Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Caribbean Jazz Project

Song:Wazo Dayzeel

Album:Mosaic





The Caribbean Jazz Project is a very tasty mix of jazz & Caribbean sounds. They've recorded for Concord Jazz since 1993 but it's a part time group with very busy New York based jazz musicians. Mosaic is their latest CD. The group came together at a free concert in New York's Central Park in 1993. Vibraphonist Dave Samuels is the leader. He's probably best known for his days with the fusion group Spyrogyra. Andy Narrell is a musician from New York who plays the Jamaican steel drums. That's a very unusual instrument for a jazz group and Narrell is very good. The third main member is Cuban sax player Paquito D'Rivera. He was a member of the famed Cuban jazz group Irakere and he defected to the US in 1980. He's a great musician. Other musicians include Alain Mallet on piano, Oscar Stagnaro on bass, Mark Walker on drums and Pernell Saturnino on percussion. This is the type of music that is very light in tone but the musicians have enough jazz chops for most jazz fans too. Narrell in particualar brings a lot to this group and wrote Wazo Dayzeel. I didn't find any video footage of the Caribbean Jazz Project or Dave Samuels but I did find video of Andy Narrell on the Telarc Records website performing Chakalaka. This also proves that Freevideocoding.com works for Real Player. It came out very well.




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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Blue Mitchell

Song:I Should Care

Album:Boss Horn





Trumpeter Blue Mitchell made some very good records for Blue Note in the 60s. He's somewhat forgotten today. He was born Mar. 13, 1930 in Miami. He started out touring with the R & B bands of Earl Bostic & Chuck Willis. But Cannonball Adderley spotted him and hired him for a recording in 1958. Mitchell joined The Horace Silver Quintet and stayed until 1964. Mitchell then spun off his own group which included a young Chick Corea on piano. He made several records for Blue Note including this 1966 straight bop recording Boss Horn. Musicians are Pepper Adams on baritone sax, Junior Cook on tenor sax, Jerry Dodgion on alto sax, Julian Priester on trombone, Chick Corea & Cedar Walton on piano, Gene Taylor on bass and Mickey Roker on drums. By the late 60s, Mitchell saw that opportunities for straight jazz were dwindling so he settled in Los Angeles and played on sessions. He also toured with Ray Charles and later John Mayall. He would record jazz occasionally on RCA with sax player Harold Land. Blue Mitchell died of cancer on May 21, 1979 at age 49. Here's Blue Mitchell with Horace Silver, Junior Cook, Gene Taylor & Louis Hayes performing Cool Eyes in 1959.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Smackgirl to have two shows on Mar. 11


Smackgirl has announced that they are planning two shows on Mar. 11 at Shinjuku FACE. The start of the 2007 Next Cinderella Tournaments will be part of the afternoon show. They are having Flyweight, Lightweight & Middleweight tournament. The finals will be in August. They are saying that they will have 4-8 fighters for each tournament but they've already announced fighters for each division. Flyweight-Madoka Ebihara, SACHI, Sayaka Takase & Maho Muranami. Lightweight-Megumi Ito, Yuka Okumura, Anna Saito, Emi Tomimatsu & YOKO. Middleweight-Miyuki Aruga, Hiromi Obata, HARUMI & Benkei. They have also announced a Lightweight bout for the afternoon show, Yasuko Mogi vs Akiko Naito. Mogi is 3-2. Her last bout was a split decision loss to Taeko Magimine at the Apr. 22, 2006 Smackgirl show. Naito is 3-6. Her last bout was a loss to Kyoko Takabayashi at the Sept. 15, 2006 Smackgirl show.





For the evening show, Smackgirl has added a 55kg bout betweeon Madoka Okada & Emi Fujino. Okada is 3-0. Her last win was over Yui Tatsubun at the June 30, 2006 Smackgirl show. Fujino is also 3-0. Her last win was over Mai Shesei at the Nov. 29 Smackgirl show. They have also added a Full Contact Karate bout with Yuka Kobayashi against an opponent TBA. Already announced is a Flyweight Title bout with champ Satoko Shinashi (pictured) vs Misaki Takimoto and semi final bouts for the Supergals Mix Cup Open Weight Tournament, Tama Chan vs Michiko Takeda and Yuiga vs HIROKO.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Johnny Adams

Song:You Don't Know What Love Is

Album:Blues Across The USA





Johnny Adams was an excellent R & B singer known in his home town of New Orleans as The Tan Canary. He was born Jan. 5, 1932 and started out as a gospel singer. He crossed over into secular R & B with a teenaged Mac Rebennack AKA Doctor John as producer. His biggest success was with the top ten R & B hit Reconsider Me on SSS Records in 1969. He faded in the 70s but made a big comeback with Rounder Records in 1984. Adams recorded with Rounder until his death from cancer on Sept. 14, 1998 at age 66. Blues Across The USA is a 1993 Rounder Records sampler that is worth getting if you're looking to find out more about the label's artists. You Don't Know What Love Is is from Adams' 1993 CD Good Morning Heartache. Johnny Adams is classified as blues but his beautiful voice has elements of R & B, jazz & gospel. I couldn't find any video footage of him.




Folks always ask me about the weather and what is it like to get around in the snow in a power chair. Well, we had a storm yesterday and then I got up this morning and it was snowing again. I was out and it's not too bad. I am a little concerned about getting stuck in the snow on curbs. It's stopped now and I'm considering going out briefly this afternoon. Here's a video about the weather from CBC News. I've been experimenting with video footage and I did not get this from Youtube.



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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Matt Kenseth sweeps California


Fans were still buzzing about the finish of last week's Daytona 500 when the NASCAR Nextel Cup boys pulled into California Speedway in Fontana, CA for Sunday's Auto Club 500. California is a mostly flat sweeping two mile track with a reputation for being tough on engines. The track lived up to it's reputation and we almost had another great finish but some bad luck killed that. Jeff Gordon won the pole.





Kasey Kahne's #9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge led at the start. The first caution came out on lap 8 when Scott Riggs' #10 Stanley Tools Dodge hit the wall and took Jamie MacMurray & Reed Sorenson with him. Riggs & Sorenson were out of the race. The first engine failure of the race was on lap 15 for Martin Truex Jr.'s #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 Budweiser Chevy came into the pits with a flat tire on lap 19. He went down a lap when David Ragan's #6 AAA Ford spun on lap 20 to bring out a caution.





The leaders who didn't pit earlier pit now and Kyle Busch's #5 Kellogg's/Carquest Chevy leads. Matt Kenseth's #17 Carhartt Ford takes the lead on lap 31. Green flag pit stops begin on lap 51. But Sterling Marlin's #14 Panasonic HDTV Chevy blows a tire and hits the wall. Most guys who have already pitted are on the tail end of the lead lap. This means that leader Matt Kenseth is in the middle of the pack. A lot of guys are hoping for a quick caution. More engine problems. Dale Earnhardt Jr. & Kasey Kahne both head to the garage.





Meanwhile Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevy & Jeff Burton's #31 Cingular Chevy trade the lead. A debris caution comes out on lap 93. Everyone pits and Matt Kenseth reclaims the lead. More engine failure. Dave Blaney's #22 Caterpillar Toyota is out and a debris caution comes out on lap 116. Then another caution on lap 122 when Earnhardt's engine blows up. Kenseth still leads. Tony Stewart takes the lead on lap 146 and Jeff Gordon's #24 Dupont Chevy moves into second.





Green flag pit stops begin on lap 159 and Matt Kenseth regains the lead on lap 164. Tony Stewart is caught speeding on pit road and that takes him out of contention for the win. More engine failure. John Andretti's #37 Camping World Dodge is out of the race. Green flag pit stops begin on lap 194. When they are finished on lap 205, Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy is leading as Kenseth had a poor pit stop and dropped to second.





Everyone still has to make one final stop but if the race stays green, it looks very good for Jimmie Johnson. But everything changes with a lap 226 debris caution. Everyone makes final pit stops. Matt Kenseth regains the lead as Johnson has a poor pit stop and drops to fifth. Jeff Burton is second and Kevin Harvick's #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy is third. Harvick is closing rapidly on Kenseth but then David Reutimann's #00 Domino's Pizza Toyota is hit from behind by Greg Biffle on lap 244. He hits the wall hard and takes Ricky Rudd & Bobby Labonte with him.





NASCAR throws the red flag. I figured we'd have a great finish between Kenseth & Harvick but just as the green flag is about to be thrown on lap 248, Harvick has a flat tire and has to pit. He finishes 17th. Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson get around Jeff Burton for second & third but they have nothing for Kenseth and he wins. Very bad luck for Harvick.





Congratulations to Matt Kenseth, interim crew chief Chip Godin and car owner Jack Roush. A big top ten finish for Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers gave Toyota their very first top ten.
Mark Martin leads the points. The Nextel Cup has a week off and will be in Las Vegas in two weeks. Here's the top ten and also video footage of the end of the race.





#/Driver/Sponsor/Make/Owner

1.17/Matt Kenseth/Carhartt/Ford/Jack Roush

2.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

3.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

4.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress

5.01/Mark Martin/US Army/Chevy/Bobby Ginn

6.07/Clint Bowyer/Jack Daniels/Chevy/Richard Childress

7.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske

8.20/Tony Stewart/Home Depot/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

9.5/Kyle Busch/Kellogg's-Carquest/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

10.83/Brian Vickers/Red Bull/Toyota/Red Bull Racing



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Matt Kenseth wins California Busch Series race


Saturday night's Slater Bros. 300 at California Speedway in the NASCAR Busch Series gives us a good idea of what things will be like in 2007. Buschwackers, Buschwackers and more Buschwackers. I don't expect NASCAR to do anything about this because the track owners and sponsors want Nextel Cup drivers in the Busch Series. But it pretty clear that some of the independent owners are going to pack it in. There were only 41 cars entered in this race and most of them were driven by Buschwackers. A lot of them are driving part time but they're still going to dominate. Dave Blaney won the pole in his #10 ABS U-Pack Toyota. That's right, first pole for Toyota.





Dave Blaney leads the first 15 laps. Then Jeff Burton in the #29 Holiday Inn Chevy takes over. Everyone pits during a lap 28 debris caution. Kyle Busch's #5 Hendrick Autogard Chevy leads off of pit road. Eric McClure blows a tire and hits the wall in his #0 Hefty Chevy on lap 59. Jeff Burton regains the lead after pit stops followed by Matt Kenseth & Paul Menard. Then a hard crash on lap 89. Jason Leffler's #38 Great Clips Toyota is touched by Kenny Wallace. He hits the wall very hard and then Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge plows into him. Both guys were OK. Here's video of the crash along with interviews with both guys.







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Most pit but Kevin Harvick's #33 RoadLoans.com Chevy stays out to lead. He did this for track position but still needed to pit. Jeff Burton gets the lead back. Paul Menard's #15 Menards Chevy blows an engine on lap 117. Mike Wallace spins out in the oil. Everyone pits to take fuel mileage out of the picture. Burton leads Matt Kenseth's #17 Dish Network Ford but Kenseth gets the lead and gets a big enough lead to hold off Casey Mears' #24 National Guard Chevy for the win. Kevin Harvick still leads the points and the Busch Series is in Mexico next week.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Herbie Hancock

Song:Maiden Voyage

Album:The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions





Herbie Hancock is another great jazz musician whose creeer is so wide ranging that you have to cover it in stages. He was a child prodigy pianist who played with the Chicago Symphony. Trumpeter Donald Byrd invited him to join his band in 1961 and Blue Note wasted no time signing him to a contract. This 5CD box set covers everything he recorded for Blue Note. Meanwhile he was also a member of the Miles Davis group from that period. 1965's Maiden Voyage is one of Hancock's best known songs and this original version features Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, George Coleman on tenor sax, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. Carter & Williams were also in the Davis band. Herbie Hancock has gone on to have much success in mainstream music in the 80s with Rockit. So Herbie has done jazz, R & B, funk, pop and he's not slowing down anytime soon. Not surprisingly, there is no footage of Hancock's solo recordings of the 60s but he was touring with Miles Davis at the time. So here he is with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter & Tony Williams performing My Funny Valentine in Milan in 1964.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mike Skinner wins California Craftsman Truck race


In 2006, the Craftsman Truck Series regulars dreaded every race Mark Martin appeared in because he could have won every race. They got a reprieve when he didn't run the Daytona race but Martin was back for Friday's San Bernardino County 200 at California Speedway driving the #21 Bad Boy Mowers Ford for Wood Bros. JTG Racing. Carl Edwards won the pole and there were plenty of Toyotas lurking about.





Mike Skinner's #5 Toyota led the first part of the race. He started putting trucks a lap down. Everyone pitted after a lap 32 caution. Mark Martin led the race off pit road. A Kraig Kinser spin brings out the second caution on lap 52. Johnny Benson's #23 Totota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota leads after pit stops. Martin's in fourth but get the lead back on lap 69. David Starr spins to bring out the third caution.





Most guys pit but Martin & Skinner stay out to lead. Casey Kingsland spins to bring out a caution on lap 89. On the lap 91 restart, Ron Hornaday's #33 AESHR Chevy gets around Skinner for second. Then Matt Crafton hits the wall and spins out David Starr to bring out a caution. Martin gets a poor restart on lap 95 and Hornaday spins him out (pictured). Martin finishes 23rd. This gives Skinner the lead and he's able to hold off Hornaday for the win.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Stan Getz

Song:Airegin

Album:The Artistry Of Stan Getz Vol. 2





Stan Getz was one of the greats of the tenor sax. His career spanned several decades so it has to be looked at in stages. This particular version of Sonny Rollins' Airegin is from a time when Getz lived in Copenhagen and occasionally returned to the US to record for Verve. It was recorded Feb. 21, 1961 in Chicago with Steve Kuhn on piano, Scott LaFaro on bass and Pete LaRoca on drums. This recording is excellent but from what I can tell it was the only released track from this session. Airegin was originally released on a 1961 2LP comp called Stan The Man that seems to have a lot of odd tracks on it. Stan The Man has never been released on CD. This 2CD Artistry comp is the only other release of this version of Airegin. The two Atristry comps on Verve are recommended listening. Of course Getz would become a mainstream star with his recording The Girl From Ipanema but there is a lot more to him than that. Here's Stan Getz performing Rifftide with John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Paul Chambers & Jimmy Cobb.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:King Curtis

Song:Memphis Soul Stew

Album:Live At Fillmore West




Sax player King Curtis recorded his own music occasionally but was mostly known as a session musician. He was born Curtis Ousley Feb. 7, 1934 in Fort Worth, TX. He began a long association with Atlantic Records playing on Coasters records in 1958. He recorded for various labels in the early 60s but returned to Atlantic in 1965. He continued to record solo records for Atlantic but also became more active in contracting studio musicians in 1967, usually for Jerry Wexler. Then he started backing up Aretha Franklin on tour. And he usually opened for her too. That's what Live At Fillmore West is about. Rhino rereleased it on 2CDs in 2006. It's King Curtis on sax, Cornell Dupree on guitar, Billy Preston on organ, Truman Thomas on piano, Jerry Jemmott on bass and Bernard Purdie on drums and The Memphis Horns. They play originals like Memphis Soul Stew and also put a funky spin on songs like A Whiter Shade Of Pale. It's an excellent companion for Aretha Franklin's Live At Fillmore West 4CD box set. Sadly, King Curtis was murdered in New York City on Aug. 14, 1971 at age 37. But here is King Curtis & The Kingpins performing Memphis Soul Stew at the 1971 Montreux Jazz Festival about a week before his murder.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hikaru holds on to EWA Womens Title


One of the problems with Pro Wrestling SUN is they have four wrestlers on the roster. And since those of us who follow joshi puroresu know what the pecking order is, it puts Hikaru in a very difficult position even if she has a title belt and Nanae Takahashi doesn't. So other than as a time waster, I'm not sure why SUN would have a match between the two on the Feb. 21 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. It would be very surprising if Hikaru actually won over Takahashi clean. Then last week they decided to make the match an EWA Womens Title match. That cut down their options for the match.





The opener had Ayumi Kurihara over Sakura Emi with a back throw in 10:25. Next was Saki Maemura vs Atsuko Emoto. Now Maemura is on the SUN roster and Emoto is a freelancer. So why they would have Emoto completely dominate Maemura doesn't make sense. She threw Maemura from pillar to post. Then a brainbuster finished off Maemura at 15:12. Next was a three way elimination match for Amazing Kong's World 1 Womens Title against Natsuki*Taiyo & Toshie Uematsu. This was set up at a press conference a few weeks ago. AK & Uematsu are supposed to be allies but as usually happens in a three way match, that didn't last long. Natsuki*Taiyo eliminates Uematsu and then Amazing Kong wins with a pedigree & a spiral bomb in 8:20.





So now it's time for the main event. From what I gather, Nanae Takahashi controlled Hikaru for most of the match but Hikaru did come back and hit a missile drop kick as the time limit ran out. So the match was a 30 minute draw. I don't think that really helps Hikaru and this was one of those times where some outside interference by Amazing Kong might have made more sense because at least it would have fed the SUN vs REM storyline. They could have set something up for the next show. Pro Wrestling SUN president Nakamura admitted afterwards that some of the wrestlers didn't understand the booking of the show. That's been a common SUN theme since the debut. Their next show is Apr. 5 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:The Spinners

Song:I'll Be Around

Album:The Very Best Of The Spinners





The Spinners were one of the most popular Philly Soul groups of the 70s. Except that the group is from Detroit and their roots are in Motown. But a prominent Philly producer and a key personnel change vaulted them to a long run at the top of the charts. They started as The Domingoes in a Detroit area high school in 1957. They were Bobbie Smith, Pervis Jackson, George Dixon, Billy Henderson & Henry Fambrough. Harvey Fuqua of The Flamingos signed them to his Tri-Phi label and renamed then The Spinners. They had a couple of hits but Motown bought Tri-Phi in 1965. G.C. Cameron had replaced Dixon by this time. The Spinners made several records at Motown but didn't catch on and were dropped in 1972. Phillipe Wynne came over from The JB's to replace Cameron as lead singer. The Spinners signed with Atlantic and hooked up with veteran Philly Soul producer Thom Bell. At the time, he was best known for producing The Delfonics but he would become one of the top producers of the 70s. He gave The Spinners a very lush sound featuring lead vocals by Wynne & Smith. I'll Be Around was the first of several chart topping hits. Wynne left in 1977 to go solo and was replaced by John Edwards. The Spinners had a few more hits and faded in the 80s. Wynne had moderate solo success and died of a heart attack while on tour in Oakland on July 14, 1984 at age 43. The Spinners continue to tour the oldies concert circuit. Billy Henderson died on Feb. 2, 2007 at age 65. This comp has all their hits. Here are The Spinners performing Rubberband Man on American Bandstand. They are very smooth.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Grapple Beauty Light on Feb. 16


JD Star's Feb. 16 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show was described as Grapple Beauty Light. There were fewer matches. They didn't advance any storylines. Oh and there were fewer fans. 138 is a small crowd even for that building. I guess they shouldn't do any more Friday shows.





There were only three matches. The opener was rookie Bisa Ohata vs Cherry. Ohata was a little more competitive because Cherry is closer to her skill level but Cherry won with a double arm salto at 8:15. Then it was another idol wrestler, Lily Urai, vs Bullfight Sora. Sora hit several brain busters and won at 11:33. The main event had Saki Maemura coming from Pro Wrestling SUN to team with Shuu Shibutani against Fuuka & Hiroyo Matsumoto. Maemura & Shibutani showed a lot of teamwork but it ended in a 20 minute draw. Fuuka got on the mike afterwards to talk about her third anniversary on March 10 but no matches have been announced for upcoming shows as yet.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:John Coltrane

Song:A Love Supreme, Part 1:Acknowledgement

Album:A Love Supreme




A Love Supreme is considered to be legendary sax player John Coltrane's greatest work featuring McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. The problem is the original album is 33 minutes long. There are a couple of ways to get a little more bang for your buck. You could get the 8CD Classic John Coltrane box set. It has every studio recording ever made by those four guys. Or you could try the 2CD Deluxe Edition of A Love Supreme released by Universal in 2002. This has some real rarities on disc two. It features Coltrane, Tyner, Garrison & Jones performing A Love Supreme in its entirety at the Antibes Jazz Festival in France July 26, 1965. And here's a clip from that very concert with the guys performing Blue Waltz. It also has some previously unreleased alternate takes from the A Love Supreme sessions with Archie Shepp on sax and Art Davis on bass added to the usual quartet. I don't think these extras are available anywhere else so if you want more Coltrane, get the Deluxe Edition of A Love Supreme.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Marvin Sapp

Song:Not The Time, Not The Place

Album:Grace And Mercy




Marvin Sapp is a gospel singer from Grand Rapids, MI. He first surfaced in the popular group Comissioned as a replacement for Keith Staten. Comissioned disbanded in 1996 and Sapp signed with Word for their Myrrh label. This 1997 CD Grace And Mercy was his second of three CDs for Word. Not The Time, Not The Place was written and produced by Percy Bady, a producer Sapp has used frequently over the years. He recorded a fourth CD for Word called I Believe but when he was told that he was being dropped from the label, he purchased the master and took it to Verity and now records for them. His most recent CD is 2005's Be Exalted. Marvin Sapp has his own church in Grand Rapids and he also travels to local churches to perform and preach. Most of his CDs are live recordings that are usually taped for home video release. That's not unusual in the gospel music business. Marvin Sapp is a very talented singer so check out his performance of Glory To The Lamb from his 2003 CD Diary Of A Psalmist. It was written and produced by Kevin Bond. He's the pianist in the video.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

Song:Dancing In The Street

Album:20th Century Masters:The Millenium Colection:The Best Of Martha Reeves & The Vandellas




Martha Reeves & The Vandellas had several big hits as part of the Motown music factory of the 60s. The group started out as The Del-Phis in 1960 but were unsuccessful. Martha Reeeves was working as a secretary at Motown in 1963 when she was brought in the studio to fill in for a missing Mary Wells. Rosalind Ashford & ex-Velvelette Betty Kelly were The Vandellas. The group had a string of hits all produced by the legendary production team of Holland/Dozier/Holland. Dancing In The Street was written by Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter & Mickey Stevenson for Kim Weston but she turned it down. It topped the charts in 1964. They had several more hits and their run ended when Holland/Dozier/Holland left Motown in 1968. This budget comp is OK but The Ultimate Collection is more complete. Martha Reeves has never had much success as a solo artist but she's still touring the oldies concert circuit today. Here's Martha Reeves & The Vandellas performing Dancing In The Street on Shindig in 1966.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Kevin Harvick wins Daytona 500


A lot of crazy stuff went down on today's Daytona 500 in the NASCAR Nextel Cup. The final 50 laps were just wild with an unbelievable ending. Many of the prerace favourites crashed and the finish was somewhat controversial to Mark Martin fans. I think in the end NASCAR was correct in not throwing a caution on the final lap as the race was on the final lap and the mayhem was behind the leaders. David Gilliland was on the pole.





The first part of the race was calm enough. David Gilliland's #38 M & M's Ford led until Boris Said's #60 No Fear Ford spun on lap 16. After pit stops, Kurt Busch's #2 Miller Lite Dodge led. Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevy took the lead on lap 49. These two would swap the lead for most of the first part of the race. A blown tire for Kyle Petty's #45 Wells Fargo Dodge brought out a caution on lap 67. Stewart ran over some debris and took time to fix the vallance on his pit stop. In the pits, Gilliland spun out Robby Gordon's #7 Jim Beam Ford.





Kurt Busch continued to lead but Tony Stewart came from the back to take back the lead on lap 150. Then disaster for the leaders. Stewart gets loose when he hits the apron a bit and Busch is unable to keep from tapping Stewart. Both guys hit the wall and are finished for the day. After pit stops, Martin Truex Jr.'s #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy led with Mark Martin, Kyle Busch, Johnny Sauter & Matt Kenseth the top five on lap 159. Matt Kenseth's #17 DeWalt Ford takes the outside line pushed by teammate Jamie MacMurray. Kenseth gets the lead on lap 170.





Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Checy gets loose on lap 174 and hits the wall. He collects Jeff Green, David Reutimann, Tony Raines & Denny Hamlin. Everyone makes final pit stops. Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson & Johnny Sauter take two tires to get up front. Greg Biffle & Matt Kenseth move up to second and third. On lap 186, Reed Sorenson's #41 Target Dodge makes contact with Carl Edwards. Dave Blaney speeds down pit lane to avoid the wreck but a flat tire sends him spinning into Ken Schrader.





Mark Martin's #01 US Army Chevy leads when the green comes back out on lap 191. Kyle Busch's #5 Carquest/Kellogg's Chevy pulls in behind Martin. Jamie MacMurray's #26 Crown Royal Ford hits the wall and takes Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt Jr. & Martin Truex Jr. with him on lap 196. NASCAR throws the red flag and sets up a green/white/checker finish.





Can anyone pass Mark Martin? He protects the bottom but on the final lap, Kevin Harvick's #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy gets a run at the top of the track pushed by Matt Kenseth & Jeff Burton. Harvick pulls alongside Martin while Kyle Busch spins and takes Jeff Gordon, Sterling Marlin & others with him. Harvick wins the race by a nose while Clint Bowyer crosses the finish line on his roof. The crash makes this a controversial finish but it sure was exciting.





Congratulations to Kevin Harvick, crew chief Todd Barrier & car owner Richard Childress for winning the Daytona 500. The crash at the finish gave big top ten finishes to Mike Wallace, rookie David Ragan, David Gilliland, Joe Nemechek & David Stremme. NASCAR is in Fontana, California next week. Here's the top ten of the race.





#/Driver/Sponsor/Make/Owner

1.29/Kevin Harvick/Shell-Pennzoil/Chevy/Richard Childress

2.01/Mark Martin/US Army/Chevy/Bobby Ginn

3.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress

4.09/Mike Wallace/Miccosoukee Casino/Chevy/James Finch

5.6/David Ragan/AAA/Ford/Jack Roush

6.19/Elliott Sadler/UAW-Dodge Dealers/Dodge/Ray Evernham

7.9/Kasey Kahne/UAW-Dodge Dealers/Dodge/Ray Evernham

8.38/David Gilliland/M & M's/Ford/Robert Yates

9.13/Joe Nemechek/CertainTeed/Chevy/Bobby Ginn

10.David Stremme/Coors Light/Dodge/Chip Ganassi

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:The Coasters

Song:Poison Ivy

Album:50 Coastin' Classics





The Coasters are one of the most popular & enduring doo wop groups mainly because of their humour. Of course a lot of the credit for that goes to the legendary songwriting producing team of Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller. The Coasters started out in Los Angeles as The Robins. They had some success with Lieber/Stoller already but by 1953 were getting too big for their small record company to handle. Atlantic Records signed Lieber/Stoller. The Robins broke up but Bobby Nunn & Carl Gardner formed a new group called The Coasters. They added Billy Guy, Leon Hughes & guitarist Adolph Jacobs and continued to work with Lieber/Stoller. They had a hit with Down In Mexico in 1956 but Nunn & Hughes left when the group moved to New York with Lieber/Stoller. They were replaced by Will "Dub" Jones of The Cadets & Cornell Gunter. They had several hits combining doo wop with humour including Poison Ivy which seems to be about the medical condition but is probably about something else. Things petered out for The Coasters in the early 60s especially when Lieber/Stoller left Atlantic in 1963. The Coasters continue to tour the oldies concert circuit usually led by Carl Gardner. He owns the name. This 2CD comp has all their hits. Here's The Coasters performing Along Came Jones.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kevin Harvick wins Daytona Busch Series race


The big controversy in last season's NASCAR Busch Series was the Buschwackers, well financed Nextel Cup teams fielding Busch Series cars driven by Nextel Cup regulars. Independent Busch Series teams didn't have a chance. Kevin Harvick dominated and won the 2006 Busch Series championship by the largest margin ever. With the Car Of Tomorrow looming on the Nextel Cup horizon, there isn't much benefit for the Nextel Cup teams to run the Busch Series full time. Carl Edwards & David Reutimann may be the only guys doing that. But Nextel Cup teams will still field Busch Series cars sometimes shared between a Nextel Cup & developmental driver. There were 23 Nextel Cup drivers in Daytona's Orbitz 300 so the Buschwackers will remain. Kevin Harvick was in this race with a new sponsor, Auto Zone. He says he's not running the full Busch schedule. Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver Aric Almirola won the pole in the #19 Banquet Foods Chevy.





First a quick comment about the broadcast. This was ESPN's 2007 NASCAR debut. The video was fine of course. I wasn't crazy about the announcers. It could take the first half of the season for them to build chemistry. Veteran ESPN broadcaster Dr. Jerry Punch did play by play. I'm used to him as a pit reporter. Allen Bestwick is in the pits and I could see them switching those two guys. I like Bestwick better in the booth. Rusty Wallace and former NASCAR car owner Andy Petree are doing colour. I didn't like Wallace last year doing IRL. He makes too many mistakes and is vapid. Petree is inexperienced and it shows. Brent Musberger, former NASCAR crew chief Tim Brewer & former NBA star and NASCAR car owner Brad Daugherty hosted the show. I like Brewer but the other two didn't add much. Put Brewer in the booth. Like Chris Myers on FOX, we don't need Musberger. They did a 90 minute pre show. That's a bit much. But I like reporter Shannon Spake and I wouldn't mind seeing her as a pit reporter. Marty Smith wasn't on the show but should be. The pit reporters were the usual crew; Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Matt Yocum, Mike Massaro and this girl Jamie Little. I didn't like her on IRL broadcasts either. I prefer Shannon Spake a lot better. They've got a lot of work to do.





Martin Truex Jr. is leading the race on lap 4 when Jon Wood spins and collects Dave Blaney, David Ragan & Stephen Leicht. Ragan is out but Blaney recovers and gets a good finish in the #32 Toyota. Kyle Busch's #5 Chevy takes the lead just in time for a big crash on lap 15. Reed Sorenson bumps Kasey Kahne and they collect John Andretti, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Steve Wallace, Jason Leffler, Ward Burton, Jamie MacMurray, Shane Huffman, Denny Hamlin, Regan Smith & Sam Hornish Jr. Kahne & MacMaurray are out.





Kyle Busch continues to lead. David Reutimann hits the wall and shreds a tire on lap 64. Everyone pits on the ensuing caution. It looks like everyone has enough fuel to finish the race. On lap 69, Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the lead with Kevin Harvick second. Mike Wallace is also in the mix. Things were going well for Busch untill he broke a fuel pump on lap 84 and is out. There are no more cautions and several guys take a run at Kevin Harvick but can't get to him. Dave Blaney finishes second followed by Carl Edwards, Mark Martin & Clint Bowyer. The highest finishing Busch only regular was Jon Wood in 15th place. But though Dave Blaney is a Nextel Cup regular, his Busch ride is with independent team Braun Racing. If this is any indication, you can expect the Buschwackers trend to continue in 2007.

Jack Sprague wins Daytona Craftsman Truck race


The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has always produced great finishes at Daytona. 2003 series champ Travis Kvapil knows all about that as he was involved in a photo finish in 2003 with Rick Crawford & Robert Pressley. Crawford won the race. After a couple of unproductive years in Nextel Cup, Kvapil returns to the Craftsman Truck Series driving the #6 for Roush Fenway Racing. They picked up K & N Air Filters as sponsor this week and Kvapil was looking for a successful return at the Chevy Silverado HD 250. Jack Sprague was on the pole.





As usual at Dayona, you need help to lead the race. Carl Edwards had transmission trouble and went several laps down. The Toyotas of Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine & Jack Sprague swapped the lead. Travis Kvapil takes the lead on lap 60. Mike Bliss taps Terry Cook's #59 Toyota and Cook's truck bursts into flames on lap 61. Carl Edwards is several laps down but trying to help teammates Erik Darnell & Kvapil.





Chase Miller's Dodge crashes on lap 89 and collects Brendan Gaughan, Dennis Setzer & Cale Gale. This caution is key because with less than ten laps remaining, the start is single file. That means Edwards had to go to the back of the line and can't help Kvapil. This makes him a sitting duck for the Toyotas of Jack Sprague & Johnny Benson. On the final turn of the final lap, Benson pushes Sprague to the lead and Sprague edges Benson & Kvapil for the win. It's another great finsh for the Craftsman Trucks at Daytona. Check out the above photo.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Anita Baker

Song:Giving You The Best That I Got

Album:Giving You The Best That I Got





Anita Baker is a very classy R & B singer who gained a significant following in the 80s. She was born Jan. 26, 1958 in Toledo, OH and grew up in Detroit. She listened to jazz singers like Sarah Vaughan & Dinah Washington and was in the local gospel choir. She started out with a group called Chapter 8 in 1975 and though they weren't successful, her contacts from that group led her to Elektra Records where she teamed up with her Chapter 8 pal producer Michael J. Powell for the 1987 hit album Rapture. Giving You the Best That I Got was the 1988 follow up and also hit the top of the charts and won her a couple of Grammys. Here's the video. For most of the 90s Anita took a break to raise a family. She returned in 2003 with You're My Everything on Blue Note. She sounds better than ever in a more jazz oriented setting and Anita Baker continues to write and record great songs. Fans always wanted her to record jazz and she sounds great.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Lineup for Jaguar Yokota 30th Anniversary show


Jaguar Yokota and her husband held a press conference Thursday to announce the lineup for her 30th Anniversary show at the Garden Hotel Laforest on Mar. 11. This will be the biggest joshi show in years. Aja Kong & Lioness Asuka also attended the press conference. The show will have two parts, a wrestling show and then singing wrestlers. Just about everybody will be there but the big news is the return to the ring of 70s joshi legends Mimi Hagiwara, Tomy Aoyama & Lucy Kayama. The Crush Gals and Maki Ueda of The Beauty Pair will appear on the second part of the show.





The wrestling show has two parts. The first part will be a 30 girl Royal Rumble style battle royal. The wrestlers will enter the ring at 25 second intervals and elimination can occur by pinfall, submission, DQ or going over the top rope. Of course Jaguar Yokota will be in the match along with Mimi Hagiwara, Tomi Aoyama & Lucy Kayama. I believe this may be the first wrestling appearance by these three since they all retired. Also appearing is Devil Masami, Dump Matsumoto, Yumiko Hotta, Manami Toyota, Mayumi Ozaki, Mariko Yoshida, Kaoru Ito, Michiko Ohmukai, Yoshiko Tamura, Misae Genki, Tanny Mouse, Yuki Miyazaki, Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima, Toshie Uematsu, Sachie Abe, Nanae Takahashi, KAZUKI, AKINO, Hiroyo Muto, Saki Maemura, Haruka Matsuo, Nozomi Takesako & Cherry. I think there may be one more wrestler to be announced.





With the exception of the main event, the rest of the show will have matches featuring the participating promotions. First will be Hikaru vs Natsuki*Taiyo in a Pro Wrestling SUN match. Then Noriyo Tateno vs Takako Inoue in an LLPW match. Then Commando Bolshoi, Azumi Hyuga & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Kayoko Haruyama, Kaori Yoneyama & ECO in a JWP match. Then Kyoko Inoue vs Etsuko Mita in a NEO match. The main event is a six girl Jaguar Yokota 30th Anniversary match with Jaguar Yokota, Dynamite Kansai & Ayako Hamada vs Aja Kong, Amazing Kong & KAORU.





This will be followed by a concert led off by Lioness Asuka & Chigusa Nagayo. This will be followed by Devil Masami singing and she will be followed by Mimi Hagiwara. Mimi has actually been an actress since her retirement. Finally Maki Ueda of The Beauty Pair will sing with a partner to be announced. Of course Maki's Beauty Pair partner Jackie Sato died of cancer in 1999 at age 41. There will also will be some sort of talk show and there was something about Jaguar's husband doing a tap dance. Maybe they're kidding about that. I assume there will be some sort of ceremony commemorating Jaguar Yokota's 30th Anniversary. As I said, this will be the biggest joshi show in recent memory and could be a lot of fun. Here's a classic match from Aug. 22, 1985. It's Jaguar Yokota vs Lioness Asuka.


Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Kim Burrell

Song:I Keep Holding On

Album:Everlasting Love





Kim Burrell is a gospel artist from Houston very popular with other singers. Too bad that can't get her a decent record contract. She was spotted singing in a choir and signed with Tommy Boy Gospel. The 1998 CD Everlasting Love was produced by veteran producer Asaph Ward. Burrell writes & arranges most of her own material. Tommy Boy Gospel closed in 2002 and Kim has not released a record since then. She did sign with Sony after appearing on a Tye Tribbett CD. There was supposed to be a CD released a couple of years ago but it never came out. With all the mergers & acquisitions at Sony, I checked to see if she's still signed but it doesn't look like it. Singers like Beyonce, Faith Evans & Angie Stone have expressed their admiration for Kim. She even recorded a recent duet with Harry Connick Jr. and he loves her too. It's a shame that someone as talented as Kim Burrell hasn't released a CD since 2001. She continues to tour and appear on other folks records. Here's Kim Burrell singing Thank You from one of those Christian networks in the US. The website shown on the screen is kaput.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Michael Waltrip redeems himself and qualifies for the Daytona 500


The Duel 150s were run today to determine the qualifying order for this Sunday's Daytona 500. But the big story is that Michael Waltrip has qualified for the Daytona 500. It's been a bad week for Waltrip. During Sunday's pre-qualifying inspection, a foreign substance was found in the intake manifold. The car was impounded and it appears the substance may have been some sort of gel that's used in jet fuel. Waltrip was fined and penalized 100 points. Crew chief David Hyder and Michael Waltrip Racing director of competition Bobby Kennedy were ejected from the Daytona 500. Hyder has been fired and replaced by Scott Eggleston. Waltrip apologized and said that an employee did this on his own without management approval. There were also penalties given to the teams of Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler & Scott Riggs. Here's a Fox Sports video explaining their penalties.





But Michael Waltrip was still eligible to qualify for the Daytona 500. But he had to start at the back of the field in a backup car he had never driven. But he knows how to drive at Daytona. Tony Stewart won the first race but Michael Waltrip Racing got great news from this race. All three cars qualified for the Daytona 500. It's very convoluted but Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett & David Reutimann are all in the race. Jeff Gordon won the second race but then flunked post qualifying inspection and he will have to start at the back of Sunday's field. Joe Nemechek & Mike Wallace qualified in that race. Sterling Marlin was locked in and let both guys pass him so they could qualify. The other Toyota teams did poorly. Both Red Bull Racing Toyotas, Brian Vickers & AJ Allmendinger, crashed out and Jeremy Mayfield & Mike Skinner of Bill Davis Racing failed to qualify too. David Gilliland & Ricky Rudd are still in the front row for Sunday's Daytona 500.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Kenny Dorham

Song:Hill's Edge

Album:Round About Midnight At The Cafe Bohemia





Kenny Dorham was an excellent trumpeter who was somewhat overshadowed by guys who were considered more innovative. But he was a great musician and composer and is worth a listen. He was born Aug. 30, 1924 in Fairfield, TX. He was in Charlie Parkers's band 1948-49. He was an original member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1954. He left in 1956 to form his own group The Jazz Prophets. This live recording is from that period. It was originally released on two LPs. In 2002, Blue Note reissued the entire concert in its entirety on 2CDs. It's a great recording. Musicians are JR Monterose on tenor sax, Kenny Burrell on guitar, Bobby Timmons on piano, Sam Jones on bass and Arthur Edgehill on drums. Dorham replaced Clifford Brown in Max Roach's band after Brown's death. He left in 1958 and recorded several solo albums in the early 60s. Kenny Dorham's career faded in the late 60s and then he died of kidney failure on Dec. 5, 1972 at age 48. Not surprisingly, there is very little video footage of Kenny Dorham available. But I was able to find a short clip on through Blinkx and I posted it on blip.tv. So here's Kenny Dorham performing Scandia Skies.

This is Kenny Dorham performing Scandia.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Athtresses get revenge on Caribbean Army in JD Star


The war between the Athtress Army and the Caribbean Army continued on JD Star's Feb. 11 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. Shuu Shibutani has been getting clobbered but they have to let the Athtresses get a little revenge to make it interesting. Also, Fuuka takes on Kyoko Inoue. Guess how that turns out.





The opener has Kaori Yoneyama & Yasusato Nakajima coming over from JWP to take on rookies Bisa Ohata & Hiroyo Matsumoto. The JWP isolate Ohata and Yoneyama finishes her off with a double arm suplex at 12:33. Next was HIROKA vs Bullfight Sora. This was billed as HIROKA's final match in JD Star. Bullfight Sora wone with a high kick and some sort of submission shoke at 9:30. I haven't seen anything about HIROKA's future.





Fuuka challenged Kyoko Inoue to a Topgun match. Well, that's what they called it. Not surprisingly, Kyoko controlled the match. She did hurt her ankle during the match. She's been having trouble with it for a while now. Fuuka tries to attack but it doesn't work. Kyoko hits a lariat and a power bomb for the win at 10:53. The main event had Shuu Shibutani, Cherry & Lily Urai against CARIBBEAN KIM, RUM & MOON. Shibutani has taken a lot of grief from these three and that continues in this match. But KIM accidently nails MOON and Cherry uses her Cherrybomb to win at 22:21. The post match celebration is challenged by KIM. If the Athtresses are so confident, let's put together three singles matches on an upcoming show and if the CARIBBEAN Army loses, they'll leave JD Star. I say future show because I don't think they're doing this on this Friday's show. They already have matches scheduled for that show including Saki Maemura & Shuu Shibutani vs Fuuka & Hiroyo Matsumoto.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Grant Green

Song:Time To Remember

Album:Alive!





Grant Green was a very popular jazz guitarist in the 60s. His career faded in the 70s and then he died. But his music has had a rebirth because of sampling by hip hop guys. Also, there aren't a lot of jazz guitarist around today so that causes fans to look at music from the past. He was born June 6, 1931 in St. Louis. His dad taught him guitar and he was playing professionally in a gospel group by age 13. His sound was a mix of R & B and jazz. Lou Donaldson, a sax player with a similar sound, brought Green to the attention of Blue Note and Green moved to New York in 1960. After playing a few sessions, Green made several very popular albums in the 60s. This 1970 CD Alive! was recorded at the Cliche Lounge in Newark, NJ. It's one of Green's best records and a good introduction for newcomers. Musicians are Claude Barlee on tenor sax, Billy Bivens on vibes, Neal Creaque & Ronnie Foster on organ, Idris Muhammad on drums and Joseph Armstrong on congas. A Tribe Called Quest sampled this album. Grant Green had drug problems and died on Jan. 31, 1979 at age 47. He's an unsung hero of jazz. Usually when folks hear his music, they want to hear more because it's very accessible. There's not much video footage of Grant Green but here's short clip of what appears to be some sort of guitar summit from the early 70s.


Well, we finally got that big snowstorm overnight. It was pretty bad on the streets this morning and it's still snowing. I certainly hope it stops soon or I may have to buy a plow.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A bad day for Sonoko Kato at Feb. 10 OZ Academy show


As many fans are aware, Sonoko Kato returned to joshi after a five year injury layoff because of several knee surgeries. She has worked mostly for her old pals at OZ Academy and seems to be the designated whipping girl for now. Kato took an extra helping of abuse on the Feb. 10 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. The attendance was announced as 350 and the Wizard Of OZ tournament continued too.






The opener was described as an "Annoying Match" between Chikayo Nagashima & veteran garbage wrestler Shark Tsuchiya. It looks like Shark won but there are no details on the OZ website. Shark has a long history of using weapons on Nagashima for over a decade so I'm sure we can inagine the finish. Next was Dynamite Kansai against Sonoko Kato. It seems Kato wants to team with Kansai. Kansai didn't waste any time and after several German suplexes and a diving foot stomp, Kansai won in 4:21.





Kansai agreed to team with Kato after the match. Mayumi Ozaki, Aja Kong & Police came to the ring and that would set up a tag team match. Ozaki & Aja concentrate on attacking Kato's knees. It also looks like Kansai may have abandoned Kato. After a severe beating, Aja used a kneelock to get a submission from Kato at 16:43. The main event was a Wizard Of OZ tournament match between Aja Kong & Carlos Amano. With some help from Police, Aja dominated the match but couldn't put Amano away. It was a ten minute time limit draw. Aja currently leads the tournament. The next OZ Academy show is Mar. 10 at Shinjuku FACE.

Shinobu Kandori wins All Star Strongest Woman tournament


When Shinobu Kandori announced the All Star Strongest Woman tournament a few months ago, she claimed that her motivation was to show that joshi puroresu could still put on a big show. So she decided to book the finals in the 10,000 seat Sumo Hall. When she was accused of being delusional, she said the tournament wasn't about making money. It was about restoring luster to the joshi business. She forgot to mention that she would torpedo the whole thing with mind boggling selfish and silly booking. That didn't improve on LLPW's Feb. 12 Sumo Hall show but they did find 5,832 fans at the show. Harley Saito & Eagle Sawai also celebrated their 20th anniversary in joshi with a special match.





The opener was LLPW newcomer Francoise against Bambi. I guess Francoise is Kandori's idea of an idol wrestler. Francoise won her first match last month. She hit Bambi with three missile dropkicks but Bambi used a high kick to win at 8:52. Then a comedy match with Bolshoi Kid over Obacchi Iizuka in 7:22. Next was the tournament semi final between Meiko Satomura & Mayumi Ozaki. It was the usual stuff with Police helping Ozaki and wrapping a chain around Satomura's neck. But Satomura came back and won with the Scorpion Rising at 10:06.





The other semi final had Shinobu Kandori against Dump Matsumoto. How do you think this ended? Dump did her usual shtick and busted Kandori open with a fork. And of course Sasori helped her. But then Dump was DQd for hitting the ref at 8:12. If you're keeping score, that's the third DQ in this tournament and the second to benefit Kandori. How lame is that? The final will be the main event. Next was a six person tag with Eiger, Sayuri Okino & Amazing Kong over Noriyo Tateno, Yumiko Hotta & I Haran in 14:12. Then Kyoko & Takako Inoue vs Dynamite Kansai & Kaoru. It's mostly a power match with lariats and footstomps. Kyoko won over Ito with a lariat in 14:12. I understand Kyoko's ankle was really hurting.





The special mixed match for Eagle Sawai & Harley Saito's 20th anniversary was next. Saito teamed with Ichiro Tenyru against Sawai & Hika Kitahara. The main thing that was talked about was the action between Tenyru & Eagle. He said he had a lot of fun and would like to work with her again in a singles match. He won with a lariat at 9:21.The final of the tournament was the first ever meeting between Shinobu Kandori & Meiko Satomura. Anyone hoping for a classic matchup with Satomura prevailing would be disappointed. Satomura would get some offense in but Kandori wore her down with a sleeper and finished her with two power bombs at 11:37. Afterwards, Satomura admitted some disappointment with the match. It doesn't look like fans liked it much either. Kandori didn't care. She stood in the ring with the trophy. Talk about delusional.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Curtis Mayfield

Song:Superfly

Album:The Anthology 1961-1977



The songs Curtis Mayfield wrote as leader of The Impressions would have been enough to make him one of the all time greats of R & B. But he reinvented himself in the early 70s with music that was just as good. His music from the film Superfly is better than the film and cemented Mayfield's place in music history. This 2CD Anthology comp is the only one that covers both periods. Mayfield continued to tour through the 80s though not with the same success. He became paralyzed when a lighting rig fell on him during a concert in Brooklyn on Aug. 14, 1990. He continued to record and tour until his death on Dec. 26, 1999 at age 57. Here's Curtis Mayfield performing Superfly in 1972 just to give you a taste of his talent.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Lester Young

Song: Just You, Just Me

Album:Lester Young and The Oscar Peterson Trio




Lester "Prez" Young is one of the all time greats of jazz saxophone. He was born Aug. 27, 1909 in Woodville, MS, moved to New Orleans and moved to Minneapolis at age 11. By age 18 he was touring with Art Bronson's Bostonians. He played for various bands until he joined Count Basie in 1934. He left Basie to replace Coleman Hawkins in Fletcher Henderson's band but that didn't work out and he went back to Basie in 1936. That's where Young's lifetime association with Billie Holiday began. He was Billie's favourite sax player. It's said that Young wasn't the same after his time in the service but this 1952 session with Oscar Peterson for the tiny Norgan label is one of his best. It also features Barney Kessell on guitar, Ray Brown on bass & JC Heard on drums. Verve picked it up after Norgan went under and the 1997 CD reissue is essential listening. Lester Young had a serious drinking problem and died on Mar. 15, 1959 at age 49 in New York. Here's Lester Young with Hank Jones, Ray Brown, Bill Harris & Buddy Rich from 1950. It's actually part of a longer film featuring Charlie Parker but this part features Young.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Robert Yates Racing on front row of Daytona 500


As I've said in the past, Daytona 500 qualifying is very convoluted. Today's qualifying simply sets up the running order for Thursday's Duel 150s. Those races set up the actual running order. Only the front row is complete and Robert Yates Racing had the two fastest qualifiers. David Gilliland won the pole in his very first Daytona 500 in the #38 M & M's Ford. His teammate Ricky Rudd returned from a one year hiatus to be in the second position in the #88 Snickers Ford. The top 35 in 2006 owners points are locked into the field. The top three qualified cars that are nor locked in are now locked in. They are Boris Said-#60 No Fear Energy Drink Ford, Sterling Marlin-#14 Waste Management Chevy & Johnny Sauter-#70 Yellow Freight Chevy. Either Dale Jarrett or Bill Elliott will get a past champion provisional. That leaves four spots for the other 21 cars. Michael Waltrip's car was impounded after the race so we don't know about him yet. Anything can happen in Thursday's races and probably will. Some big name teams will miss this race.

Womens MMA history made at EliteXC show


Showtime's MMA company EliteXC debuted last night. Of course most fans are talking about the unsatisfactory finish to the main event between Frank Shamrock & Renzo Gracie. But womens MMA took a big step last night with a match appearing on live TV in North America for the first time. It was on Showtime in the US and The Fight Network in Canada. And many fans praised it as the match of the night. Here's my take.





The match was between Gina Carano & Julie Kedzie. Carano was 3-0 and made a big splash on December's Strike Force show and this was a very big opportunity for her. Kedzie was 6-4 and the Bloomington, IN native is a Hook 'N' Shoot veteran. Both are trained in Muay Thai and are adept strikers. It was a pretty good match won easily by Carano by unanimous decision. She landed some very hard shots but couldn't put Kedzie away. And though Carano faded a bit in the third round, she had enough of a lead to hold on. Carano was fortunate that Kedzie isn't much better on the ground than her. It looked like neither of them knew what to do on the ground. Kedzie was a good opponent to showcase Carano. So the fight did succeed in showcasing women as fighters. But if Carano is moving up to fight more formidable opponents, she's really going to have to work on her ground game. I can think of several fighters that would be willing to take a couple of shots to get her on the ground. She wouldn't last long. The fight was a very positive experience and the promoter deserves a lot of credit for putting women on the show. Here's Gina Carano's post match interview courtesy of Sherdog.



Gina Carano post match interview
Uploaded by frankp316

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Tramaine Hawkins f/Walter Hawkins

Song: The Potters House

Album:8 Great Hits:Women Of Gospel





Tramaine Hawkins is a very popular gospel singer and is a member of the Hawkins family from Oakland, CA. She started out as a teenager with The Edwin Hawkins Singers and was on their landmark hit Oh Happy Day. She married Edwin's brother Walter Hawkins in the early 70s and they've been working together ever since. Walter Hawkins is a tremendous talent and Tramaine is a great singer. Tramaine started recording solo in the mid 70s and had some mainstream success with the 1983 hit In The Morning Time. She continues to tour today with her husband and the rest of the Hawkins family. Her new CD I Never Lost My Praise will be out next month on GospoCentric. The Potters House is from Tramaine's 1990 CD Live on Sparrow Records. I would recommend that over this EMI Gospel budget comp. Live has guest appearances by Carlos Santana, Stanley Turrentine & Jimmy McGriff. The Potters House was written by veteran songwriter V. Michael McKay with a great arrangement by Walter Hawkins. And here is Tramaine & Walter Hawkins performing The Potters House from this very concert. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:The Temptations

Song:Ball Of Confusion

Album:Anthology





By the late 60s, Berry Gordy had to make Motown's music more socially & politically relevant. Of course Marvin Gaye was at the forefront of that. But The Temptaions had some great songs too. Norman Whitfield had taken over from Smokey Robinson as Temptations producer in 1966 and gave them a harder edged sound. Then David Ruffin was fired in 1968 for missing dates and was replaced by Dennis Edwards of The Contours. He took over a lot of the lead vocals including this great song Ball Of Confusion written by Whitfield & Barrett Strong. You'll notice by this video from The Smokey Robinson Show from 1970 that the clothes became flashier. They still had the dance moves though. Ball Of Confusion was a hit single and then tacked on to Greatest Hits Vol. 2. This Anthology comp is out of print so I recommend The Ultimate Collection. The video quality isn't up to par because this guy taped it from his TV.

Friday, February 09, 2007

NASCAR preview


NASCAR Nextel Cup is back this weekend with tomorrow's Bud Shootout leading up to next week's Daytona 500. The major change for the 2007 season is Toyota's entry into Nextel Cup. There are 61 entries at the Daytona 500 and only 43 spots. It's going to be more competitive just to qualify for races and no one really knows how Toyota will do. Only Dale Jarrett & Dave Blaney are guaranteed spots and next Thursday's Duel 150s are going to be very intense. The other thing is the introduction of the Car Of Tomorrow at Bristol. That will be completely integrated by next season. NASCAR made a couple of tweaks to the Chase format mainly that 12 cars will qualify for the Chase. Juan Pablo Montoya's performance will be a big story too.





Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the biggest story in NASCAR this week. His contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) is finished at the end of this season. He could leave. He has not had a cordial relationship with stepmother and DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt. He had a meeting with her, longtime DEI president Richie Gilmore and newly hired president of global operations Max Siegel. It looks like Siegel could be a key figure in the negotiations because he's new and adds a fresh perspective. Who is Max Siegel? Despite his name, he's black and his background is the black gospel music business. He's the former president of Verity Records & Tommy Boy Gospel Records. So as a marketing guy, he seems to understand that letting Jr. leave would be a public relations nightmare for DEI. Jr. told the media yesterday that he has asked for majority ownwership of DEI. Is the relationship between Jr. & Teresa so bad that she won't do that? Who knows but Siegel could be the right guy to smooth things over. This will be very interesting.





I'm looking forward to the 2007 NASCAR season because for the first time, Canadian NASCAR fans will get to see all the races in the top three series. That's because TSN has agreed to carry Busch Series races for the first time. There's no doubt that they wanted the Montreal race and NASCAR told them they had to take all the races. ESPN is showing the Busch Series in the US so if NASCAR & ESPN hadn't twisted TSN's arm, we wouldn't have got to see any of the races. I don't know if they're showing the races live. I'm looking forward to the 2007 season. It should be fun as usual. Here's a recent clip of Dale Earnhardt Jr. defending Teresa Earnhardt after Kevin Harvick called her a "deadbeat owner".

Smackgirl announces Open Weight tournament matches


Smackgirl has announced the semi final matches for the Super Gals Mix Cup Open Weight Tournament. These matches will be on the Mar. 11 Shinjuku FACE show and the final will be on May 19. The winner gets a shot at Amanda Buckner's Smackgirl Open Weight Championship. One match will have Smackgirl veteran Tama Chan (pictured in polka dots) against Michiko Takeda. Tama Chan's record is 12-5 and her last fight was a win over Mamiko on the Nov. 19 G-Shooto show. Next week she will be in Costa Rica for the Bodog Fight tapings. Takeda is 1-0. She won over pro wrestler Atsuko Emoto on August's Wrestle Expo show. The other match will have Yuiga vs HIROKO. Yuiga is a pro wrestler who works for Nightmare Pro Wrestling. Her MMA record is 3-3. Her last fight was a KO win MIKA on the Nov. 29 Smackgirl show. HIROKO's one fight was a win over Rie Murakami on that same Smackgirl show. A Flyweight Title match between Satoko Shinashi & Misaki Takimoto has already been announced. Tama Chan looks like the favourite in this tournament but I wouldn't normally describe her as a serious title contender.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Sam Cooke

Song:Twistin' The Night Away

Album:One Night Stand:Sam Cooke Live At The Harlem Square Club 1963




Sam Cooke is one of the all time greats of R & B and his music is still very memorable today. He started out in gospel as lead singer of The Soul Stirrers. Though Cooke eventually signed with RCA Records, he wrote most of his own songs and owned publishing rights. This was very unusual in the 50s. He did compromise and his RCA recordings were more pop than R & B. His live show was a different story and that's what One Night Stand is about. This live recording sat in the RCA vault until it was first released in 1985. It includes saxman King Curtis' band. This 2005 remastered version is a must for R & B fans. Cooke is just fantastic. Like a lot of R & B artists, Cooke was a gospel singer at heart. Sam Cooke died in mysterious circumstances in a Los Angeles motel on Dec. 11, 1964 at age 33. There have been rumours over the years that it was a mob hit. Here's Sam Cooke performing Blowin' In The Wind on Shindig in 1964.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:Gerald Levert w/Eddie Levert Sr.

Song:Baby Hold On To Me

Album:Private Line





R & B singer Gerald Levert had some pretty big shoes to fill growing up in Cleveland. His father is Eddie Levert Sr. of the O'Jays, a living legend of R & B. Gerald started out recording with his brother Sean Levert & Marc Gordon as Levert. After some success, Gerald recorded his first solo album Private Line in 1991. He continued to work closely with Gordon along with another writer producer Edwin Nicholas. Baby Hold On To Me is a great duet with Gerald and his dad. Gerald wrote and produced it with Nicholas and it was a #1 R & B hit. Gerald & Eddie would go on to record the album Father & Son in 1995. Gerald Levert continued to have great success through the 90s not only as a solo performer but as part of the group Levert, Sweat & Gill. He also produced acts such as The Winans & Patti Labelle. Suddenly Gerald Levert died of a heart attack on Nov. 10, 2006 at age 40. It's a great loss as there's no doubt at he would have produced a lot more great music. But he made his daddy proud with what he did accomplish. Here's a video of Gerald & Eddie Levert singing Baby Hold On To Me.




I started a blog yesterday for the co-op. It's called the Robert Cooke Co-op Community Blog. I'm still working on it but feel free to check it out. I have added it to the links and have also added a few other links like the video sites Veoh, Viddler & Daily Motion. I found Viddler at the Webware news blog so I have added that site too. It's very useful.

Gerald Levert / Eddie Levert - Baby Hold On to Me

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

HIROKA flattens Fuuka at Feb. 4 JD Star show


So JD Star hasn't said anything about the POP Title since Fuuka dropped it to Natsuki*Taiyo at the Dec. 31 Junior All Star War. Neither has Pro Wrestling SUN but it's not their belt. So I don't really know what JD Star is thinking but it's interesting to note that the Athtresses have been losing consistently on all their shows. The Feb. 4 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show had Fuuka eagerly awaiting her match with HIROKA. And the Athtress/Caribbean Army war continues along it's path.





The opener was Bullfight Sora vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. Sora is a comedy gimmick and they had her upset with Matsumoto over something she said about the previous show's Cow On A Pole match. A little conflict never hurts. Matsumoto won with a Majistral Cradle in 10:00. Next was Ayumi Kurihara & Bisa Ohata vs NEO Tag Team Champs Misae Genki & Haruka Matsuo. This was Ohata's first tag match. Not surprisingly, Kurihara carried the match and had some good exchanges with Matsuo. But in the end Matsuo pinned Ohata with a diving body press at 19:53.






Shuu Shibutani keeps getting hammered in this Athtress/Caribbean Army war. This time she teamed with Marcela against CARIBBEAN KIM & MOON. It looks like Maecela is scheduled to return to Mexico after this match. As usual, the CARIBBEANS beat up Shibutani and finished her with the Caribbean Impact double team at 17:05. Fuuka vs HIROKA was the main event. Marcela seconded HIROKA. Technico & Rudos together? Impossible. The fans booed HIROKA. HIROKA controlled the match with occasional help from Marcela. HIROKA blocked Fuuka's F Doll finisher and then hit her Hirokeya (AP Cross) and then her Muerte de Christ finisher for the win at 15:13 (pictured). Muerte de Christ has the opponent suspended in the air like a crucifix and she drops her face first on the mat. The two shook hands afterwards. Things aren't likely to improve for Fuuka next week. She will face Kyoko Inoue. Unlike Marcela, HIROKA will remain in Japan.

Feb. 4 JWP Dojo show is all beans


I don't usually get to write about JWP's Dojo shows but I have a detailed report on the Feb. 4 show. It's a smaller and shorter show with silly gimmick matches. There were 104 in attendance. And the matches aren't taped and don't mean anything in storylines. The opener had Leon vs rookie Kaori Oki. Oki didn't get much offense and Leon won with a spear at 6:50.






Next was a gimmick tag team match. It was Tsubasa Kuragaki & ECO vs Azumi Hyuga & Commando Bolshoi. The gimmick is like calling shots in billiards. Each team has to name a finisher and when they hit it, the match is over. Hyuga & Bolshoi named a double dropkick and Kuragaki & ECO named a body slam. There's no three count. I'm sure it won't surprise you that there were a lot of false finishes but Kuragaki hit a lariat and then a body slam at 12:52.





The main event was another silly gimmick match and that's normal for these dojo shows. It was Sachie Abe, KAZUKI & Kayoko Haruyama vs Kaori Yoneyama, Leon & Yasusato Nakajima. Yoneyama had beans declared as a legal weapon. That's right, a food fight. And if a wrestler falls outside the ring, she has to eat a plate of beans in order to return to the ring. Yoneyama pushes Haruyama into the corner and stuffs beans in her face. At one point, there are four wrestlers on the floor eating beans. Haruyama gets revenge on Yoneyama by stuffing beans up her nose. Eventually it turns into a normal match for a while and then Haruyama gives Nakajima a Pedigree onto a plate of beans in the middle of the ring at 17:01. Think about that for a second. The next JWP show is Feb. 11 at Cinema Club and the lineup for the JWP Tag Team Title #1 Contenders tournament will be named.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Artist:The Four Tops

Song:Baby I Need Your Lovin'

Album:The Ultimate Collection





Not only are The Four Tops one of the greatest vocal groups of all time but they've stayed together since forming in a Detroit high school in 1954. The Four Tops are Levi Stubbs, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson & Lawrence Payton. Stubbs is one of the best singers in pop music history and could have just as easily gone solo if he wanted to. They originally signed with Chess in 1956 but didn't get far until Berry Gordy signed them in 1963. Baby I Need Your Lovin' is a 1964 classic and one of many Four Tops hits written & produced by Brian & Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier, known as Holland/Dozier/Holland. They left Motown in 1968 and Frank Wilson produced the Tops until The Four Tops left Motown for ABC in 1972. The group continues today. Lawrence Payton died of liver cancer in 1997 and was replaced by Theo Peoples but the other guys are still touring. The Ultimate Collection has all their hits and is perfect. Here's The Four Tops performing Baby I Need Your Lovin' in 1965.