Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Son Of The Day-Ashford & Simpson

Artist:Ashford & Simpson

Song:Outta The World

Album:Capitol Gold:The Best Of Ashford & Simpson

Of course most fans are familiar with Ashford & Simpson's 1984 smash hit Solid. But there's so much more to the story. Nickolas Ashford was born May 4, 1942 in Fairfield, SC and Valerie Simpson was born Aug. 26, 1946 in New York City. The two met in church in 1964 and began writing together. Their first big hit song was Let's Go Get Stoned for Ray Charles in 1966. They joined Motown as house producers and wrote & produced many hits but the most significant were all the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell songs. Valerie attempted to launch a solo career in 1971 but was unsuccessful. When the two wanted to record as a duo, Motown refused and they left for Warner Bros. They also married in 1973. They had some success at Warners and continued to write hits for others including I'm Every Woman for Chaka Khan in 1978. Ashford & Simpson moved to Capitol Records and in 1984 scored with the smash hit Solid. Outta The World was the follow up single. It did OK on the R & B charts but there was never a video. Ashford & Simpson haven't recorded in recent years but they still tour occasionally and continue to write & produce for others as they did last year for Amy Winehouse. Here's the video for Solid by Ashford & Simpson.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

WINDY Tomomi's successful return to the ring

Pancrase had their big Korakuen Hall show Jan. 30 and the big news for womens MMA fans was the return to the ring of veteran fighter WINDY Tomomi since suffering a broken leg last year. Her opponent is former JD Star wrestler Emi Tomimatsu. Tomomi's strength is her strikes and she has knockout power. The match is scheduled for three three minute rounds. Tomomi begins by landing several strikes. Tomimatsu covers up. She attempts a takedown but is unsuccessful. Tomomi continues to hammer Tomimatsu with punches, kicks & knees in round one. This continues in tound two as Tomomi gets Tomimatsu in a sleeper and ends the round by delivering a soccer kick to Tomimatsu's belly. Tomimatsu is unable to answer the bell for round three and Tomomi wins by TKO. WINDY Tomomi's record is now 10-8.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Robins

Artist:The Robins

Song:Cherry Lips

Album:Rock & Roll:The Best Of The Robins

Most casual music fans are familiar with the classic doo wop group The Coasters. But they don't know that The Coasters were an offshoot of The Robins. The recordings on this comp were made after The Coasters became famous. The Robins started in San Francisco in 1945 with Billy & Roy Richards and Ty Tyrell. Bobby Nunn joined the group and they took on the name The Robins and joined the Johnny Otis Revue. They made quite a few Otis produced records at Savoy. Grady Chapman & Carl Gardner joined the group in 1953 and that's also when the partnership with Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller began. The Robins had their one big hit Smokey Joe's Cafe in 1955 and then Nunn & Gardner left to form The Coasters. It appears that Atlantic and Lieber & Stoller simply pulled the rug out from under the other members. The Robins signed with concert promoter Gene Norman's Whippet label and Carl Gardner was supposed to sing on Cherry Lips but was legally banned from participating. Legendary vocal arranger HB Barnum actually sang Cherry Lips. It's decent material but not essential for casual fans. Today The Robins are a footnote in the history of The Coasters. Here's a video of Riot In Cell Block #9 & Smokey Joe's Cafe by The Robins.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kaitlin Young signs with EliteXC

It looks like Minnesota native Kaitlin Young is poised to be the next female fighter to make a big splash in mixed martial arts. Kaitlin got our attention a couple of months ago when she won three fights in devastating fashion at the Hook 'N' Shoot show. Her record is 4-0. This earned her a fight at this Friday's Bodog Fight show in Las Veagas against Sarah Schneider. But now Sam Caplan reports on the Pro Elite website that EliteXC has signed Kaitlin from under Bodog's nose. I think this is a great move for Kaitlin as the potential for mainstream visibility is much greater with EliteXC than it is for Bodog. Congratulations to Kaitlin Young and we look forward to following your progress.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Doc Watson

Artist:Doc Watson

Song:Mama Don't Allow No Music


Arthel "Doc" Watson is one of the giants of bluegrass guitar and along with Chet Atkins & Merle Travis is a major influence on folk & country guitar techniques. He was born Mar. 3, 1923 in Deep Gap, NC. The Doc nickname came from a radio announcer who thought Arthel was a weird name. An illness caused blindness at an early age. He learned to play banjo & guitar as a teen. He performed regionally through the 40s & 50s. He finally got national acclaim when he came to New York in the early 60s. Doc signed with the Vanguard folk label and his appearance at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival stole the show. His son Merle Watson started touring with him and Doc & Merle Watson were a staple of the folk circuit for years until Merle's death in 1985. Doc left Vanguard for United Artists in 1972 and got a lot of attention when he was featured on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album Will The Circle Be Unbroken. In recent years he has recorded for the Sugar Hill bluegrass label. Memories is actually a collection of his 70s UA recordings rereleased by Sugar Hill. The recordings were produced by Merle Watson & Chuck Cochran. Doc Watson still records occasionally and has cut back on his touring. His grandson Richard Watson plays guitar with him on stage and Doc hosts the annual MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC as a tribute to his late son. Just to give you a taste of Doc Watson's musicianship, here he is performing Deep River Blues in 1964.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Love


Song:Alone Again Or

Album:Forever Changes

Even back in their heyday in the 60s, the psychedelic group Love had a rabid cult following and never had the commercial success of other groups of the era. They've gained respect over the years. The group was started by singer guitarist Arthur Lee (born Arthur Taylor Mar. 7, 1945 in Memphis). When his mom moved to Los Angeles and remarried, his name was legally changed to Arthur Lee. He was hanging around the Los Angeles music scene in the early 60s when he decided to start a band in 1965. Lee and partner Bryan MacLean were going to call the group The Grass Roots but had to change the name to Love. They signed with Elektra but never broke through commercially. The group was in such disarray by the time they were to record Forever Changes that Elektra planned to use session musicians. But Lee & MacLean were able to get it together with producer Bruce Botnick and Forever Changes is now considered one of the great classics of psychedelic rock. MacLean wrote Alone Again Or as a tribute to his flamenco dancer mother and it features strings & horns. The song and Love's legendary status was given a boost when the British punk band The Damned covered Alone Again Or in 1987. Rhino released an expanded version of Forever Changes in 2001. Lee broke up Love in 1968 and continued to issue music under the group name. They were actually Arthur Lee backed by session musicians. Over the years Lee gained respect for his musicianship on the guitar but his erratic behaviour made him impossible to work with. He even went to jail in the late 90s on a gun charge. Arthur Lee toured with a version of Love in 2002 but then he contracted leukemia and died on Aug. 3, 2006 at age 61. Here's Arthur Lee & Love performing Alone Again Or in 2002.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Specials

Artist:The Specials

Song:Ghost Town

Album:The Singles Collection

The Specials were at the forefront of the British ska revival of the late 70s. Their music holds up very well today. The leader of the group was keyboardist songwriter Jerry Dammers (born May 22, 1955 in Ootacumund, India). Dammers formed the group in Coventry, England with guitarist Lynval Golding & bassist Steve Panter AKA Sir Horace Gentleman as The Automatics. Singer Terry Hall & guitarist Roddy Radiation joined the group and they started calling themselves The Special AKA Coventry Automatics. Vocalist Neville Staple also joined the group. After Joe Strummer of The Clash spotted them and took them on tour, they settled on The Specials. Dammers started Two Tone Records in 1979 and also created the group's unique look. Their debut album was produced by Elvis Costello and their cover of the classic A Message To You Rudy was a huge hit. Ghost Town is an excellent 1981 single that was The Specials final number one hit in England. Golding, Hall and Staple left the group and formed Fun Boy Three. Dammers attempted to keep The Specials together but wasn't successful and Fun Boy Three didn't last long either. The Singles Collection is an excellent intro to their music. Dammers became a major anti apartheid crusader in England and organized the 1988 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Concert in Wembley Stadium. In the early 90s, some members of The Specials formed a group with members of The English Beat called Special Beat. Other attempts to revive The Specials have been unsuccessful probably because Dammers has never been involved. Jerry Dammers currently has a jazz group called The Spatial AKA Orchestra and DJs in London clubs. But for a few years The Specials were one of the best groups in pop music. Here's the video for Ghost Town by The Specials.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Heartbeats

Artist:The Heartbeats

Song:A Thousand Miles Away

Album:The Doo Wop Box

The 1956 smash hit A Thousand Miles Away was the one big hit for doo wop group The Heartbeats. They are not to be confused with the British Invasion group of the same name. The Heartbeats were led by lead singer James "Shep" Sheppard. He was born Sept. 24, 1935 in Queens, NY. He sang with his group on local streetcorners. They were originally called The Hearts but had to change the name to The Heartbeats as there was already a group called The Hearts. The other members were Wally Roker, Robbie Adams, Vernon Walker & Walter Crump. The group signed with Hull Records in 1954 and had some minor hits until A Thousand Miles Away was a top ten R & B hit in 1956. Sheppard wrote the song and also sang the beautiful lead vocal. The Heartbeats bounced around a few labels and split up in 1959. But Sheppard started a new group and Shep & The Limelites hit it big with the 1961 hit Daddy's Home. But the song was so similar to A Thousand Miles Away that the publishing company sued and won the rights to Daddy's Home. I'm sure Sheppard was confused. As I've said many times, the 4CD Doo Wop Box has all the big hits. James Sheppard was planning to reform The Heartbeats to tour the oldies circuit when he was stabbed to death while in his car on the Long Island Expressway on Jan. 24, 1970 at age 34. Here's a video of A Thousand Miles Away by The Heartbeats.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Is something fishy going on at Chick Fights SUN?

I'm sure you've noticed that we haven't heard a peep out of Chick Fights SUN president Yoshiyuki Nakamura since he announced last month that he was being replaced as First On Stage president by Shinjiro Otani. Jan. 23 has come. The change has happened. But there has been nothing about the fate of Chick Fights SUN. There are no SUN shows scheduled though the girls continue to appear on ZERO-ONE MAX shows. Now it has leaked out that both Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo are ill and are receiving medical treatment. Takahashi posted on her SUN blog that she hasn't been feeling well and Natsuki*Taiyo posted on her SUN blog that she has a cold. Who knows? I find it hard to believe that a cold would keep either of them out of the ring and I don't believe in coincidences. Maybe they are sick but maybe something else is going on. Saki Maemura & Hikaru are appearing on next week's ZERO-ONE MAX shows. Maybe there's a split. We'll find out soon enough.

Ryo Mizunami get OZ Academy title shot

With Sendai Girls boss Meiko Satomura scheduled for more surgery on her fractured eye socket and no timetable for her return, the company has to get along without her. Company president Jinsei Shinzaki has plans to run 50 shows in 2008 so the Sendai trainees have to carry the company. They're starting to let the girls work for other companies too. So the Jan. 18 Zepp Sendai show was a one day tournament with the winner getting a shot at Carlos Amano's OZ Academy Championship. That match will be the main event of the Feb. 24 Zepp Sendai show. They also announced a 16 girl tournament for wrestlers with less than three years experience. The first round will be Apr. 20 at Zepp Sendai with the subsequent rounds in May & June.

The one day tournament had the six Sendai Girls wrestlers. Sendai Sachiko & Hiren got first round byes. The first match was between Tyrannosaurus Okuda & Maki Harada. They begin by exchanging elbows & jumping knees. Harada hits a dropkick, a tackle, a neck throw and applies a surfboard. Okuda escapes and hooks in an achilles hold. Harada uses the ropes to escape but Okuda applies a camel clutch. Okuda hits a tackle, a neck throw, a dropkick followed by a body ram and a jumping knee in the corner. Harada blocks another jumping knee with an elbow for a two count. Harada misses a move from the top rope and Okuda wins with a jumping knee and a German suplex at 7:28. The next match is Ryo Mizunami vs DASH Chisako. They begin by exchanging tackles and elbows. Chisako stomps Mizunami in the corner followed by two dropkicks to the face and a face buster. Mizunami counters with a tackle and a guillotine for a two count. Then a giant swing and a tackle from the second rope. She misses her follow up second rope guillotine. Chisako hits two missile dropkicks for a two count. Chisako attampts a uraken but Mizunami turns it into a triangle choke for the win at 6:54.

The first semi final match was between Tyrannosaurus Okuda & Sendai Sachiko. Sachiko gets the early advantage with a camel clutch. Okuda escapes with an achilles hold. This is followed by stomping and dropkicks. Sachiko counters with a suplex and a missile dropkick. Okuda hits a German suplex and a jumping knee. After another German, Sachiko comes back with a DDT. After Okuda hits a jumping knee for a two count, Sachiko surprises her with a Wakigatame for the win at 8:16. It was an upset but the finish was set up as an upset. Next was Ryo Mizunami vs Hiren. Hiren had told the media she was desperate to win a match. But Mizunami diminated the match and won with a uranage at 8:11.

So now it's the final between Sachiko Sendai & Ryo Mizunami. They begin by exchanging elbows and tackles They crash into each other when they both throw tackles. Sachiko lands outside the ring. Sachiko hits three dropkicks and a DDT. Mizunami comes back with a swinging DDT and a dropkick followed by three guillotines and a diving tackle from the second rope. Then they both yell and hit simultaneous elbows. The crowd seems to be behind Sachiko. Mizunami gets a back throw and a shoulder hold. Chisako gets to the ropes and then gets a two count with a flash pin. They do a lot of this stuff where they try to do the same move at the same time. The end comes when Mizunami hits a shoulder tackle followed by a guillotine leg drop from the second rope for the win at 8:46. A big win for Aya Mizunami and now she gets a shot at Carlos Amano's OZ Academy Chapionship on Feb. 24.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dave Hole

Artist:Dave Hole

Song:White Trash Girl

Album:Rough Diamond

Slide guitar whiz Dave Hole has built a very loyal following in the blues community from very unlikely beginnings. He was born Mar. 30, 1948 in Heswall, Cheshire, England and moved with his family to Perth, Australia at age four. He heard a Muddy Waters album as a child and by age 16 he was picking up guitar riffs from Elmore James records. You may notice his playing style is unusual due to a broken finger he suffered from a childhood football accident. It hasn't affected his proficiency on the guitar. He played the Australian club circuit for years until he produced an album in 1990. He sent a copy to Guitar Player Magazine and they raved about him. This got the attention of Alligator Records owner Bruce Iglauer and Hole became the first non North American musician to sign with Alligator. He released several CDs on Alligator but with this new CD Rough Diamond has moved to Blind Pig Records. Hole is a very energetic musician and he continues to gather a rabid following among blues fans worldwide. He's someone worth checking out. Here's Dave Hole performing White Trash Girl in The Netherlands March 2005.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two fighters added to World REMIX tournament and more news from Japan

Smackgirl added two fighters to the Lightweight division of the World Remix tournament that will begin on Feb. 14 at Korakuen Hall. The first fighter is grappling specialist Kyoko Takabayashi. Her record is 8-2 and her most recent fight was a loss to Megumi Fujii on the Nov. 8 Shooto show. Her background is amateur wrestling at Chukyo University and she also has competed in Smackgirl grappling tournaments. The other fighter is karate expert Saori Ishioka. Her record is 4-2. She is on a three fight winning streak and most recently defeated Thricia Poovey on the Dec. 26 Smackgirl show. Smackgirl also announced that there will be several Discovery Fights on the show.

There was a womens bout on the Jan. 19 UKF show at Shinjuku FACE. It was for the UKF Inter Continental Title between Tomoegumi veteran Yukiko Seki and pro wrestler Mai Ichii. Ichii works for the Kaoru Ito Professional Wrestling Classroom and has dabbled occasionally in MMA. Ichii dominated after taking Seki down on the mat. They got up and Ichii nailed her with a right hook. The ref stopped the match at 3:12 of round two. So Ichii is the new champ and her record is 1-1. Seki is now 4-14.

Pancrase has finally announced the womens match for the Jan. 30 Korakuen Hall show. It marks the return to MMA of veteran kickboxer WINDY Tomomi since her ankle was broken during a Bodog Fight match against Rosi Sexton last February in Costa Rica. Tomomi's record is 9-8 and like her pal Hisae Watanabe, she has great punching power but can get into trouble on the mat. Her opponent is former pro wrestler Emi Tomimatsu. She worked for JD Star a few years ago and took up MMA in 2006. Her record is 2-3 and her most recent match was a loss to V1 on the Sept. 6 Smackgirl show. It's good to see Tomomi back in action.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jaheim



Album:The Makings Of A Man

Never is the first single and video from Jaheim Hoagland's new CD The Makings Of A Man. He's one of the top R & B artists today. Jaheim's previous CDs were very successful but this CD has a label switch. All previous CDs were on Divine Mill Records and distributed by Warner Bros. Divine Mill is owned by KayGee of Naughty By Nature and he's been a big part of Jaheim's success. Jaheim has now started his own label Ghetto Hoodz and moved to Atlantic Records. There are rumours that Jaheim was unhappy with Warners promotion attempts on the last CD. Jaheim has said that with the recent deaths of Luther Vandross, Barry White & Gerald Levert, he wants to fill a void in the R & B landscape. He's also planning to introduce new talent and the first single Never is produced by unknown producer Daniel Farris. He also works with R. Kelly & Babyface and hot R & B singer Keyshia Cole also guest stars. The CD & single are doing very well as Jaheim's thug look and smooth singing has always been a strong marketing tool. Here's the video for Never by Jaheim. This is the full version and there is an edited version out there as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Beach Boys

Artist:The Beach Boys

Song Sail On Sailor

Album:Greatest Hits Vol. 3:Best Of The Brother Years

The Beach Boys 1973 hit Sail On Sailor is interesting because apparently it was the first song ever sung by someone who wasn't an original member of the group. Of course the band had been using session musicians like Bruce Johnston on tour for years. Brian Wilson just worked on music in the studio. Things had gotten so bad that Capitol Records dropped them in 1969 and conflict was growing between Brian and Mike Love. So they started their own label Brother Records with Warner Bros. distribution. While they were working on the 1972 album Surf's Up, Dennis Wilson accidently put his hand through a plate glass window and was unable to play the drums. So they needed a drummer. They had signed a South African group called The Flame and decided to hire drummer Ricky Fataar and guitarist Blondie Chaplin. They appeared on Carl & The Passions and the follow up Holland. When Sail On Sailor was released as a single, fans didn't recognize the singer. It was Blondie Chaplin. It's a great song but it doesn't sound like The Beach Boys. Chaplin & Fataar left The Beach Boys in 1974. Fataar joined the Beatles spoof band The Rutles and still plays sessions today and has played drums with Bonnie Raitt. Chaplin worked with The Band and joined the group after Richard Manuel died in 1986. He's also recorded with the Rolling Stones. So Sail On Sailor is an oddity in Beach Boys history and this comp covers the Brother years adequately. Here's The Beach Boys performing Sail On Sailor in Largo, FL 1977. The lead singer is Bobby Figueroa.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Carlos Amano wins OZ Academy Championship

2007 ended with OZ Academy owner Mayumi Ozaki at war with OZ Academy wrestlers. So with Aja Kong defending her OZ Academy Championship on the first show of 2008 on Jan 13 at Shinjuku FACE against Carlos Amano, what is Ozaki going to do to influence the result? She's not very happy with either of them. And don't forget the D-Fix reunion against the newly allied Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato.

The opener featured the return of Super Heel Devil Masami. Masami is supposed to retire later this year and it looks like she may be working frequently for OZ. Her opponent is Ran YuYu. Masami appeared complete with eerie music and a wooden sword and she won by countout at 13:42. Next up was AKINO vs GAMI making a rare OZ appearance. GAMI played the match straight for a change and AKINO won when she reversed an airplane spin at 14:31. Expect an AKINO 10th anniversary show later this year.

Up next is the veteran team of Manami Toyota & Dynamite Kansai vs Ibuki youngsters Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata. The youngsters try hard but the result was never in doubt as Kansai pinned Matsumoto after a diving foot stamp at 17:31. Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU reunited D-Fix with Police & Mika Nishio outside the ring against Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato. Police & Nishio helped D-Fix dominate. Kato was busted open and Ozaki used the Ozakick to pin Kato at 21:10.

The OZ Academy Championship match between Aja Kong & Carlos Amano was crazy. Ozaki and the rest of D-Fix came out before the start of the match to interfere. She wants to stop the match. But Kansai, Nagashima and others were prepared for this and come out to the ring to hold off D-Fix. Mika Nishio & Police are handcuffed to a fence. Ozaki & KAORU are restrained and taken from ringside. Amano wins the match at 13:23 with the Carlos Ghosn but Ozaki refuses to acknowledge her as the new champ. Amano tells Ozaki that this is the biggest day in her career and Ozaki has gone too far and she should be ashamed. Ozaki tries to attack Amano but Nagashima & Kansai restrain her. Ozaki says she has a gauntlet match planned for the Feb. 10 Shinjuku FACE show. She will choose three opponents from Aja Kong, KAORU, Dynamite Kansai Police & Carlos Amano. If Ozaki loses, she resigns as president of OZ Academy. But if she wins, the losers are banned from OZ Academy. Well, something screwy will happen.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-David Ruffin

Artist:David Ruffin

Song:Walk Away From Love

Album:The Ultimate Collection

David Ruffin is probably best known for his days with The Temptations. He was a great singer but a cocaine addiction made him a big problem. Walk Away From Love was his biggest solo hit. He was born Jan. 18, 1941 in Whynot, MS. David and his siblings travelled with the family gospel group as children. Eventually David followed his older brother Jimmy Ruffin to Detroit to persue a music career. He joined The Temptations in 1964 and of course they had a lot of success. But his cocaine addiction caused him to be erratic and David also thought he was more important to The Temptaions than he actually was and he was fired in 1968 and replaced by Dennis Edwards. He sued Motown to get out of his contract and even started crashing Temptations concerts and embarassing the group by grabbing the mic and singing My Girl. That was worked out and he had a pretty good solo career in the 70s usually working with producer Van McCoy (The Hustle). Walk Away From Love was a top ten pop hit in 1976. He left Motown in 1977 for Warner Bros. and then reunited with former Temptation Eddie Kendrick at RCA in 1982. They also toured with Daryl Hall & John Oates in 1985 but Hall's concern about Ruffin's cocaine addiction forced an end to that. He had planned to tour with Kendrick & Dennis Edwards when David Ruffin died of a drug overdose on June 1, 1991 at age 50. This comp covers his solo career. Here's David Ruffin performing Walk Away From Love on American Bandstand in 1975.

Monday, January 21, 2008

DEEP announces Flyweight tournament on Feb. 22 show

DEEP held a press conference to announce most of their Feb. 22 Korakuen Hall show. They're having a men's Middleweight tournament but the big news is their having one day womens Flyweight Tournament. DEEP has run womens matches for several years. MIKU is the current DEEP Lightweight Champ. But they have decided to create a new weight division with this tournament. Former DEEP Lightweight Champ Hisae Watanabe won't be in the tournament but she will be on the show.

As I reported last week, Watanabe is currently on her honeymoon but on her return, she is planning to kick some butt against Yasuko Tamada. Watanabe's record is 19-6. She suffered devastating losses last year to Ham Su Hi & MIKU last year and is on the comeback trail. Her latest win was over Genkaam Lookjuapoakum on the Dec. 12 DEEP show. Tamada is 6-4-2 but is currently on a four fight winning streak. Her latest win was over Maho Muranami on the Dec. 26 Smackgirl show. She'll have to look out for Watanabe's striking power.

The one day Flyweight tournament is headlined by pint size powerhouse Satoko Shinashi. She is currently Smackgirl Flyweight Champ. Her record is 26-1-2 and her latest win was over Akemi Morihara on the Dec. 26 Smackgirl show. She also has a 1-1 record against Watanabe and the loss was via KO. Two other fighters in this tournament have lost to Shinashi. Kayo Nagayasu is 7-4-1 and most recently lost to Yasuko Tamada on the Mar. 30, 2007 Shooto show. She lost to Shinashi in 2004. SACHI's record is 3-2 and she broke her arm in her most recent loss to Shinashi on the Oct. 10 DEEP show. Fukuko Hamada is 4-1. Her most recent fight was a loss to Naoko Ohmuro on the Aug. 19 show. But she did win the 2006 Next Cinderella Flyweight Tournament. This promises to be a very good showcase for Shinashi.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Lucy Pearl

Artist:Lucy Pearl

Song:Dance Tonight

Album:Lucy Pearl

Lucy Pearl was a short lived R & B supergroup and Dance Tonight was their one big hit. The group was the brainchild of Raphael Saadiq of the hip hop group Tony! Toni! Tone!. He was working with the popular R & B singer D'Angelo and wanted to put a group together but D'Angelo wasn't able to participate. Saadiq approached mixmaster Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest and singer Dawn Robinson of the girl group En Vogue and Lucy Pearl was born. Their debut album was released in 2000 and Dance Tonight was in the hit film Love & Basketball. Dance Tonight was a big hit and things looked good. But then Dawn Robinson left to go solo. She was replaced by professional backup vocalist Joi Gilliam. Lucy Pearl recorded one single with Joi but it was unsuccessful and they split up. Raphael Saadiq has gone on to have a lot of success as a solo artist with the 2003 CD Instant Vintage. Dawn Robinson released a solo CD in 2002 and an attempt to reform En Vogue in 2005 was unsuccessful. Muhammad released a solo CD in 2004 and there are currently plans to reform A Tribe Called Quest. Joi Gilliam released an unsuccessful solo CD in 2002 and has returned to singing backup vocals. So Lucy Pearl had big plans but I guess the big egos got in the way. The video for Dance Tonight is pretty good. Here it is.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jimi Hendrix

Artist:Jimi Hendrix

Song:Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze/Instrumental Solo

Album:Woodstock:Music From The Original Soundtrack And More

The Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 probably wouldn't be as memorable today if it hadn't been turned into a feature length film by director Michael Wadleigh. The film was so popular when it was released that it spawned a 3LP soundtrack that was also a best seller. The three day concert and soundtrack album concluded with this insane performance by Jimi Hendrix and I guess his performance typified the tone of the whole show. The other performances at Woodstock are a mixed bag but Richie Havens, Canned Heat, Country Joe & The Fish and Sly & The Family Stone deliver very memorable performances. There was also a Woodstock 2 soundtrack. This original version of Woodstock was released on 2CDs. But in 1994, Atlantic released a 4CD 25th Anniversary edition of Woodstock and a single CD called Woodstock Diary that has performances that were never released elsewhere. Of course it would be nice if Atlantic released a definitive version of Woodstock but I guess there's a lot of money to be made in splitting everything up. So here's Jimi Hendrix's complete one hour performance from Woodstock.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hey, Mark Grimes! We're not going away

The South Etobicoke Youth Alliance presented Ruckus For Recreation Wed. Jan. 16 at The Assembly Hall at Kipling & Lakeshore. The purpose of this rally was to inform the community about the lame excuse for a community centre that the City Of Toronto plans to foist upon this community and what should be done about it. The 200 people in attendance heaped most of their scorn upon Councillor Mark Grimes. His silence brands him as the primary culprit. One would have thought that this dope would have learned his lesson with that skateboard park a couple of years ago. Some people are slow learners. He must think that if he says nothing and lets Parks & Rec. take all the heat, we'll forget about it and accept it. He's an idiot.

The best news to come out of this rally came from Toronto District School Board Trustee Bruce Davis. As many of you are aware, the Toronto Maple Leafs will move into their new practice arena in Sept. 2009. The Lakeshore Lions Arena will become the property of the TDSB. One of the conditions is that the arena can no longer have a skating rink. At the rally, Davis told us that the TDSB has agreed to allow the Lakeshore Lions Arena to be used as a community centre. So why is the city insisting on building this inadequate extension to the Father John Redmond School and a pointless skating rink when something better is clearly available? The money from the Daniels Corp. is not the city's money. It's our money but the unstated Parks & Rec. agenda is they want control and the bureaucratic status quo. Their plans will not improve access to Parks & Rec. programs. And they lose control if the plans change. We don't need them. They can take a hike. So it's all about bureaucracy.

So I think it's time to concentrate on Councillor Mark Grimes and his silence. We have to keep promoting the community agenda to the media. Councillor Grimes obviously believes that if he ignores the issue, it will go away. He should fire whoever is telling him that. And that's the reason I have put his name in the subject title of this post. His flunkies should get a Google Alert very soon. This isn't over until they start building the addition. That won't happen for a couple of years. So we're going to keep the pressure on that coward Mark Grimes until he comes to his senses. On behalf of SEYA, LAMP and the workgroup I am part of, I want to thank all the folks who came on Wednesday. We greatly appreciate it and we are going to keep working to benefit the community until we get what we want and need, a REAL community centre.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Randy Crawford

Artist:Randy Crawford f/Eric Clapton & David Sanborn

Song:Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Album:The Best Of Randy Crawford

Randy Crawford is probably best known for her vocal on The Crusaders 1979 hit Street Life. This version of Bob Dylan's Knockin' On Heaven's Door is her biggest solo hit. She has a big following in Europe. She was born Feb. 18, 1952 in Macon, GA and grew up in Cincinnati. She sang in local clubs as a teen. She was lead singer in a group featuring Bootsy Collins before touring as George Benson's opening act in 1972. She also worked with jazz sax legend Cannonball Adderley. Randy signed with Warner Bros. and her big break came when The Crusaders song Street Life was on the soundtrack of the hit film Sharky's Machine in 1979. Her albums did reasonably well on the Black Music charts but she was unable to get that big breakthrough hit until Knockin' On Heaven's Door was included in the hit film Lethal Weapon 2 in 1989. It hit #4 on the pop singles charts. Randy Crawford has always been more popular in Europe and moved to Germany in the mid-90s. On her latest CD Feeling Good, she reunited with Crusaders pianist Joe Sample. She's a very good singer and this comp is a good introduction to her music. Here's the video for Knockin' On Heaven's Door by Randy Crawford featuring Eric Clapton & David Sanborn.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Lisa Ward looking for revenge at the Smackgirl World REMIX tournament

Smackgirl held a press conference on Friday to announce some of the fighters participating in the 2008 World REMIX Tournament. In the past, it has been a one day Open Weight tournament. This time around, the new owners of Smackgirl are having an Open Weight and a Lightweight tournament. The first round will be Feb. 14 at Korakuen Hall. The smi finals will be Apr. 25 at Korakuen Hall. The finals will be July 24 at Korakuen Hall. Smackgirl had previously announced that the incomparable Megumi Fujii and Brazilian Anna Michele Taveras will be in the Lightweight tournament. The bad news is that Smackgirl Lightweight Champ Yuka Tsuji will not be in the tournament. I'm not surprised. Let's look at who will be there.

So Megumi Fujii and her 13-0 record is the odds on favourite to win the Lightweight tournament. Anna Michele Tavares is 5-2. She got clobbered in her last fight by Yuka Tsuji on the Sept. 6, 2007 Smackgirl show. And Fujii has a victory over Tavares on the Mar. 12, 2005 G-Shooto show. Coming on her first trip to Japan is Cindy Hales. She is 1-0 with a win over Shawn Tamaribuchi on the Nov. 3, 2007 Fighting Femme Fatales show. Also added is Smackgirl veteran Ayumi "Edge" Saito. Her record is 8-4. But the most interesting addition is Lisa Ward.

Lisa Ward's record is 10-3 but the interesting thing is she lost to Fujii at a BodogFight show in Vancouver on Aug. 24. In a written statement, Lisa said she wants to face Fujii in the tournament finals and get revenge for the loss in Vancouver. Cindy Hales said she looks forward to fighting Ward and also Fujii is one of her favourite fighters and she respects her a lot. At the press conference, Fujii said she's game for any and all of them. She said Ward is very strong on the ground and Tavares is difficult to take down. She plans to do what she always does and win the tournament. I wouldn't bet against her.

Fujii's AACC teammate and former Smackgirl Middleweight Champ Hitomi Akano will be in the Open Weight tournament. Her record is 11-5 and her most recent fight was a loss to Vanessa Porto at the Nov. 3, 2007 Fighting Femme Fatales show. Also added is pro wrestler Atsuko Emoto. Her MMA record is 1-1 but she is best known for wearing the Bullfight Sora mask. She sometimes wrestles without the mask. She just returned from a trip to the dojos of Mexico and usually trains at Mariko Yoshida's Ibuki dojo. Akano says she's looking to get back on a winning streak and I think the tournament is more fun for Emoto than anything else. Lana Stefanac has been invited to this tournament but she has some injuries that may prevent her from participating.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Al Green

Artist:Al Green

Song:Let's Stay Together

Album:Al Green's Greatest Hits

This Greatest Hits comp is the perfect introduction to one of the greatest soul singers ever. And he's still got it today. Al Green was born Apr. 13, 1946 in Forest City, AR and was touring in the family gospel group at age 9. His family moved to Grand Rapids, MI in the mid-50s but his father kicked Al out of the group at age 16 for listening to Jackie Wilson. Al formed his own group The Soul Mates which had a minor hit in 1968 with Back Up Train. It was in 1969 that he met Hi Records owner Willie Mitchell and the rest is history. Let's Stay Together was Green's first and biggest hit in 1972. It hit #1 on the pop singles chart. This comp is a great intro to his music and is also available with a bonus DVD. Green would have several more hits but in 1974 a disgruntled ex-girlfriend poured hot grits on his back. Green saw this as a sign that he should enter the ministry so he bought a church in Memphis and he still presides over that today. Through the 80s he seemed to waver back and forth between gospel and secular music. He still made some good records. But his career got a real boost when he signed with Blue Note and reunited with Willie Mitchell for the 2003 CD I Can't Stop. He's currently recording with Amir "?uestlove" Thompson of The Roots and will have a new CD shortly. Just to show you that he's still got it, here's Al Green performing Let's Stay Together on Sessions@AOL Mar. 16, 2005.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hisae Watanabe gets married

According to her blog, the popular Flyweight MMA fighter & kickboxer Hisae Watanabe was married over the weekend. Hisae says there will be wedding pictures in some Japanese magazine next week. She seems a little embarassed by the attention. Her husband is a cartoonist. Congratulations to the happy couple. Go on your honeymoon and kick some butt when you return.

Gina Carano off Feb. 16 EliteXC show

Gary Shaw of EliteXC held a conference call on Wednesday to promote the main event between Kinbo Slice & Tank Abbott. It was also learned that Gina Carano has been removed from this show. When asked, Shaw said that Gina has been too busy with PR appearances for American Gladiators to train properly for this fight. Gina is still under contract and he plans to have her fight on the Mar. 29 San Jose show. He said her American Gladiator schedule should slow down soon.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Paul Jones

Artist:Paul Jones

Song:Not Me

Album:Buxton '95:The Alexis Korner Memorial Concert

Though virtually unknown in North America, guitarist Alexis Korner is revered in England as the Father Of British Blues. Many young musicians went through his group Blues Incorporated on their way to fame and fortune. It was a very sad day in the British music industry when Korner died in 1984. So in 1995, several of his friends got together for The Alexis Korner Memorial Concert. This song Not Me leads off the 2CD set. It's by former Manfred Mann lead singer Paul Jones. Along with Mick Jagger & John Baldry, he was a singer in Blues Incorporated. He's had some solo success in England and more recently has been a DJ on BBC2 Radio and leads his group Blues Band. Other notables appearing include Jack Bruce, Chris Farlowe, Dave Berry, Tony McPhee, Mick Abrahams & Zoot Money. Fans of British blues will want to check out Buxton '95. Here's Paul Jones performing I'm A Bad Bad Boy on the 1966 German TV show Beat Beat Beat.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Charlie Christian

Artist:Charlie Christian

Song:Gone With "What" Wind

Album:The Genius Of The Electric Guitar

Charlie Christian's time in the spotlight with the Benny Goodman band was tragically brief but his influence on the development of the sound of the electric guitar is immeasurable. He was born July 29, 1916 in Dallas and grew up in Oklahoma. He was a student of Eddie Durham, the man who invented the electric guitar and Christian started playing an amplified guitar in 1937. Columbia Records talent scout John Hammond heard about Christian from the great pianist Mary Lou Williams and started bugging Benny Goodman about hiring him. Goodman wasn't very receptive until he started jamming with Christian and hired him on the spot. Christian was a featured soloist in the Goodman sextet from 1939-42 and also played in the Goodman orchestra. He was also interested in bebop and would jam with Dizzy Gillespie and others in Los Angeles clubs. This comp consists of Goodman recordings featuring Charlie Christian solos. It's a must for guitar fans. Tragically, Charlie Christian contracted tuberculosis and died on Mar. 2, 1942 at age 25. But Charlie Christian's influence is still felt today. Here's a clip from Ken Burns' Jazz that tells the story of Charlie Christian being hired by Benny Goodman.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Taj Mahal

Artist:Taj Mahal

Song:Everybody's Got To Change Sometime

Album:Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal was very important in reviving the blues in the late 60s. He was born Henry St. Clair Fredericks May 17, 1942 in New York City and grew up in Springfield, MA. His father was a jazz pianist and his mom sang in church. Henry took a liking to blues as a youngster. While studying agriculture at the University Of Massachussets, he came up with the name Taj Mahal and started performing in local clubs. He moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and formed The Rising Sons with Ry Cooder. The group released one single on Columbia but the label didn't know what to do with the group. Taj Mahal stayed with Columbia as a solo artist and this 1968 debut was a big hit with blues fans. He also would tour with the legends of blues and introduce them to a younger audience. So Taj Mahal was a big part of reinvigorating fan interest in the blues. Of course Taj Mahal is more than a blues musician and his most recent CD Mkutano was with musicians from Zanzibar. He also won a couple of Grammys in recent years. Here's Taj Mahal with guitarist Jesse Ed Davis performing Everybody's Got To Change Sometime in 1968.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Beware of The Blue Wolves in LLPW

LLPW had their first 2008 show on Jan. 13 at Korakuen Hall in front of 1026 fans. The whole deal is that LLPW is in their own little world. They're on TV and they run monthly. Some of the gimmicks like the trannies and Blue Wolf are really strange. Not to mention all of the older wrestlers working there. Anyone who thought new president Mizuki Endo was going to change anything is going to be disappointed. It's not a product that I want to see but they're doing better now than a few years ago.

The opener had a rematch from last month between two grandmas. Jumbo Hori is a real grandma and Obacchi Iizuka does a grandma gimmick. Obviously it's a comedy match and Jumbo won with a body drop at 9:21. Next was the trannies, Jukko vs Sawaco. This was also played for comedy with two persons invading the ring during the match. Jukko beat them up and then one of the invaders accidently nailed Sawaco and Jukko won in 4:39. It looks like the two may have been women dressed as men. Oh boy, more cross dressers. Next was Eiger & Sayuri Okino vs Hanako Kobayashi & Francoise. The match was never in doubt and Okino used a leg lariat to pin Francoise at 9:50.

Shinobu Kandori teamed with Jaguar Yokota against Harley Saito & Toshie Uematsu. Uematsu is always fun to watch but in LLPW she's just another jobber. Jaguar wins over Uematsu with a fisherman buster at 11:44. At last month's show, Yumiko Hotta came out with a masked guy called Blue Wolf. This time she came out with two guys named Blue Wolf. The opponents are Noriyo Tateno, Takako Inoue & Mizuki Endo. Takako doesn't work full time for LLPW anymore so she did the job. Hotta used the Pyramid Driver to beat Takako at 20:11. It seems that Tateno may have hurt her leg during the match. They're not saying anything about this whole Blue Wolf thing so I'm not sure where they're going with it. I don't expect any more news about this until next month's show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Drifters

Artist:The Drifters

Song:There Goes My Baby


You'll notice this is from a Ben E. King 2CD comp Anthology. The history of The Drifters is a little confusing. When Clyde McPhatter left The Drifters, manager George Treadwell tried several combinations. None of them seemed to work to his satisfaction. So in May 1958, he fired the entire group. Treadwell owned the rights to the name The Drifters and he had a year's worth of bookings at the Apollo. There was a group called The Five Crowns led by singer Ben Nelson. Treadwell approached their manager Lover Patterson with the idea of renaming the group The Drifters. He agreed. The group had no connection to the earlier Drifters. Meanwhile former Drifters Bill Pinkney & David Baughn began touring as The Original Drifters. But the new version of The Drifters went into the studio with legendary producers Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller and came out with the Ben Nelson song There Goes My Baby. It was a huge hit and apparently was the first rock recording to use strings. They had a few more hits and then Patterson & Treadwell had a disagreement and Patterson pulled Nelson from the group. He would go on to have much success as Ben E. King and that's why There Goes My Baby is on a Ben E. King comp. Rudy Lewis took over as lead singer of The Drifters and sang lead on Up On The Roof. Former Drifter Bobby Hendricks still tours the oldies circuit with a version of The Drifters. Here's a five minute preview of a Biography of legendary producers Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller. You can watch the full version by downloading the Veoh TV player and I recommend you do that.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dr. John

Artist:Dr. John

Song:Right Place Wrong Time

Album:In The Right Place

Today Dr. John is regarded as a legend of New Orleans music. He made his name in the 60s with his weird stage show. Right Place Wrong Time is his one big pop hit. He was born Mac Rebennack Nov. 21, 1940 in New Orleans. He started out in the late 50s as a session guitarist and pianist on records by his idol Professor Longhair, Frankie Ford & Joe Tex. A mishap with a gun injured his hand and he was forced to give up the guitar. Rebennack moved to Los Angeles in the mid-60s and started playing sessions there. He was fooling around in the studio and came up with the Dr. John The Night Tripper character. The music was a mix of New Orleans R & B and psychedelia and Dr. John started wearing full Mardi Gras regalia on stage. This got him some attention and he signed with Atco Records. The 1973 album In The Right Place was produced by legendary New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint and featured The Meters. Right Place Wrong Time was a top 20 pop hit. Working with those guys probably helped focus Dr. John's music as he is known to be inconsistent. He has occasionally resurfaced over the years but has never been able to repeat that one commercial success. He currently records for Blue Note and his latest CD is 2006's Mercenary. Here's Dr. John and The Meters performing Right Place Wrong Time on the PBS series Soundstage in 1976.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-O.V. Wright

Artist:O.V. Wright

Song:Let's Straighten It Out

Album:The Complete O.V. Wright on Hi Records-Vol. 1:In The Studio

O.V. Wright was yet another great soul singer from Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell. Unfortunately Wright had drug problems and died prematurely. Overton Vertis Wright was born Oct. 9, 1939 in Leno, TN. He started out as a member of the gospel group The Sunset Travellers and went secular in 1964 with the song That's How Strong My Love Is. Of course Otis Redding covered that song and had a big hit with it. Wright was under contract to Don Robey's Peacock Records and recorded on his Backbeat label. That's when he first worked with producer Willie Mitchell. Wright continued to have R & B hits until his drug problems landed him in prison in 1974. He signed with Hi Records in 1977. Though disco was king at the time, Wright continued to record soul classics. Let's Straighten It Out is from the 1978 album The Bottom Line. Wu Tang Clan sampled it in their song America Is Slowly Dying. This 2CD comp covers his Hi studio recordings. Vol. 2 covers his live recordings. O.V. Wright never had mainstream success and his continuing drug problems caused a fatal heart attack and he died on Nov. 16, 1980 at age 41. He is yet another forgotten soul singer worth checking out. Here's O.V. Wright performing in Chicago 1975.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kyoko Inoue returns to the ring at NEO 10th Anniversary show

NEO held their 10th Anniversary show at Korakuen Hall on Jan. 6. The big news from the show was that NEO owner Kyoko Inoue made a surprise appearance at the end of the show. Of course it wasn't really a surprise. I would have been surprised if she didn't appear. NEO has announced that Kyoko will have her first match on the Mar. 2 Korakuen Hall show. She is still being treated for cancer but I guess she was getting antsy to return. Her doctor said no but she told him she wanted to return already. The show itself wasn't very notable otherwise.

The show started with a men's match. Survival Tonita defeated Manhole Man 2008 at 13:23 with a figure four leglock. Nagisa Nozaki & Aoi Kizuki defeated Kaori Yoneyama & Aska Ohki at 11:17 when Nozaki used a jacknife pin on Ohki. NEO has announced that Nozaki suffered a knee injury and will be out indefinitely. That puts a stop to the Youth Green angle. Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto warmed up for this weekend's NEO Tag Team Titles match by defeating Hiroyo Matsumoto & Aya Yuki at 13:52 when Kimura used the Big Boots on Yuki.

Next was a Japanese Luchadora Reimportation match with Mima Shimoda & Shuu Shibutani defeating Yuki Miyazaki & Toshie Uematsu at 7:53 when Shimoda used a Mexican stretch hold on Uematsu. I wonder if it's the same hold Shibutani is using. Next was a 10th Anniversary Memorial Match with Etsuko Mits & Tanny Mouse defeating the NEO Tag Team Champs Yoshiko Tamura & Misae Genki. Not surprisingly, Tanny cheated to pin Tamura at 13:02. The NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Title match between Haruka Matsuo & Fuuka went to a 15 minute draw. Does Fuuka do jobs anymore? Then the 30 person battle royal with all kinds of silliness including the final ring appearance of Ice Ribbon wrestler Miki Ishii. She retired on Saturday. There were comedy guys like Lingerie Muto & Tsubo Genjin, Ice Ribbon wrestlers, a little bit of everything. Mima Shimoda won at 46:08 by eliminating Nagisa Nozaki. Then the big moment when Kyoko Inoue came to the ring and proceeded to throw Shimoda over the top rope at 24 seconds. Yuk Yuk. That's NEO for you. It is good to see Kyoko in good health and back in the ring.

Yahoon LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Elton John

Artist:Elton John

Song:Rocket Man

Album:Honky Chateau

I'm sure it might surprise some to see a pop singer like Elton John here. I haven't been a fan for years but I did like some of his early albums especially Honky Chateau. He was born Reginald Dwight Mar. 25, 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex, England. He began playing piano at age 4 and studied at the Royal Academy Of Music as a teen. He was a member of the group Bluesology which became the backing band for Long John Baldry. He auditioned for Liberty Records and they hooked him up with lyricist Bernie Taupin. Dwight changed his name to Elton John after Bluesology sax player Elton Dean and Long John Baldry. The two were hired as staff songwriters by Dick James Music. At first they wrote for others but John started performing his own music and hired Gus Dudgeon to produce the album Elton John. UNI Records picked it up in the US and Your Song was a top ten hit. Honky Chateau was his first album with his regular touring band in 1972 and was number one for five weeks. Rocket Man hit #6 on the pop singles chart. The song is very similar in many ways to David Bowie's Space Oddity. I think Honky Chateau is a great album. Elton John recorded a lot in those days and was very successful. Things slowed down when John & Taupin's relationship went sour in the late 70s. The two have reunited over the years but Elton John continues to be very successful on his own. I don't think his music has been very interesting since the mid-70s. Here's a video for Rocket Man by Elton John.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Full card for Jan. 13 OZ Academy show

Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato made the media rounds yesterday to promote the Jan. 13 OZ Academy show at Shinjuku FACE. I have included video footage of their visit to Nikkan Sports. The main event has Amano challenging Aja Kong for the OZ Academy Championship. And Nagashima & Kato will face the reformed D-Fix of Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU. The wild card in all this is Ozaki who has declared war on all OZ Academy wrestlers. So she's going to do something but we don't know exactly what that will be so it has potential to be a lot of fun. Normally Amano would not be expected to be able to beat Aja but Ozaki's recent behaviour makes this more interesting. Other matches on the show are the veteran team of Dynamite Kansai & Manami Toyota vs Ibuki youngsters Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata, AKINO vs GAMI and Devil Masami vs Ran YuYu. Here's the video featuring Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Spike Jones

Artist:Spike Jones & His City Slickers


Album:The Best Of Spike Jones

They say humour is a serious business but you wouldn't know it from watching Lindley Armstrong "Spike" Jones and his outrageous song parodies and stage antics. He was born Dec. 14, 1911 in Long Beach, CA. The nickname Spike was because his father was a railroad man. He started out as a session drummer and played in the John Scott Trotter orchestra that backed up Bing Crosby on White Christmas. The idea for The City Slickers came out of a band called the Feather Merchants headed up by vocalist Del Porter. Spike Jones signed with RCA Records in 1941 and became known for his song parodies and even crazier stage shows. Their big breakthrough hit was 1943's Der Fuhrer's Face and they had a very successful radio show in the 40s. Chloe is a fairly typical parody of a pretentious pop song as performed by Sir Frederick Gas. This comp is a reasonable introduction for beginners. Other main member of The City Slickers included trumpeter George Rock, Yiddish comedian Mickey Katz, Doodles Weaver, midget actor Billy Barty and Spike's singer wife Helen Grayco. Spike Jones also had a popular TV series in the 50s. As Rock 'N' Roll became more popular, Spike's career wound down because he thought the music was a parody already. Also his lifelong smoking habit caught up with him. He continued to record for Verve & Liberty and died of lung cancer on May 1, 1965 at age 53. Spike Jones invented song parodies and has influenced all who followed. Here's a medley of hits including Chloe with Sir Frederick Gas from the 1954 Spike Jones TV show.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Corinne Bailey Rae

Artist:Corinne Bailey Rae

Song:Like A Star

Album:Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae is a young British R & B singer who has made a big splash on this side of the pond. She has a big future in the music business. She was born Feb. 26, 1979 in Leeds, England. She learned to play guitar as a teen and wanted to be a rock star so she formed an all female alt-rock group called Helen. The group signed with Roadrunner Records in 1995 but split before they could record. She worked as a hat check girl in a jazz club while attending the University Of Leeds and started performing in the club. She also met her sax player husband Jason Rae. The key event in her career was meeting producer Mark Hill (Craig David) and he asked her to appear on a record he was recording as The StiX. This got the attention of EMI Records and Corinne was signed. Her debut was released in England in Feb. 2006 and Like A Star was the first single. Corinne wrote the song and it was produced by her primary producer Steve Chrisanthou. The song did well but the follow up single Put Your Records On was even bigger. Her CD was released in North America in June 2006 and reached #4 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. Like A Star was released as a single in the US in late 2006 and it's nominated for a 2008 Best Song Grammy. Corinne has also won Image & MOBO Awards. EMI released an expanded 2CD version of Corinne Bailey Rae in Feb. 2007 and released the CD/DVD package Live In London And New York in Apr. 2007. Corinne is currently working on her next studio album. She is a tremendous talent and I am looking forward to her next album. Here's the video for Like A Star by Corinne Bailey Rae.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Elvis Presley

Artist:Elvis Presley

Song:Jailhouse Rock (Takes 1-5)

Album:Elvis By The Presleys

Everybody knows about Elvis Presley but it is his birthday today and Jailhouse Rock is my favourite Elvis film and one of his best songs. This 2CD comp Elvis By The Presleys is interesting but not necessarily recommended. Over the years RCA Records has released so many Elvis comps it is mind boggling. This one was released in 2005 when the documentary Elvis By The Presleys was shown on CBS. The idea behind the film and book was to show Elvis behind the scenes. That doesn't make sense on CD so RCA decided to put some rarities on the second CD. So this version of Jailhouse Rock includes several takes that were never previously released. The collector might be interested but it's probably not for the casual fan. I may recommend an Elvis comp at another time. Of course Jailhouse Rock was written and produced by the legendary team of Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller. And the whole point was to turn Elvis into a movie star and Jailhouse Rock succeeded in that goal too. I think it's his best film and still holds up very well today. Here's Elvis Presley performing Jailhouse Rock.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Godley & Creme

Artist:Godley & Creme


Album:The Very Best Of 10CC

The music careers of Kevin Godley & Lol Creme took some very odd turns when they left the successful pop group 10CC in 1976. They left to experiment with a musical instrument called The Gizmo. The duo was tired of the pop music business but the 1977 concept album Consequences got them nothing but ridicule. Subsequent albums helped a bit but in the early 80s they got into producing and directing music videos. Of course this was a new art form at the time and along with former Monkee Michael Nesmith, Godley & Creme are considered major innovators. They made videos for The Police (Every Breath You Take) & Herbie Hancock (Rock-It) but in 1985 they had a huge hit with the morphing face video for Cry. It's also a beautiful song. There was never an album but Godley & Creme put together an album of 10CC remixes called The History Mix and put Cry on it. So if you're a 10CC fan, you might as well get this 10CC comp that has Cry tacked on at the end. Godley & Creme split up in 1988 but they succeeded in changing the art of music videos. Kevin Godley has continued to direct music videos and reunited with 10CC's Graham Gouldman in 2006. Lol Creme has been part of the group Art Of Noise for several years. Here's the landmark video for Cry by Godley & Creme.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Sarah Vaughan

Artist:Sarah Vaughan


Album:Verve Jazz Masters 42:The Jazz Sides

This budget comp is probably the perfect introduction to one of the all time great jazz singers. Sarah Vaughan was born Mar. 27, 1924 in Newark, NJ. She sang in church as a child and took piano lessons. After winning a talent contest at the Apollo Theatre, it appears that Billy Eckstine brought her to the Earl Hines band. When Eckstine left to form his own band in 1944, he took Sarah, Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker with him. Jazz critic Leonard Feather was the first to record Sarah as a solo artist in 1946. Sarah married her manager George Treadwell and signed with Columbia in 1949. She had success but was unhappy with the pop nature of the records. So she signed with Mercury in 1953. The deal was she would record pop records for Mercury and jazz records for their jazz label EmArcy. She worked with producer Bob Shad and a lot of jazz musicians like Clifford Brown. Shad would sign Sarah again when he started Mainstream Records in 1970. Sarah would go to Roulette Records in 1959. Though she made some fine records there, the company was well known for shady business practices and she returned to Mercury in 1963. This version of Tenderly is from the 1963 album Sassy Swings The Tivoli with Kirk Stuart on piano, Charles Williams on bass and George Hughes on drums. Quincy Jones produced the album. Sarah Vaughan continued to record and tour extensively until her death on Apr. 3, 1990 at age 66. Sarah Vaughan was nicknamed Sassy for her unique vocal style and her music holds up very well today. Here's Sarah Vaughan performing Perdido in the 1955 film Rhythm & Blues Revue.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Ledisi



Album:Lost & Found

I featured Ledisi back in the summer before her CD Lost & Found was released. There have been some developments including an excellent video for Alright so I wanted to feature her again. Her name is Ledisi Young and she was born in New Orleans. She sang with the New Orleans Symphony at age 8. Her mom sang in local bands. Her family moved to Oakland, CA and she followed her mom's lead. She performed in a San Francisco cabaret called Beach Blanket Babylon. Ledisi formed a band with songwriter pianist Sundra Manning. They got a lot of acclaim locally but were unable to get a record deal so they released the CD Soulsinger independently in 2000. Her performance on the Earth, Wind & Fire tribute CD got the attention of producer Rex Rideout (Will Downing, Angie Stone) and she signed with Verve. Lost & Found was released in August. Ledisi continues to write a lot of her own songs with Manning & Rideout. The CD is doing very well and Ledisi has been nominated for a Best New Artist & Best R & B Album Grammy Awards. As I said before, Ledisi is a tremendous talent and it looks like the future is now. Here's the video for Alright by Ledisi.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Otis Clay

Artist:Otis Clay

Song:It I Could Reach Out (And Help Somebody)

Album:The Gospel Truth

Veteran soul singer Otis Clay is unknown to mainstream music fans but he's a big star in Japan. He was born Feb. 11, 1942 in Waxhaw, MS. He grew up singing in church, moved to Chicago in 1958 and was in several gospel groups until he went to secular music in 1965. His 1968 version of She's About A Mover got the attention of legendary Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell and Clay had his biggest chart success with the 1972 song Trying To Live My Life Without You. But he's never had the mainstream success of Al Green. Clay continued to record and became a big star in Japan in the 80s. He's classified as blues because he's recorded for labels like Bullseye & Blind Pig but his records still reflect his gospel roots. The Gospel Truth was released by Blind Pig in 1993 and If I Could Reach Out (And Help Somebody) is a remake of one of his Hi recordings. Otis Clay continues to tour and record. His latest CD is 2007's Walk A Mile In My Shoes on his own Echo label. He also sings regularly at the Liberty Baptist Church in Chicago and there's video footage on Youtube. Otis Clay's music is highly recommended to soul fans. Here's Otis Clay performing I Can Take You To Heaven Tonight in Germany 1995.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Clyde McPhatter

Artist:Clyde McPhatter

Song:Without Love (There Is Nothing)

Album:Deep Sea Ball:The Best Of Clyde McPhatter

As lead singer of The Drifters and also as a solo artist, Clyde McPhatter was one of the most powerful and influential R & B singers of the 50s. He was born Nov. 15, 1932 in Durham, NC. His daddy was a preacher and mom played organ in the church choir. And Clyde was a boy soprano in the church choir. The family moved to New Jersey in 1945 and Clyde started singing in gospel groups. He sang with the Mount Lebanon Singers in the latter half of the 40s but made the jump to secular music when he joined Billy Ward & The Dominoes in 1950. Of course they had a huge hit in 1951 with Sixty Minute Man. Clyde was singing lead but Billy Ward was getting the credit so he left in 1953. Atlantic Records owner Ahmet Ertegun offered McPhatter the opportunity to form his own group. McPhatter teamed up with manager George Treadwell and that's how The Drifters were born. They were successful but McPhatter went solo in 1955. Atlantic decided to give McPhatter a more pop oriented image. Without Love (There Is Nothing) is a good example. It has a full blown orchestra that probably would have overwhelmed another singer. But McPhatter's soaring tenor makes it work and the song was a top 20 hit. McPhatter had his biggest success with A Lover's Question in 1958. Deep Sea Ball has all his Atlantic hits. He left Atlantic for MGM in 1959. He had some success but went to Mercury in 1961. Behind the scenes McPhatter was starting to have reliability issues due to alcoholism. He must have thought the music business passed him by in the 60s. He had a bit of a revival in England in the early 70s but his health issues killed him with a fatal heart attack on June 13, 1972 at age 39. His music holds up very well today. Here's Clyde McPhatter performing Think Me A Kiss on The Bobby Darin Show in 1960.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Nakajima gets revenge at Junior All Star War

JWP presented this year's Junior All Star War on New Year's Eve at Korakuen Hall. Unfortunately with all the other big New Year's Eve shows, it gets overlooked. Having a title match as the main event might have helped but Commando Bolshoi probably had to compromise to get the Sendai Girls on the show. It also marked Shuu Shibutani's return to Japan after three months in Mexico. She arrived back in Japan a couple of days ago. She got to use her new finisher.

The show began with the only singles match on the show. It was last year's NEO rookie Nagisa Nozaki vs this year's JWP rookie Mayuca Shinzeki. Nozaki won with a diving body press at 7:29. Next was a unique match called The First Sisters War. DASH Chisako & Sachiko Sendai vs Io & Mio Shirai. The sisters from Sendai Girls are now being called The Cross Sisters and they won the match when Sachiko used a hurricanrana on Mio at 12:59. Apparently it was a pretty good match considering thei experience level.

Next was the Daily Sports Cup Junior Battle Royal. Of course it was played for comedy and the highlight was Ice Ribbon's Makoto hiding from everyone. The order of elimination was Francoise, Yuri Urai, Mika Mizunuma, Makoto, Tomoko Morii & Ayako Sato. Tomoka Nakagawa won over Miki Ishii with a lariat at 9:47. Next was Shuu Shibutani, Cherry & Aska Ohki vs Tomoka Nakagawa, Kana & Misaki Ohata. It's only one match but Shibutani showed off some new techniques from her mexican trip. Apparently Kana was pretty good as she has been since returning a few months ago. Shibutani won over Nakagaw at 18:24 with something called the Satanico. It's some sort of stretch submission hold.

Next was Natsuki*Taiyo & Fuuka vs Yumi Ohka & Mai Ichii. They called this Junior Graduation Premium indicating that these four aren't juniors anymore. Natsuki*Taiyo won over Ohka with the Taiyo Bomb at 17:09. The main event was Arisa Nakajima, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Hanako Kobayashi vs Tyrannosaurus Okuda, Aya Yuki & Aoi Kizuki. The idea here was to give Nakajima a little revenge on Okuda for losing the title a while back. Nakajima won with the Cutie Special over Okuda at 19:29. Nakajima was named show MVP. The main event was the best bout and the Shirai Sisters were Most Photogenic. Still, one can't help but think that this show would have had a lot more oomph with a title on the line.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-JoAnn Rosario

Artist:JoAnn Rosario

Song:Serve You Only

Album:More, More, More

JoAnn Rosario is an expressive contemporary gospel singer. She had a health scare a couple of years ago but she's back better than ever. She's from Chicago and her father is a Puerto Rican preacher and her mother is black. Her fluency in Spanish has been a big plus in her career. JoAnne was one of Fred Hammond's Radical For Christ singers. When Hammond was launching his own label in 2001, JoAnn was his first signing. Her debut CD More, More, More was released in 2002. The title track featured JoAnn singing in Spanish. The CD is killer urban gospel produced by Fred Hammond and enhanced by JoAnn's expressive singing. Serve You Only is a hot track. It's highly recommended to gospel fans. In 2003, nodules were found on her vocal chords meaning she couldn't talk or sing. So she took time off to recover and now JoAnn Rosario is back and her latest CD Joyous Salvation was released July 2007. Check out this video for And We Overcome by JoAnn Rosario.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Clovers

Artist:The Clovers

Song:Devil Or Angel

Album:The Doo Wop Box

The Clovers were one of the earliest doo wop groups though not necessarily the best known. They started out as Washington, DC high school students in 1946. They were mostly performing in the Washington area doing covers of other vocal groups when they were discovered by Baltimore based manager Lou Krefetz in 1950. He recorded them on his own label and that got the attention of Ahmet Ertegun who was just starting Atlantic Records at the time. Ertegun & producer Jesse Stone got The Clovers their first big hit in 1952 with One Mint Julep. They continued to have success on Atlantic including this 1956 hit Devil Or Angel. At this time the group had two lead singers, John "Buddy" Bailey & Billy Mitchell. Other members were Matthew McQuarter, Hal Lucas & Harold Winley. Devil Or Angel would be an even bigger hit for teen idol Bobby Vee in 1961. In 1958, Krefetz started his own label which was taken over by the new United Artists label. He put The Clovers together with the legendary team of Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller and they had their biggest hit with Love Potion #9 in 1959. The Clovers faded after that. With the oldies boom in the 70s, there have been several groups claiming to be The Clovers but that sorted itself out and they were given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 1988. The Clovers and plenty of other doo wop groups are all on the 4CD box set The Doo Wop Box. Here are The Clovers performing Devil Or Angel at one of those doo wop reunion shows.