Tuesday, January 31, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Betty Everett

Artist:Betty Everett
Song:The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)
Album:It's In His Kiss: The Very Best of the Vee-Jay Years





Though The Shoop Shoop Song is frequently perceived as part of the early 60s girl group sound, the song was a departure for soul singer Betty Everett. Apparently she didn't like the song but it was her biggest chart hit. She was born Nov. 23, 1939 in Greenwood, MS and grew up singing in church. She moved to Chicago in 1957 and after recording for small labels, she signed with Vee-Jay Records in 1963. Her second single You're No Good charted. That song would be a much bigger hit for Linda Ronstadt in the 70s. Vee-Jay A & R director Calvin Carter frequently traveled to New York looking for songs. It's In His Kiss was written by Rudy Clark. He frequently wrote with Bobby Darin. He also co-wrote Good Lovin' and Everybody Plays The Fool. It's In His Kiss was rejected by The Shirelles and then Merry Clayton recorded it in 1963 with no results. Betty didn't like the song but agreed to record it. The backup singers are Vee-Jay regulars The Opals. Ramona King released the song on Warner Bros. as It's In His Kiss. Vee-Jay changed the title to The Shoop Shoop Song to distinguish Betty's version. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been covered many times but Cher's 1990 cover of The Shoop Shoop Song was the biggest cover hit. Betty Everett's other big hit was her duet with Jerry Butler of The Everly Brothers hit Let It Be Me. She recorded for Vee-Jay until they closed in 1966 and you can get all her hits on this comp from Charly Records. Betty signed with UNI Records and had a top 30 hit with There'll Come A Time in 1969. That was written and produced by Eugene Record of The Chi-Lites. She also recorded for Fantasy Records in the 70s. She moved to Beloit, WI to live with her sister in the 80s. Attempts to revive Betty's singing career were foiled by health problems. Betty Everett died on Aug. 19, 2001 at age 61. Here's a video for The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss) by Betty Everett.

Monday, January 30, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Rolf Harris

Artist:Rolf Harris
Song:Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport
Album:The Best Of Rolf Harris





Rolf Harris is a legend in his native Australia and in England. In North America, he is known mainly for the 1963 novelty song Tie Me Kangaroo, Sport which was a top five hit. He is also an artist and has produced kids TV shows and music for years. He was born Mar. 30, 1930 in Bassendean, Australia which is a suburb of Perth. As a teen, he was a championship swimmer. He was the 1946 Australian Junior Backstroke Champion. He studied art first at the University Of Western Australia and then at the City and Guilds Art School in London, England. He appeared on TV usually giving drawing demonstrations. He also started performing in a local club playing his accordion for homesick Aussies. In 1960, he moved back to Perth to star in his own TV variety show and produce children's TV. Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport became a big hit in Australia and England. Then he moved back to England in 1962 and EMI had George Martin produce re-recordings of all his songs including Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport. Epic Records picked it up for the US and the song reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. A couple of his other songs charted and the album Sun Arise sold very well. But Harris had no illusions about his music and knew Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport was a fluke. You'll notice at the start of the video his wobble board which is a piece of masonite. This comp is a good intro to Harris' music. Harris continues to record today. He mostly records children's music. But he had a hit single in England with his 1993 cover of Stairway To Heaven which started as a gag. He still produces TV including the BBC reality series Animal Hospital, plenty of kid's TV and shows like Rolf On Art. Like I said, he's a legend in England and Australia. In North America, he's a one hit novelty song wonder. Here's Rolf Harris performing Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport on the British TV show Brian Henderson's Bandstand 1960.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Pacific Gas and Electric

Artist:Pacific Gas and Electric
Song:Are You Ready
Album:Are You Ready/Pacific Gas and Electric





Are You Ready was the only significant hit for Pacific Gas and Electric in 1970. This is a group that had a great lead singer in Charlie Allen and potential to be stars. But wholesale personnel changes killed them and they faded very quickly. Charlie Allen was the drummer for the mid-60's band Bluesberry Jam. He became part of a new band with guitarists Tom Marshall and Glenn Schwartz and bassist Brent Block. They decided that Allen was the best singer so they at first added drummer Fito de la Parra. Then it appears they traded de la Parra to Canned Heat for Frank Cook. They called themselves the Pacific Gas and Electric Blues Band and then shortened it to Pacific Gas and Electric. They recorded an unsuccessful album for Kent Records in 1968. But a performance at the 1968 Miami Pop festival earned them a deal with Columbia Records. Their 1969 album Pacific Gas and Electric did not catch on. But the 1970 follow up Are You Ready did and the single reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. This twofer CD was first released in Germany and then was picked up in North America by Collectables. Unfortunately Frank Cook was seriously injured in a car crash and the rest of the band left. Cook had become the group manager so he had to assemble and all new group to support Allen. They also changed their name to PG&E when the California utility Pacific Gas & Electric threatened to sue. The band also appeared in the Otto Preminger film Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. It didn't help as the 1971 album PG&E didn't sell. The band split up again and Allen recorded an album for Dunhill Records with studio musicians in 1973. It appears that Charlie Allen left the music business and he died on May 7, 1990 at age 48. It's too bad because Allen was a talented guy. Here's Pacific Gas & Electric performing Are You Ready on BBC4 1970. I think this is the second version of the band known as PG&E.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bob Dylan

Artist:Bob Dylan
Song:Like A Rolling Stone
Album:The Essential Bob Dylan





Today the mid-60s resistance to Bob Dylan's use of electric instruments seems awfully silly. But he was booed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. And Columbia Records didn't want to release the six minute long Like A Rolling Stone as a single. It's still his biggest chart single. Bob Dylan's influence as a songwriter is immeasurable. I'm not a fan of his singing because he mumbles too much. But his legacy especially in the 60s can't be denied. He was born Robert Zimmerman May 24, 1941 in Duluth, MN and grew up in nearby Hibbing. He got into music at an early age and played in bands while attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He was influenced by poet Dylan Thomas to adopt the stage name Bob Dylan. Of course Dylan's main influence was folk music legend Woody Guthrie. So he moved to New York in 1961 to emulate his idol. By then Guthrie was very ill and Dylan visited him in the hospital and he became friends with Guthrie's pal Ramblin' Jack Elliott. After playing local clubs, legendary talent scout John Hammond signed Dylan to Columbia Records. His 1962 debut album was standard folk album of mostly covers. He started recording more of his own songs on the 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The Guthrie influence was still there and Pete Seeger influenced the topical nature of the songs. Others started to record his songs and Dylan became involved in the civil rights movement with Joan Baez. He eventually became disillusioned with the protest movement and folk music in general. So with the 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home, he started recording with electric instruments. The turning point for this change was when Dylan performed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival backed by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The hostile response from folk music purists convinced Dylan that he was on the right track. His next album Highway 61 Revisited started with the six minute Like A Rolling Stone featuring Al Kooper's organ riffs. Columbia didn't want to release it as a single but DJs played it and it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Remember back then most singles were less than three minutes long. So the song was very influential in changing that. Of course since then Bob Dylan has had a long career. This 2CD comp is a good intro to his music. I haven't been a Dylan fan for years because I don't like his singing or I guess it could be called mumbling. But there's no question that his 60s recordings shaped pop music. Here's Bob Dylan performing Like A Rolling Stone 1966.

Friday, January 27, 2012

VV Mei vs Katja Kankaanpaa set for Mar. 23 in Finland

VV Mei posted on her blog today that she is going to Finland to fight undefeated prospect Katja Kankaanpaa Mar. 23 in Botnia, Finland. the fight is contracted for 52kg and is scheduled for three five minute rounds. This will be Mei's first fight outside Japan. She's a freelancer and her record is 9-3-1. She's a former VALKYRIE champ. But since winning that title, she has given a series of lackluster performances and has benefitted from questionable judging decisions. Her last fight was a split decision win over Mika Nagano on the Dec. 17 JEWELS show. But some in attendance thought Mika won and was robbed by an incompetent judge who made poor decisions throughout the show. Mei is aware that she has underperformed and that's why she changed her ring name. She wanted a new start. Most fighters know that when they escape with a win instead of winning decisively, it's not really a win. And that's where Mei is right now. Katja is 5-0 and will be fighting in her hometown of Botnia. Her last fight was a pretty good one. She beat Karla Benitez by unanimous decision on the Oct. 16 Cage 16 show. And Katja filled in at the last minute. Remember Karla was undefeated at the time. I have the video for that match and Katja does a pretty good job controlling Karla on the ground. She started out in karate but in an interview with Cage Queen, she says she really enjoys submission wrestling. Like a lot of European female fighters, her biggest problem is finding training partners. She trains at Team Botnia Punishment. But she frequently travels a hundred miles to Kauhajoki to train with veteran fighter Jarkko Latomaki. She says he's helped her a lot. Because of Katja's relative inexperience, VV Mei should be the favourite as she is clearly a step up in competition for Katja. A win for Katja would certainly be an upset. But you never know. She was pretty impressive stepping up to beat Karla Benitez. Check it out for yourself. This video is not on Youtube.
video

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Buddy Morrow

Artist:Buddy Morrow
Song:Night Train
Album:A Big Band Buddy





Trombonist Buddy Morrow was best known for his days with Tommy Dorsey in the 30s and other big bands in the 40s. But he also had brief success with his own band in the 50s. His recording of Night Train charted in 1952 and became a jukebox favourite especially with strippers. Morrow continued to perform big band swing until his 2010 death. He was born Muni Zudekoff Feb. 8, 1919 in New Haven, CT. He studied trombone at what became Juilliard and then moved to New York in 1936. He performed as Moe Zudekoff for trumpeter Sharkey Bonano and then he moved on to the bands of Eddie Duchin, Vincent Lopez and Artie Shaw. He joined the Tommy Dorsey band in 1938 and changed his name to Buddy Morrow. He also recorded with Paul Whiteman. In the 40s, he replaced Ray Conniff in the Bob Crosby band. And while in the service during WWII, he recorded with Billy Butterfield. After the war ended, Morrow unsuccessfully tried to start his own band. Then he worked for Jimmy Dorsey and Morrow became a session musician. His session work led to a contract with RCA Records. Night Train reached #27 on the hit parade. Night Train started out as a Johnny Hodges sax riff in the Duke Ellington song That's The Blues, Old Man. Jimmy Forrest performed the solo when he was in the Ellington band. In 1951, Forrest expanded the solo into the full song Night Train and topped the R & B charts. Basically, Morrow's recording is the white version of a black recording. That sort of thing was very common in the 50s as white radio stations would not play back artists. Of course lots of folks have recorded Night Train, most significantly James Brown. Morrow's version became very popular with strippers so it was a jukebox staple for years. Morrow continued to record in the 50s. You can get a good sampling on this comp from the British label Jasmine. Morrow also recorded two albums of TV themes in 1959. In the 60s, Morrow was a member of The Tonight Show band. And for many years he led the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and toured the nostalgia circuit. He was given a lifetime achievement award by the International Trombone Association in 2009. Buddy Morrow died on Sept. 27, 2010 at age 91. Here's a video for Night Train by Buddy Morrow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kenny Chesney

Artist:Kenny Chesney
Song:The Good Stuff
Album:Greatest Hits II





After a false start in his music career, Kenny Chesney went to the top of the country music charts in the mid 90s and is still there today. He has had 20 number one country hits including The Good Stuff and he has also crossed over to the pop charts. And he has won numerous awards. He was born Mar. 26, 1968 in Knoxville, TN. He got into music while studying advertising at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. He pressed 1000 copies of a demo album and sold them when he played local shows. After graduating, he moved to Nashville and was the resident performer at The Turf. This led to a songwriting contract with Opryland Music in 1992. An appearance on a songwriter's showcase got Chesney a record deal with Capricorn Records. They had just opened a country division and then closed it shortly after Chesney's 1994 CD In My Wildest Dreams was released. He signed with RCA's BNA label and his 1995 CD All I Need To Know delivered two top ten country hits. She's Got It All was his first number one country hit in 1997. And he's been at the top of the country charts ever since. The Good Stuff is from his 2002 CD No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem. It topped the country charts and reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was also named Billboard's top country song of 2002. It was Chesney's biggest hit to date. The Good Stuff was written by Jim Collins and Craig Wiseman. Collins recorded three CDs in the 90s but has been more successful as a songwriter. Wiseman has been very successful writing songs and is a Chesney favourite. Chesney has continued his success including his latest CD Hemingway's Whiskey released in July 2010. RCA released this comp in 2010 with a couple of previously unreleased tracks. Chesney famously married actress Renee Zellweger in May 2005. The marriage was annulled Dec. 2005. Chesney admitted he couldn't handle the intense media scrutiny of the marriage. More recently Chesney produced the documentary The Color Orange about quarterback Conredge Holloway for ESPN. He is currently on tour with Tim McGraw, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals & Jake Owen. I don't see Kenny Chesney slowing down anytime soon. Here's the video for The Good Stuff by Kenny Chesney.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WINDY Tomomi announces retirement

WINDY Tomomi
At a press conference held today, WINDY Tomomi announced her retirement plans. This was announced on the PANCRASE website on Monday. Her retirement match will be on the Mar. 11 Differ Ariake show and her opponent will be JEWELS fighter Saori Ishioka. WINDY started out in kickboxing in 1999 and switched to MMA in 2002. For years, Hisae Watanabe was her training partner at PANCRASE. WINDY's record is 17-13-1. Obviously with her kickboxing background, she has been one of the most powerful strikers in women's MMA. But she has always been vulnerable on the ground. She's always going to give a good accounting of herself. But that record won't attract promoters. WINDY said she has been thinking about retirement for the last six months. Her last fight was a win over Sadie Manhoef on the July 23 PANCRASE show. She figures she's 35 years old and in good health. She's not injured right now. The time is right to get out while she's still healthy. When one of her pals at PANCRASE recently retired, she decided to retire too. She wanted to fight a younger fighter in her retirement match to pass the torch. And despite the fact that Ishioka has an 11-7 record and has been fighting since 2007, she's still only 24. Her last fight was a loss to Yuka Tsuji on the July 9 JEWELS show. She trains at Zendokai in Yokohama. So I expect this karate girl to keep the fight standing. The fight is contracted for 52.2kg and is scheduled for two five minute rounds. WINDY didn't say what she will do after retirement but it would not surprise me if she continued to work at PANCRASE as a strike trainer.

AccuRadio Song Of the Day-Laura Gibson

Artist:Laura Gibson
Song:Where Have All Your Good Words Gone?
Album:Beasts Of Seasons





Folksinger Laura Gibson is never going to be a big star. But if you're a fan of minimalist but dramatic music, she is worth checking out. She is a big part of the Portland, OR folk music scene. She was born and raised in Coquile, OR which is in the southwest part of Oregon. She moved to Portland and graduated from Linfield College. Since 2004 she has been a staple on the Portland folk scene. Where Have All Your Good Words Gone? is from her 2009 CD Beasts Of Seasons. She has recorded for Hush Records which is a Portland based label. The Decemberists and Norfolk and Western are among the artists on the label. Laura was the opening act when Decemberists leader Colin Meloy toured in 2009 and she was on his EP Colin Meloy Sings Sam Cooke. She has also recorded with the outstanding singer Laura Veirs and The Portland Cello Project. In addition to her own music, she does session work. Her new CD La Grande was released yesterday. When I listen to her, I hear jazz influences including Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. So I recommend Laura Gibson to folk music fans. Here's the video for Where Have All Your Good Words Gone?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Haywire review

So I went to see Haywire today. Of course this is the film debut of MMA fighter Gina Carano. Director Steven Soderbergh saw Gina fight on a 2008 EliteXC show and decided to build a film around her. He hired Lem Dobbs to write the script (he wrote The Limey) and Soderbergh did the cimematography himself as Peter Andrews. His idea was to make the fight scenes as realistic as possible with no camera tricks or CGI. For the most part, that part of the film is successful as Gina expertly kicks ass. But the story is such convoluted nonsense even for this genre of film that it could frustrate viewers. Half the film is told in flashbacks. And you won't be able to figure out the rest of it. The basic story is Gina plays Mallory Kane, a black ops operative who is double crossed by every member of the cast except her father. It starts with a fight against Channing Tatum in a coffee shop. And then she hijacks a car and tells her story to the poor schlub. That made absolutely no sense. Look, it's just a silly plot device that leads to more fight scenes. And Gina is great in the fight scenes. It seems like Soderbergh didn't care if the story made sense. But viewers do care. And that's why I think Haywire is ultimately a failure. The plot is too difficult for anyone to figure out. There are several big stars like Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender and Channing Tatum getting beat up by Gina. But all of them are cardboard characters with no personality. And I wasn't impressed by all the running around in Barcelona. The one thing I did like was David Holmes' 70s retro Lalo Schifrin influenced musical score. The film grossed $9M last weekend which was about what was expected. The film budget was modest and it should do well in foreign markets. Not being 3D may have hurt the film. It also had a Cinemascore rating of D+ probably because the trailer gave up too much of the story. Gina is fine with what she is given to do. But other than the fight scenes, that ain't much. So will Gina Carano come back to MMA? It depends on what kind of films she is offered. Once she has worked with Soderbergh in her debut, it's all downhill from there. I wouldn't be surprised to see her back in the cage this year. So if you're a big Gina Carano fan, Haywire is worth seeing for her fight scenes. But if convoluted stories bother you, wait for the DVD. Here's the trailer for Haywire.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sheryl Crow

Artist:Sheryl Crow
Song:All I Wanna Do
Album:The Very Best Of Sheryl Crow





Sheryl Crow has proven to be one of the most durable singer songwriters to emerge in the 90s. All I Wanna Do was her breakthrough hit in 1994 and is to date her biggest hit. She was born Feb. 11, 1962 in Kennett, MO. Her father was a lawyer who played trumpet in local bands and her mom was a piano teacher. So of course Sheryl learned piano as a child. While attending the University Of Missouri, she was in the local band Cashmere. She earned a BA in music composition. While working as an elementary school music teacher, she recorded jingles with local musician Jay Oliver. She made enough money from the jingles to pursue music full time. She moved to Los Angeles and worked as a studio singer while touring with Michael Jackson. She also appeared in the TV series Cop Rock. Record companies wanted to sign her as a dance pop singer. She turned them down until Phil Collins' producer Hugh Padgham got her a deal with A & M Records. But her debut album was never released. She didn't like it and neither did A & M. Back to the drawing board. She was dating session keyboard player Kevin Gilbert and he got her involved in collection of musicians called Tuesday Night Music Club led by producer Bill Bottrell and also including David Baerwald, David Ricketts, Brian MacLeod and Dan Schwartz. Because Sheryl had a record deal, they concentrated on producing her 1993 album Tuesday Night Music Club. The first two singles didn't catch on. But All I Wanna Do finally scored and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1994. The song was based on the poem Fun by Wyn Cooper. That was Bottrell's idea. The music video helped as Sheryl was portrayed as very sassy. There's actually a second music video that you can watch on Youtube. Sheryl won three Grammys in 1995. Sheryl continued to have success with hits like If It Makes You Happy. She still records for A & M and is scheduled to release a new CD in 2012. This comp is a good intro to her music. Sheryl Crow had surgery for breast cancer in 2006 that appears to have been successful. She has never married but was engaged to cyclist Lance Armstrong a few years ago. She has adopted two sons and is currently dating guitarist Doyle Bramhall II. She is also working on the music for the stage musical adaptation of the 1982 film Diner which is to debut on Broadway later this year. So she's still very busy. Here's the video for All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow.

Monday, January 23, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Wang Chung

Artist:Wang Chung
Song:Everybody Have Fun Tonight
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Wang Chung





The British group Wang Chung had their biggest success with the 1986 top five hit Everybody Have Fun Tonight. They had some other hits but this song is very durable. Singer guitarist Jeremy Ryder AKA Jack Hues and bassist Nick Feldman met in 1977. Hues responded to Feldman's ad in Melody Maker and the resulting band The Intellektuals lasted for six months. Then they formed 57 Men with drummer Darren Costin, bassist Leigh Gorman, keyboardist Simon Campbell and singer Glenn Gregory. They split up after a year and a half. Gregory went on to be lead singer of Heaven 17 and Gorman was in Bowwowwow. Hues, Feldman and Costin then formed Huang Chung which supposedly means perfect pitch in Chinese. After a couple of singles, Huang Chung signed with Arista Records in 1981. They also added sax player Dave Burnand. They recorded an unsuccessful album for Arista and they asked to be released from their contract. Also, Burnand left. They changed their name to Wang Chung and signed with Geffen Records. Their 1983 album Points On A Curve spawned the top 20 hit Dance Hall Days. Then they recorded the score for the 1984 film To Live and Die In LA for director William Friedkin. That was also successful. Costin left in 1985 and for the 1986 album Mosaic he was replaced by producer Peter Wolf. Not to be confused with the lead singer of J. Geils Band, this Peter Wolf was born in Austria. He moved to the US in the late 70s and played keyboards for Frank Zappa. He went on to a very successful production career in the 80s and produced #1 hits for Starship, El DeBarge, Heart and Patti LaBelle. Everybody Have Fun Tonight reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video directed by Godley & Creme was a big part of that success. Of course the song had a great hook that is still memorable today. The single Let's Go was also a top ten hit. Wang Chung released one more disappointing album in 1989 and then split up. This budget comp is a good intro to their music. Feldman formed Promised Land with Jon Moss of Culture Club and they released an album in 1992. Hues recorded a solo album that was shelved and recorded Strictly Inc. with Tony Banks of Genesis in 1995. Wang Chung reunited briefly in 1997. Feldman dropped out but Hues continues to lead them today. Here's the video for Everybody Have Fun Tonight by Wang Chung.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Sara McMann vs Hitomi Akano

Here's the Sara McMann vs Hitomi Akano fight video from last night's ProElite show in Hawaii. The match went pretty much as expected. Sara is so much bigger and stronger than Hitomi, there's no way that Hitomi could stop Sara from taking her down. So obviously Hitomi tried to work submissions from the bottom. And because Hitomi is capable of getting a submission from that position, Sara had to be very careful and couldn't be as aggressive as she would have been with someone else. The funny part was HDNet's Michael Schiavello announced at the start of the match that Sara wanted to keep the fight standing. I'm sure that's what she told him but it lasted about 30 seconds until the first takedown. I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. For the most part, Hitomi's defense from the bottom was pretty good. But you don't get points for defense. and you don't get points for near submissions. So the only way Hitomi was going to win was if Sara made a mistake and got caught with an armbar. But Sara played it safe and won an easy decision. And it was over a higher ranked opponent. Of course that's why ProElite booked the fight and gave Hitomi a three fight contract. Too bad I don't care about rankings. There's no question that Sara McMann has impressive physical talents. But I am not impressed with unanimous decision wins over undersized opponents. I would like to see her fight someone good who is her own size. But I don't expect that opponent to be Marloes Coenen. She is signed to a different company and I don't expect them to let her fight in ProElite when they've got a show coming up in the spring. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sammi Smith

Artist:Sammi Smith
Song:Help Me Make It Through The Night
Album:The Best Of Sammi Smith





Of course Help Me Make It Through The Night is a classic Kris Kristofferson song and plenty of singers have recorded it. But country singer Sammi Smith had the biggest hit with the song and even crossed over to the pop charts. She was also a big part of the 70s outlaw country movement with Waylon Jennings. She was born Jewel Faye Smith Aug. 5, 1943 in Orange Country, CA where her dad was stationed in the military. After some moving around, the family went back to their native Oklahoma. At age 11, she dropped out of school and began singing in clubs. She was married at age 15 and had four children but divorced in her twenties. Sammi moved to Nashville in 1967 and Johnny Cash got her a deal with Columbia. She recorded five singles for Columbia. None of them were big hits. So then Sammi signed with the new label Mega Records run by veteran RCA Nashville promotion man Brad McCuen. Help Me Make it Through The Night was her debut album in 1970 and Help Me Make It Through The Night was the second single.The single topped the Country Singles chart and reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album topped the Country Album chart. Her producer was Monument Records recording engineer Jim Malloy. A lot of singers have recorded Help Me Make It Through The Night but Sammi Smith's version is the definitive version. She won a 1972 Best Country Vocal Performance Grammy. Sammi moved to Dallas in 1973 and joined Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson in the outlaw country movement. She toured with both and married Nelson's guitarist Jody Payne. She didn't have the same success partially because it seemed that Mega Records was swallowed up by a larger company every year and her country pop style needed to change and didn't. They closed in 1976. You can get all of her hits on this Varese comp. Sammi recorded one album for Elektra and a couple of others for small labels and had a couple more country hits in the 80s. She was supposed to be part of the outlaw movement with Jennings but her music didn't fit in with their style. It was a missed opportunity that was not recognized by her record company. But she seemed to retire from music and moved back to Oklahoma and became an activist for Native American issues. Sammi Smith died on Feb. 12, 2005 at age 61. Her son Waylon Payne is a singer, songwriter and actor in Los Angeles. He played Jerry Lee Lewis in the 2005 film I Walk The Line. Here's Sammi Smith performing Help Me Make It Through The Night on That Good Ole Nashville Music 1971.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sherrie Austin

Artist:Sherrie Austin
Song:Drivin' In My Car
Album:Streets Of Heaven





Aussie country music singer songwriter Sherrie Austin started out in the late 80s as an actress. She moved to Nashville and had some modest success before going back to acting in 2005. She has now returned to Nashville as music is her first love. She was born Sherrie Veronica Krenn Aug. 28, 1970 in Sydney, Australia and opened for Johnny Cash at age 14. She moved to the US and played Pippa McKenna on the TV series Facts Of Life in the late 80s. In 1992, she recorded for Interscope Records as a member of the group Colorhaus. She moved to Nashville and signed with Arista. She recorded two albums for Arista and had three top 40 country hits. She left Arista after it was purchased by RCA. She recorded the 2001 album Followin' A Feelin' for a label owned by her publishing company. Then she signed with Broken Bow Records and the 2004 album Streets Of Heaven did reached #22 on the Country Album chart. The Single Streets Of Heaven is her biggest hit single to date and Drivin' Into The Sun also charted. Sherrie wrote Drivin' Into The Sun with singer songwriter Georgia Middleman. Sherrie moved to New York in 2005 and starred in the Broadway musicals Bonnie & Clyde, Ring Of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show and Warrior. She got good reviews but moved back to Nashville in 2006. While attempting to re-establish herself as a recording artist, Sherrie has had success writing songs for others. She released her new CD Circus Girl on her own label in Nov. 2011 and will appear in an episode of the Sundance Channel reality show Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. And Nashville Lifestyles Magazine named her one of 2011's 25 Most Beautiful People. We'll see if she has any success. Here's the video for Drivin' Into The Sun by Sherrie Austin.

Friday, January 20, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Gorgeous George

Artist:Gorgeous George
Song:Biggest Fool In Town
Album:The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968





Of course everyone knows about the pioneering pro wrestler George "Gorgeous George" Wagner. This Gorgeous George recorded a few soul singles in the 60s including The Biggest Fool In Town for Stax. He's better known as the costume designer for the stars. But when you listen to The Biggest Fool In Town, you will wish he had recorded more. His real name is Theodopholos George Odell and he has owned his own tailor shop in Atlanta for many years. He designed all of James Brown's costumes and through that designed costumes for many stars including The Isley Brothers and Muhammad Ali. He also does a lot of emcee work. I can only assume Odell was a wrestling fan and thought his personality was big enough for the Gorgeous George name. I guess he wanted to be a singer too but he wasn't going to give up his main business to concentrate on that. So he first recorded the single Now I Believe for the New Jersey based Neptune label in 1961. Then George recorded Teach Me for his own Hale label in 1962. He went to Memphis in 1965 to record for Stax. George wrote The Biggest Fool In Town and Steve Cropper produced the record. It's a great deep soul performance. But unfortunately nothing came of it and he returned to Atlanta. You can get The Biggest Fool In Town on the 9CD Stax-Volt Singles box set which I recommend to all soul fans. It contains a lot of great obscure songs like this. George recorded for William Bell's Peachtree label in 1968 and recorded a couple of singles in 1976. But for the most part, Gorgeous George concentrated on his costume design business and in recent years was emcee for The Isley Brothers. Here's a video for The Biggest Fool In Town by Gorgeous George. Thanks to Sir Shambling's Deep Soul Heaven for the Gorgeous George info.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

RENA vs The Comedians: The Rematch

You may recall that last year I posted a video of SHOOT BOXING poster girl RENA beating up three comedians on a TBS TV show. This show generated a lot of interest in RENA on search engines in Japan. But the comedians weren't too happy about losing to a girl. So they demanded a rematch and it aired on TBS on Dec. 26. So I have found the video of that show. RENA puts the first guy to sleep with a standing rear naked choke, a hold that is legal in SHOOT BOXING. She has more trouble with the second guy. They replay the clip from last year when she knocked him out. It's called a draw but I think he won. He threw RENA once and also tagged her a couple of times. She beats the third guy fairly easily. She knocked him down once and that sealed the win. So RENA wins again over the three comedians. Enjoy the video but I warn you that the Chinese site Youku can be very flaky and sometimes the clip won't load properly. I did get it to work properly.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Philip Bailey

Artist:Philip Bailey f/Phil Collins
Song:Easy Lover
Album:Soul Hits Of The 80's





Of course Philip Bailey is best known as the lead singer of Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF). But he also had a top five pop hit with Easy Lover in 1984. It has been his only significant solo hit. He was born May 8, 1951 in Denver and joined EWF in 1972. He has been an integral part of their success. When they faded in the early 80s, Bailey signed a solo record deal with Columbia. His 1982 solo debut Continuation was produced by George Duke. It did OK but when EWF went on hiatus in 1983, Columbia wanted Bailey's next album to have more of a pop feel. So Phil Collins was hired to produce. It didn't hurt that Collins was one of the hottest pop artists in the world at the time. Easy Lover was the only song on the album that was written by Bailey and Collins. Bassist Nathan East also got a songwriting credit. Easy Lover reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album Chinese Wall reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 200. Instead of recording another pop album, Bailey turned to gospel with Word Records' Myrrh label. At the time, Word had a working agreement with Columbia. He recorded two gospel albums and then recorded with Collins again on the 1986 album Inside Out. It didn't sell. After one more gospel album in 1989, Bailey left Columbia. You can get Easy Lover on this 3CD various artists budget comp. Since then Bailey has continued with Earth, Wind & Fire and recorded solo periodically including a couple of jazz albums. He last recorded solo in 2002 but he has a four song EP coming out. Here's the video for Easy Lover by Philip Bailey featuring Phil Collins.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ai Takahashi to return on Feb. 5 SHOOT BOXING show

Ai Takahashi, MIZUKI
All the talk in SHOOT BOXING over the last few months has been about RENA and Erika Kamimura. But there is a third fighter that deserves to be in the picture. SHOOT BOXING announced today that SHOOT BOXING Women's Champion Ai Takahashi will return on the Feb. 5 Korakuen Hall show. Her opponent will be the teen kickboxer MIZUKI. Takahashi won the title from RENA last June. Then she was set for the 2012 S-Girls Cup in August. She was to face Kamimura in the first round. But then she broke her orbital bone in training and has been on the shelf since then. She's been watching recent events and is itching to get a shot at RENA or Kamimura. But her first match will be against the 17 year old MIZUKI. MIZUKI primarily works for the J-Girls kickboxing company. But she also has a 2-1 MMA record and won the JEWELS 2010 Rough Stone tournament which is supposed to spotlight newcomers. But even before MIZUKI lost to Ayaka Hamasaki on the September JEWELS show, the word was she prefers kickboxing and may step away from MMA for now. I'm not surprised as her training is karate and she may not care for the grappling part of MMA. Plus J-Girls runs plenty of shows and can keep her very busy. So it may be better for her financially. She may also be interested in the 2012 S-Girls Cup and this is a good chance to see if she likes SHOOT BOXING. We could see her in the August tournament. Takahashi has a clear experience edge and is very tall for a 56kg fighter. She may be looking to make a statement with this fight.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Chantays

Artist:TheChantays
Song:Pipeline
Album:Surfin' Hits





Pipeline was one of the biggest instrumental surf music hits of the early 60s. It was also the only hit for The Chantays. Yes, they are a one hit wonder. The group were all students at Santa Ana High School in California and were inspired by the local group The Rhythm Rockers. Members were Bob Spickard and Brian Carman on guitar, Bob Welch on drums, Warren Waters on bass and Rob Marshall on piano. They were signed by manager Dale Smallins and he got them to record Pipeline in the back room of a surf shop. Pipeline was written by Carman and Spickard. It became popular locally and then the song broke nationally and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1963. Of course it's a great song and has been covered by many artists and turned up in all kinds of film and TV shows. But the truth was The Chantays were limited and subsequent recordings fell flat. They only recorded two albums. You can get Pipeline on this Rhino various artists surf music comp. Believe it or not, The Chantays are still around. Spickard, Carman and Welch still perform and have recorded occasionally. The Chantays were honoured on Hollywood's Rock Walk in 1996. So Pipeline is a classic oldie even if The Chantays only had one good song in them. Here are The Chantays performing Pipeline on The Lawrence Welk Show May 1963.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Everything But The Girl

Artist:Everything But The Girl
Song:Missing
Album:The Best Of Everything But The Girl





This remix of a 1995 album track turned the British jazz influenced pop duo Everything But The Girl into dance floor sensations. And it was a top five pop hit. In 1982, singer Tracey Thorn and keyboard player Ben Watt were students at the University Of Hull. Both had solo recording deals with Cherry Red Records. Thorn was a member of the girl group Marine Girls. They decided to unite and named themselves after a local furniture store slogan. Their music was very similar to jazz influenced pop groups like Matt Bianco and The Style Council. In England, they were on Blanco y Negro Records which was an offshoot of Rough Trade and was distributed by WEA. In the US, they were on Sire Records. They did well in England including the 1988 top five hit I Don't Want To Talk About It. But they didn't sell in the US. They switched to Atlantic and were sent to Los Angeles to record the 1990 album The Language Of Love with producer Tommy LiPuma and famed jazz musicians like Stan Getz, Joe Sample, Michael Brecker and others. It didn't help as the album didn't sell. Their next two albums were not released in the US but they still did well in England. With the 1994 album Amplified Heart, Atlantic decided to make one final try to break Everything But The Girl in the US. Atlantic hired veteran DJ and mixmaster Todd Terry to remix Missing and sell it to clubs. Missing was a worldwide dance hit and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995. They continued to do well on the dance charts but not on the pop charts. By 1999, Everything But The Girl decided to take a break. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Tracey Thorn has recorded two solo albums and Ben Watt does a lot of DJ and production work. The two were married in 2009 and have three children. In Apr. 2011, Tracey suggested that they could record together again but it seems like a longshot. Watt seems very happy behind the scenes. Here's the video for Missing by Everything But The Girl.

Monday, January 16, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Howard Jones

Artist:Howard Jones
Song:No One Is To Blame
Album:Best Of





The synthesizer driven music of Howard Jones typified the pop music of the mid-80s. And Jones had a couple of top five hits including No One Is To Blame in 1985. He was born Feb. 23, 1955 in Southampton, England. He took piano lessons as a child. And when his family moved to Canada, he joined the group Warrior as a teen. Jones moved back to England and played in various bands while attending the Royal Northern College Of Music in Manchester. He started performing with mime Jed Hoile. Hoile did improvised dance while covered with white paint and Jones would play keyboards behind him. Jones did a showcase at the Marquee Club in London to get record labels to sign him. He got the attention of legendary BBC DJ John Peel and he signed with WEA in England and Elektra in the US in 1983. His debut single New Song was a top five hit in England and a top 30 hit in the US. His debut album Human's Lib did very well in England but not as well in the US. So with his second album Dream Into Action, Elektra wanted Jones to break through in the US. Jones got rid of Hoile and hired the female backing singers Afrodiziak featuring Caron Wheeler who would later become famous with Soul II Soul. He brought in his brother Martin to play bass. Jones got the results Elektra was looking for as Things Can Only Get Better reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. They decided to have Jones re-record No One Is To Blame and brought in Phil Collins to produce and play drums. It paid off as No One Is To Blame reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. His subsequent albums did not perform as well and he left Elektra in 1992. This 1993 comp has all his hits. Since then Howard Jones has written songs for others and recorded on his own label. He seems to have abandoned electronic keyboards and mostly plays acoustic piano these days. He last recorded in 2009. Here's the video for No One Is To Blame by Howard Jones.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Billy Crystal

Artist:Billy Crystal
Song:You Look Mahvelous
Album:Mahvelous





Though Billy Crystal is famous as an actor and comedian, it might surprise folks that he has never recorded a stand up comedy album. But he did have a hit with his impersonation of Fernando Lamas on the song You Look Mahvelous. The 1985 album Mahvelous had the characters he was doing in 1985 on Saturday Night Live. It might also surprise folks that Crystal grew up in the jazz business. He was born Mar. 14, 1948 in New York City. His father Jack Crystal owned the jazz record store and label Commodore Records and his uncle was legendary jazz record producer Milt Gabler. So all these jazz musicians were at the house all the time. As most folks know, Crystal is a big New York Yankees fan and he wanted to be a professional baseball player. He was supposed to attend Marshall University on a baseball scholarship but the program was canceled. Crystal graduated from New York University in 1970 with a Bachelor Of Fine Arts. So he started working comedy clubs in New York. His impersonations of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell at a 1976 roast of Ali were so good that he appeared on an episode of Saturday Night Live. This led to his role in the 1978 sitcom Soap. This led to films and a short lived TV variety show. He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1984. His impersonations were so popular that A & M Records signed him to a record deal. You Look Mahvelous reached #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the video was in heavy rotation on MTV. So the album did well. But Crystal has never recorded another album and he became famous as an actor. He is also known for hosting the Oscar broadcast which he will do again this year. I don't think he will record again. Here's the video for You Look Mahvelous by Billy Crystal. This video is not on Youtube.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tune Wranglers

Artist:Tune Wranglers
Song:El Rancho Grande
Album:1936-1938





You have probably heard the song El Rancho Grande in movies over the years. But I'm sure you have no idea of the origin of the song. The Tune Wranglers were pioneers in what would be called Western Swing music and they were also pioneers in what would become Tex-Mex music. The group was from San Antonio, TX and recorded in English and Spanish. The Tune Wranglers were formed in 1935 by guitarist and singer Buster Coward, banjoist Eddie Fielding and fiddler and singer Charlie Gregg. Fielding was soon replaced by Joe Barnes who used the stage name Red Brown. Supposedly they were real cowboys who played music on the side. They signed with RCA's Bluebird label and became popular on both sides of the US/Mexico border through radio broadcasts on WOAI in San Antonio. El Rancho Grande became so popular south of the border that Blurbird had them record in Spanish as Tono Hombres. Steel guitarist Tommy Duncan joined the band in 1936. They also recorded Hawaiian music. El Rancho Grande and Texas Sand were their two biggest hits and you can get them on this comp from the New Mexico based label Krazy Kat Records. The Tune Wranglers split up in 1938. The problem was there were several bands in the area playing similar music and guys would bounce back and forth between bands. That instability killed the Tune Wranglers. The value of the Tune Wranglers today is mostly historical. They were important in the formative years of Western Swing. Tommy Duncan went on to be lead singer of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. It looks like the others went on to playing sessions. Here's a video for El Rancho Grande by the Tune Wranglers.

Friday, January 13, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Universals

Artist:Universals
Song:New Generation
Album:Florida Funk: Funk 45s From The Alligator State





If you're a funk fan, I think you will enjoy this slice of obscure early 70s funk by the Florida group Universals. To add to the confusion, the group name was misspelled on the single release of New Generation as Universouls. It's the same group. They were from Daytona Beach, FL led by lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Alex Morgan. Other members were Lindsey Morris on keyboards, Aaron Watson on drums, Ralph Williams on flute & sax and Ralph Sullivan on bass. At first they were called The Twisters and then changed to Universals. They had a following is South Florida and recorded for small labels but were never able to break nationally. They went to Memphis to talk to Stax but were unable to work out a deal. It seems they split up after that probably around 1972. New Generation was released on two labels and the group name was misspelled Universouls both times. They weren't happy about that. The British label Jazzman Records specializes in obscure funk and soul and you can get New Generation on this various artists comp of Florida funk. Alex Morgan and Ralph Sullivan are deceased. Lindsey Morris and Aaron Watson still live in Daytona Beach and Ralph Williams lives in New York. The Universals sound pretty good. They deserved a better fate. Here's a video for New Generation by Universals.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Mark Chesnutt

Artist:Mark Chesnutt
Song:I'll Think Of Something
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Mark Chesnutt





Neo honky tonker Mark Chesnutt had eight number one country hits in the 90s. With one exception he didn't cross over to pop. I'll Think Of Something was his second number one hit in 1992. So he had some success but didn't quite reach the upper echelon of country music. He was born Sept. 8, 1963 in Beaumont, TX. His dad was a car salesman and sang locally. As a teen Chesnutt appeared in his dad's band. Then his dad took him to Nashville to get a record deal. Chesnutt recorded for the small Axbar label and got enough attention to earn a record deal with MCA Records. He is very good friends with country music star Tracy Byrd. Chesnutt's first #1 country hit Brother Jukebox was from his 1990 debut album Too Cold At Home. The album was certified Platinum. I'll Think Of Something was his second #1 hit and was from the 1992 album Longnecks & Short Stories. I'll Think Of Something was written by the veteran songwriting team of Bill Rice and Jerry Foster. Rice started out as a singer in the 70s but was more successful as a songwriter. I'll Think Of Something was a top ten country hit for Hank Williams Jr. in 1974. This is one of those rare occasions when the cover version is more memorable than the original. Chesnutt continued to have success with his 1993 album Almost Goodbye. But then he slipped with the 1994 album What A Way To Live. Gonna Get A Life was his sixth number one hit but the album didn't perform as well. Chesnutt continued to slide with his next two albums. But he had his final number one country hit with his cover of the Aerosmith hit I Don't Want To Miss A Thing in 1998. That crossed over to reach #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. It didn't seem to help as after one more album, Chesnutt left MCA in 2000. You can get his hits on this budget comp. After one album for Columbia, Chesnutt has recorded for indie record companies. He is currently signed with Saguaro Road Records and his latest CD Outlaw was released in 2010. Mark Chesnutt is married with three children. I think those who enjoy a neo traditional style of country music will like him. Here's the video for I'll Think Of Something by Mark Chesnutt.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lynn Anderson

Artist:Lynn Anderson
Song:Rose Garden
Album:16 Biggest Hits





Lynn Anderson had five number one country music hits in the 70s. But she crossed over to the pop charts in a big way with Rose Garden in 1970. It is her signature song. She was born Sept. 26, 1947 in Grand Forks, ND and grew up in Fair Oaks, CA. Her mom Liz Anderson was a successful country music singer and songwriter. When one of Liz' songs was a hit for Merle Haggard, she signed with RCA Records and Lynn tagged along. Chart Records owner Slim Williamson heard Lynn sing and offered her a contract in 1966. She had some chart success and also toured with Lawrence Welk. She also married Glenn Sutton in 1968 and he would produce all her 70s hits. By 1969, it became clear that Lynn needed major label exposure. So she signed with Columbia in 1970. Rose Garden was her very first Columbia single and it topped the Country Singles chart and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rose Garden was written and originally recorded by Joe South in 1969. Lynn had to convince Sutton to let her record it. He thought it was a man's song. He let her record it to appease her. But Columbia head Clive Davis liked the record so much that he decided to cross it over to the pop charts. Lynn had four other number one country hits but by the late 70s she had faded and left Columbia in 1980. Other than a 1988 album for Mercury, she hasn't recorded for a major label since then. You can get all her Columbia hits on this budget comp. In 1990, she starred in the BBC drama Wreck On The Highway. She has been an equestrian since the 60s and has won a few championships over the years. Lynn divorced Sutton in 1977 and currently lives with record producer Mentor Williams (Dobie Gray's Drift Away) in Taos, NM. Here's Lynn Anderson performing Rose Garden on The Johnny Cash Show Jan. 1971.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Artist review

I guess it's been a year and a half since I have reviewed a current film on the blog. 2011 was a dismal year for film. There hasn't been anything I wanted to see until The Artist. I first saw the trailer when it premiered at Cannes in May. It's a tribute to a time when the Hollywood studios were transitioning from silent films to talking films. Some actors were unable to make that transition. Emil Jannings won a Best Actor Oscar in 1928 and then went home to Germany and never made another film in Hollywood. Supposedly John Gilbert's voice was so nasal that the studios wouldn't hire him anymore. In The Artist, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent film star similar to Douglas Fairbanks. His studio head Al Zimmer (John Goodman) shows him a film clip with sound and Valentin thinks it's a passing fad. Meanwhile, Valentin meets aspiring actress Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) and starts to see her. He's married but is having marital problems. While Peppy climbs the Hollywood ladder to stardom, Valentin's attempt to finance his own film is a dismal failure and he begins to drink heavily. His wife leaves him and he has to auction all his possessions. If that reminds you of A Star Is Born, you're right on target. It almost ends like A Star Is Born when Valentin almost kills himself in a fire. But Peppy nurses him back to health and then gets an idea about how to get Valentin his stardom back. She pitches the idea to Zimmer. As some of you may be aware, I am a huge classic film fan. It seems all I do is watch TCM. And I love silent films. But I am aware that many younger fans have never seen a silent film or a black and white film. So I loved this film but I'm not sure others would enjoy it. French director Michel Hazanavicius wrote and directed the film and there's no question that doing a mostly silent film is a big risk. But it should get some awards season buzz that should help the film financially. Hazanavicius has been directing in France for over a decade. His OSS spy spoof films were very popular there. And Jean Dujardin was the star of those films. Because he doesn't speak in the film, Dujardin depends a lot on facial expressions and body movement. He has excellent timing. His movements remind me of Cary Grant. Berenice Bejo was born in Argentina but she is married to Hazanavicius. She's very appealing playing against Dujardin. John Goodman is great as the studio head and James Cromwell is great as Valentin's ridiculously loyal servant Clifton. But the other big star of the film is Uggie who is just billed as The Dog. He reminds me of Asta from The Thin Man. I understand that Uggie is currently promoting The Artist in England. The only negative is I thought the ending was a little flat. I enjoyed the references to other films but I don't know if others would like that. If you have an open mind to something different. you might like The Artist. Check out the trailer.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Pink Anderson

Artist:Pink Anderson
Song:Boll Weevil
Album:Classic Blues From Smithsonian Folkways Recordings





Pinkney "Pink" Anderson is probably best known as Syd Barrett's inspiration for the name Pink Floyd. Anderson was yet another blues pioneer who recorded in the 20s and disappeared until the blues revival of the 60s. He was born Feb. 12, 1900 in Laurens, SC. He started out as an entertainer in Dr. Frank Kerr's Indian Remedy Company medicine show. Then he met Simeon "Blind Simmie" Dooley who taught Anderson to play guitar. The duo recorded four songs for Columbia Records in 1928 and continued to work for Dr. Kerr until he retired in 1945. Anderson joined a different medicine show and was recorded in 1950. He retired from the road due to health problems in 1957. He was again recorded by Folkways Records at his home in 1962 and three albums were released. Anderson was never able to benefit from the 60s folk boom because he was too ill to travel. Boll Weevil is from the 1963 album The Blues Of Pink Anderson. Unfortunately that CD is out of print but you can get Boll Weevil on this Smithsonian Folkways various artists comp that I would recommend to blues beginners anyway. Anderson suffered a stroke in the late 60s and died on Oct. 12, 1974 at age 74. Syd Barrett saw his name in the liner notes of a Blind Boy Fuller album and named Pink Floyd after Anderson and bluesman Floyd Council. Pink Anderson's son Little Pink Anderson is a bluesman in South Dakota. Here's a video for Boll Weevil by Pink Anderson.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Gail Kim retains TNA Knockouts Championship by lame DQ

Here's the video from last night's TNA PPV with Gail Kim defending the TNA Knockouts Championship against Mickie James. Before the match, Velvet Sky convinced Sting that Madison Rayne should be put in a cage and suspend it over the ring. These kind of angles used to be done with meddling managers back in the 70s. It's not the sort of thing I get nostalgiac about. And inevitably TNA will turn this into a lame finish. The match itself was fine. It wasn't as intense as I would have liked. The pre-match silliness with the cage seemed to kill the momentum and I didn't think Gail or Mickie were at the top of their games. Of course the ending was just ludicrous featuring a dopey ref. Madison drops brass knuckles for Gail to use and they fell to the floor. While the ref makes a big production out of finding them, she drops another set of brass knuckles. This time Mickie picks them up and instead of giving them to the ref, she clocks Gail right in front of him and is DQd. So TNA managed to make Mickie and the ref look like idiots. What else is new? Enjoy the video.
TNA Genesis 2012 - Part 5/10 (HQ) by WrestlingVidsUploaderHQv2

Syuri escapes with a win in her KRUSH debut

Miyako "SMILE" Masahori, Syuri
So the idea behind having joshi wrestler Syuri do kickboxing is to give her some fighting credibility that can be used in angles on SMASH shows. She made her kickboxing debut on today's KRUSH show at Korakuen Hall against Miyako "SMILE" Masahori. But what was supposed to be an easy win so Syuri could get her feet wet didn't turn out as planned. The problem started yesterday when Syuri missed the 52kg contracted weight and was forced to use 10oz gloves instead of 8oz gloves. The fight was very close, much closer than planned. Syuri scored with punches and won round one. But Masahori came back and in the third round seemed to take control of the fight with kicks. Two the judges scored it 29-28 in favour of Syuri and the other judge scored it 29-29. So Syuri wins by majority decision. I don't think that's the result SMASH owner TAJIRI wanted. I don't know if Syuri will do this again. TAJIRI may have to go back to the drawing board.

Was the Bull Nakano retirement show a cynical cash grab?

Misty eyed nostalgia is about the only thing that will get fans to go to a joshi show these days. So 3000 fans turned out at Tokyo Dome City Hall to give AJW legend Bull Nakano the retirement show she didn't want when she deserted the business 15 years ago. And that's the conflict of this show. As great a wrestler as Bull was, she quit to play professional golf and made a lot of money writing a weight loss book. She never returned to support a dying joshi business. So I guess it was about a year ago that she started coming to shows looking to make amends. So the idea was hatched to do the retirement show she never had. Other than selling merchandise, what was the point of this show? The show itself was besides the point. You had Sakura Hirota dressed as Bull Nakano, a 60 girl battle royal that probably needed a traffic cop. And a main event that really shows the future direction of the joshi business. It was Yuzuki Aikawa vs Hikaru Shida. A bikini model vs an actress. The Athtress concept comes full circle. So then Bull dressed up in her old gear complete with blue hair and had exhibition matches against Shinobu Kandori and then Aja Kong. Aja gave her a replica of the legendary AJW red belt and she paraded around with it. She also came out in a wedding dress with her kickboxer husband. He's 16 years younger than her. The most interesting thing was an Atrocious Alliance reunion with Dump Matsumoto, Crane Yu and heel ref Shiro Abe. There were even phony Crush Gals. But the real Crush Gals weren't there. Neither was Akira Hokuto or the Jumping Bomb Angels. Remember when Itsuki Yamazaki reunited JBA a couple of years ago and took the time to get into shape and put on a credible wrestling show? And she's a few years older than Bull. That shows respect for fans and the joshi business. I guess Bull didn't want to do that. I'm not sure smiling and shaking hands are enough. Maybe her knees are shot. After the ten bell count, Bull kissed her husband and it was over. Well, at least she didn't unretire.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Vanity Fare

Artist:Vanity Fare
Song:Hitchin' A Ride
Album:Ultimate 70s Collection





The British group Vanity Fare had their biggest success with Hitchin' A Ride in 1970. They had a couple of other hits but most folks will only remember Hitchin' A Ride. They were from Kent, England. Lead singer Trevor Brice, guitarist Tony Goulden, drummer Dick Allix and bassist Tony Jarrett formed The Avengers in 1966. They went to school together. Roger Easterby became their manager and changed the group name to Vanity Fare. They signed with Page One Records with US distribution from Bell Records. They had a couple of hits in England and then reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Early In The Morning in early 1970. Then they added keyboard player Barry Landeman and Hitchin' A Ride reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1970. Hitchin' A Ride was written by the team of Peter Callender and Mitch Murray who have written many songs together. After a US tour, Allix and Goulden left and were replaced by Eddie Wheeler and Mark Ellen. Vanity Fare continued to record but nothing charted and the group faded into obscurity. You can get Hitchin' A Ride on this Collectables 3CD various artists budget comp. Wheeler and Ellen lead a version of Vanity Fare on the British oldies circuit today. Here's Vanity Fare performing Hitchin' A Ride on Top Of The Pops May 1970.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Will Meisha Tate vs Ronda Rousey be the main event of the Mar. 3 Strikeforce show?

So after all the Twitter squabbles and ridiculous posturing by the current Strikeforce 135lb champion, Miesha Tate will defend that title on the Mar. 3 Strikeforce show at Columbus, OH. This was reported on Wednesday by MMA Weekly and confirmed by Scott Coker shortly afterwards. But Meisha continued to call the fight a rumour. I will never understand why fighters need to lie about this stuff. Ronda said she hadn't signed the fight agreement yet and she's on vacation right now. I don't know why Meisha couldn't say that. Because that was the truth. The main event of this show is supposed to be Daniel Cormier vs Josh Barnett in the Heavyweight tournament final. But Cormier is recovering from a broken hand and may not be ready. If he isn't ready, this will be the main event of the show. Despite all the whining about Ronda's lack of MMA experience, it remains to be seen if anyone can handle her quickness. We all know what Ronda's strategy will be. It doesn't mean she can be stopped. Strikeforce also announced that Sarah Kaufman will face Alexis Davis on this show. Sarah beat Alexis back in 2007 and if Sarah is on her game, I expect her to win and then face the winner of the title fight. But if Sarah is off her game, Alexis could exploit that. I think she's a smarter fighter than a few years ago. Now, a bit of a follow up from yesterday. About five minutes after I finished writing about Cris Cyborg, she posted her reason...er...excuse for testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. She said she unknowingly took a diet supplement containing the banned substance. I like my excuse better. It's easier to defend on appeal. It's more plausible. I'm not a pharmacist and I don't play one on TV. But I'm sure there are no diet supplements containing stanozolol and celebrity pharmacist Victor Conte confirmed that on Twiiter last night. He's the expert. If Cris appeals, I don't expect the given scenario to earn her a reduction of her suspension. No one believes her.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Charmels

Artist:The Charmels
Song:As Long As I've Got You
Album:Stax: The Soul Of Hip-Hop





For all the great music that was produced at Stax Records, they were never able to produce a best selling girl group. The Charmels recorded a total of four singles in 1967. And despite their obscurity, As Long As I've Got You is a song that has been sampled by hip hop guys so it turns up on Stax various artists comps. The Charmels were from Memphis and they started out in the early 60s as The Tonettes. Members were Shirley Thomas, Mary Hunt and Mildred Patchett. They recorded two singles for the Stax label Volt Records in 1961. Then they became The Dixie Belles. They did a lot of studio work especially with The Anita Kerr Singers. But they also recorded for producer Bill Justis at Monument Records and had a top ten hit with (Down At) Papa Joe's in 1963 and a top 20 hit with Southtown USA in 1964. They recorded an album but it didn't sell and they went back to studio work. Shirley Thomas was replaced by Eula Jean Rivers and fourth member Barbara McCoy was added. They wound up at Stax as The Charmels working with Isaac Hayes and David Porter and of course they wrote and produced As Long As I've Got You. I can't say why it wasn't a hit but the song is as good as anything produced at Stax and has been sampled by hip hop guys. You can get it on this Stax various artists comp. After recording four singles at Stax as The Charmels, they returned to studio work and that's the last we heard about them. Here's a video for As Long As I've Got You by The Charmels.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Will Cris Cyborg appeal her suspension?

So the big news last night was that Cris Cyborg was suspended for a year and fined $2500 by the California State Athletic Commission for testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. Her Dec. 17 win over HIROKO has been declared a no contest. Dana White said on a couple of radio shows last night that she will be stripped of her title belt. What fans need to remember is that Cris is still under contract to Strikeforce and she has the right to appeal the decision. They can't just cancel her contract. She hasn't said anything yet but I would be very surprised if there was no appeal. Some fans may recall that back in 2008 when she was first supposed to come to the US to fight for EliteXC, she postponed twice and the reason given was visa issues. I already knew about Cris and suspected at the time that she was using steroids. But use of those drugs can be cycled to avoid detection by a standard drug test. So if she was using for that length of time and got caught now, it means that someone messed up her cycle. I'm sure she wasn't aware of it. The usual appeal defense for steroid use is the drug was prescribed by a physician to rehab an injury. And Cris has had recurring shoulder problems. I'm sure that will be very controversial but remember where you read it first. It's possible that the suspension could be reduced. I do believe that this is the end of the Strikeforce 145lb division. There aren't enough fighters for that division. But Strikeforce could start a 125lb division around Tara LaRosa. Well, that's what I would do. Is Cris Cyborg's MMA career over? She may be finished in California and possibly Strikeforce but the answer is no. Remember when Carina Damm flunked a drug test and was suspended for a year in 2008? She had two fights in Brazil while she was under suspension. Steroids are not a big deal internationally compared to North America. Drug tests are not done in Brazil, Japan or anywhere else. So if Cris Cyborg's Strikeforce contract is cancelled, I fully expect her to continue fighting in Brazil and probably elsewhere. There are promoters who will ignore the suspension and pay a premium for her. So if she wants to fight, there's no question that there will be a demand for her. On the other hand, she has expressed interest in having children. So she may decide to retire to motherhood. The big question is will she appeal the suspension?

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Joe Pass

Artist:Joe Pass
Song:The Song Is You
Album:Virtuoso





After many years as a sideman in the Los Angeles jazz scene, the 1972 album Virtuoso made Joe Pass famous and established his legacy as a guitar icon. His technique is still widely admired and copied by guitarists today. He was born Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalaqua Jan. 13, 1929 in New Brunswick, NJ and grew up in Johnstown, PA. He was inspired to play guitar by Gene Autry and was given a guitar on his ninth birthday. By age 14, he was playing local gigs with Tony Pastor and Charlie Barnet. He moved to New York and fell victim to drug abuse and landed in jail for several years. After two years at the Synanon drug rehab program, he was recovered and moved to Los Angeles in 1962. He recorded some albums for Pacific Jazz. But mostly he played sessions and also worked on a lot of TV and film music. Pass played a regular club gig with guitarist Herb Ellis. This resulted in the very first album on Concord Jazz in the early 70s and most fans first noticed Pass on that album. He also wrote guitar instructional books. Former Verve Records owner Norman Granz was starting his new label Pablo and Virtuoso was Pass' first album in 1972. The album was the first of several solo guitar albums by Pass and it became the best selling album in the Pablo catalog. The Song Is You was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1932 Broadway musical Music In The Air. The song isn't in the 1934 film version of the musical. The best known version of The Song Is You was recorded by Frank Sinatra on his 1958 album Come Dance With Me! but it has also been recorded by Dave Brubeck, Bing Crosby, June Christy and Art Blakey among others. Concord Jazz released a remastered edition of Virtuoso in 2010. Pass recorded many albums with other Pablo artists including six with Ella Fitzgerald. He died of liver cancer on May 23, 1994 at age 65. Joe Pass is one of the great guitarists of the 20th century and is still a big influence on today's musicians. Here's Joe Pass performing The Song Is You on the Las Angeles TV show Frankly Jazz 1962.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Amanda Lucas to face broken down has been pro wrestler Yumiko Hotta

Amanda Lucas, Yumiko Hotta
DEEP held a press conference to announce that Amanda Lucas will face Yumiko Hotta On the Feb. 18 DEEP show at Tokyo Dome City Hall for something called the DEEP Open Weight Women's Championship. Ugh! Of course joshi puroresu fans are very familiar with Hotta. She was one of the biggest stars of All Japan Women in the 90s. She also fought some MMA back then to a 5-3 record. I don't know how many of them were legit because most of the fights were promoted by joshi companies looking to feed angles. Hotta and DEEP matchmaker Shigeru Saeki were at the press conference and I guess reporters looked at Saeki like maybe he was on drugs because uncharacteristically he gave reasons for booking Hotta. He said she trained in karate before she became a wrestler and that she fought MMA in the 90s. He also claims she's still a joshi puroresu star. She's not though she probably thinks she is. She used to get great heel heat back then. Today she gets what is called X-Pac Heat. In her case, that means retire already. Hotta said that she wanted to do MMA one more time before she retires. If only she would retire. And one other thing. Hotta had knee surgery last summer so it makes me wonder what kind of shape she is in. Hotta says she was first approached about this when she was rehabbing her knee. Her MMA record is old and meaningless anyway. But all but one match was for joshi puroresu companies. And three fights were against other pro wrestlers. She beat LLPW wrestler Mizuki Endo and Tomoko Kitamura AKA AJW legend Lioness Asuka. And her final fight was a loss to LLPW boss Shinobu Kandori. I bet that one was a work. The match is scheduled for three five minute rounds. We'll see how long Hotta lasts. If Saeki had booked this with a younger wrestler like Hailey Hatred who is training in MMA, that would be fine. But Hotta is well past her prime and Saeki trying to claim she is a big star is ridiculous. Maybe Hotta will bring her infamous chain to the ring.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jonathan Edwards

Artist:Jonathan Edwards
Song:Sunshine
Album:Jonathan Edwards





Singer songwriter Jonathan Edwards had his only pop hit with the 1971 top five hit Sunshine. He even describes it as a fluke. He was born July 28, 1946 in Aitkin, MN. His father was an FBI agent so the family moved a lot. While playing the folk music circuit in Ohio, he formed the band Sugar Creek with Malcolm McKinney and Joe Dolce. They moved to Boston and released an album on Metromedia Records in 1969. Edwards left to go solo and signed with Phil Walden's Capricorn label which was also home for The Allman Bros. Band. While recording his debut album, one of the songs was erased by the recording engineer. Sunshine was recorded in its place. Somehow radio picked up on the anti war theme of the song and it reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. Edwards recorded two more albums that didn't do as well and he moved to Nova Scotia. The Jonathan Edwards album is available as a budget CD. He joined Emmylou Harris' Hot Band in 1976 and this resulted in a new record deal. In the 80s, Edwards moved to Nashville after appearing in a tour of the musical Pump Boys and Dinettes. He joined the bluegrass group The Seldom Scene in 1983. He recorded a country album for Curb Records in 1989. Jonathan Edwards continues to tour and record. His latest CD My Love Will Keep was released July 2011 on Appleseed Records. Here's Jonathan Edwards performing Sunshine on MIND-TV Mar. 2009.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Keith Whitley

Artist:Keith Whitley
Song:Don't Close Your Eyes
Album:16 Biggest Hits





Keith Whitley was well on his way to becoming one of the biggest country music stars of the 90s when he tragically died of alcohol poisoning in 1989. Don't Close Your Eyes was his first number one country music hit. He was born July 1, 1954 in Sandy Hook, KY. Like his buddy Ricky Skaggs, Whitley started out as a whiz kid bluegrass musician. Both were in Ralph Stanley's band as teens. His stint with J.D. Crowe in the 70s established Whitley as a very talented singer. He moved to Nashville in 1983 and signed with RCA Records. His 1984 solo debut A Hard Act To Follow did not catch on but his second album LA To Miami gave him his first top twenty country single with Miami, My Amy in 1986. While on tour to promote the album, he met and married country singer Lorrie Morgan. Whitley didn't like the results of the recording sessions for his third album. He asked RCA to shelve the album and brought in producer Garth Fundis to start over. Fundis produced Don Williams and Alabama. Apparently Whitley wasn't happy with the songs. This new album Don't Close Your Eyes reached #8 on the Country Album chart and was certified Gold. Don't Close Your Eyes was Whitley's first number one country hit. The song was written by Bob McDill who has written 30 number one country hits. Two more singles from the album topped the country charts. And he got even better results from his next album I Wonder Do You Think Of Me. But Whitley was a long time alcoholic and he was one of those guys who drank alone so he was able to hide the problem. Lorrie Morgan even tied their legs together in bed so he couldn't get up to drink in the middle of the night. Whitley went on a weekend binge and died of alcohol poisoning on May 9, 1989 at age 34. I Wonder Do You Think Of Me was released three months after his death. You can get all of his hits on this budget comp. And when you listen to it, think about what could have been if Keith Whitley had lived. Here's the video for Don't Close Your Eyes by Keith Whitley.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Michael Yonkers Band

Artist:Michael Yonkers Band
Song:Kill The Enemy
Album:Microminiature Love





If you're a fan of 60s psychedelic music, I think you'll enjoy the guitar effects laden music of Michael Yonkers. Today he's a cult figure. But this 1968 album Microminiature Love sat unreleased for 35 years. And that's why you never heard of him. He was born in 1947 in Minneapolis and grew up a big fan of guitar legend Link Wray. If you're familiar with Wray's music, you'll know that he was a pioneer of using recording studio technology to experiment with the guitar. His obvious influence was Les Paul but Wray used similar technology for rock as opposed to jazz. So Yonkers started out playing local clubs as Michael & The Mumbles and this evolved into Michael Yonkers Band with Michael's brother Jim Yonkers on drums and Tom Wallfred on bass. Yonkers made physical modifications to his Fender Telecaster guitar so he could get crazier sounds out of it. This eventually got the attention of Minneapolis music company owner Peter Steinberg. He owned Dove Studios. Steinberg wanted to be Minnesota's answer to the Kasenetz-Katz bubblegum music factory. I don't think Yonkers fit with that. But Steinberg got him to record the album Microminiature Love in 1968. Then he told Yonkers that he made a deal to release the album through Sire Records. That may have been a lie. It appears that Steinberg didn't like the record and decided to shelve it. He told Yonkers that Sire wanted him to move to New York, shave his beard and write pop hits. Yonkers refused and the band split up. He continued to experiment with electronics but unfortunately suffered serious injuries in a 1971 work accident that nearly crippled him. He recorded a couple of albums in the 70s but remained unknown until two songs from Microminiature Love were on a Dove Studios various artists comp. This led to De Stijl owner Clint Simonson releasing Microminiature Love on LP and Sub Pop released it on CD. So after 35 years of obscurity, Michael Yonkers is a guitar cult hero. Here's a video for Kill The Enemy by Michael Yonkers Band. Thanks to City Pages in Minneapolis for the details about the Steinberg deal.