Saturday, December 31, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sonny & Cher

Artist:Sonny & Cher
Song:The Beat Goes On
Album:The Beat Goes On: The Best Of Sonny & Cher

I think most folks remember Sonny & Cher more for their 70s variety show than anything else. It turns out that in the 60s they only had two top ten hits, I Got You Babe and The Beat Goes On. And though I Got You Babe was a bigger hit, The Beat Goes On is considered to be Sonny Bono's signature song. It was played at his funeral. They also had a couple of top ten hits in the early 70s. I thought they had more hits than that. Salvatore "Sonny" Bono was born Feb. 16, 1935 in Detroit and went to high school in Inglewood, CA. After one of his songs was recorded by Sam Cooke, Bono worked for Phil Spector and co-wrote Needles and Pins with Jack Nitzsche which was a hit for Jackie DeShannon and then The Searchers. Meanwhile he met Cherilyn Sarkisan in a Los Angeles coffee shop in 1962. They married and he brought her in to sing backup on Phil Spector records. They started out recording as Caesar and Cleo. When that didn't take off, they recorded Baby Don't Go and that was a regional hit. Sonny also had a solo hit with Laugh At Me. They signed with Atco Records and their first single I Got You Babe topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. They seemed to have trouble following that. A couple of singles reached the top 20 but The Beat Goes On was their only other top ten hit in 1967. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Things went south at Atco when they made the 1967 film Good Times. The film bombed and Atco dropped them in 1968. Sonny & Cher became big stars in Las Vegas and then in 1970, CBS programming head Fred Silverman saw them host The Merv Griffin Show and offered them a variety show. It ran for three years until their marriage fell apart. They also signed with Kapp Records and had top ten hits with All I Ever Need Is You and A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done in 1972. Cher also started recording solo and of course she has had a long career. This budget comp has their Atco recordings only. Rhino did release a 2CD comp containing Atco and Kapp recording but it is no longer in print. Sonny & Cher divorced in 1975 and reunited occasionally. Sonny Bono  did some acting on TV before he became a California congressman and died on Jan. 5, 1998 as the result of a skiing accident. Here's Sonny & Cher performing The Beat Goes On on a French TV show 1967.

Friday, December 30, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Sylvers

Artist:The Sylvers
Song:Boogie Fever
Album:The Best Of The Sylvers

Of course The Sylvers are frequently compared to The Jacksons because they are also a family group. Nine of the ten Sylvers siblings were in The Sylvers. They had success on the R & B charts in the 70s and Boogie Fever was their only number one pop hit in 1976. The Sylvers were originally from Memphis but the family moved to Los Angeles in the early 60s. Generally, the oldest brother Leon Sylvers III was the group leader. He played bass and wrote a lot of the songs. Along with sisters Olan and Charmaine and brother James, they performed in LA as Little Angels. They appeared on TV and recorded a couple of singles. By 1970, Edmund and Ricky were added to the act. After winning a local talent contest, they signed with MGM Records and MGM President Mike Curb changed the group name to The Sylvers. They recorded three albums for MGM and though a couple of singles like Wish That I Could Talk To You did well on the R & B charts, The Sylvers didn't break through to the pop charts. By this time sisters Angie and Pat and youngest brother Foster were added to the group. Foster recorded a couple of solo albums for MGM and he was obviously supposed to remind you of Michael Jackson. In 1975, The Sylvers signed with Capitol Records and Capitol vice president Larkin Arnold hired producer Freddie Perren away from Motown. Of course Perren produced The Jackson 5. Arnold suggested that Perren record a song with the word boogie in it. Perren wrote Boogie Fever with partner Ken St. Lewis. Boogie Fever topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. Legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson stole the bass line from The Beatles' Day Tripper. Their other top five hit was Hot Line in 1976. Charmaine left in 1976. For their 1977 album New Horizons, The Sylvers chose not to work with Perren and Leon took over as producer. The album didn't do well and when Capitol rejected the next album, they moved to Casablanca Records. Then Leon took a house producer position with the new label SOLAR Records owned by Soul Train host Don Cornelius. He had a lot of success there in the 80s. The Sylvers continued but recorded their final album for Geffen in 1984. You can get all their Capitol hits on this budget comp. Boogie Fever got a big boost when it appeared in the 2010 film Despicable Me. Leon Sylvers had a lot of success producing SOLAR Records acts in the 80s. After a dry spell, he worked with Blackstreet in the 90s and most recently produced N'Dambi's 2009 CD Pink Elephant. Edmund Sylvers died in 2004 but the others have done studio work over the years and they even appeared on the TV One reality show Unsung in 2011. Leon Sylvers announced plans to produce the next generation of The Sylvers featuring his son Leon Sylvers IV. Here's The Sylvers performing Boogie Fever on The Midnight Special 1976.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Burton Cummings

Artist:Burton Cummings
Song:Stand Tall
Album:Burton Cummings

Of course Burton Cummings is best known as the lead singer and keyboard player for the legendary Canadian band The Guess Who. But he also had success as a solo artist after they split up in 1975. Stand Tall was his only top ten hit in 1976. He was born Dec. 31, 1947 in Winnipeg. Cummings recorded with The Deverons in the early 60s. The Guess Who recorded at the same studio in Minneapolis. Cummings was hired by The Guess Who to replace pianist Bob Ashley in 1965. Then Chad Allen left and Cummings became the new lead singer. Of course The Guess Who were very successful and Cummings wrote many of their hits with guitarist Randy Bachman including These Eyes. After Bachman left The Guess Who to form Brave Belt and then Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Guess Who began a decline that led to their 1975 split. Cummings signed with Columbia and Burton Cummings was his 1976 debut album. Stand Tall reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was his only significant US hit. His subsequent albums sold well in Canada but he stalled elsewhere. He continued to record in the 80s with decreasing success. The Burton Cummings album is available as a budget CD with two bonus tracks. Cummings toured with a reformed Guess Who in 2001 and he has also toured and recorded with Randy Bachman as The Bachman-Cummings Band. Cummings was named to the Order Of Canada in 2009 and received a star on Canada's Walk Of Fame in Oct. 2011. He last recorded in 2008 but I'm sure we'll hear from this Canadian music legend again. Here's Burton Cummings performing Stand Tall 1976.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Hour joshi trainee Miwako Nomura dead at 21

RIP Miwako Nomura
I am sorry to report that Happy Hour trainee Miwako Nomura died at age 21 on Dec. 27. Happy Hour is the offshoot of Womens Pro Wrestling Diana owned by retired AJW and Pro Wrestling Sun wrestler Hikaru. Hikaru introduced Nomura in September with plans to debut her in December. That was delayed until March as the December show was cancelled. Nomura's athletic background was in softball. According to the police investigation, Nomura complained of headaches on November 15. She went to hospital and was cleared. The next day, she collapsed during practice and was rushed to the hospital. She underwent surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage and never regained consciousness. Cause of death seems to be acute heart failure but police are still investigating and will issue an official statement in January. Her death is being treated as an accident and it does not appear that there will be any criminal charges. My guess is they are trying to determine if a blow to the head led to Nomura's death. Hikaru hasn't issued a statement so I'm not sure how this death affects Happy Hour's future. But it's always a sad day when a wrestler dies and this girl never got the chance to make her debut. RIP Miwako Nomura.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John Anderson

Artist:John Anderson
Album:RCA Country Legends

John Anderson was a fixture on the country music charts in the 80s and 90s. Swingin' was one of his five number one country hits and is considered his signature song. He was born Dec. 13, 1954 in Apopka, FL which is a suburb of Orlando. He played in rock bands until he discovered Merle Haggard at age 15 and then turned to country music. His sound is in the tradition of honky tonkers like Haggard. He moved to Nashville in 1971 and played clubs at night while working during the day. Anderson signed with Warner Bros. in 1977 and his first top 40 country music hit was The Girl At The End Of The Bar in 1978. Anderson became a fixture in the top ten with songs like 1959, I'm Just An Old Chunk Of Coal and Chicken Truck. But his 1982 album Wild & Blue launched him to country music stardom. The title song was his first number one country music hit but Swingin' not only reached number one on the country music charts but it crossed over to pop and reached #43 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Wild & Blue album was certified Gold. Anderson wrote the song with long time songwriting partner Lionel Delmore. Anderson's success continued until he left Warners in 1986. Albums for MCA and Capitol were not as successful. In 1991 he signed with BNA Records which was the new name for RCA Nashville and clicked with veteran producer and former Giant Records president James Stroud. His 1992 album Seminole Wind got him back to the top of the country charts and was certified 2XPlatinum. And Straight Tequila Night was a number one hit. The success continued for a couple of albums. But Anderson faded and left BNA in 1996. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Anderson has also recorded for Mercury and Columbia and his latest CD Bigger Hands was released on his own label June 2009. He is currently working on a gospel album. Here's John Anderson performing Swingin' on an awards show in 1984.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-REO Speedwagon

Artist:REO Speedwagon
Song:Can't Fight This Feeling
Album:The Hits

REO Speedwagon were around for over a decade before they achieved the kind of mainstream success they wanted and became one of the most popular bands of the 80s. Can't Fight This Feeling was one of their two number one hits. They started out in 1967 and were all students at the University Of Illinois in Champaign, IL. REO Speedwagon was a vintage truck created by Oldsmobile founder Ransom Olds. Keyboard player Neal Doughty and drummer Alan Gratzer were the only founding members to remain with the group. Terry Luttrell became lead singer in 1968. But the key figure in the development of REO Speedwagon was guitarist Gary Richrath who joined in 1970. He brought songwriting ability the others didn't have. The bass player was Gregg Philbin. They signed with Epic Records in 1971 and their debut album was produced by Paul Leka, the man behind Steam's Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye). They went on tour but Luttrell left in 1972 and was replaced by Kevin Cronin. Cronin left after their second album and was replaced by Michael Bryan Murphy. He stayed for two albums and then Cronin returned in 1976. My impression is that Cronin and Richrath were not buddies. The band convinced Epic to let them record a live album. Live albums were hot at the time. the 1977 album Live: You Get What You Play For and the 1978 album You Can Tune A Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish were both certified Platinum. Philbin was replaced by Bruce Hall. With the 1980 album Hi Infidelity, REO Speedwagon finally hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with Keep On Loving You and several more singles. Can't Fight This Feeling also topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985 when the group performed it on Live Aid. Both number one hits were written by Kevin Cronin. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. REO Speedwagon began their decline when Al Gratzer retired in 1988. But conflict over the band direction between Cronin and Richrath forced Richrath to leave. They thought they had replaced him with keyboard player Jesse Harris from Sammy Hagar's band but that didn't work out and he left in 1991. Richrath started his own unsuccessful band. After Epic dropped them, REO Speedwagon recorded occasionally and continue to tour led by Cronin and Doughty. Bruce Hall is still with them and guitarist Dave Amato and drummer Bryan Hitt have been with the group since 1989. Here's the video for Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon.

Monday, December 26, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sneaker Pimps

Artist:Sneaker Pimps
Song:6 Underground
Album:Becoming X

The British group Sneaker Pimps had a brief bit of success in the US when DJs picked up on 6 Underground when it appeared on the soundtrack of the 1997 film The Saint. The success was short lived because by the time the song got airplay, lead singer Kelli Dayton had already left the group. Sneaker Pimps musical style is very similar to the very successful group Portishead. Liam Howe and his childhood friend Chris Corner were attending Reading University and had a group called F.R.I.S.K. They were experimenting with electronic instruments. Howe decided to turn it into a pop group in 1994. He brought in his friend Ian Pickering to write the lyrics and Howe wrote the music. And they hired lead singer Kelli Dayton from the groups Psycho Drama and The Lumieres. They recorded Becoming X and the album and a couple of the singles including 6 Underground had some success on the British charts. When they started recording their second album, Corner sang the vocals and Howe decided they didn't need Kelli anymore and they dismissed her. The problem was that 6 Underground was on the soundtrack of the 1997 film The Saint. It started getting airplay but Sneaker Pimps couldn't tour to support it because Kelli was no longer in the group. The Saint soundtrack is out of print but the remix of 6 Underground that was on The Saint has been added to Becoming X as a bonus track. Howe and Corner attempted to continue Sneaker Pimps but didn't have the same success without Kelli Dayton. She has recorded three solo CDs as Kelli Ali. Liam Howe and Chris Corner have recorded solo and both produce and record with other artists. I guess Sneaker Pimps can best be described as an opportunity missed. Here's the video for 6 Underground by Sneaker Pimps.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Punch Brothers

Artist:Punch Brothers
Song:Punch Bowl

Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile formed Punch Brothers after his very popular group Nickel Creek split up in 2007. Punch Brothers has become one of the biggest concert draws on the roots music circuit. When Nickel Creek split up, Thile was also going through a divorce. He decided to get together with a bunch of his musician buddies to whine about relationships and maybe form a band. The other guys were session fiddle player Gabe Wichter, banjo player Noam Pikelny of Leftover Salmon, guitarist Chris Eldridge of The Infamous Stringdusters and bassist Greg Garrison of Leftover Salmon. At first Thile wasn't sure what kind of music he wanted to do. But after jamming, he decided on bluegrass. At first they were called The How To Grow A Band and then The Tensions Mountain Boys. But they settled on Punch Brothers based on the Mark Twain short story A Literary Nightmare. They signed with Nonesuch Records and the centerpiece of their 2008 CD Punch was Thile's four movement suite The Blind Leaving The Blind. Thile has said that the entire CD was written to deal with his divorce. The CD topped the Bluegrass Album chart and Punch Brothers went on a very successful tour. Greg Garrison was replaced by Paul Kowert after the tour. Their 2010 CD Antifogmatic also sold well and the Punch Brothers new CD Who's Feeling Young Now? will be released in February. Punch Brothers are also the subject of the 2011 documentary How To Grow A Band which premiered at the Nashville Film Festival in April 2011. So if you're a bluegrass or roots music fan and you like guys who are great musicians, check out Punch Brothers. Here's Punch Brothers performing Punch Bowl at Kent Stage in Kent, OH 2008.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Shadows Of Knight

Artist:The Shadows Of Knight
Album:Dark Sides: The Best Of The Shadows Of Knight

By the mid-60s, the British Invasion was so dominant on the pop charts that US bands thought that imitating British Invasion bands was the only way to get anywhere. The Shadows Of Knight took the British interpretation of Chicago blues and reinterpreted it. This cover of Them's Gloria was their only top ten hit. The band was originally called The Shadows but there was already a British group with that name. Lead singer Jim Sohns, guitarists Warren Rogers, Roger Spielmann and Norm Gotsch, bassist Wayne Pursell and drummer Tom Schifflour all went to high school in Mount Prospect, IL. The football team nickname was The Knights. The band was called The Shadows Of Knight. Joe Kelley replaced Pursell and then Gotsch was drafted into the military and was replaced by Jerry McGeorge. They played gigs in the Chicago area and signed with Dunwich Records producer Bill Traut. Gloria was their first single. It started out as a regional hit and eventually broke nationally and reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was probably a bigger hit than the chart placement but may have been adversely affected by Dunwich not having national distribution. And of course Them's version was already a hit and some markets didn't play the cover. So The Shadows Of Knight recorded an album and more singles. But they couldn't find the magic of Gloria and The Shadows Of Knight split up in 1967. This budget comp is a good intro to their music. Jerry McGeorge left to join H.P. Lovecraft and the others left. Jim Sohns attempted to continue The Shadows Of Knight. He moved to New York in 1969. He continues to lead versions of Shadows Of Knight today. Here's The Shadows Of Knight performing Gloria on Where The Action Is 1966.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kaori Yoneyama doesn't retire

Commando Bolshoi, Kaori Yoneyama, Kayoko Haruyama
A funny thing happened on the way to Kaori Yoneyama's retirement show today at Korakuen Hall. She didn't retire. I'm not kidding. In all the years I have covered joshi puroresu, and I've been around a long time, this has never happened before. Sure, sometimes wrestlers retire and return. It doesn't happen that much but it happens. But a wrestler has never gone through a retirement show complete with ceremony and ten bell salute and decided not to go through with it. After the ceremony, Yoneyama grabbed the mic and said that she is being replaced by Yoneyama Revolution Chapter 2 and she's coming after Hailey Hatred's JWP Open Weight Championship. So why did Yoneyama want to retire in the first place? Well, after twelve years in the joshi business, a lot of wrestlers think about retirement. She had also just ended a run with the JWP Open Weight Championship and she thought she was satisfied with that. But the main reason Yoneyama wanted to retire is she was off with a broken jaw last year and she admitted it took a lot out of her and was concerned about her health. So the retirement show was booked and Yoneyama went on her retirement tour. But at a press conference last week to promote the retirement show, her long time pal and retirement match opponent Kayoko Haruyama told Yoneyama she didn't want her to retire. Yoneyama had a stunned look on her face. But these two have worked together for years. You can be sure they discussed this. Of course by this time it was too late to cancel the show. So Yoneyama went through the motions of the retirement show and then announced that she changed her mind. I think she decided a while ago not to retire and should have announced it earlier. I guess it's hard to give up that Korakuen Hall full house and the residual merchandise sales. The reaction has mostly been positive There were some boos but the crowd at the show mostly cheered. I'm sure no one will believe her the next time she announces her retirement. It was also announced that Arisa Nakajima will return to JWP after quitting in June 2009. She trained at A To Z back in 2006 and looked to have some potential. But severe depression forced her to quit. Well, that's two pieces of good news for JWP owner Commando Bolshoi.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans

Artist:Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans
Album:Wall Of Sound: The Very Best Of Phil Spector 1961-1966

By now we all know Phil Spector is a strange paranoid little man whose fascination with guns has landed him in jail as a convicted murderer. But in the 60s he produced some of the best pop music ever recorded. This 1963 cover of the Disney classic Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah was the only top ten hit for Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans. The leader of the group was supposed to be Bobby Sheen. He was a member of The Robins from 1958-61. This was the reformed version of The Robins, not the original group that became The Coasters. When The Robins split up, Sheen recorded a solo single for Liberty Records and also recorded with The Ding Dongs and The Lovables. So Spector brought Sheen into the studio with Darlene Love and Fanita James of the girl group The Blossoms. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah was the first single. For some reason, Spector chose to use Darlene as lead singer instead of Sheen. When the song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963, Sheen's fate was sealed. Darlene was going to be the lead singer. Spector also used Darlene as lead singer of The Crystals when he had problems with the group. She got annoyed with him and eventually he recorded Darlene under her own name. Needless to say, she was a very versatile singer. Darlene was also lead singer on Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans other hits Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts? and Not Too Young To Get Married. Sheen did sing some lead on the Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans album. But nobody remembers that and it's not available anyway. He left and was replaced by Blossom Gloria Jones. Sheen went on to be a member of The Coasters and he died in 1986. You can get all three Bobb B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans hits on this budget various artists comp. Here's a video for Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah by Bob B.Soxx & The Blue Jeans featuring Darlene Love and a guitar solo by Tommy Tedesco.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kim Carnes

Artist:Kim Carnes
Song:Bette Davis Eyes
Album:The Best Of Kim Carnes

It might surprise music fans to know that Kim Carnes was around the Los Angeles music scene for 15 years before she became on overnight sensation with the 1981 chart topper Bette Davis Eyes. She was born July 20, 1945 in Los Angeles. She joined The New Christy Minstrels in 1966 and then left with husband and songwriting partner Dave Ellingson to form Kim & Dave. She also appeared in the 1967 film C'Mon, Live A Little. Kim signed her first publishing deal with producer Jimmy Bowen in 1969. Others working there at the time included Don Henley, Glen Frey and JD Souther. She sang Nobody Knows on the soundtrack of the 1971 film Vanishing Point and her song Sing Out For Jesus also appeared in the film recorded by Big Mama Thornton. She released her debut album Rest On Me in 1972. It led to a contract with A & M Records. She recorded two unsuccessful albums and was dropped. Her 1978 duet with Gene Cotton You're A Part Of Me broke the top forty. But Kim's big break came when Kenny Rogers recorded Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer with her and it reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. She had been pals with Rogers since the New Christy Minstrels days. Then she earned her first top ten pop hit with More Love in 1980. Bette Davis Eyes topped the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and the album Mistaken Identity was certified Platinum. It earned Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year Grammys. Bette Davis Eyes was written by Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss and Jackie recorded it in 1974. Producer Val Garay and keyboard player Bill Cuomo came up with the hook that sold the song. Even Bette Davis approved and she became friends with Kim Carnes. Some of her other singles charted mostly on the Adult Contemporary chart. But by 1986, Capitol dropped her. You can get all her hits on this budget comp. After one album for MCA, Kim and her husband moved to Nashville and continue to write songs for others. She sure caught lightning in a bottle that one time. Here's the video for Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beth Phoenix retains the WWE Divas Championship

Here's the match video from Sunday's WWE PPV with Beth Phoenix defending her WWE Divas Championship against Kelly Kelly. The match was criticized pretty heavily online. It's an OK match but as usual, the WWE chooses not to put the Divas in a PPV quality match. There was nothing special about it other than maybe Kelly's costume was tinier than usual. I noticed that Kelly is screaming louder than before. I guess she is being told to do that. Beth wins with a flapjack variation. The Pinup Strong angle has been hurt by the WWE's indecision about what to do with it. They even did a heel turn on Smackdown recently and then decided not to air it. Even CM Punk has criticized the WWE for handling this angle indecisively. I'm definitely concerned this angle will fizzle and it can be a good angle. But that's the WWE for you. Enjoy the match with French commentary.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Johnny Duncan

Artist:Johnny Duncan f/Janie Fricke
Song:It Couldn't Have Been Any Better
Album:It Couldn't Have Been Any Better

Not to be confused with the Johnny Duncan who was a big skiffle star in England in the 50s, this Johnny Duncan had success on the country music charts in the 70s working with legendary producer Billy Sherrill. Two of his three number one hits were duets with then country music newcomer Janie Fricke. He was born Oct. 5, 1938 in Dublin, TX into a musical family. His family had a bluegrass group and his cousins were Jimmy Seals of Seals & Crofts and Dan Seals of England Dan & John Ford Coley. Duncan moved to New Mexico in 1959 and recorded some singles with Buddy Holly's producer Norman Petty that went nowhere. He moved to Nashville in 1964 and signed with Columbia Records in 1966. Duncan may have looked like a country music outlaw but his music was easy going country pop. His music didn't catch on until he got together with Billy Sherrill and Larry Gatlin in 1972. Gatlin was a country music star who also worked behind the scenes at Columbia. Sweet Country Woman was Duncan's first top ten country hit in 1973. Janie Fricke came to Nashville from Indiana in the mid-70s and was working as a session singer when Sherrill signed her to Columbia and decided to feature her on Duncan's records. All four of their duets were top ten hits and Thinkin' Of A Rendezvous and It Couldn't Have Been Any Better both topped the country charts. Of course Fricke went on to country music stardom in the 80s. It Couldn't Have Been Any Better was written by Canadian country music star Ray Griff. His songs were popular in Nashville in the 70s. Duncan had one more number one hit with She Can Put Her Shoes Under My Bed (Anytime) in 1978. But by the early 80s he faded and Columbia dropped him. You can get all of Duncan's hits on this comp. Duncan moved back to Texas and the last time he recorded was 1986. He died on Aug. 14, 2006 at age 67. Here's Johnny Duncan with Janie Fricke performing It Couldn't Have Been Any Better on Pop Goes The Country 1977.

Monday, December 19, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Barrett Strong

Artist:Barrett Strong
Song:Money (That's What I Want)
Album:The Complete Motown Collection

This 1960 hit was the song that allowed Berry Gordy to start Motown Records. For Barrett Strong, it was his only hit as a recording artist. But he was a Motown staff songwriter usually working with producer Norman Whitfield. And he's still around today. Strong was born Feb. 5, 1941 in West Point, MS and grew up in Detroit. He was one of the first artists signed to Gordy's new Tamla label and Money was the very first Motown hit single in 1960. It reached #2 on the R & B Singles chart and #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gordy wrote the song with long time Motown employee Janie Bradford. It generated enough revenue so Gordy could open Motown and the rest is history. Many artists have covered Money including The Beatles. The Kingsmen had a top 20 hit with Money in 1964. But the most significant cover was the goofy novelty hit by The Flying Lizards in 1979. Strong recorded other songs for Motown but most of them weren't released. 10 of the 22 songs on this Motown UK comp were never released. You can also get Money on plenty of Motown various artists comps. Among the songs Strong wrote with Whitfield were I Heard It Through The Grapevine, War and a lot of the "psychedelic soul" songs for The Temptations including the Grammy winner Papa Was A Rolling Stone. Barrett Strong left Motown in 1972 and recorded for Capitol in the mid 70s He continues to record occasionally on independent labels. Here's the DTV video for Money by Barrett Strong.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cris Cyborg demolishes HIROKO

Here's the match video from last night's Strikeforce show with Cris Cyborg winning over HIROKO by TKO in 16 seconds. Cris came out and a right to the chin knocked HIROKO down. She decided not to go for a rear naked choke and let HIROKO get up. A couple more shots and HIROKO folded like a cheap suitcase and the ref stopped it. Was it an early stoppage? Maybe but why delay the inevitable? Supposedly afterwards HIROKO said she didn't remember anything from the match. Yikes! HIROKO's biggest mistake was not leaving Japan two years ago to train in the US. She works for a company that doesn't use full MMA rules. How is that supposed to prepare her for Cris Cyborg? It's delusional for her to think she can just waltz in here and compete with Cris. So now Strikeforce is asking Cris to drop to 135lb so she can keep busy. She says she will try. But my guess is this experiment won't pan out. Cris walks around at 170. That's a massive weight cut. And even if she makes 135, she might not be comfortable fighting at that weight. So what will Strikeforce do with Cris if she can't make 135? Eventually she will fight Ronda Rousey. But Strikeforce has already said that won't happen for a while. There just aren't many fighters at 145. But the first thing Strikeforce could do is bring back Marloes Coenen who I know would love another shot at Cris. Another fighter worth looking at is Romy Ruyssen of France. She has a 5-1 record and her only loss was to Marloes Coenen. I've seen her and she's a pretty good grappler. Match her up with Germaine de Randamie and see how she does. Other than those two, there ain't much. I wish Randi Miller would finally turn pro. That HIROKO with her heavily padded 12-1 record was ranked so high shows how weak the division is. As many long time readers will know, I don't bother with rankings so I didn't know where HIROKO was ranked until someone told me. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ricky Skaggs

Artist:Ricky Skaggs
Song:I Don't Care
Album:16 Biggest Hits

Ricky Skaggs used a total of 11 number one country music hits in the 80s to establish himself as the heir to Bill Monroe's bluegrass legacy. He continues that legacy today. I Don't Care was the second of those number one hits in 1982. He was born July 18, 1954 in Cordell, KY. At age seven he appeared on TV with Flatt & Scruggs. And by age 15, Skaggs and fellow teen prodigy Keith Whitley were members of Ralph Stanley's band. In the 70s, he was a member of bluegrass bands The Country Gentlemen, J.D. Crowe & the New South and led his own band Boone Creek. But it was his time with Emmylou Harris' Hot Band from 1977-80 that likely got the attention of Epic Records. Skaggs replaced Rodney Crowell in Harris' band and moved her band in a more traditional bluegrass direction. After recording two solo albums for the bluegrass label Sugar Hill, he signed with Epic. They wanted Skaggs to break out of bluegrass into the mainstream country market. His 1981 Epic debut album Waitin' For The Sun To Shine reached #2 on the Country Album chart and was certified Gold. Skaggs' cover of the Flatt & Scruggs hit Crying My Heart Out Over You was his first number one country music hit and his cover of Webb Pierce's 1955 number one country hit I Don't Care was Skaggs' second number one hit. Skaggs' success on the country charts continued through the 80s and he won a lot of awards. You can get all his 80s hits on this budget CD. When country music changed in the early 90s, Skaggs simply went back to his bluegrass roots. He left Epic in 1992 and after recording for Atlantic and Rounder, he has recorded for his own Skaggs Family label since 1999. His latest CD Country Hits Bluegrass Style is a CD of his 80s hits newly recorded with bluegrass arrangements. It was released July 2011. Ricky Skaggs continues to be a popular concert act today known for his versatile musicianship playing mandolin, guitar and fiddle. Here's Ricky Skaggs performing I Don't Care on Nashville Now 1982. I believe the legendary Jerry Douglas is playing dobro.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Incompetent judge ruins year end JEWELS show

Ayaka Hamasaki, Sugi Rock
So when you run a year end show, you're supposed to go out on a high note and look towards the future. Today's JEWELS show went out with an unfortunate finish to the main event and a string of matches ruined by what appears to be an incompetent and inexperienced judge. It looks like it was his first event ever. In the main event, Ayaka Hamasaki successfully defended her JEWELS Lightweight Championship over Ham Seo Hee. It appears that round one was fairly even with a slight edge to Hamasaki. But Ham was unable to get up at the end of the round. The fight was stopped and she was taken to the hospital with a possible sprained back. Very disappointing but these things happen sometimes. Hamasaki said she wants to defend against Yuka Tsuji. Tsuji is currently out recovering from minor surgery but will return in 2012. In the JEWELS Featherweight Championship tournament, Misaki Takimoto won over Yukiko Seki by unanimous decision. The other semi final match was the first indication that there was a problem with one of the judges. Though Japanese reports indicate that Sugi Rock should have won over Kikuyo Ishikawa by unanimous decision, judge Akira Yamazaki inexplicably scored it in Ishikawa's favour. Sugi Rock wins by split decision. In the final, Sugi Rock won over Takimoto by armbar at 4:09 of round one. Takimoto's corner threw in the towel. Congratulations to Sugi Rock. I'm not surprised. She is the class of this weight division. In a Featherweight tournament reserve match, SACHI won over Yasuko Tamada by split decision. But again reports indicate that SACHI should have won by unanimous decision but Yamazaki scored it in Tamada's favour. Then it happens again when Emi Tomimatsu wins over Rina Tomita by split decision and for the third time Yamazaki scored it in favour of the obvious loser. And then he did it for the fourth time. I saw plenty of Tweets from fans who believe Mika Nagano won a very close match over VV Mei. One judge scored it for Nagano. The second judge scored it for Mei. Yamazaki scored it for Mei. She wins by split decision. Of course the problem is that by this time Yamazaki has already messed up three times and can't be trusted to give a competent decision. Once is fine. Judges make mistakes. But after the third time, he should have been tossed out of the building. Fans and fighters deserve competent judges. He cost Mika Nagano a win and that kind of incompetence usually results in needless rematches. So who is Akira Yamazaki?. He's a boxer from Osaka. His record is 12-6-4 and he last boxed last year. So it appears this may have been his first job as a judge. He also lost his only MMA fight in 2006. Of course in Japan the promoter hires the judges. There is no athletic commission. JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki's lame response to Yamazaki's incompetence was that fighters shouldn't leave things to the judges. There's something fishy going on. In other matches, Emi Fujino won over Celine by unanimous decision, Shino VanHoose won over Asami Higa by unanimous decision and Yuka Okumura won over anna by heel hook at 4:41 of round one. Afterwards it was announced that former VALKYRIE matchmaker Yasuko Mogi has been hired as a producer for JEWELS. It's unknown what her role really is as she may butt heads with Saeki over his methods. And owner Yuichi Ozono is out to lunch. JEWELS' first 2012 show will be Mar. 9 at Shinjuku FACE. Mogi did say she wants to run a show in Osaka. But I don't know if she'll try to affect rule changes and I know they can't afford to run in a cage. We'll see how that goes.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Rough Trade

Artist:Rough Trade
Song:High School Confidential
Album:Birds Of A Feather: The Best Of Rough Trade

Rough Trade certainly did their part in shaking up the stodgy Canadian music scene in the 70s. But I don't think it converted to much success outside Canada and the music hasn't worn that well. I guess High School Confidential was a product of the times. Singer Carole Pope and pianist Kevan Staples had a group called O in 1968 in Toronto. The third member Clive Smith went on to found the Nelvana animation studio. When he left O in 1970, the duo performed for a while as The Bullwhip Brothers but by 1974 they decided to expand to a full band and change the name to Rough Trade. The band had several different lineups but Pope and Staples were always the leaders. The band concept was to write controversial almost lurid songs and have Pope prance around the stage in bondage gear. That sort of thing will get attention especially in a Puritanical backwater like Toronto. They recorded Rough Trade Live in 1976 and then they produced the short lived musical Restless Underwear co-starring Divine. That closed over financial disputes. In 1980, Rough Trade signed with True North in Canada and Stiff Records in the US. High School Confidential reached #12 on the RPM chart in Canada and the album Avoid Freud did well. It didn't take off in the US as Stiff was having financial problems. For their second album For Those Who Think Young, they moved to Boardwalk Records. The result was no different. They did well in Canada but not in the US. Their next album Shaking The Foundations wasn't released in the US. That's a bad sign. The pattern continued until Rough Trade split up in 1986. A band can't make a living from Canadian record sales. You can get all their hits on this comp. Carole Pope and Kevan Staples have reunited Rough Trade occasionally and continue to be part of the Toronto music scene. There's always that nagging feeling that they never reached their potential. I always thought a more consistent band lineup would have made a big difference. Here's the video for High School Confidential by Rough Trade.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Showtime renews Strikeforce for two more years

It was finally announced yesterday that Showtime has renewed their Strikeforce contract for two more years. A lot of us in the MMA media have been aware of the likely renewal from the moment Ken Hershman left Showtime for HBO. He was the final barrier as he doesn't like Zuffa. Apparently there will be eight shows per year and they will be carried on SuperChannel in Canada. And of course the good news is that women's MMA will continue in Strikeforce. When Zuffa first bought Showtime in March, I can't tell you how many supposed experts insisted that they would just kill Strikeforce. I just thought this deal was different from PRIDE or WEC. Zuffa paid a big premium for Strikeforce and no one pays $40M just to kill the company. What they really wanted to do was prevent ProElite or anyone else from being on Showtime. So once it was determined that Showtime wanted to remain in the MMA business, Zuffa would do what was necessary to make a deal. Hershman's departure just made it easier. Zuffa isn't making money on the deal but it does close a door that would have opened if Strikeforce had closed. I expect the 135lb division to continue as it is and you can expect Strikeforce to sign more fighters. I'd like to see Shayna Bazsler and Sheila Bird in Strikeforce. After Cris Cyborg disposes of HIROKO, she's supposed to drop to 135. I'll believe it when I see it. I'd like to see Strikeforce start a 125lb division. It would close another loophole. Besides, I don't believe the two companies planning a 125lb division will do it properly. Bellator owner Bjorn Rebney keeps talking about doing a 125lb tournament but it's just talk. I don't expect him to actually do it this year. And if Strikeforce does a 125lb division, I expect him to drop it. It's best to assume that Rebney is just giving lip service. Talk is cheap. And today, the British company Cage Warriors announced plans to have a 125lb tournament in May with four fighters. Of course there should be eight fighters if you want to make a big splash. But it's also too soon to announce it. Things change in this business weekly. What will they do if two fighters suffer training injuries and have to be replaced? And that's why I don't believe in six months lead time for anything in MMA. Stuff happens. And here's a message to both Bellator and Cage Warriors. Any 125lb tournament without Tara LaRosa is a waste of time. Why bother if you won't hire one of the best female fighters in the world? I know her price is high. She's worth the money. Maybe Strikeforce will scoop her up and upstage both of you.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Paul Overstreet

Artist:Paul Overstreet, Tanya Tucker & Paul Davis
Song:I Won't Take Less Than Your Love
Album:Cryin' Lyin' Lovin' & Leavin'

This one off single was a number one country music hit and was recorded for the 1987 Tanya Tucker album Love Me Like You Used To. But the song led to a solo contract for songwriter Paul Overstreet and he had success in the early 90s. Overstreet was born Mar. 17, 1955 in Newton, MS. He moved to Nashville after graduating from high school and played in bands at night while working during the day. He finally got his big break when George Jones had a top five country hit with Overstreet's Same Ole Me. Then The Forrester Sisters topped the country chart in 1984 with I Fell In Love Again Last Night. This was followed by the Randy Travis hit Diggin' Up Bones. So now everybody is recording Overstreet's songs. But he still wanted to perform. So he formed S-K-O with Thom Skyler and Fred Knobloch and they had a number one hit in 1986 with Baby's Got A New Baby. He also won awards for the Randy Travis hits Forever And Ever Amen and On The Other Hand. Overstreet wrote I Won't Take Less Than Your Love with longtime partner Don Schlitz. It topped the country charts and appearing on TV with Tanya Tucker and Paul Davis got Overstreet much needed exposure. After that S-K-O was supposed to reform but when MTM Records was sold to Warner Bros., Overstreet signed with RCA Records instead. He had several top ten country hits but Daddy's Come Around was the only one to top the chart in 1991. There is a Paul Overstreet comp on RCA but I Won't Take Less Than Your Love is on Capitol. You can get it on this budget various artists comp. Overstreet left RCA in 1994. He records for his own label and his songs are more religious these days. But for a long time, Paul Overstreet was one of the hottest songwriters in Nashville and I'm sure those royalty cheques still come in the mail. Here's Paul Overstreet with Tanya Tucker and Paul Davis performing I Won't Take Less Than Your Love on Hee Haw 1987.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sakura Emi to step down as Ice Ribbon booker

Sakura Emi
So after Sunday's Ice Ribbon show, company owner Sakura Emi said she would have a big announcement on Jan. 7. The whole thing was supposed to be kept a secret but Tsukasa Fujimoto appeared on Samurai TV and spilled the beans. Sakura Emi plans to quit as Ice Ribbon booker. Emi later revealed on UStream that she is turning the company over to former NEO President Tatsuya Koda. Fujimoto was very upset with Emi and suggested that maybe she should just shut down the company. I'm not particularly surprised that Emi wants out. For all the mistaken perception of Ice Ribbon's success, Emi was clearly uncomfortable with the company's growth. She knew she needed to change the direction of Ice Ribbon if she wanted to continue to grow. The company needed to operate more professionally. But Emi started Ice Ribbon as an after school diversion for pre teen girls and she was fond of those roots. It clearly affected Ice Ribbon's bottom line. They run too many shows in front of too few fans. And the ring work is spotty at best. For every Hikaru Shida who turns out pretty good, there are a host of young girls who will never be any good in the ring and shouldn't be wrestlers in the first place. She couldn't have it both ways. And as we saw with Makoto, the chances that most of these girls will leave Ice Ribbon for greener pastures is high. And that has to hurt Emi. She founded Ice Ribbon and trained all the girls. So will the rats leave the sinking ship? Will they work for Koda? Remember that his inability to produce new talent is the main reason NEO closed. It's obviously not a good situation. Even if Sakura Emi says Ice Ribbon will continue, what if all the wrestlers get together and quit? I wonder how final this decision really is. Of course Emi will continue as an active wrestler. She just doesn't want to be a company owner anymore.

Syuri's opponent named for Jan. 9 KRUSH show

Syuri, Miyako "SMILE" Masahori
KRUSH held a press conference today to announce the first kickboxing opponent for SMASH pro wrestler Syuri on their Jan. 9 Korakuen Hall show. In a match contracted for 52kg, Syuri will face Miyako "SMILE" Masahori. The thing that's odd about this is Syuri is competing as a kickboxer fully supported by SMASH owner Tajiri. So his intention is to use Syuri's kickboxing experience in pro wrestling angles. I'm not sure what he'll do if she loses. Masahori has a 4-3 record. She's actually in a kickboxing match on this Saturday's JEWELS show facing the soon to retire Mai. That match is at 49kg. And as you can see by the pic, Syuri has a definite size advantage. They're selling Masahori as a kickboxing mom so I guess she's been around the block a few times. Obviously Syuri is being set up to win. KRUSH producer Misuru Miyata claimed he had ten kickboxers wanting to fight Syuri. Another women's match was added at 57kg. Kimiko Sasaki will face Shiho Mizuno. Both matches are scheduled for three two minute rounds.

Kyoko Kimura added to Jan. 28 PANCRASE show

Kyoko Kimura
PANCRASE announced today that they have added a women's match to their Jan. 28 Differ Ariake show. In a match contracted for 64kg, Kyoko Kimura will face Mizuho Sato. The match is scheduled for two five minute rounds. Kimura is the veteran pro wrestler who made a successful MMA debut with a win over Megumi Yabushita on the Nov. 12 PANCRASE show. She trains at Sakaguchi Family Dojo. Kyoko has said her goal is to face Rin Nakai. If she wins this fight, she should get closer to that goal. Sato is a VALKYRIE veteran. She now trains at BJJ Top. Her record is 6-5. Her last fight was a loss to Rin Nakai on the Nov. 28, 2010 VALKYRIE show in the finals of the VALKYRIE Open Weight Championship tournament. The fight was stopped when Sato suffered a broken orbital bone. This will be her return to MMA. She has lost to Rin Nakai twice but has also lost to Megumi Yabushita and Super Benkei. She has never beaten a top fighter. So I don't know if she is a better test for Kimura than Yabushita. Probably not.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tammy Wynette

Artist:Tammy Wynette
Song:Stand By Your Man
Album:Anniversary: 20 Years Of Hits

Tammy Wynette was one of the most popular country music artists of the 70s. She had 17 number one country music hits but Stand By Your Man was the only one to cross over to the pop charts. It is considered her signature song. She was born Virginia Wynette Pugh May 5, 1942 in Itawamba County MS. She was always known by her middle name Wynette or Nettie. Her father died from a brain tumor when she was nine months old. He was a farmer and local musician. Her mom had to move to Memphis to work so Wynette was raised on her grandparents' farm. She learned to play guitar as a child. While still in high school, Wynette married her first husband Euple Byrd. The marriage didn't last long but Wynette had three children and the youngest had spinal meningitis. She went to beauty school and became a hairdresser but earned extra money singing in clubs at night. An appearance on a 1965 Birmingham TV show led to a move to Nashville in 1966. After many auditions, producer Billy Sherrill signed her to Epic Records. The first thing he did was change her name. He thought she looked like Debbie Reynolds in Tammy & The Bachelor so she was named Tammy Wynette. Sherrill not only produced Wynette's records but wrote a lot of the songs. And though he became one of the top producers of the 70s, this was his first big gig. Wynette had several country music hits but really caught on with D-I-V-O-R-C-E and Stand By Your Man in 1969. Not only was Stand By Your Man a number one country hit but it reached #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sherrill and Wynette wrote the song in 15 minutes while in the recording studio. It also won her a Grammy and appeared in Bob Rafelson's 1970 film Five Easy Pieces. She also married George Jones and had some hits with him. They divorced in 1975. Tammy Wynette ruled the country charts for the first half of the 70s. Then she started to fade but continued to perform through the 90s. You can get all her hits on this budget comp. She married George Richey in 1978 and they remained together until her death. Tammy Wynette had several health problems including an addiction to painkillers. She died in her sleep on Apr. 6, 1998 at age 55. When her daughters accused Richey of being responsible for her death, Wynette's body was exhumed in 1999 and Richey was cleared. She died of natural causes. There's not much question that Tammy Wynette was a legend of country music. She was a tremendous singer. Here's Tammy Wynette performing Stand By Your Man in the 1969 film From Nashville With Music.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Foghat

Song:Fool For The City
Album:The Best Of Foghat

Foghat was a very successful 70s spinoff of the 60s band Savoy Brown. Though Foghat did get some radio airplay, their success was built on live shows. And their biggest selling album was Foghat Live. Guitarist, lead singer and main songwriter Lonesome Dave Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens and drummer Roger Earl all left Savoy Brown in Dec. 1970 and formed Foghat. They added guitarist Rod Price who was a Brit living in New Hampshire. They signed with Bearsville Records and their 1972 debut album Foghat was produced by Dave Edmunds. Their brand of blues rock was well received and it laid the foundation for success. Fool For The City was their fifth album in 1975. Stevens tired of the endless touring and was replaced by Nick Jameson who produced Fool For The City and then was replaced permanently by Craig MacGregor. The album was certified Gold. Fool For The City and Slow Ride charted as singles. Their biggest hit album Foghat Live sold over two million copies in 1977. Live albums were very popular at the time. Foghat started to fade in the late 70s and Rod Price left in 1980 and was replaced by Erik Cartwright. This Rhino comp has all their hits. They disbanded when Peverett left in 1984 but Earl, MacGregor and Cartwright reformed Foghat in 1986. They toured and then Peverett formed his own version of Foghat in 1990. Producer Rick Rubin convinced the original members to reform in 1993. The resulting album, tour and DVD did well. Peverett and Price both retired from the road. Peverett died in 2000 and Price died in 2005. Roger Earl continues to lead Foghat today. Here's Foghat performing Fool For The City during their 1997 reunion tour.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nelly Furtado

Artist:Nelly Furtado
Song:I'm Like A Bird
Album:The Best Of Nelly Furtado

Fame is so fleeting in the music business and listener attention spans are so short that a musician needs to be able to adjust musical style very quickly. When Nelly Furtado first emerged with I'm Like A Bird in 2000, it had this 60s retro hippie vibe. When that seemed to fade, she reinvented herself as a dance music diva complete with previously untapped sex appeal. She even tapped into the Latin music market in 2009. She was born Dec. 2, 1978 in Victoria, BC to Portuguese immigrant parents. She grew up singing in church and began writing songs at age 12. While visiting her sister in Toronto in 1996, she met Tallis Newkirk of the hip hop group Plains Of Fascination. She moved to Toronto and formed Nelstar with him. It didn't work out and she was going to move back home. But she was spotted performing at a talent show by Philosopher Kings singer Gerald Eaton. The resulting demos led to a contract with DreamWorks Records and her debut CD Whoa, Nelly! was produced by Furtado with Eaton and partner Brian West. They call themselves Track & Field. I'm Like A Bird reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Whoa, Nelly! reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 3XPlatinum. The follow up Turn Off The Light did even better. Nelly's second CD Folklore did not do as well partially because it was more mellow than Whoa, Nelly! but also DreamWorks was having problems and was sold to Universal. Nelly is now on Geffen Records. For her 2006 CD Loose, Nelly went in a more hip hop direction with producer Timbaland and emphasize sex appeal not previously seen. This makeover was very successful and Nelly says it's the kind of music she enjoys anyway. Her 2009 Latin music CD Mi Plan is her latest CD though she should have a new CD coming in the summer of 2012. She is still working with Timbaland so you can expect it to be a continuation of Loose. Geffen released The Best of Nelly Furtado last year. I would expect her next CD to do very well. Here's the video for I'm Like A Bird by Nelly Furtado.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gail Kim successfully defends her TNA Knockouts Championship

Here's the match video from last night's TNA PPV with Gail Kim defending her TNA Knockouts Championship against Mickie James. The match begins at around the 15 minute mark of the video. As is typical of TNA, the match was pretty good until the predictably overbooked ending. A few weeks ago I was asked about this match and I thought Gail would retain the title with outside interference. You'd think TNA would get the message that their booking style is predictable and stale but they don't. Both Mickie and Gail redeemed themselves from that terrible match they had on RAW a couple of years ago. I'm sure that was in the back of their minds. This match got off to a slow start but once they got going, it went well. Gail was fortunate to be unharmed when she flew out of the ring and hit the metal steps. I thought it was a nice touch to have Gail grab the belt and try to leave. That's a good heel move. But the fans in Orlando still won't boo Gail. I guess she's too hot to boo. That's why they put her with Vicki Jarrett. I'm sure this feud will continue. Enjoy the video!
desifunz-net-TNA.Final.Resolution.2011.720p.Pt3_2 by Priyank_Pardeshi

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Little River Band

Artist:Little River Band
Album:The Definitive Collection

The Aussie group Little River Band had six top ten hits from 1978-81. Reminiscing was the first and biggest of those hits. In Australian terms, Little River Band was a supergroup. Glenn Shorrock was the lead singer of the 60s group The Twilights and the early 70s group Axiom. Guitarist Beeb Birtles was in the 60s band Zoot. Bassist Graeham Goble led the folk group Alison Gros and then Mississippi. Birtles and drummer Derek Pellicci were also in that band. Lead guitarist Ric Formosa was a Canadian who moved to Australia in 1974. When LRB was formed, they wanted to have international success. They hired manager Glenn Wheatley to help them do that. Before they began touring, Formosa was replaced by David Briggs and original bassist Roger McLachlan was replaced by George McArdle. They signed with Capitol Records and hotshot producer John Boylan was hired. The 1977 album Diamantina Cocktail went Gold. But then they hit the jackpot when Reminiscing reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album Sleeper Catcher was certified Platinum. Goble wrote Reminiscing. Their 1979 album First Under The Wire was also certified Platinum and they had five more top ten hits. McArdle left to become a minister and was replaced by Wayne Nelson. Briggs was replaced by Stephen Housden in 1981. But the big change was when Glenn Shorrock was forced out of the band and replaced by veteran Aussie pop singer John Farnham. Many fans objected to this change and it led to the band's decline and 1986 split. You can get all their hits on this comp. LRB reformed in 1988 and signed with MCA. They weren't very successful and split up in 1996. Stephen Housden owns the copyright to the LRB name and Wayne Nelson leads a version of LRB today. Birtles, Goble and Shorrock reunited in 2002 but couldn't use the LRB name. They toured as Birtles Shorrock Goble. The current version of Little River Band has no original members. Here's the video for Reminiscing by Little River Band.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nicolette Larson

Artist:Nicolette Larson
Song:Lotta Love
Album:The Very Best Of Nicolette Larson

Nicolette Larson was a veteran backup singer in the Los Angeles studio scene when she had a top ten hit with the Neil Young song Lotta Love in 1979. She also had success in country music in the 80s and continued to perform and record sessions until her 1997 death. She was born July 17, 1952 in Helena, MT. Her father worked for the US Treasury Department so the family moved around a lot. She went to high school in Kansas City, MO and attended the University Of Missouri. But she got the music bug and moved to San Francisco. In 1975, she auditioned for Hoyt Axton and performed with him. He was producing Commander Cody at the time so she became a member of that group. She moved to Los Angeles and started recording backup vocals for all kinds of artists. She became friends with Linda Ronstadt and she recommended Nicolette to Neil Young. She went on tour with him and sang on American Stars 'n' Bars. She also signed a contract with Warner Bros. Young told her she could use the song Lotta Love. Her debut album Nicolette Larson was produced by Doobie Brothers producer Ted Templeman and arranged by Jimmie Haskell. Lotta Love reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was certified Gold. The flute solo was played by jazzman Plas Johnson and Jim Horn played sax. Nicolette's subsequent Warners albums weren't as successful and she left in 1982. She continued her session work. An appearance in the touring cast of the musical Pump Boys and Dinettes got her a contract with MCA Records in 1983. Her 1986 duet with Steve Warriner That's How You Know When Love's Right reached #9 on the Country Singles chart. But other than that, she was unsuccessful and MCA dropped her in 1988. She went back to session work until her death on Dec. 16, 1997 of liver failure at age 45. She may have been addicted to drugs prescribed for depression. At the time she was married to session drummer Russ Kunkel. They have one daughter. This comp is a good overview of Nicolette Larson's career. Here's Nicolette Larson performing Lotta Love 1979.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Pursuit Of Happiness

Artist:The Pursuit Of Happiness
Song:I'm An Adult Now
Album:When We Ruled: The Best Of The Pursuit Of Happiness

I'm An Adult Now is the signature song of the Canadian band The Pursuit Of Happiness. This is a band that should have been bigger but they had personnel problems, record company problems, you get the idea. Though the band was from Toronto, the roots of the band were in Edmonton. Lead singer and songwriter Moe Berg was born in Edmonton in 1959. He had been in several local bands and along with drummer Dave Gilby, moved to Toronto in 1985. They formed The Pursuit Of Happiness with bassist Dave Sinclair and backup singers Tamara and Natasha Amabile. I'm An Adult Now was released as a single independently and became a hit in Canada when the video went into heavy rotation on Canadian music video channel MuchMusic. After the Amabile sisters were replaced by Kris Abbott and Leslie Stanwyck, TPOH signed with Chrysalis Records in the US and Capitol in Canada. Todd Rundgren produced their debut album Love Junk which included a re-recording of I'm And Adult Now. The album did well in Canada but it underperformed in the US. Rundgren also produced their 1990 CD One Sided Story. Sinclair and Stanwyck left and were replaced by Brad Barker and Susan Murumets. Conflict with Chrysalis forced TPOH to leave and they recorded the 1993 CD The Downward Road for Mercury Records. Despite some success with the single Cigarette Dangles, TPOH left Mercury and recorded a couple more albums for a small label. They never split up but they might as well have because they were through. This comp is a good intro to their music. Moe Berg is now a record producer and TPOH has reunited occasionally. Here's the video for I'm An Adult Now by The Pursuit Of Happiness. This is the US video with the re-recorded version of the song. The Canadian video mostly shot on Queen St. W. in Toronto that a lot of us liked is not out there.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Yes, I was hit by a car last week

If you follow me on Twitter, you will already know that I was hit by a car last Saturday. I tweeted the accompanying pic of the offending vehicle immediately after the accident. I was coming home from the supermarket rolling down Royal York Rd. I always use the bike lane on Royal York because I don't like the curbs. And there was construction blocking the sidewalk anyway. I was crossing at an intersection when a car making a left turn didn't stop and rammed the right side of my chair. She says she didn't see me. I don't think I'm very hard to spot. I guess I need to start shooting flares so that clueless self absorbed idiots can see me coming. Fortunately, she was going very slowly so other than shock, I was unharmed. The EMTs checked me out and there was no problem. But my powerchair was damaged. It worked but it would need repairs. A cop came and gave me her insurance info and I went home like nothing happened. I could not believe that someone could be that dumb. I called H.M.E. to let them know that I would call ODSP on Monday and I would need a loaner for a few days. I have said many times the ODSP may be the worst bureaucracy in the history of bureaucracies. I guess my worker is off so I got a call from someone else on Tuesday. So the first thing she asks me to do is call the driver's insurance company. I told her to issue the work order to H.M.E. as usual and fix the chair first and deal with the insurance company afterwards. We don't need to delay the repair. So Eugene of H.M.E. came on Tuesday and brought me a loaner. It was terrible. I could barely drive it. And I got a call from Aviva Insurance on Wednesday. They wanted an estimate so they could approve payment. I told her that H.M.E. normally sends the estimate to ODSP and they have to approve it. It turned out to be a minor repair. The left front caster was replaced. It had a flat spot. And they had to adjust the fork and the footplates. Total cost $170. I thought it could have been a lot worse. But the idiot from ODSP sat on a small repair concerned about the insurance company. This is the kind of small minded nonsense that is typical of the ODSP. I have informed H.M.E. that if there delays with future repairs, call me and I will leave a pissed off voicemail to smarten them up. I also called Aviva. I actually spoke to a supervisor because the woman I spoke to on Wednesday was off. The supervisor took care of it. Thanks to Elena of H.M.E. for sending my chair today. I may have to call them back for an adjustment to the footplates. But other than that, the chair is as good as new. The problem is the ODSP uses voicemail to avoid talking to anyone. The main beef is you can never get through to a live person. And that's part of the reason we all hate dealing with them.

Two matches added to Dec. 17 JEWELS show

Shino VanHoose
JEWELS announced today on their blog two more matches have been added to the Dec. 17 Shinjuku FACE show. This will be headlined by Ayaka Hamasaki defending her JEWELS Lightweight Championship against Ham Seo Hee and the final of the JEWELS Featherweight Championship tournament. In a Featherweight match, Asami Higa will face Shino VanHoose. Higa trains at S-KEEP. Her record is 0-2 and her last fight was a loss to Megumi Morioka on the May 14 JEWELS show. Shino VanHoose is 16 years old and was born in The Netherlands but grew up in Japan. She trains at Pareastra. Her record is 1-0. She beat Nanachanchin on the Oct. 2 PANCRASE show. It was a PANCRASE Gate match so it was not full MMA rules. She has also had success in amateur grappling and as you can see by her picture, she's cute. In a match contracted for 54kg, Yuka Okumura will face anna. Okmura trains at JAPAN SOUL Fighters. Her record is 1-8 and her last fight was a loss to MIYOKO on the July 9 JEWELS show. She returned this year after a four year break. anna trains at Fight Chix. Her record is also 1-8 and her last fight was a loss to Rina Tomita on the Sept. 9 JEWELS show. JEWELS has also added a couple of kickboxing matches and an amateur match. This card is complete.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Billie Jo Spears

Artist:Billie Jo Spears
Song:Blanket On The Ground
Album:The Ultimate Collection

Blanket On The Ground was the only number one country music hit for Billie Jo Spears. She had a total of five top ten hits and when her recording career faded in the early 80s, she continued to be a live draw in England. She was born Billie Jean Spears Jan. 14, 1937 in Beaumont, TX. At 13 years of age, she recorded the single Too Old For Toys, Too Young For Boys as Billie Jean Moore for Jack Rhodes' Abbot label. After recording some demos with guitarist Pete Drake, Billie Jo moved to Nashville looking for a record deal in 1964. She signed with United Artists Records house producer Kelso Herston. When he moved to Capitol a couple of years later, she went with him. Billie Jo had little success until Mr. Walker, It's All Over reached #4 on the Country Music Singles chart in 1969. Just when she was getting some momentum, Billie Jo was diagnosed with polyps on her vocal cords and had surgery to remove them. She returned to United Artists in 1975 and Blanket On The Ground topped the Country Music Singles chart. This tale of a married couple trying to get their mojo back was written by Roger Bowling who also co-wrote Lucille and Coward In The County for Kenny Rogers who also recorded for United Artists. The song was also a top ten hit in the UK. Billie Jo Spears had three more top ten hits with What I've Got In Mind and Misty Blue in 1976 and If You Want Me in 1977. By 1981, she faded and was dropped around the time Capitol bought United Artists. This 2CD comp is the only one that has all of Billie Jo's top ten hits. Billie Jo continued to remain a popular live act in England and has been called The Queen Mother Of Country Music. She had triple bypass surgery in 1993 and continues to tour England today. She lives in Texas. Here's Billie Jo Spears performing Blanket On The Ground on Music Shop 1975.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-EMF

Album:ESPN Presents Jock Jams Vol. 1

Here's a song that shows the value of a good hook. Unbelievable topped the charts in 1991. And though EMF is long forgotten, the hook remains popular mostly as a sports anthem. The members of EMF were all veterans of the Cinderford, England music scene. They formed in 1989. EMF stands for Epsom Mad Funkers though it is rumoured that it started out as profanity. Lead singer James Atkin, guitarist Ian Dench, keyboardist Derry Brownson, bassist Zac Foley and drummer Mark Decloedt only played four concerts before they signed with EMI Parlophone in England and Capitol in the US. At first they were criticized as being too similar to Jesus Jones. But the two bands were good friends. So EMF was doing well on the dance charts on both sides of the Atlantic when Unbelievable topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. It was a worldwide hit. The spoken word heard in the background is a sample of comedian Andrew Dice Clay. The song has lived on as a sports anthem especially by the Cleveland Indians. ESPN and Tommy Boy released a series of Jock Jam CDs in the mid-90s and you can get Unbelievable on volume one. EMF split up after their 1995 CD Cha Cha tanked. Ian Dench went on to work for singer Amanda Ghost. EMF reunited in 2001 and played a few gigs. Zac Foley died of a drug overdose in 2002. They reunited again in 2007 and played a couple of shows and then announced in 2009 that there would be no further EMF shows. But the Unbelievable hook lives on forever. Here's the video for Unbelievable by EMF.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Wynton Kelly

Artist:Wynton Kelly

Pianist Wynton Kelly was mainly a very busy sideman with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and many others. But he also recorded some great solo albums including the 1958 album Piano. He died prematurely so he is somewhat forgotten today. He was born Dec. 2, 1931 in Jamaica but he grew up in Brooklyn, NY. As a teen, he played with Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Hal Singer and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. After making his solo debut for Blue Note in 1951, Kelly worked with Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie and Lester Young. After two years in the military, Kelly again worked with Washington, Gillespie and Charles Mingus. He is best known for his stint with Miles Davis from 1959-63. He replaced Bill Evans during the recording of Kind Of Blue. The 1958 album Piano was the first of two albums Kelly recorded for Riverside Records. Musicians on the album are Kenny Burrell on guitar, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Kelly recorded on several classic Miles Davis albums including Someday My Prince Will Come. When he left, he took Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb and recorded for Vee-Jay and Verve. Kelly also recorded as a sideman with Cannonball Adderley, Hank Mobley, Wes Montgomery and many others. Wynton Kelly died on on Apr. 12, 1971 at age 39 of an epileptic seizure while on tour in Toronto. Many jazz pianists have acknowledged Kelly as an influence. Bassist Marcus Miller is Kelly's cousin and his daughter Tracy Matisak is a Philadelphia TV personality. Here's a video for Action by Wynton Kelly.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Elaine Stritch

Artist:Elaine Stritch f/Barbara Barrie & Charles Kimbrough
Song:The Little Things You Do Together
Album:The Sondheim Songbook

Singer and actress Elaine Stritch is probably best known for her long career on Broadway. Her performance in the 1970 Original Broadway Cast of Company may be her best known role. She was born Feb. 2, 1925 in Detroit. She trained at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City. Other students at the time included Marlon Brando and Bea Arthur. Elaine made her stage debut in 1944 and appeared in several Broadway shows including Pal Joey, Bus Stop, Goldilocks, Noel Coward's Sail Away and the national touring production of Call Me Madam. She also appeared on TV and was the original Trixie Norton in the pilot of Jackie Gleason's classic sitcom The Honeymooners. Her role as Joanne in the 1970 production of Stephen Sondheim's musical Company is one of her best known roles. You can get the original cast album on CD. But you can also get The Little Things You Do Together on this Sondheim sampler released by Sony in 1992. It is an excellent intro to Sondheim's music. Barbara Barrie & Charles Kimbrough are both veteran Broadway performers. Elaine moved to England in 1972 to appear in the London production of Company. She and her husband John Bay remained in England and Elaine did a lot of TV. She starred with Donald Sinden in the 1975 sitcom Two's Company which ran for four seasons. After Bay died in 1982, Elaine moved back to the US. She continues to do shows including her one woman show Elaine Stritch At Liberty. And she's done a lot of TV. Many will recognize her as Alec Baldwin's mother on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. Last year she replaced Angela Lansbury in a revival of the show A Little Night Music. So Elaine Stritch is going strong today. Here's Elaine Stritch performing The Little Things You Do Together at the Original Broadway Cast recording session of Company 1970. This was intended as a pilot for a proposed TV series that was supposed to go behind the scenes of Broadway shows. It never got past the pilot stage. The film was directed by DA Pennebaker and is available on DVD.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Carla Esparza vs Felice Herrig

Today's edition of Big Bad Blog Video Theater is from Friday's XFC show in Tampa. It's Carla Esparza vs Felice Herrig. When I last saw Carla, she lost to Jessica Aguilar on a June Bellator show. Carla is a two time All American wrestler. For some reason in that fight, she decided she wanted to be a kickboxer. Anytime a fighter goes against her strength, that fighter will lose. I don't know why she did that but based on this fight, I think she learned her lesson. Most of us first saw Felice in the reality show Fight Girls. She started out as a Muay Thai  fighter and has made some strides at improving her ground game at Jeff Curran's camp in Chicago. She's a good self promoter and that made her the favourite in this match. Carla came out very aggressively and took Felice down from the very start. She attempted some submissions but for the most part pounded Felice and kept her from doing anything. Carla seemed much stronger than Felice and she won the first two rounds easily. Felice did a little better in the third round but it wasn't enough and she needed a finish anyway. Carla Esparza won by unanimous decision to get back on the winning track. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Bobby Fuller Four

Artist:The Bobby Fuller Four
Song:I Fought The Law
Album:Chart Toppers: Rock Hits Of The 60s

The Bobby Fuller Four had a top ten hit in 1966 with I Fought The Law. Fuller was on his way to a long career in music when he died in a suspicious manner in 1966. If you think Fuller reminds you of the late great Buddy Holly, you're on the right track. He was born Oct. 22, 1942 in Baytown, TX. His family moved to Salt Lake City and then back to El Paso in 1956. Fuller idolized fellow Texan Buddy Holly and was inspired to become a musician. Along with his brother Randy on bass, Fuller played local clubs and recorded a few singles. He moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and The Bobby Fuller Four was signed to the Mustang subsidiary of Del-Fi Records. Del-Fi owner Bob Keane discovered Richie Valens. Along wirh Bobby & Randy Fuller, the band was Jim Reese on guitar and Dewayne Quirico and later Dalton Powell on drums. Fuller didn't mess around. He wanted to be Buddy Holly. He had several hits but I Fought The Law reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. I Fought The Law was written by Sonny Curtis of The Crickets. So if Holly had lived, he might have recorded it. The Crickets recorded it in 1960. I Fought The Law got a huge boost when The Clash covered it in 1979. Joe Strummer told fans to listen to Fuller's version. You can get it on this budget various artists comp from PolyGram's Priority label. Sadly Bobby Fuller was found dead in a car outside his Los Angeles apartment building on July 18, 1966 at age 23. The Los Angeles medical examiner ruled it as suicide though Fuller's family and friends have always believed he was murdered. It could have been a mob hit. One of Sam Cooke's relatives thought it was similar to Cooke's murder. Randy Fuller attempted to keep the band together unsuccessfully and he later joined a reformed Buffalo Springfield and Dewey Martin and Medicine Ball after Buffalo Springfield split up. Here's The Bobby Fuller Four performing I Fought The Law on Hullaballoo 1965.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Patty Smyth

Artist:Patty Smyth f/Don Henley
Song:Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough
Album:Greatest Hits

Not to be confused with legendary singer songwriter Patti Smith, Patty Smyth was lead singer of Scandal for their 1984 top ten hit Warrior. She had her only solo success with the 1992 top five hit Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough. She has been married to tennis star John McEnroe since 1997. She was born June 26, 1957 in New York City. She joined Scandal in 1981. They recorded two albums for Columbia. By the time Warrior reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984, internal conflict disintegrated the band and only Patty and guitarist Keith Mack remained. The plan was for them to continue to record as Scandal. That did not work out. Eddie Van Halen invited Patty to replace David Lee Roth in Van Halen. She turned that down and recorded the 1987 solo album Never Enough. It did not sell and Patty left Columbia. She returned with the 1992 CD Patty Smyth for MCA Records and Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It featured vocals by Don Henley of Eagles. The album was certified Gold. Patty co-wrote Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough with Glen Burtnik of Styx. They have written several songs together. E Street Band keyboard player Roy Bittan produced the album. Other than a couple of songs on movie soundtracks, Patty Smyth has not recorded since then. You can get both Warrior and Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough on this comp. VH1 got Scandal to reunite in 2004 and they released an EP in 2008 with the intention of recording a full album. But that was a couple of years ago and nothing has come of it. As I said, Patty has been married to John McEnroe since 1997 and they have six children living with them. I'm sure they keep her busy. Here's the video for Love Sometimes Just Ain't Enough by Patty Smyth featuring Don Henley.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Sara McMann vs Hitomi Akano added to Jan. 21 Pro Elite show

Hitomi Akano
Pro Elite announced a couple of weeks ago that 2004 Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann would be on their Jan. 21 show in Hawaii. It was reported today that veteran submission specialist Hitomi Akano will be her opponent. Hitomi trains at AACC with her long time best pal Megumi Fujii. Her record is 18-8 and 14 of those wins have been by submission. Her last fight was a win over Roxanne Modafferi on the July 9 JEWELS show. Hitomi's calling card is her ability to get submissions from any position. That ability means that opponents need to be very careful with her as she will try stuff like flying armbars routinely. Apparently Hitomi signed a three fight deal with Pro Elite. A couple of years ago she talked about retiring. She was just married at the time. As I said at the time, Hitomi and Megumi have been best friends for over twenty years. So I expect them to retire together. And of course Megumi will be in her corner for this fight. Sara McMann trains at Revolution MMA. Her record is 4-0 and her last win was over Raquel Pa'aluhi on the Aug. 27 Pro Elite show. Sara won by submission in round three but I thought Sara should have finished the undersized Raquel a lot sooner. And in July, she won over Tonya Evinger by unanimous decision. She seemed to have trouble with Tonya in round three. And again Tonya was undersized as Sara refused to drop to 135 which is Tonya's normal fighting weight. This fight is contracted for 135lb.