Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Irma Thomas

Artist:Irma Thomas

Song:I Needed Somebody

Album:Modern New Orleans Masters

Irma Thomas is the Soul Queen of New Orleans. So says the city itself. She's been recording since the 60s and is still making great music. She was born Feb. 18, 1941 in Ponchatoula, LA. She grew up singing in church and after a false start in 1960 with the Ronn label, she went to Minit Records to work with legendary producer Allen Toussaint. Minit was acquired by Imperial Records in 1963. Wish Someone Would Care hit the Top 20 but Irma never had the national success of someone like Aretha Franklin. What always seemed to happen is someone else would do a version of one of her songs and have a hit with it. That's what happened when the Rolling Stones covered Time Is On My Side. It got her respect over the years but that doesn't pay the bills. Irma signed with the roots music label Rounder Records in 1985 and has recorded great music for them ever since. Rounder does a lot of these various artists comps so you can sample their artists. Johnny Adams & Walter "Wolfman" Washington are also on this. Irma's great version of the Ann Peebles song I Needed Somebody is from the 1991 CD Live! Simply The Best. Irma Thomas survived Katrina though her house was destroyed. She was in Austin, TX at the time and continues to record for Rounder. After The Rain was released last year. Though not as well known as other soul singers, Irma Thomas is a great singer. Here is Irma Thomas performing Time Is On My Side with Allen Toussaint on piano.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

JWP introduces two new wrestlers

JWP had what I would describe as a media opportunity to introduce two new wrestlers on Friday at the JWP Dojo. It was set up as a test of the new trainees but it's actually a way to promote the New Year's Eve Junior All Star War. Both wrestlers did various exercises including 200 squats. JWP owner Commando Bolshoi, Azumi Hyuga, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kayoko Haruyama were judging them and of course they passed the test. There's not much point in testing them and failing them. Kaori Yoneyama & Tojuki Leon were in the ring putting them through their paces including sparring. The first girl is Mayuka Shinzaki. She was born Jan. 16, 1992 in Tokyo. She is 157cm tall and weighs 58kg. The second is a masked wrestler named YUKI. She is 154cm tall and weighs 53kg. Like her boss Commando Bolshoi, she hails from the famed Parts Unknown. That's where all the masked wrestlers live. Bolshoi said aftewards that both wrestlers will debut at the Junior All Star War.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bud Powell

Artist:Bud Powell

Song:Dance Of The Infidels

Album:The Very Best

Earl "Bud" Powell is one of the all time great jazz pianists and one of the architects of bebop. He was born Sept. 27, 1924 in New York City. He started playing piano at age 7 and was heavily influenced by the great Art Tatum. In the early 40s, he was playing a lot of jam sessions with Thelonious Monk. He was playing in Cootie Williams orchestra in 1945 when he was beaten by police in a racial incident. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital and when he gave his occupation as "pianist & composer", doctors thought he was delusional and he was given shock treatment. Powell would never fully recover from this. This comp is a good intro to his Blue Note recordings of the late 40s. Dance Of The Infidels was recorded in 1949 with Fats Navarro on trumpet, Sonny Rollins on sax, Curly Russell on bass and Art Taylor on drums. Powell moved to Paris in 1959. He continued to be in and out of hospital and died on July 31, 1966 at age 41. Bud Powell's Blue Note recordings are essential. Here's Bud Powell performing Get Happy with drummer Kenny Clarke in Paris 1959.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Platters

Artist:The Platters

Song:Only You (And You Alone)

Album:The Doo Wop Box

The Platters were one of the most popular doo wop groups of the 50s. They started out in Los Angeles in 1953 as a standard doo wop group recording for Federal Records. The turning point came when they were discovered by producer Buck Ram. He was born Samuel Ram Nov. 21, 1907 in Chicago. Ram was a big band arranger in the 40s and co-wrote I'll Be Home For Christmas for Bing Crosby in 1943. By the mid-50s, he ran his own agency in Los Angeles. He got together with The Platters and refined their sound by making tenor Tony Williams the lead singer and adding Zola Taylor from Shirley Gunter & The Queens. Mixed groups were very unusual in R & B at the time. Ram got them out of their contract at Federal and moved them to Mercury Records. Only You was written by Ram and it was their first big hit in 1956. The group was presented as very classy & elegant. The Platters had several more hits until Tony Williams left in 1961. There have been various versions of The Platters over the years but Ram owned the name until his death on Jan. 1, 1991 at age 73. This 4CD Rhino box set is the definitive doo wop comp. There are Platters comps available but be sure you get the original versions of their recordings. The Platters' recordings like Only You continue to hold up well today and Buck Ram has a lasting legacy because of that success. Here are The Platters performing Only You in the 1956 film Rock Around The Clock.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pro Wrestling SUN visits Nikkan Sports

The Pro Wrestling SUN girls were out making the media rounds to promote the Oct. 7 Osaka show. Nanae Takahashi, Hikaru, Saki Maemura & Natsuki*Taiyo visited Lady's Ring & Nikkan Sports and Nikkan has posted the video evidence. They mostly talked about how exciting it is to have a show in Osaka and everybody should come, the usual thing. Takahashi told Lady's Ring that she was very happy to have a ZERO-ONE MAX match on the show for the first time because of the many times the SUN girls have appeared on ZERO-ONE MAX shows. Enjoy the video.

Interview with Fuuka, the Shirai sisters & RICA

Sportsnavi has posted an in depth interview with Fuuka, Mio & Io Shirai and RICA to promote the Sept. 30 Fuuka Matsuri show. We do get a bit of a clarification about Fuuka's activities. Fuuka was asked about her right knee. She says it's not perfect but it's good enough. There's no pain. She says she wants to be ready for the EWA Womens Title match against Tracy Taylor. She wants to win the title and then defend it at Fuuka Matsuri in December. She was asked about her younger sister Fuuka Kidd. She says they will be reunited after being separated for a long time and it's a taboo subject in her family.

Next is the first Sportsnavi interview for Mio & Io Shirai. Since they are on opposite sides of a tag team on this show, they were asked if they've fought each other before. They said yeah and it's not a big deal. They were asked about the pain of being a pro wrestler. Io says there's pain on Sunday but it's gone by the time she goes to high school on Monday. Io is 17 and Mio is 19 and is in the second year at a special school. They were asked how they got into pro wrestling. Mio says MAHEKEN owner Tomo Hashimoto asked them about it. She went to a show with a friend and decided to try it. Then Io got interested. They didn't know Hashimoto before but it seems he was looking around for girls to train.

They talk a bit about their match at Fuuka Matsuri. Mio wants to pin her sister. Io says she has a really strong partner in JWP's Arisa Nakajima and Io wants to pin her older sister. All four girls get a good laugh from this. Io says there is also an older sister and she designs all their costumes. Mio says they were happy to be invited to be on Fuuka Matsuri. They like to work a lot of shows. They also said that Hashimoto is going away to the US for a couple of months.

Next was a brief talk with RICA. She was asked about the chalk art she's doing for the Fuuka Matsuri show. She says the signboards are already done and they can be seen on her blog. She uses oil paints in school but the chalk art is for fun. The four were asked if they are dancing together at the show. Fuuka said no but they do have a band and are planning to record a CD. She hasn't recorded any songs yet. Supposedly they will debut as a group on the Sept. 30 show. RICA says she's a lead singer in a girl group. Have they decided what instruments they will play? RICA said sort of. Mio says they'll decide somehow. What will Fuuka do? She says she hasn't done any music so she doesn't know. Io says she wants to play drums but has never done that. Mio says she played a little guitar in high school. Fuuka thinks she can play a tambourine. She says she's not worried because RICA can play guitar. Fuuka says they're looking to release the CD in February at her fourth anniversary.

Fuuka says it's not just the four of them on the Fuuka Matsuri debut. Several dancers will appear in the opening of the show. She also has the exhibition with Karate Idol Yuka Kobayashi and Matsuoka Satohaka has wriiten and performed a new theme song for Fuuka called SPEED. She thinks fans will get their money's worth. Fuuka was asked if this group of four has a name. She says Fuuka Ranger. Obviously a lot of the talk about music was just joking around. But joshi has a long history of singing wrestlers mostly from the glory days of All Japan Women. We just haven't seen much of that lately. All four girls said they want to put on the best possible show and make Fuuka Matsuri a success.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-New Direction

Artist:New Direction

Song:Glory Glory

Album:Get Your Praise On

New Direction is a very energetic contemporary gospel choir from Chicago. The two guys behind the choir are brothers Percy Gray Jr. & Jeral Gray Sr. Both acknowledge the late great Milton Brunson as a major influence. Percy has been working with Chicago choirs since 1983 including the Chicago Mass Choir & Milton Brunson's Thompson Community Singers. Jeral had worked in music part time and held a full time job. In 1994, Jeral quit his job and formed New Direction and asked Percy to help him. They have three choirs under the Praise II Choir umbrella; New Direction, Righteous Living & Chapter Ministry Singers. Jeral supervises New Direction. New Direction signed with Word Records' Myrrh label in 1999. Get Your Praise On was their second CD in 2000. It's got great songs and arrangements with a horn section led by sax player Jim Horn and arranged by Lloyd Barry. New Direction moved over to GospoCentric in 2004 and their latest CD Send The Praise was released last year. Most gospel fans will really enjoy New Direction. Here's the video for I Came To Jesus by New Direction. It gives a really good sample of their energy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Matsuo as underdog champ

So with all the criticism of Haruka Matsuo winning the NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles, we're all wondering how NEO GM Koda will book the new champ. The Sept. 24 Itabashi Green Hall show spells it out very clearly. There were 128 fans in attendance. Matsuo had her first post title winning match against veteran Etsuko Mita. Basically, Mita beat the crap out of her for 18 minutes. She kicked her and stomped her and verbally taunted her with "Are you still a champion?" during the match. After all that, Matsuo did something that was described as "cheating" and rolled her up for the win at 18:08. Mita was dumbfounded after the match. Generally speaking, the underdog champ is not very good long term booking strategy because at some point you have to have the champ look like a champ. But it might be fun for a couple of months. I'm sure there are fans that like the idea of Matsuo getting beat up all the time.

NEO is also doing what appears to be a standard veteran vs youngster angle. Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu defeated Aoi Kizuki & Nagisa Nozaki when Uematsu used a diving body press on on Nozaki at 17:36. Afterwards, Kizuki grabbed the mic and asked Uematsu if she remembers what it was like when she was a rookie. Why doesn't she wear that green bathing suit she wore in GAEA. Uematsu's reaction wasn't pleasant and I have video from the NEO site for your enjoyment. Other matches on the show had Shuu Shibutani over Asuka Ohki with a Northern Lights suplex at 9:33, Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki over Mika Mizunuma & Yuiga at 8:48, Misar Genki over Mai Ichii in 10:50 and Yoshiko Tamura over Tomoka Nakagawa with the Pariot Buster at 11:48. NEO announced that Yuki Miyazaki suffered a hip pointer on the show and will miss this weekend's dojo show. And they announced that their 10th Anniversary show will be Jan. 6, 2008 at Korakuen Hall. Here's the video.

Kyoko Kimura kicks butt in Ibuki

Ibuki had their latest show on Sept. 23 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring with 339 fans in attendance. It had the usual mix of veterans and youngsters. The opener had JWP rookie Asuka Ohki vs Mio Shirai of MAHEKEN. Mariko Yoshida said on her website that Ohki is a little more polished in the ring. Ohki controlled the first part of the match with ground work. Mio came back with a missile dropkick and a face buster. Ohki won with a missile dropkick at 8:07. Next was Sakura Emi & rookie Yuko Motohashi over Misaki Ohata & Hiroyo Matsumoto when Emi used something called a Meow Meow press on Ohata. The match was spotty because of the inexperience of Ohata & Motohashi. Yoshida says Ohata has improved.

Next was the boss herself Mariko Yoshida vs Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa attacked Yoshida at the bell. But Yoshida weathered the storm and attacked Nakagawa's knee and then her arm. Yoshida says Nakagawa is stronger than her. Maybe she's just trying to put her over. Yoshida hit an Air Raid Crash for two count and then made her tap out with a crab at 16:52. Next was Atsuko Emoto vs the teenager NAO. Emoto is more powerful so NAO has to use her speed. But Emoto got her in a stranglehold and finished her with the BB Buster at 13:47. Afterwards, Emoto said she respected NAO and is looking forward to her trip to Mexico.

The main event was Kyoko Kimura & Cherry vs Shuu Shibutani & Aoi Kizuki. Kimura was in a very bad mood and beat up Shibutani & Kizuki for most of the match. Cherry hits a dropkick. Shibutani comes back with a diving Senton and then Shibutani & Kizuki hit a double dive outside the ring. But then Kimura takes control again. While Cherry keeps Shibutani occupied, Kimura hits Kizuki with a jumping lariat and the Big Boots for the win at 23:47. Afterwards, Kimura got on the mic and berated Shibutani. Shibutani started crying but Kizuki grabbed the mic had some words of encouragement. The moral of the story is don't mess with Kyoko Kimura.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Neil Young

Artist:Neil Young

Song:Heart Of Gold


Neil Young has been one of the more durable singer songwriters over the years. He was born Nov. 12, 1945 in Toronto. He's the son of Toronto Telegram sportswriter Scott Young, famous in Canada for his hockey novels. Neil moved with his mom to Winnipeg at age 12 after his parents divorced. He moved back to Toronto in the mid-60s and started playing folk clubs. He was a member of the Mynah Birds with Rick James & Bruce Palmer. Young & Palmer thought they would do better in Los Angeles. So they went and met up with Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield. The group was successful but couldn't get along and Young left to go solo in May 1968. He formed Crazy Horse with guitarist Danny Whitten. Young released his first solo album in 1969 and had immediate success. Joining Crosby, Stills & Nash only enhanced that success. The classic Heart Of Gold is from the 1972 album Harvest. Young has continued to have great success in various musical styles over the years. The 2CD comp Decade was released in 1977 and covers Young's music up until 1976. Reprise is finally planning to release a comprehensive Neil Young box set. It will have 8CDs & 3DVDs and is called Archive. That is something to look forward to for all Neil Young fans. Here's Neil Young performing Heart Of Gold in 1971.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hikaru & Emoto win ZEAL CUP

Pro Wrestling SUN had two shows on the weekend. It started with the Sept. 22 Shinjuku FACE show. The opener had Kana make her return to the ring against Nanae Takahashi. Kana wore a new costume and had a new theme. Kana gets in some offense but Takahashi blocks a German suplex. Then a missile kick for a two count. Takahashi hits a high kick in the corner for a two count and finally a shoulder block for the win at 10:42. Next was Shuu Shibutani vs Bullfight Sora. These two are going to Mexico together soon. So they discuss Sora's costume for a while. They finally get the match going and Shibutani wins with a flying head scissors at 8:27.

Next was Toshie Uematsu & ZEST.CO vs Natsuki*Taiyo & Fuuka. If Uematsu beats Fuuka, she gets her own photo book. I've seen ZEST.CO's costume and it's impossible to tell who she is. Uematsu stomps on a Fuuka bikini shot. So the match is going along and Uematsu whips Fuuka into the corner and the middle rope breaks. Apparently this wasn't planned so they had to improvise the finish. Uematsu talked Fuuka into letting her win the match at 12:34. Uematsu gets her photo book and the ring was repaired.

Hikaru gets her rematch with Aja Kong. Of course Aja dominated. She nailed her with everything and busted her open with a chair. Aja won with a diving elbow drop at 16:32. The mainevent was Nanae Takahashi & Saki Maemura vs Azumi Hyuga & Tojuki Leon. Of course this is supposed to set up the upcoming Takahashi/Hyuga match. So they weren't in there together much and Takahashi used the Nanarack on Leon for the win at 22:15.

The Sept. 23 show at Aquamarine Kimitsu was for the ZEAL CUP tag team tournament with a prize of a million yen. The teams of Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo and Shuu Shibutani & Kana got first round byes. The first round matches had Kayoko Haruyama & Arisa Nakajima over Saki Maemura & Fuuka at 18:23 when Haruyama used a lariat on Maemura. Hikaru & Atsuko Emoto defeated Aja Kong & ZEST.CO when Aja accidently hit ZEST.CO with the back fist and Emoto used a World's #1 on ZEST.CO for the win at 9:41. In the first semi final, Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo defeated Kayoko Haruyama & Arisa Nakajima at 12:07 when Takahashi used the NANA*MOMO driver on Nakajima. Hikaru & Atsuko Emoto defeated Shuu Shibutani & Kana when Hikaru used a Kusha Rhythm on Kana at 13:19. Afterwards, Kana was told her grandfather died and she dedicated her career revival to him.

So now the final with Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo vs Hikaru & Atsuko Emoto. I guess the idea was to show the SUN teams are stronger than the other teams. It was a spirited battle. The end came when Takahashi's NANA*MOMO driver misfired. Hikaru hit a missile lick on Natsuki*Taiyo while Emoto battled with Takahashi outside the ring. This allowed Hikaru to get the win over Natsuki*Taiyo with the Lanakila-H at 19:50. Hikaru & Atsuko Emoto win the ZEAL CUP tournament. Afterwards, they talked about this being the first time they had ever teamed up and Emoto talked about spending her share of the million yen in Mexico. It's good to see them throw Hikaru a bone once in a while. It was also announced that Kana is now part of the SUN roster.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jane Monheit

Artist:Jane Monheit



Young jazz singer Jane Monheit is now coming into her own and starting to make waves in the adult contemporary music market. She was born Nov. 3, 1977 in Oakdale, Long Island, NY. In 1998, she won a $10,000 scholarship in the Thelonious Monk Institute vocal competition. She released her debut CD Never Never Land in 2000 and has proven to be equally adept at all kinds of songs. She signed with Sony and got a lot of notice for her 2004 version of Over The Rainbow which was on the soundtrack of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It helps that she's a beutiful girl. Jane has now moved over to Concord Music Group and it appears that she finally has a label that will get behind her. Surrender is her latest CD and her Concord debut. This is an excellent version of Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed. She is married to her drummer Rick Montalbano. Jane Monheit has a beautiful voice and she has a bright furure in jazz. Here's the electronic press kit for Surrender.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Disability Action Sept. 26

With the Ontario Provencial election coming up on Oct. 10, it's time to let the politicians know that we're not very happy. So the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty is organizing a demonstration Wed. Sept. 26 at 11:30AM. The demonstration will begin outside the Ministry Of Community & Social Services at 900 Bay St. and proceed to Queen's Park. Hopefully we can make enough noise that someone will finally pay attention. The goal is to get Ontario Works & Ontario Disability Support Program rates raised to a liveable level. If you're on ODSP, you're stuck. Because if you get work, they claw back any money you make. It's the wrong way to do things but the Dalton McGuinty Liberal government has proven to be a pack of cowardly liars to the point that there's even a class action lawsuit pending against the government for their lack of action. Their silence speaks volumes. I'm going to try and attend this event and I hope to see you there. For more info, contact OCAP at 416-997-1562 or check out their website at and here's their video from Youtube.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Don McLean

Artist:Don McLean

Song:American Pie

Album:Singers & Songwriters Vol. 1

Folksinger Don McLean will forever be associated with his much discussed smash hit American Pie. The popularity of the song probably surprised him more than anyone. He was born Oct. 2, 1945 in New Rochelle, NY. He was performing in New York City folk clubs in the mid 60s. He wrote a song about Vincent Van Gogh called Vincent. MediaArts allowed him to record the album Tapestry in 1969. It didn't sell but Perry Como had a hit with the McLean song And I Love Her So and United Artists signed McLean to a contract and American Pie was released in 1971. Not only was the song a huge 8 minute hit on Top 40 radio but the meaning of the song was endlessly discussed. Radio stations were sending lyrics to listeners. The short version is the song is about That day in 1959 when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens & The Big Bopper died in a plane crash and how Rock 'N' Roll died with them. The follow up Vincent was also a smash. After that, McLean went back to being a folksinger to the unending horror of United Artists. He had a bit of a revival in 1980 but except for a self released 2004 Christmas CD, McLean hasn't recorded in years. He still tours. This Singers & Songwriters comp is an OK various artists comp from Warner Special Products including Harry Chapin, Arlo Guthrie & Todd Rundgren. It has the full version of American Pie. Don McLean would probably agree that American Pie's success was a fluke. But it is a classic. Here's the video for American Pie by Don McLean.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fuuka Matsuri visits Nikkan Sports

Here's a little treat for you. Fuuka, the Shirai sisters and RICA visited Nikkan Sports on Saturday to promote the Sept. 30 Fuuka Matsuri show. Nikkan put together a video clip of their visit.

Jacques Villeneuve makes NASCAR debut

Canadian racer Jacques Villeneuve made his NASCAR debut at last night's Craftsman Truck race in Las Vegas. Of course Villeneuve is a former Indy 500, Formula 1 and CART champ. He was driving the #27 Toyota for Bill Davis Racing. He qualified 7th and was doing okay when on lap 46 he had a fender bender with rookie Brian Scott. This killed his truck and he went down a lap and finished 21st. Villeneuve said afterwards that he was surprised a minor collision did so much damage. He will race the remainder of the Craftsman Truck series races and Davis says he plans to have Villeneuve in a Toyota in the 2008 Sprint Cup. This is all because of Juan Pablo Montoya's success. 1995 Indy 500 champ Buddy Lazier also made his debut last night. He was three laps down and finished farther back. Travis Kvapil won last night's race. Ron Hornaday had trouble so Mike Skinner leads the points standings by three points.

Though nothing has been announced, 2007 IRL champ Dario Franchitti is supposed to race in ARCA at Talledega in a couple of weeks. Next year he's supposed to drive the #40 for Chip Ganassi and bring his Canadian Club sponsorship with him. And two time IRL champ Sam Hornish Jr. failed to qualify for his first two Nextel Cup races for Roger Penske. Penske says he hasn't made a decision about Hornish's future yet.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Freddie Hubbard

Artist:Freddie Hubbard w/Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Song:Up Jumped Spring

Album:The Artist Selects

Freddie Hubbard is one of the all time greats of the jazz trumpet. he was born Apr. 7, 1938 in Indianapolis. He played early on with Wes & Monk Montgomery until he moved to New York in 1958. His playing style was very much in the vein of the late Clifford Brown or Lee Morgan. He started recording as a leader for Blue Note in 1960 and then replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers in 1961. This 2005 Blue Note Comp consists of 1960s recordings selected by Hubbard himself. Up Jumped Spring is a classic from the 1962 Art Blakey album Three Blind Mice. Hubbard wrote the song and other musicians include Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Cedar Walton on piano and Jymie Merritt on bass. Hubbard left Blakey to form his own group and left Blue Note for Atlantic in 1966. He recorded some classic albums for CTI in the early 70s and then Columbia Records tried to commercialize him in the mid 70s. Freddie Hubbard suffered a serious lip injury in 1992 and hasn't been that active in recent years. But The Artist Selects harkens back to the glory days of his youth. It's a good introduction for newcomers. Here's Freddie Hubbard with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers performing the classic Moanin' in 1962.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fuuka Matsuri to be multimedia extravaganza

As I said last week when Fuuka announced the matches for Fuuka Matsuri on Sept. 30 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring, There will be more than wrestling on the show. Fuuka went to the Sportsnavi office on Friday to announce some other things for the show. She was accompanied by Io & Mio Shirai from the MAHEKEN fed and a dancer/artist named RICA. Fuuka says she wants to be clear that Fuuka Matsuri will be different from the usual wrestling show. There will be singing and dancing that she hopes fans will enjoy. There will be other things like the exhibition with Karate Idol Yuka Kobayashi. One secret project she is working on is tentatively called Fuuka Ranger. And she also plans to record a CD for March release. She says she wants to be an entertainer who can do anything. Uh huh.

So she's bringing in this girl RICA for a couple of reasons. Though Fuuka wouldn't exactly say, it looks like the show will begin with some sort of dance segment. From what I can tell, RICA is a trained dancer and is the likely choreographer. I can understand the mystery. She wants fans to be surprised. I'm sure it will be OK. RICA is also a noted chalk artist and likes to do murals. She's done a mural of Fuuka and I guess that's how they met. RICA will be doing several chalk art pieces that will be displayed at the show. Fuuka also says there will be some sort of girl group singing on the show but she didn't elaborate. Shh. It's a secret.

Io & Mio Shirai have a match on the show. Mio will team with Yuri Urai against Io & Arisa Nakajima. These two rookies are sisters and work for the MAHEKEN indy fed. They're attractive girls and they're teenagers. What more do you want? Of course they're still green in the ring but they're working a lot and hopefully they'll improve. Part of the problem is MAHEKEN is not on TV and they don't tape their shows. So there's not much footage of them around right now. I saw a couple of matches from the POP Princess tournament. They're still young and learning. Apparently MAHEKEN owner/trainer Tomo Hashimoto will supervise their match on the show. That's probably a good idea. In addittion, it seems the Shirai sisters have a new finisher and have asked fans to come up with a name for it. Entries are supposed to be sent to Lady's Ring magazine. It was announced that Kana's opponent will be Atsuko Emoto.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Doors

Artist:The Doors

Song:Light My Fire

Album:In Concert

Of course The Doors were one of the most popular and notorious bands of the 60s. No one ever knew what Jim Morrison was going to do on stage and he was arrested for indecency several times. This made them even more popular. Over the years Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek has admitted that the band never knew what Morrison would do. Light My Fire was their first and biggest hit in 1967. This extended live version was recorded at the Hollywood Bowl July 4, 1968. The 1991 2CD In Concert takes that recording, Absolutely Live and Alive, She Cried and puts them all in one collection for your convenience. It's a must for Doors fans and it gives a couple of different sides of their live shows. Jim Morrison's mysterious death in 1970 has only added to their legendary status. Here are The Doors performing Light My Fire.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Toshie Uematsu shows off at SUN press conference

Pro Wrestling SUN had another press conference on Thursday to announce various upcoming matches including the card for the Oct. 7 Osaka show which is called Chick & Dog. Hikaru started the press conference by announcing that she lost the EWA Womens Title to Tracy Taylor in the three way match in Hawaii. Typically, she claimed the ref cheated and made a quick count and even compared him to AJW heel ref Shiro Abe. We see a lot of this kind of booking with the virtuous SUN girls getting jobbed by officials. Hikaru says she wants to go after the belt in the future but now she wants to concentrate on Aja Kong. This means that the Tracy Taylor/Fuuka match is for the title. I'll get to that shortly.

Next they announced that the winner of the ZEAL CUP tag team tournament on Sept. 23 will win a million yen. So of course they had comments by the various participants. Nanae Takahashi said that she & Natsuki*Taiyo went to the semi final of the Discover New Heroine tournament but they will win this. She also said she will eat a chocolate parfait with a million yen. Ribbing Takahashi's appetite has been has been a SUN recurring theme. Natsuki*Taiyo said she wants to go to Disneyland. Maybe she'll run into Amy Action there. Fuuka & Saki Maemura said it's their first time teaming and they will win. Fuuka wants to eat pork cutlet. Atsuko Emoto will team with Hikaru and said she wants to have a good result before she goes to Mexico.

The main event for the Oct. 7 Osaka show will be Nanae Takahashi vs Azumi Hyuga. The two basically said the same thing. They both want to represent their companies and win. Saki Maemura said she has a secret plan to win the AWA World Womens Title from Jamie Dee. She always says that. She wants to use her upcoming match against Toshie Uematsu as a stepping stone to the title. I'm sure Uematsu will appreciate that. They will have a contract signing when Jamie arrives in Japan. They also announced a mixed match with Hikaru, Masato Tanaka & Lingerie Muto vs Aja Kong, Kohei Sato & American Balloon. Hikaru crowed that it's another opportunity to beat Aja. She wants to be world champ but has to get past Aja.

Next Fuuka discussed her match with EWA Womens Champ Tracy Taylor. Fuuka said she is very excited especially since the match is in Osaka. She sat down to sign the contract. Toshie Uematsu entered the room and said "What's a SUN press conference without Uematsu?" She tells Fuuka to sign the contract. Takahashi wants to know how it's her business. Uematsu says you'll see. Fuuka signs the contract and Uematsu says it's a contract to put out a photo collection of Uematsu. This was tied to the result of the Sept. 22 tag team match with Fuuka & Natsuki*Taiyo vs Toshie Uematsu & ZEST.CO. I guess if Uematsu wins she gets her photo book. When Uematsu attacks Fuuka, the SUN wrestlers gang up on Uematsu and pull off her t-shirt revealing a bikini top. Uematsu says they've got a deal. If she wins on the 22nd, Fuuka has to publish an Uematsu photo book. And she'll beat up Maemura on the 23rd. The SUN girls laughed and the press conference was over. They also announced a ZERO-ONE MAX men's match & Natsuki* Taiyo vs KANA for the Oct. 7 show. Here's video of the end of the press conference. Uematsu sure is in shape.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Chucho Valdes

Artist:Chucho Valdes

Song:Son Montuno

Album:Bele Bele en La Habana

Jesus "Chucho" Valdes is at the forefront of the Cuban jazz movement. But unlike other Cuban musicians, he still lives there. He was born Oct. 9, 1941 in Quivecan, Cuba. His father is pianist Bebo Valdes. He was musical director of the Tropicana nightclub in Havana. Bebo defected from Cuba in 1960 and moved to Sweden. Chucho stayed behind. Chucho became famous in Cuba as leader and musical director of the band Irakere. He continues to record with Irakere but also records as a solo artist. When Blue Note Records president Bruce Lundvall wanted to sign Chucho, he had to turn into a diplomat. This 1998 CD is his Blue Note debut and coincided with a North American tour. Chucho had to record the CD in Toronto as he was not allowed to record in the US at the time. The band is very simple with Alain Perez Rodriguez on bass, Raul Pineda Roque on drums and Roberto Vizcaino Guillot on percussion. Valdes is simply fabulous. His most recent solo CD is 2003's New Conceptions but he still records with Irakere. Chucho Valdes is one of the best jazz musicians working today. After many years, Chucho and his father Bebo valdes reunited for the documentary Calle 54. Here's their improvisation from that film.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ai Fujita is a mommy

Retired ARSION star Ai Fujita gave birth to a daughter this week. She discusses the event in her column on the Lady's Ring website. I'm not going to go into detail but she was in hospital for four days. It seems she was overdue and labour had to be induced on the third day. Of course fans will fondly remember Fujita from her days as a regular in ARSION. She first debuted in Mexico and was an always reliable ring performer. Fujita retired in 2004 and she seems very happy with her husband and newborn daughter. Congratulations to Ai Fujita.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Sons Of The Pioneers

Artist:Sons Of The Pioneers

Song:Cool Water

Album:Country Music Hall Of Fame

The Sons Of The Pioneers were pioneers of country music best known for their cowboy songs and intricate harmonies. This comp covers their earlier music with the original lineup. Of course they were also known for launching the career of singing cowboy Roy Rogers. His real name was Leonard Slye. He moved out to California from his native Ohio in 1931 and joined a group called The Rocky Mountaineers. It was here that Slye met Bob Nolan & Tim Spencer. After bouncing around for a while, Slye landed a job with Jack LeFevre & The Texas Outlaws. They had a show on a Los Angeles radio station. Slye got back together with Nolan & Spencer and The Pioneer Trio got a regular spot on the show. In 1934, they added fiddle player and bass singer Hugh Farr and the group name was changed to Sons Of The Pioneers. They signed with Decca in 1934 and this comp covers that period. Of course Slye became the singing cowboy Roy Rogers at Republic Pictures and left the group but he continued to have a close relationship with them. They would appear in his films and he would occasionally record with them. Cool Water is a Bob Nolan song originally recorded in 1941. They did rerecord it in 1948 for RCA. Bob Nolan retired in 1949 and the group wasn't the same. But the influence of The Sons Of The Pioneers is still heard today in groups like Riders Of The Sky. Here's Roy Rogers & The Sons Of The Pioneers performing Dust in the 1948 film In Old California.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dale Jr's new number is 88

Hendrick Motorsports announced today at a PepsiCo convention in Dallas that 88 will be the number for the car to be driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 2008 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The sponsors will be the Mountain Dew AMP Energy Drink and National Guard. Robert Yates said he agreed to transfer the 88 to Dale Jr. because his grandfather Ralph Earnhardt used that number and he respects the Earnhardt family. Yates has not announced his new number but he has announced Travis Kvapil as the driver. Dale Jr. was unable to get the #8 from Teresa Earnhardt and that number will be driven next year by Mark Martin & Aric Almirola and sponsored by the US Army. And what about Dale Jr.'s former sponsor Budweiser? They announced yeaterday that they will sponsor the #9 Dodge owned by Gillett Evernham Motorsports and driven by Kasey Kahne. Here's video of the unveiling of the #88.

NEO GM Koda on the double title change

I wanted to follow up on this because when I wrote yesterday about the Haruka Matsuo winning the NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles, NEO general manager Koda hadn't said anything on his blog. He's getting a lot of criticism from fans. Of course he's defensive about it. Fans are telling him that putting the titles on Matsuo is a mistake. He says he doesn't know but fans should give her a chance. Other fans think he's panicking and rushing to put the belt on a younger wrestler. He says there's no need to panic and everything is OK. In other words, he wants fans to chill out.

Haruka Matsuo will have her first match after winning the double titles on the Sept. 24 Itabashi Green Hall show against Etsuko Mita. Matsuo is in a very difficult situation. I'm not sure there is anything that she could do to make fans feel better about the title change. That's a lot of pressure. Other matches include Yoshiko Tamura vs Tomoka Nakagawa, Nagisa Nozaki & Aoi Kizuki vs Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu, Midae Genki vs Mai Ichii, Aya Yuki vs Shuu Shibutani and a match being billed as NEO vs IGF Starting The War. I know what you're thinking. Isn't that Inoki's new fed. Nope, it stands for Indiana Girl Fight. Huh? Koda started it in the spring as a training fed but he only ran one show in May. I haven't heard anything about it ever since. The match will be Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki vs Mika Mizunuma & Yuiga. I'm not familiar with either wrestler and I don't know if Yuiga is the ex-DDT wrestler. This comes out of nowhere.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Branford Marsalis

Artist:Branford Marsalis

Song:Cheek To Cheek

Album:Contemporary Jazz

Of course sax player Branford Marsalis is part of a legendary musical family. He was born Aug. 26, 1960 in Breaux Bridge, LA. His father Ellis Marsalis is a pianist and Branford is the oldest of four jazz musician brothers. He studied music at Southern University & Berklee and then toured Europe with Art Blakey in 1980. Branford played in trumpeter brother Wynton Marsalis' band from 1982-85. He became more famous by playing with Sting in 1985. But he always returned to jazz and signed with Columbia Records in 1986. Branford also turned up in a couple of Spike Lee films and became musical director of The Tonight Show in 1992. He tired of that after two years. He then tried funk with Buckshot Lafunque but then Branford returned to jazz. Sadly his regular pianist Kenny Kirkland died in 1998. The 2000 CD Contemporary Jazz was Branford's first recording following Kirkland's death. Fortunately he found a more than able replacement in painist Joey Calderazzo along with bassist Eric Revis and the fabulous drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. This is now his regular quartet. This is a killer band by anyone's standards. Branford left Columbia in 2002. He started his own label Marsalis Music distributed by Rounder Records. As a solo artist, he signed with A & M Records and released Braggtown in 2006. But he continues to produce other artists on his own label including Harry Connick Jr. & Joey Calderazzo. And like a lot of New Orleans musicians, Branford and his family are major participants in the post Katrina recovery. His music is recommended to all jazz fans. Here's Branford Marsalis performing A Love Supreme with Joey Calderazzo, Eric Revis & Jeff "Tain" Watts. This is from the 2004 DVD A Love Supreme Live.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Matsuo wins NEO double titles

NEO's Sept. 17 Korakuen Hall show was called BEAT UP 07 but they might as well call it The New Generation. Haruka Matsuo won the NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles from Yoshiko Tamura. The way NEO GM Koda was trying to sell Matsuo as a future ace, it was certainly possible that she would win. But she is unproven and giving her a sudden championship win could backfire. It looks like Tamura is going to be involved in the tag title picture for a while. Koda couldn't use her in both angles so he had to make a choice. It remains to be seen if he made the right choice. They also ended the NEO Machine Gunz nonsense, I hope.

The opener had Aya Yuki & Atsuko Emoto over Mariko Yoshida & Hiroyo Matsumoto with Yuki over Matsumoto with a kamikaze attack at 11:35. Etsuko Mita, Miki Ishii & Makoto defeated Nagisa Nozaki, Aoi Kizuki & Hikari Manami when Makoto used a double arm suplex on Manami at 13:17. Misae Genki & Kaoru Ito went 15 minutes to a draw. Then they did the NEO Machine Gunz match it was a three way match for the right to use the name NEO Machine Gunz. It was Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki vs the Cantonese Machine Gunz vs the Szechwan Machine Gunz. The Cantonese were revealed a few days ago to be Kaori Yoneyama & Kayoko Haruyama. The Szechwan turned out to be GAMI & Toshie Uematsu. They were all made up to look like Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki. Of course the real NEO Machine Gunz won in 12:35 and will retain their name and appearance.

Ayako Hamada said a few days ago that she was disappointed that she and Kaoru Ito weren't defending the NEO Tag Team Titles against Sakura Emi & Yoshiko Tamura. She'll probably get that match now that she won over Sakura Emi with the AP Cross at 17:52. Of course the main event had Haruka Matsuo win the NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles from Yoshiko Tamura with the Mack at 18:33. She didn't even use her normal frog splash finisher. The major criticisn of the match is it needed to be more special for a title change. Tamura held the title for almost two years. Matsuo hadn't had a title shot for two years. They could have had a series of matches to build up to the title change. Koda has a couple of reasons for the title change. Maybe Tamura is getting stale and he also wants to use her in the tag titles angle. But the big question remains is Matsuo ready for this. If not, Koda has a big problem. We will find out if Haruka Matsuo is ready to be NEO's ace. Many of us have doubts. Congratulations on winning the titles.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

Artist:The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

Song:Tow Away Zone

Album:Central Park North

Big bands were not in vogue in the 60s so the longevity of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra was somewhat surprising especially since it was always a part time group. Flugelhornist Thad Jones was born Mar. 28, 1923 in Pontiac, MI. He bacame known for his work with Count Basie in the 50s. Drummer Mel Lewis was born May 10, 1929 in Buffalo. He became known for his work with Stan Kenton in the 50s. By the mid 60s both guys were session musicians. They decided to form a band and play every Monday night at the Village Vanguard in New York starting in 1966. Jones did most of the composing and conducting and over the next decade the band attracted some great musicians. They recorded several albums for the Solid State label including Central Park North in 1969. The great pianist Roland Hanna was a regular with this group along with bassist Richard Davis. These guys are world class musicians. Others include Joe Farrell & Eddie Daniels on sax, Jimmy Knepper on trombone and Snooky Young on trumpet. The band continued to record until Jones left and moved to Denmark in 1978. Lewis continued to lead the band until he took over the Count Basie Orchestra in 1984. Thad Jones died on Aug. 20, 1986 at age 63. Mel Lewis died on Feb. 2, 1990 at age 60. Here's The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra performing Groove Merchant in 1969 featuring Roland Hanna & Richard Davis.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Michael Bloomfield

Artist:Michael Bloomfield w/Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Song: Work Song

Album:Don't Say That I Ain't Your Man

Michael Bloomfield was a very good blues guitarist who seemed very uncomfortable with the spotlight and also had drug problems. He was born July 28, 1943 in Chicago. He received his first guitar at his bar mitzvah and would sneak out to jam at blues clubs. John Hammond signed him to Columbia in 1964. While they tried to figure out how to market a white blues guitarist, Bloomfield joined the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. This comp features previously unreleased recording from Bloomfield's early days at Columbia. Work Song is actually from the classic Butterfield album East-West. Bloomfield also played on the Bob Dylan album Highway 61 Revisited. His extended solos attracted a following. Bloomfield moved to San Francisco in 1967 and formed the group Electric Flag with Butterfield vocalist Nick Gravenites. The group bickered and was short lived. Bloomfield received his greatest acclaim in the band of organist Al Kooper. The 1969 album Super Session was a best seller. Bloomfield quit because he didn't like the fame and he recorded occasionally during the 70s. He also was addicted to heroin and died of a drug overdose on Feb. 15, 1981 at age 37. Michael Bloomfield's guitar work is worth checking out. Here he is with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Son House at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Details announced for upcoming commemorative shows

Details have been announced for a couple of upcoming commemorative shows. The full card for the Devil Masami 30th Anniversary show and some details about the Michiko Ohmukai Retirement show. The Ohmukai show is called Final Egoist and will be Dec. 9 at Shunjuku FACE. Participants will include Michiko Ohmukai of course, Mariko Yoshida, GAMI, AKINO, Tojuki Leon, Bullfight Sora & Ayumi Kurihara. Kurihara is scheduled to return from her shoulder injury next month. But the big news is that a retired ARSION wrestler is returning to the ring for one night only. There are three names that come to mind; Yumi Fukawa, Ai Fujita & Rie Tamada. It's a little bit of a risk for Fukawa to wrestle again as she retired due to concussions. She probably can't take bumps. Ai Fujita is currently pregnant. I'm not sure when she's due. Rie Tamada had her baby a few months ago and I think she would be the most likely to return to the ring. I'm sure all three will be at the show.

The full card for Marvelous Night Miracle Game has been announced. This is Devil Masami's 30th Anniversary show and will be on Sept. 30 at Differ Ariake. The show is produced by Chigusa Nagayo and Devil Masami & Jaguar Yokota's company Empress Produce. The show has a definite GAEA flavour to it but I'm not sure what distinguishes it from a regular show. I guess it's the ceremonial stuff. The main event will be Devil Masami, Dynamite Kansai & Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong, Yumiko Hotta & Kaoru Ito. Other matches include a GAEA Reunion match with Meiko Satomura, Toshie Uematsu & Chikayo Nagashima vs Sonoko Kato, RanYuYu & Carlos Amano, a Sendai Girls match with T-Rex Okuda & Mizhaaya vs Dash Chisako & Sendai Sachiko, a mixed match with KAORU & LTP vs Ayako Hamada & El Blazer and Azumi Hyuga vs Bolshoi Kid. So no Jaguar Yokota or Mayumi Ozaki and no wrestlers from the 80s. And the Sendai match seems like it doesn't belong. The card is a little strange.

Gina Carano wins in EliteXC

Gina Carano continued her journey to become the face of womens MMA at Saturday's EliteXC show in Honolulu against Tonya Evinger. Or that's what Showtime is trying to sell us. This match wasn't as successful as Carano's February match against Julie Kedzie. Evinger gave us a lot of trash talk before the match and as usual, Carano had trouble making the 140lb weight. Of course the long term problem is that many of the top female MMA fighters are in the lighter weight classes. It's unlikely that Carano will fight any of them and EliteXC would be making a huge mistake to have her do that.

The match started with Tonya Evinger getting a quick takedown on Gina Carano. Ground work is supposed to be Evinger's strength so one would think that she would take advantage of this situation. But she just didn't. Carano showed a lot of poise and that's a good sign. Evinger wasn't getting anywhere so eventually Carano was able to turn her over and mount her. Then Evinger did something really stupid. With round one coming to a close, Evinger should have rided it our and start over in round two. Instead she tried to get up and when she got to her knees, it gave Carano the opening to apply the guillotine choke. Evinger tapped out at 2:53 of round one. It's a big win for Carano but Evinger was terrible and admitted that on her website.

The fan reaction after the match hasn't been good. Some fans are even complaining that it was a work. It was a poor match mostly because Evinger did not perform up to expectations. She fought a stupid match. Carano took what was given to her and won by submission for the first time. She deserves credit but EliteXC has a lot invested in Carano and they need to give her a better opponent. That's going to be very difficult in her weight class. I don't think they want a repeat of the weigh-in for this match but there aren't many fighters in her weight class. Maybe they should find someone lighter to be the face of womens MMA. Here's the video of last night's match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Aretha Franklin

Artist:Aretha Franklin


Album:Aretha Now

Of course it's classic songs like Think that made Aretha Franklin The Queen Of Soul. These days she tends to be uninspired and erratic. She was born Mar. 25, 1942 in Memphis and grew up in Detroit. Her father was Rev. C.L. Franklin and she learned to play piano and sing in his church. John Hammond signed her to Colunbia and her early 60s recordings weren't as successful as they should have been. She moved to Atlantic and producer Jerry Wexler decided to forget about trying to make her a pop singer and sent her to Muscle Shoals to record with musicians like Roger Hawkins, Spooner Oldham, Jimmy Johnson & Tommy Cogbill. Think was a top ten pop hit and a #1 R & B hit in 1968. Aretha wrote the song and of course plays piano. Aretha Now is only a half hour long so I would suggest one of the many Aretha Franklin comps now available. Aretha Franklin is a living legend of music. But she left Atlantic for Arista in the 80s and her more recent music simply doesn't hold up the way her Atlantic recordings do. Of course she got a big boost when she was asked to perform Think in The Blues Brothers film. And here's the clip of Aretha Franklin performing Think from that film.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Penny Banner Icons Of Wrestling review

Since the womens wrestling documentary Lipstick & Dynamite was released in 2004, many fans have expressed their dissatisfaction with the short length of the film and the short shrift given to Pro Wrestling Hall Of Fame member Penny Banner. There's no question the filmmakers could have done more with the film but I suggest you take a look at this half hour episode of Icons Of Wrestling. The series is produced and directed by Canadian Dale Barnes and the one thing that is clear is that Dale loves pro wrestling and respects the wrestlers.

Of course anyone who wants to know the complete story of Penny Banner should buy her autobiography Banner Days. But this film certainly allows Penny to tell her story in her own words. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Penny at the Lipstick & Dynamite world premiere in 2004. This film gives you the opportunity to meet Penny without actually meeting her. And if you've read the book, you'll realize it's the same voice. Penny talks about how her childhood, how she got into wrestling and how she became the first AWA World Womens Champion. Of course she also talks about Elvis.

The film also includes comments by photographer Dr. Mike Lano, wrestling legend Nick Bockwinkle and womens wrestling legends Kay Noble and Marie Laverne. There is some match footage including the video of Penny Banner vs June Byers reproduced below but there's so little Penny Banner footage available that there's no real way for fans to properly judge Penny's career by watching matches. Mildred Burke presents a similar problem. This film helps. But you can be sure that many in the wrestling business acknowledge Penny's status in the industry. You can see that in the brief clip from the Cauliflower Alley Club convention in Las Vegas. Cheerleader Melissa sees Penny at ringside and wants to impress a Pro Wrestling Hall Of Fame member. This film is available on DVD and you can get details on how to get it at Penny's website. It may also be on TV in your area. Check your local listings. I saw it on The Fight Network in Canada.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Winans Phase 2

Artist:Winans Phase 2

Song:Come On Over

Album:We Got Next

The group Winans Phase 2 proves that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. They are all third generation members of the Winans gospel music family from Detroit. You have Marvin Winans Jr., Mike Winans Jr. and his brother Juan Winans and Carvin Winans III. All are sons of the group known as The Winans. As teenagers they did a TV commercial in Detroit and were spotted and singed to Word's contemporary label Myrrh. Their 1999 CD We Got Next did very well but they've never done a follow up. Come on Over is an excellent song written and produced by Narada Michael Walden. Mike Winans released his own CD called Only Me and he also worked with Mario Winans on New Edition's 2004 reunion CD. BTW, Mario Winans isn't a Winans. He's the son of Vickie Winans and her first husband and became a Winans when Vickie married Marvin. Like his mom, he only uses the name. Marvin Winans Jr. produced a CD for his mom Vickie Winans and it looks like his debut CD Image Of A Man is coming soon. So there's talent everywhere in that family. Winans Phase 2 did have a very popular music video for It's Alright (Send Me) featuring Samuel L. Jackson. I could only find it on this Gospel House video also featuring videos by Da Truth & Onitsha. Winans Phase 2 is the third video.

Friday, September 14, 2007

NEO press conference on Thursday

Neo held a press conference Thursday to promote their Sept. 17 Korakuen Hall show. They had the contract signing for the Yoshiko Tamura/Haruka Matsuo title match and they continued this very silly NEO Machine Gunz angle. That will be a three way tag match and I'll get to the specifics later. They previously announced Sakura Emi vs Ayako Hamada and also Misae Genki vs Kaoru Ito, Etsuko Mita, Miki Ishii & Makoto vs Nagisa Nozaki, Aoi Kizuki & Hikari Manami and Aya Yuki & Atsuko Emoto vs Mariko Yoshida & Hiroyo Matsumoto. But they concentrated on the two main angles.

So they did the contract signing for Yoshiko Tamura defending her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Haruka Matsuo. The other part of this angle had Tamura talking Sakura Emi into facing Ayako Hamada to get revenge for losing the tag titles to Ayako & Kaoru Ito. I don't know if it will happen at this show but I get the impression that Tamura will turn on Emi. Don't know if they'll do that on this show or what they're going to do after but that's how it seems. Meanwhile, the talk during the press conference centered on Matsuo as future ace of NEO. Matsuo said that it's not good for NEO for Tamura to have had the belt for so long and it's her turn to be the NEO's ace. Tamura's response was "We'll see if you have what it takes to be the ace." Probably not. Hopefully it's a good match but Tamura will win. Here's video of the contract signing.

The NEO Machine Gunz have been involved in this Chinese angle for a while now. Last week, NEO general manager Koda announced that Yuki Miyazaki was attacked and injured by the Chinese Machine Gunz. Of course there was no video footage or pics. They had Miyazaki come out on crutches on last week's show but she did work in the match against the Cantonese Macine Gunz. Some injury, huh. Then a third team described as Szechwan Machine Gunz cane out and it was decided that there would be a three way match and the winner will retain the rights to use the Machine Gunz name. History tells us that Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki will probably win. The idea behind this is the Chinese teams resemble the NEO Machine Gunz. You'll notice the above pic of the Cantonese Machine Gunz resemble Kaori Yoneyama & Kayoko Haruyama. At the press conference, Koda pretended he couldn't tell the teams apart. Then they started fighting with each other. That's not on the video here but they are yelling at each other.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Anita Baker

Artist:Anita Baker

Song:You're My Everything

Album:You're My Everything

R & B singer Anita Baker was very successful in the late 80s. To many fans, she disappeared in the mid 90s. After her 1993 CD Rhythm Of Love she took several years to raise a family. Her mother died in 1996 and then her father died in 1998. Then she had a dispute with Elektra Records. I guess they wanted her to go back into the studio and she wasn't ready. Anita moved to Atlantic Records. She was recording a new album in 2000 but it seems the masters were destroyed by faulty recording equipment. She sued the company for $500K and left Atlantic. Finally Anita Baker signed with Blue Note Records and You're My Everything was released in Sept. 2004. Anita produced and wrote the CD along with veteran producer Barry Eastmond. Anita sounds as good as ever. She released a Christmas CD in 2005. Both CDs did very well so I guess she's working on a new one. Here's the video for You're My Everything by Anita Baker.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Johnny Coles

Artist:Johnny Coles

Song:Heavy Legs

Album:Little Johnny C.

Johnny Coles was a very good trumpeter who rarely stepped out to lead a band. This 1963 album was rare for him. He was born July 3, 1926 in Trenton, NJ. He mostly played as a member of bands such as Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (1948-51), Bull Moose Jackson (1952), Earl Bostic (1955-56), James Moody (1956-58) & Gil Evans (1958-64). He also toured Europe with Charles Mingus in 1964. He went on to play with Herbie Hancock (1968-69), Ray Charles (1969-71), Duke Ellington (1971-74), Art Blakey and many others. He kept working so he was obviously a fine musician and reliable. but he wasn't a band leader. Little Johnny C was released on Blue Note in 1963. It's mostly arranged and composed by pianist Duke Pearson. Other musicians are Leo Wright on alto sax & flute, Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Bob Cranshaw on bass and either Walter Perkins or Pete LaRoca on drums. That Coles was a lesser known musician shouldn't deter you. It's great jazz. Johnny Coles died of cancer on Dec. 21, 1996 at age 70. Here he is with the Charles Mingus band in Oslo in 1964.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Maemura to get AWA title shot Oct. 8

Pro Wrestling SUN had another one of their press conferences on Wednesday setting up shows on Sept. 22, 23 & Oct. 8. So there's a lot of stuff. Last week First On Stage announced that they are running a two day tag team tournament called the Passion Cup. The announcement wasn't clear but they have now announced that there will be a SUN tournament on Sept. 23 and a ZERO-ONE MAX tournament om Sept. 24. Both shows will be at the Kimitsu Aquamarine Studio. There are six teams in the tournament. One round one match will have Fuuka & Saki Maemura vs Kayoko Haruyama & Arisa Nakajima. The winner of that match will face Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo in the semis. The other first round match will have Hikaru & Atsuko Emoto vs Aja Kong & ZEST.CO. The winner will face Kana & Shuu Shibutani in the semis. Don't know who ZEST.CO is. She will wear a mask. Uematsu said she is the younger sister of THE*ZEST. He's appeared in a past mixed tag match in SUN.

They had already announced Kana will return on the Sept. 22 Shinjuku FACE show against Nanae Takahashi. Other matches are Bullfight Sora vs Shuu Shibutani, Natsuki*Taiyo & Fuuka vs Toshie Uematsu & ZEST.CO and Hikaru vs Aja Kong. They also announced that Jamie Dee will defend her AWA World Womens Championship against Saki Maemura on the Oct. 7 Osaka Prefectural Gym show. Tracy Taylor will come in from Hawaii to face Nanae Takahashi and Natsuki*Taiyo will face Kana.

The press conference attempted to set up some conflict between Nanae Takahashi & Kana. It's hard because they're pals. They had Kana berate Takahashi for booking herself in two matches on the Sept. 22 show. She says to Takahashi "What if you get hurt in the first match?" Takahashi tells her not to worry about it. Then they start fighting each other. Then Kana has a stare down with Natsuki*Taiyo to set up their Oct. 7 match. Then Maemura said she knows she is the underdog in her title match with Jamie Dee but she has a secret plan. Takahashi says she's still upset about losing the AWA title to Jamie Dee and wants a rematch so she won't watch Maemura's title shot. She also says she plans to challenge Azumi Hyuga to a singles match at the Oct. 16 JWP show.

Hikaru started to talk about her Sept. 15 match in Hawaii against Tracy Taylor & Malia Hosaka for the EWA Womens Championship. Of course Aja Kong came in and disrupted the press conference. I think she may have ripped up a show poster. She told Hikaru she's not facing anyone interesting in Hawaii. Toshie Uematsu beat Malia Hosaka years ago. Of course she callenged Hikaru and the Sept. 22 match was set. Aja also said she plans to bring a mystery gaijin tag team partner for the Oct. 7 Osaka show. I'm sure that will be the subject of their next press conference.

GAMI admits to padding WAVE attendance figures

Pro Wrestling WAVE had their latest show on Sept. 11 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Unfortunately, the big news on this show is not good. The attendance was 86 fans. But then it got worse. GAMI admitted to Lady's Ring magazine that the announced attendance of 128 for the Sept. 3 show was padded. The real figure was 55 fans. She apologized and promised not to do that again. Padding attendance figures at Japanese wrestling shows isn't unusual. Getting caught is another matter. This should be very alarming to the company. The problem may be no one wants to go to mid week shows. It's more likely that the ticket prices are too high. They should cut the prices and they'll get more fans. They're running shows every week so how long can WAVE go on like this?

The show started with a brief ceremony in tribute to the 2nd anniversary of the death of Mirai. She died Sept. 12, 2005 in a bathtub accident. Of course she was very good friends with GAMI. They had a ten bell count and a minute of silence. Opening WAVE had KAORU over Kyoko Kimura with a moonsault press at 19:07. Lucha WAVE had AKINO over Shuu Shibutani with the noki-A backbreaker at 16:38. Shibutani was still talking about her upcoming trip to Mexico and becoming KAORU's disciple. The two will team up next week.

Comical WAVE had Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu over GAMI & Bullfight Sora when some comedy nonsense resulted in Uematsu pinning Sora. The main event had Yumi Ohka continue Resurrection WAVE against Nanae Takahashi. Ohka tried hard and was said to have performed better than she performed last week. Takahashi won with a backdrop at 21:24. Toshie Uematsu challenged Ohka after the match and that will be the main event for Sept. 18. Comical WAVE will have Lingerie Muto vs Bullfight Sora. Lucha WAVE will have KAORU & Shuu Shibutani vs AKINO & Tojuki Leon. Opening WAVE is GAMI vs Ran YuYu vs Kyoko Kimura in a 3 way match. We'll see how many fans they get next week.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Alicia Keys

Artist:Alicia Keys

Song:If I Ain't Got You


Unlike a lot of today's female R & B singers, Alicia Keys clearly has the talent to overcome stereotypes. She was born Jan. 25, 1980 in New York City. She started training in classical piano at age 7 and went to high school at New York's Professional Performing Arts School. At age 16, she signed with Jermaine Dupri's SoSoDef label. She had one song on the Men In Black soundtrack and then nothing. I recall seeing her on BET's Planet Groove at the time wondering who she was. She signed with Arista and Clive Davis took her to his new J Records label when he left Arista. Her 2001 debut Songs In A Minor was a huge hit. She's obviously very talented and her looks help too. Her subsequent CDs have done just as well. This Unplugged CD was recorded July 14, 2005. You should start with her two previous CDs but she's a very strong live performer. Keys has also gotten into movies. She made her film debut earlier this year in Smoking Aces. She has a film deal with Disney and is developing a remake of the 1958 film Bell, Book & Candle. Her new CD As I Am is due in November so I'm sure we'll start seeing her promote that shortly. The main thing is Alicia Keys continues to write & produce her own songs with Kerry "Krucial" Brothers so she'll be OK if she stays away from gimmicks. Here's the video for If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Charles Brown

Artist:Charles Brown

Song:They All Say I'm The Biggest Fool

Album:Honey Dripper

Smooth singing Charles Brown is probably best known for his classic Merry Christmas Baby. But he was very consistent over his fifty year career. He was born Sept. 13, 1922 in Texas City, TX. A classically trained pianist, he earned a degree in chemistry before moving to Los Angeles in 1943. He made his name with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers and the 1945 hit Drifting Blues and the 1947 hit Merry Christmas Baby. The group was patterned after the popular Nat Cole Trio but with Brown's more laid back vocals. Brown went solo in 1948 and had several hits on Aladdin Records from 1948-52. Brown's musical style never changed when R & B became more brash and for decades he just went about his business without much notice. His career revived in the 80s when Bonnie Raitt took him on tour as her opening act. He started recording again and this 1996 CD Honey Dripper is on Verve Records. He sounds as good as ever with his guitarist and musical director Danny Caron. It's good to see that Charles Brown had a career renaissance before his death on Jan. 21, 1999 at age 76. Here's Charles Brown performing Drifting Blues at the W.C. Handy Awards.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sendai Girls vs Ito Gym

Sendai Girls had their latest show on Sept. 8 at Zepp Sendai. Like a lot of their shows, it was against a visiting promotion, the Kaoru Ito Professional Wrestling Classroom. At the start of the show, the new names for the Sendai trainees were announced. This is probably a good idea because then they can develop their own personalities and look and it's also good for merchandising. It's probably not a great idea to put these girls on other promotions main events but I guess they're perceived as special. One of the names doesn't translate very well so until I can find out what it's supposed to be, I will use the real name. Sachiko Kanari is now called Sachiko Sendai. Chisako Kanari is now called Dash Chisako. Akari Okuda is now called T-Rex Okuda. Ayane Mizumura is called Mizhaaya. Yurie Kaneko doesn't translate.

The opener was Yurie Kaneko against Mai Ichii. Kaneko starts with two dropkicks. Ichii comes back with a kick and a camel clutch. Kaneko comes back with a kick, dropkicks and a facebuster. Ichii hits a missile kick and then a Comet kick for the win at 8:27. Next was Sachiko Sendai against Hanako Kobayashi. Sachiko is now a blonde. Sachiko starts with a dropkick and Kobayashi counters with a camel clutch. Scahiko hits two tackles and an achilles hold. After exchanging elbows, Sachiko hits two dropkicks. Kobayashi comes back with a DDT. Then Sachiko misses a missile kick. Kobayashi attempts a body attack from the corner but Sachiko hits a DDT and a German suplex for the win at 9:27 (pictured). This was her first win.

Next was Mizhaaya against Midori. Midori is also from Sendai. Mizhaaya started with a body ram and a camel clutch. Midori hits a body press from the corner. They exchange elbows. Mizhaaya's missile kick gets a two count. After three lariats, Mizhaaya wins with a diving guillotine legdrop at 8:04. Next was Dash Chisako against Kaoru Ito. Ito uses her size advantage with a lariat and a footstamp followed by a hip attack in the corner. Chisako attempts to counter but it doesn't work and Ito comes back with a body press and a back throw. Chisako knocks Ito out of the ring with a dropkick and then dives from the corner to the arena floor. Back in the ring, Chisako hits two missile kicks. Ito hits lariats for a couple of two counts and then finishes her with the diving footstamp at 11:40.

The main event was Ayako Hamada & Ayako Sato against Meiko Satomura & T-Rex Okuda. The story is that Satomura is still upset about her recent loss to Hamada. Hamada & Satomura tag in at the five minute mark. They go back and forth as one would expect until Satomura hits a dragon screw. Okuda tags in and is hit by a double dropkick. Satomura is back in with Hamada. Hamada hits a missile kick and a moonsault. Satomura comes back with a footstamp, a middle kick abd a savat kick. They hit a lot of big moves. Okuda hits four jumping knees on Hamada. Hamada comes back with a moonsault and Satomura breaks up the pin. Hamada hits Okuda with three spin kicks followed by the AP Cross for the win at 25:39. Sato cut Satomura off at the pass. Afterwards. Satomura announced that the Oct. 5 show will be Sendai vs JWP.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bob Marley & The Wailers

Artist:Bob Marley & The Wailers

Song:Is This Love


By the time Kaya was released in 1978, Bob Marley was already a worldwide phenomenon. But some in his homeland of Jamaica perceived him as a threat. So after he was wounded in a Dec. 3, 1976 assassination attempt, he was forced to leave Jamaica for his own safety. He continued to make great music including this 1978 album Kaya. A lot of the album including the lovely Is It Love was more spiritual and less political in nature. He would return to more political waters with Survival and Uprising. Kaya was rereleased on CD in 2001 with the bonus track Smile Jamaica. This was a B side never released on LP. Sadly, Bob Marley collapsed and died while jogging in New York's Central Park on May 11, 1981 at age 36. Here's the video for Is It Love by Bob Marley & The Wailers.