Tuesday, June 30, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Louis Jourdan

Artist:Louis Jourdan
Album:Gigi: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

French actor Louis Jourdan was mainly known as a suave leading man but he does a pretty good job singing in the 1958 film Gigi. It's not like he was going to be able to steal scenes from Maurice Chevalier. The song Gigi won an Oscar so he did OK. He was born Louis Robert Gendre June 19, 1921 in Marseilles, France. He studied acting at Ecole Dramatique in Paris and appeared on stage. The beginning of Jourdan's film career was interrupted by World War II. He did a few films in Rome and then moved back to Paris and joined the French Resistance. He moved back to Paris after the war. Jourdan was spotted by a talent scout working for producer David O. Selznick and his he made his US film debut in the 1947 film The Paradine Case opposite Gregory Peck. Jourdan didn't get along with Selznick and he was suspended several times for refusing roles. But Jourdan did move to Hollywood and was well known for his proficiency at the game of croquet. He starred in the TV series Paris Precinct and and in the 1954 film Three Coins In The Fountain. But he is probably best known for singing the title song in the 1958 musical Gigi starring with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier. The song was written during filming by Lerner and Leowe. The film was a huge success and it won nine Oscars including Best Original Song for Gigi. There was a soundtrack album but it's been released on CD a couple of times. This version was from Sony Classical in 1991 and it includes some dialogue with the music. This was Jourdan's only time singing on film. He had a long career in film but he is probably best remembered as the evil Kamal Khan in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy. Jourdan retired in 1992 and he died on Feb. 14, 2015 at age 93. Here's Louis Jourdan performing Gigi in the 1958 film Gigi.

Monday, June 29, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Carmen McRae

Artist:Carmen McRae
Song:Listen To Monk
Album:Carmen Sings Monk

Carmen McRae was one of the all time great jazz singers. Her career began in the 40s and she remained active until her 1991 retirement and 1994 death. Carmen Sings Monk is from late in her career that you might overlook but you shouldn't. She was born Apr. 8, 1920 in Harlem, New York. She began piano lessons at age eight and she met Billie Holiday at age 17. Teddy Wilson had Billie record one of Carmen's songs. Carmen has always acknowledged Billie as her biggest influence. While working as a secretary, Carmen played piano at the New York jazz club Minton's Playhouse. Dizzy Gillespie saw her and he got her a job in Benny Carter's big band. She also worked with Count Basie and Mercer Ellington. Then Milt Gabler signed her to Decca Records in 1948. She recorded for Decca in the 50s including two albums with Sammy Davis Jr. She moved to Columbia in the early 60s and worked a lot with Dave Brubeck including Brubeck's The Real Ambassadors project which also featured Louis Armstrong. She recorded for Atlantic from the mid-60s to the mid-70s. She also recorded for Blue Note. At Concord, Carmen recorded with George Shearing and Cal Tjader and a tribute to Nat King Cole. Carmen Sings Monk was released in 1988 on RCA's Novus label. It's a tribute to Thelonious Monk. Jon Hendricks was brought in to write lyrics to some of Monk's best known songs. Listen To Monk is based on Rhythm-A-Ning. Musicians on the album include Charlie Rouse on tenor sax who played with Monk, Clifford Jordan on sax, Larry Willis and Eric Gunnison on piano, George Mraz on bass and Al Foster on drums. RCA released Carmen Sings Monk as a budget CD in 2001 with bonus alternate takes. You don't want to overlook this album just because it was late in Carmen's career. After recording one more album in 1990, Carmen McRae retired from music. A long time smoker, Carmen suffered respiratory failure and retired in 1991. She died on Nov. 10, 1994 at age 74. Here's Carmen McRae with Clifford Jordan, Eric Gunnison, Scott Colley and Al Foster performing Listen To Monk at the 1988 Montreal Jazz Festival. This was released on DVD but is out of print.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John McLaughlin

Artist:John McLaughlin f/Carlos Santana
Song:A Love Supreme
Album:The Best Of John McLaughlin

Guitarist John McLaughlin was a significant figure in jazz fusion of the early 70s. He is probably best known for his band The Mahavishnu Orchestra. A Love Supreme is from a 1973 album McLaughlin recorded with Carlos Santana when Santana was a big rock star. McLaughlin was born Jan. 4, 1942 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. His mother was a concert violinist so he studied violin and piano as a child until he took up the guitar at age 11. He moved to London in the 60s and played with guys like Alexis Korner, Georgie Fame and Brian Auger. Then he moved to New York City as a member of The Tony Williams Lifetime. Williams was in Miles Davis' band and McLaughlin appeared on Davis' pioneering jazz fusion album Bitches Brew. Of course he went solo and this led to the formation of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. At the time, McLaughlin was a disciple of guru Sri Chinmoy and called himself Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. McLaughlin introduced Carlos Santana to Chinmoy and Santana was called Devadip. Of course Santana was a big rock star but he wanted to record jazz. Columbia Records head Clive Davis warned Santana that recording jazz would hurt his career. He had already gone in a jazz fusion direction with the 1972 album Caravanserai. Of course Santana didn't listen to Davis. McLaughlin and Santana recorded the 1973 album Love Devotion Surrender as a tribute to Chinmoy and John Coltrane. A Love Supreme kicks off the album. The musicians are a mix of guys from Santana and The Mahavishnu Orchestra led by pianist Larry Young who played with McLaughlin in The Tony Williams Lifetime. Also Jan Hammer on organ, Doug Rauch on bass, Billy Cobham, Don Alias and Mike Shrieve on drums and Mingo Lewis and Armanda Peraza on percussion. The album sold well but it was heavily criticized by reviewers and especially Santana fans who thought he shouldn't play jazz. Try out this budget comp which has a couple of tracks from the album. Of course both guys have done plenty of things individually that are impossible to cover in one post. I've written about both of them in the past and I will probably do so again. McLaughlin and Santana reunited at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival and that concert is available on DVD. Here's John McLaughlin with Carlos Santana, David K.Mathews on  keyboards, Etienne Mbappe on bass, Cindy Blackman (Santana's wife) and Dennis Chambers on drums and Raul Rekow on congas performing A Love Supreme at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival. This is from the DVD Live At Montreux 2011: Invitation To Illumination.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Robben Ford and the Blue Line

Artist:Robben Ford and the Blue Line
Song:Top Of The Hill
Album:Handful of Blues

Guitarist Robben Ford has been around since the 70s. He's a very versatile guy but he's mainly known as a blues guitarist. This 1995 album Handful of Blues straddles blues and rock. He was born Dec. 16, 1951 in Woodlake, CA and he grew up in Ukiah, CA. Ford and his brothers played as the Charles Ford Band as teens named after their dad. At age 18, Ford played with legendary blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite and he recorded a couple of albums as Charles Ford Band. Ford also recorded with Jimmy Witherspoon and he was a member of Tom Scott's jazz fusion group L.A. Express. They recorded albums and they toured with Joni Mitchell. In the 80s, he recorded for Warner Bros. and he was a member of the jazz fusion group The Yellowjackets. He also played with Miles Davis in the mid-80s. Ford credits Tom Scott for his ability to play any kind of music. Ford left Warner Bros. in 1988 and signed with Chick Corea's Stretch Records in 1992. Stretch was distributed by GRP/Universal. Handful of Blues was released in 1995. It was produced by session guitarist and veteran producer Danny Kortchmar. Musicians include jazzman Henry Butler on piano, Roscoe Beck on bass and Tom Brechtlein on drums. Butler has recorded as a leader since the 80s. Beck and Brechtlein are veteran session musicians. Beck has worked with Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen. Brechtlein has worked with Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter. Guests include Ford's brother Mark Ford on harmonica and Ricky Peterson on organ. In recent years, Ford recorded for Concord and now for the Dutch label Provogue owned by Mascot Label Group. His latest CD Into The Sun was released Mar. 2015 and includes guest appearances by Keb Mo, Robert Randolph, ZZ Ward, Warren Haynes and Sonny Landreth. Most of Ford's tour this year will be in Europe but he will also make a few appearances in the US and South America. Here's Robben Ford performing Top Of The Hill.

Friday, June 26, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Buddy Guy

Artist:Buddy Guy f/Jonny Lang
Song:Midnight Train
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Buddy Guy

Of course today Buddy Guy is one of the all time blues greats. But there were times especially in the 80s when he couldn't seem to get a decent record deal. This is about his 90s comeback after he signed with Silvertone Records. And Guy still records for Silvertone. Of course Guy recorded for Chess Records in the 60s. But there were so many blues legends recording for Chess, Guy always seemed to take a back seat to those guys. So in the mid-60s, he formed a group with harmonica legend Junior Wells and they recorded classic albums for Delmark. But by the end of the 70s, Guy wasn't working with Wells anymore and he didn't have a record deal. He continued to tour in the 80s and record occasionally for labels like Alligator, Blind Pig and JSP. And he even opened his own Chicago club Buddy Guy's Legends. But after a 1991 appearance with Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall in London, Guy signed with Silvertone and his 1991 album Damn Right, I've Got The Blues was certified Gold and won a Grammy. Special guests included Clapton, Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler. His career revival continued through the 90s including the 1998 album Heavy Love. Teen blues guitarist Jonny Lang was a big deal at the time. And his producer David Z (David Rivkin, brother of Prince's drummer Bobby Z) also produced Heavy Love. Some might think that Midnight Train must be an old blues song. But it was written by Jon Tiven and Roger Reale of The Jon Tiven Group from Branford, CT. David Z heard the song when Reale, a schoolteacher in his real life, pitched it to Paul Rogers. David Z brought it to Guy and Guy and Lang make it sound like a blues standard. Guy told Reale that he really identified with the song. it reminded him of his days struggling to make ends meet in Chicago. Guitarist Steve Cropper also guested on Heavy Love and Richie Hayward of Little Feat played drums on the album. Heavy Love is available as a budget CD. But I suggest this budget comp which is a very good intro to Guy's Silvertone recordings. Silvertone was taken over by Jive Records in 1998 and it's now part of Sony so Guy currently records for RCA. His new CD Born To Play Guitar will be released July 31, 2015. Special guests include Van Morrison, Joss Stone, Billy Gibbons and Kim Wilson. Of course Guy is on tour so you should see him if he's coming your way. Here's Buddy Guy featuring Jonny Lang performing Midnight Train on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 1998.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Submarines

Artist:The Submarines
Song:Brighter Discontent
Album:Declare A New State!

The husband and wife duo the Submarines are a pretty good indie band who got some buzz when one of their songs was used in an Apple iPhone commercial. That's how bands get traction these days. Lead singer Blake Hazard is from Burlington, VT. In the 90s, she was in the band Starhustler. After graduating from Harvard, she started hanging around Boston clubs and she met John Dragonetti in 2000. He was born in Jackson, MI but he grew up in Dubai. Upon returning to the US, he settled in Boston. In the 90s, his band Jack Drag had a deal with A & M Records. But when A & M was swallowed by Universal, Jack Drag was dropped. Blake and Dragonetti began a relationship when she came to his recording studio. He produced her 2002 CD Little Airplane. It was an on and off relationship until Dragonetti figured that if Blake was going to write all of her songs about their relationship, they might as well work together. Of course it doesn't hurt that Blake is attractive and a great singer. The Submarines were born. they moved to Los Angeles and signed with Nettwerk Records. Declare A New State! was their 2006 debut CD. The music is the two of them in his recording studio. They occasionally bring in outside musicians and they hire musicians for touring. Of course they got married too. Their big break came when the songs You, Me and the Bourgoise and Submarine Symphonika were used in Apple iPhone commercials. The song Brighter Discontent appeared in the season four finale of the popular FX series Nip/Tuck. They are certainly worth checking out. The Submarines have recorded three albums and two EPs. Their latest EP was released in 2012. Dragonetti has been concentrating on composing music for film and TV recently so the duo doesn't seem to be active right now. I expect The Submarines to return in the future. Here are The Submarines performing Brighter Discontent on the TV show M Vids.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Paige VanZant vs Alex Chambers added to Sept. 5 UFC show

Paige VanZant, Alex Chambers
MMA Sucka reported today that Paige VanZant vs Alex Chambers has been added to UFC 191 Sept. 5 in Las Vegas. Though some believe Paige has star quality because of her looks, she needs to improve as a fighter if she's going to get anywhere. Apparently Paige asked to be on this show. Though Paige won by unanimous decision over Felice Herrig, I thought she won because Felice had cardio problems that we don't normally see from her. Paige got off to a slow start and I thought Felice won round one. But Paige came back and won the next two rounds mainly because Felice ran out of gas. Her other problem is the same problem I see with a lot of female fighters. She has no punching power. So she needs to improve her striking technique. I think she's a work in progress. Guys, it's not enough to be pretty. Alex is from Australia. Her nickname is Astro Girl because she's an astro physicist. At age 36, her age to experience level is not in her favour. She knows this is her last shot. She was lucky to win over Kailin Curran in Australia in May. Alex lost the first two rounds and in the third round, Kailin made a mistake and fell into an armbar finish. Alex has some ground skills but she's a terrible striker. I'm not sold on either of them.

Maryna Moroz vs Valerie Letourneau added to Aug. 23 UFC show

Maryna Moroz
For the first time, the UFC is going to Saskatoon, SK Aug. 23 at the SakTel Centre. A women's Strawweight bout was one of the fights announced at a press conference. This show will air on Fox Sports 1 and TSN but I expect this fight will be on the prelims. It will be Maryna Moroz vs Valerie Letourneau. Maryna won her UFC debut with an upset win over Joanne Calderwood in Poland in March. She used an armbar from bottom position which seems to be her favourite move. I wasn't surprised that she won but it was quicker than expected. She trains with her husband in the Ukraine and he's a former boxer. So I think she has some skills and she should be the favourite in this fight. I bet when she was told she was fighting in Saskatoon, she had to look it up on a map. As the very first Canadian female MMA fighter, Valerie has already fought across Canada. She dropped to 115lb for her last fight in Montreal in March and she beat Jessica Rakoczy easily by unanimous decision. I wasn't impressed with either of them and Valerie admitted the weight cut was difficult. These days she trains at American Top Team in Florida. Valerie is mainly a striker but I see her having problems with Maryna's quickness and strength. I think she has to cut too much weight to be effective and I would rather see her fight at 125lb. in Invicta.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Olivia Newton-John

Artist:Olivia Newton-John
Song:I Honestly Love You
Album:Magic: The Very Best Of Olivia Newton-John

I Honestly Love You was Olivia Newton-John's first number one pop hit in 1974 and she became one of the biggest stars of the 70s. She started out as a successful country music singer and crossed over to pop and even films. She was born Sept. 26, 1948 in Cambridge, England but she grew up in Melbourne, Australia. Her mother was born in Germany the daughter of Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born. As a teen, she performed on Australian TV as Lovely Livvy and that's where she met John Farrar who would become her producer. He was part of the early 70s group Marvin, Welch & Farrar, a spinoff of The Shadows. After a talent contest win, Olivia moved to England and recorded a 1966 single for Decca. Then she formed a duo with Pat Carroll who she knew in Australia. Pat would later marry John Farrar. Then Don Kirshner recruited Olivia for the group Toomorrow which was a failed attempt to recreate the success of The Monkees. She recorded her debut album If Not For You in 1971. She had a couple of hits in England and appeared regularly on Cliff Richard's variety show. But she floundered for a couple of years until Let Me Be There was a top ten country and pop hit in 1973. This was followed by If You Love Me (Let Me Know) which was actually a bigger country hit. Finally Olivia topped the Billboard Hot 100 with I Honestly Love You in 1974. The song was written by Brill Building legend Jeff Barry and Aussie legend Peter Allen who first recorded it on his album. This was followed by a second number one hit Have You Never Been Mellow. When her career started to fade, Olivia starred in the 1978 film musical Grease and scored a number one hit with her duet with John Travolta You're The One That I Want. Also, that film gave her sex appeal that she didn't have before. Of course she also appeared in the 1980 film musical Xanadu which bombed. She topped the charts in 1981 with Physical but that turned out to be Olivia's final big hit. You can get all her hits on this comp. She got into other things like her clothing store chain Koala Blue and and as I think most are aware, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. Since she left MCA in 1998, she has recorded for Hallmark, Festival, EMI and most recently for Warner Bros. in 2008. She has a live CD coming out next week which she recorded with Aussie music legend John Farnham. And Olivia will be in residence at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas this summer. I never cared for her voice but I'm sure she has plenty of devoted fans. Here's Olivia Newton-John performing I Honestly Love You 1974.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-D'Angelo

Song:Untitled (How Does It Feel)

Though not his biggest hit, Untitled is probably D'Angelo's best known song because of the video which emphasizes his sex appeal. D'Angelo would be a much bigger star if he recorded more. He has recorded three albums since 1995. He was born Michael Eugene Archer Feb. 11, 1974 in Richmond, VA. His dad was a Pentacostal preacher so he grew up singing and playing piano in church. After winning Amateur Night at The Apollo in New York City in 1991, D'Angelo left high school and moved to New York City. He signed a publishing deal with EMI Music in 1991 followed by a record deal with Virgin Records in 1993. He co-wrote and produced the 1994 hit U Will Know for the R & B supergroup Black Men United which appeared in the film Jason's Lyric. Then he released his 1995 debut album Brown Sugar which D'Angelo wrote and produced. The album didn't sell at first but it picked up when the single Brown Sugar was a top five R & B hit and then lady hit the pop top ten. It's his only pop top ten hit to date. Then D'Angelo didn't release his album Voodoo until 2000. He had writer's block for a while and he also split with his manager Kedar Massenburg. He was finally inspired to write again by the birth of his son with girlfriend Angie Stone. The first two singles from the album were not hits because he missed MTV's deadline. But the third single Untitled came with with a music video where D'Angelo is not wearing any clothes. D'Angelo wrote and produced Untitled with Raphael Saadiq. Voodoo was certified Platinum. But the success of the video made D'Angelo uncomfortable with his sex symbol status. He didn't think fans were interested in his music. Then he started having drinking problems. In 2005, he left Virgin, split with his management and checked into rehab. Then he was charged with drug possession and was in a car crash. Eventually he got back on the rails with a 2012 European tour. And this got him back into recording again. He was under contract to J Records which was absorbed by RCA. Black Messiah was released Dec. 2014 and it has done very well. D'Angelo is on tour with his band Vanguard. Maybe he's back and D'Angelo will record more frequently. He's certainly a talented guy. This budget comp covers his Virgin recordings. Here's the video for Untitled (How Does It Feel) by D'Angelo.

Monday, June 22, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Celine Dion

Artist:Celine Dion
Song:My Heart Will Go On
Album:My Love: Essential Collection

Though I don't like Celine Dion's overblown singing style, she deserves credit for coming out of nowhere to become one of the biggest stars in pop music. My Heart Will Go On from the 1997 film Titanic is probably her biggest hit. She was born Mar. 30, 1968 in Charlemagne, QC the youngest of fourteen children. Her big break came when her brother saw Rene Angelil's name on an album cover and sent him Celine's recording. He's the one who made her a star first in Quebec and then everywhere else. And they got married. The major barrier to Celine becoming a star was she didn't speak English. I first heard Celine in the mid-80s and at the time I thought she was a pretty good singer. But Angelil sent her to English classes and also had her undergo dental surgery to improve her appearance. Angelil convinced Columbia Records that Celine was ready to record in English. To save money, they recorded English vocals over tracks she had previously recorded in French. Unison was released in 1990 and Where Does My Heart Beat Now was the big hit from the album. That ballad set the stage for future stardom. The record was produced by Christopher Neil who had produced Sheena Easton. She continued to alternate recording in English and French. I like some of her French albums including the 1992 album Dion Chante Plamondon which was a tribute to famed Quebecois songwriter Luc Plamondon. It has a harder rock sound than you might expect from Celine. By the mid-90s, Celine was a huge star with number one hits like The Power Of Love and Because You Loved Me. But My Heart Will Go On launched Celine to a new level of stardom. James Horner wrote the music for the 1997 film Titanic. He thought there should be a song with a vocal playing over the end credits. Director James Cameron said no at first but Horner thought he could convince him so he hired veteran songwriter Will Jennings to write My Heart Will Go On. Then he had to convince Celine to sing the song. He hired Simon Franglen to work on the arrangement. He worked with Celine previously. Then Angelil convinced Celine to record the song. Then Sony execs convinced Cameron though he still didn't like the idea. The song was a worldwide chart topper. Though she never had another hit that big, it's been enough to cement her long term success. You can get all of Celine's hits on this budget comp. She's slowed down in recent years because of Angelil's poor health though she still has a standing residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Her latest CD of new music was released in 2013 though she released a live CD/DVD set last year. She will return to Caesars Palace in August. Here's the video for My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Penne

Here's the match video of Joanna Jedrzejczyk defending her UFC Strawweight Championship vs Jessica Penne from last night's UFC show in Berlin, Germany. This aired on UFC Fight Pass so I know plenty of fans didn't see it. I watched it on my HD TV using Roku. Of course I have to warn you that if you don't like the sight of blood, don't watch this fight. The main event of this show was supposed to be Alexander Gustafsson vs Glover Teixeira. When Gustafsson got hurt, Jessica was pulled off the May 30 Brazil show to challenge Joanna for the title. Jessica is a good fighter and a former Invicta Atomweight Champion. But I think she's too similar to Carla Esparza so I didn't see Jessica having any more success trying to take Joanna down. Jessica recently moved to Alliance MMA in San Diego after Mark Munoz retired and closed Reign MMA. She said before the fight that Joanna is a one dimensional fighter. That's a mistake because Joanna uses other skills to direct the fight to her strength which of course is striking. So we all knew that Jessica would try to take Joanna down. But like Carla, she attempted several takedowns and couldn't take Joanna down. Joanna took her time and scored a knockdown towards the end of round one. I scored round one 10-9 for Joanna. Joanna took control of the fight about two minutes into round two first with a front kick right in the mush followed by a short elbow that seemed to break Jessica's nose. The kicks we hadn't seen from Joanna in her previous fights. She stalked Jessica for the rest of the round and I scored round two 10-8 for Joanna. Some fans felt that the fight should have been stopped either by ref Marc Goddard or by Jessica's coach Eric Del Fierro. Keep in mind that the standard for a stoppage is more lenient in a title fight. Though she was getting clobbered, I thought Jessica was still defending herself. In round three, Joanna took her time hammering Jessica. Afterwards she said her corner told her to slow down and take her time. I think that was very good advice. Jessica even tried one final unsuccessful takedown. But with about a minute left in round three, Joanna scored with an overhand right followed by a knee to the head. That was it. Goddard stopped the fight. Congratulations to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She gave another clinic in efficient striking technique. He next challenger will be the winner of Claudia Gadelha vs Jessica Aguilar on Aug. 1 UFC show in Brazil. Of course many thought Claudia won over Joanna last December. But remember as Joanna gains more confidence as a champ, it will get tougher to beat her. She's improving with every fight. I expect we will see that title defense by the end of the year. Joanna is already the leader as the Big Bad Blog Fighter of the Year. All she needs is one more title defense to put the cherry on that sundae. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Frank Churchill.

Artist:Frank Churchill
Album:Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Frank Churchill was a songwriter and composer best known for his work on the very first full length animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Sadly, he committed suicide in 1942 so he is somewhat forgotten today. He was born Oct. 20, 1901 in Rumford, ME. As a teen, he played piano accompanying films at the local theater. That's how many pioneers in film music composition got started. Churchill moved to Los Angeles to study medicine at UCLA. But he dropped out and played piano at Los Angeles radio station KNX. In the early 30s, Churchill replaced Carl Stalling as music supervisor at The Walt Disney Company and he composed the music for many of the Silly Symphonies including Three Little Pigs. So when Disney decided to produce the first full length animated feature, Churchill was in charge of the music. He wrote the songs with lyricist Larry Morey. Churchill wrote the score with Paul J. Smith and Leigh Harline. Smith worked for Disney for many years and he won an Oscar for Pinocchio. Harline started out at Disney but he left in 1941 and composed many film scores over the years. Of course Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a huge hit and today is considered one of the most important films in history. Back then, there were no soundtrack albums as the movie studios didn't think there was any value to the music. The songs from Snow White were released on three 78rpm discs. The incidental music from the film was never available until Disney released the entire score on CD in 1993. It's still available. After the success of Snow White, Churchill composed music for the features Dumbo and Bambi. Then he committed suicide on May 14, 1942 at age 40. It seems Churchill was a heavy drinker and he was depressed because a couple of his pals in the Disney orchestra recently died. So a sad and premature end for a man who was an important figure in film history. Here's a video for Overture by Frank Churchill as it appeared over the opening credits of the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Cher

Artist:Cher f/Peter Cetera
Song:After All

Here's a song that even devoted Cher fans may have forgotten was a top ten hit in 1989. It was the theme from the film Chances Are. I think the song was a bit of a surprise hit. In the 80s, Cher had more success in films than in music. When she signed with Geffen Records in 1987, she hadn't had a top ten hit since Take Me Home in 1979. So obviously this was something she wanted to correct. On the 1987 album Cher, she worked with producers Desmond Child and Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora to give her a more rock oriented sound. Her cover of the Michael Bolton song I Found Someone (first recorded by Laura Branigan) reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. So they're getting there but she wants a number one hit. And that's what they were aiming for with the 1989 album Heart Of Stone. Meanwhile, Geffen Records asked Cher to record a song for the 1989 romantic comedy Chances Are starring Cybill Shepherd and Robert Downey Jr. After All was written by veteran songwriters Tom Snow and Dean Pilchford and Peter Asher produced the record. Asher produced songs on Cher and Heart Of Stone. They decided to turn it into a duet with former Chicago lead singer Peter Cetera who had a good run as a solo artist in the mid-80s. I don't think Cher even knew Cetera. There was no soundtrack album for Chances Are and there was no video. Despite the lack of promotion, After All reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. After it became a hit, Geffen tacked it on to Heart Of Stone. Of course If I Could Turn Back Time topped the charts and Heart Of Stone was a huge success. Cher and Cetera never performed After All together. When the song was nominated for an Oscar, it was performed on the broadcast by Melissa Manchester and Peabo Bryson. And Cher performs After All live with her musical director Paul Mirkovich. You can get After All on this 2CD comp from Hip-O that covers her whole career. Here's Cher with Paul Mirkovich performing After All 1999.

Friday, June 19, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-James Taylor

Artist:James Taylor
Song:Your Smiling Face
Album:The Essential James Taylor

The 1977 album JT was a big comeback for James Taylor and also a switch to a new record label. Your Smiling Face wasn't his biggest hit from JT but the song was emblematic of a new beginning for Taylor. Albums like Sweet Baby James made Taylor one of the most popular recording artists of the early 70s. But his 1972 album One Man Dog was critically panned and it also performed poorly compared to previous albums. Meanwhile, Taylor married Carly Simon on Nov. 3, 1972 and they started performing and recording together and they had two kids. The two scored a big hit with their 1974 cover of Charlie & Inez Foxx's Mockingbird. Then Taylor's 1973 album Walking Man was a disaster. He made a bit of a comeback with the 1975 album Gorilla and his top five cover of Marvin Gaye's How Sweet It Is. The 1976 album In The Pocket was Taylor's final album on his Warner Bros. contract. Taylor and producer Peter Asher had already decided to leave Warners for Columbia so Warners didn't promote In The Pocket. Then Warners released a Greatest Hits album which is always a sign that the artist is leaving. Other than being on a new label, there wasn't anything unusual about JT. Asher was still his producer and the usual session musicians appeared on the album. Taylor's cover of the Jimmy Jones hit Handy Man was the first single and it reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it propelled JT to Taylor's biggest selling album since Sweet Baby James. It was certified 3XPlatinum. Your Smiling Face was the next single. It only reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 but it solidified the album's success. Taylor wrote the song for his three year old daughter Sally so it reflected his contentment in his family life as well. Though the 1979 single Her Town Too was Taylor's last big pop hit, his 80s albums routinely were certified Platinum. This 2013 2CD Sony comp covers Taylor's entire career. Taylor separated from Carly Simon in 1981 and became addicted to heroin again. He married actress Kathryn Walker in 1985 and she got him off heroin. He continued to have success until he left Columbia in 1994. Taylor still records occasionally. He just released his CD Before This World on Concord this week. And he's still a strong concert draw. Here's the video for Your Smiling Face by James Taylor.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review of People In Motion 2015

Permobil F3
It took me some time to get to this review of this year's People In Motion show at the Queen Elizabeth Center at the CNE because there weren't many new products at this year's show. I was looking at three and decided to only go with one. This year the show concentrated on demonstrations like archery and wheelchair dancing. It's not the sort of thing I am interested in but I'm sure there is a certain amount of interest in those kind of demos. There also was a walled off section devoted to employment opportunities. They have always had this at the show but this was the first time attendees had to register in advance for anything. They wanted to target employment services which is fine if a young disabled person is looking for full time work. But if an older disabled person is on ODSP and only has the stamina for part time work, you are only allowed to earn a minimal amount before it is clawed back and it ends up costing money. It's a mean spirited and restrictive rule that should be eliminated but the provincial government says on one hand they want the disabled to be in the workforce but on the other hand they have restrictive ODSP rules that don't allow that. Until this is changed, any kind of part time or contract work for ODSP clients is out of the question. Maybe PIM should lobby the province to change this as it would help the show. So if you have read this in past years, you'll know that I am due for a new powerchair in 2016. Last year I wrote about Quickie's new chair. This year I am going to talk about Permobil's new F3 and F5 powerchairs. Both of these chairs are front wheel drive. My current chair is mid wheel drive. The major difference with front wheel drive is better maneuverability and it will handle steep grades and uneven surfaces better. The major difference between the two models is the F5 is bigger. Both chairs come with a lot of tilt and elevation capability which is something I don't need on my powerchair. That's because I transfer from the chair frequently. But there are those who need that. I got to try the F3 out when I was at the show. I actually broadcast it live from my phone using Twitter's Periscope app. Unfortunately, it was a brand new app and my first time using it so I didn't know that I had to set the app to save the video or it goes away in 24 hours and I didn't know about that part anyway. So I apologize to Permobil rep Adam Lawson who adjusted the chair and held my phone while I went outside with the chair. He told me to go on the grass with the chair which I would never do with my current chair because it's not stable enough. He also told me the F3 comes with snow tires and can navigate in the snow. Well, that's a big deal in this climate. If I took out my current chair after a snowfall, it would get stuck. I have to wait until the streets and sidewalks are clean. BTW, the adjustments that Adam had to make on the chair was moving the joystick because I'm left handed and lowering the footrests because I'm tall. Obviously I won't know if I will buy this chair until next year. But I do like to go out daily and I hate it when the weather forces me to stay in. But if I do select the F3, I promise to Adam that I will do a professionally shot demo after a big snowfall and I'll write about it in this magazine. You can find out more about Permobil at www.permobil.ca and contact your vendor for more about the F3 or F5. So that's it from the 2015 People In Motion show. We'll see you at next year's show.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bananarama

Album:The Collection

Bananarama is the most successful British girl group of all time and Venus was their only US number one hit. As one familiar with the 1970 original by the Dutch group Shocking Blue, I think Bananarama and producers Stock Aitken Waterman suck the life out of Venus and turn it into just another dance song. But apparently it's a song they really wanted to record and they switched producers because of that. Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward were childhood friends in Bristol, England. They met Siobhan Fahey in 1979 while studying fashion journalism and the three started singing together with punk rock groups. In 1981, former Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook produced the demo Aie a Mwana and Demon Records released it as a single. This got them a record deal with PolyGram's London label. Terry Hall of The Specials saw Bananarama on a magazine cover and had them record T'ain't What You Do with his vocal group Fun Boy Three. It was a top five hit in England. Then they recorded their 1983 debut album Deep Sea Skiving with the production duo of Steve Jolley and Tony Swain. They had success producing the group Imagination and later produced Spandau Ballet. Bananarama had success in England with hits like Shy Boy and a cover of Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. But success in the US eluded them until Cruel Summer was their first US top ten hit in 1984. It was from their second album Bananarama. They recorded most of their 1986 album True Confessions with Jolley and Swain. Venus was a song they had performed live and the girls really wanted to record it. When Jolley and Swain were resistant to that. Bananarama hired the Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) production team and Venus topped the Billboard Hot 100. SAW were a very hot dance music production team at the time. It turned Bananarama in a more dance oriented direction because that's the kind of music SAW produced. I'm sure you all remember the video for Venus. Bananarama went on hiatus due to Keren's pregnancy. For their 1987 album Wow!, Bananarama continued to work with SAW and the single I Heard A Rumour was a top five US hit. But the decline of Bananarama began when Siobhan Fahey married Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics and left in 1988. She would later surface as one half of the duo Shakespears Sister. Siobhan also wasn't getting along with the other two who of course had been friends since childhood. She was replaced by Jacquie O'Sullivan and though Bananarama had some hits in England with their next two albums, they certainly weren't as successful as they were previously. Jacquie left in 1991 and Bananarama continued as a duo. They left London Records in 1993. This 2CD comp from Music Club is available at a budget price. Though Bananarama's most recent CD was released in 2009, they were recording new music in 2013 and they still tour in England. Here's the video for Venus by Bananarama.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Eddie Holland

Artist:Eddie Holland
Album:It Moves Me: The Complete Recordings 1958-1964

Of course Eddie Holland is best known as one third of the legendary Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland with his brother Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. But in the early days of Motown, Holland recorded a couple of albums and scored a top 30 pop hit with Jamie in 1962. He was born Oct. 30, 1939 in Detroit. Holland met Berry Gordy in 1958 and worked with him before Gordy started Motown. The thing you will notice about Holland as a singer is he sounded a lot like Jackie Wilson which is not surprising as both Holland and Gordy idolized Wilson. Holland's early singles were released on Mercury and United Artists and then Jamie was released on Motown's Tamla label in 1961. It reached #6 on the R & B Singles chart and #30 on the Billboard Hot 100. I'm sure many listeners thought it was a Jackie Wilson record. The song was written by Barrett Strong and Mickey Stevenson and Stevenson produced the record. Strong was best known for another early Motown hit Money but he also wrote plenty of songs. Stevenson wrote and produced in the early days of Motown until he left in 1967 with his wife Kim Weston. While Holland recorded a couple of albums and a couple of his singles charted, his brother Brian Holland was already a staff songwriter at Motown. He co-wrote the classic Please Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes. Lamont Dozier recorded some unsuccessful singles and joined Motown in 1962. When the three started having success writing hits like Heatwave and Where Did Our Love Go, Eddie Holland retired from recording in 1964 because he suffered from stage fright and refused to tour. Though Dozier went on to success as a recording artist in the 70s, Eddie Holland preferred to remain behind the scenes. He never recorded again. You can get all his recordings on this 2CD comp from Ace Records. Here's a video for Jamie by Eddie Holland.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Two title matches headline Aug. 29 DEEP JEWELS show

Emi Fujino, Mizuki Inoue
DEEP announced today that the Aug. 29 show in the cage at Differ Ariake will be a double header. There will be a DEEP show in the afternoon followed by a DEEP JEWELS show in the evening. They announced two DEEP JEWELS title matches. But before I get into that, a couple of weeks ago, DEEP JEWELS announced that all weight classes will conform to the world standard. So for example, instead Lightweight at 52kg. it is now Strawweight at 115lb. The other minor change is that elbows will now be allowed in selected matches. That means it won't be allowed in most matches similar to how they used to handle ground and pound before they made it completely legal. These are minor changes that I would describe as window dressing. Anyone who tries to characterize these as a big deal is blowing smoke up your ass. If that old fart Shigeru Saeki was serious about real change, he would make all DEEP JEWELS matches three five minute rounds and all title matches five five minute rounds. That's what fans want but he's very reluctant to change anything. The DEEP JEWELS Bantamweight Championship match had already been announced. Takayo Hashi will defend against Korean Kim Ji Yeong. These two fought to a draw on a ROAD FC show in Mar. 2014. Hashi has performed better since returning from knee surgery but Kim is 3-0 with 2 draws. So I wouldn't assume that Hashi would win easily. Today they announced that Mizuki Inoue (she is no longer billed as MIZUKI) will defend her DEEP JEWELS Strawweight Championship against veteran Emi Fujino. Mizuki is coming off of two straight losses in Invicta but I don't expect her to have much trouble with Fujino. Mizuki beat her as part of the tournament in 2013 and even broke Fujino's nose in a J-Girls kickboxing match several years ago. Fujino has never beaten anyone higher ranked than her. And until she does, I don't expect it from her. She's always been a midcard fighter. If you look at her record, all her losses have been to elite fighters and she's never beaten an elite fighter. Of course part of the problem is many DEEP JEWELS 115lb fighters have dropped to 105. So there are very few choices at 115lb right now. So again, the low talent level fails DEEP JEWELS. I will have more details when more matches are announced.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-702

Song:Where My Girls At?

The R & B girl group 702 scored a top five hit in 1999 with Where My Girls At?. The name 702 is because they are from Las Vegas and 702 is the area code for Nevada. They started out singing together at Cheyenne High School in Las Vegas. There were four girls in the group at first. Three of them were sisters. The oldest was LeMisha "Misha" Grinstead, twin sisters Irish and Orish Grinstead and their friend Kameelah Williams. Kameelah was usually the lead singer. They were singing in the lobby of Caesars Palace when they were spotted by comedian Sinbad. He sent them to a music convention and talent contest in Atlanta. He named them Sweeta Than Suga. They finished second in the competition. But their big break came when they met Michael Bivins of New Edition and Bell Biv Devoe. He signed them to his production company at Motown. Kameelah was replaced briefly by Grinstead cousin Amelia Childs. After 702 appeared on the single This Lil' Game We Play by Subway, Amelia left and Kameelah returned. Orish left 702 while their debut CD No Doubt was being recorded. In searching for the right producer to work with 702, they seemed to click with rapper Missy Elliott. She produced four songs on No Doubt including the hit single Steelo. 702 scored their first top ten pop hit with Get It Together written and produced by Donell Jones. The album was certified Gold. Their 1999 CD 702 was even bigger as the single Where My Girls At? reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified Platinum. Where My Girls At? was written and produced by Elliott and the duo of Eric Seats and Rapture Stewart, known as Keybeats. They worked a lot with Aliyaah before her tragic death. 702 also appeared on the Missy Elliott single Beep Me 911. 702 is available as a budget CD. Then Kameelah left 702 to go solo. When her solo career didn't pan out, she returned for the 2003 CD Star. That album didn't do well and it's interesting to note that they didn't work with Elliott on that album. Though Motown dropped them, 702 attempted to remain together. Orish Grinstead died of kidney failure at age 28 in 2008. Kameelah left 702 for good in 2010. She is calling herself Meelah and her recording of a solo album was featured on the TV One reality show R & B Divas Atlanta. The single and video Give It To You was released Sept. 2014. It's a duet with her singer songwriter husband Musiq Soulchild. They have one child. There's no word on when the album will be released. Here's the video for Where My Girls At? by 702.

Monday, June 15, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Teresa Brewer

Artist:Teresa Brewer
Song:Music! Music! Music!
Album:The Original Sound Of Miss Music! Music! Music!

Music! Music! Music! was the first hit single and also the signature song for Teresa Brewer in 1950. After her career faded in the late 50s, she would later reinvent herself as a jazz singer. She was born Theresa Veronica Breuer May 7, 1931 in Toledo, OH. While her dad worked at a local glass manufacturing plant, her mom pushed her into performing. As a child, Teresa was a regular on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour radio show traveling with her aunt. She returned to Toledo to attend high school. At 16, she won a talent contest that got her a trip to New York City and an appearance on Stairway To The Stars. Teresa played local clubs until she signed with Decca Records in 1949. Her debut single Copper Canyon, a duet with Bobby Wayne, was released on Decca's London label in 1949. Then they released the single Copenhagen with Music! Music! Music! on the B-side. DJs preferred the B-side and Music! Music! Music! topped the pop charts in 1950 and a star is born. The song was written by Stephen Weiss and Bernie Baum and it was the biggest hit for both guys. Baum went on to be part of the team that wrote songs for Elvis Presley films in the 60s including Devil In Disguise. The backup band on the single is credited as the Dixieland All Stars. How's that for a generic name. This was a short lived band of veteran musicians who appeared on a couple of London recordings in the early 50s including trumpeter Max Kaminsky, trombonist Bob "Cutty" Cutshall, clarinetist Ernie Caceres, pianist Jack Pleis, guitarist Danny Perri, bassist Eddie Safranski and drummer George Wettling. They were all big band veterans. In 1951, Decca moved Teresa to Coral Records to release 10" LPs of her music. Her other number one hit was Till I Waltz Again with You in 1952. Like a lot of pop singers, Teresa faded in the late 50s when Rock 'N' Roll took over. You can get all her original 50s hits on this CD from Jasmine Records. Beware of rerecorded versions. Teresa recorded for Philips Records in the 60s with little success. Then she married legendary jazz record producer Bob Thiele in 1972. Of course he was the house producer at Impulse Records in the 60s. When he started his own Flying Dutchman label in the 70s, Teresa recorded for that label and and his subsequent labels Amsterdam and Doctor Jazz. She worked with jazz musicians on these records so it was similar to the reinvention of Rosemary Clooney. Teresa retired after Thiele died in 1996 and she died on Oct. 17, 2007 at age 76. Here's Teresa Brewer performing Music! Music! Music! on a 1950 Snader Telescription. Snader produced short music films for TV in the early 50s similar to Soundies in the 40s.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Tecia Torres vs Angela Hill

Here's the match video of Tecia Torres vs Angela Hill from last night's UFC show in Mexico City. It was on the PPV portion of the show. But the fight is so bad, you may want to skip it. I actually watched it a second time to pick up on a couple of things that I wanted to comment about. The things I do so you don't have to. Before the fight, Tecia complained that Angela isn't in her class and she asked for a higher ranked opponent. Officially, Tecia is undefeated. But in the TUF house, she didn't look very good against either Randa Markos or Carla Esparza who are both grapplers. I think Tecia is overrated. She's a kickboxer with no ground skills and that was exposed especially against Randa. Angela is also a kickboxer with no ground game. So I guess matchmaker Sean Shelby was hoping for an action packed throwdown. Instead we got a lay and pray stinkeroo reminiscent of Julia Budd sitting on Germaine De Randamie in Strikeforce three years ago. The other factor is the altitude in Mexico City which was an issue through the whole show. Though I think Tecia is a skilled technical kickboxer, Angela punches harder. Not much happened in the first round until halfway through, Tecia took Angela down and laid on her. She didn't advance her position and Angela couldn't seem to get out from under. There were two reasons for Tecia to do this. As I said, Angela punches harder and laying on her would tire Angela out in that altitude. Of course this strategy worked. It's no secret how much I hate lay and pray. But the ref can stop it if he breaks them up quickly. Big John McCarthy didn't even warn Tecia until there was less than a minute left in the round. That was way too late. And then in the second round, Tecia took Angela down early in the round and McCarthy finally stood them up with less than a minute left in round two. By this time, the fans are booing. So Angela is down two rounds and needs a finish. But she's way too tired to do anything. Instead of taking her down in round three, Tecia pins her against the fence to stall. It's the same strategy designed to kill the clock. Of course Tecia won the fight. I scored it 30-27 in her favour. I guess some fighters don't care how they win. I don't see how a performance like that gets Tecia closer to a title shot. And this fight was on the main card. Of course Tecia wants a fight with a top contender. She didn't do anything to deserve that. Two weeks ago Juliana Lima used lay and pray to win for the second straight time. I say match these two up and make it the curtain jerker on UFC Fight Pass. Whoever sits on the other longest wins the fight and the loser goes on a one way trip to Palookaville. I know the UFC doesn't officially punish fighters for boring fights. But unofficially they do by moving them down the card and giving them lesser opponents until they learn not to be boring. Of course some fighters never learn. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Syl Johnson

Artist:Syl Johnson
Song:Take Me To The River
Album:Mississippi Mainman

Though music fans probably know that Al Green wrote Take Me To The River, Hi Records never released his recording as a single. Instead producer Willie Mitchell gave it to labelmate Syl Johnson and Take Me To The River was his biggest hit in 1975. At the time, Johnson was overlooked but his 70s recordings are a must for soul fans. He was born Sylvester Thompson July 1, 1936 in Holly Springs, MS. His brothers are guitarist Jimmy Johnson and bassist Mack Thompson. His family moved to Chicago in 1950 and Magic Sam was his next door neighbour. Johnson started out as a backup singer, guitarist and harmonica player for blues artists. He toured with Howlin' Wolf in the 50s. Johnson first recorded as a solo artist for King's Federal label in 1959 and in the mid-60s he had some success on Twinight Records with R& B hits like Come On Sock It To Me, Different Strokes and Is It Because I'm Black. Willie Mitchell produced some of those recordings and when Mitchell joined Hi Records in 1970, he brought Johnson with him. Twinight folded in 1972. Of course Johnson's problem at Hi was he played second fiddle to labelmate Al Green. So he was always overlooked. But he had a few R & B hits like We Did It and Back For A Taste Of Your Love. Take Me To The River reached #7 on the R & B Singles chart in 1975 and it was Johnson's biggest hit. Of course Al Green wrote the song with his guitarist Mabon "Teenie" Hodges and Green recorded it on his 1974 album Al Green Explores Your Mind. But Hi never released Green's version as a single. Mitchell had Johnson record it with the same musicians. The only difference was Johnson's harmonica solo. Take Me To The River was popularized by Talking Heads and David Byrne made sure fans knew Green wrote it. But Byrne didn't connect it to Johnson. Johnson left Hi in 1979 and recorded for his own label in the early 80s. This comp from the British reissue label Demon Music's Backbeat label is a good intro to Johnson's music. In the mid-80s, Johnson opened a restaurant and semi-retired from music. In the 90s, when Johnson found out that hip hop guys were sampling his music, he signed with Delmark Records and released the 1994 album Back In The Game. His daughter Syleena Johnson has had some success as a singer working with R. Kelly and she revived the Twinight imprint for him to record new music. And they are raising money through Kickstarter to produce the Syl Johnson documentary Any Way The Wind Blows. So Syl Johnson is still kickin' it and you don't want to overlook his great music. Here's Syl Johnson performing Take Me To The River at the 1975 Memphis Blues Festival. I know the clip is not professionally shot and it cuts off but it is footage of Syl Johnson in his prime.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Alive 'N Kickin'

Artist:Alive 'N Kickin'
Song:Tighter, Tighter
Album:'70s Radio Hits Vol. 3

Tighter, Tighter was a top ten hit in 1970 and the only big hit for Alive 'N Kickin'. One other single charted so technically they are not a one hit wonder though most fans have probably only heard Tighter, Tighter. Alive 'N Kickin' were from Brooklyn, NY led by singers Sandy Toder and Pepe Cardona. Other members were Bruce Sudano on keyboards, Woody Wilson on bass, Dave Shearer on guitar and Vito Albano on drums. Apparently Sandy was friends with Tommy James' wife. Of course James was a big pop star at the time. He went to see Alive 'N Kickin' at a club and liked them. Then Sudano and Wilson wrote the James hit Ball Of Fire. So James got them a deal with his label Roulette Records and he was going to give them the song Crystal Blue Persuasion. But he decided to record it himself and gave them Tighter, Tighter instead. All of the other songs on the album were written by Sudano and Wilson. James and his bassist Bob King wrote Tighter, Tighter and produced the album. Tighter, Tighter reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. One other single charted and they only recorded one album. Alive 'N Kickin' split up in 1971 mainly because they couldn't get any money out of Roulette Records owner Morris Levy who was notorious for not paying anyone. Of course it is now known that he had mob connections. The album Alive 'N Kickin' is available on CD but most fans will only want Tighter, Tighter and you can get it on this Rhino Flashback various artists budget CD. Cardona reformed Alive N' Kickin' in 1976 and a version of the band still performs in the Tri State area surrounding New York City. Bruce Sudano moved to Los Angeles and was leader of the group Brooklyn Dreams. He was married to the late Donna Summer and wrote and produced songs for her. Here's a video for Tighter, Tighter by Alive 'N Kickin'.

Friday, June 12, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Maria Taylor

Artist:Maria Taylor
Song:A Good Start
Album:Lynn Teeter Flower

Maria Taylor is another singer songwriter who has been mentored by Bright Eyes leader Conor Oberst. She records for his brother's label Saddle Creek Records. She was born May 21, 1976 in Birmingham, AL. At age 15, she was attending the Alabama School of Fine Arts when she formed the duo Little Red Rocket with classmate Orenda Fink. They released two albums on Geffen Records but got lost in the shuffle when Geffen merged with Universal in 2000. The duo moved to Athens, GA and formed the group Azure Ray and recorded for Warm Records. Conor Oberst met them and asked them to tour with him. He signed them to Saddle Creek Records which is co-owned by Oberst's brother. Azure Ray recorded a couple of albums for Saddle Creek and then went on hiatus. After recording with Bright Eyes and appearing with the Bright Eyes spinoff band Now It's Overhead, Maria recorded her solo debut CD 11:11 in 2005. A Good Start is from Maria's 2007 CD Lynn Teeter Flower. It's considered to be her best CD to date. Azure Ray reformed in 2007 and they have recorded a couple of albums. And Maria continues to record solo for Saddle Creek. Her latest CD Something About Knowing was released in 2013. You might have heard Maria's music on TV shows, especially Grey's Anatomy. I'm sure she will continue to turn up on albums by other Saddle Creek artists. She's worth checking out. Here's the video for A Good Start by Maria Taylor.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Analysis of Invicta FC 13 card

Invicta finally announced the full card for the next show. It will be on July 9 at the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas during International Fight Week. It will air on UFC Fight Pass and I normally use Roku to watch it on my HDTV. You can also use Apple TV or Google Chromecast. If you have an HDTV and you don't have one of those devices, I highly recommend you get one. I know what you're thinking. Why is this show on a Wednesday? It was supposed to be on July 10 but it was going to conflict with other events during IFW. So Invicta applied to the Nevada State Athletic Commission to move the show to July 9. That was approved last week which is why it took so long to announce the card. This show will have three title matches and a total of seven matches. I guess their thinking is more title matches means it's a better show. I dunno about that. The main event will have Cris Cyborg defending her Invicta Featherweight Championship against Faith Van Duin. Faith is from New Zealand and she won her Invicta debut over Amanda Bell on the last Invicta show in April. Cyborg won her last fight over Charmaine Tweet in less than a minute. I don't expect this to go any longer. Until Cyborg drops to 135, her fights are a waste of time. Then we will have Tonya Evinger vs Irene Aldana for the vacant Invicta Bantamweight Championship. Irene is from Mexico and she's one of those names that has been mentioned as a potential UFC signee. If she wins this fight, she'll probably get that call. I just don't think she has beaten anyone decent yet. Tonya will be her toughest opponent and she could beat Irene. And I don't think the UFC is interested in Tonya. then we have Herica Tiburcio defending her Invicta Atomweight Championship against Japanese veteran fighter Ayaka Hamasaki. Herica won the title over Michelle Waterson last fall. Some thought it was an upset. I think Michelle is overrated. Ayaka is a former DEEP JEWELS 115lb champ who dropped to 105 after recovering from knee surgery. Her last win was over VV Mei on the DEEP New Year's Eve show and she's been sitting around waiting for this fight. Both have good submission skills but Ayaka may be a better striker. And I assume that is something her coach Megumi Fujii is working on. Let's get to the rest of the card. In a Bantamweight match, Pannie Kianzad will face Jessica-Rose Clark. Pannie is new to Invicta but she is a former Cage Warriors 145lb champ. She is someone I would like to see in the UFC. Pannie is from Denmark but she trains in Sweden. Jessy Jess, as she is known, is from Australia and this is also her Invicta debut and her first fight outside Australia. She's 5-1 but Kannie is a big step up in competition for her. In an Atomweight bout, Amber Brown will face Invicta newcomer Catherine Costigan. Amber won her Invicta debut over Liz McCarthy in Nov. 2014. But I liked when she went to Japan in 2013 and submitted the favourite Kikuyo Ishikawa. Catherine is from Ireland and fought for Cage Warriors. But I didn't think much of her opponents. I like both fighters but I think Amber has fought at a higher competition level and that gives her a bit of an edge. In a Strawweight bout, Amy Montenegro will face Jamie Moyle. Amy is 6-1 and she won her Invicta debut in Feb. over Brianna Van Buren who I think was a little overhyped. Jamie is 2-0 and won her last Invicta fight over JJ Aldrich in Feb. She should be the favourite but both are just gaining experience at this point. The opener is a Featherweight match. Marina Shafir will face Amber Leibrock. Both are making their Invicta debuts and Amber is making her pro debut. Of course Marina is known as Ronda Rousey's long time training partner. Because of that, she was a bit overhyped as an amateur. Then in her second pro fight, she was KOd by Amanda Bell in less than a minute. That's why Amanda was overhyped. So both fighters are inexperienced as pros. Who knows what we will get. My main concern is that with three championship matches, maybe Invicta won't have anything left for their next show. Plus I'm expecting at least three of seven matches, including the main event, to be mismatches. So it's probably not as stacked as they think it is which doesn't surprise me because they have a bad habit of overrating their fighters. We'll see how it goes.

Claudia Gadelha vs Jessica Aguilar added to Aug. 1 UFC show

Claudia Gadelha, Jessica Aguilar
Globo's MMA website Combate reported this morning that Claudia Gadelha vs Jessica Aguilar will be added to UFC 190 in Brazil. Globo is the UFC Brazilian broadcaster. They are reporting that there are verbal agreements. The fight agreements still need to be signed. This match will determine who gets the next shot at the UFC Strawweight Championship. Claudia is a BJJ black belt and she trains at Nova Uniao. In her last fight, she suffered her first loss by split decision to current UFC Strawweight Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Though I scored the fight for Claudia it was very close and I explained in my analysis how the judges scored the fight the other way. Her problem in that fight is easy to correct. After a takedown, she needs to advance her position. Of course Joanna's defense may have been better than Claudia's offense. So Claudia has been whining about the loss ever since and she and her manager told Tatame that she should have got the title shot that went to Jessica Penne. They lobbied the UFC for it but were rebuffed. Obviously the UFC wants her to win a fight first. Claudia was scheduled to fight Aisling Daly in March but Claudia dropped out due to a back injury. This will be Jessica's UFC debut after wasting two years at UFC placeholder WSOF. Her problem is she hasn't fought an elite fighter in a long time and her wins in and before the WSOF weren't that impressive. So we're going to find out if Jessica is still an elite fighter because her opponent is clearly an elite fighter. I thought they might match Jessica up with Carla Esparza after Carla made some stupid comments recently about Jessica. But if Jessica wants to step into the deep end of the pool for a possible fast track to a title shot, that suits me fine. I'm looking forward to this one. Who wants it more?

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dusty Drake

Artist:Dusty Drake
Song:One More Time
Album:Dusty Drake

Country singer Dusty Drake had brief success on the country charts with this song written in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. There were several songs like this that were hits at the time. Drake hasn't had much luck since then. He was born Dean Buffalini Feb. 23, 1964 in Monaca, PA. He started out playing drums in local bands and was an air traffic controller before moving to Nashville in 1993. He changed his name to Dusty Drake because a manager told him there were too many Deans in Nashville. He co-wrote the song C-O-U-N-T-R-Y which was a hit for Joe Diffie in 1996. He continued to write until he signed with Warner Bros. in 2002. One Last Time was the second single from his 2003 debut CD Dusty Drake. It reached #26 on the Country Singles chart. It's one of several songs written after the 9/11 bombings that were country music hits. The song was written by veteran songwriters Kerry Kurt Phillips and Patrick Jason Matthews. Phillips biggest hit was the 2005 George Strait hit She Let Herself Go. Matthews biggest hit was the 2005 Billy Currington hit Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right. Drake's album was produced by veteran producers Paul Worley and Billy Crain. He seemed to be off to a good start. But when a 2004 single from his next album didn't do well, Warners dropped him. Dusty Drake is available as a budget CD. Drake signed with Big Machine Records in 2007. An album was recorded. But when the single Say Yes only reached #36 on the Country Singles chart, Big Machine shelved the album and dropped Drake. Drake has released one single since then and has seemingly disappeared. I guess at 51 years of age Drake is too old to be an up and coming country artist. Here's a video for One More Time by Dusty Drake.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Elton John

Artist:Elton John
Song:Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Album:Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Deluxe Edition

Elton John's 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick represents Elton John's transformation from popular singer songwriter to flamboyant pop superstar. Crocodile Rock was his first number one hit in the US and John also started wearing crazy costumes on stage. John, lyricist Bernie Taupin and producer Gus Dudgeon went to Kingston, Jamaica to record Goodbye Yellow Brick Road because The Rolling Stones had just recorded Goat Head's Soup there. They wrote the songs but there were technical problems in the recording studio and the commotion surrounding the George Foreman vs Joe Frazier boxing match was disruptive. So they decided to return to the Chateau d'Herouville in France where they had recorded the albums Honky Chateau and Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player. John and Taupin had written 22 songs but usually Dudgeon was able to whittle them down to a single LP. He didn't do that for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and it was released as a 2LP set which can be very risky because of the retail price. Most of the songs were nostalgiac as Taupin was thinking about movies he watched when he was growing up. Apparently The Wizard Of Oz was the first film Taupin saw when he was a child. And the song is about returning to simpler times. The single reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 but it really set the stage for the album's huge success. Bennie and the Jets was the other big hit from the album. Candle In The Wind is considered a classic Elton John song but it was not a hit. It's probably John's most popular album and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2003. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was released on one CD. Last year, Universal released a 2CD Deluxe Edition. The second CD contains live recordings from 1973 and covers of songs from the album by contemporary artists. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is covered by country artist Hunter Hayes. There is also a 4CD/DVD Super Deluxe edition 2CDs of live recordings and some sort of documentary DVD. It's too expensive so I recommend the 2CD Deluxe Edition. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was certified 8XPlatinum last year. Here's Elton John performing Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on Top Of The Pops 1973.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Sara McMann vs Amanda Nunes added to Aug. 8 UFC show

Sara McMann, Amanda Nunes
Last night the UFC announced that Sara McMann vs Amanda Nunes has been added to UFC Fight Night 74 Aug. 8 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. This show will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada probably on the main card. This is an important match in the Women's Bantamweight division with two fighters who seem to have title contender potential but both have fallen short. Of course Sara McMann has that 2004 Olympic Silver medal in wrestling. But that hasn't helped her much in MMA. She was heavily hyped before challenging Ronda Rousey for the belt last. I can't tell you how many supposed experts thought she would win that fight. And when she lost in a minute, there were plenty of excuses. Earlier this year, Sara got an opportunity to get back in the title picture. She knocked Miesha Tate down in round one. But instead of taking advantage of that with ground and pound, she inexplicably sat on Miesha for the rest of the round which gave Miesha time to recover. There is no excuse for that kind of poor decision making. And then Miesha came back to win by majority decision. Now Miesha is fighting Jessica Eye for a title shot and Sara could be headed to Palookaville if she doesn't win this fight. Brazilian Amanda Nunes now trains at Master MMA in Florida. She also missed a title shot opportunity when she lost to Cat Zingano last fall. Amanda started out like a house afire and then ran out of gas. She says she learned her lesson from that and she beat Shayna Baszler a couple of months ago. Shayna has since been released. But Amanda has never beaten an elite fighter and needs to do that to become an elite fighter herself. A win over a former title contender like Sara will do that. And if Amanda falls short again, she could be headed to Palookaville. And avoiding Palookaville is what this fight is about.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Anita Wilson

Artist:Anita Wilson
Album:Worship Soul

Gospel singer Anita Wilson started out as a backup singer and then did very well on the gospel charts with her 2011 debut album Worship Soul and her debut single Speechless. She was born June 19, 1976 in East St. Louis, IL and like a lot of gospel artists, she grew up in the church as a Preacher's Kid. Her dad was a pastor. She was an in demand backup singer with Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, DeWayne Woods and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Then she became a regular with Donald Lawrence and sang lead on Happy Being Me from the album The Law Of Confession Part 1. Then she moved to Chicago and joined the staff of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church led by Charles Jenkins. He leads a very popular choir and records for EMI Gospel (now Motown Gospel). Anita signed with the same label and Jenkins' musical director Rick Robinson produced the album and wrote a lot of the songs with Anita. Robinson started out as a pianist with Ricky Dillard and Donald Lawrence and he has produced gospel artists like Lamar Campbell, Bishop Larry Trotter and VaShawn Mitchell. The single Speechless did well on the gospel charts and Anita's 2014 CD Vintage Worship has also done well. There is definitely some Smooth Jazz influence in Anita's vocals and I think that will give her longevity in the gospel music business. Worship Soul is available as a budget CD. Gospel fans should check it out. Here's the video for Speechless by Anita Wilson.

Monday, June 08, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-James Brown

Artist:James Brown
Song:My Thang

The reason James Brown had such a long career was his ability to change with the times and reinvent himself. He started out in the 50s and in the 60s he became Mr. Dynamite. And by the late 60s he became Soul Brother No. 1. In the early 70s he needed to reinvent himself again as The Godfather of Soul. This was because of the rise of funk and jazz rock fusion. He knew that if he didn't keep up with musical trends, he would fade away. This began when most of his road band quit over money in 1969. Brown formed his new band around Bootsy Collins and his brother Catfish Collins. Bobby Byrd remained and so did Fred Wesley and the JBs. The first thing Brown did was record Sex Machine. Not only was this record a big hit but it took Brown in a different direction and set the stage for his success over the next few years. Then he finally left his long time record label King for the much larger Polydor label and a more lucrative contract. The Collins brothers left in 1971 over money and Bootsy's LSD use. Bootsy would soon join Parliament/Funkadelic. St. Clair Pinkney and John Starks replaced them. Then he brought in supporting players like Lyn Collins, Vicki Anderson and Hank Ballard. After a hiccup when Brown's support of Richard Nixon for President caused a boycott of his music, Brown returned to the #1 spot on the R & B charts with The Payback. The album topped the Billboard Hot 200. This was followed by the album Hell and the first single My Thang topped the R & B charts in 1974. By this time, Brown was known as The Godfather of Soul. And jazz musicians like Miles Davis acknowledged him as an influence. And Hell was recorded in New York City with his usual group augmented by jazz musicians like Joe Beck on guitar, Jon Faddis on trumpet and David Sanborn, Joe Farrell and Pee Wee Ellis on saxes. After one more number one R & B hit, Papa Don't Take No Mess, Brown faded in the late 70s. But then he reinvented himself in the 80s. This 2CD comp covers Brown's entire career and it's available as a budget release. Here's James Brown performing My Thang on Soul Train 1974.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Analysis-Is the UFC phasing out the Women's Bantamweight division?

Ever since the UFC brought women in two years ago, there have been a few Chicken Littles who insist that women in the UFC is a short term deal despite evidence to the contrary. Of course they only look at one side of it like the number of Women's Bantamweight fights and that the UFC hasn't signed every 135lb female fighter in the world. They also complain that some fighters don't fight frequently enough. But there is a lot of behind the scenes wrangling that goes into matchmaking that we aren't aware of but I'm sure it gives Sean Shelby headaches. The other side of this is that not all unsigned fighters belong in the UFC and the Women's Bantamweight division talent level is low enough already. Of course this doesn't fit into Chicken Little's agenda. So I'm going to look at the other side of that position. For starters, most of the fighters who came over from Strikeforce have already lost to Ronda Rousey and the UFC would understandably like to avoid giving multiple title shots to any fighter. But if Miesha Tate wins over Jessica Eye in July, she will get that third shot at Ronda. None of the other former Strikeforce fighters seem to want to step up. When Ronda beats a fighter in less than a minute, who the hell wants to see a rematch with any of them? None of those rematches are marketable. And Miesha and Alexis Davis are the only ones who have recently won fights convincingly. So the UFC was hoping that they would get an influx of talent from TUF 18. But that didn't happen. The only possible title contender to come from TUF 18 is Juliana Pena and she blew out her knee and now has to work her way up the ladder. Of the other TUF 18 fighters, two were not signed, one has been released and one dropped to 115lb. So ultimately, the talent level to come from TUF 18 was disappointing. On the other hand, the talent level of the fighters from TUF 20 was a lot higher. And that's why in the short term, the Women's Strawweight division is more interesting than the Women's Bantamweight division. And that may be true for the long term because most of the Bantamweight fighters signed since TUF 18 have been disappointing. Only Jessica Eye and Marion Reneau have exceeded expectations. The others including former Invicta champ Lauren Murphy and especially the overhyped former boxing champ Holly Holm have disappointed. They need to step it up. The Chicken Littles think that signing more Bantamweight fighters will show that the UFC has committed to the division. But of the names I have seen mentioned, the only one I would like to see signed is former Cage Warriors champ Pannie Kianzad from Denmark. I don't think the UFC should sign fighters just to appease the Chicken Littles. Some could get into the UFC as late replacements but I don't think any of them are potential title contenders. I'm sure Sean Shelby is beating the bushes. It doesn't surprise me that he isn't finding much. The talent level at 135lb is low and as long as it is, there won't be an influx of 135lb fighters. It doesn't mean the UFC isn't committed to the division. The Chicken Littles need to smarten up.