Saturday, March 28, 2015

Aisling Daly vs Randa Markos about to be added to Apr. 25 UFC show

Randa Markos
On Wednesday, Claudia Gadelha posted on Facebook that an injury has forced her out of her Apr. 11 fight against Aisling Daly in Krakow, Poland. Based on Claudia's description, it seems like a spinal cord injury. Soon after, Aisling Tweeted that she will no longer be on the Krakow show. This probably means that if Joanne Calderwood wins over Maryna Moroz on the Krakow show, she will challenge for Joanna Jedrzejczyk's UFC Strwawweight Championship on the summer's UFC show in Glasgow. This morning, Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting reported that Aisling Daly vs Randa Markos will be added to UFC 186 at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Apr. 25. They have had to shuffle that show because the Dillashaw vs Barao fight was postponed. I expect this fight to be on the prelims. Randa is from Windsor, ON so it's not surprising they wanted to put her on a Canadian show. She was unheralded going into TUF20 but I thought she performed well and on the TUF Finale, she lost a split decision to Jessica Penne. But it was the best fight on the show. Her record is 4-2. She also has a good back story as she was born in Iran and her parents fled to Canada. She is known as Quiet Storm because she likes to do her talking in the cage. Aisling has a big experience edge but I'm not convinced she has the tools to be an elite fighter. She could win if she can keep the fight standing. But will she be able to do that? Aisling beat Alex Chambers on the TUF Finale but Randa is a much better fighter than Alex though not as highly ranked as Claudia. Aisling is from Ireland and is a teammate of Conor McGregor. If you look at their records and rankings, Aisling should be the favourite. I don't care about rankings and I see Randa as an improving fighter who hasn't reached her full potential. So you have Randa who may be underrated and Aisling who may be overrated. That makes for an interesting fight with upset possibilities.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Harry McClintock

Artist:Harry McClintock
Song:Big Rock Candy Mountain
Album:Haywire Mac

I'm pretty sure most of you think Big Rock Candy Mountain is a classic children's song as popularized by Burl Ives. But the song started out as a hobo song written by real life hobo Harry McClintock. He performed as Haywire Mac but he never recorded Big Rock Candy Mountain until 1953. He was born Oct. 8, 1882 in Knoxville, TN. He sang in church when he was a child but he also ran away from home to join the circus. By age 14, McClintock left home for good and spent most of his time riding trains as a hobo. He was also in The Philippines during The Spanish American War and was a one time union organizer. His experience as a hobo led him to write Hallelujah I'm A Bum and then Big Rock Candy Mountain. Both of these songs are considered to be traditional folk songs so McClintock didn't get credit for writing them. In 1925, McClintock got his own radio show and then recorded for RCA as Haywire Mac. He eventually sued to establish his copyright for Big Rock Candy Mountain. The song is about fantasies McClintock heard when he was a child. But the song also has hobo references that he had to remove before anyone would record the song. Big Rock Candy Mountain by Robert "Tex" Morgan topped the country charts in 1939. But the song was a huge hit when Burl Ives recorded it in 1949 and today that recording is considered a children's music perennial. Big Rock Candy Mountain was also featured in the 2000 film O Brother Where Art Thou. McClintock moved to Hollywood in 1938 and appeared as a bad guy in westerns. He moved to San Francisco in 1953 to host a radio show. And that's also when folksinger Sam Eskin interviewed him and got him to sing some of his songs. These recordings are available on CD from Folkways Records. McClintock continued with his radio show until he died on Apr. 24, 1957 at age 74. Here's a video for Big Rock Candy Mountain by Harry McClintock.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Analysis of Apr. 24 Invicta card

Yesterday Invicta finally announced the full card for Invicta FC12 Apr. 24 at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. This will air on UFC Fight Pass. When the main card was announced the other day, my first thought was that Invicta just can't seem to put together solid main cards. Look, fighter popularity or appearing on TUF18 doesn't mean a fighter deserves to be on a main card. I'll get to that in a minute. The main event will have Katja Kankaanpaa defending he Invicta Strawweight Championship against Brazilian Livia Souza. Who? Yeah, I know. Souza's record is 7-0 and six of her seven wins have been by submission. Of course her competition level is low so it's a big step up for her. I watched one of her fights. She's quick but it's hard to tell how she will do against an elite fighter like Katja. I have no problem with Invicta bringing her over but she shouldn't be in the main event. How can you sell tickets when no one has heard of one of the fighters in the main event? You can't. And it's not like Katja is a draw though she is an elite fighter. The co-main event will have Roxanne Modafferi vs Vanessa Porto and I assume the winner will get a shot at Barb Honchak's Invicta Flyweight Championship. That's why it's a co-main event though it should be lower on the card as both are midcard fighters at best. Roxanne's popularity is what gets it higher on the card. Fighter popularity is a red herring especially when there is a barrage of Tweets begging for a favourite to be on an Invicta card. I'm just not crazy about either fighter and I'm not expecting a great fight and that's why it should be lower on the card. In a Featherweight bout, Amanda Bell will face Faith Van Duin. Again, this should probably be lower on the card as both are making their Invicta debuts. Amanda's claim to fame is she won by KO over Ronda Rousey's BFF Marina Shafir. But she has also lost to fighters she should beat. Faith is from New Zealand and the talent level just isn't high there. In her latest fight, she lost to Arlene Blencowe who just signed with Bellator. In a Bantamweight fight, Ediane Gomes will face Raquel Pa'aluhi. Gomes should probably be fighting at 145 and Raquel should probably be fighting at 125. Raquel usually loses when she fights above her proper weight class. I think she could be a title contender at 125. I guess Gomes wants to go to the UFC though I don't see that happening. And in a Featherweight match, Peggy Morgan will face Latoya Walker. I know Peggy was on TUF18. I didn't like her on the show and she hasn't shown me anything in Invicta. She won her last fight but both fighters gave poor performances. Latoya is 4-0 and is making her Invicta debut. She's 4-0 but hasn't fought anyone good. At least two of these fights should probably not be on the main card and that's why it's weak. In the prelims, we have Lacey Schuckman vs Jenny Liou in a Strawweight fight. Lacey is a veteran fighter who tends to lose to elite fighters. Her record is 10-8. She lost to former Invicta Atomweight Champion Michelle Waterson by a controversial split decision and chose to stay at Straweight instead of getting a title shot. Hmmm. Jenny lost to Jamie Moyle in her Invicta debut. She didn't look good. She's also in her mid-30s which always sends up a red flag for me. Cassie Rodish will face Stephanie Skinner in an Atomweight fight. Cassie is from Iowa. She's 5-4 and 1-1 in Invicta. Stephanie is from Wyoming. She's a fighter that gets pimped on Twitter all the time. Her record is 4-5 and this will be her Invicta debut. I haven't seen her fight. In a Strawweight fight, Delaney Owen will face Sharon Jacobson. Delaney lost her Invicta debut in September. Sharon has fought previously at 125. Her record is 2-1 and she will be making her Invicta debut. In a Flyweight bout, Shannon Sinn will face Maureen Riordon. Shannon is an older fighter who lost to Andrea Lee in her Invicta debut in Nov. IIRC, she didn't look good. Maureen lost her MMA debut to Marion Reneau on an Aug. RFA show. It looks like she is dropping from 135 to 125. I think I saw that fight and I didn't like her. Maybe 135 is too high for her. This will be her Invicta debut. The opener will have Roma Pawelek vs Sijara Eubanks in a Flyweight bout. Both are making their Invicta debuts and Sijara is making her pro MMA debut. Roma is another fighter that gets pimped on Twitter. Her record is 1-0 and she seems to be dropping from 135 to 125 for this fight. I'm not as critical of the prelims because that should be a proving ground. I just don't agree with putting debuting fighters on the main card especially in the main event.

AccuRadio Song of The Day-Gary U.S. Bonds

Artist:Gary U.S. Bonds
Song:Quarter To Three
Album:The Very Best of Gary U.S. Bonds: The Original Legrand Masters

Gary U.S. Bonds topped the charts in 1961 with the quintessential party song Quarter To Three. Then he disappeared but he charted in the 80s with the help of Bruce Springsteen. He was born Gary Anderson June 6, 1939 in Jacksonville, FL and he grew up in Norfolk, VA. His group The Turks got the attention of local record store owner Frank Guida and Anderson signed with Guida's Legrand label. Guida gave him the name Gary U.S. Bonds hoping that radio stations would think the record was a public service announcement and the record would get more airplay. Bonds' first single New Orleans reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. And then Quarter To Three topped the charts in 1961. Quarter To Three is based on an instrumental called A Night With Daddy G by The Church Street Five and written by that group's leader Gene Barge. He recorded for Legrand. Bonds wrote the lyrics and Guida invited some teens into the studio so the record would have a party atmosphere. Bonds had other top ten hits like School Is Out, Dear Lady Twist and Twist Twist Senora. Bonds recorded two albums in the early 60s and then didn't record again until the 80s though he did co-write the 1972 Johnny Paycheck hit She's All I Got. You can get all his 60s hits on this budget comp from Varese. Bruce Springsteen played Quarter To Three in New Jersey clubs. When Steven Van Zandt approached Springsteen with the opportunity to record Bonds, they got him a deal with EMI Records. He charted with This Little Girl in 1981. The comeback lasted for a couple of years. Bonds has recorded occasionally since then and he still tours the oldies circuit and he wrote his autobiography in 2013. Here's Gary U.S. Bonds performing Quarter To Three probably in the mid-60s.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cris Cyborg needs to stop talking and start cutting to 135lb

Yesterday it was announced that Cris Cyborg has signed with Zuffa. The catch is she needs to fight at 135lb in Invicta before the UFC will consider bringing her over. I've known about this for a while and I mentioned it in my Ronda Rousey vs Cat Zingano analysis. It's the same deal she turned down two years ago. The bottom line is she has wasted a lot of time and received a lot of bad advice. And as long as Cyborg keeps whining about this, I'm not convinced that she will ever drop to 135. That's why she needs to shut up and make the commitment that will make her a lot of money. This all started back in 2011 in Strikeforce when Ronda Rousey beat Julia Budd and announced plans to drop to 135lb and challenge Miesha Tate for her title. A month later, Cyborg beat HIROKO and said in her post match interview she would try to drop to 135 at the request of Strikeforce president Scott Coker. Then Cyborg was suspended for a year for testing positive for PEDs. In 2012, an attempt was made to reduce Cyborg's suspension so she could fight Ronda. The California State Athletic Commission denied that request. Then Zuffa closed Strikeforce and brought Ronda to the UFC. Obviously they wanted Cris Cyborg to be her first opponent. This is where things began to go south for Cyborg. At the time, her manager was Chute Boxe owner Rudimar Fedrigo. On his recommendation, she announced that she will try to drop to 135 but she would not be ready for the first women's fight in the UFC. The UFC even sent nutritionist Mike Dolce to meet with her. Then she changed management to a new company owned by UFC legend Tito Ortiz and his partner George Prajin. Ortiz made all kinds of outlandish statements including that doctors told Cyborg dropping to 135 would be hazardous to her health. Mike Dolce quickly refuted this in an interview. Zuffa offered her an eight fight deal and she would be allowed to fight in Invicta to prepare to fight in the UFC. Remember this is the same deal they are offering her now. And that was two years ago. So instead of signing two years ago, she signed with Invicta for less money. Though I have heard several excuses for this stupidity, the likely real reason is Ortiz let his animosity towards UFC president Dana White get in the way of common sense and his client's best interests. And he cost Cyborg two years of her career and a lot of money. Last year Ortiz announced he was stepping down as Cyborg's manager. But his partner Prajin is still listed as her manager. So Ortiz still manages her though he says he isn't. Obviously Lorenzo Fertitta wants to keep Cyborg away from Bellator. And it was known that her recent Invicta fight was Cyborg's final fight on her contract. So I was not surprised by the signing when I first heard about it last month. But the question still remains will she drop to 135. Her next fight in Invicta this summer will be at 145. That she keeps talking about doing this fight at a catchweight makes me doubt that she will ever drop to 135. Zuffa has even hired nutritionist George Lockhart to help her with the weight cut. And as long as Ortiz manages her, I expect his poor advice to her will continue. Two years is a long time in a fighter's career. Who has time to waste on this kind of foolishness? If Fedrigo was still Cyborg's manager, Rousey vs Cyborg would have happened already. This is mismanagement taken to a criminal level. Fighters need to know their business is handled professionally, not like this. So my message to Cris Cyborg is stop talking and start cutting weight to 135lb.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Grand Funk Railroad

Artist:Grand Funk Railroad
Song:I'm Your Captain (Closer To Home)
Album:Greatest Hits

Though they were never a critic's darling, Grand Funk Railroad was one of the most popular rock groups of the 70s. I'm Your Captain (Closer To Home) was their most popular early song. They softened their sound in the mid-70s and were very successful with hits like We're An American Band. Grand Funk Railroad were from Flint, MI. The group name was a goof on the Grand Trunk Railroad that goes through Flint. Guitarist Mark Farner and drummer Don Brewer were members of the modestly successful band Terry Knight and the Pack. When they split up, Farner and Brewer formed Grand Funk Railroad with Question Mark & The Mysterians bassist Mel Schacher and Knight became their manager and producer. Cream was the prototype for a power trio like Grand Funk Railroad and they signed with Capitol Records in 1969 after a performance at the Atlanta Pop Festival. Though they didn't have any hit singles, their albums were an immediate success. Their 1969 debut album On Time was certified Gold and their 1970 album Grand Funk was certified Platinum. But when I'm Your Captain (Closer To Home) reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100, the 1972 album Closer to Home was certified 2XPlatinum. Farner wrote most songs including I'm Your Captain. But they fired Knight in late 1971 and Schacher was replaced by Craig Frost. Grand Funk self produced the 1972 album Phoenix. Then they decided to head in a more mainstream pop direction and they hired Todd Rundgren to produce the 1973 album We're An American Band. The singles We're An American Band and The Loco-Motion both topped the charts. So the stylistic change made them even bigger. After two albums with Rundgren, Grand Funk switched to producer Jimmy Ienner for the 1976 album All The Girls In The World Beware!!!. Some Kind Of Wonderful and Bad Time were top ten hits. But the band was burned out and wanted out of Capitol. They moved to MCA and after one Frank Zappa produced album, they split up in 1976. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Farner recorded two solo albums for Atlantic. The other members recorded for Columbia as Flint. Grand Funk reformed briefly in the early 80s. Then Farner went solo again and Frost and Brewer joined Bob Seger's band. The original members reformed to play some gigs in 1996. After Farner returned to recording Christian music, Brewer and Schacher recruited 38 Special lead singer Max Carl and Grand Funk Railroad still play occasional gigs. I used to think Grand Funk Railroad were terrible but now I don't think they were as bad as I thought at the time. Here's Grand Funk Railroad performing I'm Your Captain (Closer To Home) at Shea Stadium in New York City 1970.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of the Day-Isaac Carree

Artist:Isaac Carree
Song:In The Middle
Album:Uncommon Me

Gospel singer Isaac Carree is best known as a member of the group Men Of Standard. He went solo after they split up in 2010 and topped the gospel charts with the single In The Middle. He was born Apr. 29, 1973 in Greensboro, NC where his mom was a church pastor. So he grew up singing in church and later he was a member of John P. Kee's VIP Choir. That's where he met Lowell Pye and they formed Men Of Standard with Bryan Pierce. Men of Standard split up in 2010 after recording six albums. Carree joined Kirk Franklin's group and appeared on the 2007 CD The Fight Of My Life and the 2011 CD Hello Fear. Meanwhile, Carree released the 2011 CD Uncommon Me which topped the gospel charts and so did the single In The Middle. In The Middle was written and produced by Gerald Haddon and his wife Tammi. Haddon is the brother of popular gospel artist Dietrick Haddon. Gerald appears in the video for In The Middle. He has recorded albums but he is mainly a producer these days. Other producers on the album include Warryn "Babydub" Campbell and James Fortune but several tracks were written and produced by Eric Dawkins of Dawkins & Dawkins. Carree has toured with Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary among others. He released his latest CD Reset on his own Door 6 label again working mostly with Eric Dawkins and featuring guest appearances by Kirk Franklin, Lacrae, Kierra Sheard, Joe and R. Kelly. I don't see Carree crossing over to mainstream music but he's a great singer worth checking out. Here's the video for In The Middle by Isaac Carree.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lighthouse

Song:One Fine Morning
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Lighthouse

One Fine Morning was the biggest hit for Lighthouse in 1971. They were very popular in their native Canada but One Fine Morning was a top 30 hit in the US. Lighthouse was from Toronto. Drummer Skip Prokop was a member of The Paupers. He met pianist Paul Hoffert on a flight from New York to Toronto. They discussed the idea of a rock band with a jazz horn section and a classical string section. This was in 1968 when the jazz rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears were emerging and a lot of similar bands would follow. Prokop recruited guitarist Ralph Cole to move from his home in Detroit to Toronto. Prokop had been on shows with Cole when The Paupers played Detroit. The other original members of Lighthouse were Grant Fullerton on bass and lead singer Vic "Pinky" Dauvin. They recruited strings from the Toronto Symphony and local jazz musicians like Freddy Stone on trumpet, Howard Shore on sax and Russ Little on trombone. Duke Ellington introduced them at their first show in Toronto. Stone had played with Ellington. Lighthouse released two albums on RCA and played some high profile gigs. But the albums didn't sell and Lighthouse went through some changes. The biggest change was Bob McBride replaced Pinky Dauvin as lead singer. Lighthouse signed with GRT Records in Canada and Evolution Records in the US. GRT was a subsidiary of GRT audio tape manufacturing but they were only active as a record company in Canada. Evolution was owned by the Longines watch company. One Fine Morning was a huge hit in Canada reaching #2 on the RPM chart. It reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 100. I think being on the small label in the US hurt Lighthouse and they just weren't able to break through. But they continued to have hits in Canada like Sunny Days. Hoffert left in 1973 when he tired of the road. And they started having problems with McBride. He missed a recording session and Prokop sang lead on Sunny Days. As is known now, McBride had drug problems. Prokop left in 1974. Cole attempted to continue but Lighthouse split up in 1976. They reunited briefly in 1982 and then more permanently on 1989 initially with Prokop, Hoffert, Cole and McBride. But McBride was soon replaced by Dan Clancy due to his drug problems. McBride died in 1998. This comp CD was released in 2010 and Lighthouse still plays occasional gigs. Here's Lighthouse performing One Fine Morning 2012.

Monday, March 23, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sam Smith

Artist:Sam Smith
Song:Stay With Me
Album:In The Lonely Hour: Deluxe Edition

Right now British blue eyed soul singer Sam Smith is very popular. He just finished winning four Grammys. It remains to be seen if he can have longevity. One thing in his favour is he writes his own songs. But wasn't he Robin Thicke a couple of years ago? And we know what happened to him. Smith was born May 19, 1992 in London, England. He trained in musical theater but classic soul music is Smith's number one influence. He first got attention when he appeared on Disclosure's 2012 hit single Latch. Smith continues to work with Disclosure producer James Napier. Smith released the EP Nirvana May 2013 and then he signed with Capitol Records. Stay With Me is Smith's biggest hit to date. It topped the British charts and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Smith and Napier wrote and produced the song. But they were contacted by Tom Petty's publisher and told that Stay With Me is too similar to the 1989 song I Won't Back Down. Smith said he had never heard the song. But rather than go to court, they gave Petty and Jeff Lynne a 12.5% songwriting royalty. A live performance of Stay With Me featuring Mary J. Blige is on the 2014 CD Live From The Roundhouse. This Deluxe Edition of In A Lonely Hour has four bonus tracks including Disclosure's Latch. Smith performed Stay With Me on the Grammy Awards broadcast and then won four Grammys including Song of the Year. He is currently on his first world tour. We'll see if he can keep it up. But even if he doesn't, he can write and produce songs for others. Right now he seems to be a flavour of the month. Here's the video for Stay With Me by Sam Smith.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Amanda Nunes vs Shayna Baszler

Here's the match video of Amanda Nunes vs Shayna Baszler from last night's UFC show in Brazil. Both fighters were coming off of a loss but they're probably going in opposite directions. Amanda is still a top contender. Her rep is she is very aggressive at the start of fights but if she doesn't get a finish, she runs out of gas. And that's what happened to her when she lost to Cat Zingano. Amanda said she has solved this problem by switching to American Top Team in Florida. UFC Strawweight Nina Ansaroff was in her corner. Maybe we'll find out about Amanda's endurance down the road. But I didn't think this fight would get out of the first round. Shayna's loss to Bethe Correia was pretty bad. She got hit with one hard punch and then stopped moving. As much as we all respect Shayna for her longevity in women's MMA, she hasn't won a fight in almost three years. And I think she's lost a lot of her quickness over the last couple of years. Father Time always wins that battle. I didn't think she could keep up with Amanda. That's very clear if you watch the fight. Amanda hurt Shayna with strikes and Shayna wasn't returning fire. Then a kick to the knee and Shayna goes down. It's all over. Shayna's only hope was to get past the first round but it was unlikely she would be able to hold Amanda off. Maybe she went into the fight with a bad knee. I would like to see Shayna retire before she embarrasses herself further because her last two losses were embarrassing. But fighters can be very stubborn and Invicta has a bad habit of running pointless nostalgia matches with longtime fan favourites. I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that I hate nostalgia matches. Look, time catches up to all fighters but some fighters don't recognize when it's time to go. I can only analyze what I saw last night and Shayna's past accomplishments will tarnish the longer she hangs on. Fighting spirit isn't enough. Amanda said afterwards that she would like a rematch against Cat Zingano and the result will be different this time. Maybe we'll see. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Monotones

Artist:The Monotones
Song:The Book Of Love
Album:Vintage Music: Collector's Series Volumes 1 & 2

The classic doo wop song The Book Of Love was the only hit for The Monotones in 1958. The song got a big boost when George Lucas used it in the 1972 film American Graffiti. The Monotones were from Newark, NJ led by lead singer Charles Patrick. They sang at the New Hope Baptist Church led by Cissy Houston. That's right, Whitney Houston's mom. Charles and his brother James Patrick were cousins of Cissy Houston and Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick. Other group members were Warren Davis, Charles Malone, John Smith, Warren Ryanes and his brother John Ryanes. They were all high school students. In 1956, they won Ted Mack's Amateur Hour performing The Cadillacs' Zoom. James Patrick left The Monotones to join the rival group The Kodaks. The story goes that Charles Patrick heard a Pepsodent commercial on the radio and the slogan I Wonder Where The Yellow Went inspired him to write The Book Of Love. Davis and Malone helped him write it that day. They recorded a demo and this got them a deal with Hull Records who released it on their Mascot label. It got too big for Hull who licensed it to Chess Records who released it on Argo. The Book Of Love reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. After subsequent singles went nowhere, The Monotones split up in 1962. You can get The Book Of Love on this various artists budget CD. The song got a big boost when it appeared in American Graffiti. They started touring the oldies circuit and a version of The Monotones still tours today. Here are The Monotones performing The Book Of Love on The Dick Clark Beech Nut Show Apr. 12, 1958.