Thursday, March 31, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ten Years After

Artist:Ten Years After
Song:I'd Love To Change The World
Album:Essential Ten Years After

I'd Love To Change The World was the only top 40 hit for British blues rockers Ten Years After. They were more of an album band centering on Alvin Lee's guitar wizardry and they were very successful in the early 70s. Alvin Lee was born Graham Barnes Dec. 19, 1944 in Nottingham, England. Along with bassist Leo Lyons (born David Lyons Nov. 30, 1943 in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England), they had a band called The Jaybirds and then Ivan Jay and the Jaymen. When lead singer Jay left in 1962, Lee took over lead vocals. Drummer Ric Lee (born Oct. 20, 1945 in Mansfield) joined in 1965. The Jaybirds moved to London in 1966 and added keyboard player Michael "Chick" Churchill (born Jan. 2, 1946 in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England) and manager Chris Wright who would go on to found Chrysalis Records. The band changed their name to Blues Trip and then Blues Yard and finally Ten Years After as a tribute to Elvis Presley. Lee thought 1956 was Elvis' best year. They signed with the Decca subsidiary Deram in 1967. Their first couple of albums did OK. But it was their performance at Woodstock in 1969 that got Ten Years After a lot of attention as they were in the film and on the soundtrack. After the 1970 album Watt, Ten Years After left Deram for Wright's new Chrysalis label in England and Columbia in the US. Their first album on Columbia A Space in Time was more commercial than previous albums and reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 200. I'd love To Change The World reached #40 on the Billboard Hot 100. So Ten Years After was successful but Alvin Lee was unhappy with the commercial direction of the band. He was happier when they were just playing the blues. In 1973, he recorded the album On The Road To Freedom with gospel rocker Mylon LeFevre and formed Alvin Lee and Company in 1974. Ten Years After split up and though Lee reformed them for a couple of late 70s albums on RSO, he has recorded under his own name ever since. His most recent CD was in 2007. This budget comp is a good intro to the music of Ten Years After. Leo Lyons was a studio manager for Chrysalis and produced the hard rock band UFO. Chick Churchill managed Chrysalis Music and later started his own company in 1977. Ric Lee also owns his own production company. The three reformed Ten Years After in 2003. Alvin Lee declined the invitation to join and Joe Gooch was hired to replace him. They still tour and last recorded on their own label in 2008. Here's a promotional film for I'd Love To Change The World by Ten Years After.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-William Bell

Artist:William Bell
Song:You Don't Miss Your Water
Album:The Very Best Of William Bell

Though You Don't Miss Your Water wasn't a big hit when it was released in 1961, today it is highly regarded as one of the essential building blocks of Stax Records. It is also the signature song for country soul legend William Bell. He has had a lot of success as a songwriter and the great thing is he still sounds great today. He was born William Yarborough July 16, 1939 in Memphis. He took the stage name Bell in tribute to his grandmother's first name. He started out in 1957 backing up Rufus Thomas and recorded some singles as a member of The Del-Rios. Stax hired him as a staff songwriter in 1961 and You Don't Miss Your Water was his first solo recording. Bell says he wrote the song when he in New York working with Phineas Newborn. He was homesick for Memphis. He thought he was recording a demo and it was actually the B-side of Formula For Love. DJs flipped it over. It was a regional hit in the south and should have been bigger nationally. Today it's considered a country soul classic. Otis Redding, The Byrds and The Wailers are among those who have covered You Don't Miss Your Water. Bell released some singles but didn't record an album until 1967. He had some chart success as a solo artist and with some duets with Judy Clay. But he has written several songs for others including Albert King's signature song Born Under A Bad Sign. Concord has done a great job reissuing the Stax catalog and this budget comp is a must for soul fans. He went to Mercury Records when Stax went out of business and his 1976 top ten hit Tryin' To Love Two is his biggest hit to date. William Bell still tours today and last recorded on his own Wilbe label in 2006. He's one of the all time great underrated legends of soul. Here's William Bell performing You Don't Miss Your Water on the Stax 50th Anniversary TV special 2008.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Commodores

Artist:The Commodores
Album:The Ultimate Collection

Of course The Commodores were one of the top R & B groups of the 70s alternating between funk and ballads usually written by lead singer Lionel Richie. But it might surprise folks that Nightshift was one of their biggest hits and came after Richie left in 1985. They were also one of Motown's biggest acts of the 70s and 80s. The Commodores were all students at Tuskeegee Institute in Alabama. The lineup was William "WAK" King on trumpet, Thomas McClary on guitar, Ronald LaPread on bass, Walter "Clyde" Orange on drums, Lionel Richie on sax and Milan Williams on keyboards. They were called The Jays but knew they would have to change that and picked The Commodores from a dictionary. A 1971 tour opening for The Jackson 5 got them a contract with Motown. Their first single was the Milan Williams instrumental Machine Gun was a top ten R & B hit in 1974. They became known for solid funk like Brick House and ballads like Easy and Three Times A Lady. Orange usually wrote and sang lead on the uptempo funk songs and Richie usually wrote and sang lead on the ballads. They were very successful in the 70s. But Richie left to go solo in 1981 and was replaced by Heatwave lead singer JD Nicholas and McClary left in 1982 and was replaced by Sheldon Reynolds. Instead of fading, Nightshift reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985. Orange and producer Dennis Lambert wrote this tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson and Orange sang most of the lead vocals. The Commodores left Motown for Polydor in 1986 and faded by the late 80s. You can get all their hits on this comp. Orange, Nicholas and King still tour as The Commodores today. Here's the video for Nightshift by The Commodores.

Monday, March 28, 2011

VV Mei and WINDY Tomomi open workouts

VV Mei
With PANCRASE's very first women's main event coming up this Sunday at Differ Ariake, PANCRASE had VALKYRIE Featherweight Champion VV Mei and PANCRASE stalwart WINDY Tomomi hold open workouts for the media. VV Mei held her workout at the Caesar Gym, home of SHOOT BOXING. It's a very busy place. They not only have their own fighters training there but the STARDOM joshi puroresu company have been training there too. VV Mei has been freelancing since leaving MAX Jiu Jitsu recently. BTW, SHOOT BOXING queen RENA trains at Oikawa Gym in her home town of Osaka. VV Mei sparred with a male Shoot Boxer practicing kicks, punches and throws. Mei says she comes to Caesar about once a week and trains with several fighters including Shoot Boxing standout Ai Takahashi. She says one of the things she is working on is not telegraphing her punches. She's used to pausing before she throws a punch. She is aware that WINDY is a tremendous kickboxer so she has been working a lot on standup skills. Obviously a lot of this is improving her timing. She was asked if she has a secret weapon. She laughed and said if she told it wouldn't be a secret anymore. The "secret plan" is a common theme and a running joke in the Japanese fight business. At Sunday's show, she will sell her V Flashing Light Stick with all proceeds going to earthquake relief. VV Mei asks fans to wave the sticks to show their support.

WINDY Tomomi
WINDY Tomomi held her open workout at Gold's Gym Harajuku. At one time WINDY used to train frequently with Hisae Watanabe. But since Hisae lef PANCRASE, WINDY is the only female so she trains with men. WINDY says there is pressure to perform because this is the first women's main event on a PANCRASE show. She doesn't want it to be the last. She says VV Mei is a good opponent but has never fought as a freelancer before. WINDY doesn't know how that will affect Mei. WINDYsays she's working hard and vows to win. WINDY was born and raised in Mito district, Aomori prefecture. This was an area hard hit by the earthquake. She owns three houses there. Her grandparents went missing and she didn't hear anything for five days. Thankfully, they were safe in a shelter. Her uncle's house was flooded with a capsized boat in front and another house collapsed. She says she is happy everyone is OK and plans to rebuild. But first she needs to win this fight.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Eric Clapton

Artist:Eric Clapton
Song:I Shot The Sheriff
Album:The Cream Of Clapton

For someone who was already revered as a guitar god, Eric Clapton's reluctance to start a solo career may seem a little odd. He was finally convinced to do so with the 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard and his only number one hit I Shot The Sheriff. And his reluctance to record the Bob Marley classic borders on laughable. He thought he was disrespecting Marley when in fact the success of Clapton's cover encouraged people to listen to Marley. He was born Mar. 30, 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, England. He joined his first band The Roosters in 1962 and then joined The Yardbirds in 1963. His guitar playing was heavily influenced by Chicago blues and he became the most talked about musician in England. He left The Yardbirds just before they had their first big hit For Your Love in Mar. 1965. and joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. And this is when he started to be a big deal. He formed Cream with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in 1966 and for the next couple of years they were huge stars. But Bruce and Baker weren't getting along and Cream split up in 1968. Clapton and Baker joined the short lived supergroup Blind Faith. While touring with Blind Faith, he became friends with Delaney Bramlett and joined Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. He actually recorded his first solo album Eric Clapton while a member of that group. Clapton's cover of JJ Cale's After Midnight reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. He still didn't want a solo career and formed Derek & The Dominos with the Delaney & Bonnie rhythm section of Bobby Whitlock on keyboards and vocals, Carl Radle on bass and Jim Gordon on drums. Of course guitarist Duane Allman was also on the album which was great. But they split up and Clapton was having heroin issues. He finally agreed to record a real solo album based on some Carl Radle demos. He told producer Tom Dowd he didn't want to record I Shot The Sheriff as a sign of respect to Bob Marley. But he was told that he was wrong and his chart topping cover made Marley a star. Of course Clapton continues to be very active. He left Polydor for Warner Bros. in the early 80s. This comp covers his Polydor recordings. I find Clapton's music uneven and too understated. But there's no question he can really swing that axe. Here's Eric Clapton performing I Shot The Sheriff on The Old Grey Whistle Test 1977.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Crispian St. Peters

Artist:Crispian St. Peters
Song:The Pied Piper
Album:AM Gold: The '60s Generation

Crispian St. Peters had his biggest success with the 1966 top five hit The Pied Piper. A couple of his other songs charted but most folks will only remember that song. He sunk his own career with dumb comments about The Beatles and others. It seems he was egged on by his manager. Of course he may not have been that talented in the first place. He was born Robin Smith Apr. 5, 1939 Swanley, Kent, England. While he was a member of Beat Formula Three in 1963, he was spotted by EMI publicist David Nicolson and Nicolson became his manager. Nicolson gave him the stage name Crispian St. Peters and deducted five years from his age. He first recorded with Peter & The Wolves in 1964. Nicolson convinced St. Peters to go solo and signed him to Decca in 1965. His first two singles went nowhere. But then he had a top ten hit in England with his cover of the Ian & Sylvia classic You Were on My Mind. Nicolson wanted to break the US market but The We Five had already charted in the US with their cover of You Were On My Mind. He had signed a US deal with Jamie Records but needed another song. That was The Pied Piper. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 in England. The song was written by Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld who had recorded it as The Changing Times in 1965. Both guys have had long careers as producers. St. Peters seemed like an unassuming guy. But Nicolson got him to make some ridiculously arrogant statements to the British music press like he had written 80 songs of better quality than The Beatles and they were over the hill. He said he was better than Elvis and Tom Jones. He said later the comments were not serious but it turned fans against him anyway. Subsequent recording were unsuccessful and Decca dropped him in 1970. Most folks will only want The Pied Piper and you can get the original version on this Time/Life various artists comp. Beware of rerecorded versions of The Pied Piper. Crispian St. Peters recorded occasionally and toured the oldies circuit in England. He retired after suffering a stoke in 1995 and died June 8, 2010 at age 71. Here's Crispian St. Peters performing The Pied Piper on a New Musical Express show in London 1966.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Keith Sweat

Artist:Keith Sweat f/Athena Cage
Album:The Best Of Keith Sweat: Make You Sweat

Keith Sweat was one of the most popular R & B singers of the 80s and 90s. He started out at the forefront of the New Jack Swing movement of the late 80s and crossed over to the pop charts with slow jams like the 1996 top five hit Nobody. He has also been a force as a writer and producer. Right now he's on the comeback trail. He was born Keith "Sabu" Crier July 22, 1963 in New York City the grandson of Arthur Crier of the doo wop group The Halos. He started out in 1975 as lead singer of the group Jamilah. They were popular regionally in the Tri-State area but never got a record contract. He released a couple of solo singles in 1984. There is some confusion that he was a member of the group GQ but that was his uncle who is also named Keith Crier. So Keith "Sabu" Crier changed his name to Keith Sweat. In 1985, he signed with Vincent Davis and his label Vintertainment Records with distribution from Elektra. Sweat's 1987 solo debut Make It Last Forever sold three million copies and I Want Her reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. This success continued through the late 80s. Elektra bought Sweat's contract when Davis closed his label. Sweat continued to have success in the R & B market and started his own label Keia Records to produce artists like Silk and Kut Klose. Nobody is from Sweat's 1996 CD Keith Sweat, his most successful CD to date. The album reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 4XPlatinum. The single Twisted reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Nobody reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Athena Cage is a member of Kut Klose. Sweat also had success with LSG along with Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill. Sweat faded at the turn of the century and left Elektra after his 2002 CD Rebirth. He is currently signed to Universal's Kedar label and released the CD Ridin' Solo June 2010. And he hosts the nationally syndicated radio show The Quiet Storm. This Rhino comp has all his hits. Here's the video for Nobody by Keith Sweat featuring Athena Cage.

Keith Sweat - Nobody by welcomeback

Friday, March 25, 2011

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Tsukushi vs Tsukasa Fujimoto

As joshi puroresu fans are aware, Ice Ribbon has created the offshoot 19 O'Clock Wrestling which broadcasts live on UStream weekly. It's an interesting experiment. I've seen a few matches. They're hit and miss. Some of the wrestlers are OK. Some are not. So on their latest show, they had an IW 19 Championship tournament. The tournament final was Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Tsukushi. Maybe you haven't seen the 19 O'Clock product. Here's your chance to check it out. Fujimoto is wearing blue and Tsukushi is wearing green. You'll notice that Fujimoto already has a couple of title belts so some think she'll be a big star. She's got that idol wrestler look and she's OK in the ring. She's not doing anything complicated. She controls the first half of the match and then later Tsukushi busts out some high flying moves. She seems to execute those OK but she can't throw a punch. Geez! I hate that. Learn to throw a damn punch. The match is OK. It's not great and Tsukushi upsets Fujimoto in the end. Maybe they need a live crowd. Fujimoto already has two title belts. She doesn't need another one. And Sakura Emi is promoting 19 O'Clock as a standalone product. She's trying to create stars with it. Hopefully Tsukushi will stick because some Ice Ribbon wrestlers don't stay very long. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Fixx

Artist:The Fixx
Song:One Thing Leads To Another
Album:Ultimate Collection

The British new wave group The Fixx had their biggest success with the 1983 top five hit One Thing Leads To Another. And they had a few other chart singles but that is their most memorable song. They started out in London in 1979. College pals Cy Curnin (lead vocals) and Adam Woods (drums) started The Portraits and placed an ad in the paper to recruit members. They were keyboard player Rupert Greenall, guitarist Tony McGrail and bassist Charlie Barret. They recorded two singles for Ariola Records that went nowhere. McGrail left and was replaced by Jamie West-Oram of The Doll and the band name was changed to The Fix. Their 1981 single Lost Planes got BBC airplay and that led to a contract with MCA Records. Concerned about the name The Fix being associated with drug usage, MCA wanted a name change. So it was changed to The Fixx. Their 1982 debut album Shuttered Room did OK. It was their most successful album in England. Barret left and was briefly replaced by Alfie Agius and later Dan K. Brown. Their 1983 album Reach The Beach reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 200. Saved By Zero reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and One Thing Leads To Another reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their 1985 album Phantoms still did well reaching #19 on the Billboard Hot 200. But The Fixx faded by 1987 and left MCA for RCA for their 1989 album Calm Animals. This Ultimate Collection CD is the best comp available. The general impression of The Fixx is they recorded some good singles but the albums are uneven. Cy Curnin has recorded solo but The Fixx still tours today and have a new CD coming in 2011. Here's the video One Thing Leads To Another by The Fixx.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Melanie

Song:Brand New Key
Album:Beautiful People: The Greatest Hits Of Melanie

Brand New Key may be one of the silliest number one hits in pop history. The success of the song was fueled by perception of sexual innuendo and that singer songwriter Melanie Safka seemed a little goofy anyway. Her hippy image seems more enduring than other artists of that era. She was born Feb. 3, 1947 in Queens, NY and sang in Greenwich Village clubs while attending the New York Academy of Fine Arts. In 1967, she released two singles on Columbia that went nowhere. In 1969, she met Peter Shekeryk and he got her a contract with Buddah Records. The two would marry and have three kids. Her 1969 debut album Affectionately Melanie did OK. But her breakthrough came after she performed at the Woodstock festival. That appearance inspired her to write Lay Down (Candles In The Rain) which reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970 and the album reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Gold. Her cover of The Rolling Stones' Ruby Tuesday also charted and her song Look What They've Done To My Song Ma was a hit for The New Seekers. But she was butting heads with Buddah. They were putting pressure on her to record new music. So she and Shekeryk left Buddah and started Neighborhood Records with distribution from Paramount Pictures' Famous Music division. Gather Me was her first album on her new label. It reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Gold. Brand New Key topped the Billboard Hot 100. Though Brand New Key is clearly performed in a very lighthearted way, some radio stations banned it for sexual innuendo. Melanie said she was going for a cute 30s style tune and "key" and "lock" are obvious Fruedian symbols for sex. She thinks some folks read too much into the song. It's funny because one group that covered Brand New Key was the kids music group Sharon, Lois & Bram. Melanie continued to record but didn't tour as much as she concentrated on raising her family. By 1975, she closed Neighborhood Records and hasn't been significant since then. But she did win an Emmy in 1989 for writing the theme song for the TV series Beauty and the Beast. Melanie last recorded in 2004 but she still tours and her son Beau-Jarred Shekeryk tours with her. This 1999 comp is perfect. Here's Melanie performing Brand New Key 1971.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

VV Mei and WINDY Tomomi play footsie on S-Arena

Yesterday VV Mei and WINDY Tomomi appeared on Samurai TV's S-Arena combat sports digest TV show to hype their match on the Apr. 3 PANCRASE show at Differ Ariake. It was announced on the show that this match will be the main event of the show. You'll notice in the picture they are sitting next to each other. WINDY is in the center and VV Mei is sitting to her left. Apparently they never made eye contact but they were playing footsie under the table. VV Mei said she is well aware of WINDY's kickboxing skills and she will try to counter that with her ground game. She also said though she normally fights in a cage for VALKYRIE, she doesn't think she will have a problem adapting to a ring. WINDY said she has been working on her ground game and may not be as vulnerable as in the past. But she would like to keep it standing as that is her strength. She also said that though VV Mei is the VALKYRIE champ, PANCRASE is WINDY's home turf and she feels the PANCRASE ring gives her an edge. VV Mei said she did compete in a ring last year for SHOOT BOXING so it's not a big deal. Both fighters said they are worthy of a main event and plan an exciting fight. But WINDY thinks her experience gives her the edge.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Joel Grey

Artist:Joel Grey
Album:Cabaret: Original Broadway Cast

Most folks will be familiar with the 1972 film version of the musical Cabaret. But if you're interested in the music, you probably want to stick to the 1966 Original Broadway Cast album because Bob Fosse cut a lot of the songs from the original production. Of course Joel Grey won a Tony and an Oscar for portraying The Emcee in Cabaret. He's had a long career but is mainly known for his musical theater performances. He was born Joel Katz Apr. 11, 1932 in Cleveland the son of legendary Yiddish comedian Mickey Katz. He started performing as a child. He did small film and TV roles in the 50s but really came into his own on Broadway in the 60s. After success in Come Blow Your Horn, Stop The World, I Want To Get Off and Half A Sixpence, Cabaret was his first starring role. Cabaret is based on John Van Druten's play I Am A Camera which won a Tony for Julie Harris in 1951. She also starred in the 1955 film version. Producer David Black optioned the play and hired Joe Masteroff to write the book and the veteran songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb to write the songs. Starring in the original 1966 production were Joel Grey, Jill Haworth, Bert Convy, Lotte Lenya and Jack Gilford. Harold Prince directed and Ron Field choreographed. The show ran for over three years. Of course Bob Fosse turned it into a very successful film in 1972 starring Grey and Liza Minnelli. The major change Fosse made to the show was getting rid of a lot of the songs performed outside the club. So that's why if you're interested in the music, get the original 1966 cast recording. Sony Masterworks released it on CD with bonus tracks in 1998. Of course Joel Grey is still going strong and will return to Broadway in 2011 in a revival of the musical Anything Goes. Here's Joel Grey performing Wilkommen on a Tony Awards broadcast probably late 60s.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Toto

Album:Hit Collection

Toto were a group of Los Angeles studio musicians who had success in the early 80s. They broke through with the 1978 top five hit Hold The Line. Then they faltered for a few years and found success again with the 1982 top five hit Rosanna and the number one hit Africa. Toto faded after lead singer Bobby Kimball left. As I said, the band consisted of successful studio musicians. Keyboard player David Paich is the son of arranger Marty Paich. Drummer Jeff Porcaro is the son of session percussionist Joe Porcaro. These two went to high school together in North Hollywood. Both guys were on the 1977 Boz Scaggs album Silk Degrees and toured with Scaggs. They decided to start their own band and they brought in bassist David Hungate and guitarist Steve Lukather from the Scaggs touring band. And the added Jeff Porcaro's brother Steve Porcaro on keyboards and lead singer Bobby Kimball from the group S.S.Fools. The name Toto is Latin for all encompassing. The 1978 single Hold The line reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album Toto reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 2XPlatinum. But their next two albums Hydra and Turn Back were disappointing. They were under a lot of pressure from Columbia to produce hits. And Toto IV delivered. Rosanna reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 followed by the number one hit Africa. Paich wrote Rosanna about his then girlfriend actress Rosanna Arquette. Toto won six Grammys including Record Of The Year for Rosanna. Davis Hungate left and was replaced by Mike Porcaro. Bobby Kimball was fired and replaced by Fergie Frederiksen of LaRoux. He lasted one album and tour and was replaced by Joseph Williams. He's the son of film composer John Williams. And they went through other lead singers. Toto never successfully replaced Kimball and they faded by the late 80s. Jeff Porcaro died in 1992 but Toto still tours today. You can get all their hits on this German budget comp. Here's the video for Rosanna by Toto.

Monday, March 21, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ketty Lester

Artist:Ketty Lester
Song:Love Letters
Album:The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 3

As a singer, Ketty Lester is known for the 1962 top five hit Love Letters. But when music wasn't working out for her, she turned to acting and has had a long career mostly on TV. She was born Revoyda Frierson Aug. 16, 1934 in Hope, AR. She was one of 15 children growing up on her dad's farm and also sang in church. She moved to California in 1955 to study nursing at San Francisco State and sang in clubs as Ketty Lester. She appeared on the TV game show You Bet Your Life and toured Europe with Cab Calloway. In 1962, she recorded her first single Queen For A Day for Everest Records. Comedienne Dorothy Shay then introduced Ketty to producers Ed Cobb and Lincoln Mayorga. Cobb was a member of The Four Preps and Mayorga was a studio musician who worked with Cobb on the 1960 hit Brontosaurus Stomp by The Piltdown Men. They got Ketty a contract with Herb Newman's Era Records. I'm A Fool To Want You was the first single. Love Letters was on the B side. But DJs liked Love Letters better and turned it over and the record reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Love Letters was the theme of the 1945 film starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten. It was written by veteran film composer Victor Young. Lyricist Edward Heyman added words and Dick Haymes scored a top twenty hit in 1945. And Elvis Presley had a top 20 hit with the song in 1966. But Ketty Lester's version was the biggest hit. She also charted with her cover of the Gershwin song But Not For Me. She moved to RCA in 1964. When she wasn't having much success as a singer, she turned to acting and won a Theater World Award for her performance off Broadway in Cabin In The Sky. Supposedly she was offered the lead in the groundbreaking 1968 sitcom Julia. Of course the role went to Diahann Carroll. She is best known for playing Hester Sue Terhune in Little House On The Prairie and was also a regular on the daytime soaps Days Of Our Lives and Rituals. Her last acting role was as Viveca A. Fox's grandmother on the 1998 sitcom Getting Personal. You can get Love Letters on this great various artists comp from Ace Records. Here's Ketty Lester performing Love Letters on Shindig 1964.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kool & The Gang

Artist:Kool & The Gang

Kool & The Gang were already one of the most popular funk bands of the 70s when the 1980 chart topper Celebration took them to a whole new level. It was their only number one pop hit. Some key personnel changes led to this success. But the core of the band has been mostly the same since the 60s. Of course the two guys behind Kool & The Gang are bassist Robert "Kool" Bell and tenor sax player Ronald Bell AKA Khalis Bayyan. They grew up in Jersey City, NJ. Their father was a pro boxer and friends with jazz piano legend Thelonious Monk. So they were big jazz fans and formed the band The Jazziacs in 1964. Other members included guitarists Charles Smith and Woody Sparrow, trombonist Clifford Adams, alto sax player Dennis Thomas and drummer Funky George Brown. All of these guys would still be with Kool & The Gang 30 years later. They were playing New York clubs and the growing influence of soul changed the band name to Soul Town Band. After a club owner mistakenly called them Kool & The Flames, it was changed to Kool & The Gang. In 1969, they signed with De-Lite Records, a new label owned by producer Gene Redd. He worked with James Brown in the early 60s. Kool & The Gang had immediate success on the R & B charts but broke through to the pop charts when Funky Stuff hit the top 40 in 1973. Then Jungle Boogie and Hollywood Swinging hit the top ten. But with the rise of disco, Kool & The Gang's mostly instrumental funk was fading. So they added smooth nightclub singer James "J.T." Taylor as lead singer along with Earl Toon Jr. And they started working with Brazilian producer Eumir Deodato. Deodato had a hit with his 1972 fusion version of the theme from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. But he also produced a lot of jazz fusion bands. So Kool & The Gang's 1979 album Ladies Night went Platinum and the single Too Hot reached the top ten. But Celebration was even bigger and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980 and it's a wedding standard today. Apparently Khalis Bayyan was inspired to write Celebration by the Koran. That's right. He prayed and the song came to him. Kool & The Gang had some more hits including Cherish. But Taylor left for a solo career in 1986 and Kool & The Gang never recovered. You can get all their hits on this 2CD comp from Hip-O. The Bell brothers still lead Kool & The Gang today. Charles Smith died in 2006 but some of the original members are still with the band. James "J.T." Taylor had some success with his 1989 duet with Regina Belle All I Want Is Forever and he still tours. Here's the video for Celebration by Kool & The Gang.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Megumi Fujii and the fight community raises 1M yen for earthquake relief

Megumi Fujii and a fan
The Japanese fight community wasted no time in getting together to raise funds for earthquake relief. They held a fundraising rally today in front of a department store in the Shinjuku district and raised over a million yen for the Red Cross in Japan. There were several big name fighters and pro wrestlers there including Shinya Aoki and Akihiro Gono. The female fight contingent was led by Megumi Fujii along with Rina Tomita, legendary pro wrestler, LLPW owner and member of parliament Shinobu Kandori and veteran pro wrestler Takako Inoue. OZ Academy owner Mayumi Ozaki is doing a similar rally in Shinjuku on Sunday and several joshi wrestlers will be in attendance. Ice Ribbon's Monday Korakuen Hall show will be a fundraiser. Triple Tails has also announced fundraising plans. A lot of the pro wrestling companies are making similar plans and even foreigners like legendary pro wrestler Tiger Jeet Singh and Brazilian MMA star Wanderlei Silva are pitching in.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Ohio Players

Artist:The Ohio Players
Song:Love Rollercoaster
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection: The Best of the Ohio Players

The Ohio Players were around for a long time before they became one of the top funk groups of the 70s. Love Rollercoaster was one of two songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100. They started out in Dayton, OH in 1959 as The Ohio Untouchables led by singer Robert Ward along with guitarist Clarence "Satch" Satchell, drummer Cornelius Johnson and trumpeter Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks. They moved to Detroit and backed up The Falcons on the hit I Found A Love. But Ward left just when they were starting to record their own music in 1963. Ward would be rediscovered in the 90s as a blues artist. Middlebrooks and Jones went back to Dayton and added guitarist Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner, sax player Andrew Noland and drummer Gary Webster. In 1967, singers Bobby Lee Fears and Dutch Robinson were added and the band was renamed The Ohio Players. They became house band for Compass Records. But that company went broke and The Ohio Players recorded a couple of moderately successful albums for Capitol. They disbanded in 1970 with Robinson and Fears going solo. But the remaining members reformed and added keyboard player Walter "Junie" Morrison, trumpeter Bruce Napier and trombonist Marvin Pierce. With an obvious nod to Sly & The Family Stone, th nasal voiced Bonner was made lead singer. They had some success on the R & B charts with albums on Westbound. Then they signed with Mercury Records in 1974. Morrison left to join Parliament and was replaced by Billy Beck and Jimmy "Diamond" Williams replaced Webster. The Ohio Players became regulars on the R & B and dance charts. But Fire and Love Rollercoaster were their only two number one pop hits. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. The Ohio Players faded in the late 70s. James Williams and Billy Beck left and formed the group Shadow. Clarence Satchell died in 1995 and Ralph Middlebrooks died in 1996. A version of The Ohio Players still tours today. Here are The Ohio Players performing Love Rollercoaster on The Midnight Special 1975.

Friday, March 18, 2011

PANCRASE announces big plans for women's MMA

Ryo Kawamura, Vanilla Sky
There was a time when PANCRASE ran women's MMA on a regular basis. They seemed to get away from it a couple of years ago and I don't think they ran any women's matches in 2009. When they announced WINDY Tomomi's Sept. 2010 match against Monica Lovato, PANCRASE admitted they had neglected women's MMA but planned to rectify that in 2011. They have run a few matches and have VALKYRIE Featherweight Champion VV Mei vs WINDY Tomomi on the Apr. 3 Differ Ariake show. Today PANCRASE held a press conference to announce a major commitment to women's MMA. PANCRASE rep Ryo Kawamura announced six weight classes and plans for women's matches beginning in May. The six weight classes are 45.4kg (Minimum), 47.6kg (Strawweight), 49.9kg (Super Strawweight), 52.2kg (Light Flyweight), 54.4kg (Flyweight) and 56.7kg (Super Flyweight). You'll notice they aren't doing the heavier weight classes. There aren't enough Japanese fighters in the heavier weight classes. Most are in the lighter weight classes. The women's matches will be on the May 3 Differ Ariake show and when details are announced, I will have them for you. Kawamura also announced the theme song for the show will be written and performed by singer Vanilla Sky. She appeared at the press conference and said she is very excited to perform on the May 3 show. Obviously this is great news especially after last week's tragic events. Maybe this will kick start Japanese fan interest in women's MMA.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Pilot

Album:Hard To Find 45's On CD Vol. 8: Seventies Pop Classics

Magic was the biggest hit for the Scottish group Pilot in 1974. I think it's one of those memorable songs but most folks don't know anything about the band. They faded quickly and most members joined The Alan Parsons Project. Pilot was from Edinburgh, Scotland. Bassist David Paton and keyboard player Billy Lyall were members of an early version of The Bay City Rollers. When that didn't work out, they started Pilot with drummer Stuart Tosh and guitarist Ian Bairnson. Paton and Lyall wrote all the songs and Paton sang lead vocals. They signed with EMI Records and were produced by Alan Parsons who had already produced Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. Magic was their first single and their biggest hit in 1974. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Canadian charts. Their second single January topped the British charts. Pilot recorded three albums but only the first one was successful. By the time Two's A Crowd was released in 1977, Billy Lyall had already recorded a solo album and the others joined The Alan Parsons Project. Tosh also worked with10cc. You can get Magic on this various artists comp from Eric Records. Billy Lyall died of AIDS in 1989. The others became session musicians after The Alan Parsons Project ran its course. Here's Pilot performing Magic on Top Of The Pops 1974.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Will there be women in the UFC?

So by now we all know that UFC parent company Zuffa purchased Strikeforce over the weekend. Reports indicate they paid $40M mainly because Silicon Valley Sports Entertainment wanted out of the MMA business. Scott Coker tried to put on a brave face at Monday's press conference but I'm sure he is very disappointed. Just remember he got $15M in the deal. Zuffa said that Strikeforce will continue operating for now. Their current contract with Showtime runs until early 2012 with an option to extend until 2014. I wouldn't be surprised if Zuffa tried to buy out the Showtime deal before then and some of the contracts are sold to M-1 Global as they still have a deal with Showtime. That Coker is still there is funny. Strikeforce is a lame duck and so is he. He should have taken the money and left. It 's not like he can start a new company. He has a non compete clause if he leaves. So what will happen to Strikeforce women's division? If something happens to Strikeforce sooner rather than later, I expect M-1 Global to pick it up. But if Showtime digs their heels in and insists on extending the Strikeforce contract, that changes the dynamic. There is a lot of animosity between Zuffa and Showtime. Look, we all know that UFC head Dana White dislikes women's MMA and doesn't want them in the UFC. But it may not be his decision. He said in the interview on Saturday that the Strikeforce purchase is Zuffa owner Lorenzo Fertitta's deal. White will not be involved in the operation of Strikeforce. Then at Monday's press conference when asked about women's MMA, he said "That's not my deal. That's Scott's deal." That's a non answer that indicates it isn't his decision. Maybe Fertitta has other ideas. If Zuffa wants to be a monopoly, they have to include women's MMA or someone will use that niche to get a TV contract. Remember that niche was used by Gary Shaw to use Gina Carano to raise the profile of EliteXC and get the Showtime deal. Without Shaw, there is no Showtime deal for Strikeforce. Maybe he wants to do that again. Of course it would be a mistake for Zuffa to leave that niche open. But they have made that mistake before. Maybe they don't learn from their mistakes.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Mazzy Star

Artist:Mazzy Star
Song:Fade Into You
Album:Hidden Treasures

Mazzy Star came out of the Paisley Underground movement in Los Angeles in the 80s and had some success in the 90s. Fade Into You was their only hit single in 1993. Guitarist David Roback was born Apr. 4, 1958 in Los Angeles. His brother Stephen played bass and they had a group called The Unconscious which included Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. Then Roback was leader of the mid-80s group Rain Parade and then Rainy Day. He then formed Opal with Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith. They recorded one album for the British label Rough Trade Records and then Kendra left and was replaced by Hope Sandoval (born June 24, 1966 in Los Angeles). The group name was changed to Mazzy Star. Their debut CD She Hangs Brightly was well received. When you listen to Mazzy Star, they will remind you of The Velvet Underground. But Rough Trade closed their Us office. Capitol picked up Mazzy Star's contract. Their 1993 CD So Tonight That I Might See yielded Fade Into You which reached #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the video got a lot of airplay on MTV. After their 1996 CD Among My Swan, Mazzy Star went on hiatus. Hope Sandoval went on to a solo career as Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. David Roback moved to Norway and wrote the music and appeared in the 2004 film Clean. Hope Sandoval said in 2009 that Mazzy Star is still together and is working on new music. But it sure has been a long time. This Hidden Treasures various artists budget comp has some interesting 80s & 90s songs on it. Here's the video for Fade Into You by Mazzy Star.

Mazzy Star - Fade Into You by exhibicion

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jonny Lang

Artist:Jonny Lang
Song:Still Rainin'
Album:Wander This World

Jonny Lang was hailed in the mid-90s as a teenage guitar phenom. Obviously it's a good gimmick to get record sales but can he really play? He's had his ups and downs but the bottom line is he can play. He not as big a deal today as he was when Wander This World was released in 1998. He was born Jon Langseth Jr. Jan. 29, 1981 in Fargo, ND. His dad took him to see the local band Bad Medicine Blues Band and Lang took lessons from the band's guitarist Ted Larsen. Obviously he took to it very well because he soon joined the band which was renamed Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Bang. They moved to Minneapolis and signed with A & M Records in 1996. His 1997 debut CD Lie To Me caused a sensation mostly because of Lang's age. The album was uneven. They seemed to solve that with the 1998 CD Wander This World probably because the band didn't produce it themselves. They brought in David Z. (David Rivkin). His brother Bobby Z. is Prince's original drummer and David has also worked with Prince. Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward and Booker T. & The MG's guitarist Steve Cropper did guest shots. Still Rainin' was written by keyboard player Bruce McCabe. The video and song got airplay. So it did well and the kid really can play. The CD is available in its original release but for a few more bucks it's available with a bonus track. Lang didn't record again until 2003 so he was forgotten. Supposedly he had some alcohol and drug issues but he recovered and became a Christian. His 2006 CD Turn Around is about that transformation. He left A & M after that CD and his latest CD Live At The Ryman was released on Concord in 2010. He recently guested on Cyndi Lauper's latest CD Memphis Blues and appeared with her on The Tonight Show. He also appeared on Carlos Santana's latest CD Guitar Heaven. So it appears that teen guitar sensation Jonny Lang is older and wiser and can start making great music for the next 30 years. Here's the video for Still Rainin' by Jonny Lang.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The process to get a new powerchair begins

The Quickie Xplore
In Ontario, an Ontario Disability Support Program client is eligible for a new wheelchair mostly paid for by the provincial government every five years. So that means I can apply for a new powerchair. Someone on Twitter asked me if there is something wrong with my current powerchair. Of course it still works. But the battery failure a few months ago indicates that it's nearing the end of its life. After all, it is a mechanical device and I have had several repairs including replacing batteries and motors. And I am a heavy user. So today I met with occupational therapist Sheryl Winkler and H.M.E. rep John Crawford to begin the process of getting a new powerchair. And of course I will write about every step because I believe others can benefit from my experience. I don't know if anyone has ever written about this. It starts today with an assessment from an occupational therapist to determine my current needs. And then John arrived with a Quickie Xplore powerchair mostly to take measurements and discuss seating requirements. My current powerchair is an Invacare Storm TDX4. My previous vendor suggested that I should just get the same model chair if I am happy with it. It's OK but as a heavy user, I just don't think it's durable enough. And I would also like a smoother ride. I discussed this with John when he visited me a couple of weeks ago. So the Quickie Xplore has a heavy duty version and an independent suspension. If you look at the picture, I don't like that style of footrest. I prefer footplates because it makes it easier for me to transfer to and from the chair. I expect to get similar seating. I prefer a gel cushion to other types and I need lumbar support in my backrest. I don't need tilt or anything like that. I am probably larger than average as I am over six feet tall. And that's why John was taking measurements because everyone's needs are different. So now that the assessment is done, John begins the tedious task of paperwork to get approval from the Assisted Devices Program. He knows what to do. He's been doing this for a long time and he knows how to get ADP approval. They both told me that they have to say that the chair is dying. That made me laugh. Then John said the chair is dying. I just don't know it yet. Well, he's the expert. What do I know? It's just ridiculous the hoops a disabled person has to jump through to get anything in Ontario.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Trini Lopez

Artist:Trini Lopez
Song:If I Had A Hammer
Album:The Very Best Of Trini Lopez: The Reprise Years

Trini Lopez had his biggest hit with this 1963 version of the folk standard If I Had A Hammer. He was part of the folk music boom of the early 60s but he wasn't really a folk singer. Trinidad Lopez III was born May 15, 1937 in Dallas and grew up in the Little Mexico neighbourhood. He started out singing in local clubs including Jack Ruby's Vegas Club. Yes, that Jack Ruby. And he also recorded a couple of Richie Valens influenced singles for King Records. So he was performing at PJ's in Los Angeles in 1962 when he was spotted by veteran producer Don Costa. Costa signed Lopez to Frank Sinatra's Reprise label and recorded Lopez' debut album live at PJ's. If I Had A Hammer reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963 and the album Trini Lopez At PJ's reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 200. If I Had A Hammer was written by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger of The Weavers. It wasn't a hit when they recorded it. But Peter, Paul and Mary had a top ten hit with it in 1962. I think Lopez' version was a bigger hit. Lopez' only other top 20 hit was Lemon Tree in 1965. The folk music movement was very serious and Lopez took a more Las Vegas entertainer upbeat approach to that style of music. Trini Lopez continued to record for Reprise until 1969. You can get all his hits on this Rhino UK comp. He also appeared in films including The Dirty Dozen in 1967. Trini Lopez continues to perform today and last recorded in 2002. Here's Trini Lopez performing If I Had A Hammer on Hootenanny Dec. 1963.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sarita & Rosita are the new TNA Knockout Tag Team Champions

Here's the match video for Angelina Love & Winter defending the TNA Knockout Titles against Sarita & Rosita from last night's TNA Victory Road PPV. The match is not very good with a typically stupid Vince Russo ending. The timing just seemed to be off. I always laugh when I see Sarita talk about taking the titles home to Mexico because neither of those girls are Mexican. Yes, I know Sarita lives there but she is from Winnipeg and Rosita is from New York. And the thing I noticed about Rosita when she debuted a few weeks ago is she is so tiny. I'm told she is a good wrestler but I haven't seen that yet. She wasn't very good in this match. Look, I know they hired her because she looks Mexican but she doesn't seem to fit in yet. And the Winter character is just cringeworthy. It's another Russo misfire. And I know that girl can wrestle but you wouldn't know it by watching her in this match. I didn't like the match. Angelina & Winter got too much offense in. Of course the ending was ridiculous. It looks like Velvet Sky was late coming to the ring as Rosita seemed to hold the belt ready to hit her opponent over the head forever. And the poor timing continued as Rosita had Winter in that rollup pin for a long time. Winter is so much bigger than Rosita that it looked stupid. It's not like Winter was stunned. When TNA does stuff like that, it shows they're not  thinking. I know D-Lo Brown works with the girls. He's a smart guy. Maybe working at TNA makes smart guys stupid. Check out the video for yourself.

TNA: Victory Road (2011) - 3/13/11 Part 3 (HQ) by T-Tvideos

Hitomi Akano wins at the PANCRASE Osaka show

Hitomi Akano
So on Friday after the earthquake, PANCRASE announced that their Mar. 13 show at Taisho Azeria in Osaka had been cancelled. I assume there was concern about getting the fighters into Osaka. Later in the day, they decided to go ahead with the show after all. You probably think that everything over the weekend was cancelled. There was nothing in Tokyo but New Japan Pro Wrestling ran a show in Shizuoka, Pro Wrestling NOAH ran a show in Akashi and Dragon Gate ran a show in Morodomi. These were all in areas that were not affected much by the earthquake and that was true of Osaka as well. Shooto had planned to run Sunday's Korakuen Hall show but cancelled when there were reports of structural damage to the building. There are now plans to reopen Korakuen Hall on Saturday and the kickboxing company KRUSH plans to run their Mar. 19 Korakuen Hall show as scheduled. There were two women's matches on the Pancrase show. Hitomi Akano won over Chisa Yonezawa with a cross arm breaker at 40 seconds of round one. That's a little quicker than I would have thought but not a surprising result. Both women are Osaka natives. Hitomi said she was very proud to fight in her home town for the first time but the earthquake and tsunami victims were very much on her mind. She encouraged people to recover from this. The second women's match had Happy Fukuko win over Mamiko Mizoguchi at 4:45 of round two via TKO stoppage due to punches. I don't expect any detailed match reports which is normal for out of town shows.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jacques Dutronc

Artist:Jacques Dutronc
Song:Hippie Hippie Hourrah
Album:Et Moi et Moi et Moi: Jacques Dutronc 1966-69

Though virtually unknown in English speaking countries, Jacques Dutronc is a big star in Europe as a singer, songwriter and actor. He is also married to French pop singer Francoise Hardy. This comp covers his late 60s recordings. He was born Apr. 28, 1943 in Paris. He started out in 1963 as guitarist for the group El Toro et les Cyclones. Then he went to work for Vogue Records as a house producer. It was here that he started working with long time songwriting partner Jacques Lanzmann. Lanzmann wrote the lyrics and Dutronc wrote the music. They wrote a couple of songs for Francoise Hardy. When Dutronc's song Et Moi et Moi et Moi flopped for one of Vogue's artists, Dutronc's boss thought he should record it himself. It became a hit and several of Dutronc's songs including Hippie Hippie Hourrah were hits in the late 60s. Dutronc's music has a European garage band sound mixed with British Invasion influences. He is frequently compared to Ray Davies of The Kinks. Dutronc became an actor in 1973 in the film Antoine et Sebastien. He won a Best Actor Cesar (the French Oscar) for the 1991 film Van Gogh. He also composed the music for the film. He returned to music in the 80s and had success working with Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Jacques Brunel of The Stranglers among others. Jacques Dutronc and wife Francoise Hardy live in Corsica. Their son Thomas Dutronc is a jazz guitarist. This comp from the British label RPM covers Dutronc's 60s recordings. Here's Jacques Dutronc performing Hippie Hippie Hourrah late 60s.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Big Jay McNeely

Artist:Big Jay McNeely
Song:The Deacon's Hop
Album:The Deacon, Unabridged Vol. 1: 1948-1950

Big Jay McNeely is known as the King Of The Honking Tenor Sax. The Deacon's Hop is his signature song and topped the R & B singles chart in 1949. And the great thing is that McNeely is still honking today. He was born Cecil James McNeely Apr. 29, 1927 in Los Angeles and grew up with his older brother Bob hanging around the bustling jazz scene on Central Avenue. McNeely was influenced by Illinois Jacquet who invented the honking sax solo. The brothers became friends with Johnny Otis and he introduced them to Savoy Records A & R man Ralph Bass and he signed them to a contract. Cecil played tenor sax and Bob played baritone sax. Savoy Records owner Herman Lubinsky changed his name to Big Jay McNeely because he didn't think Cecil sounded commercial. The instrumental The Deacon's Hop topped the R & B charts in 1949 and the follow up Wild Wig also charted. McNeely is also known for his crazy antics on stage including playing a glowing sax. As you'll see in the video, he's a very entertaining guy. In the 50s, McNeely recorded for Exclusive, Imperial, Federal, VeeJay and he had a hit in 1958 with the bluesy There Is Something On Your Mind on Los Angeles DJ Hunter Hancock's Swingin' label. He even recorded a live album for Warner Bros. in 1963. Swingin' Records is now owned by musician Mark Tortorici and that's where you can get McNeely's original recordings. Big Jay McNeely's career faded in the 60s and he retired to become a postman in 1971. He picked up his sax again in the 80s and has toured ever since. He last recorded in 2007. Here's Big Jay McNeely with Detroit Gary Wiggins performing The Deacon's Hop. It doesn't give a location or date but it sure looks like a lot of fun.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dolly Parton

Artist:Dolly Parton
Song:Here You Come Again
Album:Ultimate Dolly Parton

Once you get past her gimmicky appearance, Dolly Parton is one of the all time great country artists not only as a singer but as a songwriter. But she also crossed over to the mainstream pop charts and then into film. Here You Come Again was her first top five pop hit in 1978. Mostly I will talk about how she got to that point. She was born Jan. 19, 1946 in Seveierville, TN as one of 12 children growing up in her own words "dirt poor". She started performing as a child on radio and TV in Knoxville. She met Johnny Cash at the Grand Ole Opry and he encouraged her to follow her dreams. So she moved to Nashville after graduating from high school in 1964. Dolly had first recorded for Mercury Records in 1962 but was dropped after one flop single. Along with her uncle Bill Owens, she signed a publishing deal with Fred Foster. And he signed her to a recording deal at his Monument label. Foster initially tried to sell her as a pop singer. But after one of her songs Put It Off Until Tomorrow was a top ten country hit for Bill Phillips, Foster let Dolly try country music. Dumb Blonde and Something Fishy both charted in 1967. This got the attention of country music superstar Porter Wagoner who was looking for a replacement for his previous duet partner Norma Jean for his TV show. That was Dolly's big breakthrough and she signed with RCA Records. Their duets did well but Dolly's solo recordings didn't catch on and that frustrated Wagoner. She finally had her first top five country hit in 1970 with Mule Skinner Blues followed by Coat Of Many Colors and her classic Jolene. She left Wagoner in 1974. Elvis Presley wanted to record Dolly's song I Will Always Love You but Dolly refused to sign over half the publishing rights which was standard when Elvis covered a song. This turned out to be a great decision when Whitney Houston had a monster hit with the song in 1992. In 1976, she had her own TV variety show and hired manager Sandy Gallin to help get her a higher profile outside of country music. Dolly's first attempt at a pop album 1977's New Harvest First Gathering didn't do all that well. She produced it herself. So for her next album, she turned to producer Gary Klein who just had a big hit with Glen Campbell's Southern Nights. Here You Come Again became her first million selling album and the single topped the country charts and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by the legendary team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. She would go on top top the Billboard Hot 100 with the them to her film 9 To 5 and her duet with Kenny Rogers Islands In The Stream. But the pop approach eventually alienated her country fans and RCA dropped her in 1985. Her recordings for Columbia and then Sugar Hill restored the country fanbase and her most recent CD Backwoods Barbie on her own label crossed over to pop without compromise. This budget comp is a good intro to her music. Dolly Parton has a new CD Better Day scheduled for 2011 release. She seems to be going stronger than ever. Here's Dolly Parton performing Here You Come Again on the Midnight Special 1979.

Friday, March 11, 2011

JEWELS show cancelled due to major earthquake

The front door of Shinjuku FACE
I'm sure you already know by now that there was a massive earthquake in Japan today. I'm not getting into details because you can find out about it elsewhere. Because the epicenter was in Sendai, I'm very concerned about the Sendai Girls joshi puroresu company because that's where they are. I have not heard anything but I will keep an eye on the situation. Of course the main thing is that today's JEWELS show was cancelled and the good news is that everyone involved with the show is fine. Most of the fighters had already arrived at Shinjuku and spent the night at the DEEP dojo which is nearby. Mika Nagano posted some pics on her blog. JEWELS management also spent the night at the DEEP dojo. It appears that trains and some roads are reopening Saturday morning. Most of the fighters live in Tokyo so they have to go home and see what is broken. But they're all fine. The hotel where Jessica Aguilar and Danielle West were staying is also nearby. Danielle was out shopping when the quake hit but she's fine. Jessica was in her hotel room. The hotel shook very hard. She is fine but freaking out. One of the airports is open so she is trying to get a flight out and has had one flight delayed already. When I looked at Twitter a few minutes ago, it looks like her ride to the airport is coming. That could change but hopefully she gets out of there soon. The big concern was for Megumi Fujii. When the quake hit, she was on her way to the show. Thankfully, she is fine. She was stuck on a train for a while and eventually went home to her cats. Megumi is concerned about her brother who lives in Sendai. Sunday's Pancrase show in Osaka has also been cancelled so Hitomi Akano will not fight in her hometown. The big thing out of all this is that the building containing Korakuen Hall has structural damage. So any show that was supposed to be there ain't happening. There are fights scheduled there every day. For example, there was a big boxing show scheduled for Monday that has been cancelled. Shooto was supposed to run there and so was OZ Academy. Both are cancelled. I expect we'll see some venue scrambling in the near future. The Japanese fight business is bad enough as it is right now. This is the last thing they needed. But so far it looks like most folks are OK but I am concerned about Sendai Girls.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Foo Fighters

Artist:Foo Fighters
Song:Learn To Fly
Album:Greatest Hits

When Kurt Cobain died and Nirvana dissolved in 1994, drummer Dave Grohl didn't seem to know what to do with himself. He started Foo Fighters as a one man project but it grew into one of the most successful bands of the 90s and they are still successful today. Learn To Fly is their biggest single to date. He was born Jan. 16, 1969 in Warren, OH and grew up in the Washington, DC suburb of Springfield, VA. He taught himself the drums and was a member of Scream as a teen. He lied about his age at the audition. Kurt Cobain saw Scream when they came to Seattle. So when Scream broke up and Cobain was starting Nirvana, Grohl joined the band. They were very successful but it was mostly Cobain's band. After Cobain's death, Grohl wasn't sure what to do. He recorded an album that he planned to record as a one off demo cassette for friends. But when it got out, record companies came calling and Grohl turned it into a full band. The name Foo Fighters is a WWII term for UFOs. Sunny Day Real Estate had just split up so he brought in bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith. And Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear joined. Grohl started Roswell Records and signed a distribution deal with Capitol. The first two albums were very successful. Goldsmith left in 1997 and was replaced by Taylor Hawkins. Smear left in 1997 and was replaced by Franz Stahl and Chris Shiplett replaced him in 1999. With the 1999 CD There Is Nothing Left To Lose, Foo Fighters switched to RCA. The success continued as the CD reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 200. Though they had a lot of success on the Alt Rock charts, Learn To Fly was their first mainstream chart hit and reached #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. Foo Fighters success has continued and this 2009 Greatest Hits CD reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 200. You can also get it in a Deluxe Edition with a bonus DVD for a few extra bucks. A new Foo Fighters CD Wasting Light will be released next month. It doesn't look like they are slowing down anytime soon. Here's the video for Learn To Fly by Foo Fighters.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

VV Mei to face WINDY Tomomi on Apr. 3 Pancrase show

VV Mei
Pancrase announced today thay have added VALKYRIE Featherweight Champion VV Mei vs WINDY Tomomi to the Apr. 3 Differ Ariake show. The fight is contracted for 52.5kg and scheduled for two five minute rounds. It is a non-title match. The big news here is that VV Mei is the fighter formerly known as V Hajime. Her record is 6-2-1 and her last fight was a draw against Kyoko Takabayashi at the Nov. 28 VALKYRIE show. But fans in attendance thought Takabayashi won and VV Mei may have escaped with her title due to poor judging. And VV Mei admitted that she didn't perform well. So she changed her ringname and left her longtime dojo Max Jiu Jitsu and will now freelance. This will be her first match as a freelancer. Obviously she saw enough of a problem to make these changes. I think she needed to refocus on MMA after spending way too much time messing around in SHOOT BOXING last year. The veteran fighter WINDY Tomomi trains at Pancraseism. Her record is 16-12-1 and her last fight was a majority decision over Akiko "Betiko" Naito on the Dec. 5 Pancrase show. WINDY has won her last four matches. She is known as a very powerful striker but vulnerable on the ground. This match will be in a ring and VV Mei said that she would prefer to fight in a cage as they do in VALKYRIE. But she has never faced WINDY before and is excited to face her. WINDY says she wants a title shot. And that's what she'll get if she wins. It's a good test for VV Mei as WINDY is always very tough and could win this match. It should be very interesting.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Blind Faith

Artist:Blind Faith
Song:Well Alright
Album:Blind Faith

These days the term Supergroup is thrown around very liberally. But back in the late 60s, Blind Faith was probably the first real Supergroup. The best way to describe Blind Faith is they were a very successful failure because though their only album was a huge seller, they didn't stay together long enough to be a real success. Blind Faith came out of the breakup of the very successful blues rock trio Cream. Bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker weren't getting along and guitarist Eric Clapton was tired of refereeing. Meanwhile, Traffic had split up and lead singer and keyboard player Steve Winwood was looking for something to do. Winwood had been on Clapton's Powerhouse album. So they were already good friends and started jamming in Clapton's basement. One day Ginger Baker turned up to jam. Clapton liked the results but he didn't want to form a new band with Baker so soon after Cream's split. Winwood convinced Clapton that Baker was the best drummer available and then they invited bassist Ric Grech from Family to join. The album was produced by Jimmy Miller. He knew Winwood from The Spencer Davis Group. The band debuted at a free concert in London's Hyde Park June 7, 1969. They signed with Polydor Records but had to lease Winwood from Island Records. They were on Atco in North America. The band continued to record the album and did a small tour because they planned a much bigger tour upon the album's release. So there was a lot of hype before the album's release. But they didn't have a name yet. The controversial album cover provided the name. You've probably seen it and the truth is it helped sell the album. Clapton thought agreeing to the cover was an act of Blind Faith. Atco in the US chose an alternative cover which you see here because that is what is on Amazon's page. It was controversial at the time. Today, who cares? The album topped the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Gold. Of course Well Alright is an old Buddy Holly song. Despite the success, Blind Faith split up in Oct. 1969. Clapton joined Delaney & Bonnie and then Derek & The Dominoes. Ginger Baker tried to keep the rest of the band together as Ginger Baker's Air Force. But Winwood went back to reform Traffic and took Grech with him. Baker has had Air Force for many years. Grech died in 1990 but the other three guys are still around doing various things. Here's Blind Faith performing Well Alright at Hyde Park in London June 7, 1969. That concert is available on DVD.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Eddie Money

Artist:Eddie Money f/Ronnie Spector
Song:Take Me Home Tonight/Be My Baby
Album:The Best Of Eddie Money

Eddie Money had success in the early 80s with his blue collar rock style and some funny music videos. But his career was fading when he came up with this ingenious use of Ronettes lead singer Ronnie Spector that played on nostalgia. Take Me Home Tonight/Be My Baby would turn out to be his biggest hit. He was born Edward Mahoney Mar. 2, 1949 in Brooklyn, NY. He planned to become a cop like his dad. But while attending the New York Police Academy in 1973, he was singing on the side as Eddie Money. But he left New York for Berkeley, CA to pursue a music career. Legendary promoter Bill Graham became his manager and got him a contract at Columbia Records. Money made a big splash with the 1978 hits Baby Hold On and Two Tickets To Paradise. His 1977 debut album Eddie Money was certified 2XPlatinum. His 1982 album No Control was also certified Platinum and Think I'm In Love was a top 20 hit. But his 1983 album Where's The Party flopped and he was also having substance abuse issues. So Money took a break and returned with the 1986 album Can't Hold Back. Take Me Home Tonight/Be My Baby reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Obviously using Ronnie Spector to sing the Ronettes classic Be My Baby as part of the song really paid off. Of course that was written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Phil Spector. Take Me Home Tonight was written by Michael Leeson and Peter Vale. Vale was a keyboard player for British singer Sheena Easton and wrote several songs with Leeson including For Your Eyes Only. After Vale left Easton, he worked with Jim Capaldi, Paul Young and more recently Billie Myers. Eddie Money had a couple more hits but he was fading and Columbia dropped him in 1991. He has recorded occasionally and still tours usually with his daughter Jesse Money. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Here's the video for Take Me Home Tonight/ Be My Baby by Eddie Money featuring Ronnie Spector.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

CMA Korea sandbagging to inflate Ham Seo Hee's record

Ham Seo Hee Kicks anna in the head
So it seems that Korean kickboxer Ham Seo Hee won what turned out to be an MMA match over anna on Sunday's GLADIATOR show at the Kanagawa Stadium in Kawasaki. I thought it was kickboxing because Ham was defending the CMA KPW Women's Lightweight Championship and that's a kickboxing title. And when GLADIATOR announced it, it wasn't clear what kind of match it was. So let's review. Ham beat Saori Ishioka on a DEEP show on Feb. 25. Then on the Feb. 27 GLADIATOR show, she beat Megumi Yabushita in a kickboxing match. So now she has beaten anna in an MMA match and Ham's official record is 8-4. Let's forget for a moment that anna is a terrible fighter. There are a few fighters in the lower levels of Japanese women's MMA that are poorly trained and can't win. She happens to be one of them. The other thing is that GLADIATOR is co-owned by CMA Korea and Minowaman's manager which is why Minowaman is on all the GLADIATOR shows. So CMA's agenda is to increase the value of their own fighters even if they have to sandbag to do it. Remember a few months ago when JEWELS dumped Ham Seo Hee from the Lightweight tournament? The story at the time was that CMA was holding up JEWELS for more money and ultimately Ham appeared on a GLADIATOR show in a stunt with two male pro wrestlers and wasn't on the October JEWELS show. JEWELS worked things out with CMA and Ham got back into the tournament in December. But it shows the lengths that CMA will go to for money. They think they can get more money if they inflate Ham's record. For that reason, an asterisk should accompany Ham's accomplishment. GLADIATOR needs to stop sandbagging or they won't have any credibility in the Japanese MMA business. Ham Seo Hee is good enough that she doesn't need this kind of help.