Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rin Nakai vs Danielle West set for Queen Of PANCRASE Championship on Dec. 1

Danielle West, Rin Nakai
When PANCRASE announced their Queen Of PANCRASE tournament and Rin Nakai won her semi final match over Ultra Benkei, a second semi final match was promised with the final to be held in January. The plan was to bring in a gaijin to fight a Japanese fighter. The problem is there are very few Japanese female fighters at 61kg. So PANCRASE has decided to switch gears and have announced that Rin Nakai will face British fighter Danielle West for the Queen Of PANCRASE Championship on the Dec. 1 Differ Ariake show. PANCRASE PR rep Yasushi Sakamoto admitted they couldn't find a decent opponent to face Danielle in the semi final. Of course this is a rematch from the Sept. 4, 2001 fight that was ruled a split draw. I scored the fight 29-28 for Rin so I thought the judges messed up. I analyzed the fight in detail at the time after watching the match and posting it on the blog. Rin's big mistake in that fight was agreeing to it at 70kg and then weighing in at 67kg. This fight will be at 61.2kg (135lb) which is Rin's usual fighting weight. Rin now trains at PANCRASE Venus in Tokyo. Her record is 12-0-1 and her last win was over Ultra Benkei by TKO on the Sept. 1 PANCRASE show. Rin is short at 5'1" but she has more punching power than most Japanese female fighters and she is very quick on the ground. She competed in amateur grappling as a teen and as a child she was a competitive gymnast. Danielle trains at New Wave in London. Her record is 4-4-1 and her last fight was a loss to Julia Budd by TKO on the Oct. 6 Invicta show. Danielle was a late replacement and did not appear to be in the best shape. She normally fights at 70kg (155lb) and has also fought at 145. I'm not sure if she has ever fought at 135. Maybe once from what I could tell. I wonder what she will be like after the weight cut. Danielle has a height advantage but Rin is a lot quicker and may be stronger at 135. It looks like this will be the main event of the show so it should be very interesting.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Con Funk Shun

Artist:Con Funk Shun
Song:Got To Be Enough
Album:The Best of Con Funk Shun





Con Funk Shun were one of the top funk groups of the late 70s and early 80s. They had several top ten R & B hits including Got To Be Enough in 1980. The group was formed in the late 60s in Vallejo, CA by lead singer and guitarist Michael Cooper and drummer Louis McCall. Other members were Cedric Martin on bass, Danny "Sweet Man" Thomas on keyboards, Karl Fuller on trumpet and Paul "Maceo" Harrell on sax. Felton Pilate joined soon after when his previous band split up. He played keyboards, guitar and horns. Cooper and Pilate wrote most of the songs and shared lead vocals. At first they were called Project Soul. They backed up The Soul Children and moved to Memphis to work as Stax studio musicians. When they moved to the Audio Dimensions recording studio, studio owner Ted Sturges renamed them Con Funk Shun and became their producer. Con Funk Shun signed with Mercury Records in 1976 and and had a total of four top ten R & B hits. Ffun was their only #1 R & B hit in 1978. Got To Be Enough reached #8 in 1980. This 1993 comp has all their hits. Felton Pilate left Con Funk Shun in 1986 and went on to produce MC Hammer. The group attempted to continue but split up when Michael Cooper left to go solo. He had a big hit with To Prove My Love in 1988. Louis McCall went to work with Pilate. He was murdered in a 1997 home invasion. Con Funk Shun reformed in the 90s and a version of the band still tours today. Here's Con Funk Shun performing Got To Be Enough on Soul Train 1980.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-E.U.

Artist:E.U.
Song:Da Butt
Album:School Daze: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack




Experience Unlimited or as they are commonly known E.U. have been around the Washington, DC music scene since the 70s. Da Butt was their biggest hit in 1988. It is from the Spike Lee film School Daze. E.U. are proponents of a style of R & B unique to Washington called Go Go. Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers is the best known Go Go act. And current R & B singer Amerie is heavily influenced by Go Go. The leader of E.U. is Gregory "Sugar Bear" Eliot. The other core members are Ivan Goff and William "Ju Ju" House. They first recorded the album Free Yourself in 1977 as Experience Unlimited and as E.U. they recorded the album Future Funk in 1982. In 1986 they recorded the album 2 Places At The Same Time for Island Records. They were successful locally in Washington especially with the song Rock Yer Butt but were unknown nationally. School Daze was Spike Lee's film about conflict in an all black college. The music for the film was composed by Stevie Wonder, Return To Forever drummer Lenny White and former Miles Davis bassist Marcus Miller. You may recall that there were a couple of hit songs at the time about "the butt" like Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. Lee wanted to create a dance for School Daze about "the butt". At the time, Miller and White had a band Jamaican Boys with singer Mark Stevens. Miller brought in Stevens to help him write Da Butt. And then E.U. were brought in to record it. Da Butt topped the R & B chart and was a top 40 pop hit. The soundtrack album did well and also features Phyllis Hyman, Kenny Barron and Pieces Of A Dream. It is available as a budget CD. E.U. signed with Virgin Records but neither of their CDs sold and they have recorded occasionally over the years. They are currently led by singer Maiesha Rashad and perform as Maiesha Rashad and the Hip Huggers featuring E.U. So E.U. is still active in the Washington music scene. Here's the video for Da Butt by E.U.

Monday, October 29, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Santana

Artist:Santana f/Rob Thomas
Song:Smooth
Album:Supernatural





Of course Carlos Santana is a guitar legend. He had a lot of commercial success in the late 60s with songs like Evil Ways and Black Magic Woman. But when Smooth was released in 1999, he hadn't had a hit since the early 80s. And Smooth was his very first number one hit. The decline of Santana's career can be traced to his religious conversion to guru Sri Chinmoy. This was influenced by one of his idols John McLaughlin. He also wanted to record jazz but his attempts to do so flopped. Santana returned to the top 20 with Winning in 1981 and Hold On in 1982. Both songs were sung by Scottish singer Alex Ligertwood. He also left Chinmoy in 1982. These were mainstream rock songs but subsequent albums declined in sales to the point where he left Columbia in 1990. Short stints with PolyGram and EMI were failures. When he signed with Arista Records for the 1999 CD Supernatural, Arista president Clive Davis wanted him to record an album with all kinds of guests on it. The goal was for Santana to have a hit single. Smooth topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was a big seller too. Lead singer Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 wrote Smooth with Ital Shur of Groove Collective. Santana also topped the charts with Maria Maria featuring Wyclef Jean. It was a very successful comeback. Supernatural is available as a budget release. In 2002, Santana had a top ten hit with The Game Of Love featuring Michelle Branch. He has recorded similar albums since then that weren't as successful. He left Arista in 2010 and his latest CD Shape Shifter was released on his own label in May. Also, Santana married drummer Cindy Blackman in 2010. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998. So he was already a legend when Smooth was a hit. Davis just wanted to prove that Santana could top the charts again just like the old days when they were both at Columbia. Here's the video for Smooth by Santana featuring Rob Thomas.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Big Bad Blog Video Theatre-Zoila Gurgel vs Casey Noland

Here is the fight video of Zoila Gurgel vs Casey Noland from Friday's Bellator show. The match was streamed live on the Spike TV website and was geo blocked so fans outside North America didn't get to see it. The big deal here was Zoila is returning from a year off after blowing out her knee. She's been yakking about how she has been working on her jiu jitsu. In previous fights, she was a glorified kickboxer terrified of takedowns. I've seen Casey before and she lacks quickness and is probably at her best in the clinch. The big controversy about this fight was that after featuring Zoila in the poster and on commercials, the match was placed on the undercard. Of course many fans were outraged and that included Strikeforce fighter Miesha Tate who is in Brazil right now. It got a lot of media coverage and some came around to my position for the last year and a half. Bellator president Bjorn Rebney isn't as supportive of women's MMA as he would like you to believe. In the last two years, there have been exactly two women's matches on the main card. Forget what he says. That's what he's done. So Zoila got it into her head to take Casey down and showcase her BJJ skills. The problem is she doesn't know what to do once she gets Casey down and Casey reverses it. Casey isn't effective either but she scores with some knees in the clinch at the end of the round. I scored it 10-9 for Casey. It was very close. Between rounds, husband and trainer Jorge Gurgel yells at Zoila. Casey lands some more knees at the beginning of round two but Zoila comes back and attempts a kimura late in the round. She didn't apply it properly so she had to let it go. But she gets the round 10-9. Again Jorge yells at her. She finally gets her act together in round three but it appears that two punches that hurt Casey may have been to the back of the head. The ref did not call it. It was very close. An elbow cuts Casey over the left eye. Zoila clearly won the fight but she admitted afterwards she wasn't very good. Her problem was in trying to showcase BJJ skills she doesn't have. It should always be secondary to her kickboxing. She needs to be comfortable enough on the ground so she can defend or even reverse the position. She ain't there yet. Enjoy the video.
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AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Loose Salute

Artist:The Loose Salute
Song:Turn The Radio Up
Album:Tuned To Love





When I first heard The Loose Salute, I thought they must be from California. And when I saw the video with all the beach scenes and surfboards, I was sure of it. It turns out they are British but there is a clear affection for country rock of the late 60s. The Loose Salute is led by drummer and songwriter Ian McCutcheon. He was a member of Slowdrive and then Mojave 3. When Mojave 3 went on hiatus in 2005, he formed The Loose Salute. The band name was a 1970 country album by former Monkee Michael Nesmith. The other key figure is lead singer Lisa Billson. Her previous experience was singing in London clubs. The other members are Charlotte King on percussion and backup vocals and Alan Forrester on bass. They released an EP in 2004 and then signed with EMI distributed Heavenly Records in England and Savannah, GA indie label Graveface Records. Tuned To Love was their 2007 debut CD and they released Getting Over Being Under June 2011. Anyone who enjoys music influenced by the 60s West Coast sound should check out The Loose Salute. And Billson is a really good singer. Mojave 3 reformed last year. They have played some gigs and are planning to record new music. I don't know how this will affect The Loose Salute. Unlike Mojave 3, McCutcheon writes most of the Loose Salute songs so he may want to continue the band. Here's the video for Turn The Radio Up by The Loose Salute.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Marlena Shaw

Artist:Marlena Shaw
Song:California Soul
Album:Spice Of Life





Jazz singer Marlena Shaw had her biggest success on the dance charts in the late 70s. California Soul was not a hit when it was released in 1969. But DJ remixes and hip hop samples have made the song a bigger hit than it ever was back in the 60s. Of course we've seen this before with classic 60s soul. She was born Marlina Burgess Sept. 22, 1942 in New Rochelle, NY. Her uncle was jazz trumpeter Jimmy Burgess. He got her to listen to jazz at an early age. Her big vocal influence was the great Al Hibbler. In 1952, she sang with her uncle at The Apollo. He wanted to take her on tour but her mom wouldn't allow it. Marlena sang with Howard McGhee in the early 60s. She worked at The Playboy Club and toured the various locations. Chess Records spotted her and she recorded a vocal version of the Cannonball Adderley hit Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. Her first album was Out Of Different Bags on Cadet in 1967. California Soul is from the 1969 album Spice Of Life. The song was written by the legendary team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson when they were working at Motown. It was first recorded by The Messengers in 1967. The 5th Dimension had a top 30 hit with the song in 1968. And Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell charted with the song in 1970 after Tammi's death. Marlena says the song was brought to her by producer and Chess house bassist Richard Evans and the recording was arranged by Charles Stepney who went on to be a big part of Earth Wind & Fire until his 1976 death. Spice Of Life is still available on CD. The revival of California Soul came when Philly DJ Diplo did a remix for the 2008 CD Verve Remixed 4. Since then the song has been featured in commercials and in the video game Driver: San Francisco. A different remix was in the 2011 film The Lincoln Lawyer. Marlena Shaw worked for Count Basie from 1968 to 1973. She left Cadet for Blue Note in 1972. She had her biggest success on Columbia in the late 70s with dance hits like Better Than Walking Out and her 1980 cover of Touch Me In The Morning. Marlena recorded for Verve in the 80s and Concord in the 90s. She last recorded in 2004 and still tours. She says she was very surprised by the renewed interest in California Soul. Here's a video for California Soul by Marlena Shaw.

Friday, October 26, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Glenn Close

Artist:Glenn Close
Song:With One Look
Album:Highlights From Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard: American Premier Recording Highlights



Most folks know actress Glenn Close from her long career in films and TV. But you may not know that she started out in Broadway musicals in the mid-70s. She has won three Tony Awards including one for her performance as Norma Desmond in the 1995 production of Sunset Boulevard. She was born Mar. 19, 1947 in Greenwich, CT. Her father was personal physician to the president of Zaire. Her parents joined the religious group Moral Re-Armarment (MRA) in the 50s and in the 60s, Glenn toured with the MRA musical group Up With People. She left MRA and majored in theatre at William & Mary College. She moved to New York and made her Broadway debut in 1974. She made her Broadway musical debut in the 1976 Richard Rodgers show Rex which was about Henry VIII. The show flopped and only ran six weeks. Then she was nominated for a Tony for the 1980 Cy Coleman musical Barnum. She made her film debut in the 1982 film The World According To Garp and concentrated on films and TV until she returned to musicals with Sunset Boulevard in 1993. The star of the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, Gloria Swanson, turned it into a musical in the 50s but Paramount would not allow it. Then Stephen Sondheim approached Sunset Boulevard writer director Billy Wilder about turning it into a musical. Wilder thought it should be an opera so Sondheim wasn't interested. By the 70s, veteran Broadway producer director Hal Prince owned the theatrical rights to Sunset Boulevard. Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted to write the show but didn't get around to it until 1990. The show premiered in London in 1992 with Patti LuPone playing Norma. After some revisions, the show ran in London's West End for a year. Then the show premiered in Los Angeles in 1993 starring Glenn Close. It ran for a year and then Close was moved to the Broadway production. This budget CD is highlights from the Los Angeles production. Close won a Tony for her Broadway performance. Faye Dunaway replaced Close in the Los Angeles show but was fired and then sued Webber. Patti LuPone was promised the lead in the Broadway production and sued Webber when she didn't get it. Elaine Paige, Betty Buckley and Petula Clark have all played Norma Desmond either in London or on Broadway. The show was a hit but lost money because it was expensive to stage. The last time Sunset Boulevard was revived was in 2008 in London. Glenn Close continues to appear in films and TV and currently stars in the TV series Damages. Her appearance in Sunset Boulevard was controversial because she is not perceived as a singer. But I think she did well. And she did win a Tony. Here's Glenn Close performing With One Look at Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th Birthday Concert at Royal Albert Hall in London 1998.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jimmy Burns

Artist:Jimmy Burns
Song:Leaving Here Walking
Album:Live At B.L.U.E.S.





Jimmy Burns toiled in obscurity in Chicago blues clubs for decades. He was discovered in the mid-90s and has a very thriving music career as a senior. It's a story we have seen before from musicians who fell through the cracks in the old days. He was born Feb. 27, 1943 in Dublin, MS. his father was a sharecropper and a singer in medicine shows. His older brother is former John Lee Hooker guitarist Eddie "Guitar" Burns. He has been a fixture in the Detroit blues scene since the late 40s. When Jimmy Burns was 12, the family moved to Chicago and he started hanging around blues clubs. He first recorded in the late 50s as a member of the doo wop group The Medallionaires. In the 60s, Burns recorded R & B singles for USA Records, Tip Top, Minit and Erica and toured with The Fantastic Epics and then Jimmy Burns and the Gas Company. But Burns and his wife Dorothy needed to raise six children and music wasn't paying the bills. So Burns worked during the day and played clubs on weekends until his children were grown in the 90s. His regular gig was at Smokedaddy in Chicago. Delmark Records owner Bob Koester caught his act and signed him up. Burns recorded his debut CD Leaving Here Walking in 1996 at age 53. Since then he has been touring the world. This 2007 CD was recorded live at B.L.U.E.S. in Chicago Aug. 2006. Musicians are Tony Palmer on guitar, Greg McDaniel on bass and James Carter on drums. Carter played with Teddy Pendergrass for many years. This show was taped and is available on DVD. Burns' wife Dorothy died in Feb. 2010. He has returned to touring and released a CD last year. Blues fans should check out Jimmy Burns. Here's Jimmy Burns performing Leaving Here Walking in Mexico I think.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let's not get too excited about women in the UFC

Last night, Melissa Segura of Sports Illustrated quoted UFC president Dana White as saying that there will be women in the UFC. Though it is encouraging to see it in print, the article was published without any context. For one thing, White has said similar things in media scrums for a while now. So for those of us who follow this story closely, it's old news. And the article doesn't mention Showtime which is the main obstacle to women, or more specifically, Ronda Rousey, fighting in the UFC. It's wrong to report things like you're in a vacuum.Obviously because White is infatuated with Ronda, she will fight in the UFC. But nothing has changed with Strikeforce and Showtime so it ain't happening for a while. And it remains to be seen if White will commit to women's MMA or just Ronda. I have my doubts. It's all up to Showtime. If they pick up the option to extend their Strikeforce contract until 2014, there is nothing that Zuffa can do about it. Why it is assumed they won't pick up that option contradicts history. MMA has been on Showtime since 2007. And with everything they have had to deal with from EliteXC's bankruptcy to having to do business with a company they don't like very much, meaning Zuffa, it's obvious that the value of providing MMA to their subscribers far outweighs the shortcomings. If that wasn't true, Showtime wouldn't have renewed the Strikeforce contract last year. Zuffa has no one to blame but themselves for this situation. Shortsightedness tends to catch up to you in the fight business. So don't get too excited. We will see women in the UFC...someday.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Looking Glass

Artist:Looking Glass
Song:Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)
Album:Romancing the 70s: Lovin' You





Brandy was a number one hit for Looking Glass in 1972. It is not to be confused with the Scott English hit Brandy that later became the Barry Manilow hit Mandy. Looking Glass had one other chart hit but they are perceived as one hit wonders by most fans. They only recorded two albums. Lead singer, guitarist and main songwriter Elliot Lurie, pianist Larry Gonsky and bassist Pieter Sweval formed Looking Glass in 1969 while they were students at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. They split up after graduation but then got back together and added drummer Jeff Grob. Columbia Records president Clive Davis saw them perform at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles and signed them to Epic Records. After a couple of aborted recording attempts (including one with producer Steve Cropper in Memphis), Looking Glass produced their debut album with recording engineer Bob Liftin. Brandy was released on the B-side of the single Don't It Make You Feel Good. But Washington, DC DJ Harv Moore liked Brandy better and it caught on and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. Lurie based the song on the real life story of New Jersey barmaid Mary Ellis. The horn arrangement was by Larry Fallon. Brandy is considered a soft rock classic. But the band was unhappy that it was a hit because they preferred performing hard rock. They recorded a second album Subway Serenade in 1973 and Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne was a top 40 hit. Elliot Lurie left in 1974 to go solo. But the rest of the band stayed together and brought in guitarist Brendan Harkin and lead singer Michael Lee Smith (Rex Smith's brother). The band name was changed to Fallen Angels. After Gonsky was replaced by Richie Ranno, they became Starz and recorded several albums for Capitol. The music was more like the kind of hard rock Looking Glass wanted to do in the first place. You can get Brandy on this 2CD budget various artists Time Life comp. After unsuccessful albums for Epic and Arista, Elliot Lurie moved to Los Angeles in 1984 and became music department head at 20th Century Fox. He has been music supervisor for many films. He did briefly reform Looking Glass in 2003. A version of Starz still tours today. Here's Looking Glass performing Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) 1972.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Cow Cow Davenport

Artist:Cow Cow Davenport
Song:Cow Cow Blues
Album:Complete Recorded Works Vol. 1





Though frequently classified as a blues artist, Charles "Cow Cow" Davenport was actually a pioneer of boogie woogie piano and was one of the first to record that style in the late 20s. Cow Cow Blues is his signature song. He was born Apr. 26, 1894 in Anniston, AL. Against the objections of his family, he started playing piano at age 12 and got into trouble for playing ragtime. His family thought that sending him to a theological seminary would straighten him out. He first toured with medicine shows but by the mid-20s, he played solo piano and accompanied singer Dora Carr. He recorded for Vocalion Records and several other labels. He first recorded Cow Cow Blues in 1925 with Carr. But he also recorded it as a solo piano recording. He was one of the first to record in the boogie woogie style and was a huge influence on the musicians who would become stars later. Davenport claimed that he wrote Mama Don't Allow and the Louis Armstrong classic I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You but he said he sold the rights. Davenport suffered a stroke in the early 30s and lost the use of his hands. In 1938, pianist Art Hodes found Davenport washing dishes at a restaurant. Hodes helped him regain the use of his hands and got him record deals. You may recall Ella Fitzgerald sang Cow Cow Boogie in the 1942 film Ride 'Em Cowboy. It turns out that Freddie Slack took Cow Cow Blues and changed the title with no credit for Davenport. He did get paid afterwards. Davenport is also credited as a major influence on Ray Charles. Document Records has released all of Davenport's recordings in chronological order on three CDs. Cow Cow Davenport continued to be active in the 40s until his death from heart failure on Dec. 3, 1955 at age 61. Here's a video for Cow Cow Blues by Cow Cow Davenport.

Monday, October 22, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kathy Young & The Innocents

Artist:Kathy Young & The Innocents
Song:A Thousand Stars
Album:Girls! Girls! Girls!





Kathy Young was 15 years old when she had the top five hit A Thousand Stars in 1960. It was all downhill from there. She had one other chart hit and was out of the music business by the mid-60s. She was born Oct. 21, 1945 in Santa Ana, CA. She was discovered hanging around at Wink Martindale's teen music TV show by Indigo Records producer Jim Lee. His group The Innocents were appearing on the show. They had a top 30 hit in 1960 with Honest I Do. Lee had them sing backup on Kathy's recording of A Thousand Stars. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. A Thousand Stars was written by Eugene Pearson and recorded by his doo wop group The Rivileers in 1954. It was not a hit. Kathy also had a top 30 hit with Happy Birthday Blues in 1961. She was on one of Alan Freed's tours. She went with Lee when he moved to Monogram Records in 1962. But subsequent recordings were unsuccessful. You can get A Thousand Stars on this girl group various artists comp from Varese Records. Kathy Young moved to London and married John Maus of The Walker Brothers. When that marriage ended in 1968, she moved back to California and remarried. She raised a family and helped run the family citrus farm. Kathy moved to Los Angeles and in recent years has returned to singing and currently tours the oldies circuit. Here's Kathy Young & The innocents performing on a PBS doo wop special. It's amazing the innocence this song still projects.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sheila Gaff pulls out of Cage Warriors title match

Andre Balschmieter, Sheila Gaff
On Friday, Sheila Gaff dropped out of next week's Cage Warriors match against Rosi Sexton due to illness. It didn't take long for accusations to start flying. You may have heard that both fighters agreed to VADA drug testing which ain't cheap. On Friday, Rosi said "Here's my bottom line. Female MMA has a drug problem. I'm not interested in taking steroids. Until something changes, I'm out." The obvious question is why would a fighter agree to VADA testing if the fighter is juicing? No fighter would do that. The other thing is that in women's MMA history, there have been a total of three positive drug tests, two for steroids. But I've noticed that any time a female fighter shows any kind of muscle definition, the steroid whispers begin. In the case of Sheila Gaff, she fought at a heavier weight when I first saw her a couple of years ago. So she has actually dropped a lot of weight and seems to be in better shape than when I first saw her. She still has the same punching power. To be fair, there is no drug testing for MMA anywhere but North America. When the UFC does testing in foreign countries, they do it themselves. I would like to see drug testing standards raised everywhere. But to make assumptions with no evidence is irresponsible. I didn't write about this on Friday because I wanted to see if Sheila Gaff would respond. Today in an interview with Mark Bergmann and Jan Grossoehmigen of Ground and Pound in The Netherlands, Sheila's trainer Andre Balschmieter responded. He said that Sheila got the flu last month and she couldn't seem to shake it. She underwent tests and the doctors don't know why the flu wouldn't go away but it wouldn't. So he decided it wasn't in her best interest for her to fight. Balschmieter didn't think much of Rosi's accusations. "Sheila is against the use of PEDs. She may look strong but it's because of genetics. Sheila doesn't want to take anything that isn't natural and I have to plead with her to take her protein shakes. We are very angry about these classless accusations. Sheila wanted to fight and we wouldn't let her." He also said this fight was supposed to happen a few months ago and Rosi got hurt. It was actually July 2011. He said nothing. He thinks Rosi should have said nothing too. Will Rosi Sexton retire? You may recall that I reported that she would retire after this fight regardless. I don't know now. Nothing would surprise me.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Connie Stevens

Artist:Connie Stevens
Song:Sixteen Reasons
Album:The Complete Warner Bros. Singles





Connie Stevens is mainly known as an actor in films and TV. But she started out as a singer and Sixteen Reasons was her biggest hit in 1960. She hasn't recorded since the early 60s. She was born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia Aug. 8, 1938 in Brooklyn, NY. Her parents Teddy Stevens (Peter Ingoglia) and Eleanor McGinley were both singers. Her parents were divorced so Connie was raised by her grandparents. When she witnessed a murder at age 12, she was moved to Missouri to live with family friends. She was part of the vocal group The Fourmost. The three guys in that group went on to be The Lettermen. She moved with her dad to Los Angeles in 1953 and was a member of the singing group The Three Debs. She also started appearing in films. Jerry Lewis spotted her in the B-movie Dragstrip Riot and cast her in the 1958 film Rock-A-Bye Baby. Then she signed with Warner Bros. Her debut album Concetta was released in 1958. Connie's big break came when she appeared in a few episodes of the hit TV series 77 Sunset Strip and also sang the hit Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb with series star Edd "Kookie" Byrnes. Warners spun her character off to the hit series Hawaiian Eye. So now she's a star and Sixteen Reasons was her biggest hit as a singer. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. The song was written by the husband wife team of Bill and Doree Post. It would be their only hit as Doree Post died of cancer in 1961. The record was produced and arranged by Don Ralke who worked at Warners and was musical director of 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaiian Eye. Later on, he produced records by non-singers like Lorne Greene and William Shatner. Connie recorded a few more albums but by the mid-60s she quit recording to concentrate on her acting career. This 2CD Razor & Tie comp has all her singles. Connie Stevens has appeared in numerous films and TV shows and on stage. So it's easy to forget she had success in music in the early 60s. Here's Connie Stevens performing Sixteen Reasons on the TV show Shivaree 1965. The guy in the video is the show host Gene Weed.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Grover Washington Jr.

Artist:Grover Washington Jr. f/Bill Withers
Song:Just The Two Of Us
Album:Ultimate Collection





Sax player Grover Washington Jr. was very successful in the 70s. He crossed over to the R & B charts and then crossed over to pop with the 1981 top five hit Just The Two Of Us. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of Smooth Jazz. He was born Dec. 12, 1943 in Buffalo. His dad was a sax player and a big jazz fan. He bought Grover Jr. a sax when he was eight years old. Washington moved to Ohio and played with The Four Clefs and in 1964 he recorded with the Mark III Trio. He was drafted into the US Army and met drummer Billy Cobham. Cobham introduced him to New York musicians. Cobham was playing with Horace Silver at the time. Washington moved to Philadelphia in 1967 and played with organists Leon Spencer, Charles Earland and Johnny "Hammond" Smith. Smith signed a contract with Creed Taylor's Kudu label and Washington was to record with him. Also on that label was legendary sax player Hank Crawford. When Crawford was unable to make a 1970 recording session, Taylor had Washington fill in for him and that got him a deal with Kudu and Washington's debut album Inner City Blues. His first commercial success was when the 1974 album Mister Magic reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 200. And he also had success on the R & B chart. Washington left Kudu for Motown in 1977 and then signed with Elektra in 1979. Just The Two Of Us is from his 1980 Elektra debut album Winelight. The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981 and also won a Grammy for Best R & B Song. Withers wrote the song with veteran percussionist Ralph McDonald and his partner William Salter. McDonald also co-produced Winelight with Washington and played on the album along with Eric Gale on guitar, Richard Tee and Paul Griffin on keyboards, Marcus Miller on bass and Steve Gadd on drums. Just The Two Of Us was also released by Columbia on Bill Withers Greatest Hits. Withers never recorded it for one of his own albums. This Hip-O comp covers Washington's entire career. Washington left Elektra for Columbia in 1985 and was still going strong when he died of a heart attack while waiting in the green room after taping a performance for the CBS show The Saturday Early Show Dec. 17, 1999 at age 56. Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers never performed Just The Two Of Us together. There is a clip on Daily Motion of Withers lip syncing the song on American Bandstand. Washington usually brought in singers to sing the words and frame it up for his solos. So here's Grover Washington Jr. featuring Zack Sanders on vocals performing Just The Two Of Us June 27, 1981 at the Schubert Theatre in Philadelphia. It also features the musicians who played on Winelight including Eric Gale, Richard Tee, Paul Griffin, Steve Gadd and Ralph McDonald.

Friday, October 19, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-54-40

Artist:54-40
Song:Baby Ran
Album:The Essentials





54-40 has been around since the 80s and have been successful in their native Canada. But they were unable to convert that into success in the US despite the efforts of two major record companies. This happens a lot to Canadian bands because Canadian Content regulations provide artificial success that doesn't always translate into success outside Canada. 54-40 is from the Vancouver suburb of Tsawwassen, BC. The band name is based on the slogan "Fifty-four Forty or Fight" coined by US President James Polk about US expansion into Canada. They were formed in 1981 by lead singer and guitarist Neil Osborne, bassist Brad Merritt and drummer Ian Franey. Their 1983 independently released EP Selection got the attention of Reprise Records. They added Phil Comparelli on guitar and Darryl Neudorf replaced Franey. Matt Johnson replaced Neudorf in 1986. Baby Ran is from their second album 54-40, called The Green Album because of the cover. It got them airplay in Canada on radio and Muchmusic. Attempts to break them in the US were unsuccessful. 54-40 left Reprise for Columbia in 1991 and they had three Platinum and one Gold album in Canada. But again they failed to break the US market. The other thing was fans of their 80s music thought the band sold out and the 90s music was too commercial. This happens all the time with bands struggling for wide acceptance and have to compromise to get it. This comp covers their 80s Reprise recordings. 54-40's biggest success was when I Go Blind was covered by Hootie & The Blowfish and was on the soundtrack for the hit sitcom Friends. They made enough money from that to build their own recording studio in Vancouver. In 2005, Phil Comparelli was replaced by Dave Genn of The Matthew Good Band. 54-40 has also recorded for Nettwerk and True North and their latest CD Lost In The City was released on their own label last year. They are currently on a Canadian tour. Here's the video for Baby Ran by 54-40.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of the Day-Bobby Rydell

Artist:Bobby Rydell
Song:Wild One
Album:The Best Of Bobby Rydell: Cameo Parkway 1959-1964




Bobby Rydell was one of several teen idols who emerged in the late 50s. Wild One was his biggest hit in 1960. He was born Robert Ridarelli Apr. 26, 1942 in Philadelphia. He admired Gene Krupa and learned to play drums at age 6. At age 8, he won Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club talent contest and remained on the show for three years. As a teen, he was drummer for Rocco & the Saints and took the stage name Bobby Rydell. Frankie Avalon was also in that group. Rydell signed with Cameo Parkway Records and his debut single Kissin' Time reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. We Got Love did even better at #6. And then Wild One reached #2. It would turn out to be Rydell's biggest hit. Wild One was written by Cameo Parkway owners Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann along with house producer Dave Appell. Lowe and Mann wrote the Elvis Presley hit Teddy Bear. Rydell's other top five hits were Swingin' School, Volare and then Forget Him in 1964. Rydell starred in the 1963 film Bye Bye Birdie and acted on TV. He could have been an actor but he preferred singing. Rydell left Cameo Parkway for Reprise in 1964 but nothing ever came of that. The Cameo Parkway recordings are owned by ABKCO and were unavailable for years. So Rydell re-recorded his hits so fans could get them. This ABKCO comp was released in 2005 and contain Rydell's original recordings. Bobby Rydell has performed in clubs for decades. He is currently recovering from a July double organ transplant. Here's Bobby Rydell performing Wild One and Sway 1986.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tara's Hollywood boyfriend lays a big fat egg

Here's the match video from Sunday's TNA PPV with Miss Tessmacher defending her TNA Knockouts Championship against Tara. The original story was teacher vs student and the student.won on last month's PPV. So lately the story changed and they have Tara obsessed with Hollywood and checking out the latest gossip on Twitter. So then she starts talking about a big name Hollywood boyfriend. This is obviously influenced by Stacy Keibler dating George Clooney. Historically, whenever TNA brings in some sort of celebrity, they go so overboard with hype that it can't help but be disappointing. The problem with this is they had Tara do it and it made her look like a nut. It was dumb. As for the match, it was OK. Obviously Tara won because she revealed the Hollywood boyfriend afterwards. That's supposed to be the big payoff. Of course Tara carried the match. She beat up Brooke for the first half of the match and then Brooke got some offense in that was clearly carried by Tara. Tara said in an interview last week that Brooke has a good look. But as we have seen in the past, a good look doesn't always translate to wrestling ability. And Brooke isn't an athlete so she has a steeper learning curve than the average indie wrestler. I think TNA was misguided in giving her this push when anyone can see she isn't ready. She should go to OVW for a while. So who is the Hollywood boyfriend? Why it's Jessie Godderz! Yeah, I know. Who? And the crowd was chanting "Who is he?". Godderz is a former bodybuilder whose claim to fame is he was on the CBS reality show Big Brother. That's what stardom is these days. TNA signed him last year and he has been training at OVW. I guess it was more embarrassing than disappointing. It fell flat. To be fair, Taz tried to sell him like he is a big star. But Mike Tenay no sold him. I guess TNA is aware that Godderz isn't a star and the reveal was supposed to be laughable. Don't ask me why TNA would do that on a PPV. Enjoy the video!
video

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Frankie Valli

Artist:Frankie Valli
Song:My Eyes Adored You
Album:The Very Best Of Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons




Most fans know Frankie Valli as lead singer of the 60s group The Four Seasons. But he had solo success mostly in the 70s. My Eyes Adored You topped the charts in 1975. He was born Francesco Castellucio May 3, 1934 in Newark, NJ. He was a big Frank Sinatra fan and named himself after his mentor Texas Jean Valley. He first recorded as Frankie Valley in 1953 and was a member of The Four Lovers when they recorded for RCA in 1956. When Bob Gaudio joined the group in 1959, the group name was changed to The Four Seasons. They had a lot of hits in the 60s but didn't adjust well to changes in music and by the late 60s they faded. Valli recorded solo in the mid-60s and Can't Take My Eyes Off You reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. He was still a member of the group. When Bob Gaudio retired from the road in 1972, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons signed with Motown's Mowest label. When Motown refused to release My Eyes Adored You, Valli left and signed with the fledgling Private Stock label. Private Stock was started by former Bell Records exec Larry Uttal after Clive Davis bought Bell. He insisted that My Eyes Adored You should be a Valli solo single and it topped the Billboard Hot 100. It was Private Stock's first and only number one hit. They closed in 1978. My Eyes Adored You was written by longtime Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan. Valli also had a top ten hit with Swearin' To God. He signed with Warner Bros. in 1978 and had his only other number one hit with the theme from the film Grease. He probably wouldn't have got to sing Grease without the success of My Eyes Adored You. This Rhino comp has Valli solo hits and Four Seasons hits. Frankie Valli hasn't recorded much since the 70s. But he still tours and has had a lot of success with the musical Jersey Boys. And he was a regular on the HBO series The Sopranos for two seasons. Here's Frankie Valli performing My Eyes Adored You.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bent Fabric

Artist:Bent Fabric
Song:Alley Cat
Album:Hard To Find Pop Instrumentals II





I'm sure most folks are familiar with the instrumental classic Alley Cat. It was a top ten hit in 1961 and even won a Grammy. You may have even played it on the piano. So who is Bent Fabric? He is Danish jazz pianist Bent Fabricius-Bjerre. He was born Dec. 7, 1924 in Frederiksberg, Denmark which is a suburb of Copenhagen. In the 50s, he ran the Danish office of Metronome Records. He had a hit in Denmark with Omkring et Flygel which translates to Around A Piano. Atlantic Records picked it up for their Atco label, changed the title to Alley Cat and shortened Bent Fabricius-Bjerre to Bent Fabric so DJs wouldn't stumble over the name. Alley Cat reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961 and won a Grammy for Best Rock & Roll Recording. The follow up single Chicken Feed also charted. Tarragon Records has released a Bent Fabric comp. But I think most will only want Alley Cat so I recommend this various artists comp from the oldies label Eric Records. Fabricius-Bjerre composed music for Danish films before Alley Cat and he continued to do that after Alley Cat. He recorded a CD of remixes called Jukebox in 2006 for Hidden Beach Records. And he hosted his own TV show in the 70s. An 85th birthday tribute show was held at the Royal Danish Theatre in 2009. So he's a bit of a legend in Denmark. He's a one hit wonder here. I'm sure the song still makes him money. Here's a video for Alley Cat by Bent Fabric.

Monday, October 15, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Drapels

Artist:The Drapels
Song:Young Man
Album:After Laughter Comes Tears: Complete Stax & Volt Singles + Rarities 1964-65




Young Man was one of two singles recorded by the teen vocal group The Drapels on Stax Records in 1964. The group ended when Stax decided they liked the lead singer but not the group. Mary Frierson was the 15 year old lead singer. Other members were her brother Johnny Frierson, Marianne Brittenum and Wilbur Mondie. The group was hired as backup singers by Stax and backed up Carla Thomas. Stax liked them enough to let them record. Mary sang lead and also wrote their songs. The two singles released in 1964 were Wondering When My Love Is Coming Home and Young Man. Both songs went nowhere. The Drapels recorded a third single After Laughter Comes Tears. But Stax decided that they liked Mary as a solo artist but they didn't like the group. Mondie immediately quit the group and went to college. The others hung around Stax. Mary Frierson was renamed Wendy Rene by Stax receptionist Deannie Parker. She recorded a few unsuccessful singles and played The Apollo in New York. Mary Frierson married Stax exec James Cross. Mary was supposed to tour with Otis Redding and be on that plane that crashed and killed Otis and members of The Barkays. But as a young mother, she decided to back out and retire from music. The original plan was to retire after the tour. Until recently, you could only get The Drapels singles on the 9CD box set The Complete Stax Singles. But in February, Light In The Attic Records released a Wendy Rene comp that includes The Drapels singles. It's worth checking out. Mary Frierson had talent but unfortunately was never a star. Here's a video of Young Man by the Drapels.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Eartha Kitt

Artist:Eartha Kitt
Song:C'est Si Bon
Album:Purrfect: The Eartha Kitt Collection





Most fans today are probably familiar with Eartha Kitt from her campy performance as Catwoman on the 60s TV series Batman. But back in the 50s, she was a star of stage and screen and she had two top ten hits with C'est Si Bon and Santa Baby. Rock 'n' Roll killed her recording career. She was born Eartha Mae Keith Jan. 27, 1927 on a cotton plantation in North, SC. Her conception was the result of the son of the plantation owner raping her mother. She didn't know her father but she named herself Kitt after him. After getting passed around to neighbours, she was sent to New York City to live with an aunt who she found out later was her mother. She was told her mother had died. She took piano and singing lessons as a child and sang in church. She was supposed to attend the High School for the Performing Arts but was forced to drop out as she was tossed out of her house. A 1943 audition for famed dancer Katherine Dunham earned her a scholarship to Dunham's dance school. She got to tour the world. At a stop in Paris, she filled in for a sick singer in a nightclub and then remained in Paris to work the cabaret circuit. She got her big break in 1950 when Orson Welles discovered her and cast her as Helen of Troy in his stage adaptation of Faust titled Time Runs. Welles called Eartha Kitt "the most exciting woman alive". She moved back to New York to sing in clubs. Her appearance in the Broadway show New Faces of 1952 earned her a record deal with RCA. RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt was a 10 inch LP in 1953. The single Uska Dara (The Turkish Song) did well enough that RCA expanded it to the full length LP That Bad Eartha. It was recorded with Henri Rene and the RCA Orchestra. C'est Si Bon reached #8 on the singles chart. C'est Si Bon was written by Henri Betti and Andre Hornez and was recorded in French by Angele Durand. Jerry Seelen wrote English lyrics and Johnny Desmond charted with his 1949 recording. Eartha Kitt's recording is definitive Louis Armstrong and Yves Montand are among those to cover the song. Eartha also had a top ten hit with Santa Baby. Some of her other songs charted but by the mid-50s, Rock 'n' Roll killed Eartha's recording career and she left RCA for Kapp Records in 1959. Some budget comps don't have Santa Baby on them. This one from Spectrum in England has both songs. Eartha continued to sing in clubs and on Broadway and appeared in films like St. Louis Blues. She is probably best known for replacing Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the TV series Batman. In 1968, Eartha's criticism of the Virtnam War at a White House luncheon got her blacklisted and she moved to Europe. The CIA even created a phony dossier about her. She returned to the US in 1978 and returned to music with the 1984 dance hit Where Is My Man. It got her a new audience in the gay community and she became an AIDS activist. Eartha Kitt continued to perform in clubs until her death from colon cancer on Dec. 25, 2008 at age 81. So if you're not aware of Eartha Kitt's 50s sex kitten image, you are now. Here's Eartha Kitt performing C'est Si Bon.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Will To Power

Artist:Will To Power
Song:Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird
Album:Greatest Hits of the 80's





Will To Power had most of their success on Miami dance floors. But this odd cover of Baby, I Love Your Way and Freebird topped the pop charts in 1988 and was one of the biggest hits of the year. Does it seem cheesy today? I have news for you. It was cheesy then. No one can ever tell what will come out of left field and appeal to listeners. The man behind Will To Power is DJ Bob Rosenberg. The female singer was former Miami Sound Machine backup singer Suzi Carr. The guy playing drums in the video is sax player and DJ Johnny "Dr. J' James. Rosenberg was born Jan. 18, 1959 in Philadelphia. His mom Gloria Mann had two top 40 hits in the 50s with Earth Angel and Teen Age Prayer. In 1985 Rosenberg was a DJ at Miami radio station WHQT. He became known for remixes and a rap version of the theme from Miami Vice became popular locally. MCA Records claimed copyright infringement so Rosenberg couldn't go farther with it. But it gave him the idea of trying to get a record deal. The name Will To Power was his homage to German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche. He met Suzi Carr at a music seminar and they started working together. She co-wrote two songs and sang backup on the Miami Sound Machine album Primitive Love. The single Dreamin' was released on the local label Thrush Records. Epic Records picked it up for distribution and it charted nationally. The third member of Will To Power, Johnny "Dr.J" James, played sax for the reggae group Inner Circle. The debut album Will To Power was released in Mar. 1988. The first two singles did well on the dance charts. But Rosenberg convinced a very reluctant Epic to release his medley of the Peter Frampton song Baby, I Love Your Way and the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Freebird as a single. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 in Dec. 1988. Suzi Carr was replaced by Elin Michaels for the 1990 album Journey Home. Michaels was a veteran of the Miami club scene and sang backup vocals on the first album. Will To Power had a top ten hit with their cover of 10cc's I'm Not In Love. Sony released a Will To Power comp in 1996 but it's out of print and the first album is too expensive. This Sony various artists 3CD comp costs less than ten bucks. Rosenberg released the Will To Power CD Spirit Warrior in 2004 using several singers. He also produces other artists. From what I could tell, Suzi Carr is still part of the Miami studio scene. She has never recorded a solo album. Here's the video for Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird by Will To Power.

Friday, October 12, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Thrills

Artist:The Thrills
Song:One Horse Town
Album:2002-2007





The Thrills were very popular in their native Ireland and England but never converted that to success in North America. Fans of 60s influenced pop will enjoy The Thrills. They went on hiatus after their record company dropped them in 2008 and it doesn't look like they will return. They were formed in the Dublin suburb of Blackrock by neighbours Conor Deasy (lead singer) and guitarist Daniel Ryan. The other members were Kevin Horan on piano, Padraic McMahon on bass and Ben Carrigan on drums. They were called Cheating Housewives. They wrote a lot of songs when they lived in San Diego for a few months in 1999. When they returned home, they signed with Supremo Records but nothing ever came from that. The band name was changed to The Thrills during a 2001 trip to San Francisco. Rough Trade Records financed a demo which spurred a bidding war won by Virgin Records. They went to Los Angeles to record their debut CD So Much For The City with Beck's producer Tony Hoffer. One Horse Town reached #7 on the Irish charts and #17 on the British charts and the album topped the Irish charts. After their second CD, The Thrills took a break. An attempt to record new music in New York in 2006 was scrapped. Hoffer returned and produced the 2007 CD Teenager. It didn't perform well and Virgin dropped The Thrills in 2008. This comp is a good intro to their music. Fans of the TV series The OC may have heard The Thrills as star Adam Brody was a big fan and got the producers to use the group's songs. Though The Thrills have never split up, it's unlikely that they will reform. Ben Carrigan released the solo CD The Greatest Narrators in Sept. 2011 and told Hot Press that the band seems like a past life and he wants to move forward. The Thrills are worth checking out. Here's the video for One Horse Town by The Thrills.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bob & Marcia

Artist:Bob & Marcia
Song:Young, Gifted and Black
Album:Pied Piper: The Best of Bob & Marcia





Jamaican music legends Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths briefly teamed up and had a big hit with their 1970 cover of Nina Simone's Young, Gifted and Black. Bob Andy (real name-Keith Anderson) was a founding member of The Paragons. He left to go solo in 1966 and had success as a recording artist and as a songwriter. Though known today as the Queen Of Reggae, back then Marcia Griffiths was a backup singer at Studio One. Studio One owner Coxsone Dodd unsuccessfully teamed her up with various male singers. Producer Harry J (real name-Harry Johnson) started out leasing studio time from Dodd. Marcia had already recorded a couple of Andy's songs so he thought they would make a good duo. Young, Gifted and Black was a huge hit in Jamaica and reached #5 on the British charts. Of course that classic song was written by Nina Simone and Weldon Irvine. It would be hard for anyone to mess up that song. Bob & Marcia also had a significant hit with their cover of the Crispian St Peter hit Pied Piper in 1971. Those were their only hits and you can get them on this comp. They split up in 1974. Of course Marcia Griffiths became famous as one of Bob Marley's backup singers The iThrees. Bob Andy did some acting in films like The Mighty Quinn. Both singers continue to perform and record today. Here's Bob & Marcia performing Young, Gifted and Black 1970.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-After 7

Artist:After 7
Song:Ready Or Not
Album:The Best Of After 7





Ready Or Not was one of two top ten pop hits for the R & B vocal trio After 7 in 1990. They were early proteges of famed producers Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio :LA: Reid. Babyface wanted to form a group for his brothers Kevon and Melvin Edmonds. Third member Keith Mitchell was sold as Reid's cousin. But Mitchell told R & B Haven that he is not related to Reid. The true story is Kevon and Mitchell were classmates at Indiana University and had performed together locally. So no doubt it was Kevon's idea to bring Mitchell in. They signed with Virgin Records and Babyface & Reid wrote and produced most of the 1989 album After 7 including Ready Or Not. It reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990 and the follow up Can't Stop reached #6. Both songs topped the R & B chart. They also had hits with Heat Of The Moment and Nights Like This from the 1991 film The Five Heartbeats. After 7 recorded three albums. They had minor hits from the other two albums. But by 1995, Virgin dropped them and they split up. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Kevon and Melvin Edmonds were part of the group Milestone that was assembled for the 1997 film Soul Food. Since then, Melvin has done mostly session singing. But Kevon Edmonds had a top ten hit with 24/7 in 1999. Mitchell owns a restaurant in Atlanta and managed the white female rapper Sarai. When Kevon and Mitchell reunited for the 2006 New Jack Reunion tour, they decided to reform After 7 with Kevon's younger brother Jason Edmonds and they still tour. Melvin probably doesn't want to tour. Here's the video for Ready Or Not by After 7.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Janis Ian

Artist:Janis Ian
Song:Society's Child
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Janis Ian





Janis Ian seemingly emerged on the music scene as a teen and had a top 20 hit with Society's Child. As you will see, it was much more complicated than that. Janis quit the music business in 1970 but returned with an even bigger hit with At Seventeen in 1975. She was born Janis Eddy Fink Apr. 7, 1951 in New York City and grew up in East Orange, NJ. Her father was a music teacher and her parents operated a summer camp in upstate New York. Janis took piano lessons and admired folk singers like Joan Baez. She started writing songs at age 12 and some were published in the folk music magazine Broadside. One of those songs got the attention of producer George "Shadow" Morton. He was the man behind The Shangri-Las. He liked the song Baby I've Been Thinking but he changed the title to Society's Child. At age 14, Janis changed her name to Janis Ian. Ian is her brother's middle name. Janis says that as a Jewish girl in the mainly black neighbourhood of East Orange, interracial romance was a hot topic. At that time, it would have been a controversial subject for a pop song. Morton got Janis a deal with Atlantic Records but they rejected Society's Child  Years later, Atlantic president Jerry Wexler publicly apologized to Janis. So Morton approached the jazz label Verve Records and Society's Child was released on Verve Forecast. But many radio stations refused to play the song because of the subject matter. Famed composer Leonard Bernstein hosted a series of music specials on CBS. Janis was asked to appear on Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. Teens loved the song and made it a hit but many radio stations still wouldn't play it. It reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 but it should have been a much bigger hit. Society's Child is in the Grammy Hall Of Fame. The harpsichord and organ on Society's Child was by Artie Butler who was an arranger for Brill Building songwriters Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich. Janis recorded four albums for Verve and retired from music in 1970. Fame was not kind to her. She recorded an album for Capitol in 1971 and then signed with Columbia in 1974. She hit the jackpot again when At Seventeen topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. You can get both hits on this Sony budget comp. Janis has also recorded for Windham Hill but recently she has recorded on her own Rude Girl label with Cooking Vinyl distribution. She has also written her autobiography. Here's Janis Ian performing Society's Child on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1967.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Sara McMann out of Nov. 3 Strikeforce show

This afternoon MMA Weekly reported that Sara McMann is out of the Nov. 3 Strikeforce show due to injury. This is the third match on the main card that has been affected by injury. First, Frank Mir dropped out of his match with Daniel Cormier. And last night, Luke Rockhold dropped out of his fight with Lorenz Larkin. And with last week's Strikeforce show cancelled, we're starting to wonder about this one. Soon after the Sara McMann injury was reported, Brian McMahon (@FrontRowBrian) tweeted that Zuffa has pulled the plug on Strikeforce. Normally, I wouldn't talk about something like this until it is confirmed. But McMahon has broken several stories this year. He's not a writer. He just tweets. He is credible. Since then, Josh Gross of ESPN tweeted that no decision about Strikeforce has been made and they still plan to run the Nov. 3 show. Remember Zuffa can't just pull the plug on Strikeforce. It's all up to Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza. No doubt it would cost Zuffa to get out of the deal with Showtime. So though I think it's possible that Zuffa wants out of the deal, Showtime might have a different attitude. No decision has been made but negotiations could be ongoing. So Strikeforce could close. Zuffa's treatment of Strikeforce shows how shortsighted Zuffa is. I may have been one of the few who didn't think Zuffa would close Strikeforce because I didn't think Lorenzo Fertitta spent $40M for nothing. But they stupidly raided Strikeforce for the UFC and now they're stuck because of the new deal with Showtime. What would happen to women's MMA if Strikeforce closed? Things are different now because of Ronda Rousey. Zuffa won't just discard women's MMA as they would have last year. The ideal scenario would be for Zuffa to buy Invicta and ask Fox to let them air it on Fuel TV...for now. I'm sure Fox would be OK with that. It was reported earlier this year by John Ourand of Sports Business Journal that Fox plans to turn SPEED into Fox Sports 1 in an effort to compete with ESPN. Fuel would be closed. SPEED has a larger subscriber base. It's similar to what NBC did this year with Versus. Fox would certainly need plenty of content if they do this. This change could happen as early as 2014. So stay tuned and we'll all see what happens.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-GQ

Artist:GQ
Song:Disco Nights (Rock Freak)
Album:Best Of Disco Nights





The funk group GQ topped the R & B charts in 1979 with Disco Nights. It was also a top twenty pop hit. They had other hits mostly on the R & B charts. GQ is from Bronx, NY. They started out in 1968 as Sabu & The Survivors and then were called The Rhythm Makers in the 70s. The lead singer and guitarist was Emanuel Rahiem Leblanc along with Keith "Sabu" Crier on bass, Herb Lane on keyboards and Kenny Banks on drums. The Rhythm Makers recorded the album Soul On Your Side in 1976 and a dance hit with Zone. Banks left and was replaced by Paul Service in 1978. Their manager suggested a group name change to GQ which stands for Good Quality. GQ signed with Arista Records and the first single Disco Nights topped the R & B Singles chart and it reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Service left and was briefly replaced by Banks and then Steve Adorno was the permanent replacement. GQ's other top twenty pop hit was their cover of the Billy Stewart classic I Do Love You. And they had a few more R & B hits. They recorded three albums for Arista. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Emanuel Rahiem Leblanc recorded an album for Capitol in 1991. He still leads a version of GQ. Keith Crier is the son of Arthur Crier of the doo wop group The Halos and is the uncle of R & B singer Keith Sweat. Her is GQ performing Disco Nights (Rock Freak) 1980.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Invicta still has problems with live stream

Invicta had their third show last night. And because no one else who will write about this will say it, I'm going to lead with the poor quality of the live stream. It's funny. When Ring Of Honor pro wrestling had serious problems with their iPPV stream a couple of weeks ago, fans went ballistic. But because well meaning but misguided fans desperately want Invicta to be successful, no one will criticize them for anything including the fact that all three shows have had problems with the live stream. You're not doing them any favours by letting this slide. Last night the problem was the audio was choppy through the whole show and then the video got choppy and got progressively worse as the show continued. Finishes were missed and we had to watch them on replay. I was discussing it with a couple of people on Twitter and it was close to unwatchable. You can see it on the posted video. Of course the solution to this problem is the promotion needs to stop being cutesy poo and evasive about TV. Shit or get off the pot. Like the first two shows, the fights on this show were a mixed bag. There were mismatches but for the most part, credit the winners for doing good things. In the main event, Jessica Penne became the first Invicta Atomweight Champion with an win over JEWELS champ Sugi Rock via triangle choke at 2:20 of round two. Jessica is taller than the average 105lb fighter so I thought she would use that to her advantage. The other problem that I was discussing with a friend in Japan is JEWELS is not full MMA so fighters may not be properly prepared unless they're trained by Megumi Fujii. Shayna Bazsler beat Sarah D'Alelio by rear naked choke at 37 sec of round two. Not surprised by this one either. Shayna was the clear favourite. Now how about Shayna Bazsler vs Marloes Coenen for the main event of the next show? In a rematch from Invicta 1, Leslie Smith beat Kaitlin Young by TKO at 2:19 of round two. I guess Leslie worked on her ground game. I dreaded three more rounds of light sparring. Barb Honchak beat Aisling Daly by unanimous decision. As I suspected, Barb is much quicker than Aisling. She may be the most improved fighter in women's MMA over the last year. Very sad fight as Vanessa Porto beat women's MMA pioneer Tara LaRosa by unanimous decision. Tara missed weight and was very sluggish. Vanessa is inconsistent but is a very good fighter when she is on her game. Tara looked like she may have blown out her knee from some leg kicks. Tara just looked bad and maybe it's time to go. I don't want her to wind up like Megumi Yabushita. Julia Budd won over late replacement Danielle West by TKO at 2:32 of round one. Danielle might have done better with more lead time but Julia is always in shape though I don't believe she is a complete fighter. Cat Zingano won over Raquel Pennington by rear naked choke at 3:32 of round two. In the fight of the night, Michelle Waterson beat Lacey Schuckman by split decision. That's the video I have posted. It was very close but I think Lacey beat herself when she had mount in round one. Her corner was yelling at her to adjust her position so she could pound Michelle. But she ignored that and went for a couple of submissions instead. Missed opportunity to finish. Carla Esparza beat Lynn Alvarez by TKO at 2:53 of round one. It's the old story with Carla. She's hard to beat if she sticks to wrestling. Joanne Calderwood beat Ashley Cummins with a knee to the body at 3:13. Stephanie Frausto beat Amy Davis by guillotine at 48 sec of round one. 105 is a good weight for Stephanie. She was overmatched at 115. Jessamyn Duke beat Marciea Allen by armbar at 4:42 of round one. At 5'11", Jessamyn is very tall for a 135lb fighter. She has potential. Tecia Torres beat Kaiyana Rain by unanimous decision. Both were making pro MMA debuts. The fight was dull and neither was impressive. And in the opener, Brazilian veteran Ediene Gomes beat Katalina Malungahu by rear naked choke at 4:19 of round one. If Invicta doesn't get on TV for the next show, I don't know if I will watch another live stream. All the fights are already on Youtube and the one consistent thing over the first three shows has been problems with the stream. They must do better in this area.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Highwaymen

Artist:The Highwaymen
Song:Highwayman
Album:The Highwayman Collection





Not to be confused with the 60s folk music group The Highwaymen, this country music supergroup with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash was put together for this 1985 one shot single Highwayman. When the song topped the country music chart, they recorded an album and later toured. The group didn't even have a name at first. Legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb wrote Highwayman for Glen Campbell. When Capitol Records refused to release the recording, Campbell left Capitol though Highwayman was released in 1979. Capitol thought it was too country. Campbell played the song for Johnny Cash. Then in 1981, Webb took the song to Jennings but Jennings didn't think he could do it better than Campbell. Nelson, Kristofferson, Jennings and Cash were doing a TV special in Switzerland in 1984. The four wanted to record together. Marty Stuart was there and he suggested Highwayman so they could each sing a verse. Fans went nuts for the song and it topped the Country Music Singles chart in 1985. It played into their outlaw image. Then they recorded the album Highwayman for Columbia with producer Chips Moman. The album topped the Country Album chart. They also had a top twenty hit with the Guy Clark song Desperados Waiting For A Train. The four guys reunited for the 1990 album Highwayman 2 and they toured to support that album. And they released a third CD on Liberty in 1995. This budget comp has hits from their two Columbia albums. Here's the video for Highwayman by The Highwaymen.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Will Hitomi Akano retire?

Here's a video interview with veteran MMA fighter Hitomi Akano courtesy of Charlie Jewett, a friend of mine who lives in Japan. The main thing to come from this interview is that Hitomi is seriously considering retirement. Of course this also brings up the question of whether her boss Megumi Fujii will retire. These two have been pals for over twenty years and I have always thought they should retire together. Of course Hitomi could change her mind. You may recall that after Smackgirl closed in 2008, she said she would retire and Megumi talked her into staying after Yuichi Ozono bought Smackgirl and changed the name to Jewels. Charlie didn't ask her about retirement. He asked her when she would fight again and she said she would probably stop. So she brought it up. I'm not very surprised but it remains to be seen if she follows through. Enjoy the interview.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John C. Reilly

Artist:John C. Reilly
Song:Walk Hard
Album:Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack




As musical parody films go, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story isn't quite up to the level of This Is Spinal Tap or A Mighty Wind because it tries to do too much. But there's no question that veteran character actor John C. Reilly is tremendous as Dewey Cox. He was born May 24, 1965 in Chicago. He made his film debut in Brian DePalma's 1989 film Casualties Of War but he was first noticed when he played porno star Reed Rothchild in the 1997 film Boogie Nights. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the 2002 film Chicago. He also sang in that film. Director Jake Kasdan took his idea for a fake musical biopic to Judd Apatow and the two wrote the script together. The idea was to do a tongue in cheek biopic and tell it in a serious way. Of course the basis of Reilly's character is Johnny Cash but they parody a lot more than that, maybe too much. And that may be why the film was not a financial success. Critical response was mixed. Reilly did all his own singing and guitar playing. Most of the songs in the film were written by Dan Bern and Mike Viola of The Candy Butchers though Walk Hard was written by veteran singer songwriter Marshall Crenshaw. Reilly even went out on tour as Dewey Cox. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy. Walk Hard is worth catching on DVD if you haven't seen it. John C. Reilly is still acting but he is currently on tour with Willie Nelson leading his band John Reilly & Friends. Here's the video for Walk Hard by John C. Reilly.

Friday, October 05, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tommy Hunt

Artist:Tommy Hunt
Song:Human
Album:The Biggest Man





Tommy Hunt was a member of the legendary doo wop group The Flamingos when they recorded the 1959 classic I Only Have Eyes For You. He left and had a top five R & B hit with Human in 1961. He moved to Europe in 1969 and has been a regular on the British Northern Soul circuit for years. He was born Charles James Hunt June 18, 1933 in Pittsburgh. Tommy is a childhood nickname. Hunt moved to Chicago with his mom at age 10. While in the US Air Force, he went AWOL because his mom was dying. After serving time for desertion, he moved back to Chicago and formed The Five Echoes. They recorded a few singles. Hunt was approached by Zeke Carey of The Flamingos to replace Carey as he had been drafted into the military. Hunt remained in the group after Carey returned. After I Only Have Eyes For You, Hunt left over creative differences. Then he was approached by Scepter Records producer Luther Dixon. His first single was Parade of Broken Hearts with Human on the B-side. A New York DJ played Human by mistake and the song caught on and reached #5 on the R & B Singles chart. He had some other minor hits but nothing as big as Human. When Dixon left Scepter in 1964, Hunt stayed at Scepter recorded with producer Ed Townsend. He would later reunite with Dixon on Dixon's label Dynamo Records. You can get most of Hunt's recordings on this comp from the British label Kent Records. Tommy Hunt moved to Germany in 1969 and has lived in Europe ever since. He had some hits in the British Northern Soul circuit in the 70s and he moved to England in 1997. He currently tours the oldies circuit as Tommy Hunt & Te New Flamingos. Here's a video for Human by Tommy Hunt.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Judds

Artist:The Judds
Song:Mama He's Crazy
Album:I Will Stand By You: The Essential Collection




The mother daughter duo The Judds were one of the most popular country groups of the 80s. Mama He's Crazy was the first of their 15 number one country hits in 1984. Mother Naomi Judd was born Diane Judd Jan. 11, 1946 in Ashland, KY. She got pregnant at age 16 and the father took a hike. So she married Michael Ciminella and Wynonna Judd was born Christina Ciminella May 30, 1964 in Ashland, KY. They all moved to Los Angeles and then younger sister Ashley was born in 1968. The marriage split up in 1972 and in 1976 mom and the girls moved back to Kentucky. They lived in poverty for a time. But Christina started playing the guitar and singing with her mom while Diane was studying to be a nurse. After she finished school, Diane changed her name to Naomi and Christina was now Wynonna. They moved to Nashville in 1979. Their big break came because of Naomi's nursing job. One of her patients was the daughter of Curb Records executive Brent Maher. He arranged for an audition at RCA and they signed with both companies. Their debut album Wynonna & Naomi was released in 1983 and the first single Had A Dream (For The Heart) was a top 20 country hit. Mama He's Crazy was also on the album. But it doesn't look like RCA was happy with the album and Mama's He's Crazy also appeared on their 1984 album Why Not Me. It was their first of 15 number one country hits. Considering they are a mother and daughter duo, the song was perfect for them. It was written by veteran songwriter Kenny O'Dell who also wrote the Charlie Rich hit Behind Closed Doors. The Judds' success continued through the 80s. But by 1990, it became clear that Wynonna should go solo. Naomi announced that she had contracted hepatitis C and she retired from music. Wynonna released her solo debut in 1992 and she has been very successful. You can get all The Judds hits on this budget comp. Naomi has returned occasionally, most notably for a 2000 tour and CD. She is currently a motivational speaker. Here's the video for Mama He's Crazy by The Judds.