Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Song:The Rum Tum Tugger
Album:Cats: Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording
One of the interesting things about the 1982 Broadway show Cats is that Geffen Records tried to sell the original cast album like a pop record. And that included doing a music video. The music video was for The Rum Tum Tugger starring Terrence Mann. He is identified only in the end credits of the video. Cats was Mann's first big show and he's been on Broadway ever since. He was born July 1, 1951 in Ashland, KY. His mom was a concert pianist. He grew up in Largo, FL and attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. Mann's first Broadway show was Barnum in 1980 and then he was hired for Cats. He met his wife Charlotte d'Amboise while doing Cats. Normally Broadway musical cast albums are sold as an adjunct of the show. Geffen Records tried to go beyond that and did a music video for The Rum Tum Tugger. It worked because it got played on MTV. Of course Mann plays Rum Tum Tugger and that's him without makeup playing the janitor at the beginning of the video. None of the actors are named. So though the video didn't make Mann famous, he's been in plenty of musicals including Les Miserables (Tony nominated), The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, The Addams Family and most recently Tuck Everlasting which had a short run last year. Probably his best known film role was as Ug in the Critters movies. He is a regular on the Netflix series Sense8 which was recently cancelled and will end in 2018. Also he's a professor at Western Carolina University. Here's the video of The Rum Tum Tugger by Terrence Mann.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Song:A Boy Named Sue
Album:Johnny Cash at San Quentin
For everything that Johnny Cash recorded over the years, I bet most would be surprised that A Boy Named Sue was his only top five pop hit. Cash performed the song on Johnny Cash in San Quentin. I'm sure no one was more surprised than Cash that the song was a hit. The big thing about it is that it led to his TV variety show. The Johnny Cash Show has held up very well over the years. Cash had performed in prisons for years and he wanted to record a live album in a prison for a long time. When Columbia assigned Bob Dylan's producer Bob Johnston to Cash, he gave the green light to record in Folsom Prison. The album was so successful they decided to do a sequel at San Quentin. It was recorded Feb. 24, 1969 and filmed by British TV network Granada TV. This is available on DVD. Not surprisingly, the album was a hit. But the big surprise was when A Boy Named Sue became a hit single. It topped the country charts and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. A Boy Named Sue was written by humorist Shel Silverstein, probably best known for the Doctor Hook hit Sylvia's Mother. Silverstein said A Boy Named Sue was a tribute to legendary humorist Jean Shepherd (A Christmas Story). I guess Jean is perceived as a girl's name. Silverstein gave the song to Cash at a Guitar Pull where they pass a guitar around and perform songs. His wife June Carter encouraged Cash to perform the song. San Quentin was the first performance of A Boy Named Sue. Cash didn't even know the words. You can see him in the video looking at a piece of paper on the music stand. The success of A Boy Named Sue led to ABC offering Cash his own TV show. The Johnny Cash Show was very successful. Johnny Cash at San Quentin is available as a budget CD. Here's Johnny Cash performing A Boy Named Sue in San Quentin Feb. 24, 1969. This video is not on Youtube.
Monday, September 18, 2017
Song:Sucker For Pain
Album:Suicide Squad: The Album
These days movie producers are looking for a hit soundtrack to go with the movie. This is especially true of a comic book movie like Suicide Squad. What they normally try to do is compile an all star cast for the soundtrack. Steven Price composed the score and you can get that on a separate CD. Atlantic Records had their A&R department compile Suicide Squad: The Album. You'll notice they don't call it a soundtrack. That's because some of the songs on the album aren't in the movie. And some of the songs that are in the movie aren't on the soundtrack album. There is mostly new songs on the album. An album like this has a built in fanbase. But Atlantic and everyone else involved wants to have a hit single. Sucker For Pain was the second single from the album. It reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album topped the Billboard Hot 200 and it was certified Platinum. Mission accomplished. From what I could tell, Sucker For Pain was written by Imagine Dragons and producer Alexander "Alex Da Kid" Grant. They worked together before. At the time Imagine Dragons were taking a break but I guess they couldn't resist a big movie. Lil Wayne is the main rapper on this song so I do recommend it to his fans. And maybe to Wiz Khalifa fans. The other artists contribute very little. Were they necessary? Does it matter? As for the credits, recently I was reading an article on The Guardian about the negotiations that determine credits. It's a little too screwy for me. It can get very complicated. Among others who appear on this CD are Skillrex, Rick Ross, Action Bronson, Eminem and Panic! At the Disco. It's not my cup of tea but obviously plenty of folks bought this CD. Here's the video for Sucker For Pain by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and Imagine Dragons with Logic, Ty Dolla Sign featuring X Ambassadors.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Song:One Song Glory
Album:The Best Of Rent: Highlights From The Original Cast Album
Though Adam Pascal is a veteran Broadway performer, he is best known for his very first show and that was Rent in 1996. He appeared on Broadway and London, the film version of Rent and the touring cast. He was born Feb. 25, 1970 in The Bronx, NY and he grew up in Woodbury in Long Island. Pascal wanted to be a rock singer and he was in several bands. He's a big Queensryche fan and he does a tribute to them in concert. It was suggested that he should audition for Rent and he won the role of HIV positive musician Roger Davis. One Song Glory is Pascal's big number early in the show and he still performs it in his concerts. Rent was very successful. Pascal went on to appear in the London production, the national touring production and the film. This highlights CD from the Broadway show is available as a budget CD. Pascal has appeared in other Broadway shows like Aida in 2000 as Radames, as The Emcee in the 2003 revival of Cabaret and as Huey Calhoun in the 2011 show Memphis. Most recently he appeared as William Shakespeare in the musical Something Rotten! which was on Broadway but is currently on a national tour. He has been less successful in films and as a recording artist though he has been successful doing concert tours. I think that no matter what he does Adam Pascal will always be known for Rent. Here's Adam Pascal performing One Song Glory at the Huntington Theater in Boston Sept. 2008.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Song:I Want You
Album:20th Century Masters: the Millennium Collection: The Best Of Gato Barbieri
Argentinian sax player Leandro "Gato" Barbieri was an avant garde musician in the 60s. But in the 70s he made a sharp turn to become one of the pioneers of smooth jazz. Of course he didn't know that at the time. But I think A&M Records owner Herb Alpert did. He was born Nov. 28, 1932 in Rosario, Argentina. Charlie Parker was Barbieri's major influence. In the 50s he was in Lalo Shifrin's band. And in the 60s he moved to Italy with his wife (she was Italian) and started playing with guys like Don Cherry. Many fans here would have first heard of Barbieri when he signed with Impulse Records in 1969. And when producer Bob Thiele started Flying Dutchman Records, Barbieri recorded several early 70s albums. The turning point in Barbieri's career was when he composed the score for the 1972 film Last Tango In Paris. That won him a Grammy. That was a huge success. And after a few more albums for Impulse, Herb Alpert signed him to A&M and he produced the 1976 album Caliente!. It was Barbieri's first album for A&M. This was more commercial than anything Barbieri had previously recorded. His cover of the Marvin Gaye classic I Want You was an R&B hit. The strings and horns were arranged and conducted by Jay Chattaway. Musicians were David Taylor, Paul Faulise and Wayne Andre on trombone, Bernie Glow, Marvin Stamm and Randy Brecker on trumpet, Eddy Martinez and Don Grolnick on keyboards, David Spinozza, Eric Gale and Joe Beck on guitar, Gary King on bass, Lenny White on drums and Ralph McDonald on percussion. Carlos Santana guested on one track. Barbieri recorded four successful albums for A&M. This budget comp covers those years. Barbieri recorded for Columbia in the 80s. But he retired after his wife died in 1983. He returned in the late 90s and continued to record and tour until his death on Apr. 2, 2016 at age 83. Here's Gato Barbieri with Frank Ferrucci on piano, Bill Washer on guitar, Chico Rindner on bass, Jean-Francois Fabiano on drums and Guihlerme Franco on percussion performing I Want You at the 1984 Montreal Jazz Festival from the DVD Live In Montreal. I think this is out of print.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Here's the match video of Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler. This was the final of the Mae Young Classic. This was broadcast live from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on the WWE Network. From the tournament matches that were taped in July, it looked like the WWE was planning a Four Horsewomen angle probably for The Survivor Series. But it seems that from July to this week, the WWE decided against doing it probably because Ronda Rousey wouldn't agree to do it. There's not much point in doing it without her. The assumption that the WWE was doing that angle led a lot of folks to believe that Shayna would win this match. I disagreed. I didn't think she needed to win to do that angle. Now it seems the plan all along was for Kairi to win the tournament. Shayna got to the final because of the possibility of a Four Horsewomen angle. Her comments before the match played her up as a heel against cute little Kairi. But Kairi turned out to be much tougher than most folks expected. BTW, Kairi wore all new ring gear. Shayna dominated the first part of the match. She worked on Kairi's arm and a kick to the head sent Kairi to the floor. The worm turned after Kairi hit a spear that seemed to hurt Shayna's ribs. I don't think it was a real injury but it helped sell the drama. So when Shayna applied the rear naked choke that beat her other tournament opponents, Kairi elbowed her in the ribs to escape. And you all know that when a wrestler kicks out of her opponent's finisher, that wrestler, in this case Kairi, will win. And of course Kairi won with her flying elbow drop. The match was pretty good. I think it was hurt by time constraints. Kairi gave another great performance playing up the drama mostly using facial expressions. She reminded me a lot of 70s AJW legend Mimi Hagiwara who also was an actor who got into pro wrestling. Hikaru Shida and Yumi Ohka are also actors turned wrestlers. In STARDOM, Kairi was always going to play second fiddle to Io Shirai who taught her a lot of moves including the diving elbow drop. Her ring skills and her dramatic ability stands out in the WWE. I'm sure HHH was very pleased with Kairi's performance. Like Asuka, Kairi knows how to get herself and her opponent over. Neither of them need to be scripted. That is a very valuable attribute. HHH announced that Kairi will be in an NXT Women's Championship match in November in Houston. At last night's NXT tapings, it was announced that it would be a five way match. They are having qualifying matches to determine the participants. One other thing. Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist in Wrestling Erica Wiebe was in attendance. The WWE has been after her for two years. I expect her to be signed very soon. I can't wait to see her. Enjoy the video!
Album:Loc-ed After Dark
Tone-Loc was a very early rap success. He scored two top five pop hits. And Loc-ed After Dark was only the second rap album to top the Billboard Hot 200. But like a lot of rappers, he didn't last. He was born Anthony Terrell Smith Mar. 3, 1966 in Los Angeles. I guess at the time there was some novelty for a rapper with a gravelly voice. Apparently he was a gang member when Delicious Vinyl signed him to a record deal. Wild Thing was the first single from Tone-Loc's debut album Loc-ed After Dark. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the second single Funky Cold Medina reached #3. The album was certified 2XPlatinum and it was Delicious Vinyl's first success. Most of the album was produced by Delicious Vinyl owners Matt Dike and Michael Ross. You might think that Wild Thing was based on The Troggs classic. It isn't. Of course the title is a sexual reference. Wild Thing is based on the Van Halen song Jamie's Cryin'. But there was no songwriting credit. Van Halen's management accepted a $5K settlement without consulting the band. Van Halen sued and settled for $180K out of court. Alex Van Halen said they should have got a lot more because the record made millions. Loc-ed After Dark is available as a budget CD. When his 1991 album Cool Hand Loc didn't sell that well, that was it for Tone-Loc. He became an actor and that's what he does today. Not surprisingly, he seems to do a lot of voice work. He still tours but at this point he's a nostalgia act. Here's the video for Wild Thing by Tone-Loc.
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Song:La Rue Principale
Album:Les Annees 1992-1995
Les Colocs were very popular in Quebec in the early 90s. Like most Quebecois acts, they were unknown elsewhere. The band ended when group leader Dede Fortin committed suicide in 2000. He was born Nov. 17, 1962 in Saint-Thomas-Didyme, QC. He studied film at Universite de Montreal. He formed Les Colocs in 1990 with Patrick Esposito Di Napoli on harmonica, Mike Sawatzky on guitar, Serge Robert on bass and Jimmy Bourgoing on drums. Their music is folk rock. Fortin's songs address political and cultural issues in Quebec. Fortin wrote a lot of songs about Quebec Sovereignity. Les Colocs signed with BMG Canada. La Rue Principale is from their 1993 debut album Les Colocs. This is probably their most popular album. They suffered a big blow when Di Napoli died of AIDS on Nov. 13, 1994. It doesn't look like they were the same after that. They continued to record and tour Quebec. But Fortin struggled with depression and he committed suicide on May 8, 2000. That ended Les Colocs and BMG released this budget comp in 2001. Here's the video for La Rue Principale by Les Colocs. I know the video looks low quality. It's supposed to look that way.