Monday, May 29, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Say You'll Be There

Artist:Spice Girls
Song:Say You'll Be There
Album:Greatest Hits

For a couple of years in the late 90s, Spice Girls were the most popular musical act in the world. It didn't last of course because they were a manufactured group. Say You'll Be There was their second single and second biggest hit. The idea behind Spice Girls was boy bands like Take That were popular in England at the time and Bob and Chris Herbert wanted to create a girl group to compete with that. They held auditions and all the girls chosen had entertainment experience though not necessarily as singers. The original five were Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Michelle Stephenson and Geri Halliwell. They were to be called Touch. They spent most of 1994 training. During this period, Michelle wasn't working out and Emma Bunton replaced her. The group name was changed to Spice. They recorded but record companies weren't interested. And in 1995, Spice Girls left the Herberts for Simon Fuller. And he immediately got them a deal with Virgin Records. There was already a rapper named Spice so the name was changed to Spice Girls. Most of the debut album Spice was was produced by the production duo Absolute (Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins). They brought Spice Girls to Fuller. They produced the debut single Wannabe which was their biggest hit. Say You'll Be There was the second single. It was produced by Richard "Biff" Stannard. He has produced plenty of hits. The harmonica solo is by session musician Judd Lander. Both singles topped the British charts. Wannabe topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Say You'll Be There reached #3. The album Spice sold 23 million copies worldwide. Spice Girls got songwriting credit on all the songs. And that's one of the reasons they left the Herberts. They wouldn't listen to their ideas. Fuller was smart enough to listen to them. So now Spice Girls were the biggest thing in pop music. Of course it was all downhill from there. The biggest problem was personality clashes, not surprising considering the girls didn't know each other before being thrown together. That's the inherent problem with manufactured pop groups. After recording three albums, Geri and then Emma left Spice Girls in 1998. Emma returned for the 2000 farewell album Forever and that was the end. They had a great cottage industry for a while. They even made a movie. But it was never going to last. Spice Girls were only around for four years. It seemed much longer. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Of course the girls have gone on to individual things with mixed success. They reunited for a tour in 2007. They released a single but no album. They reunited again in 2012 to promote the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever and they performed at the Summer Olympics. There was a 20th anniversary planned but it didn't come together. Here's the video for Say You'll Be There by Spice Girls. This video is based on the 1965 Russ Meyer cult film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Syuri wins PANCRASE Strawweight belt. Is she UFC bound?

At today's PANCRASE show at Differ Ariake, the co-main event had Syuri vs Brazilian Kinberly Novaes for the Strawweight Queen of PANCRASE. Kinberly had been to Japan before. She lost a Shoot Boxing match to RENA. The hope was that she would be a tough opponent for Syuri but that Syuri would still win easily. That's what they were hoping when they brought in Minna Grusander from Finland with her amateur credentials. But she turned out to be a very disappointing opponent for Syuri. She did nothing for three rounds. Before the fight, Kinberly made a lot of noise saying she would KO Syuri. In the end, the fight went a full five rounds and Syuri won by unanimous decision. In round one, Kinberly pushed Syuri to the fence and scored with knees. She won the round. It reversed in round two and Syuri took control with punches and kicks. Then she really took control in round three. Most of the damage was done in the clinch with knees and elbows. Syuri knocked Kinberly down in round four and one of the judges scored the round 10-8 for Syuri. The domination continued in round five. The only thing Syuri didn't get was a finish. But she was happy with the win and Kinberly at least was competitive for a while. Syuri's goal has always been to get to the UFC. I expect her to appear on September's Japan show. It's certainly a long way from Hustle. When Syuri first announced her entry into MMA, I heard plenty of skepticism because she's a pro wrestler. But she had already been a kickboxing champ. And I never liked her as a pro wrestler and I thought she would be better in MMA. She was a dancer before she got into pro wrestling. And I always said she wrestled like a dancer. A lot of her skills were based on dance moves. Otherwise she was a limited pro wrestler. Ex-dancers like Naomi are more common in the WWE so you're more likely to see that there than in Japan. Of course she can't use that crutch in MMA and we already knew she was a good kickboxer. And Vos is a good gym. We've seen her improve over five fights and maybe she's ready for the UFC. Syuri has surprised people already and if she gets into the UFC, she could surprise a lot more people.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Daniel Merriweather

Artist:Daniel Merriweather
Album:Love & War

Aussie singer songwriter Daniel Merriweather got his start as a guest singer. He released his solo debut album Love & War in 2009. He had some success especially in England. But it's his only album to date. Because he seemed to have star potential, there has been a lot of speculation about him. I will add my speculation which I think you will find boring. He was born Feb. 17, 1982 in Melbourne, Australia. He got into music as a teen. As I said, Merriweather became known as a guest singer especially with British producer Mark Ronson who is best known as producer of the late Amy Winehouse. And when Ronson records his own albums, he uses guest singers because Ronson doesn't sing. Merriweather appeared on a couple of songs on Ronson's 2003 album Here Comes The Fuzz. He signed with Ronson's label Allido and a couple of singles were released in 2004. There was some buzz and speculation that Merriweather was recording an album. It turned out to not be true. It looks like they were demos. He worked with Aussie hip hop artist Phrase. In 2007, he appeared again as a guest vocalist on Ronson's album Version. The single Stop Me did well in England. Finally Merriweather's debut CD Love & War was released in 2009 including guest appearances by Wale and Adele. Red was the second single and it reached #5 on the UK Singles chart. The album was certified Platinum in England. The song was written by Amanda Ghost, Ian Dench and Scott McFarnon. Amanda has recorded solo but I don't think she ever recorded this song. Merriweather toured but he has yet to record a second album. Love & War is available as a budget CD. He has done some writing and production. He was even the victim of a recent death hoax. There was also a report in a British music mag that Merriweather plans to release new music and tour in 2018. It's not true. I don't know if Merriweather will ever record a second album. I doubt it. For one thing, he closed his website. That doesn't mean he won't continue in music. But he seems to prefer writing and producing and maybe he doesn't enjoy being in the spotlight. I told you it was boring. Here's the video for Red by Daniel Merriweather.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Trombones Unlimited

Artist:Trombones Unlimited
Song:Ode To Billy Joe
Album:Original Recordings

We don't see much of this anymore but back in the 60s, it was not unusual for record companies to put together instrumental groups to cover current hits in the hope of scoring a fluke hit single. And even if there was no hit single, these kind of bands were popular with older listeners. These albums were cost effective so they were profitable regardless. Liberty Records seemed to produce a lot of this kind of music. Trombones Unlimited is a mix of jazz musicians and Los Angeles studio musicians. I wouldn't call it jazz but trombone fans will probably enjoy it. Trombones Unlimited was led by veteran jazz trombonists Frank Rosolino and Mike Barone. Rosolino recorded several albums as a leader in the 50s. But in the 60s he was a Los Angeles studio musician and he rarely recorded as a leader. Barone was much younger than Rosolino and he was in big bands led by Louis Bellson and Gerald Wilson. There was also bass trombonist Bobby Knight who was in Stan Kenton's band. The producer and main arranger was Tommy Oliver who was the musical director for the 50s game show Name That Tune. After he left the show, he settled into studio work. The other musicians were part of the Los Angeles studio collective The Wrecking Crew including Carol Kaye on bass, Nick Ceroli on drums, Jim Horn on flute, Dennis Budimir and Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Mike Melvoin on piano and Emil Richards on percussion. Be sure to check out the documentary The Wrecking Crew on Netflix and my review on the blog. They mostly recorded standards though Ode To Billy Joe was a big hit at the time and it was covered by other instrumental groups. Trombones Unlimited recorded five albums from 1966-68. Ode To Billy Joe is from the 1968 album One Of Those Things. Liberty released a few singles but there were no hits and the musicians returned to other things in 1968. I think jazz fans are aware that Frank Rosolino died in a 1978 murder suicide. But Mike Barone is still around and he has released two CDs of Trombones Unlimited on his own label. Here's a video of Ode To Billy Joe followed by In The Mood by Trombones Unlimited.

Friday, May 26, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lea Salonga

Artist:Lea Salonga w/Simon Bowman
Song:Sun and Moon
Album:Miss Saigon: Original London Cast Recording

Lea Salonga was 18 years old when she scored the starring role in the musical Miss Saigon. Though she has done other things, it's still the role she is best known for. She was born Feb. 22, 1971 in Manila, Philippines. As a child, she appeared in musicals locally. As a teen, she hosted her own TV show and appeared in films. When the producers of Miss Saigon were casting, they were unable to find a strong enough Asian actress in London. So they scoured the world and discovered Lea in the Philippines. She got the role and a star is born. The show was a huge success and Lea won an Olivier award for Best Actress. She also starred in the Broadway production and she was the first Asian actress to win a Tony. Lea appears on the London cast recording but not the Broadway cast recording. The video is from the 2000 Manila version with Nashville's Will Chase. Lea continues to perform on stage most notably in revivals of Les Miserables and Flower Drum Song. She has recorded several albums that have done well in the Philippines. She's obviously a much bigger deal there than she is here. Her best known film roles are as Princess Jasmine in the 1992 Disney film Aladdin and as Mulan in the 1998 Disney film Mulan. These days she does a lot of TV in the Philippines most notably The Voice of the Philippines. She also appeared in the Broadway musical Allegiance. And she appeared on an episode of the CW sitcom My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Here's Lea Salonga with Will Chase performing Sun and Moon in Manila 2000.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kailin Curran vs Aleksandra Albu added to July 29 UFC show

Yesterday the UFC announced several fights for UFC 214 July 29 at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. One of those fights is a Strawweight bout with Kailin Curran vs Aleksandra Albu. I expect this to air on the UFC Fight Pass prelims. Kailin is from Hawaii. She is 1-4 in the UFC. She clearly has the physical skills. But her number one flaw which her trainer has acknowledged is she tends to lose concentration during fights. This has cost her fights. I don't believe this is a problem that can be fixed. For that reason, I don't believe she belongs in the UFC. My guess is she probably needs a win to stay in the UFC. Aleksandra signed with the UFC in 2013. But her only fight to date was a 2015 win over Izabela Badurek. Based on that, I'm not sure how good she is because Izabela was terrible. We could see the same thing in this fight. Aleksandra is from Moscow, Russia. She signed with the UFC as a Bantamweight with a 1-0 record. There was talk that she had some "smoker" fights in Thailand. They are not part of her official record. At 5'2", she's short for a Bantamweight. But she injured her knee in training. So when the Strawweight division was announced, she decided to drop to 115. Her win over Izabela in Apr. 2015 was her UFC debut. Where has she been? It looks like she was busy attending school. She also does plenty of fitness modelling. She has a significant fanbase just for that. I just haven't seen enough of her to know if she's a good fighter. Her first UFC fight was in Poland so this will be her US debut.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Loretta Lynn

Artist:Loretta Lynn
Song:Coal Miner's Daughter
Album:The Definitive Collection

Of course Loretta Lynn is one of the all time country music greats and the autobiographical Coal Miner's Daughter is her signature song. Because there was a very successful film about her life, I think fans are familiar with her story. She was born Loretta Webb Apr. 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, KY. And yes, her dad was a coal miner. She had seven brothers and sisters including singer Crystal Gayle. She was 15 years old when she married Oliver "Doolittle" Lynn and they were married until his 1996 death. He bought her a guitar in 1953 and eventually she started playing gigs with her brother Jay Lee on guitar. He was born Willie Lee Webb Feb. 12, 1937. Jay Lee was a childhood nickname. She moved to Nashville in the late 50s. And after a few singles, she signed with Decca in 1963 and she remained there for most of her career. Loretta credits Patsy Cline with getting her into Decca and she also worked with Patsy's producer Owen Bradley. Her first number one country hit was Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind) in 1966. By the late 60's, Loretta was a fixture at the top of the country charts. But the autobiographical Coal Miner's Daughter made her an international star. Not only is it her signature song but it propelled subsequent singles to the top of the country charts. Loretta had 11 number one hits mostly in the 70s. And she also recorded successful duets with Conway Twitty. The success of the 1980 film Coal Miner's Daughter only enhanced that. You can get all of Loretta's hits on this budget comp. Though she faded in the 80s, Loretta continued to have success especially with the 1993 album Honky Tonk Angels which she recorded with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Loretta was recently hospitalized after suffering a stroke. She has a new album coming out in August on Sony's Legacy label called Wouldn't It Be Great produced by Johnny Cash's son John Carter Cash. We don't know yet if she will be able to continue touring. Here's Loretta Lynn performing Coal Miner's Daughter on The Johnny Cash Show 1971.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

RIZIN finds a warm body to face KING Reina

RIZIN held a press conference today to announce that the Bantamweight tournament will begin July 30 at Saitama Super Arena. They have yet to announce details of the upcoming Women's Atomweight tournament. But they did add a couple of women's matches to this show. Unfortunately neither match is very interesting. After her recent DEEP JEWELS win, KING Reina told RIZIN owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara that if he doesn't give her a decent opponent on July 30, she will move to the US. It is inevitable that she will have to do that anyway. The good news is he found an opponent for her. The bad news is it's pro wrestler Lei'D Tapa. Of course she has appeared in RIZIN before and she lost a very ugly match to Gabi Garcia. She hasn't fought since then. The only thing she has going for her is she's big. But that didn't help Alpha Female when she fought KING Reina. Lei'D Tapa is very inexperienced at MMA. And having seen her wrestle a few years ago in TNA, she isn't very good at that either. So I expect a quick finish from KING Reina. I'm interested in what she will do afterwards. She has threatened to go to the US. How long is she going to put up with this nonsense? The other women's match announced has Miyuu Yamamoto facing Cassie Robb. Miyuu is a walking talking gimmick. Her younger brother is the legendary Kid Yamamoto and her son is a fighter too. She has been coaching wrestling for years in Canada. Sakakibara admitted he had to do a hell of a job to get a 42 year old mom to try MMA. Look, it's just another gimmick to him. She lost her first two fights. You may recall Cassie Robb fought in Invicta a few years ago. She lost both of her fights. She is currently fighting for King Of The Cage. And they have sent other fighters to RIZIN including Andy Nguyen who has beaten both fighters. Cassie's record is 2-5. But she won her latest fight. How long is Miyuu willing to continue losing? She's looked terrible in both fights. Maybe she's just not an MMA fighter. If RIZIN adds any more women's matches I will tell you all about it.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Lemonheads

Artist:The Lemonheads
Song:Into Your Arms
Album:Laughing All The Way To The Cleaners: The Best Of

The alt rock group the Lemonheads had success in the early 90s. They never had a hit single but a couple of their albums did well. The Lemonheads are from Boston led by lead singer, main songwriter and guitarist Evan Dando. Dando, drummer Ben Deily and bassist Jesse Peretz were classmates. They were at first called The Whelps and then Dando named them after a brand of candy. They released a couple of albums for a local label. Regional airplay got them a deal with Atlantic Records. Deily left and was replaced by David Ryan. The Lemonheads Atlantic debut CD Lovey did OK but then Peretz left and was replaced by Juliana Hatfield. The 1992 album It's a Shame About Ray was released. Then a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel classic Mrs. Robinson was released as a single to promote the video release of The Graduate. The single was popular enough that Atlantic re-released It's a Shame About Ray with Mrs. Robinson added. The album was certified Gold. With the 1993 album Come On Feel The Lemonheads, Dando was searching for that big hit single. He never got that but Into Your Arms topped the Modern Rock chart. The album was certified Gold. Then the band fell apart mostly due do Dando's cocaine habit. He formed a new version of The Lemonheads for the 1996 album Car Button Cloth. But the album didn't do well and Dando was unable to keep the band together anyway. He even toured solo for a while. Atlantic dropped The Lemonheads. This 2CD comp from the British label Music Club is definitive. Dando released a solo album in 2003. He toured and performed a mix of Lemonheads and solo songs. He formed a new version of The Lemonheads in 2005. They have released a couple of albums and they are currently on tour. There has been talk about a new album since 2012. Ryan Adams was supposed to produce. Maybe it never happened. Here's the video for Into Your Arms by The Lemonheads.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Remy Shand

Artist:Remy Shand
Song:Take A Message
Album:The Way I Feel

Blue eyed soul singer Remy Shand had success and critical acclaim with his 2002 debut CD The Way I Feel and the single Take A Message. Then he seemed to disappear. He has reemerged recently but a lot of fans of this album believe he should have been a star. He was born Oct. 14, 1977 in Winnipeg. Shand moved to Toronto and got into the local studio scene. Shand not only sings and writes songs but he plays all the instruments and produces. So this led to a contract with Universal Canada and then Motown in the US. The Way I Feel did well especially in Canada. And Take A Message was an R&B hit. Shand won a Juno in 2003 for Best R&B Recording and he was nominated for four Grammys. So what happened to him? Apparently he recorded a second album but Motown didn't like it and it was never released. This was around the time that former Elektra CEO Sylvia Rhone replaced Kedar Massenburg as president of Motown. And it's not unusual for new management to clean house of artists signed by the old management. Then he went through a messy divorce and that led to other problems including depression. Shand surfaced with his own label in 2013. He still lives in Toronto. He has released a couple of albums and several singles. He also records as CANARY. The Way I Feel is available as a budget CD. And his new recordings are available as digital downloads at his website Remy Shand World. Though I doubt Shand will ever be a star again, it's good to see that he's still making music. Here's the video for Take A Message by Remy Shand.