Friday, December 31, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Carl Carlton

Artist:Carl Carlton
Song:Everlasting Love
Album:Everlasting: The Best Of Carl Carlton

Everlasting Love is one of only two songs to reach the top forty in four decades. The other song to do that is The Way You Do The Things You Do. Carl Carlton's 1974 top ten hit version was the most successful. Carlton had modest success in the 70s but was hampered by a royalty dispute after Don Robey sold Duke/Peacock/Back Beat to ABC Records. Carlton was born May 21, 1952 in Detroit. He first recorded as Little Carl Carlton in 1968 for Lando Records. When Don Robey picked up one of his records for distribution on Back Beat, he moved Carlton to his home base in Houston. He had some minor hits. Robey sold his company to ABC in 1972. Carlton heard Everlasting Love on a David Ruffin album but was unaware that it was a top twenty hit for Robert Knight in 1967. Papa Don Schroeder produced a discofied version of the song and Carlton's version of Everlasting Love reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974. Schroeder produced James & Bobby Purify's I'm Your Puppet. Everlasting Love was written by Nashville producers Buzz Cason & Mac Gayden and they produced Robert Knight's original version which reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. The version recorded by Rex Smith & Rachel Sweet reached #32 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981. And the version recorded by Gloria Estefan reached #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995. Mac Gayden even recorded it himself on his 1976 album Skyboat. A royalty dispute forced Carlton to wait for his ABC contract to lapse before he could record again. He eventually worked with Leon Haywood at 20th Century Records and She A Bad Mama Jama reached #2 on the R & B Singles chart in 1981. The album Carl Carlton went gold and Carlton was nominated for a Grammy. It was released on Motown after 20th Century closed. He also recorded for RCA and Casablanca but ran out of record companies by the late 80s. Hip-O released this excellent comp last year. Carl Carlton still tours the oldies circuit and records occasionally. He is currently working on his first gospel CD. Here's Carl Carlton performing Everlasting Love on the PBS special Rhythm, Love and Soul 2002.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tomoko Morii to concentrate on MMA, joins FIGHT CHIX

Tomoko Morii
Former Ito Dojo pro wrestler Tomoko Morii announced today that she plans to take a serious run at MMA. She has joined the FIGHT CHIX dojo run by women's MMA pioneer and pro wrestler Megumi Yabushita. She says she's not sure how much pro wrestling she will do. She will discuss that with Yabushita. Morii has been a pro wrestler for about five years and was trained by Kaoru Ito. When Ito announced the closing of Ito Dojo in October, Morii left the company. It is rumoured that Ito will start a new company with Joshi puroresu legend and former NEO owner Kyoko Inoue and Morii is supposed to be part of that company. Maybe not. Morii's MMA record is 1-2 and her last fight was a loss to Alexandra Sanchez on the Dec. 11, 2009 JEWELS show. Her normal fighting weight is 60kg (130lbs). I expect to see Tomoko Morii fight for JEWELS in 2011.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bush

Album:Sixteen Stone

Today Gavin Rossdale is probably better known for his marriage to pop singer Gwen Stefani than anything he ever did with his band Bush. But Sixteen Stone was a big seller in 1994. They just weren't able to follow it up and Rossdale hasn't done much better as a solo artist. Bush reformed this year. Rossdale met guitarist Nigel Pulsford in a London club in 1992. Pulsford recorded two albums with the band King Blank. They brought in bassist Dave Parsons from Transvision Vamp and after auditioning drummers settled on Robin Goodrich. At first they were called Future Primitive but changed it to Bush as they lived in the Shepherds Bush section of London. In 1993, Bush signed with the Disney owned Hollywood Records. But the 1994 death of Disney executive Frank Wells turned things sour for Bush at Hollywood. Sixteen Stone was going to be shelved until Interscope Records bought the master and released it in 1994. That turned out to be a great decision as the album has sold six million copies. It was produced by Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley, best known for there work with Madness. Glycerine was one of several chart singles but it's the album that really took off. It's always tough to follow up a debut like that and though the 1996 CD Razorblade Suitcase went Platinum X3, it was still considered a disappointment. Bush moved to Atlantic Records for the 2001 CD Golden State but it was a failure and they split up. Rossdale started a new band Institute and eventually went solo in 2007. He reformed Bush and has a new CD scheduled for 2011 on Roadrunner Records. Nigel Pulsford has his own home studio and doesn't want to tour. The new guitarist Chris Traynor has been with Rossdale since 2002. Robin Goodrich is back with Bush but Dave Parsons passed and was replaced by Corey Britz. It remains to be seen if Gavin Rossdale and Bush can regain the form of Sixteen Stone. Here's the video for Glycerine by Bush.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Len Barry

Artist:Len Barry
Album:The Best Of The Dovells 1961-1965

The 1965 top five hit 1-2-3 was the biggest hit and most memorable song by Philadelphia doo wop veteran Len Barry. He was also lead singer on The Dovells smash hit The Bristol Stomp and a key behind the scenes figure in the development of 70s Philly Soul. He was born Leonard Borisoff June 12, 1942 in Philadelphia. He wanted to be a baseball player but while in the Army, he started singing. After his discharge, he returned home and joined The Dovells as lead singer. These were guys he knew in high school but The Dovells was a new group name. The Bristol Stomp reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. They had a few more hits until Barry left for a solo career in 1963. He signed with Decca Records and 1-2-3 reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Barry wrote the song with John Medora and David White from Danny & The Juniors. The problem was 1-2-3 was a reworking of the Holland-Dozier-Holland song Ask Any Girl which was recorded by The Supremes. Motown successfully sued for royalties. A couple of Barry's other songs charted but after a 1967 album on RCA, he was through as a recording artist. This Dovells comp from ABKCO Records also has four Len Barry songs including 1-2-3. In the 70s, Barry was a songwriter and producer for WMOT Records, one of the two main Philly Soul production companies. He worked with MFSB and wrote and produced the 70s group Fat Larry's Band and also produced Keem-O-Sabe by Electric Indian. Len Barry may not be the first name that comes to mind but he was a major part of 70s Philly Soul. He continues to work the oldies curcuit today and wrote a novel a couple of years ago. Here's Len Barry performing 1-2-3 on Hullaballoo-A-Go-Go 1965.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kenny Nolan

Artist:Kenny Nolan
Song:I Like Dreamin'
Album:Hard To Find 45s on CD, Vol. 12: 60s & 70s Pop Classics

Though most music fans will only know Kenny Nolan from the 1977 top five hit I Like Dreamin', he has had a long career as a songwriter. Nolan could have been a big star as a performer but didn't want to tour. He's a Los Angeles native and could have gone to USC on a composition scholarship. But instead he went to work as a house songwriter for Mike Curb at MGM Records. After a couple of his songs were recorded, he got together with producers Bob Crewe and Wes Farrell and worked with them through the 70s. He was house producer at Farrell's Chelsea label and wrote and produced songs like Jim Gilstrap's Swing Your Daddy and Get Dancing by Disco Tex & The Sex-o-Lettes. With Crewe, he wrote Frankie Valli's My Eyes Adored You and LaBelle's Lady Marmalade. When Nolan sang the falsetto on Get Dancing, it gave him the itch to record. He was working with the group Eleventh Hour. They had a contract with 20th Century Records. Nolan signed a solo deal with 20th Century. Nolan and Crewe wrote I Like Dreamin' for someone else. When it was rejected, Nolan recorded it himself and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. His second single Love's Grown Deep was a top twenty hit. But Nolan didn't like flying and wouldn't tour. That limited his future as a performer. He recorded two albums for 20th Century and two more for MCA. He last recorded in 1982. You can get I Like Dreamin' on this various artists comp from Eric Records. Kenny Nolan continues to write hits for others including Masterpiece for Atlantic Starr. And of course he got a big boost when Lady Marmalade was remade for the film Moulin Rouge. Here's a video for I Like Dreamin' by Kenny Nolan.

Monday, December 27, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Gregory Abbott

Artist:Gregory Abbott
Song:Shake You Down
Album:The Glory Of Love: Sweet & Soulful Love Songs '80s

Shake You Down was a monster hit in 1987 for Gregory Abbott. So what happened to him? Not much. He stumbled into a recording contract with Columbia and after two albums, he seems to have disappeared. He was born Apr. 2, 1954 in New York City. His dad was from Antigua and his mom was from Venezuela. He was married to Freda Payne in the 70s and taught English at Berkeley. He decided to pursue a music career in the mid-80s. He sang a duet with Whitney Houston and produced an album for the R & B group EQ. So he wrote and recorded a demo of Shake You Down and some of the musicians told music exec Charles Koppleman about it and he got Abbott a contract with Columbia. Shake You Down topped the charts worldwide and is considered  a soul classic today. He only recorded two albums for Columbia. You can get Shake You Down on this Hip-O various artists comp. I think the song was a fluke. Maybe Abbott isn't that good. He also wrote the 1992 Jennifer Warnes hit Rock You Gently. He continues to write songs and has recorded occasionally but not for any major labels. Apparently, he's currently working on a new CD. According to his website, he has appeared on the daytime soap All My Children. Not everyone who has a #1 hit is a great artist with a lasting legacy. Gregory Abbott is a good example of that. Here's the video for Shake You Down by Gregory Abbott.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Raul Esparza

Artist:Raul Esparza
Album:Company: 2006 Broadway Cast

Most folks are vaguely aware of songwriter Stephen Sondheim but I'm willing to bet most have never seen one of his shows or listened to any of his music. Fortunately, this 2006 revival of his 1970 show Company is available on DVD and CD. Sondheim was born Mar. 22, 1930 in New York City. Of course his first hit show was West Side Story. Company was written in 1970. Playwright George Furth had written a series of one act plays that Anthony Perkins was interested in directing. Producer Hal Prince suggested that Sondheim could turn it into a musical. The story is a contemporary one of Bobby's 35th birthday party and his personal relationships. Perkins was supposed to direct and star but dropped out and was replaced by Dean Jones. He got sick and was replaced soon after opening by Larry Kert. This production won seven Tony awards. Company was also produced on Broadway in 1995. This 2006 revival was directed by Scottish director John Doyle who also directed Sondheim's Sweeney Todd in 2005. It was first produced at Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park and then moved to Broadway Nov. 29, 2006. It won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical and closed July 1, 2007. The show was taped and aired on PBS. As with Sweeney Todd, Doyle had the actors playing musical instruments on stage. Raul Esparza starred as Bobby. He was born Oct. 24, 1970 in Wilmington, DE. Though unknown to most, he has received a lot of acclaim for his Broadway performances including a Tony nomination for Taboo in 2003. You may have seen him in a recurring role in the 2007 TV series Pushing Daisies and he made his film debut in the 2010 film My Soul To Take. He continues to appear on Broadway. This production of Company is available on DVD and Nonesuch released a cast CD. Here's Raul Esparza performing The Opening and Company from the DVD of Company.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Reflections

Artist:The Reflections
Song: (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet
Album:The Ultimate Rock & Roll Collection: The 60s

The 1964 top ten hit (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet was the biggest success and most memorable song by the Detroit group The Reflections and probably the biggest hit for Motown's main competition Golden World Records. These Reflections are not to be confused with a doo wop group from New York called The Reflections or the 70s R & B group also called The Reflections. Lead singer Tony Micale was a veteran of the Detroit doo wop scene. He formed The Reflections with Phil Castrodale, Ray Steinberg, Dan Bennie and John Dean. In 1962, Motown owner Berry Gordy was having cash flow problems and asked Golden World Records owner Ed Wingate to become his partner. Instead, Wingate took Joanne Bratton as a partner and continued as Golden World. In many cases, Golden World was recording artists rejected by Motown. But they did hire a couple of former Motown employees to produce the music and they used the same musicians too. (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet was written by Bob Hamilton & Freddie Gorman and Hamilton produced under his Rob Reeco alias. They wrote The Marvelettes hit Please Mister Postman when they were at Motown and then switched to Golden World. Gorman would later return to Motown as a member of  The Originals. (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. Other singles didn't do as well and neither did their album. The Reflections left Golden World in 1966 for ABC-Paramount. They changed their name to High and the Mighty. That didn't help either. In 1968, Berry Gordy bought Golden World mainly to get Edwin Starr. There is a very expensive Reflections CD released by a German label. But most will only want (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet and you can get it on this Collectables various artists comp. In 1978, Tony Micale & John Dean joined The Larados and perform Reflections songs on the oldies circuit today. Here's The Reflections performing (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet 1964.

Friday, December 24, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Chris Montez

Artist:Chris Montez
Song:Let's Dance
Album:Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: National Lampoon's Animal House: 20th Anniversary Edition

The 1962 top five hit Let's Dance was the biggest hit and most memorable song by Latino pop singer Chris Montez. Some of his other songs charted and later he did OK in the Adult Contemporary market. But most folks will only be interested in Let's Dance. He was born Ezekiel Christopher Montanez Jan. 17, 1943 in Los Angeles. Of course we all know that Richie Valens was the first Latino pop star. After his death, there were attempts to find other Latino singers. Montez was discovered by producer Jim Lee. He wrote and produced Let's Dance. He was a producer for Indigo Records in the 50s and had his biggest success with teen pop singer Kathy Young. When he started his own label Monogram Records, he brought Kathy with him and signed Montez. Let's Dance reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962. Follow up singles did OK but not as well. It wasn't enough to keep Monogram afloat. Montez signed with A & M Records in 1965 looking to find rock & roll magic. But Herb Alpert convinced Montez to sing softer ballads to reach a more adult market. He was successful on the Adult Contemporary charts but that did not convert to pop success and by the late 60s, Montez faded. There are Chris Montez comps available but I think most folks remember the song from the 1978 film Animal House. The soundtrack is available as a budget CD some multimedia enhancements. In the 70s, Montez turned to Spanish language recordings and he still tours the oldies circuit. He has a theatre in Branson, MO. And Frozen Pictures has produced the documentary El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story which has screened at a couple of film festivals. Here's Chris Montez performing Let's Dance 1973.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sakura Emi interview

Sakura Emi
Yesterday Ice Ribbon owner Emi Motokawa AKA Sakura Emi did a comprehensive interview to promote the release of the Resident Evil Afterlife video game in Japan. She talks about her start in the joshi business, how she quit and then returned by accident. Of course this eventually turned into Ice Ribbon which has grown to a point but does she want to go to the next level? She seems unsure. I doubt that she wants to make the necessary changes to facilitate growth. And there's new competition on the horizon. Emi was born Apr. 10, 1976 in Chiba. She made her ring debut in 1995. But by 1999, she suffered a serious neck injury that forced her to quit wrestling. Like a lot of joshi wrestlers, she also wasn't making any money. So after six months rest, she still wanted to quit because of the money. She couldn't afford to pay her rent. She was a popular wrestler. But Emi says that if you're listed in the wrestling magazines and you can't afford to buy the magazine, what is the point? So she quietly quit the joshi business and took a regular job. While looking for volunteer work, she decided she could teach wrestling to children. She did not intend to return to pro wrestling. It started as an after school program with 200 kids enrolled. Then she started demonstrating pro wrestling moves and enough of the children were interested in learning that she thought she could put on small shows. She called it GTKN. But it was never intended to be a real pro wrestling company. The kids were wrestling on mats in front of 50 people. So it started as a hobby. But after three years when some of the real joshi wrestlers expressed interest in working there for fun, Emi realized that she had to change the company and that's when Ice Ribbon was born. While the company continues to grow, Emi still clings to her original after school concept. She still doesn't own a ring and does small shows on mats though she has a new location. She also continues to wrestle for other companies herself. She's very popular with them and she's reliable. But she admits she is nervous about the growth of Ice Ribbon. The biggest problem is a lot of the kids lose interest and quit. It's a bit of a revolving door. And with STARDOM hiring an eight year old, they're looking to cut into Ice Ribbon's fanbase. Sakura Emi knows she needs to change to grow but may not want to change. Time will tell. But she seems a little sad when she talks about growth.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bill Shirley

Artist:Bill Shirley
Song:On The Street Where You Live
Album:My Fair Lady: Original Soundtrack

Most folks should be familiar with the 1964 film of the stage musical My Fair Lady. After all it won eight Oscars including Best Picture. Of course My Fair Lady was written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. It was a huge hit on Broadway and on the London stage starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews. When it came time for Warner Bros. to produce the film version, Jack Warner decided that Andrews wasn't a big enough star and cast Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle. Of course by the time the film was released, Mary Poppins had made Andrews a star. Despite the ongoing fan outrage, the film was very successful. Of course part of the problem was Audrey Hepburn wasn't much of a singer so Marni Nixon was brought in to dub her vocals as she had done many times in the past in other films. But what you may not know is that Jeremy Brett's performance of On The Street Where You Live was dubbed by Bill Shirley. This was common practice in Hollywood. As Jack Warner once said "Hell, we even dubbed Rin Tin Tin." Brett is best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on British TV. And he can sing. For years he claimed that he sang his own vocals in My Fair Lady but admitted much later that Bill Shirley did the singing. You won't see Shirley's name in the credits because though dubbing is a common practice in Hollywood, the studios don't want you to know about it. Bill Shirley was born July 6, 1921 in Indianapolis. He worked for Republic Pictures in the 40s and appeared in the 1942 John Wayne film Flying Tigers. His biggest onscreen role was as composer Stephen Foster in the 1952 biopic I Dream Of Jeanie and he also did the voice of Prince Philip in the 1959 Disney animated classic Sleeping Beauty. He sang offscreen in several films and was never credited. Bill Shirley died on Aug. 27, 1989 at age 68. Sony released the soundtrack of My Fair Lady on CD with bonus tracks in 1994. Here's On The Street Where You Live as performed in the 1964 film My Fair Lady by Jeremy Brett and sung by Bill Shirley.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-O.C. Smith

Artist:O.C. Smith
Song:Little Green Apples
Album:The Very Best Of O.C. Smith

The 1968 top five hit Little Green Apples was the biggest hit for Ocie Lee Smith Jr. He started out as a jazz singer and really caught his stride with this kind of country soul in the late 60s. A lot of the credit for Smith's success goes to Columbia Records house producer Jerry Fuller. O.C. Smith was born June 21, 1932 in Mansfield, LA and grew up in Little Rock, AR. When his parents divorced, he moved with his mom to Los Angeles and went to high school there. His mom was a music teacher. After attending Southern University, he entered the US Air Force in 1951 and toured with Horace Heidt while in the service. Smith's first love was jazz. So when he was discharged in 1955, he moved to New York to start a career in music. An appearance on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts earned him a contract with Cadence Records owned by Godfrey's musical director Archie Bleyer. Singles recorded there and other labels didn't sell. Then he was hired by veteran bandleader Sy Oliver and this led to replacing Joe Williams as the lead singer for Count Basie in 1961. In 1963, he moved to Los Angeles, changed his name to O.C. Smith and sang at local clubs. He signed with Columbia Records in 1966. He actually recorded That's Life before Frank Sinatra turned it into a big hit. Smith's 1967 album The Dynamic O.C. Smith was a jazz album and didn't sell. Columbia was ready to drop him when house producer Jerry Fuller said he liked Smith's voice and agreed to work with him. He also produced Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. Fuller got together with arranger H.B. Barnum and decided to cover the country song The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp. It charted so they decided to produce a whole album of country soul. Little Green Apples reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Little Green Apples was written by veteran Nashville songwriter Bobby Russell who wrote Honey for Bobby Goldsboro. The song was first recorded by Roger Miller and then Patti Page. Fuller knew the Page version as it was recorded at Columbia. Smith's version won two Grammys. Smith had more chart success with this brand of country soul. This comp from the easy listening reissue label Taragon is a good intro to his music. Smith left Columbia in 1971 and continued to record occasionally and became pastor of City Of Angels Church in Los Angeles. He was well liked in the music business but attempts to record him and return him to the mainstream never worked out. O.C. Smith died on Nov. 23, 2001 at age 69. Here's O.C. Smith performing Little Green Apples on Playboy After Dark 1968.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kana opens a can of whupass on TAJIRI

So I'm sure you've heard by now that Kana will face Tajiri on this Friday's SMASH show at Shinjuku FACE. Here's a video of today's SMASH press conference. Kana is clearly annoyed about something from the moment she walks into the room and she starts yelling at TAJIRI and smacks him in the face. She leaves and TAJIRI starts laughing and making fun of her. Like a lot of the SMASH press conferences, it runs way too long. But I think you'll enjoy the first part of the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Albert Hammond

Artist:Albert Hammond
Song:It Never Rains In Southern California
Album:It Never Rains In Southern California

Though perceived as a one hit wonder for the 1973 top five hit It Never Rains In Southern California, that is the tip of the iceberg in the long career of Albert Hammond as songwriter, producer and performer. And he's still active today. He was born May 18, 1944 in London. His family was evacuated from Gibraltar during WWII and moved back after the war. He formed his first group The Diamond Boys in 1958. After limited success, the moved to England and that's where Hammond met longtime songwriting partner Mike Hazelwood. They wrote numerous songs together. Their biggest hit was probably The Air That I Breathe for The Hollies. He also worked on sessions including Gimme Dat Ding by The Pipkins. Hammond moved to the US in 1970 to work on a theatrical show that never happened and tried to get a record contract. After a lot of rejection, he signed with Mums Records. Mums was started by former Dunhill Records partner Bobby Roberts and had distribution from Columbia. It Never Rains In Southern California reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973. It's an autobiographical song about a British songwriter trying to make it in the music business in Los Angeles. Some of his other songs charted but nothing as big as It Never Rains In Southern California. This Collectables comp covers Hammond's first two albums. But his career as a songwriter blossomed. The biggest hit was Leo Sayer's 1976 smash When I Need You but plenty of his songs charted. He also started recording in Spanish and became popular especially in Spain. This continues today as Hammond produced the new CD Endlessly by British singer Duffy. And his son Albert Hammond Jr. is a member of The Strokes. So there is certainly more to Albert Hammond than one top five hit single. Here's Albert Hammond performing It Never Rains In Southern California on The Kenny Everett Show 1973.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Anyone for a WWE Divas table match?

So here's the match video for Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs Laycool table match from last night's WWE PPV. I don't know what the WWE originally had planned as a Divas match for this PPV but I understand that the Mickie James vs Tara cage match on TNA Impact influenced the decision to do this. So they had to figure out how to do it with Laycool who of course are very limited in the ring. And the match is OK. It's nothing special. But they almost had a big disaster when Beth fell awkwardly out of the ring on the back of her head. She did return but was clearly loopy and Natalya took the lead for the rest of the match. I thought she did well. Beth was fine afterwards. The double Sharpshooter is a cool spot but ultimately pointless in a tables match. If you're wondering if there was a mistake at the end, apparently the spot was planned. The WWE thought that Laycool wasn't heavy enough to break the table. So Natalya's leap to put them through the table was planned. The two of them could have slid off the table but didn't. The crowd is always dead for Divas matches but that's the WWE's fault for not booking them seriously. Then you want fans to take them seriously and they won't do that. No can can fault their effort. Enjoy the video!

WWE TLC 12/19/10 LayCool vs Beth Phoenix & Natalya
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AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The James Gang

Artist:The James Gang
Song:Walk Away
Album:Greatest Hits

With the popularity of power rock trios like Cream in the late 60s, The James Gang had the potential to be huge. They weren't as big as they could have been because of constant personnel changes. Today they're probably best known for launching the career of guitarist Joe Walsh. Walk Away was their biggest hit single but they were more of an album band anyway. The James Gang started out in Cleveland in 1966 with drummer Jim Fox, bassist Tom Kriss and guitarist Glen Schwartz. When Schwartz left to join Pacific Gas & Electric, Joe Walsh replaced him. At one point, they were a five piece band. But when two left just before a big gig opening for Cream in Detroit, they continued as a trio. They were signed to ABC Records by house producer Bill Szymczyk. He was a recording engineer looking to become a producer and and took the job at ABC to do just that. He also produced Walsh and Eagles when Walsh joined them. Their first two albums did reasonably well on FM radio but there were no hit singles. The also recorded music for the 1969 film Zachariah which was supposed to be a rock western. By the time Thirds was released in 1971, Kriss left and was replaced by Dale Peters. Walk Away was their most successful chart single but it only hit the mid-50s of the Billboard Hot 100. The album reached #27 on the Billboard Hot 200 and went Gold. But Joe Walsh was getting restless and left for a solo career in 1971. He was replaced by singer Roy Kenner and guitarist Domenic Troiano. They recorded two albums with The James Gang including their first album with new label Atco. But Troiano left to join The Guess Who in 1974 and was replaced by Tommy Bolin of Zephyr. Bolin helped revitalize the band but then he left to join Deep Purple in 1975. Fox and Peters attempted to keep the band alive but they split up in 1976. This budget comp is a good intro to their music. The James Gang have reunited a couple of times and of course Joe Walsh has been with Eagles for years. As I said, The James Gang had success but had the potential to be much bigger. Here's the video for Walk Away by The James Gang.

Megumi Fujii vs Emi Fujino added to Dec. 30 Sengoku show

Emi Fujino, Megumi Fujii, Roxanne Modafferi
As I said the other day, Sengoku was working on adding Megumi Fujii to their Dec. 30 Soul Of Fight show. They held a press conference to announce that Megumi will face Emi Fujino. This ain't no gimme. Emi is very tough and is probably a fighter that Megumi has always wanted to face. Of course Megumi trains at AACC. Her record is 22-1 and lost her last match due to a horrible decision by incompetent boxing judges who need to be thrown into the Atlantic Ocean secured with lead weights. I won't even mention the winner because she's not a worthy champion. She'll get hers. Emi Fujino trains at WK. Her record is 9-4 and her last fight was a win over anna on the Nov. 28 VALKYRIE show. She's been working a lot lately with the J-Girls kickboxing company. She's very aggressive which sometimes gets her into trouble but she's a good opponent for Megumi. This match is contracted for 53.5kg and is scheduled for three five minute rounds and will be on the later part of the show. The other women's matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds and will kick off the show at 11AM. Of course this is an all day show and I think the card is now complete.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Songza Song Of The Day-Soft Machine

Artist:Soft Machine
Song: Moon In June
Album: Third (Bonus CD)

Though nowhere near as well known as other progressive rock bands of the 60s, Soft Machine remains one of the most important bands of the era and were the cornerstone of what was known as The Canterbury Sound. By the time they recorded Third in 1970, they had gone through personnel changes and were early adopters of jazz fusion. Soft Machine began as The Daevid Allen Trio in Canterbury, England 1963. Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Kevin Ayers and Hugh Hopper were part of that band and were also part of Wilde Flowers with the Sinlclair brothers who would become Caravan. Soft Machine was formed in 1966 with Robert Wyatt on drums and vocals, Kevin Ayers on bass, Daevid Allen on guitar and Mike Ratledge on organ. So they went out on tour. Allen left when he was denied re-entry into England. He remained in France and formed Gong. Ayers left after a 1968 US tour with Jimi Hendrix and Hugh Hopper joined. They were unhappy with ABC Records and recorded their second album to fulfill their contract. They signed with Columbia in 1969. Hopper and Ratledge were interested in exploring a more jazz oriented sound and brought in sax player Elton Dean and he brought in some of his friends. Though Wyatt still contributed Moon In June for Third, he was gone by the time Fourth was released in 1971. Third was released as a two LP set with only four songs. So each song took up one side of the LP. Obviously it was not a commercial success. But it is considered today a classic of British progressive rock. Sony Europe released a remastered version of Third complete with a bonus CD of live performances. Robert Wyatt left in 1971 and at that point Soft Machine's lineup became a revolving door with Mike Ratledge remaining the base of the band until he left in 1976 and they limped along in name only until they split in 1981. But Soft Machine's 1970 album Third is a must for progressive rock fans. Here's Soft Machine performing Moon In June 1969.

Soft Machine - Moon In June
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ayaka Hamasaki is the JEWELS Lightweight Champion

Ayaka Hamasaki
JEWELS had their first Korakuen Hall show yesterday in front of 1216 fans. Of course the big news is that Ayaka Hamasaki won the tournament final over pre-tournament favourite Ham Seo Hee and is the new JEWELS Lightweight Champion. She won both matches in very convincing manner. I was not surprised that she won. For me, the other thing that needs to happen is that JEWELS needs to abolish the silly rules that penalize good fighters and also affects some of their own fighters adversely. Not conforming to the world MMA standard makes JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki look like a stupid sexist parochial old fool. And it clearly doesn't prepare fighters like HIROKO, Saori Ishioka and Shizuka Sugiyama to fight outside of JEWELS. Saeki didn't announce any schedule for 2011 but he did hint that there may be some crossover with DEEP. I expect the schedule to be similar to this year's schedule. There is some hope with young fighters like Hamasaki and MIZUKI. But Saeki admitted they need to attract more young talent.

Ayaka Hamasaki kicks Ham Seo Hee
Ayaka Hamasaki won her semi final match over Sakura Nomura in dominating fashion and showed punching power that she hasn't shown before. She started out with a high kick and followed with effective punching and grappling skills. Nomura came back a bit near the end of the second round but it wasn't enough and Hamasaki won an easy unanimous decision. Meanwhile, Ham Seo Hee had a very tough time with Mika Nagano in the other semi final. Initially, Ham stuffed Nagano's takedown attempts and pounded her. But a successful Nagano takedown almost resulted in a successful rear naked choke. Ham continued to land punches in round two and Nagano tried an Achilles hold. It ended with Ham winning by split decision. In the final, Hamasaki chose to trade punches with Ham and was very effective. You would think she would try to take Ham down. But JEWELS limited ground and pound rules sometimes turn matches into kickboxing because if Hamasaki takes Ham down and can't finish her quickly, the ref will stand them up. It's a strategy that is reserved for JEWELS. Ham did land some punches but I think Hamasaki surprised a lot of folks with her punching power. And it's clear that Megumi Fujii had her work on that because of the rules. Congratulations to Ayaka Hamasaki on winning the JEWELS Lightweight Championship.

The rest of the show was a mixed bag. For me, the biggest thing that came from it was 16 year old MIZUKI winning the 56kg ROUGH STONE tournament over ASAKO with a cross arm breaker at 2:59 of round one. I will be keeping an eye on MIZUKI. The point of the ROUGH STONE tournaments is to showcase emerging fighters. But other than MIZUKI, they didn't do that. Hiroko Kitamura won the 52kg tournament over Mai Ichii by unanimous decision. Kitamura is 38 years old. She's not a prospect. Mizuho Ishikawa won the 48kg tournament over Yukiko Seki by split decision. In other matches, MIYOKO won over Asami Higa with an armbar at 43 sec of round two. Emi Murata won over anna by TKO at 1:03 of round one. In a tournament reserve match, Saori Ishioka won over Amiba by armbar at 2:14 of round one. In her retirement match, Miki Morifuji won over Kinuka Sasaki by unanimous decision. In a bit of a shocker, former pro wrestler Esui won over Shizuka Sugiyama by TKO at 13 sec of round two. Esui hammered her and Sugiyama's corner threw in the towel. That's a bad loss for Sugiyama. HIROKO won over Molly Helsel by TKO at 3:11 of round two. It was stopped because of JEWELS' ridiculous three knockdown rule. HIROKO was winning anyway so it doesn't matter much. It just shows that she needs to leave Japan and train in the US. She's not getting anywhere and there are no opponents left for her in Japan. So it was a pretty successful show because they filled Korakuen Hall.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ruby Johnson

Artist:Ruby Johnson
Song:I'll Run Your Hurt Away
Album:I'll Run Your Hurt Away

Ruby Johnson was an outstanding soul singer who had a very brief run on Volt Records in the mid-60s. They only released three singles and I'll Run Your Hurt Away was her only chart single. She deserved better but sometimes great singers don't catch on even if they're working with Isaac Hayes & David Porter. A lot of her recordings were not released but you can now get them on this 1993 CD from Stax. She was born Apr. 19, 1936 in Elizabeth City, NC. The typical background of a soul singer like Ruby Johnson is she grew up singing in the church choir. But Ruby grew up singing in the synagogue choir. I'm not kidding. Her great-great-grandparents adopted Judaism and Ruby grew up observing all the holidays and laws of Judaism. She always wanted to be a singer. After graduating high school, she moved to the resort town of Virginia Beach, VA. She waitressed during the day and sang at night. She sang with Samuel Latham and the Rhythm Makers for two year and then moved to Washington, DC and joined Ambrose and the Showstoppers. Never Duncan Jr. became her manager in 1960. He started his own NEBS label and some of her singles got the attention of Washington DJ Al Bell. When Bell went to work for Stax in 1965, he brought Ruby with him. She recorded with Isaac Hayes & David Porter producing and was backed up by Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Al Jackson Jr of Booker T & The MGs. She couldn't ask for more than that. But Stax only released three singles and I'll Run Your Hurt Away reached #33 on the R & B Singles chart. Her other recordings sat unreleased in the vault until Stax issued this CD in 1993. The song is also on the Stax Complete Singles box set and that is likely what got Ruby some attention from soul fans. Ruby Johnson quit the music business in 1974 and eventually became the director of the non profit organization Foster Grandparents. She continued to attend synagogue near her home of Lanham, MD and died on July 4, 1999 at age 63. Many thanks to Pierre Perrone of The Independent for his 1999 Ruby Johnson obit. Here's a video for I'll Run Your Hurt Away by Ruby Johnson.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Two women's matches added to Dec. 30 Sengoku show

Roxanne Modafferi, Hitomi Akano
SRC and DREAM held a press conference today to add a couple of SRC vs DREAM matches to their all day Dec. 30 SOUL OF FIGHT show at Differ Ariake. But they also added two women's matches to the show. VALKYRIE Open Weight Champion Rin Nakai vs HARI was announced last week. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds. In a match contracted for 61kg, Roxanne Modafferi will face Hitomi Akano. This one is very interesting. Roxanne is freelance though she trains a lot at AACC. Her record is 15-6 and her last fight was a loss to Sarah Kaufman on the July 23 Strikeforce show. Fans are probably aware that Roxy was released by Strikeforce. Hitomi trains at AACC. Her record is 16-8 and her last fight was a loss to Miesha Tate on the Aug. 13 Strikeforce show. I know what you're thinking. Aren't they teammates? Well, they are friends as you can see by this pic. But they've never trained together. And they even have the same manager. Roxy apologized to Megumi Fujii and Hiroyuki Abe today on her MySpace and also said that she's been avoiding AACC lately knowing that she would be doing this match. Roxy is in a very tough position politically in the women's MMA business in Japan. In a match contracted for 48kg, Amy Davis will face Misaki Takimoto. Amy trains at Davis Muay Thai in Idaho Falls, ID. Her MMA record 1-1-1NC and her last fight was a loss to Jessica Pene at Battle At The Border 7 Hankinson, ND Nov. 19. But Amy is an experienced Muay Thai fighter and actually went to Japan last year for a J-Girls kickboxing tournament. Misaki trains at Zendokai Yokohama. Her record is 12-11-4 and her last fight was a win over Lisa Newton on the July 31 JEWELS show. Obviously Misaki has a big experience edge over Amy. Miaski is a karate girl so both are comfortable standing. Excerpts of this show are expected to air on HDNet. They have admitted that they can't show it live. But they haven't said what they will show. I also expect Megumi Fujii to be on this show but an opponent hasn't been found yet.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Marilyn Monroe

Artist:Marilyn Monroe
Song:My Heart Belongs To Daddy
Album:Solid Gold

Of course everyone knows who Marilyn Monroe was. She wasn't a recording artist per se but she sang enough in movies that you can get all her music on CD. My Heart Belongs To Daddy is from the 1960 film Let's Make Love and there was a soundtrack album. Her performance of the song in the film is nothing short of astonishing when you consider her personal problems. Marilyn was the archetype blonde bombshell and got into the movie business by accident and was a star mostly because of her looks. But she was a capable actress and played off the bombshell image very shrewdly. And that's why her musical performances are notable. She was good. She was born Norma Jean Mortenson June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles and soon changed her name to Norma Jean Baker after her mother. But her mother had mental issues and was institutionalized. She obviously had a troubled childhood. She started doing modelling and was discovered by 20th Century Fox and signed a contract in 1946. But Fox didn't know what to do with her and she went to Columbia and did a few films until she returned to Fox in 1951 in All About Eve. Marilyn finally got her first starring role in the 1953 film Niagara. She sang in that film and that led to the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She did her own singing for the most part though Marni Nixon helped out. She signed a record contract with RCA but not much came from that. She left Fox mainly because she became unreliable but returned in 1960 for Let's Make Love co-starring Yves Montand. She played an actress and as in some of her other films, she sang a few songs including this jazzed up version of Cole Porter's My Heart Belongs To Daddy. Lionel Newman was nominated for an Oscar for the music in Let's Make Love. Of course as we all know, Marilyn's personal problems led to her death from a drug overdose on Aug. 5, 1962 at age 36. But you can get her music on budget CDs like this one from the heavy metal label Cleopatra. Here's Marilyn Monroe performing My Heart Belongs To Daddy in the 1960 film Let's Make Love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Wallflowers

Artist:The Wallflowers
Song:One Headlight
Album:Bringing Down The Horse

Of course most folks know The Wallflowers are led by Bob Dylan's son Jakob Dylan. After a false start, The Wallflowers had a lot of success with the 1996 CD Bringing Down The Horse and the single One Headlight. They're a pretty good band but have had mixed commercial success. Jakob Dylan was born Dec. 9, 1969 in New York City and was raised by his mom in Los Angeles after his parents divorced in 1977. He formed a band with his friend Tobi Miller on guitar, Rami Jaffee on keyboards, Barrie Maguire on bass and Peter Yanowitz on drums. They signed with Virgin Records and released The Wallflowers in 1992. But the CD didn't sell and Maguire and Yanowitz left the band. And Virgin was putting pressure on Dylan to use his dad's name to sell the group. They left Virgin, brought in Michael Ward on guitar from School Of Fish, Greg Richling on bass and Mario Calire on drums. They signed with Interscope Records and T-Bone Burnett was brought in to produce the CD. Bringing Down The Horse reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 200 and One Headlight topped the Adult Airplay and Mainstream Rock charts. A total of four singles charted and the CD went platinum. The Wallflowers have released a total of four CDs since then and none of them have done as well as Bringing Down The Horse which is available as a budget CD. Though Jakob Dylan now records as a solo artist for Columbia, The Wallflowers have never split up and will likely tour again. But Rami Jaffee will lead the house band for the Fran Drescher Show, a daytime talk show that will debut next year so it's unlikely that he will be with The Wallflowers. Here's the video for One Headlight by The Wallflowers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Madeleine Peyroux

Artist:Madeleine Peyroux
Song:Don't Wait Too Long
Album:Careless Love

Of course the first thing anyone thinks about after listening to Madeleine Peyroux is she sure sounds like Billie Holiday. Once you get past that, she's a very strong vocalist. She first emerged in the 90s and has had success in the jazz market more recently with Rounder Records. The 2004 CD Careless Love was her breakthrough CD. Despite the name, she's not French. I think her mom is French. She was born 1974 in Athens, GA. Her father moved the family to Brooklyn, NY so he could pursue acting. When her parents divorced, she moved to Paris with her mother in 1987. Madeleine has described her parents as hippie educators. She started busking in Paris at age 15 and toured Europe for several years with The Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band. She signed a record deal with Atlantic and released Dreamland in 1996. Immediately folks picked up on the Billie Holiday similarities and musicians on the CD included James Carter, Marcus Printup and Cyrus Chestnut. She was on the Lilith Fair tour. When it came time to record again, she was having trouble with her vocal cords. She was also butting heads with Atlantic management. She went back to Paris and moved in with pianist William Galison. They recorded an EP in 2003 but Madeleine then signed with Rounder Records. She left him and there have been ongoing legal issues about those recordings. So Rounder put Madeleine together with Joni Mitchell's producer Larry Klein. The two clicked and the 2004 CD Careless Love sold over a million copies. The album is mostly covers but Madeleine wrote Don't Wait Too Long with Klein and songwriter Jesse Harris. He's best known for his work with Norah Jones. She continues to tour and record with Klein. Her latest CD Bare Bones was released Mar. 2009. Madeleine Peyroux is worth checking out. Here's the video for Don't Wait Too Long by Madeleine Peyroux.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Harry Belafonte

Artist:Harry Belafonte
Song:The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)
Album:Very Best of Harry Belafonte

After topping the charts with The Banana Boat Song in 1956, Harry Belafonte was dubbed the King Of Calypso. He was uncomfortable with the label but he was a very important figure in popularizing Jamaican music.  He was born Mar. 1, 1927 in New York City. His father was from Martinique and his mother was Jamaican and he spent part of his childhood with her in Jamaica. He went to high school in New York and served in the Navy during WWII. Then he took acting classes and became a stage actor appearing in several Broadway plays. He sang in clubs to pay for acting classes and even sang with Charlie Parker. He then became interested in folk music and started singing Jamaican songs in clubs. He signed with RCA in 1952 and his first single Matilda became a favourite on his live shows. His 1956 album Belafonte topped the charts and went Gold. Meanwhile he was appearing in the 1954 film Carmen Jones. Belafonte's third album Calypso was an even bigger hit and The Banana Boat Song was his only number one single. It was based on a Jamaican folk song and adapted by Lord Burgess. It was first recorded in 1952 by Trinidadian singer Edric Connor. Burgess and William Attaway revised the song so Belafonte could perform it on The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1955. The rest is history. As a recording artist, Belafonte continued to be very popular as an album artist and his live shows were very popular. This budget CD is a good intro to his music. His recording career faded in the mid-60s and he got more into acting. But he still recorded and performed in concert. And of course he is well known for his humanitarian and civil rights activities. He last recorded in 1988. But he's most memorable for his Calypso hits of the 50s. Here's Harry Belafonte and The Muppets performing The Banana Boat Song on The Muppet Show.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shizuka Sugiyama interview

Shizuka Sugiyama
Sportsnavi interviewed JEWELS fighter Shizuka Sugiyama today. Shizuka has fallen on hard times since beginning her MMA career with five straight wins. She's lost two of her last three fights. Then while preparing for a Shoot Boxing match scheduled for the July 31 JEWELS show, she suffered a broken collarbone and separated shoulder in training. She will return to face Esui on the Dec. 17 Korakuen Hall show. This could be a pivotal match in Shizuka's MMA career. The 23 year old Shizuka is from Yokohama and trains at Zendokai. She is very good friends with veteran fighter Misaki Takimoto who also trains at Zendokai Yokohama and Saori Ishioka who trains at another branch of Zendokai. What they all have in common is their primary training is in karate. Shizuka works as a Phys Ed teacher at Tokai. She was looking to try martial arts and Zendokai is down the road from her home. She didn't know at the time that she would become an MMA fighter. She had played volleyball as a child and played rugby in college. In fact, she still plays rugby in her spare time today. So she entered Zendokai's annual karate tournament and was spotted by JEWELS and later on was invited to try MMA. Apparently she had discussed trying MMA with Takimoto. She figured she'd try it and if she lost her first match, she'll do something else. So though Shizuka won her first few matches, she didn't take it all that seriously. She was doing it for fun. Now she says she takes it more seriously. She says she is ready to go after recovering from the injury. She says she's not preparing especially for Esui. But it's interesting that Esui is a former pro wrestler because Shizuka is a big New Japan Pro Wrestling fan. She says she likes big guys. It makes me wonder why she hasn't tried pro wrestling herself. It's not that unusual. Mika Nagano does both. Shizuka Sugiyama says she is ready for triumphant return this Friday.

Big Bad Blog interview with Amanda Nunes

Amanda Nunes in training
On Jan. 7, Brazilian female MMA fighter Amanda Nunes will make her US debut against Julia Budd in Strikeforce. 22 year old Amanda is from Bahia, Brazil and is currently in the US on a temporary visa training at Team Edson Carvalho in Paterson, NJ. She signed a six fight contract with Strikeforce. So fans may not know about Amanda yet but you will know about her very soon. I like to keep up to date with new talent especially in Japan or Brazil because no one else covers those countries the way I cover it. So I did an email interview with Amanda Nunes courtesy of her manager Chris Vender. This upcoming fight could make her a star and you want to know more about her.

Q: Fans always want to know how fighters started doing martial arts. I know your mom sent you and your sister to classes when you were children. Talk about that and how that progressed into a more serious interest in MMA. 

A: I started training jujitsu when I was 16. I started training MMA when I was 19. I've always liked to fight even as a kid. I had my first pro fight not too long after I started training MMA. I'm only 22 years old so I am still learning.

Q: Some female fighters struggle with family agreeing with the decision to fight professionally. Obviously your mom is your biggest fan. How important is her support?

A: My family and my team have always been very supportive. My mom and sisters have come to all my fights that have been in my state of Bahia. Of course anything my mother says is very important to me.

Q: The other important people in your MMA career are Edson, Ricardo and Bruno Carvalho. When did you meet them? Talk about your progression under their tutelage, especially Bruno since I understand you train mostly with him.

A: I met Ricardo and Bruno when I was 16. Edson lives in New Jersey but comes back to Brazil at least 4 times a year so we built our bond through those visits. I live with Edson now that I'm staying in the USA. Edson and Ricardo are my masters and are like father figures to me. Bruno and I trained a lot in Bahia until Bruno's MMA career took him to Europe. He has lived there for the last couple years and has had much success and became champion in two different organizations. Bruno has a fight scheduled in Atlantic City for February so he will be making his American debut soon. I'm training with Sensei Edson and the New Jersey Team for this fight with Julia. But all of my training in the past has been with Sensei Riccardo in Brazil. I am a brown belt under Riccardo. He has even let me live at the dojo when I was in Bahia.

Q: You lost your first fight to Ana "India" Maria but you have won five straight fights. A lot of fighters lose their first fight and never fight again. What made you bounce back? And would you like another shot at Ana Maria?

A: Even in losing you learn something. I fight because I like to fight. So a loss wasnt going to change my mind about fighting. I would fight Ana again but it would have to be in Strikeforce now.

Q: The first time I heard of you was when you beat Vanessa Porto. It was thought to be an upset at the time because she's a veteran and you were unknown. But I finally saw you defeat then undefeated Ediane Gomes. I watched it live on Sherdog. Because of the visibility, is that your most important fight to date?

A: Yes they were both great victories for me. The Gomes fight is more well known because it got more TV and internet exposure.

Q: You're now training in New Jersey until February. It seems to me that despite Cris Cyborg's success, women fighters haven't made much progress in Brazil. Most of the promoters don't book women. You, Carina Damm and Claudia Gadelha are all currently training in the US. An elite fighter like Ana Michelle Tavares hasn't fought in almost three years. What's going on in Brazil?

A : I'm not sure. My problem with getting fights wasn't with promoters. It was with other fighters. There seems to be more opportunity in the states because there are a lot more shows and all the top fighters fight here.

Q: Of course the most famous female fighter from Brazil is Strikeforce 145lb Champ Cris Cyborg. What has her success meant to you? Have you met her?

A: Cris Cyborg is the ultimate goal.When I get to fight her I know all my hard work and sacrifice will pay off. But I still have a very tough fight in front of me so I don't like to talk about her.

Q: You have fought at 135 and 145lb. Which do you prefer?

A: I have fought both. I can get down to 135 but I take fights as they come along. So it doesn't matter to me. Strikeforce offered me a fight at 145 so I took it.

Q: Originally you supposed to fight Amanda Buckner in February. She had to drop out due to injury but the promotion has delayed the show until April. You have managed to get into a much more high profile Strikeforce fight that will be broadcast live across North America. I already knew about you but winning this fight will make you a star with MMA fans everywhere. Your thoughts?

A: I'm so excited to get this chance. I was disappointed when Buckner pulled out but it turned out to be a blessing because Strikeforce called my manager about a month later to sign me.

Q: Your opponent Julia Budd has one MMA fight but has an extensive and successful Muay Thai. record. She has the size edge but you have the edge in MMA experience. She was very impressive in her win over Shana Olsen who BTW has a Brazilian trainer. I know you don't watch video of your opponents but I'm sure Bruno does. Are you guys working on anything in particular? I just think she's the favourite because fans have seen her but they haven't seen you.

A: I do watch her fights. Everything on Youtube. We have a game plan for her but we just train to be a complete MMA fighter. But we do train certain techniques that we feel will work out well for us. She is a very tough fighter but that's why I came to America. I could fight tomorrow. I'm ready. I have a big fanbase in Brazil because of my fighting style so I will keep that going for the American fans. And I think by my second fight I will have a lot of new fans.

Q: I know you have to return to Brazil in February but do you plan to move to the US on a more permanent basis?

A: I have to go back in February but I will be back in the US soon after. Right now, I have a 10 year visa but with the Strikeforce contract maybe I can get a green card. We have a great new facilty at MARTIAL MAXX MMA Training Center in New Jersey. Team Carvalho has taken over their MMA/BJJ program to build the team bigger and for our fighters to train at a amazing new facility. So I want to come back as soon as I can but I do miss my family.

Q: Time for thank yous. Trainers, sponsors and I guess especially Strikeforce for giving you this opportunity.

A: I want to thank my master Edson Carvalho. He has changed my life. I'd like to thank my second mother Reem who is taking care of me in NJ. Thanks to my manager Chris for everything he does for me. Thanks everybody at Team Carvalho in Brazil and New Jersey for making me the fighter I am. Thanks to MARTIAL MAXX MMA/Golds Gym  in Teteboro, NJ for giving me the best training facility I've ever had. We are still looking for sponsors. I will be on the televised card on Showtime so I'm hoping for some sponsors.