Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Big Bad Blog 2009 Female Fighter of the Year

I don't normally do these kind of year end review things. But a couple of months ago I started to see supposed experts talk about the 2009 female fighter of the year. Of course the common names brought up include Cristiane Cyborg Santos, Sarah Kaufman and Megumi Fujii. But the one name missing from most of those lists was DEEP Lightweight Champ MIKU. And based on results and the level of competition she faced in 2009, it's not even close. So as voted on by a panel of one, MIKU is the Big Bad Blog 2009 Fighter of the Year. She's also probably the most improved fighter in the world over the last couple of years. She's now 23-4 and hasn't lost since 2006. MIKU had three wins in 2009. She won over Nicdali Calanic in 21 seconds on Apr. 16 and her third fight was a win over WINDY Tomomi on Oct. 10. But her biggest win was on June 28 over Lisa Ward in front of her hometown fans in Toyama. This was the main event of the show and there's no question it's the biggest win of MIKU's career. MIKU's last loss was to Lisa on Sept. 15, 2006. And if you watch both fights, it's very clear how much MIKU has improved since the 2006 match. She's been working a lot on her striking and worked a couple of matches in Shoot Boxing to hone her skills. I've got the video of MIKU's win over Lisa Ward for you so check that out. The next challenge for MIKU is likely to be a title match with Megumi Fujii. Fujii also won three fights in 2009 but MIKU's level of competition was higher. Sarah Kaufman got major points for accepting her April match with Meisha Tate on short notice. But Strikeforce dropped the ball when they didn't have Sarah face Takayo Hashi in November as they should have. Cris Cyborg did great in August but loses points for her shenanigans at the April match against Hitomi Akano. And I want to recognize Mika Nagano, Asami Kodera and Alexandra Sanchez for winning the recent ROUGH STONE tournaments. Biggest disappointment? Not much question Shizuka Sugiyama gets a big fat raspberry for psyching herself out and losing to Sanchez in Sept. She's not ready for prime time. And another big fat raspberry to VALKYRIE matchmaker Yasuko Mogi for booking herself in the main event of the most recent show when Yuka Tsuji was unavailable due to injury. A lot of these promoters need to smarten up in 2010.

Azumi Hyuga retires

Here's the S-Arena video report for Sunday's JWP Korakuen Hall show featuring the retirement of Azumi Hyuga. Before I get into that, JWP announced before the show that 18 year old Pinkie Mayuca will retire from joshi puroresu. She's been out with a knee injury since May. She had surgery and you never know if she can return but I guess not in this case. The first clip on this video is a match between Nanae Takahashi and Sachie Abe. It's not like anyone thinks Abe can beat Takahashi but JWP wants to continue the JWP vs Passion Red feud and they've announced one of those convoluted round robin leagues that focuses on JWP vs whoever. The league begins on Jan. 10 and the winner gets a JWP Open Weight Championship shot against Kayoko Haruyama on the Apr. 18 Korakuen Hall show. I'm not crazy about these kind of leagues because it takes the focus away from the champ for an extended time period. But sometimes these companies can't think of anything else to do. Of course the remainder of the video has Azumi Hyuga & Commando Bolshoi vs Kayoko Haruyama & Kaori Yoneyama in Hyuga's retirement match followed by clips of the retirement ceremony. Some fans have asked why Hyuga chose to work with those wrestlers when she could have worked with anyone. I think it speaks to her loyalty to JWP and Command Bolshoi. Hyuga has been a tremendous ring performer for 15 years and she got on our radar when she won the Discover New Heroine tournament teaming with Dynamite Kansai in 1996. She has always given her best effort and is retiring because her knees won't allow her to perform at the high level to which we've all become accustomed. Of course she could have been a much bigger star. But when JWP got into serious financial trouble, she was told to leave but stayed anyway. Ran YuYu and Carlos Amano had already left and Tsubasa Kuragaki went to NEO for a couple of years and returned to JWP when things got better. JWP almost closed in 2002. But Hyuga stayed and I'm sure that's the main reason Bolshoi has been bawling her eyes out whenever she talks about Hyuga's retirerment. Her retirement is sad because we will miss a performer of superior calibre. But remember Azumi Hyuga gave 15 years of the prime of her life to entertain us and considering that she can barely walk, that's a big sacrifice. So enjoy the video and let's all give a final salute to one of the greats of joshi puroresu. Azumi Hyuga, you will be missed.

Jango Song Of The Day-Johnny Rivers

Artist:Johnny Rivers
Song:Poor Side Of Town
Album:Summer Rain: The Essential Rivers 1964-1975

Johnny Rivers had a long string of hits in the 60s and 70s. So it might surprise you that Poor Side Of Town was his only number one hit in 1966. He was born John Henry Ramistella Nov. 7, 1942 and grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. His father taught him the guitar and John was a huge R & B fan as a youngster. He had his own band as a teen and even recorded a couple of singles. A 1957 meeting with legendary DJ Alan Freed resulted in a name change to Johnny Rivers. He recorded some unsuccessful singles but mostly cut demos in the Elvis Presley style. He moved to Los Angeles in 1963, put together a band and started getting some local buzz. Lou Adler became his manager and Rivers signed with Liberty Records. He had his first big hit with a cover of Chuck Berry's Memphis and this was followed by a long string of hits. The theme to the TV series Secret Agent Man was probably his breakthrough hit as it reached #3 but Poor Side Of Town was his only number one hit. Rivers continued to have success into the 70s and even started his own label called Soul City which included The Fifth Dimension. After Liberty was absorbed by United Artists and then purchased by Capitol, Rivers left in 1973 and recorded for Atlantic and Epic. His last chart hit was in 1977. This single CD comp from the British label Raven Records has all his hits. Johnny Rivers didn't record for most of the 80s and 90s but he continued to tour. He revived the Soul City label in 1998 and has released a few CDs. Apparently he's working on a new one now. Here's Johnny Rivers performing Poor Side Of Town on Hullaballoo 1966.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Timmy Thomas

Artist:Timmy Thomas
Song:Why Can't We Live Together
Album:Why Can't We Live Together: The Best Of The TK Years 1972-1981

Why Can't We Live Together was the only top ten pop hit for R & B singer Timmy Thomas in 1973. It's definitely a fluke hit but he had success on the R & B charts so it's not a one hit wonder. He was born Nov. 13, 1944 in Evansville, IN. He started out as an accompanist for Donald Byrd & Cannonball Adderley and played sessions and recorded a few singles in Memphis. He recorded a demo of Why Can't We Live Together and took it to TK Records owner Henry Stone in Miami. Producer Steve Alaimo liked the demo with it's stripped down organ riff. He decided not to produce a more elaborate version and Why Can't We Live Together reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973. Thomas was never able to duplicate that success but he did have success on the R & B charts for several years. All his TK recordings are on this comp from the British label Westside Records. He also worked behind the scenes at TK most significantly with Clarence "Blowfly" Reid. In recent years he has been teaching music at an elementary school and has also played keyboards for the young British soul singer Joss Stone. Betty Wright works with her too. Here's the video for Why Can't We Live Together by Timmy Thomas. I don't know why there are bikini dancers in this video.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Marloes Coenen doesn't blink

Here's a video interview with Marloes Coenen courtesy of Danny Acosta of FIGHT! Magazine. The most interesting thing is when asked if she fears Cris Cyborg, Marloes doesn't blink and says she wouldn't fight her if she feared her. It's a pretty good interview so check it out.

VALKYRIE announces 2010 schedule

Today VALKYRIE announced on their blog their 2010 schedule. As with previous shows, they will all be at Differ Ariake and will piggyback with CAGE FORCE shows so they can use the cage. The first show will be on February 11 at 1PM and no doubt the main event will have Yuka Tsuji defending her VALKYRIE Lightweight Championship against V1. That's them in the picture. The other dates are April 11, June 19, September 26 and November 28. I'm sure we'll have more details on the Feb. 11 show in a couple of weeks.

Jango Song Of The Day-Irene Cara

Artist:Irene Cara
Song:Flashdance...What A Feeling
Album:Flashdance CD/DVD

In the early 80s, Irene Cara looked like she was poised to be a huge star. She made a big splash in Fame and then had a #1 hit with this theme from the hit film Flashdance. But it didn't happen and I guess she's the subject of "What happened to" features. She was born Mar. 18, 1959 in New York City. She performed as a child in Broadway shows and on TV. She was a regular on the PBS show The Electric Company. Then she started turning up in films like the 1976 film Sparkle and she was in the TV miniseries Roots: The Next Generation. But the 1980 film Fame made her a star and she had a hit single with Out Here On My Own. Irene continued to appear in films and on TV but she wanted to concentrate on her singing career. So she signed with Geffen Records. Her 1982 album Anyone Can See underperformed so Geffen decided to bring in Georgio Moroder to produce her follow up album. Irene was reluctant to work with him. She didn't want to be compared to Donna Summer. They worked out a deal to record music for the upcoming film Flashdance. Irene wrote Flashdance...What A Feeling with Moroder's drummer Keith Forsey and Moroder wrote the music. It topped the charts but the success of the film overshadowed Irene's success and her own album didn't sell and Geffen dropped her. The Flashdance soundtrack was a huge seller. An expanded edition was released in 1997 but is out of print. Paramount released a DVD of the film in 2007 with a bonus CD with songs from the soundtrack. Irene Cara continued to appear in films and recorded an album for Elektra in 1987. She's still around. She has a band called Caramel and recorded the theme to the 2007 film Downtown: A Street Tale. But it's very clear that Irene Cara should have been a much bigger star. Here's the video for Flashdance...What A Feeling by Irene Cara.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Jerry Reed

Artist:Jerry Reed
Song:Amos Moses
Album:The Essential Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed was a very versatile performer. He started out as a session guitar whiz and graduated to a successful recording career mostly on the country charts. Though he would occasionally cross over to the pop charts as he did with Amos Moses. And he had a significant acting career. He was born Jerry Reed Hubbard Mar. 20, 1937 in Atlanta. He learned the guitar as a child. Atlanta music publisher Bill Lowery signed him and Reed recorded some single before a two year stint in the military. He moved to Nashville in 1961 and Chet Atkins signed him to RCA Records in 1965. He had his first chart hit in 1967 with Guitar Man which was soon covered by Elvis Presley. He then played guitar on some Presley sessions. The 1970 hit Amos Moses was marginally his biggest crossover hit as it reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The 1971 hit When You're Hot, You're Hot reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 but topped the country charts. Reed was known for his sense of humour but Atkins wanted him to showcase his guitar skills so in 1972 the recorded an album together called Me & Chet. Reed continued to have success on the country charts but by the mid-70s, Burt Reynolds cast him in the 1974 film WW & The Dixie Dancekings. Reed would appear in several Reynolds films including all three Smokey & The Bandit films. Reed's recording career faded in the 80s and he left RCA in 1983. This comp covers the RCA years. But he continued to appear in films, most recently the 1998 film The Waterboy. Jerry Reed died on Sept. 1, 2008 at age 71. Here's a clip of Jerry Reed performing Amos Moses on the Delta Queen 1973.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Eddie Palmieri

Artist:Eddie Palmieri f/Ismael Quintana
Song:Puerto Rico
Album:El Prodigioso 50 Anos del Maestro

Eddie Palmieri is a legend of Latin Jazz. He's been around since the 50s and he's still going strong today. He was born Dec. 15, 1936 in New York City. His parents emigrated from Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1926. Eddie and his older brother Charlie were playing music at a very young age and Eddie played piano at Carnegie Hall at age 11. Palmieri's music has always been a mix of his Puerto Rican heritage and his biggest jazz influence Thelonious Monk. He started out in 1955 with Johnny Sequi and after a three year stint with Tito Rodriguez, he started his own band La Perfecta in 1961. His 1966 album with Cal Tjader El Sonido Nuevo got a lot of attention. Palmieri disbanded La Perfecta in 1968 and started recording as a solo artist and with The Fania All Stars and The Tico All Stars. Puerto Rico is from the 1973 album Sentido. The song was co-written and features vocals by Ismael Quintana. It was recorded for the Miami based Latin music label Musical Productions. You can get it on this comp but Puerto Rico also appeared on volume 2 of the soundtrack CD from Spike Lee's film Crooklyn. Major labels like Columbia and RCA have occasionally attempted to package Palmieri for a more mainstream market. But that's never worked out and in recent years, Palmieri has recorded for Concord Jazz, most recently in 2005 with the CD Listen Here!. This legend of Latin Jazz is still making great music today. Here's Eddie Palmieri with The Fania All Stars featuring Ismael Quintana performing Puerto Rico.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Robert John

Artist:Robert John
Song:Sad Eyes
Album:Top Hits of the 70s: Greatest Hits

Sad Eyes was a number one hit in 1979. The retro doo wop style seemed a little odd in the midst of the height of disco. It was Robert John's biggest hit but it might surprise folks that he first charted in the 50s. He was born Robert John Pedrick Jr. in 1946 in Brooklyn, NY. At age 12 he recorded as Bobby Pedrick and charted with his debut single White Bucks And Saddle Shoes. He bounced around in the 60s with his group Bobby & The Consloes and resurfaced in the late 60s on Epic as Robert John. Then producer George Tobin worked with him on a few singles on A & M and then in 1971 got him a deal with Atlantic. John's 1972 remake of The Tokens' The Lion Sleeps Tonight was a top ten pop hit. It was produced by Hank Medress of The Tokens. John actually wrote and recorded Sad Eyes for Ariola in 1978. But they decided not to release it and dropped him. The president of EMI Records heard it and contacted Tobin. They released Sad Eyes and it topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. John released two albums on EMI and another on Motown in 1983 and nothing much has been heard from him since. Capitol released a Classic Masters comp in 2002 but it seems to be out of print. And Curb's 1992 Greatest Hits comp is a half hour long and features a pointless 90s remix of The Lion Sleeps Tonight. So this 2007 Collectables various artists comp is the best way to get Sad Eyes. Here's the video for Sad Eyes by Robert John.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Nighty night, Fuuka.

Here's the S-Arena video digest for Wednesday's Fuuka Matsuri show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Looking at the results, it appears that the show was mostly crap except for the main event with Fuuka facing Meiko Satomura for the first time. And that's the only match you'll see on this video. A lot of martial arts kicks. That's the only thing Fuuka is good at and Satomura has incorporated a lot of Muay Thai into her arsenal. Satomura wins with this new variation on the sleeper that she used on Azumi Hyuga the other day. Fuuka had a nice nap. Of course an attempt is being made to sell that Fuuka is retiring due to legit health issues so Nanae Takahashi caused a commotion after the match. But as you can see, Fuuka is fine. She did announce that she will appear on the Feb. 13 Shoot Boxing show against an opponent TBA.

Tara wins TNA Knockouts Championship

So I finally got a copy of the video of the TNA Knockouts Championship match between ODB and Tara. You probably already know that Tara won but maybe you haven't seen the match yet. Is the match any good? Not really. It's just blah. I don't understand how they can book an important match on a PPV and they don't do anything to make it seem important. It's a short match. It looks like Tara may have hurt her left shoulder and that forced them to cut it short. But they're both veteran wrestlers with many accomplishments so both should do better. As I've said in the past, TNA management really likes ODB and she is a good wrestler. But she just doesn't seem to have any chemistry with any of the other Knockouts and they insist on keeping her in main events despite that. Watch the match and decide for yourself. As you probably already know, next Thursday's Impact will be a Knockouts special. Having seen the spoilers, there's a lot of the usual overbooked TNA nonsense. And I'm sure you have already heard that Roxxi broke her leg in two places. Several indy wrestlers were brought in for tryouts but I haven't heard of any of them being signed. There's also a rumour that Angelina Love will return on the big Hulk Hogan debut show on Jan. 4. We'll see what Hogan does to TNA. Maybe he'll simplify their booking. But maybe he'll just bring in his cronies.

Jango Song Of The Day-Stealers Wheel

Artist:Stealers Wheel
Song:Stuck In The Middle With You
Album:The Tarantino Connection

Stuck In The Middle With You was a top ten hit in 1973 for the Scottish folk rock group Stealers Wheel. Internal strife killed the group by 1975. But Stuck In The Middle With You was revived in a big way when Quentin Tarantino used it in a pivotal scene of his 1992 film Reservoir Dogs. Now it's a rock standard. But it was always a good song. Stealers Wheel was formed by schoolmates Gerry Rafferty (born Apr. 16, 1947 in Paisley, Scotland) and Joe Egan (born Oct. 18, 1946 in Paisley, Scotland). The two played together in a couple of bands and played sessions. Rafferty was a member of Billy Connoly's folk group The Humblebums and also recorded a solo album. He used Egan as a vocalist on the album and they decided to form Stealers Wheel in 1972 as sort of a Scottish version of an American folk rock group like Crosby, Stills & Nash. Roger Brown, Rab Noakes and Ian Campbell were all on Rafferty's album and joined Stealers Wheel. But they all left and were replaced by former Juicy Lucy drummer Rod Coombes, his pal guitarist Paul Pilnick and bassist Tony Williams. They signed with A & M Records and their debut album was produced by Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller. Stuck In The Middle With You reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973 and they were on their way. But Rafferty was bickering with the others and he left and was replaced by Luther Grosvenor of Spooky Tooth. When the album reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 200, Rafferty was pesuaded to return and Grosvenor, Coombes & Pilnick all left. So Stealers Wheel used studio musicians for their other two albums. When they didn't sell, Rafferty and Egan split up for good in 1975. Stuck In The Middle With You was just another forgotten pop song when Quentin Tarantino used the song in his 1992 breakthrough film Reservoir Dogs and it attracted a new generation. Tarantino has always had a good ear for music and this comp contains songs from his earlier films. Gerry Rafferty went on to a successful solo career in the 80s. Joe Egan recorded a couple of albums but quit the music business and now runs a small publishing company. In 2008, Williams, Coombes and Pilnick announced they were reforming Stealers Wheel after Williams was contacted by K-Tel Records. That doesn't seem like a good idea but supposedly they're working on a CD. Here's the video for Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Roxy vs Molly on KOTC Japan?

It came to my attention today that King Of The Cage is planning to run a show in Japan Jan. 30 at the Okinawa Convention Center called King Of The Cage Toryumon. The format will be Team USA vs Team Japan featuring a KOTC World Junior Flyweight Championship match between Frank Baca and Mamoru Yamaguchi. They haven't announced any women's marches for this show. But if you look at the graphics on the KOTC Japan English language site, you'll notice that Roxanne Modafferi (pictured) is in the Team Japan graphic and Molly Helsel is in the Team USA graphic. So is that match happening? Check out this link.

Jango Song Of The Day-Ruby & The Romantics

Artist:Ruby & The Romantics
Song:Our Day Will Come
Album:Tell It Like It Is: #1 Soul Hits Of The 60s Vol. 1

Our Day Will Come was a number one hit in 1963. Ruby & The Romantics are perceived as a one hit wonder but some of their other songs charted. So technically they're not a one hit wonder but Our Day Will Come is the only song most will care about. Lead singer Ruby Nash Curtis was born Nov. 12, 1939 in Akron, OH. She started out in a group with her sister and two friends. In 1961, she got together with four guys known as The Embers and then The Supremes and then The Feilos. They were George Lee, Ed Roberts, Ronald Mosely and Leroy Fann. Apparently they weren't having much luck in New York and they asked Ruby to sing with them. Guitarist and arranger Leroy Kirkland got them a contract with Kapp Records and Kapp A & R man Allan Stanton recommended the group name change to Ruby & The Romantics. Our Day Will Come was Ruby's first time in a recording studio and their first single. Six weeks after release, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. The song was written by Tin Pan Alley songwriter Bob Hilliard along with producer Mort Garson. Garson was a pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards in pop music and his kitschy approach worked very well on Our Day Will Come. The follow up My Summer Love reached #16 and Hey There Lonely Boy reached #27. Eddie Holman would have a hit with that song. Though there are Ruby & The Romantics comps available, I think most will only want Our Day Will Come and you should check out this excellent various artists comp from Relativity anyway. Ruby & The Romantics moved to ABC Records in 1965 and all new backup singers were hired. She even tried an all female version in 1968 with no success. Ruby & The Romantics split up for good in 1971 and Ruby Nash Curtis moved back to Akron and worked for AT&T for many years. Frankie Valli had a top twenty hit with Our Day Will Come in 1975. Here's Ruby Nash Curtis performing Our Day Will Come on the 2002 PBS TV special More Red White & Rock.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meiko Satomura returns on Dec. 20 Sendai Girls show

Here's the S-Arena video report for the Dec. 20 Sendai Girls show at Zepp Sendai. It's their first show in several months as they have had a rash of injuries. Hiren is still out. The big news is that Meiko Satomura returned from back surgery to get retribution against Azumi Hyuga. Of course as most fans are aware, Hyuga broke Satomura's face with a high knee in 2007. You'll see that as part of this package. She has a steel plate in her face so that isn't a concern. But Satomura has had three back surgeries since 2004 so you'll notice as you watch the clip that she's not doing power moves anymore. She went to Thailand for Muay Thai training so she's doing a lot of that. And you'll notice that she's turned to the sleeper as her new finisher. Obviously she needs to be more careful but she looks pretty good. Working with Hyuga helps. In the first video, we have Yukari Ishino against some Ice Ribbon girl. They are planning to rename Ishino. DASH Chisako in new gear wins over Esui with a nifty armbar. And Ryo Mizunami (also in new gear) wins the JWP Junior & POP Titles from Misaki Ohata as expected. Considering what Satomura is trying to accomplish with Sendai Girls, the promotion has been a failure as they have debuted only a handful of wrestlers since 2006. And remember Mizunami trained at GAEA in 2004. That must be disappointing to Satomura but they're doing OK because they're a regional promotion. Still, one has to wonder how patient owner Jinsei Shinzaki will be if they don't attract enough new recruits in the next year. I don't expect recruiting to get any easier. Enjoy the videos!

Jango Song Of The Day-We The People

Artist:We The People
Song:You Burn Me Up And Down
Album:Too Much Noise

Here's a 60s garage band that was a cut above the usual and deserves to be better known. We The People was even on a major label. But things just didn't work out for them. The group was from Orlando, FL and was a mix of a couple of local bands. It started with a group called The Nonchalants who became The Offbeets. 16 year old guitarist Tommy Talton joined The Offbeets in 1966. They merged with a group called The Trademarks and guitarist Wayne Proctor. The new group was called We The People. Randy Boyte and David Duff were the other members but Talton and Proctor wrote the songs. They recorded some singles for Challenge Records including You Burn Me up And Down. They had enough chart success in Florida that they earned a contract with RCA Records. They went to Nashville to record but Proctor left the group in 1967 to return to college and avoid the draft. The problem was he was the better songwriter of the two. Talton tried to keep We The People going but they were dropped by RCA. This comp from Sundazed has all their recordings. Tommy Talton went on to be a session guitarist working mostly with Southern rockers like The Allman Brothers. He toured with Gregg Allman and Livingston Taylor and was a member of the 70s group Cowboy. He is retired from the music business and now lives in Luxembourg. Wayne Proctor continued writing songs and worked for local government in Florida. Here's a video for You Burn Me Up And Down by We The People using a scene from the 1968 film The Touchables. It's a little more creative than the usual homemade videos I have seen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NEO sets up angles for NYE show

Here's the video digest for last Friday's NEO show. Obviously they're setting up angles for their big New Year's Eve Korakuen Hall show. The first clip is about Sakura Emi receiving the Tokyo Sports 2009 Best Josh Wrestler award, the first time they have given that award in several years. Her discussion with Kyoko Inoue results in a match between the rwo on Dec. 31. Then of course there's Azumi Hyuga in a comedy match with Yuki Miyazaki. Then a three way match with Atsuko Emoto pinning Mima Shimoda. The Shimoda is asked to join Revolution Amandora and all four will team up on Dec. 31. The main event features Passion Red. The focus is on Kana because she and Nanae Takahashi will defend the NEO Tag Team Titles against Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara. NEO President Tetsuyo Koda has been expending a lot of energy on his blog trying to create friction in both teams. He says there is friction in Passion Red because Kana has teamed up occasionally with Kurihara and Takahashi is annoyed about that. And he's also saying that Tamura and Kurihara aren't getting along. I dunno if Tamura gets along with anyone. So obviously he's hinting at some sort of swerve. We'll see what happens. Enjoy the video.

Jango Song Of The Day-Caravan

Song:Golf Girl
Album:Canterbury Tales: The Best Of Caravan

Caravan was a progressive rock group that came out of The Canterbury Scene in England along with groups like The Soft Machine and Camel. And like those groups, Caravan had a very strong cult following. Caravan came out of the breakup of the mid-60s group The Wilde Flowers. When Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers left to form The Soft Machine, the remainder of The Wilde Flowers became Caravan. There was Pye Hastings on gutiar, Richard Sinclair on bass, his cousin Dave Sinclair on keyboards and Richard Coughlan on drums. Caravan signed with Verve Records when MGM was trying to establish a British prescense. But after one album, MGM closed their British office. In the wake of that, Caravan got a new manager in Terry King and a young producer named David Hitchcock and they signed with Decca. Their 1970 Decca debut album If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You was a mix of progressive rock and jazz and with Decca's distribution did fairly will on college campuses. Golf Girl is from their 1971 album In The Land Of Grey And Pink and it was as close to a hit single as Caravan would ever get. But they toured a lot and acquired a significant cult following. Dave Sinclair left in 1971 to join Robert Wyatt's new group Matching Mole. He was replaced by Stephen Miller of Delivery and his jazz oriented direction. But he left and so did Richard Sinclair to form Hatfield And The North. Violist Geoff Richardson was brought in and Dave Sinclair returned. Then Miles Copeland became their manager and he tried to break them in the US. The 1975 album Cunning Stunts did well but Caravan left Decca and by the late 70s, their brand of music was passe as punk rock took over. Decca originally released Canterbury Tales on 2LPs in 1976. They released it in 1994 in an expanded edition on 2CDs. Caravan reformed in 1990 and they still tour and record today. Here's Caravan performing Golf Girl on the BBC 1971.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Strikeforce Women's Championship press conference

Here's video courtesy of Ariel Helwani from Saturday night's Strikeforce post show press conference with Scott Coker announcing the title match between Cris Cyborg and Marloes Coenen with comments from both fighters. Again, the big problem is that to most fans Marloes Coenen is just a name and Strikeforce has done a very poor job of telling fans who she is. Most don't know about her accomplishments in Japan or that she's a ten year MMA veteran or that she trains at the same dojo as Alistair Overeem. Fans won't care if Strikeforce doesn't take the time to educate them. Enjoy the video.

Saori Ishioka named 2009 JEWELS MVP

Yesterday JEWELS held their very first year end party and also gave out their first annual awards. I'm not a big fan of this kind of self serving nonsense. It seems like they wanted to give everyone a plaque. Some of the awards given out are ridiculous and a couple are insulting. The 2009 JEWELS MVP award was given to Saori Ishioka. The match of the year was awarded to Megumi Fujii vs Saori Ishioka so that was part of the reason. But they also gave her credit for her phony baloney win over Sally Krumdiack. Ishioka is young and not with a lot of experience so she has a bright future. She said she's like to have a rematch with Fujii in 2010. Shizuka Sugiyama was given a Fighting Spirit prize. Mika Nagano was given a Technique prize. Asami Kodera and Alexandra Sanchez were given Distinguished Seveice Medals for winning the ROUGH STONE tournament. The former Hustle (now Smash) wrestler Karate Girl was named Rookie Of The Year. I know that's silly. But JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki credited her for the sellout of the most recent show. And they also gave a special preize to the shoot boxer Lena no doubt for similar reasons. But I laughed when I saw that they awarded Megumi Yabushita and Megumi Fujii with Service prizes. That's right. They were given plaques because they're old. Maybe the two of them should take those plaques and slap Saeki upside his head.

Jango Song Of The Day-The Ides Of March

Artist:The Ides Of March
Album:Top Hits Of The Seventies: Amazing Hits

The Ides Of March was one of several bands to piggyback onto the success of jazz rock groups like Blood, Sweat & Tears. Vehicle was a top five hit in 1970 but lead singer and songwriter Jim Peterik has had a long career in music and is still active today. He was born Nov. 11, 1950 in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, IL. He first formed a group called The Shon-Dels in 1964. After changing the name to The Ides Of March, they signed with Parrot Records. They had some success in the Chicago area but were unable to break nationally. Meanwhile, Peterik experimented by adding a horn section and changing the band's sound from Britpop to jazz rock. They signed with Warner Bros. in 1970 and Vehicle reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Obviously a lot of folks thought the song was by Blood, Sweat & Tears and that seems to have been Peterik's intention. The Ides Of March toured extensively but were unable to repeat the success of Vehicle. After two albums on Warners and two on RCA, they split up in 1973. There doesn't seem to be a reasonable Ides Of March comp but you can get Vehicle on this Collectables various artists comp. Jim Peterik went on to form the very successful group Survivor in 1978 and had a huge hit in 1982 with Eye Of The Tiger from the film Rocky III. He has also written and produced other artists and currently leads a band called Pride Of Lions. And his son Colin Peterik was a member of the band Lobster Newberg. The Ides Of March reunited in 1990 and continue to perform occasionally today. Here's the video for Vehicle by The Ides Of March.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cyborg vs Coenen set for Jan. 30 Strikeforce show

Third time's the charm. Last night Strikeforce confirmed the poorly kept secret that Cristiane Cyborg Santos will defend the Strikeforce 145lb Women's Championship against Marloes Coenen (pictured) on the Jan. 30 Sunrise, FL. show. Of course Cyborg's record is 8-1 and she won the title on Aug. 15 with a win over Gina Carano. Marloes is 17-3 and she won in Nov. over Roxanne Modafferi. The two were scheduled to fight on that show but Cyborg had to drop out after injuring her shoulder at the ADCC grappling tournament in October. They were also scheduled to fight in Montreal in Feb. 2009 but that was cancelled when Cyborg signed with Strikeforce. The bottom line is that though most North American fans have never heard of Marloes Coenen and Strikeforce has done a piss poor job of telling them, Cyborg has never faced anyone with Marloes experience and accomplishments. Marloes has been a pro MMA fighter for ten years and at age 19, she won the very first World REMIX Tournament in Tokyo Nov. 2000. A few days ago, Cyborg told the Brazilian magazine Tatame that she plans to knock out Marloes. But I'm sure Marloes is well aware of Cyborg's fighting style and strategy and has her own strategy planned to counter it. Marloes has twelve submission victories so if Cyborg is reckless, she could very easily get caught in a submission.

As you may have heard, Strikeforce will be back on CBS in April. A couple of weeks ago, Strikeforce owner Scott Coker said in an interview that he doesn't expect Gina Carano to return until Summer 2010 but he hadn't talked to her. Of course Gina is now preparing to film her starring role in Knockout directed by Steven Soderburgh. Coker said last night that he offered Gina a spot on the April show. Of course as fans, we would all like to see Gina return to the cage as soon as possible. Could it happen? I think it's very unlikely. The timing doesn't work. So let's say the filming begins in January. Gina is the star of this film. That means she is in 90% of the scenes. And it's an action film so it's very intense work. So let's say conservatively that filming runs for two months. And it could go longer. This isn't a low budget film. So if she finishes filming in March, that would give her a month to train for the April show. If I was advising Gina, I would tell her to turn it down and hold off until the summer. And I think it's unfair for Coker to tell the media this and put undue pressure on Gina to return. Maybe he should try to promote some of the other women on the Strikeforce roster like maybe Sarah Kaufman and stop fixating on Gina.

Jango Song Of The Day-Roy Harper

Artist:Roy Harper
Song:Another Day
Album:Hats Off

British folk singer Roy Harper is better known for his collaborations with famous musicians who admire him than any of his own recordings. This 2001 comp from Capitol is a good starting point for folk fans not familiar with him. He was born June 12, 1941 in Rusholme, Manchester, England. He joined the Royal Air Force at age 15 and busked around Europe after his discharge. He first recorded in 1966 on Strike Records and then signed with CBS and his next two albums were produced by Shel Talmy. After meeting Pink Floyd's manager Peter Jenner, he signed with Harvest Records and released Flat Baroque and Berserk in 1970. The Nice appeared on the album. Another Day was on that album. Like a lot of Harper's music, it was admired by critics and other musicians but it didn't sell. Harper got a lot of attention when Jimmy Page wrote a song called Hats Off To Harper for Led Zeppelin III. Page said he admired Harper for not selling out his music for commercial reasons. Page, Ronnie Lane and Keith Moon appeared on Harper's 1974 live album Flashes From the Archives of Oblivion and Harper sang lead on Have A Cigar from Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here. David Gilmour, Chris Spedding, Bill Bruford and John Paul Jones appeared on Harper's 1976 album HQ and Harper appeared on Gilmour's 1978 solo debut. Harper signed with Chrysalis Records in the US in 1976 and moved to the US for a few years. Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush performed Another Day on her 1979 TV special. Harper moved back to England to work with her. His son Nick Harper is also a folksinger and a new generation of artists like Joanna Newsome have acknowledged Harper as an influence. Harper appeared on her 2007 Royal Albert Hall concert and has since gone into semi retirement. A Roy Harper tribute CD is in the works and Harper is currently working on a documentary DVD. Here's Roy Harper performing Another Day on the German TV show Rockpalast 1978.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Joe Nichols

Artist:Joe Nichols
Song:I'll Wait For You

It took a while for Joe Nichols to get his singing career going but he finally did and I'll Wait For You was a top ten country hit from his successful 2005 CD III. More recent results indicate that he may need to freshen his sound up. He was born Feb. 26, 1976 in Rogers, AR His dad was a trucker who played bass in a local band and by the time Nicholds was in high school in Walnut Cove, NC, he was playing in a band. Nichols met with producer Randy Edwards (Eagles) and Edwards produced his 1996 debut CD on the small label Intersound. It did well enough to earn him a contract at Giant Records but nothing came of that. A meeting with veteran Nashville session guitarist Brent Rowan landed Nichols a contract with Universal South in 2002. His 2002 CD Man With A Memory was a top ten country hit and his 2004 follow up Revelation reached #3. III was released in 2005 and did even better when the debut single Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off became Nichols' first #1 country hit. I'll Wait For You was the third single and reached #7. The song was written by legendary country singer Bill Anderson and Harley Allen but it doesn't look like Anderson ever recorded it. Nichols also did an acoustic version of the song. Nichols met Anna Nicole Smith at the Grand Ole Opry and sang at her funeral. His latest CD Old Things New was released in October. It's only reached #15 on the country charts. He's still working with Brent Rowan so maybe he needs to work with someone new and freshen things up. Joe Nichols had substance abuse issues in 2007. He is married. He will star with Lorrie Morgan in the Broadway musical Pure Country in 2010. Is Branson next? Here's the video for I'll Wait For You by Joe Nichols.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Peggy Lee

Artist:Peggy Lee
Album:The Best Of Miss Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee transcended the line between pop and jazz and became a legend. Fever was her biggest hit and her signature song. She also wrote songs and appeared in films. She was born Norma Egstrom May 26, 1920 in Jamestown, ND. Her mom died at age 4 and she had a difficult time with her stepmother. As a teen she sang at a Fargo radio station and a DJ named her Peggy Lee. She moved to Los Angeles but was unsuccessful at first. Her big break came in 1941. She was singing at a club in Chicago and was spotted by  Benny Goodman. Helen Forrest was leaving and he needed a new singer. She stayed for two years and appeared in the 1943 film Stage Door Canteen. Peggy married guitarist Dave Barbour in 1944 and left the Goodman band when he was fired. They had a daughter and she was supposed to stay home. But she got back into radio and signed with Capitol. Manana was a big hit in 1948. She had some success when she moved to Decca in 1952 but returned to Capitol in 1957. Fever reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. The song is credited to Eddie Cooley & John Davenport but was actually written by legendary songwriter Otis Blackwell. Little Willie John had an R & B hit with Fever in 1956. Peggy added her own lyrics uncredited. Peggy also wrote and performed several songs in the Disney film Lady & The Tramp. Her career faded in the 60s until she roared back with the 1969 Lieber/Stoller song Is That All There Is. Peggy Lee continued to record and perform into the 90s. She suffered a stroke in 1998 and died on Jan. 21, 2002 at age 81. This comp is available with a bonus DVD featuring a PBS documentary. Here's Peggy Lee performing Fever on The George Gobel Show 1958.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Ray Stevens

Artist:Ray Stevens
Album:The Best Of Ray Stevens

Most of the time humour in music or novelty songs are a one shot deal. So no one comes close to the success and longevity of Ray Stevens. He's been around since the early 60s and is still going strong today. He also had success with straight songs like Everything Is Beautiful. Gitarzan was one of his biggest hits. He was born Harold Ray Ragsdale Jan. 24, 1939 in Clarksdale, GA. He was recording for a small label in Atlanta when he was hired as a staff songwriter and musician by Mercury Nashville. Ahab The Arab was his first top five pop hit in 1962. Stevens continued to record his own music while working with other artists like Brook Benton, Brenda Lee and even Elvis Presley. He moved to Fred Foster's Monument label in 1967 and started recording again in 1968. Sun Records rockabilly legend Bill Justis suggested the title Gitarzan and Stevens wrote the song. It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969 and was his biggest hit since Ahab The Arab. In 1970, Stevens struck up a friendship with Andy Williams and signed with his Barnaby label. Stevens had his biggest hit with Everything Is Beautiful and got his own TV variety show. Stevens had another monster hit in 1974 with The Streak. As the 70s progressed, Stevens' chart success was limited to the country charts. He recorded for Warner Bros., MCA & RCA through the 80s. This 1997 Rhino comp has most of his hits. Curb Records has released a Ray Stevens box set. In recent years, Stevens has successfully sold his vintage recordings on TV and continues to record for his own Clyde label. Here's the video for Gitarzan by Ray Stevens as it appeared on his variety show.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Up In The Air review

When Jason Reitman had his breakthrough film Juno a couple of years ago, the big question was what will he do next. He has come up with this very witty contemporary dramedy based on Walter Kirn's novel Up In The Air. Reitman wrote the script with Sheldon Turner. He wrote the 2005 film The Longest Yard. Of course everyone knows that Jason is the son of veteran director Ivan Reitman. And for the first time his dad produced one of Jason's films with partners Joe Medjuck and Tom Pollock (former Universal Studios head) through their company Montecito Pictures. Ivan Reitman and Medjuck have worked together since the 1981 film Stripes. And George Clooney is the perfect star for this film. I call it a dramedy because it's part drama part comedy. Up In The Air isn't perfect but it's pretty damn good.

The story of Up In The Air is very timely because the fastest growing industry in today's economy is corporate downsizing. At least someone is making money. Ryan Bingham (Clooney) travels all over the US as an exit counsellor. He fires people for a living. One would think that this profession would be depressing. But Bingham is oddly dispassionate about his work. He goes in. He gives the bad news. He doesn't take the reaction personally. And then he boards another plane and goes to his next assignment. He's on the road 300 days a year so he doesn't really have a home. His apartment would depress anyone. He takes a lot of pride in the perks of constant airfare like bonus programs. Of course this doesn't leave much room for relationships until he meets a female road warrior named Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). They turn a one night stand into a long distance Blackberry relationship. They spend more time figuring out where to meet than the time they spend together. Meanehile, his boss Craig Gregory (Jason Batemen) wants everyone to come home. To save money, they have decided to offer their services by remote control. This lamebrained idea comes from new employee Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick). Bingham doesn't like it but Gregory convinces him to take Natalie on the road and show her the ropes. So with his road warrior days seemingly coming to an end, Bingham is thinking of settling down with his soulmate Alex. So he invites her to come to his sister's wedding in Wisconsin. Things don't work out as planned and Bingham wonders what to do next.

Up In The Air is a thought provoking film. Is Ryan Bingham lonely or just a loner? Probably a little of both. But Clooney plays the character in a very confident way and that's why there is some doubt about Bingham's mindset. Vera Farmiga has worked mostly in smaller film roles and she really delivers in what is probably her biggest role to date. Anna Kendrick is known to Twilight fans but I really enjoyed her performance. I had never seen her before. In his films to date, Jason Reitman has shown a real attention to detail and there's no question that he is poised to be one of the great directors of this generation. It's a top quality story driven film that I think most folks will enjoy. And it will have you asking questions of yourself when it's over. Check out the trailer for Up In The Air. Depending on the weather, I'm hoping to see some more films over the holidays.

Jango Song Of The Day-Matthew Wilder

Artist:Matthew Wilder
Song:Break My Stride
Album:Back On My Feet Again: Songs Of Hope & Inspiration

The 1983 top five hit Break My Stride is one of those songs that everyone remembers but no one remembers who sang it. Two more of Matthew Wilder's songs charted so it's not a one hit wonder but it's the only song of his that anyone remembers. He's gone on to a career as a record producer. He was born Matthew Weiner Jan. 24, 1953 in New York City. He started out in the 70s as one half of the folk duo Matthew & Peter. He moved to Los Angeles in 1978 and became a session singer backing up Rickie Lee Jones and Bette Midler among others. No doubt during his session work he encountered Peter Bunetta and Rick Chudacoff of the 70s group Crackin' and they produced Wilder's 1983 debut album I Don't Speak The Language on Private I/Columbia. Wilder and Greg Prestopino wrote Break My Stride and it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. His follow up single The Kid's American also charted but his 1984 album Bouncin' Off The Walls didn't sell and Wilder returned to session work. By the early 90s, he started producing artists like singer Vonda Shepherd. His big break came when he produced No Doubt's 1995 breakthrough CD Tragic Kingdom. And he got an even bigger break when he worked on the music for Disney's 1998 film Mulan. He also produced songs on Christina Aguilera's 1999 debut CD. Since then he has worked mostly with Disney female pop singers like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and he's currently working on a new CD for Heyden Panattiere. You can get Wilder's two albums on one CD from Collectables. But you probably want only Break My Stride so this various artists comp from Relativity has a vague uplifting theme with some decent songs on it. In 1996, Break My Stride was a dance hit for Unique II and Puff Daddy sampled it for his 1997 hit Can't Nobody Hold Me Down. Here's Matthew Wilder performing Break My Stride on Solid Gold 1983.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Let's declare war on Athtresses

Just kidding. Don't get mad. But according to this week's S-Arena joshi videos, that's this week's theme except for the first video from JWP's show on Sunday. The first clip is from Tsubasa Kuragaki & Sachie Abe vs Kayoko Haruyama & KAZUKI. Standard booking designed to set up the upcoming title match between Haruyama & Kuragaki. The main event is the tag title match with champs Sakura Emi & Kaori Yoneyama vs Azumi Hyuga & Ran YuYu. The JWP, Daily Sports & Ice Ribbon titles are all up for grabs. Considering that Hyuga is retiring next week and has been jobbing for the last two months, I have no idea why Bolshoi would put titles on her. And one of the titles is Ice Ribbon so Emi had to agree to it. I dunno what's going on here.

Now we get to the Athtress bashing first from Pro Wrestling WAVE's show on Sunday. The first clip is from AKINO vs Shuu Shibutani. After AKINO wins, she tells Shibutani to get her act together or quit the business. Then GAMI puts Yumi Ohka to sleep and yells at her after the match. I guess they're planning some sort of Athtress war. GAMI's booking reputation makes it hard to take anything seriously. I understand this angle is based on real conflict. GAMI has been booking these girls in matches where they look bad and then she blames them. The third video is from Sunday's LEE Presents The Beginning show. The big deal here is the return to the ring of former JD Star Athtress Asami Kawasaki. So they put her in the ring against Yumiko Hotta. Yikes! So after Hotta slaps her upside the head and pins her, she has a chat with Kaoru Ito and will appear on next week's Ito Dojo show. I remember Asami from 2004. She's a pretty girl but I don't think she was around long enough to be much good. Maybe Ito can help her.

Michelle McCool retains WWE Women's Championship

So here's the match video from Sunday's WWE TLC PPV with Michelle McCool defending her WWE Women's Championship against Mickie James. I didn't care for the match. Here's a PPV with a gimmick and they give us a match that should have been on a standard episode of Smackdown. The first half of the match was so boring that by the time they picked it up in the second half, nobody cared and you could hear a pin drop in the arena. I don't blame the wrestlers. The WWE doesn't care enough to do things right. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't horrible. It was blah. Why would they book it like that? Check it out for yourself. The match starts 11 minutes into the first video and continues on the second video.

Jango Song Of The Day-Count Five

Artist:Count Five
Song:Psychotic Reaction
Album:Nuggets From Nuggets: Choice Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era

Psychotic Reaction is one of the most durable of one hit wonders and is considered today to be one of the cornerstone songs of the psychedelic sound of the 60s. But Count Five's other music wasn't very good so you're best off getting the song on Rhino's Nuggets comp. Count Five was from San Jose, CA founded in 1964 by guitarist John "Mouse" Michalski and harmonica player Kenn Ellner as The Squires. Bassist Roy Chaney, lead singer/guitarist John "Sean" Byrne and drummer Craig "Butch" Atkinson were added in 1965 and they called themselves Count Five and wore Dracula capes on stage. Byrne wrote most of the band's songs. Psychotic Recation was based on The Yardbirds song I'm A Man. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. They never had another chart hit so they are a true one hit wonder. Count Five split up in 1969 when they all went to college. The Nuggets comps have kept the song alive and it's still very popular. They reunited once in 1987. Roy Chaney had a band in the 90s called The Count. Craig Atkinson died in 1998 and John Byrne died in 2008. Here's Count Five performing Psychotic Reaction 1966.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-George Gershwin

Artist:George Gershwin
Song:Rhapsody In Blue
Album:Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls

Despite his premature death due to a brain tumour, George Gershwin is one of the great composers of the 20th century with immeasurable influence. He started out as a Tin Pan Alley songwriter and Rhapsody In Blue was his first classical composition. This version has Gershwin playing solo piano. He was born Jacob Gershowitz Sept. 26, 1898 in Brooklyn, NY. His Russian Jewish immigrant father changed the family name to Gershvin and George later changed it to Gershwin. His parents bought a piano for older brother Ira but it was George who expreseed interest in playing it. By age 15, he was plugging songs on Tin Pan Alley. His first song to break nationally was Swanee co-written with Irving Caesar in 1919, a song made famous by Al Jolson. Then he started working for a piano roll company. What's a piano roll? Before recorded discs, many folks had player pianos and recorded cylinders were produced that would play popular songs on the piano. It could also be used as a standard piano. Gershwin was also writing musicals with Ira including Lady Be Good. But Gershwin also studied French classical composition and wanted to be a serious composer. Rhapsody In Blue was his very first composition. It was premiered in New York by Paul Whiteman with Gershwin on piano. Gershwin also recorded a 14 minute solo piano version as a piano roll. That's the version on this 1993 CD from Nonesuch that topped the classical charts and even made the Billboard Hot 200. Is Rhapsody In Blue jazz? It has jazz influences but it has other influences as well so it's not jazz. But it certainly established George Gershwin as more than just a Tin Pan Alley songwriter. He would go on to write other shows like An American In Paris and Porgy & Bess that were more sophisticated than his music before Rhapsody In Blue. Sadly, George Gershwin started suffering from headaches that turned out to be a malignant brain tumour. He died on July 11, 1937 at age 38. Time has not diminished George Gershwin's musical genius and many of his songs are still performed today. Obviously there's no video footage of George Gershwin performing that I am aware of. So I thought you would enjoy the trailer for the 1945 George Gershwin biopic Rhapsody In Blue starring Robert Alda.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-The Tremeloes

Artist:The Tremeloes
Song:Silence Is Golden
Album:The Very Best Of...The Tremeloes

Brian Poole was the original leader of The Tremeloes when they started in 1958. They were called Brian Poole & The Tremeloes sort of like Buddy Holly & The Crickets. What confuses some fans is that The Tremeloes had their biggest success after Poole left the group. In 1961, Poole was the lead singer with Rick West on guitar, Alan Blakely on guitar, Alan Howard on bass and Dave Munden on drums. In 1962, Decca auditioned The Tremeloes and The Beatles and chose to sign The Tremeloes. Obviously that didn't turn out too well. They had some chart success in England but Decca dropped them in 1966. Poole and Howard left. Blakely took over leadership of the group and brought in bassist Chip Hawkes. They signed with CBS and their 1967 hit Silence Is Golden reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. West sang lead on that song though Blakely and Hawkes sang lead most of the time. Silence Is Golden was written by Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons and was on the B side of Rag Doll in 1964. This comp from Sanctuary has all their hits. They had a couple more hits but weren't a factor anymore by the end of the decade. Alan Blakely continued to lead The Tremeloes until his death in 1996. Munden and West continue to day. Brian Poole has had a career as a cabaret singer. Chip Hawkes left for a solo career only to return in 1988. His son Chesney Hawkes has had some success and they work together today. Here's The Tremeloes performing Silence Is Golden 1967.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ref miscue kills JEWELS main event

JEWELS had the latest Shinjuku FACE show Friday in front of a capacity crowd of 762 fans. The ROUGH STONE tournaments concluded but the main event had Sally Krumdiack against Saori Ishioka. Unfortunately the ref stopped the match in error at 2:45 of round one. Ishioka was declared the winner. But according to Sally's trainer Charlie Pearson, the match will be declared a no contest and there will be a rematch. So what happened? Ishioka got Sally in an armbar. In Japan, the ref will yell "GIVE UP?" periodically. Someone should have told Sally that if she wants to continue, she's supposed to say "NO". Instead she said "I'M OK" and the ref misinterpreted that as a submission. Oh well. As you can see in the pic, Sally was shocked. But she'll get a rematch. The semi-main was the Shoot Boxing match with Karate Girl from the pro wrestling company SMASH (formerly HUSTLE) winning over ASAKO. But JEWELS matchmaker credited the appearance of Karate Girl drawing the capacity crowd. More on this later.

Asami Kodera won the 48kg ROUGH STONE tournament over Kikuyo Ishikawa by unanimous decision. Kodera's grappling skills allowed her to dominate Ishikawa with several takedowns and some ground and pound. But she wasn't able to finish her off. Kodera has won a couple of SMACKGIRL grappling tournaments. Mika Nagano won the 54kg ROUGH STONE tournament over Yuko Kagoshima with an armbar at 3:56 of round two. Nagano used her formidable wrestling skills and quickness to dominate Kagoshima. Kagoshima's attempts to keep the fight standing didn't work out very well. Alexandra Sanchez won the 60kg ROUGH STONE tournament over pro wrestler Tomoko Morii with an armbar at 3:39 of round one. Sanchez stunned Morii with strikes. Morii unsuccessfully attempted a takedown but knee attacks took all the fight out of Morii and Sanchez won easily.

Shizuka Sugiyama bounced back from her loss to Sanchez with a unanimous decision over debuting shoot boxer KO Ozeki. Sugiyama went to her ground game in round two to get the easy win. Women's MMA pioneer Mari Kaneko returned to MMA after a four year absence with a unanimous decision over Rina Tomita. Kaneko was dominant on the ground. Fuuka Misaki won over Akiko Inoue by unanimous decision. Bikini model Inoue was returning to MMA after a four year absense and a Zendokai karate tournament win in October. Misaki dominated round one and Inoue survived despite running out of gas. Arm wrestling champ Yoko Yamada won by unanimous decision over the debuting MIYOKO. As I said, Saeki credited Karate Girl as a draw. You may have heard that the pro wrestling company HUSTLE will become SMASH and will have pro wrestling, MMA and kickboxing divisions. Don't know what their plans are yet but Saeki wants to work with them in the future. JEWELS has five shows planned for 2010 with the next show on Mar. 19 at Shinuku FACE. But the big news is they plan to run Korakuen Hall on Dec. 17. They had better have Megumi Fujii on the show if they want to fill that joint.

Jango Song Of The Day-Elmer Bernstein

Artist:Elmer Bernstein
Song:Staccato's Theme
Album:Ultra Lounge Vol. 7: The Crime Scene

Elmer Bernstein was one of the all time great film composers. He was classically trained but liked to use jazz themes in his music and this theme from the short lived 1959 TV show Johnny Staccato was a hit in England. He was born Apr. 4, 1922 in New York City and was a piano prodigy with an ability ro improvise as a child. After studying at Juilliard, he was ready to begin a career as a concert pianist. But fate intervened when Bernstein was drafted into the US Army during WWII and arranged music for the United States Army Air Force Band. After his discharge, he worked in radio until an NBC executive offered him a chance to compose themes for TV shows. But his big break came when he wrote the music for the 1955 Otto Preminger film The Man With The Golden Arm. This led to a long career writing award winning music for films and TV shows. While working for Universal's TV division, he wrote the music for the 1959 series Johnny Staccato starring John Cassavetes. It was a crime drama and only lasted 29 episodes. But the them was a top five hit in  England. You can get it on this Capitol various artists comp that has a crime theme. There's also a remix available of this song on a different CD. Of course Elmer Bernstein won numerous awards over his long career until his death on Aug. 18, 2004 at age 82. Here's the closing and opening themes for the 1959 TV show Johnny Staccato.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Hugo Friedhofer

Artist:Hugo Friedhofer w/The Lionel Newman Orchestra
Song:End Title-An Affair To Remember
Album:Original Soundtrack: An Affair To Remember

Film composer Hugo Friedhofer wasn't as well known as composers like Bernard Herrmann or Miklos Rosza. But he wrote several fine scores in the 40s and 50s and won an Oscar for the 1946 film The Best Years Of Our Lives. He was born May 3, 1901 in San Francisco. His parents were German immigrants and his father played cello. So it's not surprising that Friedhofer took up the cello himself and studied at the University Of California at Berkeley. He moved to Los Angeles in 1929 to take a job at Fox Studios as an arranger. He went to work at Warner Bros. in the mid-30s and orchestrated many films for Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. His first film as composer was the 1937 film The Adventures Of Marco Polo. 20th Century Fox house composer Alfred Newman got him into the studio to score the 1944 film The Lodger. But Friedhofer's big break came when Newman recommended him to producer Sam Goldwyn for the 1946 film The Best Years Of Our Lives. Friedhofer won the Best Original Score Oscar. He worked on many films in the 50s and 60s including Leo McCarey's 1957 film An Affair To Remember starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The film is a scene for scene remake of McCarey's 1939 film Love Affair. The remake was in Technicolor and Cinemascope. McCarey wrote the theme to the film with veteran songwriters Harold Adamson and Harry Warren. Vic Damone sang it over the opening credits and it was a top 20 pop hit. This instrumental version plays over the end credits and Lionel Newman conducted the orchestra. Epic released the soundtrack on CD in 1993. It's mostly instrumental with the Damone vocal and a few songs performed in the film by Deborah Kerr and dubbed by Marni Nixon. The film is also available on DVD. Film music fans should check it out. Hugo Friedhofer retired in the early 70's and died on May 17, 1981 at age 80. Here's the trailer for the 1957 film An Affair To Remember.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Carina Damm challenges Claudia Gadelha

The Brazilian MMA publication Tatame reports today that Carina Damm has officially called out Claudia Gadelha. This is despite the fact that Claudia usually fights around ten pounds heavier. Carina is the sister of Rodrigo Damm and trains at his Damm Fight dojo. Her record is 12-3 and her most recent fight was a win over Kalindra Carvalho Varia. She gets a lot of attention for her looks. A couple of years ago she was all ready to make a big splash in the US when she was suspended for one year for failing a drug test. She's been in the Brazilian media a lot lately complaining about how tough it is to get fights. Claudia trains at Nova Uniao. Her record is 2-0 and she has a fight coming up on Dec. 20. She getting a lot of press as the next big thing in Brazilian women's MMA. But Carina claims that Claudia is being protected while saying that she has no opponents. That's why Carina challenged her. But Claudia turned her down. Carina said that Claudia has had three easy fights and the time has come to put up or shut up. She says she will fight Claudia anytime at any place.

Sally Krumdiak misses weight

The weigh ins for tomorrow's JEWELS show were held at the DEEP dojo today. Pics have been posted on the JEWELS blog and GBRing. I don't usually write about the weigh ins as they are uneventful. The girls always make weight and none of them talk trash either. Unfortunately, there was a problem today as US fighter Sally Krumdiak missed weight. Sally arrived in Japan yesterday with her trainer Charlie Pearson. Her fight against Saori Ishioka is contracted for 52.5kg. Ishioka weighed in at 52.4kg and Sally weighed in at 52.9kg. She will forteit 10% of her purse and will start the match with a yellow card. Not good. Sally apologized for missing weight. I understand she dropped seven pounds in the last day or so and she still wasn't able to make weight. She seems very concerned about the cut and she should be. Sally said she watched Ishioka fight on Youtube and plans to keep the fight standing. On the other hand, Ishioka plans to take Sally down and put her to sleep. All the other fighters made weight with no problem.

Jango Song Of The Day-Tommy James & The Shondells

Artist:Tommy James & The Shondells
Song:Mony Mony

Tommy James & The Shondells were one of the most popular groups of the late 60s. Mony Mony was one of several big hits. And the fact that many of their songs have been covered successfully says a lot about their durability. Tommy James was born Thomas Jackson Apr. 29, 1947 in Dayton, OH. His family moved to Niles, MI and by 1959 he was lead singer of Tom & The Tornadoes. Then he changed it to The Shondells after his idol guitarist Troy Shondell. In 1964 they had a regional hit in the midwest with Hanky Panky. But they were unable to get national distribution and they split up. Two years later, a Pittsburgh radio station started playing Hanky Panky. James went to Pittsburgh to promote the song. He saw a band in a Pittsburgh club and hired them to be The Shondells. They signed with Roulette Records and Hanky Panky was #1 in 1966. Mony Mony reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. It was their biggest hit since Hanky Panky. James wrote the song with his regular songwriting partner Richie Cordell after seeing a sign for the Mutual Of New York insurance company (MONY). They had several more hits including the #1 hit Crimson and Clover. Billy Idol had a big hit in the 80s with Mony Mony. You can get all the group's hits on this 1990 Rhino comp. James collapsed on stage in 1970 and the group split up. He has recorded occasionally and reformed The Shondells a few years ago. Here's the video for Mony Mony by Tommy James & The Shondells.