|Mika Nagano, Emi Fujino, Yasuko Mogi, MIZUKI, Emi Tomimatsu|
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Album:40 Ultimate Country Super Hits
The country band Ricochet had brief success with their 1996 debut CD. Daddy's Money was their only number one country hit and then they faded quickly. Ricochet is from Oklahoma. Drummer Jeff Bryant and his brother Junior Bryant (fiddle, mandolin) were members of the band Lariat in 1992. They invited singer Heath Wright to join. When Lariat split up, the three formed Ricochet and held auditions to fill out the band. The other members were Teddy Carr on steel guitar, Greg Cook on bass and Eddie Kilgallon on keyboards. Ricochet's manager was friends with Oak Ridge Boys producer Ron Chancey. Chancey's son Blake Chancey was A & R director at Columbia Records Nashville. After hearing Ricochet's demo and seeing them live, they signed with Columbia. Ron Chancey produced Ricochet's debut album. Their debut single What Do I Know reached #5 on the Country Singles chart. Then Daddy's Money topped the Country Singles chart in 1996. The CD Ricochet was certified Gold. Daddy's Money was written by veteran Nashville songwriters Bob DiPiero, Mark D. Sanders and Steve Seskin. Ricochet's third top ten country single from their debut CD was Love Is Stronger Than Pride. They also charted with a recording of The Star Spangled Banner from the CD NASCAR: Hotter Than Asphalt. But Ricochet's 1997 CD Blink Of An Eye didn't perform as well as the first CD. Three singles were released from Ricochet's 1998 CD What A Ride but the album was never released. Jeff Bryant left Ricochet in 1999 due to carpal tunnel syndrome and was replaced by Tim Chewning. Shannon Farmer replaced Teddy Carr. The 2000 CD What You Leave Behind was a reworked version of What A Ride. It was unsuccessful. Columbia dropped them. None of the Ricochet CDs are available. But you can get Daddy's Money on this 3CD various artists budget box set from Sony. Heath Wright still leads Ricochet today along with Greg Cook. Here's the video for Daddy's Money by Ricochet. This video is not on Youtube.
Daddy's Money Ricochet by Shadow_9
Friday, August 30, 2013
Back in 1998 when Adam's Rib was climbing the Canadian charts, Melanie Doane looked like she was going to be the next big thing. It didn't happen probably by Melanie's choice. She is still making music but her time for stardom has passed. She was born Dec. 19, 1967 in Halifax, NS. Her father is Order of Canada winning music educator J. Chalmers Doane. His primary instrument is the ukelele. So Melanie learned music at a very early age. Her primary instrument is the violin. She studied music at Dalhousie University with the intention of following in her father's footsteps and becoming a music teacher. But she got sidetracked into regional theater in Nova Scotia and moved to Toronto in 1988. She appeared in the Toronto production of Fire!, a musical about cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart. It was here she met future husband actor Ted Dykstra. In 1993 Melanie released an EP independently and this led to a record deal with Sony Music Canada. Her debut album Shakespearean Fish was released in 1996. Los angeles based producer Rick Neigher heard the album and wanted to work with Melanie. He is best known for producing Tonio K. Adam's Rib was released in 1998 and the single was Melanie's first top 40 hit in Canada. She won a Juno for Best New Solo Artist. The CD was released in the US but wasn't promoted. It could have been a hit. Adam's Rib is available as a budget CD. After touring, Melanie quit Sony and signed with Actorboy Records owned by actor Gary Sinise. Her 2003 CD You Are What You Love was released in Canada by Warner Music. It was not released in the US. It did OK especially in the Maritimes where Melanie is a star. She continues to release new music first on her website and then on CD. Her latest CD was Emerald City in 2011. She also appeared in the 2012 Toronto production of the musical War Horse. Melanie lives in Toronto with her family and continues her father's legacy by teaching ukelele in Toronto schools. Maybe that's more satisfying than pop stardom. Here's the video for Adam's Rib by Melanie Doane.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Steve Kuhn's claim to fame, if you want to call it that, is that he was the original pianist for the classic John Coltrane Quartet in the early 60s. He was replaced by McCoy Tyner after two months. Kuhn has recorded as a leader since 1963. This 2009 CD is a Coltrane tribute and features tenor sax player Joe Lovano along with Kuhn's usual trio. Kuhn was born Mar. 24, 1938 in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Boston. He was taught piano by Margaret Chaloff, mother of sax player Serge Chaloff. As teens, Kuhn and Chaloff played local Boston clubs together. Kuhn graduated from Harvard and attended the Lenox School of Music with Ornette Coleman. He moved to New York and played with trumpeter Kenny Dorham in the late 50s. When John Coltrane was forming his quartet in 1960, he tried out many musicians at The Jazz Gallery in New York. McCoy Tyner was an old friend of Coltrane's from Philadelphia. There was some uncertainty about whether Tyner wanted to move to New York. So Kuhn was pianist for the band until Tyner made up his mind and decided to join. Kuhn recorded his first album as a leader in 1963. It was a duet album with pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi. In the 60s, he recorded with Stan Getz, Art Farmer and Oliver Nelson. He moved to Sweden in 1967 and led his own trio throughout Europe. He returned to New York in 1971 and signed with ECM Records in 1974. Since then, he has recorded with his own trio and also with bassist Steve Swallow and vocalist Sheila Jordan. The 2009 CD Mostly Coltrane is with his touring trio of David Finck on bass and Joey Baron on drums. They have worked together since the mid-90s. Because this CD is a Coltrane tribute, tenor sax player Joe Lovano was added for the CD and the subsequent tour. Kuhn latest CD Wisteria was released in Apr. 2012. Steve Kuhn is one of those guys that fans may have heard on other artist's recording but they may not be familiar with his recordings. Here's the Steve Kuhn Trio featuring Joe Lovano performing Crescent at the 2008 Jazz Baltica festival in Germany.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Song:Guys and Dolls
Album:Guys and Dolls: A Decca Original Cast Album
Stubby Kaye was a very popular musical performer used primarily for comedy because of his rotund shape. His performance as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the 1950 original Broadway cast of Guys and Dolls was his breakthrough role. Johnny Silver played Benny Southstreet in the same show. Both guys were in the 1955 film of Guys and Dolls. Stubby Kaye was born Bernard Kotzin Nov. 11, 1918 in New York City. Guys and Dolls is based on the writings of Damon Runyon. The book was written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and the music was written by Frank Loesser. George S. Kaufman directed the 1950 production. The show won the 1951 Best Musical Tony Award. The stars were Robert Alda, Sam Levene and Vivian Blaine. Loesser had seen Stubby Kaye elsewhere and thought he would be perfect as Nicely-Nicely Johnson. Kaye and Silver do a great job on the song Guys and Dolls. The original cast is available on CD. Both guys reprised their roles for the 1955 film version of Guys and Dolls starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. Stubby Kaye went on to play Marryin' Sam in the show and film Lil' Abner. I'm sure many recall his appearance singing with Nat King Cole in the 1965 film Cat Ballou. Kaye appeared a lot on TV and continued to appear in Broadway musicals in the 70s and 80s. He died on Dec. 14, 1997 at age 79. After Guys and Dolls, Johnny Silver worked in local theater in Los Angeles and made many one shot appearances on TV. He's not someone fans would know but you have seen him. He died in 2003. 20th Century Fox plan to remake Guys and Dolls starring Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Here's Frank Sinatra, Stubby Kaye and Johnny Silver performing Guys and Dolls from the 1955 film Guys and Dolls. Yes, I am cheating a bit by using the film version.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Here is the video for episode five of WWE Total Divas. In this episode, we see Nattie Neidhart exhibit irrational behaviour for the first time and both Funkadactyls behave badly. The episode begins with Divas in training Eva Marie and JoJo fooling around at the gym. The only thing that happens is they encounter Joe Anoa'i who wrestles for the WWE as Roman Reigns of The Shield. He is the son of Sika of The Wild Samoans and the brother of the late Matt "Rosey" Anoa'i. Nothing happens and the show never returns to this. It doesn't seem like a segment with much purpose. RAW is in Calgary which is the home town of Nattie Neidhart and her fiancee TJ Wilson. He accompanies her despite the fact that he is recovering from an injury and isn't on the active roster. He could have stayed home and avoid the ensuing foolishness. Nattie is celebrating her birthday this week and is hoping for some private time with TJ. Considering that they only go to Calgary a couple of times a year, that is an unrealistic expectation. They check into a hotel but she expects TJ's mom to call him to come stay at home. Nattie hopes he turns her down. That's the unrealistic expectation. Mom calls. TJ leaves the hotel. Nattie is unhappy. There is a scene of Nattie and TJ having lunch with his mom and sister. She's a typical mom. This is when I think Nattie is being silly. They have her go to a tanning salon owned by a guy she used to train with many years ago. He worked as a pro wrestler for the Hart family business Stampede Wrestling. This guy Jaret knows both of them but he has a long standing crush on Nattie. He knows they are getting married soon. But he asks her out to dinner to take one last shot. Nattie tells Jaret that she is upset about TJ's devotion to his mom. He says TJ has always been devoted to his mom. Why does it upset her now? The light bulb goes on. She knows she was being silly. That whole scene was awkward and seemed phony to me. At least the appropriate message was delivered. The Bella Twins go to make peace with their father who has not always been there for them. Nikki is very apprehensive about the meeting but it turns out OK. The story that takes up most of this episode is the conflict between The Funkadactyls. The conflict is because Trinity has been in WWE developmental a lot longer than Ariane and has more athletic ability than Ariane. When Trinity wants to try out some new dance steps, Ariane can't keep up with her. This bickering results in an argument at a go kart track and Trinity pushes Ariane. Now they don't want to work together anymore. At RAW, they are supposed to work together and they tell Jane Geddes they don't want to. After some discussion with Stephanie McMahon, they both work singles matches. Things don't go well. Both of them botch moves and lose. Afterwards, the two realize they need each other and they make up. All's well that ends well. I'm sure they will bicker again. The problem is Trinity isn't as good at wrestling as she thinks. I saw her a couple of years ago on NXT and I don't think she has improved much. She has a dancer's athleticism but she lacks the body control needed to be a good pro wrestler. She messes up a lot. And remember they were brought up to the main roster to dance with Brodus Clay. It's just recently the WWE has tried to turn them into wrestlers. They need a lot of work. Check out the video for yourself.
WWE - Total Divas - Season 01 - Episode 05 by wwetotaldivas
WWE - Total Divas - Season 01 - Episode 05 by wwetotaldivas
Song:You're A Friend Of Mine
Album:Greatest Hits of the 80's
Of course Clarence Clemons Jr. is best known and beloved as the long time sax player for Bruce Springsteen. But he recorded a few solo albums in the 80s and You're A Friend Of Mine was a top 20 hit in 1985. It was his only hit single. He was born Jan. 11, 1942 in Chesapeake, VA. His father owned a fish market. His grandfather was a preacher so Clemons listened to gospel music as a child. His father gave him an alto sax for Christmas. Clemons switched to tenor sax after listening to his uncle's King Curtis records. Clemons attended Maryland State University on music and football scholarships. A potential NFL career ended when he was seriously injured in a car crash. So he turned to music. Clemons worked as a counselor at the Jamesburg Training School for Boys in Newark, NJ while playing in bands at night. Of course his big break came in 1972 when Bruce Springsteen invited Clemons to jam with his band at a club in Asbury Park. And the rest is history. They knew each other but had never played together. Clemons said it was instant magic. Clemons' fame led him to play sessions and guest solos on records. He opened a club in Red Bank, NJ in the early 80s and formed The Red Bank Rockers. The album Rescue was released in 1983. Springsteen produced it with veteran session musician Ralph Shuckett. Clemons wasn't the lead singer. That was John Bowen. That album was unsuccessful. Clemons met producer Narada Michael Walden when Clemons played sax on the 1985 Aretha Franklin hit Freeway Of Love which Walden wrote and produced. Walden produced the 1985 album Hero and wrote and produced You're A Friend Of Mine. It reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video helped as it featured Jackson Browne and his then girlfriend Daryl Hannah who was a big movie star at the time. Clemons released one more album in 1989. But the Springsteen band was always his priority. A solo career was always going to take a back seat. Rescue and Hero are available on CD as a twofer from Collectables. But for those who just want You're A Friend Of Mine, I suggest this 3CD various artists budget comp from Sony. Clemons recorded a few solo CDs with his band Temple Of Soul. But mostly he worked with Springsteen until his death from a stroke on June 16, 2011 at age 69. Here's the video for You're A Friend of mine featuring Jackson Browne with appearances by Daryl Hannah and Narada Michael Walden on drums.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Song:The Three Bells
Album:Soft as the Voice of an Angel
The Browns were a very popular country music trio known for their harmonies. The 1959 hit The Three Bells not only topped the country charts but topped the pop charts. Siblings Maxine, Jim Ed and Bonnie Brown grew up in Pine Bluff, AR. Maxine and Jim Ed signed a record contract as a duo in 1954 and 18 year old Bonnie joined them in 1955. Their first single Looking Back To See was a hit after The Browns appeared on the Ernest Tubb radio show. They also appeared on Louisiana Hayride and Ozark Jubilee. The Browns signed with RCA Records in 1956 and scored with I Take The Chance and I Heard The Bluebirds Sing. Jim Ed Brown was drafted into the US Army in 1957 and another sister Norma and Billy Walker filled in while he was away. When Jim Ed returned in 1959, The Three Bells topped the country and pop charts. It was their only number one hit. A lot of fans think the song title is Jimmy Brown and that the song must be autobiographical. But the song was written by French composer Jean Villard Gilles. The English lyrics were written by Bert Reisfeld. He specialized in writing English lyrics for foreign language songs. In France the song was a hit for Edith Piaf in 1952. The English version was first recorded by The Melody Maids in 1948 and then The Andrews Sisters in 1951. But it wasn't a hit until The Browns recorded it in 1959. Other hits by The Browns include Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair) and The Old Lamplighter. You can get all of them on this Eric Records comp. Jim Ed Brown started recording solo in 1965 and that was the beginning of the end. The Browns split up in 1967. Jim Ed Brown has had a long career in music and was especially successful recording with Helen Cornelius in the 70s. He currently hosts the weekly Country Music Greats Radio Show. Maxine Brown attempted a solo career briefly and Bonnie Brown retired. The Browns reunited for the 2006 PBS show Country Pop Legends. Here are The Browns performing The Three Bells on National Life Grand Ole Opry July 16, 1965.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Song:Come Back Baby
Album:To Be Continued...
This obscure 1965 single is notable because it is the first song written and sung by Elton John. Back then he used his real name Reg Dwight. Bluesology recorded two singles and then became Long John Baldry's backup band. In 1960 in the London suburb of Middlesex, 13 year old organist Reg Dwight and his neighbour guitarist Stu Brown were in The Corvettes. When that band split up, they formed Bluesology with bassist Rex Bishop and drummer Mick Inkpen. Dwight says the name Bluesology was a tribute to the Django Reinhardt album Djangology and the Modern Jazz Quartet song Bluesology. They started out playing local London clubs and in 1963 had a regular weekly gig at the Establishment Club playing mostly blues covers. In 1965, an agency hired them to back up visiting American acts like The Isley Brothers and Doris Troy. A demo got Bluesology a deal with Fontana Records. Come Back Baby was the first single. Dwight wrote the song and sang lead. It was his first appearance on record so it has historical significance. You'll notice I didn't say it is good. That and the second single Mr. Frantic were unsuccessful. Bluesology went back to being a backup band and eventually Dwight and Brown and a new version of Bluesology became Long John Baldry's regular band in 1966. Dwight left in 1967 to become a session musician. Meanwhile, he met Bernie Taupin and they started writing songs together. We all know what happened next. The name Elton John comes from Bluesology sax player Elton Dean and Long John Baldry. Come Back Baby is only available on this 5CD Elton John box set which is out of print. The song is available on mp3. Stu Brown and Bluesology recorded one more single and then split up. Brown led the country rock band Cochise. They recorded three albums in the early 70s. Here's a video for Come Back Baby by Bluesology.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Album:We All Love Ennio Morricone
There are those who will try to tell you that Italian Ennio Morricone is the greatest film composer of all time. That is not my opinion. But there's no question he is one of the most prolific. he's a living legend of film music. He has scored hundreds of films and TV shows and he's still at it today. Gabriel's Oboe is the theme from the 1986 film The Mission. That score was nominated for an Oscar. He was born Nov. 28, 1924 in Rome, Italy. His father Mario Morricone was a trumpeter and taught Ennio music when he was a child. Morricone arranged and produced music for pop singers, radio and TV in the 50s. He did a few films but his big break was composing the score for Sergio Leone's 1964 spaghetti western A Fistful Of Dollars. That film and the other two parts of the trilogy made Clint Eastwood and Ennio Morricone stars. He got a big boost when Hugo Montenegro's version of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was a hit single. It sold a million copies. This was the start of Morricone becoming a cult figure to film music fans. And of course Hollywood came calling. His score for the 1986 film The Mission is considered to be one of Morricone's finest scores. Director Roland Joffe is a big fan. It was nominated for a 1986 Oscar. The soundtrack CD is available. But for the beginner, I'm going to suggest this 2007 Morricone tribute CD We All Love Ennio Morricone. Morricone conducts a couple of his own songs including Gabriel's Oboe. Also appearing on this CD are Celine Dion, Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock, Bruce Springsteen, Andrea Bocelli, Metallica, Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, Daniela Mercury with Eumir Deodato, Dulce Pontes, Chris Botti, Vanessa and the O's, Roger Waters, Denyce Graves and Taro Hakase. This should help beginners get into Morricone's music. For the 2010 CD Paradiso, Morricone let New Zealand born soprano Hayley Westenra write lyrics for some of his songs including Gabriel's Oboe. Morricone produced and arranged the CD. Ennio Morricone is still active. His most recent score was for Guiseppe Tornatore's latest film The Best Offer. Morricone has worked a lot with Tornatore. He has signed to compose the score for the animated film The Canterville Ghost scheduled for release Christmas 2014. Unlike a lot of film composers, Morricone likes to go on tour and conduct his music himself. So here's Ennio Morricone conducting a performance of Gabriel's Oboe Munich, Germany 2005.
Friday, August 23, 2013
|Rin Nakai, Tara LaRosa|
Tesla tends to get lumped in with 80s hair metal bands but they are probably closer to 70s blues based hard rock bands. And they don't dress like a hair metal band. The 1989 power ballad Love Song was one of their two top ten hits. AccuRadio has a Power Ballad station that is part of my mix because I'm not a big hard rock fan. But most hard rock bands had their biggest hits with power ballads. Tesla is from Sacramento, CA. Bassist Brian Wheat and 15 year old guitarist Frank Hannon formed City Kidd in 1982 and played gigs around Sacramento. Other members were lead singer Jeff Keith, guitarist Tommy Skeoch and drummer Troy Luccketta. They were mentored by guitarist Ronnie Montrose. The band thought the best way to get a record deal was to write hit singles. Eventually they were noticed and City Kidd signed with Geffen Records in 1985. There was already a band called City Kidd so they were named Tesla after inventor Nikola Tesla. Their 1986 debut album Mechanical Resonance was certified Platinum. Tesla toured with other hard rock bands like Def Leppard and Poison so they were categorized as a hair metal band. They didn't like that. Their 1989 album The Great Radio Controversy did even better. It was certified 2XPlatinum. And Love Song reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then they released a live album Five Man Acoustical Jam and Tesla's cover of The Five Man Electrical Band classic Signs reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. That was their peak. Subsequent albums didn't do as well. Substance abuse forced Tommy Skeoch to leave Tesla in 1994 and Geffen dropped them. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Tesla split up and reformed in 2000. Skeoch left in 2005 and Dave Rude is the guitarist. They are currently touring. There were plans for a new CD in 2010 but their recording studio burned down. A new CD is expected in 2014. Here's the video for Love Song by Tesla.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Max Webster
Max Webster was another Canadian band that was successful at home but couldn't seem to break through internationally. The 1979 single Paradise Skies was a last ditch attempt to get a hit in England. They split up in 1981. Lead singer and songwriter Kim Mitchell is from the western Ontario city of Sarnia. He had several bands in the 60s and one of them, ZOOOM, moved to Toronto. He stayed in Toronto when the rest of the band moved back to Sarnia. While working as a session musician, he asked childhood pal Pye Dubois to help him write songs for a potential band. Dubois was never a member of the band but he and Mitchell wrote most of the songs. The band formed in 1972 with Mitchell on vocals and guitar, Terry Watkinson on keyboards, Mike Tilka on bass and Paul Kersey on drums. The name Max Webster is fictitious emulating Alice Cooper. They got a break in 1975 when the band Rush liked them and Max Webster signed with Rush's management and ultimately Anthem Records which was owned by Rush's management. They were on Mercury Records in the US. The first two albums did OK. An attempt to release their first album in the US with a different title didn't work. Kersey was replaced by Gary McCracken and Tilka went to work for Anthem and was replaced by Dave Myles. Both McCracken and Myles are guys Mitchell played with in Sarnia. The next step was to try and break Max Webster in England with the 1979 album A Million Vacations. They toured England and Paradise Skies charted in Canada and England. But it wasn't enough. Watkinson left and was replaced by Dave Stone. When Anthem refused to finance another British tour, Kim Mitchell left to go solo in 1981. That was the end of Max Webster. This comp is a good intro to their music. Mitchell's solo career was successful and Watkinson and Tilka lead the band Antlers. But Max Webster still has a following in Ontario and they have reunited occasionally. Kim Mitchell is also a DJ for Q107 in Toronto. Here's Max Webster performing Paradise Skies on Top Of The Pops 1979.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
|Jessica Eye signs her UFC contract at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland|
Song:Everything I Miss At Home
Everything I Miss At Home was the only number one R & B hit for Cherrelle. She had several hits in the 80s working with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. She was born Cheryl Anne Norton Oct. 13, 1958 in Los Angeles. She made her recording debut on Michael Henderson's 1978 album In The Night Time and then toured with Henderson and Luther Vandross. One of her demos got the attention of Tabu Records owner Clarence Avant and he signed her to a contract. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis of The Time had success producing The S.O.S. Band for Tabu. So Cherrelle and another Tabu artist Alexander O'Neal were assigned to them. Cherrelle's first top ten R & B hit was I Didn't Mean To Turn You On in 1984 which would be a big hit for Robert Palmer in 1985. When Cherrelle's duet with O'Neal Saturday Love reached #2 on the R & B Singles chart, Jam and Lewis decided to produce more duets with them. O'Neal's 1987 album Hearsay and Cherrelle's 1988 album Affair featured several duets and Everything I Miss At Home was the only one to top the R & B Singles chart. Affair and Never Knew Love Like This were top five R & B hits. Then Jam and Lewis got busy working with Janet Jackson and Cherrelle never had another hit. Her 1991 album The Woman I Am was produced by Narada Michael Walden. You can get all her hits on this budget comp. Cherrelle last recorded in 1999 but she still tours the oldies circuit frequently with O'Neal. Here's the video for Everything I Miss At Home by Cherrelle featuring Alexander O'Neal.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Here's the video for the fourth episode of WWE Total Divas. The main topic of this episode is breast implants. This has been a topic of discussion among fans for years. In the 90s, breast implants became standard equipment for WWE Divas and they still are today. Not all the girls get them so guessing which ones do have them is probably a pretty good drinking game. The WWE doesn't encourage the girls to get breast implants but they don't discourage them either. When the Bella Twins returned to the WWE a few months ago, I noticed that Nikki got breast implants and Brie didn't. So they aren't really twins anymore. The episode begins with Nikki Bella and Nattie Neidhart shopping for lingerie. Nattie complains that her fiancee TJ Wilson hasn't been romantic while he is recovering from a knee injury. TJ wrestles for the WWE as Tyson Kidd. TJ and Nattie have known each other since they were kids growing up in Calgary. They have been dating since 2001 and came to the WWE together. So Nikki gets Nattie to buy something to help her love life. Nattie is skeptical. Meanwhile, we find out that the reason Brie Bella didn't get breast implants is because she thinks they make Nikki look fat. The girls have a SummerSlam photo shoot coming up and Brie wants to lose a few pounds. We can all see she doesn't need to lose weight and boyfriend Bryan Danielson tells her that. They have lunch with Nikki and Brie is upset when Nikki orders a dessert. She convinces Nikki to join her in losing weight for the photo shoot. Nikki doesn't want to do it but wants to be a good sister. Of course she cheats and they argue. But they get over it. I think Brie's obsession about being thin is unhealthy and sets a bad example for young girls. She seems oblivious to that. Nattie goes home to see TJ and he's watching wrestling of course. Her attempts to get him to be romantic don't work. That includes her new lingerie. And she wants to know when they will get married. He takes her to the courthouse. Like a lot of guys, he doesn't want a formal wedding and doesn't think they need to get married. But Nattie wants a wedding in front of her family. She's upset with him but he agrees to a wedding that we will get to see later in the season. Ariane of The Funkadactyls tells her partner Trinity she wants breast implants. Trinity thinks she's crazy but she goes with Ariane to a consultation with a plastic surgeon. They drag Trinity's fiancee Jon along. So I'm starting to think this whole storyline is baloney. He didn't need to be there. But a model shows the girls her implants and wants them to feel her breasts. Trinity brings Jon in from the waiting room to feel her breasts and he gets embarrassed. The surgeon loans Ariane implants to try out and the rest of the story is lame attempts at humour at Ariane's expense. She doesn't seem too bright. Ariane comes to RAW and wants the implants sewn into her costume to try them out. But Nikki steals one of them as a prank and it doesn't go well. So the likely truth is Ariane is interested in getting implants. But when she found out she would have to take a month off after the surgery, that ended the discussion. The rest of the story was baloney. I can believe some of the stories but not this one. I don't think the producers care if the stories are believable. And the ratings are great and E! has ordered six more episodes. Who can argue with that? Check out the video for yourself.
wwe total divas episode 4 by Leo_Phillipmaney
wwe total divas episode 4 by Leo_Phillipmaney
Song:When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too)
Album:One Fine Day
So this is going to get a little confusing. There was a British group called The Four Pennies who topped the British charts with Juliet in 1964. This 1963 song When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too) is by a girl group called The Four Pennies. It's an obscure single released by The Chiffons before they became famous with hits like He's So Fine. The song was written by the legendary husband wife team of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. The Chiffons were originally a trio of girls who went to high school together in The Bronx, NY. They were Judy Craig, Patricia Bennett and Barbara Lee. At the suggestion of songwriter Ronald Mack, they added Little Jimmy & The Tops lead singer Sylvia Peterson in 1962. They signed with Laurie Records. They recorded two singles as The Four Pennies including When The Boy's Happy in 1963. The song charted but was not a hit. They recorded He's So Fine as The Chiffons. When that song topped the charts, they decided to abandon The Four Pennies name and from that point they were The Chiffons. The odd thing is that the other Four Pennies single My Block was on The Chiffons first album but When The Boy's Happy wasn't. Of course The Chiffons had a lot of success over the next couple of years. You can get When The Boy's Happy on this Chiffons comp from Remember Records. Judy Craig leads a version of The Chiffons today. The confusion about When The Boy's Happy came from when the song appeared in the 1989 film Shag: The Movie. The film stars Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda and Annabeth Gish. It's a teen movie set in 1963. So not surprisingly, there are a lot of oldies used in the film. There were some music rights issues for the home video release of the film. Some songs that appeared in the theatrical release weren't in the video release and vice versa. This is a problem that is more common than one would think. The VHS release was delayed until 1997 because of this. It looks like When The Boy's Happy appeared in the video release but not the theatrical release. I'm not sure. But it's a very obscure song and when fans tried to find it, they didn't know it was actually by The Chiffons and confused this Four Pennies with the British group. I also think Shag: The Movie was more popular on cable and home video than it was in theaters. That just adds to the confusion. Here's When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too) by The Four Pennies as it appeared in the 1989 film Shag: The Movie.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Song:Long May You Run
Long May You Run is a popular song in Neil Young's catalog. He still performs it today. But it wasn't on a Neil Young album. It was on what turned out to be the one off project The Stills-Young Band. Of course Young and Stephen Stills have worked together for years, most notably in Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Both guys have bad tempers so their relationship has always been mercurial. After the 1974 CSN&Y tour, the four guys couldn't agree on plans to record a new album. So David Crosby and Graham Nash formed Crosby & Nash and signed with ABC Records. They toured and released the 1975 album Wind On The Water. Young and Stills went back to solo careers. But in 1976, Stills and Young started working on a joint project. Crosby & Nash were supposed to participate and turn it into a CSN&Y album. But they were working on the 1976 Crosby & Nash album Whistling Down The Wire and decided to focus on that. They did participate in some of the sessions but their contributions were removed from the masters after they left. Crosby and Nash said they would never work with Stills and Young again. But they forgave Stills and Crosby Stills & Nash reformed in 1977. The Stills-Young Band was Stills' usual band of Jerry Aiello on organ, George "Chocolate" Perry on bass, Joe Vitale on drums and Joe Lala on percussion with Neil Young added. Long May You Run was released as a single but didn't chart. The album did well and was certified Gold. The Stills-Young Band toured but Young left halfway through claiming a throat infection and Stills had to finish the tour without him. Young quit the tour by telegram. Young wrote Long May You Run about his first car. He has continued to perform the song live including on the final episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien in 2010 and at the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Young has never recorded it on any of his studio albums. The Stills-Young Band album is available as a budget CD. But Neil Young fans can get Long May You Run on the 2CD comp Decade. Here's Neil Young performing Long May You Run on MTV Unplugged 1992.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Song:Bright Size Life
Album:Rarum Vol. 9: Selected Recordings
Pat Metheny has been one of the most popular jazz guitarists since the 70s. Bright Size Life was his debut album in 1975. He was born Aug. 12, 1954 in Lee's Summit, MO which is a Kansas City suburb. His older brother is trumpeter Mike Metheny. He studied under Attila Zoller. Metheny briefly attended the University of Miami in 1972 and was offered a teaching position. Then he moved to Berklee in Boston as a teaching assistant to Gary Burton. He met Burton when he was in high school. Metheny made his recording debut with pianist Paul Bley in 1974. Also on those sessions was bassist Jaco Pastorius. This was before Pastorius joined Weather Report. Then Metheny joined Gary Burton's band to work alongside Mick Goodrick. Goodrick is a Berklee grad primarily known as an educator. He has taught many jazz guitarists. Then Metheny signed with Manfred Eicher's ECM Records and recorded Bright Size Life in 1975. Jaco Pastorius is on bass and Bob Moses is on drums. Moses has been a sideman since the mid-60s but at the time he was in Gary Burton's band. Bright Size Life was a huge success. Fans love Metheny's guitar technique and fans of jazz guitar can be obsessive about technique. Metheny's second album Watercolors was with pianist Lyle Mays. Mays has been Metheny's most frequent collaborator and was part of The Pat Metheny Group formed in 1978. Metheny left ECM in 1984. This comp is part of a series and the recordings were selected by Metheny. Since the mid-80s, Metheny has recorded for Geffen, Warner Bros. and he currently records for the Warner label Nonesuch. His current band is Unity Band with Chris Potter on sax, Ben Williams on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. A CD was released June 2012. He has recently released a CD with sax player John Zorn. Of course Metheny has won many awards and has been a sideman on tons of records. Here's Pat Metheny with bassist Richard Bona and drummer Antonio Sanchez performing Bright Size Life.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Song:Love Me Or Leave Me
Album:Pres and Teddy
By the mid-50s, tenor sax legend Lester Young's health had deteriorated to the point where he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1955. His recordings for Verve Records were negatively affected by his alcoholism. But after his treatment, he emerged in 1956 to record one of his best albums with pianist Teddy Wilson. Young died in 1959 so it turned out to be a last hurrah. Though Teddy Wilson led his own band occasionally, he was mainly known as one of the greatest accompanists in jazz history. Of course his best known gig was with Benny Goodman. Young and Wilson worked together in the 30s for Billie Holiday. So Verve Records owner Norman Granz thought it would be a great idea to put these two jazz legends together. Add to that legendary drummer Jo Jones best known for his days with Count Basie. Don't confuse him with Philly Joe Jones. Bassist Gene Ramey worked with Young in the past. Young and Wilson recorded the album The Jazz Giants '56 and then the next day recorded Pres and Teddy. The Jazz Giants '56 added Roy Eldridge on trumpet, Vic Dickenson on trombone and Freddie Green on guitar. These two albums are probably the last great recordings of Lester Young's career as his health soon deteriorated again and he died in 1959. And you can get Pres and Teddy as a budget CD. Love Me Or Leave Me was written by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn and made famous by singer Ruth Etting in the 20s. Love Me Or Leave Me was the title of the 1955 Ruth Etting biopic starring Doris Day. Here's a video for Love Me Or Leave Me by The Lester Young-Teddy Wilson Quartet.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Album:Rancho Texicano: The Very Best Of ZZ Top
Considering that ZZ Top has been a popular band since the 70s, I was a little surprised that they have only had two top ten hits. Sleeping Bag is one of them in 1985. ZZ Top lead singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons is from Houston. His father worked in the music department at MGM. Gibbons was a member of the 60s psychedelic band Moving Sidewalks. He formed ZZ Top in 1969 and after a false start brought in bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard from the band American Blues. The other key figure was manager Bill Ham who was a musician himself and helped a lot with songwriting, arrangements and production. Ham also managed Clint Black. They signed with London Records but their first two albums didn't do well. But the 1973 album Les Hombres established their quirky blues rock sound. Tush was their first top 20 single in 1975. They were now a successful live band. After a two year break, ZZ Top signed with Warner Bros. in 1979. With the 1983 album Eliminator, ZZ Top added synthesizers and went for a more commercial sound. Legs was their first top ten hit in 1984. The 1985 album Afterburner did just as well and Sleeping Bag reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gibbons credits recording engineer Linden Hudson who encouraged ZZ Top to experiment with electronics. But he didn't get songwriting credit. Hudson sued and was paid $600K out of court. The band was constantly on tour so they didn't record again until the 1990 album Recycler. Then they left Warner Bros. for RCA. this 2CD comp covers the Warner years. In the 90s, they returned to a guitar driven blues sound with albums like Antenna in 1994. ZZ Top is still around and released the CD La Futura on Mercury last year. They are currently touring. Here's the video for Sleeping Bag by ZZ Top.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Song:Whatcha Do To My Body
Album:Powerline: The Best of Lee Aaron
In the 80s, Lee Aaron used a mix of sex appeal and hard rock to become Canada's Metal Queen. She had some success in Canada with songs like Whatcha Do To My Body but was never able to break through elsewhere. She seemed to have trouble getting a decent record deal. Today she is a jazz singer. She was born Karen Lynn Greening July 21, 1962 in Belleville, ON and grew up in Brampton. As a teen, she joined a band called Lee Aaron and when she became lead singer, she took Lee Aaron as her stage name. Her manager Rob Connolly fired the rest of the band. Her 1982 album The Lee Aaron Project was produced by Rik Emmett of Triumph and a lot of Toronto's top rock musicians played on it. Connolly thought that emphasizing Aaron's sex appeal was a good way to get attention and he convinced her to pose topless in Oui Magazine. It probably hurt her musical credibility and she regretted doing it. Maybe that's why she had trouble getting a record deal. Lee signed with Attic Records in Canada in 1984 and she also started working with former Wrabit guitarist John Albani. The two wrote most of Lee's songs. She appeared on the cover of her 1984 album Metal Queen in a sword and sorcery outfit and this earned her the name Canada's Metal Queen. Lee toured and even got a record deal with the Virgin label 10 Records. But the label closed and nothing was ever released. Lee had her biggest success with the 1989 album Bodyrock and Whatcha Do To My Body was a top 30 hit in Canada. And the video got a lot of play on MuchMusic. But the hard rock scene was fading in Toronto in the early 90s. She left Attic in 1992. This comp covers her Attic recordings. She recorded a couple of CDs on her own label. And then with the 2000 CD Slick Chick, Lee Aaron reinvented herself as a jazz singer. She says she loved jazz as a child and it was always her first love. Lee Aaron last released a CD in 2006 and continues to play clubs. That's a long way from Canada's Metal Queen. Here's the video for Whatcha Do To My Body by Lee Aaron.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Song:Who I Am
As a teen, Jessica Andrews had several country music hits including her only number one hit Who I Am in 2000. But two record companies have closed on her and she seems to be semi-retired at age 29. She has a great voice. She was born Dec. 29, 1983 in Huntingdon, TN. When she sang I Will Always Love You on a school talent show, someone sent the tape to producer Byron Gallimore. Gallimore is best known for producing Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Jessica signed with Dreamworks Records and her debut CD Heart Shaped World was released in 1999. The album did OK but she didn't have that breakthrough single. That came with the 2000 number one country hit Who I Am. It also reached #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. The CD Who I Am reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Gold. Who I Am was written by Brett James and Troy Verges. James recorded for Arista in the 90s but has co-written several hit songs including the Carrie Underwood hit Jesus, Take The Wheel. James and Verges wrote the Martina McBride hit Blessed. Who I Am was the theme song for the TV series Sue Thomas F.B.Eye. This show was produced in Canada by CTV and aired in the US on PAX. Jessica won an ACM Award for Best New Female Artist. Jessica's 2004 CD Now did OK but not as well as Who I Am. She also recorded the single All I Ever Needed with Poison lead singer Bret Michaels. That charted for him. Jessica was working on her next CD in 2005 when Dreamworks Records closed. She recorded the 2008 duet Wild Horses with Richard Marx. Then Jessica signed with Carolwood Records which was a division of the Disney label Lyric Street Records. She released the single Everything in 2008. But then Carolwood closed and the album was shelved. Disney closed Lyric Street in 2010. This Icon budget comp was released in 2010. Jessica married singer songwriter Marcel Chagnon in 2011. He recorded as Marcel for Mercury Nashville in 2003. They have written songs together that have been on her CDs. As far as I can tell, Jessica Andrews doesn't seem to be active right now. Marcel is busy directing music videos. She is on Twitter but she has no website. It would be a shame if a singer with her talent was retired at age 29. Here's the video for Who I Am by Jessica Andrews.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Here's the video for episode three of WWE Total Divas. As in the second episode, the show has three storylines. All of them are about relationships and I expect that to continue. This episode begins with The Bella Twins explaining why they sometimes seem like idiots. I come to the conclusion that they seem like idiots because they are idiots. And then they proceed to behave like idiots in this episode. Brie Bella wants to move from San Diego to Phoenix so she can spend more time with her dog. Keep in mind that their mom lives in Phoenix. But that's not shallow enough for the show producers. The problem is she hasn't told her sister about the move. Once she does, we can see why. They constantly fight about it. It even leads to Brie being late to a meeting about a potential film. From what I could tell, the film producer and director are real but they aren't a-listers. So this silly arguing continues until John Cena does his best Dr. Phil and explains to girlfriend Nikki that she is being selfish. Then the twins kiss and make up. Well, it made Cena look good. Meanwhile, divas in training Eva Marie and Jo Jo are training in Florida under the watchful eye of NXT head trainer Bill DeMott. Some of you will recognize Sara Del Rey standing next to him. Jo Jo forgets to tuck her head taking a body slam and suffers a concussion. So she is pulled from training. Her boyfriend comes to visit and proceeds to force her to choose between him or the WWE. This is a serious issue that happens to a lot of women in the wrestling business. The insecure boyfriend not in the wrestling business gives her an ultimatum. That's why a lot of girls date wrestlers these days. Jo Jo breaks up with him and after agonizing over it, she feels a lot better after a talk with Nattie Neidhart. Life goes on at NXT. Trinity of the Funkadactyls is engaged to Jon Fatu Jr. AKA Jimmy Uso. Jon and his twin brother Joshua wrestle as the Uso Brothers and are the sons of former WWE wrestler Rikishi. Jon complains that Trinity isn't wearing her engagement ring and they argue and he threatens to break the engagement. He wants to get married and she doesn't seem ready. Then they go to RAW in Kansas City and discover that they are on the opposite sides of a mixed tag team match. The match was not on RAW. It was taped for WWE Superstars. And to add to this, Trinity's partner Ariane is sick and probably shouldn't be there. During the match, Trinity is in the ring with Jon and takes him down with a flying head scissors. Before you scoff, Trinity has athletic ability from her days as an Orlando Magic cheerleader. She seems to be able to do those kind of spots but has trouble with the basics. This turns out to be a catalyst and Trinity and Jon resolve their differences and remain engaged...for now. Jon seems like a nice guy but Trinity seems insecure. She explains that the WWE wants the Divas to look available and that's why she doesn't wear her engagement ring. Uh huh. Next week Nattie Neidhart will deal with her fiancee Tyson Kidd and I understand the subject of breast implants comes up. The show is certainly doing well in the ratings. Check out this week's episode for yourself.
wwe total divas episode 3 by Leo_Phillipmaney
wwe total divas episode 3 by Leo_Phillipmaney
Album:Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes
If you're a folk music fan, you are probably familiar with the folk music standard Freight Train. But you may not know that Elizabeth Cotten wrote Freight Train when she was 12 years old and then quit music. She was rediscovered as a senior and became a bit of a celebrity in the 60s. She was born Elizabeth Nevils Jan. 5, 1893 in Chapel Hill, NC. She learned to play guitar as a child and was writing as a teen. Freight Train is about the train that passes by her house. She was 12 years old when she wrote it. Freight Train was a top ten hit in England for the Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group in 1956 and then a top ten hit in the US for Rusty Draper in 1957. Elizabeth started working with her mother as a maid at age 13. She married Frank Cotten at age 15 and they had a daughter. She gave up music and worked as a maid in Washington, DC for decades. She worked for songwriter Ruth Crawford Seeger and her family. This included Mike Seeger who would go on to lead The New Lost City Ramblers. He recorded Elizabeth in her home and those recordings were released on Folkways Records in 1957. They are available on CD. As I said, Freight Train was already popular and became even more popular when Ramblin' Jack Elliott recorded it. Many others have covered Freight Train and it is now a folk music standard. Elizabeth started playing shows with Mike Seeger in the early 60s and she was part of the folk music boom of the 60s. You will notice she plays guitar left handed but the strings are reversed. She was self taught and didn't know enough to restring the guitar. Elizabeth made enough money from music in the 60s that she bought a house in Syracuse, NY. She continued to record and perform and won a Grammy for her 1984 album Live!. Elizabeth Cotten died on June 29, 1987 at age 94. Here's Elizabeth Cotten performing Freight Train in the 60s.
Monday, August 12, 2013
The German website Ground and Pound reported this afternoon that after two losses, German fighter Sheila Gaff has been released from the UFC. It wasn't so much that Sheila lost two fights but that she looked ill prepared in both fights. One rumour that made the rounds was that she switched trainers after the first loss. I don't know if that is true but it's always difficult to change horses in the middle of the stream and then immediately accept a fight. The other thing I heard was that her trainers were unable to get a visa to get into Brazil. Obviously that puts her at a disadvantage. There will be speculation about if Sheila should drop to 125. In the past she has fought at 125, 135 and 145. She's not saying what she will do but that's not her biggest problem. Sheila has knockout punching power. But that's all she has. And a one dimensional fighter can only go so far if the fighter has too many holes in other areas. I don't expect her to ever be a grappling or jiu jitsu whiz. But she needs to work on her takedown defense. In both of her UFC fights, she was too easy to take down. She had the same problem when I saw her a few years ago. If she doesn't improve in this area, her punching power won't mean much. She's still young so she has plenty of time.
Album:Feels Good To Me
Bill Bruford is probably best known as the original drummer for Yes and then for King Crimson. When King Crimson split up in the mid-70s, Bruford formed the jazz fusion group Bruford. Feels Good To Me was their 1978 debut album and Beelzebub is the opening track. He was born May 17, 1949 in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. Bruford took up the drums after watching American jazz drummers on TV. As a teen, Bruford was in The Breed. But his first professional gig was with the blues rock group Savoy Brown. It was only for three shows and then he formed Yes with Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson, Steve Howe and Chris Squire. Yes was very successful and Bruford left in 1972. Robert Fripp invited Bruford to join King Crimson, another successful band. Fripp disbanded King Crimson in 1974 after keyboard player David Cross left. Then Bruford toured with Genesis in 1976. At the time, Phil Collins was recording his jazz fusion side project Brand X. Bruford played on some of the rehearsals. He left Genesis in 1977 when Chester Thompson was hired as the full time drummer. Influenced by Brand X, Bruford decided to start his own fusion band with former Egg and Hatfield and the North keyboard player Dave Stewart, bassist Jeff Berlin who had played with Patrick Moraz among others and former Soft Machine and Tony Williams Lifetime guitarist Alan Holdsworth. Feels Good To Me was released in 1978. There were guest appearances by singer Annette Peacock, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and Brand X guitarist John Goodsall. Bruford recorded three studio albums and two live albums. Fusion fans should check them out. Bruford returned to King Crimson from 1981-84. And then he was a member of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. When Chris Squire returned, it became a Yes reunion. Bruford first formed his jazz group Earthworks in 1985 and recorded with them into the 90s. Bill Bruford disbanded Earthworks in 2007 and then retired. He still owns his record company Earthworks. He released his autobiography in 2009. Here's Bruford performing Beelzebub at the BBC 1979. This is from the DVD Rock Goes To College.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Ellis Marsalis Jr. has been a fixture in the New Orleans jazz scene for decades. But he was primarily known as an educator and didn't record until his sons became best selling jazz artists in the 80s. He was born Nov. 14, 1934 in New Orleans. His father Ellis Marsalis Sr. owned the famed Marsalis Hotel and was one of the first black hoteliers in the southern US. Ellis Jr. played with guys like Cannonball Adderley in his younger days. He turned to teaching at a very early age. He teaches at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans and Xavier University. Four of his six sons are jazz musicians. They are Branford Marsalis (sax), Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone) and Jason Marsalis (drums). Marsalis taught Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr., Nicholas Payton and many others. When Branford and Wynton became popular in the 80s, they convinced Columbia Records to give dad a record contract. He recorded with the boys and then recorded his first album as a leader in 1991. Twelve's It was released in 1998 and introduced Marsalis' youngest son Jason Marsalis on drums. Ronald Guerin and Bill Huntington play bass. Ellis Marsalis was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in 2008. The Ellis Marsalis Center For Music was opened in New Orleans in 2010 and all proceeds from the 2010 CD Music Redeems went to that facility. Ellis Marsalis' latest CD is with Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone and was released on ECM Records in 2012. It's called Pure Pleasure for the Piano. Here's Ellis Marsalis with Derek Douget on sax, Jason Stewart on bass and Darrian Douglas on drums performing Twelve's It at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Apr. 29, 2012.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Song:Know Til Now
Album:Regions Of Light And Sound Of God
Jim James is best known as the lead singer of the very popular band My Morning Jacket. Recently James released his debut solo CD and is currently on tour. He was born James Olliges Jr. Apr. 27, 1978 in Louisville, KY. He formed My Morning Jacket in 1998 and the band is very successful. He is also a member of the supergroup Monsters Of Folk. In 2008, James fell off the stage during a concert and while recuperating, he started thinking about recording solo. He released the EP Yim Yames in 2009. That was a tribute to the late George Harrison. He also appeared in the Bob Dylan film I'm Not Here. The Monsters Of Folk CD was released in 2009. So he started writing songs for a solo CD while working on all these other things. He was also on a 2012 Woody Guthrie tribute CD New Multitudes. James plays all the instruments on Regions Of Light and Sound Of God except for drums and strings. The CD was released in Feb. 2013 on My Morning Jacket's label ATO Records. He is currently on tour and will return to My Morning Jacket after it is over. Here's Jim James performing Know Til Now at the Neptune Theater in Seattle May 15, 2013.
Friday, August 09, 2013
Song:Which Way You Goin', Billy?
Album:A Good Thing Lost 1968-1973
Which Way You Goin', Billy? was a top five hit in 1969 for the Canadian group The Poppy Family led by the husband and wife duo of Susan and Terry Jacks. Susan sang and Terry wrote and produced the music. They had a couple of other hits and divorced in 1973. Susan Pesklevits was born in Saskatoon but grew up in British Columbia. As a teen, she was a regular on the Canadian TV show Music Hop. She met Terry Jacks in 1966 when he accompanied her on the show. The two clicked and married in 1967. At first they called their group Powerline and then changed it to The Poppy Family. Susan was lead singer. Terry played rhythm guitar and wrote and produced the music. Craig McCaw played lead guitar and Satwant Singh played drums. The Poppy Family signed with London Records and their debut album Which Way You Goin, Billy? was released in 1969. Which Way You Goin, Billy? was the third single and it topped the Canadian charts and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. They won two Juno Awards. The Poppy Family's other hits were That's Where I Went Wrong and Where Evil Grows. You can get them on this budget comp from What Are Records in Boulder, CO. McCaw and Singh left The Poppy Family in 1970 and Jacks used studio musicians on the 1971 album Poppy Seeds. Terry and Susan Jacks divorced in 1973. Terry Jacks had a number one hit in 1973 with Seasons in The Sun. He quit the music business in the 80s and is currently an environmental activist. Susan Jacks recorded solo but wasn't all that successful. She married former Canadian Football League player Ted Dushinski in 1980 and they moved to Nashville. She became a staff songwriter at a publishing company. She had a kidney transplant in 2010 and still performs occasionally in Canada. Here's The Poppy Family performing Which Way You Goin', Billy? on The Bobby Darin Show 1970.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
Song:Settle Down Like Rain
Album:Hollywood Town Hall
I guess The Jayhawks were pioneers in what would become the alt country movement of the 90s. They were able to get on a major label and built a fanbase from there. The Jayhawks are from Minneapolis. in 1985, Marc Olson was in the rockabilly band Stagger Lee. But he left the group and went solo after recruiting bassist Marc Perlman and drummer Norm Rogers. Gary Louris attended his first gig and approached Olson afterwards. Louris had been in bands like Safety Last and Schnauzer. The Jayhawks were formed that night and Olson, Louris and Perlman have been together ever since. The Jayhawks started performing locally and released an album independently in 1988. They were forced to go on hiatus when Louris was seriously injured in a car accident. But he returned in 1989 and the local label Twin/Tone released some of their demos as Blue Earth. Ken Callahan was the drummer during this time. The story goes that Twin/Tone president Dave Ayers was on the phone with Def American Records A & R head George Drakoulias and Blue Earth was playing in the background. Drakoulias asked Ayers about the music and The Jayhawks signed with Def American. The 1992 album Hollywood Town Hall was their major label debut. It got a lot of positive reviews and sold well. It opened up The Jayhawks to a wider audience. Olson left The Jayhawks in 1995 and was replaced by Tim O'Reagan. The Jayhawks seemed to split up after the 2003 CD Rainy Day Music which was their final album for Def American. But Louris and Olson toured together in 2005 and in 2009 The Jayhawks officially reformed. They signed with Rounder Records and released the CD Mockingbird Time in 2011. There are rumours that they may split up again. Sony released a Jayhawks comp CD in 2009. It is out of print but Hollywood Town Hall is available as a budget CD. Louris and Olson have also recorded solo. Here's the video for Settle Down Like Rain by The Jayhawks.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Song:This Diamond Ring
Album:Legendary Masters Series
Gary Lewis and the Playboys were one of the few American pop groups to have sustained success in the wake of the British Invasion. This Diamond Ring was their only number one hit. Of course the most interesting thing about Gary Lewis and the Playboys is that lead singer and drummer Gary Lewis is the son of legendary comedian Jerry Lewis. Lewis was given a drum set for his 14th birthday and then in 1964, he formed The Playboys. His mom secretly financed his music because she didn't think dad would approve. At first, Lewis did not sing and he has acknowledged that he's not a good singer. The band got a gig at at Disneyland. Legendary bandleader Les Brown told Liberty Records producer Snuff Garrett about them and he signed them to a contract. The ironic thing is Garrett lived down the street from the Lewis family but didn't know Gary had a band. Garrett thought the best way to make the band popular was to make Lewis the lead singer and use his celebrity. Garrett hired session singer Ron Hicklin to sing the basic vocal and had Lewis sing along with it. And he hired the Los Angeles session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew to play on the record. Musicians included Leon Russell and Hal Blaine. This Diamond Ring was written by Al Kooper, Bob Brass and Irwin Levine. Kooper says he intended the song for an R & B group like The Drifters and he hated the Lewis recording. Bobby Vee rejected This Diamond Ring before Garrett gave it to Lewis. Garrett got New York DJ Murray The K to play the song if the band would appear on his concerts. Garrett also got the band to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show and had Lewis sing live to backing tracks. This Diamond Ring topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. There was a band but personnel changed a lot and by the end of 1965, Lewis and accordion player John West were the only original members left. Gary Lewis and the Playboys had some other hits like Count Me In and Everybody Loves A Clown. It ended when Lewis was drafted into the US Army in 1967. He attempted to resume his music career after his 1968 discharge but other than a 1968 cover of Sealed With A Kiss was unsuccessful. You can get all of their hits on this comp. Gary Lewis retired from music and ran a music shop in the 70s. He returned to music in the 80s and still tours the nostalgia circuit today. Here's Gary Lewis and the Playboys performing This Diamond Ring 1965.