Friday, February 29, 2008

Are you ready for Carlos World?

Of course Carlos Amano is not only the OZ Academy Champion but at the last OZ Academy show, she won control of the promotion from Mayumi Ozaki. All the wrestlers except Aja Kong are aligned with Amano. Aja prefers to be a lone wolf. So the Mar. 9 Shinjuku FACE show has been renamed Carlos World. Amano has promised that this will be a new day in OZ Academy. She will run things differently. Meanwhile, Ozaki has been talking trash and threatening to disrupt the show. So Amano has banned Ozaki, Police & Mika Nishio from the building for this show. She says she has shown mercy to KAORU by allowing her to appear on the show. She will wrestle Sonoko Kato.

The main event is a follow up to Chikayo Nagashima recruiting Sendai Girls youngster Hiren to team up with her against Carlos Amano & Dynamite Kansai. Other matches are Aja Kong vs Hiroyo Matsumoto, Manami Toyota & Tomoka Nakagawa vs Ran YuYu & AKINO and Devil Masami vs Toshie Uematsu. Amano says she is trying to teach Ozaki the lesson that she can't bully the wrestlers at will. Of course banning D-Fix from the building guarantees that they will cause trouble for Amano. And it should be interesting to see how Aja Kong fits in. Hiren will get her butt kicked but I hope this begins the regular appearance of all the Sendai Girls on OZ shows as they can learn a lot by working with these veterans regularly. It should be a very interesting show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Chantels

Artist:The Chantels


Album:The Doo Wop Box

This is another classic from Rhino's 4CD Doo Wop Box. The Chantels were one of the very first girl groups and Maybe was their biggest hit in 1957. The leader and main songwriter of the group was Arlene Smith (born Oct. 5, 1941 in Bronx, NY). Arlene, Lois Harris, Sonia Goring, Jackie Landry & Rene Minus were schoolmates and formed The Chantels as teenagers in 1956. They auditioned for Richard Barrett of The Valentinos and he signed them to End Records. Their first single He's Gone did OK but the follow up Maybe blew up and reached #15 on the pop charts in early 1958. It probably did even better but the record was pirated by small distributors. It's one of the most memorable songs of the doo wop era and girl groups were unique at that time. The Chantels were never able to repeat the success of Maybe and were dropped by End in 1959. Arlene Smith left to go solo but was not successful and became a teacher. Lois Harris also left and The Chantels continued as a trio. They signed with Carlton Records and split in 1963. Arlene Smith reformed a new version of The Chantels in the 70s and continues to tour the oldies circuit today. Here's The Chantels performing Maybe on the PBS special Doo Wop Gold.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fatal Femmes Fighting announces next show

Fatal Femmes Fighting has announced that their next show will be on Apr. 3 at the Shrine Expo Center in Los Angeles. You may recall they had planned a show in Texas but that didn't come together. It looks like they're making up for it with this show. The main event will have Roxanne Modafferi defending her FFF Lightweight Championship against Brazilian Vanessa Porto. Modafferi has lived in Japan for the last few years. Her record is 11-4 and most recently won the May 27 K-GRACE tournament in Tokyo with wins over Hee Jin Lee, Megumi Yabushita & Marloes Coenen. Porto is 7-2 and most recently won over Hitomi Akano at the Nov. 3 FFF show. They're calling the second fight a co-main event but I think it's a step below the first fight. It will be Lana Stefanac vs Teyvia Reid for the FFF Heavyweight Championship. Stefanac is 5-0 and most recently won over Megumi Yabushita on the Dec. 26 Smackgirl show. Reid is 3-1 and most recently lost to Stefanac on the Nov. 19, 2006 Full Contact Fight show. Stefanac can be difficult to book because of her size. That's not a knock on her but a lot of the better fighters today are in a lighter weight class. She's very good. Also scheduled to appear on the 16 fight card are Amanda Buckner, Takayo Hashi, Carina Damm, Jessica Aguilar & Nicdali Calanic. I wish these guys would get on The Fight Network so I could watch the show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Carole King

Artist:Carole King

Song:Sweet Seasons

Album:A Natural Woman:The Ode Collection (1968-1976)

Carole King was already a successful songwriter when she became one of the best selling recording artists in the early 70s. Her repeated attempts finally paid off. She was born Carole Klein Feb. 9, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY. She played piano as a child and formed the vocal group The Co-Sines while in high school. She was a classmate of Neil Sedaka at Queens College and his hit Oh Carol was about her. She also met Paul Simon & Gerry Goffin. She started writing songs with Goffin and they were married and had two daughters. Of course they worked in the legendary Brill Building in New York churning out plenty of hit songs. Their first big hit was Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles. Carole attempted to record but didn't catch on. She divorced Goffin, married Charles Larkey and moved to Los Angeles to form The City with Larkey & Danny Kortchmar. That was unsuccessful but then she signed with Lou Adler's Ode Records. Her main problem was stage fright but her friend James Taylor convinced that she needed to tour to be successful. Her 1970 album Writer didn't sell but the follow up Tapestry became the biggest selling album ever and remained on the charts for six years. It launched the adult oriented singer songwriter movement. Sweet Seasons was on her 1971 follow up album Music and continued Carole's success. Meanwhile she continued to write hit songs for others. She continued to record in the 70s and into the 80s but took a hiatus in 1983. This 2CD comp has all her 70s hits. She records occasionally and her most recent release is the 2005 2CD live set The Living Room Tour on Hear Music. Carole King is a legend of popular music as a writer & performer. I couldn't find a video of Sweet Seasons so here's Carole King performing It's Too Late.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

OZ Academy wins over Sendai Girls

Sendai Girls had their latest show Feb. 24 at Zepp Sendai. The main event had OZ Academy champ Carlos Amano defending her title against Ryo Mizunami after Mizunami won a title shot in a recent tournament. The other matches were all Sendai vs OZ including an appearance by Mayumi Ozaki. That's a little strange considering current OZ angles but I guess this show doesn't count. Sendai rookie Maki Harada announced her retirement from wrestling due to ill health. Apparently she got sick last month. Meiko Satomura had more surgery a couple of weeks ago. There is no timetable for her return. Sendai announced that the Mar. 14 & 15 shows will feature wrestlers from NEO. They also announced their annual tournament with 16 women with less rhan three years experience. The tournament name translates to Restive Horse but that doesn't seem right to me. This will cover three shows; Apr. 20, May 23 & June 27.

The opener was Mayumi Ozaki vs Sachiko Sendai. Ozaki is booed of course. Sachiko starts out with an elbow and a dropkick. Ozaki gets her in a camel clutch, bites her arm and grabs her hair and face. Then Ozaki rams her head into the corner and hits her in the face with the chain. Then a face wash. Sachiko comes back with four dropkicks but misses a roaring senton. Ozaki throws her out of the ring and rams her head into the steps. Sachiko comes back with a Superplex and a missile kick. But Ozaki reverses a German suplex and hits a Tequila Sunrise for the win at 7:58.

Next is Chikayo Nagashima vs Hiren. Hiren starts with a dropkick but Nagashima returns the favour and follows up with a face trample. She continues to throw her around. Hiren's attempts at offense are ineffective and Nagashima ties her up in the ropes and hits a couple of back breakers. Hiren hits a backdrop and tries for a flash pin with a Majistral cradle. Nagashima hits a brainbuster and a missile kick for a two count. Nagashima wins with a Fisherman buster at 11:24. Afterwards, Nagashima invited Hiren to the next OZ Academy show and the two will team up on the Mar. 9 show.

Next is Dynamite Kansai vs DASH Chisako. I believe Chisako faced Kansai in her debut. Things didn't go any better this time as Kansai hit a foot stamp from the top rope followed by three lariats. Chisako tries to come back with five dropkicks and a body ram for a two count. But Kansai uses lariats and other power moves to set Chisako up for the Splash Mountain for the win at 7:58. Next was Aja Kong vs Tyrannosaurus Okuda. Okuda got very little offense in as Aja used all her power to abuse her. It ended with a vertical brain buster at 10:40. Aja said afterwards that she was disappointed with Okuda's effort.

The main event has Carlos Amano defending her OZ Academy Championship against Aya Mizunami. Mizunami satarts out with elbows & a dropkick. She continues this attack but it doesn't bother Amano. Mizunami misses a body block from the second rope. Amano hits a lariat, a missile kick and a second rope lariat. Then a couple of head butts and a German suplex. She hits three guillotines for a 2 count. Then a guillotine from the top rope for a 2 count. Amano tries for the Carlos Ghosn but Mizunami escapes to the floor. Amano pulls her back into the ring and gets her to submit with an arm bar at 14:34. Afterwards, Amano complimented Mizunami for giving her a good match. But those Sendai Girls just can't win. Of course that's not surprising.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bonzo Dog Band

Artist:Bonzo Dog Band

Song:Canyons Of Your Mind

Album:Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse

Very few groups have combined humour with pop music. The British group Bonzo Dog Band may not be as well known as the Mothers Of Invention but are just as beloved to fans. The group had various members but the main writers were Viv Stanshall (born Mar. 21, 1943 in Shillingford, England) & Neil Innes (born Dec. 9, 1944 in Essex, England). Stanshall started the group when he was in art college in the 60s. They started out spoofing traditional jazz and vaudeville but when Innes joined later he steered them into pop music. They made an appearance in the film Magical Mystery Tour and Paul McCartney produced their best known song Urban Spaceman. Canyons Of Your Mind is a doo wop spoof that was actually on their 1969 album Tadpoles but is a bonus track on thie 2007 reissue of Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse. The Bonzos split up in 1969 but continue to have a cult following today. Neil Innes went on to work with Monty Python and along with Eric Idle was behind the Beatles spoof band The Rutles. Viv Stanshall did various things after the Bonzos and died in a house fire on Mar. 5, 1995. Here's the Bonzo Dog Band performing Canyons Of Your Mind in 1969. That's Viv Stanshall singing lead and Neil Innes playing the guitar solo.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Big surprise at Fuuka's 4th Anniversary show

Japan's number one idol wrestler held her latest Fuuka Matsuri Feb. 24 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. It was designed as a 4th anniversary show for Fuuka. The most interesting thing to come out of the leadup to the show was Fuuka telling Sportsnavi that she is planning to have her 5th anniversary show at Korakuen Hall. And she said that if the show doesn't draw, she will retire from joshi. Yeah, I know. She's full of baloney. And of course who decides whether the show drew enough fans? But to her credit, Fuuka knows that people think she's lying and when interviewed a second time last week by Sportsnavi, she made a point of repeating that statement. Just remember that Rossy Ogawa is behind the scenes of all this.

The main event of the show was very similar to the surprise appearance of her family at her 3rd anniversary show. Except this year she admitted the lack of entertainment value in Kakimoto Family Theater and she was only doing it for herself. Would you pay money for that? Fuuka teamed with her wrestler brother against her parents and older brother. The match was only 3 1/2 minutes long and it was mostly screwing around. What else would you expect? But the big surprise afterwards had Ultimo Dragon appear on the video screen to congratulate Fuuka on her 4th anniversary. Fuuka announced that she will appear at Dragon Mania 3 at Arena Mexico on May 11. Don't know if she's only going over for the one show or an extended tour.

Fuuka's brother defeated Black Monster at 9:59 with a German suplex. Fuuka Kidd & Io Shirai defated Bolshoi Kid & Bullfight Sora at 13:53. Tojuki Leon defeated Mio Shirai at 10:44 with a Mad Splash. Fuuka & Hikaru defeated AKINO & Shuu Shibutani when Fuuka used a high kick on Shibutani at 18:57. And Fuuka's singing group Panic Power performed before the show. That's the group she has with the Shirai sisters and RICA. RICA is mostly responsible for the music as Fuuka has admitted in interviews that she has no musical talent. Having no talent didn't stop her from becoming a wrestler.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Shirley Murdock

Artist:Shirley Murdock

Song:Go On Without You (Extended Remix)

Album:The Very Best Of Shirley Murdock

Shirley Murdock's vocal talent made her a big sensation in the late 80s under the tutelage of Roger Troutman. She has since returned to her gospel roots. Shirley grew up singing in church in Toledo, OH. Roger Troutman (born Nov. 29, 1951 in Hamilton, OH) hired Shirley as a backup singer for his group Zapp. Based on that success, he started recording other artists at his studio in Dayton, OH. He hit the jackpot in 1985 with Shirley's first big hit As We Lay. Shirley's tremendous vocal talent transcended the gimmicks of the time. That song was a huge pop hit and Go On Without You was one of the follow ups from her debut album. Shirley continued to have R & B hits and this comp has them all. When her run ended in the early 90s, Shirley Murdock returned to gospel and appeared in a lot of gospel plays through the 90s. Shirley returned to recording with the 2001 CD Home. She co-produced with husband Dale Degroat. her latest CD is 2007's Soulfood on Tyscot Records. She's a tremendous singer. Roger Troutman was going through a revival in the late 90s when he and brother Larry died as the result of a murder/suicide on Apr. 25, 1999. Here's the video for Go On Without You by Shirley Murdock.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Badfinger


Song:Day After Day

Album:The Best Of Badfinger

For a short period of time, Badfinger was touted as successors to The Beatles. A lot of this had to do with Badfinger being on Apple Records. They had some hits but things just didn't work out for them. The group started with Pete Ham (born Apr. 27, 1947 in Swansea, South Wales). In the early 60s, he started a group called The Iveys with bassist Ron Griffiths & guitarist Dai Jenkins. Drummer Mike Gibbins (born Mar. 12, 1949 in Swansea, South Wales) joined in 1965 and The Iveys started getting noticed. Jenkins left in 1967 and was replaced by Tom Evans (born June 5, 1947 in Liverpool). Ham & Evans became the main songwriters for the group. They auditioned for Apple in 1968 and Paul McCartney took a liking to them and they were signed. They had problems at first because of producer Mal Evans' inexperience. McCartney came to the rescue with a song called Come And Get It. The song did well but Griffiths left the group and was replaced by Joey Molland in 1969. The group name was changed to Badfinger. Things started going a lot better and the 1971 album Straight Up yielded their biggest hit ever in Day After Day. There were behind the scenes issues with producers Todd Rundgren & George Harrison but the album was successful. This comp has all their Apple hits. But things fell apart and Badfinger left Apple for Warner Bros. in 1973. The group also had financial problems due to a crooked manager. This resulted in Pete Ham hanging himself on Apr. 23, 1975. Evans & Molland tried to keep the group going but there was a lot of conflict and Evans hung himself on Nov. 19, 1983. Molland still leads a version of Badfinger today. Badfinger had talent and unrealized potential. Here's Badfinger performing Day After Day on the Kenny Rogers show in 1972.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

NEO Championship match signings

NEO had contract signings for the title matches on the Mar. 3 Korakuen Hall show. Of course the show is overshadowed by the return of Kyoko Inoue but GM Koda has to make a big deal out of the matches. The video on the left hand side is the signing of Haruka Matsuo's defense of the NEO Singles & NWA Pacific titles against Hiroyo Matsumoto. Koda has caught a lot of grief for making Matsuo champ in the first place, his booking of her as champ, and now he has spent a lot of time on his blog defending the choice of Matsumoto as challenger. She's a good young wrestler but clearly shouldn't be getting a title shot of any sort. On the right hand side is the signing of Yoshiko Tamura & Misae Genki defending their NEO Tag Team Titles against the NEO Machine Gunz (Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki). I don't believe either title will change. Enjoy the videos.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Miles Davis/Bill Laswell

Artist:Miles Davis/Bill Laswell

Song:In A Silent Way/Shhh/Peaceful/It's About Time

Album:Panthalassa:The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974

Normally it would be considered blasphemy to take the classic fusion era music of Miles Davis and remix it. But you have to remember that's what Miles and producer Teo Macero did when the music was originally produced. Fortunately Sony Music hired Bill Laswell to do the remixing. He was born Feb. 12, 1955 in Salem, IL. He's a bass player probably best known for his group Material but he also does a lot of mixing of various musical styles. So Laswell does what can be best described as a reimagining of music from In A Silent Way and On The Corner. Is Panthalassa acceptable to jazz or Miles Davis purists? I don't know. Fusion era Miles Davis isn't for purists anyway. But I think fans of that music should check out Laswell's work on this CD and maybe look into some of his other music. Sony has released a lot of Miles Davis' music so it would be easy to overlook this CD. Here's Miles Davis with Joe Zawinul & Wayne Shorter performing In A Silent Way in Paris in 1991.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Satoko Shinashi wins DEEP Flyweight tournament

DEEP's Feb. 22 Korakuen Hall show had a womens Flyweight tournament designed as a showcase for Smackgirl Flyweight Champion Satoko Shinashi. The idea is to set up a rubber match between Shinashi and Hisae Watanabe. Watanabe was not in the tournament but was supposed to have a match on the show. But unfortunately she suffered a training injury and the match was cancelled. I think DEEP is still going to do this match as Shinashi wants to avenge her only career loss. It's also a great contrast of styles. Watanabe has tremendous punching power and Shinashi is a relentless bulldog on the mat.

The first tournament match was between SACHI & Kayo Nagayasu. Nagayasu starts out with punches and then attempts a takedown to counter a side kick. SACHI's defense holds up and the two trade punches for the rest of round one though SACHI attempts a takedown at the end of the round. SACHI successfully takes Nagayasu down at the start of round two and takes control and wins with an armbar at 2:08 of round two. Next was Satoko Shinashi vs Fukuko Hamada. Hamada's problem is that she's likely to be so busy defending against Shinashi that she has to figure out how to get offense in. She's never able to do that though her defense held up under Shinashi's relentless attack. Shinashi got the takedown she wanted in round two and used a sleeper, an ankle lock and an armbar on Hamada. Shinashi doesn't finish her off but wins a unanimous decision.

So the final is Satoko Shinashi vs SACHI. Keep in mind that SACHI suffered a broken arm in a match with Shinashi in October. It looked at the start of the match that SACHI was trying not to lose instead of winning. That stuff isn't going to work with Shinashi and she takes SACHI down and applies a sleeper. Shinashi switches to an armbar. SACHI doesn't tap out but her corner throws in the towel at 2:58 of round one. So Satoko Shinashi adds to her hardware collection and is now the DEEP Womens Flyweight Champion. She's already one of the best MMA fighters in Japan and Satoko Shinashi's reputation continues to grow with every victory. That's why I call her the pint sized powerhouse.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Mississippi John Hurt

Artist:Mississippi John Hurt

Song:Nobody Cares For Me

Album:Worried Blues 1963

Legendary bluesman Mississippi John Hurt likely would have died in obscurity if the folk music revival of the early 60s had not rediscovered him. He was born July 3, 1893 in Teoc, MS and grew up in Avalon, MS. He started playing guitar at parties for fun and in the early 1920s he started playing square dances with fiddle player Willie Namour. He was spotted by an Okeh Records talent scout in 1927 who was in Avalon to record Namour. He was brought to New York to record in 1928 but Hurt's records didn't sell probably because his style was too laid back for mass marketing. Hurt returned to obscurity in Avalon. That's where he would have remained if not for musicologist Tom Hoskins. He seeked out Hurt in 1963 after listening to his song Avalon Blues. Hoskins signed him to Piedmont Records and set up a concert tour. Hurt's appearance at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival introduced him to a new and enthusiastic audience. Hurt was always a modest and soft spoken gentleman so he didn't know what to make of his new fame that brought him more money than he had ever seen. Rounder Records has rereleased Hurt's Piedmont recordings on CD. Hurt continued to be very popular until his death on Nov. 2, 1966 at age 73. Here's Mississippi John Hurt performing Spike Driver along with a Pete Seeger inspired story in 1964.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Obacchi Iizuka's 10th Anniversary show

So LLPW's Feb. 17 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show was a 10th Anniversary show for Obacchi Iizuka. It's hard to believe a gimmick that lame could last that long. Iizuka was trained by Jaguar Yokota and worked for JD for several years. She had reconstructive shoulder surgery a few years ago and went to LLPW when she returned. Her old woman gimmick is probably one of the most annoying gimmicks this side of Tanny Mouse. I don't like comedy gimmicks anyway but I don't know anyone who likes her.

Other than that, the show was the usual LLPW surreal nonsense. The opener was Harley Saito & Noriyo Tateno vs Kaoru Ito & Ayako Sato. I guess the problem with Sato is she's been in joshi for several years and is still treated like a rookie. The end comes when Ito accidently nails Sato with a lariat and then Saito hits a face kick for the win at 12:30. The trannies were next with Mo over Jukko when he reversed a majistral cradle at 6:20. Not surprisingly, Obacchi Iizuka's 10th Anniversary match was against Jaguar Yokota. Her old JD pals KAZUKI & Yumi Ohka appeared and Jaguar won the match in 6:48.

Next was Jumbo Hori vs Sayuri Okino. Hori has a size advantage but Okino uses heel tactics to beat her up and win at 8:25. The main event continued this Blue Wolf stuff. Yumiko Hotta & a Blue Wolf with a second Blue Wolf at ringside vs Takako Inoue & Mizuki Endo. The match seems the same as previous matches with a lot of brawling outside the ring and Hotta bleeding but in the end, Blue Wolf outfoxed Endo and won with a schoolboy at 20:12. I guess at some point they will even out this angle but who knows when they'll do that.

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

Artist:Tye Tribbett & G.A.


Album:Victory Live!

The success of gospel artist Tye Tribbett shows that sometimes luck plays a big part in success in the music industry. Tribbett had been in the background for several years before being spotted by the right person. He was born Jan. 26, 1977 in Camden, NJ. His dad is a church pastor and his mom was choir director. She is now his manager. Tribbett was a keyboard wizard as a child. He first formed his group Greater Anointing in 1996. He first surfaced on The Prince Of Egypt soundtrack performing Let Go Let God with Erica & Tina Atkins AKA Mary Mary. He became a keyboard player for hire and toured with Faith Hill in 2000. Then he met James Poyser of the group Soulquarians and was hired to play keyboards for R & B singer Vivian Green. While performing at a showcase for Columbia Records president Don Ienner, Ienner not only signed Green but asked about the guy playing keyboards. Tye Tribbett signed with Sony Urban and his 2004 CD Life topped the gospel charts. His 2006 follow up CD Victory did even better and made a dent in the Billboard Hot 200. Tribbett's act is a very energetic school theme and it obviously appeals to young people. He writes his own songs and produces with Poyser. His new CD Stand Out is coming in April. Here's Tye Tribbett & G.A. performing Victory on the 2007 BET Celebration Of Gospel.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lineup for Mar. 3 Chick Fights SUN show announced

So is Chick Fights SUN still around? I guess it is because they have announced the lineup for their first show of 2008. They're selling it as a Saki Maemura produced show on Mar. 3 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. The show consists of two Maemura matches and two comedy matches. Maemura will team with AKINO vs Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu. She will also participate in a 3 way match with two other 2001 AJW trainees, Ayako Sato & Tomoko Morii. Maemura says she's very excited about producing her first show and she's always wanted to team with AKINO. The other two matches are Hikaru vs Lingerie Muto and Bullfight Sora vs a guy in a turtle suit. Yuk yuk. Other than last month's announcement that Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo are sick, they're nowhere to be seen. Takahashi is still posting on her SUN blog but Natsuki*Taiyo hasn't posted on hers for almost a month. Neither have appeared on any shows in 2008. Maemura & Hikaru have been working ZERO-ONE MAX shows exclusively in 2008. Draw your own conclusions.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The O'Jays

Artist:The O'Jays

Song:For The Love Of Money

Album:Collectors Items

Though For The Love Of Money wasn't The O'Jays' biggest hit, it's probably one of their most memorable and frequently sampled songs. They started out as The Triumphs in 1958 with Canton, OH high school students Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bill Isles & Bobby Massey. They recorded as The Mascots on King Records in 1961. Cleveland DJ Eddie O'Jay took a liking to them and the group was renamed The O'Jays to honour him. They had mixed success in the 60s and considered splitting up when they met the team of Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff in 1968. So when Gamble & Huff started Philadelphia International Records in 1971, The O'Jays were one of the first signings. Isles & Massey had left so the group was now a trio. The O'Jays had several smash hits. For The Love Of Money was a top ten pop and R & B hit in 1974. It'd become one of The O'Jays signature songs with all three guys trading vocals and Anthony Jackson's bass line. I think most folks know the song but they might not know who originally performed it. This 1977 comp is a reasonable intro to their music. William Powell died of cancer in 1977 but Eddie Levert & Walter Williams along with Eric Grant continue to tour as The O'Jays and last recorded in 2004. They appeared in the film The Fighting Temptations and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2005. Here's The O'Jays performing For The Love Of Money on The Midnight Special in 1974.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My chair is in the shop

I guess it was inevitable that when one uses a power chair as much as I do, it's bound to wind up in the shop. I've had it for two years. I started having trouble with it last week. It was vibrating when I first started it. It was no trouble once I got going. So I called the Ontario Diability Support Program on Friday to set up a service call. Over the weekend the battery started shorting out. Well, that's a big problem. So my service guy Sam from Medi-Chair came yesterday and said I blew a motor just like NASCAR. It actually has two electric motors but Sam says both have to be replaced. We decided that I need a loaner so he returned today to swap out chairs. The shorting out of the battery was intolerable. He brought a chair very similar to mine and he installed my seat cushion and backrest on this chair. It's got footrests and I prefer my footplates and the control is a little awkward. Sam says he has to get a price for the motors and send the quote to ODSP. He'll do that tomorrow. He's also going to test the battery as he thinks it might need to be replaced. The repair should take about a month. At least I have use of this one in the meantime. It'll take some getting used to though.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-New Birth

Artist:New Birth

Song:I Can Understand It

Album:The Very Best Of The New Birth Inc.:Where Soul Meets Funk

New Birth was one of the best R & B groups of the early 70s. They went a little disco later on. New Birth actually started as a collective of groups put together by legendary R & B guru Harvey Fuqua (The Moonglows). The idea was to have three groups under the New Birth Inc. umbrella and they would tour together. The group known as New Birth in the 70s started out as Love Peace & Happiness featuring Muskegon, MI born brothers Leslie & Melvin Wilson. There was also The Nite-Liters led by Tony Churchill and New Birth. New Birth disintegrated in the late 60s and Fuqua reformed the group to feature the Wilson brothers. They had several R & B hits in the early 70s on RCA including this fabulous version of Bobby Womack's I Can Understand It and an R & B version of the Skylark hit Wildflower. Leslie Wilson delivers a great vocal. New Birth split with Fuqua in 1974 and signed with Buddah Records and had the 1975 hit Dream Merchant. The group dissolved in 1979 but the Wilson brothers revived New Birth in 1994 and continue to tour today. This comp is designed as an overview of New Birth Inc. so it does include songs by the other groups. Here's a video of I Can Understand It by New Birth.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Chuck E. Weiss

Artist:Chuck E. Weiss

Song:Dixieland Funeral

Album:Old Souls & Wolf Tickets

Chuck E. Weiss is a longtime fixture of the Los Angeles music scene probably best known for his long time association with hipster singer songwriter Tom Waits. It's only in recent years that he has been recording. He was born in Chicago and grew up in Denver where his parents owned a record store. It was here that he met blues legend Lightnin' Hopkins. Hopkins liked his drumming and took him on tour. He toured with other blues acts and then struck up a friendship with Tom Waits in 1972. He moved to Los Angeles and lived at the Tropicana Hotel with Waits & Rickie Lee Jones. Remember Chuck E.'s In Love? For years Weiss has played a weekly gig at The Viper Room with his band G_d Damn Liars but he never recorded until Rykodisc finally signed him in 1999. Old Souls & Wolf Tickets is a collection of odds & ends that Weiss had recorded over the years. His music is a combination of rockin' blues and goofiness. He says his his biggest musical idol is Louis Jordan. He's still very good pals with Viper Room owner Johnny Depp and of course Tom Waits. His most recent CD was released in 2006. Weiss would likely be better known if he toured but he doesn't like to fly. He's not a mainstream artist but is fun to listen to. Here's Chuck E. Weiss performing at The Viper Room in Los Angeles.


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Monday, February 18, 2008

AJW revival announces two shows

It was announced today on the Zenjoism website that former All Japan Women Chairman Matsunaga has agreed to let the name All Japan Women Professional Wrestling to be used. You may recall that Chigusa Nagayo announced a while back that she was attempting to negotiate the use of the name. Two shows have been announced. The first show which will probably be AJW's 40th Anniversary show will be May 30 at Shizuoka University. The second show will be Aug. 17 at Tochigi. Yumiko Hotta was announced as the first wrestler expected to appear. This should get very interesting.

WAVE signs returning wrestler

Pro Wrestling WAVE had their pre-Valentine's Day show Feb. 13 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Since they weren't drawing on Tuesday nights, they've been moving the shows around different nights. They only drew 100 fans to this show. It's better than before but still not good enough. They announced that former Gtkn wrestler Moeka Haruhi is returning to the ring and will work exclusively for WAVE. She'll make her first appearance on the Mar. 12 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. Toshie Uematsu is training her. I don't remember seeing her before but I guess she's kind of an idol wrestler. It doesn't matter. It's not like she's going to draw any fans.

The opener on this show was between Kyoko Kimura & Misaki Ohata. Ohata has improved since training at Ibuki and she was rewarded on this night with a 15 minute draw. WAVE is doing a rivalry with JWP and Toshie Uematsu is in the middle of that. Her match with Aska Ohki was set up at a JWP show. Uematsu has been doing a grumpy veteran routine in a comical way her win over Ohki with a reversal of a cross body at 9:41 was a way of Uematsu thumbing her nose at JWP owner Commando Bolshoi.

Next was one of GAMI's embarassing comedy matches with Bullfight Sora as her partner vs Kana & Cherry. Kana & Cherry won in 22:27 but the match was used to set up some discord in the winning team and Kana challenged Cherry afterwards and that will happen shortly. The main event was WAVE's ace Yumi Ohka vs Shuu Shibutani. The angle here has to do with KAORU. It's a little convoluted. Uematsu decides who will face KAORU on the next show. Apparently Ohka was pretty good and won over Shibutani with a hanging bomb at 15:09. And Shibutani has shown improvement since returning from Mexico. You might think that the winner would get the match but Uematsu awarded the KAORU match to Shibutani as a way of getting Ohka's goat. Ohka will face Kana and both matches will be on the Feb. 23 show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Gap Band

Artist:The Gap Band

Song:I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops!)

Album:20th Century Masters:The Millenium Collection:The Best Of The Gap Band

The Gap Band was one of the top funk groups of the late 70s and into the 80s. Their music is constantly sampled by hip hop guys. The group consisted of the three Wilson brothers from Tulsa, OK. Charlie Wilson was lead singer (born Oct. 9, 1942) along with Ronnie & Robert. Daddy was a preacher so they grew up singing in church. They started performing in Tulsa clubs as teens. They called themselves the Greenwood, Archer & Pine Street Band after three main streets in Tulsa but shortened it to The Gap Band. Tulsa native Leon Russell signed them to his Shelter label. The 1974 album Magician's Holiday was great R & B but didn't sell. Their big break came when singer DJ Rogers introduced them to nightclub owner Lonnie Simmons. He was looking to start a label and The Gap Band was his first signing. Simmons helped write & produce their material. Their 1979 album Gap Band II spawned four hits including I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance AKA Oops Upside Your Head. The guys heard some fans in Pittsburgh chanting the groove and they picked up on it. They continued to have hits and are now considered icons of funk despite the goofy cowboy costumes. This budget comp is a good intro to their music. The Gap Band still reunites occasionally but Charlie Wilson is still a successful recording artist today. His 2005 CD Charlie, Last Name Wilson reached #11 on the Black Album charts. His new CD Supa Sexy will be out this year. Lonnie Simmons still has his Total Experience label and last surfaced in 2004. Here's The Gap Band performing I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops!) in 1979.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ryan Newman wins Daytona 500

Leading into today's Daytona 500, most of us were talking about the Hendrick Chevys and the Gibbs Toyotas. The Dodges didn't seem very strong. So after an exciting race, the surprise winner was Ryan Newman in the #12 Alltel Dodge with his Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch finishing second. This gave car owner Roger Penske his first Daytona 500 win. Tony Stewart & Kyle Busch followed in their Toyotas. Kyle had the best car all day but he got into trouble on the final restart by going under the yellow line while trying to pass leader Jeff Burton. He would have been penalized if he hadn't checked up. Reed Sorenson finished fifth in his Dodge. The Hendrick Chevys had problems. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished ninth but the decision not to pit on the second last caution when the other leaders made final pit stops probably sealed his fate. He wasn't going to win on old tires. Jeff Gordon had mechanical problems and Jimmie Johnson & Casey Mears crashed so Earnhardt didn't have any teammates to help him anyway. Elliott Sadler & Robby Gordon also had top ten finishes so it was a big day for Dodge. It just goes to show that anything can happen in NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bobbie Gentry

Artist:Bobbie Gentry

Song:Ode To Billy Joe

Album:Chickasaw County Child:The Artistry Of Bobbie Gentry

Most music fans know this song. It was a monster hit in 1968 that fascinated the public. It was Bobbie Gentry's one pop hit so she's labelled as a one hit wonder. She was born Roberta Streeter July 27, 1944 in Chickasaw County, MS. Her parents divorced and she was raised by her grandparents. Her grandmother traded a cow for a piano and Bobbie started composing music as a child. At age 13, she moved to Arcadia, CA to live with her mom and began performing in Los Angeles clubs. She named herself after the 1952 film Ruby Gentry. She worked as a Las Vegas showgirl for a while and studied at the Los Angeles Conservatory Of Music. In 1967 a demo got the attention of Capitol Records producer Kelly Gordon and he signed her. The debut single was Mississippi Delta but the B side Ode To Billy Joe started getting airplay. The song became a huge worldwide hit on the pop, country & soul charts with folks trying to figure out the song. Bobbie has always said that Ode To Billy Joe wasn't about the suicide of Billy Joe McAllister but about the matter of fact way it was discussed around the dinner table. Bobbie Gentry won three Grammys in 1968 including Best New Artist. Bobbie Gentry was never able to duplicate the success of Ode To Billy Joe but she did OK in the Country market especially with a duet album she did with Glen Campbell. She had a summer replacement variety show in 1974 but was dropped by Capitol Records. Warner Bros. turned Ode To Billy Joe into a film in 1976. She released one unsuccessful single for Warners and retired from show business with a 1978 Christmas night appearance on The Tonight Show. She's been out of the limelight ever since so we only remember her as this beautiful girl singing this very strange song. This 2004 comp from Shout! Factory is probably a bit much for most folks. One various artists comp to try is Shout! Factory's 2006 3CD box set Legends Of Country released in conjunction with the PBS special of the same name. Either way, Ode To Billy Joe is a fascinating song after all these years. Here's Bobbie Gentry performing Ode To Billy Joe on the Smothers Brothers show in 1968.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Doobie Brothers

Artist:The Doobie Brothers

Song:Takin' It To The Streets

Album:The Best Of The Doobies

The Doobie Brothers were one of the most popular bands of the 70s. The 1976 hit Takin' It To The Streets signaled a shift from straight ahead rock to blue eyed soul due to a specific personnel change. The group started in California when Moby Grape's Skip Spence introduced guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnston (born Aug. 15, 1948 in Visalia, CA) & drummer John Hartman. Their band Pud didn't last long but they started jamming with guitarist Patrick Simmons (born Oct. 19, 1948 in Aberdeen, WA) & bassist John Shogren. The name The Doobie Brothers is an obvious weed reference. They signed with Warner Bros. in 1970. Their 1971 debut didn't sell. They added second drummer Michael Hossack and Tiran Porter replaced Shogren. Their 1972 album Toulouse Street spawned Listen To The Music which began a long string of hits. The group started to change when Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (born Dec. 13, 1948 in Washington) joined the band in 1975. He brought keyboardist/vocalist Michael McDonald (born Feb. 12, 1952 in St. Louis) with him. He replaced Johnston when Johnston was hospitalized with a stomach ailment. He also replaced Johnston as the group's primary songwriter and the 1976 album Takin' It To The Streets signaled a change to the kind of blue eyed soul McDonald enjoyed performing. The musical change certainly didn't hurt the band and the album went platinum. The 1979 album Minute By Minute was even bigger. Johnston's return to the band was unsuccessful and he left to go solo. McDonald left to go solo in 1982 and then Johnston returned permanently. This 1976 comp covers The Doobie Brothers early material and I would recommend the more comprehensive 2001 Greatest Hits comp instead. The Doobie Brothers left Warners for Capitol in the 80s and faded out. But Johnston & Simmons still lead a version of The Doobie Brothers today. They last recorded in 2004. Here's The Doobie Brothers performing Takin' It To The Streets in 1979.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fuji/Ward showdown one step closer

Smackgirl held the opening round of the World REMIX tournament on Feb. 14 at Korakuen Hall. Though the direction of the Open Weight tournament isn't clear yet, the direction of the Lightweight tournament is clearly headed towards a Megumi Fujii/Lisa Ward showdown in the final. Of course upsets can change things but Ward wants Fujii very badly. And Fujii isn't messing around because she spent time training at Josh Barnett's compound in California and Barnett was in her corner for this match. Cross your fingers fans.

Because we're dealing with tournaments here, there really wasn't a main event. But of course everyone wants to see Mega Megu just because she's considered the best female fighter anywhere. her bout was the final one on the show. Her first round opponent is Fighting Femme Fatales fighter Cindy Hales. The match begins with Fujii backing Hales into the corner with strikes. She takes her down but Hales escapes with a knee to Fujii's face. For the remainder of round one, Hales is very careful with Fujii. Both attempt takedowns but don't get anywhere. Fujii wastes no time in round two and submits Hales with an armbar at 27 seconds of round two.

The semi main was an opening round Open Weight tournament bout between veterans Megumi Yabushita & Hitomi Akano. Akano begins the match by pushing Yabushita into the corner. Yabushita attempts to counter by grabbing Akano's arm but it doesn't work and Akano continues to pound Yabushita in the corner. Akano continues to strike Yabushita in round two. She finally gets her on the ground and submits her with a heel hook at 4:16 of round two. The other Open Weight match was earlier in the show between Atsuko Emoto & Tama Chan. I understand Mariko Yoshida and some of Emoto's other pro wrestling pals were there. Tama Chan tries to get control at the start but Emoto is equal to the task and mounts her. Emoto continues her dominance in round two. She wins a unanimous decision.

Lisa Ward's opponent in her first round match was the always tough Ayumi "Edge" Saito. Gaijin in Japan Roxanne Modaferri was in Ward's corner. Ward didn't waste any time and took Edge down and pounded her. But Akano's defense is pretty good and they get up. Thref checks Ward out after Edge hits a knee kick. But Ward takes Edge down and appli9es a heel hold. She adjusts to an ankle lock and submits Edge at 4:41 of round one. Korean fighter Ham Su Hee fought Saori Ishioka. Ham is a kickboxer so she mostly controlled Ishioka with strikes. Ishioka was never able to break down Ham's defense ane Ham won a unanimous decision. Brazilian Anna Michelle Taveras faced Kyoko Takabayashi. Tavares pushes Takabayashi into the corner and pounds her. Tavares controlle round one and submitted Takabayashi with an armbar at 26 seconds of round two.

There were also three Discovery matches. Sakura Nakamura too Madoka Okada down and attempted a triangle choke. Okada kicked out. They both went down after Okada was backed into a corner and Okada got a sleeper on Nakamura for the win at 4:43 of round one. Asami Kodera tries to rush veteran Masako Yoshida but Yoshida has no trouble with her and wins a unanimous decision. Karate champ Megu made a successful MMA debut with a quick win over HARUMI with an armbar at 1:19 of round one. The next round of the World REMIX tournament will be Apr. 25 at Korakuen Hall. The semi finals in the Lightweight tournament will be Megumi Fujii vs Ham Su Hee and Lisa Ward vs Anna Michelle Taveras. The Open Weight matches will be announced later when the two gaijins are announced.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Tom Paxton

Artist:Tom Paxton

Song:Jennifer's Rabbit/I Give You The Morning

Album:The Best Of Tom Paxton:I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound

Folksinger Tom Paxton probably wasn't as successful as some of his contemporaries in the 60s. But he's written a wide variety of songs and is still around today. He was born Oct. 31, 1937 in Chicago and moved to Bristow, OK at age ten. He majored in drama at the University Of Oklahoma but became interested in songwriting. After graduating he was stationed in the Army Reserve at Fort Dix, NJ and started performing at clubs in Greenwich Village in New York City. His big break came in 1962. He auditioned to become a member of the Chad Mitchell Trio. He didn't get the job but veteran folk music producer/publisher Milt Okun liked him and signed him to a publishing deal. His songs started being performed by others. Pete Seeger had a hit with Ramblin' Boy in 1963. Paxton's performance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival earned him a contract with Elektra in 1964. Paxton's songs are a mix of whimsical humour, children's songs & social commentary. But he's always been more successful as a songwriter. His song Bottle Of Wine was a huge rock hit for The Fireballs in 1967. This Rhino comp covers his Elektra years and Jennifer's Rabbit/I Give You The Morning is from the 1971 live album The Compleat Tom Paxton. That was his final recording for Elektra. In recent years, Paxton has been very successful writing and recording children's songs. He currently records for Appleseed Records and his latest CD Comedians & Angels was released last month. Paxton has been married for 40 years and lives in Alexandria, VA. He's still a great but underrated performer. Here's Tom Paxton performing The Last Thing On My Mind in 1966.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Dells

Artist:The Dells

Song:A Heart Is A House For Love

Album:Ultimate Collection

This surprise 1991 hit from the film The Five Heartbeats introduced young people to one of the greatest and most enduring vocal groups in pop music history. The Dells began in 1953 in the Chicago suburb of Harvey, IL with high school students Marvin Junior, Johnny Funches, Verne Allison, Mickey McGill & Chuck Barksdale. Their first big hit was Oh What A Nite in 1956 and then Stay In My Corner in 1965. The Dells continued to record into the 80s with the same basic lineup. Just when it looked like they would be consigned to the oldies circuit, Robert Townsend asked them to help him with a film he wanted to make about classic R & B vocal groups. A Heart Is A House For Love was produced by George Duke and hit #13 on the R & B charts. It's a wonderful song on a par with any of The Dells classic recordings and you can get them all on this Ultimate Collection comp. The Dells continue to tour with most of the original members. They were incucted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004. Here's the video for A Heart Is A House For Love by The Dells. I guess it's pretty good song for Valentine's Day so Happy V-Day to everyone

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Carlos Amano is the new Principal of OZ Academy

OZ Academy had their latest show on Feb. 10 at Shinjuku FACE. The recent war between OZ owner Mayumi Ozaki and the OZ wrestlers continued with a strange gauntlet match. Ozaki was to face three wrestlers in succession and if she continues to win, the loser of each match leaves OZ. But if Ozaki loses, the winner becomes the new Principal of OZ Academy. Most of the trash talk over the last few weeks has been between Ozaki and the new OZ Academy champ Carlos Amano. I guess Amano wants to be boss.

The undercard led off with AKINO over Devil Masami at 15:57 when she reversed a power bomb. And OZ Academy announced that AKINO's 1oth anniversary show will be July 26 at Shinjuku FACE. KAORU defeated Ran YuYu at 10:00 when Police interfered. Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki defeated Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato at 18:03 when Kuragaki nailed Nagashima with a lariat.

So the first match in this proposed gauntlet was Mayumi Ozaki vs Carlos Amano. Ozaki played a great heel leading up to the show by promising to crush Amano. But it didn't happen. Amano won at 9:55 when Police interfered and Ozaki was DQd. Yeah it doesn't make any sense when one considers D-FIX history. This was followed by an impromptu tag match with Carlos Amano & Dynamite Kansai defeating Mayumi Ozaki, KAORU & Police at 13:28 when Amano used the Carlos Ghosn on Ozaki. So Carlos Amano is the new Principal of OZ Academy and a new era of fighting spirit begins. Except the specter of Ozaki remains as she supposedly crashed the OZ website when she lost. Amano did announce that Ozaki will not appear on the Mar. 9 show. Like that will stop Ozaki.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Five Keys

Artist:The Five Keys

Song:My Saddest Hour

Album:The Doo Wop Box II

Along with The Flamingos & The Moonglows, The Five Keys are considered one of the best vocal groups of the 50s and their recordings are cherished by collectors. Fortunately you can hear them and plenty of other doo wop groups on Rhino's 4CD Doo Wop Box II. The group began in 1945 as The Sentimental Four gospel group. There were two sets of brothers; Rudy & Bernie West and Ripley & Raphael Ingram from Newport News, VA. They added Edwin Hall in 1949. Raphael was drafted into the Air Force and was replaced by Dickie Smith. They won a trip to The Apollo in a talent contest and their manager suggested a name change to The Five Keys. Hall got married and left. He was replaced by Maryland Pierce and guitarist Joe Jones was added. This was the group that signed with Aladdin Records in 1951. Their first big hit was a cover of the Benny Goodman hit The Glory Of Love in 1951. My Saddest Hour was released in Dec. 1953 and continued a long streak of R & B hits. The Five Keys left Aladdin in 1954 for Capitol Records and had their biggest hit called Ling Ting Tong. The Five Keys continued to have success but tired of touring and like a lot of doo wop groups ran out of steam by the early 60s. A version of The Five Keys with Bernie West, Maryland Pierce & Dickie Smith still tours the oldies circuit today. Here's The Five Keys performing Ling Ting Tong in 1955. Yes. it's out of sync. I suspect the audio & video are from different sources.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

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

Artist:Sly & The Family Stone

Song:Dance To The Music

Album:Dance To The Music

Dance To The Music was Sly & The Family Stone's first top ten pop hit and was very influential in mixing funk, R & B and psychedelic music in the late 60s. Sly's 1967 debut album A Whole New Thing was critically acclaimed but it flopped. So Columbia/Epic Records executive Clive Davis told Sly that he wanted a pop record. Of course Sly was a successful DJ in San Francisco and produced groups like The Beau Brummels & Bobby Freeman so he knew exactly what he needed to do. The group wasn't very happy about going more commercial but that's exactly what they did. Sax player Jerry Martini said Dance To The Music was just "glorified Motown beats" and "a very unhip thing to do". But it worked. Dance To The Music is still a great party song and features vocals by Sly Stone, Freddie Stone & Larry Graham along with Cynthia Robinson's ad libs. It launched Sly & The Family Stone into the mainstream and started a long string of hits. It was also a big influence as groups like The Temptations were mixing soul with psychedelic music later in 1968. Epic rereleased Dance To The Music on CD in 2007 with several bonus tracks. Here's Sly & The Family Stone performing Dance To The Music on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1968.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hardcore joshi puroresu show announced

A press conference was held on Monday to announce a very unique hardcore joshi puroresu show. The show is being promoted by Hirotsugu Suyama. He's a wrestling writer, commentator & photographer best known for his deluxe joshi puroresu photo book Heavy Metal Ladies. The show is titled Hardcore Ladies and will be at the Japanese Judas Tree Studio on May 4. The announced main event will be a Fluorescent Tube match between Kyoko Kimura and 666 wrestler Yuuko Miyamoto. Kimura has had several of these kind of matches in Big Japan and is pretty good at them. He also announced a Barbed Wire Board match featuring Mayumi Ozaki and Arisa Nakajima. He says he hasn't decided if it will be a singles match or if he'll expand it to a tag team match. Of course Ozaki has a lot of experience in this kind of match but this is uncharted territory for Nakajima. It should be interesting to see what else Suyama comes up with. At least it's different, I guess.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Mello-Kings

Artist:The Mello-Kings

Song:Tonite, Tonite

Album:The Doo Wop Box

Yet another classic from the Rhino 4CD Doo Wop Box. The thing that's interesting about The Mello-Kings is they're not black but usually toured with black doo wop groups. The group was led by lead singer Bob Scholl (born July 14, 1938 in Mount Vernon, NY). For those who don't know, Mount Vernon is a suburb of New York City. Bob formed the group with his brother Jerry Scholl, Ed Quinn, Neil Arena & Larry Esposito in 1956 as The Mellotones. All went to George Washington High School in Mount Vernon. They got the attention of a black pianist named Dick Levister and he became their manager. He brought them to Herald Records owner Al Silver who specialized in vocal groups. Herald released Tonite, Tonite but there was already a group called The Mello-Tones so Silver rereleased the song under the name The Mello-Kings. The song was a big hit in the Northeast US and the group made a splash on TV with their white dinner jackets. All of their subsequent records flopped but Tonite, Tonite has had a long life as a doo wop standard. The Mello-Kings toured with other doo wop groups and even played the Apollo. Bob Scholl died in a boating accident on Aug. 27, 1975 but Jerry Scholl continues to tour the oldies circuit with a version of The Mello-Kings. Tonite, Tonite also appeared in the 1979 film Boulevard Nights. Here's The Mello-Kings performing Tonite, Tonite in the 1959 film Sweet Beat.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Loudon Wainwright III

Artist:Loudon Wainwright III


Album:Career Moves

Loudon Wainwright III is a very talented singer songwriter actor best known for his 1972 novelty hit Dead Skunk. His hilarious songs have given him a rabid fanbase. He was born Sept. 5, 1947 in Chapel Hill, NC. His father was an editor at Life Magazine. He grew up in Bedford, NY. His sister Sloan Wainwright is also a singer. In the late 60s, he stumbled into writing and performing music and was discovered by manager Milton Kramer while playing New York clubs. He released two albums on Atlantic and then moved to Columbia. His 1972 Album III spawned the surprise novelty hit Dead Skunk. It's his only hit but he has enough of a following that he doesn't need another hit. T.S.M.N.W.A. is a hilarious song from his 1993 live CD Career Moves where Wainwright bemoans the constant misspelling of his name. He was married to folksinger Kate McGarrigle and later to folksinger Suzzy Roche. His children Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright & Lucy Roche are all singers and Lucy currently tours with her dad. He's also done films over the years and most recently appeared in and wrote the score for the 2007 hit film Knocked Up. The soundtrack is his latest CD. He is currently signed to Concord Records. Here's Loudon Wainwright III performing Nocturnal Stumblebutt in Germany.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Contours

Artist:The Contours

Song:Do You Love Me

Album:Ultimate Dirty Dancing

The Contours' Do You Love Me was one of Motown's earliest hits and the song was revived by the 1988 film Dirty Dancing. The Contours weren't as slick as subsequent Motown groups. The group started in Detroit in 1958 as The Blenders. Lead singer Billy Gordon was joined by Billy Hogg, Sylvester Potts, Joe Billingslea, Hubert Johnson and guitarist Huey Davis. The changed their name to The Contours and unsuccessfully auditioned for Motown owner Berry Gordy. Johnson was a cousin of Jackie Wilson and Wilson helped them with their act and convinced Gordy to sign them in 1961. Their first single tanked and Gordy was going to drop them when Wilson again convinced Gordy to give them another chance. Gordy had intended Do You Love Me for The Temptations but the song was too rough for them so he gave it to The Contours. The song was a #1 R & B hit and reached #3 on the pop charts in 1962. It was their one really big hit. The 1988 hit film Dirty Dancing had a lot of oldies on the soundtrack and Do You Love Me got a big boost from the film. The Ultimate Dirty Dancing is an expanded version of the original release. It has all the music that was in the film. RCA Europe released it in 2003 in conjunction with the DVD rerelease. RCA has recently released a 20th Anniversary edition that is the same as this version. Billingslea & Potts have toured the oldies circuit for years with a version of The Contours. Here are The Contours performing Do You Love Me at The Apollo in 1963. The sound goes out for about 30 seconds at about the three minute mark.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lineup announced for Feb. 24 Fuuka Matsuri show

Fuuka was at the Sportsnavi office on Friday to announce the lineup for the Feb. 24 Fuuka Matsuri show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. She's calling it her 4th anniversary show though I think the anniversary is actually in March. You may recall that last year she had her whole family involved. Here brother is a wrestler and he will have a match against an opponent TBA. That's OK but again she is indulging herself by having her parents and the rest of her family involved in the show. She more or less admitted that she is being a self indulgent brat by saying that she doesn't expect fans to understand the significance of having her family participate. I understand it but disagree with it because she should produce a show to entertain fans, not herself.

Fuuka's musical group with the Shirai sisters and RICA will appear on the show. The group has now got a name. It's called Panic Power and they will do a number to preview their upcoming CD. Fuuka told Sportsnavi that she is planning four more shows. She said she is planning to have her fifth anniversary show at Korakuen Hall and if it doesn't do well she will retire. Well, that's stepping into the deep end of the pool. So she's having the commemorative match with her family and her brother Kakimoto has a match. Other matches have Fuuka teaming with Hikaru against AKINO & Shuu Shibutani. The masked Fuuka Kidd will team with Io Shirai against Commando Bolshoi & Bullfight Sora. Mio Shirai will face Tojuki Leon. She'll be flogging her book, her CD and her DVD and who knows what else.

It's all beans at JWP dojo show

JWP had another one of their dojo shows on Feb. 3. Once again, I will remind you not to read too much into any results as the matches have very silly rules. In this case, it had to do with beans and bad language. So they have to be put into that context. I will also repeat what I have said before in this space and that is that Bolshoi runs way too many of these shows. No, they don't do any harm and Bolshoi doesn't have to pay an arena rental. But I believe cutting down on pointless dojo shows might do JWP some good and force them to focus more on better angles.

As is usually the case with these dojo shows, the opener was a standard match with the veteran team of KAZUKI & Kaori Yoneyama facing youngsters Aska Ohki & Mayuca Niizeki. The building was cold so Niizeki came out before the show to distribute heating pads & hot tea to freezing fans. The youngsters tried hard and Niizeki attempted a missile kick and a cross body but Yoneyama used a double arm salto to pin Niizeki at 12:03. The match between Tsubasa Kuragaki & Sachie Abe had the stipulation that the wrestler is penalized if she utters a bad word. The ref flogs them or something. Kuragaki won with an Argentine backbreaker at 10:26.

The main event involved food as it sometimes does on these dojo shows. The match commemmorated 60 (!) JWP dojo shows. It was Commando Bolshoi, Tojuki Leon, Electric Wave Mask & Sarubobo (Yoneyama's Monkey Baby gimmick) vs Azumi Hyuga, Kayoko Haruyama, Kei'to & Arisa Nakajima. Anyone who gets tosed from the ring has to eat a plate of beans before reentering. And the beans can be used as a weapon. Also, Hyuga brought a plastic bat to the ring which she used as a comic weapon. Among other silliness, Bolshoi put Nakajima in a camel clutch and rubbed her face in a plate of beans. And when Bolshoi put Hyuga in a Rita Romero Special, Hyuga's bean induced fart forced Bolshoi to release the hold. And Haruyama had a plate of beans shoved down the back of her suit. This allowed Electric Wave Mask Woman to win over Haruyama with a clutch hold at 20:00. Beans, beans, they're good for your heart...

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Rosanne Cash

Artist:Rosanne Cash

Song:This Is The Way We Mend A Broken Heart

Album:King's Record Shop

Of course Rosanne Cash is best known as the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash. But in the 80s she emerged from his shadow as one of the most formidable singer songwriters of her generation. She's had some health issues recently but is currently recovering. She was born May 24, 1955 in Memphis. She was raised by her mother in Southern California and joined her dad's group after graduating high school. She signed with Columbia Records in 1978 and started working with singer songwriter Rodney Crowell. They married in 1979. Rosanne's big breakthrough was the 1981 album Seven Year Ache which crossed over from country to the pop charts. She continued to top the country charts for several years and won a Grammy for the 1986 hit I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me. This was also true of the 1987 album King's Record Shop. This wonderful version of John Hiatt's This Is The Way We Mend A Broken Heart was another #1 country hit. It's a classic album and Columbia rereleased it in 2005 with some bonus tracks. Rosanne's marriage to Rodney Crowell ended in 1991. She took a few years off, moved to Capitol Records and married producer John Levanthal. He's probably best known for his work with singer songwriter Shawn Colvin. Her most recent CD Black Cadillac was released in 2006. In recent years Rosanne has lost both her parents and her stepmom. She also underwent brain surgery in Nov. 2007 and is expected to make a full recovery. I expect more great music from Rosanne Cash in the future. Here's the video for This Is The Way We Mend A Broken Heart by Rosanne Cash.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Artist:The Paul Butterfield Blues Band



Though pretty much forgotten today, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band broke new ground in the mid-60s. They were the first credible blues band led by a white man and some of their extended jams like East-West paved the way for others to do the same. The group was led by harmonica player Paul Butterfield (born Dec. 17, 1942 in Chicago). By age 15 he was hanging around the blues clubs on the south side of Chicago with his buddy Nick Gravenites (born Oct. 2, 1938 in Chicago). They started playing together on college campuses. While attending the University Of Illinois Butterfield met guitarist Elvin Bishop (born Oct. 21, 1942 in Glendale, CA) and Butterfield decided to concentrate on developing his harmonica skills. By 1963, the band had a regular gig at Big John's in Chicago. They added bassist Jerome Arnold & drummer Sam Lay from Howlin' Wolf's band. They were signed by Elektra Records producer Paul Rothchild and then added guitarist Mike Bloomfield to the group. Their performance at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival got them a lot of attention. While recording their first album, organist Mark Naftalin was added to the group. Billy Davenport replaced Sam Lay due to illness. The 1966 album East-West caused a big stir and the song East-West was a 13 minute extended instrumental jam with Bloomfield & Bishop trading guitar licks. But friction between Butterfield & Gravenites killed the band when Gravenites & Bloomfield went to San Francisco to form Electric Flag in 1967. Butterfield & Bishop tried to keep the band going and brought in guitarist Buzzy Feiten. But the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was through in 1970. Butterfield formed a new group called Better Days but it was unsuccessful. He would occasionally record but a drug overdose killed him on May 4, 1987 at age 44. Nick Gravenites went on to replace Janis Joplin in Big Brother & The Holding Company and still performs in the Bay Area. Elvin Bishop had a big hit in 1975 with Fooled Around And Fell In Love and currently records for Blind Pig Records. Here's the Paul Butterfield Blues Band with Son House performing Born In Chicago at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Smackgirl announces brackets for Open Weight tournament

Smackgirl held a press conference Tuesday to announce the brackets for the first round of the Open Weight tournament of the World REMIX tournament at the Feb. 14 Korakuen Hall show. They also announced three Discovery fights. The matchups are Megumi Yabushita vs Hitomi Akano and Atsuko Emoto vs Tama Chan. The winners will face two gaijins TBA on April 25 at Korakuen Hall. Akano was absent but the other three were at the press conference (from l-r, Emoto, Tama Chan, Yabushita). Tama Chan joked about Emoto's masked Bullfight Sora pro wrestling gimmick. Emoto suggested that Tama Chan should take her more seriously. Yabushita said she is looking forward to facing someone in Akano who has judo skills equal to her own. That should be a very interesting match.

Smackgirl announced three additional matches for this show. Madoka Okada will face Sakura Nakamura in a 56Kg match. Okada is 4-1 and most recently won over Shawn Tamarabuchi at the Dec. 26 Smackgirl show. Nakamura is 2-1 and her last fight was a loss to Kaneko Takeshita at the Sept. 15, 2006 Smackgirl show. She's a 19 year old amateur karate champ. In a 50kg match, Masako Yoshida will face Asami Kodera. Yoshida is 13-12-5 and most recently lost to MIKU at the Oct. 28 DEEP show. Kodera is 2-1 but recently returned to MMA after several years off with a win over Mamiko Mizoguchi on the Nov. 25 Grapple Kingdom show. HARUMI will face Megu in a Middleweight bout. HARUMI is 0-6 and her last loss was to Benkei at the May 19 Smackgirl show. Megu is making her MMA debut. She was the 2007 57kg Karate Road Champ. She has faced several current fighters as an amateur.

Fuuka flogs her book

Here's a little something special for all the Fuuka fans out there. You may have heard she has a book coming out about the apprehension of the public nuisance. The book will be out in time for the next Fuuka Matsuri show on Feb. 24. Fuuka went to the Nikkan Sports office to promote the book and apparently she is doing an autograph session at a book store on Feb. 16. She says that the book is based on her blog postings about the incident and she wants it to be an inspiration for any women who encounter the same thing. So here's a video of her visit to Nikkan Sports.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Roy Haynes

Artist:Roy Haynes

Song:Stompin' At The Savoy

Album:Love Letters

Jazz drummer Roy Haynes was never flashy so he was underrated for years. In his senior years he has attained deserved legendary status. He was born Mar. 13, 1925 in Roxbury, MA. He started out in the 40s backing up big name musicians when they would travel to Boston. Eventually he moved to New York and worked extensively with Lester Young, Charlie Parker and plenty of others. He would lead his own band occasionally and tour with Stan Getz & Chick Corea among others. In 2000 he formed a trio with pianist Danilo Perez & bassist John Pattitucci that was a best seller on Verve. The 2002 CD Love Letters was recorded in Japan for 88 Records and released in the US by Columbia. It's solid straight ahead jazz with Kenny Barron & David Kikoski on piano, Dave Holland & Christian McBride on bass, Joshua Redman on tenor sax and John Scofield on guitar. Roy Haynes is still kickin' it in his 80s. His current band is called Fountain Of Youth and his most recent CD is Whereas in 2006 on the French label Dreyfus. They are releasing a Roy Haynes documentary on DVD. His son Graham Haynes plays cornet and grandson Marcus Gilmore plays drums. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Here's Roy Haynes & Fountain Of Youth (Jaleel Shaw-sax, Martin Bejerano-piano, David Wong-bass) performing at the J & R Music Festival in New York City Aug. 26, 2006 followed by a brief interview.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Slim & The Supreme Angels

Artist:Slim & The Supreme Angels


Album:Nobody But You

The veteran gospel group Slim & The Supreme Angels were led by Rev. Howard "Slim" Hunt. He was born Dec. 13, 1934 in Mississippi and grew up in Milwaukee. He started out as a member of The Soul Seekers in the early 50s and then joined The Supreme Angels in 1956. In the 70s, Hunt reinvented the group as Slim & The Supreme Angels and they were one of the most popular traditional gospel groups for many years. Hunt also became an ordained minister in 1986 and founded The Deliverance Temple in Dillon, SC. Groups like this don't record for major labels. Nobody But You is a live recording that was originally released by Intersound Records in 1996. Intersound was swallowed by Platinum Records and then Platinum went broke. The Platinum catalog includes the Intersound & Light gospel labels and they're now owned by the Compendia Music Group. They rereleased Nobody But You in 2007 with a bonus DVD. Rev. Howard "Slim" Hunt died on Feb. 25, 2007 at age 72. Slim & The Supreme Angels are one of the cornerstone groups that have built the contemporary gospel music industry. Here's Slim & The Supreme Angels performing Have You Heard The News.