Sunday, September 30, 2012
Today's edition of Big Bad Blog Video Theatre features Michelle Ould vs Munah Holland from Friday's Bellator show in Atlantic City. It was on the Spike TV website but it was geo blocked outside North America. So I know fans in Europe and Asia didn't get to see it live. The other day I laughed when Michelle told MMA Weekly that she didn't want this fight to be Ground Girl vs Boxer. She wants to show that she is a complete fighter. But Munah is a veteran boxer who is unproven on the ground. So of course it would be foolish for Michelle to trade punches with her. Not that other fighters haven't tried to do that. So in this fight Michelle needed to test Munah's takedown defense and then keep her on the ground. And that's exactly what she did. She took her down in all three rounds and pounded her. Munah didn't have much of a response to this. She tried to throw punches from the bottom and also tried a triangle choke. But neither was effective. What she needed to do is reverse and get on top. But she was never able to do that and Michelle won by unanimous decision. Michelle was always active so the ref never had to stand them up. She was certainly arm weary by the middle of round three. This was exactly the strategy Michelle needed to use in this fight and it paid off. Some might think this was an upset but I don't. Michelle is a well rounded fighter and she always comes to the cage with a clear game plan. And if she needs to change her game plan. she has the ability to do that. A lot of fighters don't have that ability. Munah Holland is a great boxer. But she needs to improve her takedown defense and her grappling. Fighters seeing this fight will know how to handle her unless she takes steps to improve. Entering Grappler's Quest and other grappling tournaments would do her some good. Michelle Ould broke her hand in round one. After speaking with her, I'm concerned that she may need surgery to fix it. That could keep her out for a long time. She is seeing her doctor in California this week. Hopefully she will be ready for Bellator's 2013 tournament for 125lb fighters. It would be a shame if she missed that. Enjoy the video.
Song:The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Album:Music From The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Hugo Montenegro was a film music composer, arranger and conductor and he also recorded movie theme albums for RCA Records in the 60s. His cover of Ennio Morricone's theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was a top five hit in 1968. Montenegro was born Sept. 2, 1925 in New York City. During WWII, he served in the US Navy as an arranger for the Newport Naval Base Band in Newport, RI. After the war, he studied composition at Manhattan College. In the 50s, he was an assistant to Columbia Records musical director Andre Kostalanetz and was a house conductor and arranger for The Glen-Spice Orchestra. Montenegro wanted to get into the film business so he moved to Los Angeles in 1960 to work for RCA Records. He had success with his albums of Jerry Goldsmith's music from the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He also worked for Columbia Pictures and composed the scores for Hurry Sundown and the Matt Helm films The Ambushers and The Wrecking Crew. He continued to record for RCA and his cover of Ennio Morricone's theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. I understand that Morricone purists sneer at Montenegro's cover.. But I'm pretty sure that anyone who heard the song on the radio heard Montenegro's version. Montenegro added a rock backbeat that got it radio play the original would not have received. It also helped Morricone's original soundtrack album become a big seller. This CD covers Montenegro's Spaghetti Western music covers. Montenegro continued to compose music for films. In the 70s, he turned to electronic music until failing health forced him to retire. Hugo Montenegro died on Feb. 6, 1981 at age 55. Here's a video for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Hugo Montenegro.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Song:You've Got Your Troubles
The Fortunes rode The British Invasion to their only US top ten hit You've Got Your Troubles in 1965. They faded soon after but had a couple more hits later. They were from Birmingham and started in 1963 as the vocal group The Cliftones with Rod Allen, Glen Dale and Barry Prichard. They signed with Decca Records in England and added keyboard player David Carr and drummer Andy Brown. Their first couple of singles didn't catch on. But then You've Got Your Troubles reached #2 on the British singles chart and #7 on the billboard Hot 100. The song was written by the veteran songwriting team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. It's got great vocal harmonies and that's the reason the song is still a popular oldie today. They had more hits in England but not in the US. Glen Dale left in 1966 and was replaced by Shel McCrae. The Fortunes moved to United Artists in 1967 but they didn't adjust to the rise of psychedlia. A Coke jingle and the minor hit That Same Old Feeling kept them going. Then they signed with Capitol and had a US top 20 hit in 1971 with Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again. The Fortunes never split up. They just faded and Rod Allen led them on the nostalgia circuit for years. Because they were on multiple labels, it's hard to get all of The Fortunes hits on one CD. And beware of re-recorded versions. But this CD from the Dutch label BR Music has the original versions. Rod Allen and Barry Prichard led The Fortunes for years. Prichard died in 1999 and Allen died in 2008. A version of the band still tours. David Carr moved to the US and was a session mjusician for Kim Fowley. He died in 1999. Here are The Fortunes performing You've Got Your troubles on the 1965 NME Awards. This footage is on Youtube but the live audio has been replaced by the studio recording. I prefer the live version.
The Fortunes - You've Got Your Troubles by scootaway
Friday, September 28, 2012
Trumpeter Herb Alpert is probably best remembered for his 60s recordings with The Tijuana Brass. After his run in the 60s, he struggled in the 70s until Rise topped the charts in 1979. He is the only artist in history to have vocal and instrumental number one hits. He was born Mar. 31, 1935 in Los Angeles. His parents were amateur musicians and his older brother played drums. Alpert took trumpet lessons as a child and played dances as a teen. After serving in The Army, he tried acting but decided on music instead. In 1957, he became a staff songwriter for Keen Records and wrote hits like Wonderful World for Sam Cooke and Alley Oop for The Hollywood Argyles. He also had his own band Dante & The Evergreens and recorded as a singer for RCA as Dore Alpert. In 1962, Alpert founded A & M Records with Jerry Moss. He started experimenting in his garage recording studio. On a trip to Tijuana, Alpert got the idea to do an Americanized version of a mariachi band. When he got home, he recorded The Lonely Bull complete with crowd noise. The song reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962. It was also the first A & M album release. They were called Herb Alpert &The Tijuana Brass but there was no band at first. Alpert overdubbed his trumpet several times. He did form a touring band in 1964. His biggest hit was A Taste Of Honey which reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. Alpert's first #1 hit had him singing Burt Bacharach's This Guy's In Love With You. He sang it to his wife on a 1968 TV special and then it was released as a single. Obviously Alpert is a very limited singer. The Tijuana Brass ended and Alpert struggled through most of the 70s until he topped the charts with Rise in 1979. Rise was written by Alpert's nephew Randy "Badazz" Alpert and Andy Armer. It gained a following when it was used in a major story arc on the daytime soap General Hospital. Then dance DJs picked it up and that led to mainstream radio play. It's obviously much different from the Tijuana Brass recordings but change was necessary. The album Rise was recorded after the single was a hit. Alpert had a top five hit in 1987 with Diamonds featuring Janet Jackson. You can get all his hits on this comp. Alpert & Moss sold A & M to PolyGram in 1993 and they started a new label Almo Sounds. Alpert currently records for Concord and his latest CD I Feel You was released last year. Here's the video for Rise by Herb Alpert. The woman Alpert is cavorting with in the video is his wife Lani Hall. She was a singer for Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 and she currently sings on her husband's CDs.They have been married since 1974.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Song:Evil Gal Blues
Album:Vocal Blues & Jazz Vol. 4: 1938-1949
Albinia Jones mostly sang with big bands in the 40s. She recorded a few songs as a leader in the late 40s but then was forced to retire in the 50s due to health problems. She was born Nov. 29, 1914 in Gulfport, MS and grew up singing in church. She moved to New York in 1932 and sang in clubs for the next two decades. She first recorded in 1945 with legendary sax player Don Byas. This recording of the blues standard Evil Gal Blues is from those sessions. Evil Gal Blues was written by Leonard Feather and Lionel Hampton. The most interesting thing about this recording is that Dizzy Gillespie plays trumpet on it. The band was called Don Byas' Swing Seven. Other musicians are Gene Sedric on clarinet, Sammy Price on piano, Leonard Ware on guitar, Oscar Smith on bass and Harold "Doc" West on drums. Albinia Jones also toured with Blanche Calloway, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and Erskine Hawkins. In the late 40s, she recorded for Decca Records backed by a band led by Sammy Price. You can get all of Albinia's recordings on this CD from Document Records. They have topped it up with other singers because they didn't have enough Albinia Jones recordings to fill a CD. In the early 50s, Albinia was injured when she fell on stage and was forced to retire from music. It's too bad because it's clear that guys like Gillespie liked working with her. Albinia Jones died of leukemia on June 24, 1989 at age 74. Here's a video for Evil Gal Blues by Albinia Jones with Don Byas' Swing Seven.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Song:Lost Without Your Love
Album:The Best of Bread
There has always been a market for mushy love songs. And Bread had a total of nine top ten hits in the 70s. Lost Without Your Love was the last of those hits in 1977. Lead singer and songwriter David Gates was already a successful Los Angeles session musician in the late 60s. He wrote the 1964 top five hit Popsicles and Icicles for The Murmaids and arranged the Glenn Yarbrough hit Baby, The Rain Must Fall. But he wanted to establish a recording career. He released a few unsuccessful singles. Guitarist James Griffin released an unsuccessful solo album in 1963 and then became a staff songwriter for Viva Publishing. He met bassist Robb Royer and brought him into his publishing deal. Royer was a member of The Pleaure Fair. They recorded an album in 1967 for UNI Records produced by David Gates. Royer introduced Griffin to Gates and Bread was formed and signed with Elektra Records. Their 1969 debut album didn't sell. They recorded it as a trio with session drummer Jim Gordon. For their second album On The Waters, session drummer Mike Botts became a permanent member of Bread. Make it With You Was Bread's only number one pop hit in 1970. They also had a top ten hit with It Don't Matter To Me. Their third album Manna didn't do as well. and Royer left and was replaced by session musician Larry Knechtel. After the top ten hits If, Baby I'm a Want You and Everything I Own, Bread split up in 1973. Griffin was upset that all of Bread's hits were written by Gates and they were clashing over song selection for the next album. Both guys recorded unsuccessful solo albums. Elektra convinced them to reunite in 1976 and Lost Without Your Love reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. They toured but Gates and Griffin weren't getting along. And after Gates did the second leg of the tour without Griffin, Bread split up for good. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. David Gates had some solo success with the theme of the 1979 film The Goodbye Girl. He attempted to tour as Bread but Griffin sued. That was settled in 1984. Griffin recorded solo and with Terry Sylvester of The Hollies and with the group Black Tie with Randy Meissner and Billy Swan, all with mixed success. His band The Remingtons had a top ten country hit in 1992 with A Long Time Ago. Bread reunited for a 25th anniversary tour in 1996. Griffin and Botts died in 2005 and Knechtel died in 2009. Gates is retired and Royer is still a Nashville songwriter. Here's Bread performing Lost Without Your Love on The Captain & Tennille Show 1977.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Today's edition of Big Bad Blog Video Theatre is Katja Kankaanpaa vs Simona Soukupova from Botnia Punishment in Finland from a couple of weeks ago. The match was judged a split draw. So a few fans have asked me to post the fight video and analyze it to judge the judges. Judging in MMA is such a problem because on regional shows like this one a lot of judges aren't qualified to judge MMA. Katja is the undefeated Finnish fighter. I've seen a couple of her fights and she's pretty good. She got a good win over Japanese veteran VV Mei a few months ago. Simona is British. I haven't been impressed with her last couple of fights. She was trying to be a kickboxer but she wasn't very good at it. Also she is 35 years old so again age to experience level is not in her favour. I scored the fight 30-27 for Katja. I didn't even think it was that close. Simona got an armbar attempt near the end of the second round. And sometimes judges might take that out of context and give Simona the round. But Katja controlled the rest of the round and I think she showed effective ring control through the whole fight. And I give that more weight than isolated submission attempts. If Simona gets that armbar earlier in the round, that's a different story. But with thirty seconds left in the round, Katja can easily ride it out. So as some fans suspected, it was a poor decision. Check it out for yourself.
Jack Johnson was a professional surfer but he decided music is safer and he is one of today's most popular singer songwriters. Flake is from his 2001 debut CD Brushfire Fairytales and helped establish his success. He was born May 18, 1975 in North Shore, Oahu, HI. His father was professional surfer Jeff Johnson so it was not surprising when Jack Johnson began to surf as a child. As a teen, he competed in the Pipeline Masters. He also started writing songs. A surfing accident turned him in a musical direction. And he earned a degree in film at University Of California, Santa Barbara. He played clubs while attending college. Johnson directed the 2000 surfing documentary Thicker Than Water. One of his demos got the attention of Ben Harper and his producer J.P. Plunier and he produced Johnson's debut CD Brushfire Fairytales. Harper played slide guitar on Flake. Brushfire Fairytales was certified Platinum. Since then, Johnson's CDs have all reached the top of the Billboard Hot 200 and have gone either Gold or Platinum. He also wrote the soundtrack to the film 2006 film Curious George. He's constantly touring and that kind of visibility helps fans remember him. Johnson has his own record label Brushfire Records and he produces other artists along with his own CDs. His surfing buddy Donavon Frankenreiter owes his music career to Jack Johnson. Johnson's latest CD To The Sea was released in 2010 though a live CD was released April 2012. I expect we will see new music from him in 2013. Here's Jack Johnson performing Flake at the 2010 Kokua Festival. There are a few clips of Johnson performing Flake but this one is on his Vevo channel and the quality is better.Flake is one of the few songs where Johnson didn't do a concept video.
Monday, September 24, 2012
The funk band Brass Construction had a lot of success in the late 70s. mostly on the R & B and dance charts. Movin' was their biggest hit in 1976 and their only top 20 pop hit. Brass Construction was led by keyboard player Randy Muller. Muller was born in Guyana but grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He is a classically trained musician but he loved funk. The band was first called Dynamic Soul and then changed to Brass Construction when they signed with United Artists distributed Roadshow Records in 1975. Roadshow was owned by former Epic Records promotion man Sid Maurer. Jeff Lane produced and he also produced labelmate BT Express. Other members of Brass Construction were Larry Payton on drums, Wayne Parris and Morris Price on trumpet, Alvin Haskins and Duane Cahill on trobone, guitarist Joe Arthur-Wong, Sandy Billups on congas, Michael Grudge and Jackie Ward on sax and Wade Williamson on bass. Movin' was a marathon studio jam session. It was originally sixteen minutes long and it was cut down to eight minutes. That's the version that lit up the dance floor. A three minute version was played on the radio. It topped the R & B charts and reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Brass Construction had some other hits like Ha Cha Cha (Funktion) and L-O-V-E-U but Movin' was their biggest hit. You can get the full eight minute version of Movin' on this Capitol budget comp. They moved to Capitol when EMI bought United Artists in 1980 and a 1988 remix of Movin' charted and did very well in England. Movin' has been frequently sampled by hip hop guys since the 80s. Brass Construction continued to be active into the new millennium but I'm not sure if they are still active. Randy Muller was not part of the recent version of the group. Here's Brass Construction performing Movin' 1976.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Itchycoo Park is the best known song and the biggest hit for the British group Small Faces. They had success in England but Itchycoo Park was their only hit in the US. The band was adversely affected by management problems. Lead singer and guitarist Steve Marriott performed as a child and played The Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver! in 1960. But he preferred music and released a single in 1963 and led his band The Moments. He was fired in 1964 because the band thought he was too young to be a lead singer. Marriott met bassist Ronnie Lane when Lane came into the music store where Marriott was working to buy a bass guitar. Marriott invited Lane and friend drummer Kenney Jones to his home to jam. Marriott brought in his keyboard player friend Jimmy Winston and Small Faces was born. The band name was to appeal to the Mods in London. Initially they played R & B covers and they were spotted by manager Don Arden and he got them a contract with Decca. They had mixed success and Arden worked them way too hard sometimes booking them three gigs a night. Then Winston was fired and replaced by Ian McLagan. Winston wanted to write songs and sing. The rest of the band said no. The group had success with hits like Sha-La-La-La-Lee and All Or Nothing and they were about to tour the US. But Ian McLagan was busted for drugs and they split with Arden. Small Faces signed with former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and his label Immediate. They worked with veteran recording engineer Glyn Johns. When Itchycoo Park was released, it got the attention of Columbia Records and they released the album There Are But Four Small Faces in the US. The song reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. There is no Itchycoo Park. Lane based it on his memories of a park he used to go to that had nettles so he was itchy all the time. The 1968 album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake was hailed as a masterpiece and it also came in a round album cover resembling a tobacco tin. But Marriott realized he couldn't perform the music live and he quit Small Faces during a 1968 New Year's Eve show. Marriott formed Humble Pie with Peter Frampton. They had some success in the early 70s but faded and split in 1975. The rest of the band brought in Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood of The Jeff Back Group. They signed with Warner Bros. and changed the band name to Faces. They had some success but of course they became Stewart's band when he became a solo star. Faces split up in 1974. Small Faces reunited in 1975 and recorded two unsuccessful albums. Ronnie Lane was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He died in 1997. Steve Marriott's career floundered until his death in a house fire in 1991. Kenney Jones joined The Who after Keith Moon died. For years the Small Faces recordings were mired in legal issues but Sanctuary Records got that straightened out and released this 2CD comp that is worth getting. It has Decca and Immediate recordings. Small Faces were a very underrated band. Here is Small Faces performing Itchycoo Park on the German TV show Beat Club 1967.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Song:Don't You (Forget About Me)
Album:The Breakfast Club: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The Scottish band Simple Minds had their only US number one hit with Don't You (Forget About Me) from the 1985 hit film The Breakfast Club. They had a couple of other hits including the top five hit Alive and Kicking. But most fans probably first heard the band in The Breakfast Club. The two main guys behind Simple Minds are lead singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill. They were childhood pals in Glasgow. In 1977, they joined the punk band Johnny & The Self Abusers led by John Milarky. Kerr and Burchill brought in pals Tony Donald on bass and Brian McGee on drums. After playing a few shows, Kerr wanted more input into the music. When Milarkey refused, Kerr and his buddies left to form Simple Minds. Milarky's pal guitarist Alan MacNeil also joined Simple Minds. They signed with Arista and released their debut album Life In A Day in 1979. Simple Minds' sound was heavily influenced by Roxy Music. After three disappointing albums, Simple Minds left Arista for Virgin. Opening for Peter Gabriel got them a US deal with A & M. They did well in England but had trouble breaking through in the US. Don't You (Forget About Me) was written by The Breakfast Club music producer Keith Forsey and guitarist Steve Schiff from Nina Hagen's band. The song had already been turned down by The Fixx lead singer Cy Curnin, Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol. Kerr didn't want to record it either but A & M convinced them it could break them in the US market. And it topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985. Kerr always downplayed the success of the song because of course he didn't write it. They deliberately left it off the 1985 album Once Upon A Time. The top five hit Alive and Kicking was on that album along with lesser hit singles Sanctify Yourself and All The Things She Said. It was their most successful album to date. But it was too commercial and alienated fans of their early albums. This led to a slow decline though they were still popular in England. The decline accelerated when Alan MacNeil left Simple Minds in 1989. By the time Virgin dropped them in 1995, Simple Minds was just Kerr and Burchill using session musicians. They are still around and are currently recording new music to be released in 2013. I suspect most folks are only familiar with Don't You (Forget About Me) and The Breakfast Club soundtrack is cheap. Here's the video for Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Song:Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Sweet Dreams was the breakthrough single and the only US number one hit for the British duo Eurythmics in 1983. They had three top five hits in the US but were more successful in England. The duo behind Eurythmics were singer Annie Lennox and musical jack of all trades Dave Stewart. In the early 70s, Dave Stewart was a member of the folk rock group Longdancer. They were signed to Elton John's Rocket Records but were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Annie Lennox was studying flute and classical music at the Royal Academy of Music. The two met in 1975 at a restaurant where Annie was waitressing. After they began a romantic relationship, the two formed The Tourists with guitarist Peet Coombes. The Tourists were a conventional new wave band. They recorded three albums and had a top ten hit in England with their cover of Dusty Springfield's I Only Want To Be With You in 1979. Coombes wrote most of the songs and Stewart wanted more creative input. This led to the band split in 1980. Soon after, Coombes quit the music business. Stewart and Lennox had ended their romantic relationship but decided to continue their musical partnership and use session musicians. They signed with RCA Records and recorded the Eurythmics debut album In The Garden in Germany with musicians like Holger Czukay and and Jaki Liebezeit of electronic music pioneers Can. The album was not successful but the German musicians encouraged Stewart to use more electronic keyboards. Stewart produced the 1983 album Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) with session guitarist Robert Crash and bassist Adam Williams formerly of The Selecter. The single Sweet Dreams topped the Billboard Hot 100. Supposedly Stewart came up with the brooding keyboard riffs while fooling around in the studio. The song is one verse repeated over three minutes so there's not much to it. But the video went into heavy rotation on MTV and folks liked it and bought the record. The Eurythmics albums were consistent sellers but Here Comes The Rain Again and Would I Lie To You? were their only other US top five hits. I think their videos drove record sales but not radio play. They split up after the 1989 album We Too Are One. You can get all their hits on this budget comp.Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox have both had successful solo careers and Stewart has had a lot of success as a producer. The Eurythmics reunited for the 1999 CD Peace and both returned to solo careers. Here's the video for Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by The Eurythmics.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Song:Keep On Dancing
Album:Memphis Boys: The Story of American Studios
Because I know a lot about music and also pro wrestling, I am always asked if legendary WWF manager Jimmy "Mouth Of The South" Hart had a hit record in the 60s. The answer is yes. He was a member of The Gentrys and they had a top five hit with Keep On Dancing in 1965. The Gentrys were formed in 1963 at Treadwell High School in Memphis. The lead singer and guitarist was Larry Raspberry. The other members were Jimmy Hart and Bruce Bowles on vocals, Bobby Fisher on sax, Jimmy Johnson on trumpet, Larry Butler on keyboards, Pat Neal on bass and Larry Wall on drums. The other key figure in The Gentrys was veteran producer Lincoln "Chips" Moman. Moman worked at Stax in the early years and left in 1964 to start the recording studio American Studios. Keep On Dancing was written by William Young and he recorded it as The Avantis in 1963. This is not to be confused with the instrumental rock group The Avantis led by the Vegas brothers who would later become famous as Redbone. It looks like Young bounced around a lot of Memphis R & B groups. The Avantis was Young backed by Memphis studio musicians. So Moman was recording The Gentrys and he thought Keep On Dancing would be a good song for them. The record was picked up by MGM Records for national distribution and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. Raspberry sings the lead vocal. Most of The Gentrys quit to get real jobs in 1966. You can get Keep On Dancing on this Ace Records various artists comp. Hart reformed The Gentrys with different musicians in 1969. They recorded for Sun Records and then Capitol with Sam Phillips' son Knox Phillips producing. They did chart in 1969 with a cover of Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl. Hart wrote most of the songs for that version of The Gentrys. Hart went on to be a pro wrestling manager for Memphis Wrestling, the WWF in the 80s and WCW in the 90s. He even recorded an album in the 80s. He is still involved in pro wrestling today. Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers were very popular in Memphis clubs in the 70s. But they never got a break. Their one album on the Stax label Enterprise died when Stax went bankrupt. Raspberry is a local legend in Memphis. Here are The Gentrys performing Keep On Dancing on Shindig 1965.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Album:Save The Turtles: The Turtles Greatest Hits
The Turtles were one of the more enjoyable groups of the 60s. Happy Together was their only number one hit in 1967. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman were the driving force behind The Turtles. With one major exception, the other members of the band were interchangeable. Kaylan and Volman met at Westchester High School in Los Angeles and formed The Crossfires. DJ Reb Foster got them a deal with the fledgling label White Whale Records. They were supposed to be a folk rock group similar to The Byrds so White Whale wanted to call them The Tyrtles. The band settled on The Turtles. Their first single, a cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. Though The Turtles next two singles reached the top 30, their second album You Baby didn't sell. So already they were fading. And as a small label, White Whale was counting on The Turtles to carry them. After wholesale personnel changes, bassist Chip Douglas joined The Turtles. Kaylan and Volman were going through a stack of demos looking for songs. Happy Together was written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon of The Magicians. This song had been kicking around for a couple of years. The Magicians released a few singles on Columbia and today are hailed as lost pioneers of psychedelia. The two wrote other songs for The Turtles and for other artists like Celebrate by Three Dog Night. Chip Douglas wrote the arrangement for Happy Together. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. Soon after, Michael Nesmith hired Douglas to produce The Monkees. That hurt The Turtles. After She'd Rather Be With Me reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, they faded again. Douglas returned in 1968 and Eleanor and You Showed Me were top ten hits. Their final album Turtle Soup was produced by Ray Davies of The Kinks. It flopped and The Turtles split up. Then White Whale went bankrupt. Kaylan and Volman joined Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention and called themselves The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie because they couldn't use The Turtles name. They have recorded as Flo & Eddie. They acquired The Turtles recordings in 1974 and this comp is on their own label distributed by Manifesto Records. Kaylan and Volman still lead The Turtles today. Here are The Turtles performing Happy Together on The Ed Sullivan Show 1967.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Album:The Best Of Prism
The Canadian band Prism is best known for their 1981 top 40 hit Don't Let Him Know.But in Canada, they were popular before that. Spaceship Superstar was their first single in 1977. Prism was from Vancouver. Bruce Fairbairn and Jim Vallance were members of the mid 70s band Sunshyne. If the names seem familiar, Fairbairn went on to be a very successful record producer in the 80s and 90s. Vallance went on to be Bryan Adams' songwriting partner. So Fairbairn brought in Seeds Of Time guitarist Lindsay Mitchell and recorded some demos. Fairbairn was unable to sell the demos. Fairbairn brought Vallance in to rework the demos and play drums and Ron Tabak took over lead vocals. Mitchell remained as guitarist. They got a contract with GRT Records. GRT was a US company best known as a cassette manufacturer. But in Canada they were a successful record label with artists like Lighthouse among others. To record their debut album, they brought in Jim Hall on keyboards and Tom Lavin on bass. GRT didn't like the name Sunshyne so it was changed to Prism. Vallance played drums as Rodney Higgs and wrote most of the songs. He used a pseudonym because he thought if Prism failed, he would never get another job in the music business. Spaceship Superstar was the first single and it is obviously influenced by early 70s progressive rock. The album did well in Canada. Vallance didn't like touring and was replaced by Rocket Norton on drums. He remained as songwriter but soon quit after butting heads with Mitchell. Lavin was replaced by Allen Harlow. They recorded two more albums on GRT. But GRT closed in 1980 and Capitol Records bought all the contracts. Then Ron Tabak was fired and replaced by Henry Small. His first album as led singer was Small Change and he was lead singer on the 1981 top 40 hit Don't Let Him Know. When the lead singer is changed, it's a different band. After that album, Prism split up but Small recorded the 1983 album Beat Street as Prism. He used session musicians. This comp from the British label Renaissance has all of Prism's hits. Plans to reunite Prism in 1984 ended when Ron Tabak died as the result of a motorcycle accident on Christmas Eve. Prism did reunite in 1987 and Allen Harlow continues to lead a version of Prism today. I'm sure many Canadian music fans have fond memories of Prism. Here's a video for Spaceship Superstar by Prism.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Here's the match video from last night's WWE PPV with Layla defending the WWE Divas Champion against Eve Torres. Wait a minute. Wasn't Kaitlyn supposed to get this title shot? You may recall that there was a battle royal on RAW a couple of weeks ago and the winner gets a title shot at Night Of Champions. The story was Eve was supposed to win the battle royal. When Kaitlyn clotheslined her over the top rope, Eve was supposed to land on the ring apron. She missed and landed on the floor. Apparently the WWE wasn't happy and planned to give Eve the title shot anyway. So for the last couple of weeks they have had Eve display what I would call phony babyface behaviour. Yes, her acting was terrible but I think that was deliberate. So early in last night's PPV, there was a backstage segment where Kaitlyn was attacked and unable to perform. Then they did another segment where Eve asked Smackdown GM Booker T for the title shot. He agreed to that because he thought there should be a Divas Championship match on Night Of Champions. Assistant GM Teddy Long was unhappy because like most fans, he believed Eve was behind the attack on Kaitlyn. Obviously the plan was always to get the belt off of Layla and the WWE believes no one would buy Kaitlyn as champ. This almost seems like TNA, huh? Layla has shown nothing since she returned and supposedly her right knee is still giving her trouble. The problem with the match is Eve wrestles as a babyface for the first half of the match supposedly to convince Layla that she really is a babyface. Layla stupidly buys this and then Eve turns heel on her. By that time, the crowd has lost interest in the match and neither of these girls have the ability to get them interested again. That's what happens when they train dancers to be pro wrestlers. They have athletic ability but no pro wrestling aptitude. The match ends as expected and Eve is the new Divas Champion. BTW, she needs more intensity in the ring if she is going to be a heel. Her moves changed but not her personality. JBL was funny trying to sell Eve's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training at the Gracie Academy. In fact, she recently announced her engagement to Renar Gracie. It was a nice try to sell a two minute rest hold in a seven minute match. The match was not horrible but not memorable either. I'm sure that Eve will be revealed as Kaitlyn's attacker in the near future...unless the WWE forgets about it. Enjoy the match video.
Song:Harper Valley P.T.A.
Album:Harper Valley P.T.A.: The Very Best of Jeannie C. Riley
This mini soap opera was one of the biggest hits of 1968 and was a number one country and pop hit for Jeannie C. Riley. The problem was because the hit came at the beginning of her career, it was difficult to follow. It turned out to be her only big hit. But she had some country success and then later became a Christian singer. She was born Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson Oct. 19, 1945 in Stamford, TX which is near Abeline. As a teen, she married Mickey Riley and they had a daughter in 1966. They moved to Nashville and Jeannie worked as a secretary while recording demos. One of those demos landed in the hands of producer Shelby Singleton. He was a producer at Mercury Records but he was starting his own labels SSS International and Plantation Records. Harper Valley P.T.A. was written by legendary singer songwriter Tom T. Hall. After Skeeter Davis turned down the song, it was recorded by Jeannie C. Riley, Billie Jo Spears and Margie Singleton. Plantation rushed the release because Singleton wanted to beat the other two versions. Jeannie C. Riley became the first female singer to top the country and pop singles chart. This wouldn't happen again until Dolly Parton did it with 9 To 5 in 1981. Hall says he took the name from a real school in Tennessee but the song is based on childhood memories. Hall was known as an excellent storyteller. It was one of the biggest hits of 1968 and Jeannie won a Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy. It didn't hurt that Jeannie was young, attractive and wore mini skirts. Jeannie had a few more country hits but never came close to the success of Harper Valley P.T.A. You can get all her hits on this Collectables comp. Harper Valley P.T.A. was turned into a movie and then a TV show starring Barbara Eden in 1978. Jeannie C. Riley recorded for MGM, Mercury and Warner Bros. But by the late 70s, she had become a born again Christian and recorded gospel in the 80s. She continued to perform Harper Valley P.T.A. in her shows. In the 90s, she suffered from clinical depression and put on a lot of weight. She recovered from that and though she last recorded in 2000, Jeannie C. Riley still tours. Here's Jeannie C. Riley performing Harper Valley P.T.A. 1968.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Song:La Cage Aux Folles
Album:La Cage Aux Folles: The Broadway Musical
Veteran Broadway musical performer George Hearn won a Tony award for his performance in the 1983 musical La Cage Aux Folles. He has done films and TV but is mainly known for stage musicals. He was born June 18, 1934 in St. Louis. After college, he moved to New York. His first notable role was as John Dickinson in the 1969 musical 1776. In 1980, he replaced Len Cariou in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and starred in the touring company with Angela Lansbury. That show was produced for Showtime and Hearn won an Emmy. Meanwhile, Allen Carr had successfully produced Grease and was interested in turning La Cage Aux Folles into a musical after seeing the 1978 film. He acquired the rights to the 1973 play. After a false start, producers Fritz Holt and Barry Brown approached director Arthur Laurents about doing the show. They worked with him on Gypsy. At first he wasn't crazy about the idea but composers Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman talked him into it. As a gay activist, Fierstein thought this show was important. Herman had success in the 60s with Hello Dolly but hadn't had a hit in a while. The show is about a gay couple who also perform at a drag nightclub. George Hearn and TV actor Gene Barry played the couple. The show ran for four years and won seven Tonys. Hearn won a Best Actor Tony. Hearn also appeared in the London cast. Sony has recently released the La Cage Aux Folles Original Broadway cast album as a budget CD. Of course La Cage Aux Folles was turned into a musical film and it has been revived on Broadway numerous times, most recently in 2010 starring Kelsey Grammer. George Hearn has done films and TV but seems to prefer the stage. His most notable show since La Cage Aux Folles was the 1994 Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard. He won his second Tony for that. Here's George Hearn and company performing La Cage Aux Folles in the London production the British TV special A Christmas Night of a Hundred Stars.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Song:God Bless The USA
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Lee Greenwood
Lee Greenwood had seven number one country hits in the 80s. God Bless The USA was not one of them when it was first released in 1984. But it became Greenwood's signature song and was his only top 20 pop hit when it was re-released after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He was born Oct. 17, 1942 in Los Angeles and grew up in Sacramento on his grandparents' farm. Greenwood learned to play sax as a child. And his first professional gig was playing sax in country singer Del Reeves' touring band. In the mid 60s, Greenwood recorded some unsuccessful singles for Paramount Records as Lee Greenwood Affair. He was invited to be a member of The Rascals. But instead he moved to Las Vegas and was a blackjack dealer during the day and a lounge singer at night. In 1979, he was performing in a club in Reno when he was spotted by Mel Tillis' bassist Larry McFaden. McFaden became Greenwood's manager and got him a record deal at MCA. The initial appeal of Greenwood was he sounded a lot like Kenny Rogers. Greenwood's first number one country hit was Somebody's Gonna Love You in 1983 and he had seven number one country hits. God Bless The USA reached #7 on the Country Singles chart in 1984. But then the song became popular when it was played at the 1984 Rupublican National Convention. BTW, Greenwood is a Republican. Greenwood said he always wanted to write a patriotic song and convinced producer Jerry Crutchfield to let him do it. The song has become a patriotic standard and reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was re-released after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. By the late 80s, Greenwood faded and left MCA for Capitol in 1990. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Beware of re-recordings of God Bless The USA. By the mid 90s, he opened his own theatre in Sevierville, TN. That is now closed. He also recorded for Curb Records. His latest CD I Want To Be In Your World was released last year. Lee Greenwood still tours and no doubt his most requested song is God Bless The USA. Here's the video for God Bless The USA by Lee Greenwood.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Song:You're Only Lonely
Album:Border Town: The Very Best of J.D. Souther
John David Souther was a very successful songwriter in the 70s. The 1979 top ten hit You're Only Lonely was his only hit as a solo artist. He has also had success as an actor. He was born Nov. 2, 1945 in Detroit and grew up in Amarillo, TX. His main influence was Roy Orbison. Souther moved to Los Angeles in the late 60s. He became roommates with Glen Frey and Jackson Browne lived downstairs. Souther and Frey formed Longbranch Pennywhistle and they recorded an album in 1970. Then Souther recorded a solo album for Elektra in 1972. Then he formed Souther Hillman Furay Band with Chris Hillman of The Byrds and Richie Furay of Poco. Their two albums did not sell and Furay had become a born again Christian and didn't want to record secular music anymore. So they split up. Meanwhile Souther wrote Best Of My Love, Heartache Tonight and New Kid In Town for Eagles. He worked a lot with Linda Ronstadt and produced her album Don't Cry Now. And he did a lot of session singing. You're Only Lonely first appeared on the soundtrack of the 1978 film Coast To Coast. With James Taylor's help, it got Souther a deal at Columbia. You're Only Lonely reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. Also Souther's duet with Taylor Her Town Too reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. You're Only Lonely was his only album for Columbia. You can get the song on this comp from the British label Salvo which also includes songs by Souther Hillman Furay Band and his duets with Linda Ronstadt. After a 1984 album on Warner Bros., Souther turned to acting. He played John Dunaway in the TV series thirtysomething. He also appeared in the films Postcards From Thev Edge and My Girl 2. Souther is playing songwriter producer Watty White in the upcoming ABC TV series Nashville. Last year he re-recorded many of his old songs for the CD Natural History on EOne Music. Here's J.D. Souther performing You're Only Lonely 1979.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Song:Looking For You
Album:The Big Bang: Best of the MC5
Though not commercially successful at the time, MC5 along with The Stooges were important bridges from the psychedelic music of the 60s to the punk music of the 70s. Interestingly, both bands were from Detroit. If MC5 had been able to stay out of trouble and get radio airplay, they might have had a longer shelf life. But in their prime, they only made three albums. Guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith were friends in high school but they led different bands. When those bands split up, the two joined forces to form the Motor City 5 which was shortened to MC5. Lead singer Rob Derminer started as the band's manager but changed his name to Rob Tyner (after jazz pianist McCoy Tyner) and joined the band. After some personnel changes, Michael Davis was on bass and Dennis Thompson was on drums. Unlike most garage bands of that era, MC5 were heavily influenced by free jazz and were interested in subversive political activity. As they built a fanbase first in Detroit and then in the east coast, an article in Rolling Stone got the attention of Danny Fields of Elektra Records. MC5 and The Stooges were signed at the same time. Looking At You was released in 1968 before they signed with Elektra but is available on CD on this comp. According to Kramer, signing with a major label didn't change MC5's political affiliations with groups like the Black Panthers. MC5 manager John Sinclair founded the White Panthers. They played a lot of political rallies. MC5's 1969 debut album Kick Out The Jams got a lot of buzz. But when the Detroit department store chain Hudson's refused to carry the album due to obscenity in the lyrics, MC5 took out a full page ad criticizing Hudson's and Elektra. Elektra pulled the album from release and fired the band. They signed with Atlantic and Rolling Stone music writer Jon Landau produced and got them to tone things down for Back In The USA. Not only did the album not sell but it got mixed reviews. Their third album High Time did worse and Atlantic dropped them. MC5 split up in 1972. Fred Smith started a new band Sonic's Rendezvous Band and released one album. Then he married Patti Smith and retired from music. He died in 1994. Wayne Kramer landed in jail on a drug conviction. Michael; Davis was in the same prison. Since Kramer was released, he has recorded several solo albums. Rob Tyner used the MC5 name in the 80s. He died in 1991 and MC5 reunited for a 1992 tribute concert. MC5 reformed in 2003. Kramer and Thompson are still part of the band. The lead singer is Handsome Dick Manitoba formerly of The Dictators. Today, MC5 are considered very influential on the 70s punk scene. So their influence is greater than their success in the 60s. Here's MC5 performing Looking At You at Wayne State University July 1970.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Song:Rod Of Correction
Album:Tighten Up Vol. 5
Clancy Eccles started out as a singer in the early 60s but started his own label and recording studio in the late 60s and usually produced other artists. When he did record himself, it was usually for political reasons and that included the 1971 hit Rod Of Correction. So he's not one of the best known of Jamaican singers but he is good. He was born Dec. 9, 1940 in Dean Pen, St. Mary, Jamaica. It appears his father was a travelling preacher. So Eccles moved around a lot and grew up singing in church. As a teen in the 50s, he sang on the north coast hotel circuit. He also worked the Ocho Rios circuit. Eccles moved to Kingston to work with producer Coxsone Dodd. His first hit was Freedom in 1961. It was one of the first songs to be used for political reasons in Jamaica. After attempts at concert promoting, he quit music to become a tailor in 1965. He actually made stage outfits for musicians. He returned to music in 1967 and started his own record company. He had some hits of his own like Feel The Rhythm and Fattie Fattie and also produced others like Alton Ellis, Joe Higgs among others. In the early 70s, Eccles became musical advisor to Michael Manley's People's National Party and supported Manley's campaign for Prime Minister. Rod Of Correction was part of that campaign and it was a big hit. Trojan released Rod Of Correction on the 1971 various artists comp series Tighten Up which are now available on CD either individually or in a box set. As Eccles got more involved in politics, he was less involved in music. He wasn't that active in the 80s. His son Clancy Eccles Jr. records as Clancy. Clancy Eccles died of a heart attack on June 30, 2005 at age 64.Here's a video for Rod Of Correction by Clancy Eccles.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Song:The First Time
Album:The First Time: The Best Of Surface
The smooth R & B group Surface had some success mostly on the R & B charts in the late 80s-early 90s. The First Time was their biggest hit. It topped the pop charts in 1990. Unlike a lot of vocal groups of the era, Surface were all veteran musicians capable of writing and producing their own music. Guitarist David Townsend was the son of veteran singer songwriter Ed Townsend, best known for writing the Marvin Gaye classic Let's Get It On. David Townsend was a guitarist with The Isley Brothers. He met bassist David Conley when both were in the 70s band Port Authority. After a stint with Mandrill, Conley reconnected with Townsend. Meanwhile, singer Bernard Jackson moved from his home in Stamford, CT to New York to get into the music business. He was put in touch with Townsend and the three guys started working together. Surface recorded a couple of singles for Salsoul Records but they knew they would have to get a deal with a major label to be successful. They moved to Los Angeles and signed a songwriting deal with EMI. They wrote Let's Be Friends for New Edition. Music exec Larkin Arnold had left EMI for Columbia and heard a demo for the Surface song Let's Try Again. He signed them and Surface had a string of R & B hits including three number one hits. Then in 1989, they crossed over to pop when Shower Me With Your Love reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. And then The First Time topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. Jackson wrote the song with his friend Brian Simpson. The album 3 Deep was their final album. Surface split up in 1994. They reformed in 1999 and recorded the CD Love Zone. A planned tour was cancelled when David Townsend was found dead in his home. Bernard Jackson has recorded four solo albums. David Conley is a manager and A & R man. You can all their hits on this budget comp. Surface also produced music for Jermaine Jackson and Rebbie Jackson. Here's the video for The first Time by Surface.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Here's the match video from Last night's TNA PPV with Miss Tessmacher defending the TNA Knockouts Championship against Tara. The booking for this was that Tara trained Miss Tessmacher and the student wanted to prove that she could beat the teacher. Tara beat Miss Tessmacher in a non title match on Impact a couple of weeks ago to set up this title match. This would have been a perfect opportunity to turn Tara heel and have her beat the crap out of Tessmacher before Tessmacher wins with the obligatory rollup pin. I like Tara better as a heel anyway. But instead TNA decides to do this boring mutual respect nonsense and you can tell by the crowd reaction that fans aren't interested. Part of the problem is the match starts with chain wrestling and they lose the fans. You can get away with it if you have 20 minutes. But these girls have seven minutes to do this match. They shouldn't be doing that stuff. It's not good enough for a PPV. Attempts to build some sort of conflict don't work and the lame finish was predictable. The subpar title reign of Hooters girl Brooke Adams continues. Check out the video.
Ryan Adams is one of today's most popular singer songwriters. But back in the 90s, he led Whiskeytown. Whiskeytown was an excellent country rock band that was ultimately a failure due to Adams mercurial personality that caused personnel changes and record company politics that forced Adams to go solo. Adams played in rock bands as a teen. But then he started listening to Gram Parsons and got interested in country rock. He met violinist Caitlin Cary and they started Whiskeytown with drummer Eric Gilmore, bassist Steve Grothman and guitarist Phil Wandscher. They released the 1995 CD Faithless Street independently. It got great reviews and earned them a record deal with Geffen Records. By the time Whiskeytown's 1997 major label debut Strangers Almanac was released, Gilmore, Grothman and Wandscher left and were replaced by a revolving door of musicians. It got so bad Adams considered dissolving Whiskeytown and signing a solo deal with A & M Records. Adams, Caitlin Cary and the new members went on tour. When the tour was finished, Adams, Cary and newcomer Mike Daly were the only survivors. Whiskeytown recorded their third CD Pneumonia in 1999. But it was shelved due to management changes at Geffen related to Universal's 1998 purchase of PolyGram. The CD was eventually released on Universal's Lost Highway label in 2001. But by that time, Adams disbanded Whiskeytown and went solo. He's a big star now. Caitlin Cary has recorded 3CDs and is currently a member of the group The Small Ponds. The two have discussed a Whiskeytown reunion but it has yet to happen. Adams still performs 16 Days on his shows. Here's Whiskeytown performing 16 Days on Austin City Limits Jan. 1998.
Sunday, September 09, 2012
Album:Codeine Velvet Club
The duo Codeine Velvet Club is a spinoff of the very popular Scottish group The Fratellis. They recorded one CD and then split up. The CD is worth getting. When The Fratellis went on hiatus in 2008, lead singer and guitarist Jon Fratelli (real name: John Lawler) announced plans to record solo. Lawler's wife Heather Donnelly worked in the Glasgow burlesque club Club Noir. Lou Hickey worked there as a singer. Heather told her husband about Lou and Lawler asked her if she wanted to work on his solo album. The recording sessions went so well they decided to turn it into Codeine Velvet Club. The debut CD was released in Sept. 2009 on Island Records in England and then later in the US by Dangerbird Records. They toured with a band led by former The Tears keyboard player Will Foster. In 2010, they opened for John Mayer. So they got critical acclaim and good fan response. The song Hollywood was nominated for an MTVU award. Lawler announced on the band website plans for a new Codeine Velvet Club CD. But then he changed his mind and took the musicians who were to play on Codeine Velvet Club and recorded a solo CD Psycho Jukebox. Maybe there was a conflict with Lou Hickey. And it may have been influenced by the reformation of The Fratellis. They are touring with plans to record new music. Lou Hickey released an EP last year no solo CD yet. It's too bad. Codeine Velvet Club had potential. And Lou Hickey has potential if someone would give her a shot. Here's the video for Vanity Kills by Codeine Velvet Club.
Saturday, September 08, 2012
Song:She Drives Me Crazy
Fine Young Cannibals only recorded two albums. But they had two number one hits including She Drives Me Crazy. The band was the result of the split of the very popular group The English Beat. When Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling left The English Beat in 1983 to form General Public, it left guitarist Andy Cox and bassist David Steele wondering what they should do next. They decided to form a new group Fine Young Cannibals named after the 1960 film All The Fine Young Cannibals starring Robert Wagner & Natalie Wood. After auditioning hundreds of singers, they hired Roland Gift of the group Akrylykz. A video of the song Johnny Come Home got them record deals with London Records in England and IRS in the US. Their 1985 debut album did well in England and Johnny Come Home and Suspicious Minds were top ten hits in England. While preparing their second album, Gift appeared in the film Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. And the band appeared in the 1987 film Tin Men. The three songs from that film appeared on The Raw and the Cooked. The band tried to get Prince to produce songs for the album but instead they worked with Prince associate David Z. He produced She Drives Me Crazy. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 and so did Good Thing in 1989. The album topped the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified PlatinumX2. The Raw and the Cooked is available on CD. But it's only a half hour long and is only available as an expensive import. So I recommend this Rhino budget comp. Fine Young Cannibals never officially split up but they also never recorded another album. They recorded singles in 1990 and 1996. Roland Gift used the Fine Young Cannibals name for a 2000 tour. Gift has done some acting including a recurring role in the TV show Highlander: The Series. He recorded a solo CD in 2002 and said in February that he is currently recording new music for a possible 2012 release. Andy Cox recorded a CD with his band Cribabi in 2002. David Steele's band Fried released CDs in 2004 and 2007 and he has produced music for others. Here's the video for She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals.
Friday, September 07, 2012
Album:Three Men In A Hut: A's, B's & Rarities 1998-2004
Gomez has been around since 1998 and have had success in their native England. They have never broken through in the US and I think they deserve a bigger following. Gomez is from Southport, England. Guitarist and singer Ian Ball and drummer Olly Peacock were friends in high school and played in bands together. Guitarist and keyboard player Tom Gray was a neighbour of Peacock and he met bassist Paul Blackburn in college. Ball met singer and guitarist Ben Ottewell at Sheffield University. The band started playing gigs without a name. There was a sign outside that said "Gomez in here" referring to a friend. Folks assumed it was the band name and it stuck. They recorded a demo in 1996 and this led to a contract with the Virgin Records label Hut. Whippin' Piccadilly is from their 1998 debut CD Bring It On. Though the single only reached #35 on the British Singles chart, the album did really well and was certified Platinum in England. Their next two albums, Liquid Skin and In Our Gun did equally well. But when the 2004 CD Split The Difference did not sell as well, Virgin was not happy. They closed Hut and Gomez asked to be released. You can get all their Virgin hits on this 2CD comp. Gomez signed with Dave Matthews' ATO label and I guess the sales expectations are different. ATO doesn't expect Gomez to be a best selling pop group. Their most recent CD Whatever's On Your Mind was released June 2011. Gomez still tours. Ball and Ottewell have released solo CDs and Ball and Peacock are part of the side project Operation Aloha. Here's the video for Whippin' Piccadilly by Gomez.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Song:Lady Be Good
Album Dicky Wells In Paris
Dicky Wells was best known as the long time trombonist for The Count Basie Orchestra. But before that, he made some killer recordings in Paris featuring legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt. He was born June 10, 1907 in Centreville, TN. He moved to New York in 1926 and played with Cecil Scott, Fletcher Henderson and Benny Carter among others. While he was on tour in Europe, he recorded in Paris in 1937. His main collaborator on these recordings was trumpeter Bill Coleman. But these recordings are a big deal now because they feature a pre-fame Django Reinhardt on guitar. So his fans will want these recordings. Other musicians include Sam Allen on piano, Bill Beason on drums and Dick Fullbright on bass. These recordings are not available on CD but you can get them on MP3. Of course we all know that Reinhardt would soon become a guitar legend. For the most part, Bill Coleman remained in Europe for most of his career. But Dicky Wells returned to New York in 1938 and was the featured trombonist for The Count Basie Orchestra until 1950. Wells suffered a beating later on that affected his memory. So in the 60s he wasn't the same musician that he was earlier in his career. Very similar to what happened to Bud Powell. Alcoholism ended Wells' days in the music business and he died on Nov. 12, 1985 at age 78. Don't overlook these vintage jazz recordings. Here's a video of Lady Be Good by Dicky Wells.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Song:Story of Lucy and Jessie
Album:Follies: Original Broadway Cast
Alexis Smith had a long acting career in films and TV. But her biggest success was when she won a Tony for her performance in the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Follies. Alexis never did a movie musical. She was born Gladys Smith June 8, 1921 in Penticton, BC. She was discovered while attending college and signed with Warner Bros. After some uncredited bit parts, Alexis made her starring debut in the 1941 film Dive Bomber. It was the first of her four films starring with Errol Flynn including Gentleman Jim. She also starred in the 1945 film Conflict with Humphrey Bogart, the 1946 film Night and Day with Cary Grant and the 1949 film Any Number Can Play with Clark Gable. When her film career dried up in the late 50s, she had already appeared on TV and appeared with her husband Craig Stevens (Peter Gunn) in the 1955 touring company of the musical Plain and Fancy. Alexis wasn't that active in the 60s so it must have been a surprise when she turned up on Broadway in Follies. Sondheim wrote the words and music and Alan Goldman wrote the book. Hal Prince directed and Michael Bennett choreographed as he did in the Sondheim show Company. The show is about the death of vaudeville and the lives of three aging Follies girls and their husbands. Stars were Alexis Smith, John McMartin, Dorothy Collins, Gene Nelson and Yvonne DeCarlo. Story of Lucy and Jessie is one of Alexis' two big numbers. It's right at the end of the show. Alexis won a Tony and the show won 7 Tonys. Hal Prince stupidly made a deal with Capitol Records to take a show that should have been on 2LPs and edit it to one LP. Capitol added two songs including Story of Lucy and Jessie when they released it on CD. Obviously it never should have been edited in the first place. Follies has been revived many times, most recently earlier this year in Los Angeles. Alexis Smith was nominated for another Tony for the 1978 musical Platinum. She also returned to films and had a recurring role in the TV series Dallas in 1984 and then the same character returned in 1990. Alexis Smith died of brain cancer on June 9, 1993 at age 72. She was married to Craig Stevens for 49 years. Here's Alexis Smith performing Story of Lucy and Jessie in Follies 1972.