Friday, November 30, 2007

OZ Academy #1 contender tournament headed for final

OZ Academy continued their tournament to name a #1 contrnder for Aja Kong's title on Nov. 23 at Shinjuku FACE. But the overriding theme of the tournament is that OZ owner Mayumi Ozaki will disrupt the tournament though she's not involved. Ozaki has been feuding with Aja. Because OZ is openly teasing this, I don't believe Ozaki will do anything during the tournament. But I wouldn't be surprised to see her do a screwjob to Aja at the subsequent title match.

The first tournament quarterfinal was Carlos Amano vs Yumiko Hotta. Hotta attacked Amano with a chair outside the ring. But Amano comes back and fakes a Carlos Ghosn to outsmart Hotta for the win at 4:20. The next quarterfinal match was Sayuri Okino vs AKINO. Okino traps AKINO with the German Spider in the corner and follows it up with a footstamp. AKINO comes back with a spiral bomb and two hurricanranas get her the win at 8:27. AKINO will face Amano in the semi finals. Mayumi Ozaki teamed with Aja Kong vs NEO's Misae Genki & Yuki Miyazaki. Ozaki & Aja argue before the match but Aja gets the win over Miyazaki with a diving elbow drop at 19:50. Ozaki slaps Aja afterwards.

The next tournament quarterfinal match was Dynamite Kansai vs Manami Toyota. Toyota starts out with a missile dropkick and a moonsault. Kansai comes back with a Splash Mountain and a high kick. Kansai blocks Toyota's Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb and wins with a diving footstamp at 9:52. Ran YuYu got a bye and will face Kansai in the semis. The main event had Chikayo Nagashima & Ran YuYu vs Toshie Uematsu & Sonoko Kato. This continued the year long angle of Nagashima being angry with Kato. Nagashima won over Kato with a Fisherman Buster at 15:57. She tried to shake Kato's hand but Kato refused. The semi final & final of the tournament will be Dec. 16 at Shinjuku FACE.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-John P. Kee

Artist:The New Life Community Choir Featuring John P. Kee

Song:Build A House

Album:Nothing But Worship

John P. Kee is one of the top stars in gospel music today. This is his latest CD. He was born June 4, 1962 in Durham, NC and was the 15th of 16 children. He moved to California as a teen and played with The Blackbyrds & Cameo. He moved to Charlotte, NC and after a friend was murdered during a bad drug deal, he dedicated his life to God. The rest is history. Kee's church is one of the biggest churches in Charlotte. He's known for taking the homeless and prostitutes off the street and putting him in his choirs to rehabilitate them. The New Life Community Choir is his main choir but he also has the VIP Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir and he records as a solo artist and produces other artists. He records a lot. Nothing But Worship was released in Sept. and is very typical of Kee's music with strong vocal arrangements and hip hop influences. Kee is married and has nine children. A lot of his family is involved in the ministry and the choir. Here's John P. Kee and his choir featuring Tonex singing Rhema Word.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Video promoting Dec. 9 JWP show

Here's exclusive video footage courtesy of Nikkan Sports. The footage begins with some training and a brief interview with the debuting Mayuca Shinzaki. Then Azumi Hyuga & Kaori Yoneyama discuss their JWP Open Weight Championship match. Then Sachie Abe & KAZUKI (WANTED) discuss their Tag Team Festival match. Abe has always been difficult to take seriously because she always has that smile on her face even when she's having the crap beat out of her. Enjoy!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Fantasia


Song:Two Weeks Notice


Of course Fantasia Barrino will forever be associated with American Idol. But it looks like the AI folks have figured out that they'll never be able to sell her as a pop singer and should let her be what she really is. She was born June 30, 1984 in High Point, NC. Her parents are gospel performers and toured regionally in the South. She got pregnant in high school and was a mom at age 17. Obviously winning American Idol was her big break and got her a record contract with Clive Davis' J Records. Her first CD Free Yourself did OK but it underperformed. What they learned with this latest CD is focus on Fanrasia's R & B roots and don't try and turn her into a pop singer. I find her vocals a little out of control at times but she seems to have calmed down a bit. It's something she still needs to work on. Two Weeks Notice is a very strong breakup ballad written & produced by Missy Elliott. The CD charted as well as the first one but the music is stronger and simply more focused. She also works with Jill Scott producers Vidal Davis & Andre Harris. Fantasia clearly has great vocal ability. Clive Davis just needs to let her be herself. Here's the video for When I See U by Fantasia.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Card for Junior All Star War announced

JWP owner Commando Bolshoi has announced the full card for the Junior All Star War on New Year's Eve at Korakuen Hall. Actually she announced all the participants but there seem to be several gimmick matches and she hasn't figured out the gimmicks yet. The main event is called BEST OF Junior 6. Current JWP Junior champ Tyrannosaurus Okuda is in the match but it doesn't look like the title is on the line. Other participants are Aoi Kizuki, Arisa Nakajima, Aya Yuki, Hanako Kobayashi & Hiroyo Matsumoto. Match details will be announced later.

There's a match called Junior Graduation Premium with Fuuka & Natsuki*Taiyo vs Yumi Ohka & Mai Ichii. I guess the idea is this is their final match as Juniors. There's a match called 6 High Energy Women with Shuu Shibutani, Cherry & ASKA Ohki vs Ayumi Kurihara, Kana & Misaki Ohata. They're doing a battle royal for the Daily Sports Cup with Francoise, Yuri Urai, Tomoka Nakagawa, Miki Ishii, Makoto, Ayako Sato, Tomoko Morii & Mika Mizunuma. Rules will be announced later. Here's an interesting match with two sets of sisters facing each other. Sachiko Sendai & DASH Chisako will face Io & Mio Shirai. That's a first. And the show will open Nagisa Nozaki vs JWP trainee Mayuca Shinzaki. Shinzaki makes her debut on Dec. 9. A couple of the matches seem interesting but we have to wait for the gimmicks on some of the others.

JWP/NEO double shot at Cinema Club

JWP & NEO had one of their frequent double shots at Cinema Club on Nov. 25. JWP ran in the afternoon and NEO ran in the evening. The main purpose of the JWP show was to set up the Dec. 9 Korakuen Hall show. JWP had already announced that Kaori Yoneyama will challenge Azumi Hyuga for the JWP Open Weight Championship in the main event. The show started with Chick Fights SUN wrestlers Nanae Takahashi, Natsuki*Taiyo, Hikaru & Saki Maemura in the ring. Takahashi was upset about JWP coming to SUN and winning the recent Chick Fever J tournament. So she challenged Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kayoko Haruyama for the JWP Tag Team Titles on Dec. 9. Takahashi will team with Natsuki*Taiyo. They didn't reveal that at the time but they have now.

The show led off with Aska Ohki over Nagisa Nozaki with a schoolboy at 8:23. Ohki will challenge Tyrannosaurus Okuda for the JWP Junior Championship & POP Title on Dec. 9. Then KAZUKI won over Arisa Nakajima with the K-Crusher at 11:49. Ran YuYu & Toshie Uematsu defeated Kei'to & Carlos Amano when Ran used a running elbow on Ke'to at 15:15. Afterwards, WANTED (Sachie Abe & KAZUKI) came to discuss what they're calling a Tag Team Festival match for Dec. 9. Abe wants to unite with Uematsu & Ran so that's what they're doing. It will be WANTED & Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu vs Kei'to, Carlos Amano, Manami Toyota & Etsuko Mita. Then Tojuki Leon defeated Michiko Ohmukai with a capture buster at 11:39. In the main event, Azumi Hyuga, Commando Bolshoi & Sachie Abe defeated Tsubasa Kuragaki, Kayoko Haruyama & Kaori Yoneyama when Azumi pinned Yoneyama with a cradle at 16:59. Yoneyama attempted to put over the possibility that she will win the title from Hyuga but I don't think most fans belive she can do that. It should be a good match though.

The NEO show led off with 3S (Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata) defeating Youth Green (Aoi Kizuki & Nagisa Nozaki) when Matsumoto used a backdrop on Nozaki at 11:06. One of the running jokes in the joshi business for a while now has been Cherry's age. She's fairly old for someone perceived as inexperienced so Tanny Mouse challenged her to a match where if Cherry loses, she has to reveal her age. Cherry won with a schoolboy with her feet on the ropes at 9:14. Hopefully this angle will keep the NEO Machine Gunz busy for a while.

Tsubasa Kuragaki & Arisa Nakajima defeated Etsuko Mita & Aya Yuki when Kuragaki used a lariat on Yuki at 14:35. Afterwards, Nakajima demanded a match with NEO Singles/NWA Pacific Titles champ Haruka Matsuo on the Dec. 9 Itabashi Green Hall show. It's not for the belt maybe Nakajima can move up the card a bit if she puts on a good show. Yuki Miyazaki defeated Tomoka Nakagawa at 14:36. The main event had NEO Tag Team Champs Misae Genki & Yoshiko Tamura defeat Haruka Matsuo & Sakura Emi when Tamura used a cobra clutch suplex on Matsuo at 22:24. Tamura & Emi continue to debate over who should get the title shot at the 10th anniversary show. NEO GM Koda announced that a tournament will be held to determine the #1 contender. Maybe Tamura will finally turn on Sakura Emi at that time.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Vanilla Fudge

Artist:Vanilla Fudge

Song:You Keep Me Hanging On

Album:Psychedelic Sundae:The Best Of Vanilla Fudge

This cover of The Supremes' You Keep Me Hanging On was the biggest hit for 60s psychedelic band Vanilla Fudge. They started out in Long Island in 1965 as The Electric Pigeons with Mark Stein on organ, Tim Bogert on bass and Joey Brennan on drums. They added guitarist Vince Martell and shortened their name to The Pigeons. They started playing gigs on the east coast and sent out demos. As their arrangements became more elaborate, Brennan was replaced by the more technically skilled Carmen Appice. Their manager convinced veteran producer George "Shadow" Morton (The Shangri-Las) to check them out. He agreed to produce them and The Pigeons signed with Atco Records. Atco wanted the group to change their name and Vanilla Fudge was a favourite ice cream flavour. You Keep Me Hanging On was released in 1967. It didn't do as well as hoped but the group continued to tour heavily. They performed You Keep Me Hanging On on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1968 and the song became a top 20 pop hit. Their follow up album The Beat Goes on was a hit too. This Rhino comp has all their hits. Vanilla Fudge continued to be a very popular live act but the group tired of touring and split in 1970. Bogert & Appice formed the group Cactus and then formed Beck, Bogert & Appice with Jeff Beck. Appice is a respected session musician and drum teacher. Bogert & Appice reformed Vanilla Fudge a few years ago and they tour regularly. Stein went on to play keyboards for guitarist Tommy Bolin. He isn't part of the Vanilla Fudge reunion. Here's Vanilla Fudge performing You Keep Me Hanging On on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1968.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yuka Tsuji title defense at Smackgirl 7th Anniversary show

Smackgirl had a couple of matches on the Nov. 25 Grapple Kingdom show. They took the opportunity to announce the main event for the Smackgirl 7th Anniversary show Dec. 26 at Korakuen Hall. The show is called Starting Over because it was announced that Smackgirl has new management. They're calling themselves Smackgirl Ltd. and the primary owners are Masa Masao & Kinya Hashimoto. They're trying to reinvent themselves as a new company but it remains to be seen if they can put together more compelling matches.

The two matches on the Grapple Kingdom show were nothing special. In one match, HARI defeated Yuiga when the ref stopped the match after round one. Neither of them have stellar records and Yuiga is a mediocre pro wrestler who isn't any better at MMA. The second match had Saori Ishioka defeat Miyuki Ariga by unanimous decision. Afterwards, a table was set up. Ishioka stayed in the ring and was joined by Madoka Okada, Mika Nagano and...drum roll...Smackgirl Lightweight Champion Yuka Tsuji. it was announced that Tsuji will defend her title on the 7th Anniversary show against Korean fighter Su Hi Ham. Tsuji joked about her name saying "Ham will be delicious". Of course Ham is the Korean kickboxer who debuted in MMA with a shocking victory over Hisae Watanabe in Feb. She lost to DEEP champ MIKU and won over Ayumi "Edge" Saito on the Sept. 6 Smackgirl show. Tsuji tried to sell this as a revenge match for Saito's defeat. It's tough to sell a less than credible opponent. The other three fighters will be on the show as well.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Tracie Spencer

Artist:Tracie Spencer

Song:It's All About You (Not About Me)


Many music fans will recall R & B singer Tracie Spencer when she was a child. This 1999 CD was her coming of age and it did well but she hasn't recorded since. She was born July 12, 1976 in Waterloo, IA. She appeared on Star Search and at 12 years old became the youngest female artist to ever sign with Capitol Records. Her first two albums did well and the 1990 single This House was a top five hit. She went back home to finish high school and persued modelling and acting in the mid 90s. She appeared in the films Down In The Delta & Girlfight. While continuing modelling, Tracie returned to music with the 1999 CD Tracie. It had a much more mature R & B sound and she described it as a coming of age album. It's All About You was a top 20 pop hit. The song and most of the album was produced by veteran R & B producers Karlin & Soulshock. These guys still work together and recently worked on Kelly Rowland's CD. In recent years she has sung backup vocals for rappers Eve, G-Unit, 50 Cent & Kanye West but Tracie continues to model and there's been talk about her returning to music. She's not currently signed to a record label. Here's the video for It's All About You (Not About Me) by Tracie Spencer.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tara LaRosa wins again in Hook 'N' Shoot

Bodog Fight womens MMA champ Tara LaRosa stepped down a bit in weight for her fight against Cody Welchin on Nov. 24's Hook 'N' Shoot show in Evansville, IN. There was also a bit of a convoluted mini-tournament on the show. Hook 'N' Shoot is owned by Jeff Osbourne and he also works for Bodog Fight. Right now the womens MMA rankings have LaRosa first and Megumi Fujii second. Fujii also works for Bodog Fight and won over Lisa Ward in Vancouver in August. Fujii normally fights at 125lbs. and LaRosa fights at 135lbs. So LaRosa had to drop ten pounds to fight Welchin. I guess it's a bit of a tune up for Fujii.

With her 2-1 record, Cody Welchin is an obvious underdog to Tara LaRosa and her 13 fight winning streak. Welchin began the match with a couple of right hooks but LaRosa took her down. LaRosa slowly mounted her but Welchin resisted well and the ref stood them up. After a flurry of blows, Welchin resisted a takedown until a couple of LaRosa knees allowed her to take Welchin down and mount her. LaRosa won the round but Welchin resisted very well. Round two started with a Welchin high kick but LaRosa countered and took Welchin down for a side mount. Welchin's defense was still holding and they got up. LaRosa took Welchin down again and after a failed armbar, LaRosa hooked a triangle leg choke for the win at 2:57 of round two.

The mini-tournament had a 125lb. bracket and a 135lb. bracket. The winners face each other in the final. The tournament led off with a 125lb. match between beginners Jordan Sprague & Patti Lee. Lee looked stronger and dominated until the ref stopped the match at 1:55 of round three. Next was a 125lb. match between Nicdali Calanic (2-0) and newcomer Jen Babcock. Calanic hammered her and knocked her out in thirty seconds. Next was a 135lb. match between newcomers Suzi Smith & Kaitlin Young. Young knocked her out in 22 seconds. Next was a 135lb. match with Jan Finney (3-5) against newcomer Miesha Tate. The match was the most competitive of the four and was ruled a draw. Hook 'N' Shoot owner Jeff Osbourne called for a two minute sudden death round. The match is still a draw after that. The crowd is getting restless. So Osbourne asks the ref to name the winner and he gives it to Tate. I smell a rematch.

Nicdali Calanic faced Patti Lee in the first semi final match. Calanic was aggressive but Lee took her down and hooked a heel submission for the win at 2:59 of round one. Misha Tate just went four rounds so Kaitlin Young had a big advantage and she knocked Tate out with a high kick at 38 seconds. So now it's Kaitlin Young vs Patti Lee in the tournament final. They were just getting going trading blows when Lee collapsed at 53 seconds of round one. It was a little puzzling as no one saw the blow that caused it. Kaitlin Young's reward for winning the tournament? Bodog Fight matchmaker Eric Nicholl offered her a match on Bodog's next event in Las Vegas. Thanks to the Bodog Fight blog for the match details.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Herbie Hancock

Artist:Herbie Hancock f/Luciana Souza


Album:River:The Joni Letters

Over the years, jazz piano legend Herbie Hancock has proven to be a musical adventurer. One never knows if he will try funk, R & B, jazz or pop. His 2005 CD Possibilities paired him with various performers from the rock world. This new CD is a tribute to another musical adventurer, Joni Mitchell. Joni has also released a new CD. Hancock's idea is to do jazz versions of Joni's music with Lionel Louecke on guitar, Wayne Shorter on sax, Dave Holland on bass and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. It makes sense because Joni has worked with jazz musicians for years. Hancock also brought in Joni's longtime producer Larry Klein to produce the CD. Joni herself sings on one song and Tina Turner, Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones & Leonard Cohen also guest star. While listening to Amelia, I thought it was Joni Mitchell singing. But it's actually Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza doing her own tribute. And Wayne Shorter delivers a great solo. So it looks like River is recommended to Herbie Hancock & Joni Mitchell fans. Here's a video courtesy of Fast Focus TV with Herbie Hancock & Larry Klein discussing the making of River.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Carlene Carter

Artist:Carlene Carter

Song:Every Little Thing

Album:Hindsight 20/20

Carlene Carter is country music royalty. But her music was a mix of country and rock. And now she's on the comeback trail. She was born Sept. 12, 1955 in Nashville to country music legends June Carter & Carl Smith. They divorced when she was two and mom would take Carlene on the Carter Family tours. June married Johnny Cash and Carlene and stepsister Roseanne Cash sang backup on tour. Carlene went through two marriages and had two kids by her early 20s. She signed with Warner Bros. in 1978. I guess the intention was to turn her into a country music superstar but she went to England and worked with Dave Edmunds and married his buddy Nick Lowe. Her music reflected that influence and was probably more rock than the record company wanted. Her marriage ended and Carlene went back to touring with the Carter Family. She met Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers bassist Howie Epstein and he got her recording again. The music was more country than her previous recordings and she had more success. Every Little Thing was from the 1993 CD Little Love Letters and was a top five country hit. Carlene last recorded in 1995 and she has had some personal issues. This 1996 comp covers her career very well. But she has a new CD coming in March 2008 from Yup Roc Records called Stronger and it's produced by her brother John Carter Cash. It should be interesting to see what she comes up with. Here's the video for Every Little Thing by Carlene Carter.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Randy Newman

Artist:Randy Newman

Song:Lonely At The Top

Album:Sail Away

Randy Newman is a singer songwriter best known these days for his film work. But he's also known for his satirical songs. He was born Nov. 28, 1943 in New Orleans. His uncles Lionel & Alfred Newman were legendary film score composers. He was working for a song publisher in Los Angeles when his pal Lenny Waronker got him a contract with Reprise Records. His early albums didn't sell but his songs were heavily covered. Three Dog Night had a smash in 1970 with Mama Told Me Not To Come. The thinking was that Newman's singing voice was part of the problem so his pal Harry Nilsson did an album called Nilsson Sings Newman. But Reprise couldn't figure out how to sell Newman. The 1972 album Sail Away got a following mostly because of Newman's constant touring. Lonely At The Top is a song poking fun at himself and fame in general. Newman wrote it for Frank Sinatra. He first recorded it on 1971's Randy Newman Live. Rhino issued an expanded version of Sail Away in 2002. Newman did have a pop hit in 1978 with Short People but in more recent years has concentrated on composing music for films. His most recent score was for the Pixar film Cars and he is currently working on the upcoming George Clooney film Leatherheads. Here's Randy Newman performing Sail Away.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Phil Ochs

Artist:Phil Ochs


Album:There But For Fortune

Phil Ochs was one of the more outspoken protest singers of the 60s and Changes was a very unusual love song for him. He was born Dec. 19, 1940 in El Paso, TX. He moved to New York in the early 60s and described himself as a singing journalist. He signed with Elektra in 1964 and his early albums addressed all kinds of topical subjects. Changes is a little bit different because it's a love song. It's from his 1966 album In Concert. After that album, Ochs went to electric instruments but continued with protest songs. He also moved to A & M Records. This comp covers his Elektra material and has a lot of material from In Concert. Rhino has released a box set covering Ochs' entire career. Ochs seemed to run out of ideas in the 70s and tried to reinvent himself as a 50s revival act complete with gold lame suit. He failed miserably and sunk further into alcoholism and depression until he hung himself on Apr. 9, 1976 at age 35. Fans of the 60s folk movement should be familiar with Phil Ochs. Here's a rather lengthy video of Phil Ochs performing Highwayman, being interviewed and then performing Changes on a 1967 TV show about poetry.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Eddie Cochran

Artist:Eddie Cochran

Song:Nervous Breakdown

Album:Somethin' Else

Eddie Cochran was a rockabilly artist largely forgotten because he died at a very young age. But he did have a couple of hits worth checking out. He was born Oct. 3, 1938 in Albert Lea, MN. His family moved to Southern California in 1950 and he recorded in 1955 as part of the Cochran Brothers though partner Hank Cochran was not actually his brother. He was playing sessions when he was asked to appear in the 1956 film The Girl Can't Help It. His performance in the film got him a contract with Liberty Records. Cochran had his only top ten hit with Summertime Blues, a song that's still memorable today. His other songs like Nervous Breakdown are very good but they weren't as successful. Cochran wrote most of his own songs and played guitar and like Buddy Holly, would do a lot of overdubbing in the studio. EMI released Something Else recently as a 50th Anniversary edition. Eddie Cochran was on tour in England with his buddy Gene Vincent when he died after a serious car accident on Apr. 17, 1960 at age 21. Fortunately we can still watch Eddie Cochran on video performing Summertime Blues.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fuuka attacked by masked men at press conference

Fuuka held a press conference today to promote the Dec. 22 Fuuka Matsuri show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Obviously the show will have a Christmas theme and Fuuka wore a little red Santa suit at the press conference. Fuuka began by announcing that the main event will have Fuuka challenging the "Monster King of NEO" Misae Genki. Of course Fuuka was trying to put over the size difference between the two. She's calling it a "super-handicap war". She says she wants to prove that she can fight with a heavyweight. These kind of matches tend not to turn out very well for Fuuka. She can say that she can win but I have my doubts.

Fuuka announced that the Fuuka Rangers will open the show with their very first song. I think the CD is due in February. Of course her pals the Shirai sisters are part of the Fuuka Rangers and they'll be on opposite sides of a tag team match. Io Shirai will team with Tsubasa Kuragaki against Mio Shirai & AKINO. She also announced that Fuuka Kidd will make her second appearance against Black Santa. I guess it's another masked wrestler. Apparently Black Santa steals Christmas presents from children.

So the press conference seemed to be over and Fuuka was posing for pictures in front of a Christmas tree when all of a sudden two masked men come out and attack Fuuka. They're holding the newspaper account of Fuuka's arrest of the peeping tom saying "This is all your fault". They start pushing her around. The two turned out to be the veteran tag team of NOSAWA & MAZADA. The mask didn't hide their identities very well. They plan to disrupt the Dec. 22 Fuuka Matsuri show. Fuuka said she will get a partner and have a match with them on the show. Sportsnavi tried to put over Fuuka as being angry about the intrusion. Does anyone think Fuuka could get angry about anything? They're trying to put over that this invasion puts a black cloud over the show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Johnnie Taylor

Artist:Johnnie Taylor

Song:Steal Away

Album:Live At The Summit Club

Here's a long lost live recording from a legendary soul singer who had a lot of longevity because of his ability to adapt to changing musical trends. Johnnie Taylor was born May 5, 1934 in Crawfordsville, AR. He grew up singing in church in nearby West Memphis and moved to Kansas City to sing with the gospel group The Melody Kings. It was here that he met Sam Cooke and in 1957 Taylor replaced Cooke in The Soul Stirrers. Then Taylor signed with Cooke's Sar label in 1961. After Cooke's death, Taylor moved back to Memphis and signed with Stax in 1965. His biggest hit was 1968's Who's Making Love which was a top 5 pop hit. In the early 70s Taylor became more of a soul crooner and continued to have success. Live At The Summit Club was recorded in 1972 as part of the Wattstax festival in Los Angeles. But Taylor was barely in the film and these recordings were never released. When Concord Jazz purchased Fantasy Records last year, one of the first things they did was release Live At The Summit Club. Taylor is fantastic and this is a must for soul fans. Of course Stax went broke in 1975 and Taylor had his biggest hit Disco Lady in 1976. And then he went back to a grittier blues sound for many years for Malaco Records until his death of a heart attack on May 31, 2000 at age 66. Here's Johnnie Taylor performing Jody Got Your Girl And Gone from the film Wattstax in 1972.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Okuda wins JWP Junior Championship

With Sendai Girls boss Meiko Satomura out of action for an extended time period, some of her trainees are going to have to fill the void for the next few months. It remains to be seen if any of them step up but I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that Tyrannosaurus Okuda is the best candidate to do that. She was in the main event of the Nov. 18 Zepp Sendai Sendai vs JWP show challenging Arisa Nakajima for the JWP Junior Championship and the POP Title.

The opener was the debut of Maki Harada ve JWP owner Commando Bolshoi. Not surprisingly, Harada's offense consisted of dropkicks. She hit three but when she missed a fourth, Bolshoi used a body ram, a brainbuster and an Argentinian backbreaker to make Harada submit at 8:27. Next was Kayoko Haruyama vs Hiren. Hiren is obviously overmatched but comes back with dropkicks and a couple of backbreakers. Two missile dropkicks get a two count but Haruyama turns things around with a German suplex. A backdrop and a guillotine legdrop from the top rope finishes hiren at 9:26.

Next was Ryo Mizunami vs Tsubasa Kuragaki. The pattern is the same. Mizunami hits three dropkicks and a tackle but Kuragaki hits a moonsault and a shoulder buster. A tackle from the second rope gets a two count. Kuragaki's lariat finishes her at 11:15. Next was Kaori Yoneyama vs Sachiko Sendai. Sachiko starts out quickly with two missile dropkicks followed by two more dropkicks and a swinging DDT. But Yoneyama fires back with a German suplex and a Majistral cradle for the win at 10:36. Azumi Hyuga makes short work of DASH Chisako with a running knee at 4:36.

Now it's time for Arisa Nakajima to defend the JWP Junior Championship & POP Title against Tyrannosaurus Okuda. This is obviously the best chance for a Sendai victory. They exchange elbows and Okuda hits a tackle and gets Nakajima in a camel clutch. Nakajima comes back with three facebusters and dropkicks. A backdrop and the Okuda comes back with two jumping knees. They each hit German suplexes. Okuda hits another jumping knee for a two count. Then another jumping knee in the corner and a diving knee to the back of the head for the win at 9:54. Congratulations to Tyrannosaurus Okuda for winning the JWP Junior Championship & the POP Title. The next Sendai Girls sho0w will be Sendai vs Ibuki on Dec. 29 at Zepp Sendai. Mariko Yoshida has announced that she isn't going but is sending Misaki Ohata, Atsuko Emoto, Kyoko Kimura, Cherry, Tomoka Nakagawa & Hiroyo Matsumoto. I expect Okuda's first challenger to be Matsumoto.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Peter Tosh

Artist:Peter Tosh

Song:Downpresser Man

Album:Equal Rights

Of course Peter Tosh was one of the founding members of The Wailers and an icon of Jamaican music. He was born Winston McIntosh Oct. 19, 1944 in Westmoreland, Jamaica. He formed The Wailers with Bob Marley & Bunny Wailer. They had some success in the 60s and Tosh started recording solo in 1971. While The Wailers were breaking through internationally, Marley & Tosh weren't getting along and Tosh left The Wailers in 1975 and signed with Columbia. Equal Rights was his second album for Columbia in 1977. Tosh's music was always more overtly political than Marley's and this reworking of Downpresser Man is a good example. Tosh left Columbia and got the attention of Mick Jagger and signed with Rolling Stones Records. Despite some legal problems, Tosh continued to record great music in the 80s until he was murdered because of a personal dispute on Sept. 11, 1987 at age 42. Sony released Equal Rights with a couple of bonus live tracks in 1999. Here's Peter Tosh performing Equal Rights & Downpresser Man.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Kayoko Haruyama wins Chick Fever J tournament

Chick Fights SUN had the finals of the Chick Fever J tournamrnt at Shin-kiba 1st Ring Nov. 15 & 16 and we had a surprise winner. But first, the AWA board of directors made their decision about the AWA World Womens Championship. By a 14-13 vote, it was decided that Saki Maemura will remain champ but must defend the title within 30 days or the belt will be returned to the AWA. OK so the Hawaiians are coming to Japan in December anyway. So why did they do this again? Also, First On Stage has announced the formation of the International Chick Fights Alliance (ICFA). The ICFA HQ will be in either Osaka, Los Angeles, Honolulu or Vancouver. Supposedly the 2008 goal of the ICFA is to run regular shows and training camps in North America. FOS said in their statement that the exposure of SUN in the US via video was a big reason for this decision. Maybe they'll come to Berwick, IL. Paging Dave Prazak.

The Nov. 15 show would determine the finalists in the Chick Fever J tournament. The show led off with a bit of an upset with JWP's Kayoko Haruyama defeating noki-A in 8:20. This gave Haruyama the Cup Zone lead with 4 points. Then Saki Maemura defeated Toshie Uematsu with the Never Give Up in 13:45. This gave Maemura the Coin Zone lead with 4 points. In a non-tournament match, Tojuki Leon defeated Kana with the Mad Splash at 10:36. Then Hikaru defeated KY Hotta with a running elbow at 7:36. Normally this might be considered an upset but I understand Hotta was doing a lot of comedy that we normally wouldn't expect. So Hikaru is tied with Maemura for the lead in the Coin Zone.

The final match in the preliminary part of the tournament was Nanae Takahashi vs Natsuki*Taiyo. Takahashi has 3 points and Natsuki*Taiyo is winless. But it appears that Takahashi's recent diet of parfaits may have contributed to a lack of stamina and Natsuki*Taiyo won with her Natsuki Bomb at 17:34. There's an upset for you. This means that Kayoko Haruyama wins the Cup Zone and Saki Maemura & Hikaru will open the Nov. 16 show to determine her opponent in the finals. It's not the first time SUN has done puzzling things.

The Nov. 16 show led off with Hikaru defeating Saki Maemura with the Lanakila-H in 11:47. So Hikaru will face Kayoko Haruyama in the final. Then a couple of tag matches to kill time. Toshie Uematsu & ZEST.CO defeated Natsuki*Taiyo & noki-A when ZEST.CO used a moonsault on Natsuki*Taiyo at 15:56. Nanae Takahashi & KY Hotta defeated Fuuka & Kana when Hotta used a palm strike on Kana at 22:59. Kayoko Haruyama won the tournament final over Hikaru with a guillotine leg drop at 18:28. During the victory ceremony, Takahashi glared at Haruyama and said she was very dissatisfied with the results of the tournament. It's hard to tell where this will lead or if it will lead anywhere. A lot of times tournaments like this are just time fillers and are quickly forgotten. Congratulations to Kayoko Haruyama.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Jackson 5

Artist:The Jackson 5



Of course we all know the story of how Joe Jackson managed to turn his sons into the hottest pop group of the early 70s. It took some time but Motown owner Berry Gordy did eventually sign the Jackson 5 in 1968. But I wanted to talk about the producers behind the music. At the time, his top production team Holland/Dozier/Holland was suing Motown so he was looking for new blood to work with the Jackson 5. Washington, DC schoolmates Freddie Perren (piano) & Fonce Mizell (bass) moved to Los Angeles and got together with guitarist Deke Richards. Richards had worked on The Supremes hit Love Child. They wrote some songs and pitched Berry Gordy. He thought that one song would be good for the five brothers from Gary, IN. that he was planning to turn into an updated version of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers. That song became I Want You Back, the Jackson 5's first #1 hit. The three were called The Corporation. ABC was the follow up and knocked The Beatles' Let It Be out of the #1 slot on the charts. If you think the songs are similar, that's not a coincidence. ABC uses the same chorus as I Want You Back. Perren was a former schoolteacher and came up with the lyrics. At the time, the Jackson 5 were categorized as bubblegum music because they're kids. But Michael Jackson doesn't sing like a kid and that's why the Jackson 5 music holds up well today. This soundtrack to the Spike Lee film Crooklyn has several R & B classics. It's a good comp. The Corporation were supposed to record as a group but never did. Freddie Perren went on to a long career as a producer of groups like The Miracles & The Sylvers and Fonce Mizell produced L.T.D. Here's The Jackson 5 performing I Want You Back, ABC & The Love You Save on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1970.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

All Japan Women revival announced

Of course we all know that All Japan Women had their farewell show in April 2005. There's been a little bit of confusion because there has been a company known as NEW All Japan Women. The deal was that the Matsunagas licensed the name on the condition that they use the word "New" and only run shows outside Tokyo. The New AJW has been dormant since August. Recently Chigusa Nagayo announced that she plans to promote an All Japan Women 40th anniversary show in May 2008 if she can get the Matsunagas to agree to it. It has been announced on the Zenjoism website that New AJW will now be called AJW. Zenjoism was the official site of the New AJW. And AJW president Matsunaga has told Lady's Ring Magazine that he has agreed to revive AJW. Obviously we don't know yet if this is a one shot deal but I'm sure the legendary red belt (WWWA Singles Title) will be revived. It has been inactive since Kumiko Maekawa's retirement in Mar. 2006. And it looks like a significant return to the joshi business for Chigusa Nagayo as a promoter. This could be very interesting.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Ann Peebles

Artist:Ann Peebles

Song:Ain't No Business Like Your Business

Album:Box Of The Blues

R & B singer songwriter Ann Peebles is probably best known for her 1973 hit I Can't Stand The Rain. She's not that well known to mainstream music fans. She was born Apr. 27, 1947 in St. Louis. As a child, she toured with the family gospel group The Peebles Choir. Then as a teen, she started singing in St. Louis clubs and joined Oliver Sain's band. On a 1968 trip to Memphis, she was spotted by trumpeter Gene "Bowlegs" Miller and he brought her to Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell. Mitchell was building a stable that would soon include Al Green and signed her immediately. Mitchell put her together with songwriter Don Bryant and they got married and have been writing together ever since. Ann had several minor hits until I Can't Stand The Rain became her biggest hit in 1973. Ann Peebles is a fabulous down home soul singer so the late 70s rise of disco hurt her career very badly. Ann took a break from the music business to raise her family in the 80s. But then in the 90s, she signed with roots label Rounder Records. Ain't No Business Like Your Business is from the 1992 CD Full Time Love. Ann Peebles was back sounding better than ever. This 4CD box set Box Of The Blues was compiled by Rounder Records A & R VP Scott Billington. Rounder does a lot of these various artists samplers. 4CDs seems a bit much. Ann still tours today and released the CD Brand New Classics in 2006. Ann Peebles is an artist highly respected by R & B fans and her music is frequently sampled by hip hop artists. Here's Ann Peebles performing I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse down in Rotterdam in 1989.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ron Hornaday is the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champ

This is the final week of the 2007 NASCAR season and it all started Friday with the Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 at Homestead Miami Speedway. Mike Skinner was leading Ron Hornaday by 29 points going into the race and the events of the race show that it's not over until it's over. Skinner qualified in the front row and Hornaday was farther back. So if Skinner runs up to his usual standard, he will likely win the championship. Skinner takes the lead at the start of the race to get five bonus points. Things are going great until Skinner thinks he has a flat right front tire and pits. So he goes a lap down. This doesn't seem to fix the problem so Skinner is coming in to pit again when his left rear wheel comes completely off the truck. It turns out he had a broken wheel hub and by the time it was repaired he was 11 laps down.

That's exactly the break that Ron Hornaday needed to win his third Craftsman Truck Series championship. He stayed out of trouble and got a top ten finish. Johnny Benson won the race. This was the first owner's championship for Kevin Harvick Inc. It was meaningful for Harvick because Ron Hornaday was a mentor to Harvick when Harvick was starting out in NASCAR. Hornaday will continue to drive the #33 for Harvick and Jack Sprague will be his new teammate next year. That should be a potent combination but of course you can expect Mike Skinner & Johnny Benson to continue to drive Toyota for Bill Davis Racing too. Congratulations to Ron Hornaday and here's video footage of what happened to Mike Skinner during the race.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Johnny Winter

Artist:Johnny Winter

Song:Tribute To Muddy

Album:The Progressive Blues Experiment

Of course blues guitarist Johnny Winter has been very popular with blues fans since the late 60s. But you don't want to overlook this newly remastered early recording. He was born Feb. 23, 1944 in Beaumont, TX. As many fans know, Johnny & brother Edgar are albinos. The two formed their first band as teens and played sessions & clubs in Texas. A 1968 article in Rolling Stone got him national attention and a contract with Columbia Records. But he actually recorded The Progressive Blues Experiment for Imperial Records in 1967 with his original trio of Red Turner on drums & Tommy Shannon on bass. But Imperial didn't release it until after Winter became popular in 1969. That tends to confuse fans but this album is as down & dirty as anything Winter ever recorded. It was released on CD by the One Way budget label in 1992 but Capitol finally issued a remastered version in 2005. It's a must for Winter fans. Johnny Winter last recorded in 2004 but he continues to play the blues all over the world. He's a great guitarist. Here's Johnny Winter performing Mean Town Blues at Woodstock in 1969. This clip did not make the film version of Woodstock.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Willie Colon

Artist:Willie Colon f/Ruben Blades

Song:Pedro Navaja

Album:OG:Original Gangster

Willie Colon is one of the icons of Latin American music, specifically Puerto Rican salsa and is mostly known as a bandleader. He was born Apr. 28, 1950 in Bronx, NY. He started out playing trombone in sessions as a teen. Colon has been associated with Johnny Pacheco's Fania Records since the 60s. Hector Lavoe was his first vocalist but then in 1975, he got together with Ruben Blades. At the same time, he was director of the Latin Jazz All Stars. The partnership between Colon & Blades was very successful. The image put forth was that they were real gangsters but of course they weren't. Pedro Navaja translates to Peter The Knife. It's from the 1978 album Siembra which became Fania's best seller in their catalog. This 2006 comp OG is a good intro to Colon's music. Colon & Blades split up in 1980, feuded for a few years but have reconciled and have reunited occasionally. Willie Colon received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2004. These days he's New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's laison to the Latin Entertainment Media Commission. Here's Willie Colon & Ruben Blades performing Pedro Navaja in Venezuela in 1998.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Art Tatum

Artist:Art Tatum

Song:Tiger Rag

Album:Art Tatum's Finest Hour

This Verve comp is a perfect introduction to jazz pioneer Art Tatum. He was one of the most innovative jazz pianists. He was born Oct. 13, 1909 in Toledo, OH and was born nearly blind. He was mostly self taught and though he was very good friends with Fats Waller, their styles were much different. Tatum moved to New York in 1932 as singer Adelaide Hall's accompanist but what really got people's attention were his solo recordings for Decca in the 30s including this version of Tiger Rag from 1934. At the time there was no one who could play with Tatum's technique and dexterity. And though he occasionally played with a small band, Tatum was best known for his solo interpretations of standards in his unique style because he was not a composer. This Verve comp is perfect for beginners. Tatum was a heavy drinker and died of uremia on Nov. 5, 1956 at age 47. Art Tatum has been a major influence on every jazz pianist to come after him. Here's Art Tatum performing his interpretation of Dvorak's Humoresque. It's a very rare clip.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Spinners

Artist:The Spinners

Song:Could It Be I'm Falling In Love

Album:The Very Best Of The Spinners

The popular 70s soul group The Spinners are identified with the Philly sound but they're from Detroit and started out with Motown. They originally signed with Harvey Fuqua's Tri-Phi label but Motown bought the company. G.C. Cameron was the lead singer at the time. The Spinners didn't do that well at Motown and were dropped in 1972. Cameron stayed at Motown and Philippe Wynne became the new lead singer. He was born Apr. 3, 1941 and was lead singer with Bootsy Collins' band The Pacesetters. The Spinners signed with Atlantic and were assigned to producer Thom Bell. And that's where the Philly Soul connection comes in as Bell was one of the top producers there. They had a very lush soul sound and I'll Be Around & Could It Be I'm Falling In Love were top 5 pop hits. Wynne was a great lead singer and The Spinners had several more hits until Wynne left to go solo in 1977. This Rhino comp has all their hits. After that, The Spinners winded down and Wynne wasn't that successful as a solo artist. Phillippe Wynne died of a heart attack while on stage in Oakland on July 14, 1984 at age 43. The Spinners continue to tour and G.C. Cameron even returned to the group a few years ago. Here's The Spinners performing Could It Be I'm Falling In Love on Top Of The Pops in March 1977.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kimura looking for revenge on Ohata in Ibuki

Ibuki had their latest show on Nov. 11 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. The main event is going to build a feud between Kyoko Kimura & Misaki Ohata. Kimura is getting to be one of the best heels in joshi. A couple of the Sendai girls appeared on the show and Mariko Yoshida announced that she will return the favour by taking the Ibuki girls to Sendai for the second time. It will be Sendai Girls vs Ibuki at Zepp Sendai on Dec. 29. Yoshida will anounce the card next week.

The opener had Ito Gym rookie Tomoko Morii vs Maheken rookie Mio Shirai. Yoshida said on her website that she thought Morii has improved her strength since she last saw her. She also thought Morii was more aggressive than she remembers. Shirai did hit an STO but didn't follow up. Morii won with a missile kick at 7:18. Next was Sakura Emi vs JWP rookie Asuka Ohki. Not surprisingly, Emi controlled the match and won with a moonsault press at 9:27.

Next was Sendai Girls wrestlers DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko vs Mai Ichii & Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa was the star in this match with her power moves and effective kicks. The Sendai girls responded well but missed a move and Nakagawa made Sachiko submit with an arm hold at 20:20. Next was the boss Mariko Yoshida vs JWP Junior Champ Arisa Nakajima. Yoshida attacked Nakajima's arm. Nakajima came back with a swinging DDT. The end comes when Nakajima misses a diving body press and Yoshida uses the Spider Twist for the win at 12:38.

The Main event had Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata vs Kyoko Kimura & Aoi Kizuki. The Matsumoto/Ohata team is known as 3S. Kimura & Matsumoto went back and forth and Matsumoto's power was more than a match for Kimura. So obviously Kimura is going to focus on Ohata. Yoshida says that Ohata has improved slowly since coming to Ibuki. Kimura beat her up but wasn't able to finish her. A misfired Big Boots gave 3S an opening. Ohata used a flash pin to win over Kimura at 18:39. So a big upset and Ohata & Matsumoto celebrate. Ohata is crying. Kimura admits the defeat but says "Still pimpin' it". This means of course that Kimura isn't through with Ohata just yet. Maybe she shouldn't celebarate too much. But a win is a win.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Yardbirds

Artist:The Yardbirds

Song:Heart Full Of Soul

Album:The British Are Coming

The Yardbirds are best known as the British Invasion band that at various points featured guitar legends Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page. Like a lot of these bands, they started out covering blues standards and even backed up Sonny Boy Williamson in their early days. The basis of the group was vocalist Keith Relf along with Paul Samwell-Smith on bass, Chris Dreja on rhythm guitar and Jim McCarty on drums. Clapton joined in 1963 and was guitarist for their 1964 hit For Your Love. Clapton left in 1965 and was replaced by Jeff Beck of The Tridents. Beck's guitar work is most evident on the 1965 hit Heart Full Of Soul. Samwell-Smith left in 1966. Jimmy Page was brought in and Dreja switched to bass. So for a while, including for their appearance in the film Blow Up, the group had both Beck & Page but Beck left in late 1966. This 3CD box set The British Are Coming probably has every major British Invasion hit not by The Beatles & The Rolling Stones. Sanctuary Records has also released the CDs individually. It's a great comp. The Yardbirds probably remained truer to their blues roots than some of the other British Invasion bands. Leader Keith Relf electrocuted himself while playing his guitar and died in 1976. Here's The Yardbirds performing Heart Full Of Soul on Shindig in 1965.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Rahsaan Patterson

Artist:Rahsaan Patterson

Song:Stop Breaking My Heart

Album:Wines & Spirits

Most music fans probably know that pop star Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson got her start on the 80s show Kids Incorporated. But the outstanding R & B singer songwriter Rahsaan Patterson was also on that show. This is the first single from his new CD. He was born Jan. 11, 1974 in Bronx, NY and yes, he was named after legendary jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk. At age ten, his family moved to Los Angeles after he was cast on Kids Incorporated. After the show ended, he started working as a backup singer and wrote hits for Brandy (Baby) & Tevin Campbell (Back To The World). He signed with MCA Records and released his solo debut in 1997. Patterson wrote and produced the CD with Jamey Jaz & Keith Crouch. MCA dropped Patterson after his second CD was well received but ignored by the mainstream. Patterson's music is probably better suited to an adult oriented audience anyway. He started his own label Dome Records and acquired distribution from British R & B label Artistry Records. Wines & Spirits is his brand new CD and Patterson continues to work with Jamey Jaz & Keith Crouch. It's recommended to R & B fans. There's no video but Rahsaan Patterson has released an Electronic Press Kit in which he discusses his music with Lalah Hathaway and we get to see him in the studio with Jamey Jaz.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Emi Fujino remains undefeated in CAGE FORCE

CAGE FORCE held their latest show Nov. 11 at Differ Ariake. The show had a couple of womens matches courtesy of K-GRACE. Emi Fujino continued her roll in 53kg match against Yuko. Fujino starts the match with a takedown and Yuko goes crashing into the cage. Yuko escapes and knocks Fujino down. They get up and Fujino nails her with some punches. Yuko attempts a takedown but they come to a standoff in the mesh when the round ends. Fujino takes control in round two with a takedown. The she mounts Yuko and pounds her. Fujino goes after an armlock. But she's getting tired and is unable to finish her off. Fujino wins by unanimous decision. Emi Fujino is a fighter on the rise.

The second match was a 48kg match between Misaki Takimoto & Naoko Omuro. Omuro starts the match with a right hook and a straight left. Takimoto comes back with a straight right, a left to the body and a right hook. Omuro bends backwards into the mesh and Takimoto attempts a takedown. She steps back and Omuro hits a couple of punches. She attempts a takedown but they get caught in the mesh as the round ends. Omuro throws punches at the start of round two but Takimoto blocks them, grabs Omuro's leg and pushes her into the mesh. They're not getting anywhere so they break. They exchange punches. Takimoto attempts a takedown but Omuro blocks it. Takimoto hits a body shot and grabs Omuro's leg when the match ends. The decision is a draw. So I assume these two will fight again.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Amp Fiddler

Artist:Amp Fiddler f/Corinne Bailey Rae

Song:If I Don't

Album:Afro Strut

Joseph "Amp" Fiddler is a funky keyboard wizard who is now emerging as a formidable solo artist. He grew up in Detroit and has been a close associate of George Clinton since the late 80s. He released an album in 1990 as Mr. Fiddler but at the same time he's played keyboards with Warren Zevon, Was (Not Was). Prince, The Brand New Heavies, Primal Scream, Too Short, Maxwell and of course George Clinton & The P-Funk All Stars. He got back to recording as a solo artist with his mixmaster buddy Moodymann in 2002 and released Waltz Of A Ghetto Fly in 2004. This built Fiddler a cult following especially in England. Afro Strut was released in England last year and has just been released in the US. If I Don't features British jazz singer Corinne Bailey Rae. Fiddler had worked on some remixes of her music. The song has a bit of a shuffle vibe featuring clarinet by Wendell Harrison. R & B singer Stephanie McKay also appears on the CD and so does Raphael Saadiq. Like fellow P-Funk alumni Bootsy Collins & Bernie Worrell, Amp Fiddler has a lot of talent and will be worth watching in the future. And here's the CGI video for If I Don't by Amp Fiddler & Corinne Bailey Rae.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The day-Maya Azucena

Artist:Maya Azucena

Song:Break The Spell

Album:Junkyard Jewel

Maya Azucena is an R & B singer songwriter from Brooklyn. She's been singing in New York City clubs for several years but is now starting to get more attention. She released her first CD Maya Who? independently in 2003. It got her some attention on some neo soul websites and was a big favourite on CD Baby. You can find a lot of indie black music there. She writes her own songs and in 2006 got together with guitarist Christian VerHalen and his group called The Rooftop. This got the attention of R & B label Purpose Records and Junkyard Jewel is her debut release on that label. Purpose is an adult oriented soul label owned by George Littlejohn & Russell Johnson. VerHalen co-wrote most of the songs, plays guitar and produced the CD. He's also been working with rapper Kendra Ross. You may have heard Maya on Stephen Marley's latest release Mind Control. Maya is an excellent singer and her musical style has an acoustic base very similar to someone like India.Arie. Here's Maya Azucena's brand new video for Set You Free which was posted a couple of days ago by Christian VerHalen.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Anthony Hamilton

Artist:Anthony Hamilton f/Jaheim & Musiq Soulchild

Song:Struggle No More (The Main Event)

Album:Daddy's Little Girls

R & B singer songwriter Anthony Hamilton struggled through the 90s but he is now very successful. He was born Jan. 28, 1971 in Charlotte, NC. He started out singing in his church choir and moved to New York in 1993. He signed with Uptown Records and was to be labelmate with Mary J. Blige but the company went broke in 1995 and his CD was never released. Hamilton then signed with MCA but his 1996 CD XTC didn't sell. He signed with a new label Soulife. At this time, he started writing for others and sang backup for D'Angelo. When he returned from that tour, Soulife was out of business. He went back to session work and his big break came when he appeared with Nappy Roots on Po' Folks in 2002. Hamilton's appearance on the Grammys got him a contract with Jermaine Dupri's SoSo Def label. His 2003 CD Comin' From Where I'm Comin' From revealed Hamilton as a vocalist with a very earthy sound that will remind a lot of folks of Bill Withers or Bobby Womack. Struggle No More is from the soundtrack of the Tyler Perry film Daddy's Little Girls. It's probably the best track on the album and Jaheim & Musiq Soulchild appear because both were recent signees with Atlantic Records. Anthony Hamilton is scheduled to release his next CD Me in Feb. 2008. He's a tremendous singer and songwriter and here's the video for Struggle No More by Anthony Hamilton, Jaheim & Musiq Soulchild.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Will Chick Fights SUN be expelled from the AWA?

Today we got some fallout from last week's AWA decision to strip Saki Maemura of the AWA World Womens Championship. The Chick Fights SUN website says that president Nakamura is very upset with the AWA board of directors. The response from AWA representative and Hawaii Championship president Linda Bade (pictured) is that all future decisions regarding the AWA World Womens Championship will be made by HCW and not SUN. Who's Linda Bade? She's a TV producer in Hawaii and co-owner of HCW with Don Muraco. She also says that if Nakamura doesn't behave himself in his dealings with the AWA, SUN will be expelled from the AWA. Nakamura says he is upset and believes that Maemura should still be the champ. The AWA decision is supposed to be announced on Nov. 9. Bade says she wants to continue the International Chick Fights Alliance and the decision will be fair. I wonder if she's coming to the Chick Fight J tournament final next week.

Mugumi Fujii still perfect in Shooto

Shooto had their latest show at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium on Nov. 8. It was part of the Back To Our Roots series. The womens match on the show featured the incomparable Sambo Queen Megumi Fujii against the youngster Kyoko Takabayashi. Fujii took this opportunity to show that she can punch with the best of them. Fujii started out with a couple of takedowns followed by some pounding. Fujii continues to dominate in round one. This continues in round two with Fujii raining Takabayashi with punches. Fujii takes her down, mounts her and pounds her some more. Takabayashi does survive but Fujii wins an easy unanimous decision. Megumi Fujii's record is now 7-0.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bill Evans

Artist:Bill Evans

Song:What Is This Thing Called Love?

Album:Ultimate Bill Evans

At first look, one wouldn't think that Bill Evans was a great jazz pianist but today he's considered a legend. He was born Aug. 16, 1929 in Plainfield, NJ. He started taking classical piano lessons at age 6. He got interested in jazz as a teen and played the flute for a while. When he came out of the service in the 50s, he worked with composer George Russell. The turning point for Evans was when Miles Davis hired him in 1958 and Evans got a big following through the Kind Of Blue LP. He recorded with his own trio on Riverside in 1959 and then signed with Verve in 1962. What Is This Thing Called Love? is a song Evans originally recorded in 1959 but this version was recorded in 1964 with Chuck Israels on bass and Larry Bunker on drums. It sat in the Verve vault until they released The Complete Bill Evans On Verve box set in 1997. This Ultimate comp is OK for beginners. The songs were chosen by Herbie Hancock. Bill Evans had drug problems through most of his life and died on Sept. 15, 1980 at age 51. His conservatory style of playing jazz was very influential on many jazz pianists. Here's Bill Evans performing My Foolish Heart with Chuck Israels & Larry Bunker in 1964.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention

Artist:Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention

Song:Inca Roads

Album:One Size Fits All

A while back I talked about Frank Zappa's biggest commercial success Valley Girl. This 1974 song Inca Roads is a little more typical of Zappa's music, a combination of goofy humour and musicianship. The least that could be said is that he was interesting but a lot of his music holds up very well. Zappa had reformed the Mothers in 1970 with Matk Volman & Howard Kaylan of The Turtles. The group was shortlived because Zappa was seriously injured when he was thrown off the stage by a deranged fan in London in 1971. He recorded a lot during his recovery and by 1973 he was back touring with an all new Mothers Of Invention. The songs on One Size Fits All are studio versions of songs from that tour. Keyboard player George Duke was a major contributor to this music and sings on Inca Roads. Other musicians are Napolean Murphy Brock on flute, Ruth Underwood on vibes, Tom Fowler on bass and Chester Thompson on drums. The song is supposed to be about UFOs landing in Peru and building the Inca empire but it's mostly about Zappa's outstanding guitar solo and Underwood's vibraphone work. The song is fun and a good example of Zappa's mid-70s music. Of course the other thing legendary about Zappa was his battles with record companies. When he was with Warners, he wanted to release everything he recorded and they just wouldn't allow it. He eventually acquired the rights to all his recordings and they're all available. Frank Zappa died of cancer on Dec. 4, 1993 at age 52. Here's a video of Inca Roads with some excellent claymation.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Kyoko Inoue gives birth to a son

NEO held their latest Korakuen Hall show on Nov. 4 called STAND OUT 07. There was some miscommunication regarding the attendance figure. NE GM Koda said that he thought it looked like it might be a sellout. He said it was not actually announced but it got out anyway. They did a count at intermission and there were 974 fans. That's still pretty good and should be credited to this being the one major show on Sunday. Too many shows dilutes the audience. There were two title matches on the show but the big announcement is that Kyoko Inoue gave birth to a son on Nov. 2. Mother & son are fine and Kyoko will have her cancer surgery in the new year. She hopes to return to the ring in the spring of 2008. Congratulations to Kyoko Inoue.

The major criticism I've seen of this show on Japanese blogs is the usual, way too much comedy. There were six matches on the show. Two were guaranteed comedy and a third had potential to be comedy. Some think it's too much. It's a long term criticism of NEO so it's nothing new. The opener had a rare NEO appearance by Sonoko Kato against Aya Yuki. Kato did very well and won with a dragon suplex in 13:26. This was followed by comedy match #1. Michiko Ohmukai & Lingerie Muto defeated Etsuko Mita & Makoto when Muto used a figure 4 leglock on Makoto at 10:34.

Next was the whole Toshie Uematsu Youth Green stuff. Uematsu teamed with Nagisa Nozaki & Aoi Kizuki over Manami Toyota, Cherry & Miki Ishii when Uematsu used a Northern Lights suplex on Ishii at 13:12. Then of course Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki defeated Chou-un Shiryu & Dick Togo when Miyazaki pinned Shiryu with a cradle at 16:55. I guess there's no more Chinese. India is next. Haruka Matsuo's first defense of her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Sakura Emi was next. So what kind of champ is Matsuo going to be and will NEO pull the trigger on a heel turn? They haven't done that yet but Sakura Emi was certainly the crowd favourite. Matsuo won with a crucifix hold at 13:48. I don't know what NEO will do to try to have Matsuo perceived as a champ but they will have to do something.

The main event had Ayako Hamada & Kaoru Ito defending the NEO Tag Team Titles against Yoshiko Tamura & Misae Genki. Tamura & Genki won the titles when Genki used a G-driver on Ito at 22:08. But it's what happened afterwards that made things interesting. There are reports that Hamada threw the title belt at Tamura and accused her of being "unskilled". The result was an impromptu scuffle in the ring. NEO GM Koda is downplaying the incident but I think we can anticipate a feud between the two ending with a match at NEO's 10th Anniversary on Jan. 6 at Korakuen Hall. NEO has already announced that Mima Shimoda will appear on this show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Chaka Khan

Artist:Chaka Khan

Song:Pack'd My Bags/You Got The Love

Album:Funk This

Of course Chaka Khan is best known for her days with the group Rufus and her 1984 cover of Prince's I Feel For U which has been a past song of the day. She's been touring but she really hadn't recorded much in recent years. This new CD Funk This was produced mostly by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and is somewhat of a return to Chaka's R & B roots. She had done some jazz and even recorded with the London Symphony. Chaka sounds great and she does some new material and some covers including the old Rufus song You Got The Love featuring Rufus guitarist Tony Maiden. The CD is on the new Sony BMG label Burgundy. The label is supposed to bring classic artists back doing new material so it's a bit of a nostalgia deal. Mary J. Blige & Michael McDonald also appear so it looks like Chaka Khan is back. Here's the video for Angel by Chaka Khan.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Vanessa Porto wins at Fatal Femmes Fighting show

Fatal Femmes Fighting had their latest show Nov. 3 at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, CA. The main event was supposed to be Vanessa Porto vs Roxanne Modaferri. Unfortunately Modaferri was forced to drop out due to a shoulder injury. Hitomi Akano was brought in from Japan to fill in. That's always tough but Akano put on a good show and Porto won a split decision based on her control of Akano in the first two rounds. Apparently Akano broke Porto's nose with a heel kick but Porto scored enough points to hold on for the win. Porto's record is 7-2 and Akano is 11-5. I wonder what would happen if Akano had more time to prepare.

The semi-main was Lisa Ward vs Megumi Yabushita. Ward is coming off her Bodog loss to Megumi Fujii and she's giving up a bit of weight to Yabushita. Lately it seems Yabushita hasn't been as aggressive as she used to be and that's what happened here. Ward was more active and won a unanimous decision. Her record is 10-3 and Yabushita is 13-12. Sophie Bagherdai made her debut on the first FFF show. She was against newcomer Michelle Ould. Bagherdai remained undefeated at 3-0 and pounded Ould until the ref stopped the match at 1:58 of round one. Ould is now 1-1. Christina Riddering & Karina Taylor both debuted and Riddering won a unanimous decision.

Brandy Nerney made a successful debut on the last FFF show. Veteran Yukiko Seki was brought in to face her. She trains at Yabushita's Tomoegumi dojo and is a good fighter but she's in the very tough 48kg class and usually loses. This was a very exciting match. Nerney landed some very powerful punches and Seki could have packed it in. But she didn't and came back with her own shots. That's pretty much the way the match went. Nerney won a unanimous decision and is 2-0. Seki is 4-12 but she always puts on a good show.

Sally Krumdiak & Allison Duckworth both made their FFF debuts with a close and spirited match. Krumdiak won a decision but the crowd booed as they thought it should have gone the other way. Krumdiak is now 1-1. Cindy Hales made her MMA debut with a win over Shawn Tamarabuchi. Hales used her submission skills to get an armbar submission at 1:30 of round two. Tamarabuchi is now 0-2. So it looks like another good show for Fatal Femmes Fighting. They've been getting some media coverage and we look forward to their future activities.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Andrae Crouch

Artist:Andrae Crouch

Song:Early In The Morning


Any talk about contemporary black gospel music has to begin with Andrae Crouch because he paved the way for everyone in that business today. He was born July 1, 1942 in Pacoima, CA and started out singing in his father's church. In 1977, Crouch was likely the first to combine traditional gospel with contemporary R & B and his band included a horn section. And a lot of his songs are now considered standards. He also crossed over to the mainstream. He composed and performed the music for the film The Color Purple and did the arrangement for the Madonna hit Like A Prayer. He didn't record as much in the 90s. The CD Pray was released in 1997 on Quincy Jones' Qwest label. It was at this time that his parents died and Crouch and his twin sister Sandra took over their church so he spends a lot of time doing that. I see a lot of tributes to him on TV. He's considered a legend in the gospel music business. His most recent CD is 2006's Mighty Wind on Verity Records. Here's Andrae Crouch performing I Will Bless The Lord courtesy of his website. The videos on Youtube aren't very good.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Monkees

Artist:The Monkees

Song:Last Train To Clarksville

Album:Greatest Hits

Well, of course The Monkees were a made for TV pop group but as pop music goes, the music is very well done by some of the best session musicians in Los Angeles. The idea for The Monkees came from TV producers Bert Schneider & Bob Rafelson. They wanted to recreate the vibe of The Beatles film A Hard Day's Night on TV. So in Sept. 1965, they placed an ad in Variety. Over 400 auditioned including Harry Nilsson & Stephen Stills. Of the four that were hired, only Michael Nesmith was a real musician. Peter Tork had toyed a bit with folk music and Micky Dolenz & Davy Jones were actors. The four of them sang on the records but Schneider & Rafelson hired session musicians and the songs were mostly written by professional songwriters. Last Train To Clarksville was written by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart and was The Monkees first and biggest hit. The TV series tried to make them look like a band but they were scorned by hipper music fans as The Pre-Fab Four. It really bothered Nesmith because he could really play but the records that they made themselves later on weren't that good and didn't sell. This comp has all their big hits. The Monkees are still touring. Michael Nesmith was the only one to have any real solo success and he's also a pioneer in the music video business. Bob Rafelson went on to direct major films like Five Easy Pieces. The Monkees had a good ride for a year and the music was pretty good. Here's a music video for Last Train To Clarksville by The Monkees.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

RIP The Fabulous Moolah

Lillian Ellison, known to wrestling fans worldwide as The Fabulous Moolah, died today at age 84. She was probably the best known professional woman wrestler of all time with a 28 year title run. This doesn't necessarily mean she was the best wrestler and that is the source of some controversy among fans because the assumption is that the champ is the best. And even in her 80s, Moolah never strayed from kayfabe and never explained anything. Some fans ask me if Moolah approved of the WWE's tendency to employing women as non-wrestlers. Well, she started that way. She was Slave Girl Moolah, valet to Elephant Boy, long before she was a wrestler.

In the 1950s, Billy Wolfe was probably the top promoter and trainer of women wrestlers. Lillian Ellison and promoter Jack Pfeffer were looking for a way to get a piece of the pie. At the time, the National Wrestling Alliance was the premiere wrestling federation and June Byers was the NWA Womens Champ. As it became obvious that Moolah wasn't going to be able do anything in the NWA, she decided to form an alliance with promoter Vince McMahon Sr. and other promoters on the east coast. The result was the creation of a new womens wrestling title belt. Moolah won this title belt in Baltimore in 1956. Some say it was a tournament and some say it was a battle royal. Which was it? I wasn't there so I don't know but in discussions with fans who were around, it may have been neither. Maybe there was no match. Think about it. Moolah owned the title belt. She didn't really have to win it in an actual match and it's not like she ever clarified it.

So now Moolah had her own title and with Buddy Lee she started training her own wrestlers. But the key event that gave Moolah the foothold she needed was the death of Billy Wolfe in 1962. There goes the competition. It meant that not only did Moolah have her own belt but eventually she got the NWA status she always wanted and they made her the champ there too. So when fans talk about Moolah's 28 year title reign, it needs to be tempered by the fact that she owned the belt and she chose to keep it on herself instead of allowing some of her wrestlers to get over. Obviously that's not good business. She would drop the belt occasionally only to get it back later that week. Of course she would tell you that she was the top heel and it's better to have the babyface chase the heel but kind of selfishness does hurt the business.

As time went on, Moolah became more closely aligned with Vince McMahon Sr. and the WWWF. Womens wrestling returned permanently to Madison Square Garden in New York with a 1972 match between Moolah & Vicki Williams. Moolah also deserves a lot of credit for training a lot of women who have entertained us for many years. In 1984, Vince McMahon Jr. convinced Moolah to drop the WWF Womens Championship to Wendi Richter because pop star Cyndi Lauper wanted to manage Wendi. Moolah got the belt back when Wendi left in Nov. 1985. Moolah also deserves credit for bringing joshi wrestlers like the Jumping Bomb Angels to the WWF as she had an ongoing business relationship with All Japan Women.

Moolah was supposed to retire from pro wrestling in 1989 but she never really did retire and returned to the WWF in the late 90s with her pal Mae Young. They were usually involved in embarassing skits. Moolah wrote her autobiography a few years ago but it wasn't very enlightening because even into her 80s, Moolah kept kayfabe. Was she the best woman wrestler ever? Of course not but she was the most famous woman wrestler ever. There are plenty of women I would prefer to watch but Moolah's business acumen is the common thread of womens wrestling over the last fifty years. For better or worse, the growth of womens wrestling is the legacy of The Fabulous Moolah. R.I.P. Here's a classic match from 1976 with The Fabulous Moolah & Toni Rose vs Susan Green & Joyce Grable.