Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Song:Nuthin' But A "G" Thang
Album:The Chronicle: The Best Of The Works...
These days Andre "Dr. Dre" Young is mainly a producer. But he started out as a rapper and his 1992 hit Nuthin' But A "G" Thang did a lot to popularize rap and especially Calvin "Snoop Doggy Dogg" Broadus. Young was born Feb. 18, 1965 in Compton, CA which is the center of west coast rap. Young's father had a doo wop group and his stepbrother is rapper Warren G. Young was headed nowhere because of poor grades in high school. But he heard Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and he thought he could do that. He became a DJ. At first he called himself Dr. J after basketball legend Julius Erving but that changed to Dr. Dre. He met rapper Antoine "DJ Yella" Carraby and the two experimented in the four track recording studio in the back room of the club. One of the songs they worked on Surgery became a hit for World Class Wreckin' Cru. Young was briefly a member. He met O'Shea "Ice Cube" Jackson in 1986 and this led to the formation of N.W.A. with Eric "Eazy-E" Wright. The two albums N.W.A. recorded were successful. But Jackson left in 1989 and then Young left in 1991 and signed with Suge Knight's Death Row Records. Young's debut album The Chronic was released in 1992. The first single was the theme for the film Deep Cover. Nuthin' But A "G" Thang was the second single. Though there were other guest rappers on the album, Broadus is on the whole album. He had never recorded before so The Chronic introduced the rapper now known as Snoop Dogg. Though Nuthin' But A "G" Thang is today considered an iconic rap song and very influential, it didn't top the Billboard Hot 100. It only reached #2 because Informer by Snow topped the chart for seven weeks. Nuthin' But A "G" Thang is based on Leon Haywood's I Wanta' Do Something Freaky To You. I wouldn't call it sampling. The backing track is the entire basis of Nuthin' But A "G" Thang. Back then they called everything sampling but this is more than that. The Chronic was certified 3XPlatinum. Young could have continued to be a successful rapper. But he became a producer and he still does that today. This budget comp covers his Death Row days. Today Young owns his own label. He released an album in 2015 but it was his first album since 1999. His legacy is all the artists he has produced including of course Snoop Dogg. Here's the video for Nuthin' But A "G" Thang by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Song:If You Could Only See Me Now
Album:All-Time Greatest Hits
T. Graham Brown had a great run on the country charts in late 80s. If You Could Only See Me Now was his final top ten country hit in 1990. He was born Oct. 30, 1954 in Arabi, GA. His first name is Tony but there is a very successful producer in Nashville named Tony Brown. So he called himself T. Graham Brown to avoid confusion. He got into music while attending the University of Georgia, first in the duo Dirk & Tony then in the outlaw country band Reo Diamond. Then he formed Rack Of Spam in 1979 and he moved to Nashville in 1982. At first he sang jingles and he was a staff songwriter first at Columbia and then at EMI. This led to a Capitol Records contract in 1984. Brown had nine top ten country hits in a row. He had three number one hits, Hell and High Water and Don't Go To Strangers in 1986 and Darlene in 1988. He worked with producer Bud Logan who also produced John Conlee. Brown recorded all his albums in Muscle Shoals. By the late 80s, Brown was having serious alcoholism problems. He recorded the 1990 album Bumper To Bumper produced by Muscle Shoals legend Barry Beckett. If You Could Only See Me Now reached #6 on the Country Singles chart. It would turn out to be Brown's final top ten country hit. The song was written by Susan Longacre and Rick Giles who wrote Reba McEntire's #1 country hit Is There Life Out There. After one more album, Capitol dropped Brown. You can get all his hits on this comp. His alcoholism got worse. Brown signed first with Warner Bros. and then Sony but nothing was ever released. He recovered by the late 90s and Brown has recorded for small labels ever since. His recent recordings have been more in a gospel vein. He released Forever Changed and Christmas with T. Graham Brown in 2015. He still tours. I guess he's an 80s nostalgia act now. Here's T. Graham Brown performing If You Could Only See Me Now on the 2012 RFD-TV special Country's Family Reunion: Salute To The Kornfield. It's a Hee Haw reunion.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Ember Moon from last night's NXT Takeover show. It's a rematch from April. The story had Asuka injuring Ember Moon's shoulder and then on her return, she said Asuka cheated to win the first time. She gave Asuka The Eclipse. Actually, she botched it but Asuka sold it anyway. As with the first match, many supposed experts picked Ember to win because Asuka needs to drop the best to go to the main roster. But that's not true. She can keep The Streak going and vacate the NXT belt which is what Paige did a few years ago. So as I did in April, I went against traditional logic and I expected Asuka to win. This match was a lot better than the April match. Once again, Asuka showed how great she really is. Everything from her entrance complete with a headdress that may have been worn by a Vegas showgirl to her strategy and her tremendous selling of Ember Moon's offense was perfect. Her attention to detail is second to none. And the bonus is she may have gotten Ember Moon over. Ember started the match quickly. But they went outside and Asuka gave Ember Moon a hammerlock suplex on the steel ramp. And for the next few minutes, Asuka gave a clinic on how to work an arm. This was great strategy because of Ember's injury. And it sets up the Asuka Lock. Ember got her offense in which Asuka sold like she got shot. And she even used The Eclipse on Asuka. But once Asuka kicked out of that, that was the beginning of the end. In the end, Asuka outsmarted her by playing possum after a superkick and applying the Asuka Lock. The crowd cheered both after the match. So I don't know when Asuka is going up to the main roster, maybe for her 36th birthday next month. In an interview with USA Today's Josh Barnett, HHH said that he kept Asuka at NXT to protect her from Vince McMahon. That's the purpose of The Streak. He also said he needed her to sell NXT tickets after Nakamura went up to Smackdown. They did the same thing with Finn Balor. He remained in NXT for two years because he's a draw. I think Asuka needs to go up very soon because new blood is coming in. We'll see what happens. EDIT: The WWE reports today that Asuka has suffered a broken collarbone. She will be out for 6-8 weeks. ANOTHER EDIT: Since the WWE doesn't seem sure when Asuka's injury happened, I watched the match again. Go to the 16 minute mark of the video and watch the next minute. A standing shoulder block followed by a lariat seemed to be the cause. Asuka grabs her shoulder a couple of times but then she gets back to work. And until after the match when she can't move her right arm, you won't be able to tell there is anything wrong. She's a tough chick. So it's a routine move that caused the injury. Enjoy the video!
Asuka vs. Ember Moon (NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III... by VanishingWalker
Asuka vs. Ember Moon (NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III... by VanishingWalker
Song:Theme from New York, New York
Album:Nothing But The Best
The theme from the 1977 film New York, New York was Frank Sinatra's final big hit and it quickly became one of his signature songs. After Sinatra returned to the top of the charts with Strangers In The Night and That's Life, he recorded with his daughter Nancy, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Duke Ellington. After the 1970 album Watertown and a series of concerts with Count Basie, he decided to retire. Barbara Sinatra said he was bored doing the same old songs every night. Of course he didn't stay retired and in 1973 he returned with the TV special and album Ol' Blue Eyes is Back. For the rest of the 70s, Sinatra performed mostly at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. But he didn't record for a few years until the 1980 album Trilogy: Past Present Future. This was a three record concept album where each record was supposed to represent a different era. Sinatra planned to record this with longtime arranger Nelson Riddle. But they had a falling out. The first LP was covers of standards arranged by Billy May. It's supposed to represent the past. May worked with Sinatra in the 50s. The second LP was covers of contemporary songs arranged by Don Costa. It's supposed to represent the present. Costa worked with Sinatra in the 60s. The third LP was a suite called The Future written and arranged by Gordon Jenkins. Apparently this was the kind of thing Jenkins had wanted to do with Sinatra for years. This audacious project was the brainchild of producer Sonny Burke. One day Sinatra was fooling around in the recording studio and Burke suggested it. The album was certified Gold mainly because New York, New York was a hit. Of course the song was written by the legendary team of Fred Kander and John Ebb for Martin Scorsese's 1977 film New York, New York. Liza Minnelli sang it in the film. The film was a critical and box office failure but Sinatra popularized the theme and it reached #32 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sinatra performed it regularly in concert sometimes with Liza. He even recorded it with Tony Bennett for the 1992 album Duets. It turned out to be Sinatra's final hit single though he continued to record until his 1995 death. Trilogy was released on 2CDs but I don't recommend it. Jenkins' The Future was criticized at the time as pretentious and it hasn't aged well. So I recommend this comp which has Capitol and Reprise hits. Here's Frank Sinatra performing Theme from New York, New York.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Song:Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye
Album:The 60's Ultimate Collection Vol. 1
This cover of the song Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye was a top ten hit in 1967. It's a little odd as The Casinos were a doo wop group and doo wop was already dead by the mid-60s. The Casinos were from Cincinnati led by Gene Hughes. They were formed in 1962 and they played local clubs. Hughes left The Casinos but he returned in 1965. Cincinnati DJ Tom Dooley saw The Casinos in a club. He wanted to record a song and asked The Casinos to back him up and he would pay for the studio time. Hughes asked if he could record something for themselves and Dooley agreed to that. The song The Casinos recorded was Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye. The song got a good crowd reaction at live shows. The song was written by legendary songwriter John D. Loudermilk and it was first recorded as a country song by pop singer Don Cherry in 1962. The Casinos recorded it and Fraternity Records released it in 1967. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. They recorded an album but it turned out to be their only hit. You can get Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye on this Collectables 2CD various artists comp available at a budget price. Hughes went on to work for MCA Nashville as a record promoter for many years. He died in 2004. Former lead singer Ken Brady led The Casinos on the oldies circuit for years but I think they are now retired. Here's the video for Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye by the Casinos.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Album:Dumbo: Original Soundtrack
Though Betty Noyes appeared on screen in films and TV, she is best known for two off screen appearances. The first was singing the Oscar nominated song Baby Mine in the 1941 classic Disney film Dumbo. The other was for dubbing two songs in the 1952 classic film Singin' In The Rain. She was born Oct. 11, 1912 in Tulsa, OK. She started out in a group called the Debutantes in the big band of Ted Fio Rito. She appeared on radio with Bing Crosby and she was getting calls for film work. The first film Betty's voice appeared in was The Wizard Of Oz though it is not known what she did. Then she got the call from Walt Disney to sing Baby Mine in Dumbo. The song was nominated for an Oscar. Nobody knew who sang the song so it didn't make her famous. The film studios, especially Walt Disney, didn't want anyone to know who did the voice work. Betty's other big credit was dubbing Debbie Reynolds' singing voice in Singin' In The Rain. Betty sang Would You and You Are My Lucky Star. Her other notable dubbing appearance was in the 1954 film Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Her voice appeared in other films of the 50s and 60s. The most notable of these was as Lady Fish in the animated part of The Incredible Mister Limpet. Her one notable on screen appearance was as Mother in the 1965 TV musical Cinderella. She also appeared in a 1956 episode of I Love Lucy called Lucy Goes To Scotland. But for most of her career, Betty Noyes worked in anonymity as a studio singer. She died on Dec. 24, 1987 at age 75. Here's Betty Noyes performing Baby Mine as it appeared in the 1941 film Dumbo. Get your hankies out.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Song:I'ma Make It
Album:Tell You What I Know
JJ Thames always had the singing talent. But it was only recently that she was able to concentrate on music. And now she appears at blues festivals worldwide. JJ grew up in Detroit. And though she was exposed to all kinds of music, she showed talent as a blues shouter. But then she gave birth to her first son at age 17 and she moved to Jackson, MS to study business and marketing at Mississippi College. She continued to sing on the side. Then in 2004 she gave birth to her second son who died in 2006 of lymphoma. So JJ moved back to Detroit and started singing in local clubs. A move to New York didn't work out. And then she gave birth to her third son in 2010. She was getting work as a backup singer. But she wanted more so she took her family back to Jackson. She was spotted by producer Grady Champion. He is president of the Malaco Records label DeChamp. He produced JJ's 2014 debut CD Tell You What I Know. She wrote most of the songs on the album with keyboard player Sam Brady. The rest of her band is Celeb Armstrong on guitar, David Hyde on bass and Vince Barranco on drums. Guitarist Eddie Cotton appears on a few tracks. The album did well and JJ is currently on a European tour. I guess she always had that star quality. She just needed an opportunity. JJ's latest CD Raw Sugar was released last year. She does a lot of blues festivals. Here's JJ Thames performing I'ma Make It at the 2015 Bagnols Blues Festival in France.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Here's the match video of Jamie Colleen vs Tiffany Masters from last night's episode of Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS) at the UFC Gym in Las Vegas. This aired on UFC Fight Pass. This was the first women's match on the show. the fighters are not only fighting each other but they are competing with the other fighters on the show for a UFC contract. This is supposed to encourage fighters to be aggressive. I guess these two didn't get that memo. Jamie is from Philadelphia and a King Of Cage regular. Tiffany is from Wisconsin and she was supposed to be on last month's Invicta show. I didn't think she looked in shape and I thought her cardio could be a problem. Jamie is know for her striking but she didn't come out very aggressively. Tiffany wasn't much better but she was marginally better and I scored round one 10-9 for Tiffany. She also won round two by taking Jamie down and scoring with some ground and pound. But she needed to go for a finish to get that contract. Instead she pooped herself out. Jamie was read the riot act between rounds. She was much better in round three and ultimately got an armbar submission in the last minute of the fight. But I didn't think either would get that contract. It was the first fight on the show so we had to wait to find out and as I expected, neither got UFC contracts. If Jamie had come out aggressively from the start, she had a chance. But inexplicably, she didn't do that. That's a wasted opportunity. Enjoy the fight!
Song:Kisses In The Rain
Album:Kisses In The Rain
Smooth jazz trumpeter Rick Braun has been successful since the 90s when he recorded for Atlantic and then Warner Bros. He is still successful today recording for his own label. He was born July 6, 1955 in Allentown, PA. Braun's mom played piano. He played drums in high school. His high school music teacher suggested he try the trumpet. Braun's influences include Freddie Hubbard but he has acknowledged Herb Alpert as his biggest influence. While studying at the Eastman School of Music, he was in the jazz fusion band Auracle. They recorded a couple of albums in the late 70s for Chrysalis produced by Teo Macero. They were pretty good but they split up after two albums. Braun got into session work in the 80s with acts like REO Speedwagon, Johnny Mathis, Natalie Cole and others. He began to record as a leader in the early 90s with Mesa/Blue Moon with Atlantic Records distribution. He had success on the jazz charts. Blue Moon was taken over by Atlantic in 1998 and Braun was moved to Warner Bros. His first album for Warners was with popular sax player Boney James. Shake It Up is one of the best selling smooth jazz albums in history. The 2001 album Kisses In The Rain was his second of three albums for Warners. Smooth jazz guitarist Peter White makes a guest appearance on the song Kisses In The Rain. The song was written by David Woods who also plays keyboards and bass. Woods also worked with Boney James. The rest of the band is Peter White on acoustic guitar, Tony Maiden of Rufus on electric guitar, Fourplay's Harvey Mason Sr. on drums and Cuban percussionist Luis Conte. He has worked a lot with Poncho Sanchez. In 2005, Braun started his own label Artistry. His latest CD Around The Horn was released in February. He is also in the band BWB with sax player Kirk Whalum and guitarist Norman Brown. Braun is currently on tour. Not surprisingly, he does a lot of jazz festivals and smooth jazz cruises. Here's Rick Braun with Peter White performing Kisses In The Rain.