Monday, April 30, 2007

Yuka Tsuji easily wins at Apr. 28 Smackgirl show

The other day someone asked me who would win the main event at Smackgirl's Apr. 28 Taisho Azeria show between Yuka Tsuji & Thricia Poovey. I suggested that the better question is how long will it take for Tsuji to finish her. For all Smackgirl's attempts to hype Poovey as King Of The Cage Flyweight Champ and Small Satan, she doesn't belong in the ring with Tsuji. And Tsuji is very calm about it. She just goes in and gets the job done. Poovey attempted to attack Tsuji with strikes but once Tsuji took her down, she just pounded on her until the ref stopped the match at 4:10 of round one. Poovey tried to bridge out but couldn't and Tsuji continued to hammer her. So an easy win for Yuka Tsuji. The big rumour is that Tsuji and Megumi Fujii will have their long awaited showdown in August. I sure hope so.

Megumi Yabushita made her return to Smackgirl against Benkei. Yabushita threw her around at will and along with several judo throws she nailed her with knee kicks while on the ground. Benkei got a yellow card for an illegal strike to the face and that assured Yabushita of win by unanimous decision. Smackgirl brought in a fighter named Kanitta from Thailand to face Ayumi "Edge" Saito in a Smackgirl Killer Queen Flyweight tournament bout. Edge hit her with a left hook and then took her down and finished her with an arm bar at 4:17 of round one.

Other fights included the Gi Grappling One Day tournament. Mika Nagano won over Atsuko Yamaguchi 5-4. Yasuko Mogi won over Yumi Masuda 3-0. In the final Yasuko Mogi won over Mika Nagano with an arm bar at 3:48 of round two. In a Next Cinderella Middleweight tournament match, Miyuki Aruga won over Hiromi Obata by unanimous decision. In a Next Cinderella Lightweight tournament match, Saori Ishioka won over YOKO by unanimous decision. In a kickboxing match, MANA won over Mi Kuni by unanimous decision. In a tae kwon do match, Yukiko Inoue won over Keiko Hanaoka. And Fukuko Hamada won over Akemi Morihara with an arm bar at 1:28 of round two. Check out the above picture of Yuka Tsuji posing with Hisae Watanabe, Madoka Okada and her title belt. Want to see more? The following slide show is courtesy of the Gravity Japanese Womens MMA fansite.


Jeff Gordon wins at Talledega

When Jeff Gordon won last week at Phoenix and tied Dale Earnhardt for number of NASCAR Nextel Cup wins, he rode around the track with a #3 flag as a tribute. Some fans didn't take it that way and pelted the track with beer cans. Dale Earnhardt Jr. thanked Gordon for the tribute. He didn't understand why some fans were upset but suggested they should throw a roll of toilet paper because no one ever needed stitches after getting hit in the head with toilet paper. Gordon's not exactly a favourite at Talledega either and Gordon won the pole for Sunday's Aarons 499.

The race was clean at the start but things got a little messy at the end. Jeff Gordon's #24 Dupont Chevy led the first lap but was passed for the lead by Sterling Marlin's #14 Waste Management Chevy. These two trade the lead until Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy leads on lap 20. After green flag pit stops, Gordon leads on lap 51. Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevy is too fast on pit road and goes a lap down. He gets the lap back after a lap 74 debris caution.

A caution comes out on lap 81 when Clint Bowyer's #07 Jack Daniels Chevy hits the wall. Kurt Busch's #2 Miller Lite Dodge leads after pit stops. After several brief lead changes, Jeff Gordon leads on lap 105. Green flag pit stops begin on lap 125. Casey Mears' #24 National Guard/GMAC Chevy is tapped from behind by Jimmie Johnson on lap 126 and hits the inside wall. Mears thought he was piiting with his teammate but Johnson didn't know about it. Kenny Wallace's #78 Furniture Row Chevy leads after pit stops.

On lap 131, Tony Raines & Jimmy Johnson drift up the track and Ricky Rudd's #88 Snickers Ford hits the wall. Kyle Busch's #5 Kellogg's/Carquest Chevy & Joe Nemechek's #13 CertainTeed Chevy hir the inside wall hard and Jeff Burton's #31 Cingular Chevy spins into Busch. Elliott Sadler's #19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge leads after pit stops but Denny Hamlin's #11 FedEx Chevy takes the lead on lap 140.

At this point in the race, fuel mileage could be an issue. Denny Hamlin continues to lead and everyone is in single file for now. A lap 179 debris caution takes fuel mileage out of the equation for most guys but some stay out anyway. I don't like that strategy at Talladega because most cars can still get to the front in ten laps. Jamie McMurray's #26 Sharp Aquos Ford takes the lead on lap 183. David Reutimann's #00 Dominos Pizza Toyota blows an engine on lap 185. Jeff Gordon takes the lead just before the caution comes out. This sets up a green/white/checker finish. On the final lap, Greg Biffle, Johnny Sauter, David gilliland & Tony Stewart all crash. The field is frozen and Jeff Gordon wins the race. And as the above picture shows, fans pelted the track with beer cans again.

Congratulations to Jeff Gordon, crew chief Steve Letarte and car owner Rick Hendrick. Big top ten finishes for David Gilliland, David Stremme, Ryan Newman & Martin Truex Jr. Gordon still leads the points. Nextel Cup is in Richmond on Saturday. Here's the top ten of the race and a race recap video.


1.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

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

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

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

5.26/Jamie McMurray/Sharp Aquos/Ford/Jack Roush

6.29/Kevin Harvick/Shell Pennzoil/Chevy/Richard Childress

7.8/Dale Earnhart Jr./Budweiser/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.

8.40/David Stremme/Wrigley's Winterfresh/Dodge/Chip Ganassi

9.12/Ryan Newman/Kodak/Dodge/Roger Penske

10.1/Martin Truex Jr./Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

Song:Wings And Things

Album:Cote d'Azur Concerts On Verve

Sometimes record companies do strange things. This 8CD box set is a complete version of Ella Fitzgerald/Duke Ellington concerts in Cote d'Azur, France on July 26-29, 1966. The box set finally reflects the reality of the concerts though Verve hasn't completely figured that out as Ella isn't really on this very much. The problem was that Ella's sister was dying and she had to return to the US to deal with that. The other thing is she doesn't actually perform with Duke though she had in the past. Verve has always sold this album as Ella Fitzgerald & Duke Ellington and they even do that on this box set. But it's really a Duke Ellington box set and is recommended to his fans. His band is in top form and this extended jam of Wings And Things features sax player Johnny Hodges. It even features a full CD of rehearsal recordings. I guess it was easier to sell the album giving Ella top billing. But it isn't accurate. Here's video from Cote d'Azur with Ella Fitzgerald singing Satin Doll. She's backed by her own trio and the Ellington band but Ellington isn't on this.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pit strategy gives Erik Darnell Kansas Craftsman Truck win

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was back at Kansas Speedway for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250. During the break, NASCAR mandated a new intake manifold for the Toyota teams to try and even out the field. Mike Skinner was looking for his fourth win in a row and he won the pole too.

The pattern of this race is anyone who gets out front can stay there because they're getting clean air. But they'll have trouble back in the pack. Mike Skinner's #5 Toyota leads at the start. A spin by Clay Rogers' #40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevy brings out a caution on lap 8. Erik Darnell's #99 Northern Tool & Equipment Ford had to go to the back of the starting grid for an unapproved change. Crew chief John Quinn has him pit to take him out of sequence. This will turn out to be the move of the race.

Mike Skinner continues to lead until green flag pit stops begin on lap 53. Erik Darnell gets the lead on lap 61. Johnny Benson's #23 360 OTC Toyota gets loose and bumps Kelly Sutton's #51 Team Copaxone Chevy into the infield grass to bring out a caution on lap 72. Darnell still leads and Skinner is never able to return to the front. That's about it. Darnell wins easily and Rick Crawford, Jack Sprague, Johnny Benson & Mike Skinner are the rest of the top five. That early pit stop turned out to be the key to Darnell's win. Here's video of the final lap. Skinner still leads the points and the next Craftsman Truck race will be in Charlotte in three weeks.

Bobby Labonte wins Talledega Busch Series

Bobby Labonte & Tony Stewart were teammates for Joe Gibbs Racing for several years in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series. Both are former champs. So it was kind of cool to see them as teammates again at Saturday's Aarons 312 in the Busch Series at Talledega. Both were driving cars owned by Kevin Harvick. That relationship was a key to the finish. 19 year old Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver Brad Coleman won the pole.

It was a typical Talledega race with the cars running in packs, constant lead changes and the closeness of the racing causing several accidents. It's exciting for fans but scares the drivers. Brad Coleman's #18 Carino's Italian Grill Chevy leads at the start. Ward Burton's #27 Cottonelle Ford runs second but is spun out on lap 8. Martin Truex Jr. & Scott Wimmer are badly damaged. On lap 20, Carl Edwards' #60 Sharp Aquos Ford leads. On lap 28, Kyle Busch's #5 Delphi Chevy pulls out to try and take the lead. Instead of going with him, Tony Stewart's #33 Old Spice Chevy clips him. Busch winds up on his roof and then rolls over several times in the grass. He's fine.

Everyone pits but Kasey Kahne's #9 Shedd's Country Crock Dodge had pitted earlier so he stays out to lead. David Gilliland's #25 Free Credit Ford spins on lap 56 to bring out a caution. Most guys pit and Casey Mears' #24 National Guard Chevy takes the lead. Greg Biffle's #16 3M Ford crashes on lap 91 to bring out a caution. He got caught in a bump draft sandwich. Carl Edwards bump drafted him not knowing that Juan Pablo Montoya was close to Biffle's front bumper. He got out of shape. Very typical of Talladega.

Everyone makes final pit stops. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 Menards/Vertis Chevy has been up front and is poised to get back there but he breaks a transmission on lap 96. Casey Mears is leading. Aric Almirola's #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy hits the wall to bring out a caution on lap 101. Then the dreaded "big one". On lap 110, Ward Burton bump drafts Steve Wallace's #66 HomeLife Communities Dodge and Wallace takes out Stephen Leicht, Kasey Kahne, Mike Bliss Marcos Ambrose & David Reutimann. NASCAR throws the red flag for cleanup.

Casey Mears leads on the restart. Debris from Kasey Kahne's wrecked car brings out a caution on lap 116. He probably shouldn't have been out on the track. On the green/white/checker restart, Mears leads but Bobby Labonte's #77 Dollar General Chevy is pushing Tony Stewart to the front. He does exactly that and is somehow able to pass Stewart for the win on the final turn. Check out this exciting video footage. Carl Edwards still leads the points The Busch Series is in Richmond this Friday.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Shirley Caesar

Song:Patiently Waiting

Album:Live...He Will Come

Shirley Caesar is known as The First Lady Of Gospel Music. She was born Oct. 13, 1938 in Durham, NC. She grew up singing in church and started out in the 60s with The Caravans. Shirley's music has become the standard by which other gospel artists are judged. She's almost 70 years old now and she shows no signs of slowing down. This 1995 CD Live...He Will Come is fairly typical. It's a live recording with her backup singers and a choir. Shirley's performances are always energetic and this video of Sweeping Through The City illustrates that. Shirley was with Word Records for over 30 years but was dropped in 2003. She now has her own label distributed through Artemis and released I Know The Truth in 2005. She has her own church in Durham and is also involved in the recent Caravans reunion. Shirley Caesar is more than a gospel music icon. She is a great entertainer and is worthy of your time.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Stevie Wonder

Song:Another Star

Album:Songs In The Key Of Life

Stevie Wonder was already an extraordinary talent as a teenager but adulthood allowed him to take more control of his music. This revealed him to be more talented than anyone knew. His music became more sophisticated and had a deeper meaning. His 1972 album Talking Book was a huge success and eventually he decided to record an even more ambitious album. The result is 1976's Songs In The Key Of Life. The only problem was it took forever for him to record it. Motown got on his case and it was finally released as a 2LP set with an extra single. It has some of Stevie's best songs including Another Star but in retrospect one can see some self indulgence. Maybe he could have cut some songs or split it into two albums. It's still great and is available on two CDs now. Stevie's self indulgence would become more apparent with the mostly instrumental The Secret Life Of Plants and then he lost his edge in the 80s and became sappy and sentimental. It's only with his 2005 CD A Time To Love that he seems to be returning to form. So Stevie Wonder is a genius but a flawed genius just the same. Here is Stevie Wonder performing Another Star in Madrid, Spain Apr. 17, 1995.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mickie James vs Victoria on HEAT Take 2

Again the WWE has Mickie James vs Victoria on HEAT and again I am posting the match here for your convenience. You may have heard that there was a WWE Womens Title switch on a house show in Paris earlier this week. There was a three way match with Melina, Mickie James & Victoria. Mickie pinned Victoria to win the title. Melina came out later in the show and whined to Coachman that she lost the title without being pinned. Of course he gave her a match with Mickie and Melina regained the title with her feet on the ropes. Apparently the original title swap was a mistake as Victoria didn't kick out in time. Maybe the ref messed up. But the WWE has acknowledged the title swap on their website. Enjoy the match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Animals

Song:House Of The Rising Sun

Album:Best Of The Animals

Like a lot of the better British Invasion groups of the 60s, The Animals were heavily influenced by America R & B of the 50s. They came out of two groups from Newcastle. The Kansas City Five featured Alan Price on piano, John Steel on drums & Eric Burdon on vocals. Price left to join Chas Chandler's group The Kontours and in 1963 Steel & Burdon would join him in what was then called the Alan Price R & B Combo. Guitarist Hilton Valentine was added and the group name was changed to The Animals. Their first EP led them to manager Giorgio Gomelsky and producer Mickie Most. House Of The Rising Sun was their first big hit in 1964. Alan Price reworked this traditional blues song. His organ solo still sounds great today. The song was also huge in the US after MGM picked them up. They had several follow up hits. Alan Price left the group in 1965 reportedly over a fear of flying. Actually he wasn't getting along with Burdon. Then they split with Most in 1966 as they thought he was taking the band in a more pop oriented direction. This comp has a lot of their hits from the mid 60s. The Animals split up in 1966 but Burdon reformed them and still tours with a version of The Animals today. Price has never gone after commercial success as a solo artist but he's still active in England. The Animals' best songs are still great today and here they are performing House Of The Rising Sun in 1964.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mongolian wrestler Esi to debut on May 3 Ibuki show

Nikkan Sports says a Mongolian whirlwind will make her mark on the joshi puroresu business. She is 21 years old and her ring name is Esi (pictured on the right). She will debut teaming with Ran YuYu against Leon & Aya Yuki at the May 3 Ibuki show at Korakuen Hall. Ibuki owner and trainer Mariko Yoshida says though Esi is still new to joshi, she has a hungry spirit that many of today's young girls don't have.

Yoshida went on a talent hunt to Mongolia on New Year's Day of this year. A joshi video was shown to young people in Ulan Bator. There was representation from judo & sumo as well. Yoshida watched Esi at judo and asked her if she was interested in pro wrestling. Esi had watched pro wrestling on TV at home. She accepted and went to live at Yoshida's house in February. She has been training ever since and Yoshida gives her pocket money. Yoshida says she is starting her own dojo in May and plans to return to Mongolia in July. She feels that once other girls see Esi's success, they'll want to come train in Japan too.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Michel Camilo

Song:Why Not?

Album:One More Once

Michel Camilo is one of today's best Latin jazz pianists. He was born Apr. 4, 1954 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Several of his uncles are musicians. Camilo was classically trained but listened to jazz growing up. He moved to New York City in 1979. He played in the band of Cuban sax player Paquito d'Riviera for three years. His song Why Not? became a hit for The Manhattan Transfer. This earned him a contract at Columbia. Camilo has recorded solo piano, in trios and in big bands and is equally adept at them all. The 1994 CD One More Once is a big band recording. Featured musicians include Ralph Bowen, Paquito d'Rivera & Chris Hunter on sax, Michael Mossman & Jon Faddis on trumpet, Anthony Jackson on bass and Marvin "Smitty" Smith on drums. It's a very lively recording. Camilo moved to Telarc Records in 2002 and his latest CD Spirit Of The Moment is out this week. He's been touring recently with flamenco guitarist Tomatito. Michel Camilo was also a big part of Fernando Trueba's wonderful Latin jazz documentary Calle 54. The DVD is a must for any jazz fan. And here's Michel Camilo from Calle 54 performing From Within with Anthony Jackson on bass and Horacio Hernandez on drums. This is a killer performance.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kayo Noumi getting married

Retired All Japan Women wrestler Kayo Noumi announced today on her blog that she has registered for marriage. It looks like the wedding will be this weekend. Kayo was a very popular AJW wrestler from 1995 until her retirement in April 2004. She was a decent wrestler but was probably popular for her sexy photo books. Of course she had a very popular tag team with Miho Wakizawa until Miho's retirement in 2002. Kayo has been acting on the stage in Tokyo since her retirement. She is marrying Horiuchi Watotono of the pop group PaniCrew. On behalf of joshi fans worldwide, congratulations to the happy couple.

NEO has their own silly press conference

NEO held a press conference on Tuesday to hype some of the matches for their May 3 Korakuen Hall show. Strangely enough, the tag team title match was not part of the press conference. I don't know what to make of some of the stuff they're doing on this show. They have a pop singer in one of the matches and they have all this Ice Ribbon involvement that only adds really bad comedy. Isn't Tanny Mouse enough?

The press conference began with the contract signing for the JWP Junior Championship match. This was straight forward. Champ Arisa Nakajima & challenger Aya Yuki signed the contract. Nakajima said she is still upset that she didn't win Discover New Heroine II and she wants to redeem herself by defending her title. Yuki said she has never won over Nakajima but hopes to bring the title to NEO.

At this point, the press conference entered the twilight zone and stayed there. Yoshiko Tamura was in attendance to talk about her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles defense against Sakura Emi. But where was Emi? Well, she's been going out of her way to irritate Tamura and her latest shtick is she may have to cancel the match because she isn't feeling well. So she sent her Ice Ribbon partner Makoto to represent her. Tamura says "Are you telling me Emi has a tummy ache? Is she an adult or a child?" Then she starts yelling at NEO GM Koda. Makoto said she would sign the contract for Emi and she brought her own belt to put up at the match. Tamura said that when she's finished with Emi on May 3 the Ice Ribbon belt will go in the garbage. She chased Makoto out of the room.

There's a match on this show with Makoto (pictured) & Etsuko Mita against The Mummy & a mystery partner. Yeah, it's a guy in a mummy suit. If you haven't seen Makoto, her whole shtick is she is a terrible wrestler and a coward. She runs around the ring a lot. I guess this is supposed to be comedy. So she was there with the mummy. Mita isn't there. Someone said she's afraid of the mummy. The Mummy pulls a photo out of his pocket and gives it to Koda. Koda confirms that the mystery partner is Manami Toyota. Makoto looks very worried about this and The Mummy chases her around the room and out the door. If you want to see video footage of the press conference, go to NEO's website at and go to the NEWS section.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Roy Hargrove

Song:Salima's Dance

Album:Nothing Serious

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove is one of the busiest guys in the music business. Not only does he have his own jazz group but he also tours with his R & B group RH Factor and he finds the time to play as a sideman too. He was born Oct. 16, 1969 in Waco, TX. Wynton Marsalis visited his high school in 1987 and Hargrove was invited to sit in with his band. He started playing sessions and was part of Don Sickler's group Superblue. Meanwhile he signed a solo contract with Novus Records. He continued to tour in the early 90s and moved to Verve Records in 1995. His jazz recordings are very straight forward bop. But he started hanging around with some of the Neo Soul crowd and in 2000 played trumpet on a record by rapper Common. He started to get more into that music and started RH Factor in 2003. Nothing Serious is his latest jazz CD. Salima's Dance is a beautiful song written by pianist Ronnie Mathews. Other musicians include Willie Jones II on drums, Dwayne Burno on bass, Justin Robinson on alto sax and Slide Hampton on trombone. Verve also released the RH Factor CD Distractions on the same day as Nothing Serious. Roy Hargrove is a great musician and will continue to be in demand by his peers. Here's Roy Hargove with tenor sax legend Johnny Griffin performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shibutani suffers while Fuuka is AWOL from JD Star

As I mentioned recently, it appears that JD Star is doing some sort of angle with Fuuka motivated by her whining after Ayako Hamada beat her up. She was supposed to team with Shuu Shibutani and was replaced by Mai Ichii. Next week she was supposed to continue the Topgun series against Manami Toyota. She won't be there. I'm not exactly sure what they're up to. We'll find out soon enough. The Apr. 22 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show featured four League Princess tournament matches.

After the usual introduction by the Athtresses, Bullfight Sora came down to the ring and confronted JD Star general manager Kobayashi. She wanted to know why she wasn't on the show. He told her she doesn't have a match today. Sora proceeds to take a seat in the crowd complete with cow mask. The opener was a League Princess tournament match between Hanako Kobayashi & Misaki Ohata. Kobayashi dominated the match. After hitting five cross body blocks, Kobayashi finished her at 7:22 with a diving body press and a fisherman suplex.

Next was Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Kaori Ohki. Ohki throws dropkicks but Matsumoto shrugs her off. Ohki attempts a battering ram into the corner but Matsumoto catches her with an elbow and a backdrop for the win at 3:46. Next was Arisa Nakajima vs Murasaki. Murasaki shows some athleticism with dropkicks, a face buster & a 619. But Nakajima counters with ane elbow, a missile dropkick and finishes her with a diving body press at 4:38. The final tournament match had Yuri Urai vs Aya Yuki. Urai controls the match but almost doesn't put her away in the ten minute time limit. Urai wins with a sleeper at 9:59. Urai leads with six points.

The main event had Shuu Shibutani & Mai Ichii vs Kyoko Kimura & Ayumi Kurihara. Shibutani & Kurihara exchange elbows but Kurihara gains control. Ichii tries her luck with Kimura but is beaten down. Shibutani is isolated by Kimura & Kurihara. Kimura hits a brain buster and the Big Boots. Shibutani tries to come back with a senton, a missile kick & a swinging DDT. But Kurihara hits a back throw and Kimura wins with a hurricanrana and a lancet arch at 16:46. Afterwards, JD Star announced that Manami Toyota will appear in the Apr. 30 main event against Ayumi Kurihara. Also, Cherry returns to team with Shuu Shibutani against Mai Ichii & Yuri Urai. And Commando Bolshoi will face Bullfight Sora plus a couple of League Princess tournament matches.

I hope you all like a new feature I have added to the blog. Normally I place a single pic at the top of the article. But I have found a site called Mixercast that will allow me to embed a slide show in the blog. So when I have pics available, that's what I will do. All you have to do is click on one of the thumbnails and you have your very own slide show right here on the blog. You can also watch it in full screen by hitting the button on the bottom right hand corner of the player. The slide show will be permanently hosted at the Mixercast site so you can always watch it there. All the pics in this slide show are from the Apr. 21 JD Star show from a Japanese fansite. Enjoy!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Son Seals

Song:Buzzard Luck

Album:Chicago Fire

Hard charging bluesman Son Seals was a fixture of the contemporary Chicago blues scene. He was born Aug. 14, 1942 in Osceola, AR. His dad owned a local club and blues legends such as Sonny Boy Williamson & Albert King played there. Seals initially played drums but by age 18 he took up guitar and was leading a band in Little Rock. But he knew that to make a living in the blues he would have to go to Chicago. When his dad died in 1971, Seals moved to Chicago permanently. While playing at The Flamingo Club in 1973, producer Wesley Race called Alligator Records owner Bruce Iglauer and held the phone in his direction so he could hear Seals play. Seals became a mainstay at Alligator. The 1980 album Chicago Fire is fairly typical of his fiery guitar licks. On Jan. 5, 1997, Seals was shot in the jaw during a domestic dispute with a former spouse. Then in 1999, he had a leg amputated due to diabetes. That didn't stop him. He signed with Telarc and released Lettin' Go in 2000. Son Seals continued to tour until his death on Dec. 20, 2004 at age 62. Here's Son Seals on a video called Thru Da Keyhole with performance & interview footage from Houston in 2000.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Amanda Buckner to defend Smackgirl Open Weight Title on May 19

Smackgirl has announced that they will have yet another double shot on May 19 at Shinjuku Face. There will be anafternoon and evening show. The afternoon show will consist of Next Cinderella 2007 tournament matches. The evening show will have the finals of the Supergals Mix Cup Open Weight tournament along with a one day grappling tournament called Smackgirl Killer Queen.

But the main event of the evening show will have Amanda Buckner defending the Smackgirl Open Weight Championship. This is very good news for Smackgirl as in the past they've had trouble getting gaijin champs to return to defend titles. This will be Buckner's first title defense since winning it over Megumi Yabushita in Feb. 2006. Her record is 10-4-1 and her most recent win was over Hitomi Akano on the recent Bodog Fight show. The challenger is veteran fighter Yoko Takahashi. She trains with Yabushita. Her record is 10-8 and most recently lost to Jen Case at the Feb. 17 Fatal Femme Fatales show in Los Angeles. The final of the Supergals Mix Cup tournament will have HIROKO vs Micheko Takeda and there will also be the Killer Queen one day grappling tournament. Eri Kaneya & Mai are scheduled to appear on the show.

The afternoon show will have semi final matches for the Flyweight, Lightweight & Middleweight Next Cinderella 2007 tournaments. Some related matches are on next week's show. In a Flyweight bout, Madoka Ebihara will face SACHI. The Lightweight bouts will have Emi Tomimatsu vs Yuka Okomura and V1 against the winner of the Apr. 28 YOKO/Saori Ishioka match. The Middleweight bouts will have Benkei vs HARUMI and the winner of the Apr. 28 Miyuki Ariga/Hiromi Obata against a replacement opponent to be named due to injury.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Sonny Rollins

Song:I Can't Get Started

Album:A Night At The Village Vanguard

Sonny Rollins is one of the all time greats of the tenor sax. He was born Sept. 7, 1930 in New York City. He started out playing with JJ Johnson & Bud Powell but made his name with the Miles Davis band in 1951. He spent two years with Thelonious Monk and was with the Clifford Brown/Max Roach band until Brown's death in 1956. He's recorded as a leader ever since. A Night At The Village Vanguard was recorded for Blue Note on Nov. 13, 1957. There are two sets with different musicians. I Can't Get Started has Donald Bailey on bass and Pete LaRoca on drums. Rollins was one of the first guys to work minus a piano and it seemed to work well for him. Blue Note released these recordings on seperate albums in 1957 but rereleased them as a 2CD collection in 1999. Of course Sonny Rollins has had a long career in jazz. His latest CD is 2006's Sonny, Please and he does a monthly webcast on his website. Here's Sonny Rollins performing Weaver Of Dreams in Holland in 1959.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Gordon gets lucky at Phoenix

The old saying "You have to be good to be lucky and you have to be lucky to be good" comes to mind when talking about Jeff Gordon's win at Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500 in the NASCAR Nextel Cup in Phoenix. BTW, the 500 is in kilometers. It was actually 312 miles. Gordon is leading the points but he's looking for his first win of the year. Phoenix is one of the few tracks where he hasn't won and his next win will tie the late Dale Earnhardt at 76. He started by winning the pole. But no one has ever won from the pole at Phoenix.

It started before the race when Jeff Gordon's helmet radio wasn't working. So the crew had to get his backup helmet from the hauler. Jeff Gordon's #24 Dupont Chevy led until Denny Hamlin's #11 FedEx Kinko's Chevy takes the lead on lap 27. Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy is having electrical problems and is switching between his two batteries. Big crash on lap 42. David Ragan's #6 AAA Ford makes contact with Tony Stewart and hits the wall. He's hit by David Stremme's #40 Coors Light Dodge. Scott Riggs & Casey Mears are also involved.

Hamlin continues to lead. Debris brings out a lap 97 caution. Everyone pits. Hamlin is caught speeding on pit road and starts 31st. First bit of luck for the eventual winner. Kevin Harvick's #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy leads at the restart. Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevy takes the lead on lap 155. Harvick loses the handle on his car and drops back. Stewart continues to lead but green flag pit stops are looming with 35 laps remaining.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 Budweiser Chevy & Martin Truex Jr.'s #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy pit on lap 279. Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch & Ryan Newman pit on lap 282. Jeff Gordon comes in on lap 283. Meanwhile, Dave Blaney's #22 Caterpillar Toyota is spun out while slowing down to come into the pits. He crashes into JJ Yeley's #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy. This turns out to be a disaster for guys who have already pitted except one. Newman's pit crew panics and his stop is a disaster. He finishes 38th. Earnhardt, Truex & Busch wind up on the tail end of the lead lap. They will need a caution to get back in the race. Busch finished 18th & Earnhardt finished 19th.

What about Jeff Gordon? Because he had the first pit stall, he was already past the start/finish line when the caution came out. He could have gone right through pit road and gone back on the track but crew chief Steve Letarte had him complete his pit stop as planned. When all the lead lap cars pitted during the caution, Gordon was the leader. How's that for luck? Tony Stewart is second and he uses the lapped car of Martin Truex Jr. as a pick to take the lead on lap 298. Gordon goes under Stewart on lap 299 to get the lead back. After that, he gets enough of a lead to hang on for the win.

Congratulations to Jeff Gordon, crew chief Steve Letarte and car owner Rick Hendrick for the win. Congratulations to Gordon for tying Dale Earnhardt in wins at 76. Denny Hamlin would come back to finish third but he had a car that could have won except for the pit road speeding penalty. Big top ten finishes for Jeff Green, Bobby Labonte & Johnny Sauter. Jeff gordon still leads the points. The Nextel Cup is in Talledega next week. Here's the top ten of the race and a video recap of the race.


1.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

2.20/Tony Stewart/Home Depot/Joe Gibbs

3.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx Kinko's/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

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

5.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush

6.66/Jeff Green/Best Buy/Chevy/Gene Haas

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

8.43/Bobby Labonte/Cheerio's-Betty Crocker/Dodge/Petty Enterprises

9.70/Johnny Sauter/Haas Automation/Chevy/Gene Haas

10.29/Kevin Harvick/Shell Pennzoil/Chevy/Richard Childress

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Bobby Womack

Song:Holdin' On To My Baby's Love

Album:Midnight Mover:The Bobby Womack Collection

Bobby Womack is another R & B legend whose church roots come through loud and clear in his music. He was born Mar. 4, 1944 in Cleveland. His dad Friendly Womack Sr. was a gospel singer and Bobby & his brothers performed as The Womack Brothers when Bobby was a child. When they opened for The Soul Stirrers in 1953, Sam Cooke befriended the boys and when Cooke started his own label SAR he signed them as an R & B crossover act. Dad threw them out of the house when he learned they were doing secular music so Cooke sent them money and a car so they could come to Los Angeles. Cooke convinced them to change their name to The Valentinos in 1962 and they started to have success. The Rolling Stones 1964 recording of Womack's It's All Over Now made Bobby Womack rich. Sam Cooke's tragic death in 1964 left The Valentinos in limbo. Womack married Cooke's widow and that was not received very well in the R & B community. The mid 60s were a dry period for Womack as a singer but plenty of his songs were recorded by others and he was in demand as a guitarist. He also met producer Chips Moman in Memphis and that would pay off later. In 1968, he recorded an album of covers for Minit Records that was well received. Minit was taken over by United Artists and his 1971 debut Communication was produced by Chips Moman. He had several R & B hits and his remake of the old Valentinos hit Lookin' For A Love Again was his only pop top ten in 1974. Holdin' On To My Baby's Love is a great song from the 1973 album Facts Of Life. Midnight Mover is a 2CD comp of Womack's United Artists recordings and is worth getting. Bobby Womack continued to record in the 80s and still tours today though he hasn't recorded lately. Here's Bobby Womack Performing Lookin' For A Love Again on Soul Train in 1974.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Takahashi plans to chase Amazing Kong to the US

Pro Wrestling SUN held another one of their press conferences on Friday to announce a World 1 Womens Title match for the May 27 Korakuen Hall show. But first Nanae Takahashi said she was still upset that Amazing Kong skipped out on a recent SUN show. She says Kong gave her the slip but at least she doesn't have the AWA World Womens Championship. Takahashi says she is going to the United States on May 10. She wants to have a match in Los Angeles with Amazing Kong. She doesn't know exactly how she will do this. She thinks maybe SUN could do a show there. That would be interesting but seems unlikely. She says when she finds Amazing Kong she will knock her down. "Let's all go to Los Angeles." OK, just make sure you send a camera with her.

It was announced that Natsuki*Taiyo will defend the World 1 Womens Title against Kyoko Kimura on May 27. Kimura came in late to the press conference and proceeded to talk smack about Natsuki* Taiyo and the SUN wrestlers. She said there is no creation without destruction and SUN will always walk down a thorny path as long as REM is around. She proceeded to pull out a thorny bush and threatened to hit Natsuki*Taiyo with it. Natsuki pushed Kimura but Kimura kicked her and proceeded to brain her with the bush. Kimura stormed out of the press conference. Nanae Takahashi, Hikaru, Saki Maemura, Toshie Uematsu, Panther Claw & Jaguar Yokota are all scheduled to be on the show. Here's video of the press conference. I know it's in Japanese. You'll enjoy it anyway.

Clint Bowyer wins Phoenix Busch Series race

As I've said before, Kyle Busch has had a very strange Busch Series season. He's led more laps than anyone but something always seems to happen. And he won the pole for Friday's Bashas Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix. Can he change his luck?

The race starts with a first lap crash. Shane Huffman's #88 US Navy Chevy gets out of shape and collects Aric Almirola's #18 Banquet Foods Chevy & Tony Raines' #33 Road Loans Chevy. Huffman said he didn't know what happened but there may have been a problem with his brakes. Kyle Busch's #5 Spectracide/Lowe's Chevy leads at the restart. Clint Bowyer's #2 Camping World Chevy takes the lead on lap 50.

Ward Burton's #27 Scott's Shop Towels Ford gets loose and crashes into Bobby Hamilton Jr.'s #35 McDonald's Ford on lap 95. Everyone pits except Ryan Newman's #12 Kodak Dodge stays out to take the lead. on lap 102, Kyle Busch clips Newman and takes both guys out. Casey Mears' #24 National Guard Chevy slows down and gets hit from behind by David Ragan's #6 Discount Tire Ford. Bowyer gets the lead but is passed by Jeff Burton's #29 Holiday Inn Chevy on lap 117.

At lap 130, fuel mileage could become an issue but David Stremme's #41 Wrigley's Winterfresh Dodge crashes into Todd Kleuver's #16 3M Ford to bring out a lap 137 caution. Everyone makes final pit stops but Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge takes two tires to lead. He's immediately passed by Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth & Denny Hamlin and then Montoya crashes into Steve Wallace's #66 HomeLife Communities Dodge to bring out the caution on lap 148.

Bowyer continues to lead but Matt Kenseth's #17 iLevel Ford takes the lead on lap 171. Jeff Burton is closing in third. Stephen Leicht's #90 Citi Financial Ford blows a tire and hits the wall to bring out the caution on lap 189. seven laps remain and Bowyer leads. Kenseth has to fight off Burton for second. On the final lap, JJ Yeley's #1 Miccosukee Casino Chevy spins and takes out Jon Wood's #47 Clorox Ford. The yellow comes out but because the white flag was out, the race is over and Clint Bowyer wins. Carl Edwards still leads the points and the Busch Series is in Talledega next week. Here's video footage of Kyle Busch's crash.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Teddy Pendergrass

Song:Turn Out The Lights

Album:Bedroom Classics Vol. 1

R & B crooner Teddy Pendergrass is justifiably identified with "bedroom music" and he certainly rode that particular wave in the 70s & 80s. He was born Mar. 26, 1950 in Philadelphia. He grew up singing in church and was an ordained minister at age ten. By his late teens, Teddy was a drummer for a local vocal group called The Cadillacs. They merged with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and he was named lead singer. Philadelphia International Records owners Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff signed the group and they had a long string of hits in the early 70s. But Melvin & Pendergrass weren't getting along. Teddy left the group and formed his own version of the Blue Notes. Melvin had his version of the group too. In 1977, Teddy went solo and signed with Philly Int'l. He reunited with Gamble/Huff. He had a long string of hits including Turn Out The Lights from the 1979 album Teddy. A 1982 car accident left Teddy paralyzed from the waist down and he continued to tour in a wheelchair. He signed a new contract with Elektra/Asylum in 1983 and had more hits in the 80s. He continues to tour today but hasn't recorded since 1998. Bedroom Classics is a series of comps from Rhino. Others in the series include Peabo Bryson & The Isley Bros. Teddy Pendergrass became famous for getting couples in the mood for love. I don't think much has changed in thirty years. It should still work. Here's Teddy Pendergrass performing You're My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration in 1981.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Joshi odds and ends

A couple of odds & ends. Some of them goofy.

NEO has announced that Kyoko Kimura & Vanessa The Mountain will challenge for the tag titles on May 3. I believe Kyoko Kimura brought up AK at last week's show but nothing was finalized at that time. Meanwhile, NEO GM Koda is running a show called Indiana Girl Fight on May 5 at Itabashi Green Hall. This was originally scheduled as a NEO show but it seems Koda is a little annoyed about all the publicity surrounding Antonio Inoki's new company IGF debuting the same day at Korakuen Hall so I guess this is a spoof. I get the impression this IGF show will consist of NEO trainees. I don't know if this is a one shot deal or what.

Mr. Gannosuke has resigned from WMF and has joined Ice Ribbon as some sort of advisor I think. Ice Ribbon is still emphasizing the pre teen girls and those girls even have their own blog. They're running a lot of shows but it's like Tamura said. Each show gets 40 fans so it's hard to take them seriously.

Tomoka Nakagawa has left K-Dojo and has joined Ibuki.

Pro Wrestling SUN has announced that Natsuki*Head will defend the World 1 Womens Title against Kyoko Kimura on the May 27 Korakuen Hall show and that Jaguar Yokota & Panther Claw will also appear.

It seems that T-1 president Futami is planning to revive T-1 Grand Prix as an AV wrestling company on June 27. No I'm not kidding. Soft core porn wrestling companies are a dime a dozen in Japan.

Upcoming events

Just a couple of upcoming events I will be attending that I wanted to mention. The Canadian Diabetes Association will be having their annual Livesmart Diabetes Expo on May 27 at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place. It is wheelchair accessible. The cost is $10 before May 6. They will have some seminars along with a trade show. Mostly I'm going for the trade show. I'm always looking for new products. For more info, check out their website at

Also coming up is the annual People In Motion trade show for the disabled. This will be June 1 & 2 at the Queen Elizabeth Centre at Exhibition Place. This show is free and highly recommended to the disabled and family especially if you're shopping for a van or another big ticket item. Regular readers will recall that I wrote about this show for the Canadian Paraplegic Association magazine Outspoken last year and I will be doing that again this year. check out the show website at and maybe I'll see you there.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Henry Threadgill & Make A Move

Song:And This

Album:Where's Your Cup?

Alto sax player Henry Threadgill has been at the vanguard of the avant garde jazz movement since the 60s. He was born Feb. 15, 1944 in Chicago and along with fellow Chicagoans Anthony Braxton & Muhal Richard Abrams has produced some very interesting music. He started out in the early 60s as part of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and was part of Abrams' Experimental Band. In 1971 he would form a group that would eventually receive a lot of acclaim as Air. Threadgill is known for experimenting with unusual instruments. In the mid 90s he somehow signed with Columbia and 1997's Where's Your Cup? was his third of three CDs for them. For an avant garde guy who is supposed to be difficult to listen to, it's very accessible but it's not commercial. I don't know whay a major label would sign him. Musicians include Brandon Ross on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on bass, JT Lewis on drums and Tony Cedras on accordian. That's right;accordian. Take that, Walter Ostanek. Bill Laswell produced the CD. Henry Threadgill hasn't recorded since 2001. It looks like he's been playing with violinist Billy Bang. Here is Henry Threadgill at the 2005 Pomigliano Jazz Festival in Italy playing and talking about his music.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Genki/Yuki win Discover New Heroine II

JWP held the finals of the Discover New Heroine II tournament on Apr. 15 at Korakuen Hall. The thing I noticed about it is it had nine matches on the show. That's a long show and fans can poop out by the final. They had seven tournament matches and two additional matches. It might have been better to run it over two days. But they had one big show and the additional matches included a special appearance by Jaguar Yokota. All tournament matches were scheduled for a fifteen minute time limit.

Let's start with the round two tournament matches. Misae Genki & Aya Yuki defeated Toshie Uematsu & Rei at 8:50. Genki over Rei with a cutback cradle. Tsubasa Kuragaki & Shuu Shibutani defeated Aki Kanabayashi & Mai Ichii at 12:07. Kuragaki over Ichii with a lariat. Nane Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo defeated Kayoko Haruyama & Aoi Kizuki in 10:38. Natsuki over Kizuki with the Taiyo*Bomb. Apparently Natsuki*Taiyo was very good in this. Azumi Hyuga & Arisa Nakajima defeated Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara in 12:45. Hyuga over Kurihara with the Michinoku Driver II. It seems Nakajima performed well in this tournament. Jaguar Yokota teamed with Kaori Yoneyama & Kaori Ohki vs Sachie Abe, KAZUKI & Manami Toyota. I guess the idea is that Jaguar trained all three of her opponents. Yoneyama over KAZUKI with a back cradle at 12:45.

The tournament semi finals were next. Misae Genki & Aya Yuki defeated Tsubasa Kuragaki & Shuu Shibutani at 7:38. Genki over Shibutani with the G Driver. Azumi Hyuga & Arisa Nakajima defeated Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo in 13:57. Hyuga over Natsuki with a diving knee attack. Next was a three way masked wrestler match where the loser unmasks. It was Commando Bolshoi vs Leon vs ECO. Bolshoi pinned ECO with the tiger suplex at 7:59. ECO unmasked and turned out to be former LLPW wrestler Keiko Aono. Of course they pretended like she was a new person but Aoko will continue to work for JWP.

Misae Genki & Aya Yuki won the Discover New Heroine II tournament over Azumi Hyuga & Arisa Nakajima in 12:44. Yuki used a Kamikaze on Nakajima. It starts with a fireman's carry and she lunges forward to drop her on her back. The fans in attendance named Hyuga & Nakajima the best team. Nakajima was named the best junior wrestler and Hyuga & Nakajima vs Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo was named best match. Considering that, it was a little surprising that Genki/Yuki won. You'd think Bolshoi would want to elevate Nakajima by having her team win the tournament. Oh, those backroom deals.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Kierra "Kiki" Sheard

Song:This Is Me

Album:This Is Me-Special Edition

20 year old gospel music sensation Kierra "Kiki" Sheard is the personification of the old saying "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree". Her grandma was gospel music pioneer Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and her mom is Karen Clark Sheard of the legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters. Kiki is as fabulous as her mom. She first surfaced at nine years old singing on her mom's 1997 CD Finally, Karen. I don't usually like the idea of putting little kids on records but Kiki didn't sound like a kid. After appearing on her mom's other CDs, she signed with EMI Gospel at age 17. Her 2004 debut I Owe You showed her unbelievable talent at a very young age. This new CD This Is Me continues that. Obviously she has a great voice just like her mom but she has also inherited instincts that can't be taught. This Is Me is a beautiful song written and produced by veteran producer Uncle Freddy Jerkins. Other producers on this CD include her cousin J. Moss & PAJAM, Warryn "Babydub" Campbell, Keyon Herrold, Antonio Neal & Tommy Sims. They can't wait to work with her. Also her brother J. Drew Sheard Jr. plays drums in her band. This Special Edition of the CD has bonus live tracks. Kiki Sheard is so accomplished at age 20, I can't wait to see what she's like in five years. Here's Kiki Sheard's wonderful video for This Is Me. Check out the guitar work of Akil Thompson.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

K-Grace womens MMA fed announces debut show

A press conference was held in Tokyo Wednesday to announce a new womens MMA company called K-Grace. The company is owned by the Marupro Gym. I believe that this is the same company that attempted to launch the Exciting Box womens wrestling promotion last year. The matches will be supervised by Cage Force & HERO'S rule director Gen Isono. The show producer is Tetsuma Yamada. He edits a newspaper called Naitai Sports and is president of the Japanese Adult Entertainment Writers Association. Their current plan is to run three shows a year. Matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds with rules similar to HERO'S. No knees or elbows on the ground.

Their debut show will be May 27 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo. It will immediately follow the Cage Force show at the same arena. It will be a one night eight woman tournament with $10,000 US dollars up for grabs. And the matches will be in a cage for the first time in Japan since LLPW's L-1 shows over a decade ago. Already signed is Megumi Yabushita, REMIX 2000 champ Marloes Coenen from the Netherlands, Roxanne Modaferri who is a US fighter living in Japan, Polish fighter Magdalena Jarecka and Lithuanian Muay Thai champ Jurgita Leitonaite. Apparently, they are negotiating with Gina Carano. There are conflicting reports about this. Bout Review says she has signed. GB Ring says not yet. The problem is Gina has an Elite XC match coming up on June 2 so the timing isn't good. Gina has had international exposure so it would be a big deal if they could sign her. There will be more fighters added shortly.

NEO sets up May 3 main event at Apr. 14 show

NEO used the Apr. 14 Itabashi Green Hall show to set up the main event of the May 3 Korakuen Hall show. I'll get into that later but first a couple of other developments. 16 year old rookie Nagisa Nozaki suffered a broken nose at last week's Discover New Heroine II show. She's scheduled to be out for a couple of weeks. If you recall, Montreal based wrestler Vanessa Kraven was in Japan last year for the Wrestle Expo show as Vanessa The Mountain. It looks like NEO GM Koda really likes her and she will return to Japan next week for a JWP show. She will be on the May 3 show. Vanessa is a big girl and Japanese promoters like their gaijin heels big so it's not surprising. He says Sumie Sakai told him about her. Koda also says that a singer named Akira Kushida will appear on the May 3 show in some sort of goofy Ice Ribbon match.

The opener of the May 14 show was Kyoko Kimura vs Aya Yuki. Kimura started out with an arm attack but Yuki came back with a shoulder block and an STF. Kimura got the chain out of her corner and brained Yuki. This led to a brain buster for a two count and a wakigatame for the win at 11:32. Next was Etsuko Mita vs Yuiga. I haven't seen her name come up often in joshi feds. Mita won with a romantic clutch at 11:04. Afterwards, Mita wanted to know what she would be doing at the Korakuen Hall show. Ice Ribbon owner Makoto came out and after some discussion a six person tag match Ice Ribbon mat style was set up and today Koda announced the singer's participation.

Next was a tag match that sets up the main event of the May 3 show. Sakura Emi & Aoi Kizuki vs Yoshiko Tamura and Miki Ishii. Ishii replaced Nagisa Nozaki. Tamura & Ishii double team Emi with a double ace crusher. Ishii tags in and Emi uses a power bomb, a diving senton and the smash mouth to win at 17:22. Sakura Emi confronted Yoshiko Tamura and says she has a mind to challenge her for the double titles. Tamura refused at first but Emi talks her into it. Tamura's reasoning was that Emi is used to working Ice Ribbon shows in front of 40 people and isn't worthy of a title shot in Korakuen Hall. BTW, she's right about the 40 people. Sakura Emi says it doesn't matter because Tamura can't draw more fans anyway. There will be vacant seats at Korakuen Hall. Tamura agreed to the match and it was announced as a double title match on Monday.

Next the feud between the China Ribbon Army and NEO Machine Gunz continued with Chou-un Shiryu vs Tanny Mouse. Totchan Chang of the China Ribbon Army is banned from ringside. After some silly comedy, Shiryu wins with a camel clutch at 10:53. This sets up an Ice Ribbon Tag Team Title match for May 3. The main event was Misae Genki, Yuki Miyazaki & Haruka Matsuo vs Mariko Yoshida, Rei & Hiroyo Matsumoto. The end comes after Genki & Matsuo hit swan dives on Matsumoto and then Matsuo wins with a frog splash at 17:46. After Matsuo thanks the crowd for coming, Kyoko Kimura comes in and demands a tag title match for her & Amazing Kong. That match will happen on May 3.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ike & Tina Turner

Song:Proud Mary

Album:Proud Mary:The Best Of Ike & Tina Turner

Ike Turner & The Kings Of Rhythm were already a significant force on the St. Louis R & B scene when in 1956, he offered a teenager named Anna Mae Bullock an opportunity to sing in his band. He kept putting her off and then one night she just grabbed the mike and he hired her and changed her name to Tina. They were married in 1958. In 1959, Ike went into the studio to record A Fool In Love. The male vocalist didn't show so Tina sang the song and it was a top ten R & B hit. Ike & Tina Turner continued to have some hits but part of the problem was they bounced around various small record labels so it was hard to have consistency. This continued through the 60s until they toured with the Rolling Stones in 1969. Their performances on that tour earned them a contract with United Artists. Ike & Tina had their biggest success with this cover of John Fogerty's Proud Mary. They were always a strong live act with Tina's combination of ferocity and sex appeal. They petered out in the mid 70s mainly because of Ike's drug addiction and abuse of Tina. Tina had a lot of pop success in the 80s but Ike continued to have drug problems and spent time in jail. He does record occasionally, most recently the 2006 CD Risin' With The Blues. This comp on EMI covers some of Ike & Tina's early recordings on Sue Records and their records on United Artists. Some of their other material could be tougher to find. Here's Ike & Tina Turner performing Come Together & Proud Mary in 1969.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Fraternity Of Man

Song:Don't Bogart Me

Album:Easy Rider Soundtrack-Expanded Edition

Of course Dennis Hopper's 1969 film Easy Rider broke new ground as a counterculture film. But the soundtrack album was also influential. Hopper couldn't afford a musical score so he showed the film to Columbia execs put to music he had been hearing on the radio. They wanted to keep the music in the film. So they made a deal with ABC-Dunhill Records to release an album of songs from the film and left it to them to acquire the rights for the songs. They did pretty well for the most part except they couldn't get the rights for The Band's The Weight from Capitol. So they substituted a version of the song by Dunhill group Smith. They were fortunate that Steppenwolf was signed to ABC. The album was a huge hit and launched the concept of various artist soundtrack albums. The Fraternity Of Man song Don't Bogart Me is a goofy pro-pot country music spoof complete with steel guitar. They were on ABC too. Even fans familiar with the song don't know the group. They were a short lived group from Los Angeles that came out of Lowell George's group The Factory minus George. Group members included Martin Kibbee on bass, Warren Klein on guitar/sitar, Ritchie Heyward on drums, Elliot Ingber on guitar and Lawrence "Stash" Wagner on vocals. Ingber was from Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention and he brought Mothers producer Tom Wilson with him. Don't Bogart Me is a stoner classic. The group only made two albums and split. The Easy Rider soundtrack was unavailble for years because of music rights issues. But Universal got that straightened out and issued an 2CD Expanded Edition in 2004 on Hip-O. The second CD has hits from the late 60s "inspired" by Easy Rider. So we have Easy Rider to thank for all the various artists soundtracks that have been released over the years. Here's a video set to the tune of Don't Bogart Me. He looks stoned too.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hisae Watanabe wins at Apr. 13 DEEP show

Hisae Watanabe knew she messed up when she lost to Korean fighter Hin Su Hong on the last DEEP show in February. This seems to happen a lot to kickboxers turned MMA fighters. Maybe they lose concentration. But it was a humbling experience for someone who is supposed to be one of the top fighters in Japan. So Watanabe used her Apr. 13 match on the Korakuen Hall DEEP show against veteran fighter Masako Yoshida to redeem herself. You'd think this was a safe bet but that's what they thought in February.

Watanabe's strength are her strikes and that's how she starts out with Yoshida. A couple of straight rights followed by high kicks knock Yoshida down. Yoshida gets back up but is knocked down again by a high kick and a knee kick. Watanabe got her in a foot hold to finish round one. Watanabe begins round two with more kicks. Yoshida tries to block a takedown but Watanabe gets her in a triangle choke. She turns this into an arm bar and Yoshida submits at 2:19 of round two. It's a step for Hisae Watanabe but she needs to redeem herself against the Korean. The Bodog Fight PPV had two womens matches. Amanda Buckner defeated Hitomi Akano by unanimous decision. Kickboxer Julie Kedzie defeated Julia Berezikova by TKO at 2:49 of round two. That was a dark match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Dexter Gordon


Album:The Best Of Dexter Gordon:The Blue Note Years

This comp is a good way for beginners to get a taste of tenor sax legend Dexter Gordon's classic 1960s recordings on Blue Note. But once you hear this beautiful Donald Byrd composition Tanya, you will want more. A lot of jazz musicians moved to Europe in the early 60s. There was more work outside the US and European audiences seemed more appreciative. In Gordon's case, he spent several years in jail on drug charges so that was an incentive for him. So Gordon moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1962. He continued to record great music and remained in Europe until 1976. Tanya is from the 1964 album One Flight Up. It was recorded in Paris June 2, 1964. The band includes three other great musicians living in Europe, Donald Byrd on trumpet, Kenny Drew on piano & Art Taylor on drums. It also includes 17 year old Danish bassist Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen. He would go on to become one of the all time great bass players. All the tracks on this album are lengthy and Gordon always said he felt like he could breathe in Europe and that's why he moved. Blue Note released One Flight Up on CD in 2004 with a bonus track. Dexter Gordon is one of my favourite musicians. His music is intricate and accessible at the same time and he remained productive until his death on Apr. 25, 1990 at age 67. Here's Dexter Gordon performing Night In Tunisia for a Dutch TV show in 1964 featuring George Gruntz on piano.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Jeff Burton wins in Texas

A few years ago, Jeff Burton's days at Roush Racing were winding down and he looked like he was finished after several successful years in NASCAR Nextel Cup racing. But Burton has had a lot to do with the revitalization of Richard Childress Racing. He's helped his own career and the team in general. He's also highly respected among his peers and he received a lot of praise for not taking Kyle Busch out at Memphis. But when will he win a race? How about Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway? Friday's qualifying was rained out and that gave Jeff Gordon on the pole.

The race started with a lap 1 crash. David Ragan's #6 AAA Ford bumped JJ Yeley's #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy into the wall and took both guys out. Ricky Rudd's #88 Snickers Ford slowed down but was hit from behind by Casey Mears' #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy and sent spinning on top of Ragan. The beginning of the race was boring as Jeff Gordon's #24 Dupont Chevy took the lead. He led until Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 Budweiser Chevy took the lead on lap 153.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead with Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy second. On lap 235, Johnson tells his crew that his engine is dying. He starts dropping back. Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge & Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevy pass Johnson while battling for position. On lap 240, Montoya spins out Stewart and Johnson can't avoid hitting Stewart. Johnson finished 38th. Stewart was able to stay on the lead lap. Dale Earnhardt Jr. still leads. On lap 249, Stewart makes contact with Joe Nemechek's #13 CertainTeed Chevy and cuts a tire. Check out the video of Tony Stewart's troubles. Montoya did mess up and Stewart wasn't happy with him.

Meanwhile, Kurt Busch's #2 Miller Lite Dodge takes the lead. Tony Stewart gets loose and spins on lap 253. He doesn't hit anything but Kyle Busch's #5 Cheez-It/Carquest Chevy rams Dale Earnhardt Jr. from behind. Earnhardt finishes 36th & Busch finishes 37th. What happened was Earnhardt saw Stewart spin and slowed down but Busch couldn't see Earnhardt through the smoke. Most guys pit but Kurt Busch & Mark Martin's #01 US Army Chevy stay out. Bad luck kills Busch at this point. He makes a green flag pit stop on lap 292 and a debris caution comes out on lap 293. This puts him back in the pack and he never recovers and finishes 11th.

The leaders make final pit stops and Jeff Gordon leads. Mark Martin is second so not pitting earlier worked out for him. Matt Kenseth's #17 DeWalt Tools Ford is charging and moves up to second. Kenseth takes the lead on lap 318. Jeff Burton's #31 Prilosec OTC Chevy is charging too and he passes Gordon for second on lap 322. Burton catches Kenseth and they battle for the lead with six laps left. Finally on the final lap, Burton gets underneath Kenseth. He doesn't touch him but he does move him up the track and gets the win on the final lap.

Congratulations to Jeff Burton, crew chief Scott Miller & car owner Richard Childress. It was a great win for Burton and he passed Kenseth clean. Big top ten finishes for Martin Truex Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya & David Stremme. Jeff Gordon still leads the points with Jeff Burton eight points behind. Nextel Cup is in Phoenix Saturday night. Here's the top ten of the race.


1.31/Jeff Burton/Prilosec OTC/Chevy/Richard Childress

2.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush

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

4.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

5.26/Jamie McMurray/Crown Royal/Ford/Jack Roush

6.16/Greg Biffle/Ameriquest-3M/Ford/Jack Roush

7.1/Martin Truex Jr./Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.

8.42/Juan Pablo Montoya/Texaco Havoline/Dodge/Chip Ganassi

9.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

10.42/David Stremme/Coors Light/Dodge/Chip Ganassi

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Eddie Kendricks

Song:Keep On Truckin'

Album:The Ultimate Collection

Eddie Kendricks will forever be identified as the falsetto voice on 1960s Temptations hits like The Way You Do The Things You Do. But he also had a significant solo career in the 70s. He was born Dec. 17, 1939 in Birmingham, AL. In the late 50s, he was a member of The Primes along with Paul Williams. He moved to Detroit and The Primes merged with The Distants and became The Temptations. Of course The Temptations had many hits on Motown. Eddie Kendricks left to go solo in 1971. Eddie wisely asked to work with veteran Motown producer Frank Wilson. Wilson encountered former Chess songwriter Leonard Caston who was looking for work at Motown. Along with guitarist Greg Poree's wife Anita, the two wrote and produced the hard driving dance number Keep On Truckin'. It was a number one hit in 1973. Kendricks had several more hits in the 70s but left Motown in 1979 for Arista. This comp has all his Motown hits. Things petered out for Kendricks and he rejoined The Temptations briefly in 1982. He also toured with David Ruffin and became more of a nostalgia act. Eddie Kendricks died of lung cancer on Oct. 5, 1992 at age 51. Here's Eddie Kendricks performing Keep On Truckin' with the 1982 version of The Temptations.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Matt Kenseth recovers from spin to win Texas Busch Series race

They mentioned on the broadcast of Saturday's O'Reilly's 300 NASCAR Busch Sreies race at Texas Motor Speedway that Kyle Busch has led more laps than anyone but has yet to win a race. Something always seems to happen. Can he change his luck? Rookie David Ragan won the pole.

As he has all season, Kyle Busch's #5 Lowe's/Fire Ant Killer Chevy dominated the first part of the race. Denny Hamlin's #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy takes the lead on lap 49 but then pits on lap 51. During green flag pit stops, Matt Kenseth's #17 Arby's Ford spins out but miraculously doesn't hit anything to bring out a caution on lap 55. Check out the video footage. He thought something broke but it turned out he blew a right rear tire. Kenseth went a lap down but got it back later in the race. Everyone pits and Kyle Busch leads. Hamlin & Casey Mears are on the tail end of the lead lap.

Big crash on lap 70. Steve Wallace's #66 HomeLife Communities Dodge drifts up the track into Brent Sherman's #36 Big Lots Chevy. The crash also takes out Reed Sorenson, Shane Huffman & Jon Wood. Wallace admitted afterwards that Sherman's lapped car gave him enough room and Wallace messed up. Kyle Busch continued to lead but during green flag pit stops on lap 126, Regan Smith's #4 Shea Homes Chevy spins to bring out a caution. Kyle Busch had already pitted so he went a lap down. He never got back to the front again and finished seventh.

Denny Hamlin leads off pit road. Casey Mears' #24 National Guard Chevy takes the lead on lap 139. A debris caution comes out on lap 162. Everyone makes final pit stops and Hamlin leads. Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge takes two tires for the lead but he has a loose lug nut and has to pit again. Then on lap 182, Marcos Ambrose's #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford squeezes Montoya into the wall and crashes them both. Hamlin still leads Mears & Kenseth. But Kenseth takes second and then takes the lead with eight laps left. Hamlin can catch him but can't pass him. Matt Kenseth wins and Arby's customers get free fries on Monday. Carl Edwards finished third and still leads the points. The Busch Series is in Phoenix on Friday.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Sonny Simmons

Song:Theme For Linda

Album:Ancient Ritual

The 1994 CD Ancient Ritual was a big comeback for 1960s avant garde alto sax player Sonny Simmons after disappearing for a couple of decades. He was born Aug. 4, 1933 in Sicily Island, LA. but grew up in Oakland, CA. He took up alto sax at age 16 and got started playing in bands led by R & B singers Lowell Fulsom & Amos Milburn. He toured with Charles Mingus in 1961 and then formed a band with flutist Prince Lasha. 1n 1965, he married trumpeter Barbara Donald and they recorded several experimental jazz LPs for ESP Records. But by the mid-70s, Simmons marriage ended and he dropped out of the music business. Supposedly he was even playing in the streets of Oakland. He rarely recorded so he wasn't able to make a complete comeback until signing with Quincy Jones' Qwest label. The excellent Ancient Ritual was the result and it features his son Zarak Simmons on drums and Charnett Moffett on bass. Even mainstream jazz fans who normally wouldn't like Simmons will enjoy this. In 1996, he got together with reed player Michael Marcus for the 1996 CD Transcendence. Marcus plays a lot of different reed instruments a la Rahsaan Roland Kirk. The two formed the group The Cosmosamatics in 2000 and have recorded several free jazz CDs for Boxholder Records. I'm not sure of their status as Boxholder seems to be out of business. Sonny Simmons continues to experiment with the boundaries of jazz at age 73. His 60s albums are worth checking out. I couldn't find any video footage.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Is Fuuka quitting the joshi business?

Something fishy is going on over at JD Star. The company announced Friday on their website that Fuuka has been scratched from the main event tag team match of the Apr. 22 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. Mai Ichii will replace her. So the match will now be Shuu Shibutani & Mai Ichii vs Kyoko Kimura & Ayumi Kurihara. The reason given for Fuuka's abscence was "poor health". Fuuka posted on her blog that she took a bump on her eye during training the other day but she didn't say what the health problem is when she announced her abscence from next week's show. Considering recent events, this could be an angle. Fuuka took a beating from Ayako Hamada and was left sobbing in the ring. She described it as the most unpleasant experience of her wrestling career. JD Star has been teasing Fuuka's reluctance to resume her series of Topgun matches against veterans. Is this real or is it an angle? It's too much of a coincidence so I suspect that it's an angle. I'm sure we'll find out next week.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Dianne Reeves



Dianne Reeves has been a premiere jazz vocalist for over 25 years. But she's not as well known as lesser singers who are easier to market to mainstream music fans. She was born Oct. 23, 1956 in Detroit but grew up in Denver. By age 16 she was a featured singer in her high school jazz band. Legendary trumpeter Clark Terry saw her at a music festival and took a liking to her. She became interested in latin music and toured with Eddie Del Barrio and then began a long musical partnership with pianist Billy Childs. She attempted to go solo but it didn't work out and she toured with Sergio Mendes and then Harry Belafonte. Dianne signed with Blue Note in 1987 and has recorded for them ever since. Mista is a great song from her 1999 album Bridges. Dianne wrote the song with drummer Terri Lynn Carrington and guitarist Chris Parks and like several of her albums, it was produced by her cousin veteran producer George Duke. Billy Childs did the arrangement. I don't know if she has a new CD coming out but she did get strong reviews for her performance in the 2005 George Clooney film Good Night And Good Luck. Dianne Reeves is also an excellent live performer and I recommend you see her if she is in your area. Here's Dianne Reeves performing the Peter Gabriel song In Your Eyes in Vienna in 1999.