Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Yes We Can lineup announced

Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato held a press conference to announce the full card for their one off Yes We Can show at Korakuen Hall Apr. 30. The is a special show for all the wrestlers who debuted in the mid-90s. I dunno. It just seems unnecessary to even bother with something like this. Yes We Can? Sure but why? They have foolishly chosen to run a tournament very similar to GAEA's High Spurt tournaments. All matches will have ten minute time limits and both wrestlers will be eliminated if there's a draw. There will be overtime in the semi finals and final. There will be 14 wrestlers in the tournament. I'm not a fan of these kind of tournaments though I suppose it will be easy to edit for TV. The math doesn't even add up. so one of the first round winners gets a bye to the semis. The first matches are Kayoko Haruyama vs Toshie Uematsu, Yoshiko Tamura vs Yuki Miyazaki, AKINO vs Ran YuYu, Sonoko Kato vs Meiko Satomura, Chikayo Nagashima vs Tsubasa Kuragaki (winner gets a bye to the semis), Azumi Hyuga vs Kei'to and Carlos Amano vs Tanny Mouse. I'm not going to speculate on the winner because the double elimination possibility makes that impossible. And there will be a draw or why have that as part of the tournament? The obvious wrestler missing from this show is Nanae Takahashi and certainly Megumi Yabushita should be in it too. The limited match length makes this unlikely to be satisfying especially since it's not part of a larger storyline. Unless Mayumi Ozaki plans to pull a rabbit out of her hat. Yes We Can seems pretty damn pointless.

More on Wrestlicious

There is a new video on this proposed women's wrestling TV show Wrestlicious. Their website is up but only the trailer is there. But there is more info about the show along with some baloney. The money mark...er..owner of the show is a 19 year old lottery winner named Anthony Vargas. That's him in the video as Wrestlicious owner JV Rich. What an imaginative name. But the real guy behind this is Johnny Cafarella. He worked for GLOW and was also one of the guys behind CRUSH. Remember they shot a pilot but never sold it and kept lying about it. So anything he says has to go through my BS detector. It seems that they shot a pilot last summer. They hired wrestlers to do the wrestling and actresses to do the skits. If that seems a little disjointed to you, that's because it is. The problem is that Cafarella is married to this concept when anyone with sense knows that he should ditch the skits. They could do some comedy without the stupid characters and the skits. But wasn't GLOW successful? That was 20 years ago and their success was very limited even then. And more recently WOW had to pay stations to get on the air and when they asked the stations to pay, they were finished.

So there's a rumour floating around that the Fox network is interested in the show. I don't think it's too lowbrow for Fox. Fox reality show head Mike Darnell has proven otherwise. But it's not in the best interest of the show to be on the network because they'll be under pressuire to produce ratings and they'll get cancelled if they don't deliver. The likely truth is they took the trailer to NATPE in January. Some Fox stations expressed interest. The problem is in order to get a syndicated show on the air, they have to sell it to 80% of the US markets. Some Fox stations isn't enough. Remember when Stereovision tried to revive WOW a few years ago and they made a big deal about selling the show to Clear Channel stations? Did you hear any more about that? No because they didn't sell it to enough stations to make air. That's the problem facing Wrestlicious. They have some interest from some stations and now they have to shoot a new pilot so they can sell the show to enough stations. They're still claiming they'll make air this fall. Time's a-wasting. Check out the video.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dusty Springfield

Artist:Dusty Springfield
Song:Son Of A Preacher Man

Dusty Springfield was one of the most popular and versatile singers of the 60s. Son Of A Preacher Man came late in her run but has proven to be one of her most memorable songs from one of her best albums. She was born Mary O'Brien Apr. 16, 1939 in London. Dusty was a childhood nickname. She grew up idolizing Peggy Lee and joined the girl group The Lana Sisters in 1958. They toured England and released a few singles but went nowhere. So she joined a folk group that her brother Dion had formed with Tim Feild. They called themselves The Springfields. Dion became Tom Springfield and Dusty O'Brien became Dusty Springfield. They had a top 20 hit in 1962 with Silver Threads And Golden Needles but Dusty felt she was limited by the group's folk roots and left in 1963. She signed with Philips Records and her first single I Only Want To Be With You was a big hit in England and the US. She had several hits over the next few years but by 1968, she was still popular in England but had declined in the US. Her love of soul music led her to sign with Atlantic Records in the US and she went to Memphis to record with legendary producer Jerry Wexler and accompanied by The Memphis Cats and The Sweet Inspirations. Son Of A Preacher Man was turned down by Aretha Franklin but she recorded it after hearing Dusty's version. It was a top ten hit and Dusty In Memphis is probably her best album. You can get this 3CD Anthology but Rhino released a Deluxe Edition of Dusty In Memphis in 1999 with several bonus tracks. Son Of A Preacher Man has proven to be a very durable song. Many artists have covered it, most recently British teenage soul singer Joss Stone. Dusty recorded a couple more albums for Atlantic but by 1972, things weren't going well and she left for ABC Dunhill. She continued her decline until she was dropped by Philips in 1979. Her appearance with The Pet Shop Boys revived her career in the 80s but then she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994. Dusty Springfield continued to perform unti her death on Mar. 2, 1999 at age 59. Here's Dusty Springfield performing Son Of A Preacher Man at Royal Albert Hall in 1979.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Kate Martinez excited about going to Japan

I now have a pic of Kate Martinez so I thought you all would like to see what she looks like. A quick correction from yesterday. It seems that Kate's one MMA fight was amateur though Sherdog has it listed as pro. It doesn't look like VALKYRIE said anything about that at the press conference and the media assumed it was a pro fight. It doesn't matter. This is VALKYRIE's attempt to put over an inexperienced fighter who has no business being in a match with Yuka Tsuji. It's not the first time and won't be the last time a Japanese promotion has done this. SMACKGIRL used to do it all the time. Remember Thricia Poovey? They're trying to say that Kate's kickboxing experierience makes her a good opponent for Tsuji. Uh, right. Kate says on her blog that she's a Japanophile so she can't wait to go and eat real sushi. It's great for her. Other than the fight, it's a paid holiday. If she wins, it's a huge upset. And though Kate has to be positive, she knows her chances aren't very good. My only advice to her is don't talk trash before the match. I recall when Aussie kickboxer Serin Murray talked trash about Megumi Fujii and had her ankle broken in 20 seconds. You can watch it on Youtube.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dizzy Gillespie

Artist:Dizzy Gillespie
Song:Night In Tunisia
Album:Greatest Hits

Of course trumpeter John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie is one of the all time greats of jazz and one of the inventors of bebop. I've featured Dizzy's Verve recordings from the 50s but this comp is a good intro to his RCA big band recordings of the late 40s. 1945 was the breakthrough year for Dizzy Gillespie and that's when most folks first heard jazz classics like Salt Peanuts & Night In Tunisia. Dizzy went to Cuba and brought back many Cuban musical styles to integrate into his bebop style. He also brought percussionist Chano Pozo with him. By 1947, the Big Band Era is dead and major record companies are trying to figure out what to do next. RCA had a lot of success with Glenn Miller and the Dorseys. So they approached Dizzy about putting together a big band. Dizzy was smart enough to take their money and he put together a Cubana Bebop big band. Of course Pozo was a big part of the band along with young musicians like Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Ray Brown, Kenny Clarke, James Moody & John Coltrane. Pozo was murdered in 1948 so he's only on a few of the recordings. Of course the bebop fad was over by 1950 and it wasn't long after that Dizzy signed with Verve. This Greatest Hits comp is a perfect intro to the RCA recordings for newcomers. And as I said, these are different from Dizzy's Verve recordings so there won't be any duplication. RCA has released this exact comp in 1998 as part of their Planet Jazz series. The only thing different is the cover. And you can get all of Dizzy's big band recordings on the 2CD comp The Complete RCA Victor Recordings 1947-49. Regardless, these are essential to anyone interested in jazz. Here's Dizzy Gillespie performing Night In Tunisia with an all star band in the 80s including dueling trumpets with Jon "Dizzy Jr." Faddis. The tenor sax solo is by Frank Foster.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

RIP Maurice Jarre

Three time Oscar winning composer Maurice Jarre died yesterday at age 84. He is probably best known for his scores for Lawrence Of Arabia & Doctor Zhivago. He was born Sept. 13, 1924 in Lyon, France. After studying engineering at Sorbonne, he decided to study music composition at Conservatoire de Paris. His first score was for the 1951 short film Hotel des Invalides. He continued to score short films in the 50s. His score for the acclaimed 1962 film Sundays and Cybele got the attention of producer Sam Spiegel and he was asked to score the 1962 David Lean classic Lawrence Of Arabia. Jarre won an Academy Award and he never looked back. Obviously he became a Lean favourite because his score for the 1966 film Doctor Zhivago not only won an Oscar but topped the album charts. He also scored Lean's Ryan's Daughter and won a third Oscar for the 1984 film A Passage To India. He was also Oscar nominated for Witness, Gorillas In The Mist & Ghost. Jarre is best known for his orchestral scores but he started to favour electronics in the 80s. He started to slow down when he turned 70 in 1994 but he worked occasionally until he retired in 2001. His final score was for the 2001 Jon Avnet TV movie Uprising. His eldest son Jean-Michele Jarre is also a composer specializing in electronic music and his youngest son Kevin Jarre is the screenwriter of the films Tombstone & Glory. Here's Maurice Jarre conducting the Royal Philharmonic performance of the theme from Lawrence Of Arabia. RIP Maurice Jarre.

VALKYRIE to award Featherweight Title at Apr. 25 show

VALKYRIE held a press conference today to announce that the VALKYRIE Featherweight Championship will be awarded at their Apr. 25 Differ Ariake show. They will also hold a tournament to determine the number one challenger for the title. Obviously the title match and the likely champ will be former SMACKGIRL Lightweight Champ Yuka Tsuji. Of course Tsuji is considered one of the top female fighters in Japan. Her record is 21-1 and most recently won over V1 at the first VALKYRIE show. Her opponent is...drum roll...US fighter Kate Martinez. I never heard of her either. She's an IKF kickboxing champ but inexperienced  at MMA. She trains at the Royce Gracie gym in Colorado and her only match was a win over Sharya Hefner at the Dec. 1, 2007 Ring Of Fire show in Bloomfield, CO. Certainly I would prefer someone more experienced in a championship match. The four fighters in the tournament drew lots to determine the matchups. The first match is Emi Fujino vs V1. Her record is 8-2 and most recently lost a tough match to WINDY Tomomi at the first VALKYRIE show. She also won a split decision over V1 on the Dec. 26, 2007 SMACKGIRL show. V1's record is 3-2 and she lost to Tsuji at the first VALKYRIE show. The second match is hard hitting WINDY Tomomi vs Kyoko Takabayashi. Tomomi's record is 12-9 and most recently lost to Rin Nakai on the Dec. 7 Pancrase show. Takabayashi is 8-3 and most recently lost to Ana Michele Taveras at the Feb. 14, 2008 SMACKGIRL show. I didn't see anything about when the final of this tournament will be but I don't expect any of them to beat Tsuji. Expect more matches to be announced shortly.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Derailers

Artist:The Derailers
Song:Just One More Time
Album:Reverb Deluxe

The Derailers are an excellent alt-country band and have been a big part of the Austin, TX music scene for a decade. The 1997 CD Reverb Deluxe was their first major label release and Just One More Time was their first single. The group was started by vocalist/rhythm guitarist Tony Villenueva and lead guitarist Brian Hofeldt. The Oregon natives moved to Austin and got together with bassist Vic Gerrard Ziolkowski and drummer Terry Kirkendall and started playing clubs in Austin. In 1995 they signed with Heinz Geissler's Watermelon Records. This led to major label distribution with Sire Records. Reverb Deluxe was their first CD under that deal and was produced by Dave Alvin of The Blasters. Hofeldt & Villenueva wrote most of the songs. The Derailers have acknowledged Buck Owens as their major influence and they are clearly in the honky tonk band tradition. They've had some chart success but haven't really broken through in the mainstream country market. New bassist Ed Adkins and drummer Scott Matthews were brought in. They signed with Sony's Lucky Dog label and Nashville producer Kyle Lehning (Randy Travis) was brought in to give them a slicker sound. That was unsuccessful and after the 2003 CD Genuine, Tony Villenueva left to become a pastor. Hofeldt became lead singer and steel guitarist Chris Scholtzhauer and pianist Sweet Basil McJagger were brought in. The Derailers have returned to their Austin honky tonk roots and currently record for the Austin based indy label Palo Duro and worked with veteran country music producer Buzz Cason. Their latest CD Guaranteed To Satisfy was released in Aug. 2008. They also did a Buck Owens tribute CD in 2007. The Derailers continue to have a strong following with alt-country fans but it appears that mainstream success in the country market is unlikely. Here are The Derailers performing Just One More Time on Conan O'Brien Feb. 1998.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

JWP wastes time in Osaka

JWP had a show in Osaka  on Mar. 20 at the Osaka World Hall. They only drew 148 fans so it makes me wonder why they even bothered. Dojo shows are cheaper to run. Nothing much to the show. They're still setting up Haruyama vs Hyuga. The main event had Hyuga teaming with Ran YuYu & Yumi Ohka against Haruyama, Commando Bolshoi & Kaori Yoneyama. Ohka was there because WAVE was also in Osaka so I guess they were sharing costs. Ohka took a pounding early in the match and then Ran tagged in and had a lengthy segment with Bolshoi. Hyuga tags in and then Haruyama tags in for the inevitable confrontation. Not much to it and then Ohka tags in and Haruyama tosses her around with power moves. Hyuga nails Yoneyama with a missile dropkick and a couple of suplexes. But Haruyama breaks it up and they do a double team face buster on Ran while Yoneyama hits Hyuga with a senton. Yoneyama goes to the top but gets caught by Hyuga & Ohka. Haruyama tries to break it up but Hyuga & Ran nail Yoneyama with high knees followed by Hyuga's knee to the back of her head. Hyuga wins with the Michinoku Driver II at 19:09. So Hyuga gets this round. Other matches had Tsubasa Kuragaki & Tojuki Leon over KAZUKI & Kei'to when Leo used a capture buster on KAZUKI at 15:41, Toshie Uematsu over Megumi Yabushita with the Solarina at 11:33, Ranmaru over Sachie Abe with a small package at 6:24 and Ayako Sato & Hanako Kobayashi over Arisa Nakajima & Pinkie Mayuca when Kobayashi used a fisherman suplex on Mayuca at 14:47.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Joe Williams

Artist:Joe Williams
Song:Hallelujah I Love Her So
Album:Presenting Joe Williams and The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra

Joe Williams is one of the all time great jazz singers. He had the daunting task of replacing Jimmy Rushing in the Count Basie band and exceeded all expectations and went on to a long and distinguished career. He was born Joseph Goreed Dec. 12, 1918 in Cordele, GA and grew up in Chicago. His mom taught him piano, took him to concerts and church and as a teen had his own gospel group called The Jubillee Boys. He got his start in the late 30s singing with Jimmie Noone's band, Les Hite's band and he also sang with Coleman Hawkins and Lionel Hampton. Williams made his recording debut in the mid-40s with Andy Kirk & His Clouds Of Joy. His big break came in 1954 when he replaced Jimmy Rushing in Count Basie's band. Williams' recording of Every Day I Have The Blues reached #2 on the R & B charts in 1955. He made his solo recording debut in 1956 and left Basie in 1961. Over the years Williams worked with all the jazz greats. This 1966 album on the Solid State label teams Williams with the tremendous big band of Thad Jones & Mel Lewis. Blue Note released it on CD in 1994. It's a great album and worth checking out. The 70s were a bit dry for Williams but he boomed back in the 80s and won a Grammy for his 1984 album Nothin' But The Blues. He also had a recurring role as Grandpa Al on the 80s sitcom The Cosby Show. Of course Bill Cosby is a huge jazz fan. Joe Williams recorded for Verve & Telarc until his death on Mar. 29, 1999 at age 80s. Most jazz fans should be familiar with Joe Williams' sophisticated vocal style but for those who aren't, here's Joe Williams with the SS Norway Big Band performing his signiture song Every Day I Have The Blues in the mid-80s.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fuuka in Korean train wreck

It came to my attention that there was a big show in Seoul, South Korea the other day and a couple of joshi wrestlers were involved. The show was promoted by the New Korea Professional Wrestling Association (NKPWA) on Mar. 21 and Jimmy Suzuki arranged for some Japanese wrestlers to appear on the show. It's no big deal except that I know that they usually broadcast these shows live in Korea so I figured the women's match on the show would already be on Youtube...and so it is. The big deal in this match is the pro wrestling debut of Korean Ji-Hye Kim. Fuuka and KAZUKI went and it was a three way elimination match. Rossy Ogawa went too. By their very nature, three way matches tend to be terrible anyway and it's a real mistake to put a debuting wrestler in one. As you can tell by the pic I have posted of Kim, she's an idol style wrestler and she stands around a lot. So does Fuuka and I would imagine the three didn't have much time to practice together. KAZUKI isn't someone I would ask to be the ring general in something like this. Kim eliminates KAZUKI with an ugly looking Swanton. Then the ending of the match was completely botched by both wrestlers but Kim really seems clueless. The funniest part is the fans booing when Fuuka & KAZUKI were double teaming Kim. When was the last time Fuuka was booed? Enjoy the match.

NEO creates High Speed Championship

NEO President Tetsuya Koda announced on the NEO blog that he is creating a new championship called the High Speed Championship. I guess the best description is that it's a title for spot monkeys. The title will be awarded on the May 5 Korakuen Hall show. The match will be between Natsuki*Taiyo & Ray (pictured). Not only do those two qualify as spot monkeys but they are very familiar with each other from their days at Gtkn. So what's this about anyway? Well, it's Koda's knee jerk reaction to criticism of the state of joshi puroresu. He recently participated in an article in Kamipro (print version only) about the state of puroresu. Apparently TAJIRI was very critical of the joshi business. One of the things they talked about was how the TNA X Division created a lot of interest in junior heavyweights and high flyers in general in the US and how the Japanese wrestling business needs to inject that kind of excitement again. This is Koda's reaction to that. It's an attempt to inject an X Division style into joshi and to regain some of the excitement of the mid-90s heyday of joshi. He specifically mentioned a 1994 match between Manami Toyota & Kyoko Inoue as his inspiration. Of course part of the problem is no one on the NEO roster is a spot monkey. Koda said he tried to get Tojuki Leon for the championship match (she is on the Apr. 5 High Speed Starting Gate tag team match but that doesn't have anything to do with the title match) but JWP owner Commando Bolshoi turned him down. Like a lot of ideas i see in the joshi business these days, this seems awfully desperate and is unlikely to help much.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Al Kooper

Artist:Al Kooper
Song:Season Of The Witch
Album:Rare + Well Done: The Greatest & Most Obscure Recordings

Al Kooper should be more famous than he is. He's been in several successful bands, had some success as a solo artist and has produced many bands. Of course a lot of this was a long time ago and then Kooper quit the music business in the 80s. He was born Alan Peter Kuperschmidt Feb. 5, 1944 in Brooklyn, NY. A lot of Jewish immigrants shortened their names. I ought to know. Remember Short Shorts by The Royal Teens? 14 year old Al Kooper was the guitarist. Then he wrote the hit This Diamond Ring for Gary Lewis & The Playboys. He played Hammond organ with Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. That was the famous concert where Dylan got booed for going electric and Kooper played organ on Like A Rolling Stone. He also had some success with Blues Project and of course he also started Blood, Sweat & Tears. That didn't turn out too well and Kooper took a house production job at Columbia. Kooper had his biggest success as a solo artist with a couple of albums he recorded with guitarist Mike Bloomfield. Season Of The Witch is from the 1968 album Super Session. Stephen Stills was brought in when Bloomfield's heroin addiction got the best of him and he disappeared in the middle of the nine hour session. Electric Flag keyboard player Barry Goldberg & bassist Harvey Brooks along with session drummer Eddie Hoh also appear. The album was a big hit and went gold. This 2CD comp is a good intro to Kooper's music. Kooper also produced The Zombies hit Time Of The Season at Columbia. He moved to MCA in the early 70s and discovered and produced Lynyrd Skynyrd. Kooper continued to record solo albums through the 70s but never had that much success. He quit the music business in the 80s but returned in the 90s with a live album called Soul Of A Man. It's sort of a reunion album and this video performance of Somethin' Goin' On is from that concert. It's a Blood, Sweat & Tears song. Kooper's latest CD White Chocolate was released in Oct. 2008. This just scratches the surface. Al Kooper has played on hundreds of sessions but the average music fan probably doesn't know about him. Here's Al Kooper performing Somethin' Goin' On in New York 1994.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Get ready for GLOW revisited

For those of you who fondly remember the 80s women's wrestling show GLOW, here's a trailer for Jimmy Hart's upcoming series called Wrestlicious. It will seem like a bad flashback for the rest of us. But the good news is that idiot David McLane isn't involved. The bad news is Hart seems to be using the same stale gimmicks. The one name you will recognize is Lacey Von Erich. Of course she is the daughter of the late Kerry Von Erich. She was in WWE developmental for a while but reports indicate that she didn't pick up wrestling very well and was released. She has been training at Booker T's school in Houston. She's more model than wrestler. They've obviously shot a pilot and claim that they will debut in the fall but syndication of this kind of show is very difficult to sell today. Their website isn't up yet but I would like to know how many markets have been sold. It looks like the kind of show that will turn up at 3AM on regional sports networks. The concept seems very dated to me so I don't expect it to be successful. Check out the trailer.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Sonny Simmons

Artist:Sonny Simmons
Song:The Other East
Album:Ancient Ritual

The 1994 CD Ancient Ritual was a big comeback for 1960s avant garde alto sax player Sonny Simmons after disappearing for a couple of decades. He was born Aug. 4, 1933 in Sicily Island, LA. but grew up in Oakland, CA. He took up alto sax at age 16 and got started playing in bands led by R & B singers Lowell Fulsom & Amos Milburn. He toured with Charles Mingus in 1961 and then formed a band with flutist Prince Lasha. 1n 1965, he married trumpeter Barbara Donald and they recorded several experimental jazz LPs for ESP Records. But by the mid-70s, Simmons marriage ended and he dropped out of the music business. Supposedly he was even playing in the streets of Oakland. He rarely recorded so he wasn't able to make a complete comeback until signing with Quincy Jones' Qwest label. The excellent Ancient Ritual was the result and it features his son Zarak Simmons on drums and Charnett Moffett on bass. Even mainstream jazz fans who normally wouldn't like Simmons will enjoy this. In 1996, he got together with reed player Michael Marcus for the 1996 CD Transcendence. Marcus plays a lot of different reed instruments a la Rahsaan Roland Kirk. The two formed the group The Cosmosamatics in 2000 and have recorded several free jazz CDs for Boxholder Records. Sonny Simmons continues to tour and record today. His latest CD is a duet with pianist Bobby Few called True Wind on his own Hello World label. Sonny Simmons continues to experiment with the boundaries of jazz at age 75. When I featured Simmons a couple of years ago, there was no video footage online. I am featuring him again because now there is video footage. Here's Sonny Simmons performing in 2005.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nicdali Calanic to Japan to face MIKU

DEEP announced today that US fighter Nicdali Calanic (pictured) will face DEEP Women's Lightweight Champ MIKU on their Apr. 16 Korakuen Hall show. It will be a non-title fight. The fight is contracted for 52kg. MIKU normally fights at 48kg and Nicdali normally fights at 56kg so they've decided to split the difference. MIKU said she doesn't care about the weight difference. MIKU's record is 19-4 and her most recent win was over Hikaru Shinohara at the Dec. 22 DEEP show. She is on a nine fight winning streak. Her recent participation in Shoot Boxing has led to rumours that she plans to leave MMA. This will be Nicdali's first trip to Japan. She was recommended by Lethal Lana Stefanac. The 23 year old's record is 5-2. Her most recent win was over Shawn Tamarabuchi at the Aug. 23 FCF show in Shawnee, OK. A lot of fans may recall seeing her beat Jen Babcock in 30 seconds on Bodog a couple of years ago. It should be interesting to see if the weight difference matters but MIKU has proven to be very tough. I don't think she plans on losing.

Iman Achhal wins her pro MMA debut

Here's another fight video for you. It is Iman "Manny" Achhal vs Felice Herrig in Ultimate Warrior Challenge Feb. 21 in Virginia. Both fighters were making their pro debuts. Felice Herrig is well known as a championship calibre kickboxer. You may recall that I posted a video of Iman Achhal. She's from Morocco and I guess it could be said that she's living the American Dream. Her training is in jiu jitsu. So obviously Iman's strategy is not to get knocked out because Felice certainly has the power to do that. So Iman immediately goes for the clinch at the start of round one. She doesn't do much with it but Felice doesn't do anything to escape and got chewed out by trainer Alex Trujillo between rounds. Of course the ref could have forced Iman to do more but he didn't and she narrowly won round one. Felice came back in round two and scored with some punches and Iman was bruised under the eye. Felice still had problems with the clinch but did better and won round two. Round three was also close but Iman scored with two takedowns and followed them up enough to win a split decision. Felice didn't do enough to get the win and obviously needs to work on her ground defense. Iman's strategy was effective and anyone facing Felice should do the same thing until it doesn't work anymore. Felice has a fight on Apr. 10 against an opponent TBA for the XFO. She has potential and was the pre-fight favourite but she needs to do more to win. Enjoy the fight!


Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Willows

Artist:The Willows
Song:Church Bells May Ring
Album:The Doo Wop Box

Church Bells May Ring was a #11 R & B hit in 1956. It should have been a pop hit too but was eclipsed by The Diamonds cover version. Though Tony Middleton was lead singer of the group, he wasn't an original member. They began as The Dovers at 115th & Lenox in Harlem in 1952. The group was started by twin brothers Ralph (2nd tenor) & Joe (baritone) Martin along with Bobby Robinson, Richie Davis (1st tenor) & Freddie Donovan (bass). One day they were singing out on the stoop and along came aspiring boxer Tony Middleton. They invited him to join and Robinson left and opened a record store. They changed the name to The Five Willows. They recorded some singles but didn't get anywhere until Middleton met Morty Craft in 1955. He took them into the studio and Church Bells May Ring reached #11 on the R & B charts in 1956. Middleton wrote the song but Craft was notorious for his shady dealings. He took a songwriting credit and then sabotaged The Willows version by licensing the song to Mercury so The Diamonds could record it. They successfully sued Craft for royalties. The Willows continued to record unsuccessfully and split up in 1961. But you can get Church Bells May Ring on Rhino's 4CD Doo Wop Box. Tony Middleton has recorded occasionally but has had a significant career on Broadway especially in the 70s musical Purlie. Along with Richie Davis, he continues to lead The Willows on the oldies circuit. Here are The Willows performing Church Bells May Ring on the PBS Doo Wop Love Songs special.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two more Gina Carano interviews

Here are two more video interviews with Gina Carano. The first one is with Steve Cofield of Yahoo Sports & ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas. He's mostly joking around with Gina especially when he finds that she is wearing the same skirt that she wore during the infamous Tonya Evinger incident. Then he starts to needle her about her love life. Cofield always does this with Gina and he may come across as a bit of a perv to the uninitiated. The second interview is with Loretta Hunt of Sherdog. It's shorter but Gina does tell Loretta that she plans to return to the cage in August. And though she says she wants to fight Cristiane Cyborg at that time, Strikeforce may have other ideas to save that match for the first CBS show in the fall. She also told Loretta that she did speak to Zuffa owner Lorenzo Firtata and Dana White before her contract was picked up by Strikeforce. As I said yesterday, the contract details are being negotiated and I expect Gina to sign in the near future. Enjoy the videos.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Red Garland Quintet

Artist:The Red Garland Quintet
Song:Our Delight
Album:All Mornin' Long

Pianist William "Red" Garland probably isn't as well known as other jazz pianists but he was an integral figure in the development of 50s bop and his playing style was influential on pianists of the 60s. He was born May 13, 1923 in Dallas. He studied clarinet as a child but switched to piano in 1940. He was a welterweight boxer for a short time which included a fight against Sugar Ray Robinson. Garland moved to New York in the late 40s and met John Coltrane when both worked for Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. He played sessions until he joined the Miles Davis Quintet in 1955 along with Coltrane, Paul Chambers & Philly Joe Jones. Davis was a huge boxing fan and no doubt that attracted him to Garland. He played on Davis' classic Prestige albums including Workin', Steamin', Cookin' & Relaxin' and also played on the classic 'Round About Midnight. This also earned Garland a recording contract with Prestige and he made his debut as a leader in 1956. All Mornin' Long was recorded in 1957 and features John Coltrane on sax, Donald Byrd on trumpet, George Joyner on bass and Art Taylor on drums. Davis fired Garland in 1958 for erratic behaviour. He wasn't showing up for gigs. Garland recorded for Prestige until 1962 and quit the music business and returned to Texas to take care of his sick mother. He returned to recording in the 70s with Galaxy Records and retired again until his death on Apr. 23, 1984 at age 60. Here's a video tribute to Red Garland.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gina Carano speaks

MMA superstar Gina Carano was in California over the weekend signing autographs and doing some Make A Wish stuff. MMA Weekly did a video interview with her. The first half of the interview is mostly small talk but she does address the subject of Cristiane Cyborg. Of course we all know that money is the reason Gina hasn't signed with Strikeforce. Obviously she doesn't talk about that. Sam Caplan of Five Ounces Of Pain suggested yesterday that Gina Carano is worth $100K per fight for Strikeforce. After all, guys who aren't worth as much as Gina have got that much money. There's no question that Gina was grossly underpaid in EliteXC but she isn't worth $100K yet. Strikeforce paying any fighter that kind of money is fiscally irresponsible and would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That kind of nonsense is one of the things that killed EliteXC. And I should point out that Strikeforce hasn't signed Kimbo Slice either. And they may not sign him as he's making noise about switching to boxing. Of course Gina Carano should get a significant pay hike. But it's going to take time to come to an agreeable figure. Fans need to relax and be patient. Enjoy the interview!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The William Murphy Project

Artist:The William Murphy Project
Song:Ignite My Fire
Album:All Day

William H. Murphy III is a third generation preacher from Pontiac, MI. So how did he get an album on Sony Urban Music? As I said, his grandfather and father have been well known in Detroit for decades. William III followed in their footsteps. But he was always interested in writing and performing music. He was a member of a gospel group called The Nation. That group was produced by Michael Brooks and released an album on A & M Records in 1997. He moved to Atlanta in 2001 to become Minister Of Worship at Bishop Eddie L. Long's New Birth Cathedral. This is one of the biggest churches in the US and the choir even recorded an album. What got Murphy a lot of attention was when he appeared on the 2004 Shekinah Glory Ministry CD Live. Remember Praise Is What I Do? That's was William H. Murphy III singing and he wrote it too. It seems that song also got the attention of producer Warryn "Babydub" Campbell and he has a deal with Sony. He brought in producer PJ Morton and All Day was recorded live and the CD & DVD was released on Sony Urban Music in Aug. 2005. I'm not sure but I think PJ Morton is the son of the well known New Orleans preacher/singer Bishop Paul S. Morton. It appears that this album was originally supposed to be on EMI Gospel under Long's deal with them but there may have been some sort of split between Long & Murphy. Murphy is a very powerful performer and I do recommend his music. William H. Murphy III now leads his own dReam Center Church in Atlanta and released his CD The Sound on his own label in May 2007. Here's William H. Murphy III performing Ignite The Fire from the All Day DVD. This video is not on Youtube.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bolshoi running yet another tag team tournament

JWP is running yet another #1 contender tournament to find a contender for Yumiko Hotta & Kei'to's JWP/Daily Sports Tag Teame Titles. Semi final matches were on the Mar. 8 Kitasenju Theater 1010 show. Didn't Commando Bolshoi run a similar tournament a couple of months ago? Well, that's the problem. Boslshoi needs to come up with fresh ideas. In this case, because the heat is between Hotta & Bolshoi, they should have focused on that. Bolshoi and her partner Megumi Yabusahita faced GAMI & Yumi Ohka in one semi final. It was a nice polite match and they even got GAMI to take it easy with the comedy. A lot of the match featured Ohka & Yabushita but Bolshoi got the pin on GAMI with a rollup at 19:48. The other semi final had Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu vs Kaori Yoneyama & Sakura Emi. It was very similar. Yoneyama & Emi hit moonsaults on Ran follwed by a Yoneyama senton. But Uematsu hit a missile dropkick on Yoneyama and Ran won over Yoneyama with a rollup at 14:43. The winning teams had a staredown afterwards. Of course the leadup to Haruyama/Hyuga continued when Kyoko Haruyama & Arisa Nakajima won over Azumi Hyuga & Tojuki Leon. Nakajima distracted Hyuga and Haruyama won over Hyuga with a lariat at 16:24. It's standard JWP booking. Kei'to won over Chiharo Oikawa with a shining wizard at 8:00 and Tsubasa Kuragaki was on the losing side in her return from a broken leg. Sachie Abe & KAZUKI won over Kuragaki & Pinkie Mayuca when KAZUKI used a Manhattan Drop on Mayuca at 13:04. I guess the problem was Hotta wasn't on this show so Bolshoi had to work around that.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Joni Mitchell

Artist:Joni Mitchell
Song:Furry Sings The Blues

As Joni Mitchell's career progressed into the 70s, she turned away from her folk roots and more towards a jazz style. This resulted in her 1974 album Court & Spark being her most popular album to date and spawning the hits Raised On Robbery & Help Me. The jazz flavour was added by sax player Tom Scott along with guest shots from Joe Sample & Wilton Felder of The Crusaders. She took Scott on tour with her and recorded the live album Miles Of Aisles. Jazz sax legend Wayne Shorter joined during the tour. She continued this experimentation on the 1975 album The Hissing Of Summer Lawns. That album also reached the top ten. Joni wrote most of the songs on her 1976 album Hejira while driving from Maine to California. Furry Sings The Blues was inspired by her encounter with legendary bluesman Furry Lewis in New Orleans. Neil Young plays harmonica on the song which also features guitarist Larry Carlton and bassist Max Bennett. Weather Report bassist Jaco Pastorius worked on several other songs. Hejira didn't sell as well as her previous albums but today it's now considered a classic. Joni would continue this direction and even worked with Charles Mingus on her 1979 album Mingus. Of course Joni Mitchell is now a legend of popular music. She announced her retirement from music in 2002 but changed her mind and released the CD Shine in Sept. 2007 on the Starbucks owned Hear Music label. Here's Joni Mitchell performing Furry Sings The Blues with guitarist Pat Metheny and drummer Don Alias from the Shadows And Light DVD.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Watch Ayumi Kurihara get whupped

I was just writing about this the other day and I certainly wasn't expecting to see this on Youtube. But here it is in three parts for your viewing pleasure. It's Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto defending the NEO Tag Team Titles against Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara from the Mar. 8 NEO Korakuen Hall show. I don't know if it's her first blading but Kurihara really gets a whupping in this match. So I should warn anyone who is squeamish about a cute girl like Ayumi with the proverbial crimson mask that this ain't for you. I think it's part of the business so it doesn't bother me but I know some guys don't like to see it. In this particular case, I think the blood and the beating of Kurihara adds a lot of drama to the match and it definitely puts over Revolution Amandora as nasty heels. Kimura in particular has really come into her own as a heel at a time when a lot of joshi wrestlers don't want to be heels because they think it will hurt their merch sales. So here's something a little special on the old blog for all the loyal joshi fans. Enjoy!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Scott Henderson

Artist:Scott Henderson f/Thelma Houston
Song:Meter Maid
Album:Tore Down House

Guitarist Scott Henderson is best known for his work with the 90s jazz fusion group Tribal Tech. He started recording as a solo artist in the mid 90s so when the group split in 2000, he was already established. He was born Aug, 26, 1954 in West Palm Beach, FL. After graduating from Florida Atlantic University, he moved to Los Angeles and toured with Jean-Luc Ponty, Jeff Berlin, Joe Zawinul and was the first guitarist in the Chick Corea Elektric Band. He formed Tribal Tech in 1984 with bassist Gary Willis, keyboard player Scott Kinsey and drummer Kirk Covington. While continuing to tour with Tribal Tech, Henderson signed a solo contract with Mesa Records. His solo CDs are more blues oriented than Tribal Tech and as opposed to the instrumental nature of Henderson's usual music, the 1997 CD Tore Down House mostly features vocals by Thelma Houston. Thelma is known mostly for her 70s hit Don't Leave Me This Way. She sounds as good on this as I've ever heard her so the album is recommended to her fans. Tribal Tech's Scott Kinsey produced the album and he and Kirk Covington are on it along with veteran session bassist Dave Carpenter and harmonica player Pat O'Brien. Tore Down House sounds great and I would recommend it as a hidden gem. Scott Henderson's most recent CD Live was released on Tone Center Records in 2005. He also teaches at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles and has released a couple of instructional DVDs. Here's Scott Henderson performing Meter Maid at the Musik Theater Rex Lorsch in Germany May 20, 2008.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Ben Webster

Artist:Ben Webster
Song:My Funny Valentine
Album:Ben Webster For Lovers

Tenor sax great Ben Webster was known for his very warm tone on ballads. He became famous with Duke Ellington's band in the 40s and was very successful as a solo artist in the 50s. He was born Mar. 27, 1909 in Kansas City, MO and learned piano from Pete Johnson and sax from Budd Johnson. He made some noise with Bennie Moten's band in 1932 and worked for various bands until he joined Ellington's band in 1940. Webster was a major soloist and played on some of Ellington's greatest recordings. Webster left in 1943 after an argument with Ellington and Webster cut up one of his suits. Webster's nickname was The Brute. He moved to New York and in the 50s became a regular on Norman Granz' Jazz At The Philharmonic series. This For Lovers comp is probably a good intro to Webster's 50s recordings. My Funny Valentine is from Webster's 1954 album Sophisticated Lady. He's accompanied by strings arranged by Ralph Burns. Musicians are Tony Scott & Jimmy Hamilton on clarinet, Teddy Wilson & Billy Strayhorn on piano, George Duvivier on bass and Louis Bellson on drums. Like a lot of older jazz musicians, Webster realized that his music had a more receptive audience in Europe so he moved to Copenhagen in 1964. He continued to work steadily in Europe until his death on Sept. 30, 1973 at age 64. I guess he didn't like the new jazz too much because he never changed his playing style. His tone was always very lush and romantic. Here's Ben Webster performing How Long Has This Been Going On with Kenny Drew, Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen & Alex Riel in Denmark 1967.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is NEO spreading itself too thin?

Nanae Takahashi defended her NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Yuki Miyazaki at NEO's Mar. 8 Korakuen Hall show. Of course it was overshadowed by Haruka Matsuo's surprise retirement announcement. It doesn't help that no one believes that Miyazaki could ever win. Playing it straight for one match doesn't erase ten years of bad comedy. Miyazaki got the upper hand when she pounded Takahashi outside the ring. But the turning point came when Miyazaki's moonsault was foiled by Takahashi's knees. Takahashi hit a couple of lariats for the win at 21:06. Yoshiko Tamura will challenge for the title on May 5. Kyoko Inoue won over Hiroyo Matsumoto with the cyclone clutch at 16:24. Fuuka & Ray won over Kana & Natsuki*Taiyo when Ray used a hurricanrana on Natsuki at 11:41.

The other title match on the show had Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto defending the NEO Tag Team Titles against Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara. When I look at the pics of this match, I wonder when Tamura became so ineffectual. Kurihara really took a pounding. I know what NEO is setting up though I don't expect it to be as effective as they think but it makes me wonder what happened to Tamura. The match begins with Tomoka Nakagawa distracting Tamura & Kurihara and that gave Kimura & Emoto control. They concentrated on isolating Kurihara with heel tactics. Beating up a cute girl is a sure way to get heel heat. They wind up outside the ring Kurihara comes off the top rope. While Emoto slams Tamura into the arena wall, Kimura busts Kurihara open with a sharp piece of wood. Kimura continues to grind away at Kurihara and even bites her in the forehead. Tamura finally gets a bit of revenge but isn't all that effective. Just when it looks like Tamura & Kurihara are turning the tables, Nakagawa slams them both with a chair. Kimura nails Kurihara with the Big Boots but Tamura breaks up the pin. Emoto finishes her with the Bay Crash at 22:14. For May 5, NEO plans to bring in Mima Shimoda and reunite LCO to challenge for the titles. Been there, done that.

Haruka Matsuo's match on this show was a 15 minute draw against Yumi Ohka. So here's someone who doesn't even get wins in her home fed and Matsuo isn't allowed to beat her on a NEO show. It was a back and forth affair and neither of rhem came close to winning. It's pretty clear that NEO backstage wrangling is the primary reason for Matsuo's retirement. A match like this was a microcosm of her situation. Other matches had Etsuko Mita over Tomoka Nakagawa with the death valley bomb at 6:23, Aya Yuki, Hikari Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto over Sakura Emi, Toshie Uematsu & Hamuko Hoshi when Yuki used a German suplex on Hoshi at 9:57 and Tanny Mouse over Aoi Kizuki with the European clutch at 5:01. Fans have been wondering why so many Ice Ribbon wrestlers are appearing on NEO shows. NEO is running a lot of shows to the point where it looks like they're spreading themselves too thin. The weirdest is the two out of town shows they're running on Mar. 29. They need two rosters for those so they will use several Ice Ribbon wrestlers. They also have a busy Golden Week coming up and they announced their annual Hokkaido tour. That's why the Genki & Matsuo retirements are a problem because it forces NEO to depend on too many outside wrestlers. I'd like to see them cut back on their schedule but I don't see Koda doing that.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Teitur

Song:Sleeping With The Lights On
Album:Poetry & Aeroplanes

Danish singer songwriter Teitur Lassen probably shouldn't have been on a major label in the first place. When Universal Music was disappointed with his 2002 debut Poetry & Aeroplanes, he left and started his own label. He was born 1977 in the Faroe Islands which are in the North Atlantic. They are a province of Denmark. He moved with his family to Copenhagen at age 17 and got the attention of former BMI executive Christian Ulf-Hansen who became his manager. Teitur was working as a fulltime songwriter before signing with Universal and releasing Poetry & Aeroplanes in 2003. It was produced by veteran British producer Rupert Hine. Teitur toured aggressively to support the album but it didn't sell. John Mayer was someone Teitur opened for and he thought it was one of the best albums of the year and blamed Universal for having no vision for Teitur's career. I think he's one of those hidden gems and I like to feature that sort of thing on the blog. Teitur announced on Apr. 20, 2006 that he was leaving Universal and starting his own Arlo & Betty label with Ulf-Hansen. They are distributed by the Danish label Playground Music. His latest CD The Singer was released Feb. 2008. So check out the video for Sleeping With The Lights On by Teitur.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My interview with Sarah Kaufman

The major concern that many women's MMA fans have about Strikeforce is they're going to turn it into the Gina Carano show. Strikeforce has also picked up Sarah Kaufman's contract and some fans have suggested that she is a possible future challenger for Gina. But the 23 year old from Victoria, BC normally fights at 135lbs. Her record is 7-0 with all TKOs. Of course the problem is Sarah has only fought in Canada to this point so a lot of fans aren't familiar with her. But that will soon change with her US debut on the Apr. 26 Palace Fighting Championships show in California. So what about Strikeforce? I asked Sarah about that and many other things in an exclusive interview. And for those who haven't had the opportunity to see Sarah in action, I have posted video of her very entertaining match against Ginele Marquez from Oct. 2007.

Q: Fans want to know how you got into MMA. I read that you have a dance background and got into martial arts by accident. Please elaborate.

A: I never planned on getting into MMA..or even martial arts. I started dancing when I was 2 and continued for the next 17 years. I was in a dance company by the time I was 8, and couldn’t imagine doing anything other than dance. I did ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, musical theatre...pretty much every form out there. It wasn’t until I was 17, that I started Muay Thai.

Adam Zugec happened to open ZUMA directly under my dance studio, so I thought I would give it a try with a friend. My friend didn’t show up, but I went and immediately fell in love with training. Because I was already committed to dance, school, and work, I could only fit in 1 class per week for the first year...but then I started to cut down on dance and add more classes into my schedule. From there, the next progression was to try out my hand in some small competitions, then when Adam thought I was ready, I had my first professional MMA fight.

Q: So now you're an instructor at Zuma. Do your students know who you are?

A: I teach lots of different classes at ZUMA, and many of the students know that I have done quite well in my MMA fights. I’m not a very good self-promoter, and I fight for myself instead of the recognition, so I don’t tend to bring up my fighting during casual conversations. Because of this, most people who come in to try out classes don’t know that I fight professionally, but usually find out at some point and think it’s really neat.

Q: When did you decide to get into professional MMA? Was it difficult to get promoters in Canada to give you a chance?

A: My first professional MMA fight was in June 2006. We had a promoter call us up and ask Adam if I wanted to take a fight against Liz Bader (then Posener). Adam said yes, which I’m sure he might now regret since I’m constantly bugging him about when my next fight is...LOL. After my first fight, it wasn’t too bad finding Canadian organizations willing to have me fight for them. I fought for KOTC a few times, then was the first women’s fight in both Winnepeg (UCW) and then TKO.

Q: You were in the first women's match in TKO and you also won a title belt in Hardcore Championship Fighting. The high of that win was tempered by the demise of HCF soon after. Any idea what happened there? I understand the owners had personality issues as opposed to money issues.

A: It was really hard for me to accept that HCF was closing down. They were very supportive of women’s MMA, and treated me really well. HCF didn’t make special rules for the women, or force us to do anything differently than the males in the sport. After defending the title, we were told that HCF was going through some changes...for the good. I’m not sure what happened, but the investors that were planning on coming in didn’t, and HCF went under.

Q: So how did EliteXC find you?

A: We had spoken with Elite XC before I signed with HCF, or maybe around the same time, but chose to go with HCF. Once HCF went under, it was quite a process, but we got in contact with Elite and signed a contract not too long after.

Q: They had scheduled a match for you against Kaitlin Young when they closed. Though it was well known that they were losing millions, it must have been a big shock. What were your thoughts at the time?

A: Honestly, when I first signed with Elite, I knew they were in trouble and would likely go out of business. I NEVER would have guessed that they would stop putting on shows less than 3 weeks before I was supposed to fight Kaitlin. I had hoped that I would have gotten to fight at least once for them, to at least get my name out there a bit more before they went under.

Q: So like a lot of EliteXC fighters, you were in contract limbo. Then you signed a three fight deal with Palace Fighting Championships in California. How did that come about?

A: I think my management, EPIC Fight Management, was originally contacted by PFC to have me fight Erin Toughill. I didn’t want to go up that high in weight, but we kept in contact and signed the 3-fight contract not long after.

Q: Of course then Strikeforce bought the EliteXC assets and picked up your contract. How did you find out about that?

A: Once PFC made the announcement that I had signed with them, someone from Elite (I’m not sure who exactly) contacted my management to let him know that they were getting ready to sign a new deal. We didn’t know any details, but knew that it was a possibility. Then, I read a press release that my contract had been picked up...and that’s when I knew for sure.

Q: Say what you will about EliteXC but it was obvious that they intended to have several weight classes in the women's division and they didn't sign you to face Gina Carano. They signed you to be the star of your weight class. Fans are concerned that Strikeforce is interested only in Gina Carano. The upcoming fight between Cristiane Santos & Hitomi Akano feeds into that somewhat because most fans don't know anything about Akano. She's fought in several weight classes including 145. What has Strikeforce told you and what are your thoughts about moving up to 145? Personally, I don't think you should do it. They should accomodate you.

A: As far as I know, I will be fighting at 135lbs when I fight for Strikeforce. The fight between me and Kaitlin was scheduled for 135, and that’s the weight that I like to fight at. I think there are so many talented women at my weight, that there really isn’t a need to move up to find fights. The only reason to move up would be if there were no other women to fight at 135, or if it was an extremely good opportunity. Unfortunately, sometimes you do have to go where the money/ fights are, but I hope that my permanent home is 135lbs.

Q: I read last week that Strikeforce has agreed to allow you to fulfill your PFC contract and your first fight will be on April 23. How did that come about and does that mean Strikeforce doesn't have plans for anyone but Gina vs Cyborg?

A: I’m not entirely sure on the full details, but I believe that Strikeforce has agreed to let me fight for PFC, as long as the PFC fight doesn’t interfere with my scheduled fight with Strikeforce. I did sign with Elite XC and then PFC, so my first commitment is to Strikeforce (nee Elite). I definitely think that Strikeforce is trying to bring more ladies into the open...it appears that many of the contracts they chose to pick up were for women in the lower weight categories. Both Gina and Cyborg are very talented, but it will be great to have more women getting to fight on some visible cards...and not just on the undercard!

Q: Maybe fighting for PFC will open Strikeforce's eyes and establish you to the point where they'll build a 135lb weight class around you. Any idea who you will be fighting in PFC? Is there anyone you would like to fight?

A: I think there are so many women fighting at 135lbs that are extremely talented. I also don’t believe that anyone needs to have a weight class built around them. If a woman deserves to be at the top, she will prove it, and she will get there. I am in no rush. I don’t actually know anything about the girl I am scheduled to fight for PFC, but I’m sure she’ll come ready to fight. For me, I just like to fight, and I hope to be able to fight some of the better established fighters (Shayna, Tara, Roxanne, Tonya), when the time is right. Again, I am in no rush.

Q: You're 23 now. How long do you plan to keep fighting. And of course I have to ask you if you're interested in going to Japan. I'd love to see you fight the legendary pioneer of women's MMA Megumi Yabushita.

A: I have no plan for how long I will keep fighting. I will continue to train and fight until I no longer enjoy it. I will go anywhere to fight, so if I get a fight in Japan, I’ll go to Japan!

Q: The Cyborg/Akano match is scheduled for three three minute rounds. Strikeforce owner Scott Coker has said that the California State Athletic Commission mandates that women's MMA matches must have three minute rounds. But the CSAC has said that it is a promoter's decision and your fights for PFC will be five minute rounds. What are your thoughts about five minute rounds in women's MMA and have you talked to Strikeforce about this discrepancy?

A: I think you may be mistaken, PFC only has 3 min rounds...for everyone, even the guys. I am all for 5 min rounds. There is no reason why women need to fight 3 min. Except for my first fight, all have been 5 min...with my last 2 fights scheduled for 5 5min rounds. Unfortunately, if the organizations are only willing to have 3 min rounds, I’ll have to take it. I would rather fight 3 min than 0 min...but 5 min would be even better. I hope that enough fighters, commentators and fans will make enough noise to eventually change the promoters’ decision, but until then, I will just keep training and fighting.

Q: Do you have anything to say to your fans around the world? Now is the time to plug your sponsors, your trainers and your dojo.

A: I would like to thank everyone who has supported me thus far: Adam Zugec (my awesome coach), all my training partners at ZUMA, Epic Fight Management, Tyler Goodale and anyone else I may have forgotten (sorry). I would also like to encourage any woman even slightly interested in fighting/ training to try it out and don’t let anyone discourage you. For the current and future WMMA fans, look out for me in the future...I hope to make a big statement with my fighting.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Mac Wiseman

Artist:Mac Wiseman
Song:By The Side Of The Road
Album:Voice Of The Spirit, The Gospel Of The South

Mac Wiseman is one of the all time greats of country and bluegrass music. He's probably underrated because he's not a pretty boy. Someone once said he had the voice of Gene Vincent but the looks of Ernest Tubb. He was born May 23, 1925 in Crimora, VA. He started out as a radio announcer in 1944 and sang with Buddy Starcher. He started working with Flatt & Scruggs and recorded a single with Bill Monroe in 1949. He started leading his own band in the 50s and had his first top ten country hit with The Ballad Of Davy Crockett in 1955. He went more towards mainstream country after he signed with Dot Records in 1957 and had a top ten country hit with Jimmy Brown The Newsboy in 1959. He moved to Capitol in 1962 and then signed with RCA when he moved to Nashville in 1969. He had a hit with Johnny's Cash And Charley's Pride but by the mid 70s, RCA had dropped all their bluegrass artists. A lot of these artists were picked up by CMH Records co-owned by guitarist Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith. Wiseman recorded bluegrass for CMH for several years. Voice Of The Spirit is a 2006 various artists CD on Dualtone Records produced by John Carter Cash. He's the son of Johnny Cash & June Carter and Johnny recorded his final song on this CD. There are other interesting artists on the CD so check it out. Mac Wiseman's latest CD is a duet album with John Prine called Standard Songs For Average People released Apr. 2007 on Prine's Oh Boy label. Here's Mac Wiseman performing Jimmy Brown The Newsboy & Tis Sweet To Be Remembered on Austin City Limits.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Cliff Eberhardt

Artist:Cliff Eberhardt
Song:Will You Ever Love Again
Album:School For Love

Singer songwriter Cliff Eberhardt has been touring since he was a teen. He grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Berwyn, PA. He taught himself to play guitar, piano, bass & drums and started hanging around local folk clubs. Cliff and his brother Geoff started touring as a duo as teens. by the late 70s, he had moved to New York and worked folk clubs through the 80s while driving a cab. He started doing studio work and singing jingles. Eberhardt's big break came when Richie Havens took him on tour. This led to a contract with Windham Hill and his 1990 debut The Long Road featuring a duet with Havens. After a couple of CDs on Shanachie, Eberhardt moved to Red House Records in 1997 and still records for them. Will You Ever Love Again is from his 2002 CD School For Love and should be of interest to folk fans. He's a strong vocalist and an excellent songwriter. Eberhardt took a couple of years off after a serious car accident but he returned with the 2007 CD The High Above And The Down Below. He is currently on tour as part of Red House Records' 25th Anniversary tour. Here's Cliff Eberhardt performing Bye Bye Blackbird on Front Porch Concerts in 2006.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Was that a TNA PPV or an episode of Impact?

Apparently that was the main problem with last night's TNA Destination X PPV. Other than the last two matches, it was a thirty dollar episode of Impact. Of course I have video of the Knockout matches so you don't have to pay thirty bucks to see them. The show led off with Angelina Love, Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne vs Taylor Wilde, Roxxi & The Governor. It's not like it was horrible but why was it on a PPV? The feud is just getting started. So it was a time waster with a very abrupt finish. But as always, Taylor brought some good energy to the match. She has star power but she's been poorly booked. The Governor was barely in the match and for some reason Kip wasn't at ringside. Of course the other match had Awesome Kong defending the TNA Knockouts Title against Sojourner Bolt. I hate that name so I'm going to call her Josie. Josie is a very good wrestler with some personality but is she going to turn heel again next week? It's ridiculous. Again, this was a nothing special match not worthy of a PPV. And Josie even botched a couple of moves. How could TNA expect any fan to be interested in this match? They also had the Win A Date With ODB nonsense. It was a setup of course as the guy who won is a Canadian wrestler already under TNA contract. I couldn't be bothered watching this wretched crap. And the sad part is this isn't the worse stuff TNA is doing right now. But check out the matches for yourself.

TNA Destination X 2009 1/18 - MyVideo

TNA Destination X 2009 8/18 - MyVideo

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Counts

Artist:The Counts
Song:Darling Dear
Album:The Doo Wop Box II

Here is another doo wop classic from Rhino's 4CD The Doo Wop Box II. Darling Dear was a national top ten hit in 1954. The interesting thing about The Counts is even after they faded, they continued to perform for decades without any personnel changes. That's very unusual. The Counts were high school students from Indianapolis. They were Chester Brown (lead tenor), Robert Penick (first tenor), Robert Wesley (second tenor), Robert Young (baritone) and James Lee (bass). Young wrote all their songs. They were originally called the 5 Diamonds and performed in talent contests in Indianapolis. They were introduced to record distributor Mel Herman. He became their manager and took them to Dot Records head Randy Wood. Upon signing with Dot, the group name was changed to The Counts. Darling Dear was recorded with sax player Jimmy Cole leading the backup band. The song reached #6 on the national R & B charts in Mar. 1954. The reason for this is that Dot had national distribution while a lot of doo wop classics were on small labels that didn't have national distribution. The Counts went on tour but none of the follow up singles did well so Dot dropped them in early 1956. The Counts never recorded again but continued to perform locally in Indianapolis for many years. They have also been known as The Masters and The Original Counts. The group finally ended when Robert Young died in 2001. But it was always the same five guys. It's yet another forgotten doo wop classic. Here's a video for Darling Dear by The Counts. Thanks to Harry Alexander for the video and Marv Goldberg for the info about The Counts.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tara LaRosa to fight Mar. 29

Women's MMA superstar Tara LaRosa has a fight coming up Mar. 29 for Extreme Challenge against Sally Krumdiak. I'll talk about that in a moment but first I finally got my hands on a video of Tara's match against Alexis Davis from January. Tara was idle for quite a while and admitted to some ring rust. That big AFL contract sure seemed like a good idea at the time but that hasn't turned out so well. As I'm sure you heard, Tara won the fight by TKO in the third round. She won the fight anyway. Canadian Alexis Davis was unknown but she turned out to be a tough opponent. Tara won round one. She tagged Alexis and then kept her down for the rest of the round. But Alexis came back in round two and seemingly had Tara in trouble with a guillotine choke. Tara said afterwards she wasn't in trouble. I agree with that but Alexis scored enough points that Tara really had to take control in round three. She did that and the ref stopped the fight due to a cut to Alexis. I expect Tara's next fight to be a little easier. Sally Krumdiak is from Seattle and her record is 5-1. Her background is in Muay Thai and she hasn't fought anyone nearly as accomplished or experienced as Tara. Her last win was over Val Coolbaugh at the June 28 MAX MMA show in Toppenish, WA. This is uncharted territory for Sally Krumdiak. Can Tara LaRosa get back to the top? Sure. She's one of the best fighters anywhere. After Strikeforce owner Scott Coker concentrates on signing Gina Carano, he should look at Tara. She's a money fighter and he can build a lighter weight division around her. And though Tara would like to fight Gina, I wouldn't do that. So enjoy rhe fight. BTW, the commentary is horrible. If you're going to do a live broadcast, hire professionals instead of your brother-in-law.
Alexis Davis vs Tara Larosa

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-R.L. Burnside

Artist:R.L. Burnside
Song:Goin' Down South
Album:Too Bad Jim

Robert Lee Burnside is another Misissippi Delta bluesman who was discovered late in life. He was born Nov. 23, 1926 in Oxford, MS. For the most part, he was a farmer who played at parties on weekends. He learned to play guitar from Mississippi John Hurt. The Burnside family moved to Chicago in the early 50s but Burnside's mother, father and uncle were all murdered and he moved back to Mississippi in 1959 and returned to farming. He served six months for a murder conviction when his boss pulled strings to get him a short sentence. Burnside recorded for Arhoolie in the 60s but music was mostly a part time gig until he was discovered by Fat Possum Records. Fat Possum was owned by Living Blues Magazine owners Peter Redvers-Lee & Matthew Johnson and their mission was to rediscover forgotten bluesmen. Too Bad Jim was his first studio CD in 1994 and was produced by music critic Robert Palmer. It's very basic Mississippi juke joint blues. Burnside got a lot of attention when he toured with Jon Spencer in the 90s. His son Duwayne plays guitar with the North Mississippi All Stars, his other son Garry plays bass and grandson Cedric plays drums. R.L. Burnside had heart surgery in 1999 and his health continued to decline until his death on Sept. 1, 2005 at age 78. Garry & Cedric continue to record as Burnside Exploration. Here's R.L. Burnside performing Rollin' & Tumblin' in the mid 90s.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Leo Kottke

Artist:Leo Kottke
Song:The Train And The Gate
Album:The Instrumentals: The Best Of The Chrysalis Years

Leo Kottke is the master of the twelve string acoustic guitar. His technique and musicianship has earned him a loyal fanbase and this comp is a perfect introduction to his music. He was born Sept. 11, 1945 in Athens, GA and moved around a lot as a child. Kottke was a big fan of Mississippi John Hurt. A mishap with a firecracker caused hearing loss and that resulted in him being discharged from the Naval Reserves. He wound up playing the coffee house circuit in St. Cloud, MN and his 1969 debut album got the attention of another guitar whiz. So John Fahey released Kottke's second album 6 & 12 String Guitar on his Takoma label and that led to a contract with Capitol Records. But Capitol tried to turn Kottke into a singer songwriter. Kottke has described his singing voice as "geese farts on a muggy day". That didn't work so Kottke moved to Chrysalis Records in 1976. Though Kottke had to change his picking style due to tendinitis, it hasn't slowed him down. He built his fanbase performing at folk festivals and his Chrysalis albums sold well enough to keep him there until 1983. This comp is from those years. The Train And The Gate is from his 1980 album Live In Europe. Kottke moved to the RCA owned Private Music in 1983. Private was RCA's attempt to emulate the very popular new age label Windham Hill. He has recorded there ever since. His most recent CD is a duet album with Phish bassist Mike Gordon called Thirty Six Steps released on RCA in 2005 after Sony BMG closed Private in 2004. I suspect we'll see him record on his own label in the future. Guitar fans should check out Leo Kottke. Here's Leo Kottke performing The Train And The Gate on German TV in the early 80s.