Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Song:I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
Album: Born To Swing
Mildred Bailey was a very popular jazz singer in the 30s & 40s usually working with husband Red Norvo. He was Mr. Swing so she was known as Mrs. Swing. She is forgotten today because of a premature death but she had a very sweet smooth voice. She was born Mildred Rinker Feb. 27,1907 in Tekoa, WA. and took the name of her first husband Ted Bailey when she moved to Seattle to begin her singing career. She moved to Los Angeles with second husband Benny Stafford and became friends with Bing Crosby through his partner and her brother Al Rinker. Crosby introduced Mildred to Paul Whiteman and she sang in his band from 1929-33. She left over a salary dispute and recorded a few records before becoming the featured vocalist in the band of her third husband Red Norvo. They were known as Mr. & Mrs. Swing. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart is a Duke Elington song and is one of several songs she recorded with Norvo on Brunswick from 1936-39. She also recorded under her own name for Vocalion. Those are the recordings you will find on this 4CD box set from the British budget label Proper. Though they divorced, Mildred Bailey and Red Norvo continued to record together until 1945. She also recorded with Benny Goodman and was a regular on his radio show. Mildred Bailey started having health problems due to diabetes and died of heart failure on Dec. 12, 1951 at age 44. She is definitely worth checking out. Here's a video for I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart by Mildred Bailey.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Album:Constructive Melancholy: 30 Years Of Pearls Before Swine
Pearls Before Swine started out as a psychedelic folk band in the mid-60s. But by the time they signed with Reprise Records in 1969, it wasn't really a band anymore. The Jeweler is probably their best known song but they were never more than a cult band. Group leader Tom Rapp was born Mar. 8, 1947 in Bottineau, ND and grew up in Rochester, MN. When his family moved to Melbourne, FL in 1963, he formed a band with high school pals Wayne Harley on banjo & mandolin, Lane Lederer on bass and Roger Crissinger on piano. The group name Pearls Before Swine came from the bible and Rapp was heavily influenced by The Fugs. Rapp sent demos to ESP-Disk in New York and they released two albums on that label. They were a small jazz label and though Pearls Before Swine was successful, they didn't have the distribution to take them any farther. Rapp and his wife Elisabeth were living in The Netherlands. So when Rapp signed with Reprise Records in 1969, the original band had disbanded and Rapp was just using the Pearls Before Swine name and recorded with Nashville session musicians like Charlie McCoy and members of Area Code 615. The Jeweler is from the 1969 album Use Of Ashes. Rapp wrote the song after watching his wife clean a piece of jewelry with a paste made of ashes. You may have heard The Jeweler when it was covered by This Mortal Coil in 1991. Another song on the album Rocket Man was acknowledged by lyricist Bernie Taupin as a direct influence on the Elton John hit Rocket Man. After recording a couple of Pearls Before Swine albums at Reprise, it came to an end when Reprise released some demos without Rapp's knowledge. This comp is a good intro to the Reprise years. Rapp signed with Blue Thumb Records and after releasing two albums as Tom Rapp, he quit the music business. He graduated from Brandeis University law school and became a civil rights lawyer in Florida. He still does that today but he has returned a few times with his son's band Shy Camp and Rapp recorded an album in 1999. Here's a video of The Jeweler by Pearls Before Swine.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Song:Ain't Nothin' But A House Party
Album:Beg Scream & Shout!: The Big Ol' Box of '60s Soul
Here's a song that you may have heard but you may not have heard the original 1968 recording by The Show Stoppers. It was not a hit in the US but it was a hit in England. And the best way to get it is on this 6CD Rhino box set. The Show Stoppers were two sets of brothers from Philadelphia. They were Timmy and Earl Smith and Alec and Laddie Burke. The Burkes were younger brothers of soul great Solomon Burke. They were still teens when they signed with a local record company Showtime Records. The song was produced by Del Sharah and he wrote it with guitarist Joe Thomas who would later work with The Impressions. The song sold well locally but Sharah didn't have the money to go national. So he sold the master to producer Jerry Ross and he released it on MGM Records. It's a great party song but it didn't catch on and stalled at the lower end of the Billboard Hot 100. But it did well in England and reached #11 on the British Singles Chart in 1968. Subsequent singles flopped but there was demand for the group in England. The original Show Stoppers had disbanded. So Ross sent a different group on tour as The Show Stoppers. They were actually The Persuaders. The real Show Stoppers reformed and toured Europe but they never recorded again. Where you may have heard Ain't Nothin' But A House Party was when J. Geils Band had a hit with it in 1973. Here's a video for Ain't Nothin' But A House Party by The Show Stoppers.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
If you're a fan of British progressive rock, this is an album you need to get. Tomorrow was an early psychedelic band similar to Pink Floyd & Soft Machine. But they only made one album and the members went on to other things. The lead singer and main songwriter of Tomorrow was Keith West (born Keith Hopkins Dec. 6, 1943 in Dagenham, Essex, England). He had a band with guitarist Junior Wood called Four + One in 1964. They recorded one single and were renamed The In Crowd in 1965. Drummer John "Twink" Alder of The Fairies joined and then guitarist Steve Howe. The In Crowd recorded three singles for Parlophone that went nowhere. Meanwhile West had become acquainted with EMI house producer Mark Wirtz and West had a hit in 1967 with Grocer Jack. Wirtz had signed Pink Floyd to EMI. The group name was again changed to Tomorrow and Wirtz was looking to produce something similar to Pink Floyd. My White Bicycle is their best known song and features Steve Howe's outstanding guitar effects. The problem with Tomorrow was that West had a hit single as a solo artist and that killed the band. So they only made one album but this expanded edition is a must for progressive rock fans. Keith West went on to a brief solo career that stalled in the early 70s. He has continued to write and record music for the advertising industry. Of course Steve Howe is a guitar legend and went on to fame with Yes. Twink went on to join The Pretty Things and The Pink Fairies and other bands. Here's a video for My White Bicycle by Tomorrow.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Here's the match video for Lisa Ward vs Aisling Daly from Last night's Bellator show in Kansas City. It was the final match in the first round of Bellator's 115lb tournament. Aisling was undefeated and known as a striker. Lisa is a highly experienced mat technician. She is a big step up in competition for Aisling. Obviously Lisa's strategy was to take Aisling down and neutralize her power. And that's what she did and Aisling never had an answer for for Lisa's grappling expertise. Some folks who don't like ground work would call this "Lay & Pray". I don't think so. You'll notice that the ref never stood them up because Lisa was very active. But she was never able to hook a submission because she was tired. And when Aisling got on top in round two, she wasn't effective and was warned for head butts, grabbing Lisa's shorts and was admonished by the ref for inactivity. Lisa's defense was outstanding. MMA is about one fighter imposing her will on the other and that's what Lisa did. So she recently married her trainer Eddie Ellis and they're going to Hawaii for their honeymoon. But when they return, she will face Megumi Fujii in the semi finals. A date has yet to be announced. Lisa lost to Megumi in 2007 and has been dying for a rematch. I doubt she'll use this same strategy against Megumi because of Megumi's transitions and quickness. I think it will be very interesting. Enjoy the video!
Song:She Don't Love Nobody
Album:A Dozen Roses: Greatest Hits
She Don't Love Nobody was one of several top ten country music hits in the late 80s for The Desert Rose Band. The band consisted of several very successful Los Angeles session musicians led by lead singer and guitarist Chris Hillman of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. In the early 80s, Hillman recorded a couple of bluegrass albums with guitarist Herb Pedersen of The Dillards. In 1985 they formed The Desert Rose Band with guitarist John Jorgenson, Jay Dee Maness on pedal steel guitar, Bill Bryson on bass and Steve Duncan on drums. Hillman worked with Maness in the Burrito Brothers and Duncan was in Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band. But they were all Los Angeles session musicians. They signed with Curb Records and their 1987 debut album Desert Rose Band reached #24 on the country album chart. They had three top ten singles and He's Back and I'm Blue was their first #1 country single. She Don't Love Nobody is from their 1988 album Running and reached #3 on the country music chart. The song was written by John Hiatt and was also recorded by Nick Lowe. The Desert Rose Band had a total of eight top ten country hits with two reaching #1. They started to fade when Jay Dee Maness left in 1990 to join Buck Owens & The Buckaroos and Buckaroos pedal steel guitarist Tom Brumley replaced him. Jorgenson left in 1991 to start his own band The Hellecasters and The Desert Rose Band split up in 1993. You can get all their hits on this comp. They all went back to doing sessions. Hillman and Pedersen have continued to work together and the original members of The Desert Rose Band first reunited in 2008 and are currently on tour. Here's the video for She Don't Love Nobody by The Desert Rose Band.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Song:Workin' Man Blues
Album:Hag: The Best Of Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard is one of the all time greats of country music and may be the greatest country music songwriter save Hank Williams. Along with Buck Owens, he was a big part of establishing the Bakersfield Sound. Workin' Man Blues was one of many country music chart toppers. He was born Apr. 6, 1937 in Oildale, CA near Bakersfield. His parents had moved from Oklahoma. His dad died when he was nine years old and Haggard went to juvenile detention for petty larceny. He ran away to Texas in 1951 but returned and was arrested again. He went to prison four times. After his fourth release, he went to a Lefty Frizzell concert and Frizzell had him come on stage to perform. But while Haggard started working on a music career, he was arrested for an attempted robbery of a Bakersfield tavern and was sent to San Quentin for three years. He was even involved in an attempted escape. What turned him around? He saw Johnny Cash perform in San Quentin and after his release, he worked odd jobs while establishing himself in music. While working in Johnny Barnett's band in Bakersfield, Tally Records owner Fuzzy Owen signed him and he recorded for Tally in the mid-60's until Capitol bought out his contract in 1965. The Fugitive was the first of many number one country hits in 1966 including Workin' Man Blues. Okie From Muskogee is probably his most famous song to mainstream fans but Workin' Man Blues is more typical of Haggard's music. He is succcessful because fans relate to his songs. Haggard did some films at the time but mainly he was a very successful recording artist even after leaving Capitol for MCA in 1977. He also had success on Epic in the 80s especially with his duet with Willie Nelson Pancho & Lefty. He has also recorded for Curb, Anti and currently records for Vanguard. This 2006 comp from Capitol is a great intro to his music as it is the only single CD overview of his entire career, not just the Capitol years. And it's cheap. Haggard's latest CD I Am What I Am was released in April. Here's Merle Haggard performing Workin' Man Blues on Austin City Limits 1978.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Song:Love Makes The World Go Round
Here's a great song that I think a lot of folks think was recorded by Smokey Robinson at Motown. But it was the only top 20 pop hit for Deon Jackson. He was born Jan. 26, 1946 in Ann Arbor, MI. He formed a vocal group in high school and was spotted performing in the Detroit area by producer Ollie McLaughlin. McLaughlin was best known for discovering Barbara Lewis. Jackson's 1962 debut single You Said You Love Me was a hit in Detroit and so was Come Back Home. By 1965, Mclaughlin started his own label Carla Records with national distribution from Atco Records. Love Makes The World Go Round was the first single. After being plugged relentlessly by CKLW radio personality Robin Seymour, the song broke nationally and reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Jackson recorded an album and more singles. Ooh Baby reached #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. Love Makes The World Go Round was also featured in the 2003 film Something's Gotta Give. The Love Makes The World Go Round album is available on Collectors Choice but it's short and this comp from Collectables is longer and therefore better value. And most of the various artists comps containing this song are on Collectables. It depends if you just want the one song or want his other music but some of Jackson's music doesn't hold up as well as Love Makes The World Go Round so you might want to sample Golden Classics before buying it. Deon Jackson hasn't recorded since 1968 but he still performs in Chicago clubs and worked at a Wheaton, IL high school for many years. Like a lot of obscure but good soul singers, he's a favourite in the British Northern Soul scene. Here's a video for Love Makes The World Go Round by Deon Jackson.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Song:Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of The Jacksons
There's not much question that Berry Gordy's biggest mistake was letting the Jackson 5 leave Motown for Epic in 1975. This cost him untold millions of dollars. But despite the 1974 hit Dancing Machine, he obviously thought they were through. But the boys and their dad Joe Jackson rightfully thought that Gordy didn't want them to grow up. So they worked out a better deal with Epic that gave them a much higher royalty and they could write, produce and play on their own records. Motown sued and kept the rights to the Jackson 5 name. So the name was changed to The Jacksons. And Jermaine Jackson had to leave because he was married to Gordy's daughter. Randy Jackson officially replaced him though he had been part of the group for several years. Their first two Epic albums were produced by Philadelphia International Records owners Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff. And though they had a big hit with Enjoy Yourself, The Jacksons wanted to write and produce their own albums. The 1978 album Destiny was a big turning point and laid the groundwork for Michael Jackson's solo career. Michael & Randy wrote Shake Your Body and it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Jacksons produced Destiny in Los Angeles with arrangements by veteran session keyboard player Greg Phillinganes who was a member of Stevie Wonder's Wonderlove. Though not known to most music fans, Phillinganes was one of the key figures in R & B in the 70s & 80s and went on to be Michael Jackson's musical director. The strings and horns were arranged by Tom Tom 84 and Seawind leader Jerry Hey. The version of Shake Your Body on Destiny is eight minutes long and the radio edit was about four minutes. Most comps including The Essential Michael Jackson have the radio edit. This 2009 budget comp Playlist has the full version of Shake Your Body. Of course it wasn't long before Michael Jackson recorded Off The Wall and The Jacksons as a group still recorded occasionally but they were never the same and we all know how big Michael became. Here's The Jacksons performing Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) 1978.
Monday, August 23, 2010
If you follow my Twitter, you'll know that I posted an item about bikini model Yuzu Aikawa becoming a joshi wrestler. They had the press conference today and the big news is Yuzu is being groomed to be the new Fuuka by Fuuka and Rossy Ogawa. They're calling it the Yuzu Pong Festival and the first show will be Oct. 31 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Yuzu is 27 years old and has been modelling and acting since 2005. Last year she appeared on a Tokyo Broadcasting System show called Edge Of A Cliff. It's not clear why she is getting into pro wrestling. Maybe the modelling business has dried up for her. There are many bikini models in Japan. It's no secret that Ogawa has been looking for a new meal ticket...er...replacement for Fuuka since her retirement. He doesn't seem too high on the current crop of joshi wrestlers other than Shuri and she works for SMASH. You might ask why wouldn't they get an idol wrestler from Ice Ribbon like Hikari Shida who starred in the film Three Count. Then he'd have to go partners with Sakura Emi. He doesn't have to share this with anyone. Ogawa was approached about Yuzu in April and she's been training since May at the Caesar Gym. It says here that she trained in Tae Kwon Do but that doesn't help her prepare for this. Of course Fuuka had three years of pro wrestling experience before she headlined her own show. They're asking this girl to debut as the star of her own joshi show. That's a tall order and a lot of pressure on her. Is she going to work for other joshi feds to gain experience? Both Fuuka and Ogawa stressed that Yuzu is very serious about pro wrestling and wants to be a good wrestler. Her joshi debut should be very interesting. Here's video from the press conference.
Song:I Don't Want To Be
The 2004 top ten hit I Don't Want To Be launched the career of singer songwriter Gavin DeGraw. He's not likely to have that kind of pop success again but it was enough to make him a consistent seller on the album chart. And like a lot of hits these days, it all came from I Don't Want To Be's use in a popular TV show. He was born Feb. 4, 1977 in South Fallsburg, NY which is in the Catskills. He started playing piano at age 8 and attended the Berklee School Of Music. His older brother Joey McGraw playes guitar in his band. McGraw started playing New York City clubs in 1999 and released a live CD independently in 2001. After record companies started courting him, he signed with Clive Davis' J Records in 2003. He wrote all the songs on his 2003 debut CD Chariot and it was produced by veteran recording engineer Mark Endert. The album wasn't doing much until I Just Want To Be was used as the title theme for the TV series One Tree Hill, a show popular with teens. The song reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video features Shiri Appleby of the TV series Roswell. That's how a hit is born these days. Then J Records did something very unusual. They had DeGraw record a second CD produced by J Records A & R director James Diener and rereleased Chariot as the 2CD Chariot Stripped. It appears that Diener thought that the original album was over-produced and the new release was stripped down quite a bit, hence the name Stripped. And the original release isn't available anymore. That version reached #56 on the Billboard Hot 200. Though DeGraw hasn't had a hit single to match I Don't Want To Be, his 2008 CD Gavin DeGraw and 2009 CD Free have sold very well. We will certainly hear more from Gavin DeGraw for a long time. Here's the video for I Don't Want To Be by Gavin DeGraw.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Song:Yes We Can Can
Album:Yes We Can Can: The Best Of The Blue Thumb Recordings
Yes We Can Can was the first hit single by The Pointer Sisters in 1973. They had a lot of success in the 70s and then almost retired before producer Richard Perry revived them in 1979 and he brought them a lot of success in the 80s. I prefer their earlier recordings. Of course June, Bonnie, Ruth and Anita Pointer grew up as Preacher's Kids in Oakland, CA. so obviously they grew up singing in church. Ruth and Anita had already started families when June and Bonnie started performing in Bay Area clubs in 1969 as Pointers, A Pair. Anita joined the group and they started doing backup vocals for various artists. They were doing exactly that at a 1971 Elvin Bishop show when signed by Atlantic Records. Nothing came of that but it got Ruth to join the group and then Blue Thumb Records signed them up. Blue Thumb was a label owned by former King and Buddah exec Bob Krasnow and they were known for their eclectic roster. The girls wanted to go against current trends and the loved the clothing of the 40s. And their stage show was unique at the time. So their debut album The Pointer Sisters was released in 1973 and Yes We Can Can reached #11 in the Billboard Hot 100. Of course Yes We Can Can was written by New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint and first recorded by Lee Dorsey in 1970. It's a great song and really suited The Pointer Sisters church background. The album was produced by veteran producer David Rubinson who was a staff producer at Columbia in the late 60s. He's best known for producing Moby Grape. So they had several more hits in the 70s including some country music hits. And you can get them all on this 1997 Hip-O comp. In 1977, June left to take a break and Bonnie left to go solo with Motown. Then in 1978, Ruth gave birth to her second daughter and it appeared at the time like they were planning to disband or even retire. But they signed a deal with producer Richard Perry's new company Planet Records and convinced June to rejoin the group. Perry had worked with Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson and Barbra Streisand among others. He was a more pop oriented producer than Rubinson. So he was behind The Pointer Sisters cover of Bruce Springsteen's Fire and that led to their 80s pop stardom. Just don't overlook the early music. Here's The Pointer Sisters performing Yes We Can Can 1974.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Song:Walking In Rhythm
Album:Happy Music: The Best of the Blackbyrds
Walking In Rhythm was the biggest hit for The Blackbyrds. But I think most hip hop guys can agree that their influence has been great as their music is constantly sampled. The Blackbyrds were assembled in 1973 by legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd while he was an instructor at Howard University in Washington, DC. Byrd was looking to reinvent himself as a funk artist. The Blacbyrds were jazz student and their original purpose was to support Byrd. The members of The Blackbyrds were sax & flute players Allen Barnes & Steve Johnson, guitarists Barney Perry & Orville Saunders, keyboardist Kevin Toney, bassist Joe Hall, drummer Keith Killgo and percussionist Pericles Jacobs Jr. So they backed up Byrd and other artists and also recorded several albums for Fantasy Records. They had several R & B hits in the 70s but Walking In Rhythm reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. Barney Perry wrote the song. They also produced the soundtrack for the 1975 film Cornbread, Earl & Me. The Blackbyrds split up in 1980 but their music has been a huge influence on a generation of black musicians and their music is regularly sampled by hip hop guys. This 2007 comp is a good intro to their music. Kevin Toney and Allen Barnes have had significant solo careers and Barnes leads a version of The Blackbyrds today. In fact, here's Allen Barnes & The Blackbyrd Revue performing Walking In Rhythm in Detroit.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Here's the video from last night's Bellator show in Chicago with the 115lb Wonen's Tournament match between Zoila Frausto and Jessica Pene. Obviously Zoila is going to be much stronger than Jessica because she's bigger. Zoila made weight but it may have affected her performance. It reminded me of Zoila's match against Elisha Hellspur last fall, a fighter she should have finished but just didn't. She's in a tournament and wants to send a message to the other competitors. Going to a lackluster unanimous decision is the wrong message to send if she plans to win the tournament. Common sense says that with her strength advantage, she should take Jessica down and submit her in two minutes. She was pushing her around in the clinch. I can only assume that Zoila has zero confidence in her wrestling skills even with a clear strength advantage. Instead she wants to throw those flashy high kicks and Superman punches that expend energy and are ineffective anyway. And she hurt her foot so she doesn't even deliver those kicks properly. I don't know what Jessica's strategy was because she didn't do anything. You can't win fights in the clinch. Zoila got away with a win because she did a bit more in the clinch and did a couple of other things. And she admitted to a poor performance afterwards. Zoila's semi final match is scheduled for Sept. 16 in Milwaukee against Jessica Aguilar. Next week's Bellator show will have Lisa Ward vs Aisling Daly. My question is which Zoila Frausto will be in the semi final? Will it be the Zoila that KOd Rosi Sexton or will it be the Zoila that squeeked out a win last night? Because if that Zoila is there, she won't last long against someone as polished as Jessica Aguilar. Jessica's performance last week was a more definitive statement than what Zoila did last night. Check out the video for yourself.
Album:Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968
This is one of the most outrageous examples of psychedelia and you gotta love the group name. And The Magic Mushrooms were even on a major label. But it's that name that killed them and they faded away to obscurity only to be kept alive by Rhino's 4CD Nuggets box set. The Magic Mushrooms were from Philadelphia and they met while attending the University Of Pennsylvania. Vocalist and guitarist Stu Freeman was group leader along with Ted Cahill on lead guitar, Dick Richardson on keyboards, Charles Ingersol on bass and Joe Lacavera on drums. They named themselves The Magic Mushrooms as suggested by the famous Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsburg when he lectured at the university. Vocalist Josh Rice joined the group from a rival band and then Richardson & Ingersol left and were replaced by Bob Grady & Chris Barbieri who knew Freeman from a previous band. Sonny Casella heard them and became their manager and The Magic Mushrooms were playing local gigs in 1966. He got them a deal with Herb Alpert's A & M Records and It's-A-Happening was released in Sept. 1966. The song was written by Freeman and Rice and Casella produced the song. With it's crazy guitar tracks, it's a great piece of vintage psychedelia. It's-A-Happening was headed up the charts when Alpert found out what Magic Mushrooms were. When the group refused to change their name, he pulled the single and cancelled their contract. The group recorded a couple of albums for smaller labels but that event doomed them to obscurity and only a couple of songs are available including It's-A-Happening on Nuggets. Here's a video of It's-A-Happening by The Magic Mushrooms.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Song:All Your Love:
Album:An Introduction To Magic Sam
Magic Sam is one of the pioneers of the Westside sound of Chicago Blues and one of the greats of blues guitar. He had been on small record labels that kept going out of business and just as things were looking up he died of a heart attack at age 32. But he is certainly not forgotten by blues musicians and fans. He was born Samuel Gene Maghett Feb. 14, 1937 in Grenada, MS and learned to play guitar listening to Muddy Waters. He moved to Chicago in 1950 and performed in westside Chicago clubs as Good Rockin' Sam. Syl Johnson's brother Mack Thompson was Sam's bassist. He signed with Cobra Records in 1957 which was also the home of Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. Cobra owner Eli Toscano wanted Sam to change his name and Magic Sam is a variation of his real name. All Your Love was his first single and though the music at Cobra was successful, they closed when Toscano died in 1959. Sam went into the Army but didn't like it and was dishonourably discharged. When he returned to Chicago, instead of signing with Chess like some of his friends, he signed with Chief Records. Earl Hooker was producer but again the label had financial problems and closed in 1964. After recording a couple of singles for Crash Records, he signed with Delmark Records in 1967. He recorded two albums that were highly acclaimed and got a lot of attention for his performance at the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival. Delmark was a much more stable company. They're still around today. So it looked like Magic Sam was finally getting his due when he died of a heart attack on Dec. 1, 1969 at age 32. He was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1982. This CD from Fuel 2000 contains his Cobra & Chief singles but his Delmark albums are also recommended. Here's Magic Sam performing All Your Love & Sam's Boogie at the American Folk Blues Festival 1964. And yes, he's using a guitar he borrowed from Earl Hooker. Fantastic music.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Album:Legend: The Very Best of Townes Van Zandt
If singer songwriter Townes Van Zandt has been much more successful after his 1997 death. Lots of tributes and 2CD comps like rhis one. He couldn't even keep his records in print when he was alive. Steve Earle has said that Van Zandt didn't think he deserved success because his talent came to him so naturally. That's a little strange but it also made him a great songwriter. He was born Mar. 7, 1944 in Fort Worth, TX to a wealthy oil family. His dad was a corporate lawyer. Van Zandt was given a guitar as a Christmas present in 1956 and got very interested in performing after watching Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show. The family moved to Boulder, CO. He did well in school and had a genius IQ so his parents wanted him to be a lawyer. But Van Zandt idolized Elvis and wanted to sing. While attending The University Of Colorado in 1962, he started drinking heavily and was diagnosed with manic depression. His parents brought him back to Houston and shock therapy erased his long term memory. He started attending pre-law classes at The University Of Houston in 1965 while performing on the side. Eventually he started writing and singer songwriter Mickey Newbury told him to go to Nashville and see legendary producer Jack Clement. Clement is best known for his Sun Records days and he recorded Van Zandt for many years. Tecumseh Valley is from Van Zandt's 1968 debut album For The Sake Of The Song. He was never on a major label so his music never sold but by the late 70s, his manager built him a cult following among other musicians. This 2CD comp from Charly is a very inexpensive intro to his music. Townes Van Zandt continued to perform and record occasionally through the 80s & 90s. But his lifelong alcoholism and heroin addiction got the best of him and he died on Jan. 1, 1997 at age 52. He continues to be a cult figure today and is definitely worth checking out. Here's Townes Van Zandt and Nanci Griffith performing Tecumseh Valley on the 80s TNN TV series American Music Shoppe.
Townes Van Zandt and Nanci Griffiths - Tecumseh Valley (AMS
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Song:A Dream For Julie
Album:Dive Into Yesterday
There were three groups called Kaleidoscope in the late 60s. The best known of these was the Los Angeles group led by guitarist David Lindley. There was also a Mexican group called Kaleidoscope. This is a British psychedelic group that changed their name after two albums to avoid confusion with the US group. They started out in London in 1964 as The Sidekicks. They became The Key in 1965 and changed their name to Kaleidoscope when they signed with Fontana Records in 1967. Guitarist Eddy Pumer led the group with vocalist and keyboard player Peter Daltrey, bassist Steve Clark and drummer Dan Bridgman. Pumer and Bridgman were childhood pals and were heavily influenced by Duane Eddy. Pumer and Daltrey wrote all the songs. A Dream For Julie is from their 1967 debut album Tangerine Dream and they released a second album. Faintly Blowing in 1969. It's good music and this 1997 comp Dive Into Yesterday is worth checking out. But Kaleidoscope didn't catch on and they decided to change their name to Fairfield Parlor to avoid confusion with the US band Kaleidoscope. They released one album From Home To Home in 1970 and then their second album White Faced Lady was shelved until it was released on CD in 1991. They split up at that point. Peter Daltrey became an artist and returned to music in 1995 and has recorded solo. Eddy Pumer met Paul McCartney when he worked at Capital Radio and he has worked with McCartney for many years including producing the 25th anniversary box set of Band On The Run. Kaleidoscope is yet another overlooked band worth checking out. Here's a video for A Dream For Julie by Kaleidoscope.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Here's the match video from SummerSlam of Melina winning the WWE Divas Championship from Alicia Fox. I'm not a big fan of either of them. I prefer Melina as a heel. I don't like her as a babyface and I don't like her goofy facial expressions. And like a lot of the WWE models turned wrestlers, Alicia knows how to sashay to the ring but has trouble with the wrestling part. Maybe they'll turn her into a valet a la Maryse. So Melina comes to the ring in this Vegas showgirl outfit and I guess they saw Madison Rayne's flesh coloured outfit last month. But I don't like the yellow Bruiser Brody boots. The match itself wasn't the worst WWE women's match I've seen but it was nothing special. Did Melina forget to sell an injury? Sure but I'm not sure why the announcers kept bringing it up. I'm sure she's kicking herself for doing that but why make her look bad by emphasizing it. The finisher used by Melina is very similar to one I have seen Daizee Haze use. I guess she's still watching SHIMMER. And as you'll see after the match, they're obviously setting up a program with Michelle McCool. But she's on a different brand, you say? Well, the WWE doesn't care and I guess they don't think fans will care either. And they're probably right. Enjoy the video!
Melina vs Alicia Fox
Uploaded by nono-0793. - Basketball, baseball, pro wrestling and more sports videos.
Melina vs Alicia Fox
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Album:It's A Beautiful Day/Marrying Maiden
White Bird is probably the best known song by the late 60s psychedelic band It's A Beautiful Day. It was never a hit single but was popular on progressive FM radio. The success of the group was hindered by one of the more notorious managers of the era. The leader of It's A Beautiful Day was violinist David LaFlamme. He was born Apr. 5, 1941 in New Britain, CT and grew up in Salt Lake City. He was a solo violinist for the Utah Symphony and moved to San Francisco in 1962. He got into the local underground music scene and had a short lived band called Electric Chamber Orchestra and was part of the original lineup of Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks. He formed It's A Beautiful Day in 1967 with his keyboard player wife Linda LaFlamme, singer Pattie Santos, guitarist Hal Wagenet, bassist Mitchell Holman and drummer Val Fuentes. Their big mistake was hiring Matthew Katz as their manager. They were not aware that both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape were suing Katz to get out of management contracts. He was very notorious at the time. Instead of having It's A Beautiful Day gain recognition in San Francisco, he sent them to Seattle claiming they weren't ready. LaFlamme says that White Bird came from being broke in Seattle. They moved back to San Francisco and played gigs without his knowledge. They opened for Cream at the Oakland Colisseum Oct. 1968 and signed with Columbia Records and sued Katz. The legal issues did hurt them. Their debut album It's A Beautiful Day did OK But then Linda left and was replaced by Fred Webb. The 1971 album Marrying Maiden also did OK but the group never broke through to the mainstream and split up in 1974. Katz still owns their recordings but you can get the first two albums on this 2CD budget release from Sony Europe. If you're wondering about the black cover, I assume Katz owns the artwork for the original albums. David LaFlamme went solo and charted with his own version of White Bird in 1976. He reformed It's A Beautiful Day in 1997 but Katz still owns the name so it's called David LaFlamme Band. Pattie Santos died in a car accident in 1989. LaFlamme last recorded in 2005. Here's It's A Beautiful Day performing White Bird at the Fillmore West in San Francisco 1971 from the 1972 documentary Fillmore.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Album: The Sweet Inspirations
Sweet Inspiration was the only top 20 pop hit for The Sweet Inspirations in 1968. But they are probably best known as backup singers for many performers including Elvis Presley. And they are also one of the most gospel based soul groups of the era. Of course that's because they started out as the gospel group The Drinkard Sisters. They recorded for RCA after a performance at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival. They were Emily Drinkard, Lee Drinkard Warrick and her daughter Judy Gouins. Lee is also the mother of Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick. Emily got married and became Cissy Houston and of course she's the mother of Whitney Houston. And Judy Gouins would have solo success as Judy Clay. So they started getting session work as backup singers in 1963. The two Warwick sisters and Doris Troy were part of the group. Dionne and Doris left when they had solo success and were replaced by Judy Clay's sister Sylvia Shemwell and and Cissy rejoined after starting a family. Myrna Smith replaced Dee Dee and Estelle Brown joined in 1965. The Sweet Inspirations signed with Atlantic Records and their debut album was released in 1967. Sweet Inspiration reached #18 in 1968. The song was written by Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn and Oldham produced the record at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals. The Sweet Inspirations continued to be in demand for studio work including Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Dusty Springfield and many others. And they also started recording and touring with Elvis Presley in 1969. He always made a point of featuring them. Cissy Houston left in 1969 and continued mainly as a trio. They recorded an album for Stax in 1973 and for RSO in 1979. This CD is a reisuue of the 1967 album from Collector's Choice. The Sweet Inspirations reformed in 1994 and continue to tour the oldies circuit today. Sylvia Shemwell died in Feb. 2010 and Portia Griffin now tours with the group. Here's The Sweet Inspirations performing Sweet Inspiration from the soon to be released documentary This Time.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
So we finally had that Strikeforce 135lb contenders tournament last night in Phoenix. Of course I don't like the format. Three minute rounds are unsatisfying and it's hard to overlook the need for five minute rounds. That lame compromise and the horrible reffing should send Strikeforce the message to stay the hell out of Arizona. I didn't much care for the first fight between Miesha Tate and Maiju Kujala. Maiju's inexperience was fairly obvious but she hung in and seemed to tire Miesha out in round two. There was also a terrible ref call at the end of round one. Miesha's takedown at the end of round two probably tipped the scales in her favour. I wasn't impressed with either of them. Of course Hitomi Akano is known for her crazy submissions and she did not disappoint. Megumi Fujii flew in from Florida and you can hear her yelling at Akano. I thought Carina Damm did well in round one. But she seemed to get more reckless in round two and that left Hitomi openings and after trying for vatious submissions, she turned a triangle choke into a triangle armbar for the win. In the first round of the final, I thought Miesha still looked sluggish. Hitomi hooked an ankle lock that could have finished her. But she escaped and it seemed to wake her up and she was a lot better in round two. Miesha stunned Hitomi with a high kick at the start of round three and spent the rest of the round trying to get a rear naked choke. She wasn't able to do that and the ref's constant buzzing around may have distracted both fighters. Why do some refs have the need to draw attention to themselves? You are not the show. Miesha Tate won the tournament and proceeded to call out Sarah Kaufman. But Sarah has a title match against Marloes Coenen so Miesha will face the winner of that match. And though Hitomi Akano didn't win the tournament, she added much needed energy to the proceedings. All this tournament did was leave me with the nagging desire to see Miesha Tate face Hitomi Akano with five minute rounds. That's not the result Strikeforce is looking for. Enjoy the match videos.
Album:The Birth Of Surf
Most fans are probably familiar with Surf Music and you may even be familiar with Moon Dawg as it has been covered by many bands. But supposedly The Gamblers started Surf Rock. The song was never a hit and there was another group in England called The Gamblers. So Moon Dawg has historical significance and this CD The Birth Of Surf from the British label Ace Records has some of the hits from the era and some rarities. It appears that The Gamblers were a group of studio musicians. Most of them went on to other things. Derry Weaver was lead guitarist and he wrote Moon Dawg and it was released on World Pacific Records in 1960. Others on the record include famed drummer Sandy Nelson who had a long solo career. Bassist Larry Taylor went on to be a mamber of Canned Heat. Guitarist Elliot Ingber would join The Mothers Of Invention and later Captain Beefheart. Apparently Leon Russell played piano and future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston claims he was on the record. They all went back to being studio musicians after the record was released but today it is considered the very first Surf Rock song. And Moon Dawg was covered by The Beach Boys, The Ventures and Paul Revere & The Raiders. So here's a little history with a video of Moon Dawg by The Gamblers.
Friday, August 13, 2010
The second match on last night's Bellator 115lb women's tournament in Hollywood, FL was between Jessica Aguilar and Lynn Alvarez. Jessica was obviously very pumped up on her home turf. She wants to take it to the ground and Lynn wants to keep it standing. So Jessica got a very quick takedown and Lynn never really escaped and a side choke ended the fight with about a minute left in round one. Lynn almost escaped a couple of times but Jessica kept advancing her position and would not give Lynn room to breathe. At first Lynn tied up Jessica's leg but Jessica got loose and went to side mount. The other key moment was when Jessica punched a prone Lynn in the head from a standing position and her head bounced off the mat. I guess it knocked her loopy because it took a lot out of her and the match was over soon after. It was a great win for Jessica Aguilar and she will face the winner of Zoila Frausto vs Jessica Pene scheduled for next week. Zoila would make a very interesting opponent. Here's the match video.
Bellator started their women's 115lb tournament last night in Hollywood, FL with two matches. The first match was Megumi Fujii vs Carla Esparza. As we all know, Carla was a last minute replacement for the injured Angela Magana. Carla was a two time All American wrestler at Menlo College. So obviously she has some skills. The problem is she only turned pro in February so she's a little inexperienced. When asked by Sergio Non of USA Today about the last minute replacement, Megumi said it was no big deal. But her manager Josh Barnett knew about Carla and showed Megumi some video of her matches. The match went pretty much as expected. Carla tried to hang in there in the first round but didn't do much. Megumi was patient and was just looking for an opening. By the three minute mark of round one, Megumi figured her out and Carla barely escaped from an ankle lock. Then Megumi took her down and Carla went into survival mode. And then Megumi went for another ankle lock as the round ended. What was interesting is that Carla attempted the takedown. But Megumi is so confident and relaxed on the ground that she just rolled through it. The same thing happened in round two as Megumi transitioned a Carla takedown into an armbar and that was it. I hope the other fighters in the tournament took note. Supposedly the standard wisdom is Megumi is weak standing. But she's tough to hit because she moves so well. Then if the opponent takes her down, she's slick enough to roll through it into a submission attempt. 21-0 doesn't happen by accident. Megumi will face the winner of the Aug. 26 match between Lisa Ward and Aisling Daly. Here's the match video. You will get a popup ad and then the start button will turn green. Don't blame me. I would never use Mega Video because of the popups.
Song:Ain't I'm A Dog
Album:Ain't I'm A Dog: 25 More Rockabilly Rave-Ups
If you're a rockabilly fan and you listen to Ronnie Self, you may wonder why he was never a big star. His music still sounds great today but as a recording artist he never broke out of the regional level. And he was on a major label but probably the wrong one. He had much more success as a songwriter. He was born July 5, 1938 in Tin Town, MO and became interested in music at a very young age. In 1956, he signed a songwriting contract with Red Foley's manager Dub Albritton. He released a single on ABC Records that went nowhere. In 1957, Albritton sent him on the Phillip Morris Caravan, the only rockabilly act on a country music tour. But his performance on the tour earned him a contract with Columbia Records against the wishes of Columbia A & R chief Mitch Miller. A few singles were released including Ain't I'm A Dog and Bop-A-Lena reached #68 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. He even earned a screen test for the film Rally Round The Flag Boys. But Self got married and had his first child and dropped out of the Phillip Morris tour. He was known to be wild anyway and concerns about his reliabilty resulted in Columbia dropping him at the end of 1958. You can get some of Self's Columbia recordings on this budget various artists comp. Self signed with Decca. And though he never had any success as a recording artist, Brenda Lee recorded his songs I'm Sorry and Sweet Nothins. So that's how he made his living. Self continued to attempt to record and tour and he was highly regarded in Europe. But his alcohol and drug fueled erratic and violent behaviour got so bad he couldn't work anymore until his death on Aug. 28, 1981 at age 43. So a very sad end to the underappreciated rockabilly singer Ronnie Self. Here's a video for Ain't I'm A Dog by Ronnie Self.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Song:Something About You
The British group Level 42 had their biggest international success with the 1985 hit Something About You. They are very big in England. The group started out wanting to be a jazz fusion group but when they went more mainstream they continued a high standard of musicianship. Lead singer and bass player Mark King was a huge Stanley Clarke fan and guitarist Boon Guild, his drummer brother Phil Gould and keyboard player Mike Lindup were all jazz fans. And though he wasn't a member of the band, Wally Badarou was involved in songwriting for the band. The name Level 42 is a Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy reference. So they wanted to be a fusion group. But by the time they signed with Polydor Records in 1982, they had decided to add vocals and be more mainstream. Their early albums still had jazz elements. The turning point was likely their 1983 album Standing In The Light which had their first top ten hit in England The Sun Goes Down. So by the time the 1985 album World Machine was released, they were a mainstream pop band. Something About You reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would be their biggest hit and obviously it gave them a very solid fanbase. The Gould Brothers left in 1987. Gary Husband was the new drummer and Alan Murphy was eventually the new guitarist though he died in 1989. All of their Polydor hits are on this comp. They moved to RCA in 1990 and floundered around until Mark King disbanded Level 42 in 1996. King recorded solo but also reunited Level 42 and they are currently touring and may record a new CD. Here's the video for Something About You by Level 42.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Album:Number One Hits
The Bellamy Brothers are the most successful duo in the history of country music. The interesting thing is they had pop success first and then later had ten number one country hits including Sugar Daddy in 1980. They also like to incorporate other musical style into their music especially reggae. They are from Darby, FL. Howard Bellamy was born Feb. 2, 1946 and David Bellamy was born Sept. 16, 1950. Their dad was an amateur musician so they learned to play at an early age. They moved to Atlanta in 1968 and formed the group Jericho. But they were unsuccessful and moved back home. The Bellamy Brothers big break came when singer songwriter comedian Jim Stafford had a top five hit in 1973 with the David Bellamy song Spiders and Snakes. They made enough money to move to Los Angeles and tour with Stafford. So they signed with Curb Records in 1975 and their first two singles didn't click. But the third single Let Your Love Flow topped the pop charts and was a huge worldwide hit. But it only reached #21 on the country charts. As their pop stardom faded, they finally topped the country music charts with the 1979 song If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me. Sugar Daddy was also a number one hit and was the first single from the 1980 album You Can Get Crazy. A lot of the success is credited to the double entendre and humour in many of David Bellamy's songs. They continued to have success in the country market after leaving Curb for Atlantic and then starting their own label and they still tour and record today. This comp is a good intro to their music. Here's The Bellamy Brothers performing Sugar Daddy 1980.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Song:Hey There Lonely Girl
Album:Music For Groovin'
The 1970 top five hit Hey There Lonely Girl was the biggest hit for R & B singer Eddie Holman. It's perceived as a one hit wonder but some of his other songs charted so it's technically not a one hit wonder. It's certainly a Philly Soul classic though the source of the recording is somewhat surprising. He was born June 3, 1946 in Norfolk, VA and he grew up in New York City. At age 10, he won the famous Apollo Theatre Amateur Night. He studied at the Victoria School Of Music in Harlem and was first recorded in 1962. His family moved to Philadelphia and Holman graduated from Cheyney State University with a degree in music. He had some minor hits in the mid-60s but hit the jackpot when he signed with ABC Records and Hey There Lonely Girl reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. The song was originally recorded by Ruby & The Romantics in 1963 and was written by the veteran songwriting team of Leon Carr & Earl Shuman. They usually wrote for movies and TV and Carr was the go to guy in the 60s for jingles like See The USA In Your Chevrolet. Hey There Lonely Girl was their biggest chart hit. So you might think that Hey There Lonely Girl was produced by a legendary Philly Soul producer like Gamble & Huff or Thom Bell. But no, the song was produced by Peter DeAngelis. He was the co-founder of Chancellor Records and produced Frankie Avalon and Fabian. How's that for a twist? It looks like Holman only recorded one album for ABC. The album is available on CD but you probably only want Hey There Lonely Girl and this various artists comp from Universal in England has plenty of 70s soul hits. Eddie Holman had some success on the R & B and dance charts when he recorded for Salsoul in 1977. But then he quit secular music and became a Baptist minister. He has his own company Agape Records and still tours and records occasionally. Here's Eddie Holman performing Hey There Lonely Girl on one of those PBS oldies shows. He still sounds great.