Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra

Artist:The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra

Song:Rose Room

Album:Stomp It Off:The Original Decca Recordings

Along with Duke Ellington & Count Basie, Jimmie Lunceford was one of the top bandleaders of the 30s & 40s but is somewhat forgotten because he died prematurely and his music is entertaining but less memorable than those other bands. He was born June 6, 1902 in Fulton, MS and grew up in Denver. He earned a Bachelor Of Arts at Fisk University. Lunceford was teaching high school in Memphis when he formed a band called Chickasaw Syncopators in 1927. They started touring as the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. They did record in 1930 but their big break was an appearance at The Cotton Club in 1933 which earned them a contract with Decca Records. Lunceford's music had more humour and vaudeville elements and featured excellent arrangements by Sy Oliver (born Melvin Oliver Dec. 17, 1910 in Battle Creek, MI). Willie Smith (born Nov. 25, 1910 in Chrleston, SC) was his lead alto sax player. Other main members included singer Dan Grissom, trumpeter Tommy Stevenson & trombonist Trummy Young. This comp covers Lunceford's Decca recordings of the 30s. Things went sour for Lunceford when Oliver left to join the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1939. Though Lunceford maintained some of his following in the 40s, the music wasn't as good in quality. Jimmie Lunceford died on July 12, 1947 at age 45 when he collapsed during an autograph session in Seaside, OR. There were were rumours that he was poisoned by a racist restaurant owner but officially he died of a heart attack. Here's a 1936 Warner Bros./Vitaphone short film featuring The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra performing Rhythm Is My Business.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-George Clinton

Artist:George Clinton

Song:Atomic Dog (Original Extended Version)

Album:Greatest Funkin' Hits (Clean)

So we all know that George Clinton was one of the architects of funk with his groups Parliament & Funkadelic. And of course Parliament was very successful in the 70s. But by 1980 there were legal problems surrounding Neil Bogart's sale of Casablanca Records to PolyGram. So Clinton jettisoned the Parliament & Funkadelic names and signed with Capitol Records as George Clinton & P Funk All Stars using the same musicians. Nothing much changed. His 1982 solo debut Computer Games featured the same musicians like Bootsy Collins, Gary Shider, Fred Wesley & Junie Morrison. Both Loopzilla & Atomic Dog were smash hits and Atomic Dog was a big seller as an EP. Clinton used more electronic instruments on this music but that was a sign of the times. This comp has various remixes of Clinton's music featuring guest rappers. There are two versions of Atomic Dog. This is the longer nine minute version that was on the EP. I don't know why there are two versions of the CD. They have different covers but seem to be the same otherwise. Later in the 80s Clinton would get bogged down in legal problems but the bottom line is Atomic Dog and other Clinton songs continue to be sampled by hip hop guys today. He's an icon of funk. Here's the video for Atomic Dog by George Clinton.

Gina Carano interview

OK folks, the big fight is coming up tomorrow between Gina Carano & Kaitlin Young on the EliteXC show live on CBS. Here's an interview with Gina Carano courtesy of Sherdog's Loretta Hunt. I don't make predictions. I don't care who wins. I just want a good fight. I think they are very well matched and I like them both. But with all the supposed experts picking Kaitlin I would not be surprised to see Gina use that to motivate herself and win. Regardless, the media exposure has been good for womens MMA and I think both girls present themselves very well and I salute them both.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Daily Sports announces tag team tournament

Daily Sports announced today that they will have a tag team tournament as part of their 60th anniversary commemorative joshi shows at Osaka July 21 and Korakuen Hall Aug. 3. It was previously announced that the Jumping Bomb Angels will reunite and Azumi Hyuga & Yoshiko Tamura will be in the tournament. Hyuga just had knee surgery so don't expect her. It was announced today that Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota will team up for this tournament. The two agreed that they make a perfect team. A six girl match was also announced. Devil Masami will team with Ran Yu Yu & Toshie Uematsu and will face Takako Inoue, Kaoru Ito & Hanako Kobayashi. Well, we know who's doing the job in this match. They're also planning a battle royal. Wrestlers scheduled to appear in Osaka are Dump Matsumoto & Sasori (who announced her plan to retire in Apr. 2009). They will also appear in Tokyo along with Harley Saito, Mizuki Endo, Jaguar Yokota, Jumbo Hori, GAMI, Commando Bolshoi, Ayako Hamada and more to come. As I said previously, this is mostly a nostalgia show.

Another womens match added to June 26 Shooto show

It was announced a couple of weeks ago that Shooto had added a womens match between Yasuko Tamada & Kayo Nagayasu to their June 26 Kitazawa Town Hall show. They have now added a Womens Flyweight match between Yasuko Mogi (pictured) & Ayumi Takeuchi. Mogi's MMA record is 3-3. She is a former Pan American Games Jiu Jitsu champ. Her most recent MMA fight was a loss to Akiko Naito on the March 11, 2007 Smackgirl show. She did win a Smackgirl Grappling Tournament on Apr. 28, 2007 but those bouts don't count towards her MMA record. I don't have any info on Takeuchi except she's from Niigata. She could be another kickboxer coming to MMA.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Falcons

Artist:The Falcons

Song:I Found A Love

Album:The Doo Wop Box II

The Falcons 1961 hit I Found A Love is yet another nugget on the Rhino 4CD box set The Doo Wop Box II. The group is interesting because of the members who went on to bigger things. The man behind The Falcons was Detroit based manager producer Robert West (born Mar. 1, 1912 in Montgomery, AL). He started Silhouette Records in 1957 and started The Falcons for his nephew Eddie Floyd. Floyd would go on to have a big hit with Knock On Wood. Then he brought in Joe Stubbs & Sir Mack Rice. Stubbs was brother of Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs and would later be part of The Contours, The Originals & 100 Proof Aged In Soul. Rice is best known as the composer of Mustang Sally and he wrote a lot of other songs. West had a good eye for talent but I guess he wasn't much of a bussinessman as his companies seemed to frequently close. In 1959, West released The Falcons You're So Fine on his Flick label with Stubbs singing lead. He licensed it to United Artists and it was a top 20 pop hit. But then Stubbs left The Falcons and was replaced by Wilson Pickett in 1960. I Found A Love was released on West's new label LuPine and was licensed to Atlantic and became a top 20 pop hit. Of course Pickett would become one of the all time greats of soul music. Pickett soon left to go solo. The Falcons split in 1963 and West took a group called The Fabulous Playboys and renamed them The Falcons. That was unsuccessful. Robert West was someone who worked with a lot of great talent before they became successful but he seemed to have problems being successful himself. I guess that's the difference between Robert West & Berry Gordy. West left Detroit and the music business in 1964 after an altercation with Mary Wells' husband resulted in his eye being shot out. He moved to Vegas and died in 1983. Though The Falcons are classified as doo wop, their rawer gospel based sound was an early example of the soul music that was to come in the 60s. Here's a video of I Found A Love by The Falcons.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Joshi puroresu has given Misaki Ohata confidence

It's so unusual for joshi puroresu to get mainstream media coverage in Japan that I like to make note of it when available. Mariko Yoshida said on her blog that the Asahi Shinbun newspaper was at Sunday's 3rd anniversary show and to be on the lookout for an article about Ibuki. It turns out the article is about Misaki Ohata and is also on their website. It talks a bit about being on the winning side in her match on Sunday's show in front of 1200 fans at Korakuen Hall.

19 year old Misaki Ohata is 155cm tall and weighs 53kg. As the smallest of the wrestlers in that match on Sunday, Misaki said the crowd support really helped that day. Plus she's in there with the boss. Misaki Ohata was born in Sendai City. She played in the brass band in elementary school but wasn't into sports at all. In junior high and then high school she was very withdrawn and had difficulty making friends.

She had heard that the JD Star joshi puroresu company was recruiting and Misaki was thinking about moving to Tokyo anyway. She also thought performing could bring out her personality. So she moved into their dormitory in 2006. At first the Tokyo smog tired her out but she made her joshi debut in December 2006. When JD Star closed last year, Misaki joined Ibuki and has been training with Yoshida ever since. She says training is hard and there's a lot of pain but Misaki feels joshi has changed her personality and given her a lot of confidence. She's very happy now. She's recently bleached her hair blonde and gone to a more mature look. She looks less like a little kid now. Let's hope she keeps training hard to improve her ring skills.

Anybody want to see GAMI go 30 minutes?

Pro Wrestling WAVE's latest show was May 25 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring in front of 159 fans. They're doing a little better because they're not running much during the week anymore. To me the company is very strange. On one hand, you have Yumi Ohka trying to attract the kind of fans who want to see idol wrestlers. And when Moeka Haruhi was hired, she talked about forming an Idol Army. But GAMI is still the millstone around the neck of this promotion with her bad comedy ideas. And on this show, she booked herelf against Toshie Uematsu in a match called Serious WAVE. Huh?

The opener was between Cherry & Hanako Kobayashi in a match called Pink WAVE because both wore pink costumes. It's the kind of light action one would expect with Cherry mostly in control with a figure four leglock, a sleeper and a bow & arrow hold. They exchange punches and Kobayashi's pin attempt is reversed by Cherry's rollup pin for the win at 10:41. Ran YuYu vs Ayako Sato was similar except the veteran had complete control. Ran uses a test of strength to twist Sato into various leg holds. Sato comes back a bit but a Ran mule kick and German suplex is followed by a European Clutch for the win at 14:15.

Next was Comical WAVE with Eiger bringing her ghost character from LLPW teaming with some guy with a ghost costume named Onyro against Bullfight Sora and someone in a cat suit called Kitten Kid. The purpose of this match is to humiliate Sora and after some silliness, Eiger pins Sora with a lariat at 10:56. Apparently Sora is demanding a match with GAMI. So now GAMI wants to prove she can still wrestle a real match with Toshie Uematsu called Serious WAVE. Uematsu said she would win in five minutes. She goes after a quick pin with various suplexes and then attacks GAMI with a chair. But GAMI comes back and also uses the chair. At one point Uematsu seems to hurt her knee and she gets it rewrapped. It goes back and forth like this until they exchange German suplexes when the time limit runs out. Oy!

The main event is called Confusion WAVE Sayuri Okino making a rare appearance outside LLPW teaming with Shuu Shibutani & Kana against Yumi Ohka, Moeka Haruhi & Kyoko Kimura. There's nothing wrong with this but it shouldn't be a main event. Ohka & Shibutani glare at each other before the match so obviously they're trying to build something with them but the other participants seem random. Just throw them in there and fans will enjoy the action. I guess I like more purposeful booking in a main event. Of course the match is chaos and Shibutani gets triple teamed but she turns the tables on Haruhi and tags to Kana. Kana and then Okino beat on Haruhi until Kimura brings in a chain but Okino cuts her off and nails her with martial arts kicks. Kana tags in but her attempt at a victory roll gets her planted face first into the mat. Ohka tags in and we finally get her & Shibutani in the ring. But they're only in there briefly though Ohka does nail Shibutani with a suplex while Shibutani is trying to set up Haruhi for a superplex. The end comes when Okino's uraken on Haruhi sets her up for Shibutani's diving senton for the win at 13:05. Afterwards, Toshie Uematsu confronts Ohka and it looks like Ohka & Ran YuYu will team up against Uematsu & Shibutani at a future WAVE show. Maybe Uematsu can turn Shibutani into a heel.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Royalettes

Artist:The Royalettes

Song:There He Goes

Album:60s Girl Groups

Of course the girl group sound was very popular in the mid-60s. This Warner Bros. various artists comp has some rare songs by some obscure girl groups. There He Goes is a very obscure early song by a group that would go on to have some success. I guess the best way to describe The Royalettes is that they were Baltimore's version of a more prominent group like The Chiffons. The group consisted of sisters Anita & Sheila Ross along with Veronica Brown and Terry Jones. They started performing around Baltimore and managed to get the attention of legendary writer producer Teddy Randazzo. He's probably best known for producing Little Anthony & The Imperials. The Royalettes released a few singles on Chancellor & Warner Bros. in 1964. There He Goes was one of those songs. It's a good song but it was barely released but Randazzo was able to get the group a better deal with MGM Records. Their first single It's Gonna Take A Miracle charted in 1965 and The Royalettes were on their way. The follow up single I Want To Meet Him did OK but they never charted again and were gone by 1967. It's Gonna Take A Miracle would become a huge hit for Deneice Williams in the 80s. This comp has some really obscure music by groups like The Blossoms, The Cookies & The Three Degrees. And Sheila Ross of The Royalettes would soon join The Three Degrees. So it's an interesting comp for girl group fans. Here's The Royalettes performing It's Gonna Take A Miracle in 1965.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Alexa Thatcher going to Japan for MAHEKEN

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, MAHEKEN is running an all joshi show on June 1 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. The full card has now been announced and the big news is that popular indy wrestler Alexa Thatcher is going to Japan for the very first time. 21 year old Alexa is from New Jersey and has worked for indy feds in the Northeast US for a couple of years. She has also worked for SHIMMER and last fall worked briefly in TNA as Alexa Jade. MAHEKEN is calling her American Idol. The other gaijin on this show is Hailey Hatred. She has worked for MAHEKEN in the past.

Alexa Thatcher's match on the June 1 MAHEKEN joshi show has the potential to be very good. She will be teaming with AKINO against Toshie Uematsu & Kana. AKINO & Uematsu are seasoned veterans and Kana has been working very well since returning to the ring last fall. So Alexa's athletic style should mesh very well with these three. Hailey Hatred's match against Nanae Takahashi is being billed as Woman Vader Confrontation. Of course MAHEKEN owner Tomo Hashimoto is close pals with Vader and he said that Vader is OK with using his name for this match. On the June 2 MAHEKEN Shin-kiba1st Ring show, Alexa will team with Hailey vs Io Shirai & Arisa Nakajima. He's calling it a Japan-US Confrontation.

The other notable match on the MAHEKEN joshi show will have Mayumi Ozaki vs Mio Shirai in what is being called Ultimate Match Beauty vs Evilness. It will be a rough night for Mio. Other matches are Aja Kong vs Mika Mizunuma, KAORU vs Hiroyo Matsumoto and Commando Bolshoi vs Io Shirai. This will be MAHEKEN's first attempt at an all joshi show and if successful I expect Hashimoto to do it more frequently. He's always trying to recruit new talent and giving the girls their own show is a pretty good incentive. Freelancing is very difficult and a stable home fed is very important.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Johnny Ace

Artist:Johnny Ace

Song:Pledging My Love

Album:Memorial Album

Today Johnny Ace is mostly known for the tragic & senseless way he died at age 25. But He was clearly very talented and likely would have had a long career in music. He was born John Alexander June 9, 1929 in Memphis. After serving in The Navy during World War II, he joined Adolph Duncan's band as a pianist and then moved to BB King's band. When King left Memphis for Los Angeles and vocalist Bobby Bland went into The Army, Alexander took over the band and renamed it The Beale Streeters. He signed with DJ Mattis' Duke label in 1952 and was renamed Johnny Ace. His smooth vocal style got him several hits over the next couple of years. Also, Peacock Records owner Don Robey acquired Duke. Ace was on tour performing at the City Auditorium in Houston Christmas Day 1954. Between sets and under the influence of angel dust, Ace supposedly started playing Russian Roulette. He aimed a .45 caliber revolver at his girlfriend and pulled the trigger. Then he did the same to her friend. Then he proceeded to point the gun at his own head, pulled the trigger and blew his brains out. Johnny Ace was dead at age 25. Big Mama Thornton witnessed this and said Ace was playing with the gun but was not playing Russian Roulette. It hardly matters. A great singer was dead at a young age. As tends to happen when a singer dies this way, it boosted his popularity. Pledging My Love was a #1 R & B hit in 1955 and was his biggest hit. Duke released Memorial Album in 1955 and it has been in print ever since. It has all his recordings. Obviously there is no video footage of Johnny Ace but here's a video biography set to Pledging My Love.

Johnny Ace

Monday, May 26, 2008

Shibutani wins Ibuki Third Anniversary Tournament

Mariko Yoshida's Ibuki had their third anniversary show at Korakuen Hall on May 25. She decided to have a one day tournament to celebrate this. Yoshida has shown strong support of the wrestling training at the Gold Kids Gym run by former amateur wrestling champ Akiko Inoue. So there was an amateur match to lead off the show and another during intermission. There was also a brief appearance by Yoshida's Mongolian trainee Esui. She appeared on one show last year and then got homesick. It isn't known yet if she is returning permanently. We'll find out soon enough.

The show began with a tag match with Sakura Emi & Ayako Sato vs Mai Ichii and Emi's latest trainee Akiko Narikuni. She actually looked pretty good. She was wearing an amateur wrestling outfit. Emi's the veteran so she carried the match. Sato has never shown much of anything but dropkicks and Ichii isn't much better. Ichii won over Sato with a comet kick at 10:49. Next was the first of two tournament matches between Shuu Shibutani & Hanako Kobayashi. Shibutani won with a diving senton at 5:556.

The second tournament match was between Atsuko Emoto & Hiroyo Matsumoto. Matsumoto is the favourite coming into the tournament. Matsumoto was wearing a nice new outfit and the two put on a pretty goos match as one would expect and Emoto won with a Shining Wizard at 13:57. It's not a big upset but I'll get into the reason for it later. Next was Tojuki Leon & Yoko Yamada vs Cherry & Natsuki*Taiyo. Yamada's costume was described as resembling a french maid. Leon won with the Mad Splash over Natsuki*Taiyo at 17:01.

Next was Ray vs Misaki Ohata vs Mariko Yoshida & Kyoko Kimura. Yoshida got her usual submission spots in and Kimura got her spots in. All you have to know is that Kimura accidently nailed Yoshida with a kick and Ray used a hurricanrana to pin Yoshida at 20:13. Yoshida likes to do a job on the anniversary show. Now the tournament final between Shuu Shibutani & Atsuko Emoto. Not surprisingly, Emoto carried the match but Shibutani won with a cobra hold at 12:46. Yoshida said on her blog that she did this for two reasons. One was because Shibutani & Emoto were the two wrestlers who went to Mexico a few months ago. And Shibutani was on the very first Ibuki show and Yoshida wanted her to appreciate how far she has come in three years. Fair enough but anyone thinking that in these times of joshi freelancing that Shibutani will get a signifcant push is dreaming. She's still not that good anyway.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jethro Tull

Artist:Jethro Tull

Song:Bungle In The Jungle

Album:M.U.:The Best Of Jethro Tull

Despite creating music that was obviously not commercial, Jethro Tull was one of the most successful bands of the 70s. Their music was a mix of blues, folk & hard rock with intentionally dense lyrics. I guess the main visual of the band was frontman Ian Anderson prancing around the stage with his flute. He was born Aug. 10, 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland and moved to Blackpool, England at age 12. He was part of bands called The Blades and John Evan Band. Anderson and bassist Glenn Cornick moved to London so they could get more bookings and met guitarist Mick Abrahams & drummer Clive Bunker. They formed a band in Dec. 1967 and named it Jethro Tull after an 18th century inventor. The name stuck. The group didn't have much direction until Chrysalis Records founders Terry Ellis & Chris Wright became their managers. They thought the group would be more successful with Abrahams as frontman because audiences would accept his blues guitar licks. That didn't work out and Anderson's on stage antics became the focal point of the group. Jethro Tull started getting a following in the summer of 1968 and released their debut This Was in Nov. 1968. Abrahams left and they tried several guitarists before settling on Martin Barre (born Nov. 17, 1946 in Lancashire, England) and he became the other key member of Jethro Tull. This Was was released in the US in Apr. 1969 and they toured there. By the early 70s, albums like Aqualung & Thick As A Brick made Jethro Tull one of the top groups of that era mostly through FM radio airplay. Bassist Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond & drummer Barriemore Barlow joined the group and those four are the lineup most familiar to fans. Things were going great until their 1973 album A Passion Play tanked. It was way too pretentious. They recovered with the 1974 album War Child and the single Bungle In The Jungle was one of their biggest hits. Jethro Tull faded by the late 70s and though Anderson & Barre still lead the group, they haven't contributed much new music since the 70s. Their most recent CD releases are all live albums. This comp is a good intro to newcomers. But Jethro Tull were very big through most of the 70s. Here's Jethro Tull performing a medley including Bungle In The Jungle Oakland 1997. It's pretty good for a fan shot video.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dave Hollister

Artist:Dave Hollister


Album:Chicago '85...The Movie

Dave Hollister is an outstanding singer who made his name in R & B but has now returned to his gospel roots. He was born Aug. 17, 1970 in Chicago and he grew up singing in his father's church. He first turned up on the soundtrack of Boyz 'N' The Hood and was recruited by Teddy Riley to join the R & B group Blackstreet. He appeared on their 1994 debut but soon left and next turned up on the soundtrack of The Ride with Erick Sermon & Redman. He signed with DreamWorks Records and his 1999 debut Ghetto Hymns went gold. Chicago '85...The Movie was the follow up and did even better. He works a lot with producers Tim & Bob including the song Destiny. Hollister moved to Motown for his third CD Things In The Game Done Changed but things didn't go well there and he went back to DreamWorks for his 2003 CD Real Talk. Hollister got a lot of attention for his guest appearance on the Let's Dance video by gospel artist Hezekiah Walker. His appearance on BET's Celebration Of Gospel convinced Hollister that he could return to his gospel roots and still make great music. So he's now on GospoCentric and released The Book Of David Vol. 1:The Transition in 2006 mostly working with producer Shep Crawford (Tamia). Musically it's very similar to his R & B albums and I expect more of the same from him in the future. Here's the video for One Woman Man by Dave Hollister. This was his biggest chart hit to date.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quarterfinal of Sendai Girls junior tournament

Sendai Girls had the quarterfinal round of their junior tournament May 23 at Zepp Sendai. The semi finals and finals will be June 27 at Zepp Sendai. One thing that's related to what is going on here is Tyrannosaurus Okuda is scheduled to defend her JWP Junior & POP Title against Arisa Nakajima on the June 7 JWP show in Osaka. So you'd think the two companies would want to build a rivalry between the two. But as I've said before, Sendai doesn't perceive themselves as a part of the joshi universe. They do their own thing as you will see.

The show begins with a couple of tag matches. The first one has Hiren & Misaki Ohata vs Mio Shirai & Minori Makiba. Makiba starts with a tackle on Ohata. But Ohata throws her into her corner and tags Hiren. Hiren goes on the attack with stomps, a sleeper and a camel clutch. Makiba counters with a judo throw and tags Mio. They double team Hiren. Hiren gets an ankle hold on Mio and tags Ohata. Mio hits an STO and a high kick and tags Makiba. Makiba hits a cross body from the top rope but Ohata reverses it into a jacknife cradle for the win at 8:53. DASH Chisako & Mika Mizunuma won over Pinkie Mayuca & Hanako Kobayashi when Chisako used a Boston crab on Mayuca at 13:39.

The first of four tournament matches had Ayako Sato vs Sachiko Sendai. The match goes back and forth for the most part. Sato throws a lot of dropkicks. Sachiko looks like she has control with a dropkick, a roaring senton, a swinging DDT and a double arm suplex. But Sato hits two missile dropkicks followed by two German suplexes for the win at 10:24. Next was Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Io Shirai. Io gets the jump with a dropkick, a lionsault and a knee attack. She hits a 619 but misses a moonsault. Matsumoto hits a side buster followed by a missile dropkick. Her Argentinan backbreaker takes a lot of steam out of Io and Matsumoto wins with a backdrop at 4:50.

Next up was Tyrannosaurus Okuda vs Kana. Kana gets quite a bit of offense in with a camel clutch followed by an achilles hold. She misses a hip attack in the corner but then Okuda misses a dropkick. Okuda hits a series of jumping knees followed by a missile kick for a 2 count. But Kana comes back with a German suplex from the top rope. She goes for the Billyken finisher but Okuda reverses it for the win at 11:42. The final match is Arisa Nakajima vs Ryo Mizunami. It looks like Nakajima controlled the match for the most part but she misses a DDT when Mizunami holds onto the ropes. Mizunami wins with a uraken followed by a rolling armlock for the win at 13:42. A bit of a surprise but I guess they want the possibility of an all Sendai final. And with Sato vs Mizunami and Okuda vs Matsumoto in the semi finals, that could happen.

Takimoto wins DEEP Lightweight Title shot

DEEP had their Megaton GP2008 tournament May 24 at Shinjuku FACE. But there was a big womens match on the show. The winner of the match between Misaki Takimoto and Naoko Ohmuro will get a shot at the DEEP Lightweight Championship currently held by MIKU. This match will be at the Aug. 17 Korakuen Hall show. And these two fought to a draw at a Cage Force show in November. So this promised to be a very interesting fight. And Ohmuro was seconded by MMA legend Kaoru Uno.

Takimoto begins with a knee kick and a right hook. Ohmuro attempts to counter but Takimoto pushes her into the corner. Takimoto leads with a front kick but Ohmuro blocks her takedown attemptbut Takimoto continues to score with strikes and knee kicks. A high kick doesn't drop Ohmuro so Takimoto again goes for a takedown. A knee kick to the body followed by a combination and Takimoto gets the takedown and a side mount. Takimoto goes for an armbar and hangs on when Ohmuro stands. Ohmuro is able to escape as round one ends.

Takimoto begins round two with a knee followed by a kick. Ohmuro successfully counters with a straight right and gets a takedown. Takimoto recovers and quickly escapes. Takimoto follows a knee kick with a judo throw for a takedown. Takimoto controls Ohmuro for the remainder of the fight and wins a unanimous decision. MIKU entered the ring to congratulate Takimoto and promised a good fight on August 17. Takimoto said it was a difficuly fight as she and Ohmuro have fought previously three times. She plans to train very hard for her title match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bud Shank & Bill Perkins

Artist:Bud Shank & Bill Perkins

Song:Out Of This World

Album:Blues In The Night:The Jazz Giants Play Harold Arlen

This various artists comp is pretty good value for jazz neophytes. For ten bucks you 75 minutes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Count Basie and others from the Prestige Records catalog. This excellent version of Out Of This World is from two mainstays of the West Coast jazz scene who worked together frequently since the 50s. Alto sax player Bud Shank was born May 27, 1926 in Toledo, OH. Baritone sax player Bill Perkins was born July 22, 1924 in San Francisco. Both guys were an integral part of the West Coast jazz movement of the 50s. The music was considered less frenetic and cooler than the East Coast bebop sound. Shank was better known because he recorded as a leader for World Pacific Records in the 50s. Perkins was a member of that band but both guys worked tons of sessions in Los Angeles. Perkins was also a long time member of the Tonight Show Band. This version of Out Of This World is from a 1986 album on Contemporary Records called Serious Swingers. Other musicians are Alan Broadbent on piano, John Heard on bass and Sherman Ferguson on drums. Bill Perkins died on Aug. 9, 2003 at age 79 but Bud Shank is still around and in 2007 released a CD with Bill Mays called Beyond The Red Door. As I said, this various artists comp is worthwhile for beginners and solid guys like Shank & Perkins are always worth checking out. Here's Bud Shank on alto sax & Bill Perkins on baritone sax with Shorty Rogers on flugelhorn, Jimmy Giuffre & Bob Cooper on tenor sax, Pete Jolly on piano, Monty Ludwig on bass and Shelley Manne on drums performing What Is This Thing Called Love at the Aurex Jazz Festival in Tokyo Sept. 2, 1983.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Shangri-Las

Artist:The Shangri-Las

Song:Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)

Album:The Best Of The Shangri-Las

The story of the popular mid-60s girl group The Shangri-Las is also the story of enigmatic record producer George "Shadow" Morton. The Shangri-Las were two sets of sisters who formed a group while in high school in Queens, NY. Lead singer Mary Weiss and sister Betty Weiss and identical twins Marge & Mary Ann Ganser. Betty rarely appeared in public so the group usually appeared as a trio. Meanwhile, George Morton (born Sept. 3, 1944 in Richmond, VA) grew up in Brooklyn and was pals with legendary songwriter Ellie Greenwich when they were teens. In 1964 she invited him to her office at the Brill Building. Ellie's partner and husband Jeff Barry asked what he did and Morton said he wrote songs though he really hadn't written anything. Barry called his bluff and asked Morton to bring him some hit songs. So Morton arranged a session with the girl group soon to be called The Shangri-Las. He supposedly wrote Remember in his car on the way to the recording studio. The Shangri-Las were immediately signed to Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller's new label Red Bird Records and Remember was a top five pop hit. With its eerie sound effects, it was certainly different. The follow up single Leader Of The Pack was even bigger and reached #1. Of course that song cultivated The Shangri-Las reputation as tough girls that would make them even more appealing. The decline of The Shangri-Las had more to do with problems at Red Bird than the group. This Mercury comp covers their Red Bird recordings and some later recordings for Mercury. Morton left and produced hits for Vanilla Fudge & Janis Ian. He produced groups like Iron Butterfly & The New York Dolls in the 70s but had alcoholism problems in the 80s and hasn't produced anything in years. The Shangri-Las split in 1968 and unlike a lot of groups, never really reformed. Mary Ann Ganser died of a drug overdose in 1970 and Marge Ganser died of breast cancer in 1996. Mary Weiss had a career in the furniture business but actually recorded an album for Norton Records in Mar. 2007 called Dangerous Game. She's done an interview that you can see on Youtube. The Shangri-Las were a very interesting part of the girl group sound of the 60s. Here's a video of The Shangri-Las performing Remember (Walkin In The Sand). I don't think they ever performed the song on TV though they did perform other songs.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Carlos Amano names partner in OZ Academy tag team tournament

OZ Academy has announced the full card for their June 7 Shinjuku FACE. The big but not surprising news is that Carlos Amano has announced that Dynamite Kansai will be her partner in the tournament. They will face Aja Kong & Manami Toyota in the main event of this show. Other matches are Mayumi Ozaki vs Sonoko Kato, AKINO & Ran YuYu vs Takako Inoue & Hiren, Chikayo Nagashima vs KAORU and Devil Masami vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. I think we can expect D-Fix interference in most of these matches.

A couple of other OZ Academy notes. They are off to Mexico for AAA's annual Reyna de Reynas tournament on May 25. AAA is notorious for convoluted and confusing nonsense that makes TNA look logical. It appears that there are three blocks of five wrestlers. They all have five way matches and the winners face of in a three way final. At least that's how I think it works. You never know with these guys. Group 1 has Carlos Amano, Ayako Hamada, Cynthia Moreno, La Diabolica & Estrellita. Group 2 has Chikayo Nagashima, Sonoko Kato, Mari Apache, Martha Villalobos & Sexy Star. Group 3 has Mayumi Ozaki, Dynamite Kansai, AKINO, Fabi Apache & Vicki Carranza. It doesn't make sense for an OZ wrestler to win this but you never know. Also, it was announced today that Mayumi Ozaki will face Mio Shirai in that June 2 MAHEKEN joshi show. Bad news for Mio.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Kurt Carr Project

Artist:Kurt Carr Project

Song:Something Happens

Album:One Church

Kurt Carr has become one of today's most popular gospel artists. He grew up in Hartford, CT and started attending church as a teen. He earned a degree in fine arts at the University of Connecticut. On the recommendation of Richard Smallwood, legendary gospel artist James Cleveland hired Carr as an arranger in 1986 and he was musical director until Cleveland's death in 1991. The thing Carr learned from Cleveland is there's no such thing as old gospel music. All you have to do is take the old songs and update the arrangements. Carr moved to Los Angeles and became musical director for Andrae Crouch. He also started The Kurt Carr Singers and Crouch got him a contract with his label Light Records. But Light was soon sold and Carr signed with Vicki Mack Latandaille's fledgling GospoCentric Records. His first two CDs for GospoCentric didn't do well so on his next CD, Carr decided to take the lessons learned from James Cleveland and revitalize gospel standards. The result was the 1999 CD No One Else and the song For Every Mountain was the breakthrough he was looking for. The 2001 follow up Awesome Wonder and the hit In The Sanctuary was even bigger and the album went gold. One Church was the 2004 follow up. It's a live recording like the others and Carr wrote and produced all the songs. I'm sure we'll see a new CD from Carr eventually but he's been busy producing other GospoCentric artists and his work with Byron Cage & Tramaine Hawkins has been very successful. Here's Kurt Carr with singer Nikki Potts performing Something Happens on the Church Channel.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The English Beat

Artist:The English Beat


Album:Beat This! The Best Of The Beat

Along with The Specials, The English Beat were part of the British ska revival of the late 70s. They were known as The Beat in England but had to call themselves The English Beat in the US as there was another group called The Beat. They were much more successful in England. They were formed in Birmingham, England in 1978 by vocalist guitarist Dave Wakeling (born Feb. 19, 1956 in Birmingham) and vocalist rapper Ranking Roger (born Roger Charlery Feb. 21, 1961 in Birmingham). Other members were Andy Cox on guitar, David Steele on bass and Everett Moreton on drums. The addition of veteran Jamaican sax player Saxa (born Lionel Martin in 1930) gave them a different dimension. The Beat signed with 2-Tone Records and their cover of Tears Of A Clown was a smash in England. But then they started their own label Go Feet and their first album I Just Can't Stop It yielded several hits in England. They signed in the US with Sire Records but they never had as much success there. But they had a strong cult following. Drowning was from their 1981 album Wha'ppen and had a much slower reggae influenced sound. The English Beat released one more album and then split up in 1983. This comp has all their hits. Dave Wakeling & Ranking Roger went on to form General Public and Cox & Steele started Fine Young Cannibals with singer Roland Gift. Wakeling currently leads a version of The English Beat in the US and Roger leads a version of The Beat in England. Uh oh, dueling bands. Here's the video for Drowning by The English Beat.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Monty Pythons Flying Circus

Artist:Monty Pythons Flying Circus

Song:The Lumberjack Song

Album:Monty Python Sings

This 1991 comp is a good introduction to the musical talents of the British comedy group Monty Pythons Flying Circus. Of course it won't replace videos but it's fun to listen to on the go. They're legends now but they all started as college students interested in sketch comedy. Michael Palin (born May 5, 1943 in Sheffield, England) & Terry Jones (born Feb. 1, 1942 in Colwyn Bay, Wales) attended Oxford University and John Cleese (born Oct. 27, 1939 in Weston-super-mare, England), Graham Chapman (born Jan. 8, 1941 in Melton Mowbray, England) & Eric Idle (born Mar. 29, 1943 in South Shields, England) attended Cambridge University. The three became part of the Cambridge Footlights comedy group and met animator Terry Gilliam (born Nov. 22, 1940 in Minneapolis) while on a US tour. The five first worked together on David Frost's BBC series The Frost Report in 1967. Palin, Jones, Idle & Gilliam also worked on the 1968 ITV series Do Not Adjust Your Set. ITV offered them a show and the BBC offered a show to Cleese & Chapman. Cleese wanted to work with Palin and suggested the six work together for the BBC. The Monty Python TV show was clearly influenced by other British comedy classics like The Goon Show & Beyond The Fringe. Monty Python became popular in North America through the release of the film And Now For Something Completely Different, a comp of sketches from the show. The Lumberjack Song was one of the most popular songs and was written by Michael Palin & Terry Jones. Though not an official member of Monty Python, Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Band contributed a lot of songs and of course he went on to work with Idle on The Rutles. Of course Monty Python have gone on to do many things collectively and individually. Graham Chapman died in 1989 but the others are still around. A lot of their original material is still pretty funny. Here's Michael Palin & Monty Pythons Flying Circus performing The Lumberjack Song.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ichii upsets Shinashi in DEEP

A funny thing happened to DEEP Womens Flyweight Champion Satoko Shinashi on DEEP's May 19 Korakuen Hall show. The whole setup of her match against the much heavier pro wrestler Mai Ichii was presented by DEEP in a very lighthearted casual manner. It wasn't for the belt and was teated like an exhibition. For one thing, Ichii isn't much more than a midcard wrestler. She took a butt kicking from Takako Inoue on Sunday's Ito Dojo show. And she's not that experienced in MMA. But somebody told her that using her weight in this match could pay dividends.

The match was scheduled for two rounds. Shinashi's strategy was to get Ichii on the mat but that proved to be more difficult than anticipated. So Ichii starts hammering Shinashi with body shots. Ichii tries a leg takedown but is unsuccessful. By the end of round one, it's clear that the 10kg weight difference will make Shinashi's usual strategy ineffective.

Ichii continues this in round two but she also hammers Shinashi while she's down and that's against the rules in the DEEP womens division. It wasn't called. Finally Shinashi executes a couple of judo throws and follows up with a sleeper. But Ichii is able to punch her way out and stays away from Shinashi until the fight is over. The result was a 2-0 majority decsion for Ichii and the third judge called it a draw. You can tell by the look on Shinashi's face that she thought she won. It was close but Shinashi should have possibly used a different strategy in round one. And there may have been some questionable officiating. But a big win for Mai Ichii that will make joshi puroresu fans happy.

Ran YuYu to get JWP title shot

JWP used their May 18 Cinema Club show to set up the first challenger for Kayoko Haruyama's JWP Open Weight Championship. That's what the main event tag match was all about. It hasn't been announced yet but the likely date for this will be the June 1 show at Taisho Azeria in Osaka. There wasn't anything else notable on this show other than some silliness between Toshie Uematsu & KAZUKI.

The opener had JWP rookie Pinkie Mayuca against debuting Ice Ribbon wrestler Kazumi Shimouna. I guess the idea is to keep Pinkie on a winning streak. It was your basic rookie match and Pinkie won with a diving body press at 8:33. How about a REDRUG reunion? That's right. Commando Bolshoi teamed with GAMI vs Arisa Nakajima & Kana. So the veterans reprised a lot of their REDRUG shtick and the youngsters provided a lot of the action. Nakajima got a lot of her spots in including a double German suplex with Kana. The end came when GAMI used her Greco Roman eye poke to allow Bolshoi to apply a Sensei Hold on Kana for the tap out at 20:40.

Tojuki Leon defeated Kei'to with a captured buster at 12:55. So next was a oone count cosplay match with Toshie Uematsu & KAZUKI. Bolshoi announced last week that Uematsu had asked for KAZUKI to be dressed up as a nurse like she had at a recent dojo show. Before the match, KAZUKI told Uematsu that she had to be in costume too and handed her pom poms. That's right, Toshie Uematsu as a cheerleader. Apparently the rule was that Uematsu had to do a cheer at every break. So KAZUKI took her temperature and used a stethoscope and Uematsu danced until she got serious and won with a Dragon suplex at 5:20.

The main event had Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Kaori Yoneyama & Ran YuYu. The concept behind this match is that Ran had to drop out of the #1 contender tournament due to injury and was never defeated. So she wants a title shot and she and Haruyama are eying each other warily. It's standard booking. Naturally they weren't involved in the ending. Yoneyama tries to pin Haruyama twice with Majistral cradles but Haruyama reverses her Hurricanrana attempt and wins with the Keene Hammer at 19:49. As I said, expect Kayoko Haruyama's JWP Open Weight Championship defense to happen at the June 1 Osaka show. I don't expect the title to change hands but it should be a good match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Boozoo Chavis

Artist:Boozoo Chavis

Song:Keep Your Dress Tail Down

Album:Boozoo Chavis

Zydeco pioneer Wilson Anthony "Boozoo" Chavis would have been a much bigger star if he had chosen to remain in the music business in the 50s. But like a lot of black musicians, he made a strong return in his later years. He was born Oct. 23, 1930 in Lake Charles, LA. He grew up on a farm and taught himself the accordian bought for him by his father and started playing local clubs with Morris Chenier and his sons Clifton & Cleveland. Chavis had the very first Zydeco hit with Paper In My Shoe in 1954. But when the record company told him it only sold 150,000 copies, he had his cousin look into it and discovered that it was a million seller. So he quit the music business and raised championship racehorses for many years. He finally returned to the music business in the 80s with the encouragement of fans like NRBQ pianist Terry Adams. Chavis started touring and playing music festivals and became a star again. Adams produced this 1993 CD on Elektra Nonesuch. Chavis' music isn't as polished as some of the more recent Zydeco groups but it's great music anyway. Zydeco fans should check him out. Boozoo Chavis released CDs on Rounder through the 90s until his death on May 5, 2001 at age 70. Here's Boozoo Chavis performing Johnny Billy Goat in Lafayette, LA circa 1993.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Toots Thielemans

Artist:Toots Thielemans f/Djavan


Album:The Brasil Project

Jean "Toots" Thielemans popularized the use of the harmonica in jazz. He was born Apr. 29, 1922 in Brussels, Belgium. He first learned the accordion as a teen and started playing the harmonica at age 17. But he first became known in Europe as a Django Rheinhardt influenced guitarist in American GI clubs in Europe. He came to the US and played with Charlie Parker in 1949. For most of the 50s, he played guitar for the George Shearing band. He had his first solo hit with his composition Bluesette in 1961 featuring his harmonica & whistling. He's been in demand ever since and he's still touring today. The Brasil Project was a surprise hit on the Contemporary Jazz Charts in 1992. It features Thielemans playing harmonica with Brazilian artists like Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Luis Bonfa & Eliane Elias along with Brian Bromberg, Mark Isham & Dave Grusin. Obi was written by and features the fabulous Brazilian singer Djavan. It sold so well that Private Music released a second volume. Toots Thielemans most recent CD One For The Road was released in 2006 by Verve. Here's Toots Thielemans performing Bluesette in Brazil 2007.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Joshi wrestlers on Nikkan Mobile

Here's a video from Nikkan Sports promoting what appears to be a regular column by joshi wrestlers. Kyoko Inoue, Toshie Uematsu, Fuuka & Arisa Nakajima appear in the video. The concept appears to be "four generations of joshi puroresu". It's commentary from wrestlers in various stages of their career. Kyoko started in the 80s. Toshie started in the 90s. And the other two started more recently. I guess Fuuka is a little more established and Nakajima is still a teenager. I'm not exactly sure what the girls are supposed to be doing or how they're supposed to do it. However, it looks like it's going to be on the Nikkan Mobile service so we may not have access to it anyway. Maybe they'll all do a video column. That would be good. I'll keep my eyes on things at Nikkan Sports. In the past, Nikkan has promised more joshi coverage and hasn't come through. Anyway, at least you get to watch the wrestlers speak in this video and I know fans enjoy that. Enjoy the video!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Inner Circle

Artist:Inner Circle

Song:Bad Boys

Album:Bad Boys

Of course Bad Boys is best known as the theme song of the long running TV series COPS. But Inner Circle has been popular in the Jamaican music scene since the 70s. The group was started in 1968 by brothers Ian (bass) & Roger (guitar) Lewis. Other members were guitarist Steven "Cat" Coore and keyboard players Michael "Ibo" Cooper & Richard Daley. Coore & Cooper left in 1972 to form Third World and Bernard "Touter" Harvey was brought in. They recorded a couple of albums for Trojan but things changed for the better when the great vocalist Jacob Miller joined in 1976. Inner Circle had a lot of success in the late 70s but Miller's death in a car accident on Mar. 23, 1980 devastated the group and they split up. The Lewis brothers and Harvey moved to Miami and opened a recording studio. In 1986, they reformed Inner Circle and brought in singer Carlton Coffie and drummer Lancelot Hill. They originally recorded Bad Boys on their 1987 album One Way. FOX chose the song as the theme for COPS in 1989 and the song was finally released on CD in the US by Atlantic in 1993. It became a top ten hit and Bad Boys won a Best Reggae Album Grammy. The CD also has a David Morales remix of Bad Boys. Then the song was used in the 1995 film Bad Boys. Coffie left Inner Circle after an illness and was replaced by Kris Bentley. Inner Circle continues to tour the world but they haven't recorded lately. Bad Boys has certainly made them financially secure and they are a good band. Here's the video for Bad Boys by Inner Circle.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Carina Damm busted for steroids

Anyone who follows MMA knows that guys getting busted for steroids is nothing new. But today for the first time a female fighter was caught with her hand in the steroid cookie jar. The California State Athletic Commission announced that Brazilian fighter Carina Damm tested positive for Nandrolone following her win over Sophie Bagherdai at the Apr. 3 Fatal Femmes Fighting show in Los Angeles. Her nanogram count was 37.9ng which exceeds the threshhold of 2ng. The CSAC has suspended Damm for one year and fined her $2500. She does have the opportunity to appeal. Damm was scheduled to fight Debi Purcell at the June 27 ShoXC/Strikeforce show in San Jose. Debi says she has been in contact with EliteXC officials and expects to have a new opponent shortly. Because EliteXC signed Damm based on her Apr. 3 performance, I would not be surprised to see them void her contract.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Joe Jackson

Artist:Joe Jackson

Song:Sunday Papers

Album:Look Sharp!

Joe Jackson started out as a new wave singer songwriter similar to Elvis Costello or Graham Parker, but like Costello he has experimented with all kinds of music though a lot of us still like his early music. He was born David Ian Jackson Aug. 11, 1954 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. He suffered from asthma as a child and became interested in music because he couldn't do sports. He was classically trained but became interested in jazz as a teen and started playing piano in pubs. He joined a band called Edward Bear. Because there was already a Canadian group with that name, they changed their name to Arms & Legs but split after a couple of failed singles in 1976. It was at this time that David was nicknamed Joe because of his resemblance to a TV puppet. In 1977, he formed his own band with guitarist Gary Sanford, bassist Graham Maby & drummer Dave Houghton. The idea was to save enough money to record & release his own album. One of his demos got the attention of A & M Records producer David Kershenbaum and Jackson was signed. Look Sharp! was released in Jan. 1979 and though it didn't chart initially, it got enough attention on FM radio to turn Is She Really Going Out With Him into a top 20 hit when it was releleased in May and then the album went gold. Sunday Papers was the follow up single. Of course it's about the British tabloids and has a pretty good ska beat. Look Sharp! was released on CD with two bonus tracks in 2001. So Joe Jackson was now a pop star but would soon grow weary of new wave and started to try other kinds of music. People thought he was nuts when he released the Louis Jordan inspired Jumpin Jive in 1981. He's still trying different things today and his latest Rykodisc CD Rain was released in Jan. and features most of his original band. But Joe Jackson's Look Sharp! still holds up well today. Here's Joe Jackson performing Sunday Papers on The Old Grey Whistle Test 1979.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ito Dojo visits Nikkan Sports

Ito Dojo visited Nikkan Sports today to promote their May 18 Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Kaoru Ito, Ayako Hamada, Ayako Sato, Hanako Kobayashi & Tomoko Morii all appear in the video clip. They talk a bit about this weekend's show and also talk about the Ayako Hamada 10th Anniversary Show coming on Sept. 7 at Shinagawa Club Ex. Then they go to the playground for a while. The main event for the show is Kaoru Ito & Yumiko Hotta vs Ayako Hamada & Nanae Takahashi. Of course Ayako & Nanae held the WWWA Tag Team Titles a few years ago. Ayako said she's very excited to team with her again. Ito said she's a little leery of Hotta but Hotta said she wants to have an old school AJW style match and Ito's excited about that. Other matches are Ayako Sato vs Manami Toyota, Aki Kanabayashi vs Eiger, Mai Ichii vs Takako Inoue and Hanako Kobayashi vs Tomoko Morii. Enjoy the video!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Doyle Bramhall

Artist:Doyle Bramhall

Song:(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame

Album:Bird Nest On The Ground

Singer songwriter drummer Doyle Bramhall is a mainstay of the Austin, TX music scene and is known for his days with the Vaughan Brothers. He is also frequently confused with his guitarist son Doyle Bramhall II of the Arc Angels. He was born Feb. 17, 1949 in Dallas. He grew up listening to the blues on the radio. In high school he joined The Chessmen which included Jimmie Vaughan on guitar. They opened for Jimi Hendrix in Dallas in 1970. They moved to Austin and formed Texas Storm. Jimmie's brother Stevie Ray Vaughan joined on bass. Jimmie left to join The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Bramhall & Stevie Ray started The Nightcrawlers. Eventually this led to Stevie Ray Vaughan signing with Columbia and the hit album Texas Flood. Bramhall contributed several songs to the album. He also worked on the Vaughan Brothers 1990 album Family Style. Bramhall played drums for Marcia Ball and played a lot of sessions in the Austin blues scene. He finally signed a recording contract with Antone's and his debut Bird Nest On The Ground was released in 1994. It featured his son Doyle Bramhall II on guitar along with the Vaughan Brothers. It's recommended to those who like the Austin blues rock sound. Doyle Bramhall continues to produce and record other artists like Marcia Ball & Jennifer Warnes. He records occasionally for Yep Roc and his latest CD Is It News was released in Sept. 2007. Here's the video for Change It by Doyle Bramhall featuring Doyle Bramhall II on guitar.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Womens match added to June 26 SHOOTO show

Fans may recall that SHOOTO once owned a womens MMA promotion called G-SHOOTO. The promotion closed at the end of 2006 but SHOOTO has occasionally added women to their usual shows. SHOOTO announced yesterday that they have added a womens match to their June 26 Kitazawa Town Hall show for the first time in 2008. It will be a Strawweight bout between Yasuko Tamada & Kayo Nagayasu. I think Strawweight is between Flyweight & Lightweight. I think it's only in SHOOTO but I could be wrong. They're both veterans. Tamada is 6-4-2 and is on a four bout winning streak. She most recently won over Maho Muranami on the Dec. 26 Smackgirl show. She trains at AACC. Nagayasu is 7-5-1 and most recently lost to Sachiko Yamamoto on the Feb. 24 DEEP show. She trains at Paraestra. The two have fought twice previously. Tamada has a win and there was a draw.

Meanwhile, it seems DEEP has been having some difficulty finding an opponent for DEEP Lightweight Champ MIKU for their June 1 Toyama show. So they've decided to put her in a kick rules match against 16 year old shot boxing super rookie Lena. I guess it's sort of an exhibition match. MIKU does have some experience at kickboxing and Lena has been working at the J-GIRLS kickboxing company. Apparently she is the daughter of former Japanese Super Featherweight Champ Shihiroshi Oikawa and she's been training at J-GIRLS in secret. I guess it's not a secret anymore.

Gina Carano on ESPN's E:60

With her big fight with Kaitlin Young coming up on the May 31 EliteXC show to be aired live on CBS, ESPN featured Gina Carano on last night's edition of E:60. I am posting the video for the benefit of fans who live outside the US. One thing Gina mentioned at yesterday's EliteXC media conference is American Gladiators has really cut into her training but she has told NBC that she isn't making anymore appearances. Of course one of the problems is she weighs about 160lbs in American Gladiators and she has to get down to 140lbs for the big fight. The video includes comments by Gina's parents along with Shayna Baszler and notorious trash talker Tara LaRosa. I believe that underestimating Gina Carano could prove to be a fatal error of her detractors but I also don't believe Kaitlin Young is underestimating her. I can't wait for the fight. Enjoy the video.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Johnny Hodges

Artist:Johnny Hodges w/Duke Ellington Orchestra

Song:Things Ain't What They Used To Be

Album:Passion Flower 1940-46

Alto sax player Johnny Hodges spent most of his career as a main soloist for Duke Ellington and was one of the most respected and influential musicians in jazz history. He really didn't record as a leader much. He was born July 25, 1907 in Cambridge, MA. As a teen, he was taught soprano sax by the legendary Sidney Bechet but soon switched to alto. Early in his career he played with Bechet, Chick Webb & Willie "The Lion" Smith. But Hodges career really began when he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1928. He quickly became one of Ellington's most important soloists. Ellington usually wrote and arranged material for specific soloists and Hodges was one of his favourites. Hodges remained with Ellington through the 40s and this RCA/Bluebird comp covers that period. Things Ain't What They Used To Be is one of several Ellington tracks featuring Hodges. It also has several tracks from sessions Hodges recorded as a leader for Bluebird in 1940-42. Johnny Hodges left Duke Ellington in 1951 to lead his own band. He recorded for Norman Granz' Norgran label. But he wasn't successful and returned to Ellington just in time for their triumphant 1956 Newport Jazz Festival performance. Hodges remained with Ellington until his death on May 11, 1970 at age 62. Consider this an opportunity to become more familiar with one of the unknown legends of jazz. Here's Johnny Hodges with the Duke Ellington Orchestra performing Things Ain't What They Used To Be in the mid-60s.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

EliteXC plans full womens division

Gary Shaw of EliteXC held a media conference call today to promote the May 31 match between Gina Carano & Kaitlin Young that will be broadcast live on CBS. The big news coming out of this is that Shaw announced that he is planning a womens title later this year and intends to stage an all womens show in 2009. Shaw confirmed that the first title would be for 140lbs and may have titles for other weight classes in the future. When asked about Dana White's reluctance to have female fighters in UFC, he said it's good for EliteXC as there are a lot of talented and exciting women fighters that deserve to be showcased.

RIP Penny Banner

Pro wrestling hall of famer Penny Banner died today at age 73 after a long battle with cancer. Penny is considered by many to be the greatest North American female pro wrestler in history. Penny disagreed with that and usually gave props to Mildred Burke and her idol June Byers. One thing is for sure. Penny's many battles with June were one of the most consistent draws of the 1950s. Any promoter that put them on the marquee was guaranteed a full house. That's the story of Penny Banner's career. She always gave fans more than their money's worth. That's the highest compliment any pro wrestler can be given.

Penny Banner was born Mary Ann Kostecki Aug. 11, 1934 in St. Louis. Her stumbling into a pro wrestling career is a well known story. St. Louis wrestling promoter Sam Mutchnick saw something in Mary Ann and sent her to train with legendary womens wrestling promoter Billy Wolfe in 1954. She changed her name when a ring announcer couldn't pronounce Kostecki. Penny had many accomplishments during her 23 year wrestling career. The big one was probably that she was the very first AWA World Womens Champion in 1961, won in a battle royal. She was also very proud of being one half of the Canadian Womens Tag Team Champions with Lorraine Johnson. That happened in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling in Calgary. Of course she married wrestler Johnny Weaver and moved to Charlotte and they had one daughter Wendi.

Penny retired from pro wrestling in 1977 after 23 years because in her words, there was no one left to wrestle. Her final match was against Susan Green. Penny became a successful real estate agent in Charlotte, a vocation suited to her larger than life personality. She also shared an avid love of horses with Wendi. In recent years, she was very active in the Senior Olympics and traveled across the US to compete. Penny was on the board of directors of the Cauliflower Alley Club and was a fixture greeting fans at the annual CAC convention in Las Vegas. Penny was an advocate in recognizing the pioneers of womens pro wrestling and is in several halls of fame herself. She could also be found online at her Yahoo group responding to fan questions with her trademark grace and humour.

Penny Banner was not very happy with the state of today's womens pro wrestling, especially in the WWE. She was PGWA commissioner. She knew a lot of today's wrestlers and also knew who was good. I told her about SHIMMER and she was happy about that. She was also a big joshi puroresu fan and regretted that she never went to Japan. Hiro Matsuda asked her to go to Tokyo in the early 60s but Wendi was young so the timing wasn't right. But she certainly respected joshi wrestlers and was a big Manami Toyota fan. She would say "They wrestle like I used to." She watched matches if I sent them to her and I know she really enjoyed Mariko Yoshida vs Manami Toyota from ARSION Nov. 2001. She got to meet Yoshida at one of the CAC conventions.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Penny Banner when she came to Toronto for the world premiere of the documentary Lipstick & Dynamite in 2004. We had dinner together and Penny was exactly what I expected. It was a big deal for me and I'll never forget it. You don't meet a legend every day. I highly recommend Penny's autobiography Banner Days to any womens wrestling fan. It's a very unique story and I'm just glad she wrote it all down because she had to be talked into it. Last I heard, a biopic of Banner Days is still in development at the script stage. Unfortunately, there's very little film footage of Penny Banner available. But I do recommend you check out Dale Barnes' half hour Legends Of Wrestling about Penny Banner. You can get a DVD of that and Banner Days at Penny Banner was a significant figure in pro wrestling and was respected by her peers and by fans worldwide. We love you and we will miss you. RIP Penny Banner.

Roxxi Laveaux goes bald

Here's video of Sunday's match at TNA Sacrifice concluding with Roxxi Laveaux having her head shaved. This clip ends during the shaving but you can find Part 8 at Daily Motion to see last couple of minutes of the segment. You may have noticed there has been a lot of controversy about this match. Roxxi fans are outraged. And though I understand what TNA is trying to accomplish, it's like everything else they do. It's done in a half assed convoluted manner that defies logic.

TNA was trying to accomplish two things with this match. They were trying to turn the Roxxi character completely babyface. The other thing is they've been having trouble getting fans to boo Angelina Love despite her heelish behaviour. It looks like they succeeded despite idiot fans chanting "Fire Russo". The girls worked very hard during the match and special kudos to Gail & Roxxi's ladder match. But TNA fails to understand that simple is always better and this combination of a battle royal, ladder match & hair match was utterly ridiculous. They don't think. For me, the biggest problem was giving Gail Kim immunity as a five minute throwaway segment on Impact. They shouldn't have done that at all and a ladder match between Angelina & Roxxi would have been OK and more significant because the two are feuding. And if tou've seen the spoilers for this week's Impact, Gail winning meant nothing. So, no problem with the execution by the wrestlers. Big problem with TNA booking. Enjoy the match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Eddie Henderson

Artist:Eddie Henderson

Song:Involuntary Bliss


Trumpeter Eddie Henderson had some success with his fusion era albums in the 70s. He still performs part time but is a full time psychiatrist. He was born Oct. 26, 1940 in New York City. His mom was a Cotton Club dancer and with her sister were The Brown Twins. At nine years of age, Louis Armstrong gave him an informal trumpet lesson. The family moved to San Francisco and Henderson studied at the San Francisco Conservatory Of Music. Miles Davis was a friend of his parents and Eddie got to jam with him as a teen. Then he went to medical school and graduated from Howard University in 1968. Henderson became known to jazz fans as part of Herbie Hancock's fusion group of the early 70s. Henderson released his first two albums on Phil Walden's Capricorn label, a label better known for Southern rock. The music was very similar to what he was doing with Hancock. He moved to Blue Note in 1975 and Sunburst was his first album there. It's very much in the vein of the jazz rock fusion that was popular at the time. Musicians are George Duke on keyboards, Bennie Maupin on sax, Julian Priester on trombone, Alphonso Johnson on bass and Harvey Mason on drums. Henderson made some more commercial albums on Capitol in the late 70s. His music did well in England but like a lot of jazz musicians, he's not that well known in the US. Meanwhile he was setting up his psychiatry practice in San Francisco and he's been doing both ever since. In the 90s he went to a hard bop style and his latest CD Precious Moment was released in 2005. Eddie Henderson's fusion music of the 70s is worth checking out. Here's Eddie Henderson with sax player Peter King performing All Blues in England Feb. 2008.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Plenty of swerves at OZ Academy Tag Team Tournament

Anyone who thought that things were going to calm down in OZ Academy after Mayumi Ozaki had her head shaved can be assured that nothing has changed. The May 9 Shinjuku FACE show featured the first part of the OZ Academy Tag Team Tournament. The craziness began at the press conference when Aja Kong messed with Dynamite Kansai by announcing Manami Toyota as her partner instead of a youngster as expected. With Kansai's partner Tomoka Nakagawa out with a shoulder injury, who knows what might happen in this tournament. And new OZ principal Carlos Amano hasn't named her partner yet. More on that in a moment.

The opening match was supposed to be Mayumi Ozaki & Hiren vs Dynamite Kansai & Tomoka Nakagawa as part of the tournament. Of course Nakagawa is injured. Ozaki says that she has decided to switch partners with KAORU. Hiren will team with KAORU and Takako Inoue will now team with Ozaki. Kansai is told that she doesn't get a new partner. Uh oh. Looks like a lynching. Police & Mika Nishio join the fun and Nishio brains Kansai with a chair. They all pound with chairs & chains on Kansai until Ozaki finishes her with the Ozakick at 9:16. I guess my only problem with this is they've made Kansai look like a dope lately and this makes it worse. But Amano doesn't have a partner yet and they seem to be making things up as they go along.

Next up was Ran YuYu against the soon to retire Obacchi Iizuka. Ran wins in eight seconds with an cradle. But the match is restarted when Iizuka starts crying. Iizuka gets to do her usual crappy comedy and Ran wins again with a running elbow at 13:07. Next was Devil Masami, Kana & Carlos Amano vs Aja Kong, AKINO & Hiroyo Matsumoto. A lot of great action in this match but things got interesting when they went outside the ring as D-Fix attacked Amano. Aja won over Kana with a backdrop at 23:25. Afterwards, Dynamite Kansai came to the ring and discussed things with Amano. Something's cooking.

Next was Manami Toyota vs Toshie Uematsu. Toyota won with the Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb in 13:21. The final tournament match was KAORU & Hiren vs Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato. KAORU & Hiren do a pretty good job of using heel tactics to control the match. But mistakes allow Nagashima & Kato to come back. The end comes when KAORU sprays Kato with a green mist. But she gets Kato's knees on the follow up moonsault and Kato wins over KAORU with the Crown's Gate at 21:46. The craziness at OZ Academy will continue on June 7.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Wall Of Voodoo

Artist:Wall Of Voodoo

Song:Call Of The West

Album:Call Of The West

Wall Of Voodoo was a Los Angeles post punk band heavily influenced by the film music of Ennio Morricone. They lucked into some success with the 1983 hit Mexican Radio. The group started in 1977 producing music for films as Acme Soundtrack. Led by singer songwriter Stan Ridgway (born Apr. 5, 1954 in Barstow, CA), they soon got caught up in the punk movement of that time along with their interest in spaghetti westerns and film noir topics for songs. The Skulls guitarist Marc Moreland started jamming with Ridgway and they formed a band. Marc brought in his brother Bruce Moreland to play bass along with Chas Gray on keyboards and Joe Nanini on drums. Wall Of Voodoo self released an EP in 1980 featuring a loopy cover of Ring Of Fire. This earned them a contract with IRS/A & M Records. Bruce Moreland left the group. Gray moved to bass and Bill Noland joined on keyboards. The 1982 album Call Of The West was their biggest success and Mexican Radio reached #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983. The video got a lot of airplay on MTV. Just when Wall Of Voodoo was building momentum, primary singer songwriter Stan Ridgway left for a solo career. He has said that there was a lot of drug use within the band. He was replaced by Andy Prieboy but Wall Of Voodoo was through by 1987. Ridgway continues to record and write for films today. He reformed a version of Wall Of Voodoo for one gig in 2006. Joe Nanini died in 2000 and Marc Moreland died in 2002. Wall Of Voodoo was one of the more interesting groups of the early 80s. Here's Wall Of Voodoo performing Call Of The West in 1982.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mariko Yoshida looking for gaijins

Quite a bit of news from Mariko Yoshida's Ibuki. I'll start with the full card for the Ibuki 3rd Anniversary show May 25 at Korakuen Hall. As I mentioned on my report about the most recent Ibuki show, the whole idea of a 3rd anniversary tournament is somewhat uninspiring. The card needs some sizzle. The matches are Akiko Narikuni (Ice Ribbon) & Mai Ichii vs Sakura Emi & Ayako Sato, Hanako Kobayashi vs Shuu Shibutani in the first tournament semi final, Atsuko Emoto vs Hiroyo Matsumoto in the second tournament semi final, Tojuki Leon & Yoko Yamada vs Cherry & Natsuki*Taiyo, Mariko Yoshida & Kyoko Kimura vs Ray & Misaki Ohata followed by the tournament final. And Tomoka Nakagawa is out indefinitely with a separated shoulder.

Also, Mariko Yoshida announced that she will have her 20th Anniversary show Aug. 31 at Shinjuku FACE. We have a lot of these coming up this year. AKINO, Ranmaru, Ayako Hamada & Hiroyo Muto all have 10th anniversary shows coming and NEO announced that Kyoko Inoue's 20th Anniversary show will be on Oct. 10. I'm still waiting for Takako Inoue to announce her 20th anniversary show which I assume will be produced by the Ito Gym as will Ayako's 10th anniversary show. And don't forget Devil Masami is retiring this fall.

Mariko Yoshida has announced on the Ibuki MySpace that she is looking for female pro wrestlers worldwide that want to train with her. This is a tremendous opportunity for women in North America and elsewhere to be trained by a world renowned 20 year veteran of joshi puroresu. A few years back, Cheerleader Melissa and then Sara Del Rey went to Japan to train with Yoshida. They can tell you what she did for them. They are asking prospective applicants to fill out an application form that you can find on the MySpace page and they also want a highlights video. So they're not looking for beginners but they are looking for wrestlers who want to take their training to the next level. You can't get Yoshida style training for women wrestlers anywhere else. Successful applicants will work for other joshi companies as well. All the info is on the Ibuki MySpace page so be sure to check it out.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Eternals

Artist:The Eternals

Song:Babalu's Wedding Day

Album:The Doo Wop Box II

Here's another obscure doo wop classic courtesy of Rhino's 4CD box set The Doo Wop Box II. The Eternals already had a hit with Rockin' In The Jungle and this song was the victim of legal wrangling. The Eternals were a standard doo wop group formed in the Freeman Street neighbourhood of The Bronx. There were black groups and white groups. These guys were Puerto Rican. Lead singer Charlie Gerona, first tenor Fred Hodge, second tenor Ernie Sierra, baritone Arnie Torres & bass Alex Miranda started out in junior high as The Gleaners. Gerona started writing Coasters influenced novelty songs. They started calling themselves The Orbits and Christmas In The Jungle got some airplay on local New York radio. DJ Cousin Brucie Morrow got his pal Bill Martin to manage them and he took them to veteran A & R man Morty Craft to record on his Melba label. The song became Rockin' In The Jungle and they were now The Eternals. Craft released the song on his new Hollywood label and it was a big hit in New York and got some national attention in 1959. Babalu's Wedding Day was the follow up but legal problems between Martin and Morrow prevented wider distribution of the song. Babalu's Wedding Day was kept alive by becoming a jingle for WABC DJ Bruce Lewis. George Villenueva was brought in as new lead singer and The Eternals attempted to recover in 1961 but legal issues killed them again and they split up in 1962. Of course they reformed in 1972 and have been touring the oldies circuit ever since. Here's The Eternals performing Babalu's Wedding Day on a recent PBS doo wop special.