Tuesday, May 31, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Black Keys

Artist:The Black Keys
Song:Tighten Up

The Black Keys emerged from a decade of relative obscurity to release the best selling CD Brothers in 2010. They started out as a blues influenced band but strayed from that only to return to that style with Brothers. Singer guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney became friends while going to high school in Akron. OH. Auerbach has been heavily influenced by blues musicians especially Junior Kimbrough. After his band The Barnburners split up in 2001, Auerbach and Carney formed The Black Keys. They released their first CD The Big Come Up independently in 2002 and it got them a deal with the blues label Fat Possum. Their next two CDs built them a cult following and then they signed with the Warner Music label Nonesuch. The 2008 CD Attack & Release was produced by Danger Mouse and admittedly strayed from their blues rock roots. Auerbach released a solo CD Keep It Hid in 2009 and Carney formed the group Drummer. It looked like The Black Keys would split up. Apparently Auerbach didn't get along with Carney's wife. But they divorced and The Black Keys stayed together. Doesn't the band usually split up in that situation? They went to Muscle Shoals to record Brothers. It was released in May 2010 and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified Gold. Tighten Up topped the Alternative Singles chart. They were nominated for some Grammys and they're currently in Nashville working on a new CD. We'll see if The Black Keys popularity changes their music. Here's the video for Tighten Up by The Black Keys.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Is Gina Carano dropping to 135lb?

The last time we saw Gina Carano in the cage she looked like that pic over there. Now that she made her movie, she is returning to Strikeforce on the June 18 Dallas show. I always thought she would return because she has two fights left on her contract. Scott Coker finally confirmed on Saturday that Gina will face Sarah D'Alelio at 145lb. It leaked out a few weeks ago. Sarah's record is 4-1 and she is training at Lana Stefanac's camp. But she normally fights at 135lb. So if you've followed Gina's career, you'll know that most of her wins have been over undersized opponents. This was because Gary Shaw of EliteXC wanted her to fight at 135 because the fighter pool is larger. Of course the problem was that Gina could never make that weight. In fact, the Cris Cyborg fight was her only fight at 145. So I would prefer she fight someone her own size. She opens herself up for criticism if she gets a win over an undersized opponent. They can avoid that crap. But Coker also announced on Saturday that Gina plans to drop to 135. If that's true, why isn't this fight at 135? The answer is it may not be true. Remember Cris Cyborg is not under contract. So Coker could be sending a message to her that if she doesn't sign, he'll eliminate the 145lb division. Cris is a free agent at the end of June. So Coker could be playing a little contract negotiation poker with Chute Boxe. He lies a lot so it's hard to believe anything he says anyway. It's OK with me if Gina wants to fight at 135...if she can make weight. It's questionable. She's tried to do that before and failed. I know what you're thinking. If Marloes Coenen can make 135, why can't Gina make 135? Historically, Gina has demonstrated a lack of discipline that manifests itself in missing weight. No one ever questioned whether Marloes could make 135 because of her dedication and discipline. Gina needs to prove that she has that same dedication and discipline.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Rosemary Clooney

Artist:Rosemary Clooney
Song:You Started Something
Album:The Essential Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney was one of the most popular vocalists of the early 50s. She was known for novelty songs like Come On-a My House. But she started out in jazz and didn't like those songs. You Started Something was her very first chart single in 1948. Later on she would become a best selling jazz singer and of course she is the aunt of actor George Clooney and mother of actor Miguel Ferrer. She was born May 23, 1928 in Maysville, KY. She started out singing with her sister Betty on Cincinnati radio station WLW. She first recorded with Tony Pastor's band in 1946 on Columbia Records. You Started Something was her first hit and reached #16 on the pop charts. She obviously liked the song as she re-recorded it several times. It was written by Floyd Huddleston and Al Rinker. Rinker was a long time member of Paul Whiteman's band. Huddleston would go on to write songs for Disney animated films like Robin Hood. When Rosemary left Pastor's band in 1949, Columbia's Mitch Miller signed her to a contract. Come On-a My House was her first number one hit. She had a total of four number one hits in the early 50s including Hey There in 1954. She also appeared in several films including starring with Bing Crosby in the 1954 film White Christmas. She also had her own TV variety show in 1956. It's well known that Rosemary didn't like the novelty songs that Miller had her sing. So she left Columbia in 1958 and recorded for MGM, Coral, RCA, Reprise, Dot and United Artists without much success. She had a stormy marriage to actor Jose Ferrer and also suffered from bipolar disorder and struggled with drug addiction. But Rosemary bounced back from that and signed with the jazz label Concord in 1977. She became one of the top selling jazz artists until her death on June 29, 2002 at age 74. So while I recommend this Columbia budget comp for Rosemary Clooney's 50s recordings, you should also check out her Concord recordings. Here's Rosemary Clooney performing You Started Something on a 1959 NBC TV special.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Peter Cetera

Artist:Peter Cetera
Song:Glory Of Love

Peter Cetera started out as the lead singer and bassist for the very popular 70s group Chicago. When he left, he had two number one hits including Glory Of Love in 1986. It was the theme for the very popular film The Karate Kid Part II. He's still around but hasn't had commercial success in recent years. He was born Sept. 13, 1944 in Chicago. He took up the bass in high school and his band The Exceptions released two albums. In Dec. 1967, he joined The Big Thing which soon became Chicago Transit Authority and then Chicago. Initially Cetera shared lead vocals with Robert Lamm and Terry Kath. But as the 70s progressed, Cetera contributed more songs and became the primary lead singer of hits like If You Leave Me Now and Baby, What A Big Surprise. At first, Cetera wanted to record solo while remaining a member of Chicago. When Chicago moved from Columbia to Warner Bros., Cetera recorded his debut solo album Peter Cetera in 1981. The album didn't sell because Warners was concerned he would leave Chicago so they didn't promote it. Meanwhile, Chicago came back in 1982 with David Foster as producer and had several hits all sung by Cetera. In late 1985, Cetera wanted to record solo again but it appears the band didn't want him to do that. So he left and recorded the 1986 solo album Solitude/Solitaire. Glory Of Love was the first single and it topped the Billboard Hot 100. It was the theme for the hit film The Karate Kid Part II and that certainly fueled the song's popularity. Cetera and Foster co-wrote it. His duet with Amy Grant Next Time I Fall also topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Solitude/Solitaire was certified Platinum. He had a few more chart hits including the 1988 top ten hit One Good Woman. But Cetera faded and he left Warners in 1992. Cetera has released Greatest Hits comps. But I guess he doesn't have the rights to the original versions so he records new versions of his own hits and Chicago hits. You don't want that. Warners has never released a Cetera comp but Solitude/Solitaire is available as a budget CD. Peter Cetera still tours but last recorded a Christmas CD on his own label in 2004. He seems to make a lot of appearances with regional symphony orchestras and his music is still played on Adult Contemporary radio. He currently lives in Idaho. Here's the video for Glory Of Love by Peter Cetera.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Skatalites

Artist:The Skatalites
Song:Guns Of Navarone
Album:Guns Of Navarone: The Best Of The Skatalites

If you're going to talk about the roots of Jamaican music, you have to talk about The Skatalites. Not only did they have their own hits like Guns Of Navarone but they backed up just about everyone in the Jamaican music industry. Many renowned musicians have gone through the group since the 50s. Trumpeter Johnnie "Dizzy" Moore, sax players Tommy McCook and Lester Sterling and trombonist Don Drummond all attended the Alpha Cottage School For Boys, known for their music program. In 1955, all four were touring the Jamaican hotel circuit. They would cross paths frequently and they decided to form a band. Other members included guitarist Jerome "Jah Jerry " Hinds, bassist Lloyd Brevett, pianist Jackie Mittoo, drummer Lloyd Knibbs and sax player Roland Alphonso. When Duke Reid and Coxsone Dodd started record labels in the late 50s, they looked for studio musicians. So the various members of The Skatalites were used as backup musicians until they recorded as The Skatalites in 1964. Of course the group lineup was changing all the time as different guys got busy with other projects. And frequently The Skatalites recordings were not issued under The Skatalites name. For example, their version of the theme from the film Guns Of Navarone was released under Roland Alphonso's name. Fortunately, all their essential recordings are on this CD. But the most important thing about The Skatalites is the creation of ska which is a potent mix of Jamaican music and other black music styles. I'm sure many fans are familiar with The Specials recording of Guns Of Navarone. Get your hands on the original. The Skatalites split into two groups in 1965 after Don Drummond was convicted of murdering his girlfriend. But they have reformed occasionally and continued to play sessions. Lester Sterling leads a version of the group today. The bottom line is The Skatalites 60s recordings still sound fresh today and are a must for any music fan. Here are The Skatalites performing Guns Of Navarone at the 2003 Glastonbury Music Festival.

Friday, May 27, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Terence Trent D'Arby

Artist:Terence Trent D'Arby
Song:Wishing Well
Album:Soul Hits Of The 80's

Terence Trent D'Arby had the potential to be one of the biggest stars of the last 25 years. But after Wishing Well topped the charts in 1987 and his debut album sold 12 million copies, he just fizzled. He is now known as Sananda Francesco Maitreya and records on his own label. He was born Terence Trent Howard Mar. 15, 1962 in New York City. His stepfather was a minister and his mom sang in church. He took his stepfather's name Darby. D'arby went to high school in Orlando, FL and trained to be a Golden Gloves boxer and won the lightweight championship. He enlisted in the US Army and was stationed in Germany in 1983 and worked with a band called The Touch who released one album. He moved to London in 1986. He was spotted playing with The Bojangels and signed a recording deal with Columbia. His 1987 debut CD Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby was certified 5XPlatinum. There were a few hits from the album but Wishing Well was the only one to top the Billboard Hot 100. He also won a Grammy and a Soul Train Award. So what happened? D'Arby's 1989 CD Neither Fish Nor Flesh was critically panned as self indulgent and pretentious. And apparently Columbia didn't like it either and refused to promote it. By the time Symphony Or Damn was released in 1993, it was too late for D'Arby to recover. It was hailed as his best album but it didn't sell and Columbia dropped him. Believe it or not, The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby is not in print. So check out this Sony 3CD budget various artists comp instead. D'Arby recorded an album for Glen Ballard's Java label but it wasn't released. As I said, he's changed his name and has released CDs on his own label. He currently lives in Milan, Italy. Here's the video for Wishing Well by Terence Trent D'Arby.

Terence Trent D'arby - Wishing Well by trashfan

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I ordered my new powerchair today

John Crawford of H.M.E. called me last Friday and told me that my application for a new powerchair has been approved by the Ontario Government's Assisted Devices Program. So that took almost two months. He came to my apartment today to order the chair. Because I am on the Ontario Disability Support Program, this chair is completely paid by the ADP. It sells for about $10K. One change they made is when I got my first chair a few years ago, I received the approval in the mail and gave it to my vendor. Now they send it directly to the vendor. John says some folks didn't seem to know what to do with the approval. The chair is similar to the picture. It's manufactured by Quickie in California. John says I should receive it in about a month. If it can be refurbished, I will donate my current chair. The main difference between my current chair and the new chair is my new chair will be the heavy duty edition. It will be more durable. It also has a rear suspension and is supposed to be a smoother ride. We discussed specific features. The biggest difference between the chair in the pic and the one I am getting is the footplates. This is because I am tall. The one piece footplate you see in the pic is mounted so high that I would be sitting higher in the chair and I may not be able to get underneath tables. I prefer my current footplates that are mounted lower but can be raised so I can clear curbs when I go out. Last year when I wrote about new products at the People In Motion show, I wrote about a front wheel drive chair called Alex. Because the suspension is front mounted, it can't accommodate the footplate I need. That's why John chose the Quickie. We had already decided that my seating will be the same. So the footplate was the only major decision to be made. The other stuff he asked about was pretty obvious. And I chose the colour Candy Apple Red. All I need is a racing stripe. Some folks think I go too fast already. Wait until they see me in the new chair.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Modern English

Artist:Modern English
Song:I Melt With You
Album:Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack

I Melt With You was the only memorable song by the British group Modern English. It was never a chart hit but more of an 80s MTV staple because it was used in the popular 1983 film Valley Girl. Other than that, Modern English had some success in England but not in the US. Part of the problem may have been that Modern English were more of a punk band and I Melt With You wasn't typical of their music. They were called The Lepers when they started out in Colchester, England in 1979. Original members were Robbie Grey on lead vocals, Gary McDowell on guitar and Michael Conroy on bass. They changed their name to Modern English and added Richard Brown on drums and Stephen Walker on keyboards. They signed with 4AD Records and released their debut album Mesh & Lace in 1981. The music is clearly punk influenced with a heavy Joy Division influence. Their 1982 album After The Snow got them a US record deal with Sire Records. I Melt With You became a hit when Martha Coolidge used it in the closing credits of her 1983 film Valley Girl. But at the time, there was no soundtrack album because they couldn't clear the music rights. Rhino released this Valley Girl soundtrack CD in 1994. Fans liked I Melt With You so the album sold half a million copies and the video went into heavy rotation on MTV. The song became a hit again when it was used in a 1990 Burger King commercial. Modern English released two more albums before they were dropped by Sire and then they split up. They reformed in 1990 to record a CD and then split up again due to contractual issues with TVT Records. Robbie Grey formed the group Engine and when the legal issues cleared, he reformed Modern English. They still tour today. Here's the video for I Melt With You by Modern English.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ayumi Kurihara returns NEO title belts

Tetsuya Koda, Ayumi Kurihara
Remember when Ayumi Kurihara won the NEO Singles Championship and the NWA Pacific Championship from Yoshiko Tamura on the final NEO show and Tamura's retirement show? There was a lot of speculation about her carrying the titles proudly and defending them against all comers. I didn't think that would happen. I thought it was one of the most meaningless events in joshi puroresu history. And it cemented Tamura's legacy as a good wrestler when she wanted to be good and a very selfish person. If Kurihara had won those belts in October and had a run with them, that would have been OK. But that's not what happened. My suspicions were confirmed today when Kurihara returned the belts to NEO president Tetsuyo Koda at a press conference held today at the Champion Wrestling Store. Remember Kurihara never defended those belts. And apparently Koda has been bugging her to return them. They are officially retired. Kurihara said she wanted to defend them but Koda would not allow it. And now that she is going to Mexico City to challenge Amapola for the CMLL Women's Championship on June 6, she thought now is a good time to return them. She also announced that she is going back to Mexico from July 6 to13. Koda had nothing much to say and his behaviour proves that Kurihara's NEO title win was the sham that many of us believed it was. A big fat raspberry to Koda and Tamura.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Leonard Cohen

Artist:Leonard Cohen
Song:Bird On The Wire
Album:The Best Of Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen has had a long career in music for someone who isn't a musician. He's really a poet who reluctantly started performing to reach a wider audience then the average poet. The result is he is one of the most successful songwriters in history. Columbia Records never tried to sell Cohen as a pop star and kept the production minimal on his early albums. He was born Sept. 21, 1934 in Montreal. Cohen studied with poet Irving Layton when he was in high school. He began publishing his poetry in the 50s and also wrote novels. But by the mid-60s, the folk music boom made Cohen think that he could be a singer. He moved to New York and started hanging around with Andy Warhol's crowd. Warhol speculated that Cohen based his musical style on Nico's minimalist style. When Judy Collins had a hit with Cohen's Suzanne in 1967, this encouraged Cohen to perform at the Newport Folk Festival. This got the attention of legendary Columbia Records talent scout John Hammond Sr. who had discovered artists from Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan. He assigned John Simon to produce Cohen's debut album The Songs Of Leonard Cohen. Simon wisely did not go overboard with strings and other frills and the album was certified Gold. Despite the success, Cohen switched to Bob Dylan's producer Bob Johnson for his second album Songs From A Room. He clashed with Simon over post production. Bird On The Wire is from the Songs From A Room and is one of Cohen's signature songs. It has been covered by many artists but the first was Joe Cocker. This budget comp was first released in 1974 and concentrates on Cohen's first two albums. It's a good intro to his music. Leonard Cohen continues to perform and record today. His latest CD Songs From The Road was released in Sept. 2010. He has been honoured for his work many times including induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2008. He is working on a new CD for release later this year. Here's Leonard Cohen performing Bird On The Wire from the 1972 film Bird On The Wire.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Tempos

Artist:The Tempos
Song:See You In September
Album:41 Original Hits From The Soundtrack Of American Graffiti

Most folks should be familiar with the 1966 top five hit recording of See You In September by The Happenings. But you may not be aware that it was originally recorded by The Tempos and was a top 30 hit in 1959. I think most folks didn't know there was an original version until George Lucas used it in his 1972 film American Graffiti. I don't know a lot about The Tempos except they were from the Pittsburgh suburb of Canonsburg, PA. Other doo wop groups from Pittsburgh included The Del Vikings and The Marcels. Mike Lazo was lead singer and other members were Jim Drake, Gene Schachter and Tom Monito. They recorded a handful of singles but See You In September was the only one that went anywhere. It reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. The song was written by veteran Brill Building songwriters Sherman Edwards and Sid Wayne. According to Wayne, they were sitting around the office trying to figure out what to write and Edwards told him he wanted to write a song titled See You In September. They started writing it at 11AM and were finished by 2PM. Apparently Edwards was a very quick lyricist. They went out and pitched the song and producer Jack Gold liked it. He called The Tempos and had them come to New York for the recording session. That was Friday. The song was recorded on Monday with the Billy Mure Orchestra. The record was pressed on Thursday and was played on WNEW in New York on Friday. Wayne says they got $500 for the song. Jack Gold went on to be a house producer at Columbia Records. Soon after Sid Wayne moved to Los Angeles and wrote songs for Elvis Presley films usually with Len Weisman. Sherman Edwards also co-wrote the 1962 Joanie Sommers hit Johnny Get Angry but his biggest achievement was writing the hit Broadway musical 1776. As I said, The Happenings reached #3 with their version of See You In September in 1966. The Tempos version was forgotten until George Lucas used it in American Graffiti and it's on the 2CD version of the soundtrack. Here's a video for See You In September by The Tempos.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Fukuko vs Yuko Takagi added to July 31 PANCRASE show

Happy Fukuko, Yuko Takagi
PANCRASE announced today that a women's match has been added to their July 31 show at Taisho Azeria in Osaka. In a match contracted for 45.4kg and scheduled for two five minute rounds, Happy Fukuko will face Yuko Takagi. Both are VALKYRIE veterans. Happy Fukuko is the ring name for Fukuko Hamada. She trains at Cobra Kai in Osaka. Her record is 6-6 and her last match was a win over Mamiko Maziguchi on the Mar. 13 PANCRASE show which was also in Osaka. Yuko Takagi trains at Angura MMA which means she's a trainee of Yuka Tsuji. Her record is 0-2 and her last match was a loss to Naoko Omuro on the Feb. 11, 2010 VALKYRIE show. Her other loss was to Happy Fukuko on the Oct. 24, 2009 VALKYRIE show. So it is a rematch.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Hollywood Argyles

Artist:The Hollywood Argyles
Song:Alley Oop
Album:Hollywood Maverick: The Gary S. Paxton Story

Alley Oop is one of the goofiest songs to ever top the pop charts in 1960. Alley Oop was a once popular comic strip caveman. Of course I'm sure it won't surprise you that there was never a group called The Hollywood Argyles. The two guys behind the record were Gary S. Paxton and Kim Fowley. Paxton got his start in the music business when he met Skip Battin while attending the University Of Arizona. They would become Skip & Flip and scored a top 20 hit with It Was I in 1959. He moved to Los Angeles and shared a room with Fowley. He wanted to keep busy Country music singer songwriter Dallas Frazier recorded Alley Oop in 1957. Paxton thought it could be turned into a hit. He couldn't use his own name because he was still under contract as Flip. The recording studio was at the corner of Hollywood & Argyle so they called themselves The Hollywood Argyles. According to Paxton, there was no band. One rumour is they paid poet Norm Davis $25 to sing the vocal. Paxton says he sang it himself. The rest were studio musicians including Sandy Nelson. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960 and is still memorable today. Paxton and Fowley both went on to long careers as producers. This CD focuses on Paxton and includes rare songs by artists who went on to be famous. He also produced the Bobby "Boris" Pickett hit The Monster Mash. He became a born again Christian in the 70s and has had his own label for many years. Here's a video for Alley Oop by The Hollywood Argyles.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Gaslight Anthem

Artist:The Gaslight Anthem
Song:American Slang
Album:American Slang

With their latest CD American Slang, The Gaslight Anthem is on the verge of breaking through to mainstream audiences. The big question is will they move to a major label. The lead singer and main songwriter of The Gaslight Anthem is Brian Fallon. He was born Jan. 28, 1980 in Red Bank, NJ. His mom was in the late 60s group The Group Folk Singers. Fallon has been trying to build a music career since 1995. His band Surrogate McKenzie never got past the demo stage and Amping Copper released one CD in 2001. When The Charming Man looked like it was going nowhere in 2005, he formed The Gaslight Anthem with Alex Rosamilia on guitar, Alex Levine on bass and Benny Horowitz on drums. Their 2007 EP Sink Or Swim earned them a contract with Los Angeles based indie label SideOneDummy and they assigned Ted Hutt of the group Flogging Molly to produce them. Their 2008 debut CD The '59 Sound got them a lot of critical acclaim and of course constant touring always helps. Their big break came when they opened for Bruce Springsteen on his 2009 European tour. And their big moment came at the Glastonbury Music Festival June 27, 2009 when Springsteen joined them on stage for one song. That kind of endorsement is a big deal. The Gaslight Anthem really took off and their 2010 CD American Slang reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 200. Fallon acknowledges The Replacements as his main influence but also Springsteen because of the Jersey connection. Fallon is currently writing songs for the next Gaslight Anthem CD and he has a side project The Horrible Crowes that will be out this year. Will they stay with SideOneDummy or move to a major? If you've never heard of The Gaslight Anthem, here's your chance to check them out. Here's the video for American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jim Croce

Artist:Jim Croce
Song:You Don't Mess Around With Jim
Album:Photographs & Memories: His Greatest Hits

Jim Croce was well on his way to becoming one of the most popular singer songwriters of the 70s when he died in a plane crash on Sept. 20, 1973 at age 30. You Don't Mess Around With Jim was his first top ten hit in 1972. He was born Jan. 10, 1943 in Philadelphia. His blue collar appeal was not contrived as after graduating high school in 1960, Croce worked construction before enrolling at Villanova University. He worked the coffee house circuit and also married his wife Ingrid. They worked as a duo for several years and released an album on Capitol in 1969 produced by Tommy West whose group Cashman, Pistilli & West was recording for Capitol. When things didn't work out in New York City or on Capitol, Jim & Ingrid Croce moved back to Philadelphia. He continued to perform on the side while working various jobs including driving trucks, construction, selling ads at a local radio station. He even enlisted in the US Army. A lot of Croce's songs are about characters he met along the way. In 1970, he finally got his big break when his old college pal Joe Salviulo introduced him to singer songwriter Maury Meuhlheisen. By this time, Tommy West and partner Terry Cashman took their act Cashman & West to ABC Records and were also producers. They liked Meuhlheisen's songs and planned to record him. The initial plan was for Croce to back up Meulheisen. But they decided Croce was more charismatic so he was made the leader. You Don't Mess Around With Jim was Croce's first single and it reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. The song is about a pool hustler that Croce probably met at a truck stop. The album You Don't Mess Around With Jim topped the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Gold. Then Bad, Bad Leroy Brown became Croce's first number one hit single. Croce was on his way to a long career in music when on Sept. 20, 1973, his plane crashed while taking off in Louisiana. Croce, Meuhlheisen and the other passengers all died in the crash. Of course his death made him even more popular when Time In A Bottle topped the charts. Croce's music is timeless. This budget comp was first released in 1974 and he still gets a lot of radio play. Jim Croce was inducted into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 1990. Ingrid Croce opened Croce's Restaurant & Bar in San Diego in 1985 and still operates it today. Their son AJ Croce is a singer songwriter and has been recording since 1993. Here's Jim Croce performing You Don't Mess Around With Jim 1972.

Friday, May 20, 2011

WINDY Tomomi vs Sadae Manhoef added to July 23 PANCRASE show

WINDY Tomomi, Sadae Manhoef
PANCRASE announced today a women's match has been added to their July 23 Shinjuku FACE show. It will be WINDY Tomomi vs Sadae Manhoef. This is contracted for 52.2kg and scheduled for two five minute rounds. WINDY trains at Pancrase ism. Her record is 16-13-1 and her last fight was a loss to VV Mei on the Apr. 3 PANCRASE show. She was announced for the June 5 show but was pulled probably because this scheduling is better for her opponent. Of course WINDY is known for her striking skills but is vulnerable on the ground. Sadae Suzumura is an admirer of Dutch fighter Melvin Manhoef and has named herself Sadae Manhoef. Her MMA record is 1-0-1 and she beat anna at the May 14 JEWELS show. She trains at Cobra Kai. WINDY is a big step up in competition for her but she is an experienced kickboxer. She had to retire from soccer due to injury in 2006. She got into kickboxing training and got into MMA later. She has a 1-2 SHOOT BOXING record and a 3-1 kickboxing record. I don't expect this to go to the ground.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Eddy Grant

Artist:Eddy Grant
Song:Electric Avenue
Album:The Very Best Of Eddy Grant: Road To Reparation

British Reggae artist Eddy Grant was a fixture on the British charts when he crossed over to the mainstream with the 1983 top five hit Electric Avenue. He now lives in Barbados and continues to record on his own label. He was born Mar. 5, 1948 in Plaisance, Guyana and moved to London, England with his family in 1960. His band The Equals had several modest hits in the 60s. Grant left The Equals in 1971 when he burned out and suffered a collapsed lung. He started his own label Ice Records and seemed content producing other artists until he returned in 1977 with the album Message Man. This was darker and more African influenced than the pop sound he recorded for The Equals. He became a regular on the British charts but Electric Avenue became a hit in the US when it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. His only other mainstream hit was the theme from the 1984 film Romancing The Stone. Eddy Grant moved to Barbados soon after and continues to record his own music and release back catalogs of calypso legends and produce other artists on his own label Ice Records. He even created a new hybrid sound called Ringbang and had a hit with a remix of Electric Avenue in 2001. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Here's the video for Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Information Society

Artist:Information Society
Song:What's On Your Mind? (Pure Energy)
Album:Greatest Hits: Strange Haircuts/Cardboard Guitars/Computer Samples

I always thought Information Society was British because Kurt Harland sang with a British accent. But they're actually from Minnesota. What's On Your Mind was their biggest hit and most memorable song in 1988. But the group has been a staple on dance floors for over two decades. Information Society was formed in 1982 in Kurt Harland's dorm room at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Harland, Paul Robb and James Cassidy liked to mess around with electronic music. They released a couple of albums independently and a couple of the songs became dance floor hits in New York City. They moved to New York and added Amanda Kramer to the group and signed with Tommy Boy Records. They had been with Twin Tone Records but Tommy Boy had more expertise in dance music and hip hop and bought out their contract. The 1988 album Information Society was their first album on Tommy Boy. It reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Platinum. What's On Your Mind reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the song is a perennial dance floor favourite. It's known for the use of the Leonard Nimoy sample. Though Information Society is perceived as a one hit wonder, Walking Away reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. You can get all their hits on this Rhino comp. Subsequent albums didn't do as well and Information Society split up in 1992 though Harland continued to record under that name for several years. He is now a video game developer. Amanda Kramer is currently a member of The Psychedelic Furs. Harland gave up the Information Society name in 2006 to Robb and Cassidy so they could reform with new vocalist Christoper Anton. Paul Robb works in advertising and has won Clio Awards for his BMW ads. Information Society currently records for his label Hakatak. James Cassidy is a crop science instructor at Oregon State University. Here's the video for What's On your Mind? (Pure Energy) by Information Society.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Josephine Baker

Artist:Josephine Baker
Song:Sous le Ciel d'Afrique
Album:Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker had the talent to be one of the biggest stars on Broadway. But when she couldn't break out of the chorus because she was black, she moved to Paris and became one of the biggest stars in France. She acted in some films and also recorded. But she was mostly known for her stage performances in the 20s and 30s. She was born Frida Josephine McDonald June 3, 1906. By the age of 12 she was living on the street until she joined the St. Louis Chorus vaudeville show and then moved to New York. The name Baker came from her second husband. She was a featured chorus girl in the 1924 show Chocolate Dandies. But no matter how great a dancer she was, a black performer couldn't star in a show. So she moved to Paris with La Revue Negre and her sexually charged dancing made her a star there. You've probably seen clips of Josephine dancing wearing very little. Obviously she couldn't have done that in the US. She recorded in the 30s and also appeared in a couple of films. The films were big hits in France. Sous le Ciel d'Afrique is from the 1935 film Princess Tam-Tam. The clip I have chosen is from that film and I wanted to be sure there was some of Josephine's dancing in the clip because her dancing made her a star. A lot of Josephine Baker CDs are European imports so availability is a little dodgy. But this budget comp should be good for most folks. In 1936, she moved back to New York to star in the Broadway show Ziegfeld's Follies with Bob Hope and Fanny Brice. The show was not a hit and when Brice got sick, Josephine moved back to Paris and married sugar magnate Jean Lion. She was a spy for the French Resistance during WWII and received a medal after the war. In the 50s, Josephine Baker adopted 12 multi ethnic orphans which she called The Rainbow Tribe. She was also a big part of the US Civil Rights movement as she refused to perform in front of segregated audiences. She helped integrate shows in Las Vegas and was the only woman to speak at the March on Washington in 1963. Josephine Baker retired after suffering a 1964 heart attack. She returned for one performance in Paris on Apr. 8, 1975 and then died on Apr. 12, 1975 at age 68. Today Josephine Baker is considered a pioneer of black entertainment and a tireless campaigner for racial equality. And she was a great entertainer too. Here's Josephine Baker performing Sous le Ciel d'Afrique in the 1935 film Princess Tam-Tam. The film is available on DVD.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The American Breed

Artist:The American Breed
Song:Bend Me, Shape Me
Album:'60s: Gold

The 1968 top five hit Bend Me, Shape Me was the only significant hit for The American Breed. A couple of their other songs charted but none of them are memorable. Music fans might be surprised that The American Breed morphed into the successful 70s group Rufus. The American Breed were from the Chicago suburb of Cicero, IL. They were originally called Gary & The Nite Lites led by lead singer Gary Loizzo along with Charles Colbert Jr. on bass, Al Ciner on guitar and Lee Graziano on drums. They released one single locally and then signed with the Dot Records subsidiary Acta and changed their name to The American Breed. They recorded four albums for Acta all produced by former Dunwich Records owner Bill Traut. Their first album didn't do well. But Bend Me, Shape Me reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 but the album didn't do as well. Bend Me, Shape Me was written by Scott English and Larry Weiss and was a hit in England for Amen Corner and then recorded by The Outsiders in 1966. Scott English had a hit in 1973 with Brandy which became the Barry Manilow hit Mandy. The American Breed started having personnel problems and brought in keyboard player Kevin Murphy and drummer Andre Fischer. They shortened their name to The Breed and then changed it to Smoke and then Ask Rufus. Eventually they had success when Fischer returned to the band and Chaka Khan replaced Paulette McWilliams as lead singer. You can get Bend Me, Shape Me on this excellent 2CD various artists comp from Universal's Hip-O label. American Breed lead singer Gary Loizzo started his own recording studio and is known as recording engineer for Styx. He has two Grammy nominations for Best Engineered Album. Andre Fischer has had a long career as a record producer and was once married to Natalie Cole. Here's The American Breed performing Bend Me, Shape Me 1967.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Cat Zingano vs Takayo Hashi

Since I wrote about the behind scenes wrangling for this fight last week, I have to follow it up with the fight video of Cat Zingano vs Takayo Hashi from Saturday night. Normally the technical quality of the video, especially the audio, wouldn't meet my standards so I would pass on it. But I'll make an exception. The fight went pretty much as expected except for the ending. Once upon a time, Takayo Hashi was a very good fighter with world class grappling skills. She has changed to a very ineffective defensive fighting style. Her performance in this fight was very similar to her fight against Tara LaRosa. Clinch, clinch, clinch with no offense. The ref seemed content to let this go because as in Tara's fight, Cat was trying to be aggressive. But she was having difficulty doing anything with Hashi's passive defensiveness. Because Hashi is strong but she's not using her strength to score points. I don't know what she's trying to do. It's a strategy designed to lose a unanimous decision. A fighter can't win with that fighting style. Cat took her down in the first round and again in the third and also landed some punches. She was on her way to a unanimous decision win when Hashi inexplicably wrapped her legs around Cat's body and Cat dropped her on the back of her head for a KO win with about 15 seconds left in the fight. I watched the finish a couple of times and I don't know what Hashi thought she was doing. It was similar to what Sarah Kaufman did to Roxanne Modafferi last summer except Cat didn't lift Hashi. She just dropped her. Cat said afterwards that her next opponent could be Tara LaRosa. Tara has been after her for a while. We'll see. Enjoy the video.

Tara is finally free...but TNA are still idiots

Today's edition of Big Bad Blog Video Theater is Mickie James defending her TNA Knockout Championship against Madison Rayne from last night's TNA PPV with the added stipulation that if Mickie wins, Tara is no longer tied to Madison. Obviously they've been building up to this for a few weeks and we all know how it's going to end. And of course before the match, Madison forbids Tara from coming down to the ring. That reinforces the ending. The match itself was nothing special. It was a standard Impact match. I saw some complaints online that it was a bad match. The problem wasn't the match itself. It was ruined by the lunkheaded execution of the finish. They needed two...count 'em...two ref bumps to give Tara the opportunity to decide who to clobber with the loaded glove. And it seemed to take her a couple of hours to decide. It should have gone a lot quicker because we all knew what she wanted to do. What's the big decision? I apologize for bringing logic into the equation. That's TNA for you. They can't even change the company name properly because TNA management can't agree on whether they should even do that. If they can't do that, they can't possibly execute a standard wrestling angle properly. Enjoy the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

Artist:Ben Harper & The Innocent Ciminals
Song:Steal My Kisses
Album:Burn To Shine

Ben Harper's music is a mix of several genres including jazz, blues and R & B. But the marketing of his music is clearly aimed at the college crowd. Steal My Kisses is his biggest hit single to date. But he's more of an album act anyway and that song just got more people into his music. He was born Oct. 28, 1969 in Claremont, CA. His father is a mix of African-American and Native American and his mother is Jewish. His grandparents owned the music store The Folk Music Center and Museum. Regular customers included Leonard Cohen, Taj Mahal and David Lindley. Harper concentrated on slide guitar as a teen and Taj Mahal took him on tour in 1989. Harper signed with Virgin Records and released his debut CD in 1994. For the most part, Virgin hasn't bothered trying to market Harper to the mainstream pop audience. They have concentrated on the college radio and adult alternative market and any crossover is gravy. Harper's 1997 CD The Will To Live was his first CD with his band The Innocent Criminals with Juan Nelson on bass, Dean Butterworth on drums and David Leach on percussion. He started to gain momentum with his 1999 CD Burn To Shine. Steal My Kisses reached #15 on the Adult Alternative chart and it led to subsequent albums climbing the Billboard Hot 200. His last three CDs have all reached the top ten and his new CD Give Till It's Gone will be released tomorrow. Burn To Shine is available as a budget CD. With Ben Harper, Virgin is looking for consistent sales as opposed to mainstream pop stardom. That means Harper doesn't need to compromise his music. That's good for us. Harper has been married to actress Laura Dern since 2005. They have two children. He filed for divorce in Oct. 2010 but there have been rumours that they will reconcile. Here's the video for Steal My Kisses by Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals. This video is not on Youtube.

Ben Harper - Steal My Kisses by bogoz56

Sunday, May 15, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Domenico Modugno

Artist:Domenico Modugno
Song:Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)
Album:Eh, Paisano! 100% Italian-American Classics

I figure that most music fans are familiar with this song under the title Volare when it was a top five hit for Bobby Rydell in 1960. But this original version by Domenico Modugno not only topped the charts in 1958 but won the Song Of The Year Grammy. In Italy, Modugno was a very popular singer, songwriter, actor and later a politician. He was born Jan. 9, 1928 in Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy. He went to acting school and appeared in several films in the 50s. Then he got into songwriting and when one of his songs became a hit, he decided to try performing. He wrote the music for Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu and the lyrics were written by screenwriter Franco Migliacci. The song won the 1958 Sanremo Music Festival and finished third in the Eurovision Song Contest. From there the song became a huge worldwide hit including topping the Billboard Hot 100. It was also Billboard's top single of 1958 and won the 1958 Record Of The Year and Song Of  The Year Grammys and is the only foreign language song to win those awards. Popularly the song is known as Volare and was adapted to English by lyricist Mitchell Parish who wrote Star Dust and Sophisticated Lady among others. It was usually sung in half English half Italian and Bobby Rydell's recording of Volare reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. I'm sure Modugno enjoyed the royalties from that recording. You can get Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu on this Rhino various artists budget comp of Italian-American favourites including songs by Dean Martin, Louis Prima and Lou Monte. Domenico Modugno won the Sanremo Music Festival four times and was a recording and film star in Italy through the 80s. In 1986, he was elected congressman for Turin as a member of the Italian Radical Party. He died of a heart attack on Aug. 6, 1994 at age 66. Here's Domenico Modugno performing Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu on The Ed Sullivan Show 1958.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yuka Tsuji returning on July 9 JEWELS show

Mika Nagano
JEWELS ran a double shot today at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. I'm not a huge fan of double shots because fans get tired and cranky especially when you're running way too many kickboxing matches on what is supposed to be an MMA show. If fans want to see kickboxing, they can go to tomorrow's J-Girls show. The filler on these shows was clearly an issue with fans and the media because JEWELS owner Yuichi Ozono was asked about it after the show. He said they would continue to showcase a variety of fighting styles. Obviously he doesn't perceive it as filler but he's wrong as fans do perceive kickboxing etc. as filler. The big news from this show that overshadows everything else is that former SMACKGIRL and VALKYRIE champ Yuka Tsuji announced she would return on the July 9 JEWELS show. Tsuji had reconstructive shoulder surgery and minor knee surgery. In fact, last week was the first anniversary of her shoulder surgery. The obvious first opponent would be VV Mei but Ayaka Hamasaki, Saori Ishioka and Mika Nagano are all available according to JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki. So the main theme of this show was supposed to be JEWELS vs VALKYRIE. I think they could have done more with it but they just watered it down too much. VALKYRIE won 3-2 when VALKYRIE's Sugi Rock won the main event over Misaki Takimoto with a rear naked choke at 4:06 of round one. Ozono and Saeki both said they were very impressed with Sugi Rock. In the semi main, Ayaka Hamasaki won a grappling match by split decision over Saori Ishioka. Hamasaki controlled the first round but Ishioka came back in the second round and almost pulled off an upset. Mika Nagano won over Emi Murata with a cross arm breaker at 1:40 of round one. But what got her more attention than anyone else on the show is a new outfit and new theme music. Obviously she learned about getting attention by working with Fuuka at STARDOM. VALKYRIE's SACHI won over MIYOKO. The first round was even but SACHI took control in round two and won by unanimous decision. On the evening show, there was also a SHOOT BOXING match and a couple of grappling matches. In the afternoon show, the last three matches were all kickboxing matches. Fans perceive that as filler on what is supposed to be an MMA show. The Mongolian former pro wrestler Esui won a match for JEWELS over Chisa Yonezawa. Yonezawa took Esui down but left herself open to pounding and Yonezawa's left eye got very swollen and the doctor stopped the match at the end of round one. VALKYRIE's Megumi Morioka won a unanimous decision over Asami Higa. Yukiko Seki won a split decision over Yuka Okumura. Okumura lost a point for missing weight so that may have cost her the match. And Sadae Manhoef won over anna with a cross arm breaker at 2:10 of round two. Afterwards, VALKYRIE matchmaker Yasuko Mogi looked like the cat that swallowed the canary and needled Ozono and especially Saeki. Mogi joked that this was the first step of her takeover plan.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kansas

Song:Dust In The Wind
Album:The Essential Kansas: Limited Edition 3.0

Kansas was one of the most popular bands of the 70s mostly based on constant touring. Dust In The Wind was their only top ten single but they were more of an album band anyway. They fell apart in the 80s. The band was made up of guys who all played in high school bands in Topeka, KS. Guitarist and keyboard player Kerry Livgren had several bands in the 60s including The Reasons Why with singer Lynn Meredith, keyboard players Don Montre and Dan Wright. They brought in Scott Kessler on bass and Zeke Lowe on drums and changed their name to Saratoga. Then they merged with Phil Ehart's band White Clover and were renamed Kansas. After a tug of war between the two bands, Livgren was invited to join with Ehart, White Clover bassist Dave Hope, violinist Robbie Sieinhardt, keyboard player Steve Walsh and guitarist Richard Williams. They hadn't decided on the group name but decided on Kansas when they signed with Kirshner Records. Their first three albums did OK but they finally had success when their fourth album Leftoverture went 5XPlatinum on the strength of the top 20 hit Carry On Wayward Son in 1976. Dust In The Wind was an even bigger hit and reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. They never had another big hit but their albums still sold well. Kansas began to fall apart when Kerry Livgren became a born again Christian and became increasingly uncomfortable in secular music. Livgren and Dave Hope left Kansas on New Year's Eve 1983 to form the Christian rock band AD with Warren Ham of Bloodrock. Steve Walsh returned to Kansas and hired guitarist Steve Morse of The Dixie Dregs. But it wasn't the same and they split up in 1989. There are a few Kansas comps available but this 3CD comp is the best value. Walsh, Ehart and Williams continue to tour as Kansas today. Kerry Livgren has continued to record as a solo artist and with AD. Here's the video for Dust In The Wind by Kansas.

Friday, May 13, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Roberta Flack

Artist:Roberta Flack
Song:Feel Like Makin' Love
Album:Softly With These Songs: The Best Of Roberta Flack

It's likely that if Smooth Jazz had existed in the 70s, classically trained pianist Roberta Flack would have been a best selling jazz singer. But just when it looked like she was going nowhere in the early 70s, one of Hollywood's top stars and directors who also happens to be a big jazz nut used one of her recordings and she would ride that for the next two decades. She was born Feb. 10, 1937 in Black Mountain, NC and grew up in the Washington, DC suburb of Arlington, VA. Her mom was the church organist. Roberta grew up singing in church and became such a classical piano prodigy that Howard University gave her a full scholarship at age 15. She became a music teacher in Washington but performed in clubs on weekends. In 1968, she was performing at a benefit headlined by jazz pianist and singer Les McCann. He took her to Atlantic Records producer Joel Dorn and before long, her debut album First Take was released. Despite critical acclaim, her albums weren't selling. That includes her first duet album with Donny Hathaway. Roberta's big break came when Clint Eastwood used The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face on his 1972 directorial debut Play Misty For Me. It topped the pop charts for six weeks and was the biggest song of 1972. And it was all because Eastwood is a huge jazz nut and loves her music. Her duet with Donny Hathaway Where Is The Love reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her 1973 album Killing Me Softly reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 2XPlatinum. The title song also topped the charts and so did Feel Like Makin' Love in 1974. Feel Like Makin' Love was written by Gene McDaniels who had a top 5 hit with A Hundred Pounds Of Clay in 1961. He also wrote the Les McCann hit Compared To What. Leon Pendarvis and Roberta Flack wrote the arrangement. Roberta continued to have success with Donny Hathaway until he committed suicide in 1979. Obviously Roberta was devastated but she soon had success recording with R & B singer Peabo Bryson and they had a top 20 hit with Tonight, I Celebrate My love in 1982. Her final chart appearance was the top ten duet with Maxi Priest Set The Night To Music in 1991. Since leaving Atlantic in 1994, Roberta hasn't recorded much but she still tours. This budget CD has all her hits. She performed Where Is The Love with Maxwell on the 2010 Grammy telecast. Here's Roberta Flack performing Feel Like Makin' Love at BET in Washington 2001. It's from her DVD Roberta Flack In Concert.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Georgia Gibbs

Artist:Georgia Gibbs
Song:Kiss Of Fire
Album:The Complete Original Hits Of Georgia Gibbs

Georgia Gibbs had several hits in the pre-rock & roll 50s including the 1952 number one hit Kiss Of Fire. She was a very energetic performer and appeared on TV a lot. She's also notorious for having hits with a couple of R & B classics. She retired in the 60s. She was born Frieda Lipschitz Aug. 17, 1919 in Worcester, MA. When her father died, she and her three siblings lived in an orphanage. Even then Frieda showed talent as she usually starred in the orphanage variety show. As a teen she performed in Boston vaudeville houses and at age 17 toured with the Hudson-Lange Orchestra as Frieda Gibson. In the 40s she appeared on radio shows like Your Hit Parade and sang with several bands. She sang lead on the 1942 Artie Shaw hit Absent Minded Moon. She changed her name to Georgia Gibbs in 1943 and was a regular on the Camel Caravan radio show hosted by Jimmy Durante and Garry Moore. And it was Moore who dubbed her Her Nibs Miss Georgia Gibbs because she was a little girl with a big voice. Nibs is a now archaic term for an authority figure. Her first hit single in 1950 was If I Knew You Were Coming (I'd've Baked A Cake) on Coral Records. She was usually a featured vocalist on TV variety shows or touring with Danny Kaye or Sid Caesar. At the time, some thought she needed a gimmick. But Georgia thought her talent was enough to make her a star. The problem was Georgia was so versatile it likely prevented her from being a big star. She signed with Mercury Records and finally broke through with the #1 hit Kiss of Fire. Kiss Of Fire was based on Argentinian musician Angel Villoldo's tango El Choclo. It was adapted into English by character actor Lester Allen and Robert Hill. Georgia had the biggest hit with the song but Tony Martin also had a top ten hit with Kiss Of Fire. Yiddish comedian Mickey Katz recorded the parody Kiss Of Meyer. Georgia continued to have chart success in the mid-50s including covers of LaVern Baker's Tweedle Dee and her second #1 hit with the Etta James classic Dance With Me Henry. And of course she was accused of stealing from black artists. Remember it wasn't her decision to record those songs. She left Mercury for RCA in 1957. And after one last top 30 hit with The Hula Hoop Song in 1958, she faded until she retired in 1966. Georgia re-recorded some of her 50s hits in the 60s for Epic. So you have to be careful you're getting the original recordings. This comp from the reissue label Eric Records has her original recordings. Georgia Gibbs was married to authour Frank Gervasi. They had one child and one grandchild. She died on Dec. 9, 2007 at age 87. Here's Georgia Gibbs performing a medley of Tweedle Dee, Dance With Me Henry and Kiss Of Fire. It doesn't give a date or the show though I would assume mid-50s.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Man arrested for threatening Pro Wrestling WAVE's Moeka Haruhi

Moeka Haruhi
Kanagawa newspaper Kanaroko reports that 34 year old unemployed Naoki Kobayashi of Osaka has been arrested for threatening 26 year old Moeka Haruhi of Pro Wrestling WAVE. Haruhi has been a pro wrestler since 2005. She trained at K-Dojo briefly and then Ice Ribbon forerunner GTKN. She quit the joshi business in 2007 but returned to WAVE in 2008 and still works there. She's a typical idol wrestler sold mostly for her looks. Personally, I don't think she's attractive. Different strokes for different folks. I don't think she's much of a wrestler. I saw her in her GTKN days and she's way too thin to be a credible pro wrestler and she's not an athlete. She was a model before she took up wrestling. And I don't think she's improved much recently. A lot of Haruhi's fanbase is built on her interest in anime. Her entrance music is from Dragon Quest and she wears anime themed outfits. Apparently this suspect was a member of Haruhi's fan club. He met her at a meet and greet fan event in Nov. 2009 and demanded to touch her breasts, not that there's much there. Of course she refused. Since then, he has sent her over 500 emails with messages like "I won't forgive you, I have to kill you" and "I want to kill you". Charming. Then he took it farther. In an interview with RINGSTARS, Haruhi says that he started a blog and continued to threaten her publicly on the blog and on Twitter. And he threatened to come to shows and kill her. He also sent emails of his threats to city officials. As a result, Haruhi got police protection. The police began their investigation in January and Kobayashi was arrested when he came to an Apr. 1 WAVE show at Shinjuku FACE. Looks like he could be headed for a rubber room. I don't think it's a result of selling sex in joshi puroresu. I just think the guy is a lunatic.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Maurice Chevalier

Artist:Maurice Chevalier
Album:Early Movie Hits

Most folks are probably familiar with Maurice Chevalier's role in the 1958 film Gigi and of course the song Thank Heaven For Little girls. But today it's hard to understand how important Chevalier was to film musicals of the 1930s. Mimi is from Chevalier's 1932 hit film Love Me Tonight. He was already a star but this just made him bigger. He was born Sept. 12, 1888 in Paris. He was partner of Frehel and then Mistinguett, one of France's biggest stars. He was wounded and then a POW for two years during WWI. He continued to perform upon his return to France. But he wanted to go to the US so he took English lessons. His appeared in Charles Chaplin's 1922 film A Woman Of Paris. Though Chaplin was known for comedies, this was a drama. He also appeared in the operetta Dede. Though Douglas Fairbanks invited Chevalier to come to Hollywood, Chevalier doubted he would be successful in silent films. So when sound arrived in 1928, Chevalier signed with Paramount Pictures. Innocence Of Paris was his first "talkie" in 1929 and Chevalier sang his big hit Louise. So now he's a star. I can't tell you why Chevalier was a star. It's not like he was that handsome but he had a certain style about him. In 1932, Chevalier starred in the Ernst Lubitsch film One Hour With You. At the time, musical were not popular with moviegoers. But Chevalier's chemistry with Jeanette MacDonald made the film a hit. So Paramount reteamed them in Love Me Tonight with Chevalier singing several Rodgers & Hart songs including Mimi. It was a big hit and Chevalier was a key figure in the popularization of film musicals. You can get all his 30s film hits on this CD from the musical theater and film music label DRG Records. After Chevalier starred in the 1934 film The Merry Widow, he left Paramount for MGM and wasn't as successful there. He moved back to France and continued to perform. He returned to Hollywood in the mid-50s and starred in several films like Love in The Afternoon and Gigi. After a few more films in the 60s, Maurice Chevalier retired in 1968 and died on Jan. 1, 1972 at age 83. He sang the title song of the 1970 Disney animated film The Aristocats before his death. Here is Maurice Chevalier singing Mimi to Jeanette MacDonald from the 1932 film Love Me Tonight.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nagisa Nozaki fired by Diana, possibly blackballed

Nagisa Nozaki
World Woman Pro Wrestling Diana CEO Kyoko Inoue announced today that Nagisa Nozaki has been released from her contract effective immediately. Her match this Sunday against Aja Kong has been cancelled and a replacement match will be announced at a press conference tomorrow. Apparently Nozaki did not show up for the May 4 World Arena show. That's Diana's dojo. When Inoue posted the announcement on the Diana website a few hours ago, she said Nozaki was caught smoking weed but that has now been removed. The possibility is that Nozaki could get blackballed from joshi for smoking weed. So I don't know if it's true or not. Nozaki acknowledged on her blog that the dismissal was her fault. She is considering various options including retirement. She said she still wanted to work an upcoming Pro Wrestling WAVE show and it appears GAMI may agree to that. Retirement would not surprise me. She seems to be injury prone and had reconstructive shoulder surgery in 2009. It's not good for Diana because they obviously planned to give her a heel push. Nozaki is a pretty girl so she's marketable. But she's small which makes it questionable that she could survive the grind of the joshi business. The other thing is last week she posted on her Twitter that she wanted to leave Diana and work for SMASH. She later removed this. She has worked a couple of matches at SMASH. But I'm not sure TAJIRI is prepared to hire her full time. And the possible weed smoking would be a problem for any of the companies. So it looks like this might be the end for Nagisa Nozaki.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Yvonne Elliman

Artist:Yvonne Elliman
Song:If I Can't Have you
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Yvonne Elliman

Yvonne Elliman is perceived as a one hit wonder for the 1978 number one hit If I Can't Have You from the film Saturday Night Fever and then she disappeared. For one thing, she had a couple more hits. But for most of the 70s she was a backup singer for Eric Clapton after starring in Jesus Christ Superstar. I guess she did disappear though. She was born Dec. 29, 1951 in Honolulu. She moved to London in 1969 and was discovered by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber and cast as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. She performed in the London production and then moved to New York for the Broadway production and then the film version. She was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1974. But you probably don't remember that she had a hit in with I Don't Know How To Love Him in 1971. It reached #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. Of course Helen Reddy had a much bigger hit with the song. In New York, Yvonne met and married RSO Records exec Bill Oakes. He introduced her to Eric Clapton. She sang backup on I Shot The Sherriff and toured with Clapton for five years. She also signed with RSO and had a couple of top 20 hits including a cover of the Barbara Lewis classic Hello Stranger. She had already worked with producers like Pete Townshend, Steve Cropper and Freddie Perren. And now The Bee Gees wanted to work with her. They were working on the music for the film Saturday Night Fever. They planned to have Yvonne sing How Deep Is Your Love and The Bee Gees were going to record If I Can't Have You. But label owner Robert Stigwood wanted The Bee Gees to record How Deep Is Your Love so they gave Yvonne If I Can't Have You. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. Yvonne had a couple more chart hits including the theme to the film Moment By Moment and she even appeared on the TV series Hawaii Five-O. Then she retired from music to raise a family. She returned with the 2004 CD Simple Needs and performs occasionally. This budget CD has all her 70s hits. Here's Yvonne Elliman performing If I Can't Have You on The Midnight Special 1978.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Amapola retains CMLL title on May 8 REINA show

Amapola keeps her title
Universal Women's Pro Wrestling REINA held their first big show yesterday at Shinjuku FACE. They've actually been running shows since January but this was their first show since announcing a partnership with CMLL in Mexico. The main event had Amapola defending her CMLL Women's Championship against Marcela in a two out of three fall match. Amapola retained the title. Meanwhile, Ayumi Kurihara earned a CMLL title shot with a win over Mima Shimoda who lives in Mexico. I don't know if they will do that match in Japan or if Ayumi is going to Mexico. She's very popular there but she never wrestled a match of that magnitude over there. There was also a match for something called the TLW World's Women's Championship. I don't know what that is. I seem to recall WAVE creating a TLW tag team title. There are too many damn belts in the joshi business already. Fans in attendance didn't seem to know what it was either. Aki Kambayashi who I think used to work for Ito Dojo won over mystery gaijin Kelly Skater from Australia and SHIMMER. There was no advance notice of this. Of course running the company is veteran Yumiko Hotta and she teamed with Manami Toyota and won over Hailey Hatred & the masked luchadora Zeuxis. Apparently fans really hate Hotta and think she should retire. I just wonder if she learned her lesson. Her selfish booking killed A To Z a few years ago and if she does that here, fans will quickly get tired of that. Of course REINA doesn't have much of a roster. So they are depending on the Mexicans and popular freelancers like Kurihara to beef up the shows. And next week's random gaijin are Roxie Cotton and Mia Yim. I've never been a fan of bringing foreigners in for one shots. Younger wrestlers can learn a lot in an extended time period. They're not going to learn anything in a few days. They're not a draw and if they perform poorly, fans get down on gaijin in general. But I like the use of luchadoras as they are a draw in Japan.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Blue Oyster Cult

Artist:Blue Oyster Cult
Song:(Don't Fear) The Reaper
Album:The Best Of Blue Oyster Cult: Don't Fear The Reaper

Blue Oyster Cult was known as the thinking man's heavy metal group probably because of their interest in literature especially science fiction. They had their biggest commercial success with the 1976 top twenty hit (Don't Fear) The Reaper which is also their signature song. The interesting thing about Blue Oyster Cult is the band was not started by musicians. Manager Sandy Pearlman and lyricist Richard Meltzer were students at Stony Brook College in Long Island, NY and both were rock critics for Crawdaddy Magazine. In 1967 they started the band Soft White Underbelly with Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser on guitar, Allen Lanier on keyboards, Albert Bouchard on drums, Andy Winters on bass and Les Bronstein on vocals. They signed with Elektra and recorded an album. But Bronstein left and Elektra shelved the album and dropped them. Road manager Eric Bloom became the new lead singer. The band went through several name changes before Pearlman settled on Blue Oyster Cult. Winters was replaced by Albert Bouchard's brother Joe Bouchard. They signed with Columbia and began to build a fanbase through touring. Their first couple of albums did OK but their 1974 album Secret Treaties broke through and reached #53 on the Billboard Hot 200. But their 1975 live album On Your Feet Or On Your Knees reached #22 and set the stage for the success of the 1976 album Agents Of Fortune. It reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was their first Platinum album. (Don't Fear) The Reaper reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was their biggest hit single and is their signature song. It helped that John Carpenter used it in his hit film Halloween. As I said, Eric Bloom was usually lead singer. But Donald Roeser wrote (Don't Fear) The Reaper and sang lead. Blue Oyster Cult continued to have success on the album charts until they started falling apart in the mid-80s. Columbia dropped them in 1988. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Eric Bloom and Donald Roeser continue to lead Blue Oyster Cult today. Albert Bouchard has a band called The Brain Surgeons. Allen Lanier is retired. Here's Blue Oyster Cult performing (Don't Fear) The Reaper from the 70s.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Cat Zingano turns down fight with Tonya Evinger

Some of you may be familiar with Colorado based fighter Cat Zingano. Her record is 5-0 and she holds a regional title belt that she will defend next Saturday in Denver. That's the poster over there. But the 800lb gorilla in the room is that Cat Zingano has been accused by several fighters of cherry picking fights for most of her career even going back to her amateur days. These accusations seem to always surface when rankings come out and she's ranked #4 in the 115-25lb weight class. Her usual fighting weight is 125. I don't pay attention to rankings. I only know her ranking because I looked at it a few minutes ago for this article. But there are fighters who believe she shouldn't be ranked because of her cherry picking. Aisling Daly has said this. I don't think that sort of thing is considered when compiling rankings. I've seen her. She's a good fighter. But these kind of accusations are very unusual. And it's not like I've only heard this once. I've heard it several times. Supposedly Cat is headed for a showdown with Tara LaRosa in Shark Fights. But the Shark Fights president quit last week so Tara isn't so sure. She has been chasing Cat for a while. So the original opponent for next week's fight was Angela Samaro. She's an odd opponent for a title fight because most fans haven't heard of her. Her record is 3-1 and that one loss was to...Cat Zingano. She dropped out last week due to injury. The original opponent Casey Noland was supposed to face Cat in Feb. but it was rescheduled for next week. But Casey was TKOd and couldn't do it. So Angela was signed. The promotion was also contacted by Takayo Hashi's manager Shu Hirata. They told him he was too late. But they got back to him when they needed a replacement at short notice. Hashi's record is 11-3 but she performed poorly in her Strikeforce title match against Sarah Kaufman. And I didn't like her performance against Tara LaRosa last Nov. She's actually not ranked anymore. I didn't know that. I just looked at it a few minutes ago. She was a good fighter a few years ago but she doesn't seem to be good anymore. It appears the promoters were aware of Hashi's recent poor performances and tried to find another opponent. They asked Michelle Ould if she was interested in the fight at 130. Michelle has a final on May 14 and she already has a fight scheduled for June. She also told me she would want a full camp to prepare for Cat. So she asked her partner in crime Tonya Evinger if she was interested in the fight. Tonya agreed and even agreed when the contracted weight was changed to 125. She is currently under contract to Raging Wolf but that hurdle was cleared. So both fighters were offered to Cat. The promoter favoured Tonya because win or lose, Tonya always fights to win and is very entertaining. These days, Hashi seems to fight to lose by unanimous decision. They chose Hashi. I don't know if she thinks Hashi is an easier opponent or she just doesn't want to fight Tonya. I think Cat will win but she'll be very annoyed with Hashi by the end of three rounds. Does anyone have some No-Doz? I may need it for this fight.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Iggy Pop

Artist:Iggy Pop
Song:Lust For Life
Album:A Million In Prizes: The Anthology

There are many who hail Iggy Pop as the Godfather Of Punk because they think he invented punk when he led The Stooges. I don't know if he invented punk but there's no question of his influence. And anyone who saw his recent performance on American Idol saw that he is still a compelling performer though he has toned down some of his insane stage antics. He was born James Osterberg Jr. Apr. 21, 1947 in Muskegon, MI. He formed his first band The Iguanas while attending high school in Ann Arbor and the nickname Iggy was from that band. After leading The Prime Movers, Iggy moved to Chicago to learn more about the blues. When he returned home in 1967, he formed The Stooges influenced by local bands like MC5. Supposedly Iggy was the first to do stage diving and other crazy antics on stage. It didn't seem to help record sales as The Stooges were dropped by Elektra and The Stooges disbanded in 1971. Iggy met David Bowie and Bowie wanted to produce an album in England. The Stooges were reformed and signed with Columbia. The Stooges ultimately failed because of Iggy's drug addiction causing fights with the other members. Iggy eventually went to rehab in Los Angeles. David Bowie was one of his few visitors. They moved to Germany to record and Iggy signed with RCA. Lust For Life the second album of that deal. Bowie wrote and produced most of the songs with Iggy and the band was Bowie's backup group Tin Machine featuring Soupy Sales' sons Hunt Sales on drums and Tony Sales on bass. The album didn't sell and Iggy soon left RCA for Arista. But Lust For Life got a big boost when Danny Boyle used it on the soundtrack of the 1996 film Trainspotting. They even produced a video. This introduced Iggy Pop to a whole new audience. He has recorded for Virgin Records since 1990 and this 2CD comp is an excellent overview of his career. He's supposed to release a new CD this year. Iggy Pop still tours and is revered as an icon of rock music. His only concession to age is he won't stage dive anymore. Here's the video for Lust For Life by Iggy Pop from the film Trainspotting.