Saturday, June 30, 2007

Yuka Tsuji looking for revenge

Smackgirl held a press conference Saturday to announce matches for the Sept. 6 Korakuen Hall show to be called Queen's Hottest Matches. There will be two title matches along with the final of the Killer Queen tournament. But the main event will have Smackdown Flyweight Champ Yuka Tsuji in a special revenge match.

Of course we all know how great Yuka Tsuji is. But she has one black mark on her 17-1 record. That loss was to Brazilian fighter Michelli Tavares on the July 13, 2003 DEEP show. Tsuji will get the opportunity to avenge that loss. Her record is 5-1 and her most recent fight was a win over Yasmin Tahira at Show Fight 5 Nov. 9, 2006 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Her only loss was to Megumi Fujii on the Mar. 12, 2005 G-Shooto show. The match will be full MMA rules. Tsuji's title won't be at stake but I'm hoping this leads to the Tsuji/Fujii match that we all want to see.

But there will be two title bouts on this show. Smackgirl Lightweight Champion Hitomi Akano will defend her title against Takayo Hashi. Hashi won an title elimination match over US fighter Sybil Starr in March. Akano won over Hashi in the 2005 Next Cinderella Tournament. Also, Yoko Takahashi will defend her Smackgirl Open Weight Championship against Open Weight Supergirls Cup winner HIROKO. HIROKO's record is 3-0 and apparently she is a dominatrix when she's not fighting. The final of the 106 pound Killer Queen Tournament will be between Ayumi "Edge" Saito & Mai. The winner is likely to be the next challenger for division champ Satoko Shinashi. All of these fights will be Smackgirl ruleswith prohibited ground fighting and the 30 second stand up rule on the ground. And JD Star Athtress Fuuka will make her first Smackgirl appearance in a year. The above pic is courtesy of the Gravity Japanese Womens MMA fansite.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Sly & The Family Stone

Artist:Sly & The Family Stone

Song:You Can Make It If You Try


With it's mix of R & B, funk, rock and social commentary, Sly & The Family Stone were one of the most influential groups of the late 60s. Sly Stone was born Sylvester Stewart Mar. 15, 1943 in Denton, TX. He grew up in Vallejo, CA and sang with his family's gospel group. At age 16, he had a regional hit with Long Time Away, played with various bands in the Bay Area and was a DJ at the local R & B radio station. Autumn Records hired him as a producer and he worked with bands like the Beau Brummels & Bobby Freeman. He formed The Stoners in 1966. That didn't last long but he formed Sly & The Family Stone in 1967 with his brother Fred Stewart on guitar, his sister Rose Stone on piano, Cynthia Robinson on trumpet, Jerry Martini on sax, Larry Graham on bass and Greg Errico on drums. The regional hit I Ain't Got Nobody earned them a contract with Epic. The group struggled a bit. Dance To The Music was a top ten hit in 1968 but the follow ups didn't catch on until Everyday People really made them huge in 1969. That was the first single from Stand!. Stone introduced more politically aware songs including You Can Make It If You Try, a song that was a starting point for extended jams in concert. Stand! is probably Sly & The Family Stone's most essential album and Epic has recently released it with five bonus tracks. Sly & The Family Stone continued to have success but things started to unravel with Sly's drug abuse and he became notorious for not showing up for gigs. This began the group's decline and the end was near once Larry Graham & Greg Errico left to form Graham Central Station in 1972. The group split up in 1975. Sly Stone has occasionally attempted comebacks but he doesn't seem to have the will to make music consistently anymore. But he was influential on today's R & B and hip hop and he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993. Larry Graham did have a successful R & B career in the 80s. Here's Sly & The Family Stone performing You Can Make It If You Try in 1969.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Andrew Hill

Artist:Andrew Hill

Song:Fish 'N' Rice

Album:Dance With Death

Andrew Hill was a very adventurous jazz pianist who got lost in the shuffle in the 60s but made a big comeback in recent years. He was born June 30, 1937 in Chicago. He started playing piano at age 13 and was mentored by the legendary Earl "Fatha" Hines. After studying for two years with classical composer Paul Hindemith, he started gigging for jazz musicians throughout the midwest. Hill moved to New York in the early 60s and made several albums for Blue Note in the 60s. His 1964 album Point Of Departure did well but by the late 60s, Blue Note wasn't much of a jazz label anymore. Dance With Death is a great album recorded in 1968 but it sat on the shelf until 1980. Musicians are Charles Tolliver on trumpet, Joe Farrell on sax, Victor Sproles on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. It's a very strong record and I can't imagine why it sat in the vault. Like many jazz musicians, Hill turned to teaching, first at Colgate University and then at Portland State University. He occasionally recorded but didn't return to the spotlight until he moved back to New York in the 90s and formed his Point Of Departure band. He was more popular than ever until his death from lung cancer on Apr. 20, 2007 at age 69. Andrew Hill is a great pianist and should not be overlooked. Here's Andrew Hill performing. It doesn't give a date but it looks recent.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Ryan Shaw

Artist:Ryan Shaw


Album:This Is Ryan Shaw

Ryan Shaw is a young R & B singer whose music can best be described as retro soul. I think it's a little gimmicky though I understand he probably needed a gimmick to get noticed by Columbia Records. He was born Dec. 26, 1980 in Decatur, GA. He grew up singing in his church and while studying at Georgia State University, he got a role in a Tyler Perry gospel play and moved to New York City. After the play's run ended, he started getting work singing oldies in clubs. The interesting thing is he didn't listen to secular music growing up so he'd never heard any of these songs and gave them a fresh interpretation. Believe it or not, it's not unusual for deeply religeous parents to forbid their children from listening to secular music. But if the child wants to be a musician, he can learn from listening to all kinds of music. I've heard many gospel singers say that they had to sneak out of the house to listen to jazz. Shaw joined The Fabulous Soul Shakers in 2004. The group's guitarist Johnny Gale convinced his friend Jimmy Bralower to look at Shaw. Bralower is a drummer who has been playing sessions since the early 80s. They sent a demo and signed with Columbia. This Is Ryan Shaw was released in April. The CD is mostly oldies though Nobody is a Shaw/Gale/Bralower original. The marketing gimmick is that Shaw sings in a retro soul style and is the anti-hip hop. He's been touring with Joss Stone, another young singer with a similar gimmick. Shaw has talent but I wonder if this is the real Ryan Shaw. I'd like to hear him record gospel. This gimmick might not last. Here's Ryan Shaw's electronic press kit which was posted on Youtube by Ryan Shaw.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ayumi Kurihara's new costume

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Ayumi Kurihara debuted a new costume on the NEO Hokkaido tour. She finally debuted it in Tokyo on the Ibuki show. I know fans want to see her in her new costume and I did find a posed picture for your enjoyment. It's from the blog of the editor of the new Lady's Ring magazine.

Ibuki double shot on June 24

Ibuki held an afternoon and evening show on June 24 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. A couple of notes before I get into the shows. The Mongolian rookie ESI who debuted on the last show had to return home to deal with family issues. I don't know when she is returning. And Ibuki is appearing at the Japan Exposition in Paris, France from July 6-8. Mariko Yoshida is taking Ray, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tomoka Nakagawa and I guess they're going to have a ring set up. This would be a good opportunity for French joshi fans to see them in person. It doesn't happen very often.

The way this worked is the matchups in a couple of the evening matches depend on the afternoon results. The opener had Leon against Ito rookie Tomoko Morii. Morii showed her inexperience by messing up a couple of times and Leon won with the Mad Splash at 7:15. Next was Azumi Hyuga against Yuri Urai. Urai doesn't have much luck and Hyuga wins with a German suplex at 10:26. Next was a veteran vs youngster match that you see a lot in Ibuki. Mariko Yoshida & Kyoko Kimura vs Misaki Ohata & Hiroyo Matsumoto. The rookies try hard but the veterans prevail at 17:49. Atsuko Emoto faced Ibuki newcomer Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa tried a sleeper hold but Emoto used head butts to win at 8:17. The main event was Ayumi Kurihara & Shuu Shibutani vs Ray & Mai Ichii. The winners face Kimura & Emoto in the evening show main event and one of the losers will team with Matsumoto too. The back throw is becoming a Kurihara specialty and she used one to pin Ichii at 15:39.

The opener in the evening show was Tomoka Nakagawa vs Misaki Ohata. One of the things Ohata will have to work on when she comes to Ibuki after JD Star closes is her strength & stamina. She tends to run out of gas. Nakagawa has similar issues but she won with a CRB at 6:35. Next was Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ray vs Bi & Io Murasaki. Yoshida mentioned in her notes that some of the wrestlers who had worked the afternoon show seemed to be tired. That appeared to be true for Ray & Matsumoto but Ray won over Io with a Moonsault press at 10:06. The veteran team of Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu faced NAO & Aoi Kizuki. The youngsters try hard but Uematsu uses the High Angle Uematsu to win over NAO at 21:35.

Next was Mariko Yoshida vs Cherry. To Yoshida's credit, she likes to give her opponent offense she probably doesn't deserve. Cherry begins with an elbow and a face wash but Yoshida gives her a Pedigree. Cherry tries again with a Cherry Bomb and a missile dropkick but Yoshida comes back with another Pedigree. Yoshida finishes her with the Air Raid Crash at 14:48. The main event was Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto vs Ayumi Kurihara & Shuu Shibutani. Kurihara was wearing the new costume that she debuted on the NEO Hokkaido tour. She didn't wear it in the afternoon show. Kurihara & Shibutani double team Kimura. Emoto hits a tope outside the ring but then accidently nails Kimura with a plancha. But Kimura & Emoto regain control. They beat up Shibutani for a while and then work on Kurihara. Emoto uses a vertical brain buster for the win at 19:21. Afterwards, Shibutani said with more practice they would do better. I believe her. Well, maybe not. Ibuki's next show is Aug. 5 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Frank Zappa

Artist:Frank Zappa f/Moon Unit Zappa

Song:Valley Girl

Album:Have I Offended Someone?

Frank Zappa had the only pop hit of his career with Valley Girl. His music was a mixture of various popular music styles with an emphasis on social commentary and humour. He was born Dec. 21, 1940 in Baltimore. While studying music at Chaffey College in Alta Loma, CA, he joined a group called the Soul Giants. They morphed into The Mothers and Tom Wilson of Verve Records changed the name to The Mothers Of Invention. Zappa wrote all the songs. His mix of rock, jazz and modern classical music along with the humour built a solid following for Zappa and by 1969 he started his own record company with Warner Bros. By the 80s, Zappa got the rights for all his recordings and released them through Rykodisc. The only unusual thing about Frank Zappa was his music. He was a normal family man with four kids. He got his 14 year old daughter Moon Unit Zappa to appear on Valley Girl. It pokes fun at the mentality of California teenagers at that time. The song is hilarious and if you listen to the words, it's very subversive. Much to Zappa's amusement, it was a huge hit. Have I Offended Someone? is a 1997 comp featuring Zappa's humourous songs. He recorded a lot of music so it's a small part of his output. Frank Zappa died of cancer on Dec. 4, 1993 at age 52. For me, his music was always interesting. Here's Moon Unit Zappa performing Valley Girl on Solid Gold complete with the Solid Gold Dancers. The funny thing about this clip is it doesn't take advantage of the song's humour. And daddy is nowhere to be seen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jaguar Yokota special appearances in NEO & JD Star

A couple of announcements were made yesterday regarding the appearance of joshi puroresu living legend Jaguar Yokota at two special shows. NEO announced that they are holding a two day event in Niigata on July 13 & 14. This is sponsored by Niigata University and will include a professional wrestling training seminar hosted by Jaguar Yokota. The July 13 show will be at the Nagaoka City Public Welfare Hall. Jaguar Yokota will team with Arisa Nakajima against opponents to be announced. The July 14 show will be at Niigata University. Jaguar Yokota will team with Ayumi Kurihara against opponents to be announced. Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota are scheduled to appear and I assume the usual NEO wrestlers will appear too.

JD Star has announced some of the matches and participants for their July 16 finale at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. As they announced previously, the plan is to focus on the complete history of the promotion. Yumi Ohka's exhibition match was already announced. They have also added a battle royal, some sort of match between JD Regular Army and Heel Army Corps ST'S (Superstars). There will also be Grapple Beauty Selection matches. Those scheduled to wrestle include Yumi Ohka, Fuuka, Shuu Shibutani, Misaki Ohata, Jaguar Yokota, Megumi Yabushita, Haruka Matsuo, Hiroyo Muto, GAMI, Bullfight Sora, Kyoko Kimura, Cherry, Ayumi Kurihara, Yuri Urai & Hiroyo Matsumoto. Scheduled to appear but not wrestle include Lioness Asuka, The Bloody, Fang Suzuki, MARU, Ran Maru, Mizuho Ishikawa, Kei Akiyama and other Athtresses who may not have been in the business for very long. JD Star doesn't have any other shows scheduled and they will announce more participants soon.

Chris Benoit death update

Details have started to come out regarding the tragic death of Chris Benoit and his family. Atlanta police have described it as a murder suicide. The bodies were found in different rooms in the house. It appears that Benoit smothered his wife & son on Saturday and then hung himself on Monday. I can't imagine what would drive him to do this but it's a terrible tragedy regardless.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Paul Desmond

Artist:Paul Desmond

Song:That Old Feeling

Album:Easy Living

Alto sax player Paul Desmond is probably best known for his days with Dave Brubeck. He seemed to prefer work as a sideman. He was born Paul Emil Breitenfeld Nov. 25, 1924 in San Francisco. Desmond was a proponent of what was known as West Coast Jazz that was more lyrical or "cool" as opposed to the high energy of bebop. He met pianist Dave Brubeck in the late 40s and they played together frequently starting in 1951. Of course their big mainstream hit was the 1959 Desmond composition Take Five. Desmond signed a solo contract with RCA in 1963 and formed a quartet with guitarist Jim Hall, drummer Connie Kay of the Modern Jazz Quartet and bassists Gene Cherico, Gene Wright & Percy Heath. Desmond wrote a very popular follow up to Take Five called Take Ten. Easy Living is a 1966 album of leftovers compiled by RCA after the group split up. It's worth a listen. RCA released it on CD in 1990 with a new cover and two bonus tracks. They rereleased it in 2001 with the original cover art, detailed liner notes and an additional alternate take. That version is the cover I'm including because that's what is currently available. Paul Desmond recorded occasionally as a leader but more frequently as a sideman until his death on May 30, 1977 of lung cancer at age 52. Paul Desmond's sound was very smooth and he used to say he wanted it to be like a dry martini. I'll go along with that. Here's Paul Desmond performing Emily at the 1975 Monterey Jazz Festival.

Monday, June 25, 2007

R.I.P. Chris Benoit

I can't believe I'm writing about another pro wrestler dying way too young. It's a very sad day for wrestling fans and the pro wrestling industry. WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and son Daniel were found dead today at their home in Atlanta. No cause of death is known yet. Benoit was 40 years old. Of course most fans know that Nancy was Woman in WCW and that's where they met. He cancelled his appearance at Sunday's WWE PPV saying he had to go home for a family emergency. This is horrible as Benoit was widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers ever.

Chris Benoit was born May 21, 1967 in Montreal and grew up in Edmonton. He was a big Stampede Wrestling fan and idolized Tom "Dynamite Kid" Billington. At age 18, he went to Calgary to train with the legendary Stu Hart. He made his debut in Stampede Wrestling in 1985. After his apprenticeship there, Allen "Bad News Allen" Coage recommended him to New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1989. Benoit trained in the New Japan dojo and became a big star as the masked Pegasus Kid. It was also at this time that he met best friend Eddie Guerrero. After a brief 1992 appearance in WCW, he returned to Japan and eventually would go back and forth between New Japan & ECW.

Benoit signed with WCW in late 1995 and was made a member of The Four Horsemen. He was also involved in an angle where he was feuding with Kevin Sullivan and having an affair with his wife Nancy. Life imitated art when the two fell in love for real and eventually married. He had a very successful run in WCW especially his series of 1998 matches with Booker T. But in Jan. 2000, Benoit along with Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn threatened to leave to protest Kevin Sullivan's promotion to head booker. All four signed with the WWF.

After being out for a year with spinal fusion surgery, Benoit returned to action. The biggest night of Chris Benoit's career was at Wrestlemania XX Mar. 14, 2004 when he won the World Heavyweight Championship from HHH. His best friend Eddie Guerrero was already the WWE Champion and the two celebrated together in the ring. It was one of the most memorable nights in recent WWE history. The above picture is from that celebration. Benoit run as champ wasn't that good because he wasn't booked very well. He lost the title to Randy Orton at SummerSlam Aug. 15, 2004.

Though many wrestling fans perceive Chris Benoit as an all time great main event wrestler, in recent years the WWE seemed to perceive him as midcard talent. That's disappointing to fans but his recent feud with MVP showed that he still could deliver great matches when called upon. He was recently moved to the ECW roster and was supposed to have a title match last night. We don't know what happened yet but I have to figure that the recent wrestler death toll has taken its toll on Chris Benoit. First there was Eddie Guerrero and more recently his long time mentor Allen Coage. And yesterday Benoit's Stampede Wrestling tag team partner Biff Wellington died at age 42. I don't believe in coincidences. Chris Benoit's death is very shocking and he will be missed by all wrestling fans. R.I.P. Chris Benoit.

Juan Pablo Montoya makes auto racing history

Juan Pablo Montoya made auto racing history by winning the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, CA in the NASCAR Nextel Cup. Now that he's won on a road course he needs to win on an oval. He is only the third driver to win the Indy 500, a Formula 1 race & a Nextel Cup race. The other two are Mario Andretti & Dan Gurney. He is also the only the third foreign born driver to win a Nextel Cup race. The other two are Mario Andretti & Canadian Earl Ross. It's not surprising because Montoya is a road course ace. Everything just came together for him.

Pit strategy and fuel mileage are always going to be an issue on a road course. With a smaller fuel cell, fuel mileage and cautions were going to determine whether two or three pit stops were going to be necessary. Robby Gordon led most of the race when a caution fell on lap 68. Most guys made final pit stops but Gordon stayed out and actually pitted after the green flag came out a couple of laps later. He was counting on getting back to the front when the leaders had to make additional pit stops. But that didn't happen. The Richard Childress cars of Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton & Clint Bowyer were getting excellent fuel mileage and all three finished in the top ten. The Roush Fenway cars of Jamie McMurray & Carl Edwards weren't getting good fuel mileage. They ran out of fuel. Montoya's crew chief Donnie Wingo didn't know if Montoya had enough fuel to finish but he did and he won the race. There were plenty of road course ringers in the race. Boris Said had the best finish at 9th. Canadian favourite Ron Fellows fell victim to fuel mileage and finished 15th. Here's a video rewind of the race.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Smokie Norful

Artist:Smokie Norful

Song:Somethin' Somethin'

Album:I Need You Now

Smokie Norful is one of today's top gospel artists. He was born in Muskogee, OK and like a lot of gospel artists, his father is a minister. The family moved to Pine Bluff, AR and Norful studied history at the University Of Arkansas. He worked as a history instructor for four years and moved to Chicago in 1998 to study theology. Norful was assistant pastor at Rock Of Ages Baptist Church when his musical talent caught the ear of Joe Anne Brunson of the Thompson Community Choir. She asked him to appear on their 2000 CD Real. This earned Norful a contract with EMI Gospel. I Need You Now was his debut CD in 2002. Norful voice is very reminiscent of the late great Donny Hathaway. He also writes a lot of his own songs and Somethin', Somethin' was co-written and produced with Derek "DOA" Allen. Smokie Norful has established himself as one of the most popular gospel artists today. His latest CD is 2006's Life Changing. He's working a lot with veteran producer Percy Bady. Smokie Norful will be around for a long time. Here is Smokie Norful's video for I Need You Now.

I need you now

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Etta James

Artist:Etta James

Song:Only Women Bleed

Album:Deep In The Night

When blues legend Etta James made her big comeback in the 90s, her version of the Alice Cooper song Only Women Bleed became a favourite with live audiences. When Universal reissued all of Etta's Chess recordings, fans wondered why they never reissued Only Women Bleed. It's because she didn't record it for Chess. Etta signed with Warner Bros. after leaving Chess and 1978's Deep In The Night was her only recording there. It was barely released and became the great lost Etta James record. She got together with legendary Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler and LA studio aces like Cornell Dupree, Jeff Porcaro, Chuck Rainey & Plas Johnson. She not only does Only Women Bleed but does The Eagles' Take It To The Limit. Fortunately, Bullseye Blues got the rights to Deep In The Night and reissued it on CD in 1995. So it's not lost anymore. Be sure to check it out. Here's Etta James with The Blues Breakers performing You Got Me Running at the Capitol Theatre in New Jersey 1982.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Curtis Fuller

Artist:Curtis Fuller


Album:Boss Of The Soul-Stream Trombone

Curtis Fuller is one of the all time greats of the jazz trombone. He's better known as a sideman than a leader, especially with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. He was born Dec. 15, 1934 in Detroit. He started out with Kenny Burrell and Yusef Lateef and moved to New York in 1955. Like a lot of musicians, he would record as a leader for Blue Note and other labels while touring as a sideman. He was part of The Jazztet with Benny Golson & Art Farmer in 1959 and was a member of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers from 1961-65. Boss Of The Soul-Stream Trombone was recorded in 1960 for Warwick Records. Warwick was a short lived label run by veteran A & R man Morty Craft. Their biggest act was Johnny & The Hurricanes but they went bankrupt in 1962. So obviously a jazz record on that label is obscure. But it's got Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and Yusef Lateef on tenor sax along with Walter Bishop on piano, Buddy Catlett on bass and Stu Martin on drums. Chantized is an excellent Hubbard song and listening to it I never would have known it was that obscure. The album has been released on CD by Collectibles, a label primarily known for rereleasing oldies. Collectibles has also misleadingly released this under Freddie Hubbard's name as Gettin' It Together because Hubbard is better known than Fuller. It's the same record but they have rearranged the songs and there are no liner notes on the Hubbard version. So you have to be careful you don't buy it twice but it's worth getting as Fuller & Hubbard are on their game. Curtis Fuller is still around. His latest CD is 2005's Keep It Simple. Here's Curtis Fuller with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers performing Children In The Night in San Remo, Italy.

Friday, June 22, 2007

SUN vs REM announced for July 12 SUN show

Pro Wrestling SUN held a press conference Thursday to add a couple of matches to their July 12 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. Already announced as the main event is SUN vs JWP, Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo vs Azumi Hyuga & Kayoko Haruyama along with Manami Toyota vs Saki Maemura. Toyota wasn't at the press conference but sent a note that she is interested in wrestling Maemura because she hasn't faced her before. She probably worked with her during Maemura's training. She said she was in the ring with her at Momoe Nakanishi's retirement show and Toyota is interested to see how Maemura has progressed.

The AWA has announced that the AWA World Womens Championship has been retired to honour the late Sherri Martel. The belt currently held by Nanae Takahashi will be called the AWA Japan Womens Championship. Takahashi started the press conference by announcing that JD Star Athtresses Misaki Ohata & Shuu Shibutani will face each other in the opening match of the show. She said she has watched them practice and with JD Star closing it should be interesting to see who comes out on top in this match.

Amazing Kong won't be on this show but she did send a note. She said she is busy and can't come to Japan right now. She said she's through with the AWA belt and the SUN wrestlers and is leaving Toshie Uematsu & Kyoko Kimura to take care of REM. She is going to Europe to hunt down that betrayer Wesna Busic. Announced for the July 12 show is Hikaru & At Toshie Uematsu & Kyoko Kimura. Hikaru says now that your leader has left, why don't you two dissolve REM? Uematsu & Kimura start wondering aloud about that themselves but Kimura fires back and says we don't need Amazing Kong to hate you. Hikaru & Kimura start fighting with each other until they are pulled apart. Afterwards, Hikaru is still upset and wants to send Kimura away in an ambulance. Takahashi tells her to calm down and save it for the ring. In other developments, Pro Wrestling SUN president Nakamura is still planning a gaijin tournament for SUN's 1st anniversary show. The winner of the tournament will challenge Nanae Takahashi for the AWA belt. No names announced yet.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Beach Boys

Artist:The Beach Boys

Song:Help Me, Rhonda

Album:The Best Of The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys were the one US group to challenge The Beatles for pop music supremacy in the mid 60s. The group consisted of brothers Brian, Carl & Dennis Wilson, cousin Mike Love and Brian's high school friend Al Jardine. The group came out of Brian's fascination with vocal groups like The Four Freshman. The whole surfing thing just came out of living in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne, CA. The boys' father Murray Wilson managed the group and they were signed to Capitol Records in 1962. They had several big hits but Help Me, Rhonda was one of their biggest in 1965. By this time, Brian had stopped touring so he could write music full time. He was having trouble coming up with new material and that's what Help Me, Rhonda is about. Jardine sang lead on this. The harmonies are fabulous. There are two versions of the song. There's an album version and a single version. This is the album version and is the version on most comps. This is a budget comp and only has ten songs. There are plenty of comps available that are more extensive. Of course the history of The Beach Boys is fairly well known and I may get into more of their music at another time. The music holds up very well. Here are The Beach Boys performing Help Me, Rhonda on the Andy Williams Show in 1965.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Cannonball Adderley

Artist:Cannonball Adderley


Album:Ultimate Cannonball Adderley

Alto sax legend Cannonball Adderley is better known for his Capitol recordings of the 60s. This Ultimate comp covers recordings made before he went to Capitol. It's actually part of a series of comps released by Verve where the music is selected by a great musician who is a fan too. In this case, the selecter is longtime Adderley pianist Joe Zawinul. And no, he's not on any of these recordings. They were made before he joined the band. I know what you're thinking. Adderley never recorded for Verve. That's true but he did record for Mercury's EmArcy label and those recordings are now part of the Verve catalog. Wabash is a classic Adderley composition from the 1959 album Cannonball And Coltrane. This is the 1959 Miles Davis Sextet minus Miles. So it's Adderley, Coltrane, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. This comp is excellent and in fact the whole Ultimate series should be on your shopping list. Here's Cannonball Adderley performing his classic Work Song on Jazz Scene USA in 1963.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Watermelon was eaten at JWP Dojo show

JWP had another one of their Dojo shows on June 17. They do a lot of silly stuff on these shows. JWP owner Commando Bolshoi seems to like matches involving swimming pools and food. So there were three matches on this show and two of them were silly gimmick matches. And the first match set up the third match. JWP announced that rookie Kaori Ohki will now be called ASUKA and yes, Lioness Asuka did OK this.

Upon entering the JWP Dojo, fans were given sake to congratulate Arisa Nakajima for winning League Princess 07 in the afternoon. The proceedings begin with a discussion between Commando Bolshoi, Azumi Hyuga & KAZUKI. ASUKA will be KAZUKI's partner. Hyuga & KAZUKI decide that whoever wins this match will participate in today's main event involving food. KAZUKI suggests watermelon. It seems that watermelon is Hyuga's favourite food. The rule is if a wrestler is thrown out of the ring, she has to eat a slice of watermelon before she can return to the ring. The thought of eating her favourite food motivated Hyuga to win this match single handedly. She pinned ASUKA in 12:04. Next was a JWP classic swimming pool match. This was a special rainy season version. Kaori Yoneyama & Leon came to the ring wearing raincoats and carrying umbrellas. There's a wading pool in the center of the ring. The first one to fall in the drink loses. The usual thing in a match like this is the wrestlers have several close calls by almost falling in the pool. Leon wins when Yoneyama falls in the pool at 9:49.

The main event is Sachie Abe, Kayoko Haruyama & Arisa Nakajima vs Azumi Hyuga, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kei-to. There's a table at ringside stacked with watermelon. So what does Hyuga do? She goes outside the ring and starts eating watermelon and forgets to return to the ring. Well, it is her favourite food. So it becomes a handicap match. It doesn't seem to bother Kuragaki. She throws Abe around a bit. Hyuga finally returns and Abe falls outside the ring to eat watermelon. Nakajima hits a face crusher, a backdrop and a stretch muffler on Kei-to. Hyuga goes for some more watermelon. Of course they all start hitting the floor and they all have to eat watermelon. Inside the ring, Kuragaki has Abe in a gorilla press. Nakajima comes into the ring and throws watermelon in Kuragaki's face. Finally, Kuragaki pins Abe after a lariat at 12:00. And what about the watermelon? Bolshoi says they ate it and posted a pic on her blog. Check out the above pic.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Rufus


Song:Once You Get Started

Album:The Very Best Of Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan

Chicago based R & B/funk group Rufus is best known today for bringing us vocalist Chaka Khan. But they were very successful in the 70s and they started out as more of a pop group and evolved into R & B through personnel changes. The group was a spinoff of American Breed who had a hit with Bend Me, Shape Me in 1968. They were called Smoke and the original lead singers were Paulette McWilliams & James Stella. Stella was replaced by Ron Stockert and he took over a lot of the songwriting. Drummer Andre Fischer was brought in and Chaka Khan replaced McWilliams in 1972. Rufus signed with ABC Records and their debut album tanked. It was too rock oriented for Khan's vocals. But Stevie Wonder heard Rufus and gave them a song for their next album. Tell Me Something Good was a huge hit and made Chaka Khan a star. Stockert left Rufus and ABC house producer Bob Monaco wisely emphasized Khan's vocals and produced a more funky album with 1974's Rufusized. Once You Get Started reached number two on the dance charts in 1975. This comp is the only one available. Universal should probably do a more comprehensive comp. Rufus continued to record and Chaka Khan inevitably went solo in 1978. Rufus took legal action to keep her and she did return for subsequent albums. Rufus split up in 1983. Andre Fischer has had a significant career as a producer. He was once married to Natalie Cole and won a Grammy for a 1993 Tony Bennett CD. Rufus is recommended to any R & B/funk fan. Here's Chaka Khan & Rufus performing Once You Get Started in 1975. Check out those bellbottoms.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nakajima wins League Princess 07

JD Star's League Princess 07 tournament is now history with the rather convoluted finals being held on the June 17 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. But first, JD Star has announced thar rookie Athtress Misaki Ohata will continue to train and work for Mariko Yoshida's Ibuki after the promotion closes on July 16. That can only help her. They had previously announced that Fuuka will continue to work for JD Star's parent company Kakutobi. Original Athtress Yumi Ohka announced that she will attempt to return to the ring in an exhibition match on the JD Star July 16 finale. Ohka suffered a serious knee injury in Sept. 2005. She unsuccessfully attempted to return to the ring in Jan. 2006 and has worked in a non-wrestling position since then. This is obviously a last ditch effort to see if her knee can handle the stress in the ring.

The opener was a continuation of the classroom segments that Bullfight Sora has been doing. On this occasion she was facing a mystery opponent. It looks like she was expecting a rookie like Misaki Ohata ot the wrestler now known as ASUKA (JWP rookie Kaori Ohki). So Sora was surprised when GAMI came to the ring and planned to give Sora supplementary lessons. GAMI proceeds to pin Sora in six seconds with a greco roman eye poke. GAMI told her the first lesson is never relax your guard. Sora angrily demands a restart and GAMI wins again by hitting her with her megaphone at 5:13. One more restart and GAMI wins with a shoulder tackle at 2:07. The lesson is over and GAMI leaves. Next was Kyoko Kimura against a mystery opponent. This was Caribbean RUM. RUM knocks Kimura outside the ring with a dropkick. After fighting outside, Kimura accused her of betrayal and hung her in the ropes. Kimura won with the Big Boots at 9:27. JD Star GM Kobayashi apologized to Kimura and they shook hands.

The League Princess 07 final had Yuri Urai, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Arisa Nakajima. The final would consist of successive singles matches, the first to be determined by lot. The winner of the match competes against the other wrestler in the next match. The first wrestler to win two matches consecutively is the tournament winner. Matsumoto & Nakajima were in the first match. Matsumoto won with a backdrop at 5:05. If Matsumoto defeats Urai, she wins the tournament. Matsumoto comes close to winning with a brain buster but Urai hooks in a sleeper for the win at 5:30. Now if Urai beats Nakajima, she wins the tournament. After a stretch muffler and a missile kick, Nakajima wins with a Cutie Special at 10:18. Matsumoto attacks quickly with a bow & Arrow and a camel clutch. Nakajima comes back with three running face busters. Matsumoto's attempt at an Argentinian backbreaker is reversed into a Cutie Special. Nakajima hits a missile dropkick to the back of the head and a German suplex for the win at 6:49. Arisa Nakajima is the League Princess 07 champion. She is also the JWP Junior Champ.

The main event had the three Athtresses team upfor the first time and Yumi Ohka was in their corner. It was Fuuka, Shuu Shibutani & Misaki Ohata vs Ayumi Kurihara, Cherry & Io Murasaki. The Athtresses get Cherry in a Grapple V pose. It's one of those pyramid shaped things with all of them giving a V sign. Kurihara breaks it up and hits Fuuka with a running backbreaker and a 619. The end comes when Shibutani hits a Northern Lights suplex on Murasaki for the win at 14:34. Yumi Ohka said afterwards that if her exhibition match is successful, she will return to the ring full time in September. She also said in a seperate interview that she credits Naomi "The Bloody" Kato for her improvement in the ring. No announcement has been made about Shibutani yet.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Coleman Hawkins

Artist:Coleman Hawkins


Album:A Retrospective 1929-1963

Coleman Hawkins was a pioneer of the jazz tenor sax and his career spanned several decades and musical styles. He was born Nov. 21, 1904 in St. Joseph, MO. He played professionally in Kansas City at age 12. After a two year stint with blues singer Mamie Smith, he moved to New York in 1923 and became lead tenor sax with Fletcher Henderson. Hawkins learned a lot about phrasing when Louis Armstrong joined the Henderson band in 1924. He remained in Henderson's band until 1934 and moved to Europe and played with guitar legend Django Reinhardt among others. With WWII approaching, Hawkins moved back to the US in 1939. It was at this time that he signed with RCA's Bluebird label and recorded his most famous record Body & Soul. He had various bands at the time including the 52nd St. All Stars that recorded this Hawkins tune Spot Lite. Benny Carter was featured on trumpet. This 2CD comp covers Hawkins' Bluebird recordings over the years and is a good introduction for beginners. Coleman Hawkins adjusted very well to the bebop revolution and continued to make great music into the 1960s. Coleman Hawkins died May 19, 1969 at age 64. There's actually quite a bit of Coleman Hawkins video footage from the 60s but this clip is from the 1945 film The Crimson Canary with Howard McGhee on trumpet, Sir Charles Thompson on piano, Oscar Pettiford on bass and Denzil Best on drums.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Marty Robbins

Artist:Marty Robbins

Song:El Paso

Album:Super Hits

Though Marty Robbins is mostly known as a singer of cowboy ballads, there's a lot more to his career. But his interest in western ballads was authentic. He was born Martin Robinson Sept. 25, 1925 in Glendale, AZ. His former medicine show man grandfather Bob Heckle told him cowboy stories when Marty was a child. So he went to work at his older brother's ranch as a teenager. He came out of the Navy in 1947 and started performing locally and eventually settled on the stage name Marty Robbins. Country music legend Little Jimmy Dickens got Robbins a contract with Columbia in 1951. For the first few years of his career, Robbins performed standard country songs and even tried rock & roll. Bet he started acting in western movies and his theme for the 1958 Gary Cooper western The Hanging Tree convinced Robbins to do more of the same. El Paso was a monster hit on the country and pop charts in 1959 and the album Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs was huge. This budget Super Hits comp is OK but the All Time Greatest Hits comp is even better. Robbins would continue to have chart success until he left Columbia in 1972. He also appeared in several films and drove stock cars in NASCAR. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1982 and died from heart problems Dec. 8, 1982 at age 57. You don't have to be a country music fan to appreciate the powerful cowboy ballads of Marty Robbins. Here he is performing El Paso in 1960.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

MIKU gets DEEP title shot

When DEEP Womens Champ Hisae Watanabe messed up and lost to Korean fighter Su Hi Ham in February, it caused a problem for DEEP. It wasn't for the title but protocol says Ham should get a title shot. Their solution was to bring Ham back to fight MIKU. It the Korean wins, she gets a title shot. Fortunately for DEEP, MIKU won and DEEP decided to have a number one contender match between MIKU & Misaki Takimoto on the June 15 Shinjuku FACE show. The winner gets a shot at Watanabe's title. Watanabe has messed up before and she has come back stronger than ever. I expect the same thing here.

The womens match was the main event on a 15 match card. Takimoto slipped but was able to get a heel lock on MIKU. Her attempt to escape left her open to a kneebar. MIKU eventually escaped and hit Takimoto with a combination. Takimoto dropped down for a single leg takedown. She started pounding MIKU but that left her open for an armbar. Miku locked it in and got the submission at 4:32 of round one. Hisae Watanabe was at ringside and helped MIKU celebrate in the ring and pose for pictures. No date for the title match has been announced. The above post match pic of MIKU & Hisae Watanabe is courtesy of GB Ring.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Lonnie Brooks

Artist:Lonnie Brooks


Album:Satisfaction Guaranteed

Lonnie Brooks is a very solid and popular Chicago blues artist. He was born Lee Baker Jr. Dec. 18, 1933 in Dubuisson, LA. He didn't take up the guitar seriously until his early 20s but his first gig was with Zydeco king Clifton Chenier. He called himself Guitar Junior and recorded for the indy label Goldband in the late 50s. Sam Cooke offered Baker the chance to move to Chicago. But there was already a Guitar Junior in Chicago. Baker also needed to adapt to the Chicago blues style. After an unsuccessful record as Guitar Junior in 1969, he decided to rename himself Lonnie Brooks. Like a lot of blues artists, Brooks' big break was signing with Bruce Iglauer's Alligator Records in 1978. He built a strong following while recording for them over the next two decades. The 1991 CD Satisfaction Guaranteed is very typical of Brooks' style of blues. He has a sense of humour and a lot of showmanship. He last recorded in 1999 but he still tours. His sons Ronnie & Wayne have inherited their father's talent and he works with them a lot. I guess that's only appropriate for Father's Day. Here's Lonnie Brooks performing You're Using Me.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Big Maybelle

Artist:Big Maybelle

Song:No More Trouble Out Of Me

Album:The Complete OKeh Sessions 1952-55

Big Maybelle was yet another Big voiced R & B shouter of the 50s. She was born Mabel Louise Smith May 1, 1924 in Jackson, TN. She won a Memphis talent contest at age eight and later toured with the International Sweethearts Of Rhythm. She was discovered by veteran R & B producer Fred Mendelsohn. He renamed her Big Maybelle and signed her to Columbia's OKeh label in 1952. Gabbin' Blues was her first single on OKeh and it was a big R & B hit. Her songwriter pal Rosemarie McCoy wrote the song and appears on the record. No More Trouble Out Of Me is another great McCoy song. This comp has all her OKeh recordings. Mendelsohn left OKeh and took Maybelle over to Savoy. Savoy owner Herman Lubinsky had made Mendelsohn part owner. She continued to have chart success there. One little known fact is Maybelle recorded Whole Lot Of Shakin' Goin' On two years before Jerry Lee Lewis. Big Maybelle left Savoy in 1959 and continued to record for various labels in the 60s. She apparently had drug problems and died in a diabetic coma on Jan. 23, 1972 at age 47. All I can say is Big Maybelle was a big woman with a very big voice. Here is Big Maybelle performing I Ain't Mad At You at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival from Bert Stern's classic documentary Jazz On A Summer's Day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

R.I.P. Sherri Martel

WWE Hall Of Fame member Sensational Sherri Martel died today at age 49. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reports that she was found dead in her home in Jacksonville, FL. Cause of death is not yet known. She was born Sherri Russell Feb. 8, 1958 in New Orleans. She was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2006. She was primarily known for her Sensational Sherri character in early 90s WWF managing wrestlers like Randy Savage & Shawn Michaels. She was a great performer as a manager but I suspect a lot of fans aren't aware that she was a pretty good wrestler long before that. She is a former AWA World Womens Champ and a former WWF Womens Champ. So I wanted to concentrate my obituary on her wrestling career.

As Sherri said in her WWE HOF induction speech, she went to Butch Moore in Nashville to learn pro wrestling. Once Moore decided she was tough enough for the wrestling business, he sent her to The Fabulous Moolah in Columbia, SC for training. Sherri made her debut in 1980. WWE 24/7 recently showed her first Madison Square Garden match. It wasn't very good but that's what it was. She spent some time in Memphis and was managed by Jim Cornette. Check out this video of her very first match in Memphis against Velvet McIntyre. And yes, she did go on one of Moolah's tours of Japan to work for All Japan Women in 1982. I have a match on VHS of Sherri beating up a young Noriyo Tateno from the Jumping Bomb Angels.

Sherri left Moolah in 1983 and went to the AWA. Her primary rival there was Candi Divine. The above picture is from a 1983 match between the two and is courtesy of Tinadiane. Sherri first won the AWA World Womens Championship from Candi at the 1985 AWA Superclash. The girls traded the title a couple of times. Meanwhile, Sherri got into managing with the tag team of Playboy Buddy Rose & Pretty Boy Doug Somers. She continued to hold the AWA belt until she left the AWA for the WWF in 1987. Sherri won the WWF Womens Title from The Fabulous Moolah in her very first WWF match in Houston. She held the title until losing it to Rockin' Robin in Paris, France in Nov. 1988.

In the spring of 1989, the WWF decided to shut down the womens division. But they saw Sherri's value as an outrageous manager and she rarely wrestled for the rest of her time in the WWF. She left the WWF for the WCW in 1993 and though she managed Ric Flair for a while, she was most memorable while managing the tag team Harlem Heat. After leaving WCW, Sherri continued working for indy feds as a wrestler and manager. Whether working as a wrestler or manager, Sherri Martel was always a very hard worker and her only goal was to entertain fans to the best of her ability. She did a damn good job. And if you haven't seen it, you need to check out Sherri's WWE HOF induction ceremony speech. It's a laugh riot. The wrestling community suffered a terrible loss today with the death of Sherri Martel at age 49. A ten bell salute has been well earned. R.I.P.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers

Artist:Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers


Album:The Best Of Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers:Restoring The Years

Restoring The Years would be a very good introduction to those not familiar with the music of gospel superstar Donald Lawrence. EMI Gospel released it in 2003 after Lawrence left for Verity Records. He had his biggest commercial success with Testify. It's a killer song and veteran mixer Junior Vasquez remixed it and it was a big hit on the dance charts. It's from the 2000 CD Restoring The Years includes that and plenty of other songs from his CDs on Sparrow & EMI Gospel. Of course the Tri-City Singers has been on their farewell tour this year and here they are with guest vocalist Lashun Pace performing And Yet I'm Still Saved.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Will JD Star finally do Fuuka vs Shibutani?

As JD Star heads to their July 16 finale, it appears the they may actually do the Fuuka vs Shuu Shibutani feud that they have periodically teased for a long time. Unless they were just teasing again on the June 10 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. Nanae Takahashi & Hikaru appeared in the tag team main event and Mariko Yoshida appeared too. Also, the strange feud between Kyoko Kimura & JD Star GM Kobayashi continued. It was announced that Fuuka will continue to be represented as a performer by JD Star's parent company Kakutobi and she will continue wrestling as well.

The opener had Saki Maemura come over from Pro Wrestling SUN to face Misaki Ohata. The match went as one would expect. Maemura uses a double arm suplex, a diving press and a fisherman's suplex for the win at 9:01. Next was Cherry & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Tomoka Nakagawa & Bi Murasaki. She's the older of the two sisters. Like her sister, she's very green but tries hard. She gets hit by Cherry's foot stamp and Matsumoto's guillotine drop. But she comes back with an STO on Cherry followed by a Nakagawa elbow. The end comes when Bi accidently nails Nakagawa with a high kick. Cherry hits a German suplex and the Chereton bomb on Nakagawa for the win at 12:51.

Next was Kyoko Kimura vs Io Murasaki. Kimura has been having a feud with GM Kobayashi. He comes to the ring to announce a special referree. He takes off his t-shirt to reveal a striped shirt underneath. Kobayashi is the ref. Kimura says "What do you think you're doing?" Of course when Io rolls up Kimura with a schoolboy press, Kobayashi counts fast. Kimura brings out her chain and wrps up Io outside the ring. Back in the ring, Kimura uses the chain with a sleeper hold. Io counters with a cross body and an elbow. Kimura kicks her outside the ring again and hits her with a chair attack. Io comes back with a 619 but Kimura uses the chain again and then a moonsault. Kobayashi wouldn't count to three. Kimura nails him with a brain buster and chases him with a chair. Kimura wraps the chain around Io's neck and applies a camel clutch. Io taps out at 12:04 and Kimura hits her with the chair again. Kobayashi announces that Kimura will face a mystery opponent on the June 17 show.

Natsuki*Taiyo came to the ring and returned the POP Princess Title she won from Fuuka on New Year's Eve. I don't think she ever defended it. This is just in time for June 17's POP League 07 final. It's going to be a three way between Yuri Urai, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Arisa Nakajima. Lots will be drawn for a series of singles matches. The first one to win two straight matches will win the tournament. I think the winner gets the belt. Next was Mariko Yoshida vs Yuri Urai. Urai attacks Yoshida before the bell. That doesn't bother Yoshida and she wins with a cross arm breaker at 13:51.

The main event was Nanae Takahashi & Fuuka vs Hikaru & Shuu Shibutani. Takahashi & Fuuka double team Shibutani. Hikaru & Shibutani double team Fuuka on the apron. Takahashi hits Hikaru with a tope. Hikaru & Shibutani hit Fuuka with a double DDT. Fuuka wins over Shibutani with a hurricanrana, the F crash & the doll F for the win at 17:13. Fuuka & Shibutani will team up with Misaki Ohata on the June 17 show vs Ayumi Kurihara, Cherry & Io Murasaki.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Beverly Crawford

Artist:Beverly Crawford

Song:For The Rest Of My Life

Album:Family & Friends:Live

Gospel singer Beverly Crawford has been performing since age three. She was born Beverly Camp in Gainesville, FL and grew up in Dallas. Her pastor father Walter Camp started a group with Beverly and her sisters and they toured for several years as The Camp Sisters. Beverly and husband Todd Crawford founded The Potter's House Ministries in 1989. Of course the ministry became closely associated with the popular pastor TD Jakes. He is a pastor but he is also interested in film and music production. Beverly recorded a couple of CDs for Warner Alliance in the mid 90s. But after Warner Bros. Records closed the label, TD Jakes started his own label called Dexterity Records and Beverly now records there. 2003's Family & Friends:Live has a lot of special guests including her family. Like a lot of old school gospel singers, she prefers to record live. Derrick Lee is the producer and he is probably best known as the musical director for BET's Bobby Jones Gospel. Dexterity has just signed a new distribution deal with Rhino so I expect to hear more from Beverly Crawford in the near future. Here's Beverly Crawford with O'Landa Draper & The Associates performing Nothing Shall Separate Me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sugar Satoh returning to the ring?

OZ Academy's June 10 Shinjuku FACE show continued the feud between Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato with a surprising twist thrown in. Before I get to that, I just wanted to mention that Mika Nishio is now accompanying Mayumi Ozaki to the ring. The two are very good friends so it's not surprising. But I'm sure we haven't heard the last of Police.

Sonoko Kato has been on a major losing streak since she returned to the ring last October. It also looked like Chikayo Nagashima was especially annoyed with her. When Kato finally won a match a few weeks ago, Nagashima challenged her to a match on the June 10 show and promised to fix her once and for all. The two created a lot of heat for this match and Kato won in 17:58. The big surprise was Sugar Satoh appearing at ringside after the match. Of course Satoh is a veteran GAEA wrestler and she retired in 2005. Kato said she won and proved herself to that good-for-nothing Nagashima. That's when Satoh showed up. Kato said Satoh is now a housewife and can't possibly be in decent shape. Satoh said housewives are very busy so she's in shape. She said she was watching all this and wants to teach Kato a lesson. She was talking about maybe getting Meiko Satomura to team up with her. But if not, that's when Kato suggested a singles match. Satoh said she let her know and then she left with Nagashima. She says she has to talk with her family. This match could happen at OZ Academy's July 8 Nagahama City show.

Other results from this show were Mayumi Ozaki defeated Ran YuYu in 12:55. In an OZ-MEN'S match, Daisuke Ikeda defeated El Braza in 6:11. OZ has been running men's matches regularly lately. Carlos Amano defeated AKINO in 16:12. AKINO is starting to work regularly for OZ. Aja Kong & KAORU defeated Mizuki Endo & Dynamite Kansai in 12:23.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins Hendrick Motorsports

NASCAR silly season officially began last month when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced that he was leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of this season. The only thing he said was that he wanted to continue driving a Chevy. The obvious answer to this is Hendrick Motorsports. They're the best organization. But with NASCAR instituting a four car limit in Nextel Cup in 2009, Rick Hendrick said three weeks ago that he already has four cars and doesn't have room for Dale Jr. So after plenty of rumour and speculation, Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced this morning that he will join Hendrick Motorsports in 2008.

So what changed? Rick Hendrick said that he was negotiating to extend Kyle Busch's contract. During these negotiations, it became clear that Busch had been contacted by other teams and wanted to listen to them. Hendrick decided two weeks ago to let Busch out of his contract at the end of the 2007 season. That opened the door to negotiate with Dale Earnhardt Jr. It is not yet known what car number he will drive or who his sponsor will be. It is also not known where Kyle Busch will drive though speculation is he will go to Dale Earnhardt Inc. It should be interesting to see how the sponsorship issues with Budweiser, Kellogg's & Carquest are resolved.

One of the key things is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the number one driver at DEI. At Hendrick, he's number three behind Jeff Gordon & Jimmy Johnson. That takes a lot of pressure off him. Dale Jr. said during the press conference that he was very anxious about this whole process but he knew he couldn't rush into a decision. Fortunately, his sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge handled the negotiations and she deserves a lot of credit for leading him to this point. Dale Earnhardt Jr. got what he wanted. He's in the best equipment and there's no excuse for not winning a championship. Here's a video clip from this morning's press conference of Dale Earnhardt Jr. announcing his decision.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Joe Henderson

Artist:Joe Henderson

Song:Black Narcissus

Album:The Milestone Years

Most jazz fans know Joe Henderson as a reliable post bop tenor sax player who toiled in obscurity until Verve showed that marketing is everything in the 90s. He was born Apr. 24, 1937 in Lima, OH. His work with trumpeter Kenny Dorham earned him a Blue Note contract in 1963. He made several records there and also was in Horace Silver's band. He joined Herbie Hancock's band in 1967 and moved to Milestone Records in 1969. He made several great records in the 70s and they're all on this 8CD box set The Milestone Years. The 2006 comp Milestone Profiles is probably better from beginners. Black Narcissus was on his 1969 album Power To The People. It's solid jazz with Herbie Hancock on piano, Mike Lawrence on trumpet, Ron Carter on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Joe Henderson continued to record in obscurity through the 80s while teaching music in San Francisco. He signed with Verve in 1992 and they marketed him like a big star and he wasn't obscure anymore. It's not like his music changed. He was a regular at the top of the jazz charts and won four Grammys. Joe Henderson died of heart failure on Jan. 30, 2001 at age 63. If you've never heard him, here's Joe Henderson performing Take The A Train.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

SUN vs JWP angle announced

Pro Wrestling SUN held a press conference Monday to announce the main event for their July 12 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. This will kick off a SUN vs JWP angle that I expect will continue through the summer with the likely payoff being an AWA World Womens Championship match between Nanae Takahashi & Azumi Hyuga. They've got three shows in August; Aug. 5 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring, Aug. 28 at the Nakaku Sportscenter in Nagoya City and Aug. 29 at Shin-kiba. They haven't announced a date for the first anniversary show but SUN president Nakamura has indicated that he will run some sort of gaijin tournament with the winner getting an AWA World Womens Championship shot. I think one of the wrestlers he's looking at for this is Jaime Dauncey AKA Sirelda in TNA.

This SUN vs JWP angle began when Azumi Hyuga appeared at ringside for the May 27 AWA World Womens Championship three way match. She had a staredown with Amazing Kong and Hyuga said that's who she was interested in. Of course Amazing Kong won't be in Japan for this upcoming show. As many fans are aware, she is now the NWA World Womens Champ. Meanwhile, the NWA is having an NWA World Heavyweight Championship tournament. In fact, Amazing Kong recently sent a video to the NWA wanting to enter that tournament. Guess what, fans? She's done that before. A couple of years ago when she started appearing in mixed matches for ZERO-ONE MAX, she wanted to enter a tournament that they were having. They turned her down and she will be turned down again especially since the brackets for the NWA tournament have already been set.

After Nanae Takahashi won the AWA World Womens Championship, Hyuga entered the ring and the two had a staredown. Hyuga challenged Takahashi and was turned down. On Sunday, JWP had a tenth anniversary show for KAZUKI at the Tokyo Cinema Club. Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo came to the show. Hyuga had just finished defending her JWP Open Weight Title. Takahashi grabbed the mike and congratulated Hyuga on her successful title defense but the match made her sleepy. Hyuga said "What are you going to do?" Takahashi said "Whatever I want." Hyuga suggested that Takahashi nominate a challenger for Arisa Nakajima's JWP Junior Championship and of course she nominated Natsuki*Taiyo. That match will happen on a JWP show. While Hyuga's attention is diverted, Amazing Kong entered the ring from the other side, nailed Hyuga with a lariat and stole the title belt.

JWP's reaction to this was to show up at Monday's press conference at the Pro Wrestling SUN office. JWP owner Commando Bolshoi was accompanied by Azumi Hyuga & Kayoko Haruyama. Bolshoi said "Is this the way SUN works? You need Amazing Kong to fight your battles?" Takahashi said she just wanted a response from JWP. Natsuki*Taiyo told Haruyama she already beat her so now she wants Hyuga. Haruyama called her a pipsqueak. Bolshoi said whatever SUN wants to do is OK with her. The specific matches weren't announced but Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo will represent SUN and Azumi Hyuga & Kayoko Haruyama will represent JWP. I think they might do a tag match first. Also, Manami Toyota will make her first SUN appearance against Saki Maemura.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-John Legend

Artist:John Legend

Song:Used To Love U

Album:Get Lifted

John Legend is a very talented R & B singer currently riding the wave of Philly Neo Soul popularity. He was born John Stephens in Springfield, OH. He was a child prodigy pianist. Legend moved to Philadelphia at age 16 and played piano on Lauryn Hill's Everything Is Everything in 1998. After that he settled in to play sessions and eventually became associated with the popular rapper Kanye West. West saw Legend as more than a pianist signed him to his G.O.O.D. label. Get Lifted was his first studio album in 2004. Ordinary People was a number one hit on the R & B charts. Used To Love U was the follow up single and also did well. It's a great song and was written by Legend & West. Get Lifted reached number four on the Billboard album chart and also won a 2005 Best R & B Album Grammy Award along with Best New Artist. His new CD Once Again indicates that now that Legend has had some commercial success, there's no pressure to sell CDs and he's more relaxed with his music. John Legend used his connection with Kanye West to achieve commercial success but he clearly has enough talent to make great music for many years. Here's the video for Used To Love U by John Legend.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Livesmart Diabetes Expo

I attended the May 27 Livesmart Diabetes Expo at the Direct Energy Centre at the CNE. I have a pretty good handle on my blood sugar but I'm always looking for new products, mainly sugar free snacks to keep my blood sugar above 4.0. But when I arrived at the Direct Energy Centre, the elevator wasn't working. They took me to the parking garage elevator and gave me a free lunch ticket for the inconvenience. The main problem with the show was the large number of empty booths. I can't comment on the reason for that but of course it's not a good thing. There were a lot of companies pushing blood sugar meters. They're all the same to me except the Roche Accu-Chek Compact. I'm considering switching and will write about it further if I do.

The main thing I was looking for was snacks. It's difficult to get them in this area and I think I have found a couple of sources at this show. Of course Abbott Laboratories was there with the Glucerna Snack Bar. I've tried it and it's too expensive and I don't like the taste anyway. I'm looking for things I can have after lunch. And not all are created equal. Splenda tends to leave an aftertaste when used in manufactured product. I'm usually looking for Malitol in the ingredients list. That is a fruit sugar syrup used as a sugar replacement in the food manufacturing process. Here's a couple that other diabetics might be interested in.

Power Pop

Certainly hot air popped popcorn is an appropriate snack for diabetics. But it's boring. And microwave and manufactured popcorn isn't any different from any other manufactured product. It has stuff in it I shouldn't eat. Of course I'll cheat and eat popcorn at the movies but I don't cheat frequently. Jerry Shapiro of BBNC Snacks has filled this void with Power Pop. Jerry's wife is a type 2 diabetic so he knows what the problems are. Power Pop is a flavoured popcorn that is no sugar added, no trans fat, gluten & nut free and low sodium. He uses malitol and natural flavours. That makes it a very good snack for diabetics. The four flavours are BBQ, chocolate caramel, caramel & lemon meringue. I didn't like BBQ but the others are very good. And he is introducing cappucino soon. It costs $1.99 a bag and you can find a location near you in the Toronto area by going to Jerry's site and entering your postal code. I bought some on Saturday and ate a bag during yesterday's NASCAR race. My blood sugar was perfect afterwards.

The Sugar Free Shoppe

Finding sugar free products at your local grocery or drug store is a big problem. My local Shoppers Drug Mart hasn't updated their selection in a long time. They had a booth at the show and I mentioned it to them. Mississauga's The Sugar Free Shoppe is exactly what I am looking for. They offer all kinds of sugar free products mostly unavailable elsewhere. Shop owner Kathy Snow's husband is diabetic so they know exactly what I'm talking about. They have sugar free maple syrup, ketchup, cakes, chocolates, even Oreos. That's right, real Oreos. They also have sugar free gift baskets. I bought a box of sugar free chocolate macaroons at the show. You can go to their store at 150 Brittania Rd. E. in Mississauga but they also deliver. That's good for me. The best thing to do is check out their website at and place an order. They even have products on special. I will place an order this week.

Those were the two vendors that I really liked. There was also a soy based ice cream product called Soy-n-Joy but I wasn't as crazy about that and I don't think I would buy that. Their website is I don't know if I'll attend this show next year. I guess it depends if there are new products of interest. A lot of the booths are not going to change so going next year may be redundant. The empty booths are a problem too.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dizzy Gillespie

Artist:Dizzy Gillespie


Album:Dizzy:The Music Of John Birks Gillespie

Of course John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was one of the founders of bebop and one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. He was born Oct. 21, 1917 in Cheraw, SC. The nickname Dizzy was given to him because he liked to fool around on stage in the 30s. Gillespie's legacy was enhanced by his interest in teaching the next generation about jazz. He was also a major proponent of Afro-Cuban Jazz long before it was fashionable. And that brings me to this 1954 version of Duke Ellington's Caravan. This 2005 comp Dizzy is OK but one disc isn't adequate to even sample Gillespie's music. This is also on the 3CD comp Dizzy's Diamonds. It's actually from the 1954 Norgran release Afro. Norgran was a Verve offshoot. It pairs Gillespie with arranger Chico O'Farrill. Half the album is a big band and the other half is a smaller Latin jazz band featuring flutist Gilberto Valdes. Verve rereleased Afro in 2002 but I think it's out of print now. Gillespie continued to experiment with Afro-Cuban jazz throughout his career. Dizzy Gillespie is another jazz great that can't be covered in one song. I'll look at him again in the future. Here's Dizzy Gillespie in a 1956 animated short called A Date For Dizzy directed by John Hubley.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Joe Zawinul

Artist:Joe Zawinul

Song:Badia/Boogie Woogie Waltz

Album:Brown Street

Though Joe Zawinul doesn't fit the stereotype of the typical jazz musician, He is one of the most important figures in the latter part of the 20th century. He was born July 7, 1932 in Vienna, Austria. He studied classical piano at the Vienna Conservatory but his interest in jazz inspired him to come to the US in 1958. He spent some time in Maynard Ferguson's band and two years as Dinah Washington's pianist. But it was his nine year stint as Cannonball Addreley's pianist and musical director that established him in the jazz community. After working with Miles Davis on In A Silent Way & Bitches Brew, Zawinul formed Weather Report with sax player Wayne Shorter & bassist Miroslav Vitous in 1970. They would be the most popular jazz/rock fusion band over the next 15 years. Zawinul is one of the few keyboard players who has mastered jazz on the synthesizer. Joe Zawinul still extends the boundaries of jazz with his current band Zawinul Syndicate. Brown Street is his latest CD. Zawinul doesn't seem like a nostalgiac guy but on this CD he has taken Weather Report classics and completely reinvented them with updated arrangements by Vince Mendoza and the WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany. Bassist Victor Bailey & former Weather Report percussionist Alex Acuna are featured and it was recorded live at Joe Zawinul's Birdland in Vienna and released on his own label. Too bad Wayne Shorter isn't on this. Joe Zawinul was one of the inventors of fusion music and it's great to see him still making great music today. Here's Joe Zawinul & the WDR Big Band performing the music of Weather Report at the 2006 North Sea Fazz Festival in Rotterdam. The video is about 35 minutes long.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Mickie James vs Victoria on HEAT again

Once again the WWE has chosen to put Mickie James vs Victoria on HEAT. It's an OK match. Nothing special. But if you watch it here you won't get a WWE cookie on your computer. My cookies are friendlier. Some of you may know I've been a little obsessed with computer security lately. Enjoy the match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Clash

Artist:The Clash

Song:Train In Vain

Album:The Singles

The Clash were arguably the most popular of British 70s punk bands. The genesis of the group was in two bands. Joe Strummer (John Mellor) had a band called the 101ers and Mick Jones had a band called London SS. They also included bassist Joe Simonon & drummer Tory Crimes (Terry Chimes). Strummer folded the 101ers and joined London SS with guitarist Keith Levene. They were renamed The Clash. Though they were very popular in England, it was not unusual for punk bands of that era to have problems breaking into the US market. By 1979 The Clash toured the US. The 1980 classic London Calling was their most popular album and Train In Vain was their biggest hit in the US. The funny part is that Train In Vain was a hidden track. The title wasn't even listed on the cover. But Epic thought it was commercial and released it as a single. Apparently that's why The Clash hid the song. They thought it was too commercial. Pretty silly, eh. The Singles is probably a good introduction to The Clash. It was originally released in 1990 as a collection of their British A sides. Epic rereleased it this week with a new cover and have reworked the song order. There are other comps available as well. The Clash split up in 1986 and the various members went on to other groups. Their music still holds up well today. Here's The Clash performing Train In Vain.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Mary Mary

Artist:Mary Mary

Song:Thank You


Gospel singing sisters Mary Mary have successfully crossed over to mainstream R & B. Erica & Tina Atkins are from Inglewood, CA and their mom is music director of the local church. After a stint with Bobby Jones & New Life, they met producer Warryn "Babydub" Campbell. He signed them to a songwriting contract and eventually would marry Erica. Their songs started turning up on other peoples records including the soundtrack to Doctor Doolittle. Yolanda Adams also had a big hit with their song Yeah. Campbell was in a meeting with Sony Music execs and he pitched the idea of the Atkins sisters as a duo. They are fabulous singers so it's a no brainer. The name Mary Mary came from the three of them fooling around in the studio trying to come up with a group name. Mary Mary had a huge hit in 2000 with Praise You (Shackles) which crossed over to the R & B and dance charts. 2002's Incredible is their second CD. They write most of their own songs but of course Thank You is a classic Walter Hawkins song and is their tribute to the Hawkins family. Mary Mary took some time off for motherhood but returned stronger than ever in 2005. Their latest CD is 2006's A Mary Mary Christmas. I'm sure Erica & Tina Atkins and Warryn Campbell will continue to produce hot gospel music for years to come. Here's Mary Mary performing Thank You on a TBN broadcast. Tina is the redhead.