Thursday, July 31, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Michael W. Smith

Artist:Michael W. Smith
Song:Place In This World
Album:The First Decade 1983-1993

Michael W. Smith is a very successful Contemporary Christian singer songwriter who had very brief pop crossover success with the 1991 top ten pop hit Place In This World. Christian artists need to be careful as with crossover success they risk alienating their core audience. He was born Oct. 7, 1957 in Kenova, WV. Smith learned to play piano as a child and sang in the church choir. He became a devout Christian at age 10. But he developed drug and alcohol problems when he was in college and this continued when he moved to Nashville in 1978. A 1979 nervous breakdown snapped Smith out of it and by 1981 he was a staff songwriter for Meadowgreen Music. His songs started getting attention and this led to Smith touring with Amy Grant who was very popular at the time. He also signed with her label Reunion Records owned by Grant's manager and brother-in-law. Smith became very successful in the CCM market and was headlining his own tours by the mid-80s. But Reunion saw pop crossover potential in Smith just as they had with Grant. So they made a deal with Geffen Records to promote Smith to mainstream radio. Smith's first CD under this agreement was Go West Young Man in 1990. Place In This World reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. It was a surprise hit. Maybe listeners thought it was a new Richard Marx song. Smith wrote the song with long time songwriting partner Wayne Kirkpatrick and Amy Grant. The guitar solo is by Dann Huff. The only problem is his success did alienate the CCM audience and after two albums on Geffen, Smith ended his attempt to be a pop singer. Other than marketing, I'm not sure what the complaints were about. Place In This World is no different than Smith's CCM recordings. Reunion was sold to BMG in 1995. Smith continued with Reunion even after BMG was sold to Sony. He left in 2010 and now has his own label distributed through Sparrow/EMI. His latest CD Sovereign was released in May. This comp is a good intro to Smith's music. Here's the video for Place In This World by Michael W. Smith.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Greyboy Allstars

Artist:The Greyboy Allstars
Song:Toys R Us

If you like your funk on the jazzy side, you will want to check out The Greyboy Allstars. These guys have been around for twenty years and all the musicians are accomplished jazz musicians. The Greyboy Allstars are from San Diego. Greyboy is DJ Greyboy. Sax player Karl Denson was touring with Lenny Kravitz in 1993. After working on DJ Greyboy's 1994 CD Freestylin', Denson decided to form a house band and call them The Greyboy Allstars. DJ Greyboy is not a musician so he isn't a member of the band. But he helps produce their CDs. Other band members are Robert Walter on keyboards, Michael Andrews AKA Elgin Park on guitar, Chris Stillwell on bass and Zak Najor on drums. The band released their debut CD in 1995. They record jazz and funk covers but also record original songs. Toys R Us was written by Denson and was on the 1997 CD A Town Called Earth. That CD is out of print but the song also appears on the 1999 CD Live. They also recorded in 2007 and their latest CD Inland Emperor was released in 2013. Zak Najor was replaced by Aaron Redfield. The band does perform live occasionally. But all have solo careers so I guess it's hard to coordinate schedules. Denson leads his band Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and records as a sideman. Stillwell is a member of Denson's band. Walter leads his band Robert Walter's 20th Congress and they released a CD last year. Michael Andrews is mainly a film composer best known for scoring the 2001 film Donnie Darko. He has also released a couple of solo CDs. The Greyboy Allstars are worth checking out. Here's The Greyboy Allstars performing Toys R Us at the 2012 Gathering of the Vibes Music and Art Festival Bridgeport, CT.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lonnie Smith

Artist:Lonnie Smith
Song:Spinnin' Wheel
Album:Good Juice: Hot Hammond and Cool Organ Cocktails

Organist Lonnie Smith emerged in the late 60s and recorded some successful albums on Blue Note. Because he was constantly confused with pianist Lonnie Liston Smith, Smith started wearing a turban and calling himself Dr. Lonnie Smith. He did this just so fans would know who he is. Smith is still recording and touring today. He was born July, 3, 1942 in the Buffalo suburb of Lackawanna, NY. He grew up singing in church and singing in his family gospel group on their radio show. Smith got interested in jazz and his mom encouraged him to find an instrument he liked. So he tried the trumpet and the sax. He grew up playing with sax player Grover Washington Jr. After hearing Jimmy Smith, Smith decided to play the Hammond B-3 organ. Of course he couldn't afford to buy one so he started hanging around a local music store. When the music store owner Art Kubera saw him hanging around and heard him play, he gave Smith the organ. Smith started playing local clubs. When organist Jack McDuff came to Buffalo, his guitarist George Benson saw Smith play and approached him about starting a band. Smith recorded two albums with Benson on Columbia and then recorded his solo debut Finger Lickin' Good on Columbia in 1967. Then Smith appeared on sax legend Lou Donaldson's 1967 album Alligator Boogaloo. This led to a contract with Blue Note. He recorded four albums for Blue Note. This version of the Blood Sweat & Tears hit Spinnin' Wheel was on the 1970 album Drives. Musicians are Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax who was in the Benson band, Dave Hubbard on tenor sax who played with Lonnie liston Smith, Larry McGee on guitar who is an R & B guy and Joe Dukes on drums from Jack McDuff's band. Drives is not available on CD. But you can get Spinnin' Wheel on this Blue Note various organists comp. It's a good intro for beginners. Though Smith's Blue Note albums sold well, Drives was his final album for Blue Note. In the 70s he recorded for Kudu, Groove Merchant, LRC, America and Chiaroscuro. And he started wearing the turban. In the 80s, Smith didn't record as a leader. But he did appear on albums by Dave Hubbard, Monty Guy, Jimmy Ponder, Eric Gale and Ron Carter and Joe Beck. In the 90s, Smith recorded a couple of Jimi Hendrix tribute albums for the Japanese label Venus. A session with sax player Javon Jackson got Smith a deal with Palmetto Records. He recorded four CDs for Palmetto and his latest CD The Healer is on his own label. Smith is currently on tour in Europe. He is worth checking out if you aren't familiar with him. Hip hop guys know him. They sample his music. Here's a video for Spinnin' Wheel by Lonnie Smith.

Monday, July 28, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Phil Phillips

Artist:Phil Phillips
Song:Sea Of Love
Album:Great Men of Rock & Roll: The 50s

Sea Of Love is one of the all time great one hit wonders. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959 and Phil Phillips never charted again. He was born John Phillip Baptiste Mar. 14, 1928 in Lake Charles, LA. He started out in the gospel group The Gateway Quartet. he was working as a bellboy when he wrote Sea Of Love for a girl. He didn't get anywhere with her. But record store owner George Khoury liked the song and brought Baptiste into the studio. Pianist Ernest Jacobs of Cookie & The Cupcakes produced and arranged Sea Of Love and The Cupcakes sang backup. Khoury told Baptiste that his name was too French so he gave himself the name Phil Phillips and the record was released as Phil Phillips & The Twilights. When Sea Of Love became a regional hit, Mercury Records picked it up for national distribution. It topped the R & B chart and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. Unfortunately, Phillips was never paid for the record and never released an album. You can get Sea Of Love on this Collactables various artists comp. Mercury didn't seem to know what to do with Phillips and he never charted again. Sea Of Love charted in the 80s first by Del Shannon in 1982 and then Robert Plant's group The Honeydrippers in 1985. But Khoury's estate still owns the song and Phillips has never been paid a dime of royalties. Phillips performs occasionally. But he has been a DJ for years in  Louisiana. He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Here's a video for Sea Of Love by Phil Phillips.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Juliana Lima

Here's the fight video of Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Juliana Lima from last night's UFC show in San Jose. The fight aired on UFC Fight Pass so I know a lot of fans didn't see it. As I said when this fight was announced, I've seen Juliana before and was not impressed. I don't know why the UFC bought her contract from Invicta. And then they decided not to use her in The Ultimate Fighter. So they found an opponent for her. Both were Muay Thai fighters before MMA. But Joanna is much more accomplished. The story of this fight was Juliana's very poor strategy. She thought she could psyche Joanna out by mugging. I guess she thought Joanna would get the UFC jitters. But Joanna remained very calm and stuck to her game plan. She showed excellent takedown defense when Juliana tried to take her down and a couple of times they were stuck against the fence. Ref Mike Beltran was forced to break them up twice. All this did was empty Juliana's gas tank. And when Joanna got the separation she wanted, her striking was very effective. Joanna continued to outpunch Juliana in round two. And in round three, Juliana finally got a takedown but did nothing with it. She showed no urgency to finish. I guess she thought she was winning. Joanna was simply more effective. She took what was given to her and won the fight. I scored it 30-27 in Joanna's favour. Two of the judges scored the fight 30-27 for Joanna and the other scored it 29-28 for Joanna. Joanna Jedrzejczyk wins by unanimous decision. Juliana needs to rethink her strategy. When asked about Juliana's mugging afterwards Joanna said that Juliana wasn't nice to her at the weigh ins so she had to beat her up. She also said she has no emotion in the cage. She's all business and can really punch. Her likely next opponent is Claudia Gadelha and her high level BJJ could give Joanna trouble. That would be a very interesting fight. Both women are potential Strawweight Championship contenders. Enjoy the video! Unfortunately the video cuts off before the decision announcement. The other source I use for videos wasn't working properly.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sarah Jaffe

Artist:Sarah Jaffe
Album:Suburban Nature

Folk music fans are going to want to check out singer songwriter Sarah Jaffe. She generated some interest touring with Midlake and Norah Jones. And she also showed some versatility appearing on Eminem's latest CD. She was born Jan. 28, 1986 in Red Oak, TX and grew up in Denton. An appearance at the 2008 Austin City Limits Festival and a 2008 EP led to a record deal with Kirtland Records. Suburban Nature was her full length debut CD in 2010. It was produced by veteran producer John Congleton from the band The Paper Chase. Kris Youmans from that band is also on the album along with singer songwriter Robert Gomez. Sarah toured with Midlake who are also from Denton and she opened for Norah Jones. She released her second CD The Body Wins in 2012 and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. But she was exposed to a larger audience when she appeared on Bad Guy from Eminem's 2013 CD The Marshall Mathers LP 2. It's a two part song and the first part was produced by rapper producer Larry "S1" Griffin. He and Sarah are in the band The Dividends. He sent Sarah the backing track for Bad Guy and she wrote the lyrics. Eminem liked it and thought of getting Dido to record the female vocal. But S1 convinced him to use Sarah instead. I doubt she ever met Eminem as he lives in Detroit. And she isn't credited. So that leads to a lot of "Who's the girl". And when fans listen to Sarah, they will like what they hear. She did get a songwriting credit so she's getting royalty cheques. Sarah also provided vocals for the 2013 Pixar short The Blue Umbrella which was shown before Monsters University. So I think Sarah Jaffe is on the cusp of stardom. Check her out before the big crowd finds out about her. She was on tour with The Polyphonic Spree and this fall she will tour with Astronautalis. Here's Sarah Jaffe performing Vulnerable on KGSR Discovery Sept. 2010.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tyrese

Song:Sweet Lady
Album:Super Hits

R & B singer songwriter Tyrese Gibson made a big splash with his 1998 debut CD Tyrese. Sweet Lady was his biggest hit from that album. When his music career faded, Tyrese turned to acting and he is more active in films today than he is in music. He was born Dec. 30, 1978 in Los Angeles. He performed in local talent shows as a teen. An appearance in a 1994 Coca-Cola commercial led to a modelling career. But he still wanted to sing and he signed with RCA in 1998. His debut CD Tyrese was certified Platinum. The singles Nobody Else and Lately both charted. But the third single Sweet Lady is probably Tyrese's best known song to date. It reached #9 on the R & B Singles chart and #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sweet Lady was produced and written by the Characters and Johnte Austin. Austin went on to record as a solo artist. The Characters are the team of Troy Taylor and Charles Farrar. Sweet Lady was their biggest hit when they were a team. They split up in 2000 and Taylor has written several hits for Trey Songz. Tyrese's next two CDs did OK but not as well as the first one. And though his 2003 single How You Gonna Act Like That charted higher than Sweet Lady, Sweet Lady is better known because the CD was more popular. By 2003, RCA was closed and Tyrese moved to J Records. But he was also getting into acting. He got a lot of attention for his performance in John Singleton's 2001 film Baby Boy. And this led to roles in The Transformers series and the Fast & Furious series. Tyrese left J in 2006 and started his own label Voltron with EMI distribution. You can get all his RCA hits on this budget comp. He released a CD in 2011 and has a new one scheduled for a 2014 release. He is also a member of TGT with Ginuwine and Tank. They released a CD on Atlantic in 2013. Tyrese has been laying low since his best friend and Fast & Furious costar Paul Walker died last year. But he'll be back. Here's the video for Sweet Lady by Tyrese. The girl in the video is actress Maia Campbell from the NBC/UPN sitcom In The House.

Friday, July 25, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Laid Back

Artist:Laid Back
Song:White Horse
Album:Mega Hits Dance Classics Volume 7

The Danish electropop duo Laid Back have been successful in Europe for many years and are still around today. White Horse was their only US hit in 1983. It topped the dance chart and was a top 30 pop hit. Laid Back are from Copenhagen, Denmark. Guitarist John Guldberg and keyboard player Tim Stahl were in The Starbox Band in the mid-70s. The band split up but the two continued to work together in Guldberg's studio. They started experimenting with electronic music and had a number one hit in Denmark in 1981 with Maybe I'm Crazy. Sunshine Reggae was also a number one hit in Denmark and other European countries. This got Laid Back a US record deal with Sire Records. But radio stations didn't like Sunshine Reggae. They preferred the B side White Horse. It got significant airplay in dance clubs and topped the dance chart. It also reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Supposedly one reason for the song's popularity was that White Horse is slang for heroin. Attempts to follow up White Horse didn't chart. You can get White Horse on this Priority Records various artists budget comp. White Horse has been frequently sampled by hip hop guys, most notably on Monifah's 1998 hit Touch It. Laid Back still record together. They occasionally chart in Europe and have also scored films. Their latest CD Uptimistic Music was released in 2013 on their own label. Here in North America they are a one hit wonder. Here's the video for White Horse by Laid Back.