Friday, October 31, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Tony Furtado

Artist:Tony Furtado
Album:Blues Crossroads: Acoustic Blues, Old And New

Banjo and slide guitar whiz Tony Furtado started out in bluegrass and has crossed over to blues and other forms of music. He a very accomplished musician. He grew up in Pleasanton, CA and took up the banjo after writing a sixth grade report about it. He was studying music at Cal State Hayward when on a whim he went to Kansas and entered the Grand National Banjo Championship. He won in 1987 and again in 1991. This led to a stint touring with the popular bluegrass artist Laurie Lewis and then his solo debut on Rounder Records in 1992. Furtado's music is an eclectic mix of bluegrass, blues, jazz, rock and whatever else he can think of. Ry Cooder fans would probably enjoy his music. Blues Crossroads is a various artists comp on Rounder's budget EasyDisc label so it's a reasonable intro for beginners. Mudville is from his 1997 hard charging blues CD Roll My Blues Away and was produced by world music producer Cookie Marenco (Oregon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo). Tony Furtado lives in Portland, OR and is currently signed to Tucson, AZ roots music label Funzalo Records. His new CD Deep Water will be released in Jan. 2009. Tony Furtado should be of interest to roots music fans. Here's Tony Furtado playing his banjo at the Fine Pickins Bluegrass Festival in Missoula, MT Sept. 28, 1999.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nagashima/Ran YuYu video interviews

OZ Academy has introduced a new feature on their website called OZ Fighter Vision with wrestler comments. The first edition has Ran YuYu & Chikayo Nagashima promoting Monday's show. NEO used to do this sort of thing but haven't done it lately. The banner indicates that they plan to do this on a regular basis. You never know but enjoy the first one anyway.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Hazel Dickens

Artist:Hazel Dickens
Song:Pretty Bird
Album:Old Time Music On The Air Vol. 1

Hazel Dickens is a bluegrass innovator and a pioneer of feminism and political activism in her native West Virginia. She's not that well known to the general public but is revered in the folk community. She was born June 1, 1935 in Mercer County, WV the eighth of eleven children in a mining town. Her father drove trucks for the mining company and was a part time banjo picker. Hazel was influenced by bluegrass legends like the Carter Family and moved to Baltimore at age 19 to work in a factory. It was there that she met Mike Seeger (Pete Seeger's brother) and started performing with what would eventually become the New Lost City Ramblers. She toured with others including Joan Baez. Hazel and Seeger's wife Alice Gerrard started looking into feminist folk songs in the mid-60s and performed the songs together throughout the south. The two recorded a couple of albums for the Folkways label. This acapella version of Pretty Bird is from the 1973 album Hazel & Alice but Hazel sings it solo. This Rounder Records various artists comp is an excellent mix of classic bluegrass and more recent music and is recommended to beginners. You may have heard her music in Barbara Kopple's documentary Harlan County USA and Hazel Dickens appeared in John Sayles 1987 film Matewan. Hazel Dickens still performs but last recorded in 1993. She seems to get a lot of reverence in the bluegrass community these days but she's earned that. Here's part of a Hazel Dickens documentary produced by West Virginia Public Television.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jobber!

Pro Wrestling WAVE had another one of their infamous weekday shows Oct. 8 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. It drew 161 fans which is a little better than usual. It was a birthday show for jobber idol wrestler Moeka Haruhi. She had two matches on the show so one would think they would give her a win but they didn't. I guess even GAMI thinks she looks pathetic in the ring. Haruhi opened the show against Tomoko Morii from the Ito Dojo, not exactly a main eventer. Morii throws Haruhi by the hair and then gets a headlock. She turns it into a Boston crab and then a half crab. Then a camel clutch and Morii grabs her hair and Haruhi bites her hand to escape. Haruhi hits a cross body but Morii turns her over and pounds her. Haruhi comes back with a body slam. Haruhi whips Morii into the ropes and Morii drives her head into the mat by the hair for two. Haruhi gets some offense in, mostly leg holds and an octopus hold and a cross body from the top. But Morii finishes Haruhi with two missile dropkicks and an arm submission at 9:44. Haruhi counts the lights again.

Next is Kyoko Kimura vs Chiharo Oikawa. Of course Oikawa is the Battlarts wrestler and gets Kimura in a front chancery. But Kimura gets her on the ground and pounds her with shots to the head followed by a Yakuza kick. Then Kimura grinds her on the ground and hits her a few times. Kimura continues to punish her but Oikawa gets a front facelock and rolls Kimura over. But Kimura picks her up and drops her. Oikawa misses a roundhouse kick and Kimura's head butt gets her the win at 9:48. Now we have GAMI, Commando Bolshoi & Vanessa The Mountain vs Yumi Ohka, Kana & Bullfight Sora. Pretty much a comedy match with Sora doing her usual shtick with GAMI. Bolshoi works on Kana's arm and Kana tags Ohka. Ohka wants to show her height edge over Bolshoi with a test of strength. Vanessa tags in and and shows Ohka what a real height edge is and hits a plancha to the floor on Ohka. They even do a spot where GAMI, Bolshoi & Vanessa all walk the ropes at the same time. It's GAMI's usual spot times three. Vanessa balancing on the ropes is quite a sight. Bolshoi gets two on Kana but Kana hits her hip attack and tags Ohka. GAMI tags in and hits Ohka with the megaphone. It's the usual chaos at the end until Vanessa uses her power to finish Sora with a spiral bomb at 20:24.

Next is Toshie Uematsu & AKINO vs Shuu Shibutani & Tomoka Nakagawa. Uematsu & AKINO pile them in the corner with a hip attack. AKINO soccer ball kicks Nakagawa follwed by a face washin the corner. Uematsu tags in and continues the assault. This is pretty much how the match is with Uematsu & AKINO dominating. The end comes when Uematsu tosses Nakagawa off the top rope while Shibutani misses a splash. AKINO kicks Shibutani in the chest and wins with her version of the imploder suplex called the Akimploder at 12:30. AKINO has a discussion with Shibutani and the two will have a match on Oct. 31. The main event has birthday girl Moeka Haruhi vs Misae Genki. Genki no sells Haruhi's punches and tosses her around including a giant swing. Haruhi tries to come back with a cross body and a couple of dropkicks. But Genki swats her away and forces her into the corner and chops her several times. Genki powers out of an octopus hold. Genki slams her from the top and then mounts her in the corner. Haruhi attempts a Splash Mountain but can't lift Genki but she gets a backslide for two. Genki comes off the ropes with a lariat followed by another lariat and then wins with a chokeslam at 11:08. Happy birthday, jobber!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jean Knight

Artist:Jean Knight
Song:Mr. Big Stuff
Album:Music From The Motion Picture Crooklyn

The 1972 smash Mr. Big Stuff was the one big chart hit for Jean Knight and was also one of Stax's biggest hits though it wasn't recorded at Stax in Memphis and Stax turned it down at first. She was born Jean Caliste Jan. 26, 1943 in New Orleans. Jean was performing in New Orleans clubs when she was spotted by producer Huey P. Meaux and he signed her to his Jet Star label in 1965. She changed her name to Knight because she thought Caliste was too hard to pronounce. Jean recorded a few singles but they didn't go anywhere so she went to work as a baker at Loyola University. She started working with songwriter Ralph Williams and he brought her to producer Wardell Quezergue. He took them to record at Malaco Records in Jackson, MS and Mr. Big Stuff was recorded for Malaco's Chimneyville label. Malaco owner Tommy Couch tried to license the song nationally but Stax turned it down. They changed their minds after King Floyd's Groove Me on Chimneyville became a #1 R & B hit. Mr. Big Stuff topped the R & B charts and reached #2 on the pop singles charts. Though most folks probably have no idea about Jean Knight, Mr. Big Stuff is a very memorable song. This soundtrack for the Spike Lee film Crooklyn is filled with soul classics. Jean Knight returned to obscurity until she got together with producer Isaac Bolden and had a minor hit in 1981 with You Got The Papers But I Got The Man. It was an answer to Betty Wright's I've Got The Papers On The Man. That got Jean touring again and she charted again in 1985 with her cover of Rockin' Sidney's My Toot Toot. Jean Knight last recorded in 1999 but she continues to tour the oldies circuit and performed Mr. Big Stuff on the 2003 PBS special Soul Comes Home. That's the video for today. She still sounds pretty good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OZ Academy in Osaka

The Oct. 5 OZ Academy show at the Delfin Arena in Osaka was more of a time waster than usual with zero intriguing developments in the #1 contender league. The one interesting note was that OZ Academy announced on their website that Dynamite Kansai has refused to speak to the office. Well, you know what that means. The opener had Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa tries to get the jump on Matsumoto and gets a quick two count. Nakagawa gets a headlock but is whipped into the ropes. Matsumoto's shoulder block is follwed by a hair throw and stomping. Matsumoto applies a camel clutch and grabs her nose and ties her up in the ropes and pulls hair. Nakagawa is whipped into the corner and Matsumoto follows with a lariat. Matsumoto climbs to the top. Nakagawa tries to get a win by throwing her over the top rope but Matsumoto kicks her and follows with a missile dropkick and a Boston crab. She turns it into a half crab and grabs Nakagawa's hair. Matsumoto kicks Nakagawa and gets a two count. As she kicks out, Nakagawa gets an ankle lock followed by a sleeper. Matsumoto gets loose and they exchange elbows and Matsumoto hits a sidewalk slam for two. Matsumoto hits a missile dropkick. Nakagawa reverses a whip into the corner and follows with an elbow. Matsumoto ducks another elbow and attempts to toss Nakagawa over the top rope. Nakagawa ducks an elbow and shoulder blocks Matsumoto through the ropes and rolls her up for two. Nakagawa tries a cross body from the top but Matsumoto carches her in a power slam and follows with a German suplex attempt. Nakagawa counters with an ankle lock but Matsumoto blocks it and goes flying off the ropes into another ankle lock. Nakagawa turns it into a Majistral cradle for two. Matsumoto hits a Tokaido drop for two. She follows with a backdrop, a lariat and a back elbow for the win at 9:46.

Next is Ran YuYu vs Hiren. Hiren's surprise attack doesn't work and Ran hits a brainbuster followed by an enziguri and a gourd buster. Hiren counters with several kicks and elbows followed by a neck breaker for two. Ran comes back with a German suplex for two. Ran throws her by the hair but Hiren ducks when she charges into the corner and with Mika Nishio's help, Hiren attempts to throw Ran over the top rope. AKINO grabs Nishio to break it up. Ran kicks Hiren and then hits a diving knee drop followed by a low dropkick. Hiren hits two missile dropkicks. Ran counters with a back elbow but Hiren hits a German suplex and a schoolboy for two. Then she goes for the ankle lock. Ran kicks out of it. She catches Hiren's kick and hits a running elbow for two. Hiren again goes for the ankle lock. Ran gets to the ropes bur Hiren tramples her and stands on her ankle. Ran counters with a high kick and then a missile dropkick and a brainbuster for two. Ran goes to the top corner. Nishio tries to grab her but is intercepted by AKINO & Aja Kong. Ran elbows Hiren and follows with a diving knee drop for the win at 6:36. Nishio tries to break it up but is held back.

Because OZ was in Osaka Pro country, they decided to have a mixed match with Osaka Pro guys. It was Mayumi Ozaki & Black Buffalo vs Carlos Amano & Atsushi Kotoge. A lot of it is the usual Ozaki attacking Amano with various weapons and double teaming, nothing you haven't seen before. Black Buffalo wins with a lariat at 12:39. Next is Manami Toyota vs KAORU. KAORU nails Toyota with the desk board. She misses and Toyota hits the Big Boots and does the dropkick into the ropes spot followed by a swinging choke on the apron. On the floor, Toyota beats KAORU with a chair. Then she places her hand in the chair and stomps it. Toyota sits KAORU in the chair, hits her with another chair followed by a missile dropkick. But Toyota misses a moonsault press and KAORU hits Toyota with the desk board and tramples her on the ropes. KAORU takes Toyota out to the floor, beats her with the chair and wraps it around her neck. KAORU rolls her into the ring for two. KAORU tramples some more. She misses the Big Boots and Toyota tries to throw her over the top rope. KAORU falls back into the ring and Toyota get two. Toyota follows with a face crusher for two. But KAORU comes back with the desk board followed by a brainbuster for two and a moonsault press for two. Toyota gets the rolling cradle for two. They both get two counts with big moves. KAORU hits a moonsault press and the Excalibur and Toyota hits a German suplex and then a double arm suplex all for two. A couple of attempted rollups and time runs out and it's a draw.

I'm sure you've noticed that this was a strange show with mostly allies facing each other. So now we have Chikayo Nagashima vs Sonoko Kato. There's no heat. Kato begins with a backdrop followed by a high kick. Kato charges the corner but Nagashima gets her boot up. Nagashima goes up for the diving foot stamp. But Kato knocks her onto the apron and then tries to force Nagashima to the floor for the win. It's a bit of a cat & mouse game but Nagashima avoids defeat and slingshots Kato off the ropes. They exchange kicks and Kato's high kickis followed by a backdrop for two. Kato hits a kick to the face. They exchange elbows and Kato hits a high kick followed by a German suplex for two. Nagashima comes back with a backdrop for two followed by kicks and a backfist for two. Kato hits a fisherman buster for two. Kato goes to the top corner but Nagashima catches her and rolls her up for two. Kato hits a Crowns Gate followed by a high kick for two. Nagashima hits a fisherman buster for two. Then another fisherman buster for two. Kato comes back with an avalanche style brainbuster. Kato goes to the top but Nagashima knocks her to the mat and hits some soccer ball kicks. Kato goes for the dragon screw but Nagashima counters with kicks and a figure four leglock. They turnover a couple of times. Nagashima gets a two count and then hits three diving foot stamps for two. Kato comes back with rapid fire kicks and a kneelift for two. Kato hits a high kick but misses a diving guillotine leg drop. They exchange elbows but Kato's high kick followed by a German suplex gets two. Then a backdrop for two. Nagashima comes back with kicks and a backfist for two. Nagashima goes for a fisherman buster but Kato blocks it and rolls her up for two. Nagashima goes up to the corner. Kato catches her but Nagashima kicks her in the head. She gets a headscissors drop or the Nawasima for the win at 9:51.

Now Jungle Jack 21 members Aja Kong & AKINO face each other. Aja backs AKINO into the ropes and chops her. Aja follows with a lariat and a camel clutch and several kicks. Aja tramples AKINO on the bottom rope and picks AKINO upto toss her over the top rope. Ran YuYu stops her and Aja glares at her. Aja kicks AKINO in the back followed by a body slam. AKINO comes back with kicks. They exchange kicks but Aja ges the edge but misses a diving elbow drop. AKINO goes for the cross arm breaker but Aja gets to the ropes. Aja hits a piledriver for two. AKINO comes back with kicks. Aja hits a double chop but misses an elbow drop. AKINO hits a brainbuster and hooks an armbar vut Aja gets to the ropes. They go outside and AKINO slams Aja's arm into the ring post. Aja hits a brainbuster on the floor followed by a lariat. AKINO hits a missile dropkick back in the ring. AKINO hits a diving foot stamp on Aja's arm followed by a hammerlock. Aja picks up AKINO from this position and tries to toss her over the top rope. AKINO escapes and then attacks Aja's arm with a missile dropkick for two. Aja hits a brainbuster but doesn't follow up because of her arm. Aja hits AKINO over the head with the metal can and hits a vertical fall brainbuster but time runs out and the match is a draw. The tournament continues on Oct. 12.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Return To Forever

Artist:Return To Forever
Album:Romantic Warrior

The 1976 album Romantic Warrior was the best selling album by jazz pianist Chick Corea's fusion group Return To Forever featuring his best known lineup. Like Weather Report & The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever emerged from the popularity of Miles Davis' jazz rock fusion experiments. The mid-70s version of Return To Forever was likely influenced by the success of those two bands in addition to the popularity of British progressive rock bands. Corea started Return To Forever while he was working with Stan Getz in 1971 with Stanley Clarke on bass, Joe Farrell on sax and the husband wife team of Airto Moreira on percussion and Flora Purim on vocals. They started playing dates in late 1971 and signed a record deal with the German label ECM Records. They were on Polydor in the US. Return To Forever was the first song Corea wrote for the group and it became the name of the group. The first couple of albums were more jazz than rock. After the 1973 album Light As A Feather, Farrell, Airto & Flora left to start their own group. Corea brought in guitarist Bill Conners and session drummer Steve Gadd. Gadd didn't want to tour so he was replaced by Lenny White. He had played with Corea in the Davis band. Their third album Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy went in a more mainstream rock direction. By 1975, Connors didn't like the direction the group was going in and left. He said Corea & Clarke's interest in Scientology was overtaking the band. He was replaced by 19 year old guitarist Al Di Meola. Return To Forever signed a big contract with Columbia Records for the 1976 album Romantic Warrior. It went gold and would be their most successful record. Lenny White wrote the great fusion song Sorceress. Then White & DiMeola left. Corea brought in his singer wife Gayle Moran and some horns and recorded the final RTF album Musicmagic in 1977. Corea disbanded Return To Forever apparently because Stanley Clarke left Scientology. All four members have had significant solo careers and Return To Forever reunited in 2008 and are currently touring. According to Lenny White, an album is in the works. Here's Return To Forever performing Sorceress on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1976.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Malo

Album:The Best Of Malo

The 1972 hit Suavecito was the one big hit for the Latin Rock band Malo. If Malo seemed very similar to Santana, that's because the group was led by Carlos Santana's guitarist brother Jorge Santana. Along with singer Arcello Garcia Jr., bassist Pablo Tellez and singer percussionist Richard Bean, they were in a Bay Area band called The Malibu's. Guitarist Abel Zarate, horn player Roy Murray and drummer Richard Spremich were in a group called Naked Lunch. Keyboard player Richard Kermode had been in Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band. Trumpeter Luis Gasca and percussionist Coke Escovedo round out Malo. The popularity of Santana and groups like War got Malo a contract with Warner Bros. and their debut album was produced by David Rubinson (Moby Grape). Malo's music was mostly Latin jazz rock but the mellow ballad Suavecito caught on and reached #18 on the pop charts in 1972. Richard Bean sang lead and wrote the words as a poem for a girl in his high school algebra class. Pablo Tellez & Abel Zarate wrote the music and arrangement. Malo recorded four albums for Warner Bros. but spats within the group is what killed them. Zarate, Bean & Santana all formed their own bands. Luis Gasca went back to session work. Telluz and Coke Escovedo joined a band led by Coke's brother Pete Escovedo and featuring Pete's teenage daughter Sheila Escovedo AKA Sheila E. Arcello Garcia Jr. took over Malo in the late 70s and now owns the name and recordings. He licensed the recordings to GNP Crescendo in the 80s and that's the source of this comp. It has the single version of Suavecito and the longer album version. Garcia continues to lead Malo and recorded Malo Live for Thump Records in Apr. 2006. Here's Malo performing Suavecito on the TV show Rollin' in 1972.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mutsumi Kasai wins debut in Shooto

Shooto had a women's match on their Oct. 26 show at the Tokai TV Telepia Hall in Nagoya. It was the opening match on the show so I really wasn't expecting any pics or details. Thank you GB Ring. It was a 58kg match between Matsumi Kasai & Kinuka Sasaki. Kasai trains at Paraestra and was making her MMA debut. Sasaki was 2-6 and most recently won over Miki Morifuji at the Aug. 6 Summerfest. In fact, both her wins are over Morifuji. The match was scheduled for two five minute rounds. Kasai begins the match with a right and left hook followed by a takedown. Sasaki counters with a waist throw. Kasai again scores with strikes and has the edge in round one. Sasaki attempts a takedown to begin round two but Kasai blocks it but Sasaki does get a takedown from the side. She seems to have the upper hand but Kasai is able to shift from underneath and emerges with an armbar. Sasaki taps out at 3:53 of round two. Congratulations to Matsumi Kasai for the successful debut.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jason Moran

Artist:Jason Moran
Song:He Puts On His Coat And Leaves
Album:Artist In Residence

Pianist Jason Moran has proven to be one of the most intriguing musicians to emerge in the last few years. He combines a lot of different elements in his music. He was born Jan. 21, 1975 in Houston. His investment banker father liked to take Jason to art galleries and Jason started playing piano at age six. Of course his dad also had a big jazz record collection. Jason also is a scratch golfer. The thing that convinced Jason to continue his musical education was a visit from McCoy Tyner. So he went to the Manhattan School Of Music and studied with piano legend Jaki Byard. While attending school, sax player Greg Osby invited Moran on a Eueopean tour in 1997 and he appeared on Osby's CD Further Ado. This led to a contract with Blue Note and Moran made his solo debut in 1999. He calls his group The Bandwagon and usually works with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. Artist In Residence is his latest CD and Moran added guitarist Marvin Sewell to the group. Some of the music was commissioned classical works and he also adds spoken word elements. His music takes some getting used to. Jason Moran is also teaching at the Manhattan School Of Music. He's currently working on a multimedia big band project. Here's a Jason Moran Popcast from 2006.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-O'Landa Draper & The Associates

Artist:O'Landa Draper & The Associates
Song:Come On Lift Him Up

This 1998 CD Reflections poised O'Landa Draper as the next contemporary gospel star. But he died suddenly of renal failure at age 34. He grew up in the gospel music business in Memphis as his mom was a singer and promoter. He started writing songs as a teen and formed his first choir while attending Memphis State University. O'Landa Draper & The Associates grew to a 60 voice choir and Draper started his ministry in Memphis. He got the attention of Word Records when the choir backed up Shirley Caesar at a live recording and he signed with Word in 1990. This was at a time when Word had a distribution deal with Epic Records so Draper's music was better distributed than most gospel records. Draper moved to Warner Alliance in 1996. This was a new gospel label from Warner Bros. Reflections was his second CD for Warner Alliance and like a lot of gospel choir recordings, it was recorded live in concert. Try to fit a 60 voice choir in a recording studio. Reflections topped the gospel charts and won a 1998 Best Gospel Album Grammy. Draper was in Nashville to perform on Bobby Jones Gospel when he was admitted to Nashville General Hospital with kidney failure. He died July 21, 1998 at age 34. He was to be married in September. The choir has continued as O'Landa Draper's Associates. But Draper was a great songwriter and arranger so it's not the same. O'Landa Draper certainly would have been a big star in gospel if he had lived. Here's O'Landa Draper & The Associates performing I've Got A Reason from the 1998 Reflections DVD.

Friday, October 24, 2008

SMACKGIRL is dead, long live JEWELS

So now we have the replacement for SMACKGIRL. A press conference was held today at the Fitness Shop Fighting Academy to announce a new women's MMA company called JEWELS. They will have their debut show on Nov. 16 at Shinjuku FACE. It's being described in the Japanese media as SMACKGIRL's daughter and there are some SMACKGIRL people involved but the company will actually be affiliated with DEEP and will recognize DEEP Lightweight Champ MIKU & DEEP Flyweight Champ Satoko Shinashi. The money of JEWELS owns a company called Marveras. He's been a fan for many years and expressed interest in SMACKGIRL recently when he read about their problems but decided to change the name because of the negativity surrounding the SMACKGIRL name. The general manager and matchmaker is former DEEP employee Shigeru Saeki. There are some SMACKGIRL people in the front office but Saeki will be in charge of the in ring product. He talked a bit about hopes of signing Megumi Fujii but he did say that the top fighters in SMACKGIRL will be the top fighters in JEWELS. The major difference between VALKYRIE & JEWELS is that JEWELS will be in a ring as opposed to a cage. You can't fit a cage in Shinjuku FACE. Differ Ariake is a much larger hall. Shinjuku FACE holds about 500 fans. It's just cheaper to run there and it's why many Japanese MMA companies have their matches in a ring.

JEWELS announced four matches for the debut show on Nov. 16 at Shinjuku FACE. They plan to add four more. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds. The main event will be a 52kg match between Saori Ishioka (right)& Mika Nagano (left). Ishioka's record is 5-3 and her last fight was a win over HARUMI at the Aug. 6 Summerfest show. Nagano is a former amateur wrestling champ at Nagoya University. Her record is 1-1 and her last fight was a win over Asami Kodera on the Apr. 26 SMACKGIRL show. A 49kg match will have Misaki Takimoto vs Masako Yoshida. Takimoto is 8-9-4 and most recently lost a DEEP Lightweight Title match to MIKU on the Aug. 17 show. Yoshida is 14-13-5 and most recently won over Asami Kodera on the Feb. 14 SMACKGIRL show. A 48kg match will have Sachi vs Kaneko Kazumi. Kazumi appears to be making her debut but SACHI is 4-3-1 and most recently won over Kayo Nagayasu and then lost to Satoko Shinashi in the Feb. 24 DEEP Flyweight tournament. A 60kg match will have HARUMI vs a debuting fighter named Shizuka Sugiyama. HARUMI is 0-8. More matches will be announced. Let's all wish JEWELS the best of luck.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Jive Five

Artist:The Jive Five
Song:My True Story
Album:The Doo Wop Box

The 1961 hit My True Story was the one big hit for The Jive Five. But this was a doo wop group that attempted to adjust to changing musical trends so they never really went away. The leader of The Jive Five was Eugene Pitt (born Nov. 6, 1937 in Brooklyn, NY). He was involved in several doo wop groups including The Genies. But Pitt was in an earlier version of that group and was not on their 1959 hit Who's That Knocking. He formed The Jive Five in 1959 with Jerome Hanna, Richard Harris, Thurmon Prophet & Norman Johnson. They hit the jackpot with the 1961 hit My True Story. It was #1 on the R & B singles chart and #3 on the pop singles chart. Hanna died in 1962 and after a couple of unsuccessful singles, Pitt reinvented The Jive Five as a soul group and signed with United Artists in 1965. They had a minor hit with I'm A Happy Man and then switched to Musicor Records in 1966. They moved to Decca in 1970 and changed their name to The Jyve Fyve. Pitt again tried to reinvent the group in 1975 as Ebony, Ivory & The Jades and recorded unsuccessfully for Columbia. Pitt reformed The Jive Five in 1982 and recorded a couple of albums for Marty Pekar's doo wop revival label Ambient Sound. The Jive Five also recorded the doo wop themes used on the Nickolodeon TV network. Eugene Pitt still leads a version of The Jive Five today. But you can get the original 1961 My True Story on the Rhino 4CD box set The Doo Wop Box. Here's The Jive Five performing My True Story on PBS Soundstage 1982.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Satoko Shinashi wins at Oct. 23 DEEP show

To the surprise of no one, DEEP Womens Flyweight Champ and pint sized powerhouse Satoko Shinashi won over Yukiko Seki on DEEP 38 IMPACT Oct. 23 at Korakuen Hall. Seki outweighed Shinashi by 8 kilos and Shinashi did lose to the much heavier Mai Ichii. But I watched that match and the reffing was terrible. Seki begind the match by setting up southpaw thinking that might catch Shinashi off guard. But after a couple of jabs, But Shinashi goes for the successful takedown. The ref stands them up a couple of times. Shinashi scores with punches and a kneekick. Then she goes after the side takedown and finishes Seki with an armbar at 1:32 of round one. Shinashi's record is now 29-2-2 and Seki's record is 4-14.

Roxanne Modafferi on Nov. 8 VALKYRIE show

VALKYRIE has added two more matches to their Nov. 8 debut at Differ Ariake. The great news for fans in North America is that Roxanne Modafferi will be on the show. Of course Roxy is a US fighter living and training in Japan. She recently signed with the AFL but her Nov. 8 fight in Chicago against Tara LaRosa was cancelled because those idiots don't have two nickels to rub together. So Roxy was very depressed. She trains at the WK dojo and spoke to VALKYRIE producer Yasuko Mogi. I even wrote VALKYRIE suggesting that putting Roxy on the show would be a very popular move with fans here. And that's what they've done. Of course Roxy's record is 12-4 and her most recent fight was a win over Vanessa Porto at the Apr. 3 FFF show. Her opponent is Chisa Yonezawa. She was the 1999 All Japan Karate champ but this will be her MMA debut. The fight will be fought under Novice rules with two three minute rounds. I hope Roxy is in better spirits now.

The other match is a Welterweight match with two tough fighters so it should be really good. It will be WINDY Tomomi vs Emi Fujino (pictured). Tomomi is a veteran kickboxer and she trains at Pancrase. Her record is 11-8. She has tremendous power and is capable of overpowering her opponent but she's a little suspect on the ground. Her most recent fight was a KO win over J-Girls kickboxer Azuma on the Apr. 26 Smackgirl show. Many fans will recall when Rosi Sexton broke Tomomi's ankle on a Bodog show a couple of years ago. Fujino trains at WK and her record is 8-1. She suffered her first loss to Megumi Yabushita on the July 21 GCM show. It should be interesting to see if Fujino can handle Tomomi's power. It could be over quickly but Fujino may have the edge if it goes the distance.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jimmy Witherspoon

Artist:Jimmy Witherspoon
Song:Ain't Nobody's Business
Album:Blues Masters Vol. 1: Urban Blues

The 1949 hit Ain't Nobody's Business was the signature tune for blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon. He's another blues artist who had a much larger following in Europe. He was born Aug. 8, 1920 in Gurdon, AR and grew up singing in church. He first attracted attention singing in Teddy Weatherford's band on Armed Forces Radio during WWII. He first recorded in 1945 with legendary Kansas City jazz pianist Jay McShann. His first solo recordings were with the McShann band in 1949 and the #1 R & B hit Ain't Nobody's Business was the result. The song is a blues standard and was first recorded by Alberta Hunter in 1923. Bessie Smith was among others to record it. But Witherspoon popularized the song. I've featured this Rhino various artists comp in the past. It is highly recommended to blues beginners. Witherspoon's style of blues shouting was not in vogue in the 50s but he made a big comeback in 1959 with a live recording at the Monterey Jazz Festival. He had a much larger following in England and in the 60s recorded frequently with British sax player Dick Morrissey. In the 70s he recorded with Eric Burdon and later on formed a band with Robben Ford. He also worked as a DJ in Los Angeles and worked with British record producer Mike Vernon. Though he was diagnosed with throat cancer in the 80s, Jimmy Witherspoon continued to perform until his death on Sept. 18, 1997 at age 77. Here's Jimmy Witherspoon performing Ain't Nobody's Business on a 60s TV show.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Battlarts starting joshi fed

The shoot wrestling company Battlarts announced their first joshi show a couple of weeks ago. They now have a logo, a website and the first announced card. The Battlarts style is pro wrestling but it's a shoot style. The company is called Queen Bee and the first show will be Oct. 26 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Of course Chiharo Oikawa is Battlarts first and to date only joshi wrestler and she will be in the main event against Kana. And I guess that is my only criticism of Queen Bee is I would have liked to see them wait until they have a few more joshi wrestlers. Maybe they're jumping the gun a bit. But their style is different and that's a good thing. I hope they don't expect too much at first. Other matches will have Kyoko Kimura vs AKINO, Mika vs Esui. I haven't heard of Mika but I think she's a rookie. Also Cherry vs GAMI and Natsuki*Taiyo vs Ayako Sato. There will also be an amateur grappling match between Reiko Yasua & Emi Murata. Hopefully I get details on the show and I can tell you all about it.

Misae Genki challenges All Japan wrestler

You probably heard about this. I was going to let it pass but it got some unexpected media coverage despite it happening in the sticks that I decided to mention it anyway. When she announced her retirement, Misae Genki made a point of saying that she wanted to have a serious match with an All Japan wrestler. NEO President Koda tried to talk her out of it but she insisted so he made a deal to have joshi wrestlers appear on the Oct. 19 All Japan show in Iruma City. Genki teamed with Jaguar Yokota to win over Ran YuYu & Hiroyo Matsumoto and the Shirai Sisters defeated Kyoko Kimura & Mikado. Afterwards, Genki challenged All Japan star Satoshi Kojima to a match that will happen on her retirement show. All Japan put the show out in the sticks because they didn't really want any publicity but most of the usual Japanese sites carried a brief blurb anyway. So here's a joshi wrestler with over a decade of experience and she still feels she needs to wrestle a guy to validate herself. Koda was against Genki doing this but explained on the NEO blog that this is the result of deep seated sexism in the wrestling business and some joshi wrestlers have serious self esteem issues despite having success. I guess he figures she's retiring. Give her what she wants and get it over with. He seemed genuinely surprised by the publicity and I agree with his assessment. It shouldn't be that big a deal.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Richard Buckner

Artist:Richard Buckner
Song:Ed's Song
Album:Devotion + Doubt

Folk singer Richard Buckner will likely remind long time fans of the late great Townes Van Zandt. He's very much influenced by the Texas introspective singer songwriter vibe but he's actually from San Francisco. He also lived in Edmonton for many years. But he got his start in music with veteran Lubbock, Texas producer Lloyd Maines. Maines has produced Joe Ely among others but is best known as the father of Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks. Maines produced Buckner's 1994 debut CD Bloomed with the help of several Lubbock musicians. Meanwhile Buckner was building a following with the alternative rock crowd fronting his band The Doubters. Buckner got the attention of MCA Records and Devotion + Doubt was his 1997 major label debut. Alt rock producer J.D. Foster along with Marc Ribot produced Buckner's two MCA albums. It appears that Buckner was too alternative for the country market. They couldn't figure out how to sell him. So he's back to recording for indie labels and he still tours. Buckner is currently signed with North Carolina indie label Merge Records (Arcade Fire) and his latest CD Meadow was released in Sept. 2006. His website is currently under construction which is a sign that he has a new CD coming soon. Richard Buckner will likely appeal to alt country fans. Here's Richard Buckner performing Ed's Song in Asheville, NC.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What now for Gina Carano?

As you're probably already aware, EliteXC closed yesterday when CBS declined to bail them out. EliteXC had already lost $50M. The money wasn't the issue for Viacom or the company would have closed months ago. But the controversy surrounding the Kimbo Slice/Seth Petruzelli fight was just too much for them. So I'm going to look at where Gina Carano might land because she probably has the most value of any EliteXC fighter. So she's going to land somewhere. But the big question is about CBS's interest in MMA. Could they partner with Affliction? It doesn't seem likely because Affliction has their own financial problems and cancelled a recent proposed PPV and are partnering with the Golden Boy boxing promotion. They just seem iffy to me. UFC on CBS? Also unlikely because UFC won't give up control of the broadcast. That's a deal breaker for all the networks. The more likely scenario is that CBS through Showtime buys the EliteXC assets at a bargain basement price and simply launches a new promotion. Remember Showtime is the #1 secured creditor so they have first shot at EliteXC assets. But that depends on CBS's interest in MMA and they haven't said anything yet.

So if CBS gets into the MMA business, that is where Gina Carano will land because she's under contract. What else is there? Could Affliction pick her up? I suppose but they haven't shown any interest in women's MMA in the past so it seems doubtful. What about UFC? We all know that Dana White dislikes women's MMA but is he obstinate enough to leave Gina Carano on the table? I've always said that he should hire someone like Jeff Osborne to run a women's MMA company and stay out of it. Alternatively, he could put women's matches on WEC shows. I have my doubts about either scenario though it makes sense if we're talking about someone who is reasonable. Here's a third possibilty that I'll just throw out there. Gina trains with Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas and they've put on a couple of shows. They already have TV with Mark Cuban's HDNet. Certainly Cuban has the money and needs the programming for his own network and a network like CBS can trust him. Do Kim & Randy Couture want to go national? Gina Carano is a proven TV ratings draw. Someone somewhere will invest in her. Paging George Gillett or John Henry. Why not? They got into NASCAR, didn't they? That's crazier than MMA.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Sam Roberts

Artist:Sam Roberts
Song:Where Have All The Good People Gone?
Album:We Were Born In A Flame

Singer songwriter Sam Roberts has had a lot of success in his native Canada. Breaking through to the US market is proving to be more problematic. He was born Oct. 2, 1974 in Pointe Claire, PQ. He atteneded McGill University in Montreal and formed a band called William in 1993. They changed their name to Northstar in 1996. They split up in 1999 when they were unable to breakout of the indie circuit. Roberts independently produced an album in 2000 and then released the EP The Inhuman Condition in 2001. The EP eventually got the attention of Universal Music Canada and they released We Were Born In A Flame in 2003. The album and single Where Have All The Good People Gone? did very well in Canada but it didn't sell in the US. Universal decided to farm it out to their Lost Highway roots label and they rereleased it in 2004 with two bonus tracks. Roberts' latest CD Love At The End of The World was released in Canada in May 2008. It's doing as well in Canada as his other CDs. He likely benefits from Canadian content regulations. But he writes his own material and has talent so Lost Highway has to try and figure out how to sell him when they release the CD in the US in Feb. 2009. They may wind up giving up on him. Trying to break into the US market is a frequent issue for Canadian artists. Check him out for yourself. Here's the video for Where Have All The Good People Gone? by Sam Roberts.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Out Of Eden

Artist:Out Of Eden
Album:The Hits

Out Of Eden are gospel singing sisters Lisa, Andrea & Danielle Kimmey. The group did very well in the Contemporary Christian market a few years ago. The group is now retired and this comp covers their entire career. Lisa Kimmey (born Nov. 27, 1975 in Oberlin, OH) was the main lead singer and songwriter. The family moved to Richmond, VA and Danielle (born Aug. 17, 1978 in Richmond) and Andrea (born Oct. 20, 1980 in Richmond) followed. Their mom is a classical pianist and they grew up singing with her on stage. In 1994, the Kimmey sisters got the attention of Toby (TobyMac) McKeehan of the Contemporary Christian group DC Talk. With partners Joey Elwood & Todd Collins, the original plan was to produce an Out Of Eden album and sell it to a record company. But they started Gotee Records instead and the Out Of Eden album Lovin' The Day was the first release. As Out Of Eden's career progressed, Lisa became more interested in writing and producing Out Of Eden's music and by the 1999 CD No Turning Back and the hit Lookin' For Love, she was writing all the songs and was primary lead singer. Out Of Eden continued to have a lot of success in the CCM market but were never really marketed to the black gospel market. But they're clearly a gospel group. Meditate was the hit single from their 2002 CD This Is Your Life. Lisa wrote and produced the song with producer Big Mike Clemons and his brother Nathan. Mike Clemons is a drummer with the choir Youthful Praise and has also produced Mary J. Blige. Out Of Eden continued to have success but split up in 2006 after All The Hits was released. Lisa Kimmey has recently married Juan Winans of Winans Phase 2. He's the son of Carvin Winans of The Winans. That's a big family. She has also been hosting a show on BET Gospel. Hopefully she's working on some new music with her husband and we'll hear from the beautiful and talented Lisa Kimmey again very soon. All three sisters live in Nashville. Here's the video for Meditate by Out Of Eden.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Keith Jarrett

Artist:Keith Jarrett
Song:Mushi Mushi
Album:The Impulse Story

Keith Jarrett has been one of the most significant jazz pianists to emerge in the 60s. He was born May 8, 1945 in Allentown, PA and started playing piano at age three. This child prodigy was already playing professionally while in grade school. He played local clubs in Boston while attending the Berklee School Of Music in 1963. Jarrett moved to New York City in 1965 and after a brief time with Art Blakey, he was pianist for Charles Lloyd from 1966-69. He recorded his first solo album in 1967 with long time associates Charlie Haden & Paul Motian. Miles Davis saw Jarrett in a club and invited him to join his band to play electric piano. Chick Corea was also in the band at the time. Keep in mind that neither had played electric piano before and neither was crazy about the idea. Jarrett remained with Davis through 1971 but completely renounced electronic keyboards and has played acoustic piano ever since. In 1971, Jarrett formed the American Quartet with Dewey Redman on sax, Charlie Haden on bass and Paul Motion on drums and recorded several albums for Impulse. Those are the recordings we're talking about on this Impulse Story comp. Mushi Mushi is from the 1977 album Bop-Be. He also formed a European Quartet with Jan Garbarek on sax, Palle Danielsson on drums and Jon Christensen on drums and began his long association with ECM Records. He formed his Standards trio with bassist Gary Peacock & drummer Jack DeJohnette in 1983. Jarrett became known for his solo piano recordings and has also written classical music. Jarrett was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in the 90s so has been less active in recent years. His latest CD Setting Standards celebrated 25 years of his Standards trio with Gary Peacock & Jack DeJohnette and was released Oct. 2007 on ECM. This Impulse comp is worth checking out for newcomers. Here's Keith Jarrett performing with Charlie Haden & Paul Motian. Based on Jarrett's afro, I would say this is from the mid-70s.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Temptations

Artist:The Temptations
Song:Cloud Nine
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection: The Best Of The Temptations Vol. 1

The 1969 hit Cloud Nine was a significant song for The Temptations. David Ruffin had been fired from the group for missing dates and other erratic behaviour likely caused by his cocaine abuse. After Motown agreed to give Ruffin a solo recording contract, former Contour Dennis Edwards was brought in to replace him. The first Temptations album with Edwards was Live At The Copa followed by a collaboration with The Supremes. Diana Ross & The Supremes Join The Temptations was the first studio album with Dennis Edwards. There were also a couple of TV specials. Norman Whitfield had been producer of The Temptations for a couple of years and he had to produce new music. At the time, Sly & The Family Stone's Dance To The Music was a big hit. Otis Williams introduced that mix of R & B and psychedelia to Whitfield. Whitfield thought it was too radical and was a passing fad but soon after he wrote and produced Cloud Nine with partner Barrett Strong. All five Temptations traded lead vocals. Cloud Nine had socially aware lyrics and a hard driving beat featuring wah wah guitars. Some have interpreted drug references but Whitfield denied that. Cloud Nine reached #2 on the R & B charts and #6 on the pop charts and won The Temptations a Best Rhythm & Blues Group Grammy. Similar songs like Psychedelic Shack and Ball Of Confusion soon followed and kept The Temptations at the top of the charts through 1970. This budget comp is one of two Temptations comps released by Universal in 2000 as part of The Millenium Collection series. Here are The Temptations performing Cloud Nine on The Ed Sullivan Show 1969.

Friday, October 17, 2008

RIP Levi Stubbs

One of the all time great voices of black music is silenced. The Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs (2nd to the left) died today at age 72. He was born June 6, 1936 in Detroit and grew up singing in church. He formed The Four Aims in 1954 with high school pals Obie Benson, Duke Fakir & Lawrence Payton. They changed their name to The Four Tops and signed to Motown in 1963. They had plenty of hits like I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), Reach Out (I'll Be There) & It's The Same Old Song mostly written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland. They continued to have success at ABC Records in the 70s and returned to Motown in 1983. Their final top 40 hit was 1988's Indestructible on Arista. The best thing about Levi Stubbs was that he was a good enough singer to be a solo star but prefered to remain as part of The Four Tops with his high school buddies. That kind of loyalty is very unusual in the music business. Of course Stubbs played the voice of Audrey in the 1986 film musical Little Shop Of Horrors. His brother Joe Stubbs was a member of The Contours. Stubbs suffered a stroke in 2000 and other than one appearnce in 2004 retired due to illness. His wife of 48 years Clineice was at his bedside when he died. They have 5 children and 11 grandchildren. Lawrence Payton died in 1997.Obie Benson died in 2005. But Duke Fakir still tours today with a version of The Four Tops. Levi Stubbs was a superior vocalist and was part of one of the most enduring legacies in black music history. He will be missed. Here's Levi Stubbs and The Four Tops performing Reach Out (I'll Be There) on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966. RIP Levi Stubbs.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jimmy Rogers

Artist:Jimmy Rogers
Song:Blue And Lonesome
Album:Feeling Good

Guitarist Jimmy Rogers was best known for his days with Muddy Waters in the 50s. He was respected by his peers but he never got his due as a recording artist and was preparing an all star major label debut when he died in 1997. He was born James A. Lane June 3, 1924 in Ruleville, MS. Rogers was his stepfather's surname. He started out playing harp and moved to Chicago in 1946. He was playing with Blue Smitty when Muddy Waters joined. Smitty left and Rogers switched to rhythm guitar when Little Walter joined. Rogers recorded some for smaller labels but he remained with Waters until 1955 when he went out on his own. He had one R & B hit in 1957 with Walkin' By Myself but left Chess in 1959. He retired from music and owned a clothing store in the 60s. He returned in 1972 with Leon Russell's Shelter Records after the store burned down. Feeling Good was recorded with harmonica player Rod Piazza in 1984 and Piazza released it on Blind Pig in 1994. Rogers was working on an album with all star guests Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Lowell Fulson, Johnnie Johnson, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Carey Bell, Stephen Stills & Jeff Healey when he died on Dec. 19, 1997 at age 73. Atlantic released Blues, Blues, Blues in 1999. Here's Jimmy Rogers with James Cotton performing Walking By Myself at Antone's in Austin, TX 1990.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gina Carano on ESPN's MMA Live

More Gina Carano? That's right. Gina is out promoting the Red Alert 3 video game and she dropped by ESPN in Bristol to appear on this week's edition of MMA Live. She is not only interviewed but hangs around to comment on UFC 89. Gina remains for about the first half of the show. Of course viewers outside the US don't normally see this show so this video is another special treat for Gina Carano fans.

Takako Inoue's 20th Anniversary show

Takako Inoue held her 20th Anniversary show Oct. 5 at Korakuen Hall as part of a regular LLPW show. Attendance was 1020 so that's not bad. It's pretty obvious that Takako didn't want to do this show but felt obligated and did it anyway. She had a party on Oct. 10, the actual 20th anniversary of her debut. Mariko Yoshida seemed to have the same reluctance to do an anniversary show and they're close pals. Takako appeared in two matches in a brand new costume and robe. The other matches were standard LLPW with the trannies, Sayuri Okino beat Mizuki Endo. Yoshida did appear teaming with Esui against Shinobu Kandori & Toshie Uematsu. Kandori got to submit the rookie. Takako's first match was against Devil Masami. There wasn't much to it. Takako got in a bit of offense but Devil hit a power bomb followed by a lariat and the Fire Valley at 3:06. Why so short? Takako said she did it as a sign of respect for Devil. They shook hands afterwards.

The second match was a little more typical. Takako teamed with Mima Shimoda & Yumiko Hotta against Noriyo Tateno, Harley Saito & ZAP1. Of course having Shimoda there is a big deal. Takako said it was very nostalgiac of the days traveling together on the bus in the early 90s. Takako kicks Saito in the back. Then Takako & Shimoda wrap a chain around ZAP's throat but ZAP excapes and does the same to Takako. Shimoda gets Tateno in a camel clutch and Hotta kicks her in the chest. ZAP hits Hotta with a guillotine leg drop and a footstamp. Takako came back with a Yakuza kick on ZAP. Hotta hoists Saito on her shoulders and Takako hits a lariat from the top rope. Takako continues her assault by dropping a ladder on Saito. She sits her a chair and Shimoda hits a missile dropkick. ZAP comes back with a bamboo sword and Tateno nails Takako with a Death Valley Driver on the chair. Saito hits her with the chair. But Takako uses the stun gun on ZAP and then uses it on Saito while the ref isn't looking and wins at 16:40. Takako said it was a very tricky win but she had fun and that's all that counts. Takako got plenty of loot and she posted some pics on her blog. Condor Saito gave her artwork and Takako laughed that it made her look young. And plenty of flowers of course. Personally, I think she's earned a more significant show for her 20th anniversary. But she chose to do it this way.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Meat Puppets

Artist:Meat Puppets
Album:Too High To Die

Veteran punk band Meat Puppets had an underground following in the 80s but had their biggest commercial success with the 1994 hit Backwater. The group is from Phoenix led by singer guitarist and main songwriter Curt Kirkwood (born Jan. 10, 1959) and bassist brother Cris Kirkwood (born Oct. 22, 1960). They played in local bands in the late 70s and formed Meat Puppets with drummer Derrick Bostrom (born June 23, 1960) in 1980. They started out as a standard punk pand and signed with Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn's label SST in 1982. They refined their sound as they built a following in the 80s. They left SST in 1989 and split up. They reformed and signed with London Records in 1991. They got a lot of attention when Kurt Cobain performed with Meat Puppets on a 1993 MTV Unplugged. MTV's constant reairing of the show created interest in the group and their 1994 CD Too High To Die reached #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and went gold. Backwater reached #42 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group fell apart in 1996 due to Cris Kirkwood's drug abuse. It got really bad including the overdose death of his wife. Bostrom quit the music business though he still runs their website and owns their SST recordings which have been reissued on Rykodisc. Curt Kirkwood moved to Austin, TX and formed the Royal Neanderthal Orchestra and eventually adopted the Meat Puppets name. Cris Kirkwood continued to have cocaine problems and went to jail for an assault in 2004. He is now clean and reformed Meat Puppets with Curt and drummer Ted Marcus in 2006. Their 2007 CD Rise To Your Knees was released on Anodyne Records and they are now touring again. Here's the video for Backwater by Meat Puppets.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Takahashi won NEO Singles Title

NEO's Oct. 4 Kawasaki City Gym show was supposed to be Kyoko Inoue's 20th Anniversary show. The unusual thing about it was she was defending her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Nanae Takahashi. Title matches are never mixed with commemorative shows. Of course the other thing is that instead of having the show at the 1200 capacity Korakuen Hall, they decided to do it at the 3000 capacity Kawasaki City Gym. So NEO President Koda pulled out all the stops. He had three title matches on the show and brought in Mima Shimoda from Mexico and reunited her with Etsuko Mita. He also brought in Fuuka to team with Haruka Matsuo because he thinks Fuuka is a draw. She is a draw to a point but not to the extent that was required here. I don't know what it would take to fill this building. They have to be disappointed in 1151 fans but NEO should stop trying to be bigger than they are. Doing a show in a half empty building doesn't make you better. Know your limitations.

The show started with a standard juniors match with the Red Passion team of Natsuki*Taiyo & Kana vs Aya Yuki & Hanako Kobayashi. There wasn't much to it. Kana & Yuki exchange blows and Yuki gets the edge and stands on Kana. Natsuki tags in and turns the tables but Kana hits an atomic drop and tags Kobayashi. Kobayashi continues her assault and hits a cross body. Kana tags in and hits a hip attack. Kobayashi hets her foot up when Kana charges the corner. The end comes when Natsuki reverses Yuki's suplex attempt with an Iguchi bomb for the win at 13:53. Next was a three way match with Toshie Uematsu, Sakura Emi & Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa was wearing a new costume. Again it's standard stuff. Uematsu gives both a face wash in the corner. Emi gets a Rita Romero Special on Uematsu. Nakagawa slams Emi onto Uematsu and then Emi slams Uematsu on Nakagawa. Uematsu softens up Emi with a dragon suplex but Nakagawa wins with the strong arm at 13:08.Next is Vanessa The Mountain vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. Matsumoto pounds on Vanessa in the corner. But Vanessa turns it around and shoulder blocks Matsumoto. She follows this with a camel clutch. Matsumoto gets her up in the Argentinian backbreaker. But Vanessa's power is too much for Matsumoto. Vanessa follows a flying shoulder block with a lariat and a power bomb for the win at 11:00.

Next is Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki defending the Daily Sports Tag Team Titles against Yoshiko Tamura & Misae Genki. I can see Koda asking Commando Bolshoi if he can use those belts. Bolshoi says sure but there will only be a title change on a JWP show.  I wonder how touchy Tamura is about jobbing these days. Tamura does her top rope face wash on Haruyama. After an armbar, Haruyama returns the favour followed by a brainbuster. Kuragaki tags in and applies an inverted body vice followed by a Boston crab. Genki tags in and Haruyama & Kuragaki hit a suplex. Tamura tags in and Haruyama hits a stunner. Haruyama grabs her arms and Kuragaki grabs her feet. Make a wish. Tamura comes back with a Northern Lights suplex on Kuragaki for two. Genki hits a cross body on both of them. Kuragaki goes for the Argentinian backbreaker but Genki slips out of it and hits a backdrop suplex followed by the Big Boots. Genki hits Haruyama with several high impact moves including a power bomb, a superplex and a choke slam. Haruyama counters with a flying leg drop and Genki hits a lariat. Tamura tags in and Haruyama hits an implant buster. Kuragaki holds Tamura and Haruyama hits a lariat. Kuragaki hits a lariat and an implant buster for two. After more near falls, the match ends in a 30 minute draw. So the titles couldn't change hands but Koda wouldn't let Tamura & Genki job either. Not the greatest solution.

Next was Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto vs Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita. So did Koda bring Shimoda all the way from Mexico to job her out? Of course it was mostly brawling. They go out to the floor and Emoto hammers Shimoda. They go up to the balcony and Shimoda tries to toss Emoto overboard. Backin the ring, Kimura & Emoto beat on Mita but Mita comes back with a lariat. Shimoda & Mita tie Kimura up in the ropes and rip at her. Shimoda mounts Kimura in the corner, stands on her and tosses her to the floor. Mita slams her head into the apron and throws her back into the ring. Shimoda hits a missile dropkick and again trap Kimura in the ropes. Shimoda & Mita do their classic ladder spot and land on both Kimura & Emoto. Kimura has been busted open. Kimura & Emoto come back with brawling. But the end comes when Emoto tries a superplex on Shimoda but is pushed off. Shimoda & Mita's chair attack is followed by Shiomda's backdrop suplex from the top. Mita wins with the Death Valley Bomb at 25:47.

Next is Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki defending the NEO Tag Team Titles against Haruka Matsuo & Fuuka. Several fans told me they were hoping for a title change. I know fans dislike the NEO Machine Gunz but they also underestimate their polictical power within NEO. This was all about the shameful pretty girls according to Tanny Mouse. It's a very strange match because Matsuo got very little ring time and she's a NEO wrestler. Yes, Fuuka is a draw, sort of. But that doesn't mean she can carry a match. She begins with Miyazaki. Miyazaki kicks her in the stomach and whips her into the ropes. Fuuka hits a cross body. Tanny tags in. Fuuka hits a dropkick and a high kick. Matsuo hits a missile dropkick. A double high kick on Tanny and they do a little dance. Tanny hits a double face buster. Tanny hits a double arm suplex on Fuuka. Fuuka kicks her and applies an octopus hold. The Machine Gunz come back with a double shoulder block and that bouncing off the ropes spot they always do. They maul the pretty girls in the corner. There appears to be a pushcart in the ring. The Machine Gunz try to put Matsuo on it but it backfires and Tanny gets pushed into the ropes and Fuuka hits a 619 followed by a suplex and a head butt. Miyazaki his Fuuka over the head with a metal lid. Tanny attacks Fuuka with the lid but Fuuka kicks it into her. Then they both go down and Miyazaki hits a missile dropkick. Fuuka kicks Miyazaki several times followed by a dropkick, a cross arm breaker and a rollup for two. Matsuo tags in and some comedy results in a missile dropkick on Miyazaki. Matsuo & Fuuka alternate missile dropkicks with a Machine Gunz comic reaction. Fuuka hits a head scissors drop and high kicks Miyazaki while Matsuo holds her. Some misdirection results in a Fuuka/Matsuo embrace. The Machime Gunz attack but Tanny is nailed with a double missile dropkick. Matsuo misses a missile dropkick. Fuuka tries to help but Tanny grabs her ass. Miyazaki goes for a missile dropkick but Matsuo moves and she hits Tanny by mistake. Matsuo hits a German suplex on Tanny for two. Tanny blocks kicks and head butts Fuuka. Then a double suplex. Miyazaki hits a moonsault press on Fuuka while Tanny hits a muscle buster on Matsuo. Then they pick them up for what looks to be dual double arm suplexes but turn it into a submission hold called the Super Shame and Matsuo submits at 16:34. What is it? Tanny's got her by the arms and uses her legs to spread Matsuo's legs so her ass is hanging in the air. The pic will tell all. Yuk yuk. After all, this match was all about shame.

The main event has Kyoko Inoue defending her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Nanae Takahashi. They exchange blows and then Kyoko applies an Indian deathlock followed by the cattle mutilation hold. Takahashi picks her up and slams her upside down into the corner. Kyoko comes back with a forearm. She takes Takahashi to the floor and lariats her on the ramp and then takes her up the stairs in front of the big screen and beats her some more. Backin the ring, Takahashi hits a missile dropkick and a superplex. Kyoko replies with a superplex followed by several lariats. Takahashi comes back with a suplex followed by a footstamp. Takahashi goes for another superplex but Kyoko powers out and drops Takahashi to the mat. They go back and forth until Takahashi gets an opening and hits the Nanaracka 100 to become the new champ at 23:29. Nanae Takahashi is the 20th NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Champion. It looks like it was the kind of hard hitting match you would expect from two of the larger wrestlers in the business. Who's the first challenger?

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Noel Gourdin

Artist:Noel Gourdin
Song:The River
Album:After My Time

I loved this song when I first heard it in early 2007. But it looked like Sony was never going to release Noel Gourdin's album or do a video. Now The River is a #1 R & B hit. Gourdin was born in Mississippi and grew up in Brockton, MA listening to his father's R & B record collection. He performed in local talent shows and clubs and eventually a demo got the attention of Kay Gee of Naughty By Nature. Of course Kay Gee also discovered R & B superstar Jaheim. Gourdin performed a song on the soundtrack of the 2004 film The Cookout and signed with Sony in 2005. The River was released as a single in 2007. It's a great gospel influenced song but it looked like Sony wasn't going to do anything with it. Steve Harvey started playing it regularly on his radio show and by early 2008, it started picking up steam and topped the R & B charts. Finally the album After My Time and the video were released in August. So it was a long road but Noel Gourdin is a great singer and has a bright future ahead of him. Here's the video for The River by Noel Gourdin.

Gina Carano is a very gracious person

After Kim Couture ripped on Jared Shaw as a pervert and a cheapskate regarding Gina Carano's salary, Steve Cofield of Yahoo Sports caught up with Gina at last weekend's Xtreme Couture Night Of Combat in Las Vegas and addresed these issues. Again Gina showed that she is a very classy person and refused to say anything negative about either of these issues. Steve said on his blog that Gina is like Mother Teresa with four ounce gloves. Check out the video. In other news, the Nov. 8 fight between Tara LaRosa & Roxanne Modefferi has been cancelled due to financial issues between the AFL and the promotion in Chicago.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

OZ Academy #1 contender league continues

OZ Academy continued the #1 contender league on the Sept. 23 Shinjuku FACE. Yes, it's a timewaster but it's a fun timewaster. They started out with a Jungle Jack talk show. Not much to this except for Hiroyo Matsumoto boasting that she would make the semi final Aja Knog saying she didn't care about the rules and would win anyway. D-Fix is more entertaining but all the factions are getting talk shows. The opener has Aja Kong vs Takako Inoue. Takako jumps Aja and gets a two count. Aja counters with an armbar. Takako reaches the ropes and Aja grabs her hair really hard. Mika Nishio protests but Aja tells her to stop making up her own rules. She continues to grab Takako's hair and tie her up in the ropes. Takako hits Aja with a backfist to the face for two and applies the STF followed by a DDT. Aja evades a backfist and backdrops Takako for two. She whips Takako into the corner and follows with a lariat. Takako comes back with a dropkick to the face but Aja comes back with a knee. She goes to the top for a flying elbow but Nishio stops her and Aja hits the mat. Takako hits the Destiny's Hammer but AKINO breaks up the pin. Aja backdrops Takako for two but misses a flying elbow drop. Takako pulls out her stun gun. But the ref tells her she will be DQd if she uses it so she drops it. Takako hits a backfist but misses a second. She misses a high kick and Aja hits a backfist. Takako's stun gun is blocked by Aja's metal can. Aja hits a vertical brainbuster for two and wins with the backfist at 8:42. Aja grabs Nishio by the hair and tries to use the stun gun but Nishio gets away.

Next is Mayumi Ozaki vs Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa and Sonoko Kato attack before Ozaki comes out and handcuff Police & Nishio to the corner. Ozaki comes out and beats on Nakagawa on the floor but Nakagawa, Kato & Chikayo Nagashima gang up on her. They hit Ozaki in the head with the chain followed by a Kato kick and a Nagashima fisherman buster for two. Nakagawa hits her over the head with a can for two. But Ozaki gets the chain and hammers Nakagawa. They all try to throw Ozaki over the top rope but she lands on the apron and gets back in the ring. She punches Nakagawa with the chain and tosses Kato out of the ring. Nagashima hits a hurricanrana but Ozaki gets her into the corner where Police & Nishio are handcuffed and get the key. Kato tries to help Nakagawa with kicks but Ozaki hits Nakagawa with a chain covered backfist. Nishio & Police attack Kato & Nagashima on the floor. Ozaki nails Nakagawa with a backfist for two. Then Ozaki wraps the chain around Nakagawa's neck, drags her around and wins with the Ozakick and a backfist at 6:14.

Next is Manami Toyota vs Hiren. Hiren hides near Toyota's entranceway and attacks her outside the ring. Back in the ring, Hiren hits three missile dropkicks. Toyota comes back and does that dropkick into the ropes spot and Hiren falls to the floor. Toyota hits a tope from the top rope to the floor and hits Hiren with several steel chairs. Toyota takes Hiren on top of a table and swings her in a hanging strangle. Backin the ring, Hiren is nailed several times with the steel chair and then wraps it around her neck. Toyota follows with a missile dropkick. After more chair attacks, Hiren somehow applies the ankle lock but Toyota gets to the ropes. She beats on Hiren and hits a German suplex for two. Hiren grabs the chair and hits a face crusher followed by a backdrop on the chair. Toyota hits a foot to Hiren's face but Hiren rolls up Toyota for two. Then the ankle lock again and Toyota reaches the ropes. The end comes when Hiren misses a missile dropkick. Toyota hits the Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb and pulls Hiren up by the hair at two. Then Toyota wins with the Japanese Ocean Cyclone suplex at 9:49.

Next is KAORU & Devil Masami vs Carlos Amano & Chikayo Nagashima. Amano attacks KAORU before the bell and kicks her. But KAORU's Big Boots stops that and they're all on the floor. Devil beats on Amano while KAORU mounts Nagashima on the apron and strangles her. Back in the ring, KAORU gets a hurricanrana on Amano for two. Devil tags in and kneelifts Amano followed by a sleeper. Amano escapes and tags Nagashima. Nagashima kicks Devil but Devil counters with a lariat. Nagashima's hurricanrana attempt is turned into a power bomb by Devil. Nagashima can't throw Devil by the hair but Devil throws her into her corner and KAORU attacks from outside. Nagashima comes back with a flying headscissors. Nagashima does that over the top rope armbar but KAORU breaks it up. Devil hits a power bomb. KAORU tags in and hits Nagashima with the desk board. Amano comes in and is also hit with the desk board. Nagashima hits a headscissors drop and Amano hits a missile dropkick. Nagashima follows with a fisherman buster for two. Amano tags in with a flying lariat but KAORU counters with the desk board. She hits them both withit until Nagashima dropkicks the desk board into KAORU. KAORU brainbusters Amano on the desk board. The ref won't count the pin. KAORU protests. "But I dropped the board." KAORU chokes Amano with the desk board. Amano comes back with the Carlos Ghosn and a German suplex. Amano goes to the top turnbuckle but Devil intercepts and slams her to the mat. KAORU hits a moonsault press for two. Devil tags in and hits a pinwheel type backbreaker. Nagashima comes in to help and Amano hits a Carlos Ghosn and Nagashima hits a headscissors drop. KAORU breaks it up and Nagashima tags in. Nagashima tries to get Devil up in a brainbuster. She fails once but then does for two. Nagashima's hurricanrana attempt is turned into a Devil power bomb for two. Devil hits the Fire Valley and Amano breaks up the pin with a head butt. She intercepts KAORU while Devil tries another Fire Valley but Nagashima counters with a rollup and wins at 13:37. They broke kayfabe afterwards and Devil had kind words for Nagashima & Amano.

Next is AKINO vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. Matsumoto offers to shake hands but AKINO shakes her hand and backdrops her for two. AKINO follows with a facebuster, a thigh kick and an ankle lock. Matsumoto escapes by grabbing AKINO's hair. AKINO delivers a face wash in the corner. Matsumoto comes back with stomping over the bottom rope and a face wash. They exchange elbows and Matsumoto hits a body attack. Matsumoto hits a missile dropkick. They again exchange elbows and Matsumoto backdrops AKINO for two and applies an ankle lock. AKINO reaches the ropes. Matsumoto goes after the Argentinian backbreaker but AKINO turns it into a victory roll for two. AKINO hits a dropkick followed by a soccer kick to the chest. AKINO gets a dragon sleeper and gets a two count. Matsumoto attempts an Argentinian backbreaker and slams AKINO upside down into the corner. She slams her to the mat for two. Matsumoto again went for the backbreaker. AKINO breaks out of it with elbows but Matsumoto hits a Tokaido drop for two. AKINO's back is out. Matsumoto lifts AKINO for a backdrop suplex but AKINO goes over and hits two backdrops but isn't able to go for the pin. Matsumoto goes after AKINO's back but AKINO counters with a high kick. Matsumoto whips AKINO into the ropes and hits a back elbow. She whips her again but misses the elbow and AKINO jumps her with a Frankensteiner for the win at 8:23.

The final match is Sonoko Kato vs Ran YuYu. Kato offers her hand but Ran kicks it. Kato begins with a dragon suplex for two. Kato goes to the top corner but Ran kicks her off and they battle on the apron. Kato gets back in the ring and they exchange elbows. Kato staggers and Ran applies a figure four leglock. Kato gets a rope break but Ran stomps her. Ran hits two diving neck drops followed by a Shining Wizard. Kato attempts to toss Ran over the top rope. Remember she'll win the match. But Jungle Jack prevents it from the outside and pushes her into the ring. Kato hits a dragon suplex. Ran misses a running elbow and Kato's high kick gets two. Kato misses a diving guillootine leg drop and Ran follows with a knee lift. Ran tries to get her up but Kato gets a small package for one. They exchange elbows but Kato ducks and hits a dragon suplex for two. Kato's high kickis followed by a diving knee to the back of the head and a Crowns Gate for two. Then a diving guillotine leg drop for two. Kato again goes for the Crowns Gate but Ran rolls her up for two. Ran wins with the European Clutch rollup at 9:08. There sure were a lot of rollup pins on this show. Aja Kong leads Block A and four wrestlers are tied for the Block B lead.