Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Billie Kay from last night's episode of Smackdown. This was very similar to the last time Asuka beat Billie Kay and it was also the last time Asuka appeared on TV. The WWE has booked Asuka and Naomi vs The Iiconics on the Oct. 6 Australian Super Show which will air live on the WWE Network. So they want to build up to that. But they don't have the TV time. Typical of those boneheads, Naomi gets her entrance though she isn't in the match. It's always instructive to see what is really important to them. The match is less than two minutes long. Billie gets way too much offense including a rest hold. Whoever suggested that needs a smack upside the head. Look, if they couldn't give Asuka five minutes to do her magic, don't bother. Shortchanging women's matches is what got fans chanting "Give Divas A Chance" in the first place. Obviously they haven't learned their lesson. They need to remember a pat on the back is eighteen inches away from a kick in the pants. Enjoy the video!
Song:Sink Into Me
Taking Back Sunday had modest success recording for Warner Bros. from 2004-11. They couldn't seem to get that hit single to launch them into the top tier. Constant personnel changes seem to have hurt them. They even joke about that. Their music is similar to the very popular band Sunny Day Real Estate. Taking Back Sunday was formed in 1999 in Amityville, NY by guitarist Eddie Reyes and Jesse Lacey. Lacey moved to bass with the addition of guitarist John Nolan. Other members were lead singer Antonio Longo and drummer Steven DeJoseph. Lacey left after Nolan stole his girlfriend. Nolan brought his friend Adam Lazzara from North Carolina to play bass. Then DeJoseph left and Reyes brought in his friend Mark O'Connell. After releasing an EP, they weren't happy with Longo and Lazzara took over as lead singer. O'Connell brought in bassist Shaun Cooper. They released another EP and after touring, they signed with Victory Records and released the 2002 album Tell All Your Friends. Nolan and Cooper didn't like touring and left. Taking Back Sunday briefly considered splitting up. Instead they brought in Fred Mascherino on guitar and Matt Rubano on bass. When the 2004 CD Where You Want To Be was certified Gold on an indie label, Taking Back Sunday's management signed them to Warner Bros. Of course the goal was to have a hit single be more successful. The 2006 CD Louder Now was certified Gold but only the single MakeDamnSure charted and it didn't chart high enough to take them to a higher level. Obviously the results were disappointing. Then Mascherino left and he was replaced by Matthew Fazzi. Mascherino said the band fought over control and he didn't think that was productive. The CD New Again was released in 2009. Sink Into Me was the first single. It wasn't a hit and the album did not do as well as previous albums. Rubano and Fazzi left and Nolan and Cooper returned. After the 2011 CD Taking Back Sunday sold even less, Warner Bros. dropped the band. Since then they have recorded two albums for the indie label Hopeless. And they still tour. The criticism of Taking Back Sunday is they sound too much like other more successful bands like Sunny Day Real Estate. So when a band doesn't stand out from the crowd, it's tough to make any progress. So now I guess Taking Back Sunday is resigned to being a second tier level band and that's not what they wanted. Here's the video for Sink Into Me by Taking Back Sunday.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Song:Wherever You Will Go
Album:Love Actually: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The 2001 top five hit Wherever You Will Go was the only chart single for The Calling. The song also topped the Adult Top 40 for 23 weeks. Though Wherever You Will Go is a one hit wonder, the song has had a long shelf life unlike The Calling who only released two albums before splitting up. The Calling are from Los Angeles. Lead singer Alex Band and guitarist Aaron Kamin started jamming together in 1996 while Kamin was dating Band's sister. They formed a band and called themselves Generation Gap. That didn't last long and they called themselves Next Door because one of their neighbors was veteran music exec Ron Fair. He got them a record deal with RCA. They renamed themselves The Calling. But they weren't a band. Fair brought in musicians and then he brought in producer Marc Tanner who worked previously with Nelson and Eddie Money. The album Camino Palmero was released in 2001. Wherever You Will Go was the first single. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. And it topped the Adult Top 40 for 23 weeks. The song was very popular with women. The album was certified Gold but it was panned by critics. The musicians hired to be in The Calling left in 2002 because they thought they were supposed to get royalties. The 2004 album Two was Band and Kamin with studio musicians. The album did poorly and after touring, The Calling split up. The main criticism of The Calling was they sounded too much like other bands like Third Eye Blind and Train. Wherever You Will Go stood out as a ballad. The song got new life when it appeared in the popular 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually. That was a very successful film and so was the soundtrack which may explain why women love Wherever You Will Go. The Love Actually soundtrack is available as a budget CD. Though it looks like Kamin left the music business, Band was featured on Santana's 2003 top ten hit Why Don't You & I. Fair signed Band to Geffen Records. Band recorded an album but Geffen kept delaying the release. So he left and started his own label with EMI distribution. Band released an album in 2010 that went nowhere. Band now leads a version of The Calling with plans to record new music. Here's the video for Wherever You Will Go by The Calling.
Monday, September 17, 2018
Here's a slice of obscure 70s funk that was rediscovered in recent years to the point that the band's only album has been released on CD by the British label Jazzman. Soulful Proclamation seems to be Messengers Incorporated's best known song as it turns up on a couple of various artists comps. Guitarist Charles Burton and his singer wife Barbara Burton are the leaders of Messengers Incorporated. They grew up together in Tulsa and after graduating from high school, they married and moved to Oklahoma City. For the most part, both are backup musicians. If they had lived in LA, they would have been in The Wrecking Crew. But in Oklahoma City, they are local legends who were inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2001. They owned a recording studio there. Charles Burton toured with Gladys Knight and the Pips, Tom Jones and Count Basie among others. Barbara Burton sang with Brenda Lee, Roger Miller and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Their son Charles Burton III AKA Tre is also a musician. This Messengers Incorporated album Soulful Proclamation was released in 1970 on the small SMI label. Along with Charles and Barbara Burton, Maurice Love is on organ. He wrote Soulful Proclamation. James "Bucky" Young is on bass and Maurice Howard is on drums. The album went nowhere at the time but it was rediscovered by DJs and the Japanese label P-Vine released it on CD in 2006. Jazzman released it on CD in 2013. Both labels specialize in obscure black music reissues. As Burton Inc., Charles and Barbara Burton released the album L.A. Will Make You Pay $$$ in 1976 on their own label featuring the same musicians. That album was also released on CD by Jazzman. After that, Charles and Barbara returned to running their recording studio and touring as backup musicians. I'm sure the revival of Soulful Proclamation is a surprise to them. But it's a pretty good song and worth a listen. Here's a video of Soulful Proclamation by Messengers Incorporated.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Album:Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001
Unlike a lot of Canadian groups, the Barenaked Ladies had success in the US when One Week topped the charts in 1998. They are legends in Canada especially in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough where they grew up. Ed Robertson and Steven Page went to the same school. But they didn't know each other until they met at a restaurant following a Peter Gabriel concert. They became friends because they had similar taste in music. Then they started playing together while working as summer camp counselors. While attending a Bob Dylan concert, they got bored and made snarky comments to each other. Meanwhile, Robertson's band was supposed to do a battle of the bands for charity. But the band broke up. Robertson forgot about the gig. When they called to remind him, he said the band name had changed to Barenaked Ladies. Then he called Page to get him to do the gig. Like a lot of their early gigs, it was mostly improvised and Robertson was very good at improvising jokes. Then they became a band by adding brothers Andy (percussion) and Jim (bass) Creeggan. They went on tour with Corky and the Juice Pigs. When Andy Creeggan went to South America on a student exchange trip, he was replaced by Tyler Stewart. Toronto's CITY-TV had a video booth called Speaker's Corner. This is years before Youtube. When Barenaked Ladies performed Be My Yoko Ono on Speaker's Corner, they became local sensations. This eventually led to a deal with Sire Records in 1992. Before that, they released music independently including a cover of Bruce Cockburn's Lovers In A Dangerous Time and If I Had $1,000,000. And of course there was the time they were removed from a Toronto City Hall New Year's Eve concert when a staffer told Mayor June Rowlands that the name Barenaked Ladies was offensive. That nonsense made them even bigger in Toronto. Robertson says the story was big because it was a slow news week. The whole point of signing with a major label was to break in the US. But it took a few years to do that with the 1998 album Stunt and the single One Week which topped the Billboard Hot 100. Robertson wrote the song and does the rapping which is mostly pop culture nonsense. Page sings the chorus. By this time, Kevin Hearn replaced Andy Creeggan and then Hearn was diagnosed with leukemia and was unable to tour. They hired musicians for touring and Hearn returned after treatment. Though Barenaked Ladies continued to be popular in Canada, their US success was short lived. And Warner/Reprise/Sire released them after the 2003 album Everything To Everyone. You can get all their hits on this comp. Barenaked Ladies started their own label Desperation Records. And they continue to release new music even after Page's 2009 departure. He has recorded solo and he hosted the TV series The Illegal Eater. The Barenaked Ladies currently record for Vanguard and their latest CD Fake Nudes was released in 2017. And Barenaked Ladies was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in March. Here's the video for One Week by Barenaked Ladies.
Saturday, September 15, 2018
Album:The Best Of Joss Stone 2003-2009
When she was 16 years old, blue eyed soul singer Joss Stone looked like she was going to be the next big thing. She had success with her first couple of albums. But she had record company problems and I don't think she has recovered from that though she is still recording and touring. She was born Joscelyn Eve Stoker Apr. 11, 1987 in Dover, Kent, England. She got her big break at age 13 when she won the BBC talent contest series Star for a Night in 2001. This eventually got the attention of S-Curve Records owner Steve Greenberg. He brought her to New York. She auditioned singing soul classics. He signed her immediately and brought her to Miami where soul legend Betty Wright was brought in to help her record the 2003 album The Soul Sessions. Betty co-produced with Mike Mangini who had previously worked with Greenberg on Baha Men's Who Let The Dogs Out?. The album was soul covers. She had a couple of top twenty hits in England and the album was certified Gold. So it did OK and Joss was getting a lot of buzz. For her 2004 album Mind, Body & Soul, Greenberg decided to have Joss record original songs. Joss wrote most of the songs with various songwriters. Spoiled was written with Motown legend Lamont Dozier and his son Beau who dated Joss for a while. The album was certified Platinum but she just wasn't able to score that big hit single in the US though she had a top ten hit in England. Then Greenberg sold her contract to EMI and Joss was assigned to Virgin Records. Her 2007 album Introducing Joss Stone was produced by Raphael Saadiq. It didn't do as well as her previous albums. Then things went south with EMI. The release of the 2009 album Colour Me Free! was delayed because label management didn't like the cover. She didn't like EMI's new management anyway so she asked to be released from her contract. This comp was released to complete that contract. Since then Joss has recorded for her own label Stone'd. Her latest album Water For Your Soul was released in 2015. It's a reggae album. Joss still tours and I guess she is happy to have control of her music. But she won't be as big of a star as first expected. Here's the video for Spoiled by Joss Stone.
Friday, September 14, 2018
Song:Linus and Lucy
Album:Masterpieces: Best of the GRP Years
Pianist David Benoit has been a Smooth Jazz staple since the 80s. He is probably best known for taking over the scoring of the Peanuts cartoons after the death of Charles Schultz. Benoit's cover of Linus and Lucy is one of his most popular recordings. He was born Aug. 18, 1953 in Bakersfield, CA. He learned to play piano as a child and he studied theory and composition at El Camino College and UCLA. His big jazz influence is Bill Evans. Benoit began his career in 1976 as an accompanist first for Lainie Kazan and then for Connie Stevens and Ann-Margret. He was also a sideman for Alphonse Mouzon among others. Benoit released several albums on AVI Records, a label known mostly for disco but they recorded jazz as well. He signed with GRP Records in 1987. But before that, he released a couple of albums on what seems to be his own label. It appears that GRP picked them up after he signed. Benoit first recorded Linus and Lucy on the 1985 album This Side Up. It has turned out to be one of his most popular recordings. This original version features special guest Ernie Watts on soprano sax. Other musicians are Grant Geissman on guitar, Jerold Weber, Michael Lang and Randy Kerber on keyboards, Bob Feldman on bass, Tony Morales on drums, Del Blake on percussion and The L.A. Modern String Orchestra conducted by William Henderson. You can get Linus and Lucy on this comp CD. Since then, Benoit has been a regular at the top of the jazz charts. And he has been an arranger and conductor for all kinds of artists especially The Rippingtons. After Charles Schultz' 2000 death, Benoit was chosen to take over the music for any future Peanuts cartoons. After Universal closed GRP and folded it into Verve, Benoit recorded for Concord's Peak label. His latest CD So Nice was released in 2017 on Shanachie. Here's David Benoit performing Linus and Lucy with an orchestra and a sax player who is not identified. There is no date on the video either. The video was used to promote an upcoming 2008 concert.
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Album:Prisoner Of Love
Jazz singer Marianne Solivan was a finalist in the 2009 and 2010 Jazzmobile Vocal Competition. She has recorded a couple of albums and currently leads her own big band. She's a New York City native and she studied at Berklee and the New England Conservatory of Music. She has been working the New York club circuit since 2007. After appearing on clarinetist Darryl Harper's 2009 album Stories In Real Time, Marianne signed with the same label HiPNOTIC Records. Prisoner Of Love is her 2012 debut album. She records mostly standards including the Artie Shaw classic Moon Ray. Jeremy Pelt plays trumpet on Moon Ray and he also produced the album. Musicians include Michael Kanan on piano who has also accompanied Jimmy Scott and Jane Monheit, Peter Bernstein on guitar, Christian McBride on bass and Jonathan Blake from the Mingus Big Band on drums. Marianne released a second album Spark in 2014. Marianne continues to tour regularly. She started a big band. A female led big band is unusual but not unheard of. I think she is trying to distinguish herself from the pack of jazz singers in the marketplace. The big band has yet to record. Here's Marianne Solivan with Michael Kanan, Marco Panascia and Michael Petrosino performing Moon Ray May 22, 2012.