Wednesday, January 31, 2007

JWP sets up tag team picture at Jan. 27 show

JWP's next big Korakuen Hall show is on Apr. 15 so a lot of their efforts until then will set up the matches for that show. They used the Jan. 27 Akatsuka Public Hall show to set up the picture for the JWP Tag Team Titles. Sachie Abe & KAZUKI reunited Wanted and won the titles a couple of months ago and since then they've been hounded by former champs Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu. Also, HIROKA & Marcela make an appearance.

The opener had KAZUKI against rookie Kaori Oki. KAZUKI won easily with a diving kneedrop at 7:04. Next was Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu vs ECO & JWP Junior Champ Yasusato Nakajima. Nakajima is improving and put on a good show but Ran won with a running elbow at 11:14. Sachie Abe won her match over Kaori Yoneyama with a victory roll at 6:35. KAZUKI interfered to help her partner. Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu came to the ring to challenge Wanted for the JWP Tag Team Titles again and it was decided that there would be a number one contender tournament and the title match will be on the Apr. 15 Korakuen Hall show. Uematsu & Ran and Yoneyama & Leon will be in the tournament and the other teams and the brackets will be determined on the Feb. 11 Cinema Club show.

HIROKA teamed with Commando Bolshoi against Azumi Hyuga & Marcela. Hyuga & Bolshoi are quite adept at the lucha style so it was very good. HIROKA pounds Hyuga for the first part of the match but Marcela turns things around and Marcela pins HIROKA at 17:31 while the other two are outside the ring. The main event was Tsubasa Kuragaki & Manami Toyota vs Kayoko Haruyama & Leon. Kuragaki was looking to stick it to Haruyama and did exactly that with a lariat at 17:18. JWP's next show will be Feb. 4 at the JWP Dojo and then Feb. 11 at Cinema Club.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Harptones

Song:Life Is But A Dream

Album:The Doo Wop Box Vol. 2

The Harptones were a second tier doo wop group who likely would have been bigger if they had been able to record for a major label. They would have a hit and their record company would go out of business. The Harptones were originally called The Skylarks and were led by New York City high school student William Galloway in 1951. In 1953 they merged with a group called The Winfield Brothers led by lead tenor Willie Winfield and pianist Raoul Cita and changed their name to The Harps. A performance at the Apollo amateur night got the attention of an MGM Records executive but he wasn't around when they came to his office. While practicing their harmonies in the hallway, Bruce Records owners Morty Craft & Leo Rogers heard them and signed them. There was another group called The Harps so the name was changed to The Harptones. They had some hits including the 1956 great Raoul Cita song Life Is But A Dream but the limited distribution really hurt them and they never had a chart hit. They bounced around various labels and like a lot of doo wop groups petered out in the late 50s and disbanded in 1964. Cita & Winfield reformed The Harptones in 1970 and they've been touring the oldies concert circuit ever since. Rhino's first Doo Wop Box was so popular that this second 4CD Doo Wop Box followed in 1996. They are both great comps and worth the investment. Here are The Harptones performing Hot Rod Baby from the 1956 film Rockin' The Blues. It's very entertaining. That's Willie Winfield singing lead and Raoul Cita on piano.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Emoto gets a shot at the boss on Jan. 28 Ibuki show

For most of her wrestling career to date, Atsuko Emoto has been perceived as a comedy wrestler because of her Bullfight Sora gimmick. It's still difficult to take her seriously when she wrestles without the mask. So Ibuki owner Mariko Yoshida gave her a main event slot against the boss on the Jan. 28 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. The only special guest on this show was Ran YuYu. The rest was unremarkable. She's better have big plans for the May Korakuen Hall show.

The opener had Ran YuYu against rookie Hiroyo Matsumoto. Matsumoto has been very impressive against veterans. She's a good athlete and she works hard. All she has to do is continue to improve and learn from veterans like Ran. Matsumoto gave Ran a good match but Ran won with an elbow smash at 13:10. Next was Cherry vs Mai Ichii. Ichii seems to be improving since leaving Gtkn for Kaoru Ito Professional Wrestling Classroom. Cherry won with the Cherry Bomb at 10:01.

Sakura Emi returned to Ibuki and teamed with her trainee Aoi Kizuki against Ayako Sato & Leon. Of course with Sakura Emi you get a lot of comedy but Leon won with the Mad Splash on Emi at 16:13. The masked wrestler Rei is another one who has improved since leaving Gtkn. She likes to fly but needs to be more consistent. Her opponent was Ayumi Kurihara. Kurihara controlled the start of the match but Rei came back and won with a version of a moonsault drop called the Bright Red Angel at 13:10.

The main event had Atsuko Emoto against Mariko Yoshida. Yoshida said on her website that she felt Emoto was trying not to lose instead of win. This is probably because Kyoko Kimura drew with Yoshida at the last Ibuki show. Emoto wants to be taken more seriously. Yoshida says Emoto is very strong and she was not able to beat her. It was a thirty minute draw. It appears that what Emoto is really after is a match with Kimura. Yoshida said Emoto did well and she would think about it. The next Ibuki show will be March 18 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ella Fitzgerald

Song:Hard Hearted Hannah

Album:Ella:The Legendary Decca Recordings

This 4CD box set thoroughly covers Ella Fitzgerald's early recording. Because her first hit A-Tisket A-Tasket was a cute novelty song, Chick Webb had her do more of those kind of songs. When Webb died in 1939, Ella eventually got more into jazz in the 40s and this great version of Hard Hearted Hannah reflects that change. She was able to get the respect of all the great musicians and worked with all of them. Most of the Ella Fitzgerald video footage available is from TV shows from the 60s. There's even footage of her with Lester Young & Charlie Parker from 1950. I'll save that for another time. I did find one clip from the 40s. It's Ella Fitzgerald singing A-Tisket A-Tasket from the 1942 Abbott & Costello film Ride 'Em Cowboy. I don't think most folks have ever seen this younger version of Ella Fitzgerald.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Wizard Of OZ tournament continues at Jan. 28 OZ Academy show

The Wizard Of OZ tournament continued at the Jan. 28 Shinjuku FACE OZ Academy show. This is one of these round robin tournaments with one point awarded for a win, half a point for a draw and no points for a loss. These are ten minute matches. It looks like this is going to go on for a couple of months with some sort of championship match at the end. There were two tournament matches on this show with Aja Kong vs Mayumi Ozaki in the main event. Chikayo Nagashima, Carlos Amano & Dynamite Kansai are the other participants. Also, AKINO returns to the ring and Takako Inoue makes a rare appearance outside LLPW.

The opener had Mayumi Ozaki & Chikayo Nagashima vs Sonoko Kato & AKINO. This was AKINO's first ring appearance since taking a sabbatical in September. She's supposed to be taking up golf and in fact she did play in a tournament last month. And she just returned from a vacation in North America. Of course Police was there and it appears that he clobbered Kato to end the match at 18:51. She wasn't very happy with Ozaki afterwards. As for AKINO, I don't know if she is returning to the ring on a regular basis but she has posted on her website that she will appear on the Jaguar Yokota 30th Anniversary show on March 11.

Next was a rare OZ Academy appearance by Takako Inoue. She teamed with Eagle Sawai against Dynamite Kansai & Carlos Amano. Takako posted on her blog that she was knocked loopy by a Kansai kick and wasn't of much use for the rest of the match. Eagle had to carry it. Takako said she was unconscious for a few seconds and this is the third time this has happened in her career. Accidents do happen and Takako was joking about it afterwards so it looks like she's OK. Kansai used the Splash Mountain on Eagle for the win at 15:58.

The other two matches were part of the Wizard Of OZ tournament. First was Chikayo Nagashima vs Carlos Amano. Amano used her head butt attack but Nagashima did the same in return. It appears that Nagashima won the match with a rollup reversal with four seconds left in the match. Next was Mayumi Ozaki vs Aja Kong. It seems that Aja went into a rage when she saw Police at ringside. She chased him around the arena and the distraction helped Ozaki win at 8:43. The current Wizard of OZ standings have Mayumi Ozaki & Aja Kong tied for the lead with 2 points, Chikayo Nagashima & Carlos Amano with 1 point and no points for Dynamite Kansai. The tournament will continue at the Feb. 10 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Scofield

Song:Do I Crazy

Album:Works For Me

John Scofield is one of the top guitarists working today. He's basically a jazz musician but he seems to go back and forth to jazz, fusion & rock. He was born Dec. 26, 1951 in Toledo, OH. He studied music at Berklee and was playing around Boston when he was hired for the Billy Cobham-George Duke Band in 1975. He had played on some of Cobham's solo records. In the 80s, he toured with Miles Davis for four years. Since then, he's led his own band and played with all the top musicians. He's recorded for Verve since 1995. Do I Crazy is a great track from the straight ahead 2001 jazz album Works For Me. Musicians are Kenny Garrett on alto sax, Brad Mehldau on piano, Christian McBride on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Scofield's most recent record was a 2005 tribute to Ray Charles though I think he has a new one coming shortly. He also toured last summer with former Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh. John Scofield is a very versatile guitarist and is always worth a listen. Here's John Scofield performing Wabash III with Joe Lovano on tenor sax, Bill Stewart on bass and Mike Riley on drums. You can also watch videos at his website

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Cannonball Adderley

Song:Fiddler On The Roof

Album:Money In The Pocket

When Riverside Records went bankrupt in 1963, jazz sax legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley signed with Capitol Records. They did commercialize his music and Adderley had a huge pop hit in 1966 with Mercy Mercy Mercy. A lot of Adderley's success can be credited to Austrian pianist arranger Joe Zawinul. He wrote Mercy Mercy Mercy. Zawinul went on to greater success on Miles Davis' ground breaking jazz fusion album Bitches Brew and as co-founder of Weather Report. The Mercy Mercy Mercy album was supposedly recorded live at "The Club" in Chicago. In fact, producer David Axelrod set up a nightclub setting at the Capitol Records studio in Los Angeles. The recordings were severely edited for release. Money In The Pocket is a 2005 restoration of this session with previously unreleased extra tracks including this great version of Fiddler On The Roof. Musicians are Nat Adderley on trumpet, Joe Zawinul on keyboards, Herbie Lewis on bass and Roy McCurdy on drums. This CD is a must for Cannonball Adderley fans. Adderley left Capitol for Fantasy Records in 1970 and died suddenly of a stroke on Aug. 8, 1975 at age 47. Here's Cannonball Adderley performing on the Jazz Scene USA TV show in 1962 with Nat Adderley, Yusuf Lateef, Joe Zawinul, Sam Jones & Louis Hayes. There are clips of this show floating around on the internet but this is the full 25 minute show.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Song:God Has Not 4got


Anthony Williams II is a multi talented gospel artist originally from Chicago. His daady's a preacher and his mama sings. He now lives in San Diego. He's a tremendous singer and goes by the name Tonex (pronounced Toe-Nay). He also produces himself and other artists as T-Boy. So T-Boy the producer, Tonex the singer and Anthony Williams the songwriter are one and the same. I read a review of one of his records that didn't seem to understand that. Like a lot of other contemporary gospel artists, he gets a lot of heat from the church for reaching out to the secular market. But that's what he has to do in order to save souls. The 2002 album O2 emphasizes his singing ability and God Has Not 4got is a beautiful ballad. His most recent record was the 2003 live CD Out The Box. But he must have a new CD coming out soon because I have for you his brand new video called Fail U. Never let it be said that I'm not up to date. It's pretty slick and if you didn't know that Tonex is a gospel artist, you wouldn't know it by this video. Also check out Youtube & MySpace as Tonex likes to vlog...a lot.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Nappy Brown

Song:That Man

Album:Night Time Is The Right Time

Nappy Brown is a very entertaining singer who has been straddling R & B and blues since the 50s. He was born Napolean Brown Goodson Culp Oct. 12, 1929 in Charlotte, NC. He started out as leader of the gospel group The Heavenly Lights. In 1954, Savoy Records owner Herman Lubinsky convinced Brown to go secular. Brown recorded several excellent R & B songs in the 50s including That Man. His gospel tinged vocals were usually punctuated by the tenor sax of Sam "That Man" Taylor. Things petered out for Brown by the late 50s but he returned to music in the 80s with Black Top Records. I guess he would be classified more as a blues artist today but I would say his 50s recordings are more R & B than blues. This 2CD comp of his Savoy recordings is worth getting. Nappy Brown last recorded in 1997 but he's still touring. I didn't expect to find any video footage of him but here he is singing Squeezin' Lemons. It looks very recent.

Nappy Brown-Lemon Squeezin Part 1

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hikaru vs Takahashi named main event for Feb. 21 SUN show

After Hikaru won the EWA Womens Title and Nanae Takahashi lost the double titles, They discussed having a match at the press conference on Jan. 15. Not surprisingly, Pro Wrestling SUN president Nakamura announced that Hikaru vs Nanae Takahashi will be the main event of the Feb. 21 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. The story is that despite her victory over Wesna, Hikaru believes that she still has to prove herself to Takahashi. That's actually a pretty good story for this match because the two are such good friends that it doesn't make sense otherwise. And that's a big problem with this match as there's no heat. The big question is will they let Hikaru win. Knowing how SUN has been booked, I expect Amazing Kong & Toshie Uematsu to get involved in a no finish and maybe set up a tag match on the April Korakuen Hall show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Song:Better People

Album:Testimony:Vol. 1, Life & Relationship

India Arie Simpson is the daughter of former NBA player Ralph Simpson. Now you know why she's so tall. He played for the Denver Nuggets and that's where she was born. She now lives in Atlanta. She first surfaced on the 1998 Lilith Fair tour. She agreed to sign with Motown when they agreed to let her produce her own records. Testimony is her most recent and most successful record. Check out this video for the hit I Am Not My Hair. She seems to like to work with some of the same producers repeatedly. She co-wrote Better People with some of her band members and frequent collaborator Shannon Sanders. India Arie is one of the new wave of Neo Soul singers and if she continues to produce great music, she'll be around a long time.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

HIROKA makes triumphant reurn to Japan in JD Star

The big news on the Jan. 21 JD Star Shin-kiba 1st Ring show was the return of HIROKA to Japan after a very successful run in CMLL in Mexico including a stint as CMLL Womens Champ. She brought Marcela with her and they appeared in the main event tag team match. This show also had a ladder match. That's not something you see very often in joshi and some of the wrestlers on this show aren't qualified to appear in one. Azumi Hyuga came over from JWP to appear on this show. Maybe she should teach some of the unqualified wrestlers.

The show opened with an idol match, rookie Athtress Bisa Ohata vs Gutsworld's Lily Urai. Not surprisingly, the match wasn't very good. Ohata won her first match ever with a double arm salto at 9:36. The problem with Ohata is similar to the other Athtresses. She looks weak and putting her in there with someone at her level like Urai doesn't help. That brings me to Fuuka vs Ibuki rookie Hiroyo Matsumoto. The problem is that Matsumoto looks stronger and more capable than Fuuka though Fuuka has two years more experience. They even mention this on the JD Star website. Right now Matsumoto is depending too much on the Argentinian backbreaker and it's getting her into trouble. It's time to learn something new. The one thing Fuuka can do is kick and she uses kicks and the F Doll to finish Matsumoto at 10:37.

The ladder match was next. It's supposed to be the Athtress Army vs the Caribbean Army. But there were no Athtresses in this match. It was Bullfight Sora & Cherry vs Caribbean KIM & RUM. You may recall that the Caribbean Army stole that toy cow that Bullfight Sora carries around. So it was hung from the ceiling and whoever recovers the cow wins the match. And if Sora loses, she has to unmask. Huh? We know who is under that mask. Cherry got clobbered for most of the match. She had a little disagreement with the ladder. But she was able to do a senton bomb from the top of the ladder and Sora recovered her cow at 13:23.

Next was Azumi Hyuga vs Ayumi Kurihara. Kurihara used several back throws to get the advantage But Hyuga used several double arm suplexes and a top rope knee drop to the back of the head for the win at 13:10. The main event had HIROKA & Leon vs Marcela & Shuu Shibutani. The teamwork between HIROKA & Leon was very good (pictured). The match was also very good when HIROKA & Marcela were in there together. The end came when HIROKA kicked Shibutani in the face, hit a Hirokeya (AP Cross) and a double arm facebuster for the win at 19:07. HIROKA will face Fuuka at the Feb. 4 show and Fuuka also expressed interest in wrestling Marcela. Nothing has been said but it looks like HIROKA might be a JD Star regular.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Horace Silver


Album:6 Pieces Of Horace Silver

Like his old pal Art Blakey, jazz pianist Horace Silver stayed the hard bop course through all the musical trends and is now respected as one of the all time greats. Silver was born Sept. 2, 1928 in Norwalk, CT. He backed up Stan Getz at a 1950 concert in Hartford and Getz was so impressed he took the whole band to New York. In 1953, he founded the Jazz Messengers with Art Blakey and they made some classics recordings for Blue Note. Blakey & Silver split up and 6 Pieces Of Silver was Silver's first solo record in 1956. It's as good as any Jazz Messengers record featuring Hank Mobley on tenor sax, Donald Byrd on trumpet, Doug Watkins on bass and Louis Hayes on drums. Like Blakey, Silver is also known for introducing many young musicians to the jazz audience like Woody Shaw, Randy Brecker & Billy Cobham. Horace Silver continues to record occasionally. His most recent recording was a CD version of his stage musical Rockin' With Rachmaninoff in 2003. Here's Horace Silver performing Cool Eyes on Dutch TV in 1959 with Red Mitchell on trumpet, Junior Cook on tenor sax, Gene Tailor on bass and Louis Hayes on drums.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Yolanda Adams

Song:I'm Gonna Be Ready


Yolanda Adams is a gospel artist who has successfully crossed over to mainstream R & B. She is from Houston and started out as a teacher before making her first record in 1988. She's a very good singer but I didn't like her records much. The turning point was the 1999 CD Mountain High, Valley Low. Elektra Records president Sylvia Rhone told Yolanda to make the best possible gospel CD and she would take it mainstream. The song Open My Heart was a huge hit. Yolanda wrote that song with veteran producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. I'm Gonna Be Ready is a great song from the 2001 CD Believe and is also written by Yolanda with Jam & Lewis. She continues to work with them and they've had a lot of success together. Yolanda also appeared in the film The Gospel. Here's Yolanda Adams performing I'm Gonna Be Ready on BET's Celebration Of Gospel and I expect to see her on this years edition this Sunday at 8PM.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Michiko Ohmukai's 15th Anniversary show-Egoist Live

Michiko Ohmukai celebrated 15 years in joshi puroresu on Jan. 21 at Shinjuku FACE. The show was called Egoist Live. Ohmukai was trained by Sakie Hasegawa at AJW in 1992. She retired briefly due to injury and returned in 1993 in LLPW. She was part of the ARSION startup in 1998 and became a star at that time. She seemed to lose focus in the ring as she got more involved in the business end of ARSION and left in Feb. 2003. Ohmukai was the driving force behind M's Style's debut in April 2004. Ultimately that didn't work out and M's Style closed in Oct. 2006. Ohmukai has toyed with retirement for a couple of years now but hasn't pulled the trigger on that yet. She has opened her Crystal Egoist retail store in Tokyo.

The show started with a dance performance by The Ring. Then M's Style trainee Ayumi Kurihara opened the show against Cherry. Kurihara won with a back throw at 12:13. Ohmukai came into the ring and asked Kurihara "Do you love professional wrestling?" Kurihara said "I love it to death." Ohmukai said Kurihara should continue to make her proud. Then Azumi hyuga defeated Bullfight Sora with the Gannosuke clutch at 14:24. Next was Yumiko Hotta & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Toshie Uematsu & Leon. This was played mostly for comedy and Uematsu pinned Kuragaki at 16:18 after Hotta accidently nailed Kuragaki with a thrust kick.

Next was a video retrospective of Ohnukai's career. This included her debut match, her LLPW days, Her ARSION days and M's Style. The main event had Michiko Ohmukai, Ayako Hamada & Devil Masami vs Aja Kong Kaoru Ito & GAMI with Lioness Asuka as guest referee. Ohmukai got to do all her big moves like the tiger suplex, the heel drop and of course the shining wizard. But Aja Kong's back fist got the win at 20:04. A commemoration ceremony followed with appearances by Lioness Asuka, Kumiko Maekawa & KAORU. Asuka said she remembers when Ohmukai was a rookie and is very proud of her. Ohmukai once again encouraged Ayumi Kurihara to do her best. Lots of tears as usual and a very happy ending to the show.

As a tribute to Michiko Ohmukai's career, here's a classic ARSION match between Michiko Ohmukai & Yumi Fukawa from 1998.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Michael Brecker

Song:Nothing Personal

Album:Michael Brecker

It was a very sad day for jazz fans when sax player Michael Brecker died last week of leukemia at age 57. Mike was one of those musicians that even if you've never heard of him, he played on over 900 records so you've heard him. He always added a lot of energy and musicianship to any seesion he played. He was in the music business for almost 20 years before he finally released his first solo album Michael Brecker in 1987. He spent the first part of his career playing with his trumpet playing brother Randy in The Brecker Bros. Band. He became very popular as a sideman in the 70s and played sax on plenty of pop records. He was also part of the very popular early 80s band Steps Ahead. Mike's old pal Don Grolnick produced this first album and wrote Nothing Personal. Musicians are Pat Metheny on guitar, Kenny Kirkland on piano, Charlie Haden on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Michael Brecker's legacy is that he added so much to jazz that all the great jazz musicians wanted him on their records. He was planning a Steps Ahead reunion in 2005 when he got sick and had an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant. And he finished his final solo record two weeks before his death. Here's Michael Brecker tearing it up like always performing Nothing Personal in Italy with trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti. RIP Michael Brecker. You will be missed.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Yoshiko Tamura on upcoming title defense

NEO general manager Koda took the time to interview NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Champ Yoshiko Tamura about her upcoming title defense against Ayako Hamada. Tamura said she was very unhappy that the Christmas Eve match with Azumi Hyuga was a draw and she was seriously considering turning in the belts. But now she believes that a title defense against Ayako Hamada will enhance the titles even more when she has the rematch with Hyuga down the road. She said she has always wanted to face Hamada and this will be their first singles match ever. They were in a tag match at the Lioness Asuka show in Feb. 2005. That was the match where KAORU broke her leg again. So she feels it is a very special match.

I don't think I mentioned this the other day but Tamura was wondering why the press conference was held at a bridal shop. It seems that while the press conference was in progress, Emi Motakawa was trying on wedding dresses. She tried on an orange one and a pink one. Tamura asked Koda about the engagement ring. He said he hasn't bought one yet but will do so shortly. Motokawa came in and wanted to discuss the location of their honeymoon. Koda avoided the subject. See, guys are the same everywhere. Koda said the wrestlers are planning some new moves for the wedding match like the Honeymoonsault Press, Buketo Suplex, and the Rice Shower Driver. They plan to throw the bouquet into the crowd. I'm not making this stuff up. They've also announced that they are looking for two Olympic gold medallists to participate in the wedding match. They don't have to be wrestlers. But don't ask me why they're doing that. Obviously this is going to be played for comedy.

Here's Yoshiko Tamura's November title defense against Mariko Yoshida. Yoshida broke her nose at the end of this match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Meters

Song:Cabbage Alley

Album:Funkify Your Life:The Meters Anthology

The Neville Brothers are a pretty good place to start talking about New Orleans R & B. Most folks are familiar with Aaron Neville and the more recent incarnation known as The Neville Brothers. But it all started back in the early 60s with keyboardist Art Neville. In 1966 he formed Art Neville & The Sounds with brothers Aaron & Charles Neville, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, drummer Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste and bassist George Porter. They were hired by the legendary Allen Toussaint as his studio house band. So they were the New Orleans version of Booker T & The MGs. They were renamed The Meters and signed with Josie Records. They had some R & B chart hits and moved to Reprise Records in 1972. Though they didn't have the chart success there, they built a substantial cult following for their trademark funky sound. They finally did have a top 40 single with Hey Pocky A Way in 1974. They continued to back up New Orleans bands but lost the Meters name to Toussaint in 1977. Then Art formed The Neville Brothers band. Funkify Your Life is Rhino's definitive 2CD comp of the funky music of The Meters. It's essential for funk fans. Here are The Meters performing Look-Ka Py Py & Jungle Man on the PBS TV show Soundstage in 1974.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Little Feat

Song:Dixie Chicken

Album:Dixie Chicken

Though Warner Bros. Records tried to sell Little Feat as just another Southern Fried rock band, the group was actually from Los Angeles and founding members guitarist Lowell George & bassist Roy Estrada were in Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention. Drummer Richie Hayward & pianist Bill Payne were the other members. After their first two albums didn't sell, Estrada was replaced by bassist Kenny Gradney. Guitarist Paul Barrere & percussionist Sam Clayton were added and their classic 1973 album Dixie Chicken was the result. If it sounds like a Meters album, that's because George was heavily into New Orleans R & B at the time. Little Feat toured a lot and built a reputation as a great live act. And here's Little Feat performing Dixie Chicken at the Rainbow Theatre in London Aug. 3, 1977. Though Lowell George was a very talented guitarist and composer, his increased drug use got him into trouble with the other guys and as things regressed, Barrere & Payne wrote most of Little Feat's material. George disbanded Little Feat in 1978 and died while touring to promote his solo album of a heart attack on June 29, 1979 at age 34. Little Feat reformed in 1988 but of course it's not the same without George. They's still recording and touring today.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Dells

Song:Stay In My Corner

Album:The Ultimate Collection

The Dells are one of the most versatile and enduring R & B groups ever. Their music ranges from the doo wop of the 50s to disco of the 70s. And they really only had one personnel change all those years. The Dells began as The El-Rays in 1953 in the Chicago suburb of Harvey, IL. Lead tenor Johnny Funches, lead baritone Marvin Junior and the other guys went to high school together. They changed their name to The Dells in 1956 and had a big hit with Oh What A Nite on Vee Jay Records. A car accident in 1958 almost killed Junior & second baritone Mickey McGill. The Dells reformed in 1960 and toured with Dinah Washington. But Funches didn't want to travel and was replaced by former Flamingo Johnny Carter. They re-signed with Vee Jay and Stay In My Corner was a hit in 1965. But Vee Jay went bankrupt and The Dells signed with Chess for the Cadet label. Producer songwriter Bobby Miller & arranger Charles Stepney took over and The Dells had a hit in 1968 with an expanded version of Stay In My Corner. Miller left Chess for Motown in 1969 and Stepney took over and produced The Dells while forming Earth, Wind & Fire with Maurice White. The Dells switched to Mercury in 1976 and that started their decline. They have recorded occasionally and tour the oldies circuit. They also were consultants for the film The Five Heartbeats. This Hip-O comp is very good and has all their hits. Here are The Dells performing Oh What A Nite on The David Steinberg Show in 1969.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yoshiko Tamura to defend NEO double title against Ayako Hamada on Feb. 18

NEO held a press conference Thursday to announce the main event for the Feb. 18 Kawasaki City Gym show. Yoshiko Tamura announced on the Jan. 6 show that she was unhappy with the draw against Azumi Hyuga on the Dec. 24 JWP show. She wanted to turn in the belts. NEO general manager Koda told her to take it easy and wait. And Kyoko Inoue said Sunday that they were still working on the Hyuga rematch. They tried to put pressure on JWP but it didn't work. It looks like JWP wants a Tamura/Hyuga rematch for their Apr. 15 Korakuen Hall show. But NEO has come up with a reasonable replacement. Yoshiko Tamura will defend the NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Ayako Hamada. I don't know if Ayako has ever worked for NEO or if she has ever wrestled Tamura but she is a worthy challenger.

NEO general manager Koda talked about the decision to sign Ayako for this match on the NEO blog. He did not want an older wrestler for this title match but he needed someone of main event calibre who could go 60 minutes. He felt the choices were Misae Genki, Azumi Hyuga, Nanae Takahashi, Meiko Satomura & Ayako Hamada. He's probably not going to be able to get Takahashi or Satomura so that leaves the other three. Genki works for NEO so they can do that anytime. He still wants to do a rematch with Hyuga and believes that will happen later. He went on to thank Ayako Hamada and Kaoru Ito for their cooperation in putting this match together. Ayako works as a trainer for Ito. It should be a very good match and Ayako could win those belts. That would really screw things up. And the match is four days after Ayako's 26th birthday. That would be an interesting birthday present.

And just to show that surprises do happen, here's Ayako Hamada's surprise win of the WWWA Singles Title over Momoe Nakanishi from the AJW 35th Anniversary show May 12, 2003. It's a great match

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Aretha Franklin f/Ray Charles

Song:Spirit In The Dark

Album:Live At Fillmore West

I'm sure many devoted Aretha Franklin fans already have the 4CD Queen Of Soul box set. The 2006 2CD rerelease of Live At The Fillmore West is a must even for them. It's Aretha performing with King Curtis on sax and his band with Billy Preston on keyboards, Cornell Dupree on guitar, Jerry Jemmott on bass and Bernard Purdie on drums with The Memphis Horns & The Sweethearts Of Soul. Jerry Wexler convinced Aretha to use this band for this date only and it's just like being in church. There are a lot of alternate takes including this version of Aretha's composition Spirit In The Dark featuring Ray Charles. And just to give you a feel for it, here's Aretha Franklin performing Bridge Over Troubled Water in 1971. It's just like being in church.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Little Anthony & The Imperials

Song:Goin' Out Of My Head

Album:The Best of Little Anthony & The Imperials

Goin' Out Of My Head was the biggest hit for a group that started as a popular doo wop group and made a big comeback with the song in 1964. Little Anthony was Brooklyn native Jerome Anthony Gourdine. In 1958, he started The Chesters with friend Clarence Collins. They signed with End Records and were renamed Little Anthony & The Imperials by DJ Alan Freed. They had several hits including Tears On My Pillow featuring Anthony's emotional voice. He left in 1961 to go solo but returned in 1963. They signed with DCP Records and hooked up with producer songwriter Teddy Randazzo. He wrote Goin' Out Of My Head with partner Bob Weinstein and it was a top ten single. The group had several more hits but petered out in the 70s. Anthony left in 1975. This Rhino comp looks pretty good. Little Anthony & The Imperials still tour the oldies circuit and here they are performing Goin' Out Of My Head on a recent PBS broadcast.

Very sad news for NASCAR fans. 1973 Winston Cup champ Benny Parsons died yesterday of cancer at age 65. In recent years, BP had become a beloved figure to NASCAR fans for his commentary on NBC & TNT NASCAR broadcasts. He was very entertaining and from all accounts a real gentleman. RIP Benny Parsons.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Yoshida tortures Fuuka on Jan. 14 JD Star show

Of course you all know how much I love the Athtresses so I was very pleased to see Fuuka suffer at the hands of Mariko Yoshida at JD Star's Jan. 14 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. This has been the whole problem with Fuuka. She's bad no matter who she's wrestling. The war between the Athtresses & the Caribbean Army continued as well. And JD Star announced that next week HIROKA will team with Leon vs Marcela & Shuu Shibutani and on Feb. 4, HIROKA will face Fuuka.

The opener had Bullfight Sora over rookie Athtress Bisa Ohata with a brain buster at 7:40. Ohata can barely throw a dropkick. Haruka Matsuo came over from NEO to defeat Lily Urai with a double arm salto at 9:01. Urai attempted the 3 Amigos. It didn't help. The war continued as Shuu Shibutani & Cherry faced Caribbean KIM & MOON. KIM & MOON are a very good team and once again isolated Shibutani and finished her with the Caribbean Impact at 19:39. Bullfight Sora came out afterwards and challenged KIM & MOON to some sort of mask match. Cherry will be Sora's partner and this will be on next week's show. I think there's a ladder involved in this too.

The main event had Mariko Yoshida teaming with Ayumi Kurihara vs Fuuka & Misae Genki. It came down to Yoshida & Fuuka. Yoshida hit Fuuka with the Big Boots and then a double arm face buster. Yoshida hooked her Spider Cara submission hold and the ref had to stop the match at 23:26. Fuuka had a split lip too. So a satisfactory ending to this show for all Athtress haters, especially me. They should do this every week. Just kidding.

Kuragaki & Hyuga shine on Jan. 14 JWP show

JWP held their first show of 2007 on Jan. 14 at Cinema Club. NEO ran in the afternoon and JWP was in the evening. The Christmas Eve 60 minute draw between Azumi Hyuga & Yoshiko Tamura was declared match of the year. Hyuga was presented with a plaque. As Kyoko Inoue said earlier in the day, they're still working on a possible rematch for the Feb. 18 Kawasaki NEO show. One hurdle to cross is JWP has a big Korakuen Hall show in April and they're going to want a big match for that show. And a wrestler joins the JWP roster.

The opener had JWP Junior Champ Yasusato Nakajima over rookie Kaori Oki with a diving body press in 6:22. Next was Sachie Abe over ECO with the Majistral cradle in 10:25. The match was described as "not so good." Kaori Yoneyama defeated KAZUKI in 10:40. KAZUKI's tag champ partner Sachie Abe tried to help her but it didn't work. Abe said afterwards that a singles loss is no big deal. This is probably leading to Yoneyama & Haruyama challenging for the tag straps.

Leon came to the ring to announce that she is joining the JWP roster. She demanded a match with Kaori Yoneyama and they had a five minute exhibition. Azumi Hyuga & Commando Bolshoi have the kind of high flying match you would expect. It was very entertaining with plenty of rope climbing but Hyuga won with an avalanche style DDT at 16:06. The main event between Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kayoko Haruyama was a different kind of match because of Kuragaki's power. Kuragaki wins after several lariats in 27:48.

NEO wedding match to be in twin ring

The main story at NEO's Jan. 14 Cinema Club show is to set up the card for the Feb. 18 Kawasaki City Gym show. We already know that it will be a 7 vs 7 match between the NEO Machine Gunz Army 7 & the Emi Motokawa Army which I think they are now calling the China Ice Ribbon Army. If Emi Motokawa's team wins, she and NEO general manager Koda will marry in the ring. They have decided to have this match in twin rings. They're getting the second ring from Ice Ribbon. It looks like it's going to be a royal rumble style match. I'm not sure they've figured out the rules yet but they did add some more participants. Tanny Mouse will have Yuki Miyazaki, Bullfight Sora, Kimocoru & Cherry. Emi Motokawa will have Kaori Yoneyama, Kayoko Haruyama & Makoto. I guess more participants will be named shortly. It was also announced that Etsuko Mita has accepted Kyoko Kimura's challenge for a grudge match.

I don't know if you're familiar with Ice Ribbon owner Makoto's ring shtick but basically she has a goth look and is supposed to be afraid of everyone and everything. Her match with Yuki Miyazaki lasted 3:04. She spent the entire time trying to avoid Miyazaki and then threw in the towel when Miyazaki hit her with a dropkick. Even NEO described it as shameful. It was after this that the wedding match was discussed. Misae Genki defeated rookie Nagisa Nozaki with a piggyback carry backdrop at 6:14. Haruka Matsuo defeated JWP Junior champ Yasusato Nakajima with a German suplex at 10:32 (pictured).

Than Tanny Mouse had one of her idiotic comedy matches. Cherry & Kimocoru won over Tanny Mouse & Reina Pandeta when Cherry hit a hurricanrana on Pandeta at 15:15. The main event had Kyoko Inoue, Mariko Yoshida & Hiroto Matsumoto over Yoshiko Tamura, Etsuko Mita & Irod Watanabe when Inoue hit a lariat on Watanabe at 29:23. Inoue said afterwards that they are still negotiating a title match for Yoshiko Tamura for the Feb. 18 show.

Amazing Kong is double champ, Hikaru wins EWA title

Pro Wrestling SUN had their big Korakuen Hall show on Jan. 14. There are so many title belts on this show that it's hard to tell the players even if you have a scorecard. I guess that's because the scorecard is in Japanese. So after taking a couple of days to figure it out, Steve Corino & Toshie Uematsu are champs. Hikaru is a champ.Of course Wesna Busic is still a champ too. And Amazing Kong has two belts. Of course there was plenty of overbooked nonsense but that's nothing new here.

The opener was called a "SUN*Shine" tag match as a tribute to Natsuki*Taiyo winning the POP Title. Shuu Shibutani & Ayumi Kurihara won over Natsuki*Taiyo & Sakura Emi when Kurihara used a bomb (Ithink it was the same move Natsuki*Taiyo uses as a finisher) on Emi at 14:17. Kurihara even called herself Ayumi*Kurihara for this match. Those two have wrestled a lot lately but I guess we will see that again. Panther Claw won over Atsuko Emoto with a triangle choke at 11:58. The ref stopped the match. I hope she didn't break a nail. Steve Corino & Toshie Uematsu won the WDB Mixed Tag Team Titles over Saki Maemura & Chris The Bambi Killer in 17:00.

Next we're entering the twilight zone. Wesna Busic put up her EWA Womens Title. Hikaru put up her hair. The match was going along OK until it went out to the floor and Busic gave Hikaru a Tower HackerBomb. Panther Claw & Toshie Uematsu came out with scissors. I guess they cut her hair anyway. Busic did a diving footstomp from the first tier of seats. Hikaru manages to get back to the ring. Hikaru comes back and uses the Wesna killer and an avalanch style Lanakiller-H but Panther Claw interferes to break up the count. Hikaru uses another Lanakiller-H to get the win at 16:00. Hikaru's reaction (pictured) to this was like she had never held a title belt before. She actually has. Maybe she'll get a sustained push this time. She's never gotten that before. She wins and then she loses. That's been the pattern.

The double title match between Nanae Takahashi & Amazing Kong started with boos from the crowd when Steve Corino came out to second Amazing Kong. Takahashi gets a missile dropkick on Kong and the fight goes outside the ring. They get back in on the count of 18. Takahashi works on the arm with an arm breaker. Kong counters with an Amazing Press for a two count. Takahashi uses a Shining Wizard but can't get the win. Finally Kong bloodies Takahashi's nose with a back fist and finishes her with a jumping senton at 20:09. So Amazing Kong is now the AWA World Womens Champ & the World 1 Womens Champ. Amazing Kong said afterwards that REM will now control everything in Japan & the US. I think she said something about wanting all the belts so beware Hikaru. Wait, Wesna has a belt too. Never mind.

The gaijins are in Japan for the rest of this week to work some ZERO-ONE MAX shows. The next SUN show is Feb. 21 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring.The next Korakuen Hall show will probably be in April. That's been the pattern so far and they've been bringing Panther Claw & Wesna Busic for the bigger shows only. So when is Cheerleader Melissa coming to Pro Wrestling SUN? I don't know yet but it could be April but I suspect it's more likely to be July. SUN had a press conference on Monday to promote the upcoming week's ZERO-ONE MAX shows and theFeb. 21 show. Wesna Busic interrupted Hikaru & Takahashi and told Hikaru that she would fix her this week. She's not going to be on the Feb. show. Hikaru & Takahashi discussed the possibility of having a singles match for the EWA Singles Title on Feb. 21. SUN president Nakamura is taking it under advisement but I would not be surprised if they do it. Of course the problem is they're close friends so there's no heat. And there's also Hikaru's history of false pushes.She needs more wins to be more credible. Either way, it's likely the winner will face Wesna Busic in April if they decide to do this match in Feb.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Lovin' Spoonful

Song:Do You Believe In Magic?


The Lovin' Spoonful were very popular in the mid 60s and were instrumental in ushering in folk rock. They were probably a little more pop than folk and they were fun to listen to. The group was led by singer songwriter John Sebastian and of course Sebastian playing his autoharp was the main visual memory of the group. He formed The Lovin' Spoonful with Zal Yanofsky in 1965. Both guys hung around the Greenwich village folk scene of the mid 60s. They brought in Steve Boone on bass and Joe Butler on drums. They signed with Kama Sutra Records and Sebastian's Do You Believe In Magic was the first of many hits between 1965-67. The decline of the group started when Boone & Yanovsky were busted for marijuana in California and turned informer. That didn't go over well with the counter culture crowd. Then Yanovsky left the group. Sebastian left The Lovin' Spoonful in 1968 and had some solo success. That's what really killed the group though they have reunited occasionally over the years. This Rhino comp has all their hits. Here's The Lovin' Spoonful performing Do You Believe In Magic? on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Temptations

Song:The Way You Do The Things You Do

Album:Meet The Temptations

The Temptaions had already been at Motown for a couple of years and had some hit singles. But Smokey Robinson's The Way You Do The Things You Do was their first really big hit and Motown assembled the 1964 debut album Meet The Temptations around that song. It was also David Ruffin's first appearance with the group. I guess the other thing about the Temptations were the dance moves. And with that in mind, here's The Temptations performing The Way You Do The Things You Do in 1964. I'm not sure what show they're on but I like this better than the official Motown video VH1 shows.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Smackgirl announces Flyweight title match for Mar. 11 show

Smackgirl has announced a Smackgirl Flyweight Title match for their March 11 Shinjuku FACE show. It will be veteran fighter Satoko Shinashi (right) against Misaki Takimoto (left). They have fought twice before and Shinashi won both times, on Mar. 2, 2002 & July 6, 2003. Shinashi's record is 23-1-2 but that one loss was a big one. She was knocked out by Hisae Watanabe on the Aug. 4 DEEP show. Her most recent win was over Tae Kyung Kim on the Dec. 20 DEEP show. She's billed as a freelancer but I think she trains women at the DEEP dojo. Takimoto's record is 6-6-3 and her most recent fight was a loss to Lisa Ward on the Nov. 29 Smackgirl show. Shinashi said the loss to Watanabe was devastating but she is training hard and is the likely favourite in this match. She feels this match is a turning point for her.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ray Charles

Song:What'd I Say Parts 1 & 2

Album:The Very Best Of Ray Charles

Ray Charles was a huge influence on the soul sound of the 60s but by the time it became popular he wasn't doing it anymore. Charles became famous because of the gritty sound of songs like What'd I Say but when he left Atlantic for ABC in 1961, he seemed to prefer Country & Western. That was OK for a while but he lost a lot of fans by reverting to a softer style than his Atlantic recordings. So songs like What'd I Say are the benchmark for his music as opposed to duets with Willie Nelson. This Rhino budget comp has all his Atlantic hits on it. Ray Charles had just signed a new contract with Concord Jazz when he died of liver disease on June 10, 2004 at age 73. The CD was released shorty after his death. Of course the film Ray brought a lot of attention to his music too. Here's a video of Ray Charles performing What'd I Say in 1959.

Very sad news for jazz fans. Sax player Michael Brecker died on Saturday of leukemia at age 57. Mike was one of the best Coltrane influenced sax players of his generation. I've been a huge fan for many years. He will be missed. RIP Mike Brecker.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Buddy Holly

Song:Raining In My Heart

Album:The Buddy Holly Collection

Buddy Holly is probably better known for his tragic death in that 1959 plane crash that also killed Richie Valens & The Big Bopper but he was already a huge star and was only going to get bigger. The key event in Buddy Holly's life was when he met producer Norman Petty. Petty recorded him and Holly's talent shone. Of course Petty was very shady when it came to songwriting credits but that wasn't unusual in those days. Raining In My Heart is a great ballad written by veteran songwriters Bourdleaux & Felice Bryant but Holly wrote a lot of his own songs. This 2CD comp is probably the best one to get. It's been almost 50 years since Buddy Holly died but his music still sounds great. Here's Buddy Holly performing Peggy Sue. Check out the dancing.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Takahashi gets "Inked"

Pro Wrestling SUN had another one of their notorious press conferences on Wednesday. The whole idea was to have ceremonial contract signings for all the title matches on the Jan. 14 show with Japanese banners. It went according to plan until the end when Amazing Kong did her usual shtick.

I guess this had to do with New Year's Resolutions but Natsuki*Taiyo started the press conference by announcing her resolutions. Atsuko Emoto, Sakura Emi, Shuu Shibutani & Ayumi Kurihara gave their resolutions too. Hikaru signed her contract fot her hair vs EWA Womens Title match with Wesna Busic. Wesna arrived in Japan on Friday. SUN announced a couple of days ago that the EWA has added a card system for a DQ. Something about a yellow card for the first two fouls and the third foul results in a DQ. They used to do that in Stampede Wrestling years ago.

Saki Maemura & Toshie Uematsu signed the contract for the WDB Mixed Tag Team Titles. Then the contract signing for the main event double title match between Nanae Takahashi & Amazing Kong. Takahashi signs the contract first. Then Amazing Kong does her usual yelling at Takahashi and proceeds to pour the enrire pail of India ink over Takahashi's head. After Takahashi got over the shock of having ink all over her, she chased Amazing Kong outside and they were fighting in the parking lot. I don't know that much about India ink but isn't it hard to wash off one's skin. We'll see on Sunday if Takahashi is able to do that.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Coltrane

Song:Dear Old Stockholm

Album:Dear Old Stockholm

This is an excellent version of Dear Old Stockholm. It's basically the John Coltrane quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass but with Roy Haynes substituting for Elvin Jones on drums. As a result, Impulse took Coltrane sessions from 1963 & 1965 with Roy Haynes and issued this album. Dear Old Stockholm was also thrown onto the CD release of Impressions as a bonus track. It's standard Coltrane which means it's great but this is what record companies do with classic jazz recordings. They spread them around and you have to figure it out. Here's John Coltrane performing Afro Blue with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison & Elvin Jones on the Jazz Casual TV show in 1963.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Great news for Canadian NASCAR fans

The NASCAR boys are back on the track testing in Daytona. Not much news right now. But there's big news for Canadian NASCAR fans. TSN announced today that for the first time they will show all 35 NASCAR Busch Series races in 2007. Now, TSN has never shown Busch races in the past but this year there is a race in Montreal in August. So I would guess NASCAR told them if they wanted that race they would have to carry all the races. The Busch races are all on ESPN in the US so this is what fans needed from TSN. So it looks like we're going to get to see every televised NASCAR race for the first time in 2007 and that's great.

Just wanted to mention that I had Medi-Chair to my apartment today to replace the right tire on my power chair. It wasn't flat but was wearing out and would have gone flat shortly. I use it a lot of course so I was told I should replace the tires once a year. I'm also considering getting an electric air pump to put air in the tires occasionally.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day



Album:Mothership Connection

The word "funk" describes George Clinton and the P-Funk gang. They're still very popular today and have influenced many of today's hip hop guys. George Clinton started The Parliaments in 1955 at age 14 based on Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers. The Parliaments had a hit in 1967 with Testify but a dispute with the record company forced Clinton to record under the Funkadelic name. Clinton got the Parliament name back in 1970 and signed with Casablanca Records. By this time he added keyboardist Bernie Worrell, bassist Bootsy Collins and guitarist Glen Goins. Guitarist Eddie Hazel had already been aboard for a couple of years. By the time Mothership Connection came out in 1976, Fred Wesley & the JB Horns were added to Parliament. Add crazy costumes and an outrageous stage act and Parliament was a non-stop party. Here's a performance of their big hit Give Up The Funk in Houston 1976. Eventually Clinton just renamed the group P-Funk. He's still touring today and all the various P-Funk members have produced great music and have been a major influence on today's music. Mothership Connection was rereleased on CD in 2003 with an extra track. There is also a PBS doc about George Clinton available for viewing on Google & Youtube but I can't post it here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Raven Hiroka returns to Japan for JD Star

JD Star had their first Shin-kiba 1st Ring show of 2007 on Jan. 8 minus the POP Title. I guess you could say it's missing in action. But they're trying to keep the feud going between the Athtresses and the Caribbean Army and they're still trying to sell a rivalry between Fuuka and Shuu Shibutani despite the lack of a title to fight about. Plus the announcement of the return to Japan of a joshi wrestler doing very well abroad.

The big news was the announcement of Raven Hiroka's (pictured) return to Japan to appear on the Jan. 21 & Feb. 4 JD Star shows. Raven has had a very successful run in CMLL in Mexico and was recently CMLL Womens Champ. When she recently dropped the title to Lady Apache, it was already known that she was coming home. I'm not sure if this is permanent or if she will be working for JD Star exclusively or what she will be doing. Raven trained and spent a couple of years at LLPW before moving to Mexico. CMLL wrestler Marcela is coming with her. Here's a two part video of Raven Hiroka & Mima Shimoda vs Dark Angel & India Sioux from CMLL last spring.

After the Athtresses welcomed the crowd, rookie Athtress Bisa Ohata challenged Leon. Ohata is very weak and her offense consists of attempted flash pins. Leon won easily with a Boston Crab at 7:02. Bullfight Sora needed a partner to face the team of Caribbean KIM & RUM. JD Star General Manager Kobayashi said he found her a partner and out came Sachie Abe to the ring. OK so she's not going to strike fear into the hearts of anyone. This is their idea of a big surprise. The Caribbeans are able to isolate Sora and KIM finished her with the Caribbean Impact at 12:02.

Yoshiko Tamura came over from NEO to team with Gutsworld's Lily Urai against JWP's Tsubasa Kuragaki & Ayumi Kurihara. Kuragaki controls the early part of the match and then Tamura beats up Kurihara for a while. The turning point is when Kuragaki accidently hits Kurihara with a lariat. Tamura uses a full nelson buster to finsh her at 19:00. The main event has Fuuka teaming Hiroyo Matsumoto against Shuu Shibutani & Cherry. Matsumoto's favourite hold id the Argentinian backbreaker. But she depends on it too much and it gets her into trouble in this match. Shibutani is in trouble when Cherry accidently nails her with a missile dropkick. Matsumoto tries the backbreaker but Shibutani gets out of it and finishes Matsumoto with a Senton splash at 16:37. Instead of continuing the Fuuka/Shibutani feud on the Jan. 14 show, Mariko Yoshida will team with Ayumi Kurhara against Tsubasa Kuragaki & Fuuka and Shibutani will team with Cherry against Cribbean KIM & MOON.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Chi-Lites

Song:Oh Girl

Album:Music From The Motion Picture Crooklyn

The Chi-Lites were one of the smoothest R & B groups of the 70s from Chicago of course. They were led by singer songwriter Eugene Record. They started out as the Doo wop group The Chanteurs in 1959. They became The Hi-Lites and changed the name to Chi-Lites as a tribute to their home town. They signed with Brunswick Records in 1968 and had several chart hits including Oh Girl featuring Cy Touff's harmonica. The song went huge after The Chi-Lites appeared on The Flip Wilson Show. That video clip is included. Things were going great until Brunswick started having finiancial problems in 1974. The group left Brunswick for Warner Bros. without the Chi-Lites name. The records were issued under Eugene Record's name. They eventually got the name back and Record started his own label Chi-Sound. Eugene Record continued to record R & B and gospel albums occasionally until his death on Jul. 22, 2005 at age 64. This soundtrack for Crooklyn has a lot of classic 70s R & B and is pretty good for that type of CD. The 2001 comp 20 Greatest Hits is also worth getting. The Chi-Lites were a very talented group and their music is still fondly remembered today.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Children Of Men review

Children Of Men is a post apocalyptic tale of what could happen if the human race stops reproducing and one man's efforts to change the downward spiral of human civilization. It is based on the 1992 novel by British writer P.D. James. A lot of her books seem to be turned into BBC miniseries. Alfonso Cuaron is one of the new wave of filmmakers from Mexico. He's best known for directing one of the Harry Potter films but has also received acclaim for some of his other films. He also co-wrote the script and co-edited Children Of Men. Several writers received screen credit including the team of Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby. Fergus' directorial debut First Snow should be released in 2007. He's also writing Iron Man.

It's 2027 in London and we learn that women suddenly became infertile in 2009 as the final baby dies in Argentina at age 18. Theo Faron (Clive Owen) stops at a coffee shop before going to his government job. The building is blown up right after he leaves. The local government tries to promote itself as the most civilized city on earth. The sales pitch attracts a lot of immigrants but the atmosphere is more like a concentration camp. Different activist groups blame each other for all the problems and the army is unsuccessful in keeping things under control. Theo goes to his friend Jasper's (Michael Caine) retreat in the woods to escape. He is tricked by activist and former lover Julian Taylor (Julianne Moore) to help them transport two women out of England. He discovers that the young woman Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) is eight months pregnant. Theo suggests that they should just reveal to the public that she has a child and they'll leave her alone. But the activists have selfish motives. Theo decides that Kee needs to go to The Human Project to be safe. The rest of the film is a harrowing road trip that includes the birth of Kee's child. And Theo was right. Even the soldiers stopped fighting when they saw the baby.

Alfonso Cuaron's main goal was to shoot Children Of Men in a documentary style. So there is plenty of steadicam footage and a lot of quick cuts in the editing. It helps that cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is an old friend of Cuaron's from Mexico. He worked on Cuaron's breakthrough film Y Tu Mama Tambien. They were looking to show the hopelessness of this society and communicated that very well. Clive Owen is in every scene in the film and delivers a tremendous performance. I've always liked his work. Newcomer Claire-Hope Ashitey is also great in only her second film. The role was originally intended for Emma Watson. Children Of Men isn't an easy film to watch but it is a rewarding film. Universal's trailer really doesn't do it justice so here's a trailer put together by fan Blair Erickson.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:LaVern Baker

Song:Tweedle Dee

Album:Soul On Fire:The Best Of LaVern Baker

LaVern Baker was a great R & B shouter from the 50s. I've talked about her before but Tweedle Dee was her first big hit and I wanted to post a video of her anyway. So here's Lavern Baker performing Jim Dandy on some TV show in 1957.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Love is in the air at Jan. 6 NEO show

NEO held their first show of the new year Jan. 6 at Itabashi Green Hall in front of 138 fans. Usually things are very silly in NEO anyway but believe it or not, there was a marriage proposal in the ring. The NEO Machine Gunz weren't too happy about it which leads some to believe that it's all an angle. Could be but all NEO roads point to their next big show at Kawasaki on Feb. 18. I don't know if any of the silliness would surprise me anymore.

The opener had 15 year old rookie Nagisa Nozaki facing Toshie Uematsu. We all know how Uematsu is and she finished the rookie off with a missile dropkick at 10:48. The second match had Misae Genki over rookie Irod Watanabe with a lariat at 9:12. But first NEO president Koda came to the ring. He asks Emi Motokawa AKA Sakura Emi (pictured) to join him and proceeds to get on one knee and propose marriage. Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki say that they can't get married without their permisson. Koda objects to that but they tell Emi to think twice. Tanny says Emi can't marry the president of the company. It's too suspicious. He should quit his job first. Koda says that there will be a 7 vs 7 match on the Feb. 18 Kawasaki show with the marriage up for grabs. And if Emi's team wins the match the wedding will take place in the ring on that day. Well, you know what happens with weddings on a wrestling show. From what I understand, they really are getting married so congratulations to the happy couple.

The third match had JWP wrestlers Kayoko Haruyama & Kaori Yoneyama over Tanny Mouse & Bullfight Sora. Haruyama won over Sora with a lariat at 15:35. After the match, Koda recruited the JWP wrestlers to his side for the wedding match. They agreed and then Tanny Mouse recruited Bullfight Sora to her team. Next was Amazing Kong & Kyoko Kimura defeating Kyoko Inoue & Etsuko Mita. Kimura used the Big Boots on Mita for the win at 17:18. After the match, Kimura challenged Mita to a singles match for the Feb. 18 show. Kyoko Inoue said Mita doesn't want to answer right now but she'll think it over.

The main event had Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara defeat Yuki Miyazaki & Haruka Matsuo. Tamura won over Miyazaki with a running elbow at 20:58. Tamura said afterwards that she was very impressed with Kurihara and would like to team with her again on an upcoming JD Star show. Tamura told Koda that she was unhappy with the result of her triple title match with Azumi Hyuga. A tie is not a win and she wants to return the belt. Koda told her not to do that and he wants to set up a rematch with Hyuga on the Kawasaki show. Tamura agreed to wait. So it looks like that will be the main event. Just wanted to mention that NEO has just opened a brand new website & blog so I should be able to get reports on all their shows. The only thing they don't have is pics.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Clarence "Frogman" Henry

Song:Ain't Got No Home

Album:Ain't Got No Home

Clarence "Frogman" Henry is a New Orleans singer songwriter whose whole career was based on this 1956 novelty song. The whole concept of Ain't Got No Home came from Henry fooling around on the bandstand one night. The crowd reacted positively to him croaking and singing like a girl. Chess Records A & R man Paul Gayten got wind of it and hustled Henry into the studio to record. The Frogman name was given to him when a local DJ played the record. It was a huge hit and Henry had a couple more hits in the early 60s. He even opened for The Beatles in 1964. Henry hasn't recorded in years but he's still around. Katrina didn't kill him. This comp is definitive but you might want to get Ain't Got No Home on a various artists comp like the 2006 Bear Family CD Blowing The Fuse:31 R & B Classics That Rocked The Jukebox in 1957. He also appeared on the Katrina benefit concert From The Big Apple To The Big Easy available on CD & DVD. Here's Clarence "Frogman" Henry performing Ain't Got No Home in 2004. He still sounds pretty good.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ann Nesby f/Al Green

Song:Put It On Paper

Album:Put It On Paper

Ann Nesby is a wonderful gospel singer from Minneapolis. She is best known as the lead singer of the very popular gospel choir Sounds Of Blackness. They had several hits in the 90s. This means Ann is closely associated with producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Ann left SOB to go solo in 1996 and has been writing and producing great music on her own label. She brought in R & B living legend Al Green in 2002 for this song about the virtues of marriage called Put It On Paper. Ann Co-wrote and produced the song with husband Timothy Lee and producer Herb Middleton. Needless to say, these two great talents really deliver a powerhouse performance. Ann Nesby also appeared in the film The Fighting Temptations and her granddaughter Paris Bennett was on American Idol. Ann's latest CD In The Spirit was released in April 2006. It looks like she's lost some weight too. Here's a brief clip of Ann Nesby just to give you an idea of how great she is.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Kandori takes cheap route to advance in LLPW tournament

I've been around long enough to remember when non finishes were standard in the joshi business. Back in the 70s it seemed that every other match ended by count out or DQ. This had a lot to do with visiting gaijins who wouldn't job. AJW stopped doing a lot of that in the 80s and really it hasn't been much of an issue in recent years. But LLPW owner Shinobu Kandori pulled a real boner on the Jan. 5 Korakuen Hall show as part of the All Star Strongest Woman tournament. This isn't going to encourage anyone to take this seriously. And they have to fill Sumo Hall next month.

The match in question was the quarter final tournament match between Shinobu Kandori & Amazing Kong. Kong basically killed Kandori. She attacked her before the bell and beat the crap out of her with a lariat (pictured), an Amazing Press & a Liger Bomb. Amazing Kong threw Kandori out of the ring and proceeded to power bomb her on a chair. After the ref warned Amazing Kong, she hit him and was DQd at 10:01. Oy vey! Is that pathetic enough for you? This result looked even sillier when Aja Kong & Dump Matsumoto used weapons in their match. But that ended in a DQ too. They used a chain. Dump busted Aja open with a nail. Of course Sasori helped Dump and Mayumi Ozaki & Police helped Aja. Aja was winning when the ref DQd her for using a fire extinguisher at 10:57. Huh? And we don't even get Aja/Kandori in the semi finals.

The other two quarter final matches were a little more orthodox. Meiko Satomura & Harley Saito emphasized kicks, something they're both good at. Satomura won with the Scorpion Rising at 10:25. Typically Saito was very gracious in defeat on her 20th anniversary. Eagle Sawai vs Mayumi Ozaki had Sawai controlling most of the match but with Police's help, Ozaki turned things around and won with a power bomb at 10:46. Well, at least there was no DQ. The other event of note was the return to joshi of former Osaka Pro valet Francoise. She did appear briefly in A To Z in 2003 but I don't recall if she ever wrestled there. She won her match over Ayako Sato with a missile dropkick at 6:34. Certainly the results of this show were surprising but that doesn't seem like a good thing. Feb. 12 in Sumo Hall should be very interesting.

Natsuki*Taiyo wins POP Title at Jr. All Star War

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I jokingly predicted that Pro Wrestling SUN president Nakamura was looking to have a title belt in every match. Well, this may come true as a result of Natsuki*Taiyo (pictured) winning the POP Title from Fuuka at the Dec. 31 Jr. All Star War at Korakuen Hall. Getting any kind of detailed report of this show has been a problem because those dolts at NEO started a blog to promote it and then after the show turned it into a general NEO blog. They didn't even write or post pics about Yuka Shiina's retirement ceremony. Geez!

It's hard to know what JD Star is up to by letting Natsuki*Taiyo win the POP Title and take it to Pro Wrestling SUN. They can't be trusted so anything is possible. They're trying to say that it was a fluke. OK. Natsuki*Taiyo won the match with a *Bomb at 14:27. Another notable result had Rei winning over Cherry with a Shooting Star Press at 8:50. This is notable because she is the first joshi wrestler to use that move. Very interesting.

Shuu Shibutani won her match over Ayumi Kurihara at 9:55. It was named the best match on the show. Natsuki*Taiyo was named MVP. Miki Ishii of Gktn was given the Fighting Spirit prize. She made her debut in a loss to Yasusato Nakajima. Rei was named Best Photogenic and JWP rookie Kaori Oki was given a special prize. I don't know what's up with the POP Title but we'll find out soon enough.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Billie Holiday

Song:One For My Baby (And One For The Road)

Album:First Issue:The Great American Songbook

If you don't want to spring for Verve's massive 10CD Billie Holiday box set, you might want to try this 2CD comp issued to commemorate the Billie Holiday postage stamp. One For My Baby was a Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer song mostly associated with Frank Sinatra. But Billie's 1956 version created quite a visual picture especially if you consider her personal demons. One can almost visualize Billie sitting at a bar singing this song with a drink in her hand. It was originally on the 1957 LP Songs For Distingue Lovers which Verve rereleased in an expended CD version in 1997. Musicians include Harry "Sweets" Edison on trumpet, Ben Webster on tenor sax, Jimmy Rowles on piano, Barney Kessell on guitar, Red Mitchell on bass and Larry Bunker on drums. Of course Billie Holiday was still addicted to heroin when she died on July 17, 1959 at age 44. Here's a video tribute to Billie Holiday set to the tune of One For My Baby from a photographer named Dean Hickstein. If you check his Youtube page, he's a little obsessed with this song but it's a good video.