Friday, October 21, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lee Wilkof and Michael Mulheren

Artist:Lee Wilkof and Michael Mulheren
Song:Brush Up Your Shakespeare
Album:Kiss Me, Kate: The New Broadway Cast Recording

Brush Up Your Shakespeare is a song from the musical Kiss Me, Kate that is used as comedy relief to set you up for the ending. Character actors not known for singing usually perform it. In the 1953 film, Brush Up Your Shakespeare is performed by Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore. In this 1999 Broadway revival, it's performed by Lee Wilkof and Michael Mulheren. This successful revival won several Tony Awards and Wilkof and Mulheren were among those who got nominations. I would describe them as very versatile character actors. Wilkof was born June 25, 1951 in Canton, OH. His first big role was as Seymour in the 1982 off-Broadway musical Little Shop Of Horrors. Since then he has appeared in all kinds of Broadway revivals like Sweet Charity, Kiss Me, Kate and most recently Breakfast At Tiffany's. He has done film and TV. His best known role was as DA Nixon in the TV series Ally McBeal. Mulheren is from Middletown, NJ. He started out off-Broadway in the 80s in The Fantasticks. He made his Broadway debut in On The Waterfront in 1995. He also appeared in  Kiss Me, Kate, The Boy From Oz, La Cage Aux Folles and Spiderman: Turn Out The Dark. Most of his TV work has been guest shots though he is a regular on the WGN America series Salem. Neither guys would normally seek the spotlight. But those are the kind of actors who perform Brush Up Your Shaekespeare. And they got Tony nominations. Now get back to work. Here's Lee Wilkof and Michael Mulheren performing Brush Up Your Shakespeare on the 2000 Tony Awards broadcast.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Alexis Davis vs Sara McMann added to Dec. 3 UFC show

Sara McMann, Alexis Davis
Yesterday Brett Okomoto of ESPN reported that Alexis Davis vs Sara McMann has been added to The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale Dec. 3 at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas. This will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. Alexis is coming off of a pregnancy layoff. The last time we saw her she won over Sarah Kaufman by armbar in Apr. 2015. Alexis is from Port Colborne, ON but she trains at Gracie in Lodi, CA which means she's a Diaz sister. Her record is 17-6. She is most effective when she takes the fight to the ground and uses her jiu jitsu to get a submission. She has problems when she deviates from that. As a 2004 Olympic Silver medallist, Sara was highly touted. But she has been disappointing as an MMA fighter. She just doesn't seem to have the proper mentality for MMA to the point where she saw a sports psychologist before her last fight against Jessica Eye in May. It didn't seem to help much as both of them did so little in the first round that ref Big John McCarthy warned them at the beginning of round two. Sara won the fight but she didn't look good. She will need to be more aggressive to beat Alexis. BTW, Jessica said afterwards she let her friendship with Sara affect her performance in that fight. Now Jessica has announced she is taking a year off of MMA. I hear she might try acting. We'll see how this goes. You never know what a fighter will be like post pregnancy.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-A Flock Of Seagulls

Artist:A Flock Of Seagulls
Song:I Ran (So Far Away)
Album:The Best Of A Flock Of Seagulls

I guess it could be said that the Synth Pop of A Flock Of Seagulls typifies the music of the early 80s. I Ran was their only big hit in the US but a couple of their other songs charted so they aren't a one hit wonder. Don't forget the goofy haircuts. A Flock Of Seagulls were from Liverpool, England. The group leader was lead singer and keyboard player Mike Score. He was a hairdresser which explains their haircuts. He says the name A Flock Of Seagulls comes from The Stranglers song Toiler of the Sea. Other members were Mike's brother Ali Score on drums and Frank Maudsley on bass. Guitarist Willie Woo was soon added and then replaced by Mark Reynolds. They practiced above Score's hair salon. They got a record deal with Cocteau Records owned by Be Bop Deluxe guitarist Bill Nelson and he sold their contract to Jive Records. After a couple of singles, they recorded the 1982 album A Flock Of Seagulls with producer Mike Howlett, bassist for the group Gong. The single I Ran (So Far Away) did OK in England. But it reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was an international hit. This was probably because MTV played it to death which was not unusual in those days. The album A Flock Of Seagulls was certified Gold. Follow up singles Space Age Love Songs and Wishing charted. But they faded after that. You can get their hits on this budget comp. A Flock Of Seagulls recorded four albums. After personnel changes, they decided to move to Philadelphia in 1985. But Maudsley got homesick and the Score brothers were bickering. A Flock Of Seagulls split up in 1986. Mike Score formed a new version of A Flock Of Seagulls in 1989. And they've been around ever since. They last recorded in 1995 but they still tour. Here's the video of I Ran (So Far Away) by A Flock Of Seagulls.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Idris Muhammad

Artist:Idris Muhammad
Song:Power Of Soul
Album:Power Of Soul

Drummer Idris Muhammad was known as The King Of Groove. For most of his career, he was a sideman. But in the 70s, he recorded a series of albums for CTI's Kudu label that are greatly admired by hip hop guys. He was born Leo Morris Nov. 13, 1939 in New Orleans. As a teen, he played with Art Neville and Fats Domino, Sam Cooke, Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield. Then he moved to New York and married The Crystals lead singer Dolores Brooks. They converted to Islam and Leo Brooks became Idris Muhammad. In the late 60s, Muhammad was in Leo Donaldson's band and he also played with George Benson and Pharoah Sanders. And he was the drummer for the Broadway musical Hair. Then he signed with Prestige Records and made his recording debut as a leader in 1970. And he recorded with Gene Ammons, Charles Earland, Melvin Sparks, Leon Spencer and Sonny Stitt. Then he moved to CTI Records and he recorded with Grover Washington Jr. and Hank Crawford. He also went on the road with Roberta Flack. The 1974 album Power Of Soul was Muhammad's first album on Kudu. Today his albums for Kudu are considered very influential on funk and Muhammad is frequently sampled by hip hop guys. Musicians on Power Of Soul are Grover Washington Jr. on sax, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Bob James on piano, Joe Beck on guitar, Gary King on bass and Ralph McDonald on percussion. This classic album is available as a budget CD. Muhammad left Kudu in 1978. After a couple of albums for Fantasy, Muhammad rarely recorded as a leader. He recorded with Pharoah Sanders and then he toured and recorded with pianist Ahmad Jamal for many years. Muhammad retired and moved to Florida. He died on July 29, 2014 at age 74. Here's a video for Power Of Soul by Idris Muhammad.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Millicent Martin

Artist:Millicent Martin
Song:I'm Still Here
Album:Side by Side by Sondheim:Original London Cast Recording

Millicent Martin is a very versatile performer equally adept in stage musicals, TV sitcoms and films. She has spent most of her career in England. But she scored a Tony nomination for her performance in the 1977 Broadway musical Side by Side by Sondheim. She was born June 8, 1934 in Romford, Essex, England. She started out on the stage and she made her first Broadway appearance in the 1954 musical The Boy Friend with Julie Andrews. She returned to England and appeared in shows like Expresso Bongo and The Crooked Mile. But what really got Millicent noticed was as a regular on the 1962 BBC weekly comedy show That Was The Week That Was. This led to her own series Mainly Millicent for three years in the 60s. Millicent also appeared in films like Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, Stop The World-I Want To Get Off and Alfie. In 1975, singer Cleo Laine and husband John Dankworth asked actor David Kernan to put together a revue for a benefit show. He decided to do a Stephen Sondheim revue and he invited some of his friends to perform including Millicent Martin. When producer Cameron Mackintosh saw the show, he decided to bring it to London's West End and then Broadway. It was a huge success and Millicent, Kernan, Ned Sherrin and Julia McKenzie all scored Tony nominations. The show contains songs from various Sondheim shows. I'm Still Here is from Follies. The original cast album is from the London show but the cast was the same on Broadway. It is not available on CD but you can get it on mp3. Millicent also got a Tony nomination for the 1978 show King Of Hearts. She returned to England and appeared a lot on British TV in the 80s. She continues to do that and she also appears on US TV. Fans of Frasier with recognize her as the recurring character Gertrude Moon (Daphne's mother). Recently she has appeared on Modern Family, Hot In Cleveland and 2 Broke Girls. So Millicent Martin is still in demand at age 82. That's pretty good. Here's Millicent Martin performing I'm Still Here on the 1977 Tony Awards broadcast.

Monday, October 17, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dan Hill

Artist:Dan Hill
Song:Sometimes When We Touch
Album:Love Of My Life: The Best Of Dan Hill

Canadian singer songwriter Dan Hill scored his biggest hit with the unabashed weeper Sometimes When We Touch. He had some other hits but this is his most memorable song. He was born June 3, 1954 in Toronto. His father Daniel Hill was the first commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. His brother and sister are writers. Hill dropped out of high school at age 17 to work for RCA Canada as a songwriter. In 1975, he signed with GRT Records in Canada and 20th Century in the US. GRT was a US audio tape manufacturer who had success in Canada as a record label in the 70s. Hill had success in Canada with the 1975 single You Make Me Want To Be. Hill had written Sometimes When We Touch for an unattainable girlfriend. He took it to legendary songwriter Barry Mann who reconfigured the song. Hill recorded it for his 1977 album Longer Fuse in Toronto with producer Matthew McCauley. The musicians who are in the video below include Don Potter and Bob Mann on guitar, Bobby Ogdin on piano, Tom Szczesniak on bass, Larrie Londin on drums and Fred Mollin on percussion. Sometimes When We Touch topped the Canadian charts and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's one of those songs that still gets played despite being thought of as one of the worst records of all time. Even Hill got tired of hearing it but it sure made him a lot of money. Soon after, GRT and 20th Century both closed and Hill signed with Columbia. His second big hit came in 1987 with the top ten hit Can't We Try, a duet with Vonda Shepherd. The song was used in the daytime soap Santa Barbara. Hill wrote that song with his wife. You can get both hits on this comp. Dan Hill last recorded in 2010 so he's still around. But most of his recent success has been as a songwriter, most significantly the 1999 hit I Do (Cherish You) by 98 Degrees. So yeah, he still writes weepy songs. Here's the video for Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Dwarf Chorus

Artist:The Dwarf Chorus
Album:Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Story

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the very first movie with a soundtrack release. Movie soundtracks were not common until the 50s. But today it's unusual for a film to not have a soundtrack CD. Just another Walt Disney innovation. Of course Snow White was the very first full length animated feature. Obviously it was a huge hit. The film score was written by Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith. Harline, Frank Churchill and Larry Morey wrote the songs. Heigh-Ho is one of the most popular songs from the film performed by The Dwarf Chorus. So who was in The Dwarf Chorus? Well, there was Roy Atwell who played Doc, Pinto Colvig who played Grumpy. Colvig is best known as the voice of Goofy and he is one of the all time great voice actors. There was Billy Gilbert who played Sneezy. Gilbert was a comic actor known for his work with Laurel and Hardy. Otis Harlan played Happy and Scotty Mattraw played Bashful. Disney has this bad habit of releasing CDs and DVDs of its films for a limited time and they are out of print for years. Back in 1937, the soundtrack was released on 78s. They released a full soundtrack on CD for Snow White in 1993. But it is out of print and this 1987 version which comes with a storybook is the only version available. Maybe it's time for a rerelease. Here's The Dwarf Chorus performing Heigh-Ho from the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Teddy Riley

Artist:Teddy Riley f/Tammy Lucas
Song:Is It Good To You
Album:Juice: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Of course Teddy Riley invented New Jack Swing. He was the leader of Guy and Blackstreet. But he has rarely recorded as Teddy Riley. Is It Good To You is from the 1992 film Juice and the soundtrack was very successful. Riley was born Oct. 8, 1967 in Harlem, NY. As a child, Riley played piano in church. His uncle owned the club The Rooftop and he built a studio in the club and Riley spent a lot of time there. He formed a partnership with Gene Griffin and they formed Guy. The group was successful but Riley and Griffin split up and that killed Guy. Meanwhile Riley was producing all kinds of hits for Keith Sweat, Johnny Kemp, Bobby Brown, The Winans and Michael Jackson's 1991 album Dangerous. After Guy folded and before Riley started Blackstreet, the soundtrack for the 1992 film Juice was being put together by producers Gary G-Wiz and Hank Shocklee and MCA Records exec Kathy Nelson. The goal was to produce a film soundtrack that would outsell New Jack City. So Riley was asked to contribute a song. Others on the soundtrack include Eric B & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Aaron Hall and Salt N' Pepa. Riley was between groups so this was the first time he recorded as Teddy Riley. The singer Tammy Lucas sounds great but she recorded a total of one single as a solo artist. She did appear on the 1996 A Tribe Called Quest single 1nce Again. But she had success writing songs usually with Riley. She wrote songs for Stephanie Mills, The Winans and Starpoint. The rapper in the video is Aqil Davidson of Wrecks-N-Effect. He appears in the remix that is not on the Juice soundtrack CD. Is It Good To You was one of four singles from the Juice soundtrack that charted. So it was successful and it's recommended to New Jack Swing fans. Riley returned to his production schedule and of course Blackstreet. Here's the video for Is It Good To You by Teddy Riley featuring Tammy Lucas and Aqil Davidson.