Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Miki Howard

Artist:Miki Howard f/Gerald Levert
Song:That's What Love Is
Album:The Very Best Of

Alicia Michelle "Miki" Howard is an outstanding singer who had seven top five R & B hits from 1986-92 including two number one hits. She didn't cross over to pop. This duet with Gerald Levert That's What Love Is was a top five R & B hit in 1988. She was born Sept. 30, 1960 in Chicago. Her parents were Josephine Howard of The Caravans and Clay Graham of The Pilgrim Jubilees so she grew up in the music business. Her family moved to Los Angeles in 1969 when her mom was in one of James Cleveland's choirs. Along with all of the gospel singers she knew, Miki acknowledges jazz legend Billie Holiday as a major influence. In 1976, Miki was performing at a teen beauty pageant when she met Augie Johnson, leader of the group Side Effects. Eventually she was made lead singer of the group. They weren't all that successful but Miki had two sons with Johnson. When he refused to marry her, she left him and Side Effect in 1985. She scored a record deal with Atlantic Records and her first single Come Share My Love reached #5 on the R & B Singles chart. Then she began a relationship with Gerald Levert and he produced several songs on her 1987 album Love Confessions including the duet That's What Love Is. Miki wrote the song with Levert and his frequent songwriting partner Marc Gordon. Their on again off again relationship continued until Levert's 2006 death. Miki married Eddie Phelps in 1989. They had a daughter but his arguments with Atlantic got her moved to Giant Records for the 1992 album Femme Fatale. She had number one R & B hits with Ain't Nuthin' In The World in 1989 and Ain't Nobody Like You in 1992. She also played Billie Holiday in Spike Lee's 1992 film Malcolm X. But she also became a crack addict and Giant dropped her. She kicked the drug habit in 2000. In recent years, she has recorded occasionally and she was featured in a 2010 episode of TV One's Unsung series. She has released a new single Panther featuring rapper Too Short but the album hasn't been released yet. Want to feel old? Miki Howard is a grandmother. You can get all her hits on this Rhino budget comp. Here's the video for That's What Love Is by Miki Howard featuring Gerald Levert.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-B.B. & Q. Band

Artist:B.B. & Q. Band
Song:On The Beat
Album:Disco Hits: We Are Family

On The Line was a big dance hit for B.B. & Q. Band in 1981. They started out as a studio band that turned into a real band after On The Line was a hit. Though B.B. & Q. stands for Brooklyn, Bronx & Queens, the guys behind B. B. & Q. were Italian producers Jacques Fred Petrus and Mauro Malavasi. Their studio band Change topped the dance charts in 1980. When that was successful, they decided to launch a second band. The concept was the same. Malavasi wrote and arranged the songs with Italian musicians. Then they brought over New York studio musicians like bassist Paris "Pee Wee" Ford, guitarist Doc Powell and drummer Terry Silverlight to give the backing tracks a more New York sound. They brought in Brit Paul Slade to write English lyrics. He also worked for the same producers on Change. he recorded as a solo artist in the early 70s. Then they auditioned singers in New York to lay down the vocal tracks. The lead singer of On The Line was Ike Floyd who was usually a background singer. Other singers included Bobby Douglas, Gordon Grody, Diva Gray, Fonzi Thornton, Luther Vandross and Robin Clark. The 1981 album The Brooklyn, Bronx & Queens Band was released on Capitol Records. On The line reached #3 on the Dance Music chart. What Petrus did differently from Change is he tried to turn B.B. & Q. Band into a real band. Kevin Robinson of Kinky Fox replaced Floyd as lead singer and Kevin Nance and Tony Bridges were among those hired to make them a real band. B.B. & Q. Band recorded three albums for Capitol and one for Elektra after Petrus and Malavasi split up. But they were unable to follow the success of On The Line and B.B. & Q. Band disbanded in 1986. You can get On The Line on this Rhino various artists budget comp. B.B. & Q. Band reunites occasionally mostly to tour Europe. The IRS came after Petrus in 1986 for tax evasion. Then he was mysteriously murdered in 1987. Here's B.B. & Q. Band performing On The Line in France 2003.

Monday, May 25, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ronnie Dyson

Artist:Ronnie Dyson
Song:The More You Do It (The More I Like It Done To Me)
Album:His All Time Golden Classics

Ronnie Dyson started out on Broadway and had success mostly on the R & B charts in the 70s. He faded in the 80s and died in 1990. He was born June 5, 1950 in Washington, DC and grew up in Brooklyn, NY singing in church choirs. His big break came when he won one of the leads in the 1968 Broadway production of Hair. He was the lead singer of Aquarius. He also appeared in the 1969 film Putney Swope. Then he appeared in the 1969 off-Broadway musical Salvation. The show was not as successful as Hair but there was a cast album. Dyson signed with Columbia Records and his recording of a song from Salvation (If You Let Me Make Love To You) Why Can't I Touch You reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. This would turn out to be Dyson's biggest hit but there's no video clip of him performing it. In 1973, Columbia sent Dyson to Philadelphia to work with legendary producer Thom Bell. He had success on the R & B charts with songs like One Man Band (Plays It All Alone). Then they sent him to Chicago to work with producers Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy. Not to be confused with legendary 60s singer Chuck Jackson (Any Day Now), this Chuck Jackson was lead singer of The Independents and is Jesse Jackson's half brother. Yancy was also in The Independents and at the time was producing music for his wife Natalie Cole. The More You Do It reached #6 on the R & B Singles chart in 1976 and it was Dyson's second biggest hit. Of course a soul singer like Dyson wasn't going to survive the onslaught of disco. He left Columbia in 1977 and recorded a couple of albums for the Atlantic label Cotillion Records in the early 80s. He had modest success but Dyson was already having health problems that forced him into semi-retirement and he died of a heart attack on Nov. 10, 1990 at age 40. You can get all his Columbia hits on this Collectables comp. Here's Ronnie Dyson performing The More You Do It (The More I Like It Done To Me) on Soul Train 1976.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

AccuRadio Song of The Day-Harry Connick Jr.

Artist:Harry Connick Jr.
Song:Come By Me
Album:Come By Me

These days Harry Connick Jr.'s most high profile gig is as a judge on the fading American Idol. That show is mainly aimed at kids who may not be familiar with Connick's career as a jazz artist. This 1999 album marked Connick's return to the big band sound he enjoys so much. And there's an orchestra on it as well. The song Come By Me is one he still performs as he did last year on American Idol. In the late 90s, Connick had been with Columbia Records for over a decade. And his albums always did well in the Jazz and Adult Contemporary markets. So label brass left him alone and let him record whatever he wanted. He was also acting in movies. His 1994 funk album she was certified Platinum and then he took time to appear in films like Independence Day and Hope Floats. But Connick always returned to music. He had previously recorded with a big band for the 1991 album Blue Light, Red Light which was very successful. So he returned to big band music for the 1999 album Come By Me and he formed a big band for touring. Five of the songs including Come By Me are original songs and the rest are standards. Key musicians in the big band included Charnett Moffett on bass and Arthur Latin on drums. Connick played piano himself and there was a huge horn section. The album was very successful. It topped the jazz charts, was certified Gold and was nominated for a Grammy. It's available as a budget CD. Connick wouldn't record again for two years as he wrote the score for the Broadway musical Thou Shalt Not and starred with Glenn Close in the ABC TV production of the musical South Pacific. It just shows how versatile he is. Here's the video for Come By Me by Harry Connick Jr.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dru Hill

Artist:Dru Hill
Song:In My Bed

Dru Hill had brief success in the 90s that was curtailed when Sisqo went solo with The Thong Song. That caused problems with the group and the record company. In My Bed was one of their three top ten pop hits and number one R & B hits. Dru Hill were from Baltimore. Mark "Sisqo" Andrews and James "Woody Rock" Green were friends in middle school. Tamir "Nokio" Ruffin suggested they form a group. The other two members were Bravette Fleet and Chris Thomas and they were called 14K Harmony. They started out performing gospel music and a proposed deal with Elektra fell through when Green's mother pulled him from the group when they started performing secular music. She allowed him back in. But by then, Fleet and Thomas left and Ruffin brought in Larry "Jazz" Anthony. They renamed themselves Legacy and Island Black Music president Hiram Hicks saw them and suggested the name change to Dru Hill after Baltimore's Druid Hill Park. In My Bed was the second single from their 1996 debut CD Dru Hill. It topped the R & B Singles chart and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sisqo sings lead. It was written and produced by Daryl Simmons who had just split with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds after a long partnership going back to Manchild in the 70s. Raphael Brown of Next and Ralph Stacy were co-writers. There is also a remix featuring Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat. The album was certified Platinum. Never Make A Promise was their other #1 R & B hit from that album. Then Dru Hill scored a #2 R & B hit with We're Not Making Love No More from the film Soul Food. Their 1998 album Enter The Dru did even better when the single How Deep Is Your Love topped the R & B Singles chart and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was from the film Rush Hour. The album was certified 2XPlatinum. Things started to fall apart when Woody Rock left in 1999 to return to gospel music. He recorded for Gospocentric Records. Island attempted to keep Dru Hill together and there were plans to record a new album. At the time, Island had merged with Def Jam and the new management wasn't as loyal to Dru Hill as previous management. So Sisqo went solo and had a huge hit with Thong Song and the Dru Hill album was put on hold. Dru Hill returned to the studio in 2000 but tension over Sisqo's success forced a split and more delays. Sisqo recorded a second solo album. It didn't do as well as his first album and Ruffin reformed Dru Hill with Sisqo and new member Rufus "Scola" Waller. The CD Dru World Order was released in 2002 but it didn't perform as well as previous albums and Dru Hill was dropped. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Dru Hill reformed to tour in 2008. But during an interview to promote the tour, Woody Rock announced he was leaving for the ministry and Sisqo walked out. Sisqo returned for the 2010 CD InDRUpendence Day which included a reality show on Centric. Dru Hill is currently on a 90s R & B nostalgia tour with Immature and Next and they are planning to record a new album. Here's the video for In My Bed by Dru Hill.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Joanne Calderwood vs Bec Rawlings added to July 18 UFC show

It was announced today on BT Sport in England that Joanne Calderwood will face Bec Rawlings at UFC Fight Night 72 July 18 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. this show will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. This will be the UFC's first show in Scotland and of course Glasgow is Joanne's home town. So this is a big deal and the fans there will be insane. This would be a good time for Joanne to bounce back from her recent loss to Maryna Moroz. Apparently Joanne was having personal problems leading up to that fight and there's more to fighting than the physical skills. A fighter must be mentally prepared and Joanne didn't look right before the fight. As I have said for the last couple of years, I don't think her kickboxing skills are enough to make her a champ. But Bec is mainly a kickboxer too and I just think Joanne is better at kickboxing. Bec is coming off of a win over Lisa Ellis and she will look to ride that momentum to a win. Remember these two were supposed to fight in Invicta a couple of years ago. But Bec was thrown into a title match when Claudia Gadelha dropped out due to injury. Considering the mixed results these two have had recently, this could be a pivotal fight for both.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Deele

Artist:The Deele
Song:Two Occasions
Album:Greatest Hits

The Deele is best known as the group that brought Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio "L.A." Reid together and of course they went on to build a music empire at LaFace Records. The Deele had success in the 80s mostly on the R & B charts. Two Occasions was their only top ten pop hit in 1988. The Deele were from Cincinnati. They came out of the group Pure Essence who recorded one album in 1976 but had mainly regional success. After some personnel changes, Pure Essence moved to Indianapolis and renamed themselves Essence. But they soon split up and Essence drummer Antonio "L.A." Reid, bassist Kevin "Kayo" Roberson and guitarist Steve "Tuck" Walters formed a new group with lead singer Carlos "Satin" Greene, singer/percussionist Darnell "Dee" Bristol and guitarist/keyboardist Stanley "Stick" Burke. Soon after, Walters was replaced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds who was the leader of the group Manchild. The Deele signed with Dick Griffey's SOLAR label which was a spinoff of the Soul Train TV show. They had success in the early 80s with groups like Midnight Star and The Whispers. The Deele's debut album Street Beat was released in 1983 and the single Body Talk reached #3 on the R & B Singles chart. Burke left and most of the songs on the 1985 album Material Thangz were written by Babyface and produced by Reid. It wasn't as successful as the first album and the single Material Thangz didn't crack the R & B top ten. After Babyface recorded a solo album, The Deele regrouped for the 1987 album Eyes of a Stranger. Two Occasions reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would turn out to be The Deele's biggest hit. The song was written by Babyface, Bristol and Sid Johnson who worked with Babyface in Manchild. Babyface, Bristol and Greene trade lead vocals. By this time, Reid and Babyface had started producing other artists like Pebbles and this led to the formation of LaFace Records and the end of The Deele. You can get all their hits on this comp from the Canadian label Unidisc. Roberson also worked for LaFace as a studio bassist. Greene and Bristol recorded as The Deele in 1993 and then they reunited in 2007. They released a couple of singles but I don't think The Deele is active anymore. Here's the video for Two Occasions by The Deele.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Holly Holm vs Marion Reneau added to July 15 UFC show

Holly Holm, Marion Reneau
It was announced on last night's episode of UFC Tonight and confirmed today that Holly Holm will face Marion Reneau on July 15 at Valley View Casino in San Diego. This show will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. Holly is the former boxing champ turned MMA fighter who was ridiculously overhyped until she won a split decision over Raquel Pennington in her UFC debut. She was fortunate to win as she didn't look very good. If it smartens her up and she looks better in this fight, it might have been a good thing. I'm not so sure. Several fans asked me about Holly's lack of punching power. I've watched her box. She's never been a power puncher. But in MMA, it's a bigger problem because she has no ground game. Marion should be a stiff test. Holly is trained by Mike Winklejohn in New Mexico. I like how Marion submitted Jessica Andrade in her last fight. A win over a highly touted fighter like Holly would really move her up the ladder. The only problem with Marion is she's 38 years old so she needs to be on the fast track. I think she's more versatile than Holly. Marion is trained by Bellator fighter Doug Marshall.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Debbie Gibson

Artist:Debbie Gibson
Song:Only In My Dreams
Album:Greatest Hits

Only In My Dreams was the debut single for teenage singer songwriter Debbie Gibson in 1987. She had five top five hits in the late 80s including two number one hits. Though her music was clearly aimed at the teen market, what separated Debbie was she wrote her own songs. When her pop music career faded, Debbie turned to the Broadway stage among other things. She was born Aug. 31, 1970 in Brooklyn, NY and she grew up in the Long Island suburb of Merrick. She took piano lessons and began writing songs at age eight. At age 12, she won a songwriting contest and signed a management contract with Doug Breithart who taught her to produce her own music. This led to a contract with Atlantic Records. Before recording her, they had her play local clubs and told her to keep writing songs. At first, Only In My Dreams was only released to radio stations as a promo. Stations liked it so much that it started climbing the Billboard Hot 100. Atlantic hired producer Fred Zarr to quickly record the album Out Of The Blue so Atlantic could strike while the iron was hot. Zarr had previously worked with producer Jacques Morali on Village People albums. Only In My Dreams reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 followed by three more top five hits including her first number one hit Foolish Beat. Out Of The Blue was certified 3XPlatinum. Keep in mind that Debbie was 17 years old when she wrote and co-produced the album. The music was too sugary sweet for me but that was done deliberately so kids and their parents would like it. I didn't like her voice either. Could they sustain this success? The first single from Debbie's 1989 album Electric Youth Lost In Your Eyes was Debbie's second number one hit. But it was also her final top ten hit. I guess I thought she had a longer run than that probably because pop radio and MTV/MuchMusic overplayed her. Her next two albums for Atlantic didn't do well and she left for EMI's SBK label for the 1995 album Think With Your Heart. This was aimed at the Adult Contemporary market featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She was billed as Deborah Gibson. So by the time she became an adult, Debbie wasn't a star anymore and she turned to stage musicals. You can get all her hits on this comp. Her most recent album Ms. Vocalist was released in Japan only in 2010. She has recorded for small labels since the late 90s. Debbie has appeared on Broadway, London and touring companies in revivals of Grease, Funny Girl and Gypsy and other musicals. Most recently she starred in the UPTV movie The Music In Me. So Debbie Gibson is a long way from her teen stardom days. Here's the video for Only In My Dreams by Debbie Gibson. The sax solo is by Jeff Smith.