Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Buddy Rich

Artist:Buddy Rich
Song:Groovin' Hard
Album:The Best Of Buddy Rich: The Pacific Jazz Years

Buddy Rich was known as The World's Greatest Drummer. Well, he was certainly one of the most powerful drummers and a tremendous showman. He came by that naturally. He was born Sept. 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, NY. His parents were vaudeville performers Robert and Bess Rich. His father noticed that Buddy could keep a beat with spoons at age one so it wasn't long before he was performing in the family act as Traps The Drum Wonder. He was the second highest paid child performer after Jackie Coogan. He was a bandleader by age 11. Keep in mind that Rich never took music lessons. His main influences were Chick Webb and Gene Krupa. In the late 30s he played with Bunny Berigan and Artie Shaw and into the 40s with Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and Jazz At The Philharmonic. Of course he worked with Frank Sinatra in the Dorsey band. And when Rich told Sinatra that he wanted to start his own band, Sinatra cut him a cheque for $40K. Buddy Rich's prime started when he formed a big band in 1966. This was at a time when big bands were dead. At the time, Rich recorded for Pacific Jazz. Groovin' Hard is from his 1970 album Keep The Customer Satisfied recorded live at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. The song was written by arranger Don Menza and became a standard for the Rich band. This Blue Note comp is a good sampling of his Pacific Jazz recordings. Also, Blue Note released Keep The Customer Satisfied on CD with bonus tracks in 2000. Though Rich had a history of heart problems (he suffered his first heart attack in 1959), he continued to record for RCA and other labels and tour very successfully until his death of heart failure on Apr. 2, 1987 at age 69. Here's Buddy Rich performing Groovin' Hard in 1980.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Is Ibuki closing?

Ibuki owner Mariko Yoshida said in an interview in the new issue of Weekly Pro Wrestling that Ibuki's Nov. 8 Korakuen Hall show will be the final regular show. She will run one more show in May at Shin-kiba 1st Ring to celebrate Ibuki's fifth anniversary. Officially, Ibuki will be on hiatus. Unofficially, it appears that Yoshida wants to close down but Ibuki's parent company S-Ovation is interested in continuing in the joshi business. It remains to be seen exactly what they have planned. This announcement is the beginning of the winding down of Mariko Yoshida's wrestling career. This began last year when she closed her personal website and continued after her 20th anniversary show when she stopped being an active wrestler. Of course she hasn't officially retired but Yoshida hasn't worked a match all year. She hasn't even appeared on any anniversary or retirement shows. She was at Kaoru Ito's 20th anniversary show last week but didn't appear on the show. So I'm not that surprised by this announcement and it also wouldn't surprise me if Yoshida retired in May. There has been speculation that she wants to start a family with her husband. But I'm sure that the continued slump in the joshi business hasn't helped. Ibuki was started as a branch of Yoshida's training program. My impression is Yoshida liked training better than either wrestling or promoting and she was very proud of her girls. And Ibuki gave these youngsters an outlet to hone their skills without having to deal with inter promotional politics. She seems to believe that Ibuki has run its course. Even if she is finished as a promoter, one would hope that Yoshida would continue to train. But it appears that she wants out of the joshi business completely. It's a very sad end to a distinguished career. Obviously Mariko Yoshida is a great wrestler. But her legacy is all the young girls she trained over the years in AJW, ARSION, M's Style and now Ibuki. It will be a great loss to pro wrestling if that ended.

Jango Song Of The Day-The Radiants

Artist:The Radiants
Song:Voice Your Choice
Album:Chess Soul: A Decade Of Chicago's Finest

When you listen to the 1966 top 20 R & B hit Voice Your Choice, you might think it's a long lost Impressions song. But The Radiants were a different R & B vocal group from Chicago. They just weren't anywhere near as successful. They are good though. The group was started by lead singer Maurice McCallister along with Wallace Sampson, Jerome Brooks, Elzie Butler and McLauren Green. They started out singing gospel but switched to R & B. They sent out demos and the one guy who seemed interested was Chess Records producer Billy Davis. He was best known as Berry Gordy's pre-Motown songwriting partner. Their singles on Chess didn't sell and by 1964 they split up. McCallister had started writing for others anyway. McCallister and Sampson reformed The Radiants with Leonard Caston Jr. Caston wrote Voice Your Choice with veteran producer arranger Gerald Sims and it was released in late 1964. There's no question that Caston intended for Voice Your Choice to sound like The Impressions. It reached #16 on the R & B singles chart. The problem was that Caston started to get busy at Chess as a producer. So he left in 1965 and was replaced by James Jameson. After Baby You've Got It flopped, McCallister left. Instead of letting The Radiants die, Davis brought in The Confessions lead singer Mitchell Bullock and Leonard Caston's brother Victor and released some Confessions singles as The Radiants. They all flopped. The Radiants split up for good in 1972. Chess never released a Radiants album so you'll find Voice Your Choice on a few various artists comps like this 2CD Chess Soul comp. A small company released a Radiants comp in 2000 but it looks like they went broke and the CD isn't available. Maurice McCallister & McLauren Green formed Maurice & Mac in 1967 and they made some good singles but they didn't sell. McCallister quit the music business after that. Leonard Caston Jr. is best known for producing the Eddie Kendricks hit Keep On Trucking. Here's The Radiants performing Voice Your Choice on The Beat 1966.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Toughill out, Modafferi in

The other day Strikeforce announced that Erin Toughill has been forced to pull out of her Nov. 7 match against Marloes Coenen for health reasons. The rumour mill immediately started that Erin was having trouble making weight. Don't look at me. I don't start rumours. I usually debunk them. To put a stop to this nonsense, Erin told MMA Weekly today that she started having abdominal pains about a month ago. An examination revealed that she has ovarian cysts. She's having that taken care of and she'll be as good as new in the new year. Her health is more important than any fight. Meanwhile, Strikeforce decided to postpone the scheduled Nov. 20 Sarah Kaufman vs Takayo Hashi fight until ther new year. Sarah says they didn't give a reason but if I had to guess, I suggest that they couldn't get Hashi a visa in time. So we all figured there would be no opponent of Marloes but it was reported today that Roxanne Modafferi has taken the fight on short notice. But it still won't be on TV. BOOOOOO!!!!!! I don't like the fight anyway. It sets Roxy up for a one shot deal. I would rather see her fight within her weight class. And even if Roxy wins, then she has to face Cyborg and I REALLY don't want to see that. Of course you may want to remind me that Roxy won over Marloes two years ago. I know all about it. It was at the K-Grace open weight tournament May 2007. Here's a link to my article about that tournament including Roxy's post fight video interview She was very fortunate to win by split decision. Don't you think Marloes remembers that too? Oh and that $10K that she won. Guess what? None of the fighters were paid and K-Grace went belly up by the end of the year. It was their only show. So I like Roxy. She reads this blog. But I don't BS anyone and she's taking this fight on short notice with a ten year veteran looking for redemption for a split decision loss. If Roxy wins, she has to face Cyborg. If she loses, she gets a one way ticket to Palookaville. She's got a long road to hoe and we don't even get to see it. Phooey!

Jango Song Of The Day-The Moments & The Whatnauts

Artist:The Moments & The Whatnauts
Album:Love On A Two-Way Street

I've talked about The Moments before. They were a very popular 70s smooth R & B group who for legal reasons became Ray, Goodman & Brown in 1978. They had several hits including the 1970 R & B chart topper Love On A Two Way Street. So Harry Ray, Al Goodman and William Brown were very well established by the mid-70s. They were on the All Platinum/Stang label owned by Sylvia Robinson (Mickey & Sylvia). The Whatnauts were also on Stang. They were from Baltimore led by lead singer Billy Herndon along with Garrett Jones and Gerald Pinkney. They had a top 20 R & B hit in 1971 with I'll Erase Away Your Pain. But they clearly weren't as successful as The Moments. Sylvia put the groups together in 1975 mainly to help The Whatnauts. Girls was written by Ray and Goodman and it reached #25 on the R & B charts. I don't think it helped The Whatnauts much as it doesn't appear that they ever recorded again. And of course The Moments continued to be successful even after they became Ray, Goodman & Brown. This 2CD comp from Castle has Girls on it. Some other Moments comps don't include it. Castle has also released a Whatnauts comp. Here are The Moments performing Girls on Top Of The Pops 1975.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Clarence Carter

Artist:Clarence Carter
Album:Snatching It Back

Clarence Carter is a singer that personifies southern soul and more specifically Muscle Shoals soul. Patches has been his biggest hit in his long career. He was born blind on Jan. 14, 1936 in Montgomery, AL. He taught himself to play the guitar by listening to the blues and majored in music at Alabama State University. He could transcribe music to braille. With blind classmate Calvin Scott, he formed Clarence & Clavin in 1960 and recorded a couple of singles for Fairlane Records. They renamed themselves C & C Boys when they moved to Duke Records. But Carter's big break came when the duo recorded at Rick Hall's Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals in 1965. They started going places in 1966 when Scott was injured in a car accident and the two had a falling out over his medical bills. Carter signed as a solo artist with Fame Records with national distribution on Atlantic's Atco label. Working with the Muscle Shoals guys is exactly what Carter needed as in 1967 Slip Away reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. This began a long string of R & B chart hits and Back Door Santa was a top ten pop hit in 1968. But Patches was Carter's biggest hit and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. Patches was orginally recorded by Chairmen Of The Board and written by lead singer General Johnson and producer arranger Ron Dunbar. Carter gave it a country soul spin that still sounds great today. Carter went to ABC Records in 1973 and really didn't have much success in the 70s. But he returned with a bang in 1989 with the smash hit Strokin' on Ichiban Records. This Rhino comp covers his Atco recordings. Anyone interested in Strokin' should get the 2001 comp The Dr.'s Greatest Prescriptions on Koch. Clarence Carter still tours today and last recorded on his own label in 2005. Here's Clarence Carter performing Patches on the British TV show Disco 2 in 1970.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bull Nakano at Kaoru Ito's 20th anniversary show

Here's the S-Arena video digest for Kaoru Ito's 20th anniversary show Sunday at Shinjuku FACE. Obviously it was a nostalgia show. The ZAPs reunited for a match against LCO. Tomoko Watanabe came out of retirement to team with her old buddy Ito and they unmasked after the match. Ito faced Aja kong in the main event and Ito got to blade on her 20th anniversary. Ito landed enough diving footstamps to win the match. Afterwards, a surprise appearance by AJW legend Keiko "Bull" Nakano. Of course as many fans know, Bull left joshi without even a retirement match. She took up golf and lost a lot of weight. She even has a best selling diet book. She was living in the US but recently returned to Japan. She told Kamipro that attending the funeral of former AJW chairman Takeshi Matsunaga brought back a lot of memories and she has softened her hard feelings towards the joshi business. This was her first appearance in a ring in over a decade. Maybe she'll make some more appearances in the future. Enjoy the video!

JEWELS adds two matches to Dec. 11 show

JEWELS held a press conference today at the DEEP gym to announce a couple of matches have been added to their Dec. 11 Shinjuku FACE show. As we all know, the finals of the ROUGH STONE tournaments will be on the show. In the 60kg final, Alexandra Sanchez will face Tomoko Morii. in the 54kg final, Mika Nagano will face Yuko Kagoshima. And in the 48kg final, Asami Kodera will face Kikuyo Ishikawa. They also announced that both Saori Ishioka and Shizuka Sugiyama will appear on the show against opponents to be announced. But the most interesting thing is matchmaker Shigeru Saeki is bringing in a couple of fighters returning to MMA after doing other things. In a 48kg match Akiko Inoue will face Fuuka Misaki. Inoue's record is 2-6 and her most recent fight was a loss to Kayo Nagayasu on the Feb. 24, 2006 G-Shooto show. She now trains at PUREBRED but started out as a pro wrestler for the now defunct JD Star in 2003. She was known more as an idol than a fighter and did DVDs and photo books. She also participated in Tae Kwan Do at the 2006 Olympics. She got married and had a baby in Sept. 2008. That's him in the pic with mommy. She's also done some modelling. Now she's decided to try fighting again. Fuuka Misaki is the new ring name for Misaki Ozawa. She trains at the Matsumoto branch of Zendokai. Her record is 0-4 and her last loss was to Asami Kodera on the Sept. 13, JEWELS show. In another 48kg match, Yoko Yamada will face MIYOKO. MIYOKO trains at Grabaka and will be making her MMA debut. Yamada trains at PUREBRED and has a 5-1 MMA record. Her last fight was a win over Nanachanchin at the June 15, 2008 DEEP show. Yoko is actually an arm wrestling champ in Japan. She does a lot of modelling and ring girl work. Pro wrestling is her first love but she's a very tiny girl and is way too small. Last year she worked for Mariko Yoshida's Ibuki pro wrestling company. She left about a year ago. So now she wants to try MMA again. We'll see how these two do in their returns to MMA.

Jango Song Of The Day-The Stranglers

Artist:The Stranglers
Song:Skin Deep
Album:Greatest Hits 1977-1990

The Stranglers were pioneers of the British punk rock movement in the 70s. As punk died out in the early 80s, their sound matured and they had their biggest chart success with the 1984 song Skin Deep. The group began as The Guildford Stranglers with guitarist vocalist Hugh Cornwell (born Aug. 28, 1949 in North London), bassist Jean-Jacques Brunel (born Feb. 21, 1952 in London), keyboardist Dave Greenfield (born Mar. 29, 1949 in Brighton) and drummer Jet Black (born Brian Duffy Aug. 26, 1938 in Essex). They worked out of Black's club The Jackpot. Cornwell had previously played with Richard Thompson. Brunel was classically trained and Black was a jazz drummer. They got attention by opening for touring US groups like The Ramones. Their early albums on EMI got them a rabid following but they had mixed commercial results and left EMI in 1982 and signed with Epic. Skin Deep is from their second album on Epic called Aural Sculpture. Their sound was more mature at this point though the punk fans perceived them as sellouts. But Aural Sculpture was their most successful album worldwide and they continued that success until Cornwell left in 1990. This comp is a good intro to their music. The Stranglers continue today and last recorded in 2006. But Black has had health issues and Brunel has suggested The Stranglers may go into semi-retirement. Cornwell has recorded his own CDs. Here's the video for Skin Deep by The Stranglers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fuuka retirement show set for Mar. 28

Here's the S-Arena video digest for yesterday's Fuuka Matsuri show. Fuuka's retirement show will be Mar. 28 at Korakuen Hall. That's around when she celebrates her sixth anniversary in joshi. The clips in the video begin with Fuuka's exhibition match with MMA fighter Mika Nagano. It was declared a draw. Next is Passion Seven vs Police Woman. Doing the masked wrestler thing is a bit of a fad in joshi right now and some of the wrestlers have created some elaborate costumes. But Nanae Takahashi simply wore her usual costume and a mask. Huh? We also see clips from Fuuka & Misaki Ohata vs DASH Chisako & Ryo Mizunami. Then Fuuka makes her big announcement. So what's Fuuka going to do? I was reminded that she recently switched representation to a more traditional talent agency that works with models as opposed to wrestlers. Some fans have suggested MMA but Fuuka actually hasn't done MMA for three years. She has done Shoot Boxing and has trained with K-1 star Andy Souwers. I think she prefers that style to MMA. K-1 announced a few months ago that they planned to start a women's division. But other than that Korean actress who has appeared on a couple of K-1 shows in Korea, they haven't done anything yet. Maybe that's part of Fuuka's plan. I dunno. Enjoy the video.

Jango Song Of The Day-World Party

Artist:World Party
Song:Way Down Now
Album:Best In Show

World Party is an excellent British pop group led by Karl Wallinger after he left The Waterboys. He's had health problems in recent years but is currently on the comeback trail. He was born Oct. 19, 1957 in Prestatyn, Wales. Wallinger grew up a big fan of The Beatles & The Beach Boys. His big break in music came when he became musical director of the West End run of the stage show The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This led to him joining The Waterboys as keyboard player in 1984. He left after The Waterboys 1985 album This Is The Sea and started World Party out of his home studio. It was not a band at first. His 1987 debut album Private Revolution spawned the top 40 hit Ship Of Fools. After producing Sinead O'Connor's 1988 debut album, World Party returned with the 1990 album Goodbye Jumbo. Way Down Now topped the US Modern Rock chart. Wallinger finally turned World Party into a real band for his 1993 CD Bang! and that did very well on the charts as well. It's very strong pop music and this 2007 comp Best In Show is a good intro to Wallinger's music. Karl Wallinger suffered a brain anerysm in 2001 and after a long rehabilitation, he played his first live show in a decade in 2006. He also worked on Peter Gabriel's 2008 CD Big Blue Ball and toured Australia with Steely Dan. Wallinger plans a new World Party CD through Universal but no announcement has been made yet. Here's the video for Way Down Now by World Party.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Bo Diddley

Artist:Bo Diddley
Song:Hey Bo Diddley
Album:The Definitive Collection

Bo Diddley is a guitar legend despite not having the mass appeal of Chuck Berry. But he was a great live performer. Part of the problem is a lot of his songs, including Hey Bo Diddley, are just variations on his first big hit Bo Diddley. He was born Ellas Otha Bates Dec. 30, 1928 in McComb, MS. He was adopted and raised by his mother's cousin so he took her surname and became Ellas McDaniel when the family moved to Chicago in 1934. He grew up in church and was inspired by John Lee Hooker to take up the guitar. While working as a carpenter, McDaniel was playing on streetcorners and in clubs on Chicago's South Side. In 1954, he formed a band with harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, bassist Roosevelt Jackson and drummer Clifton James. He recorded a demo of Bo Diddley and Leonard Chess took him into the studio in 1955. It was a #1 R & B hit. The stage name Bo Diddley is apparently the name of a singer that his adoptive mother knew. Hey Bo Diddley was the seventh single and it didn't chart. The Bo Diddley song was based on "hambone" with McDaniel's trademark guitar licks. So he was very limited as a songwriter and that made him a tough sell. But that beat is what made him a legend. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987. This comp is adequate for most music fans. He continued to tour until he suffered a stroke and died on June 2, 2008 at age 79. Here's Bo Diddley performing Hey Bo Diddley and Bo Diddley in the 1966 film The Big TNT Show.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mogi loses to best friend on Oct. 24 VALKYRIE show

VALKYRIE held their latest show today at Differ Ariake. Of course the problem is that with Yuka Tsuji injured, matchmaker Yasuko Mogi didn't really have a main event. So she booked herself against her very good friend Misaki Takimoto. Before I get into that, Jet Izumi suffered a knee injury so her match against Emi Fujino was cancelled. The bouts are scheduled for three three minute rounds except for the first two matches which are two three minute rounds. As I said, Mogi and Takimoto frequently train together so it's odd to see them fight each other. And by no means is Mogi a main event fighter. Mogi's takedown attempts don't work and Takimoto hammers her with strikes. She leans Mogi against the cage and tees off on her. Round two doesn't go any better and when Takimoto continues the barrage, the ref stops the match at 51 seconds of round three. In the semi-main, Naoko Omuro won by unanimous decision over Yukiko Seki. Omuro was never close to finishing Seki but scored with takedowns and strikes. Seki made a bit of a comeback in round two but it wasn't enough and Omuro poured it on in the third round. SACHI vs Maho Muranami is even in the first round as both score with takedowns. But SACHI is able to mount Muranami in tound two and gets the win with an armbar at 2:32 of round two. Naho Sugiyama made her MMA debut against ♂ha@THE♀ who has been on a roll lately. But Sugiyama does a pretty good job of controlling her through the first two rounds with strikes and effective ground work. ♂ha@THE♀ tries to pull a rabbit out of her hat with a guillotine choke in round three. but it's unsuccessful and not enough to turn the tide. Sugiyama wins by unanimous decision. Fukuko Fukuko controls Yuko Takagi in round one with ground and pound. Takagi tries a backfist in round two but ends up in an armbar submission at 1:01 of round two. Ayame won in her MMA debut over Masae Mori by unanimous decision and Yuki Sugiuchi won a grappling match over Yuki Tanaka at 2:37 of round two.

Jango Song Of The Day-Tyrone Davis

Artist:Tyrone Davis
Song:Turn Back The Hands Of Time
Album:20 Greatest Hits

Turn Back The Hands Of Time was the biggest hit for smooth R & B  singer Tyrone Davis. But he had a long run on the R & B charts and when that dried up he turned to the blues market. He was born May 4, 1938 in Greenville, MS and grew up in Saginaw, MI. Davis moved to Chicago in 1959 and became bluesman Albert King's valet. He started hanging around clubs and befriending singers like Otis Clay and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Singer songwriter producer Harold Burrage took Davis under his wing and got him a deal with 4 Brothers Records as Tyrone The Wonder Boy. Burrage died in 1966 but Brunswick Records producer Carl Davis was starting his new Dakar label and signed Davis after he had a number one R & B hit with Can I Change My Mind. Davis also brought in the producer of that song Willie Henderson. Davis continued to have success on the R & B charts but really hit it big when Turn Back The Hands of Time reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. 4 Brothers co-owner Jack Daniels and partner Bobby Moore wrote the song after spending some time with Philly Soul producers Thom Bell and Bobby Martin. Daniels was having relationship troubles at the time. Davis continued to have success on the R & B charts until he left Dakar for Columbia in 1975. The British Diablo label has the rights tothe Dakar recordings and have released this comp. Davis was still a regular on the R & B charts until 1982. And when that dried up, he recorded for Ichiban and then Malaco and became a regular on the blues charts. So he had a very durable career. Tyrone Davis suffered a stroke in Oct. 2004 and died on Feb. 9, 2005 at age 66. Here's Tyrone Davis performing Turn Back The Hands Of Time Cleveland 1969.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Tom Lehrer

Artist:Tom Lehrer
Song:Poisoning Pigeons In The Park
Album:Songs & More Songs By Tom Lehrer

So on one hand Tom Lehrer wrote and performed satirical political songs and on the other hand he was a mathematics professor at Harvard. He's probably best known for his stint on the mid-60s TV show That Was The Week That Was and owes a lot to DJ Dr. Demento for keeping his music fresh. He was born Apr. 9, 1928 in New York City. Even as a child he performed parodies of popular songs. In 1944, he went to study mathematics at Harvard. He started performing on campus and became so popular that he had to self record and press an album. They sold out and he kept making more. Lehrer was in the US Army from 1955-57. In 1959, he recorded another album called More Of Tom Lehrer featuring Poisoning Pigeons In The Park. It's this jaunty little song about killing pigeons. Lehrer continued to perform his songs but he always returned to Harvard as a math professor. Lehrer reached the mainstream when he was a regular on the 1964 NBC TV show That Was The Week That Was. His songs had become more politically overt and he would frequently butt heads with network censors. It also resulted in a record contract with Reprise Records. Some of the songs have aged better than others but you can check them out on this 1998 Rhino comp. Lehrer quit performing and went back to Harvard because he didn't enjoy performing or touring. Lehrer's music has been kept alive by DJ Barry "Dr. Demento" Hansen and his popular Los Angeles radio show and novelty song CDs. He has occasionally resurfaced over the years but mostly taught at the University Of California, Santa Cruz until his retirement in 2001. He also wrote songs for the PBS kids TV show The Electric Company as a favour to his friend songwriter Joe Raposo. And he participated in a stage show about his music called Tom Foolery. Here's Tom Lehrer performing Poisoning Pigeons In The Park Norway 1967.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

JWP Junior Title eligibility changed

Here's the S-Arena video for the double shot JWP ran the Kitasenju Mini Theatre 1010 on Sunday. The major news coming out of this is Commando Bolshoi has changed the eligibilty for the JWP Junior & POP Titles from three years to five years of experience. The reason for this change is the depth in the junior ranks is very weak right now. There are very few newcomers and a lot of them seem to get hurt. Current champ Misaki Ohata will be a wrestler for three years in December and would have to give up the belt under the old rules. So they showed a clip from a match with Ohata teaming Kaori Yoneyama vs Commando Bolshoi & Ryo Mizunami. It was announced that Ohata will defend her title against Mizunami on the Dec. 20 Sensai Girls show at Zepp Sendai. Meiko Satomura will also return on this show. They also continued the JWP vs Passion Red angle with Kayoko Haruyama, Sachie Abe & Tojuki Leon vs Nanae Takahashi, Yumiko Hotta & Natsuki*Taiyo. Passion Red loses when Hotta hits Natsuki by accident. Afterwards, Abe argues with Takahashi about who gets the next shot at Haruyama's JWP Open Weight Title. Thos two will have a #1 contender's match to decide that. The second show had retirement road matches for Etsuko Mita and Azumi Hyuga. LCO wins over WANTED! (Sachie Abe & KAZUKI) and Hyuga teams with Ran YuYu vs Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kayoko Haruyama in a JWP reunion match. Enjoy the video!

Jango Song Of The Day-Thelma Houston

Artist:Thelma Houston
Song:Don't Leave Me This Way
Album:The Best Of Thelma Houston

Thelma Houston is mainly known for the 1977 number one hit Don't Leave Me This Way. But her music has been popular in clubs for many years. I also get asked if she is related to Whitney Houston and the answer is no. She was born Thelma Jackson May 7, 1943 in Leland, MS and grew up in Long Beach, CA. Thelma got married, became a nurse and had two kids. But she remained active in music as a member of the gospel group The Art Reynolds Singers. 5th Dimension manager Marc Gordon liked Thelma's voice and got her a deal with Dunhill Records. Her 1969 debut album Wildflower was produced by legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb. It didn't sell. Thelma signed with Motown in 1971. Her early albums didn't sell  but she hung around doing background vocals and appearing in the Motown produced film The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings. Things finally clicked for Thelma when she got together with producer Hal Davis. He wrote I'll Be There for The Jackson 5 and produced a lot of Motown hits of the 70s. Don't Leave Me This Way was written by Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff and was originally recorded by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Davis heard it at a party. The song first broke in clubs and then crossed over to the pop charts and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. Though Thelma never reached those heights again, her subsequent singles did well in clubs even after she left Motown for RCA in 1980. She also recorded for MCA and Reprise. This comp covers her Motown recordings. Thelma sang the theme of the 1989 film Lean On Me with The Winans and her performance on guitarist Scott Henderson's 1997 CD Tore Down House is worth checking out. I think she is very underrated. Thelma Houston's latest CD A Woman's Touch was released by Shout! Factory in 2007 and she continues to tour. Here's Thelma Houston performing Don't Leave Me This Way on the German TV show Beat Club 1977.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fuuka announces retirement

This is the cover of the new issue of Weekly Professional Wrestling that is on newstands in Japan today. Fuuka interrupted her interview to announce that she plans to retire next spring. They're not sure of the date yet but her sixth anniversary is in late March. There have been rumours of her retirement for the last couple of years so I'm not surprised. She has given some sort of medical reason claiming that she has shortness of breath and doesn't get enough oxygen in her body. Geez, Fuuka, do some cardio and you might have some endurance. I don't buy it. It seems like an excuse to get her sympathy and to avoid questions about the real reason for her retirement. It's not very noble if she says she's tired of the joshi business. The main rumour over the last year is that she wants to take up shoot boxing full time so I would not be surprised if she does exactly that. Her retirement is probably a good thing for the joshi business. Fuuka is probably the number one draw in joshi today. But she isn't the kind of draw that helps the joshi business because she doesn't deltver good enough matches. She's a draw for other reasons. This results in certain promoters depending on her to fill seats when maybe the promoter should focus on other areas. NEO President Tetsuyo Koda is especially guilty of this as he puts Fuuka in every Korakuen Hall show. Her retirement forces him to take a different approach and maybe create new stars. It's not a big secret that I don't like Fuuka. She has the physical ability but doesn't care enough to be a good wrestler. Considering that she has threatened retirement several times over the last couple of years, her actual retirement is long overdue.

Jango Song Of The Day-Mary Hopkin

Artist:Mary Hopkin
Song:Those Were The Days
Album:Those Were The Days

When The Beatles started Apple Records in 1967, they started looking around for talent. Mary Hopkin was born May 3, 1950 in Pontardawe, Wales. She had recorded folk songs on a local label. The famous model Twiggy saw Hopkin on the ITV talent show Opportunity Knocks and recommended her to Paul McCartney. He signed her to Apple and went to work with her in the studio. Those Were The Days was the result and it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a huge worldwide hit. Hopkin was basically a folk singer but McCartney added pop touches that were very successful. It was also a song about nostalgia at a time when psychedelia was at its peak. And Hopkin's version was a much bigger hit than the version by veteran pop singer Sandie Shaw. Those Were The Days is based on an old gypsy folk tune. The song was adapted and the lyrics were written by folksinger Gene Raskin. McCartney had seen Raskin perform it in London as part of the duo Gene And Francesca. Hopkin's 1969 debut album Postcard didn't have Those Were The Days on it. Her second single Goodbye reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. That was an old Lennon/McCartney song that had been sitting around but had never been recorded. She had a few more hits in England but those were the only ones here. This 1995 EMI comp is the only one that has both Those Were The Days and Goodbye. Mary Hopkin married record producer Tony Visconti in 1971 and more or less quit the music business to raise a family. They divorced in 1981. Mary has recorded occasionally, most recently in 2008 on her own label. Here's Mary Hopkin performing Those Were The Days 1968.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tara/Kim Couture angle is sure to suck

Here are the match videos for the Knockout matches from Sunday's Bound For Glory PPV. The first video has Taylor Wilde & Sarita defending the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Titles against Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne. The match is OK but way too short. And they spend far too much time on the Lacey Von Erich pre-match foolishness with the refs. The match was suitable for an episode of Impact but not for a PPV. The other video is the three way match with ODB defending the TNA Knockouts Title against Awesome Kong & Tara. The controversial aspect of this match was when Tara fell out of the ring and got into a scuffle with what seemed to be a fan but turned out to be Randy Couture's ex-wife Kim Couture. Those who read my MMA stuff know about her. But for those who don't, I wouldn't even call Kim an MMA fighter. I'd call her an aspiring MMA fighter with delusions of grandeur. Her record is 1-1. Her jaw was broken in her first fight and her opponent ran away in her second fight. She has a fight coming up against Kerry Vera on the Nov. 20 Strikeforce show. I expect Kerry to knock Kim out. Dave Meltzer said that that there has been no buzz in the MMA community about this. If an experienced qualified MMA fighter like Shayna Bazsler wanted to do pro wrestling, that would be one thing. Kim Couture is not a credible fighter so no one cares. This all started a few months ago when Tara mentioned that she turned down a fight with Kim because Tara is still training and isn't ready. Kim opened her big mouth and talked smack about Tara. TNA is trying to sell this as a shoot. But remember we're talking about Vince Russo and he loves this kind of worked shoot crap. Earlier today, Kim told Ariel Helwani of MMA Fanhouse she only went as a fan and didn't intend to get in a fight with Tara. Tara took the blame for the incident on her MySpace. But Dave Meltzer reports that this angle has been in the works for months. Obviously the real culprit is Russo. Shouldn't he have learned his lesson from the Jenna Morasca crap not to bring in someone who doesn't have a clue about the wrestling business for a major angle? I'm not pissed with Kim for doing a pro wrestling angle. Clearly she's an idiot and doesn't know better. But inevitably these kind of worked shoot angles always suck and using an inexperienced person will just make it worse. Welcome to Vince Russo's TNA. Enjoy the videos!

Jango Song Of The Day-Tierra

Album:Ay Califas: Raza Rock Of The 70s & 80s

The popularity of Santana and other Latino groups led to the Raza Rock movement of the 70s. Some were rock oriented. Some were more R & B and soul oriented. This various artists comp from Rhino is a good intro to this genre of music. Tierra came along a little later and had a top 20 pop hit with Together in 1980. Guitarist Rudy Salas and his trombonist brother Steve Salas were members of the group El Chicano. They had a couple of hits in the early 70s including Tell Her She's Lovely. They split and formed Tierra in Los Angeles in 1973. Other members were keyboardist Joey Guerra, bassist Steve Falomir, drummer Philip Madayag, percussionist Andre Baeza and sax player Bobby Navarette. Their 1974 debut album on 20th Century Records did not sell. They went back to the drawing board and reemerged in 1980 with the album City Nights on Boardwalk Records. Latin music legend Willie Bobo and his producer Stan Silverberg produced the album. Together is a cover of a Gamble/Huff song originally recorded by The Intruders and Tierra's latin soul version reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's the only big hit Tierra had but they have a big following in the Latino community in Los Angeles and they continue to record on their own Thump label. Latin soul fans should check them out. Here's Tierra performing Together on Thee Mister Duran Show Sept. 2006.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Women's matches on Nov. 10 DEEP/CMA show

A press conference was held today to announce a joint show promoted by DEEP and CMA Korea Nov. 10 at Korakuen Hall. Most of the matches feature Japanese and Korean fighters. Two women's matches have been announced for the show. The first match is at 58kg between Miki Morifuji (pictured) and Han So Loo (I think). Morifuji trains at T-Blood and her record is 7-6. Her latest fight was a loss to Hitomi Akano on the July 11 JEWELS show. Han is a CMA Korea fighter. History tells me that she is a kickboxer making her MMA debut. The second match is a 51kg match between Amiba and Masako Yoshida. Amiba trains at DEEP. Her record is 2-1 and her last fight was a loss to Yuko Kagoshima on the Sept. 13 JEWELS show. Freelancer Masako Yoshida is 16-14-5 and her last fight was a win over Yasuko Mogi on the May 24 SHOOTO show. She also has a fight this weekend in the US against Elena Reid. Masako is known to fight a very heavy schedule. This is nothing new for her. I didn't see anything about the number or length of the rounds. This show is on Thanksgiving in Japan so it's pretty big.

Another match added to Oct. 24 VALKYRIE show

VALKYRIE has added one more match to complete their Oct. 24 Differ Ariake show. It's a 46kg match scheduled for two three minute rounds between Yuki Sugiuchi and Yuki Tanaka. Yuki Sugiuchi used to be known as Yuki Furudate. My guess is she got married. Her MMA record is 5-1-1 and her last fight was a loss to MIKU on the Feb. 5, 2006 DEEP show. So she's been gone for a while and that's why I figure she got married and maybe is a mom now. Yuki Tanaka is making her MMA debut but she was the MVP at the Roll Festival grappling tournament from a few months ago that was sponsored by VALKYRIE. I don't expect any more matches to be added to this show.

Jango Song Of The Day-Flatt & Scruggs

Artist:Flatt & Scruggs
Song:Go Home
Album:16 Biggest Hits

Flatt & Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys are likely the most recognizable bluegrass group in music history due to their involvement in TV and movies, especially The Beverly Hillbillies. But they were very popular in the country market throughout the 50s & 60s and both are legends of bluegrass. Lead guitarist Lester Flatt was born June 19, 1914 in Overton County, TN. Banjo player Earl Scruggs was born Jan. 6, 1924 in Shelby, NC. They met when they joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in 1945 and left to form The Foggy Mountain Boys in 1948 along with bassist Cedric Rainwater, fiddler Jim Shumate and guitarist Mac Wiseman. They signed with Mercury Records and recorded Foggy Mountain Breakdown in 1949. They moved to Columbia Records in 1951 and had were regulars on the country music charts through the 50s and into the 60s. Go Home reached #10 on the country charts in 1961. The song was written by singer songwriter Onie Wheeler who was also on Columbia. It was very typical of their music. Flatt & Scruggs became even more popular when they performed The Ballad Of Jed Clampett for the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962. Jerry Scoggins was the vocalist. Also, Foggy Mountain Breakdown was used in Arthur Penn's 1968 film Bonnie & Clyde. This comp is a perfect intro to their music. Flatt & Scruggs split up in 1969. Flatt formed a traditional bluegrass group called The Nashville Grass. Scruggs went in a more progressive direction with The Earl Scruggs Revue. They were planning a reunion when Lester Flatt died on May 11, 1979 at age 64. Earl Scruggs continues to perform today. Flatt & Scruggs were inducted into The Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1985. Here's Flatt & Scruggs performing Go Home 1961.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-The Marmalade

Artist:The Marmalade
Song:I See The Rain
Album:The Very Best Of The Marmalade

The Marmalade were a Scottish band very popular in the late 60s in England. They never really crossed the Atlantic successfully and are virtually unknown in North America. They're very much influenced by The Beatles mixed with psychedelia. Their biggest hit was a cover of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. The lead singer of The Marmalade was Dean Ford (born Thomas McAleese Sept. 5, 1945 in Coatbridge, Scotland). The lead guitarist and arranger was William "Junior" Campbell (born May 31, 1947 in Glasgow, Scotland). They had two bassists, Graham Knight and Pat Fairley along with drummer Alan Whitehead. They started out in 1961 as Dean Ford & The Gaylords. They recorded for EMI's Columbia label in 1964. When they switched to CBS in 1966, manager Peter Walsh got the idea to change their name to The Marmalade over breakfast. The Tremeloes producer Mike Smith also produced The Marmalade. The Ford/Campbell song I See The Rain was their third single in 1967. It didn't chart in England but hit #1 in The Netherlands and The Marmalade went on a European tour. Jimi Hendrix said it was his favourite song of 1967. But they weren't having much chart success in England and CBS was getting impatient. They finally did chart with Lovin' Things in 1968 and had their biggest hit with Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da in 1968. Apparently the group didn't know it was a Beatles song as The White Album was yet to be released. They moved to Decca in 1969 and though they had their one US top ten hit with Reflections Of My Life in 1969, the band was having problems and Campbell left for a solo career in 1971. This comp from Sanctuary is a good intro to their music. Campbell had some solo success in England and now writes music for film and TV. Ford quit the music business and moved to Los Angeles. Graham Knight leads a version of The Marmalade today. Fans of late 60s psychedelia should check them out. Here's The Marmalade performing I See The Rain on Dutch TV 1967.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fuuka and Mika Nagano visit Nikkan Sports

Fuuka and Mika Nagano were out making the media rounds to promote the Oct. 25 Fuuka Matsuri show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. This video is from their visit to Nikkan sports. These two are going to have a match against each other on the show. They were on the same team when Nagano made her pro wrestling debut on the Aug. 23 Ice Ribbon show. They're not selling it as a pro wrestling match but as a grappling exhibition with two three minute rounds. Obviously in a real grappling or MMA match, Nagano would submit Fuuka in short order. Fuuka said she wants to show wrestling fans what Nagano can really do. Be careful what you ask for. Enjoy the video!

Jango Song Of The Day-Jeff Beck

Artist:Jeff Beck
Song:Beck's Bolero
Album:Best Of Beck

Though Jeff Beck is considered a guitar legend, he has had a somewhat inconsistent career mostly because he wants to play many different musical styles. Beck's Bolero was on his 1968 solo debut album Truth but his real goal at the time was to put together a supergroup that never happened. He was born June 24, 1944 in Wallington, England. His big break was when he replaced Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds in 1966. Beck's temper got him into trouble and Keith Relf fired him and replaced him with Jimmy Page. The idea behind Beck's Bolero was Beck wanted to form a supergroup and do a tour. So he brought in Jimmy Page, Nicky Hopkins and Keith Moon. John Enwistle was supposed to play bass but couldn't make it so John Paul Jones filled in. Page was credited with writing Beck's Bolero but Beck and Page have argued over it for years and that continues today. When this group didn't happen, Beck formed a new group with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. That didn't last either. Then he formed a new group with Cozy Powell that made a couple of album and then formed Beck, Bogert & Appice with Tim Bogert and Carmen Appice from Vanilla Fudge. Of course he had a lot of success with his fusion album Blow By Blow. He continues to work on all kinds of projects with all kinds of people. This comp is just the tip of the iceberg. Here's Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page performing Beck's Bolero at the 2009 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame show.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Takayo Hashi vs Sarah Kaufman on Nov. 20 Strikeforce show

Strikeforce announced yesterday that veteran Japanese female fighter Takayo Hashi will face the undefeated Sarah Kaufman on the Nov. 20 show in Kansas City. But first, lets talk about some of the other matches they have planned. In a 135lb match on Nov. 6, Elisha Hellspur will face Zoila Frausto. It says on the Strikeforce website that Hellspur is 1-0 but that looks like it may be wrong and this may be her MMA debut. According to Sherdog, Frausto is 2-0 and her last win was over Leann Jenkins on the July 25 Pure Combat show in Visalia, CA. This fight will be televised. Cristiane Cyborg was supposed to appear on the Nov. 7 Chicago show but injured her shoulder at the ADCC tournament. Her scheduled opponent Marloes Coenen will face Erin Toughill instead but it won't be on TV. BOOOOOOOOO!!!!! It's a backup in case one of the TV fights falls through. But I would rather see that instead of the Frausto/Hellspur fight. There will be two women's matches on TV for the Nov. 20 Kansas City show. They're doing this gimmick match as a co-main event (!) between Kerry Vera and Kim Couture. Yuk yuk. Kerry is 1-0 but is a veteran kickboxer. She's a very strong puncher so I expect her to KO Kim. Kim, don't forget to touch gloves and put your chin forward. Fortunately, the other scheduled fight is a good one. Undefeated Canadian Sarah Kaufman will face Takayo Hashi in a 135lb fight. Of course by now we've all seen Sarah. But Hashi has been around since 2004 but I'll bet most of you don't know who she is. Her record is 12-1. Her only loss to date was to Hitomi Akano in 2005 and Hashi won the rematch. She was also a champ in Smackgirl. She trains at WK which is the home dojo for VALKYRIE. Her last fight was a win over Chisa Yonezawa on the Apr. 25 VALKYRIE show. She's been to the US once and won over Amanda Buckner on the Apr. 3, 2008 Fighting Femme Fatales show in Los Angeles. Here's the video for Hashi's match against Yonezawa. Hashi is wearing black. You'll notice she's tall and likely has a reach advantage over Kaufman. Eight of her wins have been by decision. So I think it will be a good fight despite most of you not knowing anything about Hashi. Here's your chance to check her out.

Jango Song Of The Day-Chet Atkins

Artist:Chet Atkins
Song:Mister Sandman
Album: The Essential Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins was one of the all time greats of the guitar. And along with Owen Bradley, he was one of the most important country music producers in the 50s & 60s. Mister Sandman was his first chart hit as a solo artist in 1954. He was born June 20, 1924 in Luttrell, TN. Though Atkins was a big jazz fan, he acknowledged that legendary country music guitarist Merle Travis was his biggest influence. He started playing professionally in 1942 and made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in 1946 as a member of Red Foley's band. He had recorded some singles for Bullet Records. Springfield, MO radio station executive Si Siman liked Atkins and convinced RCA Records Nashville head of A & R Steve Shoales to sign him. Atkins started recording and doing session work for RCA and also continued to perform on radio. He sang on his early recordings but Shoales told him to stick to the guitar. Mister Sandman was a big pop hit for The Chordettes in 1954 and Atkins instrumental version reached #13 on the country chart. Atkins also charted with his duet with Hank Snow called Silver Bell. His albums started to sell a bit. When Shoales left to go to New York to take over RCA's entire A & R department, he put Atkins in charge of RCA's Nashville A & R department. Atkins proved that he had a great ear for talent by producing artists like Jim Reeves and Don Gibson with several hits crossing over to the pop charts. Other artist Atkins brought to RCA included Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Bobby Bare, Jerry Reed and John Hartford. He also continued to record his own albums and had his biggest hit in 1965 with Yakety Axe, his guitar version of the Boots Randolph hit Yakety Sax. Chet Atkins retired from producing after a cancer scare in 1973. He wanted to record jazz but RCA resisted that and Atkins left for Columbia in 1982. He continued to have success recording with artists like Mark Knopfler and Suzy Bogguss. This comp is a good intro to his music. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1973 and the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002. Chet Atkins died on June 30, 2001 at age 77. His influence as a musician and producer is immeasurable. Here's Chet Atkins performing Mister Sandman in 1954.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-Don Gibson

Artist:Don Gibson
Song:Oh Lonesome Me
Album:RCA Country Legends

Don Gibson was one of the most successful singer songwriters in Nashville. He had a long run on the country charts but the 1958 hit Oh Lonesome Me was his biggest pop crossover hit. He was born Apr. 3, 1928 in Shelby, NC. His father died when he was two and his mother married a sharecropper. But Gibson hated farming and listened to the radio and dreamed of performing music. He foolishly left school after grade two and made a living as a pool shark and bought a guitar at age 14. He was mentored by fiddler Ned Costner. They practiced at his home. They added another teen guitarist Curly Sisk and called themselves Sons of the Soil. They were hired by a local radio station and Gibson joined a group called The Hi-Lighters. A salesman at the radio station got them an audition at Mercury Records. They recorded a few singles in 1949 but Sisk left and they split up. Gibson recorded for RCA and Columbia in the early 50s but then his songs started getting attention and Sweet Dreams got him a deal at Acuff-Rose and then MGM Records. Faron Young had a hit with Sweet Dreams. This got Chet Atkins' attention and he signed Gibson to RCA in 1957. Oh Lonesome Me was his first single in 1958 and it topped the country charts and reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gibson continued to have a lot of success on the country charts but I Can't Stop Loving You was a pop hit for Ray Charles and Patsy Cline scored with Sweet Dreams. He was very respected as a singer and songwriter. This comp covers his RCA years. Gibson faded in the late 60s, had some drug and alcohol issues. But he recovered and returned on Hickory Records in the 70s and continued to have success on the country charts until 1980. Don Gibson was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2001 and died on Nov. 17, 2003 at age 75. Here's Don Gibson performing Oh Lonesome Me 1958.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sakura Emi goes on a diet, gets another title belt

Here are S-Arena videos for a couple of shows from Monday. First is the Ice Ribbon Kitazawa Town Hall show. So they have this title belt over there called ICEx60. Makoto won the title recently. It's for wrestlers under 60kg. You'll notice that Sakura Emi comes to the ring with three title belts. Of course that's very similar to what Kaori Yoneyama is doing. And they show a clip of her match against Kazumi Shimouma. So the gag is that Emi went on a diet and lost enough weight to qualify for the ICEx60 title. So of course she wins the title. On the surface it seems selfish. But they're actually doing a yuk yuk with Emi and Yoneyama with the winner having plenty of title belts. So it's more silly than selfish. Etsuko Mita was at the show to offer Makoto a match on Mita's retirement show. The second video is the NEO show that followed Ice Ribbon. Makoto wasn't on the show. But she did confront Mita and slapped her . So the match is on. And the clips are from Mita's rematch with JWP Open Weight Champion Kayoko Haruyama and NEO Machine Gunz celebrating their 15th anniversary with a win over Toshiko Tamura & Azumi Hyuga. This was much friendlier than that match with LCO. Enjoy the videos!

Jango Song Of The Day-Canned Heat

Artist:Canned Heat
Song:On The Road Again
Album:The Very Best Of Canned Heat

The blues rock group Canned Heat probably should have been much bigger. But they were beaten to the blues rock punch by Paul Butterfield but they were probably their own worst enemies. The members of Canned Heat when the band was best known were guitarist/vocalist Al "Blind Owl" Wilson (born July 4, 1943 in Boston), vocalist and harmonica player Bob "Big Bear" Hite (born Feb. 26, 1943 in Torrance, CA), lead guitarist Henry Vestine (born Dec. 25, 1944 in Takoma Park, MD), bassist Larry Taylor (born June 26, 1942 in New York City) and drummer Adolfo de la Parra (born Feb. 3, 1946 in Mexico City). Wilson and Hite were blues fans who decided to form a band in 1965. Vestine had been thrown out of The Mothers Of Invention for drug use and asked Hite if he could join the band. He replaced Kenny Edwards who went on to form The Stone Poneys. Bassist Stu Brotman left to form Kaleidoscope with David Lindley and was replaced by session musician Taylor. Veteran jazz drummer Frank Cook was with them when they recorded their first album in 1967. Of course their first big gig was the Monterey Pop Festival Apr. 17, 1967. They went on tour and landed in a Denver jail for drugs. Manager Skip Taylor had to get $10K to bail them out. Cook was replaced by de la Parra who had been in Bluesberry Jam. They would become Pacific Gas & Electric. On The Road Again was on their 1968 album Boogie With Canned Heat and reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Wilson adapted the song from the 1953 hit by bluesman Floyd Jones. They also had a top 20 hit with Going Up The Country in 1969. Henry Vestine left after an argument with Taylor and was replaced by Harvey Mandel. Then they played Woodstock. Canned Heat continued to tour. Taylor left after their 1970 European tour to join John Mayall's band. After recording Hooker 'n' Heat with John Lee Hooker, wilson died of an accidental drug overdose on Sept. 3, 1970 at age 27. Wilson suffered from depression and had threatened to commit suicide several times. Though Canned Heat attempted to continue, they were never the same after Wilson's death. This comp is a perfect intro to their music. Bob Hite died in 1981. Henry Vestine died in 1997. Larry Taylor has been a session musician for years. Adolfo de la Parra leads a version of Canned Heat today. Canned Heat was a very good band but they could have been a lot better without the excesses. Here's Canned Heat performing On The Road Again at Woodstock.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The WWE shuffles the Diva deck

I don't normally write about the WWE Divas on the blog because the booking tends to be boring. But they shuffled a lot of bodies around on last night's RAW and fans have asked me about it. If you missed last night's show, Jillian Hall won the WWE Divas Title from Mickie James with her feet on the ropes. Jillian's reaction to the win was hilarious but something was up. Guest host Nancy O'Dell came out and said she completed a Diva trade resulting in Melina coming to RAW and she gets an instant title match. Melina proceeds to botch her finisher but wins the title anyway. The rest of the movement was revealed after the show. Beth Phoenix & Mickie James go to Smackdown. Eve Torres and The Bella Twins go to RAW. Rosa Mendes goes to ECW. The trigger for these changes is that Maryse is ready to return from her knee injury. And though Maryse isn't much of a wrestler, it's obvious the WWE believes she is a star. It's also obvious that Mickie James has become increasingly frustrated working with greenhorns. She's been on RAW for a long time. A change could be good for her. Beth wasn't being used properly on RAW so a change might be good for her too. Obviously WWE management likes Melina. They like the pop she gets for her entrance and they like the scream. She's very average in the ring but seems to work well with the models. So she might be more capable of putting on decent matches with them than either Mickie or Beth. I don't care much for her and really don't like her as a babyface. But they like her. The other moves don't mean much. It seems like pointless body shuffling. But I wouldn't mind seeing Mickie turn heel or Beth turn face. Next week things will be back to the usual pointless random booking.

Jango Song Of The Day-The Gibson Brothers

Artist:The Gibson Brothers
Song:I Got A Woman
Album:Red Letter Day

The Gibson Brothers are an excellent bluegrass group and have built a strong fanbase over the last decade. Eric Gibson plays banjo and Leigh Gibson plays guitar. Both guys sing and write songs. They grew up on a farm in upstate New York. There wasn't much to do so they got interested in bluegrass and started performing locally as teens. In 1991, they got together with bass player Mike Barber. He brought in his father dobro player Junior Barber. He's mostly a guitar teacher. They started touring and after releasing their 1994 debut independently, they signed with Hay Holler Records. They also gained an admirer in Ricky Skaggs and he worked with them behind the scenes as a producer. The Gibson Brothers signed with Sugar Hill Records in 2000 and released several CDs on the label. They write their own songs but also do covers. This version of the Ray Charles classic I Got A Woman is from their 2006 CD Red Letter Day. Junior Barber isn't on that album. Russ Pahl of The Great Plains plays dobro on the CD. The Gibson Brothers have left Sugar Hill and their latest CD Ring The Bell was released in May on Compass Records. These guys are really good so if you're into bluegrass, you should check them out. Here's the video for I Got A Woman by The Gibson Brothers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't cry, Ayumi!

Here's a couple of S-Arena Digests with some wrestlers doing double duty. First is Sunday's RINGSTARS show at Shunjuku FACE with two featured matches. The first is Sonoko Kato & Mio Shirai vs Chikayo Nagashima & Io Shirai. Looks like a standard tag match. Though I know the Shirai sisters have faced each other before, it still seems a little odd. And of course like a lot of stuff in today's joshi business, there's no reason to have them do that. I don't care for random booking. The main event had Azumi Hyuga vs Ayumi Kurihara. It looks pretty good with Hyuga winning with the Michinoku Driver II. You may cry when you watch Ayumi in her post match interview. Don't cry, Ayumi! The second video is LLPW's Korakuen Hall show. Mayumi Ozaki makes a rare LLPW appearnce and whups Mizuki Endo. Etsuko Mita makes her final LLPW appearance teaming with Mima Shimoda vs Shinobu Kandori & Toshie Uematsu. Who do you think did the job in that match? And Azumi Hyuga makes her final LLPW appearance teaming with Noriyo Tateno vs Harley Saito & Dynamite Kansai. The finish is really stupid. Enjoy the videos!

Jango Song Of The Day-Alberta Hunter

Artist:Alberta Hunter
Song:Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
Album:Amtrak Blues

Alberta Hunter was a pioneering jazz singer. She was very popular in the 20s but then quit the music business and returned as a senior in the 70s. She was born Apr. 1, 1895 in Memphis and moved to Chicago at age 12. She worked in some of the worst dives in Chicago and earned a contract with the prestigious Dreamland club and toured Europe in 1917. She became very good friends with Lil Hardin Armstrong. She was King Oliver's pianist and later married Louis Armstrong. Alberta moved to New York in 1921 and recorded for Black Swan Records which later became Paramount Records. Most of her recordings were before 1925. She also wrote the song Downhearted Blues which was a big hit for Bessie Smith. Alberta moved to Europe in 1927 and performed on stage and recorded there. She continued to perform on stage after returning to the US in 1935 but had difficulty getting a record contract. Alberta left the music business in 1956 and became a nurse at a New York hospital. Except for a 1961 record for Bluesville, she was through. But when she retired from nursing in 1977, she was bored and decided to accept a two week gig at the New York club The Cookery. Legendary Columbia Records producer John Hammond found out about it and signed her to a record deal. Amtrak Blues was her second album on Columbia and of course Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out was originally recorded by Bessie Smith. Voila! A career is reborn. She made all kinds of TV appearances including To Tell The Truth and performed the music on the 1978 Robert Altman film Remember My Name. This career renaissance continued until her death on Oct. 17, 1984 at age 89. Jazz fans should check out the legendary Alberta Hunter. Here's Alberta Hunter performing Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out at The Smithsonian 1981. This is from a VHS released on the now defunct Kultur Video. It says on the Youtube page where I got the clip that it's out of print but it was released on DVD by Shanachie in 2005. It's available. I saw it on the Barnes & Noble website.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Passion Red wins NEO TAG Team Titles

Here's the S-Arena video digest for yesterday's NEO show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. The big news is that Nanae Takahashi & Kana won the NEO Tag Team Titles from Kyoko Inoue & Hiroyo Matsumoto. I think this is Kana's first title ever. The bad news is that Hiroyo Matsumoto suffered an ankle injury during the match and is expected to be out for a while. The injury occured when Inoue was supposed to toss Takahashi onto Kana. But she threw her too far and Takahashi landed on Matsumoto's ankle. She was taped up but was useless for the rest of the match. It's possible that the title wasn't supposed to change hands and they had to call an audible after the injury. NEO President Tetsuyo Koda took Matsumoto to the hospital. The x-rays revealed a torn ligament in her ankle. They'll wait for the swelling to go down and then figure out how long she'll be out. Not too long, I hope. Ran YuYu replaced Matsumoto on Sunday's OZ Academy show and Yoshiko Tamura filled in on the RINGSTARS show.The other match on the video had Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita vs Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki. Tanny discussed doing a nice friendly match with Mita. But it went hardcore all over the building. I can't remember the last time Tanny Mouse bladed. The most memorable spot involved a vending machine and a table. LCO won the match. Afterwards, it was decided that in her retirement match, Mita will team with Shimoda against Inoue & Takahashi. And one more note. Koda announced today on the NEO blog that Nagisa Nozaki will have shoulder surgery and could be out as long as a year. Enjoy the video!

Jango Song Of The Day-Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs

Artist:Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs
Song:Wooly Bully
Album:Pharaohization: The Best Of Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs

Of course Wooly Bully is one of the goofiest pop hits ever. It was actually the first American pop song to break the British Invasion stranglehold on the charts. And it was an early example of what would become known as Tex-Mex music. Sam The Sham was born Domingo Samudio in Dallas in 1937. He was known as Big Sam when he was in the Navy stationed in Panama. He formed The Pharaohs in 1961. But they went nowhere and played organ and sang for Andy & The Nightriders in 1963. Supposedly Sam The Sham came from Sam doing all the singing though he wasn't the bandleader. Andy Anderson left the group in Memphis and went back to Texas. Samudio and bass player David Martin formed a new group with Ray Stinnet on guitar, Jerry Patterson on drums and Butch Gibson on sax. They were renamed Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs and Samudio started wearing a turban on stage. They signed with the Memphis based label Pen Records. There are a couple of stories about the meaning of Wooly Bully. But the one that makes sense is that Samudio wanted to do a tribute to the Hully Gully dance but couldn't use that term for legal reasons. Some radio stations banned Wooly Bully because no one could figure out the words. But it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. This earned Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs a contract with MGM Records. In late 1965, the entire band left over money and they were replaced by a New York City band called Tony Gee & The Gypsies. This version of the band reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Lil' Red Riding Hood in 1966. This 1998 Rhino comp has all their hits. Of course Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs faded by the late 60s. Samudio recorded a solo album in 1970 and worked on the music for the 1984 film The Border. He's now a street preacher in Memphis and still tours the oldies circuit. Here's Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs performing Wooly Bully in 1965.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

MIKU dominates WINDY Tomomi

DEEP 44 IMPACT was held today at Korakuen Hall. DEEP Lightweight Champion MIKU had no problem winning by unanimous decision over veteran WINDY Tomomi. Because the match was at 51kg, it was not a title match. It was scheduled for two five minute rounds. The main thing that MIKU has to be watchful of is WINDY's punching power. But MIKU has been working on her standup and over the last year has become one of the elite female fighters in the world today. MIKU wore red shoes for the first time. WINDY begins with a low kick to set up a punch. But MIKU fires back and then pushes WINDY into the corner. She follows with a knee kick and a takedown attempt. But WINDY counters with a knee kick and an attempted sumo throw. WINDY throws a right but MIKU's straight right drops WINDY. MIKU blocks WINDY's takedown attempt and pounds her. MIKU grabs her by the neck and and hammers WINDY in the back. WINDY goes down and MIKU hooks a sleeper hold. But there's only 30 seconds left in the round and the bell rings. This continues in the second round MIKU scores with punches and then goes for an ankle lock. WINDY is finally able to reverse but MIKU stuffs all of her offense. They are stood up and MIKU pushes WINDY into the corner and hits a knee kick. She takes WINDY down and controls her with a side mount, an armbar and pounding to her body. WINDY escapes and throws a knee kick but MIKU grabs her ankle and the bell rings to end the match. MIKU wins by unanimous decision. This is her 12th straight victory. MIKU may be the most underrated femal;e fighter today. She said afterwards that the match was unsatisfying and she wants more. Translation-she wants Megumi Fujii. Shigeru Saeki, make it happen.

Jango Song Of The Day-Alvin "Youngblood" Hart

Artist:Alvin "Youngblood" Hart
Song:Illinois Blues

Alvin "Youngblood" Hart is continuing the tradition of acoustic blues established by greats like Robert Johnson and Skip James. He is a protege of Taj Mahal. He was born Mar. 2, 1963 in Oakland, CA and got interested in the blues when he visted his grandmother in Mississippi. His uncle told him stories about Charley Patton. When his family moved to the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Hart started hanging around blues clubs and got the nickname Youngblood. He moved back to California and started playing local clubs. Hart signed up with the Coast Guard in 1986 and was stationed in Natchez, MS and hung around blues clubs in his spare time. He left the Coast Guard in 1993 in Berkeley, CA and befriended blues guitarist Joe Louis Walker. Hart's big break came when he opened for Taj Mahal at an Oakland club in Feb. 1995. He was invited to a jam session the Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir's house. He signed with Sony's revival of the Okeh label which of course was the home for a lot of blues artists in the 30s. His 1996 debut CD Big Mama's Door got a lot of acclaim and won Hart several W.C. Handy Award nominations. This version of the Skip James classic Illinois Blues is from Hart's 1998 follow up CD Territory on Hannibal Records. Hart was also in the Martin Scorsese produced TV series The Blues. His latest CD Motivational Speaker was released on Tone Cool Records in 2005. Blues fans should check out Alvin "Youngblood" Hart. Here's Alvin "Youngblood" Hart performing Illinois Blues on BBC4 1998.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Ayumi Kurihara & Marcela vs Mima Shimoda & HIROKA match video

OK gang. I have the complete match video of Ayumi Kurihara's big match on the Aug. 22 Dragomania show. It's Ayumi Kurihara & Marcela vs Mima Shimoda & HIROKA. It's kind of weird that there are three Japanese women in a Mexico City tag team match. The match was a big deal for Ayumi because normally she's lucky to be performing in front of 500 fans. Maybe she's never even worked in a building as big as Arena Coliseo. So I'm sure she was very excited about working there. She looks great and gets a very nice pop from the crowd. The match itself is OK. It's nothing special. The wrestlers don't ever get into high gear. It almost seems like they're just going through the motions. The highlight was Kurihara's dive from the top turnbuckle onto HIROKA on the floor. BTW, HIROKA is married to the Mexican wrestler known as 666. But I thought you all would enjoy watching the match.

Women's match added to Oct. 25 SHOOTO show

SHOOTO announced today that they have added a women's match to their Oct. 25 show at Gold Mine in Nagoya City. It's a Bantamweight match (125lb) scheduled for two five minute rounds between Kniuka Sasaki (pictured on the right) and Ayuka Hamazaki. Sasaki trains at ALIVE. They are sponsoring the event. Her record is 3-6-1 and her last fight was a win over Kazue Matake on the Feb. 28 CAGE FORCE show. Hamazaki trains at AACC and is making her pro debut. She did appear in an amateur match on the July JEWELS show. She earned this pro match by winning the Bantamweight division at the All Japan Amateur SHOOTO Championships in Kanagawa Sept. 27. Apparently she's a very good grappler so she's the likely favourite in this match.