Friday, February 28, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong

Artist:Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong
Song:The Birth of the Blues
DVD:The Boys Are Back In Town!: Classic Tracks from the Gentlemen of Jazz

Music legends Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong never recorded together. But they did perform together on TV, most notably performing The Birth of the Blues on The Edsel Show in 1957. The Birth of the Blues was written by Tin Pan Alley songwriters Ray Henderson, Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown in 1926. These three wrote several songs together. Among those who had success with the song were Whispering Jack Smith, Harry Richman and Paul Whiteman. The song was revived when Bing Crosby performed it in the 1941 film The Birth of the Blues. Cab Calloway recorded it in 1943. In the early 50s, Sinatra's singing career was in decline and he wasn't getting along with Columbia Records head Mitch Miller. So he left Columbia for Capitol Records. The Birth of the Blues was his final Columbia single and reached #19 in 1952. To show how Sinatra was declining, that was his highest charting single of 1952. After Sinatra worked with Louis Armstrong on the 1956 film High Society, they both appeared on the 1957 TV special The Edsel Show. The show was hosted by Bing Crosby and other guests included Rosemary Clooney and The Four Preps. Sinatra and Armstrong performed The Birth of the Blues. I don't think Armstrong ever recorded the song. You can get this performance on this various artists DVD The Boys Are Back In Town along with over 30 vintage performances from the 40s and 50s. Sinatra also perform The Birth of the Blues with The Rat Pack and they performed it on a 1965 TV special. Years later Capitol released the Sinatra and Armstrong recording of The Birth of the Blues on a Duets CD that is out of print. Here's Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong performing The Birth of the Blues on The Edsel Show Oct. 13, 1957.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson

Artist:Stan Getz And J.J. Johnson
Song:Blues In The Closet
Album:At The Opera House

Most jazz fans should be familiar with legendary sax player Stan Getz and trombonist J.J. Johnson. This 1957 album was a spinoff of Verve Records owner Norman Granz' Jazz At The Philharmonic concert series and features Oscar Peterson's trio. Getz was living in Europe in the mid-50s and he was signed to Verve. He was frequently a guest artist at JATP concerts. J.J. Johnson is one of the all time greats of jazz trombone and a bebop innovator. He started out playing in big bands led by Benny Carter and Count Basie. Fats Navarro and Dizzy Gillespie both encouraged Johnson to be more adventurous. He first started recording as a leader in the late 40s. But his most notable recordings were in 1954 when Savoy Records producer Ozzie Cadena put Johnson together with trombonist Kai Winding. They were very successful. When that ended in 1956, Johnson started touring with JATP. And that led to Stan Getz And J.J. Johnson At The Opera House. The first four songs including Blues In The Closet were recorded at The Opera House in Chicago Sept. 29, 1957. And the rest were recorded at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Oct. 7, 1957. The band is pianist Oscar Peterson's trio with Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass. The drummer is Connie Kay of Modern Jazz Quartet. The song Blues In The Closet was written by legendary bassist Oscar Pettiford. The album has been released on CD with a bonus track. It's an alternate take of Blues In The Closet. It's a must for jazz fans. Afterwards, Getz returned to Europe. He moved back to the US in 1961 and helped popularize Brazilian music. Johnson got interested in jazz composition and eventually went to Hollywood to work in films. I think it's the only time these two jazz legends recorded together though they may have played in the same band in the 40s. Here's a video for Blues In The Closet by Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Edward Bear

Artist:Edward Bear
Song:Last Song
Album:The Edward Bear Collection

The Canadian band Edward Bear had a top five hit with Last Song in 1973. It was ironic as they split up soon after. Edward Bear started out in 1966 in Toronto's Yorkville coffee house scene which was a very fertile developmental area for musicians like Joni Mitchell, Neil Young etc. Drummer and lead singer Larry Evoy and keyboard player Paul Weldon decided to form a band with Craig Hemming on bass. They placed an ad for a guitarist and Danny Marks joined the band. Edward Bear was a bear in the Winnipeg zoo that influenced Winnie The Pooh. After a couple of high profile gigs at the Rockpile opening for The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Led Zeppelin, they signed with Capitol Records. Edward Bear was produced by Gene Martynec who produced a lot of local talent at that time. Their 1969 debut single You, Me and Mexico reached #3 on RPM in Canada. Marks and Hemming left the band and were replaced by Roger Ellis and Bill Loop. Their 1970 album Eclipse did not do well. But the single Masquerade from the 1972 album Edward Bear was a top ten hit in Canada. And then Last Song reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. By that time Weldon had left and Evoy decided to disband Edward Bear. When Last Song became a big hit,  Evoy reformed Edward Bear with Bob Kendall replacing Weldon. They split up for good after the 1973 album Close Your Eyes was released. Evoy was into Scientology at the time and was annoying the band. You can get all of Edward Bear's hits on this comp. Larry Evoy went on to a brief solo career and then went into music publishing. He also owns a recording studio and breeds show horses with his wife. Paul Weldon designed the band's album covers and he went on to a graphic design career. Danny Marks is a guitarist and radio show host who plays Toronto clubs. Here's a video for Last Song by Edward Bear.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Artificial Joy Club

Artist:Artificial Joy Club
Song:Sick & Beautiful

The Canadian band Artificial Joy Club showed some potential with the 1997 album Melt and the single Sick & Beautiful. And they were on Interscope Records. But they only recorded one album and split up. Artificial Joy Club are from Ottawa led by the husband wife duo of producer Leslie Howe and lead singer Louise Reny. They've been around since the 70s with the band Mainstream. In the 80s, they recorded three albums as One 2 One and had success in Canada. When their record label closed, they recorded a 1992 CD for A & M. At the same time, Louise became friends with Alanis Morissette and they produced her early dance pop records. Howe and Reny decided to change musical direction from the dance pop of One 2 One to alternative rock. They formed Sal's Birdland with guitarist Michael Goyette, bassist Tim Dupont and drummer Andrew Lamarche. They released two albums and then signed with Interscope Records. I can only assume that Interscope wanted a band name change. So they became Artificial Joy Club and released the CD Melt in 1997. The video for Sick & Beautiful was played on MTV and the song got radio play on US radio. The song also appeared in the 1998 film Homegrown starring Billy Bob Thornton. So they had potential. But they split up in 1999. So they only recorded one album. It's available as a budget CD. Leslie Howe has returned to producing. Louise Reny is lead singer of cover band Bubbles Cash and the Rhythm Method. Here's the video for Sick & Beautiful by Artificial Joy Club.

Monday, February 24, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Idina Menzel

Artist:Idina Menzel w/Kristin Chenoweth
Song:Defying Gravity
Album:Wicked: A New Musical

Idina Menzel may be best known as Shelby Corcoran on the TV series Glee. But she is primarily a Broadway performer and had her biggest success in the 2003 musical Wicked. She won a Tony for that. And Defying Gravity is her signature song and a remix made the dance charts in 2007. She was born May 30, 1971 in Queen's, NY. She started singing as a teen and earned a BA in drama at New York University. Her first professional job was in the 1995 musical Rent. She was nominated for a Tony. When she left in 1997, she signed with Hollywood Records and released a solo album. She continued to perform on stage. But she got her big break when she was cast as the lead witch Elphaba in the 2003 Stephen Schwarz musical Wicked. Wicked tells The Wizard Of Oz through the witches viewpoint. It premiered Oct. 2003 and was a huge hit. And Idina won a Tony for her performance. She left Wicked Jan. 2005 after falling and breaking a rib. Defying Gravity is Idina's big song from Wicked. When the song was remixed in 2007, it became a dance club hit. Since then she has continued to perform on stage and will return to Broadway in March 2014 in the musical If/Then. Idina has done a few films, most notably the 2005 film of the musical Rent. And she has played the recurring role of Shelby Corcoran on the TV series Glee. She has recorded 4 CDs, most recently for Concord in 2012. Her recording of Let It Go from the 2013 animated film Frozen was a surprise top 20 pop hit. The song was nominated for an Oscar and Idina will perform it on next week's Oscar broadcast. It may be the first time many viewers will see her. But she has been giving stellar performances on Broadway for the last decade. Here's Idina Menzel with Kristin Chenoweth performing Defying Gravity on the 2004 Tony Awards broadcast.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Alexis Davis beats Jessica Eye by split decision

Here's the match video of Alexis Davis vs Jessica Eye from UFC 170. I will never understand why a BJJ black belt like Alexis Davis insists on trying to be a kickboxer. It makes no sense especially against a striker like Jessica Eye who has no ground game. And that's what we saw in this fight. I don't believe Alexis is a good enough striker to beat anyone. It's terrible strategy. And that's the story of this fight. I thought Jessica landed better strikes in round one. But Alexis scored a takedown at the end of the round. And though I don't believe in stealing rounds, some judges will score that round for Alexis because of the takedown. And Jessica's corner told her that. I scored it 10-9 Jessica. In the second round, Alexis took Jessica down as she should have been doing all along. And though she was never close to finishing the fight, I scored it 10-9 for Alexis. The third round was very similar to round one and I thought Jessica won the round 10-9. So I scored the fight 29-28 for Jessica. But I expected a split decision. Judge Chris Lee scored it 29-28 Jessica with rounds 1 & 3 for Jessica. So he scored it the same as me. Junichiro Kamijo scored it 29-28 for Alexis with rounds 1 & 2 for Alexis. So he thought Alexis stole round one with the takedown. Marcos Rosales scored it 29-28 for Alexis with rounds 2 & 3 for Alexis. The lesson Jessica should learn from this is she can't leave fights that close because fights will go against her half the time. And that she needs to improve her ground game to add a second dimension. Trying to outpoint opponents isn't good enough and like most female fighters, she doesn't punch hard enough to knock anyone out. So now Alexis Davis wants a title shot. I think if Cat Zingano is ready for a title shot, she'll get it. But based on this fight, I wouldn't give Alexis a title shot anyway. She needs to be more dominant and use her BJJ more. Split decision wins shouldn't result in title shots. Enjoy the video!

Ronda Rousey stops Sara McMann in round one

Here's the match video of Ronda Rousey defending her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship against Sara McMann in Las Vegas last night at UFC 170. Ronda never publicly predicts her fights. But she said afterwards that after watching Sara's fight posture, Ronda and coach Edmond Tarverdyan decided to attack Sara's body. I guess she thought she might have trouble taking her down. So no armbar, folks. Sara's big mistake was allowing Ronda to control the clinch. I think trying to keep Ronda at a distance is a good theory. But she's too quick for that. So once Ronda gets the clinch, she usually gets the takedown leading to the armbar. Instead, Ronda threw elbows and knees. And one of those knees dropped Sara and ref Herb Dean stopped the fight. It was all over in 66 seconds. There was an immediate outcry that it was a quick stoppage and that Sara had recovered and was getting up. The problem is that for a brief moment, Sara was on her knees clutching her stomach and Ronda was ready to launch a barrage of blows. Even if she is unable to protect herself for that brief moment, Dean must stop the fight to protect her. He has no choice. Dean explained afterwards that for all he knew, Sara broke a rib. He can't see into the future. She wasn't defending herself. We've seen this kind of stoppage before and the ref can't win. It will upset fans but if he lets it go, it could get worse and he'll get blamed. So I'm OK with the stoppage. Fighter safety comes first. Afterwards, Sara was obviously unhappy but she blamed herself for reacting badly to the knee. I gotta admit Ronda's strategy was perfect. My guess is Ronda's next fight will be this summer against Cat Zingano if Cat is ready. Alexis Davis is another possibility but I will address that when I post the video of her match later. For the immediate future, Ronda's opponent won't be Cris Cyborg or Holly Holm. UFC president Dana White said Cyborg needs to prove herself at 135lb first and then they'll talk. And he said Holly needs to win in the UFC to be on the radar. Her manager is a moron. What he is doing won't get her Ronda. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Finger Eleven

Artist:Finger Eleven
Song:I'll Keep Your Memory Vague
Album:Them vs You vs Me

Like a lot of Canadian bands, Finger Eleven has always been successful at home. But they did well in the US with the 2008 album Them vs You vs Me and singles like Paralyzer and I'll Keep Your Memory Vague. They are from Burlington, ON and started out as Rainbow Butt Monkeys with Scott Anderson on lead vocals, James Black on lead guitar, Rick Jackett on rhythm guitar, Sean Anderson on bass and Rob Gommerman on drums. They all went to high school together. They won a rock band search contest at 97.7 CHTZ in St. Catherines and released the 1995 album Letters From Chutney. They started out as a funk band. But when they changed direction to alternative rock and got new management, the band name was changed to Finger Eleven. They signed with Mercury Records in Canada and Wind Up Records in the US. After their 1997 debut CD Tip, Gommerman left and was replaced by Rich Beddoe. Finger Eleven were successful in Canada but broke into the US charts with the 2003 CD Finger Eleven and the top twenty hit One Thing. The success continued with the 2007 CD Them vs You vs Me. Paralyzer reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and they had three other hits in Canada including I'll Keep Your Memory Vague. The album was certified Gold. The general reaction to the album was they softened their sound to stimulate record sales. Finger Eleven last recorded in 2010. They announced last year that they were recording new music. But Beddoe recently left Finger Eleven and has not been replaced. So I think they are in limbo right now. Here's the video for I'll Keep Your Memory Vague by Finger Eleven.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cris Cyborg knows her statement doesn't go far enough

So today's big MMA "newz' is that Cris Cyborg issued a statement that she will agree to drop to 135lb for three fights and challenge Ronda Rousey. So now a lot of hardcore MMA morons are going gaga thinking "Oh boy! Ronda vs Cyborg by the end of the year". Think again. This is not news. Last year, Cyborg agreed to drop to 135 before she took on Tito Ortiz as manager and they started planting stories about how dropping to 135 was unsafe. Most of us don't buy that BS. It's a red herring anyway because it was not the reason the UFC agreed to release Cyborg. For one thing, Ortiz wanted a lot more money than the UFC thought she was worth. Whether fans cheer or boo her, Ronda Rousey is a draw. And she is a draw to casual fans. Cris Cyborg is not a draw. In fact, she almost killed women's MMA when she was Strikeforce champ. Remember her fight vs Jan Finney? It was a fan killer. So the UFC is not going to pay her like she is a draw. But the big issue was that the UFC wanted to sign her to a seven fight contract and Cyborg and Ortiz only wanted three fights. This is an issue because the UFC doesn't want Cyborg to drop to 135 and then dump the belt and and return to 145. They want her to make a long term commitment to making 135lb. For that reason, they won't sign her to a three fight contract. They don't and shouldn't trust her. And they don't need her. So until she makes a long term commitment to 135lb, I don't expect the UFC to be interested in her. She knows this and her statement is another futile attempt to try for a big payday before she slips into obscurity because there is no depth at 145lb.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tony Terry

Artist:Tony Terry
Song:With You
Album:Tony Terry

Most of Tony Terry's brief success was on the R & B charts. But the 1991 hit With You crossed over to pop and was a top twenty hit. His two albums for Epic did well. But then he switched to Virgin and his one album for them tanked and Terry faded into obscurity. He was born Mar. 12, 1964 in Pinehurst, NC. He is a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington. Terry moved to New York and was a backup singer for the girl group Sweet Sensation and the hip hop group The Boogie Boys. Sweet Sensation producer Ted Currier liked Terry and got him a deal with Epic Records. Terry's 1987 debut album Forever Yours contained three top ten R & B hits. The biggest of those hits, Lovey Dovey, reached #4 on the R & B Singles chart. His 1990 album Tony Terry had more of the same but With You crossed over to pop and reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. I think it's one of the more memorable slow jams of the era though fans might not remember who recorded it. With You was written by keyboard player Raymond Reeder. He was one of the musicians on the album and went on to be musical director for gospel artists Yolanda Adams and Richard Smallwood. There's no Tony Terry comp but the album Tony Terry is available as a budget CD. And you can also get With You on the various artists budget CD Between The Sheets Vol. 1. I'm not sure why Terry left Epic for Virgin but his 1994 CD Heart of a Man did not do as well as his Epic albums. Since then Terry has been a background singer and has acted in some stage musicals including playing Tinman in a national touring company of The Wiz. He released a gospel CD in 2006 and has toured with Roberta Flack. It says on his website he is working on new music. Here's the video for With You by Tony Terry. The video was directed by actor Blair Underwood.

Friday, February 21, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dixie Chicks

Artist:Dixie Chicks
Song:Long Time Gone
Album:The Essential Dixie Chicks

The country music girl group Dixie Chicks successfully crossed over to pop with the 2002 CD Home. Long Time Gone was one of three top ten country hits to cross over to the pop top ten. It was not long after this that lead singer Natalie Maines criticized the US invasion of Iraq and got the group in hot water. And though Natalie says she doesn't regret her comments, the events were chronicled in the 2006 documentary Dixie Chicks: Shut Up And Sing and indicate that the controversy wore them out. Dixie Chicks were formed in 1989 with sisters Martie and Emily Erwin, Laura Lynch and Robin Lynn Macy. the name Dixie Chicks comes from the classic Little Feat song Dixie Chicken. They were a bluegrass group at first and they all played various instruments. They released a couple of albums and Robin didn't like the mainstream country direction of the second album so she left in 1992. Legendary steel guitarist Lloyd Maines suggested his daughter Natalie could join the group. They recorded a third album with Laura as lead singer. They signed a development deal with Sony. But Marty and Emily were unhappy with Laura and Natalie replaced her in 1995. And that change made them a more mainstream country act and led to the success of their 1998 CD Wide Open Spaces. Number one country hits included There's Your Trouble and You Were Mine. The success continued with the 1999 CD Fly. They were probably the biggest country music act at this time. And keep in mind the girls still wrote songs and played instruments and Lloyd Maines produced. After a royalty dispute with Sony was settled out of court, the CD Home was released in 2002. Long Time Gone reached #2 on the Country Singles chart and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by singer songwriter Darrell Scott who recorded it on his 2000 CD Real Time. So Dixie Chicks crossed over to pop and were on top of the music world. It all came to a screeching halt when on a Mar. 10, 2003 show in London, Natalie said she was ashamed President Bush was from Texas. This resulted in a boycott that was very effective. Rather than detail this, I suggest you watch Barbara Kopple's 2006 film Dixie Chicks: Shut Up And Sing as it is very instructive in how not to handle this kind of problem. After their 2006 CD Taking The Long Way underperformed commercially and ticket sales were flat on their tour, Dixie Chicks went on hiatus. Though they have toured and begin a tour in March 2014, Dixie Chicks have not recorded an album. You can get all their hits on this 2CD comp. Martie and Emily have recorded two CDs as Court Yard Hounds. Natalie released a solo CD last year. But no new Dixie Chicks music yet. I guess their story shows that when it comes to politics, musicians should Shut Up And Sing. Here's the video for Long Time Gone by Dixie Chicks.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Chosen Few

Artist:The Chosen Few
Album:Trojan Presents Original Reggae

There was a time in the early days of Jamaican music that it was common for groups to cover popular R & B hits. As Reggae became popular in the 70s and became more of a political statement, we saw less of this. The Chosen Few was a 70s group that covered R & B hits like 60s groups. The man behind The Chosen Few was the very popular singer Derrick Harriott. He was very successful in the early 60s and he formed his own label Crystal Records to produce his own music but also to discover new artists. One of those groups was The Federals with Franklin Spence aka AJ Franklin, David "Scotty" Scott and Valman Smykle. They recorded a few unsuccessful singles and Smykle left and The Federals split up. But Franklin and Scott reformed the group with Noel "Bunny" Brown and Richard McDonald. They became The Chosen Few. When Scott left to become a DJ, Harriott brought in Busty Brown, former lead singer of The Messengers. And McDonald was replaced by Errol Brown. It was his idea to start covering R & B songs. Some of their hits included The Stylistics' You're A Big Girl Now and The Main Ingredient's Everybody Plays The Fool. And this cover of the Isaac Hayes classic Shaft. These singles were released on the 1973 album Hit After Hit. Unfortunately, that album has never been released on CD. And Trojan Records has never released a Chosen Few comp. But you can get Shaft on this 2CD various artists comp. The Chosen Few released the album The Chosen Few In Miami in 1976. And it looks like a version of the group led by Spence and Errol Brown is still around today. Here's a video for Shaft by The Chosen Few.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch

Artist:Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch
Song:I'll Fly Away
Album:O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Soundtrack

I can't emphasize enough how important the soundtrack of the 2001 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? was to popularizing bluegrass music. The artists who recorded on that album got unprecedented exposure and we got to hear Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch sing the classic gospel song I'll Fly Away. Usually unless it's a musical, music is an afterthought for most films. But Joel and Ethan Coen wanted the music to be an integral element of the film. So they hired music producer T-Bone Burnett to produce the music. The first guy he approached was Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss and Union Station.  Tyminski sang lead on the hit single Man Of Constant Sorrow. The Coens asked Alison to appear in the film but she was pregnant at the time and said no. But she agreed to appear on the soundtrack. Burnett already knew Gillian Welch as he produced her albums. She was nowhere near as well known as Alison. But obviously having them sing together was a great idea. And they released a video for I'll Fly Away. Alison and Gillian also sang Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby with Emmylou Harris and Alison sang Down To The River To Pray on the soundtrack. The soundtrack CD was a huge success and made Alison Krauss a big star. I don't think Gillian Welch wants to be a big star but she wants to continue to do her thing with partner David Rawlings. The soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou? is available as a budget CD. It will make you more familiar with Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch and then get some of their CDs. Here's the video for I'll Fly Away by Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lionel Hampton

Artist:Lionel Hampton
Song:Seven Come Eleven
DVD:Lionel Hampton & The Golden Men Of Jazz

Of course Lionel Hampton was one of the all time jazz greats and one of the first vibraphone players. He became famous in the 40s but faded by the 60s because he never changed his music style. He didn't care much for bebop. But he was still enough of a draw that he could always put a band together and tour Europe successfully. And that's what this DVD is about. In 1991, Hampton suffered a stroke while on tour in Paris. He was able to continue but his management knew his touring activities would have to be more prudent. So they decided to put together a band of jazz senior citizens and call them The Golden Men Of Jazz. It looks like this band recorded a couple of CDs for Telarc. But a 1993 Munich show was taped and is now available on DVD. I would assume it aired on German TV. Pioneer released it on DVD in 2005 and Kultur rereleased it in 2011. Musicians include Harry "Sweets" Edison on trumpet, Clark Terry on flugelhorn, Benny Golson on sax, Al Grey on trombone, Junior Mance on piano, Jimmy Woode on bass and Panama Francis on drums. I think it's fair to say those horn players are all senior citizens and jazz greats. Seven Come Eleven was written by Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian and Hampton was in Goodman's band when it was first recorded. The song has been in Hampton's repertoire for years and has been recorded by many jazz musicians. The song doesn't appear on either Telarc CD which is why I am featuring the DVD. Hampton continued to tour despite health problems until his death on Aug. 31, 2002 at age 94. Here's Lionel Hampton performing Seven Come Eleven in Munich 1993 from the DVD Lionel Hampton & The Golden Men Of Jazz.

Monday, February 17, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Manu Chao & Tonino Carotone

Artist:Manu Chao & Tonino Carotone
Song:La Trampa

Manu Chao is generally credited as the man who brought alternative rock to Europe first with his 80s band Mano Negra and then as a solo artist. He recorded La Trampa with Italian music star Tonino Carotone in 2001 when both guys were on Virgin Records. Chao's parents are Spanish but they moved to France to avoid Francisco Franco's dictatorship. So Chao was born June 21, 1961 in Paris. Chao was influenced by British bands like The Clash, The Jam and Dr. Feelgood. He was a member of Hot Pants in the mid-80s. In 1987, Chao formed Mano Negra with his brother Antoine Chao and cousin Santiago Casariego. The band was successful in France and other European countries and South America. Mano Negra ended in 1995 when Chao formed the new band Radio Bemba Sound System and the other members of Mano Negra objected. Since then Chao has been successful as a solo artist in Europe and South America. Attempts to break into English speaking markets have been unsuccessful. Tonino Carotone was born in Spain but was a fan of Italian music. When he moved to Italy in 1995 to avoid military service, he signed with Virgin Records. La Trampa was a one off duet recorded for this 2001 Virgin Records various artists CD. It does not appear on albums by either artist. The CD looks like a decent intro to European alternative rock and reggae featuring Mano Negra, Sergent Garcia and Macaco. You may have heard La Trampa as the theme for the 2004 WB series Drew Carey's Green Screen Show. Manu Chao last recorded in 2009 but he still tours. Tonino Carotone last recorded in 2008 and his website is kaput. That's not good. Here's Manu Chao performing La Trampa.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Maybe it's time for DEEP JEWELS to close

Emi Tomimatsu
Today's DEEP JEWELS show turned into a big mess to such an extent that it looks like matchmaker Shigeru Saeki is seriously considering closing and folding it into DEEP. I thought he should have done that last year. The main event was supposed to be the final of the DEEP JEWELS Lightweight Championship tournament between MIZUKI and Emi Tomimatsu. Unfortunately, MIZUKI missed weight and couldn't get down to 52kg. Here in North America when that happens, the fighter is penalized financially. But they don't do that in Japan. Saeki decided to award the title to Tomimatsu on an interim basis. They still had the fight but MIZUKI couldn't win. She actually won by armbar but it was ruled a DQ. So Tomimatsu has the belt but a rematch is likely on the next DEEP JEWELS show. Of course MIZUKI apologized and Tomimatsu admitted she planned to drop to 48kg. Of course we all know Mika Nagano's retirement match was canceled as she got married and pregnant. It turns out she married one of her training partners at CORE. She says she will continue to work there and teach wrestling to children. So with the top of the show gone south, that didn't leave much for fans. Shizuka Sugiyama won over Mizuho Sato by TKO. But they need to find better competition for Sugiyama. Maybe Saeki thinks she'll fold like a cheap suitcase. In other fights, Sugi Rock beat SARAMI by split decision. So Sugi Rock is still in a funk. Masako Yoshida beat MIYOKO by unanimous decision. No one cares about either of them. Amiba beat Mamiko Mizoguchi by rear naked choke. Mizoguchi returned after over two years away from MMA. And Sachiko Fujimori beat Shiori Hori by rear naked choke. So it wasn't much of a show. The one bit of good news is that Saori Ishioka is returning after two years off to start a family. Saeki said the next DEEP JEWELS show will probably be in May but he hasn't booked the building yet. Maybe he is finally getting the message that DEEP JEWELS can't support itself and should be absorbed by DEEP. When I suggested that last year, people got mad at me. At the time, I didn't think they had enough talent to put on decent shows. And with a lot of fighters retiring over the last year, they have even less talent today. The DEEP JEWELS shows have been terrible. So maybe the best approach is to put the best fighters on DEEP shows until they can recruit more talent. They aren't doing themselves any favours by putting on poor shows.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet

Artist:Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet
Song:Banjo Pickin' Girl
Album:Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet

Bluegrass fans will go bonkers for female banjo whiz Abigail Washburn and this group she formed for a 2006 tour of China featuring future husband and fellow banjo whiz Bela Fleck. Abigail was born Nov. 10, 1977 in Evanston, IL and she grew up in Washington, DC and Minnesota. She sang but was not serious about music. She planned to become a lawyer. She became obsessed with Chinese culture after a 1996 trip to China and majored in Chinese culture at Colorado College. She bought a banjo and studied bluegrass and folk music. Eventually she moved to Nashville and joined the all girl bluegrass group Uncle Earl led by mandolin player KC Groves. Uncle Earl recorded several albums for Rounder Records and though the lineup has changed several times, they are still around. Abigail remained with Uncle Earl until 2005. Meanwhile, she won a songwriting contest and signed as a solo artist with Nettwerk Records. She also got the attention of Bela Fleck and he produced her 2005 CD Song of the Traveling Daughter. Then they formed the Sparrow Quartet with cellist Ben Sollee and fiddle player Casey Driessen. They went on a US Government sponsored tour of China and released an EP. Then they released a full length CD in 2008 and toured the US. It's a great album and bluegrass fans should check it out. The relationship between Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck had been rumoured for a couple of years. In 2010, she confirmed they married in 2009 and jokingly promised a male heir who would become the Holy Banjo Emperor. Their son Juno Fleck was born in 2013. I'm sure he will play the banjo. Abigail's second solo CD City Of Refuge was released in 2011. And last year she produced and wrote a theatrical production of Post-American Girl in New York. Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck are beginning a tour in March. Be sure to check them out if they are headed your way. Here's Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet performing A Kazakh Melody and Banjo Pickin' Girl in Woodstock, NY. This video is not on Youtube.
"A Kazahk Melody/Banjo Pickin' Girl" By: Abby Washburn with Bela Fleck and the Sparrow Quartet from The Banjo Project on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Syd Barrett

Artist:Syd Barrett
Album:The Madcap Laughs

Syd Barrett was a founding member of Pink Floyd. After leaving in 1968, he attempted a solo career that ultimately failed after two albums. Octopus was the only single from his 1970 album The Madcap Laughs. Barrett became a cult figure but he wasn't very productive. He was born Jan. 6, 1946 in Cambridge, England. He got into music as a teen and was schoolmates with Roger Waters. He met David Gilmour at Cambridge Technical Institute in 1962. Barrett started the band that would become Pink Floyd in 1964. Barrett was lead singer and wrote most of the songs on their 1967 debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. But Barrett had been on LSD for several years and he became very erratic and unreliable. He was fired from Pink Floyd in Apr. 1968. He started recording a solo album but he was difficult to work with. David Gilmour tried to help Barrett and produced and played on several songs including Octopus. Most of the album was Barrett playing all the instruments with some overdubs by Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper and Mike Ratledge of Soft Machine. It was hard to get Barrett to work on the album. The Madcap Laughs was released in Jan. 1970. Octopus was the only single. Today it's considered a masterpiece and Barrett became a cult figure. Capitol has released the Madcap Laughs on CD with bonus tracks. His second album Barrett was equally tortuous. Again Gilmour produced the album. Barrett went on hiatus after that and in 1978 moved back to Cambridge to live in his mother's house. Attempts to get Barrett to return to music were unsuccessful. He lived off his Pink Floyd songwriting royalties. He died on July 7, 2006 at age 60. Some thought Barrett suffered from mental illness but he was never treated for that. It's more likely that his use of LSD affected him adversely. Either way, Syd Barrett was a talented guy who didn't live up to his potential. Here's a video for Octopus by Syd Barrett.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Io Shirai vs Natsuki*Taiyo

Here's the match video of Io Shirai defending her World of Stardom Championship against Natsuki*Taiyo on the Jan. 26 Korakuen Hall Stardom show. Of course what is notable about this match is that afterwards, Natsuki*Taiyo announced she plans to retire on June 1. Stardom is going to miss her because a lot of the Stardom wrestlers lack ring skills and experience. And to add to this, Zero-One teen wrestler Yuhi announced this week she is retiring. She was working in Stardom regularly. She was pretty good for a young kid. Meanwhile, Stardom owner Hiroshi Ogawa has debuted another model turned wrestler in another attempt to find a new Fuuka. And we all know what happened to Yuzuki Aikawa. That boy will never learn. The belt that Natsuki*Taiyo has is the High Speed Title that she has held for a couple of years. Natsuki is a really good spot monkey and works really well with Io. The kind of coordination they show in this match takes a lot of hard work and teamwork. We see some lucha moves. Io spent some time in Mexico. And it's a very entertaining match if you like athleticism. Right now I like Io a lot better than Natsuki because of her personality, her facial expressions and working through a bloody nose. Natsuki is nothing more than a spot monkey but she lacks personality. She showed more emotion in her post match retirement announcement than I have ever seen from her. But she is very reliable and will be tough to replace. Enjoy the video!
World of Stardom Title Match by cmrankin

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Johnny Dunn

Artist:Johnny Dunn
Song:Ham and Eggs
Album:Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order Vol. 2 (1922-1928)

Johnny Dunn is a now forgotten cornetist who had a major impact on the early development of jazz. A lot of jazz legends went through his band. The 1928 song Ham and Eggs was written by Jelly Roll Morton and he also plays piano on the song. Unfortunately, Dunn did not adjust well to changes in jazz spurred by Louis Armstrong and Dunn moved to Europe and died in 1937. He was born Feb. 19, 1897 in Memphis. While attending Fisk University in Nashville, Dunn led his own band in Memphis and was discovered by W.C. Handy. He joined Handy's band in 1917 and stayed for three years. Dunn played cornet with a staccato style, used double time breaks and was a pioneer in the use of mutes. in 1920, he joined Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds. When he left in 1922, he started The Original Jazz Hounds featuring singer Edith Wilson who would later play Aunt Jemima in radio commercials. They had a show called The Plantation Revue which played on Broadway and London. When Dunn returned to New York, he played in Fletcher Henderson's band. But he always returned to Europe as he seemed to enjoy playing to those audiences. When Louis Armstrong became popular in the mid-20s, Dunn stayed in Europe because he didn't want to change his playing style and he liked it there anyway. But in 1928, he returned to New York to record for Columbia. Ham and Eggs was one of the six sides. It features Jelly Roll Morton on piano and Morton wrote the song. Other songs feature James P. Johnson or Fats Waller on piano. The rest of the band was Gavin Bushell on clarinet and alto sax, Herb Flemming on trombone, John Mitchell on banjo and Mort Perry on drums. All these recordings are on this CD from the Austrian label RST. These were Dunn's final recordings as a leader. He returned to Europe to play with The Noble Sissel Orchestra. He lived in the Netherlands and then Denmark and died of tuberculosis in Paris on Aug. 20, 1937 at age 40. Here's a video of Ham and Eggs by Johnny Dunn.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Anat Cohen

Artist:Anat Cohen
Song:J Blues
Album:Notes From The Village

If you're a long time jazz fan, you'll know that in the Swing Era, the clarinet was the most popular lead instrument. Bebop changed that and very few jazz musicians play the clarinet anymore. They prefer the sax. Anat Cohen is keeping the clarinet alive. She was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1975 and she comes from a family of musicians. Her brothers are sax player Yuval Cohen and trumpeter Avishai Cohen. Anat began playing clarinet as a child and studied at the Jaffa Music Center. She also played in the Israeli Air Force Big Band. She moved to the US in 1996 and earned a BA degree in music at Berklee in Boston. She first recorded with her brothers in 1997. Anat moved to New York City and was in the all female big band DIVA and the spinoff band Five Play. She plays sax, clarinet and flute but has found a niche playing the clarinet because very few jazz musicians play the clarinet. She played Brazilian music with the Choro Ensemble and has played with all kinds of musicians including Louis Hayes, Flip Phillips and Bucky Pizzarelli. Anat made her debut as a leader in 2005. J Blues is from the 2008 CD Notes From The Village. Her band on this CD is pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Omer Avital, drummer Daniel Freedman and special guest guitarist Gilad Hekselman. Anat has won awards from the Jazz Journalists Association and Down Beat Magazine mostly for Clarinestist Of The Year. Anat also plays in the big band the Anzic Orchestra and is in 3Cohens with her brothers. Her latest CD Claroscuro was released in 2012. Lindner and Freedman are still in her band and another noted clarinetist, Paquito D'Rivera, makes a guest appearance. Anat Cohen is constantly touring. So she is worth checking out if she is coming your way. Here's Anat Cohen with Jason Lindner performing J Blues at 106fm in Israel Aug. 18, 2011.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Earl Klugh

Artist:Earl Klugh
Album:The Best of Earl Klugh Vol. 1

When guitarist Earl Klugh started out in the 70s, he didn't know he was inventing Smooth Jazz. He just enjoys playing in that style. Angelina is from Klugh's 1976 debut album on Blue Note Records. He was born Sept. 16, 1953 in Detroit. His biggest influence was Nashville guitar legend Chet Atkins. But he has also acknowledged Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery as major influences. At age 15, he appeared on sax player Yusef Lateef's recording of The Beatles song Michelle from the 1970 album Suite 16. Then he played on George Benson's 1971 album White Rabbit and joined his touring band. Klugh signed with Blue Note Records in 1976 and early in his career worked with producer Dave Grusin. Grusin is a pianist best known for his film and TV work. But he also records and produces jazz and was co-owner of GRP Records. Angelina is a solo acoustic guitar performance from Klugh's 1976 debut album Earl Klugh. Klugh wrote the song and still performs it today. Musicians appearing on the album include Grusin on piano, Lee Ritenour on guitar, Louis Johnson on bass and Harvey Mason Sr. on drums. Klugh had a lot of success on the jazz charts. He also won a Grammy for his album One On One with pianist Bob James. And he even had more success when he left Blue Note for Warner Bros. in 1985. If you're looking for a more challenging brand of jazz, listen to something else. Klugh is a fine musician but he has clearly embraced the Smooth Jazz market and it has served him very well. This comp covers his Blue Note recordings. Klugh still tours. His latest CD HandPicked was released by Heads up Records last year and features guest appearances by Bill Frisell and Vince Gill. Here's Earl Klugh performing Angelina at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago June 26, 2010 which is available on DVD.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Vijay Iyer Trio

Artist:Vijay Iyer Trio
Song:Actions Speak

Pianist Vijay Iyer is one of the busiest guys in the New York jazz scene. And now he has taken a job at Harvard as music professor. So he's about to get busier. He is still able to produce high quality jazz like this 2012 CD with his working trio. He was born Oct. 26, 1971 in Albany, NY and grew up in Rochester. His parents were Tamil immigrants. After 15 years of violin training, Iyer took up the piano. He attended University of California, Berkeley to get a doctorate in physics but he wound up in jazz playing with sax player Steve Coleman. Iyer has recorded as a leader since the mid-90s, most frequently with his trio of bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The 2012 CD Accelerando reached #7 on the jazz charts. His other groups include Fieldwork with sax player Steve Lehman and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, the Asian trio Tirtha and his duo with sax player Rudresh Mahanthappa. Iyer's latest CD Holding It Down is with poet Mike Ladd. He has also played as a sideman with guys like Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith. Until recently, Iyer was on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and New York University. But now he has joined Harvard as a music professor. We'll see how that affects his time in New York clubs. It probably won't. I expect Vijay Iyer to explore improvisational jazz for years to come. Here's the Vijay Iyer Trio performing Actions Speak at Poisson Rouge in New York City Jan. 7, 2012.

Monday, February 10, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Angela Lansbury

Artist:Angela Lansbury
Song:Beauty and the Beast
Album:Beauty and the Beast: Soundtrack

Angela Lansbury was born in England but has been in Hollywood since the 40s. She was never a star until the 80s TV show Murder, She Wrote. And then she just nailed the theme for the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast. I'm sure a lot of folks didn't know she could sing. She was born Oct. 16, 1925 in Poplar, East London, England. Her mother was actress Moyna McGill and her father was politician Edgar Lansbury. He died when Angela was nine years old. The family moved to the US and ended up in Los Angeles in the early 40s. Angela met screenwriter John Van Druten at a party. And he thought she would be perfect for a film he had written. Gaslight was Angela's film debut in 1944. She signed with MGM and appeared in National Velvet and The Picture of Dorion Gray. But for the most part, she was unhappy with her roles at MGM and left in 1952. She seemed to flounder until starring in the 1966 Broadway musical Mame. She won a Tony and appeared a lot on the stage in the 70s. Her career revival came as Jessica Fletcher in the TV mystery show Murder, She Wrote. That show was a huge success and ran from 1984-96. Disney had tried to produce a Beauty and the Beast film for years. But with the success of The Little Mermaid, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken were hired to turn Beauty and the Beast into a musical. It was a huge success and Angela was hired to voice the teapot Mrs. Potts. She says she did it for her grandchildren. She did a great job on the title song and it won the Best Song Oscar. The song was also a hit single by Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion. This 2010 CD release of the soundtrack has that recording, all the songs from the film and a new version of Beauty and the Beast recorded by American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. Angela Lansbury has performed a lot on stage in recent years. She is currently appearing in a London production of Blithe Spirit. Here's Angela Lansbury performing Beauty and the Beast on the 2002 TV special Mormon Tabernacle Choir Presents the Joy of Christmas with Angela Lansbury.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ronnie Milsap

Artist:Ronnie Milsap
Song:Lost In The Fifties Tonight
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap was one of the most successful country music artists of the 70s and 80s. He was particularly successful at crossing over to pop and Adult Contemporary. Lost In The Fifties Tonight is a nostalgia laden song that topped the country chart and did well on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1985. Milsap was born Jan. 16, 1943 in Robbinsville, NC. He was born almost completely blind and was abandoned by his mother and raised by his grandparents until he was placed in a school for the blind at age 5. His instructors noticed Milsap's musical talent and he studied classical piano. He was a big fan of 50s rock 'n' roll especially Ray Charles. After briefly attending college on a music scholarship, Milsap decided to become a full time musician. While playing as a sideman, Milsap recorded for Scepter Records and had a top 20 R & B hit in 1965 with Never Had It So Good. He moved to Memphis and recorded an album for Warner Bros. in 1971 while working as a session musician. Then he moved to Nashville and Charley Pride got him a record deal with RCA Records. Pride convinced Milsap to switch to country music. But Milsap's recordings have always had rock and soul elements and that's why he has been so successful crossing over to pop. In the 70s, Milsap had success in country music with hits like It Was Almost Like A Song in 1977. But he started crossing over to pop in the 80s. The biggest of those hits was Any Day Now in 1982. It topped the country and adult contemporary charts and was a top 20 pop hit. Lost In The Fifties Tonight topped the Country Singles and Adult Contemporary charts in 1985. It also won a Best Country Vocal Performance Grammy. It was one of the biggest country hits of that year. Lost in The Fifties uses pieces of the classic doo wop song In The Still Of The Night. So Fred Parris of The Five Satins got a songwriting credit. Lost In The Fifties was written by Mike Reid and Troy Seals. Reid was a defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals who turned to country music after retirement. He recorded two albums in the 90s but has been successful as a songwriter. He also wrote the Milsap hit Stranger In My House. Troy Seals is the brother of Jimmy Seals of Seals & Crofts and Dan Seals. He recorded a few singles in the 70s but has had success as a songwriter in the 80s. The sax solo is by veteran session musician Jim Horn. This budget comp is a good intro to Milsap's music. He started to fade in the late 80s and left RCA for Liberty in 1993. Milsap still tours and records. His latest CD Summer Number Seventeen was released by Sony Legacy on Jan. 28, 2014. It is a CD of oldies covers including a new version of Lost In The Fifties Tonight. Here's the video for Lost In The Fifties Tonight by Ronnie Milsap.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Shayna Baszler vs Sarah Kaufman added to Apr. 16 UFC show

The UFC announced today that Shayna Baszler vs Sarah Kaufman has been added to TUF Nations Finale Apr. 16 in Quebec City. These two previously fought on a June 2009 Strikeforce show. Sarah won by unanimous decision. I just watched that fight and I think Sarah was a more aggressive fighter back then. Maybe she should stop thinking too much about what she is going to do and just do it. Early in her career, Sarah won a lot of her fights by TKO. She hasn't knocked anyone out for a long time. Of course Shayna has been around for a long time. And in the 2009 fight, she had a lot of trouble trying to take Sarah down. I think Sarah's takedown defense is still effective so Shayna will have to figure that out. The two times Sarah was submitted, it was by Marloes Coenen and Ronda Rousey, two high level submission specialists. Shayna may be looking for redemption after underperforming in TUF 18. She was recovering from a foot injury and didn't appear on the finale. Shayna has been training at Ronda's camp in Los Angeles. So I will be interested to see if she has picked up any of the champ's little tricks. Who knows? Maybe she will break out her twister submission if she can take Sarah down. Here's the video of their first fight from June 2009. Enjoy!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Frank Stallone

Artist:Frank Stallone
Song:Far From Over
Album:Hear The Light Volume 1

Far From Over from the 1983 film Staying Alive was a top ten hit in 1983. It is Frank Stallone's only significant chart hit. Of course he's the butt of a lot of jokes because he is the younger brother of Sylvester Stallone who directed Staying Alive. Frank Stallone was born July 30, 1950 in New York City. He grew up idolizing Frank Sinatra and wanted to be a singer. He started out doing bit parts in his brother's films. Staying Alive was the 1983 sequel to Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta. Travolta reprised his role in the sequel. Though the film was successful at the box office, it was slammed as one of the most unnecessary sequels in film history. When Sylvester Stallone signed to direct the film, he only had five new Bee Gees songs for the soundtrack. So he decided to help out his brother Frank and hired him to write songs for the film. He also got him a contract with the film's producers RSO Records. Stallone wrote four songs for the soundtrack and sang on three of them including a duet with Staying Alive co-star Cynthia Rhodes. Far From Over reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Stallone wrote it with Staying Alive composer Vince DiCola who went on to compose the music for Rocky V and Transformers: The Movie. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy. The song is fairly typical of 80s rock. Stallone released an album on RSO that went nowhere. The soundtrack for Staying Alive is out of print but you can get Far From Over on this Polydor various artists CD. Frank Stallone still tours and occasionally records. Maybe he would have more success if he wasn't a Stallone. here's the video for Far From Over by Frank Stallone.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Can Ronda Rousey carry a movie?

Well, it looks like we might find out in a couple of years. Last night, Justin Kroll of Variety reported that Ronda Rousey has signed with Warner Bros. for two high profile film projects. The first is a supporting role in the film of the popular HBO show Entourage. Variety reports she will shoot her scenes in March. But I think the second film is a lot more interesting because it will be Ronda's first starring role. It's to be a film adaptation of Brad Thor's best selling novel The Athena Project. The book is about a female Delta Force. Ronda likes the book and met with Thor. It is being reported that Warners is about to acquire the movie rights for the book. They actually bought the rights in Nov. 2010 before the book was published but I guess the rights expired. So let's assume that Warners will get the movie rights. They have to get a script. I don't think Thor has ever written a movie script. In fact, this will be his first novel to be adapted to film. Then Warners has to get a director, casting and everything else. Anything can go wrong at any time and the film could get spiked or put into turnaround. So if we ever see this film, it won't be until 2017. The other thing is there are competing female action projects out there. If one of those lands in theaters and bombs, Warners might get cold feet. Gina Carano is starring in one of them. In Sept. 2012, Gina signed with producer Adi Shankar to make what is being described as a female The Expendables. The film doesn't have a title yet. Shankar was a producer on Lone Survivor. Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff is Gina's co-star and the script is in progress. Meanwhile, the producers of The Expendables including Sylvester Stallone and Millennium Films owner Avi Lerner announced plans to produce a female spinoff of The Expendables called The ExpendaBelles. Yesterday they announced that Legally Blonde director Robert Luketic has come on board. The script was written by two women who have worked with Luketic before. They say they are planning to shoot this summer. No casting yet but maybe Ronda will do it if things don't progress at Warners. Making a big announcement is one thing. Turning that big announcement into something that will be seen at the local Cineplex is a long road that can sometimes be a dead end.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Keith & Enid

Artist:Keith & Enid
Song:Worried Over You
Album:Trojan Presents Mento & R & B: 40 Roots Of Reggae Classics

Here's a classic Jamaican record that predates reggae or even ska. It was released in 1960. At that time, American R & B was starting to show its influence on Jamaican music like calypso and mento. Keith & Enid were a very popular duo with several hits including Worried Over You in 1960. They were Keith Stewart and Enid Cumberland. Worried Over You was written and produced by Simeon Smith. The band on the record is Trenton Spence & His Group and Spence is playing sax on the record. Keith & Enid became popular enough in England that Island Records released a Keith & Enid album containing all their singles in 1964. Keith & Enid split up shortly after that. Enid found a new partner Roy Richards. They recorded a few singles in the late 60s as Roy & Enid. Keith Stewart had some success as a solo artist in 1970 with the song Yellow Bird. The duo reunited for a special concert a few years ago. Stewart died in Nov. 2010. Worried Over You holds up well and you can get it on this 2CD various artists comp from Trojan Records. Here's a video for Worried Over You by Keith & Enid.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Mika Nagano married and pregnant, retirement match canceled

On her 30th birthday in late December, DEEP JEWELS fighter Mika Nagano announced her plan to retire from MMA. An exhibition match against the returning Saori Ishioka was announced for the Feb. 16 DEEP JEWELS show at Shinjuku FACE. A few days ago, DEEP JEWELS announced that Nagano is pregnant and the retirement match is off. The retirement ceremony will go on. Today, Nagano announced that she was secretly married in late December. She apologized for the confusion caused by her own carelessness. I think she planned to announce her marriage at her retirement show but the pregnancy changed the situation. Japan is still a parochial society and children born outside of marriage is still frowned upon. So now Mika has clarified her situation. Somebody asked me if I thought DEEP JEWELS would use this to spike ticket sales. Though nothing DEEP JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki would do would surprise me, I don't think he did that in this case. He wanted to reintroduce Saori Ishioka after two years off to have a baby and now he won't be able to do that. DEEP JEWELS has offered refunds to those who request it. The retirement ceremony will probably be worth seeing for most fans.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Florida Georgia Line

Artist:Florida Georgia Line
Song:Get Your Shine On
Album:Here's To The Good Times

Florida Georgia Line made a huge splash with their 2012 debut CD Here's To The Good Times. Get Your Shine On is one of their four top five country hits. And they have also crossed over to pop. Their music has a good time party vibe and a rock backbeat that appeals to the non-country audience. Brian Kelley is from Ormond Beach, FL. Tyler Hubbard is from Monroe, GA. They met while attending Belmont University in Nashville and started writing together. They released an EP in 2010 and this led to a songwriting and management contract with Big Loud Mountain owned by veteran songwriter Craig Wiseman and Canadian record producer Joey Moi. Moi is best known for producing Nickelback and he produced Jake Owen's Barefoot Blue Jean Night. A second EP got them a deal with Republic Nashville. Here's To The Good Times was released Dec. 2012. Six new songs were added to the five that were on the EP. Their debut single Cruise topped the country chart and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Get Your Shine On was the second single and it reached #5 on the Country Singles chart. Kelley and Hubbard wrote Get Your Shine on with Rodney Clawson and Chris Tompkins. Clawson is under contract to Big Loud Mountain and has written hits for Jason Aldean. Tompkins co-wrote Jesus Take The Wheel for Carrie Underwood. Here's To The Good Times has sold almost two million copies. So it's been a huge success for a debut CD. Some would complain that Florida Georgia Line is more rock than country. A lot of the success is due to the rock elements from producer Moi. After winning a few awards, Florida Georgia Line just released an iTunes Sessions EP that is only available as a digital download. And they are on tour currently. They have certainly made a big splash but as always, time will tell if Florida Georgia Line can sustain that success. Here's the video for Get Your Shine On by Florida Georgia Line.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Colin James

Artist:Colin James
Album:Take It From The Top: The Best Of Colin James

I guess the best way to describe Colin James is he is the Canadian version of blues rockers like Kenny Wayne Shepherd. James is very successful in Canada and has won several Juno awards. He was born Colin James Munn Aug. 17, 1964 in Regina, SK. As a teen, he performed locally with his band The Hoodoo Men. James moved to Vancouver at age 19. While opening for Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1988, Vaughan suggested the stage name Colin James because the name Munn sounds too much like mud. James signed with Virgin Records and his 1988 debut album was produced by big name producers Tom Dowd and Danny Kortchmar. James won a Juno for Most Promising Male Vocalist. James recorded three albums for Virgin including the very popular 1993 swing album Colin James and the Little Big Band. Then he moved to Warner Music Canada. Freedom is from the 1995 album Bad Habits. Mavis Staples sings on Freedom. James wrote Freedom with Tom Wilson of Junkhouse. Other album guests include Lenny Kravitz and Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. This album was released on Elektra in the US. Colin James could be a bigger star if he moved to the US. But he prefers to remain in Canada and he does tour internationally. He's just a bigger deal in Canada. Those who enjoy this kind of blues rock will enjoy James. James has recorded for Maple Music and currently records for EMI Canada who released this comp CD. His latest CD Twenty Five Live was released last year. James works a lot with Craig Northey's band Odds. Here's Colin James performing Freedom at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver from the 2013 CD Twenty Five Live.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Alejandro Sanz

Artist:Alejandro Sanz
Song:Corazon Partio
Album:Grandes Exitos 97_04

Singer songwriter Alejandro Sanz started out in the early 90s as the best selling recording artist in his native Spain. But by the late 90s he expanded his reach to other Spanish speaking countries especially in Latin America. The 1997 single Corazon Partio was the key that opened that door. He's still a big star today. He was born Alejandro Sanchez Pizzaro Dec. 18, 1968 in Madrid, Spain. His father was a salesman who played guitar as a hobby. Though Sanz learned to play traditional flamenco on the guitar, he soon found that he wanted to write and perform pop music. While performing locally as a teen, manager Miguel Angel Arenas got him a record deal with Hispavox. His 1989 debut album went nowhere. But demos got him a deal with Warner Music Latina in 1991. His albums did very well in Spain. But with his 1997 album Mas, Sanz wanted to expand his appeal. The album was a mix of flamenco, pop and tropical rhythms. Corazon Partio not only topped the Spanish charts but it also reached #3 on the Billboard Latin Pop Airplay chart. Mas was the best selling album of all time in Spain. But it also did well in the US, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. Since then Sanz has been very successful and has won several Latin Grammy awards. In 2002, he was the first Spanish speaking artist to record MTV Unplugged. This budget comp is part of a 3CD box set and is a good intro to Sanz' music. In 2005, Sanz had an international smash with La Tortura, a duet with Shakira. In 2009 he recorded Trouble In Paradise with Alicia Keys and that was an international hit. Sanz left Warners for Universal in 2011. His 2012 CD La Musica No Se Toca topped the charts internationally. Keep in mind that Sanz is still unknown to English speaking audiences. He probably doesn't need them at this point. Here's the video for Corazon Partio by Alejandro Sanz. This video is not on Youtube.
Alejandro Sanz - Corazon Partio by soraya198989

Monday, February 03, 2014

Jessica Eye's positive drug test is bogus incompetence

The other day, the Texas AC announced the change of Jessica Eye vs Sarah Kaufman to a No Decision with no explanation. I thought it had to be because of the judging. It's been three months since the fight. Usually positive drug tests come back shortly after the fight. It doesn't take this long. So it seemed a little fishy when they announced today that Jessica tested positive for a banned substance. It turns out the banned substance is a blood thinner that Jessica has been prescribed since she was in a car accident several years ago. So not only is it not a performance enhancing drug but but the positive test is the result of a wacky misinterpretation by a state athletic commission well known for incompetence. I wonder if we would get the same result in other states. At first they announced Jessica was fined and suspended for a year. But they changed the suspension to probation and Jessica's Feb. 20 fight against Alexis Davis is still on. UFC regulatory director Marc Ratner is already on the case. So don't be surprised if the whole thing is rescinded and Jessica gets her win back. What a bunch of dopes!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Billy "Crash" Craddock

Artist:Billy "Crash" Craddock
Song:Rub It In
Album:Superstars Of Country: Hello Darlin'

Billy "Crash" Craddock started out as a rockabilly singer in the late 50s. But he had most of his success as a country singer in the 70s. In 1974, Rub It In was a number one country hit and it crossed over to pop. He was born June 16, 1939 in Greensboro, NC. As a teen, he won a local TV talent contest for 15 straight weeks. The nickname "Crash" is from his days as a high school football running back. After high school, he formed the rockabilly group The Four Rebels with his brother. After releasing a couple of singles on local labels, Craddock got a record deal with Columbia's Date label. They unsuccessfully tried to sell Craddock as a teen idol. But he had success in Australia after touring there in 1959. He even had a number one record there. In the 60s, Craddock recorded one album for King Records and released singles on Mercury and Chart. He quit the music business to work in a cigarette factory. But he returned in 1969 with Cartwheel Records and had a number three country hit in 1971 with his cover of the Tony Otlando & Dawn hit Knock Three Times. His success led to a contract with ABC Records in 1973. Rub It In was his first number one country hit in 1974. And it crossed over to pop and reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's a song about suntan lotion so it registers high on the silly scale. Rub It In was written by Layng Martine Jr. and he recorded it in 1971. You have probably heard the song as the theme for the long running Glade Air Freshener campaign. "Plug it in. Plug it in." Craddock's other number one country hits were his 1974 cover of The Drifters' Ruby Baby and Broken Down in Tiny Pieces in 1976. There is no Billy "Crash" Craddock comp of his ABC recordings available. There was one on Razor & Tie but it is out of print. But you can get Rub It In on this 2CD various artists Time Life comp. Craddock left ABC for Capitol in 1977 but didn't have the same success there. He recorded for MCA and Atlantic in the 80s. Billy "Crash" Craddock still tours. His latest CD Live -N- Kickin' was released in 2009. Here's Billy "Crash" Craddock performing Rub It in on Pop Goes The Country 1974.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dan Fogelberg

Artist:Dan Fogelberg
Song:Same Auld Lang Syne
Album:The Very Best Of Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg was a very successful singer songwriter in the 70s and 80s mostly as an album artist and on Adult Contemporary radio. But he had four top ten pop hit singles including Same Auld Lang Syne in 1981. He was born Aug. 13, 1951 in Peoria, IL. His father was a high school band director and his mother was a classically trained pianist. He was in bands as a teen and one of those bands, The Coachmen, released a couple of singles in 1967. He continued to play while in college. And after recording a solo album in 1971, he was discovered by Irving Azoff and signed to Full Moon Records. He went to Nashville and started having some success with the 1974 album Souvenirs. He had a couple of hit singles but most of his success was as an album artist. The 1981 album The Innocent Age was probably Fogelberg's most successful album. Same Auld Lang Syne reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was one of four hit singles from that album. Fogelberg said he wrote the song after encountering an old girlfriend on a trip home to Peoria to visit his parents for Christmas. The sax solo at the end of the song is by Michael Brecker. The song has become a Christmas perennial. By the late 80s, Fogelberg faded and he left Full Moon in 1993. But he continued to be a very strong live draw until his death from cancer on Dec. 16, 2007 at age 56. You can get all of Fogelberg's hits on this budget comp. Here's Dan Fogelberg performing Same Auld Lang Syne at the Fox Theater in St. Louis 1991 from the DVD Welcome To The West.