Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Gerry Mulligan

Artist:Gerry Mulligan

Song:Round Midnight

Album:Mulligan Meets Monk

Gerry Mulligan is the foremost practicioner of the jazz baritone sax. He was born Apr. 6, 1927 in New York City. He started out as an arranger in the 40s and his first significant recording on baritone sax was Miles Davis' 1949 classic Birth Of The Cool. He moved to Los Angeles and his 1952 band with trumpeter Chet Baker made them both stars. His other significant band in the 50s was in 1958 with trumpeter Art Farmer and this video is from the 1958 Sound Of Jazz TV show with Henry Grimes on bass and Dave Bailey on drums. In the late 50s, Mulligan made several records with some of his favourite musicians including Paul Desmond, Stan Getz & Ben Webster. This recording with piano great Thelonious Monk was released on Riverside in 1957. Mulligan conforms to Monk's style and it turned out very well. Wilbur Ware is on bass and Shadow Wilson is on drums. Fantasy released this on CD with bonus alternate takes. Gerry Mulligan was a very versatile musician throughout his career until his death on Jan. 20, 1996 at age 68.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Tramaine Hawkins

Artist:Tramaine Hawkins

Song:Worship Medley

Album:I Never Lost My Praise

I've talked about gospel singer Tramaine Hawkins before. Of course she's a member of the Hawkins family from Oakland, CA. She normally performs with her husband Walter Hawkins and the rest of the family. For this new live CD, GospoCentric Records owner Vicki Mack Latandaille thought that Kurt Carr did such a great job producing Byron Cage's live CD a few years ago so she asked Tramaine if she was interested in working with him. The result is this excellent CD I Never Lost My Praise. It was released in February. Carr uses his usual Los Angeles based musicians and singers and even wrote a couple of new songs for the project. Of course Tramaine does one of her trademark Worship Medleys and gives a beautiful performance. Here's Tramaine Hawkins performing Changed on a recent TBN appearance.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Modafferi wins K-Grace tournament

Womens MMA fed K-Grace decided to have an Open Weight tournament on their May 27 debut show. This allowed them to bring in big name fighters such as Megumi Yabushita, Roxanne Modafferi and Marloes Coenen. They made a little bit of noise when they said they wanted to bring in Gina Carano but they admitted a few days ago that she wasn't available and is working the upcoming Dynamite show in Los Angeles. She's actually dropped out of that show due to illness. It remains to be seen where this promotion is headed but at least the winner won $10,000.

Megumi Yabushita didn't waste any time in her quarter final bout against Lithuanian kickboxer Jurgita Leitonaite. Leitonaite nailed Yabushita with a knee to the face but Yabushita took her down and submitted her with an armbar at 17 seconds of round one. US fighter Roxanne Modafferi has been training in Japan the last couple of years. Her quarter final opponent was Lee Hee Jin of Korea. Lee got the advantage in a fluury of punches but Modafferi got her on the mat and finished her with an armbar at 2:56 of round one. Next was Poland's Magdalena Jarecka vs Korea's Lee Eon Ju of Korea. Jarecka used her substantial size advantage to wear out Lee and Lee didn't have the power to make any inroads. Jarecka won by split decision. Holland's Marloes Coenen wasted no time with veteran Tama Chan and won with a rear naked choke at 2:01 of round one.

Modafferi's semi final match was against Yabushita. These two have split two previous bouts. With Yabushita, she wants to avoid a takedown as matwork is her strength. So Modafferi nailed her with a barrage of punches and then was able to control her on the mat. Modafferi won by unanimous decision. Coenen used ground and pound to dominate the much larger Jarecki. She wasn't able to get a submission in round one but Coenen won with a rear naked choke at 1:35 of round two. There was one other match on the show. Emi Fujino outclassed Anna Saito and finished her with a rear naked choke at 2:06 of round one.

So now the final with $10,000 up for grabs. Marloes Coenen & Roxanne Modafferi are both strong fighters. Coenen was probably the favourite. Modafferi started out with a barrage of punches. They got into a clinch against the cage and Coenen used her size to hit Modafferi with several knees to Modafferi's face. Coenen knocked Modafferi down with a right hook. While going in for the kill, Modafferi hooked an armbar. Coenen came back with a heel hook and the bell rang for the end of round one. Coenen won the first round. Round two began with Modafferi executing a single leg takedown. Coenen gets an armbar but Modafferi punches her way out. Modafferi was then able to mount Coenen and pounded her for the rest of the round. It was enough to give Modafferi a split decision win and the $10,000 prize. Looks like it was a pretty good fight. Here's Roxanne Modafferi's post match interview with Sherdog's Tony Loiseleur.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Vanessa Bell Armstrong

Artist:Vanessa Bell Armstrong

Song:I Still Love You

Album:Walking Miracle

Vanessa Bell Armstrong is a veteran gospel singer currently on the comeback trail. She was born Oct. 2, 1953 in Detroit. She started out as a singer with Thomas Whitfield and had some mainstream R & B success in the late 80s with Jive Records. Vanessa's soulful vocals remind a lot of folks of Aretha Franklin and her 90s CDs on Verity Records were consistent sellers. She left Verity and released the Dietrick Haddon produced A Brand New Day on Tommy Boy Gospel in 2001. It was a great CD but Tommy Boy closed in 2002. Meanwhile, Vanessa had health issues because of her weight. I saw her on last year's BET Celebration Of Gospel and she really slimmed down and she still sounds great. Vanessa signed with EMI Gospel and her new CD Walking Miracle was released in February. I Still Love You is a great song written & produced by J. Moss & PAJAM. Other producers on this CD include Smokey Norful, Rodney Jerkins, Uncle Freddie Jerkins, Cedric & Victor Caldwell and Cedric Thompson. Oh and American Idol contestant Melinda Doolittle is on backup vocals. It looks like Vanessa Bell Armstrong is making a strong comeback and here she is singing It's Your Time with Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers on their finale concert.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Takahashi wins AWA World Womens Championship

Before I get into the details of the May 27 Pro Wrestling SUN Korakuen Hall show, I'll just mention that they had another one of their press conferences on Thursday for the title match contract signings. Amazing Kong was not in attendance. She was on NEO's Hokkaido tour. Nanae Takahashi & Wesna Busic were there. But a fight broke out between Natsuki*Taiyo & Kyoko Kimura during their contract signing and there was the usual pull apart. It was nothing unusual. So now we have Sunday's show and a new challenger for the AWA World Womens Championship emerged, and a worthy challenger too.

The main storyline is still Pro Wrestling SUN vs REM. The opener had SUN's Saki Maemura vs REM's Toshie Uematsu. I don't have any details of the match but it appears that Uematsu used Maemura's Saki Hanamaru finisher to win at 11:56. I guess that's the mark of a good heel. Next was Natsuki*Taiyo defending the World 1 Womens Title against Kyoko Kimura. This was a street fight with no rules or countouts and weapons included. It's very unfamiliar territory for Natsuki*Taiyo. Kimura came to the ring with a barbed wire bat and a chain. The end came when Kimura wrapped the chain around Natsuki's neck and the ref stopped the match at 12:40. This probably sets up a rematch.

Next was a mixed tag match with Jaguar Yokota teaming with El Dorado's El Braza vs Panther Claw & Steve Corino. This was Jaguar's first SUN appearance so the match was designed to showcase her. She gave Corino an abdominnal stretch and a DDT. The problem with Panther Claw is she makes a lot of threatening motions but can't back it up in the ring. Jaguar pinned her with a fisherman buster at 17:55. Next was Hikaru's EWA Womens Title defense against Cheerleader Melissa. The day before, Melissa pinned Hikaru in a ZERO-ONE MAX tag match and afterwards said that Hikaru doesn't compare to the ARSION wrestlers she worked with in 2002. I could have told her that. Hikaru wore a mask to protect a broken nose she suffered in training a few days ago. Melissa attacked Hikaru's nose but Hikaru came back with the Ranakiller-H, an elbow and a horizontal cradle for the win at 12:42.

The main event was Nanae Takahashi vs Amazing Kong vs Wesna Busic for the vacant AWA World Womens Championship. They made it an elimination match. The match begins with REM members Kong & Busic beating up Takahashi. But these alliances never last in three way matches. Kong uses an Amazing Press on Takahashi and follows that with a chair shot. She hands the chair to Busic and Busic nails Kong with the chair. You can never trust a heel. Busic pins Kong with a jacknife powerbomb at 10:18. Busic continues to attack Takahashi outside the ring. She uses two Wesnakillers on the ring apron. Takahashi gets back in the ring at 18. Takahashi hits a last gasp Shining Wizard and a Nanarack for the win at 25:05. Nanae Takahashi is the new AWA World Womens Champion. Wesna will likely get a rematch the next time SUN runs Korakuen Hall but the July & August shows are at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. JWP's Azumi Hyuga is at ringside and has a staredown with Amazing Kong before the match. After the match, she entered the ring and said that she was hoping for a match with AK but wants an AWA title match with Takahashi now that she has the belt. Takahashi tried to downplay Hyuga but Hyuga is a great big match performer and a worthy contender. It should be a great match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Clark Sisters

Artist:The Clark Sisters

Song:Looking To Get There (Heaven)

Album:Live:One Last Time

Fans of legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters will be pleased to know that they have reunited and released a live CD last month. They are the daughters of legendary gospel singer Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. There's Jacky Clark Chisholm, Elbertina "Twinkie" Clark Terrell, Dorinda Clark-Cole & Karen Clark Sheard. Back in 1984, You Brought The Sunshine crossed over to the R & B charts and was a huge hit. The hallmark of The Clark Sisters sound is their incredible harmonies. All have had significant solo careers and are superior vocalists. Twinkie wrote most of their material. Live:One Last Time was recorded last August. Donald Lawrence produced and arranged everything. Most of the songs were written by Twinkie though Looking To Get There (Heaven) was written by Dorinda. Not surprisingly, the CD concludes with You Brought The Sunshine. They still sound fantastic and Clark Sisters fans will want to get their mits on this CD. Here's the video from this CD for Livin'.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Koko Taylor

Artist:Koko Taylor

Song:Hound Dog

Album:Force Of Nature

Koko Taylor is known as Queen Of Chicago Blues and has continued the tradition of big voiced blues shouters started by Bessie Smith. She was born Cora Walton Sept. 28, 1935 in Memphis. Her love of chocolate got her the nickname Koko. In 1953, she married truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor and they moved to Chicago. She worked as a maid during the day and sang in clubs at night. Willie Dixon signed Koko to Chess and Wang Dang Doodle was a big hit in 1964. When Chess had financial problems in the early 70s, Koko signed with Bruce Iglauer's fledgling Alligator Records in 1975 and has recorded for them ever since. She continued to have a strong following. Tragedy struck in 1988 when Koko & Robert were in a van accident while on tour. Robert suffered cardiac arrest and died a few months later. Koko recovered and returned with the 1993 CD Force Of Nature. This version of Hound Dog is clearly a tribute to Big Mama Thornton and is very enjoyable. Koko then took some time off, remarried, then took time off due to health issues. Her new CD Old School was released last month. Koko Taylor is a great blues shouter and is recommended to blues fans. Here's an interview and performance clip with Koko Taylor. I think it might be from the TV series The Blues.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bootsy's Rubber Band

Artist:Bootsy's Rubber Band

Song:Ahh...The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!

Album:Ahh...The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!

Bass player William "Bootsy" Collins is best known for his contributions to funk with George Clinton but he has also carved out his own solo career. He was born Oct. 26, 1951 in Cincinatti. In 1968, he formed The Pacesetters with his brother Phelps on guitar, Frankie Waddy on drums and Philippe Wynne from The Spinners. They were James Brown's backup band from 1969-71 called the JB's. Bootsy joined George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic in 1972. While contributing to their success, Bootsy started the spinoff group Bootsy's Rubber Band in 1976. Musicians included Phelps Collins on guitar, Frankie Waddy on drums, Joel Johnson on keyboards, Gary Cooper on on drums, Robert Johnson on vocals and The Horny Horns. He signed with Warner Bros. and Clinton produced the records. The sound is similar to P-Funk but different because of Bootsy's loopy vocals. He made three chart topping records including 1977's Ahh...The Name Is Bootsy, Baby! and then took a hiatus as a solo artist until 1988. He continued to record with Clinton. Bootsy Collins continues to tour today and his most recent CD is 2006's Christmas Is 4 Ever. Yeah, a Christmas record. Bootsy Collins is an icon of black music and his music is a must for funk fans. Here's Bootsy's Rubber Band performing psychoticbumpschool in Houston 1976.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Artist:Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Song:Look At The Birdie

Album:Roots & Herbs

I've talked occasionally about great jazz that wasn't released when it was recorded but then surfaced years later. Blue Note Records owner Alfred Lion did that a lot. And when the music is as good as Roots & Herbs, it makes me wonder what he was thinking. Roots & Herbs was recorded in 1961. For some reason, Lion didn't release it until 1970. It's now available on CD with added alternate takes. It's great straight ahead hard bop from Blakey with Lee Morgan on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on sax, Bobby Timmons on piano and Jymie Merritt on bass. Shorter wrote all the songs. There's plenty of great Art Blakey CDs available. Any fan would enjoy Roots & Herbs. Here's Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers performing Dat Dere in 1961 with the same lineup that is on this record.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Back in business

I'm back after having a virus of some sort knock out Windows. I had to reinstall it. I started having problems on Friday. It got worse over the weekend and I went to a website called Bleeping Computer as it became obvious I wasn't going to be able to fix this myself. Richie was very helpful and I used Hijack This and it looked like it got cleaned up. But on Wednesday it started rebooting by itself every fifteen minutes. Richie was going to have me do some more tests but I couldn't stay active long enough to do anything. So I decided to reinstall Windows and now things are OK.

There's so much stuff out there even if you think you're protected, you're not. All of your virus scanners and spyware scanners aren't perfect. That's why many people run multiple applications. I was using AVG for viruses but it didn't catch this. It was a very good product three years ago but Grisoft seems to be more interested in upselling these days. So I went to this site to see what was available. I decided on Avira because it scans for rootkits in addition to viruses. You can only have one virus scanner on your system but there are online scanners such as Bit Defender. For spyware I decided on Spyware Blaster. I've used Spybot & Ad-Aware in the past and I also have Microsoft Defender but I've heard good things about Spyware Blaster. I've also added the Comodo Personal Firewall. The Windows Firewall isn't adequate. Some software firewalls are overly intrusive. I used Sygate a few years ago and it was OK for a while but it slowed down my computer so I got rid of it. Comodo seems OK so far. Just remember you have to train the firewall. I'm going to add links to the appropriate sites to the blog.

I'm making a couple of changes to the blog. I will no longer write about NASCAR races. Based on my blog stats, no one comes here for that and it was taking up too much of my time. I also have Google AdSense now and the ads are based on content, not stats. So I will occasionally comment on NASCAR news but you can read about the races anywhere. The slideshows are a good idea but they are time consuming to produce. MixerCast is a good service but I would be interested in a less time consuming service. The song of the day will continue but I will add the artist to the header. The song of the day does get a lot of hits and folks like the videos. I haven't reviewed any films lately because there hasn't been anything I wanted to see. Ratatouille is coming and I'm interested in that. The joshi news will continue of course. Please click on the ads. I can use the money.

Fuuka returns and JD Star to close

As expected, Fuuka returned to action on the May 18 JD Star show. Normally I would talk about the show but JD Star general manager Daisuke Kobayashi announced on the May 20 show that Grapple Beauty would cease to exist on July 16. Does this mean that JD Star is closing for good? Not necessarily. It means they've lost the financial backing of Kakutobi. But this company has threatened to close before. I would not be surprised if they came up with a new financial backer.

So after Fuuka's return on May 18, she gave a teary speech thanking everyone for their support. Then when the announcement was made on May 20, she was shocked. Well, not really. Fuuka posted on her blog that she was given the bad news ten days earlier. Basically, three wrestlers are employed by JD Star. Yumi Ohka still works there but not as a wrestler. So the fate of Fuuka, Shuu Shibutani & Misaki Ohata isn't known yet. But there is already speculation in the Japanese dirt sheets about Fuuka including that she could work for Antonio Inoki's new company IGF. Fuuka thought this was pretty funny and so did I.

As a company, JD has been around since 1996. GM Kobayashi has worked there the whole time. They started out with wrestlers like Jaguar Yokota & Bison Kimura and developed their own talent like Sumie Sakai & Megumi Yabushita. Naomi "The Bloody" Kato was one of their best wrestlers but she was trained by Jaguar at AJW and came to JD with Jaguar. But the company was losing money and then they got the idea of the Athtress concept; part athlete, part actress. It's a faulty concpt because it assumes that sex appeal and ring skills are mutually exclusive. All you have to do is look at someone like Mimi Hagiwara or Takako Inoue to know that is nonsense. They have plenty of both.

None of the original Athtresses are wrestling anymore. Of course Yumi Ohka suffered a knee injury and still works at JD Star but Emi Tojyo wound up doing porn. In 2004, it looked like JD Star would close but they were able to get Kakutobi as a financial backer in May 2004. The first thing they did was get rid of the wrestlers like The Bloody & Fang Suzuki and emphasize the Athtresses like Ohka & Tojyo. They also decided to run all their shows in one small building thinking they could be profitable by being small. At the time, someone said it was a good business plan for a zombie fed. But it was still a zombie fed and therefore doomed to failure. And JD Star continued to hang their collective hat on the Athtress concept and you can't base a promotion on mediocre wrestlers. They still had TV but they weren't making money and now the plug has been pulled...for now.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Tye Tribbett & G.A.

Artist:Tye Tribbett & G.A.



A few years ago, Tye Tribbett had no idea that he would become one of the hottest performers in gospel music. He grew up in Camden, NJ and his mom was music director at the local church. Dad played organ. He first surfaced performing a song on the soundtrack of the 1997 film Prince Of Egypt. Tribbett then settled into the background playing piano and touring with stars. He toured with country star Faith Hill in 2000. The story goes that Tribbett was playing piano for Vivian Green on a showcase for Sony Music. Then Sony president Don Ienner signed Green but he also wanted to know about the piano player. Tye Tribbett signed with Sony and his debut CD life was released in 2004. He became known for his energetic stage show and he's a great composer too. His latest CD & DVD Victory is even bigger. If you've never seen Tye Tribbett's act, here he is performing Victory on BET's 2007 Celebration Of Gospel.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

3 Way Match for AWA World Womens Championship

There are three things you can count on from Pro Wrestling SUN. Silly press conferences, convoluted booking and way too many title belts. SUN had a press conference on Thursday and there was an edict from the AWA that the main event for the May 27 Korakuen Hall show will be for the now vacant AWA World Womens Championship. The original main event was supposed to be between Nanae Takahashi and Wesna Busic. The AWA has added Amazing Kong and made it a three way match. To each his own but I'm not a three way match fan. So what's the deal with Amazing Kong? She's in Japan because she is working this week's NEO Hokkaido tour. According to NEO GM Koda's blog, it looks like she is in Japan only for a couple of weeks. Time will tell. So why did SUN do that match in Los Angeles? Damned if I know. It's my own fault for expecting logic from illogical people.

The other big news is that Cheerleader Melissa will return to Japan for this show. She will challenge Hikaru for the EWA Womens Championship. Huh? That's the belt from Wesna's home fed. Hikaru won it in January. Wesna still has the NSG Title. Shh. They're not using that one. From what I can tell, Melissa is only going over for this one show. She may work some ZERO-ONE Max shows that week but I haven't seen her name anywhere else. And that's not unusual for SUN gaijins. Wesna hasn't worked for other feds either. In another match Natsuki*Taiyo will defend the World 1 Womens Championship against Kyoko Kimura in a hardcore match. It will have an unrestricted time limit, no count out, no foul and weapons are allowed. Kimura has become very good at this kind of match. Natsuki may be in over her head. Other matches are Saki Maemura vs Toshie Uematsu and Jaguar Yokota vs Panther Claw.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie

Artist:Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie

Song:Hot House

Album:Diz 'N Bird at Carnegie Hall

This landmark Carnegie Hall concert heralded the coming of bebop. It had been reissued in pieces over the years so it was great when Blue Note took the time to rerelease it in a coherent form. Sax player Charlie Parker & trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie are joined by John Lewis on piano, Al McKibbon on bass and Joe Harris on drums. Most people think of Bird & Dizzy when they hear the word bebop. And as great as they are together, they couldn't have been more different as people. Though he liked to fool around on stage, Dizzy Gillespie was a true gentleman and a clean liver. Charlie Parker's fatal flaw was his heroin addiction. It got so bad Dizzy couldn't work with him anymore. Would Bird show up? Did he pawn his horn? Is he half concious in a flop house? It's too bad because when Bird was on stage, he produced the kind of magic that you can hear on this 1947 Carnegie Hall concert. It's essential for jazz fans. Here's Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie performing Hot House in 1952.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day

Artist:Johnny Griffin

Song:All The Things You Are

Album:A Blowin' Session

Johnny Griffin is another great tenor sax player. He's made great music since the 50s. He was born Apr. 28, 1928 in Chicago. The turning point for Griffin was when he moved to New York in 1956 and signed with Blue Note. A Blowin' Session was released in 1957 and is the only time Griffin played with John Coltrane. Coltrane wasn't scheduled to be on this session but Griffin ran into him on the way to the studio and asked him to join in. Good idea. Other musicians include Hank Mobley on tenor sax, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Art Blakey on drums. Griffin was a member of the Jazz Messengers at the time. The result is an essential album for jazz fans. Griffin went on to play with Thelonious Monk in 1958 and formed the Tough Tenors band with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis in 1960. He moved to Paris in 1963 and was a featured soloist with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band. He moved to The Netherlands in 1973 and continues to tour today though he hasn't recorded in a few years. The Rev is one of the all time greats of jazz and it's great to see him still playing at the age of 79. Here's Johnny Griffin & drummer Art Taylor performing Blue Monk in France.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Luther Allison

Song:Big City

Album:Blue Streak

Luther Allison was a veteran blues artist and his hard driving style became very popular in the 90s. He was born Aug. 17, 1939 in Widener, AR. His parents moved to Chicago when Luther was in his early teens. He lived near Muddy Waters and was friends with Waters' son Charles. He learned to play guitar and started sitting in with Chicago blues legends. He made his first record for Delmark in 1969 and was noticed at blues festivals. He signed with Motown in 1972 but his records didn't sell. But he became especially popular in Europe and moved to France in 1980. He continued to record for small European labels until he signed with Alligator Records in 1994. Blue Streak is the second of his four CDs for Alligator and signing with them really revived his career in the US. Big City is a very typical performance and Allison wrote and produced it with guitarist James Solberg. Things were going great until he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and died on Aug. 12, 1997 at age 58. I'm sure blues fans know Luther Allison but I think rock fans would enjoy his music too. Here's Luther Allison performing Move From The Hood & Cherry Red Wine.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Virus/malware problem today

I had a problem with a virus this morning so no song of the day. It was actually malware. It slowed my computer down to the point where I couldn't use it. AVG seemed to pick it up and fix it but it didn't really work. Eventually it shut down my computer and I started getting error messages on startup. This bit of nuisance malware is called Bad Image. There's so much of this stuff out there and there's no way to avoid all of it. First I did a full AVG virus scan but that didn't get rid of the error messages. So I wrote down the file name and Googled it. This led me to something called Killbox. I downloaded the app and it deletes a file when the name is entered in the app. They call this sort of app a stinger. I hit delete and things are back to normal and my computer is running better. Now I have to catch up on today's news.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Hamilton Loomis

Song:Love Again

Album:Ain't Just Temporary

Life on the road is a very slippery slope for young blues musicians. He'll want to respect the tradition of blues but also be contemporary enough for young fans. That's what Hamilton Loomis is trying to do. He was born and raised in Galveston, TX. By age 14 he was touring clubs with his own family band. He mostly plays guitar & harmonica and writes a lot of his own material. He was mentored by blues legends Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and especially Bo Diddley. His 1994 debut Hamilton was nominated for a Best Contemporary Blues Album. His career took a turn for the better when he signed with Blind Pig Records in 2003. Ain't Just Temporary was released last week. Loomis plays most instruments except drums. Bo Diddley sits in on guitar. His music is blues with a definite R & B slant. I'm always looking for new talent and Hamilton Loomis has talent. Here he is performing What It Is in Houston 2006.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Oscar Peterson

Song:Nigerian Marketplace

Album:Perfect Peterson:Best Of The Pablo & Telarc Recordings

Oscar Peterson is the greatest jazz musician ever from Canada. He was born Aug. 15, 1925 in Montreal. He grew up idolizing the great Art Tatum and by age 14 he had a weekly radio show in Montreal. His big break came when Verve Records owner Norman Granz discovered Peterson in 1949. He started recording for Verve in 1950 and recorded for Verve and Granz' subsequent label Pablo for over three decades. Peterson suffered a stroke in 1993 and has recorded in recent years for Telarc Records. He's been in poor health lately. Telarc has acquired the Pablo catalog so they recently released this 2CD comp of Peterson's more recent recordings. Nigerian Marketplace is a Peterson original from the 1982 album Freedom Song. It was recorded live at Shibuya Hall in Tokyo and features Joe Pass on guitar, Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass and Martin Drew on drums. Oscar Peterson is a great pianist and has been very consistent over the years. Here's Oscar Peterson performing Nigerian Marketplace with Joe Pass, David Young & Martin Drew in Munich 1989.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

AWA World Womens Championship seized

Nanae Takahashi's overseas road trip to Los Angeles went as planned...for about twelve hours. Takahashi challenged Amazing Kong for the AWA World Womens Championship at the Inoki Dojo. After a good match, Takahashi won with the Shining Wizard at 15:49. All is right with the world. But on Monday, Takahashi & Saki Maemura were training at the Inoki Dojo when they were approached by a man who said he was on the AWA board of directors. He took the belt. Two reasons have been given. First, The AWA looked at the video of the match and determined that a closed fist was used at the end of the match. There should have been a DQ. Second, there was a point in the match where they thought Takahashi was saying "I give up" in Japanese. They said the ref didn't understand her and the match continued. How lame is all that? There is no champ right now and it isn't known if the Takahashi/Wesna Busic match on May 27 will be for the belt.

Fans have been asking me if Amazing Kong will return to Japan. Never say never but I don't think so for now. This Los Angeles match is the last thing First On Stage president Nakamura wanted to do. A title change in Korakuen Hall is worth something to them. A title change in Los Angeles isn't worth anything. They would have preferred AK drop the belt in Tokyo so that means she isn't returning to Japan. Saki Maemura had a match with Cheerleader Melissa on the Inoki Dojo show. Maemura said on her blog that she was a little apprehensive because she didn't know Melissa. It was basically a twelve minute squash. Among other things, Melissa threw Maemura into the railing outside the ring, a chair shot and whatever else she could think of. Fans unfamiliar with Maemura might think she should be more competitive. The answer is Maemura is a jobber. Getting clobbered is what she does best. I expect one of SUN's infamous press conferences in the next few days. In the meantime, here's a video clip of Nanae Takahashi & Saki Maemura celebrating with the belt after the show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir

Song:How Much Can We Bear

Album:Live In New York By Any Means...

It's not that unusual in the gospel music business for church choirs to grow into something much bigger than the church. Such is the case with Brooklyn, NY pastor Hezekiah Walker. He's known as The Hip Hop Minister because of the many hip hop artists who come to him for advice, most significantly Sean Combs. Walker and his choir started recording in 1989 and have an international following because of their energy and musicianship. He started out with Benson Records and moved to Verity in the mid 90s. 1997's Live In New York is a very typical concert recording. How Much We Can Bear was written by veteran percussionist David Frazier and arranged by Walker's right hand man Jules Bartholemew. This is a big choir so it's probably easier to record live and a lot of choir leaders prefer the energy they get from an audience on their recordings. This song is a mass choir song though they have guest vocalists sometimes. The 2004 comp Nothing But The Hits would be a good introduction to Walker's music. His most recent recording is 2005's 20/85 Experience. Here's Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir performing How Much We Can Bear in Los Angeles 1997.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Wilson Pickett

Song:I'm In Love

Album:Wilson Pickett's Greatest Hits

Wilson Pickett was another great soul singer who had a long run of hits in the 60s. He was born Mar. 18, 1941 in Prattville, AL. He started out with The Falcons who had a top ten R & B hit with I Found A Love in 1962. He signed with Atlantic and was sent to Memphis to record with Stax in 1965. In The Midnight Hour was his first big hit and it was followed by several more. I'm In Love was a top ten R & B hit in 1968. It was written by Bobby Womack who also plays guitar along with Bobby Woods on guitar, Gene Chrisman on drums and Bobby Emmons on organ. Pickett left Atlantic in 1971 for RCA but was never able to recreate his success elsewhere. This comp has all his Atlantic hits. He continued to tour the oldies concert circuit until his death of a heart attack on Jan. 14, 2006 at age 64. Wilson Pickett's 60s songs still sound great today. Here he is performing Everybody Needs Somebody in Germany 1968.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Jeff Gordon wins at Darlington

The big story at the Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington in the NASCAR Nextel Cup should have been the Hendrick Motorsports domination of the COT races. But that all changed when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on Thursday that he would leave the company created by his late father at the end of the 2007 season. This is seemingly unthinkable to his fans but it became clear during the off season that the animosity between Dale Jr., his sister/business manager Kelley Earnhardt Elledge and DEI owner/stepmother Teresa Earnhardt was getting worse. Teresa brought in Max Siegel to try and smooth things over but it didn't work. It remains to be seen what Dale Jr. will do but I wouldn't be shocked if he does his own deal with Hendrick Motorsports support similar to Bobby Ginn & Gene Haas. Meanwhile, there was still a race. Clint Bowyer won the pole and it rained last night so the race was this afternoon.

The theme of the race was overheating engines and mistakes by guys who should be winning races. Darlington is rough on tires and rubber from those tires can gum up the radiator. Clint Bowyer's #07 Jack Daniels Chevy led the start but was passed for the lead by Carl Edwards' #99 Office Depot Ford on lap 18. Meanwhile, Ricky Rudd's #88 Snickers Ford was the first of many cars to overheat on lap 20. Denny Hamlin's #11 FedEx Chevy is moving up and he takes the lead on lap 37. NSACAR calls a competition caution on lap 40 and Hamlin continues to lead after pit stops.

Green flag pit stops begin on lap 98. Denny Hamlin has a slow pit stop and Carl Edwards takes the lead. Reed Sorenson's #41 Target Dodge hits the wall to bring out a caution on lap 116. Everyone pits and Hamlin takes tires only to get the lead. Green flag pit stops begin on lap 173. A debris caution comes out on lap 184. Carl Edwards is penalized for missing the commitment line when entering pit road for his green flag pit stop. He was sent to the back of the pack and was never able to get to the front again. He finished fifth.

Denny Hamlin continues to lead. Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevy has a flat tire on lap 214. He never gets back to the front and finishes sixth. Ryan Newman's #12 Alltel Dodge takes the lead on lap 222. Green flag pit stops begin on lap 233. They are interrupted when David Ragan's #6 AAA Ford spins to bring out a caution on lap 238. Among those on pit road is Martin Truex Jr.'s #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy. He has a fast car but this kills him and he finishes 11th. Matt Kenseth's #17 DeWalt Tools Ford has a quick pit stop and takes the lead. Jeff Gordon's #24 Dupont Chevy is fourth but seems to be overheating. Kenseth says his brakes are overheating.

Ken Schrader's #21 Motorcraft Ford blows a tire and hits the wall to bring out a caution on lap 255. Jeff Gordon's crew tries to cool the water and clean the grille during his pit stop but he's still in third. Ryan Newman takes the lead on lap 271 and then Denny Hamlin takes the lead on lap 291. Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy takes the lead on lap 300. Tony Raines' #96 DLP Chevy suffers engine failure on lap 313. A debris caution comes out on lap 334. Jeff Gordon's crew takes more tape off the grille as his car is spewing water out of the overflow. David Reutimann's #00 Dominos Pizza Toyota is overheating on pit road.

Jimmie Johnson leads and Jeff Gordon is second. It seems that Gordon's overheating isn't as bad when he's running full speed. But he doesn't think he'll makle it to the end of the race. Casey Mears' #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy blows an engine on lap 344. Half the leaders including leader Jimmie Johnson pit but Jeff Gordon & Ryan Newman stay out. Fresh tires could be a big advantage. David Stremme's #40 Coors Light Dodge blows an engine to bring out a caution on lap 351. Gordon continues to lead. Dave Blaney's #22 Caterpillar Dodge blows his engine on lap 356. While Johnson, Newman & Hamlin are racing each other for second, Gordon gets a big lead. Hamlin finally takes second but there's not enough time for him to catch Gordon. Jeff Gordon wins and his engine fails in victory lane.

Congratulations to Jeff Gordon, crew chief Steve Letarte and car owner Rick Hendrick for the win. Non unusual top tens but Ryan Newman's top five is a breakthrough for him. Gordon continues to lead the points. He is on a major roll. But a lot of guys are making mistakes and he's taking advantage of that. Next Saturday is the Nextel Allstar Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway followed by the Coca Cola 600 on May 27. Here's the top ten of the race and video review of the race.


1.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

2.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

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

4.12/Ryan Newman/Alltel/Dodge/Roger Penske

5.99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush

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

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

8.8/Dale Earnhardt Jr./Budweiser/Chevy/Teresa Earnhardt

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

10.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Coltrane

Song:My Favorite Things

Album:The Very Best Of John Coltrane

Sax legend John Coltrane was probably best known for his recordings on Impulse but what made Coltrane attractive to Impulse was the commercial success of this recording of the Rodgers/Hammerstein standard My Favorite Things. He recorded it for Atlantic Records. This 2000 Rhino comp is a good start for beginners to become familiar with Coltrane's Atlantic recordings. I have the 8CD Heavyweight Champion box set. My Favorite Things was an album of standards recorded in Oct. 1960. He recorded them in his own style but made them very accessible to casual listeners and it made Coltrane a household name. He recorded the album with the basic Coltrane quartet that would become famous at Impulse. McCoy Tyner was on piano and Elvin Jones was on drums. Steve Davis played bass. He had just replaced Reggie Workman and would soon be replaced by Jimmy Garrison. My Favorite Things is one of John Coltrane's greatest recordings but it's on Atlantic, not Impulse. Here's John Coltrane and his quartet performing My Favorite Things Nov. 1961 in Germany.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Denny Hamlin wins Darlington Busch Series race

The NASCAR Busch Series returned to Darlington for the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 on Friday night. The turn two wall got a workout as usual with plenty of guys leaving a Darlington Stripe. But the top of the racetrack is faster than the bottom and that's different than most other tracks. The track will be repaved this year and it should be interesting to see how that affects the track. Denny Hamlin won the pole.

Denny Hamlin's #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy leads at the start. Matt Kenseth's #17 Dish Network Ford takes the lead on lap 18. Caution for debris on lap 24. Kenseth collides with Casey Mears' #24 National Guard Chevy on pit road. Hamlin leads on the restart but Greg Biffle's #37 Cub Cadet Ford takes the lead on lap 37. On lap 45, Aric Almirola's #18 Banquet Foods Chevy crashes into the wall with Todd Kleuver's #16 3M Ford. The leaders stay out but guys farther back pit.

On lap 55, Brent Sherman's #36 Big Lots Chevy spins to bring out a caution. The leaders pit but the guys who pitted during the last caution stay out. Regan Smith's #4 Ginn Resorts Chevy is the leader. On lap 66, Tony Stewart's #33 Old Spice Chevy & Ryan Newman's #12 Kodak Dodge are running into each other down the front stretch. Newman gets a flat tire which catches fire in the pits. Steve Wallace's #66 HomeLIfe Communities Dodge spins on lap 75. Jason Leffler's #38 Great Clips Toyota takes the lead on the restart.

Denny Hamlin takes the lead on lap 97. Matt Kenseth hits the wall on lap 113 to bring out a caution. Everyone makes final pit stops and Hamlin continues to lead. Hamlin holds off Carl Edwards' #60 Scott's Miracle Gro Ford & Mark Martin's #5 Hendrick Autoguard Chevy. Bobby Labonte's #77 Dollar General Chevy hits the wall on lap 142. NASCAR throws the red flag. Hamlin holds onto the lead for the win. Martin passes Edwards for second. Edwards still leads the points.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Rascals

Song:Good Lovin'

Album:Anthology (1966-1972)

The Rascals were proponents of what became known in the 60s as Blue Eyed Soul. That's code for white artists performing R & B influenced music. The big difference with The Rascals is they wrote a lot of their own songs. The group started in New York with keyboardist Felix Cavaliere. He met guitarist Gene Cornish and singer songwriter Eddie Brigati while playing for Joey Dee & The Starlighters. They added drummer Dino Danelli and their manager called them The Young Rascals. That would eventually change to The Rascals. Cavaliere & Brigati wrote a lot of the songs but their first big hit Good Lovin' in 1966 was actually a cover originally done by the doo wop group The Olympics. Good Lovin' was a very simple song and hit #1 on the singles charts. The Rascals had several more hits over the next couple of years but Cavaliere got interested in jazz by the late 60s. It was probably a mistake to take a singles group and make them more sophisticated but the music is actually pretty good. They also switched from Atco to Columbia. Brigati left The Rascals in 1970 and Cornish soon followed. Cavaliere brought in other musicians but The Rascals split for good in 1972. Cavaliere has recorded solo albums over the years and plays a lot of sessions. Cornish & Danelli were members of Bulldog & Fotomaker and more recently Danelli has been a member of Little Steven & The Disciples. It looks like Brigati became a professional backup singer. This 2CD comp from Rhino is probably a little more comprehensive than most listeners need but it has all their hits. Here's The Rascals performing Good Lovin' in 1966.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Miles Davis

Song:Concierto de Aranjuez (Master)

Album:Miles Davis & Gil Evans:The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings

Even casual music fans know that Miles Davis was one of the great innovators of modern music. He did so many different things over the years it has to be covered in stages. Though Miles also recorded for Blue Note, Prestige & Warner Bros. over the years, he spent most of his career with Columbia. Recently Columbia has done a very good job of reissuing Miles' recordings in comprehensive box sets. And they may never run out of material because Miles recorded a lot. This 6CD box set covers Miles' recordings with arranger Gil Evans. Miles heard Joaquin Rodrigo's classical composition Concierto de Aranjuez at a friend's house. So he approached Gil Evans about putting together an album around it. Miles had already recorded with Evans for a while as a side project seperate from his usual band. The result was the classic 1959 LP Sketches Of Spain. Miles played flugelhorn with his basic jazz quartet of Jimmy Cobb on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Elvin Jones on drums accompanied by a complete orchestra. Evans did the arrangements and wrote some songs for the project. The result is one of the enduring classics of jazz. The box set has everything Davis & Evans recorded together including alternate takes and rarities. It comes in a metal box. It's just one of several comprehensive box sets issued by Columbia. I don't have this one but I have others. Sketches Of Spain is a must for jazz fans. Here's Miles Davis with the Gil Evans Orchestra in 1959.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

JD Star's Golden Week double shot

Last week was Golden Week and that is a huge holiday week in Japan. I don't pretend to know the significance of it but I can tell you there were plenty of shows. It's taking some time to catch up. Some shows were successful. Some weren't. JD Star ran a double shot at Shin-kiba 1st Ring on May 4. They don't draw anyway but there were 80 fans at the afternoon show. That's worse than usual. Manami Toyota was on the afternoon show and Nanae Takahashi was on the evening show. But the big news is that JD Star announced that Fuuka will return on the May 18 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. She will team with Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Shuu Shibutani & Ayumi Kurihara. Shibutani will be happy to see her. She's probably tired of jobbing to veterans.

The afternoon show began with a couple of League Princess 07 tournament matches. First was Yuri Urai vs Hanako Kobayashi. Kobayashi stomps Urai in the corner but Urai comes back with a camel clutch. Urai hits three dropkicks and Kobayashi counters with an elbow smash. Kobayashi misses a diving boddy press and Urai's double arm salto brain buster gets her the win at 5:39. That's Urai's third win in a row and she leads the tournament. Next was Aya Yuki vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. Matsumoto gets Yuki in a camel clutch. Yuki comes back with a cross body block. and a series of shoulder tackles. Matsumoto hits a Mac Buster followed by an Argentinian backbreaker. The end comes when Yuki hooks an STF and Matsumoto can't reach the ropes at 8:04.

KAZUKI & Misaki Ohata teamed up in Discover New Heroine but now they face each other. Ohata won her first match last week but her attempts at offense are weak. KAZUKI gets booed for beating her up. A diving knee drop finishes Ohata at 8:51. Next was Bullfight Sora vs Vanessa The Mountain. Vanessa has no trouble winning with a Liger Bomb at 7:57. The main event had Manami Toyota & Ayumi Kurihara vs Shuu Shibutani & Natsuki*Taiyo. Shibutani attacks Toyota with dropkicks and a body scissors. That won't work on Toyota. Toyota shows her how it's done with a missile dropkick. Then she throws her around for a while. She even trots out the rolling cradle. Natsuki*Taiyo gets control of Kurihara. She tags Shibutani and she hits a missile kick, senton, Northern Lights suplex and a swinging DDT. She then tries a missile kick on Toyota and Toyota no sells and hits a German suplex. Then a double missile kick and Toyota's Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex & Queen Bee Bomb finishes Shibutani at 21:48.

The evening show started with a League Princess 07 tournament match between Murasaki & Aya Yuki. Yuki gets Murasaki in a surfboard followed by stomping and a hair throw. Mueasaki comes back with a 619 but misses a moonsault press. Yuki wins with the STF at 5:43. The gimmick they're doing with Bullfight Sora right now is a professional wrestling classroom. The lesson with Vanessa was don't mess with big girls. I guess with Misaki Ohata the lesson not to let her guard down in the ring. Sora won with a gourd buster at 8:38. Next was a comedy match with Kyoko Kimura & male cross dresser Lingerie Muto. Muto wore an afro wig. They danced around a lot and Kinura won at 4:58.

Next was Etsuko Mita & Yuki Miyazaki coming over from NEO to face Ayumi Kurihara & Cherry. Mita won over Cherry with a Tiger Suplex at 20:52. The main event had Nanae Takahashi vs Shuu Shibutani. I think this was supposed to be one of Fuuka's Topgun matches. Shibutani's offense is typically feeble and Takahashi uses a pinwheel backbreaker to stop her in her tracks. Shibutani comes back with two sentons and a guillotine. Takahashi knocks her outside the ring with a lariat followed by a tope. Back in the ring, Takahashi hits a missile kick. Takahashi hits a brain buster and a back drop for the win at 18:31. Shibutani blamed Fuuka. She said she lost because she doesn't have the stamina to work two main events in one day and there were only two Athtresses available. Uh huh. Here's a slide show from both shows with 161 pics.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Noel Gourdin

Song:The River

Album:The River CD Single

Sometimes record companies employ very strange marketing strategies. The River is a great song by a young R & B singer named Noel Gourdin. He's 24 years old from Brockton, MA. The guy behind this is KayGee from Naughty By Nature, also the guy behind Jaheim. It looks like the single has been out for a few months. Gourdin says in interviews that his debut album is coming soon but Columbia Records gives no indication of an imminent release. There isn't even a video yet. You might have heard Gourdin singing with rapper Ghostface Killah. You would think that if the CD was really coming out Columbia would be trying to blow him up but it's tough to find info about this guy. I couldn't even find an album cover. The cover is from the single. The River is a great song. I hope the rest of the CD is this good.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Booker Ervin


Album:Tex Book Tenor

Booker Ervin is another great jazz musician forgotten mostly because he died prematurely. He was born Oct. 31, 1930 in Denison, TX. He is mostly known for his stint with Charles Mingus from 1956-1962 trading sax licks with Eric Dolphy. Like a lot of jazz musicians, he moved to Europe in 1964 and died of kidney disease on July 30, 1970 at age 39. He recorded for Prestige, Pacific Jazz & Blue Note after leaving the Mingus band. Tex Book Tenor was recorded for Blue Note in 1968 but they didn't release it. It was finally released on CD in 2005. It's great music with Woody Shaw on trumpet, Kenny Barron on piano, Jan Arnet on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Barron wrote Gichi. I can't imagine why it wasn't released at the time but it's definitely worth a listen. There's very little video footage of Booker Ervin available but I did find this clip of him trading sax solos with Eric Dolphy as part of the Charles Mingus band at the Antibes Jazz Festival in 1960. The video quality isn't very good.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Amazing Kong to defend AWA title in Los Angeles

It's never a good thing when backstage drama in the wrestling business overshadows the goings on in the ring. Pro Wrestling SUN is goofy enough already. But they have now announced that Nanae Takahashi will travel to the US to get the AWA Womens World Championship from Amazing Kong. This was announced after Amazing Kong won the NWA Womens Championship from Ms. Chif recently so she now has both belts. I suppose it would be historic if either the AWA or NWA actually meant something these days but they don't. I guess the problem is First On Stage has some sort of deal with Dale Gagner so they have to retrieve the belt. And it doesn't look like Amazing Kong is returning to Japan.

This probably all started when Amazing Kong dropped the World 1 Womens Championship to Natsuki*Taiyo in February. SUN president Nakamura admitted that Kong was really pissed with him. She no showed the April SUN show but sent a video so I guess they must have thought she was still returning to Japan. At a press conference to promote the May 27 show, Nanae Takahashi said she still felt cheated and was planning to go to the US to chase Kong down. She thought maybe they could do a show in Los Angeles. If SUN wants the belt back in time for the next show, they're going to have to do something.

SUN had an event for children on May 5 and there was also a press conference. They announced that Nanae Takahashi would face Wesna Busic in the main event. Jaguar Yokota vs Panther Claw was also announced. But there's no title belt. The story is that Amazing Kong has used the AWA title in the US without permission. The ad I saw had the AWA logo. Based on that logic, they should be able to simply send someone to retrieve the belt. But instead they say that Amazing Kong will defend the AWA World Womens Championship against Nanae Takahashi at the Inoki Dojo in Los Angeles on May 13. Saki Maemura will accompany Takahashi to the US. I don't know if they're actually doing a match or it's just a smokescreen for a phantom title change so Takahashi can defend the title against Wesna on May 27. It is ironic as Amazing Kong was training at the Inoki Dojo when she was brought to Japan in 2002. That's a full circle for you.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Mississippi Mass Choir f/Mosie Burke

Song:I'm Not Tired Yet

Album:Stellar Awards Hits 2006

There is definitely a generation gap when it comes to traditional and contemporary black gospel music. The Mississippi Mass Choir bridges that gap with great humility and energy. The choir started in the mid 80s by singer Frank Williams and pianist David Curry. Both were members of the Jackson Southernaires. Georgia Mass Choir founder Milton Biggham was involved too. Williams' established fan base earned the choir a significant following. But Williams died on Mar. 22, 1993 at age 46. Malaco Records head Jerry Mannery stepped in to help guide the choir and it worked. They continue to be very popular today as led by Biggham & Curry. I'm Not Tired Yet is from their latest CD Not By Might Nor By Power. Lead singer Mosie Burke has become one of the more visable MMC members. She's a good singer within the context of the choir. Like a lot of various artists comps, this Stellar Awards comp is OK for beginners and includes a bonus DVD. The MMC has a lot of DVDs available too. I know there's a video for I'm Not Tired Yet because I've seen it but I couldn't find it. So here's Mosie Burke & the Mississippi Mass Choir performing When I Woke Up This Morning.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ibuki's 2nd Anniversary Show

When Mariko Yoshida started her own company two years ago, she said her main goal was to run a show at the legendary Korakuen Hall. That might seem like a modest goal but most of today's joshi companies are incapable of filling a phone booth. So Ibuki's 2nd Anniversary show was on May 5 at Korakuen Hall. And if the announced attendance of 1324 is any indication, maybe she should run there more often. The main event was Kyoko Kimura vs Atsuko Emoto but it was overshadowed by Yoshida continuing to put over the young wrestlers on the Ibuki roster. All that and Meiko Satomura too.

The opener had Mai Ichii vs Misaki Ohata. Ichii has improved tremendously since training with Kaoru Ito and she won with a missile kick at 7:53. Next was the debut of Yoshida's Mongolian trainee Esi teaming with Ran YuYu vs Leon & Aya Yuki. Esi has been getting a lot of media attention. Obviously she is green but her partner is very experienced. The inexperience showed when Esi chased Leon outside the ring but Ran got her back on track. Then the crowd went nuts when Esi used a giant swing on Yuki. You don't see that everyday. This was followed by a Mongolian chop and a chokeslam for the win at 14:17. After the match, Esi said she was relieved to have an experienced partner and was pleased to win in her debut.

Next was Akiko Nakni & Sakura Emi vs NAO & Aoi Kizuki. Of course Nakni is the former amateur wrestling champ who is a wrestling trainer at Gold's Kids Gym. She has also spent a lot of time training NAO who has just graduated from junior high. Emi won the match over Kizuki with a Cream Puff at 12:21. Next was a Falls Count Anywhere match with Cherry & Ayumi Kurihara vs Ray & Tomoka Nakagawa. There was a lot of action outside the ring and Kurihara won over Nakagawa with a reverse side throw at 18:00.

Next was Mariko Yoshida & Meiko Satomura vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Shuu Shibutani. Matsumoto has been very impressive since her debut last June. The veterans are in control but Matsumoto does get some offense in. Just when it looks like Yoshida is putting Shibutani to sleep, she gets to the ropes. The end came when Satomura accidently nailed Yoshida with a high kick. Matsumoto used a backdrop suplex for the win at 12:12. Well, there's an upset for you.

The main event is Kyoko Kimura vs Atsuko Emoto. They've had a feud going for a while. Kimura takes things outside the ring and nails Emoto with a chair attack. Back in the ring, Emoto hit a couple of face busters. Kimura came back with a diving foot stomp, an arm breaker and a chicken wing. Emoto gets to the ropes. Emoto hits a lariat and a face buster on the apron. They get back in the ring at 19. Emoto hits an avalanche style brain buster and then Kimura hits an avalanche style Frankensteiner. After a seesaw battle, Emoto hits a vertical fall style brain buster, a lariat and and a big kick for the win at 28:59. So Ibuki's 2nd Anniversary show was a big success and their next show is June 24 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Have a look at this slideshow of 40 pics from the show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Darwin Hobbs

Song:We Worship You Today


Darwin Hobbs is a gospel singer from Nashville whose primarily known for his vocal similarity to R & B legend Luther Vandross. He started out singing backup in the mid-90s and signed with EMI Gospel in 1999. The 2003 CD Broken is his fourth CD and he works mostly with producer Tommy Sims. We Worship You Today was written by Rose Harper of the choir Shekinah Glory Ministry. Hobbs' music goes more towards Praise & Worship style gospel as opposed to Hip Hop style gospel. His most recent CD is 2005's Worshipper and he works a lot with P & W gospel "it" boy Israel Houghton. Houghton used to work for Fred Hammond. He has some of Hammond's talent but lacks his soulfulness. Darwin Hobbs is a very good singer but lacks personality. He needs a producer that will give him some "oomph". That's why this video for Nobody Like Jesus is greatly helped by the appearance of Shirley Murdock who is not only a great singer but is very charismatic.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Jimmie Johnson wins at Richmond

It was raining most of Saturday in Richmond so it wasn't surprising when last night's Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 in the NASCAR Nextel Cup was postponed until Sunday. Jim Stewart? He's a Crown Royal contest winner. The main topic of discussion has been the dominence of Hendrick Motorsports at the Car Of Tomorrow races. Will that continue in Richmond? Also, Dale Jarrett didn't qualify and his consecutive race streak ended at 424. Jeff Gordon won the pole again.

NASCAR announced that there would be a competition caution on lap 40. Jeff Gordon's #24 Dupont Chevy leads. Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy takes the lead on lap 33. Everyone pits when the competition caution comes out. Gordon leads but Tony Raines' #96 DLP/Shrek the Third Chevy takes two tires for second. Gordon continues to lead until Denny Hamlin's #11 FedEx Chevy takes the lead on lap 129. Then Kevin Harvick's #29 Reese's Chevy takes the lead on lap 131. While Hamlin & Harvick trade the lead, Jeff Burton's #31 Lenox Industrial Tools Chevy drops out with engine failure on lap 147. He drops to fifth in the points.

Green flag pit stops begin on lap 201. Kevin Harvick leads when pit stops cycle through on lap 215. A caution comes out on lap 251 when JJ Yeley's #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy hits the wall. Everyone pits. Kevin Harvick is leaving his pit while David Ragan's #6 AAA Ford is entering his and Harvick clips Ragan. Harvick's right front fender is damaged. Harvick does come back to finish seventh but he could have won this race. Theoretically the spotter should have alerted Harvick to Ragan's prescence but things happen so quickly that it might not have helped.

Kurt Busch's #2 Miller Lite Dodge leads after pit stops. David Gilliland's #38 M&Ms Ford hits the inside wall to bring out a caution on lap 278. Kurt Busch pits but most of the leaders don't. Busch never gets back to the front and finishes fifth. Jimmie Johnson leads. A debris caurion comes out on lap 319. Everyone makes final pit stops. Johnson continues to lead. Kyle Busch's #5 Kellogg's/Carquest Chevy takes the lead on lap 357 just as Greg Biffle's #16 3M Ford hits the wall to bring out a caution. Busch continues to lead. Ward Burton's #4 State Water Heaters Chevy crashes into Ricky Rudd's #88 Pedigree Dog Food Ford to bring out a caution on lap 372. Jimmie Johnson gets a better restart and passes Busch for the lead on lap 382. Johnson holds on for the win.

Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and car owner Rick Hendrick for the win. Three Hendrick cars finished in the top four. Jeff Gordon continues to lead the points and Johnson has moved into second. Next week is Darlington. Here's a video recap of the race and the top ten.


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

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

3.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

4.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

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

6.12/Ryan Newman/Alltell/Dodge/Roger Penske

7.29/Kevin Harvick/Reese's/Chevy/Richard Childress

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

9.07/Clint Bowyer/DIRECTV/Chevy/Richard Childress

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

Tamura successfully defends NEO titles

NEO attracted 873 fans to their May 3 Korakuen Hall show. Would they do better if they knocked off the silly stuff? I dunno. I think the silly stuff is so much a part of NEO that they don't know how to live without it anymore. Ibuki's more serious 2nd anniversary show drew more fans. The main event of this particular NEO show was totally based on silliness. Yoshiko Tamura making fun of Ice Ribbon's forty fans and Sakura Emi responding by saying that she's a better wrestler than she's perceived. Someone forgot to tell her that perception is reality. Stop being so silly and you can change that perception. And don't forget the mummy and some of the other nonsense.

The opener was a NEO vs JWP New Age tag team match. Aya Yuki & Nagisa Nazaki vs Arisa Nakajima & Kaori Ohki. Yuki & Nozaki won when Nozaki used a diving body press on Ohki at 8:03. It seems Nakajima wasn't in the match much. Next was Ayumi Kurihara vs Aoi Kizuki in a Pure Seoul Best Throw match. It's a move both wrestlers use a lot. Kurihara won with a Diving Senton and a reverse side throw at 8:06. Next was the first NEO appearance of Mecha Mummy from Union. It was Manami Toyota & Mecha Mummy vs Etsuko Mita & Makoto. The main gimmick here was Makoto's fear of Mecha Mummy. Hilarity ensues, I guess. Toyota & Mecha Mummy won when Toyota used a Rocket Punch on Makoto at 8:29. That's the thing the Mummy throws sometimes. Afterwards, they announced to fans that Etsuko Mita's 20th Anniversary show will be July 16 at Korakuen Hall. Toyota said she will be on the show.

Next was a No Ropes Death Match for the International Ribbon Tag Titles. Champs Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki vs Chou-un Shiryu & Totchan Chang. They've been doing that Chinese gimmick. Chang is Toshie Uematsu. The other girl works for one of the small mens companies. It started with a performance by pop singer Akira Kushida. Tanny & Miyazaki won when Tanny used a Muscle Buster on Shiryu at 13:09. Apparently Uematsu wasn't aware that there would be no ropes and was unhappy about that.

Misae Genki & Haruka Matsuo defended the NEO Tag Team Titles against Kyoko Kimura & Vanessa The Mountain. Kimura & Vanessa double teamed Matsuo for most of the match but the champs won when Genki used the G Driver on Kimura at 25:10. The main event had Yoshiko Tamura defending the NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Sakura Emi. NEO GM Koda knew fans didn't think much of this match and tried to defend the match on his blog. He said Sakura Emi would surprise everyone in the match. She actually did OK. Tamura started with a dropkick followed by an ace crusher and a power bomb. Emi comes back with a Romero Special, a hip attack and a back drop. Tamura takes control and wins with the Roaring Elbow at 13:55. This was Tamura's 14th title defense. She'll get to defend it for the 15th time against Vanessa The Mountain on the May 5 Itabashi Green Hall show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ben E. King

Song:Stand By Me


Stand By Me has made Ben E. King one of the more durable R & B singers over the years but I'm sure most listeners don't know he wrote the song. He was born Benjamin Earl Nelson Sept. 23, 1938 in Henderson, NC and moved to Harlem at nine years old. He joined a doo wop group called The Five Crowns in 1958. Clyde McPhatter had left The Drifters and manager George Treadwell was dissatisfied with the group. He fired them and hired The Five Crowns and renamed them The Drifters. He sent them into the studio with producers Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller and they produced the Nelson written There Goes My Baby with Nelson singing lead. Nelson left The Drifters over money in 1960. Nelson changed his name to Ben E. King and went to work with Lieber/Stoller. The result was the 1961 top ten hit Spanish Harlem. The follow up Stand By Me was an even bigger hit. King wrote the song with Lieber/Stoller. King had several more hits but Stand By Me is his most enduring song. It also hit big in 1986 when Rob Reiner used it in his coming of age film Stand By Me. The following video was also produced. This 2CD comp from Rhino is perfect. Ben E. King still tours the oldies circuit and released the CD I've Been Around in 2006 on True Life Records. He has certainly had a long run and and is another great singer who benefitted from the expertise of Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Clint Bowyer wins Richmond Busch Series race

The NASCAR Busch Series returned to Richmond for the Circuit City 250 on Friday night. Kevin Harvick had won the last three Busch Series races in a row and he was looking to extend the streak. Can Kyle Busch finish the race? Virginia native Denny Hamlin won the pole.

Denny Hamlin's #20 Z-Line Designs/Circuit City Chevy leads at the start. Sam Hornish Jr.'s #12 Mobil 1 Dodge hits the wall and brings out a caution on lap 16. Jeff Burton's #29 Holiday Inn Chevy takes the lead on lap 21. On lap 25, Denny Hamlin makes contact with Matt Kenseth's #17 Dish Network Ford and crashes into the inside wall. It looked like Hamlin drifted up the track into Kenseth. During the caution, Kevin Lepage's #52 Ford catches fire. Burton continues to lead.

Clint Bowyer's #2 BB&T Chevy takes the lead on lap 75. Justin Diercks' #70 Foretravel Chevy crashes to bring out a caution on lap 85. Everyone pits and Burton still leads. Dange Hanniford's #56 SMARTBOX Chevy hits the wall on lap 136. Everyone pits and Burton still leads. Matt Kenseth takes the lead on lap 166 and pulls away from the pack. It looks like he has the win in the bag if the race goes green.

On lap 223, JJ Yeley's #1 Miccosukee Gaming Chevy bumps Derrike Cope's #28 Checkers Restaurants Chevy and Cope hits the wall to bring out a caution. This is not what Kenseth wanted to see. Most of the leaders pit. Kenseth has trouble with the right front tire on his pit stop. Bowyer's stop goes smoothly and he gets out first. Carl Edwards' #60 Scott's Miracle Gro Ford stayed out to take the lead. But his older tires were no match for fresh tires and he would finish 13th. Bowyer took the lead and won easily. And here's a video of the final pit stops. The Busch Series is in Darlington next Friday.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly

Song:Love Is The Key


At a time when Disco was king in the late 70s, Maze was a very popular R & B group led by Frankie Beverly. He was born Howard Beverly Dec. 6, 1946 in Philadelphia and changed his name to Frankie as a tribute to Frankie Lymon. He grew up singing in church and started out with The Silhouettes at age 12. In 1963 he formed a group called The Butlers and recorded for legendary Philly Soul producer Kenny Gamble. In 1970 he founded the group Raw Soul and moved to Oakland. Beverly's big break came in 1976 when his idol Marvin Gaye became aware of the group and got them a contract with Capitol. But Gaye didn't like the name Raw Soul and changed the name to Maze. Their 1977 debut went gold and began several years atop the R & B charts. The group had personnel changes but the one constant was Beverly and he wrote most of their songs. Love Is The Key was a top five R & B hit from the 1983 album We Are One. It was their last big chart hit. This 2CD comp has all their Capitol hits. Maze moved to Warner Bros. in 1989 but didn't have success there. They still tour today but haven't recorded in years. But like a lot of 70s R & B groups, Maze has been a big influence on hip hop. Here's Maze performing Joy & Pain in New Orleans in 1981. This was sampled by DJ Rob Base in 1988 and was a huge rap hit.