Monday, May 31, 2010
Song:Canned Heat Blues
Album:Complete Recorded Works (1928-1929)
Though his complete discography is contained on this one CD, Tommy Johnson is one of the most important and influential Mississippi Delta blues musicians. Why isn't he more famous? Let's just say he liked to drink. He was born in Terry, MS in 1896 and lived most of his life in Crystal Springs which is a suburb of Jackson. He started playing guitar as a teen and ran away from home at age 16 to be a professional musician. Of course he was really playing on the streets. He got married at age 18 and moved to the Webb Jennings Plantation near Drew, MS. It was here that he met other musicians like Charley Patton and Willie Brown. By the early 1920s, Johnson had moved back to Crystal Springs and started touring the south with Patton and others. He was also a serious alcoholic and womanizer and his thirst for booze is what drove Johnson. In fact Canned Heat Blues is about drinking sterno. He did record for RCA in 1928 and then for Paramount in 1929 and you can get all those recordings on this CD from the British label Document. This even has a couple of recordings that were thought to be lost. Despite this limited discography, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Nighthawk and Otis Spann are among those who have cited Johnson as an influence. Tommy Johnson continued to perform through the 30s and 40s at local parties and he frequently taught guitar as well. And he continued to drink anything containing alcohol. He died of a heart attack while performing at one of those house parties on Nov. 1, 1956 at age 60. You'll find his grave at the Warm Springs Methodist Church in Crystal Springs complete with a headstone purchased by Bonnie Raitt in 2001. Here's a video for Canned Heat Blues by Tommy Johnson.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Album:Original Album Classics
Sweet Baby was a top 5 R & B hit and a top 20 pop hit from a couple of guys who are probably better known as jazz fusion musicians. Though this 5CD box set is issued under Stanley Clarke, the band was called The Clarke/Duke Project. They recorded three albums together in the 80s while they continued to do other things individually. Of course bassist Stanley Clarke (born June 30, 1951 in Philadelphia) is best known for his days with Chick Corea's fusion group Return To Forever and he also scores film and TV and plenty of other projects. And he had solo success with his 1976 album School Days. Pianist, singer, songwriter and producer George Duke (born Jan 12, 1946 in San Raphael, CA) made his name with Frank Zappa in the 70s. But he also recorded several albums with drummer Billy Cobham in the late 70s. Clarke and Duke were both recording for Epic in the late 70s so it was inevitable that they get together and record. Clarke/Duke Project was released in 1981 and Sweet Baby reached #6 on the R & B Singles chart and #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been Duke's biggest pop hit to date. He sings the song and wrote it as well. It's still a very popular R & B bedroom classic. The Clarke/Duke Project recorded a total of three albums between 1981-90 while both guys continued to do other stuff. This 5CD box set of Stanley Clarke albums is part of series of jazz box sets released by Sony Europe and it's very economical. Clarke and Duke reunited for a tour in 2006 and they continue to do other things. Duke has worked with Jill Scott and Clarke is currently on tour with drummer Lenny White and pianist Hiromi Uehara and I will see them at this year's Toronto Jazz Festival. Here's the video for Sweet Baby by The Clarke/Duke Project.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
It is time for Big Bad Blog Video Theatre. Today I have the match video with Cindy Dandois vs Sheila Gaff from today's M-1 Selection Western Europe in Helsinki, Finland. Thanks to my pal Curtis for upping it so quickly. Cindy Dandois is an M-1 fighter from The Netherlands. She is best known for her win over Marloes Coenen in her MMA debut and is considered to be a possible challenger for Cris Cyborg's Strikeforce 145lb Championship. Remember M-1 has a working agreement with Strikeforce. Her last couple of matches have not been very challenging. I expected her to get a better match from German Sheila Gaff. You may recall that Sheila lost in the Upcoming Glory tournament to Romy Ruyssen. Sheila has very heavy hands but seems to be vulnerable on the ground. As we saw in the first round of this fight, Sheila is very aggressive but needs to control herself better. It's a lack of discipline. She landed some punches and even bloodied Cindy's nose. But Cindy got her into some predicaments on the ground and weathered the storm reasonably well. The first round was action packed and very close. I would give a small edge to Sheila. The second round didn't have as much action as Cindy figured out that she needed to slow Sheila down and control her on the ground. It was a different kind of round but also very close. It became academic at the beginning of round three when Sheila knocked Cindy down and then busted Cindy open over the right eye with a knee. The match was stopped and the ref declared Cindy the winner by DQ. He interpreted Sheila's knee to the head as intentional. I don't think it was intentional but it does show that Sheila lacks control. She a good puncher but she needs to calm down as lack of discipline will cost her matches as it did on this occasion. MMA is not a bar brawl. I'm sure these two will have a rematch down the road. Enjoy the video!
Patti LaBelle (born Patricia Holte May 24, 1944 in Philadelphia) is probably best known for her 80s solo hits. But she may have never gotten that opportunity without the 1975 smash hit Lady Marmalade. LaBelle had a much harder edge than any girl group from the 60s including Patti's own group Patti Labelle & The Bluebelles. In 1960 they were known as The Ordettes with Patti, Nona Hendryx (born Oct. 4,1944 in Trenton, NJ), Sarah Dash (Born Aug. 18, 1945 in Trenton, NJ) and Cindy Birdsong. In 1962 they had a top 20 pop hit with I Sold My Heart To The Junkman. But there were some legal problems with the song and the group was unable to build upon the song's success. Patti LaBelle & Her Bluebelles had a top 40 hit with You'll Never Walk Alone. They recorded an album for Atlantic in 1966. But when Cindy Birdsong left to replace Florence Ballard in The Supremes in 1967, The group realized that they needed to change their approach because they were just a standard girl group. So in 1970, they hired TV producer Vicki Wickham to redo their image and costumes. That's when they ditched the 60s look and started wearing crazy space age costumes. Nona Hendryx started writing songs with a harder edge. Though LaBelle started getting critical acclaim with albums on Warner Bros. and RCA, it wasn't until they signed with Epic and went to New Orleans to work with legendary producer Allen Toussaint that they hit the jackpot with Lady Marmalade. It topped the Billboard Hot 100. Of course that LaBelle were very flambuoyant on stage with their crazy costumes and that Lady Marmalade was about a street walker didn't hurt. Nona Hendryx wrote a lot of songs for LaBelle and Toussaint is a songwriting legend. But Lady Marmalade was written by veteran producer Bob Crewe along with singer songwriter Kenny Nolan. Crewe was best known for his work with The Four Seasons and the two wrote the Frankie Valli hit My Eyes Adored You. The success of LaBelle was shortlived because Patti LaBelle was never comfortable with the harder edged sound. Patti went solo in Dec. 1976 after Nona suffered a nervous breakdown. This Warner Archives comp is an excellent overview of all their recordings. Of course Patti LaBelle has had a lot of solo success as an R & B singer. Nona Hendryx recorded some solo albums with a harder edge but is still in demand as a session singer and songwriter. Sarah Dash has had limited success as a solo artist. LaBelle reunited on Verve Records in 2008 with the CD Back To Now. But there's no question that LaBelle and Lady Marmalade changed the perception of girl groups forever. Here's LaBelle performing Lady Marmalade on Soul Train 1975.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Album:Power Of The Trinity
Israel Vibration is one of the all time great reggae bands. Why Worry was their very first release in 1976. Cecil "Skeleton" Spence, Albert "Apple Gabriel" Craig and Lascelle "Wiss" Bulgin all suffered from polio as children and met at Kingston's Mona Rehabilitation Clinic. As teens, Bulgin worked as a tailor but the other two had some musical training. Spence was supposed to be on the Jamaican Wheelchair Basketball team but was thrown out when he converted to Rastafarianism in 1969. and that's when all three got back together and started busking on the streets of Kingston. They finally got to record when the Rastafarian religious group Twelve Tribes Of Israel financed a single. Why Worry was the result and Israel Vibration were soon opening concerts for Bob Marley and Dennis Brown. In 1979 they signed with EMI's Harvest label and that got them an international following especially in England. They moved to New York in 1983 to try and expand to the US but were unsuccessful. Each member attempted unsuccessful solo careers. They reunited in 1987 and have been together ever since. Craig left in 1997 and Israel Vibration continues as a duo. This 3CD box set is the best way to listen to Israel Vibration. Each CD features compositions of each member along with interviews. The CDs are also available seperately. Israel Vibration is a must for reggae fans. Here's Israel Vibration performing Why Worry.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Song:Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)
Album:Greatest Hits & Rare Classics
Kim Weston had her biggest success as a solo artist with Take Me In Your Arms in 1965. She was poised to become a star as Marvin Gaye's duet partner when she left Motown and didn't have the same success elsewhere. She was born Agatha Natalie Weston Dec. 30, 1939 in Detroit. She grew up singing in church and as a teen toured with the gospel group the Wright Specials. She signed with Motown in 1963 and had a minor hit with Love Me All The Way in 1963 She turned down Dancing In The Street but then she reached #4 on the R & B Singles Chart in 1965 with Take Me In Your Arms. Kim was married to Motown producer Mickey Cleveland and he wrote and produced several of her songs. But Take Me In Your Arms was written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland. The Doobie Brothers would have a much bigger hit with their cover of Take Me In Your Arms in 1975. Apparently Tom Johnston was a big fan of the song. Then Kim recorded an album of duets with Marvin Gaye and It Takes Two was a top 20 pop hit in 1966. But by the time it was released Kim Weston and Mickey Cleveland left Motown and sued for royalties. They went to MGM and also recorded for Johnny Nash's Banyan Tree label and had a minor hit with her version of Lift Every Voice and sing in the film Wattstax. But Kim never could duplicate her Motown success elsewhere. Kim divorced Cleveland and moved to Israel. You can get all her Motown hits on this comp. In recent years, Kim has recorded for Ian Levine's Motorcity label and tours occasionally with Mary Wilson, Martha Reeves & Brenda Holloway. And she's currently a DJ at a Detroit radio station. Here's Kim Weston performing Take Me In Your Arms on the Windsor TV station CKNW 1965.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Here's a couple of video clips from yesterday's JEWELS/Shoot Boxing press conference at the Caesar Gym. Of course the JEWELS clip is about the Lightweight tournament beginning on July 31 and features comments by Saori Ishioka and Mika Nagano. At the end, I think they were trying to get them to give a verbal greeting. But the two of them couldn't seem to get it together so they just waved. The SHOOT BOXING clip is about the Girls S-Cup tournament on Aug. 29 and features comments by RENA, V Hajime, Hisae Watanabe, Ai Takahashi, Saori Ishioka, Shizuka Sugiyama, Mika Nagano and HIROKO. HIROKO is talking about wanting a SHOOT BOXING match. RENA won this tournament last year and as you can see she has the belt with her. Most of the talk is about RENA having a target on her back because she won last year. It should be very interesting. The SHOOT BOXING clip is on top and the JEWELS clip is on the bottom. Enjoy the videos!
Song:I'm A King Bee
Album:The Best Of Slim Harpo
Because he was never a full time musician and he died prematurely, bluesman Slim Harpo is somewhat forgotten today. But if you're a blues fan and want a taste of the Louisiana swamp, he's the guy you want to listen to. His influence is much greater than his fame. He was born James Moore Jan. 11, 1924 in Lobdell, LA near Baton Rouge. He was the oldest of an orphaned family. While working as a longshoreman, he performed in Baton Rouge clubs as Harmonica Slim usually with his brother-in-law Lightnin' Slim. Lightnin' Slim was already recording for producer Jay Miller so when Miller started Excello Records in 1957, he signed Moore and named him Slim Harpo because there was already a Harmonica Slim on the west coast. After using him as a sideman for a while, Harpo released his first single I'm A King Bee. Like most of his songs, Harpo wrote I'm A King Bee with his wife. The song was an R & B hit but his 1961 song Rainin' In My Heart was an even bigger hit in 1961. Then when The Rolling Stones covered I'm A King Bee in 1964, Harpo followed that with Baby, Scratch My Back in 1966. It topped the R & B charts and was his biggest hit to date. Then he reunited with Lightnin' Slim and started touring together. And he continued to run his own trucking company. Slim Harpo toured Europe and was headed to London for a recording session when he died suddenly of a heart attack on Jan. 31, 1970 at age 46. This comp from Hip-O is a perfect intro to his music. Here's a video of I'm A King Bee by Slim Harpo.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
|Shizuka Sugiyama, Saori Ishioka, Nika Nagano, HIROKO|
Song:B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Bell Biv DeVoe
The 1990 debut CD of the New Edition spinoff group Bell Biv DeVoe was one of the hottest albums of 1990 and was a big part of ushering in the funk soul rap mix known as New Jack Swing. But when their second CD fizzled, they went on to do other things. I think it might surprise fans that in their prime they only recorded two albums. When Bobby Brown left New Edition in 1986, Ricky Bell (born Sept. 18, 1967 in Boston), Michael Bivins (born Aug. 10, 1968 in Boston) and Ronnie DeVoe (born Nov. 17, 1967 in Boston) thought about starting their own group and were convinced to do so by producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Poison was their debut CD in 1990. It was much funkier than anything from New Edition and the lead single Poison topped the R & B charts and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album topped the R & B album charts and reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 200. So it was huge. B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)? was the third single and also topped the R & B singles chart. The song was produced by Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee and Eric "Vietnam" Sadler AKA The Bomb Squad. They were known for their work with Public Enemy. After a remix CD, their 1993 CD Hootie Mack did OK but not nearly as well. Meanwhile, Michael Bivins went on to his own career as a producer and record label owner with groups like Boyz II Men. So it became obvious that Bell Biv DeVoe weren't going to be able to work together much. They did reunite and record the CD BBD on Bivens' Biv10 label in 2001 and they still perform occasionally. You can get all their hits on this Universal budget comp. They sure caught lightning in a bottle back in 1990. Here's the video for B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)? by Bell Biv DeVoe.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Here's the match video from Eve Torres defending the WWE Divas Championship against Maryse from last night's WWE PPV. The match begins about ten minutes into the first video and the ending is on the second video. Obviously the match was adversely affected by other things that happened on the show including a serious shoulder injury to Randy Orton. And as usual, the WWE used the match as a break before the main event. The match was OK. The WWE has been trying to sell Eve as a legit athlete with all this jiu jitsu talk. Of course it's a lot of nonsense but she is improving. The main thing she has to improve is her quickness as her moves seem sluggish most of the time. The WWE would be wise to turn Maryse into a valet. She could be a heat magnet and having her wrestle detracts from that attribute. But the WWE always does things half assed. I guess the problem is that unless they bring Michelle McCool over from Smackdown on a regular basis, they don't have a strong heel on RAW to face Eve. They could always use Serena Deeb. Sorry, that makes too much sense. So enjoy the match. It's not bad.
Album:My Manic and I
Teenage folksinger Laura Marling is making a big splash especially in her native England. She's a good example of someone building a fanbase throught non-traditional means. From what I can tell, New Romantic is only available on the My Manic and I EP via MP3 download. She was born Feb. 1, 1990 in Hampshire, England. She first surfaced in the London folk scene as a member of Noah and the Whale and she had a relationship with the group leader Charlie Fink. But they split up and she left the group and started posting her own music on MySpace. Not only were music fans downloading her songs but she was contacted by The Rakes lead singer Alan Donohoe to work with them. She also appeared with the group Mystery Jets. The 2007 EP My Manic and I was released independently but then Laura signed with EMI and it was released on Virgin. And though there is a video for New Romantic, the song never turned up on her albums. But you can still get it as an MP3 download. EMI moved Laura to Astralwerks for her 2008 debut CD Alas I Cannot Swim. She was moved back to Virgin for her new CD I Speak Because I Can. It was produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams) and reached #4 on the British album charts. This young singer songwriter seems to be maturing quite nicely and it should be interesting to follow her progression. Here's the video for New Romantic by Laura Marling.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
|Saori Ishioka mounts Mai Ichii|
|Celine punches Mika Nagano in the face|
Album:Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968
The Palace Guard were another mid-60s band that never really made it but have been kept alive by the popularity of Rhino's Nuggets garage band comps. Falling Sugar is probably their best known song. The core of the group was brothers John, Dick & Don Beaudine along with Rick Moser, Chuck McLung, Mike Conley and Emmitt Rhodes. Don Agrati AKA Don Grady joined the band for a short time and they were called Don Grady and The Palace Guard. He would soon leave for Yellow Balloon but he's probably best known for playing Robbie Douglas on My Three Sons. Originally they were called The Emeralds. But then they started wearing Buckingham Palace guard uniforms on stage and became The Palace Guard. So their music was heavily influenced by the British Invasion and for a while they were the house band at the Hullabaloo club in Los Angeles. They released a few singles that went nowhere. Falling Sugar was picked up for national distribution by Verve Records but it never broke nationally. Then they released a few singles on Cameo/Parkway. The Palace Guard split up when Emmitt Rhodes left to join the much more successful group The Merry-Go-Rounds and later Rhodes had a brief solo career. All the Palace Guard recordings are available on one CD but I recommend the Nuggets 4CD box set instead. Here's The Palace Guard performing Falling Sugar on Where The Action Is.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
It's time once again for Big Bad Blog video theatre. This is the video for Roxanne Modafferi vs Tara LaRosa at last night's Moosin show in Boston. Tara beat Roxy in 2006 and Roxy has been after a rematch ever since. And Roxy got her retribution with a win by split decision. This was so close that it shows why fighters can't leave things to the judges. Believe it or not, one judge scored it 30-27 for Roxy. I don't know what he was watching but the other two split it at 29-28. That's how I would score it in Roxy's favour. The first two rounds were very even. Roxy may have got a bit of an edge at the end of round one and Tara may have got an edge at the end of round two. But the key moment in the fight was when Tara knocked Roxy down at the start of round three. Maybe she thought she hurt Roxy and Tara waded in to finish her. But instead Roxy controlled Tara from the bottom and I thought that gave Roxy the win. The camera angle was terrible and it didn't look like Roxy was close to a submission. But the fighter does score points for control and Roxy did a good job in that situation and it could have turned out much differently. Of course it was the match of the night on this train wreck of a show. Generally, this promotion needs to book better fights. Fans won't pay $30 for this crap forever. The announcing was horrible and they even messed up Roxy's intro. Morons! It would not surprise me if Roxy got a shot at Sarah Kaufman in Strikeforce. And Strikeforce should sign Tara and book a rubber match as a main event on a future Showtime show. A match like this on a high profile show would elevate women's MMA. But not in Moosin. Enjoy the video and thanks to Curtis for upping it.
Song:My Boy Elvis
Album:The Female Elvis: Complete Recordings 1956-60
When she was a teenager back in the 50s, Janis Martin was headed for stardom as The Female Elvis. She even had a contract with RCA Records. But personal issues torpedoed her career and she never became a star. Female rockabilly singers were very unusual back then and I assume RCA felt they needed a gimmick to sell Janis. It's a good thing her music still sounds good. She was born Mar. 23, 1940 in Sutherlin, VA. Her dad was an amateur musician and her mom groomed her for stardom by having her perform as a child. By age 11 she was a regular on radio station WDVA in Virginia and was performing with country artists like Ernest Tubb and The Carter Family. Not surprisingly, the teen age Janis got tired of country music and started singing rock 'n' roll. One of her demos landed in the hands of RCA Records A & R head Steve Shoales and he signed her two months after signing Elvis Presley in 1955. She wrote her debut single Drugstore Rock 'N' Roll and Janis started making TV appearances and she was named Most Promising Female Vocalist by Billboard. But RCA decided to sell Janis as The Female Elvis and that probably wasn't the smartest long term career move for her as there was a backlash against her. She recorded My Boy Elvis upon RCA's insistence and it became her signature song later. But at the time, a woman performing rock music in an aggressive style wasn't accepted by the public or concert promoters. But Janis Martin could have figured out how to be a big star anyway except she was secretly married to a seviceman in 1956. He was stationed overseas and when she went on a European tour, she got pregnant. RCA dropped her like a bad habit. In 1960, she recorded for a European label. But her second husband forced her to retire and she started working the oldies circuit in the 70s. until her death on Sept. 3, 2007 at age 67. The talented singer Rosie Flores had announced plans to produce a new Janis Martin CD but Janis died before Rosie could do it. Too bad that didn't happen. Bear Family has compiled all of her recordings on this comp. So Janis Martin was clearly a talented performer who never fulfilled her potential. Here's Janis Martin performing My Boy Elvis at the 2006 Rockabilly Rave in England.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Song:Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Ma Rainey was one of the earliest professional blues singers and was known as Mother Of The Blues. Obviously she was a pioneer and was a very big influence on Bessie Smith. She was born Gertrude Pridgett Apr. 26, 1886 in Columbus, GA. She started performing in tent shows as a teenager and started singing the blues when she heard another girl singing at a tent show in Missouri. In 1904 she married performer William "Pa" Rainey and started calling herself Madame Gertrude Rainey and later Ma Rainey. They toured together with the Rabbit Foot Mistrels and were billed as Rainey & Rainey. They wintered in New Orleans and became friends with Louis Armstrong and other musicians. She also met Bessie Smith and they worked together and became friends. By the early 20s Ma Rainey had become a featured performer on the Theatre Owners Booking Association vaudeville circuit and this led to a contract with Paramount Records in 1923. She made over a hundred recordings between 1923-1928 and among the musicians she worked with were Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson and Coleman Hawkins. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is about a dance called the black bottom and like a lot of black songs of that era it was about sex too. There are several Ma Rainey comps available but this Milestone one is reasonably priced. Paramount was notorious for poor quality mastering but Milestone has cleaned them up well. By the late 20s, Ma Rainey's style of music was not popular anymore and vaudeville died so Paramount dropped her. She moved back to Columbus and owned two theatres until her death of a heart attack on Dec. 22, 1939 at age 53. Ma Rainey was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame in 1983 and the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1990. Obviously there is no film footage of Ma Rainey so here's a video of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by Ma Rainey. For some reason the video is six minutes long but the song is about three minutes long.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Eduardo de Goes "Edu" Lobo Has been one of Brazil's top singers and songwriters since the 60s. He was part of the second wave of Bossa Nova artists known as Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB). Other than an early 70s contract with A & M Records and association with Sergio Mendes, he's not known outside Brazil. He was born Aug. 29, 1943 in Rio de Janeiro. At 18 years of age, he formed his first trio with Dori Caymmi and Marcus Valle. Then he started writing songs with the famed lyricist Vinicius de Moraes. His debut album was released in 1963 and broke through in 1965 with the album Cinco Na Bossa with Nara Leao and the Tamba Trio. And he also won several songwriting awards in Brazil. Upa, Neguinho is from a 1966 album Lobo recorded with Maria Bethania called Edu & Maria. It's not a duet but he has performed the song as a duet in the past. Lobo met Sergio Mendes in 1969 and Lobo signed with A & M Records. He moved to Los Angeles and recorded the album From The Hot Afternoon with legendary sax player Paul Desmond. Lobo toured with Mendes and released Sergio Mendes Presents Lobo in 1971. He returned to Brazil and though he recorded occasional albums, he worked mostly on film and TV music and won Best Soundtrack award at the 1979 Gramada Film Festival for Barra Peseda. Edu Lobo continues to record occasionally and still composes a lot of music for films and stage shows. He has a new CD out called Tantes Mares. This 2005 comp is a good intro to his music. Check him out if you like Brazilian music. Here's Edu Lobo performing Upa, Neguinho in Germany 1966.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
|Shana Olsen, Sergio Cunha|
Song:Preciso Dizer Que Te Amo
Album:Red Hot + Rio: Pure Listening Pleasure
Bebel Gilberto put together this duet with her friend Cazuza for this AIDS benefit CD as a tribute to him. He died of AIDS in 1990. Of course Bebel Gilberto is Brazilian musical royalty. She was born May 12, 1966 in New York City and her father is the legendary Joao Gilberto. Of course folks assume that her mom must be Astrud Gilberto but no, her mom is the singer known as Miucha. She's the sister of Chico Buarque. Bebel first appeared on one of her mom's albums at age seven and the she performed at Carnegie Hall with Stan Getz and her mom. It was while she was a member of Circo Vaodor that she met Cazuza (born Agenor Neto Apr. 4, 1958 in Rio de Janeiro) and they would work together when Bebel launched her solo career in 1986. He was a very successful solo artist in Brazil but announced in 1989 that he had AIDS and died on July 7, 1990 at age 32. Meanwhile, Bebel moved to New York in 1991 and performed in clubs and worked on shows with Arto Lindsay. Of course Red Hot + Rio is one of a series of CDs produced to benefit AIDS. This is a contemporary tribute to Bossa Nova particularly the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Of Course Bebel wanted to appear on the CD and do this duet as a tribute to Cazuza. Others appearing on the CD include Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Gilberto Gil along with David Byrne, Sting and George Michael. By 2000, Bebel Gilberto moved to London and released her CD Tanto Tempo. It sold a million copies and was nominated for two Latin Grammys. She continues to have a lot of success and her latest CD All In One was released last year. Here's Bebel Gilberto with Steve Sandberg on piano performing Preciso Dizer Que te Amo in Sao Paulo, Brazil 1994.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Jamieson "Junior" Brown is a modern day country music artist in the grand Honky Tonk tradition of the legendary Hank Thompson. He is probably best known for inventing a double necked guitar known as guit-steel. He was probably a little too country to have much chart success in the 90s. He was born June 12, 1957 in Kirksville, IN and grew up in Cottonwood, AZ. He started out in the 60s in groups like The Last Mile Ramblers and Asleep At The Wheel. But in the 70s he taught at the Hank Thompson School Of Country Music at Rogers State University in Oklahoma alongside steel guitar legend Leon McAuliffe of Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys. In 1985 he invented this hybrid double necked guitar that combined a standard six string guitar with a steel guitar. He called it guit-steel. This allows him to play both styles without changing instruments. It's a very unique calling card that has served Brown well. And he's really good. Brown moved to Austin and was the house band at the Continental Club and Curb Records signed him to a contract. His debut CD 12 Shades Of Brown was released in 1993. This cover of the Red Simpson classic Highway Patrol is from his second CD Guit With It. And though Brown's modern twist on Honky Tonk got a lot of ctitical acclaim, he never had the chart success that Curb wanted. He left Curb for Telarc in 2001. This comp covers his Curb recordings. His most recent CD Live At The Continental Club: The Austin Experience was released in 2005. He was also the narrator in the 2005 film Dukes Of Hazzard. He shot a TV variety show pilot in 2008 but it doesn't look like it went anywhere. His wife Miss Tanya Rae plays guitar in his band and sings duets with him. Fans of traditional country music should check out Junior Brown. Here's the video for Highway Patrol by Junior Brown.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Here's the match video of the Knockouts match from last night's TNA PPV. I'm sure most fans are aware that Lisa Marie Varon is leaving TNA. You probably read about it on her MySpace. So obviously Madison Rayne retained her TNA Knockouts Championship. Like most of Tara's TNA run, this match is OK but uninspiring. Let's face it. Tara was poorly booked in TNA. Part of the problem with this match is though Madison Rayne is supposed to be a heel, she doesn't wrestle like a heel. Maybe she doesn't know how. And having her roll out of the ring after the Widow's Peak was really lame. I just thought the timing of the match was a little odd and the two didn't mesh well. So what's next for Lisa? I expect her to try to return to the WWE and with Beth Phoenix out for an extended time period, they could probably use her. If that happens, she can't do MMA. I follow her on Twitter so I'm sure we'll know her plans soon enough. Enjoy the match!
Song:Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young
Album:Live Fast, Love Hard: Original Capitol Recordings, 1952-1962
Faron Young's career spanned over four decades but it's his 50s hits on Capitol Records that you're going to want. Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young was a #1 country hit in 1955. He was born Feb. 25, 1932 in Shreveport, LA the son of a dairy farmer. He was given a guitar as a child and joined the Louisiana Hayride radio program after graduating from high school. That's where he met Webb Pierce and they toured the south together. In 1951 he recorded a couple of singles for Gotham Records but Capitol liked them enough to buy out his contract. That was also when he was invited to be a regular at the Grand Ole Opry. After a two year stint in the Army, Young returned to Nashville. Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young was his first #1 country hit in 1955. The song was written by veteran songwriter Joe Allison after watching John Derek play a juvenile delinquent in the 1949 film Knock On Any Door. Young said he hated the song and legendary Capitol producer Ken Nelson made him record it. He liked it a lot better after it became a hit. Young was already known as The Hillbilly Hearthrob but when he played a lawman in the 1956 film Hidden Guns, he became known as The Singing Sherriff. He appeared in all kinds of films and TV shows and continued to top the country charts. His one crossover to the pop charts was when Hello Walls reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962. That song was written by Willie Nelson. He left Capitol for Mercury in 1962 and remained a regular on the country charts though the music isn't as good. He was still a strong live draw into the 80s. Faron Young went into semi retirement in the 90s and depressed about his health due to emphysema, he shot himself in the head and died on Dec. 10, 1996 at age 64. This comp of his Capitol recordings from The Country Music Foundation is a perfect intro to this country music legend. Here's Faron Young performing Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young on the Grand Ole Opry TV show early 60s.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Song:Feel Us Shaking
Album:Very Best Of The Samples 1989-1994
The Samples built a following mostly as a touring band in the tradition of The Grateful Dead in the college circuit. They have flirted with major labels but have had strong record sales on an independent label. The lead singer, guitarist and primary songwriter of The Samples is Sean Kelly. Kelly met guitarist Charles Hambleton in Burlington, VT in 1985 and formed the band Secret City. Then they moved to Boulder, CO and met bassist Andy Sheldon and keyboard player Al Laughlin. They called themselves The Samples because they lived off of food samples from a local grocery store. They released their debut CD The Samples independently and then signed with Arista and then Arista released the album in May 1989. But things didn't go well at Arista and the contract was terminated and Hambleton left The Samples in 1991. They signed with the independent label What Are Records in 1992 and have become a million selling band based on constant touring of college campuses with Blues Traveler and Phish. They tried the major label route again with MCA Records in 1996 but their album Outpost was yanked from release and the contract terminated. By this time Kelly was the only original member left. The Samples continued to record until Kelly retired them in 2008. They still play occasional gigs. Feel Us Shaking is probably their best known song. It's about the environment and was originally on their 1989 debut album. It was also on their 1997 live CD Transmissions From The Sea Of Tranquility. You can get both versions on this CD/DVD comp. Here's the video for Feel Us Shaking by The Samples.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Song:Is Heaven Good Enough For You
Album:The Definitive Collection
Allison Moorer is an outstanding singer songwriter best known as the younger sister of another great singer Shelby Lynne. Allison has gotten plenty of critical acclaim but it didn't translate into record sales when she was on Universal South. She was born June 21, 1972 in Mobile, AL and was raised by Shelby Lynne after their father committed a murder suicide of their mother in 1986. They lived with their aunt and uncle. After earning a degree in public relations at the University Of South Alabama, Allison followed her sister to Nashville and became a backup singer. Her big break came when she met musician Doyle "Butch" Primm and they started writing songs together and then got married. A June 1996 performance at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville got the attention of MCA Nashville producer Tony Brown. Is Heaven Good Enough For You appeared on her 1998 debut CD Alabama Song. A Soft Place To Fall appeared in the 1998 film The Horse Whisperer and it was nominated for an Oscar. But she didn't get the radio play or record sales she needed to become a star. Things didn't change much when she went with Brown to Universal South in 2002. This version of Is Heaven Good Enough For You is from the 2003 live CD/DVD release Show and you can get it on this comp. She left Universal for Sugar Hill in 2004 and then divorced Primm. She is now married to Steve Earle and recently gave birth to their first child. Allison is now recording for Rykodisc and her latest CD Crows was released in Feb. 2010. Alt country fans should check out Allison Moorer. Here's Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne performing Is Heaven Good Enough For You from the 2003 DVD Show in Nashville.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Album:Groovies' Greatest Grooves
On the surface, The Flamin' Groovies seem like a minor cult band lost in the psychedelic era of the late 60s. But their influence was greater than their fame and in retrospect they were a bridge between psychedelic of the 60s and the punk of the 70s. And their music holds up very well today. The Flamin' Groovies started out in San Francisco in 1965 led by guitarist Cyril Jordan (born Aug. 31, 1948 in San Francisco) and lead singer Roy Loney (born Apr. 13, 1946 in San Francisco). They wrote all the songs. They released an EP in 1968 that earned them a contract with Epic. But their 1969 debut album Supersnazz didn't sell and they were quickly dropped. They signed with the Buddah Records label Kama Sutra and released two great albums Flamingo and Teenage Head. Not only did the albums not sell but Jordan and Loney weren't getting along. Apparently Jordan wanted Loney to soften his vocal style and Loney wanted to rock. So Loney left to go solo and was replaced by Chris Wilson (born Sept. 10, 1952 in Waltham, MA) and they moved to England. Working with legendary British rocker Dave Edmunds produced a more roots rock sound. Slow Death was an anti drug song that was released as a single in 1972. The Groovies signed with Sire Records and and had their best success with the 1976 album Shake Some Action. You can get all their songs on this comp. Shake Some Action was used in the 1995 film Clueless. The Flamin' Groovies split up in 1979 after a couple of uninspired albums but Cyril Jordan has continued to lead various versions of the band. Chris Wilson had a band called The Barracudas and Roy Loney has had success with The Phantom Movers. Jordan and Loney reunited for a tour in 2008. Here's The Flamin' Groovies performing Slow Death 1972.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Song:Paddy Rolling Stone
Album:The Rare Oul' Stuff
Shane MacGowan is best known as the lead singer of The Pogues. The Popes was the group he started after he was thrown out of The Pogues for bad behaviour. This CD is a comp of the two albums he recorded with The Popes. MacGowan's music is a mix of Irish folk and punk rock and his behaviour seems to be part of his allure. He was born Dec. 25, 1957 in Kent, England to Irish parents. His mom was a singer and dancer so he grew up immersed in traditional Irish music. He was expelled from school for drug possession and by 1976 was heavily into the punk music scene and even had a short lived band called The Nipple Erectors. He formed The Pogues in 1982 and they had a very successful run especially with the 1987 hit Fairytale In New York. MacGowan was thrown out of The Pogues in 1991 for a long history of unreliability. They never knew if he was going to show up for gigs. He formed Shane MacGowan and the Popes and their 1994 debut CD The Snake featured guest appearances from Johnny Depp and Sinead O'Connor. Paddy Rolling Stone is from their 1997 CD The Crock Of Gold. MacGowan left the group and they continued as The Electric Popes. This comp is a mix of the two CDs. He has occasionally reunited with The Pogues and continues to have substance abuse issues. He has made some guest appearances on some recordings but hasn't recorded any new music in years. He has talent and a lot of problems. Here's Shane MacGowan and the Popes performing Paddy Rolling Stone in Poland Oct. 16, 1998.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Song:Police & Thieves
Album:Police & Thieves
Police & Thieves was the biggest hit for Junior Murvin in 1976. Normally I would recommend a various artists comp but the album is such an essential part of the career of producer Lee "Scratch" Perry that this remastered edition of the album is highly recommended. Junior Murvin was born Murvin Junior Smith in Port Antonio, Jamaica 1949. As a child, he sang along with Nat King Cole and Billy Eckstine records and later Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield. He began performing publicly after his family moved to Montego Bay. He moved to Kingston and after an unsuccessful audtion for producer Coxsone Dodd, he recorded for Derrick Harriott's Crystal label. He had some minor hits but by 1976 Murvin had become dissatisfied with his level of success. Legendary producer Lee "Scratch" Perry sat in on that original audtion. But now he had his own label and Perry and Murvin immediately wrote and recorded Police & Thieves. The song was a big hit in Jamaica and England and became even bigger in England when The Clash covered the song in 1977. The album is also considered to be one of Perry's greatest productions. It's available in a remastered version on CD with bonus tracks and also in a 2CD deluxe edition. Junior Murvin has continued to perform and record occasionally. But he never recorded with Lee "Scratch" Perry again. Police & Thieves was truly lightning in a bottle. Here's Junior Murvin performing Police & Thieves on Top Of The Pops 1976.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Mary Gauthier's introspective songs have been compared favourably with the legendary Townes Van Zandt. But she's actually very similar to Lucinda Williams. Mary had a very rough early life and didn't become a musician until her mid-30s. The 2005 CD Mercy Now was her major label debut and she has a new CD coming out next week. She was born Mar. 8, 1962 in New Orleans and was adopted by a couple in Thibodaux. By age 15, she ran away from home, stole her parents car and became addicted to drugs and homeless. She spent her 18th birthday in jail. After a successful rehab, she went to culinary school and co-owned a a successful restaurant called Dixie Kitchen in Boston. Then she started writing songs and sold her share in the restaurant to finance her music. She released three CDs independently and started building a fanbase by touring the folk festival circuit. Her third CD Filth & Fire was produced by veteran producer Gurf Morlix. He is best known for his work with Lucinda Williams. Mary signed with Universal's Lost Highway label and moved to Nashville. Mercy Now was her debut CD and several of her songs have been hits for others. Joe Henry produced her 2007 CD Between Daylight and Dark. She has moved to Razor & Tie and her new CD The Foundling will be released next week. It was produced by Mike Timmons of The Cowboy Junkies. Though Mary Gauthier isn't ever going to be a pop star, if you're an alt country fan you should check her out. She's a very strong songwriter. Here's the video for Mercy Now by Mary Gauthier.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Here's a video from Nikkan Sports that is announcing a mobile content deal between Nikkan Sports and Battle Venus. The video features Sakura Emi, Ayumi Kurihara, Misaki Ohata and the teen shoot boxer RENA. If you've never followed Shoot Boxing or women's MMA, you have no idea how popular RENA is right now. Guess why? The joshi companies wish she was a wrestler. Emi does a rather amusing kickboxing demo with RENA. Ayumi posted on her blog that she had not met RENA before and she's very nice. And she said the photo and video shoot was a lot of fun. Enjoy the video.