Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Patrick Sky

Artist:Patrick Sky
Song:Many A Mile
Album:Patrick Sky

Not everyone who hung around Greenwich Village in the 60s became as famous as Bob Dylan. Patrick Sky was a respected singer, songwriter and producer who never broke through to the mainstream. Many A Mile has been frequently covered by other artists. He was born Patrick Lynch in Liveoak Gardens, GA in 1943 and he grew up in the LaFouche Swamps of Louisiana. He learned to play guitar as a child and played local clubs as a teen. After attending college and serving for a couple of years in the US Army, Sky started performing and settled in Greenwich Village in New York in the early 60s. Of course this was the hotbed of folk music. When Bob Dylan became famous, record companies searched Greenwich Village for guys that they thought could be just as famous. Vanguard Records signed Sky and he released the album Patrick Sky in 1965. Many A Mile became popular when Buffy Sainte-Marie recorded it in 1965. Sky also produced some of her albums and also produced albums by Mississippi John Hurt and Eric Andersen. Many A Mile was also recorded by John Kay, New Grass Revival, The Country Gentlemen and Dave Van Ronk. Like Andersen and Van Ronk, Sky never had much mainstream success. He recorded two albums for Vanguard and then two more for Verve Forecast. Sky's songs became political with the album Songs That Made America Famous. But no record company would release it until he licensed it to Adelphi in 1973. Adelphi sold it as the album no one wanted you to hear. Since then, Sky has owned his own record company and released his own music and music by others. Today Patrick Sky is an expert on uillean pipes which is the bagpipe of Ireland. He's written books about them. In 2009, Sky released a CD of traditional Irish music with wife Cathy on violin called Down To Us. The two continue to perform and Sky also makes and repairs uillean pipes. So even if he wasn't famous in the 60s, Patrick Sky has found his niche. Here's a video for Many A Mile by Patrick Sky.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ledisi concert review

Last night I went to see R & B singer Ledisi and The Robert Glasper Experiment at the Danforth Music Hall. For some reason, they decided to take the seats out of the hall and have everyone stand. I guess they were hoping it would turn into a dance floor. Normally I wouldn't go to a concert with that kind of seating because I can't stand and visibility could be a problem. But I really wanted to see Ledisi. I don't know how the hall feels about this in retrospect but the show was not sold out and nobody danced. They should have left the seats in. I probably won't go to shows with that kind of seating arrangement in the future. But I did enjoy the show. Houston born jazz pianist Robert Glasper opened the show with his neo soul group The Robert Glasper Experiment. He also tours with a jazz group. Glasper has become a big deal since his 2012 CD Black Radio won a Best R & B Album Grammy. His latest CD Black Radio 2 features guest appearances by singers like Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius and Anthony Hamilton. none of them are on this tour. The band is Robert Glasper on keyboards, Casey Benjamin on sax and vocals, Derrick Hodge on bass and Mark Colenburg on drums. I liked the solos by the individual musicians but Benjamin's vocals went through electronic altering like auto tune. I can take that in small doses but not for 45 minutes. I guess the problem is Glasper has all these guest vocalists on his albums and he can't reproduce it on stage. It's a little bit of a disconnect but Glasper has talent. Ledisi is on tour to support her new CD The Truth. There's no question that she has gotten more commercial since I first heard her in 2007. Back then she was singing in small clubs. Now she has dancers and Ledisi changes costumes several times. Though I really enjoyed Ledisi's performance, I can't help but think that I would enjoy her more in a small club singing jazz. Success can be a double edged sword. Ledisi is still one of the best singers around. But maybe she's losing some of the things I liked about her when I first heard her. And as I said, the show wasn't sold out. So maybe in Canada, she would be better off doing smaller shows.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Manhattans

Artist:The Manhattans
Song:Kiss And Say Goodbye
Album:Kiss And Say Goodbye: The Best Of The Manhattans

The Manhattans started out in the 60s. But they had their biggest success and their only number one hit with Kiss And Say Goodbye in 1976. What's interesting is they had most of their success after original lead singer George Smith died in 1970, a tragedy that would have killed most groups. The Manhattans started out in 1962 as Jersey City, NJ high school students. George "Smitty" Smith was lead singer. Winfred "Blue" Lovett sang bass and wrote a lot of the songs with Edward "Sonny" Bivins. Other members were Kenny "Wally" Kelley and Ricky Taylor. The Manhattans recorded for Carnival Records and had modest success on the R & B charts with songs like I Wanna Be (Your Everything). A 1969 switch to King Records owned label Deluxe didn't seem to help much. Then George Smith fell down a flight of stairs and was unable to perform. He died on Dec. 16, 1970. They looked for a new lead singer. A couple of years earlier, they had seen Gerald Alston perform with his gospel group. They asked him to join at the time but he declined. This time he did join. The Manhattans signed with Columbia Records and the new version of the group seemed to perform better on the R & B charts. Lovett wrote Kiss And Say Goodbye with the intention of selling it to Glen Campbell. But Philadelphia International producer Bobby Martin heard the demo and thought it could be a big hit for The Manhattans. Martin was drummer for MFSB and he also produced The Three Degrees. Kiss And Say Goodbye topped the pop and R & B charts in 1976. The Manhattans other top five pop hit was Shining Star in 1980. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. The Manhattans remained with Columbia until 1986. Alston left to go solo in 1988. Lovett and Kelley left in 1990. Bivins continues to lead a version of The Manhattans today. In 1995, Lovett formed his own version of The Manhattans featuring Alston. They have recorded and appeared on a couple of PBS specials. Both groups are active which is very confusing for fans. Here's The Manhattans performing Kiss And Say Goodbye.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Review of WWE Total Divas Season 2 Episode 6

Most episodes of WWE Total Divas have a level of stupidity. But this week's episode goes way overboard. Most of it concerns Nattie Neidhart and husband TJ Wilson going to New York and the Nattie's terrible decision to allow Ariane to housesit. A lesser story has The Bella Twins bickering over chicken. Nikki is buying chicken in the supermarket and Brie is giving her a hard time for buying factory chicken instead of free range chicken. Nikki doesn't care until Brie shows her the conditions factory chickens are raised in. Nikki gets the message but won't eat chicken anymore. So Brie takes Nikki to a chicken farm to show how chickens are properly raised. The whole thing comes across like a public service announcement no doubt inspired by Brie's real beliefs. But I didn't think it was very entertaining. Back to the main storyline. Nattie Neidhart is excited about a feature spread in Flex Magazine. The WWE is sending her to New York City to promote it. I know what you're thinking. What the hell is Flex Magazine? It's for bodybuilding enthusiasts. Legendary bodybuilder Joe Weider started it in 1983. The main purpose of the magazine is to sell supplements. Most of the content is paid for and there's enough of a crossover that the WWE will pay to have Nattie and other wrestlers appear in the magazine. But I don't know if anyone actually would buy the magazine just to see Nattie. She thinks it's a big deal but it isn't. And the WWE knows this and have Summer Rae point it out. But Nattie gets a trip to New York to promote it and she decides to turn it into a romantic getaway with TJ. That's when things go off the rails. Normally when she goes on a trip, Nattie has her mom housesit and take care of the cats. But her mom isn't available and somehow Ariane talks Nattie into letting her and idiot boyfriend Vincent housesit. That is obviously a bad idea that contradicts common sense. Then TJ invites his sister to come on the New York trip. I guess he didn't get the memo about the romantic getaway. When TJ gives his sister an expensive spa treatment and the five thousand bucks for an inflatable castle, Nattie is upset because he didn't discuss it with her. He says that when she gave her parents a car, she didn't discuss it with him. So they are fighting during the whole trip. Meanwhile Ariane and Vincent host a drunken party and one of the cats gets out of the house. While searching for the cat, they come across Nattie's neighbour who calls Nattie and blows the whistle on them. Nattie and TJ stop fighting and pack to go home. Fortunately the cat is found and disaster is averted. But you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that this stupidity could have been avoided. Ugh! Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Benny Carter

Artist:Benny Carter f/Oscar Peterson
Album:Cosmopolite: The Oscar Peterson Verve Sessions

This CD is a compilation of recordings by two of the all time greats of jazz. Sax player Benny Carter started out in the 20s. Pianist Oscar Peterson was an up and comer in the early 50s. The two got together when Carter appeared on Norman Granz' Jazz At The Philharmonic concert series. They first recorded together in Sept. 1952. Some of the recordings were with an orchestra led by Joe Glover. Only the small group recordings are on this CD. They recorded together again in Sept. 1954. Laura was recorded at this session. Musicians were Bill Harris on trombone, Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass and Buddy Rich on drums. Some of the recordings from this session were released on the Benny Carter LP New Jazz Sounds and another one called Moonglow. But Laura looks like it was an orphan track that turned up on the 1955 LP Benny Carter Plays Pretty. That's why this CD is so useful. Granz would spread the recordings out over different LPs. Now you can get all of them on one CD. It's a must for fans of these two jazz legends. Carter and Peterson recorded one more session in 1954. And they reunited for the 1987 album Benny Carter Meets Oscar Peterson on Pablo Records. Here's a video for Laura by Benny Carter featuring Oscar Peterson.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Bethe Correia vs Jessamyn Duke

Here's the fight video of Bethe Correia vs Jessamyn Duke from last night's UFC show in Baltimore. The big deal about this fight is Jessamyn's height and reach advantage and also that she has been training at Ronda Rousey's camp in Los Angeles. So how would Bethe neutralize that advantage. I wasn't impressed with her win over Julie Kedzie. In the first round, Bethe used leg kicks to force Jessamyn to keep her distance and set up other things. Jessamyn never seemed to have a response for the leg kicks and she just didn't do much. Bethe won round one 10-9. A fighter has three five minute rounds to win the fight. To win the fight, the fighter needs to be proactive. If a fighter waits around like Jessamyn did in the first round, the fight will get away from her. And it sets a tone for the judges. Bethe never hurt Jessamyn. But she was busier and that was enough to win the fight. So it could be said that Jessamyn beat herself by inactivity. So trainer Edmond Tarverdyan told Jessamyn she could win the fight if she threw more jabs and followed it up. Well, she threw more jabs in round two but Bethe responded with several punches each time along with the leg kicks. Jessamyn scored a couple of takedowns but Bethe reversed the first one and got side control. She didn't do anything except show control. And she got up immediately after the second takedown. Bethe wins round two 10-9. But I guess Tarverdyan thought Jessamyn won the round and told her she could win the fight. He again told her to be busier. I don't think the takedowns were enough for Jessamyn to win the round. I didn't see anything different in round three. Bethe continued to get the best of most exchanges. And it was all set up by those leg kicks. I scored the fight 30-27 for Bethe and she won a unanimous decision. I liked her better in this fight as opposed to the Kedzie fight. She had a game plan to neutralize Jessamyn's height and reach advantage and it worked. Jessamyn's response was disappointing. She beat herself and that's the one thing a fighter wants to avoid. She needed to be more aggressive and she wasn't. There was some controversy afterwards when Bethe made The Four Horsewomen sign and indicated one down three to go. You'll see it on the video. Geez, people sure are touchy these days. Everything offends someone. I have no problem with that kind of gamesmanship because it sets up rivalries and fights. Take it easy folks. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Glass Tiger

Artist:Glass Tiger
Song:Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)
Album:The Best of the Best: Air Time

The Canadian group Glass Tiger had their biggest success in the US with Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone) in 1986. They were a much bigger deal at home. At first Glass Tiger was called Tokyo when they formed in Newmarket, ON which is north of Toronto. Alan Frew was lead singer. Other members were Sam Reid on keyboards, Al Connelly on guitar, Wayne Parker on bass and Michael Hanson on drums. They signed with Capitol Records Canada and it appears they may have suggested the name change to Glass Tiger. The band chose Jim Vallance to produce their 1986 debut album The Thin Red Line. He was known as Bryan Adams' songwriting partner. Don't Forget Me was the first single. It topped the Canadian charts and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Someday was their other US top ten hit. Glass Tiger was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy. The Thin Red Line was certified Gold. Though that was the end of their success in the US, Glass Tiger did well in Canada. They recorded three albums and went on hiatus after the 1991 CD Simple Mission. You can get all their hits on this comp. Glass Tiger has reunited occasionally. They released a live CD in 2006. Alan Frew released a couple of solo CDs. But he is mainly a songwriter. He wrote I Believe for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Sam Reid is director of the Songwiters Association of Canada. Here's the video for Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone) by Glass Tiger.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-David Cook

Artist:David Cook
Song:Come Back To Me
Album:David Cook

David Cook won season seven of American Idol. His post Idol debut CD David Cook went Platinum. But then his second CD tanked and he was dropped by RCA Records. Cook is a good example of the diminished influence of AI. It's a double edged sword. Cook is a decent singer songwriter but without AI, he may have never recorded as a solo artist for a major label. He was born Dec. 20, 1982 in Houston and grew up in Blue Springs, MO which is a suburb of Kansas City. He formed the band Axium with his high school pal Bobby Kerr. Axium had some regional success but they were never able to sign with a major label. They split up in 2006 and Cook joined The Midwest Kings who became part of his post Idol band the Anthemic. Cook also released an independent solo CD. He went to the Omaha AI auditions to support his brother who didn't make the cut. Cook was talked into auditioning and he made the show and won. His main competition on the show was teen David Archuleta. Cook's rep was as a rock singer similar to previous AI contestant Chris Daughtry who didn't win but has had post AI success. So Cook got a heavy push. Typically, right after he won AI, Cook had 11 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. His debut single The Time Of My Life reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then he recorded the 2008 CD David Cook with Goo Goo Dolls producer Rob Cavallo. One of Cook's favourite bands is Our Lady Peace and Cook got to write several songs with OLP lead singer Raine Maida and his wife Chantal Kreviazuk. The first single from the album was Light On and it reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cook performed Come Back To Me on a 2009 episode of AI and it charted but it didn't do as well as the first single. The song was written by Zac Maloy of The Nixons and Amund Bjorklund and Espen Lind of the Norwegian production duo Espionage. The bottom line is that David Cook sold 1.5M copies and was certified Platinum. Cook toured in 2009 with two of the guys from The Midwest Kings. Cook co-wrote all the songs on his 2011 CD This Loud Morning including some with his band. The album was released June 2011 and Cook toured in the fall. There were no hit singles and the album only sold 130,000 copies. That's a big drop and the result was RCA dropped Cook in 2012. He signed with XIX Recordings owned by AI creator Simon Fuller. He released a single last year and an album seems overdue at this point. He has also been mentoring on the current season of AI. As I said, I think the show was a double edged sword for Cook as without AI, he may never have recorded for a major label. But he hasn't sustained his success. Before AI, he was always part of a band as opposed to being a solo artist. And I think being part of a band is a better role for Cook. Here's the video for Come Back To Me by David Cook. The girl in the video is Sarah Roemer from the film Disturbia.

Friday, April 25, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Mitzi Gaynor

Artist:Mitzi Gaynor
Song:Honey Bun
Album:South Pacific: An Original Soundtrack Recording

Mitzi Gaynor is best known for playing Nellie Forbush in the 1958 film of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. She appeared in other 50s musicals. But in the early 60s, she turned to TV and hosted specials for years. She continues to perform today. She was born Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber Sept. 4, 1931 in Chicago. Mitzi is a childhood nickname. Her father was violinist Henry von Gerber and her mother was dancer Pauline Fisher. Mitzi grew up in Detroit and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was age 11. As a teen she performed with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera and then at 17, she signed with 20th Century Fox. Fox thought Mitzi Gerber sounded like the name of a delicatessen so her name was changed to Mitzi Gaynor. Among her film appearances were the 1954 film There's No Business Like Show Business, the 1956 film Anything Goes and the 1957 film Les Girls. When Rodgers and Hammerstein were casting South Pacific, they originally wanted the duo of Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin who starred in the Broadway production. But Pinza died and they offered the role of Nellie Forbush first to Doris Day and then Elizabeth Taylor. When neither worked out, they settled on Mitzi who was under contract to the studio. Unlike a lot of the other actors in the film, Mitzi did her own singing. The film was a big success and so was the soundtrack album. In fact, Mitzi made more from the soundtrack than her salary for the film. By the early 60s, Mitzi quit films and performed mostly in concert and on TV. She hosted several TV specials from 1967-78. A compilation of those TV specials is available on DVD. She married MCA agent Jack Bean in 1954 and he managed her career until his 2006 death. In recent years, Mitzi has toured with her one woman show Razzle Dazzle: My Life Behind The Sequins. Here's Mitzi Gaynor performing Honey Bun from the 1958 film South Pacific.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Teddy Wilson

Artist:Teddy Wilson f/Benny Goodman
Song:If I Had You
Album:Nice Work If You Can Get It

So I am featuring this CD for Benny Goodman fanatics who collect all his recordings. Though this CD is credited to Teddy Wilson, half of it is from a Benny Goodman live recording that doesn't appear in Goodman's discography. Off labels like Laserlight will do stuff like that though the recordings are valuable to fans. Of course pianist Teddy Wilson is probably the greatest sideman of all time and he is best known for his work with Goodman. If I Had You was written by Irving King (British songwriters Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly) and Ted Shapiro for the 1929 film Our Modern Maidens. It is not to be confused with the Irving Berlin song also titled If I Had You. Wilson recorded If I Had You in 1937 and then he arranged it for the Goodman band. The song is a jazz standard. Wilson still toured with Goodman in the 80s and the recordings on this CD were from a 1982 Washington, DC concert. But they have never been on a Goodman album. The musicians are probably the same ones that are on the video; Eddie Duran on guitar, Al Obidenski on bass and John Markham on drums. But that's just one half of the CD. The other half is from a 1976 Black & White Records album Three Little Words. This has Teddy Wilson on piano, Milt Hinton on bass and Oliver Jackson on drums and was recorded in Nice, France. Fortunately this CD is available as a budget CD. It is mainly recommended to Benny Goodman fans who collect all his recordings as they are only available on this CD and are not listed in Goodman's discography. So why did Laserlight release these Goodman recordings this way? There are only six songs, not enough to fill a CD. And they owned Three Little Words. That's why I am always very careful with off labels. They will do all kinds of weird things. Here's Teddy Wilson with Benny Goodman performing If I Had You at the Aurex Jazz Festival in Yokohama, Japan Sept. 7, 1980.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Babyface

Song:Every Time I Close My Eyes
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Babyface

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds was the most successful record producer of the 90s. He wrote and produced many hits for many different artists. His own singing career almost seems like a sidebar. But he had five top ten pop hits including Every Time I Close My Eyes in 1997. He was a regular on the R & B charts. Edmonds was born Apr. 10, 1959 in Indianapolis. His brothers Kevon and Melvin Edmonds had the successful group After 7. Edmonds started out in Bootsy Collins' band. Collins gave him the name Babyface. He was in the 70s group Manchild. They recorded two albums. Edmonds joined The Deele in 1981 and that's where he met Antonio "LA" Reid. The Deele recorded three albums for Dick Griffey's Solar Records and Edmonds recorded two solo albums. In 1989, Edmonds and Reid left The Deele to start LaFace Records. Probably Edmonds biggest success as a producer was Toni Braxton. But he wrote and produced for Boyz II Men, TLC, Whitney Houston and many others. Edmonds finally released the solo album For The Cool In You in 1993 on Epic Records. When Can I See You reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. His 1996 album The Day did even better. It was certified 2XPlatinum. Every Time I Close My Eyes was one of two top ten pop hits from that album. You'll notice that Mariah Carey performs backup vocals. But they seem like an afterthought. And Kenny G is credited with a sax solo that doesn't appear on the video but he does appear on other versions of the song. This song was Edmonds' final top ten pop hit. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. He was so busy as a producer that singing was always going to take a back seat. Edmonds currently has his own label SodaPop and he recently released the CD Love, Marriage & Divorce with Toni Braxton on Motown. He continues to produce other artists and will tour in June.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

VV Mei swallows pride, signs with DEEP JEWELS

VV Mei, Yukiko Seki
DEEP JEWELS announced today that VV Mei has signed and will fight Yukiko Seki on the May 18 Shinjuku FACE show. This is a major concession as Mei obviously wanted to remain freelance. Of course she has fought for JEWELS before. And despite the name change to DEEP JEWELS, it's still owned by DEEP. It always was owned by DEEP. The big difference is they won't hire freelancers anymore. Mei tried to get around signing a contract with DEEP JEWELS by taking fights in Guam and the Philippines. But she lost both fights so now her choices are limited. So why is DEEP JEWELS insisting fighters sign contracts? Because they want to prevent them from working for PANCRASE. Of course the ironic thing is that Emi Fujino is under DEEP JEWELS contract which got her a deal with WSOF who has a working relationship with PANCRASE. Uhhhh. Mei is now training at Riki Fukuda's offshoot of Grabaka. Her opponent Yukiko Seki has been around for years. She's 43 years old and has a record of 12-23. She's smaller than Mei and this fight will be at 48kg. Mei should win. DEEP JEWELS Flyweight Champion Ham Seo Hee will be an interested observer as Mei is a potential challenger. Ham will be kickboxing on this show. The dirty old men will be happy. And last week DEEP JEWELS added some filler matches like Ayaka Miura vs British fighter Ella Wu. Both are making their pro debuts. I saw a pic of Ella. The dirty old men will like her too. Tomo Maesawa will face Brittany Decker. Brittany is an American who has trained in Japan for a few years at WK Hearts. This will be her pro debut. And Shiori Hori will face Maya Dobashi. Several fighters tweeted today that DEEP has closed their gym in Tokyo. I'm not exactly sure what that means. My guess is DEEP is tight for money and are scaling back. I've said for the last year that DEEP JEWELS should close and be folded into DEEP. Maybe they will do that to save money.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Angelique Kidjo

Artist:Angelique Kidjo f/Henri Salvador
Song:Le Monde Comme un Bebe

Angelique Kidjo has been hailed by Time Magazine as Africa's premier diva. Though she was born in the west African country of Benin, Angelique has lived in Paris since the 80s and usually writes all her songs with husband Jean Hebrail. She has performed and recorded with a lot of different artists. On this particular song, she is performing with legendary French singer Henri Salvador. Angelique was born on July 14, 1960 in Cotonou, Benin. As a child, she performed in her mother's theater troupe. After recording an album at home, political pressure forced Angelique to move to Paris in 1983. While she was studying music at the Paris school CIM, she met and married musician Jean Hebrail. She recorded three albums as lead singer of the jazz rock group Pili Pili. She left to go solo and signed with Island Records in 1989. Among those who have appeared on her albums are Branford Marsalis, Manu Dibango, Carlos Santana, Cassandra Wilson, Kelly Price, Kenny Kirkland, Gilberto Gil, Dave Matthews, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Peter Gabriel, Ziggy Marley, Dianne Reeves, Bono, John Legend, Roy Hargrove, Lionel Loueke, Christian McBride and most recently Dr. John. So you may not have heard of Angelique Kidjo but all these musicians like her enough to record with her. She has a great voice. Oyaya! was released in 2004 and was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. Angelique and husband Hebrail wrote all the songs and the music is a mix of her African roots with Latin elements. French singing legend Henri Salvador appears on Le Monde Comme un Bebe. He has been a big deal in France since the 50s but is otherwise unknown. Salvador was 86 years old in 2004. He died in 2008. Angelique's latest CD Eve was released on 429 Records in January. She has been working a lot lately with jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke who was also born in Benin. She is currently touring Europe and will begin a US tour in June. Here's Angelique Kidjo and Henri Salvador performing Le Monde Comme un Bebe on the TV5 show Acoustic in Paris Nov. 2004.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Review of WWE Total Divas Season 2 Episode 5

The big story on this week's episode of WWE Total Divas is the marriage of Trinity McCray and Jon Fatu Jr. The other two storylines could best be described as recycled dreck from season one. It seems that the general consensus of the Total Divas cast is Nattie Neidhart is a prude. She doesn't even know what doggie style is. So Ariane thinks that the weirdo sex therapist she and Vincent saw last year could help Nattie and husband TJ Wilson. Nattie and TJ aren't so sure but they agree to see her. Meanwhile Trinity and Jon have been engaged for two years and Trinity wants to get married. They will do it in Hawaii. Trinity wants Jon's dad Rikishi to come but Jon's not so sure. They aren't that close. Remember Rikishi was on the road when Jon was growing up. He didn't see him that much. So they approach Rikishi when he was on RAW in Baltimore and he agrees to go to the wedding. Meanwhile in Tampa, Eva Marie is having female plumbing problems. Husband Jonathan takes her to the hospital. This is very similar to when Ariane got sick last year. The big issue is she is estranged from her parents because of Jonathan. She's afraid to call her mom. But Jonathan calls her and forces Eva to talk to her. They come and praise Jonathan for taking care of her. Maybe he's a good guy...or maybe they overreacted. The scene with the sex therapist and Nattie and TJ is really weird. They claim she helped them by getting them to try role playing and spice up their sex life. It seemed phony to me and recycled from last year. When the wedding party arrives in Hawaii, the only person missing is Rikishi. Jon's mom and the rest of the family is there. Jon finally tells Trinity that Rikishi isn't coming. She wants to know if it is because she's black. It's a fair question. But Jon's twin brother and tag team partner Joshua says that isn't the reason. He says the rest of the family is here and they support the two of them. The wedding goes on without a hitch. Trinity's dad sees her in her wedding dress and starts bawling. That was a great scene and the wedding was the best thing so far on season two of WWE Total Divas. I predict there will be another wedding later this season. Yeah, I know it's a safe prediction. Enjoy the video!
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AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Carrie Underwood

Artist:Carrie Underwood
Song:Don't Forget To Remember Me
Album:Some Hearts

Carrie Underwood is probably the most successful American Idol winner. Her 2005 debut CD Some Hearts was a huge seller with five big hits including Don't Forget To Remember Me. Her record sales have steadily decreased and at some point she may have to change things up to get back on top. I'm not sure she has that in her. She was born Mar. 10, 1983 in Muskogee, OK. She sang at local events and one of her admirers took her to Nashville to audition for Capitol Records when she was 14 years old. They were going to offer her a contract when company management changed and then nothing happened. So she gave up on singing and earned a BA in mass communications at Northeastern State University. She had various jobs and performed occasionally and entered beauty pageants. In the summer of 2004, she auditioned for American Idol in St. Louis. AI judge Simon Cowell not only predicted that Carrie would win but that she would outsell previous Idol winners. And according to the AI producers, Carrie won season four easily. It wasn't even close. So then she went into the studio to record Some Hearts with Rascal Flatts producer Mark Bright and session guitarist Dann Huff producing. The first single Jesus, Take The Wheel topped the Country Singles chart. That is probably her signature song. Don't Forget To Remember Me was the third single from Some Hearts. It reached #2 on the Country Singles chart. It was written by Morgane Hayes, Kelley Lovelace and Ashley Gorley. Morgane Hayes is a backup singer who was on Some Hearts. Kelley Lovelace usually writes with Brad Paisley. Ashley Gorley has written two other Carrie Underwood hits. The next single Before He Cheats crossed over to the pop top ten. Some Hearts was certified 7XPlatinum. To date it's her most successful album. Carrie Underwood has continued her success with several number one country hits. I noticed her album sales have decreased steadily. Her 2012 CD Blown Away sold just over a million copies as opposed to over seven million for Some Hearts. She's working on a new album for a 2014 release. Maybe she needs a new producer. She still works with Mark Bright. I also noticed she is writing more of her own songs. Maybe she isn't a very good songwriter. If sales keep decreasing, something will have to be done. Maybe she wants to do more acting. Carrie recently starred in the NBC production of the musical The Sound Of Music. She is married to NHL player Mike Fisher. She is also a big animal rights activist. Recently it was reported that she is the highest paid American Idol alumni at $31M. But I wonder if she is concerned about those declining sales numbers. Time will tell. I think she's a pretty good singer who could take more chances with her music. That's a hard thing to do when you're that successful. Here's the video for Don't Forget To Remember Me by Carrie Underwood. Carrie's mom appears in the video.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Miesha Tate vs Liz Carmouche

Here's the fight video of Miesha Tate vs Liz Carmouche from last night's UFC show in Orlando. There was a lot of whining after this fight that Liz got jobbed by the judges as all three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Miesha. I wasn't impressed with either of them and I scored the fight a draw. Miesha came out in round one like she was in a fog or something. And though Liz won the first round 10-9, she needed to be more aggressive. Getting a takedown is one thing but she needed to be more active on top and she wasn't. That's why the fans were booing. And Liz's trainer Manny Hernandez told her between rounds to be more aggressive and that Florida judges are weird. He told her the right thing but she didn't listen. Round two started like round one with Liz getting a takedown. But with about two minutes left in the round, Miesha managed to get Liz in a very poorly applied guillotine choke. Joe Rogan oversold it as usual. And it appears the judges liked it too as they all scored the round 10-9 for Miesha. I thought they gave Miesha way too much credit for the guillotine. At the very least, the round should have been scored 10-10. But I scored round two 10-9 for Liz. She had control for most of the round. But as Manny told her, she wasn't aggressive enough. Liz needed to do more than sit on Miesha. Miesha finally woke up in round three and was completely in charge with a rear naked choke attempt. I thought she won the round 10-8. So my score was a draw. I don't think either of them did enough to win. So how did all the judges score it 29-28 for Miesha? As I have said many times, judges are very reluctant to score rounds 10-10 or 10-8. That's why we get weird decisions sometimes. Should round two and three have both been scored 10-9 for Miesha? Of course not. Round three was a much bigger round for Miesha. But they scored those rounds the same. It's ridiculous. I don't think either of them deserved a win. But judges are told not to deliver a draw. Miesha is already talking about fighting Sarah Kaufman in Vancouver in June. That will probably happen. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Boyz II Men

Artist:Boyz II Men
Song:End Of The Road
Album:End Of The Road: The Collection

Boyz II Men was one of the most popular groups of the 90s. End Of The Road was their first number one pop hit in 1992. They started out as Unique Attraction when they started out in a Philadelphia high school led by Nathan Morris and Marc Nelson. Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman joined the group. One day they were practicing in the high school bathroom and Michael McCary walked in and started singing with them. He joined the group. The obvious influence on the group was the teen R & B vocal group New Edition. So they named themselves Boyz II Men after a New Edition song. Their big break came when they sneaked backstage at a New Edition concert and auditioned for Michael Bivins. He was just starting his own production company and got Boyz II Men a deal with Motown. Before they could record, Nelson left to go solo. He would have success with the group Az Yet. Boyz II Men had success with their first single Motownphilly. Critics complained that Boyz II Men sounded too much like New Edition. Bivins says that was deliberate. He wanted them to appeal to New Edition fans. So the first Boyz II Men album Cooleyhighharmony was very successful. While on tour, Boyz II Men returned to the studio briefly to record End Of The Road for the 1992 Eddie Murphy film Boomerang. The song was written and produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 13 weeks. Originally End Of The Road was only on the Boomerang soundtrack and later added as a bonus track to a reissue of Cooleyhighharmony. Then they changed management from Bivins to Edmonds. Boyz II Men's other number one hits were I'll Make Love To You and On Bended Knee in 1994 and 4 Seasons of Loneliness in 1997. What all these songs had in common was they were all weepy ballads and they are all on this British budget comp. Boyz II Men started having problems with Motown over the CD The Remix Collection which they were against releasing. There were also some health problems. They started their own label and tried to leave Motown but couldn't. They did leave after the 2000 CD Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya didn't sell. They signed with Arista for the 2002 CD Full Circle and reunited with Edmonds. But the CD didn't sell and McCary retired due to health problems. Boyz II Men is now a trio. Their latest CD Twenty was released in 2011. They have a permanent home at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. They appeared on a recent episode of How I Met Your Mother. Here's the video for End Of The Road by Boyz II Men.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Switch

Song:There'll Never Be
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Switch

Switch was an R & B band that bounced around quite a bit before having success with Motown in the late 70s. There'll Never Be was their 1978 debut single and their biggest hit. At first they were Barry White's backup band White Heat with Greg Williams, Eddie Fluellen, drummer Jody Sims, Phillip Ingram (James Ingram's brother) and Bobby Debarge. Except for Debarge, they were all from Ohio. Debarge was from Grand Rapids, MI. And except for Sims, they all sang, wrote songs and played various instruments. White Heat recorded a 1975 album for RCA but then White closed his production company. They changed their name to Hot Ice. By this time, Bobby Debarge's brother Tommy Debarge joined to play bass. Hot Ice recorded a 1977 album for German producer Bernd Lichters that was only released in Germany. The band got the attention of Jermaine Jackson and changed their name to Switch. Jackson's wife Hazel Gordy got them a deal with Motown. Jackson produced Switch's 1978 debut album with Motown house producer Michael B. Sutton. There'll Never Be was the first single. It reached #6 on the R & B Singles chart and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written and sung by Bobby Debarge. Switch recorded five albums for Motown and had three top ten R & B singles. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. The Debarge brothers left to form Debarge with their siblings in 1981. Phillip Ingram left to go solo and has had a long career as a session singer. Switch brought in new members and after recording a 1984 album, they split up. Bobby Debarge died in 1995. Williams, Fluellen and Ingram reformed Switch in 2003. They toured for a few years but it looks like they disbanded as they closed their website. Here's Switch performing There'll Never Be on Soul Train 1978.

Friday, April 18, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Rebecca Luker

Artist:Rebecca Luker
Song:Falling In Love With Love
Album:The Boys From Syracuse: 1997 Original New York Recording

Rebecca Luker is a Broadway veteran and has been nominated for three Tony awards. This recording of The Boys From Syracuse was a one time revival in 1997 as part of the New York City Center Encores! series. Rebecca has been  a regular of that series. She was born Apr. 17, 1961 in Helena, AL. She earned a BA in music the University of Montevallo and performed in the 1984 Michigan Opera Theater production of Sweenet Todd. Rebecca moved to New York and was Sarah Brightman's understudy and eventual replacement in the 1888 production of Phantom of the Opera. Other Broadway roles include The Secret Garden, Show Boat, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Nine and Mary Poppins. She has been nominated for three Tony awards. Encores! is a series of concerts of Broadway musical scores that The New York City Center has produced since 1994. The Boys From Syracuse was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and was first produced in 1938. As I said, this was a one time performance released on CD by DRG Records. These kind of studio cast recordings are available and Rebecca Luker has appeared on plenty of them. Rebecca also performs in clubs and has released a few CDs. The latest is a Jerome Kern tribute CD. And she had a recurring role in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. She was in the 2013 Broadway revival of the show Passion and she is currently touring to promote her new CD. Here's Rebecca Luker performing Falling In Love With Love on the 1998 PBS special My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies hosted by Julie Andrews.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Sarah Kaufman vs Leslie Smith

Here's the fight video from Sarah Kaufman vs Leslie Smith from last night's TUF Nations finale in Quebec City. This is a rematch from last year in Invicta. Sarah won by split decision but many fans thought she lost. And a lot of these same fans felt that the loss cost Leslie a UFC contract. And her record probably isn't good enough to get into the UFC. But Leslie answered the call on late notice after two fighters dropped out due to injury. She was in Vegas helping Miesha Tate prepare for her upcoming fight. Her problem was a fighter really does need that full training camp to build the endurance to go three rounds. On the other hand, Sarah has a bad habit of lacking aggression and maybe thinking too much about what she is going to do. So I thought if Sarah fought like she used to fight a few years ago, she could wear Leslie out and win an easy decision. And that's what she did. She threw a lot of punches and I thought she did really well with knees. And Leslie was out of gas by the end of round one as I would expect because of the short notice. The only way Leslie could have won was if Sarah got off to a slow start and Leslie takes advantage of that. I didn't think that was likely. But at least Leslie got into the UFC and she'll have a full training camp for her next fight. She lost but she impressed with her toughness. Sarah says she wants to fight on the upcoming Vancouver show. I wouldn't be surprised if the winner of this Saturday's Miesha Tate vs Liz Carmouche fight is her opponent. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bucky Pizzarelli

Artist:Bucky Pizzarelli
Song:Sing Sing Sing

Guitarist John Paul "Bucky" Pizzarelli is best known as the father of guitarist John Pizzarelli. Bucky is a master of the seven string guitar and spent most of his career as a sideman and studio musician. He and his son record together frequently including on this 1995 CD Nirvana. Bucky Pizzarelli was born Jan. 9, 1926 in Paterson, NJ. His uncles Pete and Bobby Domenick were musicians and they taught him to play guitar. Pizzarelli has credited Django Reinhardt and longtime Count Basie guitarist Freddie Green as influences. At age 17, he joined Vaughn Monroe's band. In 1952, Pizzarelli joined NBC as a staff musician working for Skitch Henderson. Pizzarelli was guitarist in The Tonight Show band for many years. He also played on sessions for Dion & The Belmonts and Johnny & The Hurricanes and as a sideman on albums by Gene Ammons, Willis Jackson, Etta Jones and Sylvia Syms. He rarely recorded as a leader in those days. He also toured with Benny Goodman for many years. When NBC moved the Tonight Show from New York to Los Angeles, Pizzarelli moved to ABC and played in The Dick Cavett Show band led by Bobby Rosengarden. After the Cavett show was cancelled, he started recording more as a leader in the 70s with guys like George Barnes, Zoot Sims and Bud Freeman. But he became more active when his son John Pizzarelli became popular in the 90s. The two have recorded several albums together. Nirvana was the first of those albums in 1995. It was released by Laserlight and reissued on CD in 2003 by LRC Records. Musicians are Bucky and John Pizzarelli on guitar, veteran sideman Lynn Seaton on bass (toured with Woody Herman and Count Basie) and legendary session drummer Bernard Purdie, creator of The Purdie Shuffle. Bucky Pizzarelli currently records for Arbors Records. His latest CD Challis in Wonderland was released Mar. 2012 and is a tribute to 20s arranger Bill Challis. He tours with son John Pizzarelli. Here's Bucky Pizzarelli with Jay Dittamo on drums and Jerry Bruno on bass performing Sing Sing Sing at Ninety Six West Cafe in New York 2009.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Herbie Hancock

Artist:Herbie Hancock

Of course everyone knows that Herbie Hancock was at the forefront of the 70s jazz fusion movement along with Miles Davis. In 1973 he formed The Headhunters and was roundly criticized by jazz purists for being too commercial. In retrospect, Hancock's music foreshadows the integration of jazz and funk using electronic keyboards. And Hancock would go even farther in the 80s. Spank-A-Lee is from the 1974 album Thrust. In the early 70s, Hancock recorded experimental jazz fusion albums like Mwandishi in 1971. The albums didn't sell very well and Hancock moved from Warner Bros. to Columbia. Hancock really enjoyed the funk of artists like Sly & The Family Stone. He just wanted to mix jazz with funk. So he formed The Headhunters with Bennie Maupin on sax, Paul Jackson on bass, Bill Summers on percussion and Harvey Mason on drums. Though critics tried to place Hancock in a jazz box and hated the 1973 album Headhunters, it sold great and was certified Platinum. For the second Headhunters album Thrust, Mason was replaced by Mike Clark. This album was also successful. Hancock made several funk albums in the 70s and when you listen to the music today, it actually holds up very well. Thrust is available as a budget CD. Herbie Hancock was always experimenting. It's just that those experiments like The Headhunters weren't always well received by jazz purists. The music deserves another listen. Here's Herbie Hancock performing Spank-A-Lee 1974.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jo Lawry

Artist:Jo Lawry
Album:I Want To Be Happy

There are plenty of jazz musicians who prefer to be in the background and make a very good career as sidemen. But you don't see that much with jazz singers who are usually hired as featured performers. Aussie Jo Lawry prefers a role as a sideman. But after touring with Sting and appearing in the 2013 Oscar winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, she may not be able to remain in the background for much longer. Jo grew up on an almond orchard in south Australia. And after beginning her musical education at Adelaide University, she moved to the US to study at the New England Conservatory. She joined percussionist James Shipp's band Nos Novo and the two have lived together ever since. Jo recorded I Want To Be Happy in 2008 with Shipp on percussion and vibes, Keith Ganz on guitar, Matt Clohesy on bass and Ferenc Nemeth on drums. Loro was written by Brazilian guitarist Egberto Gismonti and he first recorded it on his 1983 album Works. At the same time, Jo became lead singer of The Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra and appeared on his 2009 album Live At Jazz Standard. She also recorded with organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. When Jo auditioned for Sting, it was between her and Canadian singer Laila Biali. Jo got the gig and Sting fans heard her on the 2010 CD Symphonicities and she toured with Sting and appeared on the TV special Live In Berlin. Jo continues to tour and record with Sting and has also appeared with Paul Simon. And she is featured in the 2013 Oscar winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom about anonymous backup singers. Jo sings Lean On Me with Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill. It looks like it's getting harder and harder for Jo Lawry to remain anonymous. It's time for a new album. Here's a video for Loro by Jo Lawry.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review of WWE Total Divas Season 2 Episode 4

The last episode of WWE Total Divas ended with Summer Rae slapping Nattie Neidhart after Nattie called her a stripper. This episode begins with Nattie suffering from nosebleeds. Then assistant director of talent Mark tells her she will challenge for AJ Lee's WWE Divas Championship on the upcoming TLC PPV. Of course Nattie doesn't get the opportunity to be on a PPV very often. So she doesn't want to miss it. But she's having nosebleeds...or that's what the show producers want you to believe. Meanwhile, Nikki Bella has just earned her real estate license. Well, she may have passed that test but her behaviour in this episode indicates that she flunked her IQ test. Also, Trinity McCray has recorded a single and now she is filming a video. I guess these girls all want to be pop stars. To be fair, Trinity's dad is a musician. So the thing that occurred to me about the Nattie/Summer Rae stuff is that kind of behaviour would not be tolerated backstage. But they need the feud for the show. Again on this episode, Nattie looks foolish. They put her in a match vs Summer Rae taped for Superstars. And they tried to make it look like Nattie got hit in the face. She wasn't. And she went to a doctor who suggested surgery and she would be out for six months. Fortunately her husband CJ Wilson calmed her down and Nattie appeared on the PPV. Much ado about nothing. CJ is the only one who looked good. As for Trinity's music video, her costume rips and her extensions come out and maybe they forgot to get a permit. Again much ado about nothing. So Nikki starts suspecting that boyfriend John Cena is cheating. I guess this is going to happen every time he wants to surprise her. How is he going to surprise her if he has to tell her everything he is doing? So who is buying the house Nikki is trying to sell? John Cena of course. All is forgiven...until the next time. This whole storyline was laughable. Next week Trinity and Jon get married. Enjoy the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Wayne Hancock

Artist:Wayne Hancock
Song:Johnny Law
Album:That's What Daddy Wants

Wayne Hancock is best described as an alternative country artist. There's nothing Nashville about him. If you need to place a label on him, I suppose you might call him Rockabilly. He's been a big part of the Austin music scene for the last 20 years. He was born May 1, 1965 in Rockne, TX. He played local clubs as a teen and won the Wrangler Country Showdown. But he had already enlisted in the US Marines. After a six year stint, Hancock tried to make it in Nashville but went nowhere and moved back to Texas. He was in the musical theater show Chippy with Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Robert Earl Keen and Terry Allen. This earned him a record deal with the small label Deja Disc. His 1995 CD Thunderstorms and Neon Signs got Hancock a lot of attention for a CD on a small label. This led to a record deal with Miles Copeland's ARK 21 label. That's What Daddy Wants was his first CD on ARK 21. As with the first album, it was produced by steel guitar legend Lloyd Maines, father of Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks. Hancock recorded three albums for ARK 21 and then moved to Bloodshot Records in 2001. His music is a mix of honky tonk and rockabilly. So if your looking for a less polished kind of country music, Wayne Hancock could be for you. Hancock's latest CD Ride was released Feb. 2013. One guy who hangs around with Hancock is Hank Williams III. You never know when he might turn up on one of Hancock's shows. Here's Wayne Hancock performing Johnny Law in Denver, CO July 11, 2009.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-George Duke

Artist:George Duke
Song:Reach For It
Album:Greatest Hits

Though George Duke cut a wide swath of musical influence as a musician and producer, he decided to take over funk music in the late 70s with Reach For It. It was a top five R & B hit. He was born Jan. 12, 1946 in San Raphael, CA. Duke made his name in the late 60s and into the 70s recording first with French violinist Jean Luc Ponty and then with Frank Zappa. He also toured with drummer Billy Cobham as The Billy Cobham-George Duke Band. Then Duke signed with Epic Records and went away from jazz and into funk with the 1978 album Reach For It. The album Reach For It reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 200 and the single Reach For It reached #2 on the R & B Singles chart. Jazz fans were unhappy with Duke but his funk experiment was successful so it continued into the early 80s. Reach For It featured veteran session singers Deborah and Sybil Thomas along with veteran funkmeisters Charles Icarus Johnson on guitar, Byron Miller on bass and Leon "Ndugu" Chancler on drums. Other George Duke hit singles from the era include Dukey Stick and Sweet Baby. This budget comp covers that period. George Duke continued to record jazz albums and record as a sideman and produce other artists for many years until his death on Aug. 5, 2013 at age 67. But I guess he wanted to prove he could take over R & B and funk whenever he wanted. He did exactly that. Here's George Duke performing Reach For It.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ronda Rousey vs Alexis Davis to co-main event UFC 175 in Las Vegas

A long stretch of baloney feeding idle speculation finally ended last night when the UFC announced that Ronda Rousey will defend her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship against Alexis Davis on UFC 175 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. They want this show to be stacked because it's International Fight Week. And Cat Zingano will not be ready so that's why Dana White was scrambling around for an opponent. And it also explains why White entertained the possibility of hiring Gina Carano. He wants Ronda on this show. So already I am seeing the usual suspects calling for an upset claiming Alexis will be Ronda's toughest opponent yet. Didn't these same idiots say the same thing about Sara McMann a couple of months ago? That didn't turn out so well. Alexis has a BJJ black belt. Her problem is she exhibits poor strategy and makes bad mistakes during fights. She won her last fight over Jessica Eye by split decision. The fight was that close because Alexis chose the poor strategy of standing and banging with Jessica. If she had taken Jessica to the ground through the whole fight as she did in round two, Alexis would have won easily. With Ronda, it only takes one mistake and the fight is over. Alexis hasn't shown the ability to avoid mistakes. That's easy pickins' for Ronda. Plus Ronda and coach Edmond Tarverdyan showed in the McMann fight they are tremendous strategists. They will have a game plan that Alexis won't be able to handle. That brings me to the Gina Carano boondoggle. Don't get me wrong. I like Gina but when she talks about her fighting future and specifically, the R word, retirement, like most fighters, she is full of crap. It's the old never say never mantra. She went on Arsenio Hall and said she would be having a meeting with Dana White. She also said that if she decides not to return, she will announce her retirement. Yeah, right. So they had the meeting and now this other fight has been announced. So I don't know if Gina will announce her retirement but I doubt she is returning regardless. Look, Gina would be a PPV draw but the hill is too steep. She hasn't fought for five years and she might not be able to make 135lb. White said Ronda vs Gina would not be at a catchweight. And then for White and Ronda to claim to the media that despite those hurdles that Gina deserves an immediate title shot is lame. White just wanted a big draw for this show. It just seems like a bunch of baloney to me.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Billy Preston and Syreeta

Artist:Billy Preston and Syreeta
Song:With You I'm Born Again
Album:The Essential Syreeta

Of course most should be familiar with Billy Preston's 70s hits like Nothing From Nothing. In 1979, Preston moved from A & M to Motown and With You I'm Born Again was a top five hit in 1979. It would turn out to be the biggest hit for Syreeta Wright who had been with Motown for over a decade. She was born Aug. 3, 1946 in Pittsburgh. Her dad died in the Korean War and mom moved the family to Detroit. Syreeta took a job as a receptionist at Motown in 1965 in the hope it would lead to a singing career. It worked for Martha Reeves. Eddie Holland heard Syreeta sing and started using her on demos. She released a 1968 single as Rita Wright. But mostly she was a backup singer. When Diana Ross left The Supremes, Berry Gordy wanted Syreeta to replace her. Mary Wilson said no and they hired Jean Terrell. Then Syreeta met Stevie Wonder and they started dating. He encouraged her to write songs and she co-wrote Signed, Sealed, Delivered with Wonder. They were married in 1970. When Wonder returned to Motown in 1972, he got something that Berry Gordy vowed Wonder would never get, complete creative control. He used that to produce the 1972 album Syreeta. And though Syreeta's first couple of albums were excellent, they didn't sell. Motown tried other things with Syreeta including the 1977 album with GC Cameron Rich Love, Poor Love. By the time Billy Preston arrived at Motown in 1979, Syreeta was on her way out. Songwriter Carol Conners approached Preston about a song she had written with film composer David Shire for the 1979 basketball comedy Fast Break starring Gabe Kaplan of Welcome Back, Kotter. It was With You I'm Born Again. Preston thought Syreeta would make a great duet partner. The song was much bigger than the movie. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It appeared on Preston's 1979 album Late At Night. And it got Syreeta a contract renewal from Motown. The two recorded a 1981 album together called Billy Preston & Syreeta. But by the mid-80s, Syreeta left Motown and moved to Los Angeles. She recorded a couple of albums including a 1995 gospel album. She also continued to work with Wonder until the mid-90s when Syreeta quit the music business and converted to Islam. She died on July 6, 2004 at age 57 after fighting cancer for several years. Check out this comp CD for more of Syreeta's music. Here's Billy Preston and Syreeta performing With You i'm Born Again.

Friday, April 11, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Richard Kiley

Artist:Richard Kiley
Song:The Impossible Dream (The Quest)
Album:Man of La Mancha: A Decca Broadway Original Cast Album

Richard Kiley had a long acting career. But he is probably best known for his Tony Award winning performance as Don Quixote in the 1965 musical Man of La Mancha. He was born Mar. 31, 1922 in Chicago. After serving in the US Navy in WWII, Kiley worked as an actor in Chicago before moving to New York City in the early 50s. Kiley appeared in the 1953 Broadway musical Kismet and the 1959 musical Redhead for which he won his first Tony award. he also appeared in films like Pickup on South Street, The Phenix City Story and Blackboard Jungle and on live TV shows like Patterns which won an Emmy for writer Rod Serling in 1955. He returned to Broadway in the 60s in shows like No Strings and I Had A Ball. The Man of La Mancha was first a TV non musical called I, Don Quixote. it aired in 1959. It was suggested to writer Dale Wasserman that he should turn it into a musical and Mitch Leigh wrote the songs. They wanted Rex Harrison to star as Don Quixote because of the success of My Fair Lady. But he couldn't really sing and they needed a singer. Kiley was a great choice and he won a Tony award. Kiley appeared in other Broadway musicals including two revivals of Man of La Mancha. But he also won Emmys for the 1983 mini series Thorn Birds, the 1986 series A Year In The Life and for a guest appearance on Picket Fences. A lot of fans will recognize his voice as the tour voice in the 1993 film Jurassic Park. Kiley continued to appear mostly on TV until his death on Mar. 6, 1999 at age 76. The lights on Broadway theaters were turned off in his honour. Here's Richard Kiley performing The Impossible Dream on the 1971 Tony Awards broadcast.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rin Nakai vs Sarah D'Alelio added to May 11 PANCRASE show

Rin Nakai, Sarah D'Alelio
PANCRASE announced today that Queen of PANCRASE Rin Nakai has been added to the May 11 Differ Ariake show. Her opponent is Sarah D'Alelio who has been with Invicta since they started a couple of years ago. She trains at Gracie in California. Her record is 7-5. She's on a two fight losing streak. Her last fight was a loss to Tonya Evinger on the Dec. 7 Invicta show. It is a non-title fight scheduled for three five minute rounds. No sexist two round fights in PANCRASE. When PANCRASE signed with WSOF, part of the deal was to change some rules to conform with the unified rules. So that means that all PANCRASE shows are in a cage. No more rings. And elbows are now allowed on the ground. Rin has always seemed more comfortable in a cage so I think that works in her favour. But she needs to be more aggressive at the beginning of fights. The stalling I have seen from her lately doesn't do her any favours. We know how physically gifted Rin is. If she is on her game and is aggressive, she is much quicker and stronger than most opponents. Stalling levels the playing field. Rin has had this slow start problem for the last couple of years. She may not even realize she is doing it. I laughed when I saw the pic of Sarah that PANCRASE sent to the media. It looks like a wanted poster.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Billy Klippert

Artist:Billy Klippert
Album:Billy Klippert

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that I am not a big fan of American Idol. The music business is tough enough without a show that mostly chews up singers and spits them out. So when CTV announced in 2003 that they were going to do Canadian Idol, I expected it to be worse and it was. Billy Klippert is a guy who never should have been on a talent contest show. But he finished third on the first season of Canadian Idol and it got him nowhere. It's unfortunate because he's a pretty good rock singer. He was born Aug. 6, 1978 in Calgary. He worked in the family music store giving guitar lessons. And he had a band with his brother called Kovered In Lies. He was an early favourite on the first season of Canadian Idol and he got a lot of praise for his cover of the Elton John classic Levon. But he didn't win. He finished third. Klippert signed with Orange Record Label and Levon was released as a single in the hope that it would jump start his career. The 2004 CD Billy Klippert was produced by Harem Scarem lead singer Harry Hess and the rest of the band played on the album. Klippert wrote most of the songs including Again. The album did well enough that he released a second CD in 2006 Naked and the Simple Truth produced by Matt DeMatteo of Danko Jones and Luke McMaster of McMaster & James. It went nowhere and that's the last we have heard from Billy Klippert. My guess is he is back giving guitar lessons at his family's music store. It looks like for him Canadian Idol was a big waste of time. How predictable. Here's the video for Again by Billy Klippert.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Leslie Smith steps in for injured Amanda Nunes to face Sarah Kaufman

When it was announced last week that Shayna Baszler was out of her Apr. 16 fight against Sarah Kaufman, Leslie Smith immediately tweeted that she wanted the fight. But with Alexis Dufresne also dropping out of her match against Amanda Nunes, the UFC decided to have Nunes replace Baszler. Yesterday Globo in Brazil reported that Nunes suffered a dislocated thumb and would have to drop out of the fight. With less than a week to go, the UFC has limited choices and I thought Leslie would take the fight on short notice. She wants redemption. Sarah won by split decision over Leslie on the Apr. 5, 2013 Invicta show. Fans booed the decision and as you can see in the picture, Leslie was shocked. The UFC tried to get Leslie last summer to replace Sara McMann when she dropped out of her fight with Sarah Kaufman. But Leslie was training in Thailand at the time preparing for an Invicta 125lb title match against Barb Honchak. When there's less than a week left before the fight, the main problem is finding a willing fighter. So opportunity has knocked on Leslie Smith's door. She has answered. Let's see if she takes advantage of that opportunity.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Joe Morello w/The Buddy Rich Tribute Band

Artist:Joe Morello w/The Buddy Rich Tribute Band
Song:Take The A Train
Album:Burning For Buddy: A Tribute To The Music Of Buddy Rich Volume II

The first volume of Neil Peart's tribute album to Buddy Rich went so well, he decided to produce a second volume. As with the first album, each track features a well known drummer as a tribute to Rich. One drummer who was not on the first album but is on the second album is long time Dave Brubeck drummer Joe Morello. He was born July 17, 1928 in Springfield, MA. Morello studied violin as a child and even soloed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After meeting violinist Jascha Heifetz at age 15, Morello believed he would never be as good as his idol so he took up the drums. He moved to New York City and played with Phil Woods, Stan Kenton and others. After turning down spots in Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey's bands, Morello joined Dave Brubeck in 1955 for what was supposed to be a two month gig. He stayed for 13 years. Morello played on all the classic Brubeck albums including Take Five. And though Morello has occasionally recorded as a leader and as a sideman for others, he is mainly known for his work with Brubeck. When Peart decided to record a second Buddy Rich tribute album in 1997, Morello appeared on the album. He was not on the first album. Other musicians include Steve Marcus on sax and Jon Werking on piano. Joe Morello died on Mar. 12, 2011 at age 82. He is an unsung hero of jazz but drummers know all about him. Here's Joe Morello with the Buddy Rich Tribute Band performing Take The A Train 1997.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Brantley Gilbert

Artist:Brantley Gilbert
Song:You Don't Know Her Like I Do
Album:Halfway To Heaven: Deluxe Edition

You Don't Know Her Like I Do was one of two number one country hits from Brantley Gilbert's major label debut. His new CD will be released next month. He was born Jan. 20, 1985 in Jefferson, GA which is near Athens. So he was not only influenced by country music but by rock bands like R.E.M. After playing local gigs, he moved to Nashville and got a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Publishing. His biggest hits as a songwriter were Dirt Road Anthem and My Kinda Party for Jason Aldean. Gilbert co-wrote Dirt Road Anthem with Colt Ford and then released his 2009 debut CD Modern Day Prodigal Son on Ford's label Average Joe's. His second CD Halfway To Heaven was released in 2010. But then Gilbert signed with the Big Machine owned label Valory Records. They decided to add a couple of tracks to Highway To Heaven and release it with a new cover. The original CD is no longer available. You can only get the deluxe edition. Country Must Be Country Wide and You Don't Know Her Like I Do both topped the Country Singles chart. You Don't Know Her Like I Do was one of the new tracks. Gilbert wrote You Don't Know Her Like I Do with Jim McCormick. Gilbert writes all his own songs. Gilbert opened for Eric Church, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw. His new CD Just As I Am will be released next month. The first single Bottoms Up topped the Country Singles chart. And he's headlining his own tour for the first time. So things are looking very bright for Brantley Gilbert. Here's the video for You Don't Know Her Like I Do by Brantley Gilbert.

Monday, April 07, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Randy Houser

Artist:Randy Houser
Song:Boots On
Album:Anything Goes

Randy Houser had success as a songwriter before recording his debut CD Anything Goes in 2006. Boots On was his first top five country hit. After switching record companies, he seemed to get a second wind and returned to the charts last year. He was born Dec. 15, 1975 in Lake, MS. His father was a musician. Houser played in local bands as a teen and moved to Nashville in 2002. He co-wrote the 2005 Trace Adkins hit Honky Tonk Badonkadonk and then signed with MCA Nashville. Nothing came of that and Houser signed with Universal South in 2008. He got some attention when he performed Anything Goes on Late Show with David Letterman. But Boots On was the bigger hit. It reached #2 on the Country Singles chart. Houser wrote the song with Brandon Kinney. Houser wrote half the songs on Anything Goes. BTW, the kid in the video is Drake Dixon, son of songwriter Dillon Dixon. His nanny shot the video and posted it on MySpace. Houser saw it and asked if he could use it. When Universal South merged with ShowDog, It looks like Houser's second CD They Call Me Cadillac seemed to fall through the cracks. This frequently happens with record company management changes. The album did OK but there were no hit singles. So Houser moved to Stoney Creek Records for the 2013 CD How Country Feels. He had three top ten country hits from that CD. Houser says he's a lot happier with Stoney Creek. He is currently on tour. Here's the video for Boots On by Randy Houser.