Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Johnny Adams

Artist:Johnny Adams

Song:Wish I'd Never Loved You At All

Album:There Is Always One More Time

Legendary New Orleans R & B singer Johnny Adams was known as The Tan Canary because of his beautiful singing voice. He had some success in the 60s but was largely forgotten when Rounder Records revived his career in the 80s. He was born Jan. 5, 1932 in New Orleans. He grew up singing in church and sang gospel professionally until his neighbour songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie convinced him to sing her song I Won't Cry on Ric Records in 1959. He had some success with this and other songs. He had his biggest success on Shelby Singleton's SSS label in 1968 with his cover of Release Me. SSS was a Nashville label and added some country flavour to Adams' soulful sound. But he struggled through the 70s until Scott Billington signed Adams to Rounder Records in 1984. Like a lot of forgotten R & B singers, Adams proved that he still had what made him The Tan Canary in the first place. There Is Always One More Time is a comp of his Rounder recordings. Wish I'd Never Loved You At All is from the 1987 album Room With A View Of The Blues featuring Walter "Wolfman" Washington & Duke Robillard on guitar and Dr. John on piano. Adams recorded for Rounder until his death on Sept. 14, 1998 at age 66. He's recommended to classic R & B fans. Unfortunately there's no performance video of Johnny Adams but here's a video tribute set to Release Me.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Marcus Miller

Artist:Marcus Miller f/Tajani P. Henson

Song:Lost Without U (Spoken Word)


Bass player Marcus Miller has been playing sessions since the 70s. Along with partner David Isaacs, he releases the occasional record under his own name. He was born June 14, 1959 in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Jamaica, NY. His father was director of the local church choir and Miller played clarinet as a child. He took up the bass as a teen. He started playing in New York clubs and got work playing sessions initially with Bobbi Humphrey & Lonnie Liston Smith and then with Dave Grusin, Grover Washington Jr. & Chaka Khan. He got a lot of attention touring with Miles Davis in the early 80s. He appeared on all of Miles' later albums. He recorded his first solo album in 1983 and has recorded occasionally when not playing sessions. In 1997 he was part of the band Legends with Eric Clapton, Joe Sample, David Sanborn & Steve Gadd. Marcus is his brand new CD on Concord. It's a mix of jazz & R & B with guest shots from sax players David Sanborn & Tom Scott and vocalists Corinne Bailey Rae, Lalah Hathaway & Keb Mo. This cover of the Robin Thicke song Lost Without U features actress Tajani P. Henson. She is currently a regular in the TV show Boston Legal. Marcus Miller has a signature bass with Fender and here he is performing Blast on Fender Frontline at the 2008 NAMM convention.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Double Inoues reunite in NEO

With several big shows running during Golden Week next week, it was a fairly quiet week in the joshi business. Things will start heating up at the Apr. 29 JWP show with the Azumi Hyuga/Kayoko Haruyama main event. NEO continues to try and sell Haruka Matsuo's NEO Singles/NWA Pacific Titles defense against Kyoko Inoue on the May 5 Korakuen Hall show. They've been putting the two on opposing tag teams for the last month and NEO president Koda even tried to say that Matsuo lost her temper at a recent dojo show. His attempts haven't been very effective. Maybe he's getting desperate. He even reached for a little nostalgia on the Apr. 25 Nagoya show. He reunited the Double Inoues. They will work together again on the Apr. 29 Itabashi Green Hall show against Haruka Matsuo & Kana.

The show opened with Toshie Uematsu vs Saki Maemura. The match went as one would expect. Maemura got some offense in early but Uematsu came back and won with a dragon suplex at 12:26. Next Sonoko Kato came over from OZ Academy to face NEO youngster Aya Yuki. Yuki is said to be improving but again the match went as one would expect with Yuki getting in some offense early and Kato came back and won with a diving guillotine leg drop at 13:48.

Visiting gaijin Vanessa The Mountain teamed with Kyoko Kimura against Misae Genki & Etsuko Mita. This match emphasized Vanessa's size and power and it was only natural that she would have a test of strength with Genki. Genki beat up Kimura for a while. This included a choke slam. But Vanessa was unstoppable and won over Mita with a hanging neck power bomb at 15:08. NEO Tag Team Champs Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki faced Yoshiko Tamura & Jaguar Yokota. It's hard to watch Tamura on the outside looking in especially when the NEO Machine Gunz have the belts. Jaguar gets to use her trademark swastika hold and Tamura gets a cobra twist on Miyazaki. Tanny's attempt at a muscle buster is blocked by Tamura but then Tanny wins with a rollup pin called Mission Possible at 14:58.

The main event had Kyoko & Takako Inoue reuniting the Double Inoues team against Haruka Matsuo & Hikaru. The pattern over the last month has had Kyoko & Matsuo trading pinfalls in tag matches. How many times can Koda do that? I like Matsuo but the booking of her title reign continues to be terrible. She works hard and was reportedly good in this match. Matsuo & Hikaru hit double dropkicks in Takako followed by a double team in the ropes. Later, Matsuo traps Kyoko in the corner. But Kyoko blocks an attempted German suplex and wins with her Naigara Driver at 17:32.

Here's the full card for the May 5 Korakuen Hall show. Haruka Matsuo will defend her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Kyoko Inoue. Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki will defend the NEO Tag Team Titles against Cherry & Shuu Shibutani. Yoshiko Tamura, Misae Genki, Etsuko Mita & Aya Yuki will face Kyoko Kimura, Atsuko Emoto, Tomoka Nakagawa & Vanessa The Mountain in a TBA gimmick match. Fuuka, Riho & Hiroyo Matsumoto will face Sakura Emi, Makoto & Misaki Ohata. Toshie Uematsu will face an opponent TBA and Nanae Takahashi will make her return against Kana. I expect Kyoko to win but the tag titles will stay with the NEO Machine Gunz. Expect some sort of comedy with Uematsu. NEO is running some other shows including another one of those Indiana Girl Fight shows featuring wrestlers that no one else will hire. They sure run a lot of shows.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Champion Jack Dupree

Artist:Champion Jack Dupree

Song:Junker Blues

Album:New Orleans Barrelhouse Boogie

Champion Jack Dupree was known mostly for his boogie woogie piano. He was fun to listen to within that framework but I wouldn't describe him as versatile. He was born William Dupree July 23, 1909 in New Orleans and was orphaned at age two. He learned to play piano from barrelhouse legend Willie Hall. But Dupree's first career was as a professional boxer. He moved to the midwest and during the 30s fought over a hundred bouts. He also acquired the Champion Jack Dupree nickname. He first recorded in 1940 for Okeh Records. This Columbia comp covers those recordings. Junker Blues was recorded in 1942. The drug references in the song kept it from being a hit but Dave Bartholomew & Fats Domino cleaned it up and it became Fats' 1949 hit The Fat Man. Dupree recorded for various labels in the 50s and moved to Europe in 1959. He recorded for European labels like Storyville through the 60s & 70s until he moved home to New Orleans in 1990 and recorded for Bullseye Blues until his death on Jan. 21, 1992 at age 83. So if you like boogie woogie piano, you should check out Champion Jack Dupree. Here's Champion Jack Dupree performing Pinetop's Boogie Woogie in France in the 60s.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Mason Williams

Artist:Mason Williams

Song:Classical Gas

Album:The Mason Williams Phonograph record

In 1968, comedy writer/musician Mason Williams stumbled into pop music stardom with the smash hit Classical Gas. The song is still very memorable. He was born Aug. 24, 1938 in Abeline, TX. He started out in the early 60s writing folk songs and performing stand up comedy. In 1964, he released a comedy album set to music called Them Poems on VeeJay. Williams' other claim to fame was as head writer of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He was largely responsible for the Pat Paulsen For President campaign and also hired Steve Martin to write for the show. He has won several Emmys for his writing. He also wrote the show's theme song. Williams got together with producer Mike Post to make an album of experimental music for Warner Bros. Some of the music is just weird but Classical Gas struck a chord with people and reached the top of the pop charts. Obviously the sound of a full orchestra performing a rock song appealed to people and the song is propelled by legendary rock session drummer Jim Gordon. Listen to his playing on this song. Williams won two Grammys and Post won one for his arrangement. Post is best known for TV themes like Hill Street Blues. Williams has continued to record occasionally and a rerecording of Classical Gas with Manheim Steamroller went gold in 1987. His most recent release is 2005's Electrical Gas with British guitarist Zoe McCulloch. The Mason Williams Phonograph Record is only a half hour long. Classical Gas is one of those one hit wonders you might want on a various artists comp. Rhino has issued a 5CD box set called Rock Instrumental Classics and the CDs are available individually. Another one that looks good is Chartbusters USA Vol. 2 on the British Ace label. Here's Mason Williams performing Classical Gas on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Joe Cocker

Artist:Joe Cocker

Song:She Came Into The Bathroom Window

Album:20th Century Masters:The Millenium Collection:The Best Of Joe Cocker

Raspy voiced blues rocker Joe Cocker became popular in the late 60s on the Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour. He has softened his sound over the years. He was born May 20, 1944 in Sheffield, England. He started out in 1963 with the stage name Vance Arnold and The Avengers. In 1964 he toured England as Joe Cocker Big Blues. In 1966, Cocker formed The Grease Band with keyboard player Chris Stainton. They were spotted by Procol Harum producer Denny Cordell and Cocker's first solo album With A Little Help From My Friends was released in 1969 on A & M Records. Cocker seemed to be more popular in America and for his second album Joe Cocker, he got together with Leon Russell and the Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour was put together. Cocker became known for Beatles covers so it's not surprising that She Came Into The Bathroom Window did well. The Mad Dogs & Englishmen film also did very well. I think his visual mannerisms on stage made some folks think there was something weird about him but there wasn't. Cocker had alcohol problems and it affected his voice in the early 70s. Also, Cocker & Stainton tried to write their own songs but Cocker has always been better doing covers. But in 1974, he reinvented himself with producer Jim Price and a host of Los Angeles session musicians as a pop crooner with the Billy Preston song You Are So Beautiful and his 1981 duet with Jennifer Warnes Up Where We Belong was a huge hit. This budget comp covers his early material. He moved to Capitol in the 80s and Cocker still records for EMI. His latest CD Hymn For My Soul was released in Mar. 2007. I like his earlier songs. Mad Dogs & Englishmen is a fun film. His recent music doesn't do anything for me. Here's Joe Cocker performing She Came Into The Bathroom Window from the film Mad Dogs & Englishmen.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fujii, Tavares, Akano, Marquez in World REMIX Tournament finals

Smackgirl had their big Apr. 25 Korakuen Hall show featuring the semi finals of the World REMIX Tournaments. The finals will be July 24 at Korakuen Hall. Once again, Megumi Fujii showed in the main event that she will be tough to beat in her fight with Korean Ham Seo Hee. Ham's strategy is to slow the match down. That's a tall order and it doesn't work. Fujii counters Ham's punches and then gets a quick takedown. When they get up and Ham tries to keep Fujii at a distance, it doesn't work and Fujii takes her down again. This was the match pattern until Fujii caught up to her and got her in a sleeper. Then Fujii switched to an armbar and the match was over at 1:39 of round one.

The semi main was the semi final of the Open Weight tournament between Hitomi Akano & HIROKO. Akano is a great fighter but HIROKO has a significant size advantage. It would not be easy. HIROKO uses her size to push Akano into the corner. But Akano takes her down and applies an armbar. HIROKO escapes but Akano switches to an ankle lock. HIROKO pounds Akano and gets a break. Akano executes a judo throw and tries for an armbar. HIROKO reverses this and pounds Akano when round one ends. It becomes clear in round two that Akano's defense is stronger and she uses HIROKO's offense to counter her and get the advantage. HIROKO again pushes Akano into the corner but Akano gets her on the ground and after pounding her for a while, she wins with an armbar at 3:10 of round two.

The other Lightweight tournament match was between Lisa Ward & Anna Michele Tavares. Ward begins with a knee kick and a takedown but Tavares reverses and mounts her but Ward gets a body scissors. Tavares gets up and drops her, attempts an armbar and mounts her again. Tavares is scoring points but Ward's defense is good and isn't in danger. She needs to step it up in tound two. Ward gets a neck throw but is unable to follow it up and they break. That's the way the rest of the match goes. Ward has to come from behind and Tavares was far enough ahead in round one that Ward was unable to get enough control to turn things around. Tavares wins by unanimous decision.

The other Open Weight semi final was Atsuko Emoto against Ginele Marquez. They exchange punches and Marquez hits a neck throw and attempts a V1 armbar. Apparently there was a foul and the ref takes a point from Marquez. They exchange punches again but Marquez is stronger and takes down Emoto with a neck throw and mounts her on the side. Marquez pounds her and and controls her for the remainder of round one. This continues in round two. Emoto is OK standing up but Marquez is better on the ground. Emoto even tries a dropkick. But Marquez throws her aside and takes her down again. Ginele Marquez wins a unanimous decision.

WINDY Tomomi returned to Smackgirl against J-Girls kickboxer AZUMA. AZUMA tries to strike quickly but Tomomi replies with power and eventually takes AZUMA down. Round one ends with a Tomomi knee to AZUMA's face. Tomomi continues to pound AZUMA and knocks her out at 2:02 of round two. In other matches, Rin Nakai defeated Kaneko Takashita by split decision. Mika Nagano defeated Asami Kodera by split decision. Miki Morifuji defeated Benkei by split decision and Megu defeated Hitomi Sakamoto by unanimous decision. So the Lightweight World REMIX final will be Megumi Fujii vs Anna Michele Tavares and the Open Weight final will be Hitomi Akano vs Ginele Marquez.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Pete Seeger

Artist:Pete Seeger

Song:Little Boxes

Album:Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits

Of course Pete Seeger is a legend of folk music and political activism. Little Boxes was his one and only charted single. He was born May 3, 1919 in New York City. Both his parents taught at the Juilliard School Of Music. Seeger was studying sociology at Harvard in 1936 when he quit and went to the south with Alan Lomax to do field recordings of folk & blues musicians. He met Woody Guthrie in 1940 and The Almanac Singers set the table for a mix of folk music & political activism. Seeger came to the attention of the general public as a member of The Weavers along with Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert & Fred Hellerman. They were very popular in the 50s. Seeger was blacklisted after appearing before HUAC in 1955. He went solo in 1958 when the whole coffee house folk music circuit was just starting. He was a major influence on many of the young singers in the 60s. And his song Turn Turn Turn was a huge hit for The Byrds in 1965. Little Boxes was written by Seeger's pal Malvina Reynolds. Seeger sings it like it's a children's song but it is in fact social commentary about suburbia. The song originally appeared on a recording of a 1963 Carnegie Hall concert. Columbia released it as a single in 1964 and it actually charted. This comp was rereleased in 2002 with some bonus tracks. Of course Pete Seeger continues to perform today and is world famous for his political activism. Here's Pete Seeger performing Little Boxes on a 60s TV show.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ward, Tavares, Marquez arrive in Tokyo for Smackgirl show

Smackgirl held a press conference today upon the arrival of Ginele Marquez, Lisa Ward & Anna Michele Tavares for the World REMIX Tournament on the Apr. 25 Smackgirl show. Marquez was accompanied by trainer Josh Barnett. He was in town to announce one of his own fights but he trains several female fighters too. Marquez' opponent will be Atsuko Emoto. Barnett said that though Emoto is better known for her Bullfight Sora pro wrestling character, she has proven to be adept at MMA. He believes that Smackgirl's abolition of the 30 second ground rule will help Marquez because she has strong training in jiu jitsu & submission wrestling. Barnett said training with Megumi Fujii has helped Marquez and Marquez is hoping for a quick win.

Lisa Ward & Anna Michele Tavares will face each other in the Lightweight World REMIX Tournament. Ward said she had a quick win in the first round and is hoping to do the same thing in this match. When asked about each other, Ward said Tavares is strong in jiu jitsu but Ward is stronger and more physical and knows Tavares' weak point. Tavares said Ward is very strong and this will be a tough match. Ward figures that Megumi Fujii will win her semi final match over Ham Seo Hee and is looking forward to facing Fujii in the final. Apparently Lisa's father died recently and she wants to dedicate this victory to him. The show will be very interesting.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Detroit Featuring Mitch Ryder

Artist:Detroit Featuring Mitch Ryder

Song:Rock 'N' Roll

Album:Rev Up:The Best Of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels

For a couple of years in the mid-60s, the rockin' soul of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels scored several chart hits. But Ryder's ill advised attempt to go solo killed his career. Detroit was a last ditch attempt to return to his previous glory. He was born William Levise Jr. Feb. 26, 1945 in Hamtramck, MI. As a teen, he was in the black group The Peps but suffered so much racial harassment that he left and started Billy Lee & The Rivieras. While opening for The Dave Clark Five in 1965, he was spotted by veteran producer Bob Crewe and signed with his DynoVoice label. Apparently Crewe got the name Mitch Ryder out of the phone book. The other members were guitarists James McCarty & Joseph Cubert, bassist Earl Elliot & drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjak. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels had several hits in 1966-67 topped by the top five hit Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly. I guess the music is blue eyed soul but more raucous than expected. Crewe convinced Ryder to go solo in 1968 and tried to turn him into a pop crooner with disastrous results. The Detroit Wheels split up. Jim McCarty went on to join the early-70s group Cactus. Ryder signed with Paramount Records and recorded The Detroit/Memphis Experiment with Booker T & The MGs. He formed a new group Detroit in 1972 to salvage his career. Ryder brought drummer John Badanjak with him. Other members were Steve Hunter & Brett Tuggle on guitar, Harry Phillips on organ & W.R. Cooke on bass. It was recorded at Manta Sound in Toronto with producer Bob Ezrin. It's a great record but Paramount was a terrible label and had no clue how to sell it. This version of Lou Reed's Rock 'N' Roll is now considered a classic. Reed liked it so much that he hired Ezrin to produce his album Berlin. Hunter also joined Reed's band and went to Alice Cooper's band with producer Ezrin in 1975. Tuggle has had a long career playing sessions. Ryder started having throat problems and retired from music and moved to Denver in 1973. He has returned occasionally to music most notably when John Cougar Mellancamp produced his 1983 album Never Kick A Sleeping Dog. But he's never been able to rise to the mid-60s heights of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. This Rhino comp is perfect. Here's a video of Rock 'N' Roll by Detroit produced and introduced by Detroit DJ Music Mike.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Elmore James

Artist:Elmore James

Song:I Believe

Album:Let's Cut It:The Very Best Of Elmore James

Elmore James was The King Of The Slide Guitar. He was very influential but somewhat forgotten outside the blues community due to his premature death. He was born Jan. 27, 1918 in Richland, MS. James played local dances as a teen and may have played with Robert Johnson though there's no question he was heavily influenced by him. It appears he may have also been a polygamist and was involved in the moonshine trade. James was also a radio repairman and spent a lot of time experimenting with guitar amplifiers. During WWII, he spent three years in Guam in The Navy. After he was discharged, he moved to Memphis. James was very popular in clubs but was unsure of his abilities as a recording artist. In 1951, he was playing on a Sonny Boy Williamson recording session when Lillian McMurray of Trumpet Records recorded James performing Dust My Broom without his knowledge. This variation on a Robert Johnson song became his signature tune and was a big hit. I Believe is very similar. This comp contains recordings from that period on Flair Records. By the late 50s, James had moved to Chicago and The Broomdusters were one of the most popular live acts in the city. He had signed with the larger VeeJay label but James had ongoing heart problems and died of a heart attack on May 24, 1963 at age 45. Elmore James was elected to the Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame in 1980 and named as a seminal influence in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Not surprisingly, there's no video footage of Elmore James but here's a video tribute I found on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Winner at May 24 DEEP show to get Lightweight Title shot

DEEP has added a womens match to their May 24 Shinjuku FACE show. It will be Misaki Takimoto vs Naoko Ohmuro. Takimoto's record is 7-8-4 and Ohmuto's record is 8-6-2. But the interesting thing is these two fought to a draw on the Nov. 11 GCM-Cage Force show. And the winner of this match gets a shot at the DEEP Lightweight Championsip currently held by MIKU. That match will be in August. Also, MIKU will be on DEEP's June 1 show against an opponent to be announced. Takimoto already has a 2-1 record against MIKU and lost to her on the June 16, 2007 DEEP show. Her victories over MIKU date back to 2004. Both fighters usually lose to top talent like Satoko Shinashi & Hisae Watanabe and win over lesser fighters. MIKU is much more accomplished today over a few years ago.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Los Lobos

Artist:Los Lobos

Song:La Pistola Y El Corazon

Album:Just Another Band From East L.A.:A Collection

Though Los Lobos is best known for their version of the Richie Valens song La Bamba on the La Bamba film soundtrack, they're much more interesting than that one song. The group was formed in Los Angeles in the mid-70s. Members are David Hidalgo (born Oct. 6, 1954 in Los Angeles), Louie Perez (born Jan. 29, 1953 in Los Angeles), Cesar Rosas (born Sept. 26, 1954 in Hermosillo, Mexico), Conrad Lozano (born Mar. 21, 1951 in Los Angeles) & Steve Berlin (born Sept. 14 1955 in Philadelphia). Los Lobos played clubs in LA and self released recordings in 1978 and 1983. The 1983 EP got the attention of producer T-Bone Burnett and he got them a deal with Warner Bros. Their 1984 debut album How Will The Wolf Survive? got a lot of critical acclaim with its mix of rock, blues & traditional Mexican music. But it's likely that Los Lobos wouldn't have lasted on a major label very long if they hadn't had a #1 pop hit with La Bamba in 1987. They followed this with the 1988 album La Pistola Y El Corazon, an album of traditional Mexican music sung in Spanish. They've experimented with other types of music too but they have enough of a fanbase that they don't need to chase the charts. They're all excellent musicians and very entertaining. This 1993 2CD comp is a good overview of their career. Los Lobos left Warner Bros. in 1996 and after working on side projects like the Latin Playboys, They reformed and signed with Hollywood Records. Their most recent CD The Town And The City was released in 2006. Los Lobos are still making great music and are a very popular live act. Here's Los Lobos performing La Pistola Y El Corazon in San Antonio 1988.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Rodney Crowell

Artist:Rodney Crowell

Song:Old Pipeliner

Album:The Rodney Crowell Collection

Rodney Crowell is classified as a country singer songwriter but is probably a cross of country and rock. I would classify him as similar to Texas singer songwriters like Guy Clark & Townes Van Zandt. He had some success as a recording artist in the 80s. This comp covers his early recordings. He was born Aug. 7, 1950 in Houston. He moved to Nashville in 1972. While performing in a club in 1975, he was spotted by Jerry Reed and signed a publishing contract. Then he moved to Los Angeles to join Emmylou Harris' Hot Band as guitarist and chief songwriter. He left in 1978 To form The Cherry Bombs with Vince Gill and signed with Warner Bros. Meanwhile, he met and married Rosanne Cash and started producing her records. This comp covers his Warners recordings. Old Pipeliner is from his 1981 album Rodney Crowell and features Booker T. Jones on organ along with Vince Gill & Albert Lee on guitar. The song was originally recorded by Red Stovall in 1970. Crowell would have even more success when he moved to Columbia in the mid 80s and there is a comp for those recordings. Crowell & Cash divorced in 1991 and he continued to record. He formed The Cicadas in 1997, married singer Claudia Church in 1999 and produced her album. He reformed The Cherry Bombs in 2004 and Crowell's latest CD The Outsider was released in 2005 on Columbia. His music straddles country and rock and he's worth checking out. Here's Rodney Crowell with Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris & Albert Lee performing Old Pipeliner on the 80s TV show In Session.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

First round of Sendai Girls junior tournament

Sendai Girls had the first round of their junior tournament in front of an announced attendance of 700 at Zepp Sendai. There were no upsets. It went as expected. The big question from fans over the last month was would Sendai Girls recognize Hiren's heel turn in OZ Academy. As expected, the answer is no. Though Meiko Satomura is the face of the promotion, this decision likely was made by company owner Jinsei Shinzaki. He understands the nature of a regional promotion and how to please the local fans. That's what he's trying to do.

The prize for winning this tournament is a flag that was donated by Sendai Girls sponsor Transport Sendai. The opener was between Ryo Mizunami and Minori Makiba of Ice Ribbon. After exchanging elbows, Mizunami hits a flying tackle and hooks a sleeper hold. She switches to an armbar and then an achilles hold. Following a shoulder block, she makes Makiba tap out with a shoulder hold at 6:32. Next was Arisa Nakajima vs Hiren. Hiren starts out with dropkicks. But Nakajima throws her and then applies a camel clutch. Then a DDT. Hiren comes back with a facelock followed by an ankle lock. Hiren hits a missile kick followed by a knee drop from the second rope. Nakajima comes back with a back breaker and a backdrop. Hiren replies with a body ram followed by three missile dropkicks. But Nakajima gets a German suplex and wins with the Cutie Special at 8:14.

Next was Misaki Ohata vs Ayako Sato. Ohata has some fan support because she grew up in Sendai. Sato begins with a dropkick followed by a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Ohata comes back with two dropkicks and a bow & arrow hold. Sato hits three dropkicks and a body attack from the top rope. She gets the win with three dropkicks, a body press and two missile kicks at 10:36. Next was Sendai Sachiko vs Mio Shirai from Maheken. They exchange elbows, dropkicks & kicks and Sachiko gets an achilles hold followed by a neck throw. They throw dropkicks at each other and then Mio hits two face busters. Sachiko hits a tackle and a DDT but misses a missile kick. Sachiko hits a knee drop to the back of the head from the top rope followed by a senton. Then a swinging DDT followed by a hurricanrana and Sachiko hits a German suplex for the win at 9:07.

During intermission, they announced that fans have collected 30,000 yen to award to the tournament winner. And the new Sendai Girls trainees were introduced. Next was Horoyo Matsumoto vs Mika Mizunuma. Mizunuma is a big girl so she wins a battle of strength. She follows this with a body block, an atomic drop, a guillotine and a lariat. Matsumoto comes back with the Argentinian back breaker followed by a blockbuster. A missile kick, a tackle and a back elbow gives the win to Matsumoto at 9:58. Next was Io Shirai of Maheken vs Mayuca Niizeki of JWP. Io begins with a body & hip attack and a face crusher. Niizeki replies with an Achilles hold and a dropkick. But Io got control for good and wins with a lionsault at 9:02.

Next was Kana vs DASH Chisako. They exhange similar moves at the start; elbows, dropkicks and they exchange camel clutches. Chisako gets a neck throw followed by a hip attack for a 2 count. This is followed by a dropkick to the head. This is a very fast paced match going back and forth. Kana hits a back DDT at the ten minute mark. They exchange armlocks and it looked like Kana may have pulled something. Kana hits a German suplex followed by a uraken and an ace crusher. Kana ends it with a hip attack, a running elbow, two German suplexes and a Billyken for the win at 13:56. I'm not sure what it is but the finisher comes from a wrestler named Billy Ken Kid.

The final match was Tyrannosaurus Okuda vs Hanako Kobayashi. Okuda begins with an armbar followed by a throw, an elbow, a camel clutch and a surfboard. They both try to apply Achilles holds. Kobayashi get in some offense with a neck throw and a body attack. Okuda hits a dropkick and they exchange elbows. Okuda hits a jumping knee at the ten minute mark followed by a missile kick and a backdrop. Kobayashi almost gets the win with a small package. Okuda wins with a jumping knee and a German suplex at 14:49. The tournamrnt quarterfinals will be May 23 at Zepp Sendai. The matches are Ryo Mizunami vs Arisa Nakajima, Ayako Sato vs Sendai Sachiko, Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Io Shirai and Kana vs Tyrannosaurus Okuda.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Blind Willie McTell

Artist:Blind Willie McTell

Song:Loving Talking Blues

Album:Statesboro Blues:When The Sun Goes Down Vol. 9:The Secret History Of Rock & Roll

Blind Willie McTell was a pioneer of acoustic blues. He was a great singer & guitarist and his music holds up very well today. He was born William Samuel McTier May 5, 1898 in Thomson, GA. He was born blind in one eye and became completely blind later. Not sure where the name McTell came from but both his parents played guitar and he was also related to gospel pioneer Reverend Thomas Dorsey. He worked as a musician traveling with Medicine shows until he first recorded for RCA Victor in 1927. The recordings on this comp covers his Victor recordings from 1927-34. Loving Talking Blues was recorded in 1928. The thing that's confusing is that he recorded for several record companies under different names. He recorded as Blind Sammie on Columbia and Georgia Sam on Okeh and then the companies merged in 1930. He continued to record into the 30s but acoustic blues ground to a halt in the 40s. He did record for Atlantic post war but wasn't successful and retired from music due to ill health until his death on Aug. 19, 1959 at age 61. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame in 1981. Blues fans should check out Blind Willie McTell. Of course there's no video footage of Blind Willie McTell but animator Jim Clark has produced a series of virtual animated films of legendary blues artists. This one has Blind Willie McTell performing Broke Down Engine Blues.

Danica Patrick wins first race

Breaking news from Japan. 26 year old Danica Patrick finally won her first IRL race at Motegi in Japan. So it was on in the middle of the night and nobody watched it. Apparently it was a fuel mileage deal but a win is a win. Congratulations to Danica. I always thought she could do it. Here's a clip from ESPN via NewsClipper.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Aaron Neville

Artist:Aaron Neville

Song:Don't Take Away My Heaven

Album:The Very Best Of Aaron Neville

Of course Aaron Neville is a great singer best known as one of the Neville Brothers. He has a strong fanbase now but struggled for years. He was born Jan. 24, 1941 in New Orleans. Aaron first came to prominence with the Allen Toussaint produced hit Tell It Like It is in 1966. But the record company went broke and Aaron never was paid. So in the 70s he continued to tour and record with his brothers in The Meters. Aaron started to get noticed in the late 80s when The Neville Brothers had some hits on A & M Records. But the song that really made him was his duet with Linda Ronstadt called Don't Know Much on her 1989 album Cry Like A Rainstorm-Howl Like The Wind. It reached #2 on the pop charts. Aaron has recorded several solo albums since then including Don't Take Away My Heaven from the 1993 CD The Grand Tour. He hasn't appeared on the pop charts lately but is very popular with older R & B fans. He has a great voice and is as good at country or gospel as he is at R & B. This comp covers his 90s A & M recordings but also includes the original version of Tell It Like It Is. He is currently signed to Sony BMG's Burgundy label and his latest CD Bring It On Home To Me...The Soul Classics was released in Sept. 2006. Here's the video for Don't Take Away My Heaven by Aaron Neville.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Teams announced for OZ Academy Tag Team Championship Tournament

OZ Academy held a press conference today to announce the teams and schedule for the OZ Academy Tag Team Championship Tournament. Carlos Amano started out by saying that she is firmly in control and that means OZ Academy matches will be run in a dignified manner and rules will be followed. Sure, I believe her. They named seven teams for the tournament. The matches will have a 30 minute time limit with a ten minute overtime if necessary. If the match is still a draw, both teams will be eliminated. Outside interference will bring an immediate DQ and there will be a ten count for a countout. It's usually 20.

The first two tournament matches will be on the May 8 Shinjuku FACE show. Match A will be Mayumi Ozaki & Hiren vs Dynamite Kansai & Tomoka Nakagawa. Match B will be KAORU & Takako Inoue vs Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato. Match C will be on the June 7 Shinjuku FACE show. It will be Aja Kong & Manami Toyota vs Carlos Amano and a partner TBA. The semi finals will be on the June 8 show at Taisho Azeria in Osaka. The winner of match A vs winner of match C and the winner of match B will face AKINO & Hiroyo Matsumoto. The final will be on the July 13 Shinjuku FACE show.

The talk on last Saturday's show between Aja Kong and Dynamite Kansai indicated they were planning to do a veteran/youngster team tournament. They've decided not to do the tournament that way. I don't know why. So why is Aja Kong teaming with Manami Toyota instead of Hiroyo Matsumoto? When asked about this, Aja said something about a one year career length difference between her and Toyota. In other words, she's playing head games. Kansai was unhappy and said she was disappointed in Aja. And what about Amano's partner? Well, she doesn't have to say until June 7. I wouldn't be surprised if it was someone like Sendai Girls youngster Tyrannosaurus Okuda. But it's pretty funny that someone preaching fair play is keeping her partner's identity a secret. She claims she hasn't decided yet.

Kayoko Haruyama gets JWP Open Weight title shot

JWP's Apr. 13 Cinema Club show finally gave us the conclusion of the #1 contender's league. The winner gets a shot at Azumi Hyuga's JWP Open Weight Championship on the Apr. 29 Korakuen Hall show called Mania-X. The league final came down to Commando Bolshoi vs Kayoko Haruyama. I'm not sure if that was supposed to be the original final because two wrestlers had to drop out due to injury. As already noted, Ran YuYu is out with a back injury. And Sachie Abe had eye surgery this week and is out indefinitely.

The opener had Toshie Uematsu vs JWP rookie Mayuca Niizeki. Uematsu is kind to her and lets her get in some offense mostly with elbow smashes. But the match went as one would expect and after a missile kick, Uematsu won with a dragon suplex at 10:49. Kei'to used her edge in power and size to beat Kana with a shining wizard at 11:21. Azumi Hyuga teamed with Fuuka against KAZUKI & Megumi Yabushita. Yabushita has been filling in for the injured Abe. KAZUKI begins with Fuuka after a double team move, Yabushita tags in and applies an ankle lock. Hyuga breaks it up and she & Yabushita demonstrate some chain wrestling. KAZUKI & Fuuka are in the ring a lot because they're trying to set up something for the next show. Hyuga wins over KAZUKI with the Michinoku Driver II at 16:35. KAZUKI & Fuuka have a post match discussion to st up an eight girl match featuring Jaguar Yokota & Manami Toyota for the Apr. 29 show.

Kaori Yoneyama & Tojuki Leon defeated Tsubasa Kuragaki & Arisa Nakajima when Leon used the Leon Stone on Nakajima at 19:37. Kuragaki was in control when she was in there but things didn't go well for Nakajima in this match. Kayoko Haruyama vs Commando Bolshoi for the JWP Open Weight title shot is the main event. Of course Bolshoi owns JWP and could put herself over but she knows her character is a clown and won't do that. So the idea is to make Haruyama look as good as possible so she comes across as a credible challenger and possible champ. So there's a lot of chain wrestling. Bolshoi does a lot of flying. Haruyama doesn't really do much of that. Haruyama goes for her Keen Hammer finish but Bolshoi counters it. But Haruyama finally does get the win with the Keen Hammer at 25:43. Apparently it was a good match but not taped. Normally I don't look at Haruyama as a champ but Hyuga has been having knee trouble again and needs to take some time off. So it appears that Kayoko Haruyama will become the JWP Open Weight Champ on Apr. 29. She's been there for a few years and deserves the opportunity.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys

Artist:Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys

Song:New San Antonio Rose

Album:The Essential Bob Wills 1935-47

When one talks about innovators in popular music, Bob Wills ranks right up there with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong & Louis Jordan. He popularized what is now called Western Swing. He was born Mar. 6, 1905 in Kosse, TX. He learned to play fiddle & mandolin and played dances as a teen. He joined a Fort Worth medicine show in 1929 and played fiddle and did blackface comedy (!). He formed the Wills Fiddle Band with guitarist Herman Arnspiger, vocalist Milton Brown and his guitarist brother Durwood and banjoist Clifton Johnson. They got their own radio show in 1931 sponsored by Light Crust Flour and were renamed the Light Crust Doughboys. The company wouldn't allow the band to do anything but the radio show so Wills quit and replaced Milton Brown with Tommy Duncan (born Jan. 11, 1911 in Hillsboro, TX). Duncan would be the lead vocalist for many years. The group was now called The Texas Playboys and landed a radio show in Tulsa. The key addidtion to the band was steel guitarist Leon McAuliffe (born Mar. 1, 1917 in Houston). McAuliffe wrote many of the arrangements and is now considered a major innovator of the steel guitar. Other members were guitarist Al Stricklin, drummer Smokey Dacus and a horn section. In 1935, Wills signed his first recording deal with American Recording Company. It was here that he first worked with producer Unncle Art Satherly and this Columbia comp covers those recordings. By the end of the 30s, the big band sound was popular so Wills hired Eldon Shamblin (born Apr. 24, 1916 in Tulsa) to write arrangements that fused country with big band. By 1940 The Texas Playboys were an 18 piece band and New San Antonio Rose was their first national hit. They became one of the biggest acts in the US and Wills made films for Columbia Pictures. WWII forced the departure of Duncan, McAuliffe & Shamblin but they would all return later. Bob Wills continued to be successful into the 50s and was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1968. This comp is a perfect intro for newcomers. Merle Haggard recorded a tribute album in 1972 and of course Ray Benson continues to pay tribute to Wills with his band Asleep At The Wheel. Bob Wills suffered a stroke and died on May 13, 1975 at age 70. Here's Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys featuring Tommy Duncan & Leon McAuliffe performing San Antonio Rose in the 1945 film Rhythm Round-Up. The yelling is one of Wills' little quirks. He always did that.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mayumi Ozaki has her head shaved

Anyone who has followed Mayumi Ozaki's long career knows that she is willing to do just about anything to draw heel heat or sell an angle. So when it was announced that this showdown between Ozaki & Carlos Amano for the control of OZ Academy would be a hair vs hair match, there could be only one result. Ozaki had her head shaved in GAEA five years ago so of course she's going to do it again. The Apr. 12 Differ Ariake show was OZ's biggest show in recent memory and the main matches were pretty wild.

Ran YuYu came out at the start of the show to announce that due to her back injury, the six girl match she was supposed to be in is now a handicap match. The first three matches on the show were pure filler. First there was a standard comedy match with GAMI vs Bullfight Sora. I guess they wanted to get the crowd in a good mood. Sora charged at GAMI & ref Tommy Ran for most of the match. Gami won with a cradle. Shirigami was DQd in his match against Leatherface for a flame attack. And the Devil Masami road to retirement continued. She won over Kana with the Fire Valley in about three minutes and they had a nice hug afterwards. Now we can move on to the real show.

Next up was Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Dynamite Kansai & Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa pulls Matsumoto into the corner and Kansai pounds her for a while. Matsumoto tries to come back but Kansai uses her power to control her and tags Nakagawa in. Nakagawa nails Matsumoto with a leg lariat but Matsumoto hits a backdrop and tags Aja. Nakagawa tries to lift Aja for a suplex. Of course she can't and Nakagawa becomes an Aja/Matsumoto sandwich. Matsumoto's fisherman suplex pin attempt is broken up by Kansai. Aja nails her with a tin can. Matsumoto gets the win over Nakagawa with a backdrop. More about this angle after the show.

Yoshiko Tamura & Misae Genki came over from NEO to face Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato. After an exchange of elbows, Tamura pulls Kato into her corner and applies a face wash. Genki continues the attack with a cobra hold. Kato escapes and tags Nakashima in. After a snap mare and a soccer ball kick on Tamura, Tamura hits a brainbuster and Nakashima tags Sato. Genki uses her power again to take control and that's pretty much how this went. The turning point comes when Kato attempts to superplex Genki but Tamura catches her in a German suplex. The end comes when Genki gets a jumping power bomb on Nakashima for the win. A lot of action but there was never any doubt who would win.

Next was this handicap match with KAORU, Takako Inoue & Hiren vs AKINO & Manami Toyota.It turned into a handicap match when Ran YuYu couldn't go. Aja Kong volunteered to fill in but KAORU said she wouldn't do the match with Aja and AKINO said it was OK. Naturally Police & Mika Nishio were there and Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto were there to neutralize them. This started conventionally with AKINO & KAORU. AKINO took control over Hiren with a moonsault press. Police intrudes but Aja stops him. Takako tags in but as soon as AKINO gets control, KAORU comes in. Takako hits an avalanche style brainbuster for a 2 count. After a missile kick, Nishio grabs AKINO's foot and after a Frankensteiner, Hiren tags in. She bites Toyota's hand and then Nishio bites her other hand. So Aja bites Nishio's hand. After Hiren's missile kick, AKINO tags in and hits several dropkicks followed by a brainbuster for a 2 count followed by more kicks. But Hiren gets AKINO in an ankle lock while Takako gets Toyota in an STF. Police attempts a cheap shot but runs from Aja. When AKINO gets control over Hiren, KAORU gets a desk board and zonks both AKINO & Toyota with it. Then everybody comes in and it's one big mess. KAORU hits everyone with the board. Toyota hits a Queen Bee Bomb on KAORU for a 2 count. Takako goes for her stun gun but AKINO heads her off with a missile kick. KAORU gets the stun gun but doesn't know how to use it. She stuns herself and drops the board. When Toyota gets KAORU up for a brainbuster, Takako nails her with the stun gun and KAORU gets the win with a hurricanrana at 12:58.

Now it's time for the main event between Carlos Amano & Mayumi Ozaki. With all the stipulations for this match like no rules, any weapons, hair vs hair etc. etc., they didn't bother to tell us it was 2 of 3 falls. So Ozaki brings a chair wrapped in barbed wire and a chain and Amano brings a metal baseball bat. Ozaki knocks the bat out of Amano's hand and hits her with the chair. Ozaki wedges the chair in the corner and whips Amano into the barbed wire. She busts Amano's forehead open with the barbed wire. Then she hits a power bomb on the chair. Ozaki goes out to grab a table from under the ring. Amano recovers and backdrops Ozaki onto the table. Then she batters Ozaki with the desk board. After some stomping, Amano leans the table in the corner and puts Ozaki against it. She charges...and misses. Ozaki goes back to the chair and hangs Amano with the chair in the corner. This is followed by a piledriver that shatters the table. After more chair shots, Ozaki uses a Yakuza kick for the first fall at 7:38.

Ozaki continues to attack Amano between falls. She starts fall two with a chain wrapped around her fist battering Amano. Then she wraps the chain around Amano's neck and hangs her over the top rope and drops her to the floor. She beats her with the barbed wire chair. Then a brainbuster on the floor followed by more chain hanging in the corner. Then Ozaki brings out more chairs from under the ring. It doesn't look good for Amano. But she avoids a brainbuster on the chair. But Ozaki hits her over the head with the chair for a 2 count. Ozaki sits Amano up in a chair but Amano slips away and nails Ozaki with a vertical brainbuster on the chair. Amano wedges the barbed wire chair in the corner and whips Ozaki into it. Then she busts her open. Then Amano hits her with the chain followed by several baseball bat shots. Amano applies a triangle choke with the chain. Ozaki kicks the bat out of Amano's hands. Ozaki hits a back fist followed by a kick. Amano uses the ropes and a chair to wrap up Ozaki's arm. Then she wraps her arm in the chain. Ozaki gives up at 9:25. It's all tied up.

Amano starts the third fall by going back to the arm. Ozaki tries to counter but Amano is relentless and chases her on the floor. They're beating each other with the chain. You may recall that one of the stipulations was that Amano couldn't use her Carlos Ghosn finisher. Back in the ring, Amano pretends to go for it and Ozaki flinches and is almost tricked into losing. Ozaki hits Amano with several chain wrapped back fists for a 2 count. Then Ozaki gets fluorescent light tubes from under the ring. She swings and misses and the tubes fall into the ring. Ozaki hits another back fist but Amano is able to escape the light tubes. Then Amano tries for Ozaki's Tequila Sunrise finisher. She's unsuccessful and Ozaki hooks a dragon sleeper. Amano escapes and gets the light tubes and explodes them over Ozaki's head. Ozaki isn't moving. But to make sure, Amano wins the match with the Tequila Sunrise at 6:04. Carlos Amano is still the principal of OZ Academy.

After the match, D-Fix attacks Amano outside the ring. But Ozaki sat in the chair in the middle of the ring and yes, Amano cut her hair. She starts with scissors but somebody sends an electric hair clipper and Amano cuts her hair. Then Ozaki takes the clipper and cuts her own hair. Reduced to a brush cut, Ozaki asks Amano if it is good enough. Amano says yes and Ozaki can go. While Ozaki kneels in respect, Police attacks Amano and the fighting starts. Ozaki gets scissors and starts to cut Amano's hair. The crowd boos. Ozaki tells Amano it will never be over and flips the bird to the crowd.

Then Aja Kong enters the ring to congratulate Amano on her victory. She asks Amano if she has any ideas for future matches. Amano says why do you ask. Aja says she has an idea for a tag team title tournament. Amano says OK. Aja says D-Fix is through so we'll need some other teams. Dynamite Kansai comes in and says she wants to team with Tomoka Nakagawa. Aja plans to team with Hiroyo Matsumoto. Aja asks Amano if she wants to team with Ozaki. Everyone laughs. Apparently this tag team tournament will be on the next OZ Academy show. Nothing's been announced yet but it appears they are planning to team a veteran with a younster similar to the 1996 Discover New Heroine tournament. They also announced that they are planning Plum Mariko memorial shows on Aug. 10 at Korakuen Hall and Aug. 16 Taisho azeria in Osaka. This show looks like a lot of fun. But I wouldn't write off D-Fix just yet.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Johnny Cash

Artist:Johnny Cash

Song:Ring Of Fire

Album:The Essential Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash was an icon of country music but his music frequently crossed over to rock. The 1963 hit Ring Of Fire reestablished him on the charts after several quiet years. He was born Feb. 26, 1932 in Kingsland, AR. By age 12 he had started writing songs. He taught himself to play guitar while in the Air Force during the Korean War. He moved to Memphis with his wife Vivian after leaving the service in 1954. Eventually he signed with Sun Records in 1955 after auditioning for Sam Phillips. His 1956 hit I Walk The Line was a #1 country hit and crossed over to the pop charts. He left Sun for Columbia in 1958 because Phillips wouldn't increase his royalties and Phillips wouldn't let him record a gospel album. He continued to have hits but by 1961, his touring schedule was starting to get to him and he became addicted to amphetamines. He had left Vivian and moved to New York. But then he met June Carter of the Carter Family and she turned him around. June wrote Ring Of Fire when she was falling in love with Cash. It was originally recorded by he sister Anita but it flopped. Cash said the idea for the mariachi horns came to him in a dream. The song was a #1 country hit and reestablished him on the charts. But he was still having drug issues and was arrested for drug smuggling in 1965. Vivian divorced him in 1966 and Cash moved to Nashville. June straightened him out and they were married in 1968. And his hit A Boy Named Sue topped the charts. This 2CD comp mostly covers his 1955-70 hits. Of course Johnny Cash also appeared in films and had his own TV variety show in the late 60s. He's an icon of modern music and he died on Sept. 12, 2003 at age 71. Here's Johnny Cash performing Ring Of Fire on the Grand Ole Opry 1968.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ginele Marquez to Smackgirl for World REMIX tournament

Smackgirl held a press conference today at the BRAINBUSTER Sports Bar in Tokyo to finally announce the additions to the Open Weight World REMIX tournament. The semi finals will be at the Apr. 25 Korakuen Hall show. Both look to be very strong additions. The first semi final match will have Smackgirl Middleweight Champion Hitomi Akano against Smackgirl Open Weight Champion HIROKO. HIROKO's record is 4-0 and she won the title from Yoko Takahashi at the Sept. 6 Smackgirl show. The big thing is that HIROKO has a significant size advantage over Akano. She is 180cm tall and weighs 77kg and Akano is 164cm tall and weighs 62kg. When asked about this, Akano said it's an open weight tournament and it comes with the territory. That reaction is not surprising. Despite the size difference, this will be HIROKO's toughest test to date and it should be very interesting.

The other semi final match has pro wrestler Atsuko Emoto against Ginele Marquez (pictured). Emoto may use the Bullfight Sora comedy gimmick as a wrestler but should not be taken lightly in MMA. Marquez' 5-7-1 record is somewhat deceieving. Her most recent fight was a loss to rising star Sarah Kaufman at the Oct. 19 HCF and has lost to Tara LaRosa, Amanda Buckner & Tonya Evinger. But she also won over Megumi Yabushita at the July 14 FFF show and has wins over Liz Posener & Molly Helsel. So I guess she likes to take on top fighters and she wouldn't get work if she wasn't delivering entertaining matches. This is why I don't bother too much with rankings. Sometimes win loss records don't tell the whole story. Marquez is currently training with Josh Barnett in California. This is her first match in Japan and could be a turning point in her career. This is shaping up to be a great show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Hot Tuna

Artist:Hot Tuna

Song:How Long Blues

Album:Hot Tuna

Hot Tuna started out as a blues side project of the Jefferson Airplane. But the group soon took on a life of its own and split from the Airplane. Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen (born Dec. 23, 1940 in Washington, DC) & bassist Jack Casady (born Apr. 13, 1944 in Washington, DC) grew up together and played in The Triumphs. Kaukonen co-founded the Jefferson Airplane in 1965 and Casady joined soon after. Hot Tuna started in 1969 playing traditional blues between regualar Airplane gigs. They added harmonica player Will Scarlett and Airplane members Spencer Dryden & Marty Balin occasionally sat in. This 1970 debut was recorded live at the New Orleans House in Berkeley, CA. The album did so well that they added violinist Papa John Creach & drummer Sammy Piazza and became a full band. By 1974, Kaukonen & Casady had left the Jefferson Airplane though Creach stayed. Their subsequent albums of the 70s never reached the heights of their debut probably because the debut was unexpected. Hot Tuna split up in 1979. RCA released Hot Tuna on CD in 1996 with six bonus tracks. It's recommended to blues fans. Hot Tuna has reunited occasionally. Kaukonen has recorded mostly acoustic blues as a solo artist and Casady was in the KBC Band with Marty Balin & Paul Kantner of the Airplane. He does a lot of guest shots on other folks records. Here's Hot Tuna performing Uncle Sam Blues at the Fillmore East in New York 1971.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Two new Sendai Girls trainees

Sendai Girls head trainer Meiko Satomura introduced two new trainees to the media today. Both Nikkan Sports & Sanspo Sports filed reports. The first trainee is 15 year old Yukari Ishino (left). She is from Osaka, is 158cm tall and weighs 57kg. She's been training in judo for three years. Apparently she's watched a lot of joshi on TV and is a big Satomura fan. Her parents sent a lot of her furniture to the Sendai Girls dorm so she would be comfortable. The second trainee is 15 year old Masako Shoji (right). She is from Sendai, is 167cm tall and weighs 67km. So she's a little larger than average. Apparently her background is in swimming. Her family lives only 4km from the dojo so she won't get homesick. She says she's a big Michinoku Pro & Sendai Girls fan. Of course the training is tough. They're up at 8AM. They clean the gym, train until lunch. Then they help prepare dinner and train some more until dinner. They have stuff to do in the evening too until the gym closes at 9PM. They have to keep a diary of their training. There's no drinking, smoking, boys, cellphones or fraternizing with wrestlers who work elsewhere. Good luck to them. They'll need it.

Mickie James wins WWE Womens Championship

On last night's RAW, Mickie James won the WWE Womens Championship from Beth Phoenix. I normally don't write much about the WWE but I noticed in my travels on the web this morning that a lot of fans missed the match so I thought I would post the video here so you can all watch it. It was a very good match and wasn't sloppy as WWE womens matches are usually. I have been very impressed with Mickie lately. She's a good wrestler anyway but if you watch her facials in this match, she does a great job of selling the match. We can quibble that this match should have been on WrestleMania and I agree with that. They could have done this in addition to the Playboy nonsense. They still sold the win as meaningful to Mickie. And the ending doesn't concern me as it sets up a feud between Mickie & Beth and both are capable of high quality performances. Enjoy the match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Artist:Nitty Gritty Dirt Band f/Mother Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson

Song:Will The Circle Be Unbroken

Album:Will The Circle Be Unbroken

In comparison to The Byrds, I guess the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were more country than rock and the landmark 1972 album Will The Circle Be Unbroken featured several country music legends. And the group has built on that over the years. The group started in 1965 in Santa Monica, CA as the New Coast Two with guitarist Jeff Hanna (born July 11, 1947 in Detroit) & Bruce Kunkel. They hung around McCabe's Guitar Shop and met Jimmie Fadden (born Mar. 9, 1948 in Long Beach, CA), Les Thompson, Ralph Barr & Jackson Browne and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was born. Browne left to persue a solo career and was replaced by banjoist John McEuen (born Dec. 19, 1945 in Garden Grove, CA). His brother Bill McEuen became the group's manager and they got a contract with Liberty Records. After a couple of albums, there was some conflict within the group about going to electric instruments. They split up for a while but reformed in late 1969. By then Kunkel had been replaced by Jim Ibbotson (born Jan. 21, 1947 in Philadelphia) and Barr left. The first album with the new lineup yielded a hit version of Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles in 1970. The group clearly headed in a more country direction and in 1972, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band went to Nashville to record the massive 3LP Will The Circle Be Unbroken with country music legends Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs and others. The album was a million seller. Later in the 70s they shortened the name to Dirt Band and became more of a pop group. But over the years they have returned to their country roots and even recorded two more volumes of Will The Circle Be Unbroken. EMI released the original Will The Circle Be Unbroken on 2CDs in 2002 with four bonus tracks. It's a must for roots music fans. Here's the video for Will The Circle Be Unbroken Vol. 2 by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and numerous guests that I'm sure you will recognize.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Takako Inoue-Film Star

A couple of years ago, I thought Takako Inoue was ready to retire from joshi. Now it seems she's busier than ever. She's training wrestlers at the Ito Dojo. She owns her yoga studio and writes a weekly column for Daily Sports print edition. And she's working more joshi shows than ever. So I don't know when she has time to work on a movie. She posted a few pics on her blog from an action movie she is starring in. Takako with a gun is an interesting sight. According to her blog, the shoot started at 1AM in the morning. I guess there's no rest for the wicked.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

Artist:Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown


Album:Texas Swing

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown is yet another legendary bluesman who was forgotten in the 60s and then returned with a vengence as a senior mostly because of his European following. He was renowned for his versatility. He was born Apr. 18, 1924 in Vinton, LA and grew up in Orange, TX. His dad was a popular local bluegrass musician. While growing up, Brown was heavily influenced by the big band sound of Duke Ellington & Count Basie and that was always an integral part of his music. A high school teacher thought his voice sounded like a gate and that's how he became Gatemouth. In 1947, he filled in for an ailing T-Bone Walker at a Houston nightclub and got the attention of nighclub owner Don Robey. Robey became his manager and then started Peacock Records. He recorded for Peacock through the 50s and got a lot of respect with his guitar skills but not much mainstream success. He moved to Nashville in the 60s and became friends with Roy Clark and appeared on Hee Haw. Brown became a deputy sherriff in New Mexico but he started doing tours in Europe and that's really what revived his music career. His fabulous 1979 album with Roy Clark called Makin' Music also got him a lot of attention. He signed with Rounder and his highly acclaimed 1981 album Alright Again! reestablished him for good. This 1987 comp is a sampler of his Rounder recordings. Stranded is a fine blues song from the 1982 album One More Time. He also recorded for Alligator & Verve and continued to tour until he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. His home in Slidell, LA was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and he was moved to his brother's home in Orange and died on Sept. 10, 2005 at age 81. I've always found Brown to be a very entertaining musician. Here's Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown performing Dollar Got The Blues in Germany 1983.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dianne Reeves

Artist:Dianne Reeves

Song:Just My Imagination

Album:When You Know

It was a year ago that I featured the popular jazz singer Dianne Reeves. This version of The Temptations Just My Imagination is from her new CD When You Know to be released this Tuesday. Dianne is from Denver and has been one of the premiere contemporary jazz singers for the last 25 years. As with several of her previous Blue Note albums, Her cousin George Duke produced and her long time collaborator Billy Childs did a lot of the arrangements including Just My Imagination. Dianne wrote Today Will Be A Good Day for her 83 year old mom but the album is mostly covers including the Nancy Wilson hit Over The Weekend, the Minnie Ripperton classic Lovin' You & The Windmills Of Your Mind. What I've heard so far sounds great and I think Dianne Reeves fans will want to pick up When You Know when it comes out this Tuesday. Here's Dianne Reeves performing Lovin' You & Today Is A Good Day on the French TV show Esprit Libre March 2008.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Two more fights added to Apr. 25 Smackgirl show

While we're waiting for Smackgirl to announce the mystery gaijins in the Open Weight World REMIX Tournament, the have added two Middleweight bouts to the Apr. 25 Korakuen Hall show. The first fight has Kaneko Takeshita (pictured) vs Rin Nakai. Nakai's record is 3-0 and her last win was over Asha Ingeneri at the Sept. 6 Smackgirl show. She also won the 2006 Middleweight Next Cinderella tournament. Takeshita is 5-0 and is looked at as a possible challenger for Hitomi Akano. Her last win was over Benkei on the Dec. 26 Smackgirl show. Speaking of Benkei, she's in a match against Smackgirl veteran Miki Morifuji as part of the Discovery Fight series. Benkei's record is 2-4. Morifuji is 5-4 and her last fight was a win over Hari at the Dec. 26 Smackgirl show. Now lets get to those mystery gaijins.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Cecil Taylor

Artist:Cecil Taylor


Album:Unit Structures

Pianist Cecil Taylor has been pioneering free jazz since the 50s. He's a legend but he's not the guy to listen to if you need to have structure in your music. He was born Mar. 25, 1929 in New York City. He studied at the New York School of Music & the New England Conservatory. His early influences were Duke Ellington & Dave Brubeck. He was in groups led by Johnny Hodges & Hot Lips Page. But he has always led his own band since the mid 50s. Taylor is a pioneer of free jazz and that made it difficult for record companies and concert promoters to hire him. His music was considered too advanced. He formed the Jazz Composers Guild. In 1966, he recorded Unit Structures for Blue Note. Musicians were Eddie Gale Stevens Jr. on trumpet, Jimmy Lyons & Ken McIntyre on sax, Henry Grimes & Alan Silva on bass and Andrew Cyrille on drums. It's considered a landmark recording now but things were tough for Taylor back then. Things improved somewhat in the 70s. Taylor took up teaching and went on frequent European tours. You may have seen him in the 1981 documentary Imagine The Sound. Cecil Taylor is still playing free jazz today. I've seen him in concert and though I enjoy his music, I recommend others proceed with caution. Here's Cecil Taylor with Jimmy Lyons, Alan Silva & Andrew Cyrille in Paris 1966.

Friday, April 11, 2008

TNA's ODB local girl makes good

Have a look at this news feature from FOX9 in Minneapolis about Jessie Kresa AKA ODB in TNA. That's where she's from and it's one of those local girl makes good pieces including comments by her family. I'm not crazy about her character as I think it's a little too goofy but I still like her potential and she has improved.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jamie Foxx

Artist:Jamie Foxx



Most folks familiar with Jamie Foxx's acting had no idea that he was an accomplished musician long before we first saw him on In Living Color. He was born Eric Marlon Bishop Jr. Dec. 13, 1967 in Terrell, TX and and raised by his maternal grandmother. She encouraged him to take piano lessons and he played organ in the church choir as a teen. When he got into standup comedy he called himself Jamie Foxx as a tribute to Redd Foxx. He became famous for appearing on the comedy sketch show In Living Color. But he also released the 1994 CD Peep This. It didn't sell but has become a collectors item selling for ridiculous prices. While Foxx developed his acting career, he was unsuccessfully trying to convince record companies to give him another chance at music. His appearance on the 2004 Kanye West song Slow Jamz convinced J Records owner Clive Davis to sign Foxx to a contract. the 2005 CD Unpredictable went platinum. Extravaganza is a rather tawdry but entertaining song written and produced by Mike City & Kanye West. Of course he won an Oscar for portraying Ray Charles in Ray. I don't know when he's releasing a new CD. He's busy making films and most recently appeared in The Kingdom. He has a lot of talent for someone record companies didn't take seriously. Here's the video for Extravaganza by Jamie Foxx.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Brackets announced for Sendai Girls junior tournament

Sendai Girls has announced the brackets for the opening round of their junior tournament Apr. 20 at Zepp Sendai. A.Sachiko Sendai vs Mio Shirat (Maheken) B.Misaki Ohata (Ibuki) vs Ayako Sato (Ito) C.Hiren vs Arisa Nakajima (JWP) D.Ryo Mizunami vs Minori Makiba (Ice Ribbon) E.Tyrannosaurus Okuda vs Hanako Kobayashi (Ito) F.DASH Chisako vs Kana (Freelance) G.Mayuca Niizeki (JWP) vs Io Shirai (Maheken) H.Hiroyo Matsumoto (Ibuki) vs Mika Mizunuma (Maheken). The quarter finals will be May 23. Winner of A vs Winner of B, Winner of C vs Winner of D, Winner of E vs Winner of F, Winner of G vs Winner of H. The semi finals and finals will be June 27. Winner of AB vs Winner CD, Winner of EF vs Winner of GH and then the final.

So who's gonna win this thing? I'm usually lousy at predicting these things but the obvious favourites based on the brackets are Tyrannosaurus Okuda, Arisa Nakajima & Hiroyo Matsumoto. The first bracket is a bit of a wild card. Some might think Ayako Sato is due for a push but I wonder how much politicking Mariko Yoshida has done to push Misaki Ohata. Upsets are possible too. Kana is one who might pull off a surprise in the quarter finals. Also, many fans are asking if Sendai is going to turn Hiren heel. I don't know. Her round one matchup against Nakajima would indicate no but you never know. I still believe they won't turn her heel or even acknowledge her role in OZ Academy. I hope I'm wrong as they'd miss an opportunity to give her a personality.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Big Bopper

Artist:The Big Bopper

Song:Chantilly Lace

Album:Hellooo Baby!:The Best Of The Big Bopper 1954-1959

The 1958 novelty song Chantilly Lace was the only hit for JP Richardson AKA The Big Bopper. Of course he is best known as one of three stars to die in that tragic 1959 airplane crash. He was born Oct. 24, 1930 in Sabine Pass, TX and grew up in Beaumont. He worked part time as a DJ at KTRM in Beaumont while studying pre-law at Lamar College. He left school to work in radio full time in 1949. He was drafted into the Army in 1955 and after being discharged, he returned to KTRM in 1957. When he was moved to a new time slot, he came up with the name The Big Bopper after watching kids do a dance called The Bop. Richardson played guitar and started writing songs. He got the attention of Mercury Records promotion man Harold "Pappy" Daily. The Big Bopper wrote & recorded Chantilly Lace for Daily and he sold it to Mercury. It reached #6 on the pop charts. The song is a lot of fun and still very well remembered today. I dunno about this Rhino comp. I think most folks would prefer the song on a various artists comp. The Big Bopper took time off from KTRM to tour with Buddy Holly & Richie Valens and died in the plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959 at age 28. The story is The Big Bopper wasn't feeling well and Buddy Holly guitarist Waylon Jennings gave him his seat on the plane. It's likely that The Big Bopper would have returned to radio after the tour. He was a novelty act and there's usually not a long term future for that sort of act. But his songs started becoming hits for others. George Jones had a hit with White Lightning and so did Johnny Preston with Running Bear. That was the likely direction of his musical career. Too bad he never got to do that. Here's The Big Bopper performing Chantilly Lace on American Bandstand 1958.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Let's all see the cherry blossoms at LEE Presents BEGINNING

It was a fairly quiet week in the joshi business. There will be a big explosion at next week's OZ Academy show. Of course spring in Tokyo means the blooming of the cherry blossoms is a big deal so most of the events on blogs and websites was related to that. There was one stand alone show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring on Apr. 6 called LEE Presents BEGINNING. Yes, that is Lee Jeans and they have done joshi shows before and will sponsor another one later this year.

The star of the show was Fuuka so they had a fan event on Saturday with Fuuka meeting fans. She was telling fans that Nanae Takahashi would appear on the May 5 Fuuka Matsuri. Takahashi confirmed that today. Before the show, Smackgirl fighter Hitomi Akano sang and Mio Shirai, Shuu Shibutani & Fuuka were signing autographs. The opener had Haruka Matsuo vs Mio Shirai. Mio attacked Matsuo with punches & dropkicks. But Matsuo came back with a half crab followed by a suplex for a two count. Mio came back but Matsuo regained control and after a superkick, Matsuo won with a Northern Lights suplex followed by a German suplex in about seven minutes.

Next was Arisa Nakajima & Toshie Uematsu vs Yumi Ohka & Hanako Kobayashi. The match started with Uematsu abusing Kobayashi. Ohka tagged in and got the same treatmant including a double team suplex. A Kobayashi cross body block on Nakajima turned things around and then Ohka wrapped her legs around Nakajima's hean from the top turnbuckle. An Ohka power bomb gets two. Uematsu tags in and catches Kobayashi on the top rope for a superplex. Ohka comes in to help but Nakajima outmaneuvers both with a cross body. Uematsu's Northern Lights suplex on Kobayashi is broken up by Ohka. This is followed by a fisherman's suplex and a cradle roll for the win at 16:32.

Next up was Hikaru & Yuu Yamagata vs Takako Inoue & Mai Ichii. The match begins with Ichii controlling Hikaru. Takako tags in and nails her with a spin kick. Yamagata tags in and Takako is double teamed. Ichii tags in and pounds Yamagata followed by a double team in the ropes. Hikaru tags in and is kicked by Ichii. A couple of stiff kicks by Takako gets a two count. Ichii crashes & burns when she misses a flying move. Yamagata finishes her with an avalanche style brain buster at 12:51.

The main event was Fuuka & Apple Miyuki vs Shuu Shibutani & Io Shirai. It's amusing to see Fuuka wearing a chamionship belt (EWA Womens Titile). Io seems to like playing heel as she doesn't shake hands with Fuuka. The match goes back and forth for a while until IO and then Shibutani get the edge on Fuuka. Apple turns the tables and after a jumping moonsault press and a Northern Lights suplex softens Io up, Fuuka finishes her with two straight F-Crashes for the win at 12:50. After the show, they all went to look at more cherry blossoms. It is good to see Apple Miyuki on one of these shows.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jimmy Cliff

Artist:Jimmy Cliff

Song:Sitting In Limbo

Album:The Harder They Come

The 1972 cult film The Harder They Come and the soundtrack played a big part in popularizing reggae in North America. Jamaican superstar Jimmy Cliff starred. He was born James Chambers Apr. 1, 1948 in St. James, Jamaica. He moved to Kingston at age 14. He renamed himself Jimmy Cliff to indicate the heights he was going to climb. Another Jamaican music legend Derrick Morgan discovered Cliff and took him to producer Leslie Kong. Though most Jamaican singers would flit around to various producers, Cliff stayed with Kong until Kong's 1970 death. This paid off with many hits in the 60s. Chris Blackwell licensed Cliff's music for release in England on Island Records and convinced Cliff to move there in 1968. Island licensed Cliff to A & M Records in the US and songs like Wonderful World, Beautiful People built him a fanbase there. Sitting In Limbo is a great song that Cliff wrote in the wake of Leslie Kong's death. It appeared on the 1971 album Another Cycle but was also added to the soundtrack for The Harder They Come. The film built a cult following in the US but Island turned their attention to Bob Marley and never capitalized on the success of the film to promote Cliff. Cliff moved to Reprise in the US and EMI in England in 1974 but has never reached the heights of The Harder They Come. I suspect many folks are more familiar with his acting but you don't want to overlook Jimmy Cliff's music as an important part of the Jamaican musical landscape. His most recent CD is 2004's Black Magic on Artemis Records. Here's the video for The Harder They Come by Jimmy Cliff.