Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hotta & Kei'to win JWP Tag Team Titles

JWP went to the Delfin Arena in Osaka for the Jan. 25 show. Most of the angles are leading to the big April Korakuen Hall show. But there was a title change in the main event. Yumiko Hotta & Kei'to won the JWP/Daily Sports Tag Team Titles from Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu. Though Hotta is perceived as the big star, it appears that Kei'to was the star of this match. I think this is her first title belt. She spent most of her career languishing at LLPW so this is probably a big deal for her. Hotta used her chain of course but the two seemed to work well together with plenty of kicks. Uematsu almost got the win over Kei'to with a couple of dragon suplexes. But Hotta broke things up and set up Uematsu for a couple of Kei'to's modified G Driver finisher for the win at 18:16. Afterwards, WANTED issued a challenge for the titles and Hotta accepted and Hotta continued to provoke Commando Bolshoi with Tojuki Leon & Arisa Nakajima getting upset about WANTED's quick acceptance as challengers. Hotta/Bolshoi will happen in April but for the Feb. 8 Cinema Club show, Bolshoi will team with Kayoko Haruyama & Ran YuYu vs Yumiko Hotta, Kei'to and a mystery partner (Takako Inoue maybe?). And there will be a #1 contender match for the tag titles with Sachie Abe & KAZUKI vs Tojuki Leon & Arisa Nakajima. I expect some Hotta interference in this match.

The other major angle advancement had JWP Junior & POP Champ Hiroyo Matsumoto teaming with Misaki Ohata vs Arisa Nakajima & Pinkie Mayuca. A lot of action as you would expect. The end came when Nakajima & Mayuca double teamed Matsumoto. Mayuca nailed her with a high kick while Nakajima hit a German suplex for the win at 11:10. Mayuca promptly challenged Matsumoto for the belts. Matsumoto agreed as long as she wins her first title defense against Sachiko Sendai at the Feb. 1 Ibuki show. That match will be on the Feb. 5 show. Speaking of the Ibuki show, Mariko Yoshida announced today that Ohata is ill and will be replaced by Ayako Sato. The main championship angle between Kayoko Haruyama & Azumi Hyuga was not advanced in a 6 girl tag with Haruyama teaming with Bolshoi & GAMI vs Hyuga, Abe & Yumi Ohka. Ohka seems out of place. Haruyama won over Abe with the Keene Hammer at 17:36. Other matches had Tojuki Leon over Kaori Yoneyama with the captured buster at 16:54 and KAZUKI over Ranmaru with a reverse cross arm breaker at 7:43. The slow build to Mania-X continues.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Elvis Presley

Artist:Elvis Presley
Song:Return To Sender
Album:30 #1 Hits

When I featured Elvis Presley last year, I said that RCA has released so many different Elvis comps that it's hard to make any sense of his catalog. I'm a little more comfortable recommending this comp to beginners. The idea was that Capitol was very successful releasing The Beatles 1 comp and this is similar to that. It's not perfect because it doesn't have any Sun Records recordings but those are worth getting on their own anyway. For me, the 1962 hit Return To Sender was one of Elvis' last really good songs before his music became unlistenable. Elvis always said he wanted to be a great actor but that wasn't going to happen with the kind of movies manager Colonel Tom Parker was getting for him. Yes, they were popular but they weren't good. Return To Sender was in the 1962 film Girls! Girls! Girls!. The song was written by legendary songwriter Otis Blackwell and his partner Winfield Scott. It would be Scott's biggest hit but Blackwell was a proven hitmaker and had written other Elvis hits like Don't Be Cruel & All Shook Up. Elvis was a big fan of Blackwell. Return To Sender is a great song but the soundtrack albums to the movies were usually pretty bad and maybe had one decent song on them. Girls! Girls! Girls! is no different so getting it on a comp like this is the best route. Return To Sender reached #2 on the Billboard singles chart but did reach #1 on Cashbox. RCA has released versions of this comp with bonus tracks and one edition with a DVD interview. Here's Elvis Presley performing Return To Sender in the film Girls! Girls! Girls!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sarah Stock to Japan for Fuuka 5th Anniversary show

Fuuka Matsuri held a press conference today to announce that they will run two shows on Feb. 22 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring to celebrate Fuuka's fifth anniversary in joshi puroresu. They haven't announced any of the singing, dancing or whatever yet. But they have announced most of the matches. Kyoko Kimura was at the press conference to discuss her main event on the show. But the big news is that Sarah Stock is coming in to work both shows. Keep in mind that Sarah worked for A To Z in 2005. Hiroshi Ogawa owned A To Z and also co-owns Fuuka Matsuri. The main event of the first show will have Fuuka & Nanae Takahashi vs Yoshiko Tamura & Haruka Matsuo. Sarah Stock will face Ray. Ray is the masked wrestler from Ibuki who likes to fly a lot so this could be quite the aerial show. In a comedy match, the masked Fuuka Kidd (Kaori Yoneyama) & Ice Ribbon's Riho will face Sakura Emi & Bullfight Sora and Misaki Ohata will face Shuu Shibutani in the opener. The main event in the second show will have Fuuka vs Kyoko Kimura. The original plan was to have a regular 30 minute time limit match. At the press conference, Kimura told Ogawa that because she hasn't faced Fuuka since JD Star, she wants the match to be special. After some discussion, it was decided that the match will be two rounds. The first round will be won by pinfall only. The second round will be won by knockout or submission. Other matches will have Sarah Stock & Azumi Hyuga vs Tojuki Leon & Fuuka Kidd. That could be good. In a comedy match, Small Antonio Inoki (a midget wrestler who resembles Inoki) will face Bullfight Sora and Io & Mio Shirai will face opponents TBA in the opener. I expect Fuuka's family to be involved too as they were last year and I also expect some elaborate singing and dancing.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Ray Lamontagne

Artist:Ray Lamontagne
Album:Till The Sun Turns Black

Singer songwriter Ray Lamontagne isn't likely to ever be a big mainstream pop star but he seems to be doing well for a guy who stumbled into music. He was born June 18, 1973 in Nashua, NH. His parents split up and his mom moved the family around the country to wherever she could find work. He went to high school in Utah and then moved to Lewiston, ME to take a job in a shoe factory. I guess Lamontagne had an epiphany after hearing the Stephen Stills song Treetop Flyer on the radio and he quit his job and took up music. His 1999 demo got the attention of Jamie Ceretta of Chrysalis Music Publishing. He signed a publishing deal which led to a record deal with RCA. His 2004 debut CD Trouble was produced by veteran producer Ethan Johns. He's the son of legendary British producer Glyn Johns. The album did OK but got a big boost when 2005 American Idol winner Taylor Hicks performed Trouble on the show to positive feddback from the judges. That's how obscure singers get discovered these days. Their songs are covered on American Idol. As a result, Lamontagne's 2006 CD Till The Sun Turns Black reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 200. His latest CD Gossip In The Grain was released Oct. 2008 and did even better at #3. He records now with his touring band including Ethan Johns on drums. Ray Lamontagne will remind you of guys like Nick Drake & Tim Buckley and he doesn't like to do interviews and that makes him even more interesting to some fans. So check him out for yourself. Here's Ray Lamontagne performing Barfly on BBC 4 Sessions.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Our Lady Peace

Artist:Our Lady Peace
Song:Superman's Dead

The 1997 CD Clumsy was the breakthrough CD for the Canadian band Our Lady Peace. They're very popular in Canada and have had some success internationally. They started in 1992 at the University Of Toronto when guitarist Mike Turner (born June 5, 1963 in Bradford, England) was looking to form a band. He got together with Raine Maida (born Feb. 18, 1970 in Toronto). They attended a music seminar and met producer Arnold Lanni. He was a member of Sherriff & Frozen Ghost. He got them to play some gigs but hadn't settled on a set band yet. Bassist Chris Eacrett and drummer Jeremy Taggart joined and Our Lady Peace signed with Sony in 1995. Eacrett left after their debut album and was replaced by Duncan Coutts. Superman's Dead was the first single from their 1997 CD Clumsy and it established them internationally. They've continued to be very popular in Canada. For their fifth album Gravity in 2001, producer Bob Rock was brought in to give them a more polished sound. Mike Turner left and was replaced by Steve Mazur. Turner now owns a recording studio and production company. Some fans complained about the new direction but Gravity has been their most successful CD to date. Our Lady Peace took a break in 2006. Raine Maida released a solo CD in 2007. Their new CD Burn Burn is supposed to be released sometime this year. Maida produced the album. There are three videos for Superman's Dead by Our Lady Peace. This is the Canadian version.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shizuka Sugiyama interview

JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki has high hopes for 21 year old rookie fighter Shizuka Sugiyama. Obviously her looks are part of the reason but she made a very impressive debut at the JEWELS debut and is scheduled to fight SHIHO at the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. JEWELS recently posted an interview with her on their blog. Shizuka Sugiyama was born Feb. 11, 1987 in New York City but she lives in Yokohama and has trained at Zen Road Karate four the last four years. She says she got interested in martial arts while attending university and then joined Zen Road Karate. She earned her black belt in karate three months ago. Shizuka says she was happy with her debut in November but would have liked the fight to be longer. She says she has to work on improving her kicks. She says she trains five days a week for four hours a day. Shizuka's main outside hobby is rugby. She plays in a house league. Professional rugby is very popular in Japan. When asked about her goals, Shizuka says though her base is karate, she wants to be known for her all around fight skills. She believes she still has a lot to learn and wants to show improvement in each fight and establish her own style. And in association with Kamipro, JEWELS has even released Shizuka Sigiyama's first photo book. The accompanying pic is from that book. Photo books for HIROKO & Saori Ishioka have also been published.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Lena Horne

Artist:Lena Horne
Song:Stormy Weather
Album:Jazz Signatures: Trademark Tunes from The Golden Age of Jazz

If Hollywood stardom in the 1940s had been based solely on talent and charisma, Lena Horne would have been a superstar. But Lena was black and was not allowed to reach those heights. For most of her career, Lena has primarily been a nightclub singer who made occasional forays in other areas including recording and films. She was born June 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, NY. Her parents divorced when she was three and her mother was on the road acting so she was raised by her paternal grandparents. Her grandmother was an early member of the NAACP. She also travelled with her mom for several years. She studied dance in high school and her mom got her an audition at The Cotton Club and Lena was hired at age 16. She started taking singing lessons and left The Cotton Club in 1935 to sing with Noble Sissle's band and made her recording debut in 1936. Lena married and had two children and lived in Pittsburgh. She divorced him and moved to New York to relaunch her career. She joined Charlie Barnet's band in 1941 but the racial discrimination she suffered by being a black singer in a white band forced her to quit. Lena signed with RCA/Bluebird in 1941 and one of her recordings was Stormy Weather. While headlining at a club in Los Angeles in 1942, she started getting film offers and signed with MGM. But MGM never seemed to know what to do with her and over the next decade, she mostly sang without a speaking role. The 1943 film Stormy Weather was actually made at 2oth Century Fox. That's right. MGM loaned her out. Stormy Weather is on this various artists comp that is perfect for beginners. Lena continued to perform in the 40s and married MGM music arranger Lennie Hayton in 1948. He was white so they kept the marriage secret for two years. Then she was blacklisted as a Communist because she had performed with Paul Robeson. She continued to perform in Europe but was cleared in 1955. Lena Horne continued to perform in nightclubs for decades. Her 1981 Broadway show Lena Horne: The Lady & Her Music and the original cast album were huge hits and won two Grammys. Lena Horne is retired now but her CD Seasons Of A Life was released by Blue Note in 2006. If you've only heard the name Lena Horne and never seen this legend in her prime, you need to check out this clip of her performing Stormy Weather in the 1943 film Stormy Weather.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mayumi Ozaki thinks it's 1988

That face belongs to the diabolical OZ Academy owner Mayumi Ozaki. In the last year, Ozaki has done some intricate angles in OZ Academy. Some are fun and some defy logic and common sense. This new one falls into the latter category. Details about this were posted on Ozaki's personal blog, not the OZ Academy website or blog. She has booked what she is calling OZ Academy Style for Mar. 8 at something called the Kita-Senju Theatre 1010 mini theatre. I guess it's big enough for a ring but very limited seating. I didn't notice a capacity figure. Participants are Mayumi Ozaki, Manami Toyota, AKINO, Aja Kong, Chikayo Nagashima, Carlos Amano, Dynamite Kansai & Sonoko Kato. This is where it gets weird. She's calling it an eight woman scramble. It starts with an eight woman tag match with teams chosen by lot. The losing team participate in a tag team match with teams also chosen by lot. The losers face each other and the loser will be punished in a special match on the Apr. 12 Shinjuku FACE show. Ozaki wants to keep the name of the loser secret until that show. This will be a closed door show. Fans will not be allowed to take pictures or bring in refreshments. Ozaki must think it's 1988 because she has prohibited any reporting on this show including bloggers who usually report OZ Academy results. It should be interesting to see if she can pull that off. I understand Ozaki's reasons for wanting to do that but it's not realistic. Trying to keep anything a secret today is an exercise in futility. Ozaki said on her blog that this is a "what the hell" show because OZ doesn't have any other shows scheduled for March. It seems more like "What the f***" to me.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Nerissa & Katryna Nields

Artist:Nerissa & Katryna Nields
Song:When I'm Here
Album:This Town Is Wrong

The very talented sister folk duo of Nerissa & Katryna Nields are an offshoot of the larger family group The Nields. When The Nields split up, the sisters continued to work together. Nerissa always wrote most of The Nields songs anyway. They grew up in Washington, DC. Nerissa was born June 2, 1967 and Katryna was born Apr. 30, 1969. The Nields began in 1987 when Nerissa met and married David Jones. He changed his name to Nields and the group started touring in 1990. They recorded a couple of albums but things started to take off in 1994 when The Nields added bassist Dave Chalfant and drummer Dave Hower. Chalfant took on the production duties and the band became more focused. Their 1996 album Gotta Get Over Greta got enough attention to interest Elektra Records for their Guardian label. But then the label was closed. Nerissa & Katryna first performed as a duo on the 1998 Lilith tour. It went well but then The Nields signed with Rounder's Zoe label. Meanwhile, Katryna married Chalfant. The end of The Nields came when Nerissa & David divorced in 2000. He's now an English teacher. Katryna had a baby in 2001 but then the duo just picked up where they left off and continue to perform together today. Dave Chalfant produced this 2004 CD and their latest CD Sister Holler was released in 2007. Nerissa & Katryna Nields are recommended to folk fans. Here's Nerissa & Katryna Nields performing When I'm Here in Northampton, MA Oct. 2006.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tyrannousaurus Okuda leaves Sendai Girls

Sendai Girls had a one day tournament Jan. 25 at the Sendai Harbour International Business Centre. I'm sure the results of the tournament won't surprise you. But there was a big surprise when Sendai Girls announced at the start of the show that Tyrannosaurus Okuda has left the promotion. Of course Okuda has been out of action since having shoulder surgery in November. She's expected to return this summer. Why is she leaving? The best way to put it is she wants to sow her wild oats. She plans to move to Tokyo. She could freelance but no decision has been made and she could work fulltime for one of the other joshi feds. She doesn't have to decide yet. Okuda said she is very appreciative of the support she received from Sendai Girls president Jinsei Shinzaki and the training from Meiko Satomura. But she's lived in Sendai for three years and she's not happy anymore and wants to live in Tokyo. She says her family supports her decision. I guess she sees opportunity that may not be available to her in Sendai. As for the tournament, of course Meiko Satomura won with a win over Ryo Mizunami with the Death Valley Bomb at 12:14. Satomura won her semi over Sendai Sachiko with the Death Valley Bomb at 9:21 and Mizunami won hers over Hiren with a diving guillotine drop at 6:50. First round matches had DASH Chisako & Hiren go to a 20 minute draw. Hiren advanced because she's lighter. Sendai Sachiko won over Yukari Ishino with a German suplex at 7:26. Okuda leaving is very tough for Sendai Girls and though she didn't say anything publicly, I'm sure that privately Satomura is not very happy about this. It puts a real monkey wrench into her plan to create a viable joshi promotion from scratch. How are they going to keep these young girls in Sendai when the bright lights of Tokyo beckon? This could happen again very soon.

Melina wins WWE Women's Championship

You probably already know that Melina won the WWE Women's Championship from Beth Phoenix at last night's Royal Rumble. But you want to see the match video. Of course I have it for you on the ol' blog. The match was a fairly standard WWE women's match. A couple of cool spots, a couple of blown spots. What else is new? The title switch was a bit of a surprise. Of course the ending was by flash pin or a cutback as it's sometimes called. It would indicate a short term title reign for Melina. I expect some Rosa Mendes and Santino involvement in the near future. Part of the problem is that Melina has been terrible as a face since she returned from her injury. We don't care about her. It's not her fault. In their arrogance, the WWE seems to think that we'll accept Melina as a face just because they tell us to accept her. But other than replacing her sneer with a smile, the character is the same with the same entrance and the same music. And she hasn't done anything to encourage fans to accept her as a face except facing different opponents. That doesn't work. Also, she's not a good enough wrestler for fans to admire that part of her character. Usually that doesn't matter in the WWE but I think fans do admire Beth's superior mat skills despite her heel behaviour. So I wouldn't match these two up in the first place. Melina tries hard but isn't capable of holding up her end of the match. We'll see where they go with this. I expect Beth to be very pissed on RAW tonight. Enjoy the match!

Royal Rumble 2009 Melina vs Beth Phoenix - MyVideo

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Staple Singers

Artist:The Staple Singers
Song:Respect Yourself
Album:Music From The Motion Picture Crooklyn

The 1971 hit Respect Yourself was the first of several crossover hits by the legendary gospel group The Staple Singers. Of course they were led by Roebuck "Pops" Staples (born Dec. 28, 1914 in Winona, MS). Pops first formed the group with his daughters Cleotha, Pervis, Yvonne & Mavis in 1948. They would sing and he would back them up on guitar. Later on, Mavis Staples (born July 10, 1939 in Chicago) would emerge as the lead singer and is acknowledged today as one of the all time greats of black music. The Staple Singers recorded gospel for labels like VeeJay, Riverside & Epic in the 50s & 60s. But the turning point came when they signed with Stax in 1968. They recorded their first two Stax albums with Booker T & The MGs but then new Stax co-owner and producer Al Bell decided to take them in a funkier direction to Muscle Shoals, AL. Bell didn't try to change their music but thought the musicians at Muscle Shoals would give a more contemporary backdrop. The album was called Be Altitude:Respect Yourself and Respect Yourself was the first single and reached #2 on the R & B charts and #12 on the pop charts. The song was written by Luther Ingram (If Loving You is Wrong I Don't Want To Be Right) & Sir Mack Rice (Mustang Sally). If You're Ready (Come Go With Me) also scored in 1973. The Staple Singers left Stax in 1975 when Stax went broke and signed with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label. They scored a #1 hit in 1975 with the theme from the film Let's Do It Again. That was the end of their run and then Mavis Staples started to emerge as a solo artist. She just released a new solo album produced by Ry Cooder. Respect Yourself got a big boost when Spike Lee used it in his 1994 film Crooklyn and there are plenty of soul classics on the soundtrack. Pops Staples got a lot of acclaim for his 1992 album Peace In The Neighborhood and he died as the result of a fall off a ladder on Dec. 19, 2000 at age 85. The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999. They're one of my favourite groups. Here's The Staple Singers performing Respect Yourself in the 1972 film Wattstax.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Otis Redding & Carla Thomas

Artist:Otis Redding & Carla Thomas
Album:Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding

Otis Redding's hilarious duet of Lowell Fulson's Tramp with Carla Thomas was one of his biggest hits and it gives me a chance to talk about Carla Thomas. They were the two top singers at Stax Records. The idea to put them together likely was inspired by the success of Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston at Motown. Otis & Carla had success as solo artist. Her hits included Let Me Be Good To You and B-A-B-Y. Fulson had a hit with his own version of Tramp in 1965. So Stax decided to do put Otis & Carla together on the 1967 album King & Queen. As usual, Otis worked with Booker T & The MGs on the album. The verbal sparring between the two was pretty funny and Tramp reached #2 on the R & B charts and #26 on the pop charts. Their version of Eddie Floyd's Knock On Wood did just as well. King & Queen is a short album so I don't recommended it but I do highly recommend Rhino's 4CD box set Otis!. Of course everyone knows that Otis Redding died in a tragic plane crash in 1967 but Carla Thomas is still around and released the CD Bohemian Cavern for the revived Stax label in 2007. It doesn't look like Otis Redding & Carla Thomas ever performed Tramp live so here's a fan video for the song.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Ronettes

Artist:The Ronettes
Song:Be My Baby
Album:Ultimate Dirty Dancing

Of course when we look at Phil Spector today, he seems like a nutcase and possibly a murderer. But in the 60s, he produced some of the greatest pop music ever. And though he didn't create girl groups, he certainly solidified that genre. The Ronettes 1963 hit Be My Baby was one of Spector's biggest hits and is one of several oldies that got a big boost from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. The Ronettes were a family group with lead singer Veronica Bennett (born Aug. 10, 1943 in New York City), sister Estelle Bennett (born July 22, 1941 in New York City) and cousin Nedra Talley (born Jan. 27, 1946 in New York City). As The Darling Sisters, they won an Apollo Theatre talent contest in 1959. In 1961, they got a regular gig at the Peppermint Lounge by accident when they were standing in line and mistaken for another vocal group that hadn't arrived for their show. They backed up Joey Dee and earned a contract with Colpix Records as Ronnie & The Relatives. They flopped but got the attention of producer Phil Spector. He was looking for a replacement for The Crystals and he liked Ronnie's voice and look. He signed them to his Philles label, renamed them The Ronettes and gave them a glamourous bad girl image. Be My Baby was the first single. Spector wrote it with the legendary songwriting team of Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich. Be My Baby hit #2 on the pop charts and #4 on the R & B charts. Baby I Love You also did well but subsequent Ronettes singles didn't do as well. The Ronettes split in 1966. Estelle & Nedra both married and quit the music business. Of course Ronnie married Phil Spector in 1968 and recorded unsuccessfully occasionally over the years. They divorced in 1974 due to Spector's bizaare behaviour. The one success Ronnie had was the 1986 duet with Eddie Money Take Me Home Tonight. The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007. Be My Baby still sounds great today. Here are The Ronettes performing Be My Baby on Shindig 1965.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Two pro wrestlers added to Feb. 4 JEWELS show

JEWELS held a press conference today to announce two more matches for their Feb. 4 Shinjuku FACE show. Both matches will have young pro wrestlers making their MMA debuts. The first match is at 58kg and will have veteran Saori Ishioka vs Hanako Kobayashi (left). Ishioka's record is 6-3 and her most recent match was a win over Mika Nagano at the first JEWELS show. Kobayashi is a 20 year old pro wrestler and she works for the Kaoru Ito Dojo. This is her MMA debut. She says she watched Ishioka's match at the JEWELS show and is very excited to fight her. The other match is an Open Weight match with veteran Super Benkei vs Chiharo Oikawa (right). Benkei's record is 2-6 and most recently lost to HIROKO at the first JEWELS show. Oikawa is a 21 year old rookie pro wrestler and is the only woman working for BATTLARTS. She debuted last May. BATTLARTS is different from other pro wrestling companies because of their emphasis on martial arts techniques and submissions. She says her wrestling training got her interested in MMA and she is looking forward to her MMA debut. JEWELS will add two more matches to this show but they haven't named the main event yet. The two young wrestlers will attract fans that normally wouldn't attend MMA shows.

Two VALKYRIE matches added to Feb. 28 CAGE FORCE show

GCM announced today two VALKYRIE matches for the Feb. 28 CAGE FORCE show at the Torokozawa Civic Gym in Saitama. As I reported previously, VALKYRIE will not be running their own show but will have several matches on the CAGE FORCE show. This is obviously being done to save money because they want to run matches in the cage and a stand alone show would be expensive. The first match is at 56.7kg and will have Kazue Matake vs Kinuka Sasaki. Matake (pictured) is 3-1 and her most recent fight was a win over Yang Joo Lee at the July 23, 2007 CMA Festival. Her only loss was to Rin Nakai. Sasaki is 2-6-1 and her most recent bout was a draw against Mutsumi Kasai at the Oct. 26 Shooto show. The second match is at 48.5kg and will have Kayo Nagayasu vs Maho Muranami. Muranami won their previous match at the Jan. 26, 2007 Shooto show. Nagayasu is 7-6-1 and most recently lost to Yasuko Tamada at the June 26 Shooto show. Muranami is 4-5-1 and most recently lost to Yasuko Tamada at the Dec. 26, 2007 Smackgirl show. Matake & Muranami are both with the WK Dojo which is the home dojo for VALKYRIE.

Satoko Shinashi is pregnant

DEEP held a press conference today with the intention of announcing the opponent for DEEP Women's Flyweight Champ Satoko Shinashi on DEEP 40 Feb. 20 at Korakuen Hall. But Shinashi wasn't at the press conference and DEEP matchmaker Shigeru Saeki announced that Shinashi is four months pregnant. Shinashi has been married since Nov. 2007. Saeki said that she is scheduled to give birth in July and is tentatively scheduled to return to MMA in December after maternity leave. Saeki also said that the title will be inactive until Shinashi returns. He emphasized that Shinashi is not retiring but he also doesn't think there are any suitable fighters worthy to be Flyweight champ. They have been having problems finding opponents for her. Congratulations to Satoko Shinashi and we all hope for a happy and healthy baby.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Status Quo

Artist:Status Quo
Song:Ice In The Sun
Album:The British Are Coming

The British group Status Quo are one of the most durable bands ever. They're still recording today. They were always more popular in Britain than North America. Ice In The Sun was their second but not biggest hit. Guitarist Francis Rossi (born May 29, 1949 in London) and bassist Alan Lancaster (born Feb. 7, 1949 in London) started out in 1962 as The Scorpions and then The Spectres. They added drummer John Coughlan (born Sept. 19, 1946 in London) in 1963 and keyboard player Roy Lynes in 1964. They released a couple of unsuccessful singles in 1966 and got interested in psychedelia. The group name was changed to Traffic Jam and then Status Quo. Guitarist Rick Parfitt (born Oct. 12, 1948 in Surrey, England) had become close friends with Rossi and joined the band. They signed with Pye Records and Pictures Of Matchstick Men reached #7 on the UK charts and #12 on the US charts. Ice In The Sun was the second single and also did well. It was written by former teen pop star Marty Wilde. This 4CD box set from Sanctuary has this and many other British Invasion classics. Subsequent releases didn't do as well and by 1970, Status Quo decided to go in a more heavy rock direction and signed with Vertigo Records. Roy Lynes left and was replaced by Andy Bown. Status Quo became one of Britain's leading bands of the 70s but have never been that successful in North America. Of course they've had personnel changes over the years but Rossi, Parfitt & Bown still lead Status Quo today. Their latest CD In Search Of The Fourth Chord was released in Sept. 2007 and reached #15 on the UK charts. Here's Status Quo performing Ice In The Sun on the German TV show Beat Club in 1968.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Musiq Soulchild

Artist:Musiq Soulchild f/Ayana
Song:Girl Next Door

I featured Musiq Soulchild in Aug. 2007 but Aijuswanaseing was his 2000 debut CD and that's when fans first heard him. The album has recently been rereleased in a Special Edition. He was born Taalib Johnson Sept. 16, 1977 in Philadelphia. His career is tied to record executive Kevin Liles who signed him to Def Soul. Not surprisingly, Musiq got attention when Just Friends (Sunny) appeared in the film Nutty Professor II: The Klumps and reached #6 on the R & B charts and #31 on the pop charts. The follow up Love did even better and reached #2 on the R & B charts and #24 on the pop charts. Girl Next Door was the third single and didn't do as well but Musiq's career was established and he's been going strong ever since. Girl Next Door was written and produced by Musiq's long time collaborator Calvin "Ransom" Haggins. They continue to work together today. I always get asked about the girl singer on the song. She is Ayana from the Neo Soul duo Aaries. Aaries has recorded occasionally without much success. Ayana released a solo album in 2005. Def Soul Classics released a Special Edition of Aijuswanaseing in Nov. 2007 with several unreleased tracks and remixes. You might want to check it out. Of course Musiq Soulchild has moved to Atlantic and had a lot of success with his 2007 CD Luvanmusiq. His latest CD Onmyradio was released in Dec. 2008. I didn't much care for the first single Radio but the album is doing very well. Here's the video for Girl Next Door by Musiq Soulchild f/Ayana. It's a fun video.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The tease begins in JWP

JWP owner Commando Bolshoi is a big fan of the slow tease for major angles. I guess the problem is sometimes they never pay off. That's what we saw in the main event of the Jan. 11 Tokyo Cinema Club show. JWP Open Weight Champ Kayoko Haruyama teamed with JWP Tag Team Champs Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu against Azumi Hyuga, Yumiko Hotta & Kei'to. You can see where they're going with this. On one hand you have the likely title defense for Haruyama against Hyuga. The other part is about Hotta and Bolshoi's simmering feud. The match went back and forth as one would expect and the end came when Haruyama went for her Keene Hammer finisher. Hyuga ducked and rolled her up for the win at 15:25. The two stared each other down and yakked. I expect more teasing before they announce this match. But they did announce that Uematsu & Ran will defend the tag titles against Hotta & Kei'to at the Jan. 25 Osaka show. Hotta proceeded to provoke Bolshoi again and it turned into a riot on the arena floor. They'll do that eventually too. The rest of the show was uneventful. In a 3 way match, Tojuki Leon defeated Kaori Yoneyama & Bullfight Sora at 12:29, Commando Bolshoi & Megumi Yabushita won over Sachie Abe & KAZUKI at 14:28 when Yabushita used the jumping cross arm breaker on KAZUKI, Arisa Nakajima won over Misaki Ohata at 9:18 with a diving foot stamp and Pinkie Mayuca and Io Shirai went to a 15 minute draw.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Roy Eldridge

Artist:Roy Eldridge w/The Gene Krupa Orchestra
Song:Ball Of Fire

Trumpeter Roy Eldridge was one of the all time greats of jazz. He was known as Little Jazz. This Columbia comp focuses on his very successful run with The Gene Krupa Orchestra in the early 40s. He was born Jan. 30, 1911 in Pittsburgh. He started out playing trumpet in carnival and circus bands until he moved to New York in 1931. Eldridge got his first opportunity to shine as a featured soloist with Teddy Hill's band in 1935. Billie Holiday was the singer. He had his own band in the late 30s and had emerged as one of the top trumpeters in jazz. Meanwhile Gene Krupa was one of the most popular big band leaders because of his frenetic drumming style. Eldridge joined the Krupa band along with singer Anita O'Day and immediately added more authentic jazz swing to the band. They had several hits including Let Me Off Uptown & Thanks For The Boogie Ride. Eldridge & Krupa were also featured in the 1941 film Ball Of Fire with Barbara Stanwyck. Ball Of Fire is an instrumental written by Eldridge & Krupa and features solos by Eldridge and clarinetist Sam Musiker. Of course Eldridge was the only black in a white band and that caused difficulties while touring. Eldridge also felt O'Day was upstaging him so he left the Krupa band in 1943 for Artie Shaw. Eldridge worked for Norman Granz in the 50s and was a big part of the Jazz At The Philharmonic series. He would continue to play regularly until his death on Feb. 26, 1989 at age 78. This comp is recommended to swing fans. Here's a Soundie of The Gene Krupa Orchestra featuring Anita O'Day & Roy Eldridge performing Let Me Off Uptown.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ozaki regains Oz Academy Championship

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that Mayumi Ozaki regained the Oz Academy Championship from Carlos Amano on the Jan. 11 Shinjuku FACE show. So why did we have this whole drawn out league? The funny part was the first five minutes of the match was a clean match. But then Ozaki reverted to form and pulled out a chain and hammered Amano. Amano tries to come back but the chain is a great equalizer. Ozaki hangs her with the chain from a table at the back of the arena. Ozaki gets a two count with a cross arm breaker and a hold down. Ozaki continues to batter Amano and two backfists get a two count. Amano hooks a triangle choke. Ozaki escapes but Amano has turned the tide. Police interferes followed by the Ozaki Army. Amano takes a chair shot and then the chain but kicks Police in the nuts. Then everyone else comes in and it's just a mess. KAORU hits Amano with the desk board but takes a shot from Ozaki when Amano gets out of a full nelson. While KAORU distracts Amano, Ozaki sprays Amano with the poison mist and gets the win at 16:10. Dynamite Kansai confronts Ozaki afterwards but KAORU says she wants another shot at Kansai. That's what will happen but eventually Kansai will get Ozaki but Ozaki named Sonoko Kato as her first challenger.

The other big angle on the show is about the Oz Academy Tag Team Championships currently held by Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU. We had a match with Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Takako Inoue & KAORU. Aja & Matsumoto ambush Takako & KAORU before the match. Back in the ring, Aja takes control. But Takako & KAORU isolate Matsumoto for a while. Aja cleans house and beats on KAORU including a Rita Romero Special. This is the pattern but KAORU pulls out the desk board and Takako brings out the stun gun. The desk board backfies on KAORU but the stun gun sets up Aja for KAORU's Valkyrie Splash. Aja moves and rolls KAORU up in a schoolboy for the win at 16:41. Afterwards, Aja was still recovering from the stun gun so Matsumoto grabbed the mic and started yakking with KAORU about the tag team titles. She said "We won. Now we want the titles." KAORU tried to deflect Matsumoto's comments but that match will happen on Feb. 5. Other matches had AKINO over Chikayo Nagashima with a Frankensteiner at 15:36, Dynamite Kansai & Tomoka Nakagawa over Manami Toyota & Hiren when Kansai used the Splash Mountain on Hiren at 10:19 and Sonoko Kato beat Ran YuYu at 15:24 with a reversal of the European Clutch.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Oysterhead

Song:Oz Is Ever Floating
Album:The Grand Pecking Order

Oysterhead was a one off supergroup side project from three guys who are better known for other things but also seem to have time for this sort of thing. You wouldn't think there were enough hours in a day. Those three guys are guitarist Trey Anastasio of Phish, bassist Les Claypool of Primus and drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police. Copeland had worked a bit with Claypool in Primus and the three got the idea of doing one performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival May 4, 2000. Oysterhead is essentially a jam band which is what Anastasio does in Phish anyway. But it's a pretty good mix of musical styles. The three enjoyed themselves so much that they decided to record The Grand Pecking Order for Elektra/Asylum in 2001. The album was very successful and reached #41 on the Billboard Hot 200. Oz Is Ever Floating was written for album recording engineer Oz Fritz and his belief in psychoanalyst John C. Lilly. Oysterhead went on a brief tour where Anastasio unveiled a guitar with antlers called the Matterhorn. After the tour, all three went back to other activities but they did reunite on June 16, 2006 for the Bonaroo Music Festival. It doesn't appear there are any further plans for Oysterhead to record but The Grand Pecking Order is a very strong album and is recommended to fans of all three musicians. Here's Oysterhead performing Oz Is Ever Floating at the 2006 Bonaroo Music Festival.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cyborg vs Coenen set for Feb. 27 XMMA show

Cageplay reported today that Brazilian sensation Cristiane Cyborg will return to the cage at the Feb. 27 XMMA show in Montreal against Marloes Coenen (pictured) from the Netherlands making her North American debut. But don't let that fool you. She's one of the most experienced and accomplished fighters anywhere and is a legend in Japan. Of course Cyborg's record is 6-1 and her last win was over Yoko Takahashi at the Oct. 4 EliteXC show. She was all set to battle Gina Carano when EliteXC closed. But what a lot of fans may not know is that Marloes Coenen was also signed to EliteXC and was the likely next opponent for the winner of that fight. Marloes' record is 16-2 and at 19 years old, she won the very first REMIX World Cup tournament in Tokyo on Dec. 5, 2000. She won over Megumi Yabushita in the tournament final. She also was in the 2004 World Remix Tournament and the 2007 K-Grace tournament, both in Tokyo. Her only losses were in those tournaments. to Erin Toughill and Roxanne Modafferi respectively. She had some injuries in 2005 but more recently Marloes has had difficulty finding opponents in Europe. That's why she wants to come to the US. Her most recent win was over Asci Kubra on the Oct. 5 KOE show in Rotterdam. Marloes also beat her last May. Eleven of her wins have been by submission. It should be a very interesting fight as Marloes Coenen is unquestionably the most accomplished opponent to date for Cristiane Cyborg. I think this show will air live on The Fight Network in Canada so I will be watching.

Four fights announced for Feb. 4 JEWELS show

JEWELS held a press conference today to announce four fights for their Feb. 4 Shinjuku FACE show. It appears that none of them will be the main event. Not surprisingly, it looks like they are using fighters that were on the first show. In an Open Weight match, the very tall HIROKO will face Michiko Takeda. HIROKO is 5-1 and won over Takeda by split decision on the May 19, 2007 Smackgirl show. She won over Benkei on the first JEWELS show. Takeda is 3-2-1 and the loss to HIROKO is her most recent fight. In a 48kg fight, Misaki Takimoto will face Yasuko Tamada. Both are veterans but have never fought each other. Takimoto is 9-9-4 and won over Masako Yoshida on the first JEWELS show. Tamada is 8-4-3 and her last fight was a draw with Naoko Omuro on the Nov. 8 VALKYRIE show. In a 52kg fight, Masako Yoshida will face Shinsaki Ozawa. Yoshida is 14-14-5 and lost to Takimoto on the last JEWELS show. Ozawa lost her debut to Yuko Oya on the first JEWELS show. In a 60kg fight, Shizuka Sugiyama will face Shiho. Both debuted on the first JEWELS show. Sugiyama won over Harumi. Shiho won over Mayu. I think they have high hopes for Sugiyama because of her looks. She's second to the right in the above pic. Saori Ishioka (6-3) and Benkei (2-6) will also be on the show against opponents TBA. JEWELS GM Saeki also said something about a special tag team match but he said they're having trouble finding fighters for that. I hope they don't do that. This ain't pro wrestling.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels

Artist:Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
Song:Jenny Take A Ride
Album:Rev-Up: The Best Of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels

In April 2008, I posted a clip of Mitch Ryder's post Detroit Wheels group Detroit. It was a very good band but unsuccessful. So I wanted to post a vintage Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels clip and Jenny Take A Ride was their first top ten hit in 1966. In 1965, William Levise Jr. had a band in Detroit called Billy Lee & The Rivieras. Producer Bob Crewe spotted the group and signed them to his DynoVoice label. He got the name Mitch Ryder out of the phone book and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels was born. Other band members were guitarists Jim McCarty & Joseph Cubert, bassist Earl Elliot and drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjak. Obviously Crewe liked Ryder's throwback vocal style and the concept was to create a new version of a 50s rock 'n' roll band. Their 1966 debut album was called Breakout...!!! and Jenny Take A Ride was the first single. It's a combination of two classic songs from the 50s, Chuck Willis' CC Rider and Little Richard's Jenny Jenny. Crewe decided to take a songwriting credit for the idea. The song reached #10 on the pop singles chart. Their hit Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly was even bigger and reached #4. It all ended when Crewe tried to turn Ryder into a solo artist with disastrous results. Ryder has resurfaced occasionally over the years but has never come close to reaching the heights of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. This Rhino comp is recommended and Breakout...!!! has been released on CD by Sundazed Records. Here's Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels performing Jenny Take A Ride on Swingin' Time in 1966.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Kingston Trio

Artist:The Kingston Trio
Song:Tom Dooley
Album:Troubadors Of The Folk Era Vol. 3: The Groups

Though I wouldn't describe The Kingston Trio as innovators, their 1958 #1 hit Tom Dooley was very instrumental in popularizing folk music and opening up doors for the ensuing folk boom. The Kingston Trio were formed in 1957 in Palo Alto, CA. Dave Guard was a graduate student at Stanford University and Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds were students at Menlo College. They started hanging around together in local folk clubs. They first worked together in a group called Dave Guard & The Calypsonians. Guard was inspired by the success of The Weavers and Harry Belafonte's Day-O. After some personnel shuffling (Reynolds left and then returned and a couple of others were kicked out), they called themselves The Kingston Trio. Publicist Frank Werber became their manager and he got them a week at The Purple Onion in San Francisco opening for Phyllis Diller in 1957. They were spotted by Bob Hope's agent Jimmy Saphier and he sent their demo to Capitol Records. Capitol sent producer Voyle Gilmore (The Four Freshmen) to see them and a short term contract was signed. They went on tour and worked on their live act for a while and then recorded their 1958 debut album The Kingston Trio. Tom Dooley was the second single. It reached #1 on the pop charts and so did the album. They had several more hit singles but none as big as Tom Dooley. This Rhino various artists comp has several folk hits. It's the album charts where they really made their mark as the next several Kingston Trio albums all hit #1. Dave Guard left in 1961 to form The Whiskey Hill Singers and was replaced by John Stewart. They continued to have success until The Beatles came along. The Kingston Trio split up in 1967. Bob Shane started The New Kingston Trio in 1969 and usually led versions of the group over the years. A version of the group still tours though Shane retired due to health problems in 2005. Dave Guard died in 1991 and Nick Reynolds died in Oct. 2008. I think it's fair to say that the popularity of The Kingston Trio led to the folk boom of the early 60s. Here's The Kingston Trio performing a medley including Tom Dooley on the Andy Williams Show Feb. 1967. This was apparently their final TV appearance before their split.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jack Ingram

Artist:Jack Ingram
Song:One Thing

Jack Ingram is one of today's top country music artists. The 2002 CD Electric was his first album to chart. He was born Nov. 15, 1970 in Houston. He started out touring with his band Beat Up Ford and released a couple of albums independently. By 1996, he signed with Warner Bros. and his major label debut Livin' Or Dyin' was released in 1997. Ingram moved over to Sony and released Hey You in 1999. Ingram had better luck with the 2002 CD Electric. He got together with Lee Ann Womack's producer Frank Liddell. The music isn't much different from Ingram's previous albums. He writes his own songs and his music is definitely in the Texas honky tonk tradition. Electric reached #34 on the country album charts. Ingram left Sony for Big Machine Records. This label was originally founded by country music star Toby Keith and DreamWorks Records exec Scott Borchetta. Keith left in 2006 and the label has had a lot of success with Taylor Swift. Ingram's 2007 CD This Is It reached #4 on the country album charts. His new album Big Dreams And High Hopes will be out shortly and the first single That's A Man is currently climbing the country charts. I recommend Jack Ingram to alt country fans. Here's the video for One Thing by Jack Ingram.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Live streaming women's MMA this weekend

Hey folks! My good buddy Jeff Osborne of Hook 'N' Shoot is running his GFight Summit this weekend in his home base of Evansville, IN. There's going to be all kinds of things going on but the highlight will be a one night tournament for 115lb professional female fighters. And the best thing is that it will be streaming live on the internet at 7:30PM Saturday night. I have posted the link to the stream for your convenience. The first round fights are as follows:

Mariah Reed vs Lacey Schuckman
Lisa Higo vs Tammy Schneider
Van Do vs Avery Vilche
Angela Magana vs Jessica Aguilar

This will be followed by the semi finals and then the final. The most interesting of these matches is Magana vs Aguilar who have fought each other previously with controversial results. Of course Jeff Osborne is a pioneer in promoting women's MMA and you can be sure other promoters will be watching. I plan to watch the show live and write about it on Sunday if I can snag a pic from the show from Jeff. Keep in mind that when Kaitlin Young won a 135lb Hook 'N' Shoot tournament in Nov. 2007 she wound up fighting Gina Carano on CBS. So it's a very good possibility that the winner of this tournament will be launched to stardom. Here's the link and enjoy the show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Five Discs

Artist:The Five Discs
Song:Never Let You Go
Album:The Doo Wop Box

For a group that had very limited success, The Five Discs were around a long time in several incarnations. Never Let You Go was their most memorable song and it was only a hit locally in New York City in 1962. Like a lot of doo wop groups, The Five Discs began on the streetcorners of Brooklyn in 1954. Lead singer Mario DeAndrade and bass Andy Jackson were member of The Lovenotes. They got together with Joe Barsalona, Paul Albano, Tony Basile & Joe Bracco to form The Flames. Their 1957 demo was rejected by all the New York record companies but a songwriter named Billy Martin liked them and had them re-record the demo. They were signed to Gene Schwartz' Enge label and Albano's sister suggested the name change to The Five Discs. Their 1958 release I Remember was a hit in New York but then Schwartz started Laurie Records. He got busy with Dion & The Belmonts so The Five Discs were ignored. They signed with a label called Dwain Records in 1959 but that failed. DeAndrade & Jackson left in 1960 and were replaced eventually by Eddie Pardocchi & Charlie DiBella. Never Let You Go was released in 1962 on Cheer Records and was a hit in New York City. It's actually a pretty good song and is another classic on Rhino's 4CD box set The Doo Wop Box. They signed with Kapp Records in 1963 but their name was changed to The Boyfriends. Didn't help much as the group failed. The Five Discs continued to surface through the 60s until they split up for good in 1972. But they reformed in the 80s to work the oldies circuit until 1994. It's amazing the mileage a group can get out of one song. Here's The Five Discs performing Never Let You Go at the 1993 UGHA concert.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Passion Red debuts

Nanae Takahashi's Passion Red debuted on Jan. 11 in front of 230 fans at a sold out Itabashi Green Hall. That is a building NEO normally runs and despite other ties to NEO, this was a standalone show. It's only one show and it remains to be seen what kind of direction Passion Red will take. But I am not crazy about the prospect of yet another pointless joshi fed with no integration with current angles especially since Takahashi is the current NEO champ. The main event was a six girl tag team match between Passion Red and Sendai Girls. It was Nanae Takahashi, Natsuki*Taiyo & Kana vs Meiko Satomura, Ryo Mizunami & DASH Chisako. Of course the main attraction of the match was a rare appearance of Takahashi & Satomura in the same ring. They want to tease a rivalry. Who knows if anything will ever come of it? The two squared off a couple of times and was a stalemate as you might expect. Satomura tagged Chisako in and Takahashi threw her around before winning with the Nanaracka at 20:04. Of course we'd all like to see Takahashi vs Satomura but there sure is a lot of teasing without a payoff in the joshi business. Remember Satomura vs Yoshida? Oh yeah, they never did that.

Kana also led off the show with a match against Hiroyo Matsumoto. These two will work hard and have a spirited match. It's a little surprising to see a draw on any show these days but it makes a certain amount of sense as they're at a similar level and Kana could challenge for Matsumoto's JWP Junior Title. Matsuomto did have the edge at the end with the Argentinian backbreaker and dropping Kana on her knee. She hit a backdrop suplex when time ran out. Arisa Nakajima seemed to dominate her match with Sakura Emi but Emi won with the Majistral Cradle at 6:42. That seems a little odd. In what was mostly a comedy match, Yumiko Hotta & Natsuki*Taiyo defeated Toshie Uematsu & Io Shirai. Shirai nailed Natsuki with the 619 but Natsuki came back with her Natsuki Bomb at 11:44. There seemed to be a lot of conga dancing in this match. Takahashi jokingly said on her blog that Hotta is president of the Passion Red fan club. And Fuuka won over Ray with the F-Doll at 13:02. Fuuka's throwing a lot of kicks these days but Ray responded with a few of her own and also did some of her trademark flying stuff. But she wasn't going to win over Fuuka. So there wasn't anything special on this show except for the tease of Takahashi vs Satomura. I hope it's not just a tease.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Carl Perkins

Artist:Carl Perkins
Album:Restless: The Columbia Recordings

Carl Perkins was one of the early innovators of Rock 'N' Roll and he was known as The King Of Rockabilly. Blue Suede Shoes was his only big hit as a performer. He could have been much bigger if fate had not intervened. He was born Apr. 9, 1932 in Tiptonville, TN. His parents were sharecroppers. Though Perkins grew up in poverty, he learned to play the guitar and by age 14 he was playing gigs with his brother Jay. Perkins married his wife Valda in 1953 and she encouraged him to pursue music full time. Then when she heard Elvis Presley's recording of Blue Moon Of Kentucky on the radio, she suggested that he go see Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Perkins signed and he was there with Elvis, Johnny Cash and all the other greats. When Elvis left Sun for RCA in 1955, Phillips decided that Perkins was his new star. Blue Suede Shoes was released in 1956 and was a massive hit. Perkins had already had a successful appearance on The Perry Como Show. Perkins and his trio were on their way to New York for another appearance on that show on Mar. 21, 1956 when they were in a serious car accident near Dover, DE. Perkins almost died and was laid up for several months. Meanwhile, Elvis had a huge hit with Blue Suede shoes. Perkins returned to performing but it was too late by then. In 1958, Perkins & Johnny Cash left Sun for Columbia for more money. This comp covers his Columbia recordings. The music is fine but the Columbia recordings are missing something and Perkins never caught on as a recording star and was dropped by Columbia in 1961. Perkins would continue to record occasionally and have some success in the country market but he continued to have a lot of success as a songwriter and also gained a lot of respect from young rock musicians familiar with his Sun recordings. Carl Perkins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987 and died on Jan. 19, 1998 at age 65. Here's the famous clip of Carl Perkins performing Blue Suede Shoes on The Perry Como Show in 1956.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TNA Knockouts are officially a train wreck

Of course the planned Knockouts match for TNA Genesis was supposed to be Awesome Kong defending the TNA Knockouts Title against Christy Hemme. TNA's attempts to turn Hemme into a title threat were simply ludicrous. Fans weren't buying it. But then it really went south when TNA announced that Hemme has two herniated discs and will be out indefinitely. The injury happened at the Dec. 15 TNA Impact tapings but because TNA taped so far in advance, they chose not to edit the Jan. 8 Impact when they probably should have said something. Then we learned that Awesome Kong hurt her back on the Misae Genki retirement show Dec. 31 in Tokyo. Now they're realy screwed. So they decided to have a six woman tag match. It was Taylor Wilde, Roxxi & ODB vs Raisha Saeed, Sojourner Bolt & Rakha Khan. They are calling them The Kongtourage. Whoever gets the pinfall gets a title shot. So why would any of the members of The Kongtourage want to wrestle their leader? Excuse my logic and then they forced Mike Tenay & Don West to speculate about that during the match. Fans aren't that stupid and it makes those two look like idiots. The match itself was nothing special though the ending was bad. Taylor Wilde did most of the work and didn't even get the title shot. And Rakha Khan is useless in the ring. Someone mentioned recently that she's not a WWE product but in fact she was in WWE developmental in 2006. Dopey promoters seem to be enamored with her look but she's not a wrestler. She's a model. TNA tries to hide her but she shouldn't be used as a wrestler. And Tenay & West has started calling Sojourner Bolt "SoJo". Ugh! With Kong's injury, TNA has to go into time wasting mode until she's better but their misguided plans for Christy Hemme blew up in their faces bigtime. They are fools. Check out the match video in two parts.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Buddy Knox

Artist:Buddy Knox
Song:Hula Love
Album:The Best Of Buddy Knox

Buddy Knox was very similar to Buddy Holly. Both were from Texas. Both wrote their own songs. Holly is more memorable because of the quantity of great songs. But Knox did have a couple of big hits including Hula Love and he predated Holly. He was born July 20, 1933 in Happy, TX. He grew up singing in the family gospel group and learned to play guitar. While attending West Texas State College, he sang in a group called The Serenaders with bassist Jimmy Bowen and guitarist Donny Lanier. They renamed themselves The Rhythm Orchids because they wore purple shirts on stage and added drummer Don Mills. They met Roy Orbison who suggested they go to New Mexico and record with producer Norman Petty. Dave Alldred replaced Mills and they paid Petty $60 to record three songs including Hula Love & Party Doll. Of course Petty would go on to produce Buddy Holly. Eventually the songs were licensed to Roulette Records. Roulette released an album with Knox songs on one side and Jimmy Bowen songs on the other side. Hula Love reaqched #9 on the pop singles chart and Party Doll reached #1. Bowen's music wasn't successful but he would go on to be a record executive for MCA Records in Nashville. Knox's success was short lived because he left Roulette for Liberty in 1960. Snuff Garrett tried to produce him as more of a pop singer like Bobby Vee and it didn't work. Buddy Knox would transition to country music in the 60s and moved to Vancouver in 1969 and opened The Purple Steer club. He would continue to tour until his death on Feb. 5, 1999 at age 65. This Rhino comp is definitive. Here's Buddy Knox performing Hula Love in the 1957 film Jamboree.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Peven Everett

Artist:Peven Everett
Song:I Wanna Make Love
Album:Studio Confessions

It's pretty clear that if Peven Everett wanted to sign with a major label, he could be a dominant force in R & B and hip hop. But he seems to be satisfied with producing his own music on his own Studio Confessions label and he has become a major player in the Chicago House music scene. His roots are in jazz. He was born June 2, 1975 in Harvey, IL. He learned to play various instruments. At age 17, he earned a scholarship at the Berklee School Of Music but instead moved to New York and worked for legendary singer Betty Carter for four years. He also toured with Branford Marsalis' Buckshot LeFonque. He moved back to Chicago in 1996 and has worked mostly behind the scenes with producers like Roy Davis Jr. Everett works on so many projects it's impossible to make sense of it. Studio Confessions is a rare solo release that is clearly a strong R & B groove. I suspect that if Peven Everett chose to be more focused on his solo work, he could become a household name. He doesn't seem to want to do that but he is very talented and R & B fans should check him out. Here's Peven Everett performing at the Raw Club in London 2008.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, GAMI. Now take a hike.

GAMI had her 40th birthday on Jan. 4 so Pro Wrestling WAVE had GAMI Happy Birthday WAVE at Shijuku FACE. They seemed to get more fans than usual. I think it was around 300. That's pretty good for them. Fans always say that Yumiko Hotta was the worst company owner at A To Z. I think GAMI is worse. At least with Hotta, you knew the direction of the company. Of course it wasn't a very good direction. WAVE seems to be the ultimate in pointlessness. There is no direction. So the big announcement at this show was that Shuu Shibutani has joined WAVE as a full time member of the roster. Oh, you don't think that's a big deal? Neither do I. Shibutani seemed to improve when she returned from Mexico last year but she seemed to regress after hurting her knee a few months ago. I'm not sure how joining WAVE benefits her. You might think that she'll be booked better as a regular but head idol wrestler Yumi Ohka still seems to count the lights on a regular basis so I'm not so sure. It seems a little odd.

As a birthday present to herself, GAMI put herself in the main event teaming with Azumi Hyuga vs AKINO & Ayako Hamada. Somebody doesn't fit. When the real wrestlers were in there, it was a typical action filled match. GAMI stunk up the joint with comedy. Then she gave herself a real birthday present by getting the pin over Ayako with a small package at 23:39. Yuk yuk. You're supposed to send the fans home happy, not leave them with a bad taste in their mouths. What a dope. Mima Shimoda came home from Mexico to face head idol Yumi Ohka. Shimoda dominated most of the match. Ohka came back at the end and got a couple of near falls but Shimoda won with a flash schoolboy pin at 16:31. Ohka was shocked. Shimoda invited Ohka to Mexico and it appears they will team up on Jan. 21. Well, whoop-de-do.

GAMI continues to push this embarassing nonsense with Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu against those goofy heels NOSAWA & MAZADA. This time she roped Aja Kong to team with Uematsu & Ran against NOSAWA, MAZADA & TAKEMURA. Wasn't it bad enough that Commando Bolshoi had to publicly apologize for the misuse of the JWP Tag Team Titles in this angle? In this match, Ran YuYu was heavily abused for most of the match until Aja got mad and cleaned house. It was a double count out at 17:21. There was also a random tag match with Kyoko Kimura, Shuu Shibutani, Tomoka Nakagawa & Misaki Ohata over Moeka Haruhi, Ayako Sato, Ayumi Kurihara & Bullfight Sora. It's the kind of light action you would expect. The end came when Kurihara was throwing Shibutani around with suplexes but Shibutani countered with a victory roll for the win at 13:06. So that's why Shibutani joined WAVE. So she could beat freelancers she shouldn't beat. The opener had GAMI win over their new rookie Kayo Fujimori with the Greco Roman eye poke at 11:28. How's that for a debut? Let's add this up. Three matches ended with rollup pins. One was a double countout and one with an eyepoke. What kind of booking is that?

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Hayseed Dixie

Artist:Hayseed Dixie
Song:Walk This Way
Album:A Hillbilly Tribute To Mountain Love

Hayseed Dixie is a bluegrass parody tribute band to heavy metal. They even invented a fictional history but they are in fact accomplished bluegrass veterans and have even created an alter ego band to open concerts for themselves. The singer guitarist behind this is John Wheeler. He learned to play guitar as a child and as a teen liked to cover rock songs, especially AC/DC. He started jamming with brothers Dale Reno and Don Wayne Reno and eventually bass player Jake Byers. They called themselves The Kerosene Brothers. When the concept of bluegrass covers of AC/DC songs seemed to have legs, they decided to create Hayseed Dixie and even created the story of finding AC/DC recordings in a burned out car in the Appalachians. Wheeler started calling himself Barley Scotch and Dale Reno called himself Enos Younger. Hayseed Dixie's debut was a tribute to AC/DC and in fact they opened for AC/DC on a show in Australia. This 2002 CD on Dualtone is their best seller to date and covers other hard rock songs like Aerosmith's Walk This Way, Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever and Joan Jett's I Love Rock & Roll. It's pretty funny stuff. They have also recorded as The Kerosene Brothers and they are usually the opening act for Hayseed Dixie. Hayseed Dixie's latest CD No Covers was released Feb. 2008 on the British Cooking Vinyl label and consists mostly of Wheeler originals. So it appears they might be trying to break away from the cover band label. Check out this video of Walk This Way by Hayseed Dixie.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Miracles

Artist:The Miracles
Song:Bad Girl
Album:The Doo Wop Box II

I am willing to bet that most Motown fans have never heard this very early and obscure song by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. If I played this for you without telling you who it is, you would never know. Bad Girl was actually released before Berry Gordy started Motown. Of course William "Smokey" Robinson (born Feb. 19, 1940 in Detroit) is a legend of popular music as a singer, songwriter and producer. In 1955, he started the doo wop group The Five Chimes with childhood pals Ronald White & Pete Moore. They changed their name to The Matadors and brought in cousins Emerson & Bobby Rogers. Emerson was drafted and was replaced by his sister and Robinson's future wife Claudette Rogers. They added guitarist Marv Tarplin in 1958. The Matadors auditioned for Jackie Wilson's manager. He thought they were too similar to The Platters but Berry Gordy liked them and became their manager. Gordy was writing songs for Wilson at the time and he and Robinson started writing together. Gordy thought the name The Matadors was too masculine so he changed it to The Miracles and Bad Girl was the first Robinson song to be released. They had a contract with End Records but Gordy licensed Bad Girl to Chess Records and though it charted on the singles chart at #93, Gordy would become dissatisfied with the return he was getting by licensing the music and this would lead to the start of Motown in 1959. Of course Robinson would have his first #1 hit in 1960 with Shop Around and was named vice president of Motown in 1961. But his vocal abilities shine through on Bad Girl and you can hear it on Rhino's 4CD Doo Wop Box II. Here's a video for Bad Girl by The Miracles.