Friday, August 31, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Justo Betancourt

Artist:Justo Betancourt
Song:Pa Bravo Yo
Album:Pa Bravo Yo

Justo Betancourt was a very popular salsa singer in the 70s. Pa Bravo Yo was his biggest hit in 1972 and it's also his signature song. He faded in the 80s but returned in the 90s. He's not as active today because of health problems. He was born Dec. 6, 1940 in La Marina, Matanzas, Cuba. He sang as a child and at age 16 he was a member of the popular group Guaguanco Matancero. He went solo in 1958. Betancourt left Cuba in 1964 and moved to New York City. He worked for Orlando Marin for two years and was lead singer on his 1967 hit Esta En Algo. He also worked with bandleader Johnny Pacheco, Sonora Matancera, Eddie Palmieri and Ray Barretto among others. Betancourt signed with the Latin music label Fania Records. He recorded a couple of albums but really hit the spot with Pa Bravo Yo in 1972. The album was produced by Larry Harlow and arranged by Javier Vasquez. Both guys worked on a lot of Fania recordings. Betancourt is a very instinctual singer and he's a lot of fun to listen to. Fania released the Pa Bravo Yo album on CD in 1992 and it is still available. Betancourt moved to Puerto Rico in 1972. And though he remained popular through the 70s with his group Borincuba, one of his featured singers Tito Rojas went solo and eclipsed Betancourt's popularity. Also Betancourt was known for his bad temper and that made him hard to work with. In the 80s, Betancourt was lead singer of Puerto Rican Power. He recorded solo on his own label in the 90s. Justo Betancourt suffers from diabetes and poor health in recent years has limited his activities. I think Latin music fans will enjoy Justo Betancourt. Here's Justo Betancourt with Johnny Pacheco's orchestra performing Pa Bravo Yo probably in the 70s.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hey Bjorn Rebney! Put women's MMA on Bellator's main card

Michelle Ould
Last week Bellator announced that Michelle Ould will face Munah Holland on the Sept. 28 show at Caesars in Atlantic City. This is a prelude to the 125lb tournament that will happen in 2013. I never expected the tournament to happen this year. Michelle is from California and trains at Team Quest. For the last couple of years she has been riddled with injuries. In 2010 she suffered a broken foot during a match against Zoila Gurgel. There were complications and she was out for over a year. She was scheduled to fight Munah last year and had to cancel at the last minute due to a back injury. She returned with a win over Gina Gallea on the Jan. 13 Fight Me MMA show in St. Charles, MO. Michelle's record is 6-4. Munah Holland should be a stiff test for Michelle. Munah is a former boxer converting to MMA. She has knockout power unlike other fighters who claim to have KO power when it is actually TKO power. Her record is 5-1 and she trains at Team Tiger Schulman in New Jersey. Long time fans will recall that dojo was the home for Laura D'Auguste. Her last win was a win over Carina Damm on the July 13 Matrix Fights show in Philadelphia. I didn't see that one but I did see her March win over Marianna Kheyfets. Kheyfets fought a very stupid fight by trying to trade strikes with a boxer and she got knocked out. So we know Munah can punch. But I have seen numerous boxers attempt MMA and some of them never pick up the ground game. So that makes Munah somewhat unproven for me. And at age 37, her age to MMA experience level is not in her favour. And I am aware that some fans don't like me bringing that up, but it's part of my formula in evaluating fighters and like it or not, it can be an issue. Father Time is very cruel. So there has been some confusion about where this match will air. Someone tried to tell me it would be on Spike TV but Bellator won't start on Spike until 2013. If this fight is on the main card, it will air on MTV2. If it's on the prelims, it will stream on the Spike website. My guess is it will be on the prelims. Some fans want to influence Bellator's decision and are planning a Twitter blast this Saturday at 5PM. I don't know if it will help but it can't hurt. I don't know if Bellator president Bjorn Rebney understands the symbolism to women's MMA fans of having a women's match on the main card. In Canada, Bellator airs delayed on The Score anyway so I will watch the whole show online but the Twitter blast is a good way to send a message to Rebney that they need to run more women's matches. I won't be able to participate in the blast because I am going to see Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval at the CNE on Saturday and I will be in the subway at 5PM and there's no phone service underground. But I think as many fans as possible should participate.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Freddy Fender

Artist:Freddy Fender
Song:Before The Next Teardrop Falls
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Freddy Fender

Freddy Fender had a lot of success on the country music charts in the 70s. He also crossed over to pop and Before The Next Teardrop Falls was his only number one pop hit in 1975. Of course the other unusual thing about Fender is he was Hispanic. He was born Baldemar Garza Huerta June 4, 1937 in San Benito, TX. His father was a Mexican immigrant. He sang on radio as a child. At age 16, he enlisted in the Marines but was court martialed and discharged in 1956. He moved back to Texas and sang in clubs as El Bebop Kid and Eddie Con Los Shades. But in 1958 he took the name Freddy Fender because he played a Fender guitar. In 1959 he had regional success with his classic Wasted Days and Wasted Nights. But Fender was convicted of marijuana possession in Louisiana and was tossed in jail. He was paroled after three years. By the late 60s, he was working as a mechanic and singing on weekends. Fender's big break came when he met producer Huey P. Meaux and signed with his Crazy Cajun label in 1974. His first single was Before The Next Teardrop Falls. Apparently Fender didn't like the song. But Meaux convinced him to record it and Fender thought nothing would come of it. Instead Fender was picked up by Dot Records which would soon be purchased by MCA Records. Before The Next Teardrop Falls topped the Country Singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by veteran songwriter Ben Peters and his secretary Vivian Keith. Peters wrote several hits for Charley Pride including Kiss An Angel Good Morning. The song had been recorded several time before Fender had a hit with it. Fender's other top ten pop hit was his re-recording of Wasted Days and Wasted Nights and his other #1 country hits were Secret Love and You'll Lose A Good Thing. Fender faded by the late 70s and MCA dropped him in 1980. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. Fender returned to success with The Texas Tornados in 1989 and the spinoff group Los Super Seven. Freddy Fender underwent a kidney transplant in 2002 and then a liver transplant in 2004. But his health hot worse and he died on Oct. 15, 2006 at age 69. Here's Freddy Fender performing Before The Next Teardrop Falls on Hee Haw 1975.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yuka Tsuji to face Korean schoolgirl kickboxer on Sept. 29 DEEP show

Yuka Tsuji, Song Kyung Ho
A couple of weeks ago, DEEP announced that former Smackgirl and VALKYRIE champ Yuka Tsuji would appear on their Sept. 29 show at Abeno Kumin Center in Osaka. Today they announced her opponent will be Korean kickboxer Song Kyung Ho. Very disappointing and insulting to someone with Tsuji's experience. But she is on the comeback trail and at her age, she may not be able to get back where she was. Tsuji was out for over a year with reconstructive shoulder surgery. She also had knee surgery but the shoulder was the big deal. After beating Saori Ishioka in her first match back, she had more surgery. Then she got beat pretty badly by Ayaka Hamasaki on the May JEWELS show. The way DEEP is selling Song is the way they always sell girls who are not qualified to be in the ring with any real MMA fighter. "Well, at least she's a cute schoolgirl." She did lose a Shoot Boxing match on the May JEWELS show. But she has never done MMA and in fact her training is in tae kwon do. Ugh! When looking at this card, I noticed that several fighters on the show are from CMA Korea. DEEP must have got a good package deal.

Cat Zingano vs Amanda Nunes added to Sept. 29 Strikeforce show

Cat Zingano
Strikeforce president Scott Coker announced on Twitter today that they have signed the undefeated Cat Zingano and she will face Brazilian Amanda Nunes Sept. 29 at Sacramento. Cat is from Broomfield, CO and owns a dojo with her husband. Her record is 6-0 and her last win was over Takayo Hashi on the May 14, 2011 Fight To Win show in Denver. She was booked to fight on the first Invicta show but pulled out due to injury. She was announced to be on the Oct. 6 Invicta show against Leslie Smith but obviously that will change. Amanda is from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and now trains at AMA Fight Club in New Jersey. Her record is 7-2 and her last fight was a win over Raquel Pa'aluhi on the July 28 Invicta show in Kansas City. Fans may recall that Amanda lost to Alexis Davis on a Sept. 2011 Strikeforce show. She switched to AMA after that loss. Amanda is six years younger than Cat and I also think she is more aggressive than Cat. But as we saw with the loss to Alexis, that aggression can sometimes get her into trouble. Cat may be able to use that to her advantage. So this should be a good scrap. The fight is at 135lb and we don't know if it will be on the main card or the prelims. I will guess that it will be on the prelims.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Frank Sinatra & Dinah Shore

Artist:Frank Sinatra f/Dinah Shore
DVD:Sinatra: The Classic Duets

At the end of Frank Sinatra's long music career, he recorded a very successful album of Duets in 1993. The obvious influence was Natalie Cole's very successful duet with her dad Nat King Cole. Apparently Sinatra selected the songs and the duet partners. The problem was producer Phil Ramone had Sinatra record his part and then have the partner record over his backing track. Among those to participate were Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand and Bono. Of course the problem was the album lacked spontaneity but it sold very well and was certified 3XPlatinum. Capitol released Duets II from leftovers of the first album. It was certified Platinum. These were Sinatra's final recordings before his 1998 death. In 2000, After re-releasing much of Sinatra's Capitol recordings, they were approached by PBS producer David Leaf about doing a collection of duets from Sinatra's 50s and 60s TV shows. Leaf produced a DVD of these duets that also aired on PBS and Capitol released a CD which is no longer available. The DVD is available Unlike the Duets CD, all of these performances were performed live. This medley with Dinah Shore is outstanding. But there are also duets with Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and three with Ella Fitzgerald. They should have recorded together but never did. There is also a duet of Witchcraft and Love Me Tender with Elvis Presley just after Elvis left the Army. So if you're a Frank Sinatra fan, you don't want to overlook this DVD. You might not even know it's out there. Highly recommended. Here is Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore performing a medley of songs from one of Sinatra's TV specials in the 60s.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Firefall

Song:Just Remember I Love You
Album:Greatest Hits

Firefall was a country rock band that was successful in the late 70s. Just Remember I Love You was one of their three hit singles. The lead singer and main songwriter of Firefall was Rick Roberts. He was a member of The Flying Burrito Brothers. Guitarist Jock Bartley replaced Tommy Bolin in Zephyr. Roberts and Bartley met while Bartley was touring with Gram Parsons. They decided to form a band and contacted former Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne bassist Mark Andes. He had moved to Boulder, CO so it was decided that the band would settle there. They convinced guitarist Larry Burnett to move from Washington, DC to Boulder. They auditioned drummers but hired former Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers drummer Michael Clarke. Firefall performed in local clubs and recorded a demo produced by Chris Hillman. Roberts, Bartley and Andes went on tour with Hillman. They were to perform in New York but Hillman got sick. Burnett and Clarke were flown in and this led to Firefall's record deal with Atlantic Records. Before recording their debut album, Roberts brought in high school pal David Muse. He plays sax, flute and keyboards. Firefall's 1976 debut album was certified Gold and You Are The Woman reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Firefall's second album was to be titled Tropical Nights. But Atlantic didn't like it and sent them back into the studio to rework it. Luna Sea was certified Gold when it was released in 1977 and Just Remember I Love You reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. By this time, burnout from constant touring started to cause tension in the band. They had problems with the third album Elan but it did well and Strange Way was another top 20 hit. They fell apart after that. Michael Clarke missed gigs due to alcohol problems. He left and so did Mark Andes. They were replaced but after the 1980 album Clouds Across The Sun, Larry Burnett checked himself into rehab for drug abuse. Then Atlantic dropped them. You can get all of Firefall's hits on this budget comp. Jock Bartley continues to lead a version of Firefall today. Rick Roberts retired in the 90s due to illness. Michael Clarke died in 1993. Here is Firefall performing Just Remember I Love You in Houston 1979.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sarah Kaufman vs Kaitlin Young added to Oct. 6 Invicta show

Sarah Kaufman
Invicta FC announced today that former Strikeforce champ Sarah Kaufman will face Kaitlin Young on their Oct. 6 show in Kansas City. The fight is a good addition to the show because both fighters are recognizable names who have been on TV and have topped cards in the past. But is it challenging matchmaking? Not really. I guess it's OK if you want to see three rounds of kickboxing. Have you ever seen either of these fighters go for a takedown? Neither have I. It was less than two weeks ago that Sarah was smoked by Ronda Rousey. And though she won her previous fight, Alexis Davis exposed her lack of any kind of ground game. That's something she needs to address but that won't happen in this fight. The truth is Sarah has jiu jitsu skills but she doesn't use them and that has become a serious flaw in her fighting style. She needs to be more comfortable on the ground to elevate her whole game. Kaitlin is more kickboxer than MMA fighter and is a long way from her Hook 'n' Shoot win several years ago. In her last fight, she was overpowered by ground and pound specialist Liz Carmouche. She has acknowledged her lack of any kind of ground game but has yet to address it in a meaningful way in any of her fights. Before her draw against Leslie Smith (another kickboxer), she said she would do more on the ground but she didn't. So unless one of these fighters does something neither has done in the past, this will be three rounds of kickboxing to a decision. I don't think this fight takes either of them out of their comfort zone.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kyu Sakamoto

Artist:Kyu Sakamoto
Album:Hard To Find 45's On CD Vol. 7: More Sixties Classics

Sukiyaki was a number one pop hit in 1963. It is the only Japanese language song to do that. And BTW, the song is not about food. Kyu Sakamoto went on to a long career in Japan until his 1985 death. He was born Hisashi Oshima Nov. 10, 1941 in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan. He was the youngest of nine children and his nickname Kyu means nine. When his parents divorced in 1956, he kept his father's surname Sakamoto. In 1958, Sakamoto joined the Japanese pop group The Drifters. Things didn't go well there and he left and joined Danny Iida & Paradise King. They got a record deal with JVC Records and in 1960 had a hit with Kanashiki Rokujyussai. Sakamoto left to go solo and signed with Toshiba Records. In 1961 he had a big hit with Ue O Muite Aruko. This is the song that would become Sukiyaki. The real English translation of the title is I Will Walk Looking Up. In 1963, Pye Records president Louis Benjamin was in Japan on business and he heard Ue O Muite Aruko several times. He like it so much that he decided to release it in England but he changed the title to his favourite Japanese food Sukiyaki because he didn't think anyone could pronounce the real title. At first Pye released Sukiyaki as an instrumental by Kenny Ball. It did so well they decided to release the original recording by Sakamoto. Then DJ Richard Osborne of Pasco, WA radio station KORD started playing it and it took off in the US and was picked up by Capitol Records. Sukiyaki was a worldwide hit and sold 13 million copies. You can get it on this various artists comp from Eric Records. In 1966, Jewel Akens recorded an English translation of Sukiyaki called My First Lonely Night. The lyrics were written by producer Buzz Cason. A Taste Of Honey's cover of Sukiyaki was a top five hit in 1981. Group leader Janice Marie Johnson wrote the English lyrics. 4P.M.'s cover of A Taste Of Honey's version was a top ten hit in 1994. Kyu Sakamoto appeared in films and on TV in Japan. He died in the crash of Japan Airlines flight 123 on Aug. 12, 1985 at age 43. Here's Kyu Sakamoto performing Sukiyaki on a Japanese TV show 1963.
Kyu Sakamoto - Sukiyaki by Knightrdr

Sunday, August 26, 2012

RENA wins Girls S-Cup for the third time

SHOOT BOXING held the 2012 Girls S-Cup yesterday at Yamano Hall. For those who have never seen SHOOT BOXING, it's a mix of kickboxing and MMA elements but only standing. So if a fighter gets thrown to the floor, she's supposed to get a point awarded at the ref's discretion but it doesn't continue on the ground. He stands them up. For that reason, it's a product that doesn't have a natural flow the way kickboxing or MMA has. This leads to too much ref involvement. What if the ref is incompetent or corrupt? The judging can be a problem too. Most fights go to a decision. A stoppage is very unusual. If the fight is tied after three rounds, it goes extra rounds until there is a winner. Of course this doesn't help with the natural flow. I have no problem with the occasional tie match. But on this show, six of the twelve fights went extra rounds. What the hell is that? It's just weird. And isn't it interesting that after all this, SB's golden girl RENA won the Girls S-Cup for the third time. How convenient. And her sister MIO won her tournament as expected. BTW, I understand they aren't really sisters. SB owner Takeshi Caesar has cooked up a pro wrestling style marketing plan for them. So what happened to Erika Kamimura? It looked like Caesar may have sandbagged her to prevent a RENA vs Erika rematch. I think he would prefer to do that later in RISE. Her first round opponent Lorena Klijn is much bigger than Erika and also missed weight. Even with that, the fight was a tie and Lorena won the extra round. In other first round matches, RENA beat Kim Townsend by decision, Ham Seo Hee beat Lisa Ellis by decision and VV Mei beat Namtam Por Munagpetch after a fourth round. In the JKS48 tournament, MIO beat Yusa Tachi by decision and ENEOS beat Naoko Otsuka after a fourth round. In a non tournament match, Rio Kamikaze beat Seira Aeagaki by decision. In the semi finals, RENA beat Ham Seo Hee after an extension round and VV Mei beat Lorena Klijn after an extension. Apparently this was the best match on the show but some fans thought Lorena was robbed. Then MIO won the JKS48 tournament with a TKO win over Eneos. In the Girls S-Cup 53.5 final, Ai Takahashi vs MIZUKI was tied after five rounds and MIZUKI won after the extension round. It's just ridiculous that after five rounds, the judges can't make a decision. If this happened here, they would be run out of town. It's not acceptable. Then RENA won the Girls S-Cup final over VV Mei by decision. At least they could decide that one. The bottom line is that Caesar got the desired results even if it seems manipulative.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

Artist:The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Album:The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

Fire was a top five hit in 1968. But the real story of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown was Brown's weird costume and stage antics. He was known for his flaming helmet. This would be very influential on acts like Alice Cooper, Kiss but especially the British progressive rock group Hawkwind. The other guy behind this band was keyboard player Vincent Crane who would go on to greater fame as the leader of Atomic Rooster. Arthur Brown studied philosophy at the University Of Reading. But he was more interested in music and worked with several bands in the mid 60s including The Foundations. But he had more experimental ideas and formed The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown with Crane, bassist Nick Greenwood and drummer Drachen Theaker. Brown had studied acting in Paris so he wanted to be different then other bands. So at the 1967 Windsor Festival, he placed a colander on his head doused in methanol. He caught fire but it was extinguished. After that, Brown always wore a flaming helmet and weird makeup. He also stripped naked during a show in Italy. He was arrested and tossed out of Italy. The band signed with Track Records which was owned by The Who's manager Kit Lambert. Pete Townsend produced the album The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Fire reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the British charts. They went on tour but Theaker was afraid of flying and was replaced by Carl Palmer. By 1969, Palmer and Crane left to form Atomic Rooster. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown is available on CD. Brown's 70s band Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come was unsuccessful. He also worked with The Alan Parsons Project and toured with Tangerine Dream keyboard player Klaus Schulze. Brown moved to Austin, TX in the 80s and earned a master's degree in counseling. He owned a contracting business with former Mothers Of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black and they also recorded an album. In the 90s, he had a business called Healing Songs Therapy which mixed music and counseling. Then he moved back to England and recorded with Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson. He toured with singer songwriter Tim Rose and Robert Plant. Brown still performs and even set fire to his hair again in 2007. Arthur Brown may have only had one big hit. But his influence is much greater than that one hit. Here's The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown performing Fire on Top Of The Pops 1968.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ian Whitcomb

Artist:Ian Whitcomb
Song:You Turn Me On
Album:Big Hits Of The 60s

The 1965 top ten hit You Turn Me On was one of the silliest hits of the British Invasion. But Ian Whitcomb wasn't interested in being a pop star and soon after turned to other kinds of music. He is also the author of several books about music. He was born July 10, 1941 in Woking, Surrey, England. His father was an actor for British Screen Classics and encouraged Ian and brother Robin to learn to play music. They had a ragtime band. Whitcomb started a skiffle group while in high school and then a rock band. While studying history at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, Whitcomb formed Bluesville. He signed with Tower Records and You Turn Me On was his second single. It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. So what's with the falsetto voice? The story goes that a girl whispered You Turn Me On in Whitcomb's ear while making out and then he wrote the song. He's trying to sound like a girl. So now Whitcomb is a pop star and he appeared on all kinds of American TV shows. The song was not a hit in England. After his next single N-Nervous reached the top 50, he returned to Ireland to finish school. He recorded four albums for Tower but I think most fans will only remember You Turn Me On. You can get it on this Capitol various artists comp. Since then Whitcomb has recorded mostly Tin Pan Alley music and has written several books on the subject. He produced Mae West's 1972 album Great Balls Of Fire and wrote the music for the 1978 documentary Bugs Bunny Superstar. That film was narrated by Orson Welles and produced by legendary Warner Bros. animation director Bob Clampett. I have that film on one of my Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD box sets. Ian Whitcomb lives in California and still plays clubs. He hosts The Ian Whitcomb Show on XM Satellite Radio. And last year he wrote a ukulele sing along book. Needless to say, Ian Whitcomb is an interesting character. Here's Ian Whitcomb performing You Turn Me On on Hollywood A Go Go 1965.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Major drama at Girls S-Cup weigh ins

RENA, Erika Kamimura
I don't usually write about weigh ins because usually all fighters make weight and nothing much happens. But there was major drama on three fronts at the weigh ins for SHOOT BOXING's 2012 Girls S-Cup tomorrow at Yamano Hall. The first thing is that Ukranian MMA fighter Lena Ovchynnikova has been replaced by veteran US MMA fighter Lisa Ellis. I knew Lisa was going there the other day but I didn't know who she was replacing. She will face Ham Seo Hee in the first round. Lisa was not at the weigh ins. She will arrive in Japan later today. The reason given for Lena dropping out was a dispute with SHOOT BOXING owner Takeshi Caesar prior to Lena leaving for Japan. I'm sure the dispute was over money. Maybe she didn't like the goofy SHOOT BOXING rules. No one understands them anyway. Also, Ham Seo Hee and Lorena Klijn both missed weight. Then in the press conference after weigh ins, Erika Kamimura and RENA started yelling at each other. RENA won the tournament in 2009 and 2010. Erika won last year but RENA wasn't in the tournament. Erika said she hopes to meet RENA in the final because she wants to get her hands on her. RENA's response was she didn't think Erika would make the final. It continued from there. RENA is still upset that Erika knocked her down during an exhibition match last year. And there has been speculation that RENA's kickboxing win over Erika last November was fixed because of the ref's odd behaviour. They don't like each other very much. Sparks will fly if they face each other in the final. Then in a major bombshell, Ai Takahashi surrendered her SHOOT BOXING Women's Flyweight Championship. She will face MIZUKI in the Girls S-Cup 53.5kg tournament final. Takahashi is upset because she thinks she should be in the main tournament and feels it was unfair to be put in a different weight class. Obviously her beef is with Caesar. He gave no indication about what might happen with the belt.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Mary Jane Girls

Artist:Mary Jane Girls
Song:In My House
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Mary Jane Girls

In My House was the only top ten pop hit for the girl group Mary Jane Girls in 1985. They had a few other R & B hits. The perception was that Mary Jane Girls were Rick James' backup singers. That's partially true. Joanne "JoJo" McDuffie did sing backup vocals on James' 1982 album Throwin' Down. James thought she was good enough to record a solo album. He had already turned former backup singer Teena Marie into a star. The plan was for Joanne to record and veteran backup singers Maxine & Julia Waters, known as The Waters Sisters, would back her up. They had worked with James for several years. Motown thought James was developing a girl group and he lied to them so he wouldn't lose the contract. The 1982 album Mary Jane Girls was recorded as a Joanne McDuffie solo album with The Waters Sisters. James found three other girls to put on the album cover and in videos. He even gave them characters to play. Joanne McDuffie was the tough girl. Kimberly "Maxi" Wuletich was a dominatrix, Candi Ghant was a vamp and Cheri Wells was a Valley girl. The album was certified Gold and singles like All Night Long did well on the R & B and Dance charts. Performing live was a problem because only Joanne was a professional singer. Cheri Wells was replaced by Yvette "Corvette" Marine. She is the daughter of singer Patti Brooks. The second album Only For You was more of a group album as the group members did sing on the album and all were given the opportunity to sing lead on songs. In My House reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it reached #3 on the R & B Singles chart. The album was certified Gold. The Mary Jane Girls were getting ready to record a third album when Rick James left Motown for Reprise Records. That was the end of Mary Jane Girls. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Joanne McDuffie continues to tour the oldies circuit as lead singer of Mary Jane Girls. Today In My House is considered a classic and is frequently sampled by hip hop guys. Here's the video for In My House by Mary Jane Girls.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cris Cyborg has a big hurdle to clear if she wants to fight Ronda Rousey

Cris Cyborg
The other day I said that Ronda Rousey vs Cris Cyborg will happen at 135lb in 2013. The bottom line is Cris has no leverage and therefore no choice. Her recent whining about not wanting to drop to 135 is mostly BS. And Ronda and her manager Darin Harvey are interpreting it that way. A couple of months ago she said her contract states she can only fight at 145. There is nothing like that in any fighter contract. On Saturday she threatened to leave Strikeforce and fight elsewhere. The more likely scenario is that if she won't accept the fight at 135, she will do nothing under Zuffa contract. They won't release her and no promoter will hire her while she is under contract. Now she claims that her doctor won't let her drop to 135 for health reasons. Keep in mind she tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. She claimed it was an accident but there were suspicions about her steroid use before she came to the US. She was twice scheduled to fight for EliteXC in early 2008 and both times cancelled due to "visa problems". Sometimes that excuse is used to cover up other issues. It was already a rumour that she was juicing. When a fighter is using stanozolol, it's only detectable by urine test within ten days. So it's not difficult to beat those tests. But if the fighter messes up the cycle, that's when the fighter gets caught. This came to my mind on Monday when Darin Harvey was interviewed by Ariel Helwani. Harvey said the first thing he wants is hair follicle testing for drugs because it will detect steroids for a much longer time period. He says he will pay for the test. After that, he wants regular random testing. If Cyborg is clean, then he will talk to Strikeforce about the fight. If the test comes back positive, there will be no fight. For all we know, she could still be using that stuff. It's not difficult to avoid detection by standard urine test. Hair follicle testing is much more comprehensive. It's a big hurdle to clear. I think Ronda and Harvey suspect Cris is still juicing. If they get their way, we will find out. If Cris Cyborg refuses hair follicle testing, there will be no fight.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Leo Ferre

Artist:Leo Ferre
Song:La Vie d'Artiste
Album:La Vie d'Artiste

Though he was unknown elsewhere, Leo Ferre is a legend of French music on a level with Jacques Brel and Georges Brassens. His career spanned 60 years and he recorded all kinds of music Probably his prime was in the late 60s when he wrote protest songs. He was born Aug. 24, 1916 in Monaco. His father was chief of staff at Casino de Monte Carlo. Ferre was interested in music at an early age but his father steered him in a different direction. In 1935, he was sent to Paris to attend law school. He took piano lessons while earning a degree in political science. He was in the Algerian infantry in WWII. After the war, he moved to Paris and started performing in clubs. Several of his songs were performed by others including Edith Piaf who was helpful to Ferre in his early days. He also hosted radio shows. He signed his first record deal with Odeon in 1953. He recorded five albums and left Odeon in 1958. He signed with Barclay Records in 1960 and remained there until he retired from popular music in 1976. He became part of the Anarchist movement in 1968 and his recordings during this period are probably the height of his career. He even went to New York to record with jazz musicians John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham and Miroslav Vitous. This comp originally released by the British reissue label Proper covers this period Ferre moved to Italy and left popular music. He spent the remainder of his life writing and conducting classical music. After a final tour in 1987, Ferre's health declined until he died on July 14, 1993 at age 76. Here's Leo Ferre performing La Vie d'Artiste 1975.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Big Band

Artist:The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Big Band
Album:Things To Come

Plenty of jazz musicians have recorded tributes to the pioneers of jazz. There have even been tribute bands like the 70s Charlie Parker tribute band Supersax. This Dizzy Gillespie tribute band was started by trumpeter Jon Faddis in 1997. Faddis plays so much like Gillespie his nickname is Dizzy Jr. He was part of the Charles Mingus tribute band Mingus Dynasty. Faddis started The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Bag Band in 1997 to benefit the Manchester Craftsman's Guild in Pittsburgh. This is a non profit arts centre that serves inner city youth in Pittsburgh. All proceeds from the band's albums and concerts went to the Guild. Things To Come was recorded live at the Manchester Craftsman's Guild in 2000 and the CD was released by Telarc in 2002. Faddis produced, arranged and conducted the concert and of course played trumpet too. Other musicians are Earl Gardner, Greg Gisbert, Claudio Roditi and Terell Stafford on trumpet, Jay Ashby, David Gibson, Slide Hampton and Douglas Purviance on trombone, Antonio Hart on alto sax, Frank Wess on alto sax and flute, Jimmy Heath and James Moody on tenor sax, Gary Smulyan on baritone sax, Renee Rosnes on piano, Marty Ashby on guitar, John Arthur Lee on bass and Dennis Mackrel on drums. Some are local Pittsburgh musicians but some are internationally known musicians brought in for the show. Faddis led this band for three albums and left in 2004. It doesn't appear there is a version of the band in existence today. It's a charity CD so jazz fans should check it out. I don't have a video of this band but I do have the real Dizzy Gillespie All Stars performing Manteca. It should give you an idea what to expect from The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Big Band.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Zac Brown Band

Artist:Zac Brown Band f/Jimmy Buffett
Song:Knee Deep
Album:You Get What You Give

The Zac Brown Band is one of today's top country music groups. They have had eight number one country hits and have crossed over to pop. Knee Deep is their biggest crossover hit. Lead singer Zac Brown is from Atlanta so his music is heavily influenced by Southern rock and country as opposed to the Nashville sound. He dabbled in music while in college but by 2001, he quit school and decided to be a full time musician. At first he was a solo act but eventually he decided to form a band. He started his own label which is now called Southern Ground and in 2004 he opened the restaurant Zac's Place. When a developer bought the restaurant in 2005, Brown bought a tour bus and went on tour. The band was Chris Fryar on drums, Jimmy Di Martini on violin and John Driscoll Hopkins on bass. Wyatt Durette was not in the band but he wrote most of the songs with Brown. They released a couple of independent CDs and the recorded The Foundation in 2006 with Keith Stegall. Stegall produces Alan Jackson. They signed with the short lived label started by concert promoter Live Nation. When they closed in 2008, Brown signed with Atlantic. They added guitarist Coy Bowles. Chicken Fried was their first number one country hit in 2008. Then they added former John Mayer sideman Clay Cook on guitar and mandolin. You Get What You Give was released in 2010 and Knee Deep was the second single. It topped the country charts and reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Wyatt Durette said he wrote Knee Deep with Jimmy Buffett in mind. The band really wanted to work with him. The Zac Brown Band's success has continued with their latest CD Uncaged which was released in July. Percussionist Daniel de los Reyes joined the band in April. The Zac Brown Band is currently on tour. Here's the video for Knee Deep by Zac Brown Band featuring Jimmy Buffett. The girl in the video is actress Juliette Lewis.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Brackets set for Girls S-Cup

Kim Townsend
SHOOT BOXING announced today the brackets for the 2012 Girls S-Cup to be held Aug. 25 at Yamano Hall. The eighth fighter added to the tournament is Aussie kickboxer Kim Townsend. Kim is from Perth, Australia and is the current WKN Australian and South Pacific Flyweight Champion. Here are the brackets. RENA will face Kim Townsend. Ham Seo Hee will face Lena Ovchynnikova. VV Mei will face Namtan Por Munagpetch. Erika Kamimura will face Lorena Klijn. In the semis, the RENA/Kim winner will face the Ham/Lena winner. The VVMei/Namtan winner will face the Erika/Lorena winner. Normally one might think that these brackets would lead to RENA vs Erika Kamimura. And I'm sure that's what SHOOT BOXING owner Takeshi Caesar wants. But the wild card is that RENA is not even close to being fully recovered from her foot surgery and shouldn't be participating. There is no way of knowing how that will affect this tournament. And don't forget Ai Takahashi will face MIZUKI in the finals of Girls S-Cup 53.5. What if they were in the main tournament as they should be. Personally, I would like to see MIZUKI face Erika Kamimura in kickboxing. That would be money. I didn't think that doing a second tournament made sense in April. It makes even less sense now.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Crowded House

Artist Crowded House
Song:Don't Dream It's Over
Album:Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House

Don't Dream It's Over was one of two top ten hits for Crowded House in 1987. They are a much bigger deal in their native Australia. Crowded House was a spinoff of the successful group Split Enz led by Neil Finn and his older brother Tim Finn. When Tim Finn left Split Enz to go solo in 1984, Neil Finn and Split Enz drummer Paul Hester decided to form a new group. Bassist Nick Seymour approached Finn at a party and joined the band after an audition. At first the band was called The Mullanes. After playing some gigs, they decided to move to Los Angeles to get a record deal. Guitarist Craig Hooper decided not to go. They got a deal with Capitol Records but Capitol wanted the band name changed. They chose Crowded House as they were all living in a small house in LA. For their 1986 debut album Crowded House, they worked with producer Mitchell Froom and he also played keyboards and toured with them for a while. Froom used to have a band with his twin brother. He would go on to be one of the top producers of the 90s. Crowded House was his first production. The album was released in June 1986 but Capitol didn't see their potential and wouldn't promote it. They went on tour and eventually got radio play. Don't Dream It's Over reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Something So Strong reached #7. The album went Platinum. As I said, Crowded House are huge in Australia. But they always seemed to have trouble getting Capitol to promote them. They took a break in 1990. Finn planned to record with his brother Tim. They wound up turning those recordings into a new Crowded House album and Tim joined the band. They split up in 1996 an the Finn brothers recorded solo and also together as The Finn Brothers. Paul Hester committed suicide in 2005. But Neil Finn continues to lead Crowded House and also is part of The Finn Brothers. Crowded House last recorded in 2009. This budget comp is a perfect intro to their music. Here's the video for Don't Dream It's Over by Crowded House.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Miesha Tate escapes with a win over Julie Kedzie

Here is the match video for Miesha Tate vs Julie Kedzie from last night's Strikeforce show. The prelims were aired only in the US so I think a lot of folks didn't see it. I found an online stream so I watched it live. In the last few days, Miesha has been flapping her gums about wanting a rematch with Ronda Rousey. I thought she was looking past Julie. That's a cardinal sin of the fight business. Of course Julie's recent fights have been terrible. I guess she realized that she wasn't going to get many more chances. So she was very aggressive in round one and nailed Miesha with stikes. Julie won round one. She continues in round two but then Miesha got her back long enough to win the round. In round three, Julie knocked Miesha down with a kick to the face. But then she made a mistake and rushed in and got caught in Miesha's guard. This led to an armbar and Miesha got the win. Afterwards, Miesha admitted that she gave a poor performance and doesn't deserve a rematch with Ronda. That's called having some humble pie with your cupcake. When Strikeforce trotted her out to sit at ringside, she covered the left side of her face with her hair. A couple of folks asked me on Twitter why she did that. That's easy. The left side of her face was swollen up like a basketball. She took a bad enough beating to earn a 60 day medical suspension. Match of the year? That's what everyone says until the next one. In the other women's match, Germaine De Randamie won a unanimous decision over HIROKO by keeping the fight standing. HIROKO was ineffective. Enjoy the video!

Ronda Rousey adds another arm to her collection

For those who haven't seen it, here is the complete video of Ronda Rousey successfully defending her Strikeforce 135lb Women's Championship over Sarah Kaufman. This video includes the introductions and Ronda's awesome post match promo. I like Sarah Kaufman. I interviewed her years ago before any of you knew who she was. But if you watch her body language while she is being introduced and then watch the match, she is clearly ill prepared for this fight. Did her trainers Adam Zugec and Greg Jackson seriously believe that Sarah's normal fighting style would be good enough to hold someone as quick as Ronda at bay? That's crazy. Sarah didn't even throw a punch. Ronda tagged her with an overhand right and then immediately went for the takedown. That was the beginning of the end. It's over in 54 seconds. Sarah didn't know what hit her. On Thursday, I guess Ronda was bored during the press conference and cut this hilarious promo about death and dismemberment clearly designed to get an outraged reaction from idiots. But the one interesting thing she said was that she fights as though her baby sister's life depends upon her winning. That is a level of intensity rarely seen in MMA. And you can see that intensity while she is being introduced. I have said before that Ronda's quickness and fight skills are comparable to the legendary Megumi Fujii. But I have never seen Megumi display that kind of intensity. Of course that would go against Japanese instincts. After the match, Ronda cut an awesome promo on Cris Cyborg. She told Cris that she has to fight Ronda at 135lb. Ronda is the champ and she dictates the terms. Of course Cris is under suspension but has been actively campaigning for the fight to be at 145lb. I don't know if it will be Ronda's next fight but it will happen in 2013 at 135lb. Last night, Cyborg threatened on Twitter to ask for her Strikeforce release and go elsewhere. But they won't release her. They will give her a choice. Take the fight at 135 or sit and do nothing. She'll take the fight. But I suggest Zuffa test her for drugs regularly to make sure she is clean. I don't know if Cris can make 135 and I don't know how she will fight at that weight. We'll find out. She may be just another arm to add to Ronda's collection. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Troy Shondell

Artist:Troy Shondell
Song:This Time
Album:This Time: The Best Of Troy Shondell

This Time was the biggest hit for teen idol Troy Shondell in 1961. He is perceived as a one hit wonder but some of his other songs charted so technically he is not a one hit wonder. He has been a part of the Nashville music scene since the late 60s. He was born Gary Shelton May 14, 1930 in Fort Wayne, IN. His father taught him to play piano and then became Shondell's manager when he started performing. As a teen, one of Shondell's songs A Prayer and a Drive In was recorded by Little Anthony & The Imperials. As Gary Shelton, he recorded the single My Hero for Mercury's Smash label in 1958. Then his name was changed to Troy Shondell and the single Kissin' At The Drive In was released in 1959. Then Shondell's dad died and he went home to take over the family business. Shondell started gaining a following in Chicago clubs. He had a couple of regional hits on Mark Records. But This Time was picked up for distribution by Goldcrest Records. When the song started to get national radio airplay, Liberty Records picked it up nationally and it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. Subsequent singles did not do well. This CD from the British label Acrobat is the only authorized Troy Shondell comp. Beware of CDs that have alternate versions of This Time. By the late 60s, Shondell moved to Nashville and got into music publishing. He became a regional director of ASCAP. A couple of his late 70s recordings hit the country charts. In recent years, Shondell has recorded a couple of CDs as Gary Shelton. I believe these are Christian music CDs. It appears that he owns a recording studio as he has several credits as a recording engineer. He also tours the oldies circuit. Here's Troy Shondell performing This Time on the 1989 TV show Rockin' At The Palace.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Helen Merrill

Artist:Helen Merrill
Song:You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
Album:Helen Merrill/Dream Of You

Jazz singer Helen Merrill is best known for her 50s recordings with jazz greats like Clifford Brown and Gil Evans. She toured so much in Europe and Japan that she moved to Japan. She was born Jelena Ana Milcetic July 21, 1930 in New York City. Her parents were Croation immigrants. She sang in local jazz clubs as a teen. Her big break came in 1952 when she recorded A Cigarette For Company with The Earl Hines Band. This led to a contract with Mercury Records' jazz label EmArcy. The Cole Porter standard You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To is from her 1954 debut album Helen Merrill. The album features legendary trumpeter Clifford Brown who of course died tragically in a 1956 car crash. So any Brown appearance on anything is a treat. Quincy Jones was 21 years old when he arranged and conducted this album. Other musicians on this album include Hank Jones on piano, Barry Galbraith on guitar and Milt Hinton on bass. Today this album is considered a jazz classic. It is available on CD but it's only a half hour long. So Rev-Ola has paired it with the 1957 album Dream For You as a twofer on CD. Gil Evans arranged and conducted Dream For You and musicians include Hank Jones, Art Farmer on trumpet, Oscar Pettiford on bass and Joe Morello on drums. Mercury attempted to turn Helen into a pop singer but she moved to Italy in the 60s to take advantage of her popularity in Europe. And then she moved to Japan and hosted a radio show. So like a lot of jazz musicians, her popularity abroad has kept her going. Since the 70s she toured with her husband Torrie Zito until his 2009 death. Zito is best known for his string arrangements on John Lennon's Imagine. And she recorded for Verve in the 90s. Her son Alan Merrill is a rock singer. Her website was last updated in 2010 so maybe she has retired. Helen Merrill's 50s music is recommended to jazz fans. Here is Helen Merrill performing You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To in Japan 1988.

Friday, August 17, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of the Day-Third Eye Blind

Artist:Third Eye Blind
Song:Semi-Charmed Life
Album:A Collection

Third Eye Blind hit it big with their 1997 debut CD and their debut single Semi-Charmed Life. They had a total of three top ten hits from that album. But long term success was hampered by a financial dispute between the group leaders and they haven't been the same since then. Third Eye Blind is from San Francisco. Lead singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter Stephan Jenkins has a BA in English Literature from University Of California, Berkeley. His duo Puck and Natty placed a song on the 1992 soundtrack of Beverly Hills 90210. He wanted to form a band and he found a songwriting partner in lead guitarist Kevin Cadogan in 1993. Other members were Arion Salazar on bass and Steve Bowman on drums. Brad Hargreaves replaced Bowman in 1995. After several record companies tried to sign them, Third Eye Blind went with Elektra Records because president Sylvia Rhone let them self produce their music. Their debut CD Third Eye Blind was released in 1997 and Semi-Charmed Life reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. How's It Going To Be and Jumper were also top ten hits. The album sold six million copies. Their second CD Blue still sold a million copies but it didn't have the same impact. Then there was a rift between Jenkins and Cadogan. The band was formed as an equal partnership between the two. When Jenkins tried to launch his own label in 2000 in partnership with Elektra, he insisted on full ownership. Cadogan refused to agree to that and left the band. Third Eye Bilnd took a three year break and Jenkins relaunched them in 2003 with the CD Out Of The Vein. It did OK but then Elektra was absorbed by Atlantic Records and Third Eye Blind was released. They last recorded in 2009 and still tour. You can get all their hits on this comp and I think it's safe to say Third Eye Blind's hitmaking days are over. Kevin Cadogan has released three solo albums. Here's the video for Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ronda Rousey All Access Part 2

Here is part 2 of Showtime's Ronda Rousey All Access. This second part concentrates more on Saturday's title match when Ronda will face Sarah Kaufman. So it has comments by both fighters and comments by folks they train with. It gives a very good picture of how Ronda copes with the sudden fame. She seems to handle it very well. Saturday's fight will tell the tale but I don't expect it to get out of the first round. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Enchantment

Album:If You're Ready...: The Best Of Enchantment

The smooth soul group Enchantment had success in the late 70s mostly on the R & B charts. Gloria was their only pop top 30 hit in 1977. The members of Enchantment all attended Pershing High School in Detroit. The lead singer and main songwriter was Emanuel "EJ" Johnson. Other members were Bobby Green, Mickey Clanton, Joe Thomas and Dave Banks. They won a talent contest in 1969 and worked on their act for the next few years. They are obviously Motown influenced but Johnson's falsetto will remind you of Philly Soul groups like The Stylistics. Enchantment was discovered by producer Bobby Stokes. He produced Bill Withers and Creative Source when he was house producer at Sussex Records. When Sussex went bankrupt in 1975, Stokes moved to Roadshow Records and produced Enchantment, Brass Construction and BT Express. Roadshow was owned by famed pop artist Sid Maurer and veteran producer Tash Howard. They were distributed by United Artists Records. Enchantment's 1976 debut album did OK but their second album Once Upon A Dream did even better. Gloria reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the R & B Singles chart. It's You That I Need topped the R & B Singles chart and reached #33 on the Billboard Hot 100. Enchantment faded and their 1979 album Journey To The Land Of...Enchantment did not sell. Then Roadshow closed in 1980 when EMI bought United Artists. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Bobby Stokes went on to A & M Records. Enchantment recorded for RCA and Columbia with little success. They last recorded in 1983 but they still tour with only one personnel change over the years. Here's Enchantment performing Gloria on Soul Train 1977.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Card announced for Oct. 6 Invicta show

Sugi Rock
Most of the card for the Oct. 6 Invicta show at Memorial Hall in Kansas City was announced today. One more match is to be announced next week. I think this show is weaker than the July show especially at the top of the card. There are also some curious matchmaking decisions that I will analyze in a moment. One good thing is there are no greenhorn European fighters who will inevitably have "visa problems". The already announced main event is for the Invicta Atomweight Championship. It will be Jessica Penne vs JEWELS Flyweight Champion Naho "Sugi Rock" Sugiyama. I think it could be a good match but it's a tough sell as a main event because most fans have never seen or heard of Sugi Rock. Her record is 8-0 and she is very slick on the ground. We've seen Jessica before. She got a good win over Lisa Ellis in March but I think Sugi Rock is a tougher opponent. The co-main event is Shayna Baszler vs Sarah D'Alelio. Sara McMann is unavailable due to injury. That's why she's not on this show. So where is Alexis Davis or Liz Carmouche? Remember they are under Strikeforce contract. They may not be available. Maybe Invicta had limited choices. I would not have booked Sarah that high on the card. So next we have Barb Honchak vs Aisling Daly at 125 and Tara LaRosa vs Vanessa Porto at 125 and then Cat Zingano vs Leslie Smith at 135. Wait a minute. Doesn't Cat usually fight at 125? So why isn't Tara fighting either Barb or Cat placed higher on the card? That would improve the card. I don't know the backstage wrangling that went into these matches but the matchmaking seems a little weak. Michelle Waterson will face Lacey Schuckman. Michelle is on the comeback trail after having a baby. Julia Budd will face Elaina Maxwell in what I expect will be a kickboxing match. Carla Esparza will face Lynn Alvarez. Carla was an All American wrestler and she would make an interesting opponent for Ayaka Hamasaki. Ashley Cummins vs Scottish fighter Joanne Calderwood are both undefeated and could be interesting. Joanne has done well in Super Fight League in India. Amy Davis will face Stephanie Frausto. Jessamyn Duke won her pro debut on the last Invicta show and she will face Marceia Allen from South Dakota. Two fighters making pro debuts are Tecia Torres vs Kaiyana Rain. And the opener is Katalina Malungahu vs Taylor Stratford. Taylor is making her pro debut. She had an 8-1 amateur record. Her only loss was to Ronda Rousey. Katalina won both her pro fights by KO. Remember the card is subject to change.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Narada Michael Walden

Artist:Narada Michael Walden
Song:I Shoulda Loved Ya
Album:Ecstasy's Dance: The Best Of Narada Michael Walden

Narada Michael Walden was one of the most successful record producers of the 80s and he won the 1987 Producer Of The Year Grammy. But before that he had success with his own recordings mostly on the R & B and dance charts. I Shoulda Loved Ya was the biggest of those hits. He was born Apr. 23, 1952 in Kalamazoo, MI and was given the name Narada when he became a disciple of Sri Chinmoy. In 1974, Walden was hired by John McLaughlin to replace drummer Billy Cobham in The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Walden played drums on Jeff Beck's 1976 landmark album Wired. He was also a member of Weather Report for the 1976 album Black Market and played on Weather Report bassist Jaco Pastorius' solo album. Then Walden signed a record deal with Atlantic Records. His first couple of albums were the kind of jazz fusion you might expect from Walden. When he had success on the R & B charts, he abandoned jazz with his third album Awakening and I Don't Want Nobody Else (To Dance With You) was his first top ten R & B hit. He continued this with the 1979 album The Dance Of Life. I Shoulda Loved Ya reached #4 on the R & B Singles chart and has been his biggest hit to date. Walden plays drums, keyboards, sings and produced and arranged the album. He uses mostly studio musicians. And one of those studio musicians, bassist TL Stevens, wrote I Shoulda Loved You with Walden and veteran lyricist Allee Willis. Willis has written many hits and has a Grammy for writing Neutron Dance for the 1985 film Beverly Hills Cop. Walden's big break as a producer came when he discovered and had a string of hits with teen R & B singer Stacy Lattisaw. This led to work with Aretha Franklin, Angela Bofill and Sister Sledge. And that led to Whitney Houston. Walden produced a lot of her early hits. And he also produced a lot of film soundtracks. His own recordings didn't do as well. And he was so busy he stopped recording his own albums in the late 80s. You can get all his hits on this comp. In the 90s, he produced Mariah Carey and Tevin Campbell among others and also won a 1993 Album Of The Year Grammy for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard. Walden has been less active in recent years but has released a new CD Thunder on his own label. He has his own recording studio and I'm sure he gets plenty of royalties. Here's Narada Michael Walden performing I Shoulda Loved Ya on Soul Train 1979.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Madison Rayne is the new TNA Knockouts Champion

Here is the match video from Sunday's TNA PPV with Madison Rayne winning the TNA Knockouts Championship from Miss Tessmacher. One of the key characteristics of TNA is their seeming inability to recognize when an angle is lame or is ineffective. Sometimes they should know when to ditch an angle. The current Claire Lynch angle is a good example. Anyone can see how bad the angle is except TNA management. The Knockouts division has been saddled with these kind of lame angles since Scott D'Amore left a few years ago. So with this particular match there are two different problems. I don't care how much Brooke Adams has improved her wrestling. She is way too green to be a champ. And they built her up way too quickly. Maybe she could have been built up in a year or two. But TNA did it in two months. It doesn't work and that she has to continue to defend TNA booking her as champ in interviews confirms that. Then they started doing this silliness with Madison Rayne and veteran ref Earl Hebner. And of course Hebner's infatuation with Madison is how she got this title shot. Of course the obvious solution to this problem is use another ref. But that just shows how lunkheaded the angle is. Also, Earl's acting is terrible. He's been around long enough to know that the angle is stupid. So obviously the angle should have been ditched but historically TNA just doesn't recognize these kind of problems. And none of the workers will tell them how stupid it is. They're not idiots. The idiots are in TNA management. The match itself is about what one would expect from two mediocre wrestlers. Neither should be on a PPV. And of course Hebner got involved in the ending and Madison is the new TNA Knockouts Champion. Of course the next step is now that she has the belt, Madison ditches Earl. It's all crap. Check out the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Will Bernard

Artist:Will Bernard
Album:Blue Plate Special

Guitarist Will Bernard started out as a sideman in the early 90s and first recorded as a leader in 1998. His music is funk influenced jazz fusion. He grew up in Berkeley, CA and first recorded and toured with pianist Peter Apfelbaum's Hieroglyphics Ensemble. Apfelbaum worked with Carla Bley for several years. After the success of that group, Bernard formed T.J. Kirk with Charlie Hunter and John Schott. Their 1997 CD If Four Was One was nominated for a Grammy. Bernard signed with Verve and released his debut CD as a leader Medicine Hat in 1998. Since then he has recorded with bands like Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra, The Coup, Idris Muhammad, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Groundation and Stanton Moore. Blister is from his 2008 CD Blue Plate Special and was released on the jazz label Palmetto Records. Musicians on the album are John Medeski of Medeski, Martin & Wood on keyboards, Andy Hess of Gov't Mule on bass and Stanton Moore on drums. The CD is recommended to fusion fans. Will Bernard's latest CD Outdoor Living is on his own label and he continues to play with other bands. And he appeared on Tom Waits' 2011 CD Bad As Me. Here's Will Bernard performing Blister with Phil Wilkinson on organ and Simon Lott on drums in Oveido, Spain Apr. 13, 2010.

Monday, August 13, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

Artist:Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Album:Everybody's Boppin'

Though jazz is mostly an instrumental art form, there have been singers who have adapted to jazz. But no one turned the music on it's ear like Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. They were only around for a couple of years but the music sounds as fresh today as it did in the late 50s and has been very influential on many singers. Annie Ross (born Annabelle Short July 25, 1930 in London, England) was asked by Prestige Records owner Bob Weinstock to write lyrics to a jazz solo in 1952. This is called vocalese. She wrote lyrics to the Wardell Gray song Twisted and he put her on a King Pleasure record. She recorded a few albums for Prestige. Dave Lambert was born June 19, 1917 in Boston. He started out in the 40s as a big band arranger. Jon Hendricks was born Sept. 16, 1921 in Newark, OH. They met in 1957. Lambert and Hendricks were working on vocal arrangements with various singers and met Ross by chance at a New York jam session. The trio recorded Sing A Song Of Basie for Paramount Records in 1957 using multi tracking of vocals. When they signed with Columbia in 1959, they decided to use a more traditional jazz approach to vocalese. The 1960 album The Hottest New Group In Jazz was a big hit with jazz fans and included Cloudburst. Harry "Sweets" Edison, Ron Carter and Walter Bolden were among the musicians on the album. The group won some awards but then Ross left in 1962. Yolande Bevan and then Anne Marie Moss were briefly recruited to replace Ross. But then Dave Lambert died in a 1966 auto accident and that ended any hopes of a reunion. This budget comp is a perfect intro to their music. Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross still perform regularly. A documentary about Annie Ross has been recently produced. But there's no question that the influence of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross is still being felt today. Here's a video for Cloudburst by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Pure Prairie League

Artist:Pure Prairie League
Album:Best Of Pure Prairie League

Pure Prairie League is probably best known for the 1980 top ten hit Let Me Love You Tonight when country music star Vince Gill was lead singer. But they actually had their breakthrough hit five years earlier with Amie after they were dropped by their record company and group leader Craig Fuller was tossed in jail for draft evasion. The band was from Columbus, OH and the name Pure Prairie League was a women's temperance union in the 1939 film Dodge City. The group leader was lead singer and guitarist Craig Fuller. Other members when the band signed with RCA in 1971 were George Ed Powell on acoustic guitar, John David Call on pedal steel guitar, Jim Lanham on bass and Jim Caughlan on drums. The album cover of their 1972 debut album was a Norman Rockwell painting of an old cowboy that would become the group symbol. They went on tour but then things got complicated. Fuller was facing charges of draft evasion and he wanted to move to Canada. Powell agreed to this but the others didn't. So Pure Prairie League's second album Bustin' Out was recorded in Toronto using other musicians. Soon after the album was released, Fuller returned to the US and was sentenced to six months in jail. Then RCA dropped Pure Prairie League. Bassist Michael Reilly tried to keep the band going with constant touring. Somehow one of Fuller's songs from Bustin' Out, Amie, started getting radio play in 1975. It reached #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and RCA re-signed them. Follow up albums did not sell and the band was dying. Reilly found Vince Gill through auditions and Pure Prairie League signed with Casablanca Records. Gill was lead singer on the 1980 top ten hit Let Me Love You Tonight. But Casablanca went bankrupt and Gill went on to his solo career. This budget comp is the only one that has both hits. After Craig Fuller's band American Flyer split up, he returned to Pure Prairie League in 1985 and since then the band has toured regularly since 1998. Today they are a nostalgia act. Here's a video for Falling In and Out Of Love/Amie by Pure Prairie League. The two songs were recorded as a suite on Bustin' Out.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Erroll Garner

Artist:Erroll Garner
Album:Erroll Garner's Finest Hour

Jazz pianist Erroll Garner's 1955 composition Misty was already a jazz and pop standard when actor and major league jazz fan Clint Eastwood used it as the theme of his 1972 directorial debut Play Misty For Me. This made Garner even more popular on the jazz circuit than he already was. He was born June 15, 1923 in Pittsburgh. His older brother Linton Garner was also a jazz pianist. Erroll Garner was self taught and never learned to read music. He played completely by ear. This made him very tricky to play with as most jazz musicians are classically trained and learned to read music at an early age. As a child, Garner appeared on Pittsburgh radio station KDKA in a group called Candy Kids. And he played gigs locally as a teen. He attended the same high school as Billy Strayhorn and Ahmad Jamal. He moved to New York in 1944. His first recordings were for Blue Note and he also recorded for Vogue, Philips and Columbia. But his best known recordings were for Mercury's jazz label EmArcy. Misty first appeared on the 1955 album Contrasts with Wyatt Ruther on bass, Fats Heard on drums and Candido on percussion. Songwriter Johnny Burke wrote lyrics for Misty and Johnny Mathis had a hit with it in 1959. Since then Misty has been recorded by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra. Misty was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1991. In Play Misty For Me, Clint Eastwood played a radio DJ and one of his listeners (Jessica Walter) repeatedly requested Misty. Eastwood had seen Garner in concert and paid $25,000 to use Misty in the film. Supposedly Garner was also Johnny Carson's favourite jazz pianist and he appeared on The Tonight Show many times. This Verve comp covers Garner's EmArcy recordings. Erroll Garner continued to tour and record until he died of a heart attack on Jan. 2, 1977 at age 53. Here's Erroll Garner performing Misty in Brussels, Belgium 1963.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ronda Rousey on Conan

Here is the complete video of Ronda Rousey on Conan. I've been asked about this by fans outside the US. The clips posted by the production company are geo blocked. And The Comedy Network in Canada only posts full episodes, not individual segments. Ronda is getting flak for her comments about sex before fighting. People, she was making a joke. She's on a talk show hosted by a comedian. Get a grip! She should have told Conan that applying an armbar is like grabbing a turkey leg. She said that at TMZ and the staff reaction was pretty funny. It's funny seeing Ronda in a dress like that. But as Conan said, the arms tell a different story. So this clip is for all my readers outside the US. Enjoy!
Ronda Full Segment by pegsonmma

VV Mei added to Girls S-Cup

Namtan Por Munagpetch, VV Mei
SHOOT BOXING have added two more fighters to the Girls S-Cup Aug. 25 at Yamano Hall. They have also added one non tournament match. Already announced is RENA, Erika Kamimura, Korean Ham Seo Hee, Ukranian Lena Ovchinnikova and Dutch kickboxer Lorena Klijn. For the third year in a row, V V Mei will appear in the tournament. As an MMA fighter, she is a former VALKYRIE champ and is looking for a shot at Ayaka Hamasaki's JEWELS Lightweight Championship after beating Emi Tomimatsu recently. But she hasn't had much luck in this tournament. Also added is 17 year old Thai kickboxer Namtan Por Munagpetch. She is known in Thailand as Supernova Girl. She is currently the WMC Muay Thai World Flyweight Champion. She also won the Prince Cup tournament in Thailand January 25. My observation is that gaijin kickboxers like this don't do well at SHOOT BOXING. So they have one more fighter to be added to this tournament. In a match contracted for 53.5kg, Rio Kamikaze will face Seira Aragaki. This is being sold as "college student idol" vs schoolgirl. You may recall Kamikaze recently lost to Ai Takahashi on a SHOOT BOXING show. She's a college student who does modelling and dabbles in kickboxing. Arakagi is a 15 year old J-Girls kickboxer. She was an under 15 J-Girls Mini Flyweight Champ and also was a champ for M-1. She won a SHOOT BOXING match on the recent JEWELS show. It was also announced that Shoot Boxer Mina will be on the show. Her opponent will be announced shortly.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Extreme

Song:More Than Words
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Extreme

The hard rock band Extreme had their biggest success with the 1991 chart topping power ballad More Than Words. To be fair, Extreme was probably more diverse than similar bands of the era. They were from the Boston suburb of Malden, MA. In 1985, lead singer Gary Cherone and drummer Paul Geary were in The Dream. Guitarist Nuno Bettencourt was in the band Sinful and bassist Pat Badger was in In The Pink. They were sharing a dressing room at a show and decided to form Extreme which means Ex-Dream. Cherone and Bettancourt wrote all the songs. After winning a couple of Boston Music Awards, they signed with A & M Records in 1988 and released their debut CD in 1989. More Than Words is from their second CD Pornograffitti and it was an attempt to stray from the hard rock mold and try some funk and other things. More Than Words is an acoustic ballad and it topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. The follow up single Hole Hearted reached #4. They ran into problems with a video from their third album III Sides To Every Story. The video for Rest In Peace was based on Norman McLaren's classic short film Neighbours. The band was sued for plagiarism by The National Film Board of Canada. The CD did not live up to sales expectations. Paul Geary left in 1984 and was replaced by Mike Mangini. Geary is manager of Godsmack and the current incarnation of Extreme. After the 1995 CD Waiting For The Punchline was unsuccessful, Extreme split up. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Gary Cherone became lead singer of Van Halen in 1996. Nuno Bettancourt went solo and formed the band Mourning Widows in 2000. Extreme first reformed in 2004 and continue to tour today. Cherone and Bettancourt also work on side projects. Here's the video for More Than Words by Extreme.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Rin Nakai vs Ultra Benkei set for Sept. 1 PANCRASE show

Rin Nakai
PANCRASE held a press conference today to announce the first match in their Athena Bantamweight Championship tournament. Rin Nakai will face Ultra Benkei on the Sept. 1 Differ Ariake show. PANCRASE owner Masakazu Sakai says there will be four fighters in the tournament and the second match will be in October or November. Then the final will be early 2013. He claims he is bringing over a couple of gaijin fighters but it doesn't seem like he has things firmed up yet. Money shouldn't be a problem. Companies like Shooto and Krush are making deals with Sakai. This guy is loaded. The other big news is that last month Rin Nakai moved from her home in the northern Japan island of Shikoku to Tokyo and is now training at PANCRASE. So she now belongs to what is being called Venus Pancrase. Rin said on her blog that she likes the name Venus because it is a symbol of glamour and sex symbols like Madonna and Marilyn Monroe. Uh huh. Rin's record is 11-0-1 and her last win was over Kyoko Kimura on the May 20 PANCRASE show in Okinawa. Ultra Benkei is the veteran fighter formerly known as Super Benkei. Her real name is Mayumi Aoki. Her record is 6-8 and her last fight was a win over Keiko Tomita on the May 26 JEWELS show. She has had a lot of success with J-Girls kickboxing and is currently their Featherweight champ. Rin won over Ultra Benkei Sept. 26, 2010 VALKYRIE show. So a bit of a delay tactic to give Sakai time to sign two more fighters.

Big Bad Blog Video Theatre-Ronda Rousey All Access Part 1

In preparation for Ronda Rousey's Strikeforce title defence against Sarah Kaufman next Saturday, Showtime has produced a two part Ronda Rousey All Access. The first part aired last night on Showtime and in Canada it will air on SuperChannel tomorrow at 8:30PM. Fortunately, Showtime has posted the video on Youtube minus the stupid geo blocking that those idiots at Fuel TV seem to employ. There are plenty of Ronda Rousey fans in Europe and Asia and everywhere else who want to see this stuff. The program is outstanding and you should check it out. Part two will air next Wednesday on Showtime at 9:30PM and in Canada on SuperChannel Friday Aug. 17 at 8:30PM. Ronda also appeared on Conan last night but I haven't seen a usable clip of that yet. Enjoy the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Singing Nun

Artist:The Singing Nun
Album:Hard To Find 45's On CD Vol. 2: 1961-64

If you weren't around in 1963, you may find it hard to believe that Dominique topped the charts. And that the song was written and recorded by a real nun. But this was during the folk music boom right after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A lot of softer songs were hits at that time. So when put in that kind of context, maybe it's not so strange. The Singing Nun was a real nun. She was born Jeanne-Paule Marie Deckers Oct. 17, 1933 in Brussels, Belgium. She was known as Sister Luc Gabriel at the Dominican Fichermont Convent in Waterloo, Belgium. She sang and performed her own songs and in 1959 the monastery allowed her to record. The recording was only supposed to be given as gifts. When the recording got into the hands of Philips Records, they wanted to take her on tour. The monastery allowed it and Philips called her Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile) in Europe. In North America she was called The Singing Nun. Dominique knocked Louie Louie by The Kingsmen off the top of the charts in 1963. She also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on film. Apparently she didn't like performing live. So the song was a huge hit. Things started to go south for Sister Luc Gabriel when MGM produced the 1966 film The Singing Nun starring Debbie Reynolds as a young nun who falls in love with Chad Everett. Sister Luc Gabriel denounced the film as fiction and her superiors were not pleased about the romance in the film. She recorded a second album and then left the convent in 1967 when she discovered that the convent got all the royaltes from her recordings. Deckers was critical of Catholic doctrines and became an advocate for contraception. Later she operated a school for autistic children but got into financial trouble when she owed back taxes from her music career. She told the government that because the convent kept her royalties, she wasn't liable for the back taxes. They didn't buy that. After attempting a comeback by recording a 1982 disco version of Dominique, Deckers and her partner Annie Pecher committed suicide by drug and alcohol overdose on Mar. 29, 1985. The Singing Nun was 51. You can get Dominique on this various artists comp from the oldies label Eric Records. A play The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun was produced off Broadway in 1996. It was turned into a musical in 2006. And a Singing Nun biopic was released in Belgium in 2009. Here's a video of Dominique by The Singing Nun.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Dylans

Artist:The Dylans
Song:Planet Love
Album:The Dylans

The neo psychedelic band The Dylans had their biggest success with the 1991 single Planet Love. They had a couple more hits in England but after their second album flopped they split up. The Dylans were from Sheffield, England led by lead singer and bassist Colin Gregory along with guitarists Jim Rodger and Andy Curtis. Gregory was a member of the 80s group 1000 Violins. After signing with Beggars Banquet, keyboard player Quentin Jennings and drummer Garry Jones completed the lineup and they started playing gigs. Their first single Godlike was a top ten hit on the British indie singles chart. This convinced Beggars Banquet's US distributor RCA to release The Dylans debut CD in the US. Meanwhile Curtis was replaced by Andy Cook. The single Planet Love performed well on the dance and modern rock charts. And The Dylans got a very positive response at live shows. After touring, Jones left and Cook was moved to drums. Craig Scott was added on guitar. Jennings left as his wife was ill and was replaced by Ike Glover. The Dylans signed a new US record deal with Atlantic but the 1993 CD Spirit Finger was not well received critically and did not sell. The Dylans disbanded in 1994. One would think that Planet Love would be on a lot of various artists comps. It isn't but The Dylans 1991 CD is available. Here's the video for Planet Love by The Dylans.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Elizabeth & The Catapult

Artist:Elizabeth & The Catapult
Song:Taller Children
Album:Taller Children

As befits someone who grew up in the musically rich area of Greenwich Village in New York, singer, songwriter and pianist Elizabeth Ziman's music is an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, R & B and pop. She was a regular on the New York indie music scene before making her major label debut with Taller Children in 2009. After childhood piano lessons, Elizabeth performed with the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City. She studied classical composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston after earning a scholarship. She earned the 2001 ASCAP Lieber & Stoller scholarship for the song Like Water Is To Sand. Elizabeth's original plan was to get into film scoring. But in 2002, Patti Austin came to Berklee looking for backup singers for an upcoming tribute to Ella Fitzgerald tour. Elizabeth toured with Patti for a year and a half and it got her interested in jazz and soul. When she returned, she met Via Audio drummer Dan Molad at a party. He recruited guitarist Pete Lalish and the three Berklee students formed a band. At first they recorded as The Elizabeth Ziman Band in 2004 and then changed it to Elizabeth & The Catapult for a 2006 independently released EP. After they were featured as the Billboard Underground Artist for Oct. 2006, they signed with Verve Forecast Records. The band went to Omaha to work with producer Mike Mogis. He is a member of Bright Eyes and Monsters Of Folk and has produced Kilo Riley, Tilly and the Wall and others. Taller Children was released in 2009. They got some attention when they were featured on NPR's All Things Considered. Lalish left and Elizabeth and Dan went to Austin to record the 2010 CD The Other Side Of Zero with producer Tony Berg. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings appeared on the album. It appears that Molad has since split and I would expect Verve to repackage Elizabeth Zeman as a solo artist. The talent and potential are there. She could be big in the Adult Alternative market. Here's the video for Taller Children by Elizabeth & The Catapult.