Sunday, December 31, 2006

Takako Inoue on bullying in All Japan Women

A lot of today's joshi wrestlers have blogs and though some of the veterans use blogs to promote upcoming shows, a lot of the wrestlers resort to posting pics of last night's dinner. So I do get occasional stories from blogs but most of them are pretty boring. As many fans are aware, Takako Inoue is one of my all time favourite joshi wrestlers. Takako is a perfect example that sex appeal and mat skills are not mutually exclusive in the joshi business as Takako has plenty of both. She's a great heel too. And at age 37, Takako is still in great shape and works very hard to look that good. Check out the recent pic of Takako. I know she owns a yoga studio and is a yoga devotee. With that kind of work ethic, she's an excellent role model for young wrestlers.

Takako Inoue was one of the first joshi wrestlers to have her own website back in 1994. And she always designed it herself. But when Takako cut back on her schedule at the beginning of 2005, she decided to close her website. She's been working exclusively for LLPW but it looks like she's getting bored and has recently started working for other companies. So Takako Inoue has returned to the online community with her blog Marbles. I saw mention of it and have tracked it down. It's on the Ameba News blog system and the url is

Most of Takako's posts are fairly standard. She talks about playing golf and other things. But it appears that something very interesting came up a couple of weeks ago. Lately Takako has worked a few matches with rookies. Also, along with Ayako Hamada, she has been training young girls at the Kaoru Ito Professional Wrestling Classroom. And she had just returned from a tour of Hokkaido reminiscent of the old AJW. I believe the promotion known as New AJW (owned by the guy who owns Smackgirl) ran the tour. It seems there was an older wrestler bullying a rookie on the final day of the tour and on the tour bus. Things became very heated on the bus and Takako was very angry about it. Takako was defending the youngster and got into a fight with the veteran on the bus. Takako was punched in the eye. Takako said that part of the problem is a lot of the veterans like to smoke & drink and the young girls don't. Takako doesn't drink. She says the incident is over and she doesn't hold a grudge. The response to the post was positive except for one person who said Takako thinks too much and maybe the young wrestler broke the rules.

Bullying came up a few days later when Takako Inoue had lunch with old friend Noriyo Tateno. I think Tateno was needling her about her blog. Takako said that when she was a youngster in All Japan Women, she was bullied by a veteran. The other wrestlers knew about it. Management knew about it but didn't see anything so did nothing.

A week later, Takako Inoue eloaborated further on the bullying. She didn't name names but she discussed the bullying with Kyoko Inoue & Mariko Yoshida and they agreed that it was true. Takako doesn't know why this particular veteran had it in for her but she has confirmed with others that it's true. The bullying went on for a long time but eventually the veteran confessed to AJW management and they apologized to Takako. Takako says she doesn't hold a grudge against this person and has used the experience to teach others not to do it. And that's why the bullying incident on the bus upset Takako Inoue.

Here's a classic Takako Inoue match. It's Kyoko & Takako Inoue defending the WWWA Tag Team Titles against Manami Toyota & Sakie Hasegawa in AJW Aug. 30, 1995.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Mamas & The Papas

Song:California Dreamin'

Album:20th Century Masters:The Millenium Collection:The Best Of The Mamas & The Papas

The Mamas & The Papas were the epitomy of California pop music in the 60s. Of course only Michelle Phillips was actually from California. John Phillips started out as a member of the folk group The Journeymen. He got together with Michelle as The New Journeymen and started writing songs together. Meanwhile Cass Elliot was performing in off Broadway musicals when she hooked up with the Phillips through singer songwriter Tim Rose. They became the folk group The Big 3 and played a lot of clubs in New York. They eventually became The Mugwumps and became associated with Halifax native Denny Doherty. Doherty really liked Elliot's voice so he was the catalyst to bring the four together in 1965. The group eventually came to the attention of Eve Of Destruction singer Barry McGuire and he got them an audition with Dunhill Records head Lou Adler. The rest is history. California Dreamin' was their first of many hits and this budget comp is a perfect introduction to their music. Cass Elliott went solo and died famously on July 29, 1974 at age 32. John Phillips wasn't that successful as a solo artist and died on on Mar. 18, 2001 at age 65. Michelle Phillips has had quite a bit of success as an actress and Denny Doherty moved back to Canada and has done some TV work. Here's a great video of California Dreamin'.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Song:Ooh Baby Baby

Album:My World:The Definitive Collection

William "Smokey" Robinson was one of the lynchpins of The Motown Sound, not only as a performer but as a writer & producer. The 1959 day he met Berry Gordy was the most important day of his life. Of course Smokey was known for his smooth love songs and 1965's Ooh Baby Baby is no exception. It's a song that's probably more popular today than when it was released. It was on the album Going To A Go-Go. This 2005 comp attempts to cover Smokey's 60s, 70s and even adds a couple of new songs on a single disc. Of course that's impossible and there are plenty of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles comps out there to choose from. The 1998 Ultimate Collection stands out. Smokey Robinson still records occasionally. His most recent recording is a 2006 CD of standards called Timeless Love. He also released a gospel CD Food For The Spirit in 2004. Here's Smokey Robinson & The Miracles performing Ooh Baby Baby on TV from 1965. The dancers are pretty funny.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Card announced for Michiko Ohmukai 15th Anniversary show

Michiko Ohmukai has announced the card for her 15th Anniversary show. It is called Egoist Live and will be on Jan. 21 at Shinjuku FACE. There's supposed to be video, music and dance between the matches. I think that stuff is being produced by The Ring. The main event will be Michiko Ohmukai, Devil Masami & Ayako Hamada vs Aja Kong, Kaoru Ito & GAMI. Other matches are Yumiko Hotta & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Toshie Uematsu & Leon, Azumi Hyuga vs Bullfight Sora and Ayumi Kurihara vs Cherry. Here's Michiko Ohmukai vs Hikaru from THE WOMAN June 23, 2006.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Song:Natural High

Album:Natural High

Bloodstone was an R & B group from the early 70s similar to the Isley Brothers. Natural High was their one big hit and was written by Jimi Hendrix influenced guitarist Charles McCormick. They started out in 1962 as the a capella doo wop group The Sinceres by Charles Love. They were basically a minor league lounge act when they moved to Los Angeles and became Bloodstone. They couldn't seem to get a record contract so their manager sent them to England. They hooked up with Blue Horizon Records owner Mike Vernon. He was known for producing blues acts like Otis Spann & Fleetwood Mac. He took them into the studio and 1973's Natural High was a top ten hit single. They even made a 1975 blaxploitation film called Train Ride To Hollywood. Bloodstone faded away in the late 70s, made a brief comeback in 1982 ironically on The Isley Brothers' T-Neck label. Love & McCormick even reunited Bloodstone for the 2004 CD Now...That's What I'm Talkin' About. Rhino rereleased Natural High in 1996 with some extra tracks but this is the sort of song you might want to get on a various artists comp like Rhino's excellent 2002 Smooth Grooves:Cruisin' Classics. Here's a video of Bloodstone performing Natural High on Soul Train in 1973.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Chuck Berry

Song:Johnny B. Goode

Album:The Chess Box

Last time I featured Chuck Berry it was based on a budget comp. The 3CD The Chess Box is a lot better and is the definitive collection. Chuck Berry is one of the most important figures in pop music history and he just celebrated his 80th birthday with a concert. He had many hits back in the 50s and Johnny B. Goode is just one of them. Berry's songs are so great that they are still covered today. And of course his guitar playing and showmanship with his duck walk make him a total package. You also should remember that guys like Willie Dixon & Otis Spann were big contributors to Chuck's sound. Oh he's had his problems like with tax evasion in the 70s but his legend looms large and the reputation was well earned. Here's a clip of Chuck Berry performing Johnny B. Goode on some TV show probably in 1959 when Johnny B. Goode was released. Enjoy the crowd shots.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

60 minute draw in JWP triple title match

JWP finished off the year with a bang with their Dec. 24 Korakuen Hall show. The main event was a triple title match with Azumi Hyuga & Yoshiko Tamura. It is being hailed as a match of the year but it also illustrates what is wrong with today's joshi business. There was also a tag team title change, a battle royal, a new junior champ and a debuting wrestler. There were plenty of happenings on this show.

The opener was the debut of 17 year old Kaori Oki against JWP veteran Kayoko Haruyama. Not surprisingly, Haruyama won in 6:57. Oki will have her next match on Sunday's Junior All Star War against JD Star rookie Athtress Bisa Ohata. Next was the final of the JWP Junior Title Tournament. Yasusato Nakajima trained at A To Z but is now working full time at JWP. Her opponent was Gktn wrestler Haruhi, probably one of the worst wrestlers I've ever seen. Nakajima won in 8:02 with something called The Cutie Special. Then things got a little silly. Gktn's Miki Ishii is debuting against Nakajima on this Sunday's Junior All Star War. After the match, she came into the ring and challenged Nakajima for her JWP Junior Title. That's exactly what will happen. I've never heard of a joshi wrestler getting a title shot in her debut. Who knows what this will be like?

Next up Tsubasa Kuragaki defeated Carlos Amano with a lariat at 16:10. Amano tried to use her trademark headbutts but I guess Kuragaki has a hard head. Next was a 30 minute battle royal for the Daily Sports Cup. Participants were Commando Bolshoi, Kayoko Haruyama, ECO, Manami Toyota, Leon, GAMI, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Lily Urai & Irod Watanabe. The group strategy was to try and get rid of Toyota early. That didn't really work out and instead Toyota picked up Urai and threw her out. It came down to Toyota and Yoneyama and Yoneyama won the Daily Sports Cup and a trip to Guam.

The JWP Tag Team Title was next. The reunited WANTED of Sachie Abe & KAZUKI won the titles over Toshie Uematsu & Teru in a back and forth match in 17:31 when Abe put a power bomb on Teru. However, it looks like the ref may have missed a foot on the ropes so I guess this isn't over. The main event was adverised as a title unification match. Azumi Hyuga put up her JWP Open Weight Title against Yoshiko Tamura's NEO Singles Title & NWA Pacific Title with a 60 minute time limit. Both women are quite capable of high quality matches and they did deliver a great match, especially the last 30 minutes. Give them credit for going 60 minutes. But this is a big problem in the joshi business. No one wants to do a job anymore. If you're going to advertise a title unification match, you should actually unify the titles instead of this predictable conclusion. Otherwise, why bother in the first place? And Tamura's whole title reign has been like this. Is she ever going to do a job again? But it looks like the match was really good so I'll get off the soapbox now. JWP delivered a strong show to end the year and let's hope for more improvement in 2007.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Doors

Song:Riders On The Storm

Album:Greatest Hits

Considering the sometimes strange behaviour of lead singer Jim Morrison, The Doors had a lot of commercial success in their day. Morrison's upbringing as a Navy brat probably had a lot to do with his rebellious nature. He got together with keyboardist Ray Manzarek at UCLA in 1965 and they brought in guitarist Robbie Krieger & drummer John Densmore from The Psychedelic Rangers. The Doors had several hits despite Morrison's unstable behaviour and occasional onstage arrests for lewd behaviour. The other guys seem pretty normal but Morrison's volitility was part of his genius. Jim Morrison moved to Paris and was found dead in his bathtub of a heart attack on July 3, 1971. Riders On The Storm was a huge hit released after Morrison's death. It's the final track on his final recording LA Woman. It's a great song. The other three guys tried to keep The Doors together but they split up in 1973. Manzarek & Krieger still record occasionally in a jazz vein and Densmore sometimes works with Krieger. This Greatest Hits comp is a decent introduction as it has all their hits. Here's a video of The Doors performing Riders On The Storm. The Doors' music has held up very well and they still have a well deserved fanbase.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dreamgirls review

Dreamgirls is the film adaptation of the late Michael Bennett's Broadway hit musical very loosely based on the story of The Supremes. I say very loosely because some people think it's a biopic and the similarities to the true story of The Supremes are very superficial. It's very much in the tradition of backstage musicals like Singin' In The Rain except it's setting is the black music industry of the 60s. Dreamworks co-owner David Geffen produced the Broadway play and tried to produce a film for years. Veteran producer Laurence Mark (Jerry McGuire) came to the rescue and hired Bill Condon to direct and write the screenplay. Condon directed the 1998 film Gods And Monsters but the key is that he wrote the screenplay to the hit adaptation of the musical Chicago. So he didn't try to re-invent the wheel. Signing Eddie Murphy & Beyonce Knowles to star was the key to getting Jamie Foxx to commit to it and Jennifer Hudson had to go through a zillion auditions to beat out fellow American Idol alumni Fantasia Barrino.

The setting is Detroit of the early 60s. Deena Jones (Beyonce Knowles), Effie White (Jennifer Hudson) & Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) are the struggling girl group The Dreamettes. The group name is kind of a goof on The Primettes, the original name of The Supremes. Car dealer turned music promoter Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx) sees something in them and convinces R & B singer James Thunder Early (Eddie Murphy) to take them on the road. Early is talented but undisciplined so when he isn't able to adjust his singing style to get a larger audience, Taylor decides to promote The Dreamettes more agressively as The Dreams. The girls take turns singing lead and Effie is clearly the most talented singer but she is overweight and Curtis thinks Deena is more marketable as lead singer. This becomes a problem for Effie. This does parallel Berry Gordy's decision to make Diana Ross lead singer of The Supremes over Florence Ballard. As with Ballard, Effie leaves the group singing the showstopping number And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going. Of course Ballard never got to make a big comeback like Effie does in the movie. Florence Ballard died in 1976. Curtis turns into a sleazy music business villain but he gets his in the end.

I'm not sure what some people expect from Dreamgirls but I like it for what it is, a standard movie musical with superior music. That's what it was when it was on Broadway. Some critics want it to be an authentic history of black music but that's what they want it to be. That's not what it is. Of course Jennifer Hudson is getting noticed for her performance but it's a showy role and Jennifer Holliday won a Tony for the same role on Broadway. Jennifer Hudson is an outstanding singer. Eddie Murphy is also excellent as the flawed James Early. A lot of critics have said that Beyonce Knowles is disappointing but I think they are confusing her real life star persona with the Deena character. I think she gives a fine performance and I've never liked her as a singer. Deena is supposed to be less talented than Effie. It doesn't work if Beyonce plays it as herself. She toned it down appropriately. Bill Condon knows exactly what he's doing and frames things perfectly. Henry Krieger composed the music as he did on the original play and he gets a lot of help from music producers The Underdogs (Harvey Mason Jr. & Damon Thomas). Harvey's dad, legendary drummer Harvey Mason Sr., worked on the arrangements. I enjoyed Dreamgirls a lot. I knew what it would be and it didn't disappoint. It's recommended if you like musicals. It looks like it will be a big hit. It opened on Christmas Day on 900 screens and grossed $8.5M the first day. It will get a wider release on Jan. 14. Check out the trailer.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Fred Hammond

Song:It Just Gets Sweeter

Album:Somethin' 'Bout Love

Detroit native Fred Hammond started out as a bass player and singer for the gospel group Commissioned in the early 90s. He has become one of the premier gospel artists in the world today. Hammond combines traditional Praise & Worship with funky urban grooves. You can tell he plays bass. He's also a very busy producer of other artists and he has his own label F. Hammond Music. He was even executive producer of the film The Gospel. It Just Gets Sweeter is a hot song Hammond co-wrote with backup singer Juanita Wynn from the 2004 album Somethin' 'Bout Love. His backup singers Radical For Christ are outstanding and very important to his sound. Fred Hammond has recently moved to Dallas with the release of his new CD Free To Worship. This video of Praise Belongs To You is from that CD. Fred Hammond is another one of those gospel artists who would blow up if he was played on mainstream radio. But he's not so you have to seek him out.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Athtresses get revenge on Caribbean Army in JD Star

JD Star held their Christmas show on Dec. 23 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Lately the Athtresses have been having a lot of trouble with the Caribbean Army so Fuuka & Shuu Shibutani teamed up in attempt to get revenge. Also, a couple of Pro Wrestling SUN wrestlers made a guest appearance and Mariko Yoshida gives a wrestling lesson to the newest Athtress.

Mariko Yoshida helps out with the training of the JD Star Athtresses. Bisa Ohata made her debut two weeks ago with a loss to Yoshida trainee Hiroyo Matsumoto. So you know she's in big trouble in this match with Yoshida. Ohata starts out with a dropkick but Yoshida tosses her aside and kicks her in the face. Yoshida proceeds to lock her in various submission holds and Ohata simply doesn't have the strength to escape. Finally Yoshida applies a sleeper and the ref stops the match at 8:14. Next Tsubasa Kuragaki completely dominated Bullfight Sora and finished her with a moonsault at 9:59. The deal here was Kuragaki has agreed to team with Fuuka on the next show.

Natsuki*Taiyo & Saki Maemura come over from Pro Wrestling SUN to face Lily Urai & Cherry. They attempt to isolate Natsuki*Taiyo but eventually the tide turns. The end comes when Urai accidently nails Cherry with a flying elbow. While Natsuki*Taiyo gets rid of Cherry with a Shining Wizard, Maemura uses a double arm Salto into a brain buster followed by a German suplex to finish Urai off at 17:03. Shuu Shibutani has been having a lot of trouble with the Caribbean Army. So in the main event she teamed with Fuuka to tackle Caribbean KIM & Caribbean MOON. The Caribbeans control the early part of the match first over Shibutani and then Fuuka. Shibutani leads the Idol Army attack with a missile kick, a senton & a swinging DDT on KIM. Then while Fuuka takes KIM out, Shibutani hits MOON with a brain buster and a diving senton (pictured) for the win at 15:51. Afterwards, all the idol wrestlers celebrated finally getting a win over the Caribbean Army. It doesn't take much to make them happy.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Karen Clark Sheard

Song:Jesus Is A Love Song

Album:Finally Karen

Of course Karen Clark Sheard is one of the legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters. Around 1994 they decided to split up. Karen appeared on something called The Island Inspirational All Stars. Producer Stanley Brown convinced Karen to record a solo album for Island Records. 1997's Finally Karen was the result. A lot of the record was recorded live in Detroit including this reuniting of the Clark Sisters on Twinkie Clark's Jesus Is A Love Song. But Island didn't seem to know how to sell the record. As great a singer as Karen Clark Sheard is, record companies can't seem to market her outside the gospel audience. You have to seek her out. So here's a video of Karen Clark Sheard singing Balm In Gilead with Donald Lawrence & The Tri City Singers in 1997. Try to ignore her hair and enjoy the music.

Very sad news today as the Godfather Of Soul James Brown went into the hospital early today with pneumonia and died. Of course James Brown was one of the most important figures and modern music history and he will be missed. I posted a James Brown video a couple of weeks ago. RIP James Brown.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Tower Of Power

Song:Back On The Streets Again

Album:What Is Hip?:Tower Of Power Anthology

This 1999 2CD comp from Rhino is the one to get if you want to hear Tower Of Power in their funky prime. It covers all their 70s hits on Warner Bros. Back On The Streets Again is actually on TOP's very first album East Bay Grease. It was released on Bill Graham's San Francisco label in 1969. The sound is already there but TOP leaders Emilio Castillo & Stephen Kupka are still searching for a lead vocalist. Rufus Miller & Rick Stevens both sing lead on the album. By the time they signed with Warners they settled on Lenny Williams and he's most recognized as TOP's lead singer. If you like funky horns, you will enjoy vintage Tower Of Power. Their more recent recordings don't measure up. They're still out there touring and playing sessions. Here's a European performance video of Tower Of Power performing Soul Vaccination. I don't think there's any 70s video footage of them but this will do.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Too many title belts in Pro Wrestling SUN

It appears that my prediction that Pro Wrestling SUN will soon have a title in every match will come true. When World 1 Wrestling originally announced the Queen's Cup tournament, they said the winner would go to Japan for a shot at Nanae Takahashi's AWA World Womens Title and a shot at Amazing Kong's World 1 Womens Title. Now they're saying that the trip to Japan is only for the World 1 title. The obvious reason for this is the deal with the PGWA and the addition of PGWA champ Nikki Roxx. I don't know who Nakamura is trying to impress with all these title belts. It's pure overkill.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Clifford Brown

Song:Night In Tunisia

Album:The Best Of Clifford Brown:The Blue Note Years

Despite a very short career, Clifford Brown is still considered one of the all time greats of jazz trumpet and a major influence on those to follow. He was born Oct. 30, 1930 in Wilmington, DE. His big influence was Fats Navarro so it's appropriate that he worked with Tadd Dameron in 1953. This Best Of comp is a good introduction to Brown and this version of Dizzy Gillespie's Night In Tunisia is actually from Brown's 1954 breakthrough recording with a pre-Jazz Messengers Art Blakey. It's called A Night At Birdland Vol. 1 and other musicians include Lou Donaldson on alto sax, Horace Silver on piano and Curly Russell on bass. Brown formed a band with drummer Max Roach and was on his way to stardom when he died tragically in a car crash on June 26, 1956 in Pennsylvania. He was 25. Pianist Richie Powell was killed too. And unlike a lot of jazz musicians, Clifford Brown was a clean liver. But we still have his music and you should check Clifford Brown out. I can't believe there is any video footage available but here's Clifford Brown performing Lady Be Good on the Soupy Sales Show early 1956.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hikaru puts up hair for EWA title match

Hikaru (pictured) announced today that she has agreed to put up her hair in her match against Wesna Busic for her EWA Womens Title on Pro Wrestling SUN's Jan. 14 Korakuen Hall show. Wesna said that when she didn't get an immediate response from Hikaru she didn't think she would have to bring the belt to Japan. Wesna is very confident anyway. They have also announced that Natsuki*Taiyo & Sakura Emi vs Shuu Shibutani & Ayumi Kurihara will be the opening match.

This other bit of news is a little more interesting. Think Pro Wrestling SUN has enough titles already? Here's another one. First On Stage president Nakamura was recently in Dubai City, Abu Dhabi abd has made a deal to start a wrestling company there. It will be called the WDB and wrestlers from ZERO-ONE MAX & Pro Wrestling SUN will be going there. MMA fighters from Japan have gone to Abu Dhabi for a while now. To kick this off, a WDB Mixed Tag Team Championship has been created and the Saki Maemura & Chris The Bambi Killer vs Toshie Uematsu & Steve Corino match will be for this belt. The way it's going they'll probably have a title for each match on the next show.

Yuka Shiina retirement match announced

NEO has announced Yuka Shiina's retirement match that will lead off the 4th Junior All Star War on New Year's Eve at Korakuen Hall. Shiina will team with NEO rookie Irod Watanabe against Mariko Yoshida and Ayako Sato. A couple of other things. Kaoru Ito trainee Oicco Taguchi has taken the ring name Midori. She will wrestle fellow Ito trainee Hanako Kobayashi. Also, I didn't realize it at the time but Gktn trainee Miki Ishii will be making her debut on this show against Yasusato Nakajima.

Though this isn't a tournament, it appears that they are going to give out prizes. There will be a victory ceremony following each match. There will also be a Best Bout prize, an MVP prize, a Fighting Spirit prize and a Best Photogenic prize. They don't seem to be overly sure about how to award that prize. Will it be best costume or what. They'll figure it out. They also said on their blog that they did ask Sendai Girls to participate but were turned down. The Satomura challenge angle was given as the reason but those girls haven't worked outside shows yet so it's not surprising.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

Song:Ain't No Mountain High Enough


Marvin Gaye had several duet partners but Tammi Terrell was the most memorable. She was born Thomasina Montgomery Apr. 29, 1945 in Philadelphia. After a couple of false starts as Tammy Montgomery, Berry Gordy saw her perform with Jerry Butler in Detroit in 1965 and signed her to Motown and renamed her Tammi Terrell. Her first solo records didn't catch on but Gordy was looking for a new duet partner for Marvin Gaye after Kim Weston left Motown. Gaye & Terrell were put together with writer/producers Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson. It was a potent combination as 1967's Ain't No Mountain High Enough was the first of several hits for the duo. But Tammi was suffering from migraine headaches and collapsed into Marvin's arms while on stage in Hampton, VA in 1967. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor, had eight operations, suffered memory loss and paralysis and died on Mar. 16, 1970 at age 24. Marvin Gaye was so upset that he quit touring for a couple of years. This 2CD Anthology comp is a good overview of Marvin Gaye's career for those who don't want to get the 4CD box set The Master. There's also a 2CD Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell comp which includes some of her solo recordings. This video of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell singing Ain't No Mountain High Enough shows their tremendous chemistry.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Dexter Gordon


Album:Daddy Plays The Horn

The 50s were not a great decade for tenor sax great Dexter Gordon. He was addicted to drugs and spent several years in jail. So he didn't record much and Daddy Plays The Horn is one of two records he did for Bethlehem Records in 1955. This is an excellent version of Charlie Parker's Confirmation with Kenny Drew on piano, Larance Marable on drums and Leroy Vinnegar on bass. Daddy Plays The Horn was out of print for decades but was rereleased last year by Shout Factory. Jazz fans should check it out. Dexter Gordon would get out of jail in 1960 and move to Europe until the mid 70s. Here's a video of Dexter Gordon performing Loose Walk in Switzerland 1964 with George Gruntz on piano, Guy Pedersen on bass & Daniel Humair on drums.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Fats Navarro

Song:52nd Street Theme

Album:The Complete Blue Note And Capitol Recordings

Fats Navarro was another great jazz musician who is forgotten today simply because he wasn't around very long. This 2CD comp covers his whole career. He was born on Sept. 24, 1923 in Key West, FL. By age 17 he was already playing in Andy Kirk's big band. A stint in the Billy Eckstine band led him to composer/arranger Tadd Dameron and this comp covers their music. The two worked very closely for a three year period. This version of Thelonious Monk's 52nd Street Theme is actually from pianist Bud Powell's 1949 album The Amazing Bud Powell Vol. 1. Other musicians include Sonny Rollins on tenor sax, George Duvivier on bass and Max Roach on drums. Fats Navarro was a heroin addict and that led to him contracting tuberculosis and he died on July 7, 1950 at age 26. There's no video footage available. Fats Navarro was one of the greats of jazz trumpet and his music should not be forgotten.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Schoolgirl tag team debuts on Dec. 17 Ibuki show

Mariko Yoshida held her latest Ibuki show on Dec. 17 at Shinjuku FACE. The most interesting match had Yoshida teaming up with the soon to retire Yuka Shiina against a schoolgirl tag team. Don't laugh. It got them media coverage in Japan. Also, Yoshida's amateur wrestler pal facing her top rookie. Unfortunately, the main event tag team match featured a couple of idol wrestlers who shouldn't be anywhere near main events. But this is what we're getting in the joshi business today. The show began with the announcement of a big Korakuen Hall show on May 5, 2007. That's a big deal for Yoshida. They're going to have to work hard to fill that place up.

The opener was Yoshida's pal Akiko Nacni against top rookie Hiroyo Matsumoto. Nacni is a champion amateur wrestler who now trains kids at Gold's Gym. Yoshida brings her in as a role model for her rookies and she seems to play heel very well. Matsumoto is already very good and she controls the early part of the match. She knocks Nacni down with a shoulder tackle and yells for her to get up. This pisses Nacni off and she proceeds to beat up Matsumoto and finishes her off with a tackle at 8:48. A wrestling lesson for Matsumoto. This is followed by grizzled veteran Toshie Uematsu against Mai Ichii. Ichii is a Gktn trainee now working for Kaoru Ito. She seems to be improving. Uematsu has always been a great heel and lets Ichii have her way at the start of the match. But the tide turns and after a guillotine leg drop, Uematsu gives her a face wash in the corner. A Dragon Suplex and Uematsu wins at 9:03.

Mariko Yoshida teamed with Yuka Shiina (pictured) against Ibuki trainee Nao Watanabe and Gktn trainee Blue. Both are 15 years old so they made a big deal about the schoolgirl tag team. Obviously they're in over their heads with the boss and Shiina. The end was never in doubt as Shiina used a jumping lariat and an STS to beat Blue at 9:55. I'm not crazy about the schoolgirl gimmick but it got them media coverage that Ibuki wouldn't have normally received. I guess that justifies it. Yoshida presented Shiina with a bouquet of flowers after the match as a salute. Shiina retires on New Year's Eve.

So with three matches under ten minutes, they need the other matches to go a little longer. Leon faced Rei. I guess Rei is Caribbean MOOM only in JD Star. Rei seems to be improving as she busted out a moonsault to the floor. But Leon is more experienced and won with a splash and Leon Stone at 13:52. The main event had Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto against Shuu Shibutani & Cherry. Believe it or not, it went to a thirty minute time limit draw. Kimura & Emoto controlled the match but couldn't close the deal. Even Kimura's Big Boots couldn't finish off Shibutani. I'm sure Cherry & Shibutani are very nice girls but they shouldn't be in half hour main events. They're not good enough. Kimura was very upset after the match. Shibutani told her to knock off the sour grapes and be quiet. Cherry knew they were lucky to get a draw and wasn't upset with Kimura. Of course she's not protected by JD Star management. Cheery tried to make nice but the other three refused the customary post match photo. I'm sure they'll meet again but not in a main event please.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Winans

Song:The Question Is

Album:Heart & Soul

I've talked before about the Winans gospel music singing family. The Winans consists of brothers Marvin, Carvin, Michael & Ronald Winans. They were discovered by gospel legend Andrae Crouch in 1981 and signed with Light Records. They were brought to the attention of Quincy Jones and signed with his Qwest label in 1985. Their big breakthrough was with the 1989 song It's Time featuring Teddy Riley of Blackstreet. I have included the video for that. The Question Is is one of Marvin Winans' most enduring songs and this version is from the George Duke produced 1995 album Heart & Soul, a good record but their final album together. Rhino released The Very Best Of The Winans comp in 2002 and the entire Winans family toured to support it. That's worth checking out. The brothers record very infrequently. Marvin Winans spends most of his time as pastor of the Perfecting Praise Church in Detroit. The other guys aren't that active either and Ronald Winans died of a heart attack on June 17, 2005 at age 48. The Winans were one of the first contemporary black gospel acts to crossover to the mainstream and were a big influence on the gospel music business.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Song:The Chosen One

Album:Ghetto Classics

One look at Jaheim Hoagland and you might think he's a badass gangsta rapper. But he's actually a very good R & B crooner and seems to understand his own music very well. Jaheim grew up in the projects in New Brunswick, NJ. His father died in 1981 when he was two. Fortunately his grandfather Victor Hoagland was a former member of The Drifters and encouraged Jaheim to pursue his music. Jaheim's mom died when he was a teen but he continued to enter and win talent contests in the Tri State area. He was signed by Divine Mill Records in 2000 and had a big hit with Could It Be in 2001. Divine Mill Records is owned by Kay Gee from Naughty By Nature. Kay Gee continues to work closely with Jaheim and produced The Chosen One from his latest CD Ghetto Classics. The song is based on the old Willie Hutch song I Choose You. Jaheim has shown that he will have a long career in music if he continues to produce great R & B music. Here's a video of Jaheim performing The Chosen One on BET's 106 & Park.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie

Song:Hot House

Album:Diz 'N Bird At Carnegie Hall

For years there had been bits and pieces of this historic Sept. 29, 1947 Carnegie Hall concert issued usually with poor sound. In 1997, Blue Note hired veteran jazz historian Michael Cuscuna to put together a restored version of this recording. The result is as good as we're going to get and a must for jazz fans. This is Dizzy Gillespie's big band with Charlie Parker performing Tadd Dameron's arrangement of his composition Hot House. Other musicians include Milt Jackson on vibes, John Lewis on piano, Al McKibbon on bass, Joe Harris on drums and several horn players. The recording isn't perfect but it is historic. It put bebop on the mainstream music radar. Here's a video of Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie performing Hot House in 1952 after receiving their 1951 Down Beat Magazine awards. Also featuring Dick Hyman on piano, Sandy Block on bass and Charlie Smith on drums.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wesna/Hikaru match for EWA title...and hair?

A few days ago Pro Wrestling SUN announced that Hikaru will face Wesna Busic on the Jan. 14 Korakuen Hall show. Hikaru challenged Wesna for her EWA Womens Title. Wesna currently holds that title and the Next Shining Generation title which she won from Hikaru on September's final Dream Catchers show. The pic is from that match.

Both the EWA & Wesna have responded to Hikaru's challenge. The EWA has approved a title match. They're leaving it up to SUN. Wesna said that she wanted to challenge Nanae Takahashi for the AWA World Womens Championship on Jan. 14. But she has decided to step aside to allow Amazing Kong to challenge Takahashi instead. Wesna says she will put up her EWA Womens Title if Hikaru agrees to put up her hair. If Hikaru loses, she goes bald. We eagerly await Hikaru's response. For those who have never seen Wesna in action, I have posted a video of her match vs Mercedes Martinez in WXW. They both hit hard. Enjoy.

Wesna vs Mercedes Martinez WxW - USA

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Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Sonny Clark

Song:Melody In C (Alternate Take)

Album:Leapin' And Lopin'

Pianist Sonny Clark was another jazz musician who would be better known today simply if he had been around longer. He was born July 21, 1931 in Herminie, PA. By age 18 he was playing with Wardell Gray and built his reputation in Buddy DeFranco's band. His hard bop style was greatly influenced by Bud Powell. He continued to play sessions with Art Pepper & Jimmy Raney and finally signed with Blue Note in 1957. All his records are very solid hard bop. Leapin And Lopin' was his final record as leader in 1961. Blue Note released it on CD with a couple of extra tracks including this alternate take of Melody In C. Musicians include Ike Quebec & Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, Tommy Turrentine on trumpet, Butch Warren on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Like a lot of his fellow jazz musicians, Sonny Clark had an erratic lifestyle and died on Jan. 13, 1963 at age 32. It sure didn't affect his playing.
There was a Sonny Clark home video release of Cool Struttin' but it doesn't look like any clips have been posted online.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Lineup announced for Junior All Star War

A press conference was held in Tokyo to announce the complete lineup for the 4th Junior All Star War on New Year's Eve afternoon at Korakuen Hall. The idea is that with the Indy Summit happening later on in the day, some of the joshi promoters think that joshi deserves the spotlight too. The problem is that New Year's Eve is traditionally a very busy day in pro wrestling & MMA in Japan. And joshi is at the bottom of the food chain. But that's why they're doing this with juniors. Rookies work cheap. The show will also feature a POP Title defense and NEO veteran Yuka Shiina's retirement match.

For some reason, they're just doing a series of matches instead of doing a tournament. So we're getting a lot of rookie style matches and that's not usually a good thing. The show will open with Yuka Shiina's retirement match against an opponent TBA followed by her retirement ceremony. To her credit, Shiina wants the spotlight on the youngsters. This will be followed by Atsuko Emoto vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. Is Emoto a junior? Then a couple of rookies from Kaoru Ito's dojo; Hanako Kobayashi vs Oicco Taguchi. Then JD Star's new Athtress Bisa Ohata will face JWP's Kaori Oki. She will debut on Dec. 24. Makoto from Ice Ribbon will appear next with one of the other Ice Ribbon wrestlers. Next is Bambi from K-Dojo vs Kizahana from Gktn followed by Lily Urai from Gutsworld vs NEO rookie Nagisa Nozaki. Then JD Star's Shuu Shibutani vs Ayumi Kurihara, Yasusato Nakajima vs Miki Ishii from Gktn and Rei vs Cherry.

The big announcement is that Fuuka will defend her POP Title against Pro Wrestling SUN's Natsuki*Taiyo (pictured). I expect Fuuka to retain the title. JD Star is really trying to elevate her but in the past Fuuka has not done well under pressure. This is a higher profile show than the usual JD Star show against a high quality young wrestler. I don't know what JD Star will do if Fuuka doesn't step up. The Athtress concept doesn't encourage her to do that. The main event will have Kyoko Kimura teaming with Sakura Emi against Mai Ichii & Ayako Sato. Sato is a Kaoru Ito trainee and Ichii is a Gktn trainee now working for Kaoru Ito. So that's the show. I don't know if it's on TV in Japan.

Intercom now working and other co-op notes

You may recall that the co-op needed to get a new intercom as it was dropping entry codes including mine. So we did get it installed last week but a funny thing happened. My buzzer still wasn't working. I called Marlon on Monday and it didn't work with his phone either. He brought in Mircom on Wednesday and it turns out there was a defective relay. All's well that ends well because my buzzer is working now. Thank you Marlon.

The big news is we're going to have a guest speaker at our next general members meeting on Jan. 18. The members are very concerned about crime and security in the neighbourhood. So I have booked Sgt. Don MacCallum of the Toronto Police to speak to the members and answer questions. Sgt. MacCallum heads up the unit at 22 Division responsible for street crime in this area. I read about him in an Etobicoke Guardian article about a drug bust a couple of blocks from here. I spoke to him on Wednesday and I look forward to a very informative talk. I know members will appreciate it. I'm also working on getting a co-op blog started in January.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:B.B. King

Song:The Thrill Is Gone

Album:Blues Masters Vol. 7:Blues Revival

Of course B.B. King is still one of the most popular blues artists around which only goes to show that longevity has it's value. I'm not a big fan. I do like his earlier music including this original 1969 version of The Thrill Is Gone. It was his commercial breakthrough and he deserves a lot of credit for riding that wave all these years. Of course King is so identified with The Thrill Is Gone most folks don't know that it was written by and originally recorded by West Coast blues singer Roy Hawkins in the early 50s. This various artists comp looks pretty good. It's part of Rhino's Blues Masters series and this volume focuses on the Blues Revival of the late 60s. Other songs on the CD include Jimmy Reed's Baby What You Want Me To Do, John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom, Muddy Waters' Got My Mojo Workin' & Canned Heat's On The Road Again. It's worth checking out for beginners. Here's B.B. King performing The Thrill Is Gone on Late Night With Conan O'Brien.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Del Ray, Stripes added to Queen's Cup tournament

World 1 Wrestling has added the final two wrestlers to the Queen's Cup tournament on January 7 in Allentown, PA. They have also announced the first round brackets. California wrestler Sara Del Ray (pictured applying a surfboard to Mercedes Martinez) has joined the tournament. Sara has had some great matches in SHIMMER and has been to Japan & Mexico. Melissa Stripes works indy feds in the Northeast.

World 1 Wrestling has also announced that Ladysports will co-promote the show. Part of the reason for this is Nikki Roxx is the current PGWA champ and that way they can have another champ on the show. Roxx has issued a public challenge to World 1 Womens Champ Amazing Kong. Kong beat Nikki pretty badly in a match in SHIMMER in the spring. The prize is still the same. The winner of the tournament goes to Japan to challenge AWA World Womens Champ Nanae Takahashi. Here's the first round brackets.

Cindy Rogers vs Alere Little Feather

Amber O'Neal vs Alison Danger

Nikki Roxx vs Sara Del Ray

Cheerleader Melissa vs Melissa Stripes.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Charles Mingus

Album:Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul

Album:The Impulse Story:Charles Mingus

Jazz bassist Charles Mingus is as renowned for his genius as he is reviled for his volatile temper. Who knows what his music would have been like without the bad behaviour? It says something about his status that Universal decided to release an Impulse Story CD despite the fact that Mingus only made three records for Impulse. And one of them was a solo piano recording. Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul is a rousing reworking of his classic Better Git It In Yo' Soul from the 1963 album Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus. Musicians include Mingus regulars like Eric Dolphy on alto sax, Jaki Byard on piano and Dannie Richmond on drums with some additional horns added. It's a great recording but there's more to Mingus than his Impulse recordings. Here's a half hour film made for French TV in 1964 featuring Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Clifford Jordan, Jaki Byard & Dannie Richmond.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Song:Deciphering The Message

Album:The Jazz Messengers

While you're looking to fill your jazz CD collection with Art Blakey on Blue Note, you don't want to overlook this 1956 album released by Columbia. It's been rereleased on CD with some extra tracks including this great Hank Mobley tune Deciphering The Message. This was the final recording by the original Jazz Messengers as Horace Silver left to go solo. Other musicians are Donald Byrd on trumpet, Hank Mobley on sax and Doug Watkins on bass. Of course Art Blakey continued to make great music with the Jazz Messengers and introduced many young musicians over the years. Here's a great quality video of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers performing I Remember Clifford in 1958 featuring Lee Morgan on trumpet, Benny Golson on sax, Bobby Timmons on piano and Jymie Merritt on bass.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rookie Bisa Ohata debuts for JD Star

A new Athtress debuted on JD Star's Dec. 10 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. Her name is Bisa Ohata (pictured) and she certainly has that idol look that JD Star management wants. Her ring skills are secondary. Also, Fuuka has agreed to defend her POP Title against Pro Wrestling SUN's Natsuki*Taiyo at a future date. And Shuu Shibutani continues to have problems with the Caribbean Army and will team up with Fuuka to battle them.

The opener featured the debut of Bisa Ohata. Her opponent was Ibuki rookie Hiroyo Matsumoto. Matsumoto is pretty good already. Matsumoto controlled the match and finished off Ohata with an Argentinian backbreaker turned into a brainbuster at 6:35. Ohata admitted afterwards that she was very tired and needs to improve her stamina. She'd better work on that because Mariko Yoshida will be her opponent on the Dec. 23 show. Uh oh. Next was a match featuring masked animals; Leon vs Bullfight Sora. Sora seemed to hurt her knee during the match. Leon took advantage and finished Sora with a backbreaker at 11:46. Afterwards, Sora suggested that instead of forming The Animalz, they should form a group with Fuuka to battle the Caribbean Army. The rookie Ohata will also be part of this group.

Next was Fuuka teaming with JWP's Tsubasa Kuragaki against Michiko Ohmukai & Lily Urai. Kuragaki pins Urai after a lariat at 14:52. Afterwards, Fuuka suggests that Natsuki*Taiyo should get a POP Title shot. This is because Natsuki defeated Fuuka in a match during the title tournament and fans want the match. Natsuki*Taiyo comes to the ring and agrees to the match. I guess the problem is that Natsuki*Taiyo is very busy with Pro Wrestling SUN and I don't see JD Star giving her the belt. What they're trying to do is build Fuuka's credibility by having her defeat a good youngster. We'll see what the match is like. Fuuka doesn't usually deliver under pressure.

The main event had Shuu Shibutani & Cherry against Caribbean KIM & MOON. The Caribbean team controlled the match. Shibutani was the surprise loser at 16:41 with a double team move called the Caribbean Impact. KIM held Shibutani high in the air and MOON came off the top rope and drove her face first into the mat. Shibutani left the arena but Fuuka came to the ring to confront the Caribbeans. Shibutani returned and the two will team up against Caribbean KIM & MOON on Dec. 23.

Takahashi to defend AWA belt against Amazing Kong on Jan. 14 SUN show

It was deja vu all over again as Pro Wrestling SUN held a press conference at the First On Stage office to announce the main event and other matches for the Jan. 14 Korakuen Hall show. I say that because for months all of these press conferences have been pretty much the same with Amazing Kong interrupting the press conference with her heel act. She's very good at it but it is somewhat repetitive.

Nanae Takahashi & Saki Maemura started the press conference by announcing that in the main event Takahashi will defend her AWA World Womens Title against Real Evil Makers leader Amazing Kong. It was also announced that in a mixed match, Saki Maemura will team up with German wrestler Chris The Bambi Killer against Toshie Uematsu & Steve Corino. Bambi Killer has been working regularly for ZERO-ONE MAX. Maemura has been asking for a singles match against Corino for months. But she's so small it doesn't make any sense to do that so they've been doing these mixed matches instead.

At this point, Amazing Kong & Toshie Uematsu barged into the press conference. The poster for this show has Nanae Takahashi as Cinderella. AK brought what she called the real poster with Takahashi ugly and Maemura with a pig snout. They started fighting and yelling at each other as usual with AK giving Takahashi the finger (pictured). Maemura stepped in between AK & Takahashi but then she started fighting with Uematsu. Takahashi & Maemura said that they would overthrow REM on Jan. 14.

SUN also announced that Wesna Busic will return to defend her EWA Womens Title against Hikaru. They also announced that Atsuko Emoto will face Panther Claw. Natsuki*Taiyo, Ayumi Kurihara, Shuu Shibutani & Sakura Emi are also scheduled to be on the show. And there is one more gaijin to be announced.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Dinah Washington & Brook Benton

Song:Baby (You've Got What It Takes)

Album:20th Century Masters:The Millenium Collection:The Best Of Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington was already a big star in the jazz world when this duet with Brook Benton was a top ten single in 1960. Not surprisingly, jazz fans were horrified when she "sold out". What else is new? She was born Ruth Lee Jones Aug. 29, 1924 and grew up in Chicago. She was given the name Dinah Washington when she joined the Lionel Hampton band in 1943. She went solo in 1946 and had several hits and also played with the great jazz musicians of the day. In 1959, she had a big hit with What A Difference A Day Makes and followed it up with this duet with Brook Benton. He was a very smooth R & B singer songwriter and both artists were on Mercury Records so it was a perfect pairing. Benton wrote the song and they have tremendous chemistry. This budget comp is OK if you're only interested in Dinah's later hits. There are other comps available if you want a more complete picture. Dinah Washington started having weight problems and died of an accidental mix of diet pills and alcohol on Dec. 14, 1963 at age 39. Here's Dinah Washington performing All Of Me at the Newport Jazz Festival 1958.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Takeshita, Carano win in big weekend fights

It's been a tough year in MMA for kickboxer WINDY Tomomi. While her training partner and good pal Hisae Watanabe is on top of the world, Tomomi suffered a devastating loss to Yuka Tsuji in June and considered leaving MMA. She attempted to continue her comeback against relative newcomer Kanako Takeshita on the Dec. 10 Pancrase Differ Ariake show. As a kickboxer, Tomomi's strength is her striking. Her history has been that she has trouble on the ground. That pattern continued as Tomomi tagged Takeshita with some hard shots but Takeshita was superior on the ground. Takeshita finally tied up Tomomi for good in the third round and won with an armbar at 2:18 of round three. Kanako Takeshita's record is now 4-0 and WINDY Tomomi's record is now 9-7. The accompanying pic of the submission is courtesy of the Gravity Japanese womens MMA fansite.

The other big fight this weekend was the first ever womens bout in Strikeforce in California on their Dec. 8 show in San Jose. The fighters were Gina Carano against local fighter Elaina Maxwell. She trains at Cung Le's dojo and he was in the main event. Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer was there and said it was a pretty good fight. Carano really took control in the third round and won a unanimous decision. Gina Carano is now 3-0 and Elaina Maxwell is 1-1. Just a note to wrestling fans. Daniel Puder won his fight over Mike Cook by choke submission at 2:31 of round two.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Pharoah Sanders

Song:The Creator Has A Master Plan

Album:The House That Trane Built:The Story Of Impulse Records

Pharoah Sanders is a tenor sax player who kind of filled a void after the death of John Coltrane. The Creator Has A Master Plan is over a half hour long and probably defines Sanders' style. It's not for beginners. Musicians include Leon Thomas on vocals, James Spaulding on flute, Julius Watkins on french horn, Ron Carter, Richard Davis & Reggie Workman on bass, Billy Hart & Freddie Waits on drums and Nat Bettis on percussion. It's from his 1969 album Karma. The House That Trane Built is a 4CD box set covering the history of Impulse Records. This is the longest track. There is also an individual CD covering Sanders. His real name is Farrell Sanders so the name Pharoah is kind of a gag. He grew up in Little Rock, AR and his parents were music teachers. Sanders is still touring and his most recent recording With A Heartbeat was released by Evolver Records in 2003. Bill Laswell produced it. Over the years Pharoah Sanders was able to transcend the influence of John Coltrane to have his own unique style. Here's a video of Sanders playing with David Sanborn on the Nightmusic TV series in 1990.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Song:The World Is A Ghetto

Album:Anthology (1970-1994)

War was one of the most popular funk/R & B groups of the 70s with a latin vibe. The World Is A Ghetto was a politically aware song that was a huge hit. War started out in Compton, CA in 1962 as The Creators. Guitarist Howard Scott & drummer Harold Brown eventually brought in keyboard player Lonnie Jordan, bassist B.B. Dickerson & sax player Charles Miller. They changed the band name to Nightshift and brought in percussionist Papa Dee Allen. They were backing up LA Rams star Deacon Jones in 1969 when Jerry Goldstein of the garage band The Strangeloves suggests Nightshift hook up with former Animals lead singer Eric Burdon. Burdon brought harmonica player Lee Oskar with him and Nightshift was renamed War. War recorded two albums with Burdon and then signed a seperate contract with United Artists. Goldstein produced all their records. They had several big hits in the 70s and petered out in the 80s when they went a little too disco. The 2CD comp Anthology is definitive though the full ten minute version of The World Is A Ghetto is only available on the original album. War continued to survive in the 90s and last recorded in 1994. Lonnie Jordan still tours with a version of War. Their music is sampled by many hip hop groups. Here's a video of War performing their hit Why Can't We Be Friends. It gives a good idea of what they were like.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Three title belts up for grabs at Dec. 24 JWP show

On the Nov. 26 JWP show, JWP Open Weight Champion Azumi Hyuga challenged Yoshiko Tamura (pictured) for her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles on the Dec. 24 JWP Korakuen Hall show. JWP has announced that this will be a one fall 60 minute time limit match for all three belts. I guess the only problem I have with this is NEO can't be trusted to not protect Tamura. That's what they've done since she won the belts. I think if they're going to do a match like that there should be a clear winner. I have doubts that they will do that. Hyuga is a great wrestler and Tamura can be good when she feels like it so it has the potential to be a great match. I'm concerned about an unsatisfactory finish.

JWP has also announced that 21 year old Kaori Oki will debut against an opponent TBA. Kaori is 158cm tall and weighs 55kg. She has been training since March. No I haven't seen a pic of her yet. Also the reunited WANTED, Sachie Abe & KAZUKI, will challenge Toshie Uematsu & Teru for the JWP Tag Team Titles. I expect WANTED to win as they work full time for JWP. We'll also see the finals of the JWP Junior Tournament and Tsubasa Kuragaki will face Carlos Amano.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Donny Hathaway

Song: To Be Young Gifted And black

Album:A Donny Hathaway Collection

Now that I'm posting videos with this feature, I wanted to go back and visit Donny Hathaway. I've talked about his tragic suicide death. It's especially sad because he was one of the most talented performers ever. He could do it all. He's best known for his hit duets with Roberta Flack but you should dig a little deeper. This comp doesn't really do that but there isn't another one available. Donny's wonderful version of Nina Simone's To Be Young Gifted And Black is from his 1970 debut album Everything Is Everything. Donny had the ability of taking any song and giving that gospel vibe that I love so much. He's one of the all time geats of R & B. Here's Donny Hathaway performing Gene McLellan's gospel standard Put Your Hand In The Hand on The Flip Wilson show in 1970. Enjoy the magic of his performance.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Cece Winans

Song:Heavenly Father

Album:Cece Winans

Cece Winans is quite simply one of the finest singers working today. The purity of her voice and her diction is unmatched by anyone else. Of course Cece is one of the Detroit based Winans family of gospel singers. She started out singing with her brother Bebe on the PTL Club in the early 80s. Eventually Bebe & Cece Winans became international stars. They split up in 1995 and Cece continues to produce great gospel music. Heavenly Father is a wonderful song Cece wrote and produced with Nashville singer songwriter Tommy Sims. Her latest CD is the 2005 release Purify. You need to get some Cece Winans in your CD collection. Enjoy this 2001 video for More Than What I Wanted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

LAMP in expansion mode

The LAMP Community Health Centre is in the Lakeshore Village on Fifth St. and is a short roll from my apartment. LAMP has several health and youth oriented programs. They are looking to expand their programs but the current location is too small. So they held a meeting on Wednesday to get ideas from the community about what they should do. Of course I was there.

The main topic of discussion was about the physical location of LAMP. Of course some folks are very attached to the convenience of the location and don't want to lose it. But LAMP has already expanded to a soon to be opened satellite office in Mississauga. There is a movement afoot to expand LAMP's area coverage. Not surprisingly, some folks don't like that but it is inevitable. Some suggest that the solution is to build an addition to the current location. The more likely solution is to find a larger building elsewhere and use this building as a branch. Obviously some people believe LAMP will move and abandon this location. I don't think they'll do that and building an addition on the current facility is cost prohibitive.

The reason I attended this meeting was to initiate discussion about services for the disabled. Many folks were surprised that there are no services for the disabled in the west end of Toronto. Obviously it's a big project and I would like to include special gym equipment for the disabled along with medical staff and physiotherapists. This could not be done in the current facility but it's something that could be included in a new location. I hope to meet with LAMP shortly and I plan to bring in experts to advise about required equipment.

The other thing we discussed was to start a satellite program for kids in the co-ops in this area. Now that I am a member of LAMP, I will receive all info about programs and meetings. So I will follow up on these things. The expansion report will be issued in the spring.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Percy Sledge

Song:When A Man Loves A Woman

Album:Pure Gold:1960's #1 R & B Hits

Leighton, Alabama born singer Percy Sledge is considered one of the pioneers of country soul. When A Man Loves A Woman was his biggest hit and he sings all his songs with that type of emotion. He started out with the vocal group The Esquires Combo. Local disc jockey Quin Ivy convinced Sledge to go solo. When A Man Loves A Woman was written by a couple of Sledge's bandmates in the Esquires. Ivy took Sledge to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to work with guitarist Marlin Greene, organist Spooner Oldham & drummer Roger Hawkins and this song gave birth to the Muscle Shoals Sound. The recent hit cover of When A Man Loves A Woman by Michael Bolton doesn't hold a candle to the original. There are Percy Sledge comps available but this is the kind of song you might want to get on a various artists comp. This budget comp doesn't seem to be available anymore. You might want to try a Rhino budget comp called Express Yourself:The Best Of Soul but you want to stay away from cheapo labels like K-Tel & Madacy because they don't usually use original versions. Percy Sledge is still around and released the CD Shining Through The Rain on Varese Sarabande Records in 2004. Here's a nice video of Percy Sledge's version of When A Man Loves A Woman.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fuuka successfully defends POP title

The big news over at JD Star is a new Athtress is debuting on the Dec. 10 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. Her name is Bisa Ohata and her opponent will be Ibuki rookie Hiroyo Matsumoto. JD Star is selling a commemorative autographed photo for next week's show. Who knows if she'll last. She does make a cameo on the Dec. 3 show. The main event was Fuuka defending her POP Title against Caribbean RUM. They signed the contract at the start of the show.

Well, it looks like Rei is officially working for JD Star after last week's heel turn. They're now calling her Caribbean MOON. The transformation was described as "pirate's magic". Her opponent was Lily Urai. MOON won with a face buster, a brain buster and a moonsault press at 7:28. Next was the JWP team of Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kaori Yoneyama vs Shuu Shibutani & Cherry. The JWP team won when Kuragaki got Cherry in an Argentine backbreaker at 15:38. NEO Tag Team champs Misae Genki & Haruka Matsuo were next against Michiko Ohmukai & rookie Yasusato Nakajima. We've seen a lot of these type of jobber tag team appearances from Ohmukai lately. It's like she's sleepwalking through her career now. Matsuo used a German suplex to pin Nakajima at 13:10.

In anticipation of her debut next week, Bisa Ohata appeared in a two minute sparring session with Shuu Shibutani. I guess there's nothing wrong with teasing the fans. The main event had Fuuka defending her POP Title aagainst Caribbean RUM after RUM tried to steal the belt last week. RUM controlled the first part of the match by working on Fuuka's knee. Caribbean MOON came down to help RUM with a Fuuka beat down. Shuu Shibutani countered that by taking MOON out. This gave Fuuka the opening to successfully defend her title with the F Doll at 13:57. Fuuka said afterwards that she needed the help but was a little confused because Shuu Shibutani is her main rival for the belt. So next week's main event will have Shibutani teaming with Cherry against Caribbean KIM & MOON. Fuuka will team with Tsubasa Kuragaki against Michiko Ohmukai & Lily Urai.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Al Green

Song:Take Me To The River

Album:Al Green Explores Your Mind

I've talked about Al Green before. He's had renewed popularity in recent years because of other groups sampling and covering his songs. Take Me To The River is a 1974 classic that was covered by David Byrne's popular group Talking Heads. Byrne is the kind of guy who will cover an Al Green song to get his fans to listen to Green. That's exactly what happened. It opened Green up to a new audience. Guys like Byrne & Ry Cooder are valuable because of their respect for black music. It's OK with me. I love Al Green. And you're going to love this video of Al Green performing Take Me To The River on Soul Train in the 70s.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Satomura challenges Sendai rookies to step up

A lot of joshi fans were hopeful that with Meiko Satomura training rookies, Sendai Girls could turn out to be a rebirth of joshi puroresu. But as good as Satomura is at training youngsters, she seems to be lacking common sense as a booker. Part of the problem is all she knows is GAEA and her mentor Chigusa Nagayo. So obviously the Sendai Girls booking is very similar to 1994 GAEA. But it isn't 1994 anymore and things need to be done differently. She might get away with it for a while in Sendai but with the Dec. 3 Sendai Girls Zepp Sendai show, the shows have been very similar in tone and that's going to get old very soon. This time Satomura brought Mariko Yoshida and Ibuki to Sendai.

One problem was the matches were not announced until the day of the show. Many of us assumed that the main event would be a first time meeting between Meiko Satomura & Mariko Yoshida. That's an exciting match. Instead Satomura wrestled Kyoko Kimura in the main event and Yoshida wrestled one of the rookies. Though technically not a bait and switch, it's not a good strategy for Satomura to leave herself open to those kind of accusations. Fan expectations are important and that particular expectation should have been addressed before the show. It's a new promotion and they can't afford mistakes like that.

Of course Ibuki vs Sendai is bound to be more interesting than previous Sendai Girls shows featuring OZ Academy simply because the Ibuki wrestlers aren't as old or experienced. Yoshida even brought impressive rookie Hiroyo Matsumoto along. The opener was Atsuko Emoto vs Sachiko Kanari. Sachiko attacks Emoto from behind before the bell. She hits her with several drop kicks. Emoto gets control and hits a brainbuster, 2 DDTs and another brainbuster fro the win at 7:22. Then Leon beat Kaneko Yurie with the Mad Splash at 10:46.

Next was Ibuki rookie Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Akari Okuda. If there was any match where the Sendai rookies had a chance to win, it would be this one. It didn't happen. Matsumoto won with an Argentinian backbreaker into a stomach buster to win at 9:18. Satomura was clearly upset at ringside and set things up for her plans after the show. Even fans at ringside expected Kyoko Kimura to wrestle Chisako Kanari and were surprised when Mariko Yoshida came out. Yoshida almost put Chisako to sleep with a submission hold but she reached the ropes. Yoshida locked it in again and it was over at 12:26.

The main event between Meiko Satomura & Kyoko Kimura was somewhat anticlimactic because that's not what fans really wanted to see. Kimura worked hard but Satomura worked on her arm and won with the Scorpio Rising at 19:04. It's funny how fans perceive Kimura as a younster. She's two years older than Satomura. Afterwards, Satomura set up the Jan. 10 Zepp Sendai show. She thanked Yoshida for bringing the Ibuki girls to Sendai and congratulated them on their victories. Then she brought the four rookies into the ring and gave them a major dressing down. She was very upset that none of them have won a match to date. She told them that on the Jan. 10 show all four would wrestle Satomura in singles matches and if they don't perform to expectations, they will lose their professional status and become amateurs. I don't know what the consequences will be but Meiko Satomura is sure going to be busy that day.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Fogerty



Of course John Fogerty became famous as a member of the 60s group Creedence Clearwater Revival. After CCR split up in 1972, Fogerty unsuccessfully attempted a solo career. He disappeared until Centerfield hit the top of the Billboard album chart in 1985. It's a great album and deserved to be a hit. The video for Centerfield with vintage baseball footage helped a lot. I have included it. Fogerty's 1997 album Eye Of The Zombie didn't do as well and he disappeared until 1997 with the album Blue Moon Swamp. John Fogerty has had a poor relationship with CCR record company owner Saul Zaentz. He said he would never perform his old songs in concert. He's loosened up on that and performs all his songs and recently released a live CD/DVD Long Road Home:In Concert. Ironically it's on his old CCR label Fantasy Records.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:James Brown & His Famous Flames

Song:Please, Please, Please

Album:Please, Please, Please

There's not much question of James Brown's influence on today's hip hop artists. He's probably sampled more than anyone. James Brown is the link between 50s R & B and what would become funk music. Please, Please, Please was his first big hit in 1956 and this was his first album. It just gave us a taste of what he could do and it's a classic 50s R & B song. Brown wrote the song with fellow Flame Johnny Terry. I highly recommend the 4CD box set Star Time for a complete overview of his music. These days James Brown is more famous for his run ins with the law. Not surprising considering he spent time in jail for armed robbery in the 40s. Fortunately singer Bobby Byrd took a liking to him and the rest is pop music history. Here's a video of James Brown performing It's A Mans Mans Mans Mans World around 1970.