract anyway. Check out the match video for yourself.
Darius Rucker seemed to disappear after Hootie and the Blowfish faded in the 90s. But he has found his calling in country music. Wagon Wheel is his biggest hit to date as a solo artist. Rucker was born May 13, 1966 in Charleston, SC and grew up singing in church. He became famous as lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish. When the band faded, Rucker recorded an R & B album for the band's label Atlantic. When they decided not to release it, Rucker signed with Hidden Beach Recordings. They bought the masters and released it as Back To Then in 2002. The CD was produced by Vidal Davis who also produced Jill Scott who was on Hidden Beach at the time. After the CD didn't sell, Rucker seemed to disappear though you may recall seeing him in a 2005 Burger King commercial. He signed with Capitol Records in 2008. His producer is Frank Rogers who also produces Brad Paisley. Rucker's first single Don't Think I Don't Think About It was the first top 20 country hit for a black artist since Charley Pride in 1988. The CD Learn To Live was certified Gold and there were three number one country singles. Rucker won the 2009 CMA New Artist of the Year award. With his latest CD True Believers, Rucker has continued his success. Wagon Wheel is his biggest hit to date. It topped the Country Singles chart and reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bob Dylan wrote the chorus for Wagon Wheel while writing the music for the 1973 film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. He didn't finish the song and it was not released. But it did appear on bootleg LPs as Rock Me Mama. Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show wrote verses for the song and retitled it Wagon Wheel. Rucker knew the song and decided to record it after hearing it played by his daughter's high school band at a talent show. He announced Wagon Wheel's release at the Grand Ole Opry when he performed it with OCMS. He also performed it on the recent CMA Awards broadcast. Rucker will begin 2014 on tour to promote True Believers. Here's the video for Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker. Appearing in the video are the cast of the popular reality show Duck Dynasty and Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum who sing backup vocals on the record. And I think the band is Old Crow Medicine Show.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Album:The Concord Jazz Heritage Series
Fans of jazz guitar will be familiar with Barney Kessel. He started out as a sideman in the 40s and first recorded as a leader in the 50s. This CD represents recordings from the 70s and 80s with Concord Jazz. He was highly respected by fans and musicians. He was born Oct. 17, 1923 in Muskogee, OK. Kessel started out as a teen touring with local dance bands. His first major gig was in Chico Marx's band. Kessel moved to Los Angeles and was in the 1944 film Jammin' The Blues featuring Lester Young. He played with Charlie Parker in 1947. In 1952, he was the guitarist in Oscar Peterson's trio. Kessel left in 1953 and signed with Contemporary Records. Many of Kessel's 50s recordings were in a trio most frequently with Ray Brown on bass and Shelly Manne on drums. He also recorded and toured with singer Anita O'Day and recorded with Sonny Rollins. Kessel left Contemporary in 1961 and didn't record again as a leader until the late 60s. For most of the 60s, Kessel was a member of the famed Los Angeles studio musician group The Wrecking Crew. So he played on all kinds of recordings and in films. He also played a jazz guitarist in an episode of the Perry Mason TV series. Kessel signed with Concord Jazz in the mid-70s and recorded and toured as part of The Great Guitars with Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd. This version of the Sonny Rollins classic St. Thomas is from his 1981 album Jellybeans with Bob Maize on bass and Jimmie Smith on drums. These two also played with Herb Ellis. This comp is a good intro to Kessel's Concord recordings. Barney Kessel retired from music in 1988 and moved to San Diego. he suffered a stroke in 1992 and was in ill health until his death on May 6, 2004 at age 80. Here's Barney Kessel performing St. Thomas in the 80s.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Album:Stax/Volt: The Complete Singles Vol. 2
There were three girl groups named the Tonettes. One was a doo wop group from the Bronx. They recorded Oh What A Baby in 1958. There was also a Jamaican group The Tonettes that recorded at Studio One. This girl group The Tonettes were the first girl group to record for Stax. Teardrop Sea was released on Volt in 1962. The trio were mainly backup singers and they also appeared as The Dixiebelles and The Charmels. The Tonettes were Shirley Thomas, Mary Hunt and Mildred Pratchett. Teardrop Sea was released on Volt in 1962. it was written and produced by Booker T & The MGs guitarist Steve Cropper. Their second single No Tears was released and then The Tonettes returned to studio work. You can get Teardrop Sea on this CD of Stax/Volt singles. In 1964, The Dixiebelles had a top ten hit with Down At Papa Joe's. The singers on the record were members of The Anita Kerr Singers. Producer Bill Justis needed a group to tour and he hired The Tonettes to tour as The Dixiebelles. Later on Shirley Thomas left The Tonettes. She was replaced by Eula Jean Rivers and Barbara McCoy and the group name was changed to The Charmels. They returned to Stax and recorded four singles produced by Isaac Hayes. Girl groups were usually backup singers at Stax. So it's not surprising attempts to record The Tonettes or The Charmels weren't successful. If you're wondering about the difference between the two groups, Shirley Thomas was lead singer of The Tonettes and Barbara McCoy was lead singer of The Charmels. So though the groups share personnel, they don't sound alike. Here's a video for Teardrop Sea by The Tonettes.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Song:Just Take Your Time
Album:Carolina Funk: First In Funk
Just Take Your Time was recorded in 1973. It wasn't a hit at the time because it was never distributed properly. The single became a collectors item and has resurfaced on this various artists CD from the British label Jazzman Records. Innersouls were from Asheville, NC led by sax player Otis Ware. Other members who were on this recording were Stanley Baird on sax, Leroy Posey on trumpet, Sammy Bowens on guitar, JC Martin on bass and Norris "Country" Duckett on drums. They were all students at Stephens-Lee High School in Asheville. They played local clubs. Stock car racer Dickie Plemmons hired Innersouls to play at his son's birthday party. And he liked them so much that he decided to manage them. In 1973, he took them to Harry Deal's recording studio in Taylorsville. According to Ware, Just Take Your Time was written in the studio and it was recorded live. There were no overdubs. It sounds pretty good for a bunch of high school students. Unfortunately, the single was never distributed. The band gave it away at shows. It was Innersouls' only recording. The song got buzz in recent years when British DJ Keb Darge started playing it. But of course it wasn't available on CD until UNC-Chapel Hill DJ Jason Perlmutter unearthed a copy and along with some other Carolina funk rarities released this CD on the British label Jazzman Records. Now-Again Records licenses Jazzman CDs in North America. In 1975, Ware and some other members of Innersouls formed Bite, Chew & Spit. They toured extensively on the east coast but were never able to get a record deal. By 1979, disco was more popular than funk and Ware says the band didn't want to play disco music so they split up. Otis Ware became a minister and leads the Solid Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Kenilworth, NC. Apparently he's one funky preacher. Stanley Baird and Norris "Country" Duckett went on to N.C.C.U. (New Central Connection Unlimited) and were on the 1977 album Super Trick released by United Artists. Baird still teaches music and plays in local jazz clubs. Here's a video for Just Take Your Time by Innersouls. Most of the Innersouls info is courtesy of a 2008 article by Jon Elliston of the Asheville Mountain Xpress.