Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ayaka Hamasaki vs Saori Ishioka added to May 14 JEWELS show

Mika Nagano, Ayaka Hamasaki, MORI, Megumi Fujii
Yesterday JEWELS held a DVD launch and autograph session featuring Megumi Fujii, Mika Nagano the singer MORI and JEWELS Lightweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki. JEWELS owner Yuichi Ozono took the opportunity to add a few matches to the show. They haven't issued a press release yet but I have enough info to tell you about them. The big news is that Ayaka Hamasaki vs Saori Ishioka has been added to the May 14 evening show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. It's a grappling match as requested by Ishioka. Hamasaki trains at AACC and may be the best fighter Megumi Fujii has ever trained. Her record is 4-0 and her last win was the tournament final over Ham Seo Hee on the Dec. 17 JEWELS show. Ishioka trains at Zendokai in Koganei. Her record is 11-6 and her last fight was a loss to Ham Seo Hee at the Feb. 25 DEEP show. Ishioka sent a statement to the DVD launch. She said that after the loss to Ham, she planned to look at changing her training regime probably to include more wrestling as she's a karate girl. But before she could do that, the earthquake got in the way. So she planned to take a break but changed her mind when she was offered a grappling match against Hamasaki. She's claiming she's not ready for an MMA match. Oy vey! They also added two fights to the matinee. Yukiko Seki vs Yuka Okumura will be at 48kg. Seki trains at FIGHT CHIX. Her record is 7-20 and her last fight was a split decision loss to Kikuyo Ishikawa on the Dec. 17 JEWELS show. Okumura trains at Soul Fighters Japan. Her record is 1-6 and this will be her return to MMA after an almost four year break. Her last fight was a loss to Yasuko Tamada on the Sept. 9, 2007 ZST show. The other match is anna vs Sadae Manhoef at 52kg (I think). anna trains at FIGHT CHIX. Her record is 1-6 and her last fight was a loss to Ham Seo Hee on the Mar. 6 Gladiator show. Manhoef trains Cobra Kai. her one fight was a draw against KO Ozeki on the Oct. 18, 2009 DEEP show. So one big fight and two filler matches.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Archibald

Song:Stack-A-Lee Parts 1 & 2
Album:Gettin' Funky: The Birth of New Orleans R & B

Of course most music fans should be familiar with Lloyd Price's 1959 chart topping recording of Stagger Lee. But you may not know that in 1950 it was a top ten R & B hit for New Orleans piano pioneer Leon T. Gross AKA Archibald. I'm pretty sure of that because when I looked up Stagger Lee on Wikipedia, there's no mention of Archibald. The big difference between Archibald and someone like Professor Longhair is Archibald wasn't rediscovered in his senior years. He was born Sept. 14, 1916 in New Orleans. That's according to his WWII enlistment records. His DOB has been widely reported as 1912 but it looks like he lied about his age so he could get into clubs. He grew up playing piano at house parties as Archie Boy. After serving in India during WWII, he returned to New Orleans and played clubs. He was signed to Imperial Records in 1950 along with legendary producer Dave Bartholomew and several others including Fats Domino. Stack-A-Lee was his first single and it reached #10 on the R & B Singles chart. Of course the song is based on the murder of Billy Lyons by Stagger Lee Shelton and is considered today to be a traditional folk song. The first significant version of the song was probably recorded by Mississippi John Hurt in 1928. The Lloyd Price version was cleaned up because Dick Clark didn't want to promote a song about murder. The Archibald version was released with Part 1 on the A-side and Part 2 on the B-side. You can get most of Archibald's recordings and many more New Orleans R & B classics on the budget 4CD box set from Proper Records. Imperial was ready to send Archibald on tour when he became ill with an ulcer. He also had alcohol problems later on and a dispute with the musicians union. So though Archibald continued to perform in New Orleans clubs, he never recorded again and he died on Jan. 8, 1973 at age 57. So Leon T. Gross was a big influence in New Orleans music but he wasn't known outside the Crescent City music scene. Here's a video for Stack-A-Lee Parts 1 & 2 by Archibald.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Three gaijin wrestlers on May 15 Diana show

Woman's Pro Wrestling Diana held a press conference yesterday to announce the full card for their May 15 show at Kanagawa Stadium in Kawasaki. The most interesting thing about this show is Diana owner Kyoko Inoue is bringing three gaijin wrestlers making their Japanese debuts. The main event will have Inoue facing a gaijin wrestler who I think they are calling Mother Andrea. That's the best translation I can get. It could be off. Who is she? You probably know her as Rosie Lottalove when she worked briefly for TNA last year. She's a big girl but she's not a good wrestler. She's best known for seriously injuring Daffney in a TNA dark match. She worked on TNA TV a couple of times before they decided she wasn't very good and released her. In the past, she has worked as Betsy Ruth and Sister Ophelia. Maybe Inoue is giving her a nun gimmick. Inoue will also face teen rookie Sarreee in the opening match. Gaijin number two Annie Social will face Toshie Uematsu. Annie has worked for SHIMMER mostly as a manager but she has also wrestled for companies like DWOW where the wrestling is secondary. Obviously wrestling is not her strong suit. Gaijin number three Rain will face Aya Yuki. Rain is best known for her long running SHIMMER tag team The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew and was also in TNA briefly as Payton Banks. Recently she has worked for AAA in Mexico and Wrestlicious as Felony. She's a pretty good wrestler and a very good heel. This will be the first time all three will wrestle in Japan. There was a time when a gaijin going to work for a joshi company was a big deal. I'm not sure it is a big deal anymore especially if she's only going for one show. It's not like these three will sell any tickets. Japanese fans don't know them. They're also going to do Aja Kong vs Nagisa Nozaki that was postponed from the first show and a few other matches. It shows that the Diana roster is a little weak.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Weather Girls

Artist:The Weather Girls
Song:It's Raining Men
Album:Disco Nights Vol. 4: Greatest Disco Groups

Here's one of the goofiest hits of the 80s. It's Raining Men was a monster dance hit in 1982 but I think folks overlook the real talent of The Weather Girls. If they don't sell the song, it's not a hit. Martha Wash and Izora Armstead first worked together as backup singers for Sylvester. He had some dance hits in the 70s including You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) in 1978. He was also one of the first recording artists marketed specifically to the gay community. Martha and Izora became session singers. Obviously because they're large, record companies didn't consider them marketable. I guess they never heard of Mama Cass. Martha and Izora recorded as Two Tons O' Fun and had a couple of dance hits. They became The Weather Girls in 1983 and signed with Columbia. Of course the group name change was because of It's Raining Men. Yuk yuk. The song was written by veteran disco producer Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer. Jabara had offered it to several artists including Donna Summer but they all turned it down. The girls had fun with it and that's why the song topped the dance charts in 1982. Of course It's Raining Men is over the top but that was Jabara's production style and at that time he was successful. The Weather Girls recorded three albums for Columbia but It's Raining Men was their only memorable song. You can get the full version of It's Raining Men on this various artists budget comp. Many comps have the much shorter radio edit. Izora Armstead moved to Germany in 1990 and performed as The Weather Girls with her daughter She died on Sept. 16, 2004 at age 62 and her daughters continue to perform as The Weather Girls. Martha Wash returned to session work. She's best known for recording the lead vocal for the 1989 Black Box hit Everybody Everybody. When a lipsyncing model was used in the video and Martha received no credit in the CD liner notes, she sued RCA Records and won a solo recording contract that ultimately went nowhere. She recorded It's Raining Men with RuPaul in 2007 and appears at a lot of Gay Pride events. She has been a respected session singer for decades. Here's the video for It's Raining Men by The Weather Girls.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Journey

Song:Open Arms
Album:Greatest Hits

Journey started out as a Santana spinoff jazz rock band but with the addition of lead singer Steve Perry and keyboard player Jonathan Cain became one of the biggest bands of the 80s. Open Arms was their biggest hit. Guitarist Neil Schon and keyboard player and lead vocalist Gregg Rolie left Santana and started Golden Gate Rhythm Section in 1973. The original plan was to be an all purpose backup band. Other members were bassist Ross Valory and guitarist George Tickner from Frumious Bandersnatch and drummer Prairie Prince from The Tubes. They changed their name to Journey after deciding to be a jazz rock fusion band. Prince returned to The Tubes and was replaced by British drummer Aynsley Dunbar who had been working with Frank Zappa. They signed with Columbia but the first two albums didn't sell and Columbia wasn't happy. Tickner left after the first album. The problem was with Rolie's vocals and Columbia suggested Journey hire a lead singer and become a mainstream rock band. They hired Robert Fleischman and he toured with them. But he left before he could record with them due to management and personality conflicts. They didn't like him. So while they were touring, they tried out Steve Perry from Alien Project and replaced Fleischman. The new lineup recorded the 1978 album Infinity and it was their first Platinum album with hits like Lights and Wheel In The Sky. Dunbar was replaced by Steve Smith and their 1979 album Evolution gave Journey their first top 20 hit Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'. So Journey was on a roll. Gregg Rolie left for a solo career in 1980 and he recommended Jonathan Cain of The Babys as his replacement. Cain played synthesizers instead of organ and he was already a highly accomplished songwriter. So he launched Journey to even bigger things when the 1981 album Escape topped the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 9XPlatinum. Who's Cryin' Now and Don't Stop Believin' reached the top ten. But Open Arms reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been Journey's biggest hit to date and I guess it could be called their signature song. Cain wrote Open Arms for The Babys but John Waite thought it was "sentimental rubbish". But Cain held on to it and rewrote it with Perry to suit his vocal style. Journey went on hiatus and Perry had a very successful solo album in 1984. When they reformed in 1985, Valory and Smith were replaced by studio musicians including future American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass. Jackson and drummer Mike Baird toured with Journey but after the tour, Perry quit due to burnout and Journey split up in 1987. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Schon and Cain formed Bad English with John Waite and they had success until they split up in 1991. Attempts to reform Journey with Perry were unsuccessful. So Schon and Cain hired a new lead singer and Journey still tours today with lead singer Arnel Pineda. Schon discovered him on Youtube. Here's Journey performing Open Arms 1982.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Sheila Gaff vs Aisling Daly

Today on Big Bad Blog Video Theater I have Sheila Gaff vs Aisling Daly from Sunday's Cage Warriors show in London. I thought this was a strange size match. Aisling Daly is a natural 125lb fighter. I've seen the German Sheila Gaff a couple of times and she usually fights at either 135 or 145. This may have been her first fight at 125 and I know she missed weight. The show was streamed live and also carried live in England and Canada. So it was very good exposure for her. I've seen Sheila a couple of times. She has very heavy hands and is very aggressive. Her lack of ground game has gotten her into trouble before and also her lack of discipline. Aisling is not really a ground fighter so that eliminates one problem for Sheila. I expected Sheila to be very aggressive and come out firing. And if Aisling could withstand that, she might be able to gas Sheila out. That didn't happen. Sheila nailed Aisling with a couple of knees and it was all over early in round one. Sheila looked much bigger than Aisling. I think she should stick to 135 or 145. She's only 21 years old and is an excellent puncher. She has potential. Enjoy the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Trisha Yearwood

Artist:Trisha Yearwood
Song:She's In Love With The Boy
Album:Greatest Hits

Trisha Yearwood started out as a backup singer for Garth Brooks and became one of the biggest country music stars of the 90s. She's In Love With The Boy was her first number one country hit and her debut single in 1991. She was born Sept. 19, 1964 in Monticello, GA which is a small town in the central part of the state. It doesn't look like she gave much thought to performing professionally until she was studying accounting at the University Of Georgia. In 1985, she transferred to Belmont University in Nashville and majored in music business and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in 1987. She went to work for MTM Records and started recording demos and background vocals for new artists. One of those artists was Garth Brooks. They became friends and he brought her to his producer Allen Reynolds. Reynolds brought her to Garth Fundis who had produced Alabama and Don Williams among others. She recorded demos and at a 1990 showcase, she was spotted by producer Tony Brown and was signed to MCA Nashville soon after. Then she went on tour with Brooks. She's In Love With The Boy was her debut single and it topped the country singles chart in 1991. She was the first female country artist in almost 20 years to top the country charts with a debut single. Marie Osmond was the last to do that in 1973. She's In Love With The Boy was written by Jon Ims who has also written hits for Reba McEntire and Confederate Railroad. Her debut CD sold a million copies and was certified 2XPlatinum. So she made a pretty big splash. Trisha's success continued through the 90s but she started to fade at the turn of the century. She also did some acting especially with a recurring role on the TV series JAG. Trisha has been married three times and is currently married to Garth Brooks. She left MCA after her 2005 CD Jasper County and signed with Big Machine Records. You can get all her MCA hits on this comp. She knows Big Machine owner Scott Borchetta from her MTM days. Her 2008 Big Machine debut CD Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love did well. But Trisha decided not to tour and it is not known as yet when she plans to record new music. She did write her second cookbook Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood last year and she toured to support that. Here's the video for She's In Love With The Boy by Trisha Yearwood.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Al Martino

Artist:Al Martino
Song:Here In My Heart
Album:Capitol Collectors Series

Though most music fans are probably familiar with Al Martino's 60s hits like Spanish Eyes and his performance in the 1972 film The Godfather, they may not know that Here In My Heart was his only number one hit and is considered by many of his fans as his signature song. He was born Jasper "Al" Cini Oct. 7, 1927 in Philadelphia. His father was in the construction business and Al and his brothers worked as bricklayers. But Al was a big fan of Al Jolson and Perry Como and wanted to be a singer. He was encouraged to take the plunge when his boyhood pal Mario Lanza became a star. He renamed himself Al Martino. Martino was his mom's maiden name. Martino moved to New York in 1948 and got his big break when he won first place on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts TV show in 1952. This earned him a record contract with the small label BBS. Here In My Heart was his first single and it topped the US pop singles chart for three weeks in 1952 and also topped the British charts for several weeks. From what I can tell, the song was written by Italian songwriter Pat Genaro and adapted into English by Bill Borrelli and and Lou Levinson. Vic Damone and Tony Bennett also charted with Here In My Heart but Martino's version was much bigger. RCA wanted Mario Lanza to record it but Martino asked him not to record it so not to compete with Martino's recording. This earned Martino a contract with Capitol. He had some more hits but his career was interrupted when The Mafia bought his contract and demanded $75K protection money. Martino moved to England to avoid this and returned to the US in 1958 when the coast was clear. He re-signed with Capitol in 1962 and had several mid-60s hits including I Love You Because and Spanish Eyes. When Martino's career faded in the late 60s, he played Johnny Fontane in the 1972 film The Godfather and had a hit with the song Speak Softly Love. You can get all of his hits on this budget CD. Al Martino continued to record until he left Capitol in 1982. He even had a decent hit with a disco version of Volare. He died on Oct. 15, 2009 at age 82. I would say his singing style was an operatic one similar to Mario Lanza but mixed with influences like Perry Como. Here's Al Martino performing Here In My Heart in the 70s.

Monday, April 25, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Robert Knight

Artist:Robert Knight
Song:Everlasting Love
Album:Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970

A couple of months ago I featured the best known version of Everlasting Love by Carl Carlton. But this original 1967 version was a top 20 pop hit for Nashville soul singer Robert Knight. Unfortunately it was his only hit. He was born Apr. 24, 1945 in Franklin, TN. He started out in the early 60s with The Paramounts. They signed with Dot Records and had an R & B chart hit with Free Me in 1961. When subsequent singles flopped, they split up and were sued for breach of contract. This kept Knight on the sidelines for several years so he studied chemistry at Tennessee State University. While attending school, he formed The Fairlanes. He was spotted by producer Buzz Cason and Monument Records owner Fred Foster. Cason was starting a new label Rising Sons with songwriting partner Mac Gayden to be distributed by Monument. Cason says Everlasting Love was intended as the B-side for The Weeper. But after recording Everlasting Love, Cason and Gayden changed their minds and made Everlasting Love the A-side. The song reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's a great piece of 60s soul. Knight's album and other recordings went nowhere. You can get Knight's recordings on CD but this 2CD various artists comp celebrating the history of Nashville R & B is a must for R & B fans. Of course Everlasting Love was a top ten hit for Carl Carlton in 1974 and also charted for Rachel Sweet & Rex Smith in 1981 and Gloria Estefan in 1995. The songwriters have made a lot of money. Robert Knight still performs occasionally but is currently a chemical researcher at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Here's a video for Everlasting Love by Robert Knight.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mika Nagano added to JEWELS May 14 evening show

Mika Nagano, Emi Murata
JEWELS made a second announcement today and added a match to the evening show May 14 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. In a match contracted for 54kg, Mika Nagano will face Emi Murata. These two were supposed to face each other on the Mar. 11 show that was cancelled because of the earthquake. Nagano trains at CORE. Her record is 7-4 and her last match was a split decision loss to Ham Seo Hee on the Dec. 17 JEWELS show. She is also currently a pro wrestler for STARDOM. They give her time off when she has to prepare for a fight. Murata trains at AACC. Her record is 2-1 and her last fight was a win over anna on the Dec. 17 JEWELS show. Nagano is a definite step up in competition for Murata. Stay tuned for more announcements.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Esquerita!

Song:Rockin' The Joint
Album:Rockin' The Joint

I know what you're thinking. When you look at Esquerita and listen to his music, he must be Little Richard recording under a Latino name. But no, Esquerita was an enigmatic figure who some feel was a big influence on Little Richard. By the time he recorded Rockin' The Joint in 1958, he seemed like a Little Richard knockoff which is why his music was unsuccessful. But Esquerita is worth checking out. He was born Steven Quincy Reeder Jr. Nov. 20, 1935 in Greenville, SC. Like his father, his nickname was Eskew so the Esquerita stage name is just Eskew Reeder in another form. Esquerita worked the chitlin circuit in the early 50s. Even then, his stage act was very flamboyant. He wore these crazy outfits and two wigs made for a very high pompadour. He was very wild on stage. Unfortunately there's no video footage of Esquerita. Though he had played piano on sessions, he had not recorded his own music in 1955. When Little Richard first surfaced in Atlanta, his appearance and stage act was normal. The speculation is that Richard was already aware of Esquerita and producer Robert "Bumps" Blackwell convinced Richard to imitate his stage act. Obviously it worked for Richard but Esquerita was still out in the cold. In 1958, Paul Peek of Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps got Esquerita a contract with Capitol. Musically, Esquerita is probably closer to Jerry Lee Lewis than Little Richard. But that look is unmistakable. His music went nowhere. You can get all his Capitol recordings on this CD. In the early 60s, Esquerita recorded for Minit Records as Eskew Reeder Jr. and also played sessions for Allen Toussaint. He even recorded a 1963 single for Motown that went unreleased and he even recorded with Little Richard. Richard even got him a deal with Okeh in 1966. Esquerita changed his name to The Magnificent Malochi and recorded a single for Brunswick in 1967. In the 70s, he played New York clubs and performed as Fabulash in gay clubs. He continued to perform in clubs at night while working as a parking lot attendant during the day. Esquerita died of AIDS Oct. 23, 1986 at age 50. He may be the most outrageous performer you never heard of. Here's a video for Rockin' The Joint by Esquerita.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Two matches added to JEWELS May14 matinee

JEWELS has announced two matches have been added to their May 14 matinee show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring.. There will be an evening show as well. Of course the theme of the shows will be JEWELS vs VALKYRIE. In a match contracted for 61kg, Esui representing JEWELS will face VALKYRIE's Chisa Yonezawa. It says this will be under special rules meaning full MMA including unlimited ground and pound. Esui is the Mongolian former pro wrestler now training at Smash Alley Gym. Her record is 1-1 and her last match was a win over Shizuka Sugiyama on the Dec. 17 JEWELS show. Yonezawa trains at Cobra Kai. Her record is 1-4 and her last fight was a loss to Hitomi Akano at the Mar. 13 PANCRASE show in Osaka. In a match contracted for 50kg, Asami Higa representing JEWELS will face VALKYRIE's Megumi Morioka. Higa trains at S-KEEP. She lost her debut to MIYOKO at the Dec. 17 JEWELS show. Morioka trains at the Iwate branch of WK. Her record is 2-1 and her last match was a win over sakura on the Nov. 28 VALKYRIE show. This will be under the regular JEWELS rules. They also announced a kickboxing match and there's more to come. Stay tuned.

Japanese fans go nuts over potential RENA vs Erika Kamimura match

Erika Kamimura knocks RENA down
Today's SHOOT BOXING show at Korakuen Hall featured the return of two time S-Girls champ RENA. She was supposed to face a Korean fighter but the Korean contingent cancelled at the last minute. So SHOOT BOXING owner Takeshi Caesar put together an exhibition match with 18 year old kickboxer Erika Kamimura. She is the current WPMF & WMC World Women's Mini-Flyweight Champ. I want to emphasize this was not a real match. It was a one three minute round exhibition. Erika said she didn't want to do an exhibition at first but was talked into doing it. So it was mostly three minutes of sparring. Erika knocked RENA down once. And RENA attempted to throw Erika wearing ten ounce gloves. Good luck. Fans went nuts. I guess this was a dream match of sorts. Caesar said he would try to put a real match together between them. He said he was very impressed with Erika. The main issue is will it be under Shoot Boxing rules or standard kickboxing rules? Erika said she wants to do this as soon as possible. I don't like Shoot Boxing but I think the attention this match would get would be good for the women's fight business in Japan. Of course you don't want to forget about Ai Takahashi who won her match over Emi Fujino by TKO at 1:17 of round one.

Cris Cyborg close to signing new Strikeforce contract?

The last time we saw Strikeforce 145lb champ Cris Cyborg, she was beating the crap out of an overmatched Jan Finney last June. When will we see her in the cage again? A couple of months ago, the Brazilian MMA magazine TATAME reported that Cris was in talks with the WWE. It's OK with me if Cris wants to work for the WWE. But I knew this particular item was planted nonsense and Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer confirmed that the WWE has not talked to Cris. Currently she does not have a Strikeforce contract. However, she does have a champions clause that obligates her to one more match. My opinion is that because Strikeforce doesn't have an opponent for Cris anyway, there is no urgency to sign her to a new contract. Today, Chute Boxe owner Rudimar Fedrigo told TATAME he is hopeful that Cris will have a new contract within a week. Of course the main obstacle has been money and Fedrigo says they have been negotiating with Strikeforce for several months. He believes the deal is almost done. He also believes there is a future for women's MMA in Zuffa owned Strikeforce. I'm sure all women's MMA fans are anxious to see Cris Cyborg in the cage again. I hope she gets the money she wants. She deserves it.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Johnny Otis Show

Artist:The Johnny Otis Show
Song:Willie & The Hand Jive
Album:The Greatest Johnny Otis Show

The 1958 top ten hit Willie & The Hand Jive is Johnny Otis' signature song. But Otis' real talent was discovering talent which he frequently featured in his band or in his nightclub. And he also wrote and produced their music. So it might surprise some folks that someone so important in the development of black music is not black. He was born Ioannis Veliotis Dec. 28, 1921 in Vallejo, CA. His parents were Greek immigrants and his dad owned a grocery store. His younger brother Nicholas Veliotis was US Ambassador to Jordan and Egypt. He changed his name to Johnny Otis because he wanted to be a musician in the black community. Otis started out as a drummer with Count Otis Matthews in Oakland and then moved to Los Angeles and played for Harlan Leonard's Rockets. He started his own band in 1945 and recorded some singles for Excelsior featuring Jimmy Rushing and Big Jay McNeely. Otis also played drums on sessions. He could see that big band swing was fading so Otis switched to R & B and signed with Savoy Records in 1949. His singers included Little Esther Phillips, Mel Walker and The Robins. He had some R & B hits but switched to Mercury in 1951. His recordings on Mercury and Peacock weren't as successful. But he produced the Big Mama Thornton classic Hound Dog in 1953 and also discovered Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard and Etta James. Otis started his own label in 1955 and then signed with Capitol in 1957. Featured singers at the time included Mel Williams and Marie Adams & Three Tons Of Joy. In 1958, Willie & The Hand Jive reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Before you get any nasty thoughts, the hand jive was a popular dance at the time. The odd thing about the song is Otis sings lead which he didn't do usually. Otis had his own TV show in Los Angeles and also appeared in the 1958 film Juke Box Rhythm. This comp covers his Capitol recordings. Johnny Otis has continued to record and tour. His son Shuggie Otis is a guitarist and they recorded an album together in 1982. He also dabbled in politics, owned a nightclub and ran the Landmark Community Gospel Church in Forestville, CA. He has retired due to ill health. But there's no question that Johnny Otis was an important figure in the development of black music. Here's The Johnny Otis Show performing Willie & The Hand Jive on his 1958 TV show. And that is Lionel Hampton appearing at the end of the clip.

Friday, April 22, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John Denver

Artist:John Denver
Song:Annie's Song
Album:The Essential John Denver

John Denver was one of the most popular recording artists of the 70s and Annie's Song was one of his biggest hits in 1974. But it took a decade of struggling in the shadows before he broke through as a singer. It almost looked like it would never happen and then when he became popular he was criticized for being over exposed. He was born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. Dec. 31, 1943 in Roswell, NM. He was an Air Force brat so his family moved a lot. He went to high school in Fort Worth, TX. While studying architecture at Texas Technical College in Lubbock, he had the folk group The Alpine Trio. New Christy Minstrels leader Randy Sparks suggested Deutschendorf change his name to something that would fit on a marquee. John loved Colorado so he called himself John Denver. He moved to Los Angeles and joined The Chad Mitchell Trio which was renamed The Mitchell Trio and then Denver, Boise & Johnson after Mitchell left. It was here that he met veteran folk music producer Milton Okun. When the group split up in 1969, Denver signed with RCA Records with Okun producing. Meanwhile, his song Leaving On A Jet Plane became a huge hit for Peter, Paul & Mary in 1969. So RCA extended Denver's contract despite the fact that his solo debut Rhymes & Reasons did not sell. His next two albums didn't sell either. But when Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub became his manager in 1970, he ramped up Denver's career. The result was that Take Me Home, Country Roads reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. From there, Denver had a long string of hits including Annie's Song in 1974. I think most people are aware that he wrote it for his wife. Weintraub's aggressive campaign of TV appearances worked and Denver got his own TV specials on ABC. Denver has a falling out with Weintraub in 1975. But he continued to have many hits and had success acting in films too. Denver started to fade in the late 70s. His final top ten hit were Some Days Are Diamonds in 1981. RCA dropped him in 1986 and Denver's label Windstar became an independent label. He became more active as a political activist and his music wasn't a factor in the 90s. This 2CD comp is a good intro to his music. John Denver was an avid pilot and he died on Oct. 12, 1997 at age 53 when his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. I liked John Denver's earlier music and songs like Thank God I'm A Country Boy made him a little corny. I think he may have been conflicted about the cost of fame. He admitted to a lot of compromise when he was managed by Weintraub. Here's John Denver performing Annie's Song at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England 1986. This is available on DVD from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bob Seger

Artist:Bob Seger
Song:Old Time Rock & Roll
Album:Greatest Hits

Old Time Rock & Roll is not Bob Seger's biggest hit. But it is one of his most memorable songs because it appeared in a famous scene in the 1983 film Risky Business. It's a song that transcends chart performance. Seger was around the Detroit music scene for a long time before he became a star in the mid-70s. He was born May 6, 1945 in Dearborn, MI and grew up in Ann Arbor. Seger started out in the early 60s with bands like The Decibels, The Town Criers and Doug Brown & The Omens. He left The Omens in 1966 and signed with Cameo-Parkway as Bob Seger & The Last Heard. The band was poised to break out when Cameo-Parkway went out of business in 1967. He signed with Capitol as Bob Seger System and Ramblin' Gamblin' Man was his first national hit in 1968. It reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album did OK but the follow up albums did poorly. The band split up and after an unsuccessful solo album, Seger left Capitol and toured with Teegarden & Van Winkle. He formed a new band and recorded two albums for Reprise but it didn't work out. Seger formed the Silver Bullet Band in 1974 and returned to Capitol. His commercial breakthrough was with the 1976 album Live Bullet which was recorded at Cobo Hall in Detroit. His album Night Moves was even bigger and the title song was Seger's first top five single. The album was certified 6XPlatinum. His 1978 album Stranger In Town was even bigger. Old Time Rock & Roll only reached #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 but charted a second time when it was in a key scene in the 1983 film Risky Business, the film that made Tom Cruise a star. The song is also ranked #2 on the Top 40 Jukebox Singles of All Time by the Amusement & Music Operators Association and was name one of the Songs Of The Century in 2001. Old Time Rock & Roll is much bigger than its chart position. The song was written by veteran Muscle Shoals house songwriter George Jackson. Seger frequently recorded with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and they sent him a demo of the song. Seger says he kept the chorus but rewrote the verses but took no credit. He didn't think the song would go anywhere. At first the Silver Bullet Band didn't like the song but the audience reaction sold them on it. Seger's success continued through the 80s but he faded by the 90s. He continued to be a very strong live draw. This budget comp is the only comp released to date by Capitol. They should probably do a box set. Bob Seger took a ten year break to raise his family and returned with the 2006 CD Face The Promise. He was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004. He is currently touring and has a new CD coming soon. The first single Downtown Train was released last month. There's nothing complicated about Bob Seger's brand of rock. But he sure is durable. Here's the video for Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Seger.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mauro Ranallo on Gina Carano and women's MMA

A lot of fans may not be aware that when Mauro Ranallo isn't calling Strikeforce shows, he works for Canadian cable network The Score and hosts several programs. So here's a clip taped at The Score in Toronto with Mauro talking about Gina Carano and the future of women's MMA. Mauro has always been an advocate for women's MMA and women's pro wrestling since he was a kid in British Columbia. Maybe Velvet McIntyre threatened to beat him up. I have said for a couple of months that Julia Budd would be the best opponent for Gina's June 18 return because of their history. So I don't know why Strikeforce is allowing Julia to fight elsewhere in May. Mauro addresses last weekend's silly rumour that has been shot down by Strikeforce. I think he overstates the significance of Gina's return match for the future of women's MMA. I think the real issue is that there have been a total of two, that's right, two women's matches on Strikeforce TV so far in 2011. I don't care how much Scott Coker claims to support women's MMA. The numbers don't lie and they're not good enough. There are enough female fighters under contract to Strikeforce that there should be a women's match on every broadcast...and there isn't. Maybe Mauro should talk about how that affects the future of women's MMA. Enjoy the clip.

World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana finally debuts

Kyoko Inoue's joshi puroresu company Diana finally debuted Sunday at Differ Ariake. The show was delayed a month due to the earthquake. The attendance was 794 and Inoue was disappointed with that. Considering that it's a new company, the show also didn't get much media coverage in Japan. When this show was first announced, the opening match with Aya Yuki vs Ayako Sato was called Which is The Next Ace?. Yuki won the match. The show's main event had Sato teaming with with Kaoru Ito vs Kyoko Inoue & Yuki. Fans read too much into tag team match falls anyway but conventional booking has one of the veterans winning the deciding fall. Instead Sato got the deciding fall over Inoue with a rollup pin. I'm surprised she can hold Big Mama down. And the match went almost 40 minutes. Anyone got any No-Doz? Aya Yuki and Ayako Sato have both been around for a few years and have never shown more than midcard ability. Inoue can say they are aces but that doesn't mean fans will accept them as aces. She would be better off concentrating on Nagisa Nozaki and Sareee who have some potential to carry the promotion. Nozaki's problem is she has to demonstrate durability and develop her ring skills. She certainly has the looks but I question turning her heel. They had her trash talk Aja Kong in the press conference. Aja had to be replaced due to scheduling conflicts and it turned into a Diana vs Stardom match against Nanae Takahashi. Takahashi won of course. Will fans allow Nozaki to turn heel? I have my doubts. Of course Sarreee is the 15 year old making her debut against Meiko Satomura. I'm sure Meiko made her look good. Of course a cute teenager is always going to get media attention. What media coverage there was focused on Nozaki and Sareee and there was no mention of Inoue's future aces. I don't think Aya Yuki or Ayako Sato are capable of being aces.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Susan Cadogan

Artist:Susan Cadogan
Song:Hurt So Good
Album:Reggae Pulse: The Heartbeat Of Jamaica

The music business has always been tough for women in Jamaica. Susan Cadogan is a singer who had to go to England to score with her 1974 hit Hurt So Good and when her career has sputtered, she has quit music and gone back to her day job. She was born Nov. 2, 1951 in St. Andrew, Jamaica and her mom Lola Cadogan recorded gospel singles in the 50s. The family moved to Belize for a few years but returned to Jamaica in the late 50s. After Susan graduated from school, she took a job as a librarian at the University of West Indies. And she would have remained there but one of her friend's boyfriend was DJ Jerry Lewis. He liked Susan's voice and in 1974 took her into JBC Studios to record one of his songs. Legendary producer Lee "Scratch" Perry happened to be there and also liked her voice. He had her record an album of covers including this cover of the Millie Jackson hit Hurt So Good. The song went nowhere in Jamaica but was picked up in England by Dennis Harris for his DIP International label and it topped the British Reggae chart. Then Magnet Records picked it up and Hurt So Good reached #5 on the British Singles chart. So now Susan Cadogan was a star in England. Magnet hired veteran dance music producer Pete Waterman to produce Susan's next recordings. After a string of disappointing results, Susan moved back to Jamaica to resume her librarian job in 1977. Susan Cadogan has resurfaced occasionally and had some minor hits in the 80s. But mostly it looks like music is not a reliable enough profession for her and she has stuck to the security of her day job. This various artists comp is a good intro to reggae for beginners. Hurt So Good is on plenty of comps. Here's Susan Cadogan performing Hurt So Good on Top Of The Pops 1975. This video is not on Youtube.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Alan Jackson

Artist:Alan Jackson
Song:Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)
Album:34 Number Ones

Alan Jackson was one of the top country music artists of the 90s. Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning) is probably his biggest hit to date and crossed over to the pop charts for obvious reasons. He's still very popular in the country market but has recently left his longtime label Arista and it should be interesting to see how things develop with his new label. He was born Oct. 17, 1958 in Newnan, GA and grew up singing in church. He started performing as a teenager and married his high school sweetheart Denise. She's an airline stewardess. Jackson worked all kinds of jobs while working on his songwriting and playing local clubs with his band Dixie Steel. One day Denise spotted Glen Campbell waiting for a flight. She gave him her husband's demo and he gave her contact info for his publishing company. The Jacksons picked up and moved to Nashville. Veteran producer Keith Stegall signed Jackson to Arista Records in 1989. His 1990 debut CD Here In The Real World reached #4 on the Country Album charts and was certified 2XPlatinum. I'd Love You All Over Again was his first #1 country single. There's nothing mysterious about Jackson's appeal. He's an updated version of a 50s honky tonk singer and his songs are very relatable. He is singing to regular folks. Jackson's success continued through the 90s. Where Were You was a bit different. Of course Jackson wrote the song in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Jackson was reluctant to record or perform the song because he didn't want to capitalize on a tragedy. But after Denise and Keith Stegall heard the demo, he did record it. Stegall played it for RCA execs and it left them speechless. Jackson was scheduled to perform his #1 hit Where I Come From on the CMA Awards ceremony Nov. 7, 2001. When Jackson's manager Nancy Russell played Where Were You for CMA execs, they insisted that he perform it on the live telecast. The song became a huge hit and even crossed over to the pop charts. The song was first released as a single and then added to Jackson's 2002 CD Drive. Alan Jackson continues to have success but on Mar. 23, 2011 he announced that he was following former Arista exec Mike Dungan to EMI Nashville. He is working on a new CD. This 2CD comp is a reasonably priced intro to Jackson's music. Here's Alan Jackson performing Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning) on the CMA Awards Nov. 7, 2001.

Monday, April 18, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Katie Webster

Artist:Katie Webster
Song:Pussycat Moan
Album:The Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour: Live In Concert

Through the 50s and 60s, Katie Webster was one of the top session pianists in the Louisiana music scene. It wasn't until later in life that she recorded her own music. She was on her way to becoming a big draw on the festival circuit when she suffered a stroke and was forced to retire. She was born Kathryn Thorne Jan. 11, 1936 in Houston. As a child, her deeply religious parents didn't allow her to listen to secular music. So she had to sneak around and listen to the blues and boogie woogie. When her parents moved to California, Kathryn moved to Louisiana to get into the music business. And she obviously took the name Katie Webster so they wouldn't know what she was doing. She soon became an invaluable session pianist on labels like Excello and Goldband. That's Katie playing piano on the Phil Phillips classic Sea Of Love. She recorded a few singles for small labels and had her own band The Uptighters. But she played sessions during the day. In 1964, she backed up Otis Redding at The Bamboo Club in Lake Charles. He liked her so much that he took her with him and she opened his shows and played piano in his band for the next three years. Of course we all know that Otis Redding died in a tragic plane crash on Dec. 10, 1967. Katie was pregnant at the time and was not on the tour. She was so despondent after Redding's death, she quit the music business. Also her parents were ill so she moved to Oakland to take care of them. She returned to music in the 80s. She toured the festival circuit and recorded for Arhoolie Records. Alligator Records owner Bruce Iglauer signed Katie in 1988 and she got plenty of accolades for her 1988 CD The Swamp Boogie Queen. Pussycat Moan is from her 1989 CD Two-Fisted Mama!. That CD is available but I recommend this 2CD Alligator Records 20th Anniversary live CD which also features Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials, Elvin Bishop, Lonnie Brooks and Koko Taylor. Sadly, Katie Webster suffered a stroke in 1993 and was forced to retire. She died on Sept. 5, 1999 at age 63. If you're a blues fan, you'll want to check her out. Here's Katie Webster performing Pussycat Moan at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival May 6, 1990.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Eddie Fisher

Artist:Eddie Fisher
Song:Oh! My Papa
Album:Greatest Hits

Eddie Fisher is best known for personal life, mostly his marriages. But he was one of the biggest singing stars of the early 50s. He had 22 top ten hits, seven gold records and four #1 hits including Oh! My Papa. Of course Rock & Roll killed his career by the late 50s. Fisher had the looks to be a Rock & Roll star but he didn't like the music. He was born Aug. 10, 1928 in Philadelphia to Russian Jewish immigrants. Fisher was likely an anglicized form of the name Fisch. He performed locally growing up and by 1946 he was singing in the big bands of Buddy Morrow and Charlie Ventura. His big break came in 1949 when Eddie Cantor saw Fisher perform in Grossinger's in The Catskills in New York and invited him to appear on his radio show. This led to a contract with RCA Records. His first top five hit was Thinking Of You in 1950. He was drafted into the US Army in 1951 but continued to record and frequently performed on TV in his uniform. His first #1 hit was the theme to the musical Wish You Were Here in 1952. And he had three best selling LPs. After Fisher was discharged from the Army in 1953, he got his own TV show Coke Time With Eddie Fisher. I'm Walking Behind You and Oh! My Papa were both #1 hits in 1953. For a couple of years, Fisher was the most popular pop singer in the US. Oh! My Papa is the German song O Mein Papa written by Swiss composer Paul Burkhard in 1939. It was adapted into English by British songwriters John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons. They specialized in adapting foreign songs into English. British trumpeter Eddie Calvert had a #1 hit with the song in England. No doubt RCA house producer and orchestra leader Hugo Winterhalter chose the song for Fisher. Connie Francis and Jim Nabors are among those who covered Oh! My Papa. Fisher's final #1 hit was I Need You Now in 1954. He married Debbie Reynolds in 1955 and with Rock & Roll becoming more popular, he tried acting and became a Las Vegas style singer. He tried some modern music but it didn't work for him. He had a new TV show in 1957. His 1959 affair with Elizabeth Taylor and subsequent divorce from Reynolds and marriage to Taylor didn't help Fisher. His records weren't selling anyway and RCA dropped him in 1960. He recorded on his own Ramrod label and then Dot and returned to RCA but was never able to reach the heights of songs like Oh! My Papa. After he divorced Taylor, he married Connie Stevens in 1967. Of course his daughter Carrie Fisher is a writer and actress and Joely Fisher is an actress. Eddie Fisher had drug problems and his attempt to return to music in the 80s was unsuccessful. Though he did recover from drug addiction. Some European record companies have released budget CDs of Fisher's RCA recordings. But they are not remastered. This 2001 RCA comp is remastered. It will have better sound quality. Eddie Fisher died on Sept. 22, 2010 at age 82 after he broke his hip and their were complications in surgery. Here's Eddie Fisher performing Oh! My Papa on the Colgate Comedy Hour 1953. This video is not on Youtube.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Rhonda Vincent

Artist:Rhonda Vincent
Song:If Heartaches Had Wings
Album:One Step Ahead

Rhonda Vincent is one of today's top bluegrass artists. She plays the mandolin, guitar and fiddle and is a highly expressive vocalist. And she writes a lot of her own songs. She attempted to cross over to mainstream country music in the 90s but was unsuccessful and returned to bluegrass and has found her audience there. She was born July 13, 1962 in Kirksville, MO and started performing with her family group The Sally Mountain Show at age five. She learned to play mandolin and fiddle and continued to perform through her teens. Rhonda's big break came when she won The Nashville Network TV talent show You Can Be A Star in 1985. This led to a contract with country music legend Jim Ed Brown. She made her solo recording debut with A Dream Come True on Rebel Records in 1990. She recorded four albums for Rebel that got the attention of Giant Records' Nashville president James Stroud who convinced her to try mainstream country music. After her two contemporary country albums did not sell, she left Giant and signed with Rounder Records. She returned to bluegrass with the 2000 CD Back Home Again and has been one of the top selling and most highly acclaimed bluegrass artists since then. If Heartaches Had Wings was originally released only as a single and then added to the 2003 CD One Step Ahead as a bonus track. That's the version currently available on CD. Rhonda left Rounder after her 2009 CD Destination Life and released the CD Taken on her own Upper Management label in Sept. 2010. It topped the bluegrass charts. She is releasing a duet CD with veteran country music singer Gene Watson called Your Money and My Good Looks in June. And her legacy continues. Rhonda's youngest brother Darrin Vincent is a member of Daley & Vincent. And her daughters Sally and Tensel have their own group Next Best Thing and along with Sally's husband Hunter Berry, they play in mom's band. Never heard of Rhonda Vincent? Here's your chance to discover this great musician. Here's the video for If Heartaches Had Wings by Rhonda Vincent. And yes, that is Miley Cyrus appearing in this video.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My week on jury duty

361 University Ave.
Some of you may already be aware that I was on jury duty this week and some have asked me how it went. When I got the questionnaire in the fall, I looked at the website to see about accessibility and all the court houses are accessible. When I got the summons, I had to think about how to get down to 361 University Ave. in downtown Toronto from my home in south Etobicoke. I thought about taking Wheeltrans because I thought I would leave at the same time every day. But I was also concerned about getting stuck in rush hour traffic on the Gardiner Expressway. So I decided to take the subway and that turned out to be the right decision. I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that when I got down to the court house on Monday, I was the only disabled person in the jury lounge. They have everyone divided into panel groups predetermined on the summons. On Monday, there were four panels. Everyone is sitting around waiting to see which group is called to court for jury selection. Two groups were called in the morning and the group I was in was called in the afternoon. The judge explains the case. This was a criminal case, an ATM robbery lasting three days. So they need twelve jurors. They call potential jurors at random by pulling names out of something you might see at a bingo hall. Both the crown and the defense attorneys can either accept or deny the juror. They have a dozen denials so it doesn't go on all day. My name never got called. Then they sent us home. There were no cases on Tuesday or Wednesday so we sat around for two days. They even sent us home at lunchtime on Wednesday. That's your tax dollars at work. At that point, I was very happy I decided not to take Wheeltrans as I would have been sitting around waiting for hours. The schedule inflexibility is one of Wheeltrans' biggest flaws. On Wednesday I had a fellafel for lunch and got on the subway. On Thursday they added a fifth panel. Two of the panels were called to court but my panel was not one of them. At the end of the day, everyone was excused and we didn't have to return on Friday. So we were finished a day early and I am now exempt from jury duty for three years. So the end result is nothing much happened but I thought some of you might want to know of any barriers for the disabled and there are none.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-France Gall

Artist:France Gall
Song:Les Sucettes
Album:Poupee de Son

Though not well known outside France, France Gall was a huge star in France. She won the 1965 Eurovision song contest and Le Sucettes was one of her biggest and more controversial hits in 1966. Of course it helped that she was a cute teenager. She was born Isabelle Gall Oct. 9, 1947 in Paris. Her father was lyricist Roger Gall. He took her into the recording studio at age 15 and the end result was a contract with Philips Records. She also got the attention of French music legend Serge Gainsbourg and he became her producer. Of course anyone familiar with Gainsbourg knows of his naughtiness. And there's no question he was looking to be naughty through this cute little blonde teenager with the breathy voice. By 1965, France Gall won the Eurovision Song Contest and had a few hits top the French charts. Walt Disney heard about her and wanted her to star in a proposed live action film of Alice In Wonderland. She turned him down and Disney died in 1966 and the film was never produced. Her first hit in 1966 Baby Pop had innocent lyrics and vocal delivery that masked Gainsbourg's sinister undertones. Les Sucettes (Lollipop) was seemingly a song about a girl who likes lollipops. But Gainsbourg admitted that the song was really about oral sex. France was very upset and she split up with Gainsbourg. Her career in France declined because of the controversy and she recorded mostly in Germany for the next few years. Her career revival came when she met producer Michel Berger. He would make her a star again in France and they married in 1976. She was a big star again in the 80s. It came to a halt when Berger died in 1992. France Gall continued to perform occasionally in the 90s but now I would say she is semi-retired. This comp has all her hits of the mid-60s. Here's a video of Les Sucettes by France Gall. May the sexual innuendo begin.

Les sucettes, de France Gall by PredicadorMalvado

Thursday, April 14, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Chita Rivera

Artist:Chita Rivera
Song:All That Jazz
Album:Chicago: Original Cast Album

Chita Rivera has been one of Broadway's top performers since the 50s. She has been in several hit shows including the 1975 musical Chicago. And All That Jazz is probably one of her signature songs. She has done films and TV but is primarily known for musical theater. She was born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero Jan. 23, 1933 in Washington, DC. Her dad was a clarinet and sax player for United States Navy Band. When he died when she was seven, her mom worked at The Pentagon. Chita started ballet lessons at age 11 and then successfully auditioned and received a scholarship to the American School of Ballet in New York. She switched to musical theater and appeared in the chorus in several shows. In 1955, she was featured in Shoestring Revue, Seventh Heaven and then Mr. Wonderful starring Sammy Davis Jr. But her big break came as Anita in the original Broadway production of West Side Story. Of course it was one of the biggest shows in history. Instead of appearing in the film of West Side Story, Chita had her next big Broadway hit starring with Dick Van Dyke in the original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie. Some of her shows after that didn't do that well. So she moved to Los Angeles and dabbled in recording and acting. She was a regular in Dick Van Dyke's 1973 sitcom. In 1975, she returned to New York for a featured role as Velma Kelly in Chicago. Chicago is based on a 1926 play by Maurine Dallas Watkins about a murder trial. Gwen Verdon suggested to her husband Bob Fosse that it might be a good musical. They got the rights and John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote the music. Fosse designed it as a showcase for Verdon but Chita Rivera had the showier role and her performance of All That Jazz is a classic. Sony Masterworks released the Broadway cast album on CD in 2009. Chicago has been revived several times and was turned into a film a few years ago. Of course Chita Rivera has done other shows and continues to tour the supper club circuit today. She is a legend of musical theater. Here's Chita Rivera performing All That Jazz along with an interview on The Merv Griffin Show in Las Vegas 1976.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

JEWELS vs VALKYRIE set for May 14

VALKYRIE GM Yasuko Mogi (R) surrenders to JEWELS 
JEWELS announced last week that because their Mar. 11 show was cancelled because of the earthquake, they will run a double header May 14 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. There will be a show in the afternoon and a show in the evening. Earthquake relief fundraising will be the focus of the event. They announced two kickboxing matches for the afternoon show and they will have other kinds of fights on the show including amateur matches. But the big news is that the evening show will be JEWELS vs VALKYRIE. Fans have been asking me about VALKYRIE and though there has been no announcement, VALKYRIE owner Greatest Common Multiple (GCM) is out of business. They also own CAGE FORCE. Basically, those guys have fallen off the face of the earth. And I also understand their cage and other equipment is in storage and they have defaulted on the storage fees. So VALKYRIE GM Yasuko Mogi wants to keep the company alive and has decided to do this JEWELS show to keep the name alive. Somebody mentioned that she needs a sponsor. She needs more than that. Mogi doesn't own any equipment. GCM owns it all. She needs a money so she can buy equipment. It's well known that Mogi doesn't see eye to eye with JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki but she admitted that GCM has nothing planned and she doesn't have much choice. And it's a good opportunity. Saeki admitted this partnership would not have been possible two years ago and gives Mogi credit for biting the bullet. They announced two matches for the show. In a match contracted for 48kg, Misaki Takimoto will represent JEWELS vs VALKYRIE's Sugi Rock. The veteran Takimoto trains at Zendokai in Yokohama. Her record is 13-11-4 and her last fight was a split decision win over Amy Davis on the Dec. 30 Sengoku show. I watched the fight. She got a gift from the judges. Rising star Sugi Rock trains at the A3 branch of WK. She is 3-0 and her last win was a non-title win over VALKYRIE Flyweight Champ Yasuko Tamada on the Nov. 28 VALKYRIE show. She was due for a title shot. She's very quick. I expect her to win easily. In a match contracted for 48kg, MIYOKO will represent JEWELS vs VALKYRIE's SACHI. MIYOKO trains at Grabaka. Her record is 2-2 and her last fight was a win over Asami Higa on the Dec. 17 JEWELS show. SACHI trains at Dark Silk (I think). She switched dojos recently and is returning after a 1 1/2 year absence. Her last fight was a win over Maho Muranami on the Oct. 24, 2009 VALKYRIE show. She has also worked for JEWELS. Obviously neither fight is a main event. We'll see what else they come up with.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dave Edmunds

Artist:Dave Edmunds
Song:I Hear You Knockin'
Album:From Small Things: The Best Of Dave Edmunds

The one thing that never changed about Welsh rocker Dave Edmunds is his love for 50s Rock 'N' Roll. From his first and biggest hit I Hear You Knockin' to his later music, he has never changed. He is a true rocker at heart. He was born Apr. 15, 1944 in Cardiff, Wales. He had a band with his older brother Geoff and they joined The Stompers who were later called The Heartbeats. Edmunds played lead guitar. His first band as leader was Crick Feather's Hill-Bills in 1960 and then the rockabilly band The Raiders. And he was in The Image who recorded for Parlophone in the mid-60s. Then he had a band called The Human Beans who recorded one single. But they turned into Love Sculpture and they had a British top five hit with their 1968 rock version of Sabre Dance. It made Love Sculpture a cult band but they only recorded two albums and split up in 1969. At that point, Edmunds got into producing others. He was working on a Shakin' Stevens record when he decided to record a cover of the Smiley Lewis classic I Hear You Knockin'. Surprisingly, the song topped the British charts and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. It doesn't appear that Edmunds planned an album at the time but he did record the album Rockpile in 1972 which included I Hear You Knockin'. By 1975 he recorded the album Subtle As A Flying Mallet and he started hanging around Nick Lowe of Brinsley Schwarz. They formed Rockpile and had success in the late 70s with songs like Teacher Teacher. Edmunds continued to record as a solo artist and produce other artists. This Sony Legacy budget comp includes the 1970 original version of I Hear You Knockin' as Edmunds had re-recorded it over the years. These days Dave Edmunds does surface occasionally but I would describe his status as semi-retired. But there's no question he is one of the greats of roots rock. Here's Dave Edmunds performing I Hear You Knockin' 1971. This video is not on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John Lee Hooker

Artist:John Lee Hooker
Song:Boom Boom
Album:The Definitive Collection

John Lee Hooker was one of the most enduring bluesmen. Boom Boom was his signature song and his only pop chart hit in 1962. He was very popular in the 60s but faded in the 70s and had a good run later in life. I find him very similar to Bo Diddley in the sense that Hooker's best music is great but a lot of his lesser songs sound the same. Though I think Boom Boom is a classic, some of his other songs don't hold up as well. He was born Aug. 22, 1917 in Coahoma County, MS the youngest of eleven children. They were all home schooled and only allowed to listen to spirituals and sing them in church. When his parents divorced in 1921, his mom married blues singer William Moore and he taught Hooker to play the guitar and introduced him to the blues. He left home at age 15 and moved to Memphis. He worked day jobs and performed on the side through the 30s and moved to Detroit after WWII. He first recorded in 1948 for Modern Records. He recorded for them for several years and also recorded for other labels as Texas Slim for King, Delta John for Regent, Birmingham Sam & His Magic Guitar for Savoy, Little Pork Chops for Danceland and various other names. He signed with VeeJay records in 1955 and settled there for the next decade. Hooker made his best records for VeeJay and became a pillar of the Detroit blues scene. In 1962, Boom Boom reached #16 on the R & B Singles chart and reached #60 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's his only pop hit. It helped that the legendary Funk Brothers Motown studio band backed him up. Joe Hunter is on piano, James Jamerson is on bass and Benny Benjamin is on drums along with future Motown producer Hank Cosby on sax. Boom Boom is Hooker's signature song and has been covered many times most significantly by The Animals in 1964. Hooker left VeeJay and recorded for various labels. The 1970 album Hooker 'n' Heat with Canned Heat was a big seller. He faded in the 70s. He just got stale and his sound needed to be updated. After a cameo in The Blues Brothers, guitarist Roy Rogers produced the 1989 album The Healer and this led to a John Lee Hooker revival. He was more active in the 90s than the previous two decades. He recorded several albums and did guest shots with everyone from Carlos Santana to Bonnie Raitt to Van Morrison. John Lee Hooker died on June 21, 2001 at age 83. This Hip-O comp has the original version of Boom Boom and is a good intro to his music. Here's John Lee Hooker performing Boom Boom on what appears to be a British teen dance show from the 60s. Check out the dancing chef.

Monday, April 11, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Asia

Song:Heat Of The Moment
Album:The Definitive Collection

Asia was a British progressive rock group that emerged in the early 80s at the height of the popularity of New Wave and scored a top five hit in 1982 with Heat Of The Moment. They are frequently described as a supergroup because the members came from other prominent bands. The band started with bassist John Wetton from the group Family. He was a member of King Crimson when they split up in 1974. In 1976, he attempted to form British Bulldog with Bill Bruford of King Crimson and Rick Wakeman of Yes. When Wakeman walked away, Wetton and Bruford formed UK with guitarist Alan Holdsworth and keyboard player and violinist Eddie Jobson from Roxy Music. UK had some success with three albums and split up in 1980. Then Wetton attempted to form another group with Wakeman, drummer Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake & Palmer and guitarist Trevor Rabin. They were going to sign with Geffen Records when Wakeman walked away again. Geffen A & R man John Kalodner brought in Yes guitarist Steve Howe to work with Wetton. Then Palmer joined and Howe brought in keyboard player Geoff Downes who was in Yes but is probably best known for The Buggles' hit Video Killed The Radio Star. Wetton was lead singer and he wrote the songs with Downes. Asia's debut album was released in 1982 and it sold four million copies. Heat Of The Moment reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their second album Alpha reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 2XPlatinum. But it was considered a disappointment and Wetton was having alcohol problems and he was fired and replaced temporarily by Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. By the time their 1985 album Astra was released, Howe was replaced by Mandy Meyer of Krokus. Asia continued to record with modest success but obviously it was a different band. They're still around today. John Payne joined in 1991 and he's now the leader of Asia. This comp is a good intro to their music. The original members of Asia have worked on various projects over the years. Downes reunited them for a tour in 2006 and now there are two bands touring under the name Asia. Here's the video for Heat Of The Moment by Asia.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Toshie Uematsu announces retirement

Toshie Uematsu
Pro Wrestling WAVE held a press conference after today's show so that 16 year joshi puroresu veteran Toshie Uematsu could announce her retirement plans. Why WAVE? Toshie has worked there as GAMI's assistant and also trainer since the promotion started a few years ago. She says she plans to retire April 2012. So I guess we're going to see an endless road to retirement. I don't mind if a wrestler does a three month road to retirement but when she stretches it out to a year, it's too much. Toshie said at the press conference that the decision to retire was heavily influenced by the recent retirements of Toshiko Tamura, Tanny Mouse and Yuki Miyazaki. She's been watching some of her old match videos and she just thinks it's time to go. She's also retiring to take care of her family. Her grandmother died recently and Toshie's mom is having trouble handling it. And her brother is mentally challenged. Last month's earthquake amplified these problems and apparently they asked her to quit wrestling and make her family her number one priority. Interestingly, when the earthquake hit, Toshie was in the US working for Chikara Pro. So she might be feeling a little guilty. Of course Toshie started her career with GAEA in 1995 and fans may recall that she won the 1997 WCW Women's Cruiserweight Championship tournament with a win over Malia Hosaka. Since GAEA closed in 2005, Toshie has freelanced as a wrestler and and joined WAVE as a trainer when they started a few years ago. She's still in great shape and can still work. When she discussed her retirement with Yumi Ohka, she agreed to stay on as a trainer for another year. Maybe they think she'll change her mind.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Christie

Song:Yellow River
Album:Spirit Of Woodstock

Yellow River was the only big hit for Christie. I'm sure fans have heard the song but don't know anything about the group and they may even think it's by Lou Christie who was popular at the time. Christie were from Leeds, England. Lead singer, songwriter and bassist Jeff Christie was in bands like The Outer Limits, The Epics and Acid Gallery. Guitarist Vic Elmes and drummer Mike Blakely were in the latter two bands. Mike Blakely is the brother of Tremeloes guitarist Alan Blakely. Christie sent out demos mainly as a songwriter. It looks like he may have given up on performing. Alan Blakely liked his demo and the plan was to record Christie as a solo artist backed by The Tremeloes. When that didn't turn out well, Christie brought in Elmes and Mike Blakely. The band signed with Epic Records in the US and it was decided they would be called Christie. Apparently CBS Records head Clive Davis thought they could be like Creedence Clearwater Revival. Originally Yellow River was supposed to be recorded by The Tremeloes. After they recorded it, producer Mike Smith removed the vocals and had Christie and Elmes record vocals to The Tremeloes backing track. In 1970, Yellow River reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the British Singles chart. The Tremeloes version of Yellow River surfaced later. Christie's second single San Bernadino was a top ten hit in England but didn't get far in America. And the album didn't do as well as expected. Christie started having personnel problems in 1971. Blakely left and was replaced by Paul Fenton. Their second album For All Mankind tanked and then Fenton was replaced by Howard Lubin. But Christie and Elmes weren't getting along and Christie split up in 1972. The Christie recordings are available on CD but I think most will only be interested in Yellow River. This 3CD budget various artists comp from BMG looks OK. Jeff Christie continues to tour the oldies circuit. Vic Elmes became a session guitarist and is best known for his work on the soundtrack of the cult TV show Space: 1999. He also tours as Christie Again. So I guess the two still don't get along. Paul Fenton joined T. Rex and still tours with a version of the band. Here's the video for Yellow River by Christie.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tampa Red

Artist:Tampa Red
Song:It Hurts Me Too
Album:Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Volume 11 (1939-1940)

Blues pioneer Tampa Red was known as The Guitar Wizard. He is one of the all time greats of the slide guitar with a weakness for the kazoo. He was also a great songwriter and It Hurts Me Too is one of his most covered songs. He was born Hudson Woodbridge Jan. 8, 1904 in Smithville, GA. His parents died when he was a child and he was raised by his aunt and grandmother in Tampa. He adopted the surname Whitaker. His older brother Eddie played guitar and he learned from a street musician named Piccolo Pete. He moved to Chicago in the 1920s and named himself Tampa Red because of his light skin. He accompanied Ma Rainey and first recorded in 1928 in a bawdy and humourous style called "hokum". His partner was known as Georgia Tom but went on to be known as Thomas A. Dorsey the father of gospel music. They were called Tampa Red's Hokum Jug Band. He also developed his bottleneck guitar style and earned the name The Guitar Wizard. When he split with Dorsey in 1932, he played sessions and signed with RCA in 1934. He recorded for RCA for 20 years. Tampa Red played sessions with his band and also recorded his own songs. He was also a mentor to other musicians like Big Bill Broonzy and Big Joe Williams. At the time, Tampa Red was one of the pillars of the Chicago blues community. He first recorded It Hurts Me Too in 1940. It is based on Things 'Bout Comin' My Way which he recorded in 1931 and that was based on The Mississippi Sheiks classic Sittin' On Top Of The World. In 1949, Tampa Red recorded It Hurts Me Too with an updated arrangement and called it When Things Go Wrong With You. It reached #9 on the R & B Singles chart. I'm not sure why he changed the title. It's the same song. And in those days there was no song tracking to identify that. You can get the original 1940 recording on this CD from the British label Document Records. It Hurts Me Too has been covered frequently and is now a blues standard. Elmore James had the biggest hit with the song in 1965. You'll also notice the frequent use of the kazoo on Tampa Red's recordings. He may have been a guitar wizard but he sure enjoyed playing the kazoo. Tampa Red became an alcoholic after his wife died in 1953 and his life deteriorated considerably until his death on Mar. 19, 1981 at age 77. Here's a video of It Hurts Me Too by Tampa Red.