Wednesday, September 30, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Daughtry

Song:Over You

There are those who believe that Chris Daughtry should have won the 2006 edition of American Idol. But he didn't and he formed the band Daughtry and he had success with the debut CD Daughtry and three hit singles including Over You. He has had diminishing returns since then. Daughtry has a new CD coming out shortly. Chris Daughtry was born Dec. 26, 1979 in Roanoke Rapids, NC. Before American Idol, Daughtry was lead singer of Absent Element who released a CD in 2005. He also auditioned unsuccessfully for Rock Star: INXS. Then he successfully auditioned for AI. After appearing on the show, Fuel invited him to be their new lead singer. But obviously Daughtry wanted to use AI to front his own band. He finished fourth though it was thought that he should have won. Then he formed Daughtry and he signed with AI's label 19 Entertainment. They held auditions and the main guys to come out of that were guitarist Josh Steely and bassist Josh Paul who are still in the band today. The 2006 CD Daughtry topped the Billboard Hot 200 and it was certified 4XPlatinum. It's Not Over, Home and Over You were all top twenty hits. Over You reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Daughtry wrote most of the songs on the album. He wrote Over You with Canadian songwriter and producer Brian Howes. The album was recorded before Daughtry was formed so the musicians are different. The girl in the video is Jessica Szohr from the TV series Gossip Girl. The band has been touring regularly since 2007. Daughtry's 2009 CD Leave This Town was certified Platinum but there were no hit singles. And his subsequent albums have declined in sales. Daughtry's new CD V will be released this fall. I think it is doubtful that decline will stop. The question is does Daughtry have a strong enough fanbase to remain on a major label. He has had a better career than most AI contestants but the decline was inevitable. Here's the video for Over You by Daughtry.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Roots

Artist:The Roots f/Maimouna Youssef
Song:Don't Feel Right
Album:Game Theory

The Roots have been around since the late 80s with their mix of R & B and hip hop. The various members are probably better known for producing music for other artists. And they have been the house band for Jimmy Fallon since 2009. The Roots are from Philadelphia led by drummer Amir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter who does most of the rapping. They started out playing in the streets of Philadelphia as The Square Roots but for legal reason that was shortened to The Roots. They released an album independently and that got them a record deal with Geffen Records. Their debut CD Do You Want More was released in 1994. The Roots use a lot of guest singers on their albums. Also, a lot of musicians have come and gone from The Roots but Thompson and Trotter have been a constant presence. Probably The Roots biggest hit single was You Got Me in 1999. But they've never had a big hit single and they've never even had a top ten R & B hit. But their albums sell well. For the 2006 CD Game Theory, The Roots moved to DefJam. Thompson has described the album as dark and more mature than previous albums. Don't Feel Right was the single. The female singer sounds like Lauryn Hill but it is actually Maimouna Youssef who seems to be unknown other than this song. It's available as a budget CD. The Roots' latest CD ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin was released last year. But these days they are mainly known as the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and they have worked for him since 2009. Here's the video for Don't Feel Right by The Roots featuring Maimouna Youssef.

Monday, September 28, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Des'ree

Song:You Gotta Be
Album:I Ain't Movin'

British R & B singer songwriter Des'ree scored her one big hit with You Gotta Be in 1995. Here in North America she is perceived as a one hit wonder but she was more successful in her native England. She was born Desiree Annette Weeks Nov. 30, 1968 in London, England. Her mother was from Guyana and her father was from Barbados. The family lived in Barbados when Des'ree was a teen. When they returned to England, Des'ree sent demos to all the record companies. She got a positive response from CBS Records in England. They told her to finish school and come back in a few years. They were Sony Music by then and she was turned over to Sony A & R rep Lincoln Elias who worked with the successful R & B singer Terence Trent D'Arby. She recorded the song Delicate with D'Arby on her 1992 debut album Mind Adventures. The single did well in England and Des'ree appeared on TV with D'Arby and toured with Simply Red. So Sony liked Des'ree but they were trying to figure out how to break her. They found the solution when vh1 played the music video for You Gotta Be so much that it finally converted to album sales and radio play. You Gotta Be reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was certified Gold. Des'ree co-wrote all the songs on the album. You Gotta Be was co-written and produced by Ashley Ingram of the 80s British R & B group Imagination. She also wrote several songs with Jimmy Haynes of the British Reggae group Aswad. You Gotta Be would turn out to be Des'ree's only big hit in North America and I Ain't Movin' is available as a budget CD. But she continued to have modest success in England. Des'ree recorded five CDs for Sony with the last one being released in 2003. Des'ree returned to school to study art and she doesn't seem to be in the music business anymore. Here's the video for You Gotta Be by Des'ree.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Roxette

Song:Listen To Your Heart
Album:A Collection Of Roxette Hits: Their 20 Greatest Songs

Roxette is probably the second most successful act to come from Sweden. They had four number one hits including Listen To My Heart in 1989. They were probably the biggest act in pop music for a couple of years. Roxette was the duo of singer Marie Fredriksson and guitarist and songwriter Per Gessle. They usually used studio musicians to record and Gessle hired musicians to tour. The two knew each other long before they formed Roxette in 1986. Gessle was a member of the very popular group Gyllene Tider. Marie joined the group as a background singer in 1982. She also released a couple of solo albums. After Capitol Records attempted to break Gyllene Tider in the US by having them record an English album, they split up in 1985. That's when Roxette was formed. EMI suggested to Gessle that they record in English. Their 1986 debut album Pearls Of Passion did well in Sweden. But there was little interest anywhere else. It was likely the same thing was going to happen with their 1988 album Look Sharp!. Capitol Records wasn't planning to release it in the US. Dean Cushman, an exchange student from Minneapolis, heard The Look on Swedish radio and bought a copy of Look Sharp!. He took it home for Christmas and gave it to a local radio station. They played it and The Look became Roxette's first number one hit. Listen To My Heart was their second number one hit. Gessle said he wrote Listen To My Heart as a big chart topping ballad. The album was certified Platinum. Their third number one single It Must Have Been Love is from the soundtrack of the 1990 film Pretty Woman. And their fourth number one single was the title song of their 1991 album Joyride. After that, they faded in the US though they are still big in Europe. You can get all their hits on this comp. They continued to record together but they went on hiatus in 1995. Marie recorded solo and Gessle reunited with Gyllene Tider. Roxette has reunited occasionally and they are currently working on a new CD planned for a 2015 release. I expect they will then tour Europe. Here's the video for Listen To Your Heart by Roxette.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Elis Regina

Artist:Elis Regina
Album:Novo Millennium

Elis Regina was one of Brazil's most popular singers in the 60s and 70s until her tragic 1982 death. She was known as Hurricane or Little Pepper because of her fiery personality. She was born Mar. 17, 1945 in Porto Allegre, Brazil. By age 11, Elis had her own radio show and in 1959, she traveled to Rio de Janeiro to record her debut album. Then she moved to Rio. Elis' breakthrough was winning the 1965 Excelsior Song Contest with the song Arrastao written by Edu Lobo and Vinicius de Moraes. She was the biggest selling Brazilian recording artist since Carmen Miranda. Elis was a big part of advancing Bossa Nova to what was called MPB or Brazilian Popular Music. And she hung around with progressive Brazilian artists like Gal Costa, Caetono Veloso, Gilberto Gil and of course Antonio Carlos Jobim. Madalena was written by legendary composer Ivan Lins. Elis recorded it on her 1971 album Ela and it became one of her biggest hits. Her pianist and arranger on that album was Jose Roberto Bertrami of Azymuth and her bandleader was Erlon Chaves who worked with all the Brazilian legends in the 60s but sadly died in 1974. Elis remained very popular through the 70s even after criticizing the Brazilian dictatorship with comments that would have got anyone else thrown in jail. This budget comp is a good intro to her music. Elis was married twice and after her second marriage ended, she started using cocaine regularly. In 1982, she married for a third time and signed a new record deal. Then she died from an accidental cocaine and alcohol overdose on Jan. 19, 1982 at age 36. So a tragic and premature death to a Brazilian music legend. Here's Elis Regina performing Madalena at the 1979 Montreux Jazz Festival.

Friday, September 25, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-McMaster & James

Artist:McMaster & James
Song:Thank You
Album:McMaster & James

Chances are pretty good that if you lived in Canada in 2000, you heard Thank You on the radio and saw the video. And then they disappeared. McMaster & James only recorded one album and split up. So what happened to them? Luke McMaster and Rob James met at the Winnipeg Contemporary Music College. McMaster had previously attended Brandon University where his father was a teacher. In 1995, McMaster met songwriter producer manager Chris Burke-Gaffney at a songwriting workshop. Burke-Gaffney was lead singer of the 80s group Orphan. They recorded two albums. They started writing together and James joined them in 1997. McMaster & James signed with BMG Canada in 1999. Burke-Gaffney was their producer and manager and the three wrote most of the songs on the album. He brought in German producers The Berman Brothers and Canadian producers Jeff Coplan and Steve Smith to work on the album. All three were experienced pop music producers. Four singles charted in Canada. Thank You was probably the biggest of those hits. McMaster & James toured Canada and even opened for Christina Aguilera. They also won a SOCAN award for radio play. Their CD was released only in Canada. It's still available. McMaster & James were supposed to go to Philadelphia to record their second album with veteran producers Andre Harris and Vidal Davis. But there were problems at BMG Canada and the album was put on hold. McMaster & James decided to split up. Both guys decided to get involved in the TV talent show Canadian Idol. James finished sixth in the 2006 season. McMaster was a songwriter and producer for the show. He produced the album by 2003 Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm. McMaster also worked as a songwriter on the Canadian TV series Instant Star. Luke McMaster is currently launching a solo career as more of a singer songwriter as opposed to pop. His CD All Roads was released by Universal Canada in 2013. Here's the video for Thank You by McMaster & James.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The New Basement Tapes

Artist:The New Basement Tapes
Song:Duncan and Jimmy
Album:Lost On The River

The New Basement Tapes is a supergroup put together by producer T-Bone Burnett to celebrate some long lost Bob Dylan songs. My guess is this is a one shot group but the album is worth getting. Back in 1967 after his motorcycle accident, Bob Dylan recorded what is now known as The Basement Tapes in Woodstock, NY with musicians that we would later know as The Band. These recordings were not supposed to be released but Columbia did release them in 1975 mainly to combat bootleg recordings of these sessions. At the same time, Dylan wrote a bunch of songs that he never finished and the handwritten lyrics were in a box for all these years. In March 2014, Dylan's publisher approached producer T-Bone Burnett about possibly finishing these songs and recording them. But Dylan didn't want to record them himself. So Burnett put this supergroup together and the CD was released Nov. 2014 under the name The New Basement Tapes. The best known member of this group is Elvis Costello. The others are Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes and Rhiannon Giddens of The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Session musician Jay Bellerose played the drums. Johnny Depp appears on one song when Costello was unavailable. The idea was that each of these five musicians would finish a few of the songs and then take turns singing lead. Duncan and Jimmy was finished by Rhiannon and she sings lead and plays banjo. I saw Rhiannon a couple of years ago with The Carolina Chocolate Drops and if you haven't seen her before, she is quite a revelation. She recently released her debut solo CD. This process of recording this album was filmed as a documentary for Showtime. And the band toured and appeared on TV. The CD is available in a deluxe edition with five bonus tracks. I don't expect a second CD from The New Basement Tapes as all five musicians have busy careers. But the CD is worth checking out. Here's The New Basement Tapes featuring Rhiannon Giddens performing Duncan and Jimmy on The Jimmy Kimmel Show Nov. 19, 2014.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Diana Krall

Artist:Diana Krall
Song:The Look Of Love
Album:The Very Best Of Diana Krall

Over the past decade, Diana Krall has become the most popular jazz artist in the world. She has legit jazz chops as a singer and pianist but with the 2002 album The Look Of Love, Verve Records had her abandon jazz to boost record sales. Jazz fans and critics weren't happy with this. But the strategy worked and it's her best selling CD to date. She was born Sept. 16, 1964 in Nanaimo, BC. Her father was an accountant but he played piano at home and he was a big Fats Waller fan. Diana began playing piano at age four. She studied at Berklee in Boston and then lived in Los Angeles and then Toronto. She moved to New York in 1990 and recorded her 1993 debut CD Stepping Out for the Canadian label Justin Time. It got the attention of veteran producer Tommy LiPuma and he signed her to Universal's GRP label. She also recorded for Impulse and Verve but all three labels are owned by Universal. She was very successful in the jazz market. But her 2002 CD The Look Of Love was her first to crack the Billboard Hot 200. LiPuma hired veteran arranger Claus Ogerman to give her a sound that was so lush that many jazz fans thought she abandoned jazz. Jazz musicians did play on the album including Roberto Lubambo on guitar, Christian McBride on bass, Peter Erskine on drums and Luis Conte on percussion along with the London Symphony Orchestra. Of course The Look Of Love is a Burt Bacharach and Hal David song that was a huge hit for Dusty Springfield in 1967. Despite the criticism that it wasn't a jazz album, The Look Of Love topped the Jazz Album chart and it reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 200. And it was certified Platinum. It was Diana's big breakthrough and her albums have been consistent sellers since then. I recommend this budget comp as a good intro to her music. Diana's latest CD Wallflower was released Feb. 2015 and it has done well as all her CDs have done since The Look Of Love. David Foster produced the CD. I don't think I'm alone in my opinion that she's not a jazz artist anymore. But Diana is very successful and you can check her out and decide for yourself. She has been married to Elvis Costello since 2003 and she is currently touring Europe. Here's the video for The Look Of Love by Diana Krall.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kelsea Ballerini

Artist:Kelsea Ballerini
Song:Love Me Like You Mean It
Album:The First Time

Now that Taylor Swift has officially abandoned country music for pop, country music fans may be looking for someone similar. You might want to try Kelsea Ballerini who made a big splash with her 2014 debut single Love Me Like You Mean It. She was born Sept. 12, 1993 in Mascot, TN. and she grew up in Knoxville. Her dad is a country music radio station programmer. Kelsea wrote her first song at age 12 and then she moved to Nashville at age 15. Then at age 19, she signed a record deal with Black river Entertainment. Black River is owned by the Pegula family who are Pennsylvania oil magnates and they own the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bills. Jimmy Nichols runs the record label. So they aren't a typical indie label because the Pegulas are loaded. They signed Kelsea in 2013 and Love Me like You Mean It was her first single. It reached #5 on the Country Singles chart. Then Kelsea's debut CD The First Time was released May 2015 and it did OK. Kelsea co-wrote most of the songs on the album including Love Me Like You Mean It. Forest Glen Whitehead wrote most of the songs with her and produced the album with Jason Massey. Whitehead is from Louisiana and he is under contract to Black River. The video for Love Me Like You Mean It was nominated for a CMT award and she's nominated for some CMA awards. She's been touring with Lady Antebellum and Hunter Hayes. Her music has rock elements in it but if she sticks with country music, Kelsea Ballerini could pick up fans from disgruntled Taylor Swift fans. Here's the video for Love Me Like You Mean It by Kelsea Ballerini.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Charlotte wins the WWE Divas Championship

Here's the match video of Charlotte vs Nikki Bella from last night's WWE Night Of Champions. To the surprise of no one, Charlotte won the title last night. Six months ago, I predicted she would win the title despite the fact that she isn't very good in the ring. But the WWE likes her look. She reminds me of Michelle McCool. And of course, she 's Ric Flair's daughter. Maybe Charlotte will be a good wrestler someday but she's not even close right now. And in this match, they really try to hide that. I give the WWE credit for making this match seem like a big deal which is something they don't usually do for Divas matches. And they gave them plenty of time and they weren't placed in the death spot on the show. But the match itself was just OK. So what you want to know is if they can have great women's matches in NXT, why can't the WWE have great women's matches on the main roster? Well, they can but not with these two. For all of Nikki Bella's talk about nine years of hard work, she's still very limited in the ring. And she's not good enough to make a greenhorn like Charlotte look good. Someone needs to carry Charlotte to a good match like Sasha Banks did in NXT. Nikki can't do that. So they had Charlotte tweak her knee early in the match and she had very little offense for the rest of the match. For the most part, Nikki works Charlotte's knee. So that tells me that the WWE knows that Charlotte isn't very good and the only way to hide that is to have her do nothing. And then the ending came out of nowhere. And BTW, I hate Charlotte's variation on her dad's finisher, the figure four leglock. And how can she apply it if her knee is messed up? Sorry about the logic, folks. I did like the post match stuff with her dad. And his involvement is the main reason the WWE wanted her to be champ. The next step is to turn Paige heel which has been teased for the last month and then maybe bring up Bayley by the end of the year. I don't know what will happen with The Bella Twins. Maybe we'll find out on RAW tonight. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Hot

Song:Angel In Your Arms
Album:Super Hits Of The '70s: Have A Nice Day Vol. 20

The multi racial girl group Hot scored a top ten hit in 1977 with Angel In My Arms. They could have been bigger if their record company had promoted them better. Hot recorded three albums in the late 70s. The leader of Hot was Detroit native Gwen Owens. Her 1969 single Keep On Living was on Josie Records and made the R & B charts. Then she moved to Los Angeles to get into the studio scene. She sang backup for jazz musician David Axelrod and soul singer Willie Hutch. And she also performed live in Las Vegas with Ann-Margret,  Jose Feliciano, The O'Jays and others. In 1972, the Muscle Shoals writing and producing team of Clayton Ivey and Terry Woodford made a deal to start a Motown South record label. Gwen was to be their first artist. She recorded tracks at their studio. But Motown decided not to go ahead with the new label. A couple of the songs were released as singles but nothing came of them. While Ivey and Woodford worked to get out of the Motown contract, Gwen formed Sugar & Spice with Cathy Carson and a third singer. The third singer was replaced by Mexican singer Juanita Curiel who had worked in Wayne Newton's Las Vegas show. They were renamed Hot and they went to Ivey and Woodford's new recording studio in Muscle Shoals. Gwen told them she wanted to record a country song. Ivey and Woodford wrote Angel In Your Arms with veteran songwriter Tommy Brasfield. The record was picked up by Atlantic's Big Tree label and it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. A cover of Angel In Your Arms was a country hit for Barbara Mandrell in 1985. Hot recorded three albums but they were unable to score another hit. Atlantic didn't seem to be interested in promoting them. You can get Angel In My Arms on this Rhino various artist comp which is part of a series covering 70s hits. Gwen Owens returned to session work. She reformed Hot briefly in the late 80s. She retired from the music business but she still sings in the church choir. Here's a video for Angel In Your Arms by Hot.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Michelle Wright

Artist:Michelle Wright
Song:Take It Like A Man
Album:Cryin', Lyin', Lovin' & Leavin'

Canadian born country singer Michelle Wright had her biggest hit with Take It Like A Man in 1992. She has been more successful in Canada and she is still active there. I think she is frequently confused with country singer Chely Wright. Michelle Wright was born July 1, 1961 in Chatham, ON. Her parents were both local country music performers. Michelle started performing in bands while studying in college to be a counselor for the mentally disadvantaged. She signed with Canadian country music label Savannah Records and she released the 1988 album Do Right By Me. The album was written and produced by Rick Giles and Steve Bogard. A cover of Andy Kim's Rock Me Gently got enough attention to get her a US record deal with Arista Nashville. Her 1990 US debut album Michelle Wright and the single New Kind Of Love did well enough that Michelle moved to Nashville to record the 1992 album Now and Then. Take It Like A Man reached #10 on the Country Singles chart and it would turn out to be Michelle's biggest hit. She had several number one country hits in Canada. Take It Like A Man was written by Tony Haselden of Le Roux. Though Michelle continued to have success in Canada, her next two CDs did poorly in the US and Arista dropped her in 1996. There are a couple of Michelle Wright comps available but they are too expensive. You can get Take It Like A Man on this various artists budget comp from Intersound. Michelle's duet with pianist Jim Brickman Your Love was a Adult Contemporary hit in 1999. Michelle returned to Canada and released albums on RCA Canada and Universal Canada. She currently records for Savannah which is owned by her manager. Her latest CD Strong was released in 2013 and she still tours in Canada. Michelle Wright was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011. Here's the video for Take It Like A Man by Michelle Wright.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-After The Fire

Artist:After The Fire
Song:Der Kommissar
Album:Der Kommissar

I'm sure most music fans remember the 1982 top five hit Der Kommissar released at the height of the new wave boom. But you probably don't know anything about After The Fire who split up before Der Kommissar was a hit. ATF were from London, England led by keyboard player Peter Banks. He is not to be confused with Yes founding guitarist Peter Banks. In fact, ATF's Peter Banks renamed himself Peter Memory Banks to avoid the confusion. By 1978, the rest of ATF was singer and guitarist Andy Piercy, bassist Nick Battle and drummer Ivor Twiddell. They released a 1978 album that was progressive rock similar to Genesis. The album got them a deal with CBS. But with the rise of new wave music, ATF decided to go in that direction. Battle and Twidell were replaced by John Russell and Nick Brotherwood. Russell played guitar so Piercy moved to bass. They recorded three albums for CBS with modest success and no hit singles. They announced while on tour that they planned to disband. Der Kommissar was written by the German singer Falco who would later have a worldwide hit with Rock Me Amadeus. His recording of Der Kommissar was a big hit in Europe. Piercy wrote English lyrics for Der Kommissar but other than that, ATF's version is close to the original including the rapping which would have been unusual at the time. The record was released as a farewell single but it caught on and reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Epic Records released a comp of ATF's three albums with Der Kommissar included. This Collectables CD is that same album with a different cover and a couple of bonus tracks. Epic tried to convince Banks to keep ATF going. But he refused and he turned his rights over to Epic and Piercy. Piercy recorded an album and a couple of singles were released but the album was never released and that was the end of After the Fire. Banks opened a recording studio and he was managing director of a software company. Piercy went on to produce British Contemporary Christian artists like Delerious?. Banks and Russell reformed After The Fire in 2004. They recorded a 2006 album and toured. Based on their website, it looks like they called it quits in 2013. Here's the video for Der Kommissar by After The Fire.

Friday, September 18, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-David Foster

Artist:David Foster
Song:Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire
Album:A Touch Of David Foster

Most music fans should be familiar with John Parr's smash hit Man In Motion from the 1985 film St. Elmo's Fire which I did as song of the day a couple of years ago. But did you know that composer and producer David Foster's Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire was a top 20 hit? That's how hot the movie was. Of course Foster is a record producer who occasionally records his own albums. He was born Nov. 1, 1949 in Victoria, BC. As a teen he played with Chuck Berry and then Ronnie Hawkins. In 1974, Foster moved with his band Skylark to Los Angeles. They scored a top ten hit with Wildflower. Then he got into the Los Angeles studio scene. He formed Airplay with legendary studio guitar whiz Jay Graydon and he played on George Harrison albums. Foster played and also was an arranger on the 1979 Earth, Wind & Fire album I Am. He co-wrote After The Love Has Gone with Graydon and Bill Champlin and it won a Best R & B Song Grammy. Probably Foster's biggest success in the early 80s was turning Chicago from a faded jazz rock band into a pop music powerhouse. He co-wrote many of Chicago's hits with Peter Cetera. In 1985, Foster was hired to compose the score for the film St. Elmo's Fire. Not only was the film successful, so was the soundtrack. Of course Man In Motion topped the charts and Foster's Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. On the soundtrack album, there is also a vocal version of the Love Theme featuring Amy Holland and Donny Gerrard. Session musician David Boruff played the sax solo. Foster's session musician buddies like Graydon, Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Jerry Hey played on the soundtrack. The Love Theme also appeared on Foster's 1986 album David Foster with guest appearances by Olivia Newton-John, David Page and Lee Ritenour. Both of those albums are available on CD. But I suggest this comp from WEA Europe featuring appearances by Peter Cetera, Olivia Newton-John, Al Jarreau, Chaka Khan, The Manhattan Transfer, James Ingram and Gordon Lightfoot. Foster also scored the 1993 film The Bodyguard. Then he produced The Corrs on his own label and also wrote the theme for the 1996 Olympics. In recent years, Foster has worked a lot with blind opera singer Andrea Bocelli. His latest CD as a producer was Ruben Studdard's 2014 CD Unconditional Love. He has also produced live TV specials which are available as CD/DVD packages. Here's the video for Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire by David Foster.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Paige VanZant vs Joanne Calderwood to headline Dec. 10 UFC show

This afternoon, Paige VanZant posted in Twitter that she has signed a new UFC contract and has her next fight lined up. Then it was reported by Brett Okamoto of ESPN that Paige will face Joanne Calderwood Dec. 10 at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. This is one of three shows in three days that the UFC is running in Vegas. This show will air on UFC Fight Pass. Paige won her first three UFC fights maybe too easily to the point that a lot of us were questioning the quality of her opponents. Joanne is a significant step up in competition. But I think Paige is quicker than Joanne. Her strategy should be to take Joanne to the ground as Joanne is a kickboxer and has no ground game. This fight could very well be won in the clinch. If Joanne can land some knees, it could be trouble for Paige. The UFC has added another Strawweight bout on this show. Emily Kagan will face Kailin Curran. We haven't seen Emily since she looked terrible losing to Angela Hill at the TUF 20 Finale last December. Kailin lost her first two UFC fights. The first loss was to Paige. Then she was winning over Alex Chambers when Kailin got caught in an armbar. This could be one of those fights where the loser gets cut. But Kailin is only 22 years old so the UFC may think she has potential. She's probably better off in Invicta. Emily is 34 years old. I thought she might have been cut already. But she needs to perform better or she will be gone.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Robbie Nevil

Artist:Robbie Nevil
Song:C'Est La Vie
Album:Big Hits Of The 80's

I'm sure most music fans recall the 1987 top five hit C'Est La Vie but don't know much about Robbie Nevil. The short version is that after his brief chart success, Nevil returned to writing and producing for others which he still does today. He was born Oct. 2, 1958 in Los Angeles and he played in local bands as a teen. Nevil signed a publishing deal in 1983 and several of his songs were recorded by others. His biggest hit at the time was Under The Influence by Vanity in 1986. Nevil wrote C'Est La Vie with Duncan Pain and Mark Holding. He had written other songs with them. The song was recorded by Gospel/R & B singer Beau Williams in 1985 who was on Capitol at the time. When Nevil signed a record deal with Capitol's Manhattan label, Nevil recorded his own version of C'Est La Vie. The album was produced by Alex Sadkin and Phil Thornalley. Sadkin worked for TK Records in the 70s so he had that dance music background. He died in a boating accident in 1987. Thornalley is a Brit who worked with The Cure before moving to the US to work with Sadkin. C'Est La Vie reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987 mostly because of the video. British session musician Ian Ritchie played the sax solo. Dominoes and Wot's It To Ya were Nevil's other top 20 hits from his 1987 album Robbie Nevil. His 1988 album A Place Like This didn't do as well as the first one. And by the time he recorded Day 1 in 1991, Nevil was forgotten. It was his final album. There are no Robbie Nevil comps in print. But you can get C'Est La Vie on this Capitol Records various artists budget comp. Nevil returned to writing and producing for others. He has worked a lot for Disney especially on High School Musical and Hannah Montana. He has produced a new group Freddy's Dilemma for Tommy Boy. A single was released in June that seems to be the kind of dance pop Nevil likes to produce. The album is not out yet. Here's the video for C'Est La Vie by Robbie Nevil.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Wale

Artist:Wale f/Tiara Thomas
Album:The Gifted

Rapper Wale (pronounced Wah-lay) has had modest chart success most notably with the 2013 hit single Bad. like a lot of rappers, he does a lot of guest shots on other artists records. Bad is notable because it introduces singer Tiara Thomas who is working on her debut CD. He was born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin Sept. 21, 1984 in Washington, DC but he grew up in Maryland. His parents are Nigerian immigrants. He attended three colleges on a football scholarship but Wale dropped out to pursue a music career. He made some waves on the Washington music scene. But his big break came when he appeared on a remix of the Lily Allen single Smile and producer Mark Ronson took Wale on tour and signed him to his record label. At this point he was doing mixtapes and working with Ronson. But Interscope Records won a bidding war and Wale signed with them. After a guest appearance on the 2009 Daniel Merriweather hit Change, Wale released his debut CD Attention Deficit in 2010. It did OK but Interscope didn't promote it well and Wale switched to Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group with Atlantic distribution. The Gifted was his second CD on Maybach. Wale said he went for a more soulful sound on this CD and that's reflected on the single Bad. Bad reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 so it's his biggest hit to date. The record featured the recording debut of Tiara Thomas who is recording her debut CD for Interscope. There is also a remix of Bad featuring Rihanna. Both versions appear on The Gifted. Since then, Wale released his latest CD The Album About Nothing Mar. 2015 which featured an appearance by Jerry Seinfeld. The single Ride Out appeared on the Furious 7 soundtrack. And he has done a guest shot on Miguel's single Coffee. He's currently on tour. Wale's major influence is the Washington Go Go sound so those who are into that sound should check him out. Here's the video for Bad by Wale featuring Tiara Michaels.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kana's final match in Japan

Today Kana ran her final Kanapro show in a sold out Korakuen Hall. And you should know by now that she is moving to Orlando to work for the WWE. The show began with a video history of Kana's career. Then Kana thanked the fans for coming and got applause from the crowd when she mentioned the WWE. In her match, she teamed with Syuri and Hikaru Shida vs Arisa Nakajima, Ryo Mizunami and Rina Yamashita. As she did in her final REINA appearance, Kana danced with Syuri and Shida which is not something Kana would normally do. Syuri was a dancer before she got into pro wrestling. The match went a half hour with all the wrestlers on the show getting involved. Kana won the fall over Yamashita with her cross face chicken wing finisher. Afterwards, Kana hugged Syuri and Shida and even Nakajima who she had a bitter feud with in JWP. She thanked the fans for coming and said that though she is leaving, women's wrestling in Japan has a great future led by the five women in the ring. She thanked everyone again and said she is off to the WWE to great applause. When asked afterwards about the WWE, she said she is going to the WWE to be the center of the Divas division. Kana was in Orlando last Thursday for the NXT TV tapings. They taped a contract signing segment and she revealed that her ring name in the WWE will be Asuka which is Japanese for future. She was also confronted by Dana Brooke so I guess we will find out if Kana can carry her to a good match. Dana is a bodybuilder trying to become a WWE wrestler. She's very inexperienced. Obviously the WWE likes her look. But historically they haven't had much luck turning bodybuilders into wrestlers. I guess they are depending on Kana to make her look like a million bucks. We'll see how that goes.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Robert Glasper

Artist:Robert Glasper
Song:Stella By Starlight

Last year when I wrote about pianist Robert Glasper's success straddling jazz and R & B, I suggested that maybe he has abandoned jazz in the pursuit of commercial success and he needs to cool it with the guest vocalists. So what does he do? He records his latest CD live at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles with a jazz trio. No, I don't think Glasper reads this blog. But I'm not the only one who has suggested this and I guess Glasper wanted to prove all the critics wrong and show that he could still play jazz if he wants. This CD was recorded Dec. 2014 and it was released June 2015. And he didn't just choose two random musicians. They are Vicente Archer on bass and Damion Reid on drums. Both guys were in Glasper's trio from his early Blue Note albums including his 2005 debut Canvas. Archer has also played with Donald Harrison and Nicholas Payton. Reid has played with Rudresh Mahanthappa and Steve Lehman. The only guest vocalists on the CD are Musiq Soulchild and Harry Belafonte. Despite the title, the album is not all covers of jazz standards. In fact, Stella By Stralight is the only jazz standard on the CD. That song was written by film composer Victor Young for the 1944 film The Uninvited starring Ray Milland. Ned Washington wrote lyrics for Stella By Starlight in 1946. It was first recorded by Harry James and then Frank Sinatra. Charlie Parker was the first to record Stella By Starlight as a jazz piece followed by Stan Getz and Bud Powell. Glasper also covered songs by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, John Legend and Kendrick Lamar. This CD is recommended to those who want to hear Robert Glasper as a jazz musician. He is currently working on the music for the Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead starring and directed by Don Cheadle. That's a film I am looking forward to. Here's Robert Glasper with Vicente Archer and Damion Reid performing Stella By Starlight at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles Dec. 2014.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-DeAnna Bennett vs Katja Kankaanpaa

As I normally do, I am posting the most interesting match from the latest Invicta show. That would be DeAnna Bennett vs Katja Kankaanpaa because a lot of fans on Twitter thought the judges blew the scoring. It also gives me the opportunity to watch the fight again and break it down for you and also to see if I feel any differently about the judges decision. They all scored the fight 29-28 for DeAnna. On Saturday I scored it 29-28 for Katja and I didn't see anything to change my mind. But I will try to explain the judges decision though I think they are out to lunch. Round one is fairly even. Neither fighter scored much until Katja got a takedown with a minute left in the round. Deanna did attempt a guillotine choke but it was not effective so I scored round one 10-9 for Katja. It was very close to a tie round. Round two was very similar except this time I thought DeAnna got the edge at the end of the round so I scored it 10-9 for DeAnna. Katja won round three decisively as she had several submission attempts. So I scored it 10-9 for Katja and I scored the fight 29-28 for Katja. So how did the judges all score it 29-28 for DeAnna. Well, the first two rounds were very close to tie rounds and it's conceivable that the judges believed that DeAnna's guillotine attempt at the end of round one stole the round in the eyes of the judges. I don't believe in stealing rounds and I also don't think her guillotine attempt was effective enough for her to score any points. On the other hand, the fan perception was that the fight was even going into the third round and Katja easily won round three. But it appears the judges scored the first two rounds in DeAnna's favour. So no matter how dominant Katja was in round three, the judges already had her down two rounds. And all three rounds are scored equally. I guess perception doesn't always translate to the judges scorecards. Katja retired after the show and she said she would comment when she got home to Finland. I can only guess she retired because at age 34, there wasn't much chance of her getting into the UFC after two straight losses. I'm sure she has a day job and she had to travel a long way to train in Finland. I think she's a very good but not great fighter. Her grinding style tends not to appeal to judges and I don't think she finishes enough fights. I'll miss her nickname The Killer Bunny. Because she missed weight for the second time, it looks like DeAnna will have to move back up to 125lb. Invicta matchmaker Julie Kedzie said that during the broadcast. And I don't think DeAnna is as good a fighter at 115. Enjoy the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Scorpions

Song:Rock You Like A Hurricane
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Scorpions

The German band Scorpions Have been around since the late 60s and they are still around today. They have been very durable. Though it's not their biggest chart hit, the 1984 single Rock You Like A Hurricane is the band's signature song from their peak period in the 80s. They are from Hannover, West Germany. Guitarist Rudolf Schenker first formed Scorpions in 1965 as a Beatles cover band. At first he was lead singer. But the band came together in 1970 when lead singer Klaus Meine and Schenker's younger brother guitarist Michael Schenker joined. Rudolf Schenker and Meine have written most of Scorpions' songs. They released the album Lonesome Crow in 1972 and toured with UFO. When Michael Schenker left Scorpions for UFO, Rudolf disbanded Scorpions. But his friend Uli Roth convinced him to reunite with Meine and the other members were from the band Dawn Road. They decided to use the name Scorpions because it was known in Germany. They signed with RCA Records in 1975 and released four albums before moving to Mercury in the US and Harvest in the rest of the world. That was also when they first worked with long time producer Dieter Dierks. Love At First Sting was their fourth album for Mercury and Rock You Like A Hurricane was their first hit single in the US. It reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was certified 3XPlatinum. The band was Rudolf Schenker, Klaus Meine, Matthias Jabs on lead guitar, Francis Buchholz on bass and Herman Rarebell on drums. Scorpions were very successful touring through the 80s. Their biggest hit single was Wind Of Change from the 1990 album Crazy World. This was their first album with new producer Keith Olsen. Wind Of Change reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Scorpions was one of the few bands to tour Russia and Wind Of Change was about the fall of Communist Russia. So it was a hit because of current events but I don't think the song is as memorable as Rock You Like A Hurricane. You can get both songs and all of Scorpions' hits on this budget comp. Schenker, Meine and Jabs still lead Scorpions today. They celebrated their 50th anniversary this year with the new CD Return To Forever on Sony and they are currently on tour. It doesn't look like these guys are ready to retire. Here's the video for Rock You Like A Hurricane by Scorpions.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Invicta FC14 falls flat after main event fighters miss weight

Last night's Invicta show may have been the worst they have produced to date. At least there weren't any technical problems with the broadcast. As I said when the show was announced, the number one problem is they have to stop doing shows in Kansas City because the empty seats are visible on TV. I guess they don't understand that this makes them look bush league. And the problems mounted when main event fighters Tonya Evinger and Pannie Kianzad both missed weight and it wasn't a title match anymore. That's a good way to kill last minute ticket sales. Unfortunately, Invicta only scheduled one title match for this show so there was no backup plan. Maybe then it could have been cancelled. Pannie looked like a shadow of herself and Tonya beat the crap out of her for two rounds before the fight was stopped. Back to the drawing board for Pannie. My guess is Invicta will sacrifice Tonya to Cris Cyborg when Cris drops to 135. But Tonya isn't going to the UFC. She's butthurt because when the UFC needed an injury replacement, Sean Shelby didn't call her first because he wasn't impressed with her performance in the TUF 18 qualifier match. He's right. She wasn't very good in that situation. So now she won't talk to them. Do you think this is the first promoter to have a problem with Tonya's bad attitude? In the co-main event, DeAnna Bennett missed weight again but still won over Katja Kankaanpaa by unanimous decision. I scored it 29-28 for Katja. We have seen the Kansas City judges read fights wrong before. In this case, I thought they gave DeAnna too much credit for ineffective guillotine choke attempts. Even DeAnna was shocked in her post match interview. And now it looks like she will have to return to 125lb. She can't seem to make 115 and I think she's a better fighter at 125. When Roxanne Modafferi vs Mariana Morais was announced, it seemed funny to me that they would have Roxy fight a greenhorn. Now this appears to have been a deliberate mismatch to set up Roxy for a 125lb title shot vs Barb Honchak. Obviously they think that will sell tickets. Roxy won easily with a third round stoppage. But Mariana did nothing for three rounds but lie down and take Roxy's pitty pat punches. If Roxy had any punching power, the fight would have been stopped much sooner. Remember it's not the first time Invicta has done a deliberate mismatch like Michelle Waterson vs Yasuko Tamada. They need to stop doing that. Andrea Lee got back on the winning track with a dominant win over Rachel Ostovich by armbar with two seconds left in the fight. This wasn't as competitive as a lot of fans thought. Andrea was a lot quicker than Rachel. Cindy Dandois won by a round two triangle choke over Megan Anderson. Like a lot of the Aussie female fighters, Megan is way behind in her development. The way to beat Cindy is to punch her in the face and Megan didn't do that. It almost seemed like another deliberate mismatch. Sharon Jacobson won a pretty good match over Jamie Moyle by unanimous decision. Some thought this was an upset. I did not. It was a step up in competition for Jamie. Sometimes a loss can make a fighter better. Jinh Yu Frey won by unanimous decision over Liz McCarthy. It was competitive but I wasn't surprised. JJ Alrdrich late replacement Rosa Acevedo by first round TKO. Aspen Ladd was again very impressive with a dominant win by a second round armbar over Amanda Bobby Cooper. Time to move Aspen up the card. And in the opener, Felicia Spencer beat Rachel Wiley by first round TKO. This did not convince me that 155lb will be a thing. To me, the main event fighters missing weight and the deliberate mismatches really hurt this show. Deliberate mismatches have been an ongoing Invicta problem that needs to stop.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Frank Sinatra

Artist:Frank Sinatra f/Ethel Merman
Song:You're The Top
DVD:Stage & Screen Collection

Though Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman never recorded together, they did perform together when Ethel appeared on a 1958 episode of The Frank Sinatra Show. This clip of You're The Top appeared on the 2002 PBS special Classic Duets. This show was released on CD and DVD so PBS could sell it during pledge breaks but both the CD and DVD are out of print. This DVD Stage & Screen Collection is the only place that you can get the clip on DVD. You're The Top was more identified with Ethel than with Sinatra. Cole Porter wrote You're The Top for his 1934 show Anything Goes and Ethel appeared in the Broadway show and in the film version with Bing Crosby though I understand that film was not a pleasant experience for her. Though Ethel appeared in films, she preferred Broadway. Sinatra performed You're The Top on a 1944 radio broadcast but it doesn't appear that he ever recorded the song. ABC's The Frank Sinatra Show was Sinatra's second attempt at a TV series. It ran from Oct. 18, 1957 to June 6, 1958 for 39 episodes. Only 13 of the 39 episodes were variety shows. The rest were dramas either starring or hosted by Sinatra. The low ratings for the dramas weren't good enough to justify the $3M ABC paid Sinatra and the show was cancelled after one season. Ethel Merman appeared on the Apr. 25, 1958 episode. As far as I can tell, this was the only time these two legends performed together. And from what I understand, they were not friends. This clip is available on this DVD Stage & Screen Collection which also includes video performances with Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby & Dean Martin and the 1954 film The Man With The Golden Arm which is a great film. And there are several Sinatra solo performances but it is not clear if they are audio or video. All of this stuff is supposed to be on one DVD so that makes me wonder about the quality. But it's the only place you can get this one time performance by Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman. Here's Frank Sinatra featuring Ethel Merman performing You're The Top on The Frank Sinatra Show Apr. 25, 1958.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Chris Brown

Artist:Chris Brown f/Julez Santana
Song:Run It!
Album:Chris Brown

With all his bad behaviour and legal issues, one might think that R & B singer Chris Brown would have retreated from society in disgrace. But he has a new album coming out this fall and though I don't think he is as popular today as he was when he was 16 years old, he can get back to the top. Run It! was Brown's very first single and his first number one hit in 2006. He was born May 5, 1989 in Tappahannock, VA. His mother recognized his singing talent. Local producer Lamont Fleming took 13 year old Brown to Def Jam in New York to audition for exec Tina Davis. She became his manager after losing her job due to a corporate merger and Brown signed with Jive Records. They knew he would appeal to teen girls but they wanted him to have a wider appeal which is why they had him work with mature hip hop producers like Scott Storch and The Underdogs. And that is also why Brown's first single Run It! features rapper Julez Santana and the video was set in an underground club. They are trying to make him look older than 16 years old. The strategy worked and Run It! topped the charts and it is still Brown's biggest hit. The song is a reworking of the 2004 Usher hit Yeah. It was written and produced by Scott Storch and Sean Garrett. Garrett also co-wrote Yeah. The CD Chris Brown was certified 2XPlatinum and it's still Brown's biggest selling album. The success continued with Brown's 2007 CD Exclusive and the hits Kiss Kiss and With You. And his duet No Air with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks was a big hit. Brown also started acting. He starred in the 2007 film This Christmas. Then it all came to a screeching halt when on Feb. 8, 2009, Brown assaulted his girlfriend Rihanna and was subsequently arrested and convicted of assault. He continued to record albums but they didn't sell as well as before the assault. Brown had other violent altercations and drug addiction that landed him in jail in 2013. Then he got back with Rihanna and they split up again. Now he has a new girlfriend and a daughter Royalty and that's the name of Brown's new CD to be released this fall. He is now on RCA Records after Jive was closed. Can Chris Brown get back what he had as a 16 year old fresh faced singer? It's doubtful but he still tours successfully and one never knows how fortunes can change in the music business. He seems to be doing a lot better than I would have thought after all his self destructive behaviour. Here's the video for Run It! by Chris Brown featuring Julez Santana.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sarah Kaufman vs Germaine De Randamie added to Dec. 19 UFC show

Germaine De Randamie, Sarah Kaufman
Last night it was reported by Jay Reddick of the Orlando Sentinel and confirmed by the UFC this morning that Sarah Kaufman vs Germaine De Randamie has been added to UFC on FOX 17 Dec. 19 at the Amway Center in Orlando. I expect this fight to air on the prelims. Germaine is a champion kickboxer who has had mixed results transitioning to MMA because she has no ground game. But in her last UFC fight in March, she got an easy win over Larissa Pacheco with a second round TKO. Larissa broke her arm during round one. According to Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting, Germaine asked the UFC for a top five ranked opponent. Sarah is ranked number five though I think that might be high and she seems to be on the way down. Sarah is a former Strikeforce champ who lost her most recent fight to Alexis Davis by submission. Sarah was supposed to fight Holly Holm until Holly was pulled to challenge for Ronda Rousey's UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship. Then Sarah started begging for fights on Twitter which I think she should stop doing as I don't think it gets her anywhere. Unlike Germaine, Sarah has ground skills but she chooses not to use them. So if this turns into a kickboxing match, Germaine should have the edge because she's a kickboxing champ. And she's bigger than Sarah. So the direction of this fight may depend if one of these two fighters tries something different. Otherwise I'm expecting a three round kickboxing match. The pic is courtesy of Brian Butler's Instagram. He is Germaine's manager.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Arthur Alexander

Artist:Arthur Alexander
Song:Anna (Go To Him)
Album:The Greatest

Though country soul pioneer Arthur Alexander never had the commercial success he deserved, songs like Anna and You Better Move On have been very durable and have been covered by many artists including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Alexander was also a big part of establishing Muscle Shoals as a recording industry hub. He was born May 10, 1940 in Sheffield, AL. Alexander's father was a local guitarist. Alexander started out in gospel. After graduating high school, he met lyricist Tom Stafford and the songs they wrote together led to Rick Hall. Hall planned to build a new recording studio in Muscle Shoals. After releasing the 1960 single Sally Sue Brown as June Alexander, Hall built his recording studio and Alexander's 1962 single You Better Move on was the first recording. It was a regional hit and Hall sold it to Dot Records and it reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later on the Rolling Stones covered the song. It financed Hall's recording studio. But Dot wanted Alexander to record with their producer Noel Ball. Anna was Alexander's third single and it reached #10 on the R & B Singles chart. John Lennon loved Anna and The Beatles covered it on the 1963 album Please Please Me. Alexander continued to record for Dot with little success and they dropped him in 1965. This Ace Records comp has all of his Dot recordings. Alexander had health problems in the late 60s and he recorded an unreleased album for ABC/Dunhill. Then he resurfaced in 1971 as a staff songwriter at Combine Music in Nashville. He recorded a 1972 album for Warner Bros. It didn't sell and after recording for Buddah in the mid-70s, Alexander left the music business and returned to Alabama to be a bus driver. He recorded occasionally. After his 1993 album Lonely Just Like Me was released by Elektra/Nonesuch, Alexander died of a heart attack while on tour in Nashville on June 9, 1993 at age 53. Here's a video of Anna (Go To Him) by Arthur Alexander.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Stories

Song:Brother Louie
Album:Stories Untold: The Very Best Of Stories

For a band that only recorded three albums, Stories had a complicated history highlighted by the 1973 number one hit Brother Louie. Michael Brown was the keyboard player for The Left Banke and he co-wrote their 1967 top five hit Walk Away Renee. The most notable thing about Brown was the meddling of his concert violinist father Harry Lookofsky who was also Brown's manager. Lookofsky's meddling is why The Left Banke split up. Peter Buonconsiglio was also a concert violinist and an old pal of Lookofsky. His son is singer Ian Lloyd. The fathers convinced the sons to form Stories. Other band members were guitarist Steve Love and drummer Brian Madey. Stories signed with Kama Sutra Records and well known producer Eddie Kramer. Brown and Lloyd wrote all of the songs on their 1972 debut album. It did OK but not great. Stories went out on tour. Brother Louie was recorded for the album but not included. Kramer thought Brother Louie would be a big hit. But Brown and Lloyd didn't write it and didn't think it was representative of their music. Brother Louie was written by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson of the legendary British soul group Hot Chocolate and their version was a hit in England. The song was about an interracial romance so it would have been controversial at the time. Kama Sutra released Brother Louie as a single without the band's knowledge. It topped the charts so Kama Sutra had to recall all of the albums and re-release it with the single Brother Louie inserted with the album. Lloyd and Brown were both upset. Brown left but Lloyd stayed. Ken Bichel replaced Brown and bassist Kenny Aaronson was brought in. After one more album, Stories split up for good. This comp from Real Gone is definitive. Lloyd recorded solo and has also been a session singer for years. He currently leads the band Social Hero. Brown led The Beckies. He died in 2015. Here is Stories performing Brother Louie on The Midnight Special 1973.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Sweet

Artist:The Sweet
Song:Ballroom Blitz
Album:The Best Of Sweet

The British group The Sweet rode the glam rock coattails of T Rex and had success in the mid-70s. Ballroom Blitz is one of their better known songs. The history of The Sweet goes back to the band Wainwright's Gentlemen. Sweet lead singer Brian Connolly and drummer Mick Tucker were in that band before they split up in 1968. Connolly and Tucker formed The Sweetshop and then shortened the name to The Sweet when they discovered there was already a band called The Sweetshop. They brought in bassist Steve Priest and they went through a couple of guitarists before Andy Scott joined in 1970. After a couple of unsuccessful singles on Fontana, The Sweet signed with EMI in 1970 and the songwriting and production team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. The Sweet had success in England with the 1973 single Little Willy. It eventually reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. By this time they were on RCA in England and Capitol in the US. Also, on some of the early Sweet recordings, Chinn and Chapman used session musicians. This would soon become a source of conflict between The Sweet and Chinn and Chapman. The 1973 single Block Buster was The Sweet's first number one hit in England. Ballroom Blitz was also a hit in 1973. Then the group split with Chinn and Chapman in 1974 and they decided to start wearing makeup on stage to take advantage of the glam rock trend. They didn't like being a bubblegum band. Ballroom Blitz was re-released in 1975 and it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then they went into decline and by 1979, Connolly left The Sweet. I think what The Sweet discovered was their own songs weren't as successful as the songs written by Chinn and Chapman. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. The Sweet disbanded in 1982. Scott and Tucker reformed the Sweet in 1985. At the same time, Connolly led The New Sweet. Then in 1991, Scott split with Tucker and started his own version of The Sweet. There are still two versions of The Sweet, one led by Scott and the other led by Priest. Connolly died in 1997 and Tucker died in 2004. Here's The Sweet performing Ballroom Blitz 1973.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ronnie Foster

Artist:Ronnie Foster
Song:Mystic Brew
Album:The Two Headed Freap

Organist Ronnie Foster recorded a few albums for Blue Note in the 70s. But he's primarily known as a sideman especially for George Benson and as a producer. His 70s music was jazz soul and he is frequently sampled by hip hop guys. He was born May 13, 1950 in Buffalo. He learned to play classical piano as a child. But he listened to Jimmy Smith and Larry Young and started to play organ as a teen. Foster moved to New York City and began work as a sideman. When he appeared on a Grant Green live album, Foster was offered a contract with Blue Note. The Two Headed Freap was his debut album in 1972. Though Foster was never a critical favourite, his brand of jazz soul has been very durable and is a favourite of hip hop guys. Musicians on The Two Headed Freap are George Devens on vibes, Gene Bertoncini on guitar, George Duvivier on bass, Jimmy Johnson on drums and Arthur Jenkins on conga. Mystic Brew has been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest and other hip hop guys. At the same time, Foster was in George Benson's band and played on the best selling album Breezin'. After recording five albums for Blue Note and two for Columbia, Foster returned to the background and he's still doing that today. He produced albums by the Brazilian singer Djavan and guitar legend Chet Atkins. And he still works as a sideman. He must be very happy to open his mail and get those royalty cheques when hip hop guys sample his music. Here's a video for Mystic Brew by Ronnie Foster.

Monday, September 07, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Phil Vassar

Artist:Phil Vassar
Song:Just Another Day In Paradise
Album:Greatest Hits

Phil Vassar was a successful songwriter before he became a country music star. Just Another Day In Paradise was Vassar's first number one country hit in 2000. He was born May 28, 1964 in Lynchburg, VA. He learned to play piano while attending James Madison University and then he moved to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. Vassar signed a publishing deal with EMI and he wrote hits for Collin Raye, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. He was named ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year in 1999. Then he signed with Arista Nashville and producer Byron Gallimore who had success with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw among others. Vassar's first single Carlene reached #5 on the Country Singles chart. Then Just Another Day In Paradise was Vassar's first number one country hit. The album Phil Vassar was certified Gold. Vassar wrote Just Another Day In Paradise with Craig Wiseman who wrote hits for Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney and he is still writing hits today. Vassar recorded three albums for Arista. His other number one hit was In A Real Love in 2004. Vassar recorded two albums for Universal South that just weren't as successful as his earlier CDs. This budget comp covers Vassar's Artista recordings. Vassar left Universal in 2009 and signed with Rodeowave in 2011. He released three singles and a 2011 live CD. But he hasn't recorded a CD of new music in a while. He's currently on tour. Here's the video for Just Another Day In Paradise by Phil Vassar.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Big Bad Blog video Theater-Raquel Pennington vs Jessica Andrade

Here's the match video of Raquel Pennington vs Jessica Andrade from last night's UFC show in Las Vegas. Raquel was supposed to fight Leslie Smith and then Liz Carmouche. Both dropped out due to injury. So Jessica stepped in on short notice. Jessica won by split decision when these two fought in Feb. 2014. Raquel is a lot better than her 5-6 record. In her last fight, she lost by split decision to Holly Holm despite suffering two broken hands during the fight. She made the overhyped Holly look really bad in her UFC debut. I like Jessica because she's aggressive and likes to finish fights with her specialty the guillotine choke. Round one was close but I scored it 10-9 for Jessica because of superior cage control and several takedowns. Round two was also close and I probably would have scored it 10-9 for Raquel. Jessica made it close with a few guillotine choke attempts. Except that with fifteen seconds left in the round, Jessica gave up her back and then tapped out to a rear naked choke with two seconds left in the round. Does Jessica even know what happened? Sometimes fighters do ride out a round with a few seconds left. It looked to me like Jessica let up. It was a big mistake and a little unfortunate because this fight looked to be heading to another split decision. And it was Raquel's 27th birthday. She said afterwards that she plans to avenge all her losses. She's calling it her Revenge Tour. A while back, Raquel won over Ashlee Evans-Smith with a similar end of round finish. It just shows that no fighter should let up at any time. It's not the first time Jessica has lost because of a mistake. We'll see her again. Remember she's only 23 years old. Enjoy the video!

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Paige VanZant vs Alex Chambers

Here's the match video of Paige VanZant vs Alex Chambers from last night's UFC show in Las Vegas. Paige has the potential to be a big star because of her looks and charisma. I think a lot of the supposed experts have jumped the gun on her. They want her to get a title shot and she hasn't beaten anyone good yet. And I don't think Alex changes that. She doesn't belong in the UFC. In her last fight, she was losing when Kailin Curran made a stupid mistake and fell into an armbar. So Paige needed to be careful not to do the same thing. So her strategy courtesy of her trainer Martin Kampmann was to keep the fight standing. Paige did most of her damage in the clinch with knees and elbows. Alex tried to lure her to the ground but was unsuccessful. By the end of round one, Alex looked like she wanted to go home to Australia. She is currently training at American Top Team in Florida. It didn't get any better for Alex in round two. By the end of the round, I thought that maybe ref Big John McCarthy should have stopped the fight. He warned Alex between rounds. It was over quickly in round three when Paige went for a rear naked choke and then a slick transition to an armbar and the fight is over. It's a big win for Paige because it was on the main card of a PPV. But I think she needs stiffer competition. How about Randa Markos? And at age 36, maybe it's time for Alex to retire and take up her real profession as an astro physicist. She's not cutting it as a fighter. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Detroit Junior

Artist:Detroit Junior
Song:Call My Job
Album:American Blues Volume 2

Emery Williams Jr. AKA Detroit Junior was mainly known as a sideman for Chicago bluesmen. He recorded a few singles in the 60s and then had success later in life. Also, some of his songs were hits for other artists. He was born Oct. 26, 1931 in Haynes, AR. He moved a lot as a child, first to Memphis, then to Pularski, IL and then to live with his grandmother in Flint, MI. That's where he learned to play piano and Williams played local clubs as a teen. Williams moved to Detroit where he backed up guys like Eddie Boyd, John Lee Hooker and Amos Milburn. Boyd brought Williams to Chicago in 1956. Williams worked with Boyd, Jimmy Reed and Eddie Taylor. Williams was given the name Detroit Junior when he recorded the 1960 single Too Poor for Chess Records. He also recorded Money Tree which was successfully covered by Koko Taylor. When things didn't work out at Chess, Williams went across the street to USA Records and recorded a few singles for them including Call My Job in 1965. Call My Job was a hit for Albert King. USA Records was best known for The Buckinghams. But they also picked up blues artists rejected by Chess because they were across the street. Williams' recording of Call My Job is available on this Varese various artists comp CD. In 1968, Williams was pianist for Howlin' Wolf until Wolf's 1976 death. Williams recorded for Alligator Records in the 80s. His 2004 live CD Blues On The Internet on Delmark Records includes a live recording of Call My Job. This was Williams' final album as he died on Aug. 9, 2005 at age 73. Here's a video for Call My Job by Detroit Junior.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Rodney Franklin

Artist:Rodney Franklin
Song:The Groove
Album:Rodney Franklin/You'll Never Know

He probably didn't know it at the time but pianist Rodney Franklin turned out to be one of the pioneers of what is now called Smooth Jazz. He had chart success especially on the R & B charts with The Groove in 1980. He was born Sept. 15, 1958 in Berkeley, CA. Franklin was a child prodigy on the piano. As a teen, he toured with John Handy, Bill Summers, Freddie Hubbard and Marlena Shaw. Then he signed with Columbia and his debut album In The Center was released in 1978. He worked with Los Angeles session musicians like Dennis Budimir, Victor Feldman, Jeff Porcaro, Chuck Domanico, Paulinho Da Costa, Ernie Watts and Jerry Hey and Seawind. Freddie Hubbard made a guest appearance. For Franklin's second album You'll Never Know, Brit Paul Buckmaster was brought in to give Franklin a more commercial sound. Buckmaster did string arrangements on early Elton John albums. The Groove caught on with R & B DJs and it was a surprise hit on the R & B and dance charts. Musicians were Dean Holzkamp on flute and sax, Harold Foreman on bass, Tony St. James on drums, Kenneth Nash on percussion and Brooks Hunnicutt, Lisa Roberts and Phyllis St. James on background vocals. Apparently The Groove launched the dance craze The Freeze. I'm sure at the time music fans thought The Groove was a Ramsey Lewis record. For his third album Rodney Franklin, Franklin recorded with the same LA musicians he worked with on his first album. Franklin continued to have modest success on the R & B and jazz charts. The British label SuperBird has released Rodney Franklin and You'll Never Know as a twofer. Franklin recorded eight albums for Columbia and then two albums for RCA's Novus label. Franklin still does concerts and he recently appeared in a doc about the history of the Fender Rhodes keyboard Down The Rhodes. He just hasn't recorded in recent years. Here's a video for The Groove by Rodney Franklin.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Valerie Letourneau added to Nov. 15 UFC show

At today's UFC Go Big press conference. UFC president Dana White announced that Joanna Jedrzejczyk will defend her UFC Strawweight Championship against Valerie Letourneau on UFC 193 Nov. 15 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. This will air in North America on Nov. 14. The original plan was for Claudia Gadelha to challenge Joanna on Jan. 2. When White moved Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm to UFC 193, he still wanted Joanna to be on the same show as Ronda to get the rub from Ronda. Claudia broke her finger in her last fight. There's no way she would be ready in Nov. And though Claudia whined in the media about not getting the title shot claiming she would be ready, White said during the press conference that he spoke to Claudia and she admitted that she wouldn't be ready for UFC 193. The biggest problem with Valerie is I don't know if she can make weight. She missed it at her last fight. Besides that, Valerie is mainly a kickboxer so Joanna won't need to defend takedowns. Joanna is younger, quicker and she punches harder. Joanna also has superior footwork and positioning. Valerie just isn't in Joanna's class. I'm sure it will be quite the spectacle in that huge stadium but I don't see this as a competitive fight.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

Artist:Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
Song:Little Maggie
Album:Bluegrass Rules!

Ricky Skaggs was one of the biggest country music stars of the 80s. He had 12 #1 country hits. When country music changed in the 90s, the hits stopped coming. But Skaggs returned to his bluegrass roots and he continues to to that today. The 1997 CD Bluegrass Rules! was Skaggs first album with his current band Kentucky Thunder. Skaggs' final number one country hit was Lovin' Only Me in 1989. Ironically the album title was Kentucky Thunder. After one more album on Epic Records, they dropped him. Clearly country music was changing and Skaggs was going to have to change his sound to remain at the top of the charts. After two unsuccessful albums on Atlantic Records, Skaggs decided to form a new band Kentucky Thunder and start his own label Skaggs Family Records with Rounder Records distribution. Bluegrass Rules! was the first album with this new band in 1997. They are doing all bluegrass standards including the Ralph Stanley song Little Maggie. Musicians include veteran session guitarist Bryan Sutton, Bobby Hicks on fiddle, guitarist Dennis Parker, guitarist Paul Brewster, Marc Pruett on banjo and Mark Fain on bass. Brewster is the mainstay of this band as he is still in the band today. Jerry Douglas made a guest appearance on dobro. The album did very well and it even won a Best Bluegrass Album Grammy. So not only was Skaggs on the right track by returning to his bluegrass roots but it was the kind of music he preferred to perform anyway. Since then Skaggs has recorded several Kentucky Thunder albums. The latest was Music To My Ears in 2012. His latest CD Hearts Like Ours with Sharon White of The Whites was released last year. They have been married since 1981. Skaggs also published his autobiography Aug. 2015. He is currently on tour. So Ricky Skaggs may not be a mainstream country music star anymore. But I have a feeling Skaggs and his fans prefer his current bluegrass albums. Here's Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder performing Little Maggie on TNN's Prime Time Country 1997.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Billy Stewart

Artist:Billy Stewart
Album:One More Time: The Chess Years

Billy Stewart scored his only top ten pop hit with this scat influenced cover of the Gershwin standard Summertime. Sadly, Stewart died prematurely so he is mostly forgotten today. He was born Mar. 24, 1937 in Washington, DC. He started out singing with his mother's gospel group The Stewart Gospel Singers and also on local radio with his brothers as The 4 Stewart Brothers. Stewart was also a member of the doo wop group The Rainbows which also included future soul legends Don Covay and Marvin Gaye. In 1956, Bo Diddley spotted Stewart playing piano and he joined Diddley's band as a sideman. He moved to Chicago. Eventually Chess Records producer Billy Davis figured out that Stewart could be a star as a singer. After modest success with singles like Fat Boy, Reap What You Sow, I Do Love You and Sitting In The Park, Stewart recorded the 1966 album Unbelievable. It was his second album for Chess. Summertime was the first single from the album and it reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would turn out to be Stewart's biggest hit. He continued to record with modest chart success. You can get all of Stewart's hits on this budget comp. Stewart died on Jan. 17, 1970 at age 32 when he was crossing a bridge over the Neuse River in North Carolina and his car went out of control and plunged into the river. All four in the car died. Stewart had just bought the Ford Thunderbird a week before the accident. His widow sued Ford claiming mechanical failure. The suit was settled out of court. Stewart was already having diabetes problems due to his weight. But it's still sad to see a talented guy die prematurely. Here's Billy Stewart performing Summertime 1966.