Saturday, March 31, 2012

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Munah Holland vs Marianna Kheyfets

Here's a fight from last night's Bellator show that you might have missed because it was on the prelims on the Spike TV website. It features 125lb prospects Munah Holland vs Marianna Kheyfets. Munah is a pro boxer attempting to transition to MMA with mixed success. She's 37 years old which I believe is a little old for an MMA newcomer. Marianna has fought for the XFC in Florida. She was undefeated coming into this fight. But she was losing her last fight against Heather Clark when an accidental elbow cut Heather over the eye and the doctor had to stop the fight. Marianna told Bellator announcer Sean Wheelock she planned to keep the fight standing. I'm not crazy about that strategy against a boxer. Round one was fairly even until Marianna took Munah down near the end of the round. She didn't do much but it was enough to win the round. Munah asserted herself much better in round two and Marianna seemed very tentative. It looked like she was concerned about Munah's power. Munah knocked her down twice and then let her up both times. With less than 30 seconds left in the round, Munah knocked Marianna out with a right hand. So Munah got away with letting her up twice. But it shows me she is uncomfortable with MMA and is still just a boxer. Those mistakes would have cost her against better competition. I wasn't impressed with either fighter. Here's the video.

Tara LaRosa escapes with a win at RFA2

Since Bodog Fight closed in 2007, top ranked female fighter Tara LaRosa has been on the outside looking at other fighters success. It seems that every MMA company she has worked for has gone out of business. So now she has signed a two fight contract with Resurrection Fighting Alliance. Last night she won over Kelly Warren by armbar with one second left in the fight. I think it's fair to say that Kelly is not at Tara's level. So what Tara needed to do was make a statement and finish this fight early and decisively. But for some reason, Tara didn't do that. When I was watching the first round of this fight, I was wondering who was fighting because she didn't look like Tara LaRosa. I don't accept the excuse that she is a slow starter. Apparently the judges had Kelly winning after round one. I thought it was even but I was disappointed Tara didn't perform better. Tara won round two but it's not like she dominated. And she continued to have problems with Kelly in round three until she finally took her down and got the position she needed to end it with the armbar. Tara did enough in the third round to win anyway. But it never should have gotten this far. If she's going to have trouble with a fighter like this, maybe time has passed Tara LaRosa by. I hope not but she has to show me something next time. About the commentary, this show was announced by Mauro Ranallo along with former UFC fighters Justin McCully and Jens Pulver. First, I don't like three man booths. Pulver is useless as a fight analyst because he has nothing to say. McCully is one of RFA's owners and it's obvious he is not a professional broadcaster. When Pulver left to corner Tara, Frank Shamrock was brought in. Shamrock has been known for unprofessional behaviour on Strikeforce broadcasts. His commentary during this match is insulting. It's tough for Mauro because he has to be traffic cop with these two guys. I like him a lot better when he works with Pat Militich because the commentary is more concise. On this video, Shamrock is ridiculous. Check it out for yourself.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nino Ferrer

Artist:Nino Ferrer
Album:Satanee Mirza

Nino Ferrer started out as a jazz guitarist and in the mid-60s became a pop star in France with his breakthrough hit Mirza. He is frequently compared with Jacques Dutronc but Ferrer didn't have the same success and then quit the music business. He was born Nino Ferrari Aug. 15, 1934 in Genoa, Italy. His father was Italian and his mother was French. His father worked in a nickel mine in New Caledonia in the South Pacific. In 1939, Nino and his mom were on holiday in France. But they were unable to leave France because of WWII. The family reunited in 1947. Ferrer earned a degree in archaeology but found it was a low paying profession. He also taught himself to play several musical instruments and was a big jazz fan. After trying several jobs that he didn't like, he decided to become a jazz musician and worked with Richard Bennett & The Dixiecats and then jazz trumpeter Bill Coleman. For several years he played guitar with jazz singer Nancy Holloway. But he was also writing songs and signed with Barclay Records in 1963. Ferrer wasn't successful at first but he was allowed to record his own songs in 1965. Ferrer had become a big fan of soul singers like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding and he used that influence to write and record Mirza in 1965. It was a big hit in France and Nino Ferrer was now a star. Credit should also go to organist Bernard Estrady for the excellent riff. The two were friends in college and worked together frequently. Ferrer could have been a much bigger star. But he didn't like the grind of the French pop music business or the comparisons to Jacques Dutronc. So he moved to Italy in 1967 and continued to record increasingly political songs. After hosting a TV variety show, Ferrer moved back to France in 1970. He formed a group with former T. Rex guitarist Mickey Finn. He recorded an album per year but he wasn't as successful as in the 60s. He quit music in 1984 and returned to his castle and exhibited his paintings in galleries. He recorded a new album in 1993 but as always, he seemed to tire of public life. After his mother died in 1998, Nino Ferrer shot himself and died on Aug. 13, 1998 at age 63. This comp is a good intro to the enigmatic Nino Ferrer. Here's the video for Mirza by Nino Ferrer.

Friday, March 30, 2012

PANCRASE announces first ever women's MMA match in Okinawa

Shino VanHoose, Kikuyo Ishikawa
PANCRASE announced yesterday that they will return to Okinawa for the first time in four years May 20 at 3F Koza Music Town. The first match announced will be the first ever women's MMA match in Okinawa. It's rare for pro wrestling or MMA companies to go to Okinawa. PANCRASE will draw. I expect them to fill the house. But it's offset by the cost to go there. They'll probably break even. This is why the regional pro wrestling and MMA scene is much healthier than in Tokyo. A local company has a captive audience and no competition. It's too expensive for PANCRASE or anyone else to go there regularly. In a Strawweight (48kg) match scheduled for two five minute rounds, 16 year old Shino VanHoose will face 2010 JEWELS ROUGH STONE tournament winner Kikuyo Ishikawa. Shino is the daughter of an American serviceman and there are military bases near Okinawa. She trains at Hachioji Paraestra. Her record is 2-0 and her last win was over sakura on the Mar. 11 PANCRASE show. Ishikawa is a big step up in competition for Shino. Ishikawa is an Okinawa native. It's obviously a big deal for her to fight in her home town. She trains at Grand Slam Reversal in Yokohama. Her record is 6-3 and her last fight was a loss to Sugi Rock in the finals of the JEWELS Featherweight tournament on Dec. 17. Since all her fights have been in JEWELS, Ishikawa has never fought full MMA rules. All JEWELS fights have limited ground and pound. She did say she is happy to fight full ground and pound and looks forward to punching her opponent in the face. PANCRASE also announced that pro wrestler Kyoko Kimura will be on this show after she fights a Korean kickboxer this Sunday. I think Kimura may have wrestled in Okinawa a couple of years ago.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Fred Anderson

Artist:Fred Anderson
Song:Ode To Tip
Album:Timeless: Live At The Velvet Lounge

Tenor sax player Fred Anderson had the training and knowledge to play any kind of jazz he wanted. But he preferred free jazz and was one of the leading lights of the Chicago free jazz scene for many years. He didn't record much until his senior years. Ode To Tip is from a 2005 recording at his own club. He was born Mar. 22, 1929 in Monroe, LA. He taught himself to play sax and he idolized Charlie Parker. His family moved to Evanston, IL in the 40s and Anderson studied at the Roy Knapp Conservatory in Chicago. Anderson worked as a carpet installer for years while playing part time. A lot of his contemporaries toured Europe but he stayed home to support his family. Anderson played with sax player Joseph Jarman in the 60s and was one of the founding members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) which was the home for many free jazz musicians. In the 70s, he opened his own club The Birdhouse and then in 1983 took over the famed Chicago club The Velvet Lounge when the previous owner died. Anderson was a regular participant in the club's weekly jam sessions. He recorded more frequently as a leader in the 90s and into the new millennium. He recorded several CDs for the Delmark label including this 2005 CD recorded at his own club with bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Hamid Drake. Delmark also released a DVD of the concert. Remember Anderson was 75 when this was recorded. So when most guys his age are retired, he's still exploring the boundaries of jazz. The Velvet Lounge moved in 2006 and Anderson also owned The Beehive. Plenty of musicians went through his clubs and credit Anderson as a mentor. After recording an 80th birthday party in 2009, Fred Anderson died on June 24, 2010 at age 81. Here's Fred Anderson performing Ode To Tip on the 2005 DVD Timeless: Live At The Velvet Lounge.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-R.E.M.

Song:Losing My Religion
Album:In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003

R.E.M. started out in the 80s as a new wave band with a cult following but graduated to more mainstream success in the 90s. This coincided with a switch from IRS Records to Warner Bros. I don't think their music changed. Losing My Religion was their highest charting single in 1991. R.E.M. is from Athens, GA and started in 1980 when lead singer Michael Stipe met guitarist Peter Buck at an Athens record store where Buck worked. They met bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry and formed a band. Mills and Berry were friends in high school. The group name R.E.M. came out of a dictionary. The group started getting a buzz locally and their debut single Radio Free Europe generated record company interest. They signed with IRS Records. IRS was a leading alternative music label owned by Miles Copeland, brother of Stewart Copeland of The Police. They had success in their early days especially with their 1987 album Document and their first top 20 single The One I Love. But the band were unhappy with IRS' lack of promotion and signed with Warner Bros. when their contract ended. The result was they had their first top ten hit with Stand in 1989. But they did even better when Losing My Religion reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. The album Out Of Time was the first to top the Billboard Hot 200 and sold over four million copies. R.E.M. became one of the most popular bands of the 90s and their success continued through most of the decade. In 1996, they re-signed with Warners for what was reported to be the most lucrative record contract in history. Bell Berry left in 1997 and the band continued as a trio. At first, they didn't seem to know what to do. But they got it together and continued to be successful in the new millennium. This 2003 comp is currently only available in Japan. But with R.E.M. splitting up in 2011, I would expect Warners to issue a new comp and probably a box set. Here's the video for Losing My Religion by R.E.M.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Linda Scott

Artist:Linda Scott
Song:I've Told Ev'ry Little Star
Album:The Complete Hits Of Linda Scott

Teen pop singer Linda Scott had her biggest hit in 1961 with I've Told Ev'ry Little Star. She had a total of twelve charted songs in the early 60s. She was born Linda Joy Sampson June 1, 1945 in Queen's, NY and grew up in Teaneck, NJ. While still in high school, she became a regular on Arthur Godfrey's CBS radio show and released the single In-Between Teen on Epic Records as Linda Sampson. In 1961, she signed with Canadian-American Records who had just had their first big hit with Santo & Johnny's Sleepwalk. Despite the label name, the company was based in New York and owned by Leonard Zimmer. Linda's name was changed to Linda Scott and I've Told Ev'ry Little Star was the first single. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The record was produced by Bill Buster who also worked with Tommy Edwards and The Paris Sisters. I've Told Ev'ry Little Star was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1932 play Music In The Air. The 1934 film version starred Gloria Swanson. The song has been widely covered but Linda had the most success with the song. You probably heard the record in David Lynch's 2001 film Mulholland Drive. The same year Linda had hits with I Don't Know Why and Don't Bet Money, Honey. She wrote that last one. She also appeared in the Chubby Checker film Don't Knock The Twist. By 1964 Linda had faded and moved to Kapp Records. She didn't have much success there but did co-host the TV show Where The Action Is. You can get all her Canadian-American recordings on this comp from the oldies label Eric Records. You'll notice a lot of the songs have the word "star" in them. That's a little too cute for me. Linda recorded for RCA and then released some singles in the UK. She also worked as a backup singer most notably for Lou Christie. She quit music in the early 70s to study theology and taught music at the Christian Academy in New York. Here's a video for I've Told Ev'ry Little Star by Linda Scott.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Katja Kankaanpaa vs VV Mei

Today's edition of Big Bad Blog Video Theater is from Friday's Botnia Punishment show in Botnia, Finland. Undefeated Katja Kankaanpaa faces Japanese veteran VV Mei. As I said before, Mei has been very fortunate in recent fights. Will her luck run out? Katja has a significant height advantage and she seemed to use it in the first round. She took Mei down three times but Mei's defense was good and Katja wasn't able to do much with her. But Mei had no offense so Katja wins round one. Katja takes her down again in round two but this time is in better position and pounds Mei for most of the round. So in round three, Mei has to finish the fight. Katja plays it safe for the most part. But Mei seems to run out of gas and is unable to generate much offense. Katja takes Mei down a few times at the end of the fight to put an exclamation point on her unanimous decision win. Katja Kankaanpaa is still undefeated. Enjoy the video!

Cris Cyborg offers a different excuse for positive drug test

So here's a video where Cris Cyborg gives a new for testing positive for stanozolol. You may recall that a couple of months ago she said that she mistakenly took a diet supplement while cutting weight. She forgot to consult a doctor. In this video, she says she was sabotaged. Someone deliberately gave her the tainted supplement. Of course you probably know that she split with her husband a couple of months ago. She might as well throw him under the bus. It doesn't matter. As we saw today, King Mo Lawal throwing himself on the mercy of the Nevada State Athletic Commission didn't earn him a reduction of his penalties. It seems unlikely that Cyborg's luck will be any better. All she is trying to do now is plead for fan sympathy.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Hank Snow

Artist:Hank Snow
Song:I've Been Everywhere
Album:The Essential Hank Snow

Hank Snow was a pioneer of Canadian country music known for his traveling songs like I'm Movin' On and the 1962 smash hit I've Been Everywhere. I loved this song when I was a kid. Clarence Eugene Snow was born May 9, 1914 in Brooklyn, NS. He joined the Merchant Marines at age 12 to escape an abusive stepfather. He was a cabin boy for four years. Snow based his music on the great Jimmie Rodgers and learned to yodel from listening to Rodgers records. He moved to Halifax in 1933 and appeared as Clarence Snow and his Guitar and The Blue Yodeler on radio station CHNS. Announcer Cecil Landry suggested he change his name to Hank Snow because it sounded more western. This led to a contract with RCA Victor in Canada and national appearances on CBC Radio. So he was a star in Canada but RCA in the US refused to release his records because he wasn't a big enough star for them. He became friends with the legendary Ernest Tubb and an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry convinced RCA to release Snow's records. This paid dividends in 1950 when I'm Movin' On topped the country charts for 21 weeks. Snow had a regular stream of hits in the 50s. And he helped establish Elvis Presley's career when he introduced him to manager Colonel Tom Parker. In the late 50s, Snow was holding his own with the onslaught of Rock & Roll. I've Been Everywhere became Snow's second signature song when it topped the country charts in 1962 and also crossed over to pop. I've Been Everywhere was written by Australian songwriter Geoff Mack and was a hit in Australia for Lucky Starr. Mack's publisher thought it would be a good song for Snow and had Mack rewrite it with names of North American towns. The song has been adapted for many locations. Canadian country music legend Stompin' Tom Connors recorded a Canadian version. Johnny Cash notably covered I've Been Everywhere in 1996. Snow continued to have success in the 60s. But he didn't adapt well when country music went in a pop direction in the 70s and his career slowed down considerably. RCA dropped him in 1981 and he never recorded again. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Hank Snow continued to appear regularly on the Grand Ole Opry until his death on Dec. 20, 1999 at age 85. Hank Snow is a member of the Country Music Hall Of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame. Here's Hank Snow performing I've Been Everywhere on one of Ralph Emery's shows in the 60s.

Monday, March 26, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kenny Rogers

Artist:Kenny Rogers
Album:42 Ultimate Hits

After trying everything he could think of to keep The First Edition together, Kenny Rogers finally called it quits in 1976. They were going nowhere anyway. They hadn't been popular for a few years so it was questionable if Rogers could have a successful solo career. He was perceived as a has been. But United Artists producer Larry Butler signed him anyway and of course Rogers was a smashing success in the country music market. He also crossed over to the pop charts and Lady was his only number one hit as a solo artist in 1980. His other number one hit was the duet Islands In The Stream with Dolly Parton. Rogers' first album for UA Love Lifted Me did OK. But his second album Kenny Rogers went through the roof with Lucille his first number one country hit in 1977. He had more success with songs like The Gambler and Coward Of The County and he had success recording duets with Dottie West and his 1980 duet with Kim Carnes Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer. With EMI's purchase of UA, Rogers was moved to Liberty Records for his 1980 album Share Your Love. His producer on the album was Lionel Richie who was known as lead singer of The Commodores. This was his first work outside The Commodores. Lady was not on Share Your Love. It was a previously unreleased song on the 1980 Greatest Hits comp. Lady topped the Country Singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100. And Greatest Hits topped the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 12XPlatinum. Lady was big for Rogers and Richie as it gave Richie the confidence to leave The Commodores and go solo. And Rogers was firmly established as a pop crossover act. Rogers had several more hits in the 80s including the number one hit Islands In The Stream. But even when he faded on the pop charts, he continued to have success in country. He continues that success today. This 2CD comp is a complete overview of Rogers' career. His latest CD The Love Of God was released by Cracker Barrel last year. He continues to tour and performed Lady with Lionel Richie a couple of weeks ago at SXSW in Austin. Here's Kenny Rogers performing Lady 1980.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Cal Tjader

Artist:Cal Tjader
Song:Soul Sauce (Guachi Guaro)
Album:Soul Sauce

Vibraphonist Cal Tjader came out of the San Francisco jazz scene to become one of the main proponents of Latin Jazz in the 60s. The 1964 hit Soul Sauce is probably his signature song. He was born July 16, 1925 in St. Louis and grew up in San Mateo, CA. His parents were in vaudeville and opened a dance studio in San Mateo. His dad was a tap dancer and his mom played piano. So not surprisingly Cal Jr. learned to dance and play piano and performed with his parents as Tjader Junior. He even danced with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in the film The White of the Dark Cloud of Joy. Tjader started playing drums and at age 16 won a Gene Krupa drum solo contest. But the WWII intervened and Tjader was an army medic. After the war, he attended San Francisco State with the intention of becoming a teacher. But he met Dave Brubeck in 1949 and formed a trio with Paul Desmond. He taught himself to play the vibraphone. Brubeck was injured in a diving accident so the group disbanded in 1951. Tjader worked for Alvino Rey and then George Shearing. He met bassist Al McKibbon who got Tjader into Latin Jazz. He formed his own group in 1954 and recorded for Fantasy Records for most of the 50s. Tjader moved to Verve Records in 1961 and he recorded his most popular recordings for Verve. The 1964 album Soul Sauce was probably his biggest success. The song Soul Sauce is actually the Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo classic Guachi Guaro. Tjader wanted a catchier title and percussionist Willie Bobo thought Tjader's version was spicier than the original. Other musicians were pianist Lonnie Hewitt, drummer Johnny Rae and percussionist Armanda Peraza. The chanting was Bobo's idea. The album Soul Sauce is available on CD. Tjader continued to have success until he left Verve in 1969 to form Skye Records with guitarist Gabor Szabo and arranger composer Gary McFarland. The label closed in 1970 and McFarland died in 1971. Tjader signed with Fantasy Records but his attempt to mix his trademark Latin Jazz sound with Fusion didn't work. Tjader did discover percussionist Poncho Sanchez and Sanchez considers Tjader his musical "father". Tjader signed with Concord Jazz in 1979 and recorded for them until he died while on tour in the Phillippines on May 5, 1982 at age 56. At the time, Tjader's music was criticized as too commercial. In retrospect, his music holds up better than one might think. Cal Tjader deserves a lot of credit for popularizing Latin Jazz. Here's Cal Tjader performing Soul Sauce with Clare Fischer on piano, Poncho Sanchez on congas, Robb Fischer on bass and Vince Lateano on drums probably late 70s.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dido

Song:Thank You
Album:No Angel

Chances are pretty good that if rapper Eminem hadn't sampled Thank You on his 2000 hit single Stan, British singer songwriter Dido Armstrong would have never had a solo career and would have returned to her brother's group Faithless. There's no question that luck made Thank You a top five hit in 2001. The record company deserves credit for recognizing Thank You's potential. Dido was born Dec. 25, 1971 in Kensington, London, England. She also celebrates her birthday on June 25 as a tribute to Paddington Bear. Her father was a publisher and her mother a poet. Of course you can't talk about Dido without talking about her brother Rollo Armstrong. Though Rollo has produced other artists, he is mainly known for working with his sister. Rollo formed Faithless in 1995 with rapper Maxi Jazz and keyboard player Sister Bliss. Dido sang on a couple of songs and she signed with Nettwerk Records. She appeared on the 1997 sampler Odds & Ends but never recorded an album for Nettwerk. But she got the attention of Arista Records and they signed a deal with Rollo's Cheeky label. Thank You first appeared on the soundtrack of the 1998 film Sliding Doors. Dido's debut album No Angel didn't sell when it was released in 1999. Her big break came when Eminem sampled Thank You on his 2000 hit single Stan. Dido appeared in the video. This created interest in Thank You and Arista re-released the song as a single and produced a new video. Thank You reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2001 and the album was certified 4XPlatinum. It was the biggest selling album of 2001, two years after it was first released. Her subsequent albums Life For Rent (2003) and Safe Trip Home (2008) did not sell as well. And though she had a top 20 hit with White Flag in 2003, she hasn't charted since. She still does OK in England. Dido recorded a new album in 2009 but it has yet to be released though she has recorded with Faithless. Dido gave birth to her son in July 2011 so her pregnancy may have delayed the album release. Regardless, my guess is that Dido is unlikely to reach the heights of Thank You again. No Angel is available as a budget CD. Here's the video for Thank You by Dido.

Friday, March 23, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Elastica

Album:Absolute 90's

The British group Elastica had their most successful chart success with Connection in 1995. The group was heavily influenced by 70s punk and new wave. They were dogged by plagiarism lawsuits throughout most of their existence. Elastica lead singer Justine Frischmann was original lead guitarist of Suede. She was dating group leader Brett Anderson and left the group when they split up in 1991. She decided to start a new group with Suede drummer Justin Welch. They recruited bassist Annie Holland and guitarist Donna Matthews through an ad in NME or Melody Maker. At first they called themselves Onk and then settled on Elastica. The first single Stutter got the attention of BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq and he signed them to his Deceptive label. Their debut CD Elastica topped the British album chart and led to a US record deal with Geffen Records. The album was certified Gold. The single Connection was their only top 40 hit in the US. The group's heaviest influence was The Wire to the point that Elastica was accused of plagiarism. For example, Connection sounds very similar to The Wire song Three Girl Rhumba. The Stranglers sued them and won an out of court settlement. After constant touring in 1995, Annie Holland left and was replaced by Sheila Chipperfield and ex-The Fall keyboard player David Bush was added. They returned to the studio but Matthews left and was replaced by guitarist Paul Jones and keyboard player Sharon Mew and then Holland returned. But the CD The Menace was not released until 2000. By that time, Elastica was finished and they split up. The 1995 album Elastica is out of print but you can get Connection on this MCA various artists comp. Justine Frischmann is married to a professor and lives in San Raphael, CA. Justin Welch is married to Sharon Mew and is working on a project with James Atkin of EMF. Donna Matthews is a pastor and Annie Holland lives in Brighton. Here's the video for Connection by Elastica.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tom Jones

Artist:Tom Jones
Song:It's Not Unusual
Album:Greatest Hits

With his big voice and hip swiveling performances, Tom Jones was one of the most popular singers of the late 60s and has proven to be very durable over the years. It's Not Unusual was his breakthrough hit in 1965. He was born Thomas John Woodward June 7, 1940 in Pontypridd, Wales. He was a big R & B fan growing up and loved singers like Solomon Burke and Jackie Wilson. He spent two years in bed when he contracted tuberculosis at age 12. All he did was listen to music. He was married at age 16 and had a son soon after. To support his family, he worked at a glove factory. In 1963, Jones was lead singer of Tommy Scott & The Senators and they recorded with producer Joe Meek. When that didn't work out, he was spotted by Gordon Mills who had a group called The Viscounts. By this time, Mills got into management and production. He renamed Tom Woodward Tom Jones after the 1963 hit film and he signed him to Decca Records. It's Not Unusual was his second single. It topped the British charts and reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mills wrote the song with arranger Les Reed. They wrote several of Jones' hits. One of the myths about this song is that Jimmy Page played guitar. According to Reed, session musician Joe Moretti played guitar. But it is true that a pre-Elton John Reg Dwight played piano when Jones' regular pianist didn't show up. They found him in a coffee house across the street from the recording studio. Jones also had big hits with What's New Pussycat and the theme for the James Bond film Thunderball. When he started to fade, Mills turned Jones into a crooner and that worked very well. Jones started to play Las Vegas in 1967 and over the years has been a big draw there. He also became good friends with Elvis Presley. Of course His stage act was heavily influenced by Elvis. Girls used to throw underwear and hotel keys to Jones while he was performing. Jones only #1 hit in the US was She's A Lady in 1969. He also had a TV variety show. When Jones faded in the 70s, he turned to country music and had some chart success. In 1988, he had a big hit with the Prince song Kiss. This budget comp has all his hits. Tom Jones still records occasionally and was recently named a judge on the UK version of the talent show The Voice. So he's still going strong today. Here's Tom Jones performing It's Not Unusual on the German TV show Beat Beat Beat 1965.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Paul Chambers

Artist:Paul Chambers
Song:Dear Old Stockholm
Album:Bass On Top

Bassist Paul Chambers was one of the top sidemen of the 50s best known as part of The Miles Davis Quintet from 1955-63. He played with lots of other musicians and recorded a few albums for Blue Note including Bass On Top in 1957. He is somewhat forgotten today because he died prematurely. He was born Apr. 22, 1935 in Pittsburgh and was raised in Detroit after his mother died. He started out playing baritone horn and tuba in school and took up the bass in 1949. He studied with a bassist from the Detroit Symphony, was part of the Detroit String Band and studied at Cass Technical High School. In 1955, he went to New York to play with tenor sax player Paul Quinchette. Chambers' favourite bassist was Jimmy Blanton from Duke Ellington's band. He joined the Miles Davis band in 1955 and played on most of Davis' albums through 1963. And of course that's him playing bass on So What from Kind Of Blue. He recorded with many others including Sonny Clark, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan. A lot of those recordings were at Blue Note. The 1957 album Bass On Top was the third of his four albums for Blue Note with Kenny Burrell on guitar, Hank Jones on piano and Art Taylor on drums. It's recommended to all jazz fans. Chambers also recorded for Vee Jay. In 1963, he left Davis for Wynton Kelly and remained there until 1968. And he continued to play sessions. Paul Chambers developed drug and alcohol problems and died of tuberculosis on Jan. 4, 1969 at age 33. A sad and premature end for a respected jazz musician. Here's a video for Dear Old Stockholm by Paul Chambers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of the Day-Little Peggy March

Artist:Little Peggy March
Song:I Will Follow Him
Album:The Ultimate Rock & Roll Collection: The 60s

Little Peggy March had her biggest success in 1963 with I Will Follow Him at 15 years of age. It was all downhill from there. She has actually lived in Germany for years and is still a star there. She was born Margaret Annemarie Battavio Mar. 8, 1948 in Lansdale, PA. After singing at her cousin's wedding, she was introduced to the RCA Records production team Hugo & Luigi. They produced Sam Cooke among many others. Because she was 4'9" and was born in March, they called her Little Peggy March. I Will Follow Him was her second single and it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in 1963. Little Peggy March is still the youngest female artist to ever top the Billboard Hot 100. I Will Follow Him was adapted from the French song Chariot written by composers Franck Pourcel and Paul Mauriat. Pourcel recorded it as an instrumental in 1961. They added lyrics by Jacques Plante and Petula Clark topped the French charts in 1962. Hugo & Luigi hired lyricists Arthur Altman (All Or Nothing At All) and Norman Gimbel to write English lyrics. Gimbel is best known for his work in films with Charles Fox. Peggy's follow up singles didn't do as well. And then in 1966, it was discovered that her manager squandered all her money. She graduated from high school in 1966 and then married her new manager Arnie Harris. You can get I Will Follow Him on this Collectables various artists comp. Despite fading, she continued to record for RCA until the early 70s. She was still popular in Europe and moved to Germany in 1969 and recorded in German. She moved back to the US in 1981. And when a song she co-wrote When The Rain Begins To Fall became a big hit in Europe for Jermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora, she became popular in Europe again and she started recording in German again. These days she plays Las Vegas and Branson and released her first English album in years in 2010. Here's Little Peggy March performing I Will Follow Him 1963. Not the best quality unfortunately.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gail Kim retains TNA Knockouts Championship over Madison Rayne

Here's the match video from last night's TNA PPV with Gail Kim defending her TNA Knockouts Championship against Madison Rayne. The match begins about ten minutes into the video meaning unfortunately you will have to watch the wretched Robbie E stuff. The other thing that you will notice is that TNA's obsession with Twitter makes the WWE look subtle. They even resort to reading what are probably phony viewer Tweets which the WWE has not done. I think both companies should tone it down because they both come across contrived. Spend more time improving the in ring product. The biggest problem with this match is the crowd is dead. Obviously they don't know who to cheer as TNA has set up a feud between two heels. And they rushed through the angle and didn't turn either of them babyface. But early in the match, Madison dominates Gail with obvious heel moves. Gail certainly wrestles like a babyface. A lot of fans have complained to me about Madison's wrestling. But with the nature of her character, TNA has asked her to dumb down her style. In other words, she's not supposed to be good. In this match, she's better than what we have seen in the past. She's a decent but not great wrestler. Fans are willing to boo Gail when she wrestles Mickie James. But we've known for years that she's too hot to boo. TNA had trouble getting fans to boo her years ago and nothing has changed. It was a mistake to not turn her babyface. It would have helped the fan reaction. I also don't care for the end of the match which has a lot of dancing around and reversals. Gail needed more offense in the match so she doesn't look like she escaped with the title. So as usual with TNA Knockouts matches on PPV, the match was OK if nothing special but the booking stinks. Enjoy the video! - TNA Victory Road *720p* - 3/18/12... by rr-ppv

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sierra Hull

Artist:Sierra Hull
Song:Easy Come, Easy Go

I guess the best way to describe Sierra Hull is she is the new Alison Krauss. Of course Alison was a teen bluegrass phenom and is now a big star. I expect Sierra's career path to be very similar and she's even on the same label. She was born Sept. 27, 1991 in Byrdstown, TN which is a small town in the north central part of the state with a population of 900. Sierra is likely to be the most famous person from Byrdstown. She started playing mandolin at age 8 and released an album independently at age 10. She started playing bluegrass festivals and got the attention of Rounder Records talent scout Ken Irwin. She signed at age 12. They got her in contact with Alison Krauss who is a perfect mentor. At this point, Sierra was only playing mandolin. She wasn't singing yet. So Rounder wanted her to go out on tour and work on her vocals. They needed her to sing so they could market her. So she worked on her singing with her band Highway 111 with her brother Cody Hull on guitar, Cody Walker on banjo and dobro and John Fox on bass. It turns out she's a damn good singer too. She also studied at Berklee School of Music on a Presidential Scholarship. Her Rounder debut CD Secrets was released in 2008. It was produced by Alison Krauss and guitarist Ron Block. It reached #2 on the Bluegrass Album chart. Easy Come, Easy Go is from Sierra's latest CD Daybreak released Mar. 2011. It was again produced by Alison Krauss with Union Station bassist Barry Bales. Easy Come, Easy Go was her first video. And the thing you'll notice is it emphasizes her looks and her vocals. They show her playing the mandolin briefly so it almost looks like a prop. Obviously Rounder is trying to turn Sierra into a pop star the same way they turned Alison into a pop star. Though Sierra wrote most of the songs on her album, Easy Come, Easy Go was written by singer songwriter Kevin McClung. The album reached #5 on the Bluegrass Album chart. But Sierra hasn't crossed over to pop or country yet. I think she will cross over eventually. Her talent can't be denied. She's really good. Here's your chance to check her out  by watching the video for Easy Come, Easy Go by Sierra Hull.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Four girls pass STARDOM auditions

STARDOM recently held auditions for new recruits and on Friday held the finals. This video gives you a look at them. You'll notice they started with six girls and cut two of them. They put them through a fitness test, a swimsuit review and then they have to talk about themselves. Yuzuki Aikawa was on hand to help with the judging. You'll notice in the fitness test that two of the girls couldn't even do a pushup. Those two girls were eliminated. I guess they have minimum standards. Of the four girls chosen, the one to watch is 19 year old adult video actress Riho Sawaki. She's the one with the pig tails and the red bikini. That kind of history gives her an advantage because of sex appeal. Athletic ability obviously isn't a priority. The other three aren't all that interesting. There's 24 year old Maki Yoshihara who mostly gushes about how much she admires Aikawa. I guess it doesn't hurt to butter up one of the judges. I think she's too thin. She's in the light blue bikini. Then there's 28 year old Hirutsaka. She seems a little old and doesn't have the bikini model look. She's in the pink and white bikini. And the fourth is 25 year old Miwa Tachibana in the brown bikini. She's a dancer and has the biggest boobs of the four. I admit she doesn't look 25. We all know what Hiroshi Ogawa is looking for. They seem to get a really mixed bag because athletic talent isn't a priority. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ronnie Boykins

Artist:Ronnie Boykins
Song:The Will Come, Is Now
Album:The Will Come, Is Now

Bassist Ronnie Boykins is best known for his days with Sun Ra in the 60s. After he left in 1966, Ra couldn't find a replacement and ended up playing bass himself. Boykins also recorded all kinds of music as a sideman but his primary interest was in free jazz. This 1975 album The Will Come, Is Now was his only recording as a leader before his premature death in 1980. He was born Dec. 17, 1935 in Chicago. Like Sun Ra bandmates John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, Boykins went to DuBose High School and studied under famed music teacher Captain Walter Dyett. He also studied with Duke Ellington bassist Ernie Shepard. Boykins played with Muddy Waters, Johnny Griffin and Jimmy Witherspoon before joining Sun Ra in 1958. He was an integral part of the band until he left in 1966. Boykins played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk in 1967 and he formed his own group The Free Jazz Society with pianist John Hicks. And he played with The Melodic Art-tet. The Will Come, Is Now was his only album as a leader in 1975. I understand it was the final album released by the 60s avant garde jazz label ESP-Disk. Musicians include Jimmy Vass, Monty Waters and Joe Ferguson on sax and flute, Daoud Haroom on trombone, Art Lewis on drums and George Avaloz on conga. The album is available on CD and will be of interest to fans of free jazz. Ronnie Boykins toured with Steve Lacy in 1979 and played with Sam Rivers, Mary Lou Williams and Marion Brown among others. He died of a heart attack on Apr. 20, 1980 at age 44. His son Ronnie Boykins Jr wrote the music for the 2007 film Urchin. Here's a video for The Will Come, Is Now by Ronnie Boykins.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Porter Wagoner

Artist:Porter Wagoner
Song:The Carroll County Accident
Album:The Essential Porter Wagoner

Porter Wagoner was best known as the man who discovered Dolly Parton and then tried to stop her from leaving. Of course a lot of his hits were duets with Dolly. But he was fixture on the country charts for decades and also on TV. The Carroll County Accident was one of his biggest hits in 1969. He was born Aug. 12, 1927 in West Plains, MO and he taught himself to play guitar by listening to country music over the radio. As a teen, he worked as a butcher at a local grocery store and Wagoner sang when business was slow. The store owner liked his singing so much that he sponsored a radio show for Wagoner on local station KWPM. Then he was hired by KWTO in Springfield and Red Foley hired him for his Ozark Jamboree radio show. This led to a contract with RCA Records. Some of Wagoner's early hits included Company's Comin', A Satisfied Mind and Eat, Drink and Be Merry. He moved to Nashville in 1957 and formed his backing band The Wagoneers led by his long time steel guitarist Don Warden. Wagoner's career seemed to be failing when he started his TV show in 1960. It got him back on the country charts. And he introduced singer Norma Jean and she had some hits. But they never sang together. In 1967, he fired Norma Jean and hired Dolly Parton. They had several hits together beginning with the Tom Paxton song The Last Thing On My Mind. She became more popular than him and of course that became a problem when she wanted to leave in 1974. None of Wagoner's solo hits were as big as his duets with Parton. But The Carroll County Accident may have been his biggest hit in that time period. It reached #2 on the Country Singles chart in 1969. The Carroll County Accident was written by Bob Ferguson. He was Chet Atkins' assistant at RCA Nashville and he also wrote Ferlin Husky's 1960 hit On The Wings Of A Dove. Ferguson got the idea for the fictional song from a road sign while driving through Carroll County, TN. After Dolly left, Wagoner retired from touring but continued to produce his TV show until 1981. He also left RCA at that time. This budget comp is a good intro to Wagoner's solo hits. It looked like he would retire. But an appearance in Clint Eastwood's 1982 film Honkytonk Man brought him out of retirement. He continued to record and perform. He was named Goodwill Ambassador by the Grand Ole Opry and hosted their TV show. For years he was known as Mr. Grand Ole Opry. Porter Wagoner recorded his final album for Anti Records in 2007 and died of lung cancer on Oct. 28, 2007 at age 80. Here's Porter Wagoner performing The Carroll County Accident on That Good Ole Nashville Music June 14, 1970.

Friday, March 16, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Oak Ridge Boys

Artist:The Oak Ridge Boys
Song Elvira
Album:The Definitive Collection

Most fans will be familiar with The Oak Ridge Boys from their 14 number one country hits in the 80s. Elvira was the biggest of those hits in 1981. But the group has been around in some form since the early 40s mostly as a country gospel group. They went in a more secular direction in the 70s. They started out in Knoxville, TN in 1943 as Wally Fowler & The Georgia Clodhoppers. In 1945, Fowler changed the group name to the Oak Ridge Quartet and focused on gospel music. When the other three members left to form their own group in 1949, Fowler hired another group to replace them. In 1957, Fowler sold the name to group member Smitty Gatlin and he eventually changed the name to The Oak Ridge Boys. Things started to change when William Lee Golden joined in 1964. Gatlin quit to become a minister in 1966 and was replaced by Duane Allen. They continued to have success in the gospel market. Bass singer Richard Sterban joined in 1972 from JD Sumner & The Stamps Quartet and eventually lead tenor Joe Bonsall joined. He had been in The Keystone Quartet with Sterban and both guys were friends with Allen. At this point the group lineup was the same for the next 15 years. The 1973 single Praise The Lord and Pass the Soup got them a record deal with Columbia. But Columbia did not promote them to the gospel market and those fans will desert acts that they perceive as abandoning them. They left Columbia after three albums. In 1977, The Oak Ridge Boys signed with ABC Records which was soon purchased by MCA. They had their first #1 country hit I'll Be True To You in 1978. They continued to have success in the country market. But in 1981, they blew up with the release of Elvira. It topped the country singles chart but also reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Elvira is a doo wop throwback especially with Sterban's bass riff. Veteran songwriter Dallas Frazier first recorded Elvira in 1966 and Rodney Crowell recorded it in 1978 which is where The Oak Ridge Boys heard it. Frazier also wrote Alley Oop for The Hollywood Argyles. The Oak Ridge Boys continued to have success until William Lee Golden was pushed out because he refused to change his "mountain man" look and he also recorded a 1986 solo album. He sued the group and they settled out of court. He was replaced by Steve Sanders. After three more albums for MCA, they left for RCA. Record company politics forced a move to Liberty. Golden returned to replace Sanders in 1995. In recent years they recorded for the bluegrass label Spring Hill. Their latest CD It's Only Natural was released last year on Cracker Barrell Records. Yes, that's owned by the cheese store. This budget CD is a good selection of their MCA hits. The Oak Ridge Boys continue to tour and perform at their theater in Branson, MO. Here are The Oak Ridge Boys performing Elvira on Barbara Mandrell and The Mandrell Sisters 1981.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Cliff Nobles & Co.

Artist:Cliff Nobles & Co.
Song:The Horse
Album:The Phil-L.A. of Soul Music Singles Collection 1968-1972

This 1968 Philly Soul instrumental classic reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The only problem is it wasn't supposed to be an instrumental. So singer Cliff Nobles didn't actually appear on his own hit. And then he never had another hit. He was born Aug. 4, 1941 in Grove Hill, AL and grew up in Mobile. He had a group called The Delroys in high school. Nobles moved to Philadelphia to make it in the music business. But he had a rough time and moved in with several other starving musicians in Norristown. He recorded three singles for Atlantic that went nowhere. Then he formed Cliff Nobles & Co. with bassist Benny Williams, guitarist Bobby Tucker and drummer Tommy Soul. They recorded some demos with producer Jesse James and he got them a record deal with Phil-L.A. of Soul Records. Their second single was Love Is All Right with an instrumental version on the B-side called The Horse featuring what would become known as the MFSB horns. As sometimes happens in radio, DJs flipped the record and played the B-side. The Horse reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. Another instrumental Grazing In The Grass by Hugh Masekela was number one. Apparently this was the only time in history that two instrumentals topped the Billboard chart. The Horse sold a million copies. Of course it was obviously a fluke so when Phil-L.A. released more Cliff Nobles instrumentals, they failed. You can get those recordings on this CD. Nobles almost had a top 40 hit on Roulette where he actually sang. But soon after he quit the music business and was in construction for many years. Cliff Nobles died on Oct. 12, 2008 at age 67. The Horse is a soul classic frequently sampled by hip hop guys and it's a marching band standard at colleges in the south. Here's a video for The Horse by Cliff Nobles & Co.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

SMASH closes...sort of

My years of experience covering the Japanese wrestling scene tells me that when promoters announce that a company is closing, it's best to approach it with skepticism. Last month's announcement of SMASH's closing seemed particularly curious when company president Sakai said that he was closing SMASH because he thought it was beneath him morally to own a wrestling company. Of course no one believed him and then rumours started to surface about the real reason. It turns out that Sakai and TAJIRI were butting heads over the direction of SMASH. Sakai wanted to use older established wrestlers and TAJIRI wanted to develop younger wrestlers. Supposedly TAJIRI already has a new backer and will announce the establishment of the new company in April. Then it was announced on Monday that Sakai would have an announcement after today's show. And of course there was an earthquake in Japan this morning that I'm sure made everyone at the show jittery. So I was not surprised that Sakai left the door open for a new version of SMASH. He said that SMASH Chapter 1 has closed and Chapter 2 will soon open. The rumour that I have seen is that Sakai will merge with legendary veteran Genchiro Tenyru and his Tenyru Project. Tenyru did work for SMASH a couple of times. But I expect TAJIRI's announcement in April and it is already rumoured that SMASH ace KUSHIDA will come with him.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Stray Cats

Artist:Stray Cats
Song:Rock This Town
Album:Greatest Hits

The Stray Cats rode the 80s Rockabilly revival to three top ten hits including Rock This Town in 1982. Their run was brief as they split up in 1985. But the music holds up well and all three guys have had successful music careers. The Stray Cats are from Massapequa, Long Island, NY. In 1978, lead singer, guitarist and main songwriter Brian Setzer had a band called The Tom Cats which included his brother Gary on drums. He abandoned that to form the Stray Cats with bassist Lee Rocker (real name: Lee Drucker) and drummer Slim Jim Phantom (real name: James McDonnell). They were friends in high school. It was agreed that Stray Cats would be a Rockabilly tribute band. But they would write original songs. They got some buzz playing New York clubs but couldn't get a record deal. So they moved to England in 1980 because they thought Rockabilly would be more acceptable there and it would be easier to get a record deal. That's exactly what happened and Arista won a bidding war. This was only in England. They got a stroke of good luck when they met Dave Edminds after a show and he agreed to produce them. Not only is Edmunds a great guitarist best known as part of Rockpile. But as a producer, Edmunds has great respect for 50s music with the ability to give Stray Cats a contemporary sound. It's exactly what Stray Cats needed. After three hit singles in England including Rock This Town, Stray Cats signed a US record deal with EMI America. The 1982 album Built For Speed was a comp of their first two albums. Rock This Town reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was written by Setzer and Edmunds. Stray Cat Strut was an even bigger hit at #3 and (She's) Sexy + 17 was also a top ten hit. By 1984, the group wasn't getting along and split up. It appears the problem was Setzer's gig as guitarist for Robert Plant. Phantom and Rocker formed a new band with former David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick called Phantom Rocker & Slick and they recorded one album. Stray Cats reunited in the late 80s and recorded three albums that weren't successful. They continue to reunite occasionally. This 2005 comp from Capitol has all the Stray Cats hits. The Brian Setzer Orchestra had success in the 90s and he tours with that band too. Lee Rocker has recorded blues for Black Top and Alligator and runs a music festival in Texas. Slim Jim Phantom played with Jerry Lee Lewis. His current bands are Dead Men Walking and The Head Cat. Here's the video for Rock This Town by Stray Cats.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Saori Ishioka vs WINDY Tomomi

Here is the match video of Saori Ishioka vs WINDY Tomomi from Sunday's PANCRASE show. Of course this is WINDY's retirement match. I would give WINDY a slight edge in round one. Of of Ishioka's problems in her career has been lack of aggressiveness. And WINDY just lands a few more punches. They went to the ground but Ishioka pulled WINDY into guard and nothing much happened. The ref should have stood them up sooner. What was he waiting for? I assume that between rounds, Ishioka's corner told her to snap out of it and take control of the fight. And she did exactly that. She took WINDY down and quickly submitted her with an armbar. It's almost like Ishioka was a different fighter in round two. Her timidity is her biggest problem and she needs to get over that to be a better fighter. Unfortunately, WINDY's retirement ceremony is not included in this video. That's very disappointing as I always enjoy them and I know fans enjoy them too. My guess is they had to cut the show to fit a time slot. BOO! Enjoy the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Boyd Raeburn and his Orchestra

Artist:Boyd Raeburn and his Orchestra
Song:Interlude (A Night In Tunisia)
Album:March Of The Boyds

Most jazz fans should be familiar with the Dizzy Gillespie classic A Night In Tunisia. But you may not know that the song was originally recorded by bandleader Boyd Raeburn. And Gillespie played a trumpet solo on this 1945 recording. Boyd Raeburn was born Oct. 27, 1913 in Faith, SD. He started out as a bandleader at the University Of Chicago in the early 30s. By the early 40s, he got more into jazz and early bebop with arrangements by Eddie Finckel. The biggest problem Raeburn had is he never recorded for a major label. And in 1942, there was a recording ban that lasted two years. The labels thought his music was too weird. He frequently ran out of money and had to start over. In 1945, Finckel left for Gene Krupa's band and George Handy replaced him. His arrangements were even better. This recording of A Night In Tunisia was recorded for the Guild label in 1945 and Dizzy Gillespie played the trumpet solo. Gillespie had just left Billy Eckstine's band. Raeburn's money problems continued through the 40s. He shut down the band for good in 1949. This CD is a good intro to his music. He recorded for Columbia in the 50s but it wasn't the same. Boyd Raeburn died on Aug. 2, 1966 at age 52 as a result of a car accident. He never really got the fame he deserved but he was the first to record A Night In Tunisia. Here's a video for Interlude (A Night In Tunisia) by Boyd Raeburn and his Orchestra.

Monday, March 12, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Donna Summer

Artist:Donna Summer
Song:She Works Hard For The Money
Album:The Journey: The Very Best Of Donna Summer

The thing that distinguishes Donna Summer from other disco singers of the late 70s is her songwriting ability. The 1983 hit She Works Hard For The Money returned her to the top of the charts when her career seemed to be fading. I think it's one of her best songs. She was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines Dec. 31, 1948 in Boston and grew up singing in church. In 1968, she moved to New York as the lead singer of the psychedelic rock group The Crow. She also auditioned for the Broadway production of Hair but lost the role of Sheila to Melba Moore. Donna was offered the same role for the European production and she moved to Germany. She also appeared in Godspell. In 1971, she released a single as Donna Gaines that went nowhere and she also performed with the group FamilyTree. She married actor Helmuth Sommer in 1972. They had a daughter but the marriage didn't last. She changed her professional name to Donna Summer. While recording backup vocals for Three Dog Night in 1974, she met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and signed with their label Groovy Records. Her first album was released only in Europe. So most folks first heard Donna Summer when she moaned on the hit Love To Love You Baby. The song was her idea but Moroder told her to sing like Marilyn Monroe. Moroder's obvious influence was Jane Birkin's Je T'aime. They sent the song to Casablanca Records looking for a US record deal. Label owner Neil Bogart got a big response when he played it at a party. The only thing is he wanted a long version. Moroder's revised version clocked in at 17 minutes. Donna had several hits after this. But by 1980, she was fading and left Casablanca for Geffen Records. Her first album for Geffen The Wanderer was more of a rock album and didn't do all that well. And after her second album was shelved, she left Moroder for Quincy Jones and had a top ten hit in 1982 with Love Is In Control. At the time, she had married Bruce Sudano and had two more children. Things weren't going well at Geffen. Then Casablanca owner PolyGram told Geffen Donna owed them one more album to fulfill her contract. That album That was rejected by Geffen was She Works Hard For The Money. The single reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Donna wrote the song with producer Michael Omartian after an encounter with a female bathroom worker. Seawind leader Jerry Hey arranged the horns and Gary Herbig played the sax solo. Legendary session musician Jay Graydon played the guitar solo. But she was still having trouble with Geffen. She was also quoted with anti-gay comments that she denied making. Geffen put her together with British producers Stock Aitken Waterman who had been successful with Rick Astley among others. Geffen didn't like the album but it was released in Europe. And the success got her a contract with Atlantic Records after she left Geffen. This Time I Know It's For Real was her final top ten hit in 1989. This budget comp has all her hits. She hasn't recorded much in recent years. Her last new recording was in 2008. Her performance in the David Foster PBS special of To Paris With Love topped the dance charts in 2010. Donna Summer currently lives in Nashville with her husband and she is a grandmother of four. Hard to believe, huh. Here's the video for She Works Hard For The Money by Donna Summer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

WINDY Tomomi retires

WINDY Tomomi
WINDY Tomomi had her retirement match at today's PANCRASE show at Differ Ariake. You might think she would get an exhibition match. But her opponent, JEWELS fighter Saori Ishioka, is on a losing streak and needs a win. Of course WINDY's background is kickboxing and is one of the best strikers in women's MMA. But she is weak on the ground and that's how she usually loses. So I'm sure Ishioka worked on her ground game which isn't that good because she's a karate girl. WINDY did a pretty good job of tagging Ishioka with strikes in round one. Ishioka attempted to take her down without success. It went better for Ishioka in round two. After a takedown, Ishioka forced WINDY to submit with an armbar at 1:04 of round two. At her retirement ceremony, WINDY was given a Queen Of PANCRASE belt. It's a very nice belt as you can see in the picture. And she was given flowers followed by the ten bell salute and paper tape streamers. Megumi Fujii was in attendance and posted some pics on her Twitter (@MegaMeguCat). On the other women's match on the show, Shino VanHoost won over sakura with an armbar 2:40 of round one. I understand sakura missed weight. I would like to see Shino face someone half decent. Fans always ask me about PANCRASE's commitment to women's MMA. I think it's iffy. At least they're doing something. But they have promised to jump in at the deep end of the pool but haven't. Put WINDY in charge of the women's division.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Five Man Electrical Band

Artist:Five Man Electrical Band
Album:The Best Of Five Man Electrical Band

Signs was the biggest hit and signature song for the Canadian group Five Man Electrical Band in 1971. It's a classic anti-establishment song. The group started out in Ottawa as The Staccatos in 1966 with lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Les Emmerson, bassist Brian Rading, keyboardist Ted Gerow and drummers Rick "Bell" Belanger and Mike "Bell" Belanger. They had a hit in Canada in 1967 with Half Past Midnight and recorded the album A Wild Pair with The Guess Who. When The Staccatos were rejected by US radio stations as too similar to The Beach Boys, they recorded a second album and changed their name to Five Man Electrical Band which was originally the album title. After continued success in Canada, they signed with MGM in the US and moved to Los Angeles. They released a few singles with little success. Signs was the B-side of the single Hello Melinda Goodbye. The group was about to split up when they signed with a new label Lionel Records owned by legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb and producer Dallas Smith. They reissued Signs as a teaser for the upcoming album Goodbyes & Butterflies. Signs reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in1971. The follow up single Absolutely Right reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Canada, Signs, Absolutely Right and I'm A Stranger Here were all top five hits. Les Emmerson also had a solo hit in Canada with Cry Your Eyes Out in 1973. It's unclear when Five Man Electrical Band split up as Emmerson continued to use the group name. He now owns the rights to the recordings and licensed them to the British label Micro Werks for this 2009 comp. Five Man Electrical Band has reunited occasionally and are recording new music according to their website. Tesla had a top ten hit with their cover of Signs in 1990 and Fatboy Slim and others have sampled Signs. So I think it's safe to say that Les Emmerson is making a good living from royalties. Here's a video for Signs by Five Man Electrical Band.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jerry Granelli V16

Artist:Jerry Granelli V16
Song:Udon Waltz
Album:Vancouver '08

Drummer Jerry Granelli started out in the 60s as a sideman best known as a member of Vince Guaraldi's group. In the 70s he turned to teaching and his music took an experimental turn. Today he tours with his quartet V16. He was born Dec. 30, 1940 in San Francisco and his interest in the drums began when he got to hang out with Gene Krupa when he was 8 years old. He learned to play from Joe Morello from Dave Brubeck's band and then joined Vince Guaraldi's band in the early 60s. That is Granelli playing drums on A Charlie Brown Christmas. He left in 1965 to join Denny Zeitlin's trio along with bassist Charlie Haden. He also played sessions and toured Europe with The Grateful Dead in 1971. In the 70s Granelli turned to teaching first at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO and then at the Cornish in Seattle in the 80s. He was also part of guitarist Ralph Towner's trio along with bassist Gary Peacock. He started recording as a leader in the mid-80s and then moved to Halifax, NS to teach at the Halifax Conservatory. Since then Granelli has been part of the Halifax jazz scene and continues to tour with his band V16. Udon Waltz is from the CD Vancouver '08 and comes with a live DVD. You'll notice that Granelli doesn't actually play drums on this song but it does give you an idea of his style of jazz. Udon Waltz was written by guitarist Christian Kogel and the song features Kogel and Granelli's son J. Anthony Granelli on bass. Guitarist David Tronzo is the fourth member of the group. At 70 years of age, Jerry Granelli is still experimenting with the boundaries of jazz and doesn't seem to be slowing down at all. Here's Jerry Granelli V16 performing Udon Waltz in Vancouver 2008.

Friday, March 09, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ronnie Bird

Artist:Ronnie Bird
Song:Chante (I Can Only Give You Everything)
Album:Pop a Paris Vol. 2: A Tout Casser!

Unlike most of the French pop singers of the 60s, Ronnie Bird's music had a harder edge to it and still holds up well today. He usually recorded French adaptations of British pop songs. Chante is a French version of I Can Only Give You Everything by Them. He was born Ronald Mehu in Boulogne-Sur-Seine, France Apr. 24, 1946. He was attending school in Paris when he stumbled into the music business with Decca Records in 1964. He moved to Philips Records in 1966 and Chante is from that time period. As I said, Bird usually recorded French covers of British Invasion songs. The ace in the hole was legendary guitarist Mickey Baker who arranged and produced his recordings. Baker is best known as half of Mickey & Sylvia and they had a big hit with Love Is Strange in 1956. Baker was living in Paris at the time and worked with a few French pop singers. Baker played on plenty of Atlantic Records sessions in the 50s. Check out the guitar riff on this song. Guitarist Mick Jones who would go on to form Foreigner was also part of Bird's band. Bird's recordings are available on a ridiculously expensive box set. This various artists CD is part of a series released by Universal France in 2003. It will give you a taste of 60s French pop music. In 1967, Bird went on tour with the French production of Hair until 1972. Then he moved to New York. He has never recorded again but he sometimes writes songs for others. Here's Ronnie Bird performing Chante (I Can Only Give You Everything) 1966.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Rowdy Ronda Rousey Effect

So now that Rowdy Ronda Rousey has decisively won the Strikeforce Women's 135lb Championship, it's time to look at the potential long term influence that she could have on women's MMA. At a UFC press conference a couple of days ago, Dana White said he watched the fight and Ronda is a star. But he is still concerned about the depth of talent in women's MMA. This was on the heels of his announcement that he is no longer involved with Strikeforce. First, I think this has mostly to do with changes he wanted to make in the technical quality of the broadcasts. Zuffa employee Sean Shelby does the matchmaking. And the Strikeforce contract with Showtime ends in 2014. So it was a dramatic announcement that doesn't mean much. So White can talk about depth all he wants but the truth is the buck stops with him. Put your money where your mouth is. A female The Ultimate Fighter has been suggested before. Maybe now is the time to do that. Not that I expect it. As long as women aren't in the UFC, White is still a misogynist. But even he sees that Ronda has the potential to be the biggest star employed by Zuffa. He would be a fool to leave that on the table. The likely result of The Rowdy Ronda Rousey Effect will be the influx of Olympic caliber athletes. Up to now, most female fighters either got into MMA by accident or got into it because the boyfriend was a fighter. That's how Gina Carano got into kickboxing. And Sarah Kaufman was going to a dance class when she found a martial arts studio in the same building. There are exceptions but those two reasons are most common. Very few were doing martial arts at five years of age like Megumi Fujii. Of course we know about Olympic athletes like Sara McMann and Randi Miller in MMA. But we need more of them and that's why Ronda is important to women's MMA. That caliber of athlete can only raise the talent  and depth level. That's what we need. A few months ago I saw an article on USA Today about Ronda's former USA Judo teammate Kayla Harrison. She's even trained by Jim Pedro who also trained Ronda. That's the kind of athlete we need in women's MMA. For all the slagging of the WWE by dopey MMA fans, it's interesting that Gerry Brisco regularly scouts high school and college wrestling tournaments looking for talent for the WWE. Maybe Zuffa needs to start doing that. That's the kind of grass roots work that develops talent for years to come. Ronda has all the tools to be a star anyway but I know the raising of the talent level in women's MMA is important to her. But we also need a level of commitment from Zuffa and I don't know if that will happen. Dana White whining about the depth of women's MMA is pointless without promising a solution. Fork over some dough, buddy.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John Parr

Artist:John Parr
Song:St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)
Album:Best Of '80s Pop: Love Songs

Most folks will remember this chart topper from the 1985 hit film St. Elmo's Fire. John Parr and producer David Foster wrote the song for Canadian paraplegic athlete Rick Hansen and then Foster slipped it into the movie soundtrack. Parr is perceived as a one hit wonder though he had one other significant chart hit. He was born Nov. 18, 1954 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England. He signed a publishing deal in 1983 and worked with Meat Loaf on his album Bad Attitude. Parr signed with Atlantic Records in 1984 and his debut album John Parr did well. The single Naughty Naughty reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. When Parr finished touring opening for Toto, David Foster called him about recording a song for the upcoming film St. Elmo's Fire. Parr had written Man In Motion to honour Rick Hansen. After Foster made some changes to the song, it was the film's theme. The song topped the charts in 1985 and the film and soundtrack was a big hit too. The song was only released on the movie soundtrack. It was never on a John Parr album. The soundtrack is available on CD but a little expensive. You should get it on this Rhino various artists budget CD. Parr left Atlantic after one more album. Some of his songs appeared in films like Three Men and a Baby, The Running Man and American Anthem. But for the most part he slipped into obscurity and quit the music business in the 90s. He returned in 2006 to tour with Bryan Adams, Journey and Richard Marx. He released an album last year. And you might have seen him on ESPN's SportsNation singing a reworked St. Elmo's Fire dedicated to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. He is currently touring with the show American Anthems: The Spectacular Rock Musical. His son Ben Parr appears in the British TV show Hollyoaks. Here's the video for St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion) by John Parr.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Artist:Carolyn Dawn Johnson
Album:Room With A View

Carolyn Dawn Johnson had her biggest success as a recording artist with the 2001 top five country hit Complicated. But she has had a lot of success as a songwriter in Nashville. In recent years, she has moved back to her native Canada and is still recording there. She was born Apr. 30, 1971 in Grande Prairie, AB and grew up singing in church. She was a big country music fan but didn't think she could make a living in music. But she sat in with bands while in college and the studied music at the Columbia Academy in Vancouver. She decided to concentrate on songwriting. That's right, folks. That's where the money is in the music business. Carolyn moved to Nashville in 1994 and signed a publishing deal. Several of her songs were recorded by others. But the big one was the 1999 number one country hit Single White Female by Chely Wright. and also Downtime by Jo Dee Messina. Carolyn was named Breakthrough Songwriter Of The Year in 2000 by Music Row Magazine. Record companies also came calling and Carolyn signed with Arista Nashville and producer Paul Worley. He is best known for his work with Dixie Chicks and Martina McBride. Room With A View was her debut album. Carolyn co-produced the album and wrote all the songs. It's available as a budget CD. Complicated was the second single and it reached #5 on the Country Singles chart. She also did very well in Canada. Her 2004 album Dress Rehearsal did not do as well in the US though it did well in Canada. In a 2007 interview with the Calgary Sun, Carloyn said Arista wanted her to record songs by other writers. She was OK with that but she didn't think the songs they gave her were as good as her own. So she asked for her release and moved back to Alberta with her husband. She signed with Universal in Canada but does not have a US record deal. Her latest CD Love Rules was released Aug. 2010 and was nominated for a Juno award. It seems like Carolyn Dawn Johnson is very happy to be away from Nashville with her husband and two kids. She is currently touring with Martina McBride. Here's the video for Complicated by Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Artist:The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Song:Jackie Blue
Album:Time Warp: The Very Best Of The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

If The Ozark Mountain Daredevils remind you of The Eagles, that is not a coincidence. The group was sold on their resemblance to The Eagles especially their biggest hit Jackie Blue in 1975. The group was formed in Springfield, MO in 1971. The band name was because with the long hair and beards, they looked different from other Ozark residents. The main members of the band were Steve Cash on keyboards, Randle Chowning on guitar, John Dillon on guitar, Larry Lee on drums and Mike Granda on bass. Later on they added pianist Buddy Brayfield when two founding members left. At first they were called Family Tree and then changed it to Ozark Mountain Daredevils. A demo got the attention of legendary Columbia Records talent scout John Hammond. But they didn't get a record deal. A & M Records house producer David Anderle was looking for a band that sounded like The Eagles and he brought Eagles producer Glyn Johns to an Ozark Mountain Daredevils show. They signed with A & M and their 1974 debut album produced the top 30 hit If You Ever Get To Heaven. Jackie Blue is from their second album It'll Shine When It Shines. Jackie Blue reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. Johns heard Larry Lee singing the song in the studio. It was originally about a drug dealer. Johns got Lee and Cash to rewrite the song and get rid of the drug references. Lee sang the lead vocal. Subsequent albums didn't do as well and A & M lost interest in the group partially because they wouldn't move to Los Angeles. Chowning and Brayfield left in 1976 and A & M dropped them in 1978. This comp is a good intro to their music. They signed with Columbia in 1979 but only recorded one album there and split up. Dillon, Granda and Cash still lead a version of The Ozark Mountain Daredevils today. Here's The Ozark Mountain Daredevils performing Jackie Blue on The Old Grey Whistle Test 1975.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Ayaka Hamasaki vs Yuka Tsuji set for May 26 JEWELS show

Emi Fujino punches Mika Nagano
The biggest thing to come out of Saturday's JEWELS show at Shin-kiba 1st Ring was the announcement that Ayaka Hamasaki will defend the JEWELS Lightweight Championship against Yuka Tsuji at the May 26 show at Taisho Azeria in Osaka. This will be JEWELS first trip to Osaka. These days Osaka is a better market for MMA than Tokyo. They'll do OK there. The problem with Saturday's show is there were only five pro MMA matches and the rest was filler. And in the two main matches you have three fighters on losing streaks. Not very inspiring. The main event had Emi Fujino vs Mika Nagano. Nagano is on a two fight losing streak and her last loss to VV Mei must have been very hard to swallow as she was robbed by an incompetent judge. Fujino is a tough fighter and her major flaw is she isn't a finisher. Nagano had her moments but for the most part Fujino had no trouble with her and won by unanimous decision. Fujino said she wants a title shot. Nagano said on her blog that she isn't quitting MMA. She wrestled in high school and college but because of her idol image, she isn't taken seriously. But she has to start winning. The semi main had Takayo Hashi vs Roxanne Modafferi. These two were training partners several years ago. Roxanne said on her blog that she thought she would have to finish Hashi. That's a very tall order. Both were on losing streaks and needed a win. Hashi won by unanimous decision as she controlled the fight on the ground. If she had fought like that in the US, she would have been more successful. I'll never understand why she changed her fighting style. The teenager MIZUKI had no problem with Aussie Alex Chambers and won with an armbar at 4:32 of round one. Former pro wrestler Emi Tomimatsu continued her successful comeback with a unanimous decision win over Amiba. Tomimatsu took her down in the first round and pounded her in the second round. For the most part, Celine had the upper hand over Iris. She got Iris in a rear naked choke but the bell rang to save her. Then in round two she was outpunching her when Iris threw her to the mat with a judo throw and submitted her with a V1 armbar at 2:12 of round two. Iris remains undefeated in her first match at Lightweight. That's it. The rest of the show was filler. It looks like the next show has some potential.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Mike Nichols & Elaine May

Artist:Mike Nichols & Elaine May
Album:In Retrospect

Mike Nichols is best known as a film director and you may have seen Elaine May in films but she is primarily a screenwriter. But in the early 60s the two recorded some of the funniest comedy ever recorded. They only recorded three albums. Mike Nichols was born Michael Peschkowsky Nov. 6, 1931 in Berlin, Germany. His family moved to New York City in 1939 to escape Nazi Germany and his father changed the family name to Nichols. Elaine May was born Elaine Berlin Apr. 21, 1932 in Philadelphia. Her parents were in the Yiddish theater and moved to Los Angeles in 1942. She married Marvin May in the late 40s and took his surname professionally. The two met in the early 50s at the University Of Chicago and both were members of The Compass Players which was a precursor to Second City. In 1954, Nichols moved to New York to study acting but then returned to Chicago and started working with Elaine and Shelley Berman as a trio. Compass Players founder Del Close suspected the duo were working on an act and fired Nichols in 1958. They moved to New York and in no time were on The Steve Allen Show. Their 1959 debut album Improvisations To Music featured pianist Marty Rubenstein playing classical music to their improvisations. Rubenstein was musical director at the club Mister Kelly's. Then the two opened on Broadway as An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May in 1960. And the show was such a success that a cast album was recorded for Mercury. It was very successful and won a Best Comedy Album Grammy. Telephone is from that album. Mercury released this comp in 1996 but unfortunately none of the Nichols & May albums are in print right now. I guess you'll have to find a used copy. It would be nice if Universal released a 50th anniversary CD. The thing you need to remember about Nichols & May is it was completely improvised. And despite the passage of time, it holds up very well. They recorded one other album in 1962 and then they split up and both have been very successful in their individual careers. My guess is most folks have never heard Nichols & May because this was recorded over 50 years ago. I think you'll enjoy them. Here's Mike Nichols & Elaine May performing Telephone on the Steve Allen Show 1960. The video quality is pretty bad at first but stick with it. It does improve and Elaine is very funny.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Sarah Kaufman vs Alexis Davis

Here is the match video for Sarah Kaufman vs Alexis Davis from last night's Strikeforce show. It wasn't working earlier but I contacted the guy who posted it and he fixed it. Already some are overpraising this as some sort of match of the year. Take it easy, people. It's only March. It's good but not that good. A lot of the idiots saying this are annoyed with Ronda Rousey and think Sarah got a raw deal. So let's overpraise it because we feel sorry for Sarah. Ugh! As regular readers know I get very annoyed with fighters who sabotage themselves with poor strategy. And that's what Alexis Davis did. I do not understand why a wrestler like Alexis would try to trade punches with a precision puncher like Sarah. I can understand why she did that in round one because of Sarah's takedown defense. But she waited until halfway through round three to take Sarah down to the mat and it was just too late. If she had tried that in round two, Alexis could have won the match. Instead Sarah won by majority decision because one of the judges scored round two a 10-10 tie and therefore 29-29. The other two judges scored it 29-28 Sarah and that's the correct score. Some might argue that Alexis won round three 10-8 but she waited too long and Sarah minimized things and didn't allow Alexis to do what she needed to do which was finish the fight. I thought the action was good but I think Alexis beat herself and when she watches the video, she will realize that. It's a missed opportunity. And I didn't see anything from Sarah that makes me think she can beat Ronda Rousey. Enjoy the video!

Ronda Rousey adds another arm to her collection

Here's the match video from last night's Strikeforce show with Rowdy Ronda Rousey winning the Women's 135lb Championship from Miesha Tate. That match went as I expected with Ronda winning with one of her trademark armbars. First I wanted to mention that hits on this blog have gone through the roof for my post from a few months ago about Miesha ducking Ronda. It's mostly Google searches for Ronda. I stand by my comments as I do believe Miesha was trying to avoid Ronda. Once she took the fight, Miesha exhibited some of the stupidest behaviour I have ever seen. Some of the stuff she said was just foolish. Ronda didn't seem to care much until Miesha tried to headbutt Ronda at the weigh in and then whined about Ronda's response afterwards. That just pissed Ronda off. So it didn't take long for Ronda to get Miesha in an armbar after eating a couple of punches that didn't bother her. Somehow Miesha escaped though I think her elbow was already dislocated. Ronda said afterwards that she didn't have it hooked as tight as she would have liked. But you have to give Miesha credit as most fighters would not have escaped that. Then she got Ronda's back and tried for a choke but Ronda defended it well. Ronda exhibited extraordinary athleticism during this sequence. After a perfect hiptoss, Ronda pounded Miesha until she got another armbar and it was over. Another arm for Ronda's collection. Her next opponent will be Sarah Kaufman who won her fight over Alexis Davis. The copy of the fight video for that didn't work properly. Sarah is a good puncher and has good takedown defense. But Ronda is a different animal. I haven't seen a fighter in this weight class that I think could handle Ronda. She is just way too quick. Fans always mention Sara McMann but she is under contract to Pro Elite and I haven't been impressed with her fights. If Tonya Evinger gave her trouble, then what could she do with Ronda? Sheila Bird is a fighter with potential. Very athletic. So there you have it. The Ronda Rousey era begins. Enjoy the video.