Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tara LaRosa on Fox Fight Game

Tara LaRosa appeared on this week's edition of Fox Fight Game. Check out the video. Of course they talk about why Tara isn't with Strikeforce facing Gina Carano. We all know why Tara would like to do that. Fans have asked me about that match for three years and I have always said the same thing. There's too much of a weight difference and I wouldn't do it anyway. I would build the lighter weight division around Tara. She doesn't need to fight Gina to be a star. This fan perception that Tara needs to fight Gina isn't true and I've said that for three years. What they don't talk about on the show is Tara did sign a big money contract with the American Fight League that led nowhere. She backed the wrong horse and so she has to go back to square one. It takes time to get all that back. I'd love to see her in Strikeforce but not necessarily against Gina or Cyborg. Enjoy the video!

Jango Song Of The Day-Johnnie & Joe

Artist:Johnnie & Joe
Song:Over The Mountain, Across The Sea
Album:Chess Rhythm & Roll




Over The Mountain, Across The Sea was a top ten pop hit in 1957 for Johnnie & Joe. The person behind this duo was J & S Records owner Zell Sanders. I've talked about her before as it relates to The Hearts and later The Jaynettes. Johnnie is Sanders' daughter Johnnielouise Richardson. Sanders' neighbour Rex Garvin was the main producer writer arranger behind J & S Records. He thought Joe Rivers had potential to be a great singer. Sanders thought something was missing so she brought her daughter in to provide harmony. If you watch the video clip, you'll notice that Johnnie can't sing. Their first single I'll Be Spinning was a hit in New York and got enough attention to interest Chess Records to provide national distribution. Over The Mountain, Across The Sea was the next release and hit #3 on the R & B charts and #8 on the pop charts. Rex Garvin wrote and produced the song and if you listen very carefully, he also sang on it. They had a couple of other minor hits but the problem was their subsequent songs were very derivative of Over The Mountain. Ace Records released a Johnnie & Joe comp in 2006 but this 4CD box set is a cornicopia of Chess R & B from the 50s so I recommend it. Johnnie Richardson went on to be a member of The Jaynettes (Sally Go Round The Roses) and Johnnie & Joe reunited for an album on Ambient Sound in 1982. Johnnie Richardson died of a stroke in 1988. Here's Johnnie & Joe performing Over The Mountain, Across The Sea in 1957.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-The Trammps

Artist:The Trammps
Song:Disco Inferno
Album:This Is Where The Happy People Go: The Best Of The Trammps





I guess Disco Inferno typifies the mid-70s disco era. The song was never a big commercial hit but was big in clubs and was feuled by being in Saturday Night Fever. But The Trammps were more soulful than a lot of the other groups from that period. They were from Philadelphia and started out in the 60s as The Volcanos and then The Moods. The main guy behind the group was keyboard player Ron Kersey (born Apr. 7, 1949 in Philadelphia). He was also a member of MFSB and The Salsoul Orchestra. By the time The Trammps emerged in the mid-70s, Kersey brought in fellow MFSB member guitarist Norman Harris (born Oct. 14, 1947 in Philadelphia). Original group member Jimmy Ellis was lead vocalist along with Robert Upchurch, bassist Stan Wade and drummer Earl Young. Their 1972 song Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart was an R & B hit. They had some other minor hits but Disco Inferno was their only really big hit mainly because it was in Saturday Night Fever. Kersey wrote and produced the song with Leroy Green. Ellis delivers a great vocal. Disco Inferno is still a very popular song though The Trammps were finished by 1980. Make sure you get the full ten minute version that is on this comp or Saturday Night Fever. There's still a version of The Trammps touring. Norman Harris died in 1987 and Ron Kersey died in 2005. Both guys were a major part of the Philly Soul sound. Here's the video for Disco Inferno by The Trammps.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arisa Nakajima out of action

JWP announced on Sunday that Arisa Nakajima is out of action indefinitely due to "bad health". The accompanying pic is from her Apr. 19 match against Saki Maemura. JWP owner Commando Bolshoi posted on her blog that Arisa is being examined by a doctor and undergoing tests and she doesn't know yet what is wrong or how long she will be out. The speculation is this may not be a physical problem but may be due to bouts of depression. Hopefully she'll be back soon but we all want her to be healthy and happy. She's turned into a pretty good little wrestler.

Jango Song Of The Day-Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

Artist:Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
Song:Why Do Fools Fall In Love
Album:The Very Best Of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers




Despite his premature death, Frankie Lymon was a very important figure in pop music because he was the first black teenage pop star. He was born Sept. 30, 1942 in New York City. His father was a truck driver who sang gospel part time. At age 12, he heard a local vocal group called The Coupe De Villes and was invited to join by lead singer Herman Santiago. They were also called The Ermines and then The Premiers. Apparently a neighbour gave the group some love letters and Santiago and Jimmy Merchant wrote Why Do Fools Fall In Love based on those letters. They were now called The Teenagers. Richard Barrett of The Valentines got them an audition with Gee Records owner George Goldner. Santiago sang lead but Goldner noticed Lymon and he sang lead on Why Do Fools Fall In Love. Joe Negroni & Sherman Garnes were the other members. The song was released in Jan. 1956 and topped the R & B singles chart and reached #6 on the pop charts. They had some other hits but Lymon left to go solo in 1957. Then his voice changed and Lymon never had any further success in music. Of course it didn't help that he got hooked on heroin and died of a drug overdose on Feb. 27, 1968 at age 25. This Rhino comp is definitive but you can also get Why Do Fools Fall In Love on The Doo Wop Box. Here's Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers performing Why Do Fools Fall In Love on The Frankie Laine Show 1956.

Monday, April 27, 2009

S-Arena joshi video report for Apr. 27

The first of this week's three S-Arena videos features the return of the wrestler formerly known as Tyrannosaurus Okuda at MAKEHEN's Apr. 25 show. Okuda has been out since having shoulder surgery last fall and of course she also left Sendai Girls. She has been given the ring name Basara as the result of a contest. In this match, she's teaming with Mikado against Mio Shirai & Bambi. The match doesn't look like anything special and Basara used a German suplex on Bambi for the win at 11:07. It remains to be seen if Basara will be anything special. Her new costume and look would indicate that she wants to be a heel.

Next is the Apr. 25 NEO show at Itabashi Green Hall. Of course everything is designed to set up the big May 5 Korakuen Hall show. Nanae Takahashi, Natsuki*Taiyo & Kana vs Yoshiko Tamura, Yuki Miyazaki & Ray goes to a 30 minute draw. I guess no one wants to job anymore. They give Natsuki & Ray some ring time because they have that High Speed Title match. And then Takahashi & Tamura have a long segment together. Afterwards, they have a discussion and NEO President Koda gets involved. The thinking is there will be a title change as Takahashi needs to be taken down a peg. Ayumi Kurihara wins over Haruka Matsuo with a uraken at 10:04. The main event has Revolution Amandora vs Kyoko Inoue, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Etsuko Mita. RA controls the match at first but the tide is turned and Matsumoto wins over Nakagawa with a Liger Bomb at 21:57. Kyoko Kimura gets very aggressive with Kyoko Inoue afterwards and it turns physical of course.

Finally we have the final Chick Fights SUN show and the Hikaru & Saki Maemura retirement Apr. 26 at Belle Salle Roppongi. First there is the final defense of the WDB Mixed Tag Team Title. Saki Maemura & Minoru Fujita successfully defend over Ikudo Hidaka & Toshie Uematsu when Maemura pinned Uematsu with the Never Give Up at 15:00. You mean they don't get an estate in Abu Dhabi? I'm outraged! Not really. But I guess Maemura gets to keep the belt. Ironically, Hikaru teams with her nemesis Aja Kong against Manami Toyota & Haruka Matsuo. Also ironically, the end comes when Aja accidently nails Hikau with a backfist and Toyota uses a German suplex for the win at 15:03. That's a Hikaru's entire wrestling career in a nutshell. Even more ironically, Hikaru & Saki Maemura's final match is against each other. That's what they've been doing on ZERO-ONE shows for the last year and a half. Hikaru wins with the Lanakilla-H at 18:00. Then they show the retirement ceremony and the 21 bell salute. Of course Hikaru is marrying New Japan star Koji Kanemoto. I presume Maemura has a job somewhere. I have a nagging feeling that the irony of this show was lost on these two. Though I didn't much care for Hikaru, she had a significant following in AJW and her potential was squandered after they closed. Maemura was an OK midcarder but nothing special. And since Jan. 2008, both of them chose to work for a paycheque instead striving to achieve something in the joshi business. Some fans will miss them but neither have been a real part of joshi during that time so they won't be missed at all. It's a sad end to a company with delusions of grandeur that they refused to back up with any substance. Good riddance to Chick Fights SUN.

Main event announced for May 16 JEWELS show

JEWELS announced today the main event and three other matches for their May 16 Shinjuku FACE show. Opponents for the Shoot Boxing matches featuring Saori Ishioka and Misato Tomita have yet to be announced. The main event will be an Open Weight match featuring the very tall ex-dominatix HIROKO (pictured). Her record is 6-1 and her last win was over Michiko Takeda at the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. Her opponent is Shannon Hooper. Shannon's record is 0-2 but most of us know that her real job is sweatshirt manager for Josh Barnett. Her last pro fight was in 2004. It's very tough to find opponents for HIROKO. Mika Nagano will face Shinsaki Ozawa in a 54kg match. Nagano is 1-2 and lost to Saori Ishioka on the Nov. 16 JEWELS show. Ozawa is 0-2 and lost to Masako Yoshida on the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. In a 58kg match, rising star Shizuka Sugiyama will face Celina. Sugiyama is 2-0 and last won over Shiho at the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. Celina will be making her MMA debut. She is from Norway and trains with Team Hellboy owned by former DREAM Lightweight Champ Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen. But she has also trained with Megumi Fujii at AACC and Fujii recommended her for this fight. This one could be interesting. In a 57kg match, Hanako Kobayashi will face Amiba. Kobayashi is a pro wrestler for the Ito Dojo and lost her MMA debut to Saori Ishioka on the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. Amiba is making her pro debut but she had an amateur match on a previous JEWELS show. She trains at DEEP.

Jango Song Of The Day-James Carr

Artist:James Carr
Song:Pouring Water On A Drowning Man
Album:The Complete Goldwax Singles





If you're a fan of 60s soul, you don't want to overlook James Carr. He wasn't as well known as someone like Otis Redding because he was on a smaller label that never reached the mainstream but his music is pure soul. He was born June 13, 1942 in Coahoma, MS and grew up in Memphis singing in his daddy's church. He was in gospel groups as a teen but was interested in a record deal in secular music. He was turned down by Stax in 1963 and signed with Quentin Claunch's Goldwax label. He was a founder of Hi Records. Carr's 1966 single You Got My Mind Messed Up was a top ten R & B hit and earned him comparisons with Redding. Carr released several more R & B hits including Pouring Water On A Drowning Man. But Carr suffered from bipolar disorder and this frequently played havoc with his career. Goldwax went bankrupt in 1970 and Carr was unable to get a record deal and his health deteriorated to the point where he was institutionalized for a while. He improved and released an album on the revived Goldwax label in 1991. But he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died on Jan. 7, 2001 at age 58. The Goldwax recordings are owned by the British reissue label Ace Records and they have released this comp on Kent Records. Here's James Carr performing Pouring Water On A Drowning Man in the 90s.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

MIKU vs Nicdali Calanic video

Here's the video from last week's DEEP show of MIKU's win over Nicdali Calanic. Nicdali backs MIKU into the corner but that knee to the body obviously took the breath out of her and the ref was right to stop the fight. Nicdali was very upset with herself but this happens sometimes. She got her bell rung big time. It was just one of those things.

Jango Song Of The Day-Edwin Starr

Artist:Edwin Starr
Song:War
Album:Motown 1's




War was one of 1970's biggest hits and also the biggest hit for soul singer Edwin Starr. Of course it was also an anti-war anthem and represents a lot of changes going on at Motown at the time. Unlike most Motown artists, Starr wasn't from Detroit and might have been more at home at Stax. He was born Charles Hatcher Jan. 21, 1942 in Nashville and grew up in Cleveland. His cousins Roger & Willie Hatcher were also singers. Starr had a doo wop group called The Future Tones in 1958. He moved to Detroit in the 60s and first recorded for Ed Wingate's Ric-Tic label. Agent Double-O-Soul reached #21 on the pop charts in 1965 and he had more hits until Motown bought Ric-Tic in 1968. Starr is now on Motown. 25 Miles was a top ten hit in 1969. But War reached #1 in 1970. Norman Whitfield wrote War for The Temptations and they recorded it in the Psychedelic Shack album. But Starr did more with the song and he deserved to have a hit with it. But Starr didn't fit the Motown formula and he moved to England in 1973 and signed with 20th Century Records. He did the soundtrack for the 1974 film Hell Up In Harlem and had some success in the disco market in the late 70s. He recorded occasionally and was a very popular live act in England's Northern Soul circuit. Motown releases a lot of various artists comps. This one is pretty good for beginners. Edwin Starr died on Apr. 3, 2003 at age 61. Here's Edwin Starr performing War on Jools Holland 2002.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yuka Tsuji is the VALKYRIE Featherweight Champ

VALKYRIE held their second show this afternoon at Differ Ariake. Again it was piggybacked onto a CAGE FORCE show so they could use the cage. The main event was a match for the new VALKYRIE Featherweight Championship between women's MMA legend Yuka Tsuji and Kate Martinez from Colorado making her pro MMA debut. She is an experienced Muay Thai fighter and VALKYRIE tried to hype her as something more than she is. I don't know who they're trying to fool. Obviously Martinez' strategy is to use her stand up skills and avoid going to the ground. So she starts with low kicks and then knocks Tsuji down with a punch. She takes Tsuji down but Tsuji turns it around and starts to pound Martinez. Martinez tries to shake her but Tsuji doesn't let her get away and continues to pound her. The ref stands them up but Tsuji scores with a double leg takedown. She pounds Martinez some more until she makes her submit with an armbar at 4:20 of round one. Yuka Tsuji is your new VALKYRIE Featherweight Champion.





There was also the start of a tournament to determine the next challenger for the Featherweight Title. One match had Kyoko Takabayashi against WINDY Tomomi. WINDY has tremendous punching power but is suspect on the ground. WINDY goes for a tackle but a Takabayashi punch jolts her and Takabayashi tackles her into the wire mesh and traps her. She pounds WINDY until Takabayshi gets her in a rear naked choke and it's over at 1:41 of round one. The second match was between V1 and Emi Fujino. Fujino won their previous match in Dec. 2007. V1 did a baseball slide and kicked Fujino from the mat. Fujino connects with punches. V1 does more of this sliding strategy for the rest of round one. Fujino takes her down but V1 reverses and gets Fujino in a guillotine choke. She isn't able to hook it and Fujino gets her up and lands a couple of punches as the round ends. V1 drives Fujino into the wire mesh and takes Fujino down. V1 holds her down for the rest of round three and wins a unanimous decision. So Takabayashi and V1 will fight for the right to challenge Tsuji for the Featherweight Title. Neither of them can beat Tsuji anyway.





In a Welterweight match, Takayo Hashi fought Chisa Yonezawa. Hashi has a significant edge in experience. Round one begins with an exchange of low kicks. Yonezawa takes Hashi down with a neck throw but is unable to mount Hashi. Hashi attempts an armbar but Yonezawa is able to roll out of it. They exchange strikes at the end of round one. Hashi takes her down at the beginning of round two. They get up and Yoneazawa is stunned by a high kick. Hashi takes her down and wins with a rear naked choke at 1:43 of round two. Hashi was under EliteXC contract last year and Strikeforce should look at her again. In a 46.8kg match, Naoko Omuro stunned SACHI with punches and traps her against the wire mesh and pounds her. SACHI tries for a takedown but Omuro lands a couple of knee kicks and continues to pound SACHI until the match is stopped at 2:48 of round one. Omuto dedicated the match to her grandmother who died last week. And Mizuho Sato won over Masae Mori by armbar at 2:28 of round one.

Jango Song Of The Day-Eddie Floyd

Artist:Eddie Floyd
Song:Knock On Wood
Album:Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration




The 1967 hit Knock On Wood was Eddie Floyd's biggest song and is one of Stax's most popular songs. But as you will soon see, Floyd still sounds great today.He was born June 25, 1937 in Montgomery, AL and grew up in Detroit. His uncle Robert West owned a couple of record labels. Floyd was a founding member of The Falcons and was lead singer after Joe Stubbs left and until Wilson Pickett joined. Floyd moved to Washington and became friends with DJ Al Bell. When Bell was hired as promotions director at Stax Records in Memphis, he brought Floyd with him. Floyd started out as a songwriter usually working with Booker T & The MGs guitarist Steve Cropper. His song 634-5789 was a #1 R & B hit for Wilson Pickett. Floyd started recording his own music. Knock On Wood was written for Otis Redding. Stax owner Jim Stewart didn't like the song because it sounded too much like Wilson Pickett's In The Midnight Hour. But distributor Atlantic liked it and Knock On Wood was a #1 R & B hit in 1967 and #28 on the pop charts. Floyd had several R & B hits and remained on Stax until they went bankrupt in 1975. This 2CD comp is an excellent intro to Stax for beginners. Knock On Wood was a big disco hit for Amii Stewart in 1979 and the song has been frequently sampled by hip hop guys. He's now recording on the revived Stax label and Eddie Loves You So was released on July 2008. Here's Eddie Floyd performing Knock On Wood on the Jools Holland New Year's Eve 2007 show. He still sounds great.

Friday, April 24, 2009

RIP Rev. Timothy Wright

Gospel artist and choir leader Rev. Timothy Wright died yesterday at age 61 due to injuries suffered in a car accident last July that killed his wife and grandson. He's not someone who was known to most music fans but he's been a mainstay on the gospel music charts since the 80s. He was senior pastor at the Grace Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) in Brooklyn, NY. He started out directing church choirs as a teenager and while he was music director at the Washington Temple COGIC in Brooklyn in 1969, he was spotted by Rev. Isaac Douglas and was hired to direct the New York Community Choir. He formed his own Timothy Wright Concert Choir in 1976 and continued to work with other choirs across the US. He signed with Atlanta International Records in the mid-80s and has been recording regularly ever since and has been a regular on the gospel charts. His most recent CD Jesus, Jesus, Jesus was released in Feb. 2007. It was his first CD on the Koch distributed Jordan Entertainment Group. Wright was critically injured on July 4, 2008 in a three vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near Loganton, PA when his car was struck by another car going in the wrong direction. His wife Betty was killed instantly and his 14 year old grandson DJ Wright died later in hospital. They were returning from a COGIC conference in Detroit. Rev. Timothy Wright was known as the Godfather Of Gospel and he will be missed by the gospel music community. Here's the video for Jesus, Jesus, Jesus by Rev. Timothy Wright. RIP Rev. Timothy Wright.

Fuuka wants to go to the WWE

Fuuka was interviewed by Sportsnavi to promote her Apr. 29 Fuuka Matsuri show. She will face Ayumi Kurihara in the main event. Again she is asked about going into Shoot Boxing. She doesn't really answer that. The interviewer suggested that she could be Saori Ishioka's opponent on the May 16 JEWELS show. Fuuka said no but may do some more for SB. There has been speculation that she might leave joshi for shoot boxing. She talked about some new strike techniques learned in China last month. She talks about wrestling Ayumi Kurihara in the main event and that Ayumi has been impressive since returning from her injury. She says that singer Naomi Ishiwaka has been added to the singing group. When asked if she has any foreign bookings, she said not right now but she is currently setting up another trip to South Korea. But then she's asked about the WWE. She starts giggling but eventually she says she'd like to be a WWE Diva even if it's only for one match. Maybe she would like it to be her retirement match. Of course that's not going to happen. Would they hire her? It's doubtful probably because of her English and chances are pretty good that even if they were interested, she would have to go to FCW for a couple of years. Was she serious? Who knows but the fact that it had to be dragged out of her means probably not. But her final statement was that she wants to go abroad a lot this year but the WWE is her end goal.

Jango Song Of The Day-The Del Vikings

Artist:The Del Vikings
Song:Come Go With Me
Album:The Doo Wop Box




The Del Vikings had their biggest success with the 1957 hit Come Go With Me. They were probably the first interracial doo wop group. They started at the Pittsburgh Air Force Base where five black enlisted men began singing together and won a talent contest in 1955. They were Kripp Johnson, Clarence Quick, Don Jackson, Bernard Robertson & Samuel Paterson. DJ Barry Kaye wanted to record them. Because they were all in the military, the lineup was changing all the time. Robertson & Paterson were transferred to Germany and replaced by Norman Wright & David Lerchey. Lerchey was white so it would become a big deal later on. They recorded demos with Kaye including the Clarence Quick song Come Go With Me and signed with a small Pittsburgh label called Fee Bee. Wright sang lead and Gene Upshaw played sax. Fee Bee owner Joe Auerbach couldn't handle the demand for the song and sold it to Dot Records. Come Go With Me reached #4 on the pop singles chart in 1957. Jackson left and was replaced by Gus Backus. The Del Vikings were in demand but their military commitments prevented them from fully taking advantage of that. Whispering Bells also reached the top ten in 1957. Then their manager found that their Fee Bee contract was invalid because the group signed it when they were underage. He started shopping them to other labels and signed them to Mercury as The Del-Vikings. So there were two groups. Most of the guys were on Mercury but they were still in the military. Over the years there have been several versions of The Del Vikings. Hip-O did release a Del Vikings comp but you should get Come Go With Me on Rhino's 4CD box set The Doo Wop Box. It's certainly a memorable song. Here are The Del Vikings performing Come Go With Me on the PBS special Doo Wop 50.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yes We Can visits Nikkan Sports

Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato visited Nikkan Sports yesterday to hype their Yes We Can tournament. This is a tournament for wrestlers who started out in the mid-90s. They talk about the rules a bit and some of the wrestlers who will be there including JWP Singles Champ Kayoko Haruyama and Sendai Girls boss Meiko Satomura. They try and say how the tournament is a big challenge for the wrestlers and stuff like that. Enjoy the video!

Jango Song Of The Day-John Lennon

Artist:John Lennon
Song:Woman
Album:The John Lennon Collection




Of course John Lennon was a legend of music based solely on his Beatles output. His solo music was somewhat inconsistent but there's no question that if he hadn't been murdered he'd still be performing today and he'd still be a legend. He was born Oct. 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England. The Beatles split up in 1968 mostly due to personal conflicts. Lennon's new wife Yoko Ono was a big part of the problem. She was very influential on his post-Beatles output. Lennon's music with the Plastic Ono Band didn't sell anywhere near as well as it should have. Lennon was getting more press for his political protests than his music. He rebounded with the classic Imagine in 1971 but his 1972 album Sometime In New York City was universally panned. He split up with Yoko and moved to Los Angeles and partied hard. Meanwhile he was undergoing a deportation hearing. Elton John got him back together with Yoko. He didn't get deported. He moved back to New York and settled into domestic bliss with Yoko and his new son Sean. His mid-70s music was inconsistent at best and included an oldies album. The 1980 album Double Fantasy and the hit Woman signaled a return to form for Lennon. Of course the problem with Double Fantasy is half the songs have Yoko Ono's horrible screeching. So I suggest this John Lennon Collection comp which was released in an expanded version in 1989. It's got all his hits on one CD. Of course we all know that John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980 in New York City by a lunatic I refuse to mention. I went to the El Mocambo in Toronto the next night to see The Persuasions and Jerry Lawson paid tribute to Lennon with a stirring version of Let It Be. John Lennon is still missed today. Here's the video for Woman by John Lennon.
John Lennon - Woman

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Over to Jango

So Last.fm decided to go back to their original plan to eliminate free radio everywhere but the US, UK & Germany. They announced this and implemented it today. I'm sure they were getting a lot of pressure from CBS management. As I said before, Rogers claims they plan to make some changes in a couple of months. So no LAUNCHCAST there. However, LAUNCHCAST still exists on the US Yahoo page so that's what I will use for now unless something better comes along. It's based on presets very similar to AOL Radio. In fact, they are exactly the same. Years ago I used Spinner which became AOL Radio. The players are similar and both have ads. But I can still rate songs and I can check the history so I know what album it is from. I have already set my presets and I can switch them around. Other services either aren't available in Canada (Pandora, Slacker, Spotify) or don't have a diverse enough music selection. There are quite a few like that. Jango is probably the best and I don't care for the interface. They want to be a social network so they want you to use the player on their webpage and I prefer a desktop web player. It's very clunky. They need to revamp it. Last.fm was OK. I thought it wasn't as intuitive as I would have liked. Not giving any notice to users is very poor form. They shouldn't have bothered to delay things if they were going to implement the restrictions anyway. What they did doesn't make much sense.

EDIT:It seems that the presets in LAUNCHCAST can't be saved so there's not much point to them. So I'm going to Jango and I may look closer at Radionomy later.

HIKARU & Saki Maemura talk retirement

Here's a video from the ZERO-ONE MAX channel on Players TV from a press conference with HIKARU & Saki Maemura talking about their Apr. 26 retirement show called Sun Set.

Last.fm Song Of The Day-Brownie McGhee

Artist:Brownie McGhee
Song:Key To The Highway
Album:Back Home Blues




Walter "Brownie" McGhee was best known for his long partnership with harmonica player Sonny Terry. But he also recorded solo and this comp consists of long lost recordings from early in his career. He was born Nov. 30, 1915 in Knoxville, TN and grew up in Kingsport. He contracted polio at age four and that gave him plenty of time to practice guitar with his brother Granville as taught by their father. A 1937 March Of Dimes sponsored operation gave McGhee back most of his mobility and he started touring the southeast US. He met washboard player George "Bull City Red" Washington in 1940 and Red introduced McGhee to talent scout JB Long and McGhee signed with Okeh Records and recorded some sessions in Chicago. When Blind Boy Fuller died in 1941, Okeh released some of McGhee's recordings as Blind Boy Fuller No. 2. McGhee recorded some more in 1941 and those are the recordings on this comp. McGhee wrote all the songs including Key To The Highway. Bull City Red is on washboard along with Buddy Moss on guitar and McGhee's first recording with Sonny Terry on Workingman's Blues. The CD is on the British reissue label Past Perfect and several of the songs would become folk standrards. McGhee & Terry moved to New York in 1942 and were a big part of the folk music boom. McGhee also recorded as a solo R & B artist for Savoy and even appeared on Broadway for three years in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in the 50s. McGhee & Terry continued to work as a team until the 70s. They weren't getting along. Brownie McGhee continued to perform until his death on Feb. 23, 1996 at age 80. Here's Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee performing Key To The Highway on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest 1964.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More S-Arena joshi videos

I figured I'd have some more S-Arena videos today. The first one is from the Apr. 19 JWP show at Hakata Star Lanes. NEO ran there too. The big deal here is JWP Singles Champ Kayoko Haruyama working in front of her home town family and friends. The video begins with Kayoko at the merch table greeting fans. Saki Maemura makes her final JWP appearance with a win over Arisa Nakajima with the Never Give Up (Majistral cradle) at 11:08. Of course she wins with a rollup. Michiko Ohmukai was in attendance with her son and Tojuki Leon won over Ayumi Kurihara with the Mad Splash at 13:08. Both wrestlers were mentored by Ohmukai as rookies. Her son sure is cute. Kyoko Kimura has a chat with Leon to set up their upcoming match. Kimura was on the NEO show. And then the main event starring hometown girl Haruyama teaming with Commando Bolshoi & Kaori Yoneyama winning over Azumi Hyuga, Aja Kong & Tsubasa Kuragaki. Haruyama got the win over Kuragaki with the Keene Hammer at 20:11. And Leon & Yoneyama cut a promo to finish the video.

The big deal at the NEO show was the return from injury of youngsters Nagisa Nozaki and Nozomi Dai. Aya Yuki wins over Nozaki with a diving elbow drop at 9:45. You can see Nozaki's knee is heavily taped. Tanny Mouse won over Dai with a reverse cradle at 6:45. Of course both look very green. Passion Red had a match against Revolution Amandora and it went to a 30 minute draw which includes a creative use of a cart. The feud continues. Haruka Matsuo continues her road to retirement with a loss to Manami Toyota. Toyota turns Matsuo's Hurricanrana attempt into the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex at 16:28. The main event has Kyoko Inoue & Hiroyo Matsumoto defending the NEO Tag Team Titles over Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara when Inoue used the Niagara Driver on Tamura at 21:30. Tamura has a big title match coming up that she could win and I don't know if I would job her out right now. Speaking of that, the second video has Nanae Takahashi convincing NEO President Tetsuya Koda to allow her to defend the NEO Singles/NWA Pacific Titles against Sakura Emi at the Passion Red show a couple of days before the big NEO show. Koda is supposedly concerned she'll lose and screw up his big show but he doesn't say much. He probably said yes so she'd leave him alone.


Next is the Apr. 19 Sendai Girls show featuring the conclusion of the Jaja Uma tournament. I didn't think the Ibuki wrestlers could win. Ryo Mizunami is probably the largest of the Sendai girls but does Meiko Satomura believe in her enough to give her the torch? Sendai Sachiko faced Misaki Ohata in the first semi final. Ohata looked better than I've seen her in the past but she has limited ability and it will be tough for her to overcome that. Sachiko won with a German suplex at 10:10. As expected, Mizunami won over Esui with her shoulder hold at 12:49. Boy, is Esui green. Satomura teams with Yukari Ishino to win over Chihiro Oikawa & Minori Makiba. Satomura kicking Oikawa was pretty funny. Satomura yells at Ishino to go win the match and she uses an airplane spin on Makiba at 20:37. The tournament final is very competitive but it's clear that Sachiko is much quicker than Mizunami and she uses that speed to win with a German suplex at 9:20. Sendai Sachiko has a nice cry afterwards. It should be interesting to see if she has what it takes to be the ace of Sendai Girls.

Finally we have a brief look at Pro Wrestling WAVE's Apr. 19 show at Teisen Hall in Sapporo. Nostalgia is always a draw at out of town shows so Jaguar Yokota helped draw 310 fans. By the way, it is normal for joshi companies to draw better outside Tokyo. Jaguar teamed with Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu against GAMI, Yumi Ohka & KAORU. I liked when Jaguar blocked GAMI's eye poke. There's a lot of fooling around and KAORU flies. Uematsu wins over GAMI with a rollup at 20:34.

Angelina Love is the new TNA Knockouts Champion

OK folks. I've got the videos from Sunday's TNA Lockdown PPV. Both Knockout matches can be seen in two parts. That happens sometimes. The big news is that Angelina Love won the TNA Knockouts Championship in a three way match over Awesome Kong and Taylor Wilde. I don't usually like three way matches but all three wrestlers deliver very strong performances. In this case, it makes perfect sense for Angelina to win the title without pinning Awesome Kong. It's perfect for her character. I believe she is very underrated because of her partner's deficiencies. Angelina has star quality. Of course the highlight of the match is when Awesome Kong flies along with Mike Tenay's shocked reaction. Of course AK did that stuff in Japan all the time. Then the Beautiful People tied AK's braids to the cage so the other two could do the finish. The ending could have been really bad as Taylor's cross body from the top rope knocked Angelina loopy and she's supposed to win the match. While Taylor and ref Rudy Charles try to figure out what to do, Awesome Kong gets an idea on the fly and they're able to finish the match. It just shows how talented AK really is. I thought the other Knockouts match was unnecessary as the focus should have been on the title. It was ODB, Sojourner Bolt, Madison Rayne and Daffney in a Queen Of The Cage match. Daffney tried hard and brought some energy to the match there was too much emphasis on this annoying Cody Deaner character. Sojo knew she was doing the job and I think she mailed in her performance. I know she's better than that. Madison was bad too but I'm not sure if she's any good in the first place. For one thing, she can't throw a punch. Both of them seemed to stand around a lot like they were clueless. It just wasn't good. Well, enjoy the videos.

TNA Lockdown 2009 11/21 (HQ) - MyVideo

TNA Lockdown 2009 12/21 (HQ) - MyVideo

TNA Lockdown 2009 6/21 (HQ) - MyVideo

TNA Lockdown 2009 7/21 (HQ) - MyVideo

Last.fm Song Of The Day-Supertramp

Artist:Supertramp
Song:Dreamer
Album:Crime Of The Century




The British group Supertramp were one of the most popular bands of the 70s. They started out as a Pink Floyd influenced progressive rock band but didn't have much success until they went in a pop direction. Supertramp started in 1969 when Dutch millionaire Stanley August Miesagaes hired drummer Rick Davies (born July 22, 1944 in Eastcott Hill, England) to put an ad in Melody Maker Magazine and put a band together. He found vocalist guitarist keyboardist Roger Hodgson (born Mar. 21, 1950 in Portsmouth, England) along with guitarist Richard Palmer and percussionist Robert Millar. They signed with A & M Records. Their first two albums didn't sell and they started to have problems with Palmer & Millar. They were replaced but the replacements didn't help and Miesagaes withdrew his support. The early Supertramp albums have a cult following but Davies & Hodgson wanted more commercial success. They held auditions and hired bassist Dougie Thomson, drummer Bob Siebenberg and sax player John Helliwell. The 1974 album Crime Of The Century was the breakthrough they were looking for and the album reached #34 on the Billboard Hot 200. It's not their most popular album as 1979's Breakfast In America was much bigger but I think Crime Of The Century is their best album. Like most Supertramp songs, Dreamer was written by Davies & Hodgson. It became a hit in 1980 when it was released as a single from the live album In Paris. Supertramp continued to have success until Hodgson left in 1983 because his wife didn't get along with Davies' wife. Hodgson has recorded solo and Davies continued to lead Supertramp until they split up in 2005. Here's Supertramp performing Dreamer on The Old Grey Whistle Test 1974.

Monday, April 20, 2009

S-Arena joshi video review review for Apr. 20

I'm doing this early today because I have a board meeting tonight. I may add to this if more becomes available. The first video concerns the May 2 Revolution Amandora show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. The video speaks for itself. Kyoko Kimura is attempting to show how hardcore she is but comes off looking a little silly. I guess they don't know how to do things properly. I understand the light tubes but I don't see the fan as being particularly dangerous. The show itself is shaping up to be a real dud too. They still haven't named an opponent for Kimura's Light tubes/Fan Death Match but it has to be a Big Japan guy. Most joshi wrestlers don't want to do these kind of matches. The rest of the show seems like timewasting with Atsuko Emoto in three matches; two count vs Ayumi Kurihara, no pins vs AKINO and hardcore vs Aja Kong. There's even a match with the deaf wrestlers from Toroumon. That hardcore show last year was a lot of fun. This one doesn't seem to have that kind of feel.

The second video is from the Apr. 15 Pro Wrestling WAVE show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. It was Toshie Uematsu's 14th anniversary so the emphasis was on Toshie and bad comedy. Lately WAVE has been doing a lot with the DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Championships. It's a gag belt that can change hands at any time. It's usually played for comedy on this occasion with Bullfight Sora exchanging the belt with Moeka Haruhi. Then Cherry comes in her street clothes and wins the belt from Sora. They shake hands but then Sora double crosses Cherry when Uematsu ambushes Cherry and wins the belt. Uematsu becomes the 780th champion. Uematsu teams with Ran YuYu in her 14th anniversary match against the NEO Machine Gunz. Uematsu gets the fall when Yuki Miyazaki kicks Uematsu and then reverses Tanny's pin attempt. The main event has Yumi Ohka teaming with the soon to retire Saki Maemura & Haruka Matsuo against Ayumi Kurihara, Shuu Shibutani & Ayako Sato. Ohka gets the fall on Shibutani with a tiger suplex at 11:21. You don't expect the retirees to job, do you?

The third video looks at Ayako Hamada's final appearance in Japan at the Apr. 19 Ito Dojo show at Shinjuku FACE. Ayako teamed with Kaoru Ito to win over Harley Saito & Sonoko Kato. Ayako won over Saito with the AP Cross. They had a six girl match with the Ito Dojo youngsters which went to a draw. They don't show that. But we do see Ayako's dad El Gran Hamada enter the ring. Of course Ayako starts bawling. He wins a quick match over Ayako with a cross arm breaker. It appears that this is Ayako's final appearance in Japan. Ito posted on her blog that she went to the airport with Ayako immediately following the show and Ayako should be in Mexico City by now. Ayako has two more Japanese bookings. OZ Academy announced today on their blog that Ayako will not appear on the May 5 Yes We Can show. Her other booking is on the Apr. 29 WAVE show and I expect her to be replaced on that show as well. Welcome to TNA, Ayako Hamada.

Last.fm Song Of The Day-Duane Eddy

Artist:Duane Eddy
Song:Rebel Rouser
Album:Twang Thang: The Duane Eddy Anthology




Duane Eddy is probably the most successful instrumental artist in pop music history and along with Chuck Berry was very influential on future guitarists. Rebel Rouser was his biggest hit. He was born Apr. 26, 1938 in Corning, NY and his family moved to Arizona in 1951. Eddy was inspired to play guitar by Gene Autry. The key figure in Eddy's career was a Phoenix DJ named Lee Hazlewood. By 1958, Hazlewood had branched into production and suggested that Eddy play guitar in the lower register. The first single Movin' And Groovin' did well enough that Hazlewood knew he had something. Rebel Rouser was the second single. Hazlewood added the sax break by Los Angeles session man Gil Bernal and the yells by doo wop group The Sharps. Rebel Rouser reached #6 on the pop singles chart and the 1958 album Have "Twangy" Guitar-Will Travel reached #4 on the album chart. Most of the singles that followed were variations on Rebel Rouser. Eddy had several hits on Jamie Records. Things went downhill when Eddy moved to RCA in 1962 and he eventually transitioned to the country market. He did have a revival in 1984 when he recorded Peter Gunn with Art Of Noise. This Rhino 2CD comp is definitive though you might want to get Rebel Rouser on a various artists comp. Duane Eddy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1994. Here's Duane Eddy performing Rebel Rouser on Hullaballoo 1964.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Megumi Fujii on May 10 SHOOTO show

SHOOTO announced a few matches today for their big May 10 show at JCB Hall in Tokyo. It's a 20th anniversary show and it's being promoted as DREAM vs SENGOKU. But one of the matches added will feature Megumi Fujii. Of course Megumi's record is 16-0 and her last win was over Tomoko Morii on the November 16 JEWELS show. Her opponent is a Korean fighter named Kim Don Hee. I think that's her name. She appears to be an MMA newcomer but I wouldn't be surprised if she's a kickboxer getting into MMA. What an initiation. An appearance on a big show like this is good for any fighter but I don't know why they would bring in a fighter from Korea to face Fujii.

Last.fm Song Of The Day-Micah Stampley

Artist:Micah Stampley
Song:Take My Life (Holiness)
Album:The Songbook Of Micah




Micah Stampley is a talented gospel music singer songwriter who earned a record contract through a 2004 Stellar Awards Gospel Star Search. The Songbook Of Micah was his 2005 debut CD. He was born Sept. 7, 1971 in Los Angeles and grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. His talent was evident at an early age and he was directing the church choir by age seven. He usually worked with his brother Nathaniel. So when Nathaniel died in an accident in 1994, Stampley was devastated and lacking direction. His big break came in 2003 when he went to work as assistant music director at St. Agnes Baptist Church in Houston. He was asked to fill in when the music director was ill and his vocal talent was  noticed by organist Marcus Dawson. Dawson usually works for the well known evangelist TD Jakes. Jakes was starting Dexterity Records at the time. They are distributed by EMI Gospel. Then Stampley won the 2004 Stellar Awards Gospel Star Search. Dawson took Stampley to Dallas to meet Jakes and the contract was signed. Because there was a video for Take My Life, it's probably the most popular song from Stampley's debut. Though he normally writes his own songs, Take My life was written by Praise & Worship leader and singer songwriter Scott Underwood and he originally recorded it in 1995. The album was produced by Dexterity house producer Cedric Thompson. Stampley's latest CD Ransomed was released in Nov. 2008 on his own label. I think gospel fans will enjoy his music. Here's the video for Take My Life (Holiness) by Micah Stampley.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Last.fm Song Of The Day-Marvin Sapp

Artist:Marvin Sapp
Song:Never Would Have Made It
Album:Thirsty




I've talked before about how one never knows when a song will come from nowhere and strike a chord with listeners and transcend the limitations of the musical genre. And that's what happened with this surprise hit by gospel singer Marvin Sapp. The reaction from most folks who write about mainstream R & B was "Don't you mean Warren Sapp?" Uh, no. They're not related. Of course I've been a Marvin Sapp fan for over a decade. He's from Grand Rapids, MI and he's the senior pastor of the Lighthouse Full Life Center Church. He always says he's a preacher first. He was first noticed when he replaced Keith Staten in the very popular 90s gospel group Commissioned. But he's been very popular in the gospel market since he went solo in 1997. Never Would Have Made It took Sapp to a whole new level. The song reached #14 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart and Thirsty reached #4 on the R & B Album chart and #28 on the Billboard Hot 200. And the video was in heavy rotation on BET. It's uncharted territory for Sapp and very similar to what happened to Donnie McClurkin a few years ago with We Fall Down. Sapp usually doesn't write songs but he wrote Never Would Have Made It after his father died. He didn't want to record it but his wife Malinda liked the song and Sapp's organist Matthew Brownie helped him complete it. The album Thirsty was produced by Aaron Lindsey. He is best known for his work with Israel & New Breed. I don't think the song is any different from Sapp's other songs so I don't know why it became such a big hit. He's a great singer regardless but like I said, that's the nature of the entertainment business. Nobody knows anything. Here's the video for Never Would Have Made it by Marvin Sapp.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Last.fm Song Of The Day-Manfred Mann

Artist:Manfred Mann
Song:Mighty Quinn
Album:World Of Mann: The Very Best Of Manfred Mann & Manfred Mann's Earth Band




Manfred Mann was one of the best British Invasion bands. They had a lot of hits and went through several mutations over the years. Mighty Quinn was a #1 hit in 1968. They were formed in 1962 by keyboard player Manfred Mann (born Manfred Lubowitz Oct. 21, 1940 in Johannesburg, South Africa) and drummer Mike Hugg (born Aug. 11, 1941 in Andover, England). Other original members were guitarist Mike Vickers, bassist Dave Richmond and vocalist Paul Jones. They had several big hits beginning in 1964 with songs like Do Wah Diddy Diddy. Jones left to go solo and was replaced by Mike d'Abo (born Mar. 1, 1944 in Betchworth, England) and Vickers was replaced by Jack Bruce and then Bruce left to join Cream and was replaced by Klaus Voorman (born Apr. 29, 1938 in Berlin, Germany). They switched labels from EMI to Fontana. The 1968 hit Mighty Quinn was their biggest hit from that period. Bob Dylan wrote it. There were rumours it was about drugs but Dylan says it was about Anthony Quinn's role as an eskimo in the 1959 film The Savage Innocents. The group split up in 1969 but Manfred Mann still performs today as Mafred Mann's Earth Band. This 2006 Universal International 2CD comp covers a much wider range of their music than most comps I have seen. Here's Manfred Mann performing Mighty Quinn on Top Of The Pops 1968.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

MIKU wastes no time on Apr. 16 DEEP show


DEEP Lightweight Champ MIKU wasted no time in her match against Nicdali Calanic at today's DEEP show at Korakuen Hall. The match was contracted for 120lbs. MIKU normally fights at 115 and Calanic fights at 125 so they decided to split the difference. Calanic begins the match with a front kick and pushes MIKU into the corner. But MIKU grabs her around the neck and nails her with knees to the body. Calanic drops to the mat. MIKU lands a knee to the head and the ref stops the fight at 21 seconds of round one. That's all, folks! MIKU said afterwards that her next fight will be on the June 28 DEEP show against an oppenent to be named. And who's that taking pictures in the accompanying pic? Well, that's Megumi Fujii of course. She'd make a great opponent for MIKU. I wanna see it. Make it happen, Shigeru Saeki. One other quick note. You may recall that former DEEP Lightweight Champ Hisae Watanabe retired last year. Hisae was scheduled to make her return in a kickboxing match in Thailand last week but the show was cancelled due to civil unrest in Thailand. I look forward to her return to MMA.

Last.fm Song Of The Day-Roy Orbison

Artist:Roy Orbison
Song:Mean Woman Blues
Album:The Essential Roy Orbison




Though Roy Orbison started out at Sun records with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash & Carl Perkins, he brought a very unique look and sound that has proven to be very durable and influential. He was born Apr. 23, 1936 in Vernon, TX. Orbison's band The Wink Westerners had a regular radio slot in Texas. Johnny Cash was a guest on the show and suggested the band go to Memphis and see Sun Records owner Sam Phillips. Orbison recorded his first single Ooby Dooby for Norman Petty in New Mexico in 1956 and Phillips signed him when he heard the song. Orbison wasn't very successful at Sun and he didn't do any better at RCA. But Monument Records owner Fred Foster signed him in 1960 and Orbison had his first #1 hit with Runnin' Scared in 1961. Mean Woman Blues was one of several hits from that period. It reached #5 on the pop singles chart in 1963. The song was originally recorded by Elvis Presley in the 1957 film Loving You but Orbison did much better with it. He continued to have hits until he signed with MGM in 1965 and things went downhill from there. Of course Roy Orbison's legendary status led to a career resurgence in the 80s. This Sony Legacy 2CD comp covers his Monument recordings and some later material as well. Roy Orbison was still recording and touring when he died of a heart attack on Dec. 6, 1988 at age 52. Here's Roy Orbison performing Mean Woman Blues on the Black & White Night TV show.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yasuko Mogi on May 29 SHOOTO show

You may recall that VALKYRIE matchmaker Yasuko Mogi (pictured on the right) attempted to return to fighting on a Mar. 13 GCM Demolition show but cancelled due to illness. She appears determined to fight despite having a lot on her plate in VALKYRIE. SHOOTO announced yesterday that Mogi will be on their May 29 show at the Accelerator Hall in Miyagi. Her opponent will be veteran fighter Masako Yoshida. It's a Flyweight match scheduled for two five minute rounds. Mogi's record is 4-3 and her most recent fight was a win over Ayumi Takeuchi on the June 28 SHOOTO show. Yoshida is 15-14-5 and her most recent fight was a win over Shinsaki Ozawa at the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. Mogi won over Yoshida at the July 12, 2005 G-SHOOTO show. Apparently they fought each other a couple of times as amateurs too.

JEWELS announces matches for May 16 show

JEWELS held a press conference today to announce matches for the May 16 Shinjuku FACE show. As was already announced as part of JEWELS business relationship with Shoot Boxing, Saori Ishioka will face an opponent TBA under Shoot Boxing rules. They also announced that Shoot Boxing regular Misato Tomita will have a match against an opponent TBA. She won over Megumi Fujii last year so I would not be shocked if Fujii is the opponent. When asked by Kamipro about the relationship with Shoot Boxing, JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki said he would like to work with K-1 too. The matches announced are as follows. In an Open Weight match, HIROKO will fight a gaijin TBA. HIROKO is 6' 170lbs so that limits who they might bring over. Her record is 6-1 and her last match was a win over Michiko Takeda on the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. In a 48kg match Misaki Takimoto will face Yukiko Seki. Takimoto is 9-10-4 and her last match was a loss to Yasuko Tamada on the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. Seki is 4-14 and her last match was a loss to Satoko Shinashi on the Oct. 23 DEEP show. In an Open Weight match, HARUMI will face Chiharo Oikawa. HARUMI is 0-10 and her last fight was a loss to Rina Tomita on the Feb. 4 JEWELS. Oikawa is a pro wrestler working for BATTLARTS and lost in her MMA debut to Super Benkei on the Feb. 4 JEWELS show. Other fighters scheduled to appear include Mika Nagano, Super Benkei, Shizuka Sugiyama, Shinsaki Ozawa and SHIHO. They plan to announce the rest of the card the end of next week. They also did the weigh-in for tomorrow's DEEP match between MIKU & Nicdali Calanic and it went OK.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Semisonic

Artist:Semisonic
Song:Secret Smile
Album:Feeling Strangely Fine




The 1998 CD Feeling Strangely Fine went Platinum so it looked like Semisonic was going to be around for a long time. But it didn't last and they split up in 2001. They're from Minneapolis and started after the breakup of the popular band Trip Shakespeare in 1992. Lead singer songwriter guitarist Dan Wilson (born May 20, 1961 in Minneapolis) was in Trip Shakespeare with his brother Matt and bassist John Munson. When the brothers split up, Dan Wilson and Munson formed Semisonic with drummer Jacob Slichter. They released an EP independently in 1995 and earned a contract with Elektra Records. But a change in management at Elektra forced Semisonic to go elsewhere and they signed with MCA Records. Their 1996 debut The Great Divide did OK but Feeling Strangely Fine did really well. It reached #43 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Platinum in 1999. The singles Feeling Fine & Secret Smile also did well on the charts. Dan Wilson wrote all the songs including Secret Smile and British producer Nick Launay (Kate Bush) did a good job. It's good solid pop. They looked like they were on their way but the 2001 CD All About Chemistry didn't chart at all. Semisonic has never officially split up but other than a couple of reunion gigs, the guys are all doing other things. Dan Wilson currently records for American Recordings and his latest CD Free Life was released in Oct. 2007. He has also produced albums for Mike Doughty formerly of Soul Coughing. And he's worked a lot with The Dixie Chicks including writing Not Ready To Make Nice. John Munson currently has a jazz band called The New Standard. Jacob Slichter wrote a book about Semisonic in 2004 called So You Want To Be a Rock & Roll Star. Here's the video for Secret Smile by Semisonic.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Megumi Fujii on her San Jose weekend

Of course we all know that Megumi Fujii was in San Jose seconding Hitomi Akano for her fight against Cristiane Cyborg. Megumi is back in Japan but before she returned to posting pics of cherry blossoms and her cats on her blog, she had some choice words about the silliness that occurred on the weekend. Hitomi's manager Shu Hirata has posted a lot mostly accusing Chute Boxe of cheating. But he did bring out a couple of previously unknown details that I want to mention. Megumi starts by saying that the event was so shameful that she was reluctant to write about it. She says in amateur competition, you are disqualified if you are one gram overweight. The fighter has to manage herself and take responsibility for that. And all women have "women's problems" so everyone is the same. The fighter should have some pride and respect for the sport and the opponent. Of course Cyborg weighs 152lb at the weigh-in. And we all know the CSAC refused to sanction the fight and gave Cyborg until 8PM PST to get down to 149. It was originally scheduled for 6PM but Chute Boxe asked for more time. According to Hirata, the second weigh-in was done in the bathroom with Mr. Cyborg, Hitomi, Megumi & Shannon Hooper supervising. Hirata said that Chute Boxe said that the bathing suit made her heavy. You all saw what she wore. Megumi says Cyborg took off the bikini when she was weighed in the bathroom. She was weighed a couple of times and it still read 150. According to both Megumi & Hirata, Chute Boxe kept giving lame excuses. Hirata said that the CSAC agreed to sanction the fight after Chute Boxe claimed that they misunderstood the target weight due to the language barrier. They thought it was 150. Now it's up to Hitomi to agree to the fight. Megumi said the 20% penalty was inadequate and they refused. By 2AM, Megumi & Hitomi agreed to the fight after meeting with Strikeforce owner Scott Coker. Megumi told him that Hitomi is being penalized for Cyborg's cheating. Coker has said that he sweetened the pot with more than money. Megumi doesn't go into detail. She also wasn't impressed with Cyborg's post match celebration. Megumi Fujii said that this was the complete opposite of what MMA is supposed to be. She was very upset but she kept her composure and demonstrated the class that we as fans know that she always shows. Megumi Fujii is very happy to be home playing with her cats.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Maria McKee

Artist:Maria McKee
Song:Precious Time
Album:You Gotta Sin To Get Saved




Maria McKee is an excellent alt country singer songwriter who made her name with the 80s band Lone Justice and has carved out a significant fanbase in the roots rock market. She is an outstanding vocalist. She was born Aug. 17, 1964 in Los Angeles and is the half-sister of Love guitarist Bryan MacLean. They started performing together in Los Angeles clubs and with local music legend Top Jimmy. Maria met guitarist Ryan Hedgecock in the early 80s and they formed Lone Justice in 1982. Linda Ronstadt recommended them to Geffen Records but the two Lone Justice albums underperformed despite critical acclaim and Lone Justice split up in 1986. Maria remained with Geffen and released her solo debut in 1989. Her 1993 CD You Gotta Sin To Get Saved is probably her biggest seller to date but it doesn't look like Maria is country enough for the country market or mainstream enough for the pop market. But it is an excellent album with backup provided by The Jayhawks and their producer George Drakoulias. Though Maria writes a lot of her own songs, Precious Time was written by Gary Louris & Mark Olson of The Jayhawks. Maria's song If Love Is A Red Dress (Hang Me In Rags) appeared on the soundtrack of the hit film Pulp Fiction. But she wasn't getting anywhere at Geffen. So she took a hiatus after her 1996 album Life Is Sweet to get out of her Geffen contract. She is currently recording for the British label Cooking Vinyl and her latest CD Late December was released in Apr. 2007. I've been a Maria McKee fan since Lone Justice. She's worth checking out. Here's Maria McKee with The Jayhawks performing Precious Time on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Monday, April 13, 2009

S-Arena joshi video review for Apr. 13

I have three videos for you this week. The first is for NEO's Apr. 7 Itabashi Green Hall show. They ran a show during the week in Tokyo because they went out of town on the weekend. The first match in the video is the High Speed Starting Gate with Natsuki*Taiyo, Toshie Uematsu & Tojuki Leon vs Ray, Ayako Sato & Io Shirai. It's supposed to be a warm up for that High Speed Title that NEO will award next month but the match itself has nothing to do with that. It looks like the kind of sprint one would expect. Natsuki & Ray are in the ring together quite a bit and Natsuki gets Ray in a Majistral Cradle when time runs out and it's a draw. Next is Kyoko Kimura, Atsuko Emoto & Tomoka Nakagawa vs Kyoko Inoue, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Etsuko Mita. From the brief bit shown, it looks like Matsumoto took a lot of abuse. Nakagawa countered her attempted backdrop suplex into a sunset flip for the win at 18:50. They devote a lot of time to a mixed match with Haruka Matsuo & Takashi Saski vs Yuki Miyazaki & Yoshito Sasaki. It's all played for comedy with a baseball theme. Matsuo wins over Miyazaki with a Dragon Suplex at 14:59. The main event is standard booking leading to the Takahashi/Tamura title match. Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara won over Nanae Takahashi & Kana when Tamura used the Patriot Buster on Kana at 21:20.

The other two videos cover the JWP MANIAX show Apr. 12 at Korakuen Hall. The first match is Kyoko Kimura & Tomoka Nakagawa vs Arisa Nakajima & Pinkie Mayuca. They show a nice exchange between Nakajima & Kimura. The tide tutns when Nakagawa nails Mayuca with a chair and they destroy her for the win at 11:02. Next up is Yumiko Hotta & Kei'to defending the JWP/Daily Sports Tag Team Titles against Commando Bolshoi & Megumi Yabushita. Bolshoi & Yabushita use speed and submission attempts to counter Hotta & Kei'to's brawling. Bolshoi gets the win over Hotta with the Kido Clutch rollup at 19:41. You'll notice that Hotta's shoulders aren't actually on the mat. Oops. Hotta is shocked. Afterwards, Bolshoi bans Hotta from JWP. Hotta leaves and Kei'to follows her. She'll be back. The second video features Kayoko Haruyama defending her JWP Singles Title against Azumi Hyuga. NEO President Koda mused on his blog that the results of this match might influence his upcoming Takahashi/Tamura title match because fans still want to see Hyuga/Tamura 2. The match is what you would expect from these two as they are both accomplished performers. When Haruyama kicked out of Hyuga's Michinoku Driver II, one would have to figure that Haruyama would retain the title. And she did with the Keene Hammer at 23:28. Afterwards, Haruyama had a chat with Kyoko Kimura and she will be the next challenger. Enjoy the videos!

Cristiane Cyborg post fight press conference

Here's the video of Saturday's post fight press conference with Cristiane Cyborg and Strikeforce owner Scott Coker. It's the usual nonsense. Nobody bothered to ask Cyborg anything because they're not going to get a straight answer. She again promised that this will never happen again. At least she didn't blame it on "woman trouble". Coker started by explaining what happened after Friday's weigh-in. But you'll notice that no one asked him how it felt to be made to look like a fool in front of an international audience. It sets a precedent. "Oh, we can put one over on this dope." The press conference is about five minutes too long as they ran out of questions. I've been asked what the solution was after the weigh-in. The CSAC provided the solution by not sanctioning the fight. The problem was they backed down when they probably shouldn't have. So if you leave it up to the weasel promoter, he's going to do what is best for himself. And fighters are always going to fight even if they are told not to. It is the CSAC's duty and responsibility to protect the fighters in this kind of situation and they didn't do that.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Stanley Clarke

Artist:Stanley Clarke
Song:Black On Black Crime
Album:Stanley Clarke At The Movies




Bassist Stanley Clarke is best known for his days with the fusion group Return To Forever and various other projects. In recent years he has composed a lot of music for films & TV and that's what this 1995 CD is about. He was born June 30, 1951 in Philadelphia and studied music at the Philadelphia Academy Of Music. After graduating, he moved to New York and joined Pharoah Sanders band. He also played with Gil Evans, Mel Lewis, Horace Silver, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon & Art Blakey. But Clarke's big break came when Chick Corea hired him to be in the very popular fusion band Return To Forever in 1974. He also started recording solo albums with the 1976 album School Days being the most popular. After Return To Forever split up in 1977, Clarke worked on various projects including Animal Logic with Stewart Copeland and The Clarke/Duke Project with George Duke. But he also started composing music for film & TV. He was nominated for an Emmy for his music in Pee Wee's Playhouse. John Singleton's landmark 1992 film Boyz 'N' The Hood is one of Clarke's best scores. This 1995 CD has two songs from that along with music from some of Clarke's other films. Clarke continues to work on film composing and currently does the music for the ABC Family series Lincoln Heights. He also hosts On The Road with Stanley Clarke on BET-J. His latest solo CD The Toys Of Men was released Oct. 2007 on Heads Up Records. Here's the scene from Boyz 'N' The Hood that contains Black On Black Crime.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

RIP Randy Cain


R & B singer and one of the pioneers of Philly Soul Randy Cain died Thursday at age 63. The cause of death is not known. Cain was best known as a founding member of The Delfonics (that's him on the right). He was born May 2, 1945 in Philadelphia and he started The Delfonics With William & Wilbert Hart while in high school. The other key figure in The Delfonics was legendary producer Thom Bell. Cameo-Parkway producer Stan Watson introduced The Delfonics to Bell and signed them to his new Philly Groove label. At a time when the raw soul of Otis Redding & Wilson Picket was popular, Bell brought a smoother sound usually with strings. They hit the jackpot with the 1968 hit La-La Means I Love You which reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Delfonics continued to do well on the R & B charts but struck gold again with the 1970 hit Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) which reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cain left The Delfonics in 1971 to form the very similar group Blue Magic but he had left by the time they began recording in 1974. Cain returned to The Delfonics in 1980 and was in one of two versions of the group that toured in the 80s. The Delfonics got a big boost when Quentin Tarantino used their music in his 1997 film Jackie Brown. That's when Arista released the comp La-La Means I Love You: The Definitive Collection. Their music has also been sampled heavily by hip-hop artists. It doesn't look like Cain was active in recent years and he was living in Maple Shade, NJ at the time of his death. Here are The Delfonics performing Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) in 1970. RIP Randy Cain.