Saturday, July 30, 2016
Album:The Best Of Wilson Phillips
Hold On was the first of three number one hits for Wilson Phillips. Unfortunately, all three singles were on their 1990 debut CD. And when their second CD didn't do well, they quickly split up. Of course Carnie and Wendy Wilson are the daughters of Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson. And Chynna Phillips is the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas. So they knew each other growing up in Los Angeles. Chynna appeared in films like Some Kind Of Wonderful and Say Anything. Her biggest role was as Roxanne Pulitzer in the 1989 TV movie Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer. Inspired by Band Aid, Chynna approached Carnie and Wendy about recording a charity single by children of famous musicians. That fell through but the three started writing songs and Wilson Phillips signed with Capitol's SBK label. Their 1990 debut album Wilson Phillips was written and produced with Glen Ballard. He worked with Michael Jackson and later would have a lot of success with Alanis Morissette. Hold On was the first single and it topped the charts. Release Me and You're In Love also topped the charts. Though Wilson Phillips was criticized for being overly sappy and sugary, record buyers liked it and the album was certified 5XPlatinum. They were also nominated for several Grammys and Hold On was named Single of the Year by Billboard. It was the best selling album of all time by a female group. Of course when a debut album is that big, it's impossible to follow up on it. For their 1992 album Shadows and Light, Wilson Phillips took a more serious tone. They still wrote and produced the album with Ballard. But it just didn't catch on with listeners. You Won't See Me Cry was the highest charting single at #20. And that was it. Chynna Phillips went solo and Wilson Phillips split up. This budget comp covers both albums. Chynna's 1995 solo album Naked and Scared went nowhere. Carnie Wilson went on to host a talk show. She recorded an album in 2003 that was never released. Wilson Phillips reunited for an album of covers in 2004. They reunited again in 2012 to release the CD Dedicated and star in the TV Guide Network reality show Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On. Wilson Phillips recently appeared on the ABC series Greatest Hits but I don't think they tour or plan to record regularly. Here's the video for Hold On by Wilson Phillips.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Novalima mixes the traditional music of Peru with contemporary music and their music has become very popular with DJs probably because their producer is a DJ. Their music is AfroPeruvian which is similar to AfroCuban. The members of Novalima were friends in high school in Lima, Peru. There is Carlos Li-Carrillo on keyboards and bass, Grimaldo Del Solar on guitar and keyboards, Rafael Morales on guitar and Ramon Perez-Prieto on keyboards. They add other musicians but that's the core group. The other key figure is producer Toni Economides. He's very well known for his remixes. The members of Novalima lived in different locations but they decided to converge in 2002. They released the CD Novalima independently in 2003. And then they met Economides and he got their 2005 CD Afro released on the British label Mr. Bongo. This got them a deal with the US label Cumbancha owned by Vermont based musicologist Jacob Edgar. He specializes in world music. Coba Coba was released in 2008. Several new members were added including singer Milagros Guerrero. The album did so well that there was even an album of remixes. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy. One of their songs appeared in the 2010 Robert Rodriguez film Machete. For their latest CD Planetario, Novalima and producer Economides switched to Wonderwheel. Novalima is currently on tour in Europe. Fans of Latin music should check them out. Here's Novalima performing Coba Guarango on Plus TV Jammin Sessions 2012. There is a video for Coba Guarango but I like this performance clip better.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Album:The Sound Of Music: 50th Anniversary Edition
When Marni Nixon died the other day, the subject of dubbing in movie musicals came up. It was much more common than you might think. And in those days, it was a big secret. You weren't supposed to know the vocals were dubbed and it was never credited. So when you watched the 1965 film The Sound Of Music, you thought Christopher Plummer was singing Edelweiss. We now know that Bill Lee dubbed Plummer's singing voice. Lee was born Aug. 21, 1916 in Johnson, NE but he grew up in Des Moines, IA. Lee started out playing the trombone but he started singing in college. After serving in the US Navy during WWII, Lee moved to Hollywood. He was a member of The Mellomen led by Thurl Ravenscroft (voice of Tony The Tiger). The Mellomen mostly worked for Walt Disney. Lee never recorded under his own name. And most of his film work was dubbing his voice for actors who didn't sing. He also recorded plenty of jingles. Lee's singing voice is heard on many Disney films including Alice In Wonderland and Lady and the Tramp. But his voice also appeared in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, South Pacific, Hey, There! It's Yogi Bear, Mary Poppins and of course The Sound of Music. Plummer was cast as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music after director Robert Wise saw him on Broadway. Plummer has said many time he hated making the film. He says he was spoiled by all the meaty roles he did on Broadway. Plummer says the plan was for him to do his own singing. But Wise and musical director Irwin Kostal decided Plummer would sound better if his vocals were augmented. So they brought in Lee and Plummer admits that it is mostly Lee that you hear in the film. There was an art to the kind of singing that Lee and Marni Nixon did. Lee had to sound like Plummer. So it's Lee's voice that you hear on the 50th anniversary edition of The Sound of Music soundtrack. The other singer in the clip Charmian Carr was discovered by Wise. She left the entertainment industry to own an interior design business. For Bill Lee, The Sound of Music was just another job in an anonymous career. His singing voice appeared in The Jungle Book, Thoroughly Modern Millie and many other films and TV shows. He died on Nov. 15, 1980 at age 64. Here's Bill Lee with Charmian Carr performing Edelweiss in the 1965 film The Sound of Music.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Album:Best Love Songs Vol. 2
Feelings is one of the kitschiest schlockiest hit singles of all time. It was a top ten hit in 1976. And then Morris Albert quickly faded into obscurity. He was born Mauricio Alberto Kaisermann Sept. 7, 1951 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Before Feelings he was a member of The Hangmen. They were a garage band and they recorded an album in 1967. In the early 70s, he got into production with groups like The Light Reflections. He wrote and recorded Feelings and he thought if he could get airplay in the US, it could be a big hit. So he changed his name to Morris Albert. After Feelings became a hit in Latin America, RCA picked it up for distribution and it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. Albert never had another hit and of course Feelings is constantly mocked as one of the worst hit singles of all time. These days Albert lives in Italy and you might think that at least he is wealthy from Feelings royalties. But he was sued by French composer Louis "Loulou" Gaste. It seems that Albert based Feelings on the 1957 Gaste song Pour Toi. But he didn't give him a songwriting credit. So now Albert doesn't even get that. You can get Feelings on this various artists budget comp. Albert is still around. He lives in Italy and he last recorded in 2011. But he will forever be remembered for Feelings. Here's Morris Albert performing Feelings 1976.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
So the good news is that Sasha Banks finally won the WWE Women's Championship from Charlotte. So the questions from this is what took them so long and why now instead of SummerSlam. I can't answer the first question because I would have to get inside of Vince McMahon's head. Look, I wouldn't have put the belt on Charlotte in the first place. She's green and the title hasn't really improved her wrestling or some of her promos. The reason they did the title change now instead of SummerSlam is the same reason Finn Balor won big in his debut. They wanted to make a big splash with the roster split. This was Charlotte's best match to date mostly carried by Sasha. But they need to get her to work on some of her problems. Please don't let Charlotte go to the top rope anymore. She always muffs those moves. It happened twice last night. I would also avoid having her try to catch anyone outside the ring. It looked like Sasha fell awkwardly on a dive to the floor. She actually got her hands out but I don't think most fans saw that. But Charlotte didn't catch her properly anyway. And it's not the first time. So maybe if Charlotte doesn't have the belt, they can get her to work on correcting these things. The match was decent. The most important thing is the fans were into it. And when Sasha won, it meant something. I actually prefer Sasha as a heel but fans won't boo her now. I expect Charlotte to regroup and I wonder if an alliance with Nia Jax is in her future. Dana Brooke proved to be useless. And I loved the Eddy Guerrero spot that Sasha borrowed to get rid of Dana. That was hilarious. Check out the video for yourself.
Song:Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
Album:Make It Big
Though in the end, Wham! was a footnote in launching George Michael to a successful solo career, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go was a huge hit and I don't know if Michael is a successful solo artist without it. Michael and Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley were schoolmates in Bushey, England. At first they were in a ska band called The Executive. But when that split up, they formed Wham! and signed with Innervision Records with CBS distribution. The problem was they were so eager to be successful, they signed a terrible contract and they would have to sue Innervision to get out of it. So Michael was the lead singer and he wrote all the songs. Clearly it was inevitable that he would be a solo artist. They scored some top ten hits in England like Young Guns (Go For It), Wham Rap!, Bad Boys and Club Tropicana that Epic in the US expressed interest in releasing Wham! in the US. For one thing, teen girls went nuts over Wham!. But they had to get out of their Innervision contract. They closed in 1985. So now that Wham! were on Epic worldwide, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go blitzed the world and made Wham! pop stars. It was a worldwide chart topper and the album Make It Big was certified 6XPlatinum. Michael got the idea for the song from a note Ridgely wrote to his parents. He says he just wanted it to be an upbeat pop song. The next single Careless Whispers was sold more as a Michael solo record and it was also a huge hit. The interesting thing is Ridgeley co-wrote Careless Whispers so that song made him wealthy. From there, things started to fall apart. Wham! went to China in 1985 with much hoopla. Lindsay Anderson was supposed to make a documentary about the tour. But the film was not released. A re-edited version was released on DVD in 2006. The split was coming so Wham! released a final album in 1986 which was a rehash of previously released material. Then Michael went solo and we all know how successful he was. Ridgeley moved to Monaco and tried auto racing. Then he moved to Los Angeles to try acting. After returning to England, Epic agreed to release the 1990 album Son Of Albert. It didn't sell and Ridgeley quit the music business. He lives off of the Careless Whispers royalties. He rarely appears in public. Wham! was supposed to reunite in 2005 but Ridgeley backed out. So of course Wham! had the potential to be much bigger if they had stayed together. It just wasn't in the cards. Here's the video for Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham!.
Monday, July 25, 2016
Song:Sweet Child O' Mine
Album:Appetite For Destruction
Guns N' Roses had a strong run in the late 80s. Sweet Child O' Mine was their only number one hit. They were pretty big anyway but it's likely they could have been much bigger without all the internal bickering. Guns N' Roses was a merger of two bands. Guitarist Izzy Stradlin of Hollywood Rose formed the band with Tracii Guns of L.A. Guns. L.A. Guns were looking for a new lead singer and Stradlin suggested Axl Rose. The members of L.A. Guns were replaced by bassist Duff McKagan, guitarist Slash and drummer Steven Adler. All these guys knew each other from other bands. After making their mark on the Los Angeles club scene, Guns N' Roses signed with Geffen Records. Their debut album Appetite For Destruction was released July 1987 produced by recording engineer Mike Clink. The album sold 30 million copies worldwide even after the album cover was changed because some stores refused to stock the album. Sweet Child O' Mine was the first single and it topped the charts. The main thing the song has going for it is a great guitar riff. The song was written at a jam session. Rose wrote the lyrics after listening to the band play the song. He was inspired by then girlfriend Erin Everly (Don Everly's daughter). She's in the video. Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City were also top ten hits. Appetite For Destruction is available as a budget CD. Their 1988 album G N' R Lies wasn't as successful. Patience was the only top ten hit from the album. They took a shortcut by including songs from a 1986 EP. We also started hearing about bad behaviour on tour mostly by Rose. Steven Adler was fired for heroin use but was rehired when he agreed to quit taking drugs. He wasn't able to stick to that and he was fired again. Adler went on to sue for back royalties. He was replaced by Matt Sorum of The Cult. The band was very close to splitting up. But instead they released Use Your Illusion 1 and Use Your Illusion 2 in 1991. Both albums did very well and November Rain was Guns N' Roses final top five hit. There were continuing problems with Rose' behaviour while on tour. Stradlin quit and was replaced by Gilby Clarke. After the 1993 album of covers The Spaghetti Incident? was poorly received, Guns N' Roses went on hiatus. They started working on an album in 1996 but Rose didn't think it was good enough and it was scrapped. Geffen got so frustrated with them that a Greatest Hits CD followed by a live CD was released. Rose sued Geffen. The album Chinese Democracy was supposed to be released in 2000. But it wasn't released until 2008. Rose continued to use the Guns N' Roses name when he probably should have just gone solo. He hired musicians for Guns N' Roses tours. They reunited for their 2012 induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame. Rose, Slash and McKagan are part of the current touring Guns N' Roses. It doesn't look like they plan to record right now. It's amazing that Guns N' Roses are still around. Here's the video for Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Here's the match video of Felice Herrig vs Kailin Curran from last night's UFC show in Chicago. Felice is a veteran kickboxer fighting in front of her home town fans in Chicago. As an MMA fighter, she's a little shaky. After her loss to Paige VanZant last year, Felice took a break to get her act together. The smartest thing she did was return to former trainer and Bellator fighter Jeff Curran. I have always seen a marked improvement in Felice when she trains with him. Kailin is from Hawaii. She won her last fight over Emily Kagan who was released shortly after. Kailin's biggest flaw is she tends to lose concentration during fights. And that has cost her fights. I don't think she belongs in the UFC. Kailin went for a takedown. Felice not only blocked it but she executed her own successful takedown. And then she made a really slick move to take Kailin's back. Kailin tried to escape by standing. But it didn't work and Felice won by rear naked choke. That move Felice made to take Kailin's back is not something I would expect from her. But Jeff Curran should get a lot of the credit. She just seems to click with him. Not only did it get Felice the win but she got $50,000 for the sub of the night. And no question winning like that in her home town is a big deal. If she stays with Curran, who knows what she could do? Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Valentina Shevchenko vs Holly Holm from last night's UFC show in Chicago. When this fight was announced, my big concern was that it would be a five round snoozefest. And that's what it was. All this week, Holly talked about the lessons she learned from the loss to Miesha Tate. But based on last night's loss, she didn't learn a damn thing. Look, Holly is bigger and stronger than Valentina. If Holly is aggressive, she should beat Valentina. But as Holly admitted after the fight, she is afraid to be aggressive. Fear can motivate a fighter. But that kind of fear can paralyze a fighter. And that's what it does to Holly. And it's not like Valentina fought very well herself. But Holly did virtually nothing. There was no urgency even in round five even when she should know she was losing. She says she wasn't told that by her corner. I think she should know anyway. Is she that stupid? The only round Holly was given was round one. It was virtually a tie. Neither fighter did much of anything. But Holly knocked Valentina down with a push and that was enough to give her the round. But after that, Valentina was marginally more effective. But Holly was completely ineffective. Valentina got a takedown in round three. She did a lay and pray but the ref allowed it so she won the round. Holly made no adjustments in the final two rounds. She kept doing the same stuff that wasn't working. Valentina did enough to win the fight. I guess it was an upset though I wasn't very surprised. Can we officially call Holly's win over Ronda Rousey a fluke? Because unless she changes, that is what will go down in history. What's next? It depends on when the UFC wants champ Amanda Nunes to defend her belt. Ronda will get that title shot if she returns in the fall. But I don't think she is returning until 2017. So I think Julianna Pena should get the title shot. Enjoy the video!
Song:Trouble In Mind
Album:Richard M. Jones and the Blues Singers (1923-1938)
Pianist Richard M. Jones was mainly a sideman in the 20s and 30s. He is best known for writing the blues standard Trouble In Mind. He first recorded it in 1924 with singer Thelma La Vizzo. Jones was born June 13, 1892 in Donaldsville, LA. He started out playing cornet with the Eureka Brass Band. But then he turned to piano and he played clubs in New Orleans. Jones moved to Chicago in 1918 and went to work for bandleader Clarence Williams in his publishing company. And that's how Jones got into the record business. He continued to work as a sideman and occasionally he would record as a leader. But he was known for accompanying singers. Trouble In Mind is probably Jones' best known song. He first recorded it for Paramount Records in 1924. The singer is the otherwise unknown Thelma La Vizzo. She only recorded a couple of times with Jones and she disappeared. You can get this recording on this CD from Document which features various singers that Jones recorded in the 20s and 30s. In 1926, Jones played piano on a recording of Trouble In Mind featuring singer Bertha "Chippie" Hill and Louis Armstrong on cornet. Since then Trouble In Mind has become a standard recorded by all kinds of artists. The best known versions are by Dinah Washington in 1952 and Nina Simone in 1961. Jones worked for Okeh, Decca and Mercury as a producer and talent scout and he led his band The Jazz Wizards until his death on Dec. 8, 1945 at age 53. Here's a video for Trouble In Mind by Richard M. Jones featuring Thelma La Vizzo.