Tuesday, September 30, 2008

LaRosa vs Modafferi Nov. 8

The American Fight League announced today that they have loaned out top female MMA fighters Tara LaRosa & Roxanne Modafferi for a Nov. 8 show at the UIC Pavillion in Chicago. Supposedly this is part of their Affiliate Promoters Program. The promotion is Ironheart Crown and they've been around since 1999. They are the North American affiliate for Shooto. The show is called Ironheart Crown XII: Resurrection. This should be a great fight between two of the top female fighters in the world today. Tara LaRosa is 15-1 and is a former Bodog champ. Her last fight was a win over Cody Whelchin at the Nov. 24 Hook 'N' Shoot show. Roxanne Modafferi has lived in Japan for several years. Her record is 12-4 and her last fight was a win over Vanessa Porto at the Apr. 3 Fatal Femmes Fighting show. She also won the K-GRACE tournament in Tokyo in May 2007. Though I think it's great that these two are going to put on a great show, it's a waste to put a PPV quality match on a show that doesn't look like it will even be on TV. This is especially true when you consider LaRosa is under a hefty AFL contract. And whatever happened to the AFL PPV originally scheduled for October. Guess what? It's not happening in November either or they wouldn't be loaning out their premiere fighters. This doesn't answer any questions about the AFL. All it does is raise more questions and fuel skeptics like me. I hope I get to see this fight but it just seems like a waste of a good fight.

NEO on Nikkan Sports

Kyoko Inoue (minus facepaint), Nanae Takahashi, Fuuka & Haruka Matsuo did the following video on Nikkan Sports to promote the Oct. 4 Kawasaki City Gym show. Kyoko is celebarating her 20th anniversary with a defense of her NEO Singles Title against Takahashi. Fuuka & Matsuo will challenge Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki for the NEO Tag Team Titles. Kyoko has been stirring the pot by saying how lovely Matsuo & Fuuka are and this has annoyed Tanny Mouse. And Fuuka has annoyed her even more with some comments on her blog. So we may see a more serious NEO Machine Gunz than usual and I don't expect them to drop the belts anyway. This video was shot at the NEO dojo. Enjoy!

Gina Carano on The Late Late Show

That's right, folks. More Gina Carano. She appeared on last night's edition of The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and I have the clip. Not surprisingly, Gina is very personable but when Ferguson asked her about Muay Thai and the rear naked choke, I was hoping she'd give him a personal demonstration. She also compares MMA to sex. Okey dokey. And as a bonus, here's another Gina interview from Dave Farra at MMA Fix on RAW Vegas. The last time we saw Farra, Michelle Watterson was kicking his butt. Gina doesn't get to do that but he does embarass her by asking her about her love live. Enjoy the videos. I'm sure there's more to come.

Watch Gina Carano is fighting Kelly Kobald, and wants to fight the Cyborg, and likes tough guys! on RawVegas.tv

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bic Runga

Artist:Bic Runga

Singer songwriter Bic Runga is a huge star in her native New Zealand but she hasn't been able to break into the US market. It looks like she's about to take another crack at it. She was born Jan. 13, 1976 in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you're wondering about her exotic oriental looks, her mom was a Malaysian lounge singer. Her dad was a Maori soldier and met mom while on leave. Bic was singing in local Christchurch jazz clubs as a teen. Both her sisters are singers as well. Bic moved to Wellington and a demo made its way to Sony Music and she signed in 1995. Drive was her 1997 debut CD. It went seven times platinum in New Zealand. Sway reached #7 on the New Zealand singles chart and also charted in Australia & Ireland. Columbia released Drive in the US in 1998 and Sway appeared in the 1999 film American Pie. Bic also appeared on the Lilith Fair tour. But she was unable to break through in the US. She writes and produces all her own songs and also plays guitar, drums & xylophone. She toured and recorded with Tim Finn in 2000. Her subsequent CDs have been huge in New Zealand but her 2005 CD Birds wasn't even released in the US. But it looks like Sony & Bic Runga are planning to take another run at the US market. After some time off to give birth to her son in July 2007, Bic is working on a new CD and played a couple of dates in Los Angeles recently. She has talent and this blog is all about exotic oriental women anyway so I like her. Here's the video for Sway by Bic Runga.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Gina Carano interviews

I'm sure we'll see a lot more of these before Saturday but both Sherdog & MMA Weekly have posted interviews with Gina Carano overnight. So here they are for your enjoyment. There's nothing particularly relevatory in either interview. The Sherdog interview is with Loretta Hunt and was taped at Gina's public workout in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. The MMA Weekly interview appears to be more recent and was taped at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Gina seems to be genuinely mystified by the haters. Making weight for this fight will go a long way to silencing some, but not all of them. Some people are never satisfied. Check out the interviews.


Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jesus Jones

Artist:Jesus Jones
Song:Right Here, Right Now

Right Here, Right Now was a #2 hit for the British group Jesus Jones. The song became popular again through its use in a K-Mart ad campaign and more recently in Hilary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign but I'm sure most folks have forgotten who recorded it. The lead singer and songwriter of Jesus Jones is Mike Edwards (born June 22, 1964 in London, England). The formation of the group came out of the British techno and house scene. Edwards took the electronic beats and tempered it with and indie rock sound. Other members were guitarist Jerry De Borg, bassist Al Doughty, keyboardist Iain Baker and drummer Gen. Jesus Jones signed with the British label Food Records and their debut Liquidizer was released in 1989. Doubt was their 1991 follow up. Their albums were released in the US by Capitol-EMI. Right Here, Right Now is about the end of the Cold War. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album reached #25 on the Bollboard Hot 200. Doubt was rereleased by EMI in 2002 but Right Here, Right Now is one of those songs you can get on plenty of various artists comps. Jesus Jones 1993 album Perverse didn't do as well and they left EMI in 1997 but resurfaced in 2001 with Mi5 Records. They're still around but haven't recorded lately. Right Here, Right Now is still memorable because it was recently used as the theme for Hilary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign. I don't think Jesus Jones other music is anywhere near as memorable. Here's the video for Right Here, Right Now by Jesus Jones.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Valkyrie rises out of the ashes of Smackgirl

Smackgirl's financial problems has made this a very depressing summer in Japanese womens MMA. Smackgirl issued a press release a couple of weeks ago postponing the Sept. 21 show and the finals of the World REMIX tournaments promising a forthcoming announcement about their future. There's nothing yet but an announcement by GCM at yesterday's CAGE FORCE show indicates that Smackgirl will be replaced by a new womens MMA company called VALKYRIE. Veteran MMA fighter and womens jiu jitsu pioneer Yasuko Mogi (pictured) has been hired to produce the shows and she made yesterday's announcement. Her MMA record is 4-3. They have also hired former SMACKGIRL manager Nagao to run the front office. The matches will be in CAGE FORCE's wire cage with CAGE FORCE rules, meaning full MMA. They will begin with five weight classes: 100lbs, 107lbs, 115lbs, 125lbs, 135lbs.

The first VALKYRIE show will be Nov. 8 at Differ Ariake and will precede the scheduled CAGE FORCE show. There will be a total of eight matches on the show. The main event has SMACKGIRL Lightweight Champ Yuka Tsuji facing V1 at 115lbs. Of course Tsuji is a Smackgirl veteran and her prescence on this show probably signals the demise of Smackgirl better than anything I can think of. Tsuji's record is 19-1 and her last win was over Seo Hee Ham on the Dec. 26 SMACKGIRL show. She is generally acknowledged as one of the top female fighters in the world today. V1's record is 3-1 and her last fight was a loss to Emi Fujino at the Dec. 26 SMACKGIRL show. She did win the 2007 Next Cinderella Lightweight tournament. Tsuji says she looks forward to fighting like a beast in the cage. Of course I will be watching for more matches to be announced for the debut of VALKYRIE.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Valentines

Artist:The Valentines
Song:The Woo Woo Train
Album:The Doo Wop Box II

At face value, The Valentines were a minor doo wop group and never had a national chart hit. But The Woo Woo Train is a great song with a killer sax break and group leader Richard Barrett became a very significant figure in R & B as a producer and talent scout. He was born July 13, 1933 in Philadelphia. The group was originally called The Dreamers with Raymond Briggs (tenor), Carl Hogan (second tenor), Mickey Francis (lead) and Ronnie Bright (bass). Just another group singing on streetcorners in Harlem. They met Barrett at a party. He had previously sung with a group called The Angels. They liked his singing and his songs. The Valentines name came from Francis' fondness for the song My Funny Valentine. Harptones pianist Raoul Cita noticed them and after replacing Hogan with Eddie Edgehill, Old Town Records released Summer Love in Dec. 1954. It went nowhere. Then they auditioned for George Goldner and though he wasn't sold on The Valentines, he told Barrett to keep in touch about other groups. Barrett brought him 12 year old Frankie Lymon. Barrett kept bugging Goldner about The Valentines and he relented but none of their songs charted. The Woo Woo Train is probably their best song and has a great sax break by Jimmy Wright. After The Valentines split up, Richard Barrett worked as a producer for Goldner and discovered The Chantels and even sang lead when he reformed them in 1959. Barrett returned to Philadelphia in 1963 and is probably best known as the man behind the girl group The Three Degrees and he worked a lot with Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff in the 70s. He remained active into the 90s and died on Aug. 3, 2006 at age 73. Ronnie Bright joined The Cadillacs and was Mr. Bass Man on Johnny Cymbal's 1963 hit. Here's a video for The Woo Woo Train by The Valentines.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Tarralyn Ramsey

Artist:Tarralyn Ramsey
Song:Made For You

Florida born gospel singer Tarralyn Ramsey made a detour towards pop stardom a few years ago. That didn't work out for her and now appears to be headed back to gospel with her own label. I first heard her when her debut CD was released by Verity Records in 2000. She was 20 years old and she has a great voice. The album was produced mostly by former NBA star and bassist Waymon Tisdale and Donald Lawrence also produced a couple of songs. There was even a great video for Unconditional Love. It appears there may have been some conflict over how she should be marketed and Tarralyn left Verity. Next she turned up in 2003 as winner of the VH1 Born To Diva contest. The prize was a contract with Tommy Mottola's revived Casablanca Records. That CD was released in 2004. The album was produced by Born To Diva musical director Cory Rooney. The album and the video for Up Against All Odds should have made a big splash but didn't. The album is good but it appears they tried too hard to make a smash hit and blamed her when it failed. Casablanca is currently inactive. Recently I saw Tarralyn in a video with gospel singer Stan Jones. She's now started her own company called Tarprincel Entertainment Group. She has released a single God Can Handle It and a new album is due in 2009. She's an excellent singer so I'm looking forward to it. Here's the video for Up Against All Odds by Tarralyn Ramsey.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Miesha Tate's next fight on Nov. 29

Miesha Tate announced today that she has scheduled her next fight for Nov. 29 at the Emerald Queen Casino in her hometown of Tacoma, WA against Theresa Doerksen. Miesha's record is 2-1 but she made a big splash when she won over veteran fighter Elaina Maxwell on the June 27 Strikeforce show in San Jose. Miesha had expected to return to Strikeforce on last week's Playboy Mansion show but for unknown reasons Strikeforce didn't want any womens bouts on the show. She says they expressed a lot of interest in her but doesn't know what happened after that. So she's not waiting around and is taking this fight for an independent promotion in Tacoma. She is hoping to catch on with EliteXC. Theresa Doerksen is a boxer from Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. She made her MMA debut with a TKO win over Jenna King on the Apr. 5 Legacy Fighting Championship show in Calgary. We're seeing a lot of boxers coming to MMA because MMA is where the money is. Obviously Doerksen's strength is her striking but Tate is a ground specialist so it could be interesting.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Blood Sweat & Tears f/Al Kooper

Artist:Blood Sweat & Tears f/Al Kooper
Song:I Can't Quit Her
Album:Greatest Hits

Blood Sweat & Tears were a hugely popular jazz rock band of the late 60s. But there were actually two different versions of the band. I Can't Quit Her is from the first version but the second version was more popular. BS&T was started by former member of The Blues Project Al Kooper (born Feb. 5, 1944 in Brooklyn, NY) in July 1967. He admired trumpeter and big band leader Maynard Ferguson and got the idea of adding horns to a standard rock band. He got together with Blues Project guitarist Steve Katz (born May 9, 1945 in Brooklyn), his buddy drummer Bobby Colomby (born Dec. 20, 1944 in New York City) and former Buffalo Springfield bassist Jim Fielder (born Oct. 4, 1947 in Denton, TX). Kooper agreed to start the band as long as he was in charge musically. Blues Project was not a pleasant experience. Colomby brought in sax player Fred Lipsius and then trumpeters Randy Brecker & Jerry Weiss and trombonist Dick Halligan were brought in. They signed with Columbia and their first album The Child Is The Father To The Man did well but was missing a hit single. I Can't Quit Her should have been a hit but just wasn't. Colomby & Katz blamed Kooper's vocal skills and they wanted to bring in a new singer. Kooper left and signed a solo contract with Columbia. Brecker left and eventually formed his own band called Dreams and of course The Brecker Brothers. Colomby & Katz hired David Clayton-Thomas as lead singer and they had a lot of success. This comp has some early material along with the hits. I'll look at the second BS&T at another time. Here's a video for I Can't Quit Her by Blood Sweat & Tears.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fuuka vs Yoshida on Oct. 19 Fuuka Matsuri show

Fuuka announced the card for Fuuka Matsuri 6 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring on Oct. 19. Thankfully, it looks to be a more wrestling based show than previous shows. It doesn't look like there will be any Kakimoto Family Theatre or Fuuka wrestling men. I'm sure she'll sing and dance and I'm sure there will be some silliness. I don't know the reason for the change. Some of the stuff she's been doing is very hard to take and I can't even write about it. I can believe that fans will pay to see Fuuka but I can't believe fans will pay to see her family. The main event will be the first ever singles match between Fuuka & Mariko Yoshida. And yes, I expect Fuuka to win. It's her damn show. Fans aren't coming to see her lose. The other big news is that Fuuka will have a shot boxing match against an opponent to be named by Shot Boxing. It will be a two minute exhibition. Fuuka says that she has been training for this at the Caesar gym and of course there was a rumour a while back about her leaving wrestling for shot boxing. There will be a match to be announced featuring Shuu Shibutani, Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo. There will be a Mask Festival match with Fuuka Kidd & Bullfight Sora vs Tojuki Leon & Ray and a Teens Fighting Spirit match with Misaki Ohata vs Pinkie Mayuca.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Weavers

Artist:The Weavers
Song:Goodnight Irene
Album:The Best Of The Decca Years

If one looks at The Weavers today, they seem very quaint and dated. But The Weavers were very instrumental in popularizing folk music and setting the table for those who came after such as The Kingston Trio. Of course there was also the controversy about their politics. The Weavers were formed in Nov. 1948 by Pete Seeger (born May 3, 1919 in New York City), Lee Hays (born Mar. 14, 1914 in Little Rock, AR), Fred Hellerman (born May 13, 1927 in Brooklyn, NY) and Ronnie Gilbert (born Sept. 7, 1926 in New York City). Seeger & Hays had worked together previously in the early 40s folk group The Alamanac Singers. The two were already involved in various political causes. Hays suggested forming a new group to Seeger and they chose Hellerman & Gilbert from singers who used to gather in Seeger's home. The Weavers struggled at first but got their big break when Max Gordon offered them a week at his Village Vanguard jazz club. They did so well that Gordon extended the engagement over the winter of 1949. They got the attention of Decca Records arranger producer Gordon Jenkins and they were signed. Their first single Tzena Tzena Tzena reached #2 on the charts and the second single Goodnight Irene reached #1. The Weavers succeeded in popularizing Leadbelly, a folk singer who had died the previous year after toiling in obscurity. The problem with The Weavers music was Jenkins' use of strings really dates the music badly. But this is what had to be done to sell the music at that time. Of course it was inevitable that The Weavers left wing politics would get them into trouble and they were off TV by the end of 1950 and Decca had to drop them because they couldn't release any of their records. But they continued to pay them. The Weavers split up in 1953 but then reformed in 1955 for a reunion concert and signed with Vanguard Records. The political thing is weird because The Weavers music wasn't outwardly political. There were very odd things happening in the US at that time. The blacklist seems so silly now. Seeger eventually left The Weavers to go solo. Hays kept the group going for several years. He died in 1981. Hellerman was a music teacher and Gilbert continues to perform today. The Weavers laid a lot of the ground work for the folk boom to come after them. Here's The Weavers performing Goodnight Irene in 1949.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Terence Blanchard

Artist:Terence Blanchard
Song:The Source

Terence Blanchard is one of today's top trumpeters. He has also composed several film scores mostly for Spike Lee. He was born Mar. 13, 1962 in New Orleans. He started taking the trumpet seriously as a teen and studied at Rutgers University from 1980-82 and toured with Lionel Hampton. His big break came when his pal Wynton Marsalis left Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers in 1982 and recommended Blanchard to replace him. He was musical director there until 1986 and then formed a band with sax player Donald Harrison & pianist Mulgrew Miller. Blanchard left to go solo in 1990 and signed with Columbia. He played trumpet in Spike Lee's 1990 film Mo' Better Blues but then Lee hired Blanchard to compose the score for Jungle Fever. He has written the scores for all of Lee's films since then including Lee's new film The Miracle At St. Anna. Blanchard remained at Columbia through the 90s and moved to Blue Note after his very successful 2001 album Let's Get Lost. This is probably because former Columbia A & R director Bruce Lundvall now runs Blue Note. The 2005 CD Flow was his second album for Blue Note and was produced by Herbie Hancock and Hancock played piano on The Source. Other musicians are Aaron Parks on keyboards, Brice Winston on sax, Derrick Hodge on bass, Lionel Loucke on guitar and Kendrick Scott on drums. Scott wrote The Source. It's good solid jazz with some fusion elements. Blanchard's latest CD is A Tale Of God's Will (A Requiem For Katrina) released in Aug. 2007. It won a Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble in 2008. It includes material Blanchard wrote for Spike Lee's HBO documentary When The Levees Broke. I don't know if Blanchard's score for Miracle At St. Anna will be released on CD. Here's Terence Blanchard with the musicians from Flow performing in Tokyo 2005.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tropic Thunder review

Ben Stiller not only stars in Tropic Thunder. He co-wrote the script and produced and directed as well. It's a broad spoof of Hollywood excess with an affectionate nod to Francis Ford Coppola's classic Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now. As great as that film is, most film fans will be aware of the behind the scenes nonsense that went on as chronicled by George Hickenlooper's documentary Hearts Of Darkness. So fans of those films will likely get more out of Tropic Thunder. The film begins with phony movie trailers so we know who the main players are. There's action movie star Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), lowbrow comedy star Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), Aussie method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) & rapper Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson). They're all in Vietnam to make an over the top Hollywood blockbuster action film. But like Richard Rush's classic The Stunt Man, it's obvious that the film within a film is destined for disaster.

The actors have different reasons for wanting to do the film though it becomes obvious that none of them have read the script. Speedman is an action star looking to revive his career. Portnoy wants to do something other than fart films. Chino wants to get out of the rap business. And Lazarus is an award winning actor who thinks it would be fun to be black though he doesn't seem to understand how that might offend some people. Tyrannical producer Les Grossman (an unrecognizable Tom Cruise) has spent so much money that he's hired wet behind the ears Brit Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) to direct this three ring circus. Of course they've only been on location for two days and they're already two months behind schedule. Even at a distance, Cockburn is terrified of what Grossman might do to him if the film tanks.

So Cockburn decides to take his actors to the middle of the jungle and decides to leave them to fend for themselves and shoot them documentary style. Unfortunately Cockburn steps on a landmine and blows his head off. These are actors. They don't know how to get out of the jungle. Portnoy immediately starts whining about going back to the hotel. He has a cocaine problem. Eventually they stumble upon a drug processing operation. So it becomes somewhat of a standard action film with a lot of gags. One running gag is about a film Speedman made called Simple Jack. He played a mentally challenged person to pander to Oscar voters and failed miserably. But the drug processors liked Simple Jack and make Speedman a god...sort of. There's also a subplot with Speedman's agent (Matthew McConaghey) fighting with Grossman for Speedman's perks. He winds up personally delivering a Tivo to the Vietnam jungle. So Tropic Thunder is a mix of gags and blowing up stuff.

Tropic Thunder is broad enough that I think most will get the jokes. Ben Stiller came up with the story with Justin Theroux and they wrote the screenplay with veteran comedy writer Etan Cohen. This was Theroux's first screenplay. He's done a lot of acting on TV and did appear in Stiller's film Zoolander. Stiller has admitted that he probably wasn't right for his role but he got away with it. And Downey's blackface routine may be offensive to some but it's really designed to lampoon the pretentious behaviour of some actors. It's a funny performance especially when the rapper reminds him that he's white. Brandon Jackson is a stand up comic from Detroit. Tropic Thunder is very funny and recommended but the producers have also produced a making of documentary called Rain Of Madness compete with a caricature of German director Werner Herzog played by Justin Theroux. Here's the trailer for Rain Of Madness but you can also download the full half hour film for free at iTunes. And there's even a website for the mockumentary.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jimmy Reed

Artist:Jimmy Reed
Song:Baby What You Want Me To Do
Album:Blues Masters Vol. 7: Blues Revival

Though Jimmy Reed was probably not the greatest blues artist, the simplicity of his music made him more accessible and more popular. And he was a big part of the 60s blues revival. So he was a big influence on others. He was born Sept. 6, 1925 in Dunleith, MS. He learned guitar and harmonica from his pal Eddie Taylor and started playing local clubs. Reed moved to Chicago in 1943 but was drafted into the Navy and served for two years. After returning to Mississippi to marry his wife Mary, they relocated to Gary, IN. He worked in a meat packing plant while trying to establish his music career. In the 50s, he was with John Brim's Gary Kings. After failing an audition with Chess Records, Albert King took him to Vee-Jay Records and Jimmy Reed made his first recordings there. He also reunited with Eddie Taylor and they would remain musical partners for the remainder of Reed's career. Beginning in 1956, Jimmy Reed was a fixture at the top of the R & B charts until Vee-Jay closed in 1963. The problem was Reed was a bad alcoholic and behaved very unprofessionally while under the influence. Then in 1957, he was diagnosed with epilepsy though some thought it was just alcohol delerium. But it didn't hurt his record sales and Baby What You Want Me To Do was his biggest pop hit in 1960 at #37. It's a classic song that was popularized even more when Elvis Presley performed it on the Elvis 68 TV special. This Rhino various artists comp is recommended to beginners. Reed signed with Bluesway after Vee-Jay went broke but didn't have the same success there. Jimmy Reed was finally treated properly for epilepsy and quit drinking but died on Aug. 29, 1976 at age 50. But there's no question that Jimmy Reed laid the groundwork for the blues revival of the 60s and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991. Here's Jimmy Reed performing on a Houston TV station in Dec. 1974. It's not the best quality but I was surprised that this was the only Jimmy Reed clip available.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dave Mason

Artist:Dave Mason
Song:Only You Know And I Know
Album:The Best Of Dave Mason

British rocker Dave Mason was a founding member of Traffic and went on to a successful solo career in the 70s. This comp covers his late 70s albums including his biggest hit We Just Disagree. He was born May 10, 1946 in Worcester, England. As I said, he was a founding member of Traffic but personality conflicts with Steve Winwood forced him to leave. In 1969, he toured with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends along with Eric Clapton. He was supposed to join Derek & The Dominoes but the group split before he could record with them. He signed with Blue Thumb Records and his 1970 solo debut Alone Together did very well. It went gold and Only You Know And I Know charted as a single. It's probably his best album. In 1973, Mason signed with Columbia and had his biggest success with the 1977 album Let It Flow. We Just Disagree reached #15 on the pop singles chart. This Columbia comp covers those years. The 1999 Hip-O comp Ultimate Collection covers his earlier recordings. This live version of Only You Know And I Know is from the 1976 album Certified Live, released at a time when Frampton Comes Alive was a huge seller. Obviously Columbia was trying to capitalize on that. Dave Mason still tours but his major label days have been long over. His new CD 26 Letters 12 Notes will be released Oct. 28 on Megaforce Records. Here's Dave Mason performing Only You Know And I Know. It's a recent clip and was posted on Youtube by Dave Mason.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters

Artist:Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Song:Beautiful Child
Album:Language Of The Soul

Guitarist Ronnie Earl straddles blues and rock and has had a strong fanbase since the 80s. He was born Ronald Horvath Mar. 10, 1953 in Queens, NY. He started playing guitar while attending Boston University in the 70s and became interested in blues. He started playing gigs in Boston and changed his name to Ronnie Earl as a tribute to Earl Hooker. He played for a couple of years with Sugar Ray & The Bluetones and in 1979 was invited to replace Duke Robillard in the popular band Roomful Of Blues. Earl recorded some solo albums for Black Top Records in the 80s but built his reputation with Roomful Of Blues until he left to go solo in 1987. He recorded more solo albums for Black Top but had some drug & alcohol problems and took time off to deal with that. Earl returned with a new contract with Bullseye Blues and the 1994 CD Language Of The Soul is an all instrumental album focusing on his guitar work. Earl released a very successful CD on Verve in 1997 but felt they put too much pressure on him to sell units and left. He resurfaced in 2001 with a couple of CDs on Telarc. Ronnie Earl now records for Stony Plain and his latest CD Hope Radio was released in Nov. 2007. He continues to tour worldwide and build his fanbase. He's worth checking out. Here's Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters performing Blues For The Westside in Germany.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Satoko Shinashi on Oct. 23 DEEP show

DEEP held a press conference yesterday to announce part of the card for DEEP 38 IMPACT on Oct. 23 at Korakuen Hall. DEEP Womens Flyweight Champion Satoko Shinashi will have a match on the show. It's a non title match. Shinashi's record is 28-2-2 and most recently lost to the much heavier pro wrestler Mai Ichii on the May 19 DEEP show. The obvious problem is she's so tiny that it's difficult to find opponents for her. So she ended up doing a match that was a real embarassment. Normally she puts on a better show than that. Her opponent is veteran fighter Yukiko Seki. Seki trains at Megumi Yabushita's Tomoegumi dojo and her record is 4-13. She's on a four fight losing streak. Her most recent loss was to DEEP Lightweight Champ MIKU on the Dec. 9 DEEP show but before that she lost to Brandy Nerney on the Nov. 3 FFF show in Los Angeles. Obviously she's experienced but she loses a lot. She is a Flyweight. Shinashi posted the show poster on her blog and I have borrowed it to accompany this article.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Compay Segundo

Artist:Compay Segundo f/Pio Leyva
Song:Frutas Del Caney

Guitarist Compay Sugundo is another Cuban musician discovered by his involvement in The Buena Vista Social Club. He was born Maximo Francisco Repilado Munoz Nov. 18, 1907 in Siboney, Cuba and moved to Santiago de Cuba as a child. Compay Segundo is some sort of childhood nickname. He is primarily known for his group Los Compadres which began in 1948. They have been one of the most popular vocal groups in Cuba. And of course he reached an all new audience when Ry Cooder went to Cuba looking for long forgotten musicians and started the Buena Vista Social Club and made the 1997 documentary. Like a lot of the other musicians, Segundo made several solo recordings afterwards. Duets is actually a comp put together by WEA International Spain as Segundo was very popular there. It includes duets with Omara Portuondo, Cesaria Evola but gets a little gimmicky with songs featuring Charles Aznavour & Lou Bega (!). Frutas Del Caney features veteran Cuban vocalist Pio Leyva who was also part of the Buena Vista Social Club. It's from Segundo's 1998 album Lo Mejor de la Vida on Elektra/Asylum. Compay Segundo used to tell people that he planned to live to 115 but he died on July 13, 2003 at age 95. He's a legend of Cuban music. Here's Compay Segundo & Pio Leyva performing La Ternera in Santiago de Cuba.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Stevie Wonder

Artist:Stevie Wonder
Album:At The Close Of A Century

I've talked about the beginning of Stevie Wonder's career before and the huge splash he made with Fingertips. But when Stevie's voice changed he became a much more mature vocalist. Of course Motown owner Berry Gordy didn't want Stevie to change. But by the time Stevie turned 18 in 1968, Stevie was starting to write his own songs and take a more active role in the production of his music. For his 1968 album For Once In My Life, Stevie got together with Funk Brothers sax player Henry Cosby and they started writing together. Reportedly Gordy was unhappy with the results and planned to shelve the album. But he was talked into releasing it and For Once In My Life reached #2 on the Billboard singles chart. Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day was the follow up and reached #9 on the pop singles chart. And from what I've been able to tell, it was Stevie Wonder's first hit as a songwriter. Of course Stevie would continue to grow as an artist and this box set At The Close Of A Century has all the Stevie Wonder anyone could possibly want. Here's Stevie Wonder performing Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day in 1968.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gina Carano Media Workout

Yeah, I know. Gina Carano 24/7. Kimbo Slice & Gina Carano did a public workout at the CBS affiliate KCAL and interviews with the Los Angeles media yesterday. Here's the video of Gina's workout courtesy of Karyn Bryant of MMA Heat. There's a different version of this on MMA Rated that also shows Gina being interviewed but doesn't actually show the interview or the workout. It takes a fly on the wall approach and you can watch it at the MMA Rated site or Youtube. And the actual interview is on the KCAL website http://www.kcal9.com/ I preferred this video because it just shows Gina's workout. Enjoy!

OZ Academy Next Challenger League begins

OZ Academy began their Next Challenger League on the Sept. 10 Shinjuku FACE show. This is one of those long drawn out tournaments with a points system that will ultimately lead to a title shot against OZ Academy Champion Carlos Amano. The matches have some very silly rules that clearly work to the advantage of the Ozaki Army. The show began with an Ozaki Army talk show that I understand was added at the last minute by Ozaki. In the ring is Mayumi Ozaki, KAORU, Takako Inoue, Hiren & Mika Nishio. KAORU & Ozaki joke about Dynamite Kansai's "retirement". Ozaki said it went off exactly as planned. Kansai leaving is a satisfactory result. Again, Nishio threatens to return to wrestling. She's been doing that for months to draw heat. I don't think she can return and Ozaki won't allow it anyway. They all joke about having to face Ozaki as part of this league. Finally we get to the real reason for this talk show. Ozaki puts up what amounts to a two million yen bounty on Carlos Amano. Each finalist get half a million. The winner gets a million and if she wins the title from Amano, she gets another million. The formula changes if Ozaki herself wins but it's a good kayfabe carrot.

The opener in this league has Mayumi Ozaki vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. All matches have a ten minute time limit. Outside interference and weapons are allowed but going over the top rope isn't. Matsumoto tries to launch a surprise attack but Ozaki is ready for it and tosses her to the floor where Mika Nishio & Police attack her with a chain and Police drags her around the arena by her throat. Ozaki just stands in the ring. Police returns Matsumoto to the ring and Ozaki nails her with a steel chair followed by a chain attack. Matsumoto gets loose and gets Ozaki in the Argentinian backbreaker but Police & Nishio grab her from the outside while AKINO & Ran YuYu try to stop them. Matsumoto hits two back elbows for two followed by a backdrop for two. Matsumoto hits a missile dropkick but is distracted by Police and that gives Ozaki time to wrap the chain around Matsumoto's neck. AKINO grabs the chain and wraps it around Ozaki's neck while Ran holds Nishio & Police at bay. Ozaki excapes but Matsumoto gets her in the Argentinian backbreaker. Police breaks it up but Matsumoto drops Ozaki and kicks him in the balls. Matsumoto hits a missile dropkick and a backdrop for two. Ozaki counters with a backfist for two. Ozaki hits two Ozakicks but AKINO breaks it up and the bell rings just as Ozaki hits another backfist. The match is a draw but Ozaki perceives it as a loss.

Next is Aja Kong vs Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa attacks Aja but of course she no sells. A couple of running dropkicks are successful but Aja traps her in the corner with elbows. Aja soccer ball kicks her in the back, stands on her stomach and applies a camel clutch. Aja applies an arm wringer and then tramples her on the bottom rope. Nakagawa hits a dropkick to Aja's knee to knock her down. She then attempts to lift her in a brainbuster. It ain't happening. Aja hits a brainbuster for two. Nakagawa evades the backfist and hits a dropkick to Aja's face for two. Aja hits the backfist for two. Aja goes to the top rope for the diving elbow but Nakagawa tries to knock her to the floor for the win. Aja hits a diving elbow for two. Nakagawa hits a running knee attack for two then tries another pin for two. Aja hits a lariat and then finishes Nakagawa with a vertical fall brainbuster at 6:26.

Next is AKINO vs Takako Inoue. AKINO tells the ref that the stun gun is dangerous. The ref tells Takako not to pass an electric current through the stun gun. Takako says "This is a lethal weapon OK." The ref says yes it's a lethal weapon but the electric current isn't good. So the stun gun is legal as long as it's turned off. Uh huh. So Takako tries to attack AKINO with the stun gun. But AKINO kicks it out of her hand and the ref is warning her anyway and she drops it. AKINO hits a heel drop but Takako hits a kick and AKINO responds with an elbow. Takako traps AKINO in the corner and Nishio helps and then they trap her in the ropes and pose. Takako applies an STF. AKINO tries to grab Takako's arm but Takako turns this into a double toe hold. She throws AKINO out of the ring, hits her with a chair, throws her into a steel post and smashes her into a table. Back in the ring, Takako hits the Big Boots. But Takako misses a kick to the corner and AKINO counters with a kick followed by a face wash. Takako hits a backdrop but AKINO evades the Destiny's Hammer and hits a backdrop suplex for two. AKINO hits an elbow and a high kick. But Akako responds with a high kick to the side of the head. Takako hits the Destiny's Hammer for two but AKINO counters with a Majistral Cradle for two. They go back and forth with kicks and elbows. Takako grabs the stun gun and shocks AKINO in the belly. Takako splashes her in the corner. AKINO comes back with a dropkick to the face for two. They exchange kicks and the time runs out and the match is a draw. They stare at each other afterwards.

Next is Carlos Amano & Sonoko Kato vs Devil Masami & Hiren. The notable thing is that for the first time, Hiren is wearing a black costume instead of her usual Sendai Girls red outfit. Kato & Hiren lock up. Kato pushes her into the ropes, low kicks her and follows with a soccer ball kick to the back after a flying mare. Kato applies a front facelock and tags Amano. Amano hits a dropkick. Amano applies a camel clutch and Kato kicks Hiren in the chest. Hiren gets to the ropes and tags Devil. Devil applies a fingerlock and then turns Amano around to a surfboard. Amano is trapped in the ropes and they pose and Ozaki hits her several times with a bottle. Devil chokes her and takes her down with a headlock. Amano excapes and applies an Achilles hold but Devil turns it into a pin. She tramples Amano and applies a hanging choke. She throws her down and tags Hiren. Hiren stomps Amano and applies a front facelock and grabs Amano's hair on the ref's blind side. Amano hits a flying lariat and tags Kato. Kato kicks Hiren but Hiren no sells and applies a half crab. This is followed by a dragon sleeper. Kato goes to the floor. Hiren & Devil attack her while Nishio occupies Amano.

Back in the ring, Hiren is choking Amano while Devil nails Kato with a hip drop. Devil hits a vertical fall brainbuster for two. Amano tags in and hits the Carlos Ghosn but Hiren breaks up the pin. Amano tries for a brainbuster but Devil blocks it and hits a brainbuster for two. Devil hits a power bomb and then Amano goes for a jumping armbar. Hiren tags in and stomps Amano. Amano counters with an armbar followed by a sleeper. Hiren reaches the ropes. They exchange blows and Hiren applies the ankle lock. Amano counters with her own ankle lock. Hiren reaches the ropes and counters with a neckbreaker drop followed by a dropkick and a missile dropkick. Devil tags in. Amano misses a flying lariat and Devil covers her for two. Amano hits a lariat and tags Kato. Kato hits a tope but can't lift Devil. Devil grabs her leg and Kato spins a kick to her head. They struggle but then Devil hits a lariat. Kato counters with a reverse suplex followed by several soccer ball kicks. Kato signals the Dragon suplex and then hits a flying guillotine legdrop. Devil counters with a lariat and a Dragon suplex for two. Hiren tags in and kicks Kato and goes for the ankle lock. Kato kicks out and hits a high kick. Hiren goes for a jumping ankle lock but Kato reaches the ropes and then backdrops Hiren. Kato goes to the top but Devil cuts her off and Hiren again goes for the ankle lock. Amano tries to break it up but Hiren holds on. Kato gets to the ropes but Hiren goes for the pin and gets two. Amano tags in and hits a neckbreaker drop. Amano takes her to the top but Devil breaks it up. Hiren kicks Amano but Amano hits a lariat followed by a German suplex for two. She lifts Hiren up on her shoulders and Kato hits a diving lariat. Amano goes for the pin and Hiren gets a small package for two. She tries for a schoolboy but Amano stomps her and wins with a tiger suplex at 25:48.

The league continues with KAORU vs Ran YuYu. The match outside the ring as Jungle Jack 21 attacks KAORU. Mika Nishio hits AKINO with a chair. KAORU evens things up with the desk board. She hits all of them and back in the ring zonks Ran over the head followed by an Excalibur and a moonsault press for two. Ran reverses a whip into the ropes and hits a shoulder block for two. Ran hits a kneelift for two and follows with a kneedrop. KAORU gets hold of the desk board and after hitting Ran, gives her a brainbuster on the desk board. KAORU goes up to the top rope but Ran catches her in diving neck drop followed by a diving kneedrop for two. They exchange blows and KAORU hits a brainbuster for two. Ran avoids the Big Boots and hits a backdrop. They exchange kicks and KAORU hits an Excalibur. AKINO breaks it up. KAORU hits another Excalibur. Nishio holds Aja & Matsumoto back but AKINO breaks it up again. KAORU misses a Valkyrie Splash and Ran hits a Big Boots and a brainbuster. Then both of them go over the top rope to the apron. KAORU kicks Ran and wins when Ran falls to the floor. KAORU wins at 8:19. Ran is outraged but KAORU & Nishio get out of there ASAP. Good way to get heel heat.

The final match is Evil Manami Toyota vs Chikayo Nagashima. Now, in her over twenty years in joshi puroresu, Toyota has never worn anything other than a standard bathing suit...until now. Toyota is wearing a jean jacket and pants and I guess that's appropriate for D-Fix. The match begins with the entire Ozaki Army ganging up on Nagashima. They take her to the floor for a beating. Kato & Amano help Nagashima even things up. Nagashima hits a diving foot stamp to a table on the floor. She eventually returns to the ring and hits a diving foot stamp on Toyota for two. She kicks Toyota but then Toyota intercepts her with a kick and Nagashima falls to the outside. Police & Ozaki trap Nagashima and hit her once but Ozaki mistakenly hits Police. It turns into a big schmozzle. Takako nails Nagashima with a high kick and then places her on a chair and Toyota hits a missile dropkick. Toyota hits a Japanese Ocean cyclone suplex for two and a fisherman buster for two. Nagashima comes back with a head scissors drop followed by a dropkick. Ozaki intrudes and Nagashima hits a German suplex and another on Toyota for two. Kato gives Nagashima a chair and she places it in the corner and hits a dropkick followed by a Frankensteiner on the chair. Police breaks it up and Nagashima hits a Fisherman buster for two. Nagashima gets distracted by Ozaki and Toyota hits a hurricanrana. She get Nagashima up for the Japanese Ocean cyclone suplex. Nagashima wriggles out of it and rolls up Toyota for the win at 9:13. The Ozaki Army not only attack Nagashima but attack the ref. Things do calm down. How's that for an upset?

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Joe Louis Walker

Artist:Joe Louis Walker f/Buddy Guy
Song:Every Girl I See
Album:Great Guitars

Joe Louis Walker is one of today's best and most entertaining blues guitarists. And this 1997 CD has all kinds of guest guitarists and is highly recommended. He was born Dec. 25, 1949 in San Francisco. He started playing guitar at age 8 and was active in the Bay Area music scene as a teen. He backed up all kinds of acts in those days and became very close friends and roommates with Paul Butterfield Blues Band guitarist Mike Bloomfield. In the 70s, Walker left the blues and played guitar for many years for the gospel group The Spiritual Corinthians. This change was probably caused by Walker observing Bloomfield's drug abuse and premature death. A 1985 performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival got Walker interested in the blues again and he formed his band The Bosstalkers and signed with Hightone Records. He moved to Jean-Phillippe Allard's Gitanes label in 1993. They had a distribution deal with Verve. The 1997 CD Great Guitars became one of the best selling blues albums of the 90s. It's an album of duets with great guitarists like Bonnie Raitt, Ike Turner, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Taj Mahal, Robert Lockwood Jr., Scotty Moore, Steve Cropper, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Otis Rush along with the Tower Of Power Horns. Every Girl I See has Walker dueling with Buddy Guy. It's a great album with a lot of Walker's trademark energy. Walker left Verve in 1999 and has recorded for several labels. He has now signed with Stony Plain Records and his new CD Witness To The Blues will be released on Sept. 30. It features Duke Robillard and Johnny Copeland's daughter Shemekia Copeland. Here's Joe Louis Walker with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown performing Sugar at the New Morning club in Paris 1997.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Takako Inoue's 20th Anniversary show

Takako Inoue held a press conference yesterday to announce that her 20th Anniversary show will be part of LLPW's Oct. 5 Korakuen Hall show. Similar to what Mariko Yoshida did recently for her own 20th anniversary, it's a very strange thing to do for a commemorative show. Also, she isn't giving a lot of advance notice. Takako says on her blog that she wasn't even sure if she wanted to do a commemorative show. And as she seems to do annually, she also considered retirement. She says on her blog that this was originally planned as a retirement show but she changed her mind very recently when she received fan mail urging her not to retire. So if this show seems like it was put together hastily, that's because it was. Takako will appear in two matches. In the main event, she will team with Yumiko Hotta and a mystery partner against Noriyo Tateno, Harley Saito & ZAP I. That actually seems like a standard LLPW match. Takako will also face Devil Masami as a sign of respect for the soon to retire Devil. Takako's long time pal Mariko Yoshida will team with Esui against Shinobu Kandori & Toshie Uematsu. And the other two matches are standard LLPW fodder with Jumbo Hori in a tag match with three trannies and Sayuri Okino vs Mizuki Endo. It just seems underwhelming to me. As you can see, the poster is pretty nice.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-John Mooney

Artist:John Mooney
Song:Out That Door
Album:Late Last Night

Slide guitarist John Mooney isn't from New Orleans but he has certainly become a big part of the Crescent City music scene since moving there in 1976. He was born Apr. 3, 1955 in East Orange, NJ and grew up in Rochester, NY. Legendary bluesman Son House was a neighbour and House taught him blues guitar. Mooney moved to New Orleans in 1976 and recorded an acoustic blues album for Blind Pig in 1979. In 1983, he started his band Bluesiana with pianist Jon Cleary. This was a more contemporary sound and after several years of touring, he got the attention of producer Mark Bingham and Late Last Night was released on Bullseye Blues in 1990. Mooney has bounced around several labels including House Of Blues and a return to Blind Pig. But like a lot of blues artists, his fanbase has been built on constant touring. John Mooney's latest CD Big Ol' Fiya was released on Live Music Lives in 2006. Slide guitar fans should check him out. Here's John Mooney & Jon Cleary performing Dirty Rat in the early 90s. It appears to be a clip from a documentary.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gina Carano in Shape Magazine

With Gina Carano's Oct. 4 fight against Kelly Kobald coming up, I have a feeling this blog is going to become "Gina Carano 24/7". But it gets hits so obviously you guys want to see her. Gina will be in the November issue of Shape Magazine and this is a look at the photo shoot. I have her on my phone so I'm happy to post more Gina. Enjoy!

TNA Knockout booking is too WWE for me

So now I have the video of the TNA Knockout matches from Sunday's No Surrender PPV. The Awesome Kong vs ODB Falls Count Anywhere match is in two parts and the third video is Taylor Wilde defending the TNA Knockout Title against Angelina Love. The first match is OK but it just appears that ODB & Awesome Kong don't work well together. I'm not a fan of the ODB character anyway. It's too much of a caricature for me and therefore difficult to take seriously. And in this match, ODB screwed up the table spot and it didn't break when it was supposed to. Don West even mentioned that she messed up. At least the ending was pretty good. The title match was way too short. There were too many matches on the show. And the ending with Cute Kip & Rhino was WWE crap and came out of nowhere. The booking of the division has really deteriorated. They've lost Gail Kim who seemed to be the only wrestler who worked well with Awesome Kong. Shelley Martinez has left because she has signed to do a movie in Italy. She's a poor wrestler anyway. And now they're doing Taylor Wilde & Rhino vs Angelina Love & Cute Kip on this week's Impact. Phooey! But enjoy the videos.

TNA No Surrender 2008 (5/25) - MyVideo

TNA No Surrender 2008 (6/25) - MyVideo

TNA No Surrender 2008 (12/25) - MyVideo

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Swinging Blue Jeans

Artist:The Swinging Blue Jeans
Song:You're No Good
Album:Hippy Hippy Shake: The Definitive Collection

In North America, British Invasion band The Swinging Blue Jeans are primarily known for their one big 1963 hit Hippy Hippy Shake. But in England they were more successful and You're No Good reached #3 on the British singles chart. Like The Beatles, The Swinging Blue Jeans were from Liverpool. The group members were singer guitarist Ray Ennis (born May 26, 1942 in Liverpool), bassist keyboardist Les Baird (born Sept. 15, 1937 in Liverpool), guitarist Ralph Ellis and drummer Norman Kuhlke (born June 17, 1942 in Liverpool). The Swinging Blue Jeans were part of the Liverpool music scene along with The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers and others. Ex-Excorts guitarist Terry Sylvester (born Jan. 8, 1946 in Liverpool) replaced Ellis. They were yet another group signed to EMI in England. Hippy Hippy Shake reached #2 on the British singles chart in 1963. Then it was released on Liberty in the US and reached #24 on the singles chart in 1964. The Beatles also performed the song. It was written and originally recorded by Chan Romero and was a hit in Australia in 1959. Follow up singles stalled in the US but this cover of the Betty Everett hit You're No Good reached #3 on the British singles chart in 1964. I'm sure most folks are familiar with Linda Ronstadt's later version of the song. The Swinging Blue Jeans continued to record. They wrote some of their own songs but did better with covers. This 1993 comp is definitive. The group broke up in 1968 when Terry Sylvester left to join The Hollies. Les Braid died in 2005 but Ray Ennis continues to tour the oldies circuit in England with a version of The Swinging Blue Jeans today. Here are The Swinging Blue Jeans performing You're No Good.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Bar-Kays

Artist:The Bar-Kays
Album:The Best Of Bar-Kays

The Bar-Kays were originally groomed to be a second house band at Stax Records in Memphis. They had an instrumental hit in 1967 with Soulfinger. But most of the band died in the tragic plane crash that also killed Otis Redding. Trumpeter Ben Cauley survived the crash and bassist James Alexander wasn't on the flight. Producer Allen Jones helped reform an all new Bar-Kays. They remained on Stax for a few years but moved to Mercury in 1976 and became one of the most popular funk bands of the late 70s. Their 1976 hit Shake Your Rump To The Funk started them on a string of success mostly on the R & B charts. They also toured with George Clinton. Their 1979 hit Shine reached #14 on the R & B singles chart. The Bar-Kays continued to have success into the 80s and split up in 1988 when Allen Jones died. This Mercury comp has all their hits. James Alexander reformed a version of The Bar-Kays in 1991 and they continue to tour today. His son Phalon Alexander is better known as hip hop producer Jazze Pha and is best known for his work with R & B singer Ciara. Here's The Bar-Kays performing Shine on Soul Train 1979.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Megumi Fujii interview

Smackgirl will make an announcement this week regarding the company's future. I expect them to reschedule the finals of the World REMIX tournament. With these ongoing problems, fans have been asking me what Megumi Fujii is up to. Other than her usual AACC activities, she seems like she's bored. She actually turned up on an Aug. 24 joshi puroresu show called LEE Presents-The Beginning. It was her first pro wrestling appearance in a couple of years. She also appeared on the Sept. 12 Shot Boxing Korakuen Hall show in a match against Misato Tomita. I guess she had to resist going for a takedown. But she did pretty good against an experienced boxer. Tomita won by majority decision. One of the judges scored it a draw and the other two scored it 30-28 & 30-29. Afterwards, Sportsnavi blogger Aki Sasaki caught up with Fujii and asked her about the match. Fujii laughed and said she's good at sleep technique, not shock technique. She said it was a good fight and she had fun but obviously she's not familiar with the Shot Boxing rules. Fujii said the Smackgirl postponement was a big problem for both her and teammate Hitomi Akano and she's just trying to keep busy. Fujii has been training tn the US and says she is in talks to fight in the US. Are you listening, EliteXC? Hopefully this week's Smackgirl press conference will get Fujii back in an MMA ring and she won't be bored anymore. Megumi Fujii then thanked Shot Boxing for the opportunity to fight. "I don't think I was very good but I had fun." So it wasn't a total loss.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Don Ellis

Artist:Don Ellis w/George Russell
Album:Milestones: The Jazz Giants Play Miles Davis

This is a very good various artists comp from Prestige of jazz greats performing Miles Davis songs. It's recommended to beginners. Trumpeter Don Ellis experimented with big band forms in the 60s and also worked on films & TV. This version of Nardis is credited to Ellis on the CD but actually appears to be a George Russell recording. Don't know why they did that. He was born July 25, 1934 in Los Angeles. Ellis graduated from Boston University in 1956 with a composition degree. He worked in the Glenn Miller band directed by Ray McKinley, was in the Army band for a couple of years and joined Maynard Ferguson's band when he was discharged. In 1959, Ellis got into the avant garde jazz scene in New York and that led to him working with pianist George Russell. Nardis is from the 1962 George Russell album Ezz-thetics on Riverside and also features Eric Dolphy on sax, Steve Swallow on bass and Pete LaRoca on drums. That album was released on CD in 2007 with bonus tracks. I don't know why Prestige credited the track to Ellis but the comp also features Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon and others so it's worth checking out. Later on, Ellis would become known for his experiments in big band forms and he also wrote the score for the classic film The French Connection. Don Ellis died of a heart attack on Dec. 17, 1978 at age 44. Here's Don Ellis performing New Horizons in the 70s.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

EliteXC signs Coenen, Hashi, Kaufman

Sam Caplan of Five Ounces Of Pain is reporting that EliteXC has signed three of the top female MMA fighters in the world today. EliteXC's Jeremy Lappan confirmed the signings. These signings really raise the level of competition and it certainly bodes well for an all womens show down the road. At age 27, Marloes Coenen of The Netherlands is the most experienced of the three. She usually fights at around 150lbs. She is a legend in Japan but has never fought in North America. Her 15-2 record is deceiving because many of her fights have been in three different Japanese tournaments. Marloes won the 2000 REMIX World Cup by defeating Megumi Yabushita in the final. She lost to Erin Toughill in the semi final of the 2004 World REMIX Tournament. And she lost in the finals of the May 2007 K-Grace tournament to Roxanne Modafferi. More recently, Marloes has had difficulty finding decent opponents in Europe and decent promoters outside her home in Shooto Holland. Her latest fight was a submission win over Romy Ruyssen on the Aug. 2 SLV show in Basil, Switzerland. Her original opponent backed out and Ruyssen was a last minute replacement. And the show was a combined kickboxing/MMA show and the promoters didn't seem to care about her match. Long time womens MMA observers have been hoping that Marloes Coenen would get the call from EliteXC. Maybe they're listening to us. And she's a big star in Japan if they're interested in that market.

Takayo Hashi will be 31 years old on Oct. 2. She usually fights at around 130lbs. EliteXC has used a couple of Japanese fighters but Hashi is a cut above both of them. Her record is 11-1 and has worked mostly for Smackgirl since her debut in 2004. Her one loss was to Hitomi Akano in Aug. 2005 but Hashi successfully avanged that loss with a win over Akano on the Sept. 6, 2007 Smackgirl show. She is the current Smackgirl Middleweight Champion. I would say that over the last year and a half, Hashi has stepped up her game considerably and has fought higher calibre opponents. She made her US debut in her most recent fight with an impressive win over the very tough Amanda Buckner on the Apr. 3 Fatal Femmes Fighting show in Los Angeles. She wins a lot of her fights by decision so I would like to see more submissions from her. You want to avoid leaving the result to judges. She has potential. Hashi just has to keep winning.

Sarah Kaufman is 22 years old from Victoria, BC. She usually fights at around 135lbs. Sarah is the least experienced of the three fighters but probably has the best long term star potential. She has won all seven of her fights by KO. Sarah was the winner of the first womens bout in TKO with a win over Valerie Letourneau on TKO's June 1, 2006 Montreal show. After that fight, Sarah signed with Hardcore Championship Fighting and defeated Ginele Marquez on their Oct. 19 Calgary show and then defeated Molly Helsel on their Mar. 29 Gatineau, QC show. But HCF closed soon after not because of money problems but because the owners weren't getting along. I've seen Sarah's fights and she is a very entertaining buzzsaw. But she has yet to fight outside Canada and I was concerned that she hasn't had enough visibility to get an offer from EliteXC. So the signing of these three fighters indicates that Jeremy Lappan doesn't think women MMA fighters are a novelty and great fighters can sell tickets and draw eyeballs. So since Jeremy is listening to us, why don't you ditch the three minute rounds and give the women five minute rounds just like the men? That's what we want.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jo-el Sonnier

Artist:Jo-el Sonnier
Song:Church Point Breakdown
Album:Cajun Roots

For a while in the 80s, it looked like Cajun accordion player Jo-el Sonnier was going to be a major crossover star. That didn't work out but Sonnier has settled into session work and recording on his own label. He was born Oct. 2, 1946 in Rayne, LA to French speaking sharecroppers. And I guess that's the difference with the Cajun sound of Louisiana that comes from the French speaking natives as opposed to Zydeco music. They're similar but not the same. Sonnier learned the accordion as a child and was a local sensation as a teenager. He recorded regionally and moved to Los Angeles in the early 70s. He signed with Mercury Nashville and they tried unsuccessfully to turn him into a country music star. He gave up on country music until Merle Haggard asked him to open for him in the early 80s. This got record companies interested in him again and he had some country chart success on RCA in the late 80s. Sonnier moved to Capitol's Liberty label in 1991 but music styles had changed and Sonnier's country crossover attempts ended. He works on a lot of Nashville sessions and this 1994 CD Cajun Roots was on Rounder Records. Sonnier continues to record on his own Musique de Jo-el label and his latest CD The Real Deal was released in Feb. 2008. Jo-el Sonnier is still a sought after session musician and continues to tour the world with his entertaining brand of Cajun accordion music. Here's Jo-el Sonnier with David Sanborn & Richard Thompson performing on Night Music in 1990.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Beasts vs Beauties on Oct. 4 NEO show

NEO continues to set up angles for the Oct. 4 Kawasaki show. Of course the main event has Kyoko Inoue defending her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Nanae Takahashi to celebrate Kyoko's 20th anniversary. Mima Shimoda will team with Etsuko Mita against Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto. And Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki will defend the Daily Sports Womens Tag Team Titles against Yoshiko Tamura & Misae Genki. But what about NEO Tag Team Champs The NEO Machine Gunz? They set that up on the Sept. 3 Itabashi Green Hall show. You may recall that Haruka Matsuo & Fuuka teamed up in the NEO Mid Summer Tag Team Tournament. Kyoko Inoue suggested that they get a title shot. Matsuo had just pinned Kana in a tag team match. She says they're both lovely exciting girls. She asks Tanny Mouse "Don't you think they're lovely?" Tanny protests and says that's not a good reason for a title shot. Kyoko tells Tanny she's still the loveliest but Matsuo & Fuuka are so cute. Yuki Miyazaki laughs but Tanny is angry and thinks they should beg for a title shot and the NEO Machine Gunz will kick idol butt. So a bit of the green eyed monster gets Matsuo & Fuuka a NEO Tag Team Title shot.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Everly Brothers

Artist:The Everly Brothers
Song:Walk Right Back
Album:The Very Best Of The Everly Brothers

The Everly Brothers were so popular in the early 60s that even a minor throwaway song like Walk Right Back was a top ten pop hit. Don Everly was born Feb. 1, 1937 in Brownie, KY. Phil Everly was born Jan. 19, 1939 in Chicago. Their father Ike Everly was a well known bluegrass musician and had a radio show in Iowa in the 40s and the boys appeared on the show. The Everly Brothers sound was rooted in bluegrass with very strong harmonies. After a false start on Columbia in 1956, The Everly Brothers hit the jackpot with Bye Bye Love. They signed with Archie Bleyer's Cadence label and he put them together with the songwriting team of Felice & Bordleaux Bryant. Bleyer was musical director of The Arthur Godfrey Show. Bye Bye Love reached #2 on the pop charts and the Everly Brothers had several smash hits with the Bryants. But they left Cadence for a lucrative contract with Warner Bros. in 1960. A dispute with manager Wesley Rose resulted in a split with the Bryants and they had to find other sources for songs. Their own song Cathy's Clown launched them to the top again. Walk Right Back was written by Sonny Curtis of The Crickets. It's no great shakes but it still reached #7 on the pop charts in 1961. They had a couple more top tens but had faded by 1964. This 1964 Warners comp is odd. Warners didn't have the rights to any of the Everly Brothers' Cadence hits. In fact, those recordings were owned by singer Andy Williams for many years. So Warners had them rerecord those songs for this comp. In recent years Rhino has acquired the Cadence recordings so the 1999 comp All Time Original Hits has the best of the Cadence & Warners recordings. The Everly Brothers split up on July 14, 1973 when Phil smashed his guitar and stormed off stage during a show at Knotts Berry Farm in California. They reunited in the 80s and perform occasionally though they have retired from music. Phil and son Jason Everly own a musical instrument accessories company called Everly Music Company. There are rumours that they may record an album with their children. Here's The Everly Brothers performing Walk Right Back in the early 60s.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Gerry Mulligan

Artist:Gerry Mulligan
Song:Utter Chaos
Album:This Is Jazz Vol. 18

This Columbia Records comp is a pretty good introduction for beginners to the music of baritone sax legend Gerry Mulligan. He didn't record a lot for Columbia but it has some music from his painoless quartet of the late 50s, his big band of the early 60s and some of his recordings for CTI in the 70s. Utter Chaos is from the album What Is There To Say? which was recorded in late 1958-early 1959. It was the last of Mulligan's pianoless quartet recordings with Art Farmer on trumpet, Bill Crow on bass and Dave Bailey on drums. Mulligan would go on to form his Concert Jazz Band and this comp features music from his 1962 album Jeru. And also included are recordings from his 1974 Carnegie Hall concert where he reunited with trumpeter Chet Baker. That was on CTI Records. So if you're interested in jazz in general and Gerry Mulligan in particular, this comp is worth checking out. Here's Gerry Mulligan with his quartet performing Moonlight In Vermont in Italy 1959.