|VV Mei, Ayaka Hamasaki|
Friday, November 21, 2014
Song:Up All Night
Album:Write You A Song
Jon Pardi made a big splash on the country charts with his debut CD Write You A Song and the single Up All Night. He was born May 20, 1985 in Dixon, Ca which is near Sacramento. Pardi was a big Hank Williams Jr. fan growing up and liked to imitate him at family functions. He was in bands as a teen and was in the band Northern Comfort while attending college. Pardi moved to Nashville in 2008 and worked as a lifeguard while writing songs. He got a publishing deal and that's where he met his songwriting partner and producer Bart Butler. Butler had worked with Dierks Bentley and Bentley's frequent songwriting partner Brett Beavers. This led to a deal with Bentley's label Capitol Nashville. Up All Night reached #10 on the Country Singles chart in 2013. The song was written by Pardi, Butler and Beavers. The CD Write You A Song was released Jan. 2014. Pardi is currently touring with Alan Jackson. The one criticism of Pardi is he sounds too much like Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line. So his big challenge is to distinguish himself from other country singers. But even if he fizzles, Pardi could still have a long career as a songwriter. Here's the video for Up All Night by Jon Pardi.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
This episode of The Ultimate Fighter 20 begins with a Team Melendez slumber party to celebrate Rose Namajunas' win. Some of the girls get drunk and some go to another room to sleep. Felice Herrig vs Randa Markos is the first quarter final. Anthony Pettis has a problem because Carla Esparza has been vocal about not training or even being in the same room with potential opponents. Some other fighters don't care about that. Pettis has a team meeting and his mistake is he puts this issue to a vote. It's a mistake because as he admits later, he can't enforce the result of the vote. Of course Carla, Felice and Jessica Penne are pals so they vote together and training sessions are split in two. Randa ignores this and tells the coaches she is coming in for the second training session to work on cardio. All hell breaks loose. And Pettis isn't there on that day. The coaches can't deal with it. One of them tells Carla what all of us are thinking. She's being silly. When Pettis returns, he admits he can't force Randa to do anything. The team thing is over. Carla and Felice harass Randa. Randa ignores them which makes them angrier. There was also a coaches trivia challenge which was a waste of time. I have covered Felice Herrig's entire career going back to the Fight Girls reality show. And there are two things I can tell you about her. She likes to use animosity towards her opponent to motivate herself. Sometimes she needs to create animosity when it doesn't exist. Manufactured drama. Most fighters don't need to do that. The second is Felice is a kickboxer with zero ground game. Randa knows this so her goal is to take Felice down and submit her. And Randa does that with a very slick scarf hold armbar. You don't see that every day. Anyone thinking this loss would shut Felice up is dreaming. But the real problem seems to be with Carla who offers to fight Randa right there. BTW, I don't expect these two to face each other on TUF. It could happen at the finale. Randa is a poker face and won despite the harassment. Carla is the complete opposite and it could cost her. Next week will have Aisling Daly vs Jessica Penne. Enjoy the video!
Song:Doin' It Right
Album:First Decade/Greatest Hits
The Powder Blues Band have been around since the late 70s and though they tour internationally, they have been very successful in their native Canada. Doin' It Right is probably their best known song. The leader of Powder Blues Band is lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Tom Lavin. Lavin is from Chicago but he moved to Vancouver in the 70s. He was the guitarist for Prism on their 1977 debut album. He formed Powder Blues Band as a house band for a Vancouver club. They started out playing blues covers and then Lavin started writing songs. The band included Lavin's brother Jack Lavin on bass, Willie & The Walkers leader Willie MacCalder on keyboards, Wayne Kozak, Gordon Bertram and Dave Woodward on sax, Mark Hasselbach on trumpet and Duris Maxwell of Skylark on drums. They recorded the album Uncut and after every record company in Canada rejected it, they released it themselves. When Doin' It Right got airplay on Canadian radio, RCA Canada picked up Uncut and Powder Blues got a US record deal with Liberty Records. Powder Blues Band won the 1981 Juno for Most Promising Group of the Year. They recorded three albums in the early 80s. They had some chart success in Canada and became a popular concert attraction. They won the 1986 W.C. Handy Award for Best Foreign Blues Band. This comp is a good intro to their music. Lavin still leads Powder Blues Band. They last recorded in 2004. Lavin has produced albums for Stony Plain Records and he is the director of the Pacific Audio Visual Institute in Vancouver. Here's Powder Blues Band performing Doin' It Right on the TV show On Stage in Edmonton 1991.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Song:Eye Of The Tiger
Eye Of the Tiger topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks in 1982. As I'm sure you know, it was the theme of the film Rocky III. Survivor are from Chicago. Jim Peterik was lead singer and guitarist of The Ides Of March who scored with Vehicle in 1970. Then Peterik was in the jazz rock group Chase. As you may know, most of Chase died in a 1974 plane crash. Peterik and bassist Dennis Keith Johnson were supposed to be on that plane but couldn't make it. That's where the band name Survivor comes from. After recording a 1976 solo album, Peterik formed Survivor with Johnson, drummer Gary Smith, lead singer Dave Bickler and guitarist Frankie Sullivan. Sullivan was in the band Mariah who released an album on United Artists in 1976. Peterik and Sullivan had worked on jingles and wrote all of Survivor's songs. They signed with Scotti Bros. Records who were distributed by Atlantic at the time. After their 1980 debut album Survivor, Johnson and Smith were replaced by Stephan Ellis and Marc Droubay. Peterik thought Johnson and Smith were jazz musicians and he wanted a rock group. The album Premonition was released in 1981. Then Scotti Bros. moved to Columbia Records. Sylvester Stallone heard the Survivor single Poor Man's Son and he asked Peterik to write a song for Rocky III. At first Peterik thought the title Eye Of The Tiger was a little too obvious and he was going to call the song Survival. But sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice. The song was a huge hit of course. Dave Bickler was forced to leave Survivor due to vocal cord problems. Jimi Jamison was the new lead singer for the 1984 album Vital Signs. Survivor had four more top ten hits including Burning Heart from Rocky IV. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Survivor faded and split up in 1989. Jamison continued to tour as Survivor. He eventually reformed with Peterik and Sullivan but Jamison seemed to prefer leading his own version of Survivor. Bickler returned to Survivor and they toured for a couple of years. Then Peterik left and Sullivan won the legal battle with Jamison for the Survivor name. Jamison replaced Bickler. This back and forth with Jamison would continue until his death on Sept. 1, 2014. Bickler had returned to Survivor and they were on tour at the time but that has been cancelled. Here's the video for Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Song:Crush On You
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of The Jets
The music business has a long history of family groups aimed at the teen market like The Jackson 5 and The Osmonds. The Jets were a family group who had success in the 80s with frothy pop songs like Crush On You. The Wolfgramm family moved from their native Tonga to Minneapolis in 1965. There were 17 children and eight of them formed The Jets. The oldest was Leroy Wolfgramm on guitar followed by Eddie Wolfgramm on tenor sax, Eugene Wolfgramm on congas and alto sax, Heinrich Wolfgramm on bass, Rudy Wolfgramm on drums, Kathi Wolfgramm on keyboards and Elizabeth and Moana Wolfgramm on lead vocals. They signed with MCA Records and their debut album The Jets was released in 1985. The producers were David Z (David Rivkin) who worked with Prince. His brother is Prince drummer Bobby Z. The other producer was former Slade drummer Don Powell. Crush On You was the second single and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by former Raydio bassist Jerry Knight and studio musician Aaron Zigman. They wrote several songs on the album. The album was certified Platinum and the single You Got It All was also a top five hit. After a Christmas album, Magic was released in 1987 also produced by Powell. They had three more top ten hits. Eugene Wolfgramm left The Jets in 1988 to form Boys Club as Gene Hunt. The Jets 1989 album Believe did not do well and MCA dropped them. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Elizabeth attempted a solo career. Today The Jets are still touring. They have recorded gospel CDs and a couple aimed at the nostalgia market. If you were around in the 80s, I'm sure you will remember The Jets. You may wonder why you listened to them in the first place. Here's the video for Crush on You by The Jets.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Song:Let Her Go
Album:All The Little Lights
Passenger is another singer songwriter attempting to hide behind a band name. Let Her Go was a surprise smash hit in 2012. Passenger is Mike Rosenberg. He was born May 17, 1984 in Brighton and Hove, England. His father is from New Jersey and his mother is British. He wrote songs at an early age. His father worked in film and introduced him to Jamie Catto of Faithless and this led to a gig on a 2002 benefit show where he met Andrew Phillips and they started working together. They formed The Mike Rosenberg Band which was changed to Passenger. Passenger released an album in 2007 and then split up. Rosenberg kept the name Passenger and moved to Australia. All The Little Lights was Rosenberg's third album as Passenger. A Dutch fan emailed Rosenberg asking if he could promote Let Her Go. The song grew from there and got a big boost when it was used in a Budweiser commercial shown during Super Bowl XLVII. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was an international chart topper. Rosenberg is unlikely to have another hit like that. But it got him a deal with Nettwerk Records and he has been very successful on tour. He's buddies with Ed Sheeran and has opened for him. He works with Aussie musicians on his albums and they also tour with him. But it is not officially a band. His latest CD Whispers was released June 2014. Here's the video for Let Her Go by Passenger.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Here's the match video for Jessica Eye vs Leslie Smith from last night's UFC show in Mexico City. This is one of those fights that is not for the squeamish. If you can't stand the sight of blood, don't watch it. The main reason Jessica lost her last fight to Alexis Davis is she wasn't aggressive enough. She acknowledged that it was a missed opportunity and she would never allow that to happen again. Opportunity is what Leslie Smith is all about. She did well as a late replacement losing to Sarah Kaufman and then won by TKO over Jessamyn Duke. Jessica looked great in round one. She was quicker than I had seen her fight over the last couple of years. Leslie couldn't keep up with her. The key blow in the fight was a right cross to Leslie's ear with a minute left in the round. Her ear burst and there was blood all over the place. Like a lot of fighters, Leslie has cauliflower ears. It's an occupational hazard. We don't see this sort of thing often but it does happen. I thought they should have stopped the fight between rounds because the ear was only going to get worse and the fight would have to be stopped anyway. The ear was a target that Jessica was going to go after. And she should go after it. She's trying to win the fight. Not surprisingly, ref Herb Dean stopped the fight about a minute into round two. And the ringside doctor advised him to stop the fight. Leslie said in Spanish that she wanted to continue. But she admitted afterwards she didn't know how bad the ear looked. The last thing the UFC needed was Leslie Smith's ear laying on the mat. And that could have happened. One who can identify with Leslie's problem is veteran WWE wrestler Mick Foley. Foley lost an ear while working a WCW European tour in the early 90s. Foley declared that Leslie is his favourite fighter and he tweeted her a picture of himself after he lost his ear. So Leslie may have lost the fight but I think she gained a lot of respect for her willingness to continue. And Jessica got a big win. I'd like to see her face Jessica Andrade in Brazil. That could be fight of the night. Enjoy the video!
Album:The Temptations Give Love At Christmas
Around this time of year I always get asked about Christmas CDs. AccuRadio could play anything at random. So if something is played and I have a decent video clip, I could do it. The Temptations scored a top ten hit with Silent Night in 1968 and I think their version is very popular today. They recorded Silent Night three times. The first time they recorded it was for the 1970 album The Temptations Christmas Card. It was released after Ball Of Confusion. The group at the time was Dennis Edwards, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin and Otis Williams. Kendricks sang lead on Silent Night. The album was very successful. The second time they recorded Silent Night was on the 1980 album The Temptations Give Love At Christmas. This was right after they returned to Motown after recording two albums for Atlantic. Dennis Edwards had just returned from a modest solo career. You have to remember Edwards didn't get along with Otis Williams which is why Edwards left The Temptations in the first place. The other two members were Richard Street and new addition Glenn Leonard. Street joined The Temptations in 1971 and was a mainstay of the group until the 90s. Very underrated guy. The third time The Temptations recorded Silent Night was for the 2001 CD The Best Of The Temptations Christmas. Williams had recently brought in G.C. Cameron as lead singer to replace Barrington "Bo" Henderson. Other members were Ron Tyson, Harry McGilberry and Terry Weeks. All three CDs are available as budget CDs so take your pick. I like the 1980 album best. Any one of them would make for a great R & B Christmas. Here are The Temptations performing Silent Night around 1997. Bo Henderson was lead singer at the time.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Album:Intimate Portrait: Women With Soul
Pillow Talk may seem like a fluke one hit wonder. But there is much more to Sylvia Robinson than one song. And Pillow Talk paved the way towards more explicit content in black music. Sylvia was born Mar. 6, 1936 in New York City. Until Pillow Talk, she was best known as one half of Mickey & Sylvia and the 1956 smash hit Love Is Strange. They split up in 1959 and Sylvia married Joe Robinson. She recorded as Sylvia Robbins and then reunited with Mickey Baker until he moved to France in 1964. Then the Robinsons moved to New Jersey and started All Platinum Records. The label's biggest success was The Moments' Love On A Two Way Street and Shirley & Company's Shame, Shame, Shame. Sylvia co-wrote both songs. She wrote Pillow Talk with Michael Burton for Al Green. But Green thought it was too explicit so Sylvia recorded it. I'm sure no one was more surprised than Sylvia when Pillow Talk reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973. Because there was no album at the time. But they did record a Pillow Talk album but they rushed it so it's not very good. It is available on CD but instead I suggest this various artists budget CD released by Rhino as a companion to the Lifetime series Intimate Portrait. And if you don't think Pillow Talk was influential, remember Love To Love You Baby by Donna Summer was a huge hit in 1975. Would that have even been recorded without the success of Pillow Talk? Sylvia went on to form Sugar Hill Records and helped give birth to rap music with The Sugar Hill Gang and Grandmaster Flash. And until her death on Sept. 29, 2011 at age 75, Sylvia Robinson continued to develop new acts. Producer Paula Wagner recently announced plans for a Sylvia Robinson biopic with Joe and Sylvia's son Joey Robinson to co-produce. Here's Sylvia performing Pillow Talk on Soul Train 1973.