Friday, May 31, 2013
Album:The Definitive Collection
Endless Love was a monster hit in 1981. It came at a pivotal point in the careers of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross and helped make the film Endless Love a hit. Like a lot of Richie's songs, it's an unabashed weeper. The film Endless Love was directed by legendary Italian director Franco Zeffarelli for PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and starred Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt. At the time, PolyGram had a relationship with Motown. So they asked Motown about contributing a couple of songs to the soundtrack. Zeffarelli and film composer Jonathan Tunick were put in touch with Lionel Richie. Tunick came from Broadway but he composed a lot of film and TV scores in the 80s. Richie was still a member of The Commodores. He played a song for them that was a Commodores reject. But Zeffarelli thought it would work in the film. They asked Ross if she would sing it with Richie. At that time, she left Motown for RCA. So Endless Love was her final Motown recording. Of course the song was a huge hit and helped Richie launch his solo career. It also gave Ross a jump start on her new label. A second duet Dreaming Of You also appeared on the soundtrack. KISS and Cliff Richard also appeared on the soundtrack. Blondie's Heart Of Glass appeared in the film but not on the soundtrack. You can get Endless Love on this Lionel Richie budget comp. The song was nominated for an Oscar but lost. A cover of Endless Love was a hit for Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross in 1994. Richie recently recorded a new version of the song with Shania Twain. A remake of Endless Love starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde is scheduled for release in Feb. 2014. Here's Lionel Richie and Diana Ross performing Endless Love on the 1982 Academy Awards broadcast.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Album:Les Roses Blanches
Berthe Sylva was a popular depression era chanteuse who popularized the French standard Frou Frou among other songs. She is forgotten today because she died prematurely due to alcoholism. She was born Berthe Faquet Feb. 7, 1885 in Brest, France. As a teen, she worked as a maid and had a child at age 16. She gave the child to her parents and never saw it. Though it is known that Berthe performed in South America during the 20s, very few details are known. In 1928, she was offered the song Les Roses Blanches by the song's composer Leon Raiter. She performed it on radio and this led to a contract with Odeon Records. She had more success in 1929 with songs like Le Raccommodeur De Faience and Adieu Paris and in 1930 with Frou Frou and C'est Mon Gigolo. Frou Frou was written by Hector Monreal and Henri Blondeau and was first performed on the stage in 1897. So the song was popular when Berthe recorded it. Frou Frou was also used in Jean Renoir's 1937 film Grand Illusion. Berthe Sylva continued to have success in the 30s including some duets with Fred Gouin. They were lovers and when they split up, both went into a decline. As popular as Berthe Sylva was in the mid-30s, she was forgotten by the end of the decade. You can get all her hits on this Sony Europe comp. Berthe Sylva sank into alcoholism and blew all her money. She died in poverty on May 24, 1941 at age 56. Here's a video for Frou Frou by Berthe Sylva.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports reported yesterday that Cat Zingano blew out her knee and Miesha Tate will replace her as coach for The Ultimate Fighter 18 against UFC women's champ Ronda Rousey. She will also get the title shot that Cat was supposed to get. Cat has had surgery and I don't expect to see her until 2014. The fan reaction to this has been funny. Why is Miesha getting a title match after a loss? You mean the UFC has never given a title shot after a loss before? They have actually done that several times recently. Couldn't they have given it to another fighter on the roster? The problem is that women's MMA hasn't been in the UFC long enough to develop multiple title contenders. Some idiot who should know better even suggested that the TUF shooting schedule should be delayed until after the June 16 Alexis Davis vs Rosi Sexton match. The show has to be ready to air in September. They can't delay the shooting. The show wouldn't be ready in time. So like it or not, Miesha is the only choice for this. For one thing, she is better suited than Cat for feuding with Ronda on TUF. There will be more drama. The UFC wants that. The show is not a competition. It's a reality show. And I don't think it matters much who faces Ronda at the end of the year. But Ronda vs Miesha will attract more attention and will be a bigger PPV attraction than Ronda vs Cat. But it's funny to hear Dana White and Miesha say that Miesha was winning the fight when ref Kim Winslow stopped it probably a little early. And Kim will be a ref on TUF. That adds more fuel to the fire. Check out this UFC On FOX video.
Song:Feel Like Makin' Love
Album:10 From 6
The British group Bad Company was very successful in the 70s and 80s. Feel Like Makin' Love was a top ten hit in 1975. The members of Bad Company were all veterans of the British music scene. Lead singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke were from Free, guitarist Mick Ralphs was from Mott The Hoople, bassist Boz Burrell was from King Crimson. They were the first band signed to the Led Zeppelin owned label Swan Song Records distributed by Atlantic. Bad Company's first three albums were very successful. Can't Get Enough from the 1974 album Bad Company reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Feel Like Makin' Love from the 1975 album Straight Shooter reached #10. These two albums and their third album Run With The Pack were all million sellers. They stumbled a bit with the 1977 album Burnin' Sky but bounced back with the 1979 album Desolation Angels. But the death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham led to their manager and Swan Song head Peter Grant closing Swan Song. Bad Company split up in 1982. You can get their hits from this period on this budget comp. In 1986, Ralphs and Kirke formed a new band. Atlantic wanted them to reform Bad Company. But by that time Rodgers was lead singer of The Firm. So former Ted Nugent lead singer Brian Howe was hired. They had some success with songs like If You Needed Somebody in 1990. But internal conflict led to Howe leaving Bad Company in 1994. They recorded some new songs when Rodgers returned in 1998. These days they tour occasionally as a nostalgia act. They are currently on tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Here's Bad Company performing Feel Like Makin' Love.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Song:The Way You look Tonight
Album:Steppin' Out: Astaire Sings
Of course Fred Astaire is best known as the greatest dancer in the history of films. His 30s films with Ginger Rogers are well loved by fans. But he was underrated as a singer and fans may not be aware that he recorded some of his best known songs with jazz musicians in the 50s. He was born Frederick Austerlitz May 10, 1899 in Omaha and as a child he performed in vaudeville and then on Broadway with his sister Adele. When they split up in 1932, Astaire moved to Hollywood and signed with RKO Radio Pictures. The first time he teamed with Ginger Rogers was in the 1933 film Flying Down To Rio. The success of the film convinced RKO that Astaire and Rogers could be very popular. And they were. Six of their eight films were the highest grossing films in RKO history. The Way You Look Tonight is from the 1936 film Swing Time and was written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. Astaire left RKO in 1940 and continued his film career dancing with partners like Rita Hayworth and Cyd Charisse. Those two are more accomplished dancers than Ginger Rogers. But the chemistry between Astaire and Rogers can't be beat. Astaire retired in 1946 but he returned in 1949 and made some great films in the 50s. In 1952, he agreed to record some of his classic songs for producer Norman Granz. Granz is best known as owner of Verve Records. Astaire recorded with jazz musicians Oscar Peterson on piano, Charlie Shavers on trumpet, Flip Phillips on tenor sax, Barney Kessell on guitar, Ray Brown on bass and Alvin Stoller on drums. The Astaire Story was released as a 4LP box set and the LPs were released individually. This CD is a comp of those recordings. The complete The Astaire Story is not in print. The Astaire Story was named to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Fred Astaire retired from dancing in 1969 but he continued acting until his death on June 22, 1987 at age 88. Here's Fred Astaire performing The Way You Look Tonight from the 1936 film Swing Time.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Song:You're Still The One
Shania Twain was probably the most popular female country music artist of the 90s. And her 1997 album Come On Over is the biggest selling album by a female ever. Unlike Reba McEntire, Shania crossed over to pop in a big way. You're Still The One is her biggest hit. She was born Eileen Edwards Aug. 28, 1965 in Windsor, ON. When her parents divorced, her mom moved to the northern Ontario city of Timmins and married Jerry Twain. So now she was Eileen Twain. She started performing and writing as a teen and appeared on The Tommy Hunter Show at age 13. Though there was interest in Eileen becoming a country singer, she wanted to be a rock singer. And that prevented her from getting a record deal in the 80s. After her parents died in a 1987 car accident, Eileen moved with her siblings to Huntsville and took a singing job at the nearby Deerhurst Resort. While there, she named herself Shania after the resort hairdresser. By the early 90s, she sent out demos and got a deal with Mercury Records. Her 1993 debut CD did OK and she had a minor hit with What Made You Say That. But Shania only wrote one song on the album and the album was a standard Nashville production. This all changed when producer Robert "Mutt" Lange expressed interest in working with her. He had never produced country music but wanted to. He brought two things to the table. The first was the ability to write songs with Shania. The second was adding a rock backbeat to her records. Any Man Of Mine was her first number one country hit. But her 1997 CD Come On Over just blew up and crossed over to pop. You're Still The One reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is her biggest hit to date. A lot of folks say that her sex appeal in her videos was a big factor in Shania's success. It was a factor. But if you listen to the difference in her first record to her second record, the sound is completely different. So I think Lange should get a lot of credit for her success. Shania's 2002 CD Up! was successful but not as successful as Come On Over. You can get all her hits on this budget comp. Since then Shania hasn't done much musically. She divorced Lange after he had an affair with Shania's best friend. Then Shania married her best friend's husband. There was talk that Shania didn't want to sing anymore. She is currently appearing in her own show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. But I see nothing about Shania possibly recording a new CD. Here's the video for You're Still The One by Shania Twain.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Song:Les Filles C'est Fait
Album:Best of Pop a Paris: Psyche-Rock et Minijupes
Not to be confused with the British politician Charlotte Leslie, this Charlotte Leslie had brief success as part of the French Ye Ye scene of the 60s. Fans in North America aren't familiar with Ye Ye so I like to expose them to it because I like it. Most of the singers are very obscure. The 1966 single Les Filles C'est Fait is Charlotte's best known song. She was out of the music business by the early 70s. She was born Rosetta Aiello Dec. 18, 1945 in Gabes, Tunisia to Italian parents. Her family moved to Lens in northern France. At age 13, Rosetta quit school and went to work in a factory. In 1963, her father encouraged her to enter a talent contest organized by AZ Records. She won the contest and recorded for AZ as Catherine Alfa. She recorded two EPs with French songwriters Daniel Hortis and Jimmy Walter including the song Tu Es Pris Au Piege which was a translation of the Carole King & Gerry Goffin song Don't Try To Fight It Baby. She left AZ for Polydor and her name was changed to Charlotte Leslie. Her 1966 hit Les Filles C'est Fait is a reworking of The Capitols hit We Got A Thing That's In The Groove. It was a hit and with the fuzz guitar effect it holds up well today. She toured France but subsequent recordings didn't do as well. She recorded for Polydor and Barclay until 1970. A Beatles tribute Monsieur Harrison was her final single. You can get Les Filles C'est Fait on this 2CD various artists comp from Universal France. Pop a Paris is a series of CDs spotlighting French pop music of the 60s. This is a Best Of that series at a budget price. In the early 80s, Charlotte attempted a comeback as Rosa Borg. When that was unsuccessful, she left the music business for good and worked at a department store in Paris. Here's a video for Les Filles C'est Fait by Charlotte Leslie. Thanks to Ready Steady Girls! for the Charlotte Leslie bio.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Here's the match video of Fallon Fox vs Alanna Jones from last night's CFA show. Of course as we all know, Fallon is the transgender fighter. She won the fight as expected but it wasn't as easy as her previous fights. Someone suggested to me that she was sandbagging. That's the sort of thing I wouldn't put past her scumbag manager. But it makes no sense for her to sandbag in her first fight on national TV. She should want to win as quickly as possible. And it's not like Alanna Jones is an elite fighter. But it got to the third round before Fallon won with a knee on the throat submission. So what happened? For one thing, this was the first fight where Fallon's opponent knew in advance that she is transgender. That deception is my number one problem with Fallon Fox. And though Fallon was clearly winning the fight, she was gassed by the end of round one and just wasn't as aggressive as she needed to be to finish the fight early. So it allowed Alanna to hang in there. That lack of endurance will catch up to Fallon as she faces a higher caliber opponent. Her opponent in the final is Ashlee Evans-Smith and I'm sure she noticed that lack of endurance. Ashlee got a walkover last night when her opponent missed weight by a large amount. I won't even mention her name. She has missed weight repeatedly so I blame the promoter for hiring her in the first place. So what happens if Fallon Fox loses? I'm not sure it matters much. She still has licensing issues to hurdle. And even if she wins, I don't expect her to be in Invicta. Her manager is now banned from Invicta for inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour. And at the last Invicta show, Fallon got into an altercation with Bec Hyatt at the hotel which Bec detailed on her Facebook. So Fallon has plenty of problems. But she may not be that good a fighter anyway. The final of this tournament could be very pivotal. Enjoy the video!
Album:Sky & Country
Back in the 90s, tenor sax player Mark Turner had a contract with Warner Bros. and looked like he was going to be the next big thing in jazz. But he stopped recording solo and instead has had great success recording as Fly with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. The history of pianoless trios in jazz goes back to the 50s with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker. It seems to be a California thing. Turner was born in Ohio but grew up in Southern California. His main influences are John Coltrane and Warne Marsh. He studied at Berklee and moved to New York in 1990. Turner first recorded as a leader in 1995 and recorded four CDs for Warner Bros. from 1998-2001. It was around this time that he met Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard. They both grew up in California and played together in high school. At the time they were working with Chick Corea. But Grenadier and Ballard are best known as the long time rhythm section for pianist Brad Mehldau. Fly recorded for Savoy Jazz in 2004 and then signed with ECM Records for the 2009 CD Sky & Country. The CD did well on the jazz charts. Their latest CD Year Of the Snake was released last year. Though all three guys do other things, Fly seems to have become their main band. Turner also records with the SF Jazz Collective. Grenadier and Ballard continue to record and tour with Mehldau. Grenadier also works with his jazz singer wife Rebecca Martin and Ballard works with Joshua Redman. And they all work regularly as sidemen. Jazz fans should check out Fly. Here's Fly performing Lady B at Jazzbaltica in Salzau, Germany July 4, 2010.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Album:From The Attic
Like a lot of 70s Canadian bands, Fludd had some success at home but were unable to break into the US market. Part of their problem is they bounced around three different record companies in a short period of time. There were also personnel and health issues that killed them by 1977. Cousin Mary is probably their best known song. Fludd started out in the mid-60s in Toronto as The Pretty Ones with Ed Pilling on vocals, his brother Brian Pilling on guitar and Greg Godovitz on bass. The Pilling brothers moved to Birmingham, England and formed Wages Of Sin with guitarist Mick Hopkins. Cat Stevens hired them as his band in 1967 and changed their name to Zeus. It looked like they were getting somewhere but Stevens got sick and the Pilling brothers returned to Toronto. They formed Fludd with Godovitz, drummer John Andersen and guitarist Mick Walsh. They signed with Warner Bros. and recorded with producer Adam Mitchell formerly of The Paupers. Though they did OK on the Canadian charts with singles like Turned 21 and Get Up, Get Out, Move On, their album didn't sell and Warners dropped them. Walsh had been replaced by Mick Hopkins but he returned to England when the band lost their record deal. Fludd added keyboard player Peter Csanky and signed with Daffodil Records. Label owner Frank Davies tried unsuccessfully to convince distributor Capitol Records to release Fludd's album with an album cover of a near naked band. The title was to be Cock On. That scared them and instead they released it with a generic cover. It didn't work but Davies gave Fludd a second chance. They went to England to record. And after Cousin Mary was a top 20 hit in Canada in 1973, they returned to Toronto to record a new album. When the single I Held Out wasn't a hit, Daffodil dropped them. Then Godovitz left and formed Goddo. Doni Underhill of Leigh Ashford replaced him. Then Brian Pilling was diagnosed with leukemia so they had to work around him. Meanwhile, former Warners promotion man Tom Williams was just starting Attic Records and he signed Fludd. They released the album Great Expectations featuring a pregnant woman's bare belly on the cover. The woman was Ed Pilling's sister in law. Toronto record stores refused to carry the album. The controversy killed the album. But Fludd was really killed by Brian Pilling's deteriorating health. He died June 28, 1978 at age 29. Some of the members joined Saga. Ed Pilling still leads a version of Fludd that plays gigs occasionally. His real job is as a contractor. Greg Godovitz had a lot of success with Goddo. Here's Fludd performing Cousin Mary at a 2004 charity concert.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Album:West Side Story: The New Broadway Cast Recording
I'm sure that everyone knows that the songs for West Side Story were written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. But the book was written by Arthur Laurents. In 2007, Laurents got the idea to weave Spanish lyrics and dialogue into the show and revive the show on Broadway. He hired In The Heights composer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda to do the translations. Laurents directed the production which opened at the Palace Theater Mar. 19, 2009 and ran for almost two years. So it was very successful. Starring as Tony was musical theater veteran Matt Cavenaugh. His best known show before West Side Story was the 2006 production of Grey Gardens. He was also a regular on the daytime soap As The World Turns. He doesn't have the strongest voice and you can hear some of his flaws in his performance on the video. He is married to actress Jenny Powers and they have recorded a CD together. The story goes that Laurents was having trouble finding an actress to play Maria. Friends pointed him to a Youtube video of Josefina Scaglione performing Libertango. He flew her from her home in Argentina to New York and she won the role of Maria. Josefina was nominated for a Tony award. She has a great voice. Josefina appeared in the USA Network series Fairly Legal and she has other things in the works. The Broadway Cast CD for West Side Story won a Grammy and it is available. Here's Matt Cavenaugh and Josefina Scaglione performing Tonight at the Tony Awards Nomination Show May 19, 2009 at the Hudson Theater in New York City.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Song:Way Back Home
Album:Live At Voce
Drummer Steve Gadd has played on hundreds of sessions for a who's who of the music business. But occasionally he has recorded as a leader. This 2009 CD is his most recent recording. He was born Apr. 9, 1945 in Irondequoit, NY which is a suburb of Rochester. His uncle was a drummer in the US Army and encouraged Gadd to take lessons. At age 11 he sat in with Dizzy Gillespie. Gadd says his influences are Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams and Rick Marotta. He studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and by the late 60s he was working with Rochester native Chuck Mangione and his brother Gap. Gadd spent three years in the US Army music program. He moved to New York in the early 70s and has made his living as a session musician. In the 70s, he was a member of Stuff with Richard Tee, Eric Gale and Cornell Dupree and he toured with Paul Simon. In the 80s he toured with Al DiMeola and in the late 80s, Gadd recorded as a leader for the first time. The Gadd Gang featured Ronnie Cuber, Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee and Eddie Gomez. They recorded Way Back Home in 1989 which was written by Wilton Felder and first recorded by The Crusaders. In the 90s, Gadd toured and recorded with Eric Clapton and continues to work with him today. Live At Voce was released in 2009 and features Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax, Paul Bollenback on guitar and Joey DeFrancesco on organ. Edie Brickell appears on two tracks. It's available as a budget CD. Most recently he played on Kate Bush's 2011 comeback CD 50 Words for Snow and later this year he will release the CD Gadditude featuring pianist Larry Goldings. Steve Gadd is the legend you have probably never heard of. Here's Steve Gadd and The Gadd Gang performing Way Back Home at The Bottom Line in New York City 1989.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Song:Let Her Cry
Album:The Best Of Hootie & The Blowfish: 1993 Thru 2003
Hootie & The Blowfish became overnight sensations with their 1994 debut CD Cracked Rear View and three top ten hit singles including Let Her Cry. Of course it's always hard to follow up on a successful debut so they faded fairly quickly. Hootie & The Blowfish were formed in 1986 at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Lead guitarist Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in the shower of their dorm and decided to work with him. At first they played local clubs as the Wolf Brothers. Bassist Dean Felber went to high school with Bryan and the band was completed when drummer Jim Sonefeld joined. The band name is a reference to Rucker's childhood friends who resembled an owl and a blowfish. Rucker got tired of people calling him Hootie. But that's what happens when the name of your band is confusing. They recorded demos and released an EP in 1993. And this led to a contract with Atlantic Records with producer Don Gehman who is best known for his work with John Mellencamp. There were three top ten singles from the album. Hold My Hand reached #10, Let Her Cry reached #9 and Only Wanna Be With You reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cracked Rear View topped the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 6XPlatinum. It was the biggest selling CD of 1995. Hootie & The Blowfish won the 1996 Best New Artist Grammy. That was going to be a tough act to follow. And the 1996 CD Fairweather Johnson did not do nearly as well but it was still certified 3XPlatinum. This pattern continued with the 1998 CD Musical Chairs. You can get all their hits on this budget comp including their cover of 54-40's I Go Blind which was on the soundtrack of the TV series Friends. Hootie & The Blowfish left Atlantic in 2003. After recording one album for Vanguard, the group split up in 2008. Darius Rucker signed with Capitol and has a successful country music career. Bryan and Sonefeld have recorded solo CDs and the band still reunites for charity gigs. But for a brief time, Hootie & The Blowfish were the hottest band in America. Here's the video for Let Her Cry by Hootie & The Blowfish.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Song:I Still Call Australia Home
Album:The Boy From Oz: A Decca Broadway Original Cast Album
Though Hugh Jackman is best known as Wolverine in the X-Men films, he has always done musical theater and he won a Tony award for his performance in the 2003 show The Boy From Oz. I Still Call Australia Home is a big patriotic song. He was born Oct. 12, 1968 in Sydney, Australia. He started performing in school but didn't consider acting as a possible career until he graduated from college. His big break was in the 1995 TV series Correlli. The show didn't last long but he married his co-star Deborah Lee-Furness. Then he appeared in Australian productions of musicals like Beauty and the Beast and Sunset Boulevard. In 1998, he starred in the London production of Oklahoma! and was nominated for an Olivier award. He also starred in the film version of Oklahoma!. Then Jackman was cast as Wolverine in the X-Men. The film was huge and Jackman became a star. But Jackman has always returned to the stage. The Boy From Oz is a musical based on the life of Aussie singer songwriter Peter Allen. Allen is a legend in Australia but he was never a star here. He has had a lot of success as a record producer and songwriter. The Boy From Oz was a big hit when it ran in Australia in 1998. When it was brought to Broadway in 2003, they needed a big star for the lead and they signed Jackman. It was a hit and Jackman won a Tony award. The Boy From Oz ran for a year. Peter Allen wrote and recorded I Still Call Australia Home in 1980. The song became popular in Australia when it was used in a Qantas commercial and it's now a patriotic standard. Though Jackman is very busy in films, he still returns to the stage occasionally in things like his one man show Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway. I'm sure if he gets the opportunity, he will return to musical theater in the future. He seems to really enjoy it. Here's Hugh Jackman with Olivia Newton-John, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe performing I Still Call Australia Home on an Oprah Winfrey Australia special. Yes, Oprah is annoying but the clip gives an idea about how Aussies feel about this song.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Here's the match video from today's PANCRASE show with Queen of PANCRASE Rin Nakai facing King of the Cage champ Brenda Gonzalez. As someone said the other day, remember when King of the Cage meant something. It is typical of Japanese promotions to bring over gaijin fighters to lose to their ace. They announce it to the Japanese media. "Look, we brought over a fighter from America." But those of us who have covered the Japanese business for a long time know how they work. It's not new. There have been occasional upsets but not usually. Brenda Gonzalez clearly doesn't have the experience to handle a fighter of Rin's caliber. Obviously Brenda knew she was the underdog because at the open workout the other day she said "I didn't come here to lose." But she was brought to Japan to lose. PANCRASE should bring over better opposition...but they won't. Several fans have asked me about the winged costume Rin wore to the ring. It's a promotion PANCRASE is doing for a video game. I also read that PANCRASE has a Rin Nakai mobile app in the works. So at the start of the fight the two fighters are circling around not doing anything. Remember there isn't much footage of Brenda out there. Rin knows Brenda is a boxer but she couldn't watch her fights. I can understand her caution. Both fighters were waiting for the other to make the first move. The ref got tired of this and admonished both fighters for not doing anything. Brenda finally made the first move with a wild spinning back fist. This was the opening Rin was looking for and it was pretty much over after that. A violent takedown followed. It looks like Brenda broke her arm. Then Rin went for the rear naked choke and it's over. It's doubtful that Brenda would have been able to come out for the second round. Fighting someone like Rin Nakai with one arm is not a good idea. Rin did her trademark "air dancing" after her win. Fans have asked me about that. Rin was a competitive gymnast as a child. So now we can all look forward to more goofy weekly Rin Nakai videos on Youtube. Enjoy the video!
Song:Under The Sea
Album:Disney's The Little Mermaid: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Disney has adapted several hit films for the Broadway stage. They first did this in 1994 with Beauty and the Beast. They continue to do this because the shows have been very successful. The Little Mermaid premiered on Broadway in 2008. The 1989 film was very popular and Under The Sea even won a Best Original Song Oscar. The problem with turning The Little Mermaid into a musical was the same that they had with Beauty and the Beast. It didn't have a lot of songs so it needed more songs to be a musical. The film's songs were written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Disney contacted Menken about writing new songs for the musical. But Ashman died in 1991. So Menken brought in Glenn Slater. The two had worked together on Sister Act The Musical. The show premiered Jan. 10, 2008 and closed on Aug. 30, 2009. That's a pretty good run and regional productions are very popular worldwide. The stars of the Broadway production included Sierra Boggess, Sean Palmer and Sherie Rene Scott. Tituss Burgess played Sebastian the Crab and sang the popular song Under The Sea. Burgess is from Athens, GA and he made his Broadway debut in the 2005 show Good Vibrations which is about The Beach Boys. He also appeared in Jersey Boys and the 2009 revival of Guys and Dolls. Sebastian is his best known role and the Broadway cast album of The Little Mermaid is available on CD. Burgess had a recurring role on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He is currently promoting his new self released CD Comfortable. Here's Tituss Burgess performing Under The Sea on Good Morning America Jan. 10, 2008.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Don't let his name fool you. Singer songwriter Jose Gonzalez is from Sweden. He has had success in England and you may have heard his music on TV. He is very similar to Elliott Smith or Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters. Currently Gonzalez is a member of Junip and is not active as a solo artist. His parents moved from Argentina to Sweden after the 1976 Dirty War. His father is a psychology professor. Gonzalez was born in Gothenberg, Sweden in 1978. He grew up listening to Latin music and his favourite artist is Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez. As a teen, he played in punk bands like Back Against The Wall, Renascence and Only If You Call Me Jonathan. While studying biochemistry at the University of Gothenberg, he started playing clubs as a solo act and released a single in 2003. This got him a deal with the Swedish label Imperial Records. His 2003 debut CD Veneer got enough attention that Gonzalez signed with the British label Mute Records for wider distribution. The album did very well in England and Sweden. The album is just Gonzalez and his guitar. And as I said, his sound is very similar to Elliott Smith or Mark Kozelek. He had a top ten single in England with his 2006 cover of The Knife song Heartbeats. In the US, his songs have appeared on TV shows like The O.C. and Friday Night Lights. Gonzalez recorded a second CD In Our Nature in 2007. In 2005, he formed Junip with drummer Elias Araya and keyboard player Tobias Winterkorn. For a few years Gonzalez was performing solo and as part of Junip. But on his website, Gonzalez says he is not a solo artist right now. Junip released a new CD Junip last month. They are currently on tour. It seems like he prefers being in a band. Either way, Jose Gonzalez is recommended to folk music fans. Here's Jose Gonzalez performing Slow Moves at radio station KCRW in Los Angeles.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Album:70s Music Explosion: Magic
Bob Welch is known for his days as a member of the early 70s edition of Fleetwood Mac. Sentimental Lady was a top ten hit in 1976 and is considered to be his signature song. He had mixed success otherwise and he died tragically. He was born Aug. 31, 1945 in Los Angeles and grew up in a showbiz family. His father Robert L. Welch was a producer at Paramount Pictures and his mother Templeton Fox was an actress. Welch got interested in music as a teen and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and then at UCLA. Welch said he mostly smoked weed in Paris. In the 60s, Welch was a member of the unsuccessful group The Seven Souls. When they split up in 1969, Bobby Watson and Tony Maiden formed Rufus. Welch moved to Paris and formed the unsuccessful band Head West. In 1971, he was invited to join Fleetwood Mac after Peter Green left. Christine McVie joined at the same time. Welch became a bigger part of the band after Danny Kirwin left in 1972. Sentimental Lady was on the 1972 Fleetwood Mac album Bare Trees. When Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, Welch left though he was asked to stay. Welch formed Paris with recording engineer Jimmy Robinson and former Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick. They recorded two unsuccessful albums. Welch was going to record a third Paris album. But it turned into his first solo album French Kiss. Sentimental Lady reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. French Kiss was certified Platinum. Subsequent albums did not do as well. And in the early 80s, Welch was addicted to cocaine. There is a Best Of Bob Welch on Rhino but it's expensive. Beware of CDs with rerecorded versions of Sentimental Lady. This Time Life 2CD various artists comp will suit most fans. Bob Welch recorded occasionally over the years. He sued Fleetwood Mac over royalties in 1994. It was settled out of court. As a result, when Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, Welch was not invited to attend. Later he would reconcile with John McVie. Bob Welch had spinal surgery in 2012. When he was told that he would be an invalid, he committed suicide by gunshot on June 7, 2012 at age 66. Here's the video for Sentimental Lady by Bob Welch.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Album:What I Want To Be Remembered For
Country singer Paul Brandt is very successful in his native Canada. He had his biggest international success with I Do in 1996. This is a big wedding song. He was born Paul Rennee Belobersycky July 21, 1972 in Calgary, AB and grew up in the suburb of Airdrie. Brandt's musical influences are neo traditionalists like Dwight Yoakam and George Strait. He grew up singing in church. While entering local talent contests, Brandt worked as a nurse at Alberta Children's Hospital. His big break came when he won a national talent contest sponsored by publishing clearance house SOCAN, the Canadian version of ASCAP. Warner Bros. in Canada sent his demo to Warner Bros. Nashville and Brandt signed a record deal with the Warner label Reprise. They brought him to Nashville to work with producer Josh Leo who has worked with Alabama and Kathy Mattea. Brandt's 1996 debut single My Heart Has A History reached #5 on the Country Singles chart. I Do did even better and reached #2. And it's a popular wedding song. The album Calm Before The Storm was certified Gold. Subsequent albums and singles didn't do as well and he left Reprise after recording three albums. This comp was released only in Canada. Brandt started his own label Brand-T Records with distribution in Canada from Universal. His latest CD Just As I Am was released Oct. 2012. It's a gospel CD. He continues to tour in Canada. So he's doing OK and I'm sure I Do generates plenty of royalties. Here's the video for I Do by Paul Brandt.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Song:I Still Believe In You
Vince Gill started out in bluegrass and became one of the most popular country artists of the 90s and also one of country music's finest voices. I Still Believe In You was the first of his four number one country hits in 1992. He was born Apr. 12, 1957 in Norman, OK. His father was a judge who played music on the side. Gill played in bluegrass bands as a teen and then moved to Louisville in 1975 to join Bluegrass Alliance and then Ricky Skaggs' band Boone Creek. Then he moved to Los Angeles to join Sundance led by violinist Byron Berline. In 1979 he became the new lead singer for Pure Prairie League and sang lead on the hit Let Me Love You Tonight. Then he joined Rodney Crowell's band where he met Tony Brown. Brown helped him get a record deal with RCA. Then he moved to Nashville with his wife Janis Oliver of Sweethearts of the Rodeo. Gill had moderate success on RCA and he worked as a session musician and wrote songs for others. In 1989, he left RCA for MCA to reunite with Tony Brown who was now a producer at MCA. It paid off when When I Call Your Name reached #2 on the Country Singles chart in 1990. it was his biggest hit to date. Gill continued to place higher in the charts until I Still Believe In You became his first number one country music hit in 1992. Gill wrote the song with session musician John Barlow Jarvis. He had a total of four number one hits from the album I Still Believe In You, his most successful album to date. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. He continued to have success in the 90s. But then there were rumours that his marriage was in trouble and he was having an affair with Christian singer Amy Grant. It turned out to be true. He divorced Janis in 1998 and married Amy in 2000. Gill continued to record for MCA but wasn't as successful. He left MCA in 2012 and joined The Time Jumpers. This is a band of session musicians and they released an album on Rounder Records last year. Among the members are "Ranger" Doug Green of Riders In The Sky. They are currently on tour. Vince Gill may have been a star in the 90s but he has always been a great musician and a team player. Here's the video for I Still Believe In You by Vince Gill.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Song:Keep Your Head Up
Ben Howard's debut CD Every Kingdom has done well in his native England. He is making progress in North America. Keep Your Head Up was used in the hit film Safe Haven. He was born Apr. 24, 1987 in London. He grew up listening to his mother's collection of folk music records. He got into surfing at age 11 and his family moved to Devon so he could go to the beach. He wrote for a surfing magazine. Shades of Jack Johnson. But he was able to work on his music playing for audiences in the surfing community. By 2008, he became a full time musician. He sounds a lot like legendary British folksinger John Martyn. He released a couple of EPs independently and signed with Island Records. Every Kingdom is his 2011 debut CD. It reached #4 on the British Album chart and some of his songs got radio play including Keep Your Head Up. The CD was nominated for The Mercury Prize. Howard won two 2013 BRIT Awards for British Breakthrough Act and British Solo Male Artist. He released The Burgh Island EP in Oct. 2012. So now Island has to figure out how to sell him in the US. Put one of his songs in a movie. Keep Your Head Up appeared on the soundtrack of Safe Haven. It was directed by Lasse Hallstrom and is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks who also wrote The Notebook. The stars are Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. So the film is clearly aimed at women. And though it was slammed by critics, it grossed $91M so it did well. So the hope is fans of the film will become Ben Howard fans when they hear him on the soundtrack. Ben Howard is currently touring England and he seems to have a bright future. Here's the video for Keep Your Head Up by Ben Howard.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I've had a chance to watch some of the matches from STARDOM's Apr. 29 Sumo Hall show. I posted the video of the main event of Io Shirai vs Alpha Female the other day. This match with Natsuki*Taiyo defending the High Speed Championship against Yuhi is the best match on the show. What is the High Speed Championship? It's a pointless belt that NEO started a few years ago and STARDOM bought it from them. But this match is pretty good. Natsuki*Taiyo has been attached to Nanae Takahashi's hip for the last few years. I've always described her as similar to Momoe Nakanishi but not as talented. Who is? But she's a good wrestler. STARDOM has turned her heel. Yuhi is a young girl who trained at Zero One. But they don't have a women's division so she works frequently for STARDOM. She debuted last year and I liked her the first time I saw her. She's only 17 years old and she is pretty good already. Her skill level is much higher than STARDOM's own idol wrestlers. Natsuki*Taiyo can really move and Yuhi has no trouble keeping up with her. It's a sprint but that's what High Speed Championship matches are supposed to be. The other matches on the show just aren't as good. The worst was Kairi Hojo & Natsumi Showzuki vs Kyoko Kimura & Hailey Hatred. The two teams don't mesh well probably because of Hojo & Showzuki's inexperience. And they botched the ending. They should have done it over. Dark Angel won the Wonder Of STARDOM belt over Act Yasukawa. Sarah Stock tries very hard to make Act look good but Act just isn't very good at the physical part of pro wrestling yet. She has some of the acting down but she has to do both. Also, her costume is terrible. She may have bigger problems has Act is out with a back injury. The Yuzuki Aikawa retirement match was the same as any of Aikawa's other matches because she only has three moves and keeps repeating them. I didn't watch the retirement ceremony. I don't want to see her again. The six girl match that ran as a buffer between the Aikawa retirement ceremony and the main event was a mish mash and a waste of Hiroyo Matsumoto's talent. She deserves to be in a better match. And I also watched the debut match of Takumi Ihora vs Meiko Satomura. Satomura may look the same as she looked when she was really good. But she can't wrestle the way she used to. Maybe it's time to retire. Ihora doesn't have the typical idol look of most of the STARDOM roster so they given her the goofy Hikaru look. I hope she's a better wrestler than Hikaru. So STARDOM owner Hiroshi Ogawa's attempt to turn bikini model Yuzuki Aikawa into the new Fuuka is officially over. But I doubt he has learned his lesson. Enjoy the video!
06. Natsuki*Taiyo (c) vs Yuhi - (STARDOM 04/29/13) by SenorLARIATO
06. Natsuki*Taiyo (c) vs Yuhi - (STARDOM 04/29/13) by SenorLARIATO
Song:Out Of My Head
Junkhouse had some success in the mid-90s in their native Canada. Attempts to break the US market were unsuccessful. They were from Hamilton, ON. Lead singer and guitarist Tom Wilson had a band in the late 80s called Florida Razors. They were a new wave rockabilly band. When they split up, he formed Junkhouse with Dan Achen on guitar, Russ Wilson on bass and Ray Farrugia on drums. They went on tour with the popular band Crash Vegas and this led to a record deal with Sony. Strays was their debut CD in 1993 and Out Of My Head was the first single. The video became popular on MuchMusic and Junkhouse went on tour with Soul Asylum. The CD was produced by veteran Canadian producer Malcolm Burn and most of the songs including Out Of My Head were written by Curtis "Sauce" Wilson of the R & B group Somethin' For The People. Junkhouse was probably too offbeat to become really popular. But they did OK in Canada. They were featured in the popular Canadian TV series Due South. Strays is available as a budget CD. Junkhouse's 1995 CD Birthday Boy featured Burned Out Car featuring Sarah McLachlan. But the band started to have problems. Russ Wilson left in 1996 and was replaced by Grant Marshall. Tom Wilson recorded with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Former Crash Vegas guitarist Colin Cripps joined Junkhouse to keep them together. They split up after the 1997 CD Fuzz. Tom Wilson had a lot of success with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. His current band is LeE HARVeY OsMOND. Dan Achen opened a recording studio in Hamilton. His niece Leslie Feist and Alexisonfire were among those who recorded there. Achen died of a heart attack while playing hockey on Mar. 15, 2010. Here's the video for Out Of My Head by Junkhouse.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Album:Etoiles De La Chanson
Andre Dassary was known in France as Le Tenor a la Voix D'or which translates to The Golden Tenor. He was successful mostly in the 40s. Ramuntcho is from a 1947 film where he played the title character. He was born Andre Deyherassary Sept. 10, 1912 in Biarritz, Basque. His father wanted him to be in the hospitality industry so Dassary moved to London. While in the military during the 30s, he discovered singing and attended the Bourdeaux Conservatory. He was also on the French rugby team at the 1937 World University Games. In 1938, he started singing on the radio. A meeting with orchestra leader Ray Ventura got him into movies. Dassary made several films in the 40s mostly to showcase his operatic singing voice. Ramuntcho is from the 1947 film The Marriage Of Ramuntcho. These kind of films were very popular in France. So for a while, Dassary was a big star. He continued to make films and appear in music halls in the 50s. He also gave Yves Montand his first break. Dassary also moved to Montreal in the 60s to further the acting career of daughter Evelyn Dandry. Dassary moved back to France and continued to appear on the stage until his death July 7, 1987 at age 74. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Here's Andre Dassary performing Ramuntcho from the 1947 film The Marriage of Ramuntcho. Thanks to Music-Story for the Andre Dassary bio.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
On today's edition of Big Bad Blog Video Theater, I have Alpha Female defending the World Of Stardom championship against Io Shirai. This was the main event of STARDOM's Apr. 29 Sumo Hall show. I guess the thing that should impress most fans right at the start is the size difference. Alpha Female is the German monster heel at six feet tall and 180lbs. And Io Shirai is 5'3" and weighs 120lbs. And they showed a clip where Alpha Female beat Io in a tag team match. So on the surface it looks like a mismatch. But as I said when this match was announced, there was no way that Alpha Female was going to keep that title because she's not in Japan all the time. And with the retirement of Yuzuki Aikawa, STARDOM needed a new ace who isn't Nanae Takahashi. I can assure you that the original plan was for Aikawa to win this title. So how do they have Io beat Alpha Female so it doesn't look like a fluke. First you have to have Alpha Female control the match and make it look like she's going to destroy Io. There were plenty of near falls. And if you're going to ask me about the ref's slow count, all Japanese refs count like that. And there is usually a delay before the three count. The only way Io can beat Alpha Female is to use her quickness and athleticism. And this leads to a series of kicks including a spinning back kick to the head to give the win to Io Shirai. This is her first title belt ever so it's not surprising that she is bawling her eyes out after the match. I think Io Shirai could be a great champion. She has worked very hard over the past couple of years to improve her ring skills. she just turned 23 years old so she's still young. STARDOM hasn't announced the first challenger. They just announced an upcoming tour and Io is on the shows but in tag matches. We have to see how they book her. All the matches from this show have been posted on Daily Motion. I have only watched this one so far but I may post a couple of other videos after I watch them. But I wanted to post this one first. Congratulations to Io Shirai on the big win. Enjoy the video!
09. Alpha Female (c) vs Io Shirai - (STARDOM 04... by SenorLARIATO
09. Alpha Female (c) vs Io Shirai - (STARDOM 04... by SenorLARIATO
Album:An Awesome Wave
The British band Alt-J released their major label debut last year. They are getting some buzz but time will tell if they can be a long term success. The members of Alt-J met at Leeds University in 2007. Lead singer and guitarist Joe Newman showed some of his songs to bassist Gwil Sainsbury and they formed Alt-J with classmates Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) and Thom Green (drums). The name Alt-J results in a delta symbol when pressed on an Apple Mac OS keyboard. After graduation, Alt-J moved to Cambridge. They released an EP independently in 2011 and this led to a record deal with Infectious Records. Former RCA exec Korda Marshall started Infectious when parent company Mushroom was sold to Warner Music. Alt-J's debut CD an Awesome Wave was released in England May 2012. It did well enough that Canvasback Music picked it up for US distribution through Atlantic Records and released it on Sept. 2012. Breezeblocks is their most successful song to date. It has an interesting video that runs in reverse time. An Awesome Wave won the 2012 Mercury Prize and was named album of the year by BBC Radio 6 Music. They have been very successful in Australia. Critics attempting to pigeonhole Alt-J as rock or folk have not really done them justice. They are a mix of several musical styles. Alt-J is currently on a world tour and they have announced plans to score actor Toby Jones' upcoming film Leave To Remain. The song Buffalo appeared in the film Silver Linings Playbook. Alt-J is an interesting band but one never knows about longevity. Here's the video for Breezeblocks by Alt-J.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Song:Stay With Me
Album:The Best Of Faces: Good Boys...When They're Asleep
The history of Faces is complicated because it overlaps with Rod Stewart establishing his solo career. And that solo career eventually killed Faces though Stewart tried to do both. One thing is for sure. Stay With me is a classic rocker and Faces' biggest hit. When Steve Marriott left Small Faces in 1969, Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Lane (bass) and Kenney Jones (drums) decided to remain together. Rod Stewart was already known as lead singer of The Jeff Beck Group and Ronnie Wood played guitar. These five formed Quiet Melon with Wood's older brother Art Wood and Kim Gardner. They recorded four songs that were rejected by Fontana Records. Art Wood quit the music business and Gardner went on to form Ashton, Gardner & Dyke. But the rest of the band stayed together as Faces. Warner Bros. wanted to keep the Small Faces name but the guys thought the band was much different so they settled on Faces. The band was very successful. The 1971 album A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Gold. Stay With Me was their biggest hit. it reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. But Stewart became a big solo star at the same time. Ronnie Lane left Faces in 1973 because he thought Stewart had become bigger than the band. He was replaced by Tetsu Yamauchi of Free. Faces continued until Wood started working with The Rolling Stones in 1975. That split up Faces for good. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Ronnie Lane had a brief solo career and then was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He died in 1997. Jones joined The Who after Keith Moon's death. McLagan moved to the US to play sessions. He is currently a member of Billy Bragg's band. Faces reunited with Mick Hucknall of Simply Red on vocals and Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols on bass in 2010. That band toured but didn't record. Faces were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2012. Here's Faces performing Stay With Me 1971.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Song:Farewell My Friend
Album:Pacific Ocean Blue: Legacy Edition
Most fans know Dennis Wilson as the drummer for The Beach Boys. But you may not know that he was the first Beach Boy to release a solo album in 1978. Pacific Ocean Blue wasn't successful at the time but is now considered to be a classic. Dennis was born Dec. 4, 1944 in Marina Del Rey, CA. When The Beach Boys were formed in the early 60s, Dennis became the drummer by default. His brother Brian Wilson wrote most of the songs and cousin Mike Love was lead singer most of the time. By the late 60s, Dennis started writing songs and some of them appeared on albums like Sunflower and Holland. He started working on Pacific Ocean Blue in 1970 but it was interrupted when he appeared in the 1971 film Two-Lane Blacktop. It was also delayed by The Beach Boys touring schedule. He returned to it in 1976 and the album was released in Aug. 1977. It was critically acclaimed but did not sell. Carl Wilson played guitar and Daryl Dragon of Captain & Tennille wrote the arrangements. Farewell My Friend was written as a tribute to Carl Wilson's father in law Otto Hinsche. He was the father of Billy Hinsche of Dino, Desi & Billy. A planned tour never happened. In 1978, Dennis started working on his second album Bambu. Two songs from those sessions appeared on the 1979 Beach Boys album L.A. (Light Album). Dennis' alcohol addiction was getting worse. On Dec. 29, 1983, Dennis had been drinking on his yacht. He drowned at age 39 after diving into the ocean off Marina Del Rey. In 2008, Sony released a 2CD edition of Pacific Ocean Blue with the previously unreleased Bambu recordings on the second CD. This is recommended to Beach Boys fans. Director Randall Miller plans the Dennis Wilson biopic The Drummer starring Aaron Eckhart. It looks like Miller will shoot this after his current film CBGB is done. Here's a video for Farewell My Friend by Dennis Wilson.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Song:Give Me One Reason
Folksinger Tracy Chapman was an unlikely success story. When she emerged in the 80s with Fast Cars, folksingers were not in vogue. I would have thought Fast Cars was her biggest hit but her 1996 comeback single Give Me One Reason's chart placing was slightly higher. Both were top ten hits. She was born Mar. 30, 1964 in Cleveland and learned to play guitar as a child. While attending Tufts University, she started playing local coffeehouses in Boston. She was spotted by fellow Tufts student Brian Koppleman. Well, that was her lucky day. Koppleman's father is veteran music exec Charles Koppleman who at the time owned SBK Publishing. He got her a record deal with Elektra Records. Tracy Chapman was her debut album in 1988. Fast Cars became a hit after Tracy performed it on the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Stadium in London June 11, 1988. Fox broadcast it in the US. Fast Cars reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Tracy Chapman topped the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified 6XPlatinum. Tracy's second album Crossroads was certified Platinum but it didn't perform as well. And she continued to fade with the 1992 album Matters Of The Heart. Tracy was criticized for being too politically active. That's what happens when an artist's first single is a smash. It's hard to follow that. And Tracy Chapman was not a commercial artist anyway. Any hit single was a bonus. So she got lucky again when Give Me One Reason reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1996. It wasn't even a new song. She had performed it on a 1989 episode of Saturday Night Live. But she didn't record it until 1995. She got lucky a second time. This comp is a good intro to her music. Tracy Chapman last recorded in 2008 on Atlantic after Elektra was closed. I don't know if she is still on Atlantic. Tracy Chapman still tours and is a social activist. Here's the video for Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman. Music fans will recognize jazz singer Dianne Reeves in the video.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Song:I Got A Girl
Album:I Am An Elastic Firecracker
The psychedelic influenced band Tripping Daisy had their biggest success with the 1995 single I Got A Girl. The band ended when guitarist Wes Berggren died from a 1999 drug overdose. Several members of Tripping Daisy went on to form Polyphonic Spree. Tripping Daisy is from Dallas led by lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Tim DeLaughter. Other original members were Wes Berggren on guitar, Mark Pirro on bass and Jeff Bouck on drums. They were formed in 1991. Bouck was replaced by Bryan Wakeland in 1992. Tripping Daisy started out playing gigs in Dallas and got some local radio airplay. They released the album Bill independently in 1992 and this led to a contact with Island Records. The 1995 CD I Am An Elastic Firecracker was their major label debut. The video for I Got A Girl got extensive play on MTV and reached #6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. After the tour to support I Am an Elastic Firecracker, Wakeland was replaced first by Mitch Marine and then by Ben Curtis for the 1998 CD Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb. This album did not sell and it looked like Island was going to drop Tripping Daisy. Then Wes Berggren died of a drug overdose on Oct. 27, 1999 at age 28. Tripping Daisy had already recorded a new album. But DeLaughter disbanded the band anyway and left Island. The final CD was released independently. Delaughter and Pirro formed Polyphonic Spree in 2000 and that band is still around. Ben Curtis is a member of School Of Seven Bells. Delaughter plans to release the Tripping Daisy CDs on his own label. Right now they aren't available. Here's the video for I Got A Girl by Tripping Daisy.
Monday, May 06, 2013
Song:He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
Album:100 Hits: 50s
According to my research, this record was the biggest selling one hit wonder of the 50s. British singer Laurie London recorded it when he was 13 years old. By age 19, he was out of the music business. I guess his career peaked early...or something. London was born Jan. 19, 1944 in East London. It's not clear how he got into a recording studio while still in grammar school. But he recorded the gospel standard He's Got The Whole World In His Hands for the EMI label Parlophone with the Geoff Love Orchestra. Love led the house band at EMI Studios in London and he recorded as Manuel and the Music of the Mountains. He worked as an arranger and producer for a lot of EMI artists. Of course He's Got The Whole World In His Hands is closely associated with gospel music legend Mahalia Jackson...as it should be. Capitol Records released London's recording in the US and it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. It was the most successful recording by a British male artist in the 50s. You can get it on this 5CD various artists budget box set from EMI. London continued to record. Apparently he was very popular in Germany and therefore he recorded a lot in German. But none of these recordings went anywhere and Laurie London retired from music at age 19. After a failed mid-60s comeback, London retired for good. He owned a hotel for many years and currently manages The Ship and Castle pub in Portsmouth. Here's Laurie London performing He's Got The Whole World In His Hands 1958.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
Song:Time Spent In Los Angeles
Album:Nothing Is Wrong
Dawes is a current incarnation of the kind of California folk rock we all listened to in the 70s. They started out as the post punk band Simon Dawes when lead singer and songwriter Taylor Goldsmith was attending Malibu High School in Los Angeles. He wrote the band's songs with Blake Mills. Other members were Wylie Gelber on bass and Stuart Johnson on drums. The band name is the middle names of Goldsmith and Mills. Mills and Johnson left after Simon Dawes recorded one album and were replaced by Goldsmith's brother Griffin Goldsmith on drums and Alex Casnoff on keyboards. The band name was shortened to Dawes and the band's music went in a folk rock direction. Producer Jonathan Wilson invited Dawes to record at his recording studio in Laurel Canyon. Wilson has worked with Father John Misty among others. This led to a contract with Dave Matthews' ATO Records and the CD North Hills was released in 2009. Casnoff left in 2010 and was replaced by Tay Strathairn. Time Spent In Los Angeles is from their 2011 CD Nothing Is Wrong. Jackson Browne and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers made guest appearances. Dawes appeared as themselves on an episode of the NBC TV series Parenthood. Their latest CD Stories Don't End was released last month and Dawes is currently touring with Mumford and Sons. Fans of that band should check out Dawes. Here's the video for Time Spent In Los Angeles by Dawes.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Album:Stellar Fungk: The Best Of Slade
Like the Ohio Players, Slave was a funk band from Dayton, OH. Slide was their first single and their only number one R & B hit in 1977. Slave co-founder Steve Washington is the nephew of Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrook of the Ohio Players. Washington moved from his home in Newark, NJ to live with Middlebrook in Dayton. He formed Black Satin Soul with Tim Dozier and Mark Hicks. They added lead singer Floyd Miller along with Mark Adams, Thomas Lockett, Orion Wilhoite, Danny Webster and Carter Bradley. When Miller showed up at a rehearsal wearing a t-shirt reading "Slave", they changed the group name meaning We're All Slaves To The Universe. I suspect some interpreted the name differently. Newark radio station program director Jeff Dixon liked them and got Slave a record deal with the Atlantic label Cotillion Records. Slide was their first single and it topped the R & B charts in 1977 and reached #32 on the Billboard Hot 100. Steve Arrington became the new lead singer in 1978. Washington and Lockett left Slave to form Aurra in 1979. And Arrington left to go solo in 1982. Slave continued to have success on the R & B charts until they left Cotillion in 1984. You can get all their hits on this budget comp from Rhino. Slave were less successful recording for Ichiban Records. Steve Arrington had some success in the 80s until he quit the music business in 1990 to become a minister. He returned to music in 2009. Mark Adams and Mark Hicks both died in 2011. Here's Slave performing Slide on Don Kirshner's Rock concert 1977.
Friday, May 03, 2013
Song:I Drive Your Truck
Album:Hard 2 Love
After success as a songwriter and a false start as a recording artist, Lee Brice scored three top ten country hits from his latest CD Hard 2 Love including I Drive Your Truck. He was born June 30, 1980 in Sumter, SC. He learned to play piano as a child and won high school talent contests. Garth Brooks is his idol. But he also played quarterback on the high school football team and won a scholarship to Clemson. An arm injury ended his football career and Brice moved to Nashville and signed a publishing deal with Curb Records. His songs were recorded by Jason Aldean among others. Brice recorded the 2007 album Picture Of Me. After two singles were unsuccessful, Curb decided not to release the album. He went back to writing songs for others including the Adam Gregory hit Crazy Days. After Garth Brooks recorded the Brice song More Than A Memory on Ultimate Hits, Curb gave Brice another chance. Love Like Crazy reached #3 on the Country Singles chart. His second CD Hard 2 Love broke through in a big way. A Woman Like You was his first number one country hit in 2011. I Drive Your Truck was the third single and it reached #6. Though Brice writes a lot of his own songs, I Drive Your Truck was written by Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary. Alexander and Yeary have both recorded solo but have had success as songwriters. Harrington got the idea for the song based on a real life incident where a man's son died in the military and he coped with the grief by driving his truck. Lee Brice is currently on tour opening for Brad Paisley. His brother Lewis Brice is also a singer and was a contestant on the CMT talent show Can You Duet?. Here's the video for I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Song:Put A Little Love In Your Heart
Album:What The World Needs Now Is...Jackie DeShannon: The Definitive Collection
Jackie DeShannon is best known for two hit singles; What The World Needs Now Is Love and Put A Little Love In Your Heart. But she has had a long career as a songwriter and won a Grammy for the Kim Carnes hit Bette Davis Eyes. She was born Sharon Lee Myers Aug. 21, 1941 in Hazel, KY. As a child, she performed on local radio. Her family moved and Sharon went to high school in Batavia, IL. She hosted her own local radio show. In 1957 she signed with George Goldner's Gone label and recorded as Jackie Dee. Though her single was not a hit, she got the attention of Eddie Cochran and he introduced her to his girlfriend Sharon Sheeley. Jackie and Sharon wrote several songs together including Dum Dum for Brenda Lee. When Jackie signed with Liberty Records in 1960, she decided to call herself Jackie Dee Shannon which became Jackie DeShannon. Though she charted with her cover of Needles and Pins and her own song When You Walk In The Room, her early 60s recordings were mostly flops. Meanwhile, she dated Elvis Presley and appeared in the film Surf Party. Jackie opened for The Beatles' first US tour in 1964. Her song Don't Doubt Yourself Babe was recorded by The Byrds and she moved to England and wrote songs with Jimmy Page. They wrote the Marianne Faithful hit Come And Stay With Me. Jackie moved to New York to work with Randy Newman. Her recording of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song What The World Needs Now is Love reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. She also appeared in the 1967 film C'mon Let's Live a Little. She finally had another hit when Put A Little Love In Your Heart reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. Jackie wrote the song with her brother Randy Myers and soul singer songwriter Jimmy Holiday. Holiday had a top ten R & B hit in 1963 with How Can I Forget and he co-wrote the Aretha Franklin hit Baby I Love You. Put A Little Love In Your Heart was a hit for Al Green and Annie Lennox in 1989. Both of Jackie's big hits are on this budget comp. She left Liberty for Atlantic in 1970. Jackie never had another hit but her songs were hits for others. Jackie wrote Bette Davis Eyes with Donna Weiss and recorded it in 1974. It became a monster hit when Kim Carnes recorded it in 1981. Jackie won the Song of the Year Grammy. When You Walk In the Room by Pam Tillis topped the country charts in 1994. So Jackie DeShannon's songs still surface occasionally. She currently appears on Breakfast With The Beatles broadcasts on Sirius XM Satellite Radio talking about touring with them. She has been married to film composer Randy Edelman since 1977. So there is much more to Jackie DeShannon than two hit singles. Songwriting talent sure goes a long way. Here's Jackie DeShannon performing Put A Little Love In Your Heart 1969.