Monday, March 31, 2008

Lots of yuks in Pro Wrestling WAVE

It appears at this point that Pro Wrestling WAVE has resigned itself to a mix of silly comedy and idol wrestlers. This is not surprising considering GAMI & Yumi Ohka are behind this promotion but the results are underwhelming. They're drawing a little better but 125 fans at the Mar. 30 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show is still pretty bad on a reasonably quiet weekend. Their big hiring of Moeka Haruhi was just laughable. And Ohka wants to build an idol wrestler army. Uh huh.

The show began with the aforementioned Moeka Haruhi against Toshie Uematsu. Uematsu is training her so she's going to try to make her look good. Clearly she needs a lot of work to be any good. And like a lot of idol wrestlers, she can't throw a punch. But Uematsu tries really hard to get a decent match out of her and after Haruhi misses a missile dropkick, Uematsu uses a dragon suplex and an atomic bomb for the win at 14:48. Next the return of a bad comedy gimmick. A few years ago Kaori Yoneyama used to do this masked Sarubobo (Monkey Baby) gimmick. Lately WAVE has had Bullfight Sora facing various animal characters. A similar program was done in A To Z a few years ago. Sarubobo brings a friend who I think is supposed to be a bear. It's all played for laughs as Sarubobo wins with a cradle at 4:17. I think the bear is next on Sora's dance card.

Next Noriyo Tateno made a rare appearance outside LLPW against GAMI. Of course GAMI trained in LLPW. Tateno won at 9:34 when she reversed the Adios Amiga. GAMI said she plans to bring in more joshi legends to WAVE. This was followed by a mixed match between Kyoko Kimura & Shuji Ishikawa designed to promote the upcoming Hardcore Ladies show. That show's promoter Hirotsugu Suyama was at the show selling tickets. He no sold a lot of Kimura's offense and won with a rocket launcher at 11:09. I understand WAVE is planning to run more matches in April to promote the Hardcore Ladies show.

The main event had WAVE ace Yumi Ohka against Kayoko Haruyama. Ohka has been involved in JWP's current #1 title contender league and Haruyama is the likely favourite. JWP owner Commando Bolshoi was watching from ringside. It was a decent match. They even went outside the ring as Ohka nailed Haruyama with a chair followed by a brain buster. Haruyama came back with a Pedigree on the floor. The end came when Haruyama hit a hanging crucifix and a Bloody X followed by a diving guillotine leg drop for the win at 22:12. I don't think anyone thought Ohka could win but it's good that she can have a lengthy match with someone like Haruyama.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Chris Potter

Artist:Chris Potter


Album:Traveling Mercies

Chris Potter is one of today's top jazz sax players. He was born Jan. 1, 1971 in Chicago and grew up in Columbia, SC. His mother taught psychology at the University Of South Carolina. His interest in the saxophone began when he heard Paul Desmond performing Take Five with Dave Brubeck. He started playing locally as a teen and was spotted in 1985 by legendary pianist Marian McPartland. She told his dad that Chris was ready to tour with a band but dad wisely insisted that Chris finish high school. His big break came in 1989 at a local jazz festival. Legendary sax player Red Rodney was asked to play a couple of songs with the local phenom. Red said that normally they just send the kid away after a couple of songs. But he was so impressed with the 18 year old Potter that he asked him to stay for the whole set. So Potter joined Rodney's band when he went to New York. By 1994, Marian McPartland got him a contract with Concord Jazz and Potter has recorded as a leader ever since. Migrations is from the excellent 2002 Verve CD Traveling Mercies and features John Scofield on guitar along with Kevin Hays on piano, Scott Colley on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. Potter suffers from Meniere's Disease which has eroded the hearing in one ear. But he worked through it and continues to lead his own band also played in Dave Holland's group. He currently records for Sunnyside Records and his latest CD Follow The Red Line was released in Oct. 2007. Here's Chris Potter performing with Craig Taborn on electric piano, Adam Rogers on guitar & Nate Smith on drums.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Big Mama Thornton

Artist:Big Mama Thornton

Song:Hound Dog

Album:Hound Dog:The Peacock Recordings

Of course most folks associate the song Hound Dog with Elvis Presley but legendary songwriters Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller wrote the song for blues shouter Wille Mae "Big Mama" Thornton and it topped the R & B charts for seven weeks in 1953. She was born Dec. 11, 1926 in Montgomery, AL. She grew up singing in her daddy's church in Houston and toured with Sammy Green's Hot Harlem Revue in the 40s. Peacock Records owner Don Robey signed her in 1951. He sent her to Los Angeles to work with Johnny Otis and he produced this down and dirty version of Hound Dog featuring really nasty guitar by Pete Lewis. It was Thornton's only national hit in her long career. Ironically, Elvis never heard her version. He heard Freddie Bell perform it in Las Vegas and based it on Bell's cleaned up version. This comp has all her Peacock recordings. Big Mama Thornton continued to tour the blues circuit for many years until her death on July 25, 1984 at age 57. She suffered from alcoholism and had withered away to nothing by the time she died. But Big Mama Thornton will forever be remembered for Hound Dog. Here's Big Mama Thornton with Buddy Guy performing Hound Dog in 1965.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chrissy Wallace does well in NASCAR debut

It's pretty well known to NASCAR fans that NASCAR would really like to have a woman in Sprint Cup. Of course she has to be competitive. NASCAR has seen how the popularity of Danica Patrick has elevated the Indy Racing League. And she's competitive. She's starting fourth at this weekend's IRL season opener in Homestead. The most recent attempt to establish a women in NASCAR failed miserably. Erin Crocker did well in open wheel cars but wasn't competitve in the Craftsman Truck series. And then she got into a relationship with her car owner Ray Evernham. It remains to be seen if she can rehabilitate her racing career.

Today's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville marked the NASCAR debut of 19 year old Chrissy Wallace. She is the daughter of veteran NASCAR racer Mike Wallace and her uncles Rusty & Kenny Wallace are racers along with cousin Steve Wallace. So it's the family business. Mike currently drives the #7 GEICO Toyota for Germain Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Chrissy has been doing very well at short tracks. So Bob Germain suggested to Mike that Chrissy should make her NASCAR debut in a Germain Racing Toyota Truck. And GEICO offered sponsorship.

Chrissy tested at the half mile Martinsville track a couple of weeks ago. She drove the #03 GEICO/Mobil Toyota at today's Martinsville Craftsman Truck race. Dad was spotting and two time Sprint Cup Champ Tony Stewart was on the pit box advising Chrissy. Stewart is close pals with Mike and has financially supported Chrissy's racing career. Most drivers would love to have him on the radio. Chrissy qualified 35th of 36 trucks. As the video below shows, she got a lap down early. You can hear her dad calming her down. She got her lap back and finished 17th. I don't think anyone expected her to win but that was a pretty good finish. Maybe Chrissy Wallace has what it takes to race in NASCAR. Short track ace Dennis Setzer won the race.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions

Artist:Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions

Song:This Is My Country

Album:The Anthology 1961-1977

This 2CD comp not only covers Curtis Mayfield's 70s recordings but also covers his work with The Impressions. The group started out in 1957 as The Roosters, a doo wop group started in Chicago by Sam Gooden (born Sept. 2, 1939 in Chatanooga) and Arthur & Richard Brooks. Jerry Butler joined and brought guitarist Curtis Mayfield (born June 3, 1942 in Chicago) with him. The two had been in a gospel group together. They were renamed The Impressions by their manager and had a top 20 hit in 1958 with For Your Precious Love. Butler sang lead but would soon leave for a successful solo career. Mayfield took over lead vocals and primary songwriting duties and brought in Fred Cash (born Oct. 8, 1940 in Chatanooga). Gypsy Woman was a top 20 hit in 1961 but follow up singles didn't catch on. The Brooks brothers left in 1962 and The Impressions remained a trio for the rest of the 60s. The other key addition was producer arranger Johnny Pate (born Dec. 5, 1923 in Chicago Heights, IL). The Impressions struck gold with the 1963 hit It's All Right. The mix of Mayfield's gospel influenced songs and Pate's arrangements were a very potent combination. As the 60s went on, Mayfield's songs became more socially aware. He also started his own label Curtom in 1968 and This Is My Country was the first album. The album did well but they were fading and Mayfield left to go solo in 1970. Cash & Gooden continue to tour today as The Impressions and Curtis Mayfield went on to major success with Superfly to cement his legacy as one of the all time greats of 20th century black music. Mayfield became a paraplegic when a scaffold fell on him during a performance in Brooklyn on Aug. 14, 1990 and he died on Dec. 26, 1999 at age 57. Here's Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions performing It's All Right on Hollywood A Go Go 1965.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Breakfast Of Champions

Long time readers of this blog will know that I normally go to McDonalds for breakfast but this morning I went to the Beakfast Of Champions fundraiser to benefit the Childrens Breakfast program at LAMP. CITY-TV reporter Dwight Drummond was guest speaker. The location was a reataurant at Evans & Kipling. Getting there was no big deal. I took the Kipling bus to Evans. Getting in the building is another story because it's not accessible. They have this horrible steep ramp at the side of the building but no cutout in the curb to access it. So they got a piece of plywood there so I could get to this ramp. It was so steep that I knew that getting out of the building would be a problem.

But I made it in and found a reasonably empty table to pull into. LAMP Executive Director Russ Ford introduced some dignitairies including MP Michael Ignatieff, MPP Laurel Broten & TDSB Trustee Bruce Davis. No Mark Grimes. I guess we're not on his Christmas list. The breakfast was buffet style so the young man sitting next to me offered to pick up my food. Meanwhile, Laurel Broten came over to chat about my ongoing issues with ODSP. It was standard breakfast fare and after everyone was finished, the festivities began.

I can't remember her name (sorry) but the woman who runs the breakfast program acknowledged her volunteers and some of the suppliers. Of course Dwight Drummond is now a successful reporter but he grew up in Jane/Finch and benefitted from breakfast programs as a child. He has also worked in breakfast programs and now it's great that he supports similar breakfast programs across Toronto. He's a role model for young people who are growing up in similar circumstances and he speaks from experience. There's more to life in the city than a police blotter as Dwight knows since he reports a lot of police business. I'm sure you've heard the expression "Pay It Forward". That's what this is all about.

So now it's time to go and I used my new phone to take a picture with Dwight Drummond. Check out the accompanying pic. Thanks to Darnell for taking the picture. Of course I plugged the blog like I always do. So now it's time to go and I'm very concerned about getting out of this building safely. I know I can't control the chair while going down the ramp. But several restaurant workers help me out by holding the chair while I'm going down the ramp. And I made it without killing myself. I was speaking to the maintenance guy for the building and he knows the building has to be made accessible. Many building owners simply don't want to spend the money on a proper ramp. They don't understand that spending money on accessibility pays for itself in increased business. And LAMP told me that next year's Breakfast Of Champions will be in an accessible building. So if only one person is more aware of accessibility issues that the disabled deal with daily, I guess I did my job. And thanks to the guys who helped me in & out of the building as I never would have gotten in or out otherwise.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Junior walker & The All Stars

Artist:Junior Walker & The All Stars

Song:How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

Album:20th Century Masters:The Millenium Collection:The Best Of Junior Walker & The All Stars

With his honking sax and rough vocals, Junior Walker was atypical of Motown artists. But he had a huge hit with Shotgun and those of us who like old school R & B saxmen like Louis Jordan & Bullmoose Jackson enjoy his music too. He was born Autry DeWalt Jr. June 14, 1931 in Blytheville, AR. He grew up in South Bend, IN and started playing the sax in high school. He started performing in clubs in a band led by drummer Billy "Stix" Nicks along with organist Fred Patton & guitarist Willie Woods. Walker took leadership of the band when Nicks went into the Army and they all moved to Battle Creek, MI as Junior Walker & The All Stars. Victor Thomas replaced Patton and James Graves played drums. They were spotted in a local club by singer Johnny Bristol and he took them to former Moonglow Harvey Fuqua. Walker signed in 1961 but Fuqua sold his company to Motown in 1962 and Walker was assigned to the Soul label. The story behind Shotgun is Walker had no intention of singing the song. He didn't think he could sing. But the singer hired for the session didn't show up and Motown owner Berry Gordy told Walker to sing instead. Walker thought Gordy would dub in a different singer later but Gordy surprised him by leaving it alone. It topped the R & B charts and was a top five hit. This version of Marvin Gaye's How Sweet It Is also charted in 1966. This comp has all his hits. Junior Walker had more hits into the early 70s and continued to tour until his death from cancer on Nov. 23, 1995 at age 64. Here's Junior Walker & The All Stars performing Shotgun on Hullabaloo 1965.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carano/Young confirmed for May 31 EliteXC show

Sam Caplan of Five Ounces Of Pain reported yesterday that Gina Carano will face Kaitlin Young on the May 31 EliteXC MMA show that will be aired live on CBS. Kaitlin confirmed this in an interview with MMA Weekly. Kaitlin said the fight was offered to her and she couldn't say no. Appearing on network TV is a big opportunity. It's unfortunate that her big wins at last November's Hook 'N' Shoot show will only air online. The two have similar muay thai backgrounds so it should be a good fight. Kaitlin is 4-1 and Gina is 5-0 though she hasn't fought since her win over Tanya Evinger last September mostly because of her appearances on American Gladiator.

Now it's time for today's conspiracy theory. Already some fans are whining that Kaitlin Young got this opportunity instead of someone more established. Kaitlin has acknowledged that this sentiment is out there. As usual, it doesn't take into consideration EliteXC promoter Gary Shaw's master plan of Gina Carano as The Face Of Womens MMA. Obviously they're going to have to have Gina face a more established fighter eventually. I would have taken the time to establish Kaitlin on a televised EliteXC show so fans know who she is. The delay in scheduling Gina's next fight due to American Gladiators doesn't concern Shaw because Gina has done really well on the show. Maybe fans will follow her to the cage. So NBC had to replace some of the American Galdiators for season two. I know one of the women suffered a serious knee injury. Nothing has been announced yet but it is well known that former MMA fighter Erin Toughill is now an American Gladiator. I guess Gina was so good that why not try another legit fighter instead of fitness models. So my conspiracy is that Gary Shaw had some input on this choice and is looking to set up a big money fight between Gina Carano & Erin Toughill afterwards. Hey, that's my conspiracy and I'm sticking to it.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Norman Fox & The Rob-Roys

Artist:Norman Fox & The Rob-Roys

Song:Pizza Pie

Album:The Doo Wop Box

Yet another obscure classic from the 4CD Doo Wop Box. And it's a song about pizza. Mmmmm! Along with The Del-Vikings, Norman Fox & The Rob-Roys were one of the first interracial doo wop groups. Lead singer Norman Fox formed the group with schoolmates at DeWitt Clinton High School in Bronx, NY. They were Robert Therier (baritone), Marshall "Buzzy" Helfand (bass), Bob Trotman (first tenor), & Andre Lilly (second tenor). In 1957 Trotman met Peacock Records New York talent scout Don Carter at a record shop and told him about the group. They auditioned and were signed immediately. The group was originally called The Velvetones but were renamed The Rob-Roys after the popular cocktail. The group released three singles on Peacock's Backbeat label. The problem was that Peacock was more of a gospel & blues label and didn't really know how to sell Rock & Roll. The 1957 singles Tell Me Why & Dance Girl Dance got airplay in the Northeast US but never broke out. Frustrated with Peacock, the group took the song Pizza Pie to Capitol and recorded it in 1958 after Paul Schneller replaced Helfand. Pizza Pie was released in Jan. 1958 but was pulled when Peacock owner Don Robey produced a valid contract with the Rob-Roys. They agreed to record five more singles for Peacock to get out of their conntract but by that time, Capitol lost interest in the Rob-Roys and Pizza Pie was never rereleased. And the five sides for Peacock weren't released either. It's too bad because Pizza Pie is a pretty good song. It'll probably make you hungry. Their song Tell Me Why was a big hit for The Belmonts in 1961 but the group split up in 1963 though I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that Norman Fox & Robert Therier still tour the oldies circuit with a version of the group. Fox had a career as a garment manufacturer and Therier is a CPA. There's obviously no performance video footage of the group but here's a video of Pizza Pie by Norman Fox & The Rob-Roys. Mmmmmm!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ibuki's road to Korakuen Hall continues

Ibuki's Mar. 23 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show continues the pattern of shows leading up to their annual Korakuen Hall show on May 25. The big news was the return of the masked wrestler Ray after being out with an injury since last summer. Yumi Ohka came over from Pro Wrestling WAVE to wrestle her. There was a re-debut of a wrestler you're probably not familiar with but I know a bit about her. It's always good to have guest veterans come to Ibuki but not this time.

The opener was Tomoka Nakagawa vs Ayako Sato. It was mostly a rookie
style sprint ending in a 15 minute draw. Next was Cherry vs Hanako
Kobayashi from Ito Dojo. Very similar to the first match except
Cherry has been around longer than Kobayashi and won with a knee drop
to the back of the head at 9:06. Next was "The Boss" Mariko Yoshida
teaming with Ibuki newcomer Yoko Yamada vs Tojuki Leon & Arisa
Nakajima from JWP. As you can see by the pic, Yamada is a very tiny
girl. She tried to break into joshi a few years ago but was turned
away as too small. She's maybe 5 feet tall and maybe 100 pounds. Baby-
M is about the only wrestler that I can recall being that small. So
Yamada became an arm wrestling champ. She's also 4-1 in MMA though
her last match in Aug. 2006 went badly. She has turned up in joshi
occasionally and I saw on Yoshida's blog recently that Yamada is
training at Ibuki so I'm not surprised to see her. Yoshida said on
her website that Yamada has good basic grappling skills but needs to
be more aggressive in the ring. The JWP team controlled the match and
Leon used the Mad Splash on Yamada for the win at 17:07.

Next Ray made her return against Yumi Ohka. It was Ohka's first Ibuki
appearance since blowing out her knee at a Sept. 2005 show. Ohka has
been improving slowly since her return last summer and won with a
neck hanging bomb at 16:13. The main event was Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko
Emoto (Revolution Amandora) vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata (3S).
Ohata took most of the punishment. But the youngsters almost pulled
an upset when Kimura accidently nailed Emoto with the Big Boots. But
then Ohata missed a cross body from the top rope and Emoto finished
her with the Bay Crash at 20:25. Afterwards, Matsumoto yelled at
Emoto about the upcoming Korakuen show and it's clear that Matsumoto
is headed for a push. Ibuki has a show in Osaka Mar. 30 and the
Korakuen Hall show will be on May 25.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Eagles


Song:New Kid In Town

Album:Greatest Hits Vol. 2

Eagles was one of the most popular groups of the 70s. I think their music is perceived today better than when it was back then. I guess they're OK as long as you stick with their hits. The roots of Eagles was the California folk rock scene of the 60s. Singer/bassist Randy Meissner (born Mar.8, 1946 in Scottsbluff, NE) was a founding member of Poco but left and joined Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band. Singer/guitarist Bernie Leadon (born July 19, 1947 in Minneapolis) was a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Singer/drummer Don Henley (born July 22, 1947 in Gilmer, TX) came to Los Angeles in 1970 with his band Shiloh. Pianist Glenn Frey (born Nov. 6, 1948 in Detroit) had a band called Longbranch Pennywhistle with JD Souther. In 1971, Frey & Henley were hired to play in Linda Ronstadt's band. Meissner & Leadon were already there. The four played together on her next album and signed to record as a band for David Geffen's new label Asylum Records. They recorded their first two albums in England with producer Glyn Johns but split with him and brought in Bill Symczyk. They met him while on tour with Joe Walsh in 1974. He brought in guitarist Don Felder (born Sept. 21, 1947 in Gainesville, FL) and he joined the band. Eagles continued to top the charts but Bernie Leadon left in Dec. 1975 and was replaced by Joe Walsh (born Nov. 20, 1947 in Wichita, KS). Asylum released a Greatest Hits album covering their first few albums and it was bigger than any of those albums. Hotel California was released in 1976 and was bigger yet. New Kid In Town was a number one smash. Meissner left in 1977 and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit of Poco. Eagles had one more studio album left (The Long Run) but stopped touring in 1980 and split in 1982. The two Greatest Hits comps are probably the best way to get all their hits. Glenn Frey & Don Henley have also had significant solo careers. Eagles has reunited occasionally and released Long Road Out Of Eden in Oct. 2007. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998. Here's Eagles performing New Kid In Town in Melbourne, Australia 2004.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LLPW has a dojo show

This is a strange one. LLPW is a company that
runs a monthly show in their own alternate universe with transvestites and really odd
storylines. So for some reason they decided to run a dojo show on Mar. 16. I can understand why JWP & NEO run dojo shows. They just want to have some fun. But it doesn't make sense for LLPW to not advance storylines for two months. But there was a camera crew there. I don't
get it but here it is.

The opener was Obacchi Iizuka vs Tomoko Morii from Ito Dojo. Of course
Iizuka recently announced her retirement. I can't wait for her shtick
to end. I feel bad for someone like Morii who doesn't learn anything
working with someone like Iizuka. So Iizuka does her usual nonsense
including wrapping pantyhose around Morii's head and wins with
something called a Daikon Body hold at 9:40. Morri tries hard but this
the second time she has had the unenviable task of working with Iizuka.
She should beg Ito for mercy.

Next was Harley Saito vs Sayuri Okino. Okino get the advantage by
clobbering Saito with a bamboo sword. Eventually Saito comes back and
after a face buster, she wins over Okino with a vertical style
brainbuster at 11:00. The main event was Mizuki Endo & Takako Inoue vs
Noriyo Tateno & Ayako Sato. Well, Takako is always worth watching when
she's beating up some poor kid like Sato. I can watch Takako all day.
And Sato had her butt kicked for most of the match. But the end came
when Tateno was arguing with the ref and Endo rolled her up for the win
at 12:35. Afterwards Tateno continued to argue with the ref. I'm sure
we'll get back to the Blue Wolves at next month's show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Ibrahim Ferrer

Artist:Ibrahim Ferrer

Song:Buenos Hermanos

Album:Buenos Hermanos

Music fans worldwide are forever grateful to Ry Cooder for bringing us the music of long forgotten Cuban musicians with the 1999 documentary The Buena Vista Social Club. The fabulous singer Ibrahim Ferrer became a superstar as a senior. He was born Feb. 20, 1927 in Santiago, Cuba. He began his singing career at age 14 in his cousin's group Los Jovonos Del Son. He sang with various groups but is best known for his time with Pacho Alonso's group Los Bocucos. In 1962 the group was in Moscow when the Cuban Missile Crisis happened. Of course they returned to a devastated country. Ferrer and his wife had 11 children. So though he continued to perform with Los Bocucos, he also worked day jobs until his retirement in 1991. In 1996, Ry Cooder had been talking to Cuban musician Juan de Marcos Gonzalez of the Afro Cuban All Stars and Gonzalez recommended Ferrer for the Buena Vista Social Club. The film made Ferrer an international star. He made three CDs for World Circuit Records including this 2003 CD Buenos Hermanos. People always ask me if this music is jazz. It's very hard to describe but it has elements of jazz along with elements of folk and Cuban dance band music from the 30s. You'll love it if you listen to it. Ibrahim Ferrer had just finished a European tour when he died on Aug. 6, 2005 at age 78. Here's Ibrahim Ferrer performing Buenos Hermanos.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Check out my snazzy new phone

I went over to Rogers Wireless at Cloverdale Mall today to upgrade my phone. My contract was running out in August and I was planning to upgrade anyway. I've been using a Nokia 6101. Rogers sent me an upgrade offer a couple of weeks ago effective until the end of March. They give a choice of three phones at a reduced price along with a rebate. The three phones are Nokia 6085, Motorola KRAZR and Sony Ericsson W580i. I bet you will ask me how things went with Wheel-Trans. Well, I didn't use Wheel-Trans. The Kipling & East Mall buses are accessible and that took a lot less time. I've been doing that a lot lately and I am trying to avoid Wheel-Trans at all costs. The waiting drives me nuts. It's like I told my friend Jim this morning. I like doing this on my schedule.

So when I got the letter, I took a look at some online reviews of all three phones. The main criticism of the Nokia phone is that it's ugly. Yeah, I know. That shouldn't matter. But it does. It's an older model so it doesn't have the features of the other two. The Sony Ericsson is the most expensive of the three. It's a Walkman phone. The major criticisms of the phone is it's fragile. Everyone drops the phone sometimes. This one will break. Also, the keypad is too small.

So I went with the Motorola KRAZR in silver. It's also available in red. It's a very cool looking phone. It also comes with a 2MP pixel camera along with a video camera and an MP3 player. It comes with a USB cable so I can download to my PC. It doesn't come with a headset but it does have Bluetooth capability. I may buy a headset. I haven't decided yet. It has a video player so I can probably download music videos if I want. I'm not big on watching videos or using the internet on my phone. It is compatible with Myxertones so I plan to download free ringtones & wallpaper there. It comes with earbuds so I may look at the Rogers Music Store for some music. They have an Unlimited program that might be interesting. I just charged it so I haven't had time to play with it yet. Thanks very much to Mark Klapper at the Rogers kiosk at Cloverdale Mall for setting it up for me. They even let me keep my old phone in case I need a backup. I'm happy with my choice.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Isaac Hayes

Artist:Isaac Hayes

Song:Never Can Say Goodbye

Album:Soulsville Sings Hitsville:Stax Sings Songs Of Motown Records

This excellent various artists comp released in Jan. 2008 proves that Concord Music Group intends to treat the legendary Stax Records catalog with respect. Of course there were a lot of differences between the musical approaches of Stax & Motown. Motown was much slicker. So it was very interesting when Stax artists would record Motown classics in the gritty Stax style. And of course Isaac Hayes and partner David Porter were primary architects of the Stax sound. Hayes had a big hit in 1971 with the Jackson Five hit Never Can Say Goodbye. It reached #5 on the Black Singles Chart & #22 on the Pop Singles Chart. He was riding the momentum of Shaft at the time. Other highlights from this CD include The Staple Singers performing The Temptations' You've Got To Earn It, The Mar-Keys performing The Four Tops' Reach Out (I'll Be There), O.B. McClinton's country soul version of The Temptations' I Wish It Would Rain and a previously unreleased recording of I Heard It Through The Grapevine by The Bar-Kays. When you play this CD for Motown fans, they will do a double take. This is a real keeper. Here's Isaac Hayes performing Never Can Say Goodbye in Atlanta 1973. Check out his shirt.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-John Hammond

Artist:John Hammond f/Soozie Tyrell

Song:You Had Too Much

Album:Found True Love

As son of legendary Columbia record producer John Hammond Jr., John Paul Hammond probably could have followed in his footsteps. But he's forged his own niche in blues since the 60s. He was born Nov. 13, 1942 in New York City. His parents split up and he grew up with his mom. He started playing slide guitar as a teen and really took to the blues when he saw Jimmy Reed in concert. By the mid 60s he was hanging around the folk scene in New York. He started recording in 1964 but also played with groups like Levon Helm & The Hawks, Duane Allman, Dr. John, Charlie Musselwhite & David Bromberg. Because Hammond is not a songwriter, he has used his guitar & harmonica skills to reinvigorate the blues classics. He's recorded for various labels and has a loyal following. The 1996 CD Found True Love was one of several he recorded for Pointblank/Virgin Records. It was produced by Duke Robillard and features Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica. You Had Too Much is a forgotten blues song originally written & recorded by Lonnie Johnson in the 30s. Bruce Springsteen violinist Soozie Tyrell guests on vocals and has a lot of fun with Hammond on the song. John Hammond still tours & records today and his latest CD Push Comes To Shove was released in 2007 by Back Porch Records. Here's John Hammond performing Mother-In-Law Blues in Paris 2004.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

MMA fighter Michelle Waterson kicks a guy's butt

I found this video that is promoting a couple of womens matches on a show from Xtreme Fighting Association on Mar. 22 at the Las Vegas Hilton. Hooters girl Michelle Waterson is in one of the fights and this video. Her record is 1-2 and her last fight was a loss to Lynn Alvarez at the Dec. 1 Ring Of Fire show. Her opponent is Catia Vitoria who appears to be a boxer from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada making her MMA debut. She trains with Huf Boxing. The other fight is Amy Davis vs Von Do. Amy Davis had one fight that was declared a No Contest vs Japanese pro wrestler Sumie Sakai on the Oct. 14, 2006 Xtreme Fighting Series show in Boise, ID. It was a no contest because the promoters were confused about the length of the rounds. Check out the blog archives for my match report. Von Do is 1-0 with a win over Melissa Schafer on the Feb. 17, 2007 CCFC show. Here's the video of an interview with Michelle Waterson followed by sparring with the interviewer.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Brian McKnight

Artist:Brian McKnight



Brian McKnight is a very popular R & B singer songwriter. He had some hits on Mercury in the mid-90s and switched to Warner Bros. a couple of years ago. He has a new CD sceduled for release in 2008. He was born June 5, 1969 in Buffalo. He grew up singing in the church choir. His grandfather was choir director. He secured a publishing deal by age 18. His older brother Claude McKnight is a member of the gospel group Take 6. Claude suggested that Brian should send out demos and one of those demos got the attention of Mercury Records president Ed Eckstine (son of Billy Eckstine). McKnight was signed and his breakthrough was the duet with Vanessa Williams called Love Is that appeared on Beverly Hills 90210. 1997's Anytime was McKnight's third album. Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs was brought in to produce and a lot of the songs are McKnight compositions. You Should Be Mine got a lot of attention in the clubs but Anytime is a more typical McKnight ballad. He's an excellent singer. Then McKnight was moved to Motown when MCA Universal acquired Mercury as part of the PolyGram takeover. They turned Mercury into a country label. It's funny because Mercury had a long history in black music going back to the 40s. He's continued to have success but moved to Warner Bros. with the 2006 CD Ten. His new CD Life Has Changed is scheduled for release in 2008. He has also played basketball for the Ontario Warriors of the ABA and is a regular on the celebrity basketball circuit in Los Angeles. He made his Broadway debut last fall in the musical Chicago and he has a radio program on KTWV The Wave in Los Angeles. Brian McKnight is divorced and has two sons. Here's the video for Anytime by Brian McKnight.

Friday, March 21, 2008

SGP to start joshi company?

Last September I saw a rumour of a new joshi company to start in the spring of 2008. Just what we need, right? At the time it seemed like idle talk and therefore difficult to take seriously. But over the last week I have seen indications that this is going to happen and there's one name mentioned that may surprise you. There's a wrestling company in Nagoya City called SGP owned by the wrestler known as Ultra Man Robin (Atsushi Onai). The company has been around since 1994. He started talking about starting a joshi fed last year. I suspect this will be regional to Nagoya and may run their first show as early as May.

From what I can tell, it appears that Ultra Man Robin plans to go the rookie/idol wrestler route and I don't know if he plans to bring freelancers from Tokyo. This got my attention last week when Erika Ura started telling various media outlets that she plans to become a full time wrestler. She's a 21 year old singer/actress who has dabbled a bit in wrestling in the past. She trained in NEO and appeared at the Wrestle Expo show in Aug. 2006. She also trained at Maheken. But mostly she has a singing group and has appeared on TV. You may recall that last July Pro Wrestling SUN introduced their first trainee named Yoko Hashizume. She's a former amateur soccer player and was to be trained by Animal Hamiguchi. So her name coming up for this definitely got my attention. Nothing has been announced yet but it does appear that this new joshi company is going to happen.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Creedence Clearwater Revival

Artist:Creedence Clearwater Revival

Song:Green River


At a time in the late 60s when psychedelic and progressive rock was becoming more popular, Creedence Clearwater Revival harkened back to rock's bar band roots. They were a successful singles band and Chronicle is the best place to get all their hits. The group's main singer songwriter was John Fogerty (born May 28, 1945 in Berkeley, CA). His older brother Tom Fogerty (born Nov. 9, 1941 in Berkeley, CA) started The Blue Velvets with John and high school pals bassist Stu Cook (born Apr. 25, 1945 in Oakland, CA) & drummer Doug Clifford (born Apr. 24, 1945 in Palo Alto, CA). Fantasy Records signed the group in 1964 and owner Max Weiss changed their name to The Golliwogs. They released some singles but none were successful. John Fogerty started writing most of the group's songs. In 1965, John Fogerty & Clifford spent three years in the military. Meanwhile, Saul Zaentz bought Fantasy Records and got the band to change its name to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their 1968 debut got the attention of radio stations across the US and their first hit was a cover of the 1956 Dale Hawkins hit Suzie Q. A cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You also did well. But the 1969 John Fogerty song Proud Mary was their breakthrough and reached #2 on the pop singles chart. Green River was from their third album and also reached #2. CCR continued to be successful but by 1971, Tom Fogerty was starting to resent his brother's control of the group. He left and CCR recorded one last unsuccessful album as a trio. John had allowed Cook & Clifford to contribute songs. It only proved that he was the only one who was good at songwriting. Of course John Fogerty started a new group called The Blue Ridge Rangers and has had tremendous success as a solo artist since 1985. He is a true legend of rock music. Tom Fogerty was unsuccessful as a solo artist. He never reconciled with his brother and died on Sept. 6, 1990 due to AIDS contracted by a blood transfusion. Stu Cook & Doug Clifford joined the Don Harrison Band and formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995. Both guys have done a lot of sessions. Here's Creedence Clearwater Revival performing Green River in London 1970.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Matsuo pins Kyoko in tag match

As I mentioned previously, NEO had a very busy weekend. They spent two days in Sendai Girls and then came back to Tokyo Mar. 16 for a show at Tokyo Cinema Club. And this week they have a house show tour in Tohoku region. Out of town shows can be very profitable. The upcoming Tokyo shows are designed to lead up to Haruka Matsuo defending her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Kyoko Inoue. Despite being champ, Matsuo is clearly the underdog so NEO has to figure out how to book this. Matsuo as champ has been booked very poorly. They probably should have turned her heel. Of course with the NEO Machine Gunz as NEO Tag Team Champs, expect the usual silliness. As long as there's no more Chinese.

The opener had Yoshiko Tamura working the first of two matches she would be in. She defeated Kana with the Patriot Buster at 12:29. Then Shuu Shibutani and Mai Ichii went to a 15 minute draw. Atsuko Emoto & Kyoko Kimura have been teaming up lately and they added Tomoka Nakagawa in a six woman match against Misae Genki, Etsuko Mita & Yoshiko Tamura. Nakagawa was wearing a new costume and there have been indications that she may be poised for a push. She was getting her butt kicked when Mita was accidently nailed by a Tamura kick Nakagawa got the pin at 19:47.

Next was NEO Tag Team Champs Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki against Hanako Kobayashi & Misaki Ohata. The NOW Machine Gunz did their usual comedy spots and Miyazaki used a Tiger Suplex on Ohata for the win at 17:55. Afterwards, Tanny Mouse grabbed the mic and said that now that they're champs, she wants to give a young tag team a title shot. So now Cherry comes to the ring. Of course the gag is that she's not young. She says she will find a partner and challenge the NEO Machine Gunz for the titles. Tanny questions Cherry's eligibility for this challenge but she says she'll find an appropriate partner.

The main event was Haruka Matsuo & Aya Yuki vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Kyoko Inoue. It's been my experience that Wrestling Booking 101 has the underdog in an upcoming title match pin the favourite in a tag match. I guess the idea is to shock fans but this is done so frequently that it doesn't shock anyone. So Matsuo won the match over Inoue with a cradle at 16:33. If they're going to do that, at least have Matsuo use a stronger finisher. The poor booking of Matsuo as champ continues.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Albert Collins & The Icebreakers

Artist:Albert Collins & The Icebreakers

Song:If You Love Me (Like You Say)

Album:Live '92/93

Blues guitarist Albert Collins was known as The Iceman and The Master Of The Telecaster. After years of obscurity, he built a strong fanbase in the 80s and was still going strong when he died in 1993. He was born Oct. 1, 1932 in Leona, TX and moved with his family to Houston at age 7. He started out playing keyboards like his idol Jimmy McGriff but by age 18 had switched to guitar. He was hanging out in clubs with his cousin Lightnin' Hopkins and others and forged his own playing style. He also did "guitar walks" in the audience. That's a crowd pleaser. He recorded regionally with his band The Rhythm Rockers in 1958 but really hit it big with the 1962 million seller Frosty on the Hall-Way label. Supposedly Janis Joplin & Johnny Winter were in the studio when it was recorded and Collins said Joplin predicted that it would be a smash. Jimi Hendrix also cited Collins as a major influence. He continued to perform part time while working day jobs until Bob "The Bear" Hite of Canned Heat got him a contract with Imperial Records in 1968. Collins started opening for rock acts and this got him a lot more exposure. He moved to Tumbleweed Records but they went broke in 1973. Collins continued to tour but got a big break when signed to Bruce Iglauer's Alligator Records in 1977. This stability allowed Collins to build a strong following through the 80s. Maybe you saw him in the film Adventures In Babysitting. Collins signed with Pointblank/Virgin Records in 1989. 92/93 Live is a collection of concert performances and is recommended to blues fans. Albert Collins was still in demand and showed no signs of slowing down when he died of liver cancer on Nov. 24, 1993 at age 61. Here's Albert Collins performing If You Love Me (Like You Say) in Mt. Fuji 1992.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NEO visits Sendai Girls

It was a busy weekend for NEO. Along with their usual Sunday show, they went to Sendai Girls for two shows. The Mar. 14 show was at the Watari Townsman Gym and the Mar. 15 show was at Zepp Sendai. It was the usual results that we've seen since the beginning of Sendai Girls. But what you all want to know is how did Sendai Girls use Hiren's OZ Academy heel turn. They didn't. Of course I disagree with that because all those girls could use some personality but I'm not surprised. It hasn't been mentioned on their website and that's where the local fans will go. And though fans are quick to blame Meiko Satomura, the "living in a vacuum" approach is typical of Sendai Girls owner Jinsei Shinzaki. That's what he does in Michinoku Pro. I guess he wants Sendai Girls to be a strictly regional promotion.

First, here's the results for the Mar. 14 Watari Townsman Gym show. Aya Yuki defeated Hiren with the STF at 9:25. Etsuko Mita defeated Ryo Mizunami with the Death Valley Bomb at 10:17. Yoshiko Tamura defeated Sachiko SENDAI with a suplex at 11:40. Misae Genki defeated DASH Chisako at 5:33. Haruka Matsuo defeated Tyrannosaurus Okuda with a diving body press at 15:33. The one NEO rookie that they might get to job is Nagisa Nozaki and she's out right now. Otherwise, I'm not surprised.

The Mar. 15 Zepp Sendai show began with the usual intros by Tyrannosaurus Okuda & Yoshiko Tamura. The opener was Etsuko Mita vs DASH Chisako. Mita takes control with her size advantage and nails Chisako with a piledriver. Chisako comes back with elbow smashes but Mita gets a 2 count after a knee to the back of the head. Chisako hits two missile dropkicks but Mita nails her with several chops. Mita wins with the Death Valley Bomb at 9:54. Next was Hiren vs Yoshiko Tamura. This was the same Hiren we've seen on all the Sendai Girls shows. Tamura stomps her but Hiren comes back with several dropkicks followed by an ankle lock. Tamura gets to the ropes. Tamura hits a DDT and a double arm salto and finishes Hiren with a rolling senton at 10:30.

Next was Sachiko Sendai vs Haruka Matsuo. Sachiko comes out with a lot of energy with dropkicks, a rolling senton, missile kicks and a swinging DDT. After a suplex, Matsuo comes back with a face buster. After Sachiko misses a missile dropkick, Matsuo uses a German suplex for the win at 12:46. Next was Ryo Mizunami vs Misae Genki. Once again a big size difference. Genki hits three chops. Mizunami attempts a tackle but fails. She tries elbow smashes. A Genki body ram ends that followed by an atomic drop. Nizunami comes back with dropkicks and a guillotine. She tries another from the top rope and misses. Genki hits three guillotines, two lariats and a choke slam for the win at 9:09. Mizunami is bleeding from the nose.

The main event has Tyrannosaurus Okuda defending her JWP Junior & POP Titles against Aya Yuki. They begin by exchanging blows and then tackles. Okuda with a neck throw followed by a surfboard. Yuki comes back with stomps, two atomic drops and a camel clutch. They exchange elbows and then Achilles locks to show how even they are. Okuda hits a face dropkick. Yuki comes back with a face buster and an STF. Okuda hits two missile kicks and a backdrop. Yuki responds with chops and a brain buster. Okuda hits a knee from the top rop followed by a German suplex. But she goes to the top again and misses and Yuki hooks an STF. Okuda uses her power to escape and after a German suplex and two jumping knees, she retains the titles at 12:29.

Sendai Girls also announced the participants for this juniors tournament that will begin on April 22. This is for wrestlers with less than three years experience. Of course all the Sendai Girls will be involved along with Hanako Kobayashi & Ayako Sato from Ito Dojo. Wait a minute. Sato has more than three years experience. Kana along with Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata from Ibuki, Arisa Nakajima, Aska Ohki & Mayuca Niizeki from JWP and The Shirai Sisters & Mika Mizunumi from Maheken. The brackets will be announced later. I expect this to be a real mixed bag.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Asleep At The Wheel

Artist:Asleep At The Wheel

Song:San Antonio Rose

Album:Western Standard Time

Since the early 70s, Asleep At The Wheel has kept the legacy of Bob Wills and Western Swing alive with their mix of strong musicianship and good natured humour. The leader of Asleep At The Wheel is Ray Benson (born Ray Benson Seifert Mar. 16, 1951 in Philadelphia). Singer/guitarist Benson grew up listening to jazz and he started the group in 1969 with steel guitarist Lucky Oceans (born Ruben Gosfield Apr. 22, 1951), guitarist Leroy Preston and female singer Chris O'Connell. They started out as straight country but switched to western swing after listening to Merle Haggard's tribute album to Bob Wills. They started opening for rock acts and got the attention of Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen manager Joe Kerr and he got them to move to San Francisco. They added keyboardist Floyd Domino and signed with United Artists. After their 1974 debut album Comin' At Ya, they switched to Epic Records and moved to Austin, TX. They made a couple of albums and switched to Capitol. They also added trumpeter Bobby Womack & violinist Lisa Silver. The 1975 album Country Gold was a top ten country hit. What really cemented the Asleep At The Wheel fanbase was appearing on the very first episode of the long running PBS series Austin City Limits. They also won a Grammy in 1978 for their instrumental version of Count Basie's One O'Clock Jump. Eventually they went back to Epic in 1985. Western Standard Time is a 1988 album of country swing standards including this fine cover of the Bob Wills classic San Antonio Rose. Of course Asleep At The Wheel has had several personnel changes over the years but they continue to tour and record. Their latest is the Christmas CD Santa Loves To Boogie in Sept. 2007. They are a lot of fun to listen to so here's Asleep At The Wheel with Dwight Yoakam performing San Antonio Rose.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Traffic


Song:Light Up Or Leave Me Alone

Album:The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

The British group Traffic started out as a standard Beatles influenced group but as the personnel changed they added jazz, folk and R & B elements. It also proved to be a launching pad for Steve Winwood's successful solo career. Steve Winwood (born May 12, 1948 in Birmingham, England) started out at age 15 as lead singer of The Spencer Davis Group (Gimme Some Lovin'). He quit the group in 1967 and started Traffic with guitarist Dave Mason (born May 10, 1946 in Worchester, England), drummer Jim Capaldi (born Aug. 2, 1944 in Evesham, England) & sax player Chris Wood. Traffic signed with Island Records in the UK and were released in the US by United Artists. They had success on the UK charts but conflict between Winwood & Mason caused Mason to leave in Jan. 1968. He came back but was fired in Oct. 1968. Traffic split up and Winwood started the supergroup Blind Faith with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker & Ric Grech. They flopped after one record. Winwood was recording a solo album but Capaldi & Wood joined and it became the hit Traffic LP John Barleycorn Must Die. Traffic's sound had changed significantly to include jazz elements. They were less of a pop group now. In preparation for touring and the follow up album The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys, Traffic added Ric Grech on bass, Jim Gordon on drums and Reebop Kwaku Baah on percussion. The album sold a million copies. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone is a Jim Capaldi song and like most of the album is about the rigours of touring. The album was released on CD in 2002 with a bonus live track. Traffic was waylaid by Steve Winwood's health problems. After some personnel changes, the group continued but Capaldi and and then Winwood had solo success. Occasionally Traffic has reunited over the years until Jim Capaldi's death on Jan. 28, 2005 ended the group permanently. Here's Traffic performing Light Up Or Leave Me Alone in Santa Monica, CA 1972.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Full card announced for Hardcore Ladies

Hirotsugu Suyama held a press conference to announce the full card for his Hardcore Ladies show on May 4 at the Katsura Studio in Saitama. Sayama is a long time joshi broadcaster and journalist. He wrote the book Full Metal Ladies and has occasionally promoted shows in the past. I think the last one was a couple of years ago. The previously announced main event is a Fluourescent Light Tubes Deathmatch between Kyoko Kimura & 666 wrestler Yuko Miyamoto. Kimura has a lot of experience in this kind of match. He announced a Barbed Wire Board Deathmatch with Mayumi Ozaki & Arisa Nakajima. He has turned this into a tag team match. Chikayo Nagashima with Nakajima and Ozaki's partner is TBA. Let the speculation begin. A Ladder Match will have Yuu Yamagata & Apple Miyuki vs KAORU & Caribbean RUM. A Tables Match will have AKINO vs Misae Genki. And Mariko Yoshida will team with Ray vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata. That's not really a hardcore match. The show should at least be interesting.

Poster for AKINO 10th Anniversary show

Here's the official poster for AKINO's 10th Anniversary show. I think it's a pretty cool poster with with all her costumes surrounding her. The show will be July 26 at Shinjuku FACE and is called Happy Birthday To Me. OZ Academy is producing and the card is yet to be announced. I like the poster though.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Glenn Lewis

Artist:Glenn Lewis

Song:Don't You Forget It

Album:World Outside My Window

The 2002 CD World Outside My Window was the breakthrough for Canadian R & B singer Glenn Lewis. But a difference of opinion with his record company waylaid him for a while. Expect a comeback in 2008. He was born Glen Ricketts Mar. 13, 1975 in Toronto. His dad was lead singer of the Canadian R & B group Crack Of Dawn. Lewis' vocal style is clearly influenced by Stevie Wonder. He also acknowledges Donny Hathaway and Gap Band lead singer Charlie Wilson as influences. Lewis started performing in local clubs and earned a Juno nomination for his 1998 single Bout Your Love. This got the attention of Mark Byers of Philadelphia based Rock Star Entertainment and Lewis signed with Epic Records. His debut album World Outside My Window was produced by Jill Scott producers Andre Harris & Vidal Davis. The biggest thing for Lewis was he got to meet Stevie Wonder at a Los Angeles radio station and Wonder told him he loved Don't You Forget It. He also recorded Superstition for a Wonder tribute album. Lewis' second CD Back For More was ready to be released in 2003. A video featuring rapper Kardinal Offshall was released but the album was pushed back and has never been released. Meanwhile, Lewis was nominated for a Grammy for a duet with Amel Larrieux of Where Is The Love on a Stanley Clarke CD. Lewis left Epic in 2005 and is now signed with Underdog Entertainment. This is a new label owned by R & B producers The Underdogs (Harvey Mason Jr. & Damon Harris). The Glenn Lewis CD Remember Me is scheduled for release in 2008. Here's the video for Don't You Forget it by Glenn Lewis.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sendai Girls' Hiren joins D-Fix

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that Carlos Amano's attempt to turn OZ Academy into Carlos World didn't go as planned at the Mar. 9 Shinjuku FACE show. Of course Amano banned Mayumi Ozaki, Police & Mika Nishio from the building. Ozaki's response was to threaten mass destruction. She's certainly capable. Meanwhile, Chikayo Nagashima invited Sendai Girls wrestler Hiren to appear on the show. When asked by Nikkan Sports about this, Hiren said it was just a one time appearance and she was going to have fun with it. Uh oh. The other wild card is Aja Kong declining to join Carlos World. What will she do? I gotta give Ozaki credit. When she's on her game she knows how to book great angles.

The opener had Toshie Uematsu over Devil Masami in 11:26. Next Ran YuYu & AKINO defeated Manami Toyota & Tomoka Nakagawa when Ran used a European Clutch on Nakagawa at 21:17. Next was Aja Kong vs Ibuki youngster Hiroyo Matsumoto. The match itself wasn't notable as Aja won with a vertical style brain buster at 12:25. Afterwards, Aja's theme is playing. She grabs the mic and calls for Manami Toyota. Toyota comes to the ring and then Aja calls for AKINO & Ran YuYu. Toyota wants to know what Aja wants. They start talking about old times and maybe they should team up. "You & Ran can be leaders. AKINO is the captain. And I'm the boss. We'll call it the Aja Army Corps." Hiroyo Matsumoto grabs the mic and calls for Aja and wants to join. Aja tells her this is serious. They're not messing around. Besides, won't your boss (Mariko Yoshida) be upset? Matsumoto says Yoshida is OK with it. AKINO says she'll talk to Yoshida. Aja tells Matsumoto that this is OZ Academy. She's getting into the deep end of the pool. Are you sure? Matsumoto says this is the opportunity she has been looking for. Aja asks Toyota what she thinks. The end result is Hiroyo Matsumoto is now a member of the Aja Army Corps.

Next KAORU defeated Sonoko Kato in 16:49. The main event is supposed to be Chikayo Nagashima & Hiren vs Carlos Amano & Dynamite Kansai. D-Fix is supposed to be barred from the building. So the match is going along as scheduled and then the lights go out at the fifteen minute mark. Mayumi Ozaki, Police & Mika Nishio came out. When the lights come back on, Nagashima & Kansai are hancuffed to the ring post. Ozaki, Police & Hiren gang up on Amano. Nishio hits a gong outside the ring. Ozaki throws the ref out of the ring while Amano is finished by a power bomb. The match is declared a no contest at 16:52. Ozaki reveals that she secretly spoke to Hiren and she is now a member of D-Fix. As D-Fix leaves, Nagashima pleads with Hiren not to do this. They laugh at her and then Ozaki tells Amano she will be Principal again very soon. Aja Kong comes out and says "Don't forget about me." The struggle for control will continue at the Apr. 12 Differ Ariake show. Stay tuned.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Kevin Michael

Artist:Kevin Michael

Song:It Don't Make Any Difference To Me (Acoustic Version)

Album:Kevin Michael

When looking at his CD cover or his videos, you may notice that Kevin Michael's dominant physical characteristic is his big ass afro. But that's what you have to do these days to get the attention of listeners. He has talent so he may be worth the effort. He was born Kevin Michael Seward in Chester, PA in 1985. That's a suburb of Philadelphia. His dad is black and his mom is Italian. Record companies have attempted to sign him since he was 11 but Michael wanted to concentrate on his songwriting. He signed with Virgin Records but when A & R vice president Josh Deutsch left Virgin to start Downtown Recordings, he took Michael with him. The label is distributed by Atlantic. Michael's EP Ya Dig was released on iTunes in May and the single We All Want The Same Thing was iTunes Single Of The Week for May 8, 2007. It Don't Make Any Difference To Me was released when Michael's debut CD was released in Oct. Considering his mixed racial background, it's not surprising that the song is about racial harmony. There are two versions of the song on the CD and two videos. I like the acoustic version a little better and it's kind of ironic that he spends some time in a barber chair in the video. The other version is more mainstream hip hop and features Wyclef Jean and was produced by Jean's longtime producer Jerry Duplessis. Maybe Jean can attract fans to Michael's music. I'm not big on Jean's shtick. Kevin Michael is off to a good start. I hope the record company lets him do his thing on his own terms. Here's the video for the acoustic version of It Don't Make Any Difference To Me by Kevin Michael. Maybe he should get a haircut. Just kidding.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Louis Jordan

Artist:Louis Jordan

Song:Let The Good Times Roll

Album:The Best Of Louis Jordan

Not only was Louis Jordan the most popular black musician of the 40s, he created Rhythm & Blues and his music is still entertaining today. He was born July 8, 1908 in Brinkley, AR. His father was a musician. Jordan majored in music at Arkansas Baptist College and moved with his family to Philadelphia in 1932. He joined Chick Webb's band in 1936 and left in 1938 to go solo. He formed The Tympany Five in 1939. All kinds of guys went through that band including Wild Bill Davis, Bill Doggett, Dallas Bartley & Chris Columbus. Beginning in 1942, Jordan scored 57 straight R & B chart hits on Decca. Many songs like Caldonia and Choo Choo Ch' Boogie are classics with Jordan's combination of "jumpin' jive" and humour. All of his recordings were on Decca so this comp is perfect. Let The Good Times Roll reached #2 on the R & B chart in 1946. It was written by veteran New Orleans blues singer Sam Theard and co-credited to Jordan's wife Fleecie Moore. Jordan would do that sometimes to get around music publishing restrictions. This song is different fron the 1956 Shirley & Lee hit called Let The Good Times Roll. Jordan was extremely popular with the troops during WWII and also made several entertaining film appearances. Jordan's career petered out in the early 50s when he attempted to start a big band. He left Decca in 1954 but continued to record until his death on Feb. 4, 1975 at age 66. Louis Jordan's music is essential for anyone interested in black music. Here's Louis Jordan & The Tympany Five performing Let The Good Times Roll at the Apollo in New York City.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-McCoy Tyner

Artist:McCoy Tyner



Pianist McCoy Tyner is probably best known for his days with the "Classic" John Coltrane quartet in the 60s. But he's proven to be a very adventurous and satisfying musician over the years. He was born Dec. 11, 1938 in Philadelphia where jazz pianists Bud Powell & Richie Powell were neighbours. In 1960 he played with the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet but after six months he joined up with John Coltrane. He was part of the Coltrane band for five years. Afterwards, Tyner hit his stride as a recording artist with Milestone in the 70s. He experimented with orchestras, vocal chorales and even played harpsichord on one album. His layered playing style has influenced a generation of jazz pianists. He attempted to foray into more mainstream music in the early 80s. But since that was unsuccessful, he has basically recorded great jazz on various labels. Of course Crescent is a classic Coltrane song and Soliloquy is a CD of solo piano released on Blue Note in 1991. It's worth checking out. Tyner's most recent CD was released last Sept. on his own label with Joe Lovano on sax, Christian McBride on bass and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums. Here's McCoy Tyner performing Giant Steps in Hamburg, Germany 1996.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Obacchi Iizuka announces retirement

Now that she's had her tenth anniversary, Obacchi Iizuka has announced her retirement at LLPW's May 31 Korakuen Hall show. It's very similar to what LLPW did with Eagle Sawai last year. I know why they do stuff like this but it doesn't mean I have to like it. Iizuka made the media rounds yesterday so it got some coverage. An opponent hasn't been announced. Iizuka says she plans to work in her family's restaurant in Chiba.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Buffalo Springfield

Artist:Buffalo Springfield

Song:For What It's Worth

Album:Retrospective:Best Of The Buffalo Springfield

Considering that they were only around for a couple of years and only made three albums, Buffalo Springfield and their biggest hit For What It's Worth was very influential on much of the music that came after. Apparently the genesis of the group was when Stephen Stills (born Jan. 3, 1945 in Dallas) & Neil Young (born Nov. 12, 1945 in Toronto) met at a folk club in Thunder Bay, ON. Young was leading his group The Squires and Stills was on tour with The Company. Soon after Stills & Richie Furay (born May 9, 1944 in Yellow Springs, OH) moved to Los Angeles to make it in the music business. Meanwhile Young met Mynah Birds bassist Bruce Palmer (born Sept. 9, 1946 in Toronto). Young joined The Mynah Birds but their record contract was cancelled when lead singer Rick James was arrested for draft evasion. So they moved to Los Angeles in 1966 looking for Stills. Stills & Furay were driving on Sunset Blvd. when Stills spotted what he thought was Neil Young's hearse. They got together and hired Dillards drummer Dewey Martin (born Sept. 30, 1940 in Chesterville, ON) and Buffalo Springfield was born. The name came from the side of a steamroller. They signed with Atco Records in 1966. For What It's Worth was their second single and most memorable song. It reached #7 on the Billboard Singles Chart. Stills wrote the song in the aftermath of the 1966 Los Angeles riots and it is now considered a milestone of anti-war sentiment. For What It's Worth was revived in a major way when Public Enemy sampled it for their 1998 hit He Got Game. Buffalo Springfield didn't last long because Stills & Young constantly bickered. By the time they performed at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, Young had already left the group. They brought in Jim Messina to replace Young but Buffalo Springfield split up in May 1968. This comp is perfect. Of course Stills & Young reunited in Crosby Stills Nash & Young but they still didn't get along. Both have had significant solo careers. Richie Furay had a lot of success with his group Poco. Bruce Martin had drug problems and moved back to Canada in 1977. He died in 2004. Dewey Martin had his own group called Medicine Ball but became a car mechanic in the mid-70s. Buffalo Springfield were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996. Here's Buffalo Springfield performing For What It's Worth on the Smothers Brothers show in 1967.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Yay! I have my chair back

My power chair is now repaired and Sam of Medi-Chair brought it today. It took about three weeks. A couple of people asked my why it took so long. Well, it's not the repair itself as Sam said it took about three hours yesterday. It's the process. He has to send a quote to ODSP and they have to approve it. That took two weeks. Then he ordered the parts from Invacare in Ohio. I was also asked about tips about repairs. But unless the chair was purchased privately, the owner should have an established vendor. And I call ODSP first anyway and they send the work order to Medi-Chair.

Sam told me three weeks ago that he would probably have to replace the motors. As it turns out, he only had to replace the brushes and said they had melted in one of the motors. He said this was mostly the result of heavy usage. I will be the first to admit that I use the chair a lot. I have to. But I suspect the weather this winter didn't help much. Sam also replaced the battery. He said it was losing power and would have needed replacement in the near future anyway. He also replaced my armrests which were showing signs of wear. So the repair cost the ODSP $1100. So thanks to them for paying but they're still incompetent dopes. Stay tuned for more about that. Obviously I'm happy to have my chair back mainly because it's made for me. The loaner was made for somebody a lot shorter. And I prefer the footplates on my chair instead of footrests.

Daily Sports to present Summer Dream 2008

A press conference was held on Wednesday at the Daily Sports office to announce that Daily Sports will celebrate their 60th anniversary with two special joshi shows called Summer Dream 2008. JWP will produce the shows. The first show will be at the Matsushita IMP Hall in Osaka on July 21 and the second show will be at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on Aug. 3. Attending the press conference were JWP owner Commando Bolshoi and LLPW general manager Mizuki Endo along with Azumi Hyuga, Yoshiko Tamura, Dump Matsumoto & Noriyo Tateno. The one thing we may get out of this is the long awaited Tamura/Hyuga rematch but other than that, there sure was a lot of nostalgia talk.

Dump Matsumoto began the nostalgia by having her old pal and Atrocious Alliance member Condor Saito tag along to the press conference. She teased a possible Atrocious Alliance reunion and promised to turn both shows into a Villany Festival in a sea of blood. Once a heel, always a heel. Noriyo Tateno went one better by teasing that she may be able to convince Itsuki Yamazaki to return for a one time only Jumping Bomb Angels revival. Yamazaki did appear on an LLPW show a couple of years ago to promote her book but has never returned as an active wrestler. It would certainly create buzz if Yamazaki returned but I suspect it's just a tease. Unfortunately nostalgia is the best way to sell tickets to a joshi show.

On the other hand, a possible rematch between Azumi Hyuga & Yoshiko Tamura would mean something. Their Christmas Eve 2006 60 minute draw was the match of the year and we all want a rematch. Right now both are non committal suggesting that they may team up instead. Tamura suggested that. It appears that so far LLPW & NEO are participating along with JWP and we'll see who else turns up for these shows.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dion & The Belmonts

Artist:Dion & The Belmonts

Song:I Wonder Why

Album:The Doo Wop Box

The 1958 hit I Wonder Why was the first hit by the short lived doo wop group Dion & The Belmonts. Because Dion DiMucci (born July 18, 1939 in Bronx, NY) went on to a significant solo career, I didn't realize how short lived the full group was. The other members of The Belmonts were Angelo D'Aleo, Fred Milano & Carlo Mastrangelo. They all attended Roosevelt High School in The Bronx and hung out together and sang. The Belmonts originally sang as a trio and recorded one single for Mohawk Records in 1957 that went nowhere. Then DiMucci heard one of their songs and joined the group. Bob Schwartz left Mohawk and started Laurie Records and took The Belmonts with him. I Wonder Why was their first single in 1958 and he billed the group as Dion & The Belmonts. The song reached #22 on the pop charts. Teenager In Love was an even bigger hit at #5. Their popularity was fueled by Dion's matinee idol looks and appearances on American Bandstand. The songs hold up well and the 4CD Doo Wop Box is the best place to get them. Dion DiMucci left The Belmonts in 1960 and had a lot of success as a solo artist. The Belmonts continued to record but didn't have as much success as Dion. The group even turned down The Wanderer before Dion went on to have a smash hit with the song. The oldies boom of the 70s featured a reuniting of Dion & The Belmonts at Madison Square Garden in 1972. And the group continues to tour the oldies circuit today. Here's Dion & The Belmonts performing I Wonder Why in Atlantic City in 2004.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Brown Eyed Girl

Artist:Van Morrison

Song:Brown Eyed Girl

Album:T.B. Sheets

Brown Eyed Girl was the first and biggest hit by legendary singer songwriter Van Morrison. One would think the song would haunt him but he still performs it today. He was born Aug. 31, 1945 in Belfast, Nothern Ireland. His mom was a singer and his dad was a jazz fan. By age 15, Morrison was touring military bases with the R & B group The Monarchs. He formed the group Them in 1964 and they had several hits including the Morrison song Gloria. But the group had unstable personnel and producer Bert Berns started using session musicians on their recordings. Morrison left Them in 1966 during a US tour and returned to Belfast. But Berns convinced him to come to New York and record as a solo artist. The album Blowin' Your Mind on Bang Records was released in 1967. The exuberant song Brown Eyed Girl was a top ten pop hit. The rest of the album was much darker than Brown Eyed Girl. Morrison was unhappy when Berns released the album against his wishes and went home to Belfast. Morrison's contract with Bang Records ended when Berns died of a heart attack in late 1967. Morrison immediately signed with Warner Bros. and has been one of the most enduring performers over the years. T.B. Sheets was a comp of Morrison's Bang recordings released in 1973 to capitalize on the popularity of Morrison's Warners recordings. It's available on CD through Columbia Records. Despite it being an overtly pop song, Morrison is obviously proud of Brown Eyed Girl as I saw a 2006 performance clip online. But here is Van Morrison performing Brown Eyed Girl on The Midnight Special in 1973.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Grateful Dead

Artist:The Grateful Dead

Song:Friend Of The Devil

Album:American Beauty

The Grateful Dead were one of the most enduring groups to emerge from the San Francisco psychedelic scene of the 60s. Fans that followed them around on tour were called Deadheads. The leader of the group was singer songwriter Jerry Garcia (born Aug. 1, 1942 in San Francisco). He learned to play guitar as a teen and was a big bluegrass fan. He became friends with Robert Hunter (born Robert Burns June 23, 1941 in San Luis Obispo, CA) in 1961. Hunter would become Garcia's lyricist. They met electronic music composer Phil Lesh (born Mar. 15, 1940 in Berkeley, CA). Garcia was playing in various local bluegrass groups and formed Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions aloong with guitarist Bob Weir (born Oct. 16, 1947 in San Francisco) & keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (born Sept. 8, 1946 in San Bruno, CA). The group was renamed The Warlocks in 1965. Lesh played bass and drummer Bill Kreutzmann (born Apr. 7, 1946 in Palo Alto, CA) was added. The Warlocks became very popular in San Francisco but Garcia changed the name to The Grateful Dead in late 1965. Supposedly he found the name in a dictionary. The group signed with MGM in 1966 but the initial recordings were terrible and they were dropped. They then signed with Warner Bros. in 1967 but seemed to have difficulty reproducing the energy of their live shows on records. They also added second drummer Mickey Hart (born Sept. 11, 1943 in San Francisco) after they performed at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. In 1969, The Grateful Dead finally released a live album, Live/Dead, and it was their biggest success. In 1970 Garcia decided to return to his folk roots with Workingman's Dead & American Beauty. These albums were critically acclaimed and sold very well but the Dead were always a live act first. Friend Of The Devil is an obvious road song written by Garcia. Rhino rereleased American Beauty on CD in 2003 with bonus live tracks. Ron McKernan died in 1973 and was replaced by Keith Godchaux. The Grateful Dead left Warners in 1974 for United Artists and then went to Arista in 1976. Godchaux died in a car accident in 1980 and was replaced by Brent Mydland. The various members of The Grateful Dead have all recorded worthwhile solo projects over the years but the group stayed together until Jerry Garcia died on Aug. 9, 1995 at age 53. Normally I would try to find a video of the Grateful Dead but I didn't like the one video I found of the group performing this song. But I do like this performance of Friend Of The Devil by Jerry Garcia and mandolinist David Grisman on David Letterman Sept. 1993.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Kyoko Inoue returns to the ring

The big story at NEO's Mar. 2 Korakuen Hall show was the return to the ring of NEO owner and joshi legend Kyoko Inoue. It was a year ago that Kyoko was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Then it was discovered that she was pregnant. She had her son in October. Though she is still undergoing treatment for the cancer, I guess she was getting antsy and wanted to return. Of course her return overshadowed the two title matches on the show. And as they always seem to do on their big shows, NEO went a little overboard with comedy matches.

The opener was the first match ever between Shuu Shibutani & Kana. It appears that Kana was busted open possibly by accident. Shibutani hit a diving Senton and a missile kick and then used her Satanica submission finisher for the win at 12:12. Next was a three way match with Fuuka, Cherry & Makoto. A typical finish for a three way as Cherry wound up under the ring while Fuuka used a fisherman's suplex to beat Makoto at 6:11. Next a silly comedy match with Toshie Uematsu vs Chou-un Shiryu. He's the guy who does a Chinese gimmick. The ref was wearing a kabuki mask. Shityu accidently hits the ref and he helps Uematsu win at 7:50.

Next was Etsuko Mita & Tomoka Nakagawa vs Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto. A lot of brawling outside the ring and Emoto wins over Nakagawa with a vertical style brainbuster at 12:28. Mita didn't look very happy with Nakagawa after the match. Ktoko Inoue's return was next. She teamed with Nagisa Nozaki vs Sakura Emi & Aya Yuki. Of course the match was nothing special but Kyoko got to do a giant swing follwed by a Niagara Driver on Yuki for the win at 17:45. That brings us to Yoshiko Tamura & Misae Genki defending the NEO Tag Team Titles vs Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki. The problem with the NEO Machine Gunz is they've been doing the same comedy shtick for years and it's stale. I'm very disappointed that they are the new champs. Miyazaki won over Genki with a moonsault footstamp at 27:02.

The main event has Haruka Matsuo defending her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Hiroyo Matsumoto. I like both wrestlers but I don't believe either belongs in a main event. Matsuo has been poorly booked as champ and Matsumoto is young and not ready yet. Matsuo retained the titles with a German suplex followed by a high kick and a dragon suplex for the win at 15:05. Afterwards, Kyoko Inoue came to the ring carrying her son and NEO GM Koda announced that Haruka Matsuo will defend her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Kyoko Inoue at the May 5 Korakuen Hall show. That's very cheap nostalgia pop booking and another poor booking turn for Matsuo.