Sunday, August 31, 2014
Here's the match video of Bethe Correia vs Shayna Baszler from last night's UFC show in Sacramento. This all started when Bethe beat Jessmayn Duke and disrespected the Four Horsewomen. So then Shayna wanted to fight her. As I suspected, the whole thing wasn't Bethe's idea. One of her coaches is a pro wrestling fan. It was a smart move because it got her attention that her performances in her first two UFC fights didn't merit. Shayna is a catch wrestler who has never had a strong striking game. Bethe is a striker who has no ground game. To win, Shayna needed to take Bethe down. And that's what she did in round one. But she was unable to hook a submission. I scored round one 10-9 for Shayna. If she continued to do this, she would win the fight. Between rounds, Bethe's corner told her to stay in the center of the cage and stay away from the clinch on the fence as that would lead to the inevitable takedown. In round two, when they clinch near the fence, Bethe lands a couple of elbows that rocks Shayna. The fight is over after that as Shayna stopped moving. Bethe doesn't punch that hard. But Shayna couldn't just stand there and absorb that kind of volume. Even when they separated, Shayna didn't move. It's like she forgot how to fight. That can happen when your brains get scrambled. It's a big win for Bethe Correia and she immediately asked for a title shot against Ronda Rousey. And Ronda texted UFC president Dana White and told him she wanted that fight. White told them both to take it easy. Ronda has other contenders on her plate. And he isn't convinced that Bethe Correia is a contender yet. I agree with him. I don't think this win makes up for the previous ineffective split decision wins. Who will be Bethe's next opponent? I don't know. It may be someone who has a fight coming up. She has to win over someone higher up on the food chain. After the fight, Bethe admitted her rep for not finishing fights. This win helped but I'm not sold on her yet. She is well trained. The Pitbull Brothers are smart guys. Enjoy the video!
Song:I Want A Hippoptamus For Christmas
Album:Dr. Demento Presents The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD Of All Time
Gayla Peevey was ten years old when she hit the pop charts with the novelty song I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas. Obviously I'm not crazy about child pop singers but I always find it interesting about how unlikely songs become hits. Gayla attempted to continue in music as a teen but was unsuccessful. She was born Mar. 8, 1943 in Oklahoma City. Her family moved to Ponca City when she was five. Gayla sang in church and in school and she appeared on an Oklahoma City TV station. Her family moved to Los Angeles in 1953. Gayla was a regular on the Hoagy Carmichael hosted TV show Saturday Night Review. This led to a contract with Columbia Records. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas was Gayla's first single and became a big hit helped by Gayla's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The song was written and arranged by John Rox who also wrote the 1949 Buddy Clark hit It's A Big, Wide, Wonderful World. Rox also wrote songs for Pearl Bailey, Eartha Kitt, Perry Como and Dean Martin. Rox died in 1957. The orchestra was conducted by former Glenn Miller arranger Norman Leyden. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas is a favourite of legendary DJ Barry Hansen AKA Dr. Demento. And you can get the song on one of his CDs. Gayla recorded several singles over the next few years. But none of them charted. So her parents removed her from the music business and the family moved to San Diego in 1957. She returned in 1959 as Jamie Horton and had a minor hit with Robot Man. Despite working with arrangers like H.B. Barnum, Mort Garson and Jack Nitzsche, she was unsuccessful and quit the music business for good in 1964. Gayla Peevey ran her own ad agency and has been involved in her church in Los Angeles for years. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas got a big boost when Gretchen Wilson's cover hit the country chart in 2009. Here's Gayla Peevey performing I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas on The Ed Sullivan Show 1953.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Neal McCoy had two number one country music hits in the mid-90s including Wink. He also had a few top ten hits. He's still around but obviously not as popular today as he was in the 90s. He was born Hubert Neal McGaughey Jr. July 30, 1958 in Jacksonville, TX which is near Tyler in East Texas. He grew up singing in church before leading an R & B group and then performing country music in local clubs. McCoy's big break came when he won a 1981 talent contest hosted by country music star Janie Fricke. She got him a gig opening for Charley Pride. McCoy remained with Pride through the 80s. He released a couple of singles as Neal McGoy. When he signed with Atlantic Records in 1990, his name was changed to Neal McCoy. There were no hit singles from his first two albums. But things really picked up for McCoy when he hooked up with legendary Muscle Shoals session pianist and producer Barry Beckett. The 1994 album No Doubt About It was certified Platinum. No Doubt About It and Wink both topped the Country Singles chart. Wink was written by veteran Nashville songwriters Bob DiPiero and Tom Shapiro. Both guys have written many hit songs. The fiddle solo is by Canadian Donny Parenteau who was in McCoy's band. The guitar solo is by John Conlee guitarist Brent Rowan. Beckett produced a total of three albums for McCoy which spawned several top ten country hits. McCoy's final top ten hit for Atlantic was Shake in 1997. It was produced by Kyle Lehning and released on this Greatest Hits CD which is now available as a budget CD. Things started to go south for McCoy when Warner Music closed Atlantic's Nashville office in 2000. McCoy's next CD 24-7-365 was released on Giant Records. Then Giant was closed and McCoy was moved to Warner Bros. McCoy recorded the album The Luckiest Man In The World and the title song was released as a single. But the album release was cancelled and McCoy left Warners. McCoy started his own label and scored a top ten hit in 2005 with Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On. McCoy's latest CD Pride: A Tribute To Charley Pride was released in 2013 and includes guest appearances by Darius Rucker, Raul Malo, Trace Adkins and Pride himself. McCoy is currently touring with Blake Shelton. Here's the video for Wink by Neal McCoy. Unfortunately, this altered version of the video is the only copy that is online.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Song:All My Life
Album:All My Life: Their Greatest Hits
After success as one half of the R & B group Jodeci, K-Ci & JoJo split off to success in the late 90s. All My Life was their only number one pop hit in 1998. Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey and Joel "JoJo" Hailey grew up singing in church in Charlotte, NC. They also toured with their father's gospel group. They knew Donald & Dalvin DeGrate from church. The four formed Jodeci and were discovered by Heavy D and signed with Uptown Records. K-Ci & JoJo started recording as a duo while still members of Jodeci. After recording songs for the films Jason's Lyric and Bulletproof and an appearance on the 2Pac hit How Do U Want It, K-Ci & JoJo decided to record a full album. Love Always was released in 1997. All My Life topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1998. Jodeci never had a number one pop hit. Love Always was certified 3XPlatinum. That was the end of Jodeci. JoJo wrote All My Life with producer Rory Bennett. Bennett is from Minneapolis and started out with the gospel group Sounds Of Blackness. He also co-wrote and produced Tell Me It's Real which was K-Ci & JoJo's other top five pop hit. You can get both hits on this budget comp. K-Ci & JoJo faded after the first two albums. They left Geffen in 2002. K-Ci got into trouble after he dropped his pants at a 2001 show in Los Angeles. He pled no contest to lewd conduct. As chronicled in the 2010 TV One series K-Ci & JoJo...Come Clean, the boys had serious drug problems. K-Ci released a 2006 solo album. They released the album My Brother's Keeper Sept. 2013 on Babyface's label Soda Pop Records with E1 distribution. It looks like they play occasional shows. Here's the video for All My Life by K-Ci & JoJo.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Song:Don't Call Me Lonesome
Album:Del Rio, TX 1959 & Labor Of Love
After the successful duo Foster & Lloyd split up, Radney Foster had brief solo success on the country charts in the early 90s. He faded by the late 90s. Foster is still touring. He was born July 20, 1959 in Del Rio, TX. His father was a lawyer who sang on the side. While attending University of the South in Sewanee, TN, veteran country music songwriter Randy Goodrum told Foster to move to Nashville. After completing his degree, Foster moved to Nashville in 1985 and took a songwriting job with MTM Publishing. That's where he met Bill Lloyd and the two wrote the top ten country hit Since I Found You for Sweethearts of the Rodeo. Then Foster & Lloyd signed with RCA Records. After three albums and four top ten hits, they split up and Foster signed with Arista Records. His debut album Del Rio, TX 1959 was released in 1992 and Foster produced it with pedal steel guitarist Steve Fishell. Just Call Me Lonesome was the first single and it reached #10 on the Country Singles chart. Foster wrote the song with George Ducas who recorded for Liberty Records in the mid-90s. Foster's second single Nobody wins reached #2 on the Country Singles chart. But when there were no hit singles from Foster's second album Labor Of Love, he moved back to Texas and left Arista. Foster's first two albums are available on this twofer. After two albums on Dualtone, Foster started his own label and his latest CD Everything I Should Have Said was released May 2014. The Foster song I'm In was a top five country hit for Keith Urban in 2009. Foster & Lloyd reunited and released a CD in 2011. And Foster hosts the CMT series Crossroads. Here's the video for Just Call Me Lonesome by Radney Foster.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Christian McBride is one of today's top jazz bassists. He can play in any style. The 2003 album Vertical Vision is a fusion album. And he also works frequently as a sideman playing all kinds of music. He was born May 31, 1972 in Philadelphia. His father Lee Smith was also a bassist. At 17 years of age, McBride played in Bobby Watson's band. While attending Juilliard, he was in bands led by veteran jazz musicians like Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Milt Jackson and J.J. Johnson. In the early 90s, he was in Joshua Redman's band. Then he signed with Verve Records in 1995. His 1995 debut as a leader Gettin' To It did very well and McBride has been a fixture on the jazz charts ever since. McBride left Verve for Warner Bros. for the 2003 CD Vertical Vision which is a fusion album. Musicians are Ron Blake on sax and flute, Geoffrey Keezer on piano, David Gilmore on guitar, Terreon Gully on drums and Danny Sadownick on percussion. Blake, Keezer and Gilmore have worked frequently with McBride. McBride was in Chick Corea's Five Peace Band and he was a producer on the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors Sonny Rollins broadcast. He currently records for Mack Avenue Records. His latest CD Out Here was released last year and McBride will be on tour with his trio this fall. His latest recordings as a sideman are on Angelique Kidjo's new CD Eve and veteran R & B singer Jeffrey Osborne's jazz CD A Time For Love. Here's Christian McBride performing Technicolor Nightmare at the 2008 Detroit Jazz Festival.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Song:Fire In The Kettle
Steve Spurgin has been a session musician and sideman since the 60s. He is primarily known for his work with legendary fiddle player Byron Berline in the 70s and 80s. In recent years Spurgin has concentrated more on songwriting and recording his own albums. Spurgin is from Dallas and he got into music listening to Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 60s and became a session drummer working with Freddy Fender and Mason Williams among others. But then he met former Flying Burrito Brothers fiddle player Byron Berline. Spurgin was in Berline's 70s band Sundance along with guitarist Dan Crary and banjo player John Hickman. Vince Gill played mandolin in Sundance for a while. When Sundance split up, Spurgin moved back to Dallas. Berline formed the band California in the early 90s with Spurgin, Crary, Hickman and John Moore on mandolin. California was IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year for three straight years. Berline disbanded California in 1995 and moved to Oklahoma. Spurgin moved to Nashville to concentrate on his songwriting. Probably his biggest hit as a songwriter is Carmen for Gene Watson in 1985. Spurgin also records occasionally. Past Perfect was released in 2011. Musicians include The Kruger Brothers, Jens (banjo) and Uwe (guitar), former Alison Krauss & Union Station mandolinist Adam Steffey, Rob Ickes of Blue Highway on dobro and Rusty Holloway of The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra on bass. Bluegrass fans will want to check out Past Perfect. Here's Steve Spurgin and Sawmill Road performing Fire In The Kettle at the 2008 IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Song:I've Got The Scars to Prove It
Album:Blood, Sweat & Steel
The Road Hammers have had some success on the country music charts in their native Canada. But they have been unable to break through in the US. Right now they don't have a US record deal. Singer songwriter Jason McCoy had success on the Canadian country music charts in the 90s. By 2004 his career had faded and he decided to start a new band as a tribute to truck driving songs of the 60s. So he formed The Road Hammers with singer songwriter Clayton Bellamy and bassist Chris Byrne. McCoy made a deal to do a reality show on CMT Canada and then he signed the band to the Maple Music owned country music label Open Road. Their 2005 debut CD The Road Hammers had covers like the Del Reeves classic Girl on the Billboard and Jerry Reed's East Bound and Down. But the band recorded originals as well. The album won the Juno for Country Music Recording of the Year. They signed up for a second season of the reality show and released a second CD The Road Hammers II. Meanwhile, The Road Hammers signed a US record deal with Montage Music Group. Blood, Sweat & Steel was a compilation of the first two albums. It did OK but McCoy decided to disband The Road Hammers in 2010. McCoy and Bellamy both released solo CDs and then decided to reform The Road Hammers. The CD Wheels was released June 2014. They will tour Canada this fall. It doesn't look like they have a US record deal. Here's the video for I've Got the Scars To Prove It by The Road Hammers.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Song:Paris (Ooh La La)
Album:Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals recorded and toured as an indie band for several years before signing with Hollywood Records. The 2010 CD Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and the single Paris broke them internationally in a unique way. They are a bit of a throwback band with blues and psychedelic influences. They depend a lot on the energy and sex appeal of lead singer Grace Potter. But she writes most of the songs too. She was born June 20, 1983 in Waitsfield, VT. While attending St. Lawrence University in 2002, she sang at an open mic night. Drummer Matthew Burr approached her about forming a band. They would eventually marry. Other original members of the band were Scott Tournet on guitar and keyboards and Bryan Dondero on bass. Dondero left in 2009 and was replaced by Benny Yurco on guitar and Catherine Popper on bass. Michael Libramento replaced Popper in 2011. The band released a couple of CDs independently before signing with Hollywood Records in 2007. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals was their second major label CD in 2010. Originally they were supposed to work with producer T-Bone Burnett but he was replaced by Dr. Dre's partner Mark Batson. These days record companies use media appearances instead of radio play to promote band. And Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are constantly on tour. In the case of Paris, it seems to get covered a lot on TV talent shows especially The Voice. So that will lead back to Grace Potter. Grace also scored a country hit with Kenny Chesney in 2011 called You and Tequila. Chesney is a big fan of the band. On their 2012 CD The Lion The Beast The Beat, they worked with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are currently on tour but I don't see anything about their next album. Here's the video for Paris (Ooh La La) by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Here's the match video of Milana Dudieva vs Elizabeth Phillips from today's UFC show in Macau. The show was on UFC Fight Pass early this morning. I know some of you like to sleep in and this was the first match on the show. My general impression of this fight was that it was uneventful. It seems to me that some of these girls are are not fighting to win. They are fighting to not lose and that curbs aggression. I want to see them take some risks and we sure didn't see that in this fight. And of course it resulted in a contentious split decision. I thought the first round was very close. Milana did score with some strikes and a takedown. Elizabeth reversed the takedown and scored a little ground and pound. But that was a little late in the round so I scored it 10-9 for Milana. The second and third round were both similar. There wasn't much standup. There was clinching for position on the fence and then Milana scored a takedown and Elizabeth reversed it. The problem was she should have done more when she was in top position. That can be credited to Milana's defense but I could hear Elizabeth's corner yelling at her to do more. They knew the fight was close. I scored round two and three 10-9 for Elizabeth. But I wasn't surprised by the split decision. One judge scored it 29-28 for Elizabeth. Another scored it 29-28 for Milana. But the third judge scored it 30-27 for Milana. I don't know how anyone could score it that way. Most of the media scored it 29-28 for Elizabeth which is how I scored it. I thought Elizabeth adjusted to Milana's takedowns very well. But it was a close fight and I don't think either of them did enough to win. The officiating on this show was sub par because the UFC is using officials that they only use on Pacific Rim shows. So they lack experience. Afterwards, Elizabeth went nuts on Facebook. That's what I call a career limiting move. Enjoy the video!
Song:When In Rome
Album:The Complete Tony Bennett Bill Evans Recordings
These days Tony Bennett records so many duets, it's become a bit of a running joke. I just think he's gone overboard. But back in the 70s, Bennett was at the lowest point in his career when he recorded two albums with legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. And both albums are available on CD. Bennett had his greatest success in the 60s on Columbia Records with iconic hits like I Left My Heart in San Francisco. But by the early 70s he had faded pretty badly. Columbia president Clive Davis was trying to get Bennett to record in a more contemporary style as he had convinced Barbra Streisand to do. But Bennett didn't want to do it and he left Columbia for Verve in 1972. He also moved to England and hosted a TV show for a while. He left Verve after two albums and planned to start his own label Improv. Meanwhile, though Bill Evans won two Grammys for the 1971 album The Bill Evans Album, his personal life was a mess as usual. His wife Elaine committed suicide after Evans left her for his next wife Nanette. And of course Evans was addicted to heroin. Singer Annie Ross suggested that Bennett record with Evans. They recorded two albums. One was released on Evans' label Fantasy Records and the second was released on Improv. There was no band. There was just the two of them in the recording studio along with Evans' manager and producer Helen Keane. And the great thing is that Concord has released both albums on 2CDs along with alternate takes and bonus tracks. When In Rome was written by Broadway veterans Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh. It was recorded by Barbra Streisand in 1964. Of course Evans died in 1979 so this was the only time these two music legends recorded together. And Bennett revived his career in the 80s and is still going strong today. Here's a clip from the series Ken Burns Jazz featuring Tony Bennett and Bill Evans performing When in Rome on The Tonight Show in 1975.
Friday, August 22, 2014
TGT is a "supergroup" featuring three R & B singers who have had success as solo artists and are now working together. Three Kings was their debut album and I Need was a hit single. The three singers are Tyrese Gibson, Elgin Baylor "Ginuwine" Lumpkin and Durrell "Tank" Babbs. So the three are good friends. Tyrese was best man at Ginuwine's wedding. All three had success as solo artists but I think it's fair to say that all are on the downside of success. In 2007, the three recorded a remix of Tank's song Please Don't Go which was very successful on the R & B charts. They toured in 2007 and planned to hold auditions to add a fourth member. But they were all signed to different record companies so trying to get this going became a logistical nightmare. After appearing together on the Slim Thug single Let Me Grind, the three were determined to form a group. TGT signed with Tank's label Atlantic Records and released Three Kings Aug. 2013. The album and the single I Need did very well on the R & B charts. I Need was produced by Brandon "B.A.M." Alexander and Harvey Mason Jr. of The Underdogs. The Underdogs have worked frequently with Tank. Tank just released a new CD Stronger and he is touring to support that. Neither Tyrese or Ginuwine are on major labels so I'm sure they are motivated to record with TGT. And of course Tyrese does a lot of acting these days. I'm sure TGT will record new music. The question is when. Here's the video for I Need by TGT.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Here's the match video of Io Shirai defending her World Of Stardom Championship against Yoshiko Aug. 10 at Korakuen Hall. As you probably know by now, Yoshiko won the title. The match is pretty good. Yoshiko just isn't as athletic as other wrestlers so she has a tough time keeping up with Io. There are some good things in the match. I liked Yoshiko's counter to Io's 619. I liked Io's moonsault from the Korakuen Hall balcony. Watch very carefully midway through the match. Io did a sunset flip and I don't think Yoshiko kicked out in time. Matches can end by accident sometimes. And this ref counts really slow. But the match wasn't supposed to end and they ignored it. I thought it happened again when Io attempted a pin with a Majistral Cradle. But I couldn't see the ref's hand so I'm not sure. I was a little disappointed with the ending. I think it was too abrupt. Congratulations to Yoshiko for winning the World Of Stardom Championship. Afterwards, the two become buddies. But I don't think Io turned heel. At least it didn't look that way to me. Stardom has brought over Cheerleader Melissa for the 5 Star Grand Prix and she will face Io Shirai this Sunday. Melissa says she will be in Japan for the next month. Don't be surprised if we see Melissa vs Yoshiko in a Shimer title vs Stardom title. And one other thing. Alpha Female has gone home to Germany. I believe her Stardom contract has run out. Enjoy the video!
World of Stardom Title Match by cmrankin
World of Stardom Title Match by cmrankin
Album:The Electric Years
Most jazz fans should be familiar with pioneering guitarist Django Reinhardt and his 30s recordings featuring violinist Stephane Grappelli. But what you may not know is that the two were split up by the outbreak of WWII. Reinhardt formed a new band featuring Hubert Rostaing on clarinet. Reinhardt also tried out an electric guitar in the late 40s. So when WWII broke out in 1939, Reinhardt was on tour in England. He moved back to Paris and Grappelli stayed in London. Reinhardt formed a new band featuring Rostaing that remained together until he reunited with Grappelli after the war. Rostaing was born Sept. 17, 1918 in Lyon, France. He was in The Red Hotters in Algiers and moved to Paris in 1939. Rostaing played with Reinhardt from 1940-48. Reinhardt first recorded Billet Doux with Grappelli in 1938. This version was recorded in 1947. And the odd thing is that Reinhardt plays electric guitar. Rostaing plays the clarinet solo. Eugene Vees is on rhythm guitar, Emmanuel Soudieux is on bass and Andre Jourdan is on drums. This 2CD comp from Avid covers Reinhardt's electric guitar recordings. After WWII, Reinhardt reunited with Grappelli and toured the US with Duke Ellington. Hubert Rostaing led his own band in the 50s. But he turned to film composing and arranging in the 60s until his 1990 death. His best known film was Roman Polanski's 1976 film The Tenant. These rarely heard Reinhardt recordings of the 40s are certainly worth checking out. Here's a video of Billets Doux by Django Reinhardt featuring Hubert Rostaing.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Song:Mack The Knife
Album:Side By Side
From what I could tell, this 1994 album is the only time legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson ever recorded with a famous classical musician. Israeli born violinist Itzhak Perlman is more famous than most classical musicians because he appeared on TV a lot and his disability due to polio makes him memorable. By the early 90s, Peterson's health was deteriorating badly. He had put on a lot of weight and had hip replacement surgery. Then he suffered a stroke in 1993 that affected his left hand. But he continued to record for Telarc Records and he returned to performing in public in 1995. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1997. It's not clear if Side By Side was recorded before or after the stroke. The big problem with the album is Perlman doesn't improvise. So that means Peterson, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Grady Tate have to work around that. They do a very good job of making Perlman sound like he belongs. I wouldn't say that this album is Peterson at his best. But the album is an interesting curiosity that I think Peterson fans will enjoy. Of course Oscar Peterson's health got worse until his 2007 death. This was Perlman's first attempt at recording jazz. He recorded a 2003 jazz album with Andre Previn. He is still one of the most famous classical musicians in the world. Here's a video for Mack The Knife by Oscar Peterson and Itzhak Perlman.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
R & B singer K. Michelle is best known as one of the stars of the VH1 reality show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. After a false start to her music career, she seems to be back on track with her 2013 debut CD Rebellious Soul and the single V.S.O.P. She will release a new CD and launch a new reality show by the end of 2014. She was born Kimberly Michelle Pate Mar. 4, 1984 in Memphis. As a child, she learned to play piano and guitar and attended Florida A&M University (FAMU) on a music scholarship. She was Miss FAMU for the 2003-04 school year. After graduating with a degree in psychology, Michelle signed with Jive Records in 2009. Her 2009 single Makin' It with Missy Elliott attracted some buzz on radio. But it didn't chart because it was only released as a promo single to radio and on iTunes. Jive released two more singles and Michelle appeared on singles by R. Kelly and J. Cole. She was working on her debut CD when Sony folded Jive into Epic Records and hired LA Reid as Epic president. Her album was shelved and they bought out her contract. Michelle released some mixtapes to keep her name out there and then signed to appear in the VH1 reality show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. The exposure on the show got her a deal with Atlantic Records. After two seasons, she left the reality show and moved to New York. Her debut CD Rebellious Soul was released Aug. 2013 and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 200. The single V.S.O.P. reached #27 on the R & B Singles chart. The song was written and produced by the team of Pop & Oak. Andrew "Pop" Wansel is the son of 70s R & B star Dexter Wansel. He and partner Warren "Oak" Felder have worked with Alicia Keys among others. Michelle toured with Robin Thicke earlier this year. She has turned Rebellious Soul into a musical and it will premiere on VH1 tonight. Her new VH1 reality show My Life will premiere Nov. 2014. And her new CD AWBAH will probably be released when the show premieres. Because a lot of K. Michelle's content is explicit, I think it is doubtful she will cross over to pop. But she's going places in R & B. Here's the video of V.S.O.P. by K. Michelle. The guy in the video is former teen rapper Chi-Ali.
Monday, August 18, 2014
|Jessica Andrade, Larissa Pacheco|
Here's the match video of Paige vs AJ Lee from last night's Summerslam at Staples Center in Los Angeles. As you have probably already heard, Paige regained the WWE Divas Championship on her 22nd birthday. I liked the match except they should have been given more time. For one thing, I like this frenemies angle a lot better than the underdog champ angle they gave Paige the first time around. I think the heel character suits her a lot better and I'd like to see a lot of evil out of her. But that doesn't mean she's crazy but the WWE seems to think that crazy is the only way to sell female wrestlers. Some fans are blaming Michael Cole for calling Paige crazy. But he's only saying what he is being told to say in his earpiece. So the real problem is with Vince McMahon, not Michael Cole. The women are crazy angle has been done too frequently. Stop doing it. I liked some things about the match like AJ biting Paige when she tried to shake AJ's hand. The hair extensions silliness was funny. I don't know why these girls even wear them. There was some solid wrestling by both women. I liked the ending and I liked Paige's behaviour after the match. I expect this feud to continue. Of course we also had the Stephanie McMahon vs Brie Bella match ending with a Nikki Bella heel turn. Considering that she isn't a wrestler, I thought Stephanie performed well. The problem that a lot of fans have with The Bella Twins is they are terrible wrestlers. Look, they have been in the WWE for a long time. They should be better but they aren't. So though Stephanie was supposed to be the heel, fans weren't really booing her because they hate The Bella Twins not as heels, but as bad wrestlers. The Bella Twins split was teased last year. And WWE Total Divas viewers should recall that it was discussed at the end of season one. The WWE didn't go through with it at the time and the girls didn't want to split. Remember season three of WWE Total Divas starts on Sept. 7 and this heel turn should be the season three cliffhanger. We'll see how this is handled on tonight's RAW. Enjoy the Paige vs AJ Lee video!
Paige Vs AJ Lee by wwefan53
Paige Vs AJ Lee by wwefan53
Album:The Best of O'Bryan
Singer songwriter O'Bryan McCoy Burnette II had success mostly on the R & B and dance charts in the mid 80s. Lovelite was his biggest hit in 1984. He was born Dec. 5, 1961 in Sneads Ferry, NC. He grew up singing and playing piano in church. His family moved to Santa Ana, CA in 1974. While singing in the church choir, he was approached by another choir member who asked him if he was interested in a career in music. It turns out her husband is Ron Kersey who was keyboard player for The Trammps and co-writer of Disco Inferno. Kersey took O'Bryan to Soul Train host Don Cornelius and O'Bryan signed with Capitol Records. O'Bryan's debut album Doin' Alright was released in 1982 and the single The Gigolo reached #5 on the R & B Singles chart. O'Bryan's success on the R & B charts continued through his next couple of albums. And his song Soul Train's A-Comin' became the Soul Train theme in 1983. O'Bryan's 1984 album Be My Lover turned out to be his highest charting album. And the single Lovelite was his only R & B chart topping single. O'Bryan recorded his next album Surrender but the release was delayed due to contract negotiations. By the time Surrender was released in late 1986, O'Bryan lost all momentum and the album flopped. He left Capitol. You can get all of O'Bryan's hits on this budget comp. O'Bryan signed with A & M Records. But he never recorded an album there as the exec who signed him left the company. O'Bryan returned with the 2007 album F1RST on his own label and he still tours. Here's the video for Lovelite by O'Bryan. Beware! This video is NSFW.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Here is the fight video of Sara McMann vs Lauren Murphy from last night's UFC show in Bangor, ME. Last time we saw Sara, she folded like a cheap suitcase after UFC Women's Bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey nailed her with a knee to the liver. Sara thinks it was a fluke and wants back in the title picture. Sara is wrong about a lot of things. She needs a dominant win over former Invicta Bantamweight Champ Lauren Murphy. Sara is bigger, stronger and has Olympic caliber wrestling. At the start of round one, Sara scores a takedown but doesn't advance her position. Instead Lauren is landing elbows from the bottom. Obviously this was the strategy given to Lauren by her coach John Crouch at PLab in Phoenix. Keep it standing if she can. But if Sara scores a takedown, be active from the bottom. It's risky strategy because judges may not see it Lauren's way. Generally speaking, top position is king. When Lauren wasn't scoring with elbows, she was keeping Sara close so Sara couldn't do anything. I think Lauren should have tried to escape anyway because of the risk of remaining on the bottom. Sara did not advance her position so I scored round one 10-9 for Lauren. I don't believe a takedown itself is enough but remember some judges will see it differently. Round two was very similar except that Lauren wasn't active from bottom position and it became lay and pray and the ref stood them up. I scored round two 10-9 for Sara because of her two takedowns. Round three was very similar to round one. Lauren's ground strikes gave her the edge 10-9. So I scored the fight 29-28 for Lauren. But I was not surprised that the judges scored it as a split decision for Sara. Was it a robbery? It doesn't matter because a win like that is as bad as a loss for Sara McMann. She needed to dominate and she was ineffective after her takedowns. Sara said afterwards that Lauren's strikes from bottom position were not significant. But Sara's inability to advance her position after the takedowns made Lauren's strikes more significant than they should have been. If she thinks a squeaker like that is going to advance her to title contender status, she is out to lunch. Enjoy the video!
Imagine Dragons emerged as the breakthrough band of 2013 with their debut album Night Visions and two top ten hits. I think they sound a lot like Coldplay. Sometimes that helps a band. Sometimes that hurts a band. Imagine Dragons are from Las Vegas. Lead singer Dan Reynolds is a Las Vegas native. He was attending Brigham Young University in 2008 when guitarist Daniel Wayne Sermon saw him in a club. They formed Imagine Dragons and moved to Las Vegas. Other members were Andrew Tolman on drums, his wife Brittany Tolman on keyboards and Ben McKee on bass. The Tolmans left in 2011 and were replaced by drummer Daniel Platzman and pianist Theresa Flaminio. Flaminio left and the band currently hires a pianist for touring. Imagine Dragons' big break came when they filled in at the 2009 Bite of Las Vegas Festival when Train dropped out due to illness. They generated enough buzz to get a record deal with Interscope Records. They work closely with producer Alexander "Alex Da Kid" Grant who worked with Dr. Dre among others. But Imagine Dragons is the first band he has completely developed. Their debut CD Night Visions was released Sept. 2012 and it was certified 2XPlatinum. the single Radioactive reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Demons reached #6. So they were a hit right off the bat. Imagine Dragons appeared on several TV shows and toured successfully. They are working on a second CD. They released the song Battle Cry on the Transformers: Age Of Extinction soundtrack. A release date for the new CD has not been announced but I think we'll see it in early 2015. I think those who like similar bands like Coldplay will enjoy Imagine Dragons. Here's the video for Demons by Imagine Dragons.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Song:Day Of Rest
Marvin Holmes has been a stalwart of the Bay Area funk scene since the 60s. Unfortunately he has never gotten his due and his recordings seem only to be available on various artists CDs like SuperFunk. I don't think Day Of Rest was ever released when it was recorded in the 60s but at least you can get a taste of his music. The high point of his career was when Marvin Holmes & The Uptights released the 1969 album Ooh Ooh The Dragon and Other Monsters on MCA's UNI label. Singles like The Funky Mule and Ooh Ooh The Dragon achieved modest success. Holmes recorded a second album for UNI but it doesn't look like it was ever released. It appears that Day Of Rest was supposed to be on the second album. But you can get the song on this various artists CD compiled by veteran DJ Dean Rudland for Ace Records. SuperFunk is a CD series that is recommended to those interested in rare funk. After Holmes disbanded The Uptights in 1970, he went back to backing up visiting soul acts when they came to Oakland. He also led bands like The Funk Company, Justice and The Rush Experience. In the 80s he released the single Feels So Good on MCA Records and toured with singer Randy Crawford. In recent years Holmes has worked with BDR Records producing several artists on the label. Here's a video for Day Of Rest by Marvin Holmes & The Uptights.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Song:How Do You Get That Lonely
Album:Off To Join The World
In 2005, 18 year old Blaine Larsen looked like he was going to be the next big thing in country music when How Do You Get That Lonely reached the top 20 of the country charts. But it didn't work out and record company woes forced Larsen to leave the music business for the ministry. He was born Feb. 2, 1986 in Tacoma, WA. His family lived in California. But when his parents divorced, he moved with his mom back to Tacoma. Her new husband introduced him to country music and Larsen sang along with karaoke tapes and learned to play guitar. They took him to Nashville to record a demo. Rory Lee Feek heard the demo and signed Larsen to his Giantslayer label. Feek is best known as half of Joey + Rory. They released the 2004 CD In My High School. This led to a deal with the BMG Nashville owned label BNA. The 2005 CD Off To Join The World is a reworked version of In My High School. They re-recorded some songs and made a couple of changes. How Do You Get That Lonely reached #18 on the Country Singles chart. The song was written by Jamie Teachenor as a tribute to former Mount Pleasant, TN high school football player Lance Emmitt who committed suicide at age 19 on Nov. 11, 2003. It was Teachenor's first hit as a songwriter. He has had success writing for others and is attempting to launch a career as a performer. This song turned out to be Larsen's biggest hit as subsequent singles did not perform well. After the 2006 album Rockin' You Tonight, he left BNA. His management started Treehouse Records but they merged with Stroudavarious Records owned by former Giant Records president James Stroud. Larsen recorded an album and a couple of singles were released. But the CD was shelved when Stroud closed Stroudavarious and started the new label R & J Records in 2011. In 2012, Larsen announced on Youtube that he was leaving the music business to go into ministry. He describes himself on Twitter as a recovering country music artist. Here's the video for How Do You Get That Lonely by Blaine Larsen.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
|Marloes Coenen, Julia Budd|
Song:Doncha Hear Me Callin' To Ya
Album:Things Are Getting Better All the Time
This is a 1983 album recorded by two legends of the jazz trombone. J.J. Johnson is considered by many to have popularized the jazz trombone especially in his long running band with Kai Winding. Al Grey is best known for his days with Count Basie. Johnson once played in the Basie band back in the 40s. But by the 70s, Johnson turned to Los Angeles studio work because he didn't want to move to Europe like many jazz musicians did just to get regular gigs. Johnson scored films like Across 110th Street, Cleopatra Jones and Willie Dynamite and for TV series like Starsky and Hutch and The Six Million Dollar Man. So he didn't tour much and he rarely recorded. Meanwhile, Al Grey finished his third stint with the Basie band in 1977 and went on the road with Jimmy Forrest. In 1983, Johnson recorded the album Jackson, Johnson, Brown and Company with Milt Jackson and Ray Brown. Then he recorded We'll Be Together Again with Joe Pass for Pablo Records. Brown asked Johnson if he had ever worked with Al Grey. Johnson thought that was a great idea. Brown played bass and produced Things Are Getting Better All Time. Other musicians were Kenny Barron on piano and Mickey Roker on drums. Doncha Hear Me Callin' To Ya is a traditional gospel song that was recorded in the 60s by Junior Mance. The album is available on CD and is recommended especially to jazz trombone fans. Johnson toured and recorded more frequently in the 80s until his wife got sick. But he returned in the 90s and worked a lot with trombonist Steve Turre. He died on Feb. 4, 2001 at age 77. Grey was active in the 90s until his death until his death in 2000. This album is the only time these giants of jazz worked together. Here's a video for Doncha Hear Me Callin' To Ya by J.J. Johnson and Al Grey.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Song:Somebody's Watching Me
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: 80's R&B
Somebody's Watching Me was a big hit in 1984 mainly because folks thought Michael Jackson recorded it under a pseudonym. He didn't but along with his brother Jermaine, that is him on background vocals. The problem was when Rockwell tried to do his own thing, nobody wanted to hear it and he had a very short music career. So how did this guy get Michael Jackson to record with him? That's easy. Rockwell was born Kennedy Gordy May 15, 1964 and he is the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. To avoid accusations of nepotism, he secured a record contract with Motown without his father's knowledge. Motown execs decided to call him Rockwell because he...uh...rocked well. I can't make up stuff like this. After his dad kicked him out of the house, Rockwell went to live with Gordy's ex-wife Ray Singleton who was a producer at Motown. She hired him as a staff songwriter and heard him working on Somebody's Watching Me. She thought he should record it and convinced Motown house producer Curtis Anthony Nolen to work with him. It was Rockwell's idea to have Jackson sing background vocals. He picked up Jackson at his home and drove him to the studio. It must be nice to know people. When the record was finished, Singleton played it for Gordy. Gordy didn't recognize his son's voice but he was excited about Jackson's appearance on the record. And that's why Somebody's Watching Me reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. Listeners thought it was a Michael Jackson record. After Rockwell's second single Obscene Phone Caller reached the top 40, Rockwell never charted again. After recording three albums, he left the music business. You can get Somebody's Watching Me on this various artists budget CD. The last time Rockwell was in the news was when TMZ reported his 2013 divorce. Here's the video for Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Song:Talk To Me
Album:Hard To Find 45's on CD Volume 10 1960-1965
Though Talk To Me was their only significant chart hit, Sunny & The Sunglows were pioneers for Latinos in pop music. The band continued but not as a rock group. Sunny & The Sunglows were from San Antonio, TX led by lead singer Sunny Ozuna. They all went to school together. They played all kinds of music including R & B, blues, polka and mariachi. Ozuna started Sunglow Records in 1962 and released the single Golly Gee. The record was picked up for national distribution by OKeh Records. This got the attention of veteran producer Huey P. Meaux and he signed them to his Tear Drop label. Meaux was best known for producing Freddy Fender. Sunny & The Sunglows released Talk To Me and it reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the R & B Singles chart in 1963. Talk To Me was written by Joe Seneca who was better known as an actor but started out in music. It was recorded in 1958 by Little Willie John and hit the top twenty. Attempts to follow up Talk To Me with covers of Tony Bennett's Rags To Riches and The Five Keys' Out Of Sight Out Of Mind flopped. You can get Talk To Me on this Eric Records various artists CD. Ozuna disbanded the Sunglows, moved to Dallas and formed Sunny & The Sunliners. They were around for years playing and recording all kinds of music. They were a popular live act in Texas. They seem to be inactive. Ozuna's website came up empty. Obviously in the early 60s, there were very few Latino pop groups so Sunny & The Sunglows are influential. Here's a video for Talk To Me ny Sunny & The Sunglows.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Song:All Of You
Album:Miles In Tokyo
Miles Davis and John Coltrane had a very productive musical relationship in the late 50s that I am sure most jazz fans are aware of. When Coltrane left the Davis band to start his own classic quartet, Davis went through several sax players before he ultimately settled on Wayne Shorter in 1965. Among those who played with Davis in that period were Jimmy Heath, Sonny Stitt and Hank Mobley. Mobley was probably the most successful of those as he recorded in the studio with Davis. In 1963, Davis decided to form a new band with younger musicians. The rhythm section was Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. Davis wanted Shorter but he was Art Blakey's musical director at the time. So instead he hired George Coleman from trombonist Slide Hampton's band. Coleman was in the Davis band for about a year. But ultimately it didn't work out. Davis still wanted Shorter. But Williams recommended Sam Rivers who he had jammed with in New York. Rivers was with the Davis band very briefly on a 1964 tour of Japan. And the only album ever released of that band is Miles In Tokyo. It was recorded at the Kohseinenkin Hall in Tokyo July 14, 1964. Columbia released the album in 1969 and it's available as a budget CD. It's a must for Davis and Sam Rivers fans. It didn't work out because Davis thought Rivers was too avant garde. Not long after, Wayne Shorter was finally brought in and that band turned out to be as successful as the Coltrane band. Here's Miles Davis with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams performing All Of You in Italy 1965.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Album:Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet Vol. 3: Africa Sessions
Banjo whiz Bela Fleck is probably best known for leading his group The Flecktones. He started in bluegrass but he's one of those guys who likes to explore different musical cultures. This 2009 CD Throw Down Your Heart is the third in a series of musical explorations. Fleck went to Africa and took a film crew with him. Fleck was born July 10, 1958 in New York City. He started out as a member of the 80s bluegrass group New Grass Revival and then formed Bela Fleck and the Flecktones with bassist Victor Wooten in 1988. The Flecktones aren't active right now. But even when they were, Fleck recorded solo albums that didn't fit into what The Flecktones were doing. In 1995, he recorded the album Tales From The Acoustic Planet with his usual bluegrass crowd along with jazz musicians like Chick Corea and Branford Marsalis. The album was so successful that Fleck decided to turn it into a series of albums. Volume two was The Bluegrass Sessions in 1999. For volume three, Fleck went to Africa and took a film crew with him. The album and film are both titled Throw Down Your Heart. Fleck recorded in places like Tanzania and Uganda. But his main tour guide was the fabulous Mali singer songwriter Oumou Sangare who I have written about before. A lot of the film is told through her point of view. The album won two Grammys and the film is available on DVD. There is also a second volume of Africa Sessions available as a digital download through Fleck's website. These days Fleck performs a lot with his wife Abigail Washburn. And he records with all kinds of musicians. His latest CD The Imposter is a classical composition recorded with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. So he's always doing something interesting. Here's Bela Fleck with Oumou Sangare performing Djorolen from the film Throw Down Your Heart.
Saturday, August 09, 2014
Album:The Definitive Thad Jones: Live From The Village Vanguard
Most jazz fans should be familiar with The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. They were one of the top big bands of the 60s and 70s. But you may not know that Lewis had a long career as a sideman before he got together with Jones. And after Jones moved to Europe in 1978, Lewis continued to lead the band and played every Monday night at The Village Vanguard in New York. Lewis was born Melvin Sokoloff May 10, 1929 in Buffalo, NY. He began to play drums professionally at age 15 in bands led by Boyd Raeburn, Alvino Rey, Ray Anthony and Tex Beneke. In the 50s, Lewis had a three year run with Stan Kenton. Then he moved to Los Angeles in 1957 to be a session musician. He also played in big bands led by Terry Gibbs and Gerald Wilson. Lewis moved back to New York and toured with Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. He also recorded with Sonny Stitt, Gary McFarland and James Moody. The band with Thad Jones started with informal jam sessions at The Village Vanguard. But then they got a record deal with Solid State Records in 1966 and The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra continued until Jones moved to Denmark for good in 1979. Lewis continued to lead the band every Monday night at the Village Vanguard. After Jones died in 1986, Lewis signed with Music Masters Jazz and decided to record a tribute to Jones at The Village Vanguard. The recordings were released as 2 single LPs. But Nimbus Records released them as a 2CD package in 2007. Like all the songs on the CD. Little Pixie was written by Jones and first recorded in 1966. Musicians are Glenn Drewes, Earl Gardner, Joe Mosello and Jim Powell on trumpet, Ralph Lalama and Joe Lovano on tenor sax, Ted Nash and Dick Oatts on alto sax, Gary Smulyan on baritone sax, Earl McIntyre, John Mosca and Douglas Purviance on trombone, Stephanie Fauber on french horn, Kenny Werner on piano and Dennis Irwin on bass. This band continued until Lewis died on Feb. 2, 1990 at age 60. And as a tribute, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra still plays The Village Vanguard every Monday night. Mel Lewis may not have been flashy like Buddy Rich. But he sure knew how to drive a big band. Here's The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra performing Little Pixie in Jerusalem 1979. This is from the V.I.E.W. Video DVD Mel Lewis and his Big Band.
Friday, August 08, 2014
Album:Sea Cruise and Other Hits
The 1959 top twenty hit Sea Cruise is one of the all time great one hit wonders. Frankie Ford may have never had another big hit but he's still around today. He was born Francis Guzzo Aug. 4, 1939 in Gretna, LA which is just across New Orleans divided by the Mississippi River. Ford performed as a child and appeared on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in 1952. In high school he led The Syncopators. Ford says his musical influences include Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Huey "Piano" Smith and Fats Domino. He was approached by the New Orleans distributor for Ace Records about recording. So here's the weird thing about Sea Cruise. The song was written and originally recorded by New Orleans music legend Huey "Piano" Smith with Bobby Marchan on vocals. Producer Johnny Vincent decided to record Ford's vocals over the existing backing track. He also added foghorns and other sound effects. Sea Cruise reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. Ford recorded a few more singles for Ace and then signed with Imperial Records in 1960. Despite working with legendary producer Dave Bartholomew, none of Ford's records clicked. And his career was interrupted when Ford enlisted in the US Army in 1962. You can get Sea Cruise and Ford's recordings of the era on this comp from Jasmine Records. Ford has recorded occasionally over the years and he has always performed with great energy. That's why he is called the New Orleans Dynamo. Here's Frankie Ford performing Sea Cruise on The Dick Clark Beech Nut Show Mar. 21, 1959.