Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cat Zingano vs Julianna Pena added to July 9 UFC show

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported this morning that Cat Zingano vs Julianna Pena will be added to UFC 200 July 9 at the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This card will be stacked so I expect this fight to possibly headline the prelims. This fight could set up a future title shot. The last time we saw Cat Zingano she was losing her title shot to Ronda Rousey in record time. After a loss like that, it's not surprising that she took a year off. Recently she announced she was ready to return. She even lobbied to fight Cris Cyborg. But as I said the other day, the UFC was not going to offer that fight to a highly ranked fighter. The last time we saw Julianna she won over Jessica Eye by unanimous decision. Then she was charged with assault after an altercation outside a Spokane bar. This was resolved a few days ago. If she stays out of trouble for the next year, the charges will be dismissed. Cat posted on Twitter that she had signed for a big fight. This is it. The bottom line is whoever wins this will get a title shot. Cat is known as a slow starter. so if Julianna gets the jump on her, we could see a quick finish. But it's also key that Julianna keep her cool if things don't go her way. Her temper is her worst enemy. This is certainly the biggest fight of Julianna's career. Will cage rust be a big issue for Cat? This fight will answer plenty of questions for the future of the title picture.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Vashawn Mitchell

Artist:Vashawn Mitchell
Song:Nobody Greater

Gospel artist Vashawn Mitchell has been around since the late 90s. He had his biggest success with the 2011 single Nobody Greater. He also writes and produces for others. He was born Nov. 19, 1976 in Harvey, IL. As a teen, he was assistant music director at Lonnie Hunter's St. Mark's Baptist Church. Bishop Larry D. Trotter spotted him and made him musical director at Sweet Holy Spirit Church. Mitchell released his debut CD So Satisfied in 1998. He also produced albums by the Trotter led Sweet Holy Spirit Choir. Then he released two albums for Tyscott Records. He also wrote songs for Bishop Paul Morton, Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Smokie Norful. Mitchell moved to Atlanta to become musical director at the Higher Living Church. And he signed with EMI Gospel for the 2010 album Triumphant. Nobody Greater topped the Gospel charts and it was 2011's most played song on gospel radio. He was nominated for two Grammy awards, two Dove awards and he won six Stellar awards. Since then he has released two albums on what is now known as Motown Gospel and he also produced albums for Tasha Cobbs. Mitchell's latest CD was released in 2014 but I would expect new music from him this year. Like a lot of gospel artists, he appears with many local choirs as a guest vocalist. I don't think he has a touring band. Here's the video for Nobody Greater by Vashawn Mitchell.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Germaine De Randamie vs Anna Elmose added to May 8 UFC show

Germaine De Randamie, Anna Elmose
It was announced early this morning on the UFC Europe Twitter that Germaine De Randamie vs Anna Elmose has been added to UFC Fight Night 87 May 8 at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This show will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. I expect this match to air on the prelims. Of course Germaine is a native of The Netherlands so I'm sure she is very excited to fight in front of her family and friends. Germaine trains at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA. Germaine is a kickboxing legend in Europe but her MMA results have been mixed at best because she is vulnerable on the ground. She has a 2-1 UFC record and her last win was Mar. 2015 over Larissa Pacheco who suffered a broken arm. Germaine was scheduled to fight Sarah Kaufman on the Dec. UFC show in Orlando but she was forced to pull out due to injury. Anna is from Copenhagen, Denmark. She has finished all three of her fights by TKO. You might have seen her on a Nov. 2014 Cage Warriors show and she was scheduled to fight on an Apr. 15 Cage Warriors show. She trains at Rumble Sports which is also the home of undefeated UFC fighter Nicholas Dalby and Pannie Kianzad. Germaine has a significant height advantage so if she can keep Anna at a distance, Germaine should be able to win by decision. On the other hand, if Anna can get it to the mat, she could get a finish. That's what she should try to do as Germaine has questionable takedown defense. With her reputation as an elite kickboxer and her size, there are already fans wondering why Germaine wasn't booked to fight Cris Cyborg. The answer is easy. Germaine fighting at home is always going to be the UFC's first choice. I'm sure Germaine would have accepted the Cyborg fight if offered. But it wasn't offered. And that's why without knowing who was offered the Cyborg fight, I don't believe Dana White's comment that Leslie Smith was the only fighter to accept that fight. It's a bunch of baloney.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tony Bennett & Count Basie

Artist:Tony Bennett & Count Basie
Song:Are You Havin' Any Fun?
Album:Together At Last, A Perfect Combination: The Complete Sessions 1958-1959

These days Tony Bennett records so many duets, it's getting a little ridiculous. This record goes back to the late 50s when Bennett was supposedly the first "pop singer" to record with The Count Basie Orchestra. In 1957, Ralph Sharon became Bennett's musical director and he convinced Bennett that if he recorded more jazz, he would have a longer career. So he recorded the 1957 album The Beat Of My Heart with Al Cohn, Nat Adderley, Kai Winding, Herbie Mann, Milt Hinton, Art Blakey and Chico Hamilton. So then he wanted to work with Count Basie. At the time, Basie was at a high point with albums like Atomic Basie. The only problem was Basie was recording for Roulette and Bennett was recording for Columbia. A deal was worked out where they would record two albums. One would be released on Roulette and the other would be released on Columbia. Are You Havin' Any Fun? is from the 1959 album commonly known as Basie Swings, Bennett Sings on Roulette. This album was also released as Strike Up The Band. Sharon wrote the arrangements and Basie's band included Al Grey's trombone solo, Thad Jones, Snooky Young, Frank Wess, Frank Foster and Freddie Green. The second album In Person! was released on Columbia. It was recorded live at the Latin Casino in Philadelphia in mono. But producer Al Ham wanted it in stereo. So he recreated the concert in the studio and then added fake applause. Everyone hated that and when the album was released on CD, the applause was removed. Both albums are short so fortunately Jasmine Records has released both albums on one CD. Bennett has since recorded Are You Havin' Any Fun? with Spanish singer Dani Martin and then Elvis Costello. I think you're better off with the Basie version. Here's a video for Are You Havin' Any Fun? by Tony Bennett & Count Basie.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Carla Esparza replaces Jessica Aguilar on Apr. 23 UFC show.

Carla Esparza
Jessica Aguilar was supposed to face Juliana Lima at UFC 197 Apr. 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. But Jessica was forced to pull out due to a torn ACL in her knee. She has had surgery and will be out for at least six months. Today Brian Martin of the LA Daily News reported that former UFC Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza will replace her. Carla is a four time All American wrestler. But as we found out when she lost the belt to current champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, she needs work on her standing skills. After Joanna won by TKO, Carla had shoulder surgery and recovery time for that kind of surgery is usually a year. Juliana Lima is a good opponent for Carla to get back into the swing of things. Though I would like to see if Carla has improved her kickboxing, if she's on her game she should have no trouble with Juliana. Though Juliana is 2-1 in the UFC, neither of her wins were impressive. Her last opponent Ericka Almeida was released by the UFC. Carla fights at a higher level. But one never knows what fighters will be like after a major surgery.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Maxwell

Album:Music Inspired By The Motion Picture Life

Maxwell was one of the standard bearers of the late 90s neo soul movement. The 1999 single Fortunate is his biggest hit to date. He's still around but long gaps in the release of new music has made him a forgotten man. He was born Gerald Maxwell Rivera May 23, 1973 in Brooklyn, NY. His mother is Haitian and his father is Puerto Rican. Maxwell's dad died in a plane crash when Maxwell was three years old. His mom was very religious so Maxwell grew up singing in church. He started playing piano as a teen. Influenced by 80s R & B, Maxwell performed on the New York club scene in the early 90s. He recorded a demo which got him a deal with Columbia Records in 1994. His debut album Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite was ready in 1995. But management changes at Columbia delayed the release for a year. When it was finally released in 1996, the album did very well. It was certified 2XPlatinum and the single Ascension was a top 40 pop hit. Maxwell's 1998 album Embrya didn't do as well and unlike his first record, it was not critically well received and there were no hit singles. While preparing to record his next album, Maxwell recorded Fortunate for the soundtrack of the 1999 film Life starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. The music was written and produced by R. Kelly and Wyclef Jean. Fortunate reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the soundtrack CD was certified Platinum. It is Maxwell's biggest hit to date. Maxwell's 2001 CD Now did well. But he didn't record again until the 2009 CD BLACKsummers'night. It did well but it is Maxwell's most recent recording. Columbia has not released a Maxwell comp but the soundtrack for Life was on Universal and is available as a budget CD. Maxwell had planned to record BLACKsummers'night as a trilogy but it hasn't happened yet. In 2014, he announced a 2015 release. Nothing. He still does live shows but he needs to release a new album or he will be forgotten. He recently teased a new single Lake By The Ocean on Instagram so maybe something is finally happening. Here's the video for Fortunate by Maxwell. This video is not on Youtube.
Maxwell - Fortunate by welcomeback

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cris Cyborg vs Leslie Smith added to May 14 UFC show

Cris Cyborg has been under Zuffa contract in the hopes that she would drop to 135lb. to fight then champ Ronda Rousey. Meanwhile she has been fighting in Invicta. With Ronda losing, that fight isn't worth what it was. So what does Zuffa do with Cyborg? About a month ago, she asked to be on UFC 198 on May 14 because the show is in her home town of Curitiba, Brazil at the Arena da Baxaida. Today the UFC ended the rampant speculation today by announcing that Leslie Smith will face Cyborg at a catchweight of 140lb. Leslie just won over Rin Nakai. UFC President Dana White claimed today that Leslie was the only fighter who would take the fight. I don't buy that because I doubt the UFC would allow a highly ranked fighter to take this fight. And we don't know who else it was offered to. Leslie has never fought at a weight heavier than 135 so she is fighting at a big size disadvantage. I don't expect Leslie to last very long. I have no problem with Cyborg being on this show because she's a draw in her home town. But I would have brought in a non-UFC 145lb fighter. The result would be the same and I would not ask a 135lb contract fighter to take this fight. It's just not worth it.

Amateur wrestling champ Kanako Murata to make MMA debut on Apr. 17 RIZIN show

Kanako Murata
RIZIN held a press conference and an open workout today to announce the MMA debut of amateur wrestling ace Kanako Murata. She actually announced her intentions at the first RIZIN show. Her opponent for the Apr. 17 show was announced today. Kanako is 22 years old and she is a student at Nihon University in Tokyo. She was a 2011 and 2012 Junior World Champion. She last competed in 2013 and there was some talk about going to the Olympics. But as an amateur wrestler in Japan, she is always going to be overshadowed by the legendary Saori Yoshida. So it's ironic that Yoshida has been hired to recruit amateur wrestlers to RIZIN. Kanako is training with former DEEP Featherweight Champion Kazunori Yokota. Her opponent is Russian Natalya Denisova. Natalya is a teammate of Anna Malyukova who will fight Gabi Garcia on this show. They are both from Penza, Russia and both fought on the same show last September. That saves on travel costs. Her MMA record is 2-1. Apparently Natalya's father was a boxer and she has been training martial arts since childhood. So we have a classic wrestler vs boxer battle. It could be interesting.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tamar Braxton

Artist:Tamar Braxton
Song:Love And War
Album:Love And War

Tamar Braxton was around the music business for many years before she finally scored a hit single with Love And War in 2012. She was born Mar. 17, 1977 in Severn, MD and of course she is the youngest of the six Braxton children including her famous sister Toni Braxton. Daddy was a preacher so of course they grew up singing in church. The Braxtons signed with Arista Records in 1989. They released a single but it went nowhere and Arista dropped them. Then Toni Braxton signed with LaFace Records in 1991. The Braxtons toured with Toni and then were signed to LaFace by A & R VP Bryant Reid. When he left LaFace for Atlantic, he took The Braxtons with him. Traci left The Braxtons in 1994. The trio released the 1996 album Two Many Ways and it didn't sell. Then Tamar signed a solo deal with DreamWorks and The Braxtons split up. Tamar recorded an album with producer Christopher "Tricky" Stewart. But when two singles failed to chart, DreamWorks shelved the album. It was reworked and released as Tamar in 2000. When it didn't sell, DreamWorks dropped Tamar. Tamar signed with Tommy Mottola's revived Casablanca label in 2004. But there were problems and the label closed. Then in 2010, Tamar signed with Universal. Nothing came from that. Her luck started to turn when WE TV started the reality series Braxton Family Values. They spun Tamar and husband Vincent Herbert off to the series Tamar & Vince. She signed with his label Streamline distributed by Epic. The first season of the series had Tamar recording the album Love And War. The single Love And War did well on the R & B charts and the album was actually released. Tamar says she wrote the song about her marriage. The song was produced by Darhyl Camper Jr. AKA DJ Camper and co-written by LaShawn Daniels and Makeba Riddick. Tamar gave birth to her son in 2013. Since then, Tamar has released two albums that haven't done as well as Love And War. Season four of Tamar & Vince finished in February. She is also one of the hosts of the syndicated talk show The Real and that has been renewed for two more seasons. The show airs on some Fox stations and on BET. She toured to support an album last year and she was nominated for a Grammy. I think she does enough of this other stuff to keep recording. Here's the video for Love And War by Tamar Braxton.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lennie Tristano

Artist:Lennie Tristano
Song:You Don't Know What Love Is
Album:The New Tristano

Pianist Lennie Tristano is one of the more enigmatic and unsung figures in jazz. He was there at the beginning of bebop but he branched off to do his own thing in the late 40s. The 1962 album The New Tristano was somewhat of a comeback album. But he didn't record enough as a leader to get the credit he probably deserved. He was born Mar. 19, 1919 in Chicago. He began playing piano at age three. Tristano was born with some eyesight but by age ten he was completely blind due to glaucoma. He studied at the American Conservatory of Music and started playing in bands in the early 40s. Tristano moved to New York in 1946 and he met Charlie Parker in 1947. He was pianist for Parker for a couple of years. Supposedly Parker liked Tristano because he played in his own style and didn't try to mimic Parker. Then in 1949, Tristano recorded Crosscurrent with sax players Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. Though today the album is praised as innovative, it didn't catch on with jazz fans at the time. Tristano continued to work with Konitz and Marsh in the 50s. Tristano's attempts to record went nowhere until he signed with Atlantic Records in 1956. By this time, Tristano was experimenting with multi tracking and though today the 1956 album Tristano is considered to be a classic, the use of overdubbing was controversial at the time. After concentrating on teaching for a few years, Tristano returned with the 1962 album The New Tristano. This was solo piano and Atlantic made it known there was no overdubbing. The songs are all original compositions except for You Don't Know What Love Is. That song was written by Don Raye and Gene de Paul for the 1941 Abbott and Costello film Keep 'Em Flying. Carol Bruce sang it in the film. Billy Eckstine recorded it first with Earl Hines and then with his own band. Today it's a jazz standard that has been recorded by many jazz musicians. Tristano rarely recorded after this and he retired from performing in 1968. He continued to teach until his death from a heart attack on Nov. 18, 1978 at age 59. Today Lennie Tristano is hailed as a jazz innovator. But it took many years for jazz historians to acknowledge him and that's why Tristano is frequently overlooked. Here's Lennie Tristano performing You Don't Know What Love Is Copenhagen, Denmark Oct. 31, 1965. This concert is available on DVD.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Saint Motel

Artist:Saint Motel
Song:My Type
Album:Paper Towns: Music From The Motion Picture

Saint Motel is one of these bands that sounds like other bands. Lead singer AJ Jackson sounds a lot like Bono. But they had some success when the single My Type appeared in the 2015 film Paper Towns , a popular film with teens. Now they have to follow it up. Saint Motel was formed in 2007 when lead singer and pianist AJ Jackson and guitarist Aaron Sharp were film students at Chapman University in Orange, CA. The other members are bassist Dak Lerdamornpong and drummer Greg Erwin. They self released the 2009 EP ForPlay and they produced videos for all the songs. Then they released the 2012 full length CD Voyeur. The album created enough buzz that they got a deal with Parlophone in England. The EP My Type was released Aug. 2014 and it did well enough in Europe to get them a US record deal with Elektra. Things started to take off. My Type appeared in the video game FIFA '15. And Saint Motel appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in April. Then My Type appeared in the film Paper Towns. Paper Towns is from the same writers as The Fault In Our Stars. It's a love story aimed at teens. My Type appeared on the soundtrack CD along with acts like Santigold, Vampire Weekend and The Mountain Goats. The My Type EP is out of print so the Paper Towns CD is the only place you can get My Type. Saint Motel has already recorded a new album. But a release date has yet to be announced. They will begin touring in May and they will be on Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. So I would expect the album to be released before that. Here's the video for My Type by Saint Motel.

Friday, March 25, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Donny Osmond

Artist:Donny Osmond
Song:Go Away Little Girl
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Donny Osmond

Teen idols have always been a part of pop music going back to Frank Sinatra in the 40s. But it was in the early 70s that we started to see pre-teen idols like Michael Jackson and Donny Osmond. Both were extensions of family groups. Osmond's biggest hit was his 1971 cover of Go Away Little Girl. He was born Dec. 7, 1957 in Ogden, UT. His brothers performed as a barbershop quartet. Their dad took them to Los Angeles to audition for Lawrence Welk. When that didn't work out, they went to Disneyland and sang while strolling through the park. Management alerted Walt Disney and he had them on one of his TV specials. Andy Williams' father saw them and they were regulars on The Andy Williams Show from 1962-69. Then The Osmonds signed with MGM Records. After they had success, it was clear that Donny could be spun off as a solo artist. The Osmonds recorded with producer Rick Hall at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. MGM president Mike Curb asked Hall to produce a Donny Osmond album. The first single was a cover of the 1958 Roy Orbison hit Sweet and Innocent and it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Donny Osmond Album was certified Gold. A second album To You With Love, Donny was released. The first single Go Away Little Girl topped the charts for three weeks in 1971. Go Away Little Girl was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. It was first recorded by Bobby Vee who was a teen idol in the early 60s. But it was Steve Lawrence who topped the charts with the song in 1962. Osmond continued to have success with covers like Freddie Scott's Hey Girl and Paul Anka's Puppy Love. Osmond faded by the mid-70s and that's when he started his variety show with his sister Marie Osmond. You can get all his 70s solo hits on this budget comp. Donny Osmond has been very good at reinventing himself. He returned to the pop charts in the late 80s with Soldier Of Love. And in the 90s he reinvented himself as a stage musical performer with a long run in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He also won the 2009 season of Dancing With The Stars. And he released the 2014 album The Soundtrack of My Life on Decca in 2014. So Donny Osmond has had tremendous longevity for a teen idol. Here's Donny Osmond performing Go Away Little Girl at the Los Angeles Forum in 1971. Listen to those girls scream.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Asuka vs Emma

Here's the match video of Asuka vs Emma from last night's episode of NXT. This is for Asuka fans who don't have the WWE Network. This is a rematch of NXT Takeover London. That was a great match and so is this. Emma has been great since turning heel. And now she is heading back to the main roster. I'm not sure what the WWE will do with Dana Brooke when Emma leaves NXT. The match begins slowly and then Asuka breaks out her flying armbar and an ankle lock. Emma rolls Asuka out of the ankle lock to the floor. And then she trips Asuka on the apron. So Emma has control for a while including a couple of near falls. The end comes when Emma gets caught using her feet on the ropes to pin Asuka. Emma's mistake is arguing with the ref. Asuka hits a German Suplex followed by a Shining Wizard. And then the Asuka Lock and it's all over. Of course this leads to Bayley defending her NXT Women's Championship against Asuka on NXT Takeover Dallas as part of Wrestlemania weekend. I expect this match to tear the house down. Asuka recently said on Instagram that it is her goal to raise the level of women's wrestling in the WWE so the match quality is on a par with the men. She's well on her way to doing that. Enjoy the video!
Asuka vs. Emma by irenenesser

Sara McMann vs Jessica Eye added to May 29 UFC show

It was announced on last night's episode of UFC Tonight that Sara McMann vs Jessica Eye has been added to UFC Fight Night 88 May 29 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. This will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and on TSN in Canada. Both fighters will try to stop a losing skid. Sara was a Silver medallist in Wrestling at the 2004 Olympics. So she obviously has the ability to be an elite MMA fighter. But she lacks the mental attitude and especially a killer instinct. This was clear when she lost to Miesha Tate last year. Sara had Miesha in trouble in round one when she broke Miesha's orbital bone. But instead of finishing her, Sara sat on her and Miesha came back to win. Miesha is now the champ and Sara could be on a one way trip to Palookaville. She lost her last fight to Amanda Nunes by a first round submission. Jessica could have been in the title picture with a win over Miesha last summer. But Jessica's lack of ground skills was exploited by Miesha and then two months later Julianna Pena used the same strategy to beat Jessica. So both fighters have serious flaws and now they're in the same boat to Palookaville if someone doesn't plug the leak in that boat. This fight could be for a UFC roster spot.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bill Frisell

Artist:Bill Frisell
Song:You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Album:All We Are Saying...

Bill Frisell is one of today's top jazz guitarists. He has been recording as a leader since the early 80s. This 2011 album is a tribute to John Lennon. Frisell was born Mar. 18, 1951 in Baltimore and he grew up in Denver. He studied clarinet as a child and he considered a career in classical music. But then he got into jazz and the music of Wes Montgomery. He studied guitar with Dale Bruning and played in local R & B bands. Frisell studied at Berklee in Boston. Pat Metheny was one of his classmates. Jim Hall was one of Frisell's teachers and his biggest influence. You can hear Hall's influence in Frisell's work. Frisell moved to Belgium in the late 70s and he became the house guitarist for ECM Records. He appeared on albums by Paul Motian and Jan Garbarek. Frisell recorded his first album as a leader in 1983. Frisell moved to New York and worked a lot with John Zorn. Then he moved to Seattle in 1988 and he signed with Nonesuch Records. Frisell recorded jazz albums that mixed rock and sometimes classical elements. He recorded for Nonesuch until 2009 and in that time he became very popular on the jazz festival circuit. He moved to Savoy Jazz and All We Are Saying... was released in 2011. These are jazz interpretations of John Lennon songs. Musicians are Jenny Scheinman on violin, Greg Leisz on steel guitar, Tony Scherr on bass and Kenny Wolleson on drums. Minus Scheinman, this is Frisell's touring band. Of course the steel guitar is used mostly in country music. It's interesting to see it used in jazz. Frisell currently records for Sony's Okeh label. His latest CD When You Wish Upon A Star is jazz interpretations of movie themes. It was released in January. No doubt Frisell will tour the jazz festival circuit this summer. Check him out if he's coming your way. Here's Bill Frisell performing You've Got To Hide Your Love Away at Cite de la Musique in Paris Aug. 31, 2012.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Iggy Azalea

Artist:Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX

Though she started out as a model, Iggy Azalea always wanted to be a rapper. And thus begins one of the more unlikely success stories in recent music history. After the big splash, can she follow it up? She was born Amethyst Kelly June 7, 1990 in Sydney, Australia. She started rapping as a teen. At age 16, she told her parents she was going on holiday to the US. But when she got to Miami, she told her parents she wasn't returning. Her stage name is after her childhood dog. She moved to Los Angeles in 2010 with the intention of recording for Interscope. After releasing a mixtape, T.I. wanted to sign her to his Grand Hustle label. But Interscope wouldn't allow it. While waiting for this to sort out, Iggy did some modelling to make money. Her record deal didn't work out and she signed with DefJam in the US and Virgin in England. Finally The New Classic was released Apr. 2014 after a two year delay. Most of the album was produced by the production team of The Invisible Men (George Astacio, Jon Shave, Jason Pebworth) and Kurtis "The Arcade" McKenzie. The Invisible Man had some success in England with their band Orson before turning to production. They have also worked with Sugababes and Jessie J. Fancy featuring Charli XCX topped the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. The video is a tribute to the film Clueless. Reclassified is a reissue of The New Classic with some new songs. Iggy released the single Team last week and her new album Digital Distortion is coming but no release date has been announced. Is Iggy Azalea a flash in the pan? We'll see. Here's the video for Fancy by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Opponent found for Gabi Garcia on Apr. 17 RIZIN show

Combate in Brazil and Nightmare Of Battle in Japan are reporting that RIZIN has found an opponent for Super Heavyweight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu whiz Gabi Garcia for their Apr. 17 show at Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya. Gabi won her pro MMA debut over pro wrestler Lei'D Tapa on the New Year's Eve RIZIN show. The match was a train wreck. The opponent is Russian Anna Malyukova. Anna is 26 years old from Penza, Russia. She is 175cm tall and her weight is 93kg. I understand 93kg is the contracted weight. So she's not as tall as Gabi but she's comparable. Anna trains at Gladiator Fight Team Belgorad. She is an amateur MMA World Cup champion and she finished second at the 2015 Pankration World Championship. She made her pro MMA debut on the Sept. 26 Fight Star show in her home town of Penza. She won over Tatiana Portova by unanimous decision. I have posted a training video that her team sent to RIZIN to get her this fight. I don't know if Anna is any good. But at least she's not a celebrity gimmick so that's an improvement. It's not like there are plenty of opponents out there for Gabi. At least this could be more interesting than Gabi's first fight.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Modern Jazz Quartet

Artist:The Modern Jazz Quartet f/Sonny Rollins
Song:Bags' Groove
Album:The Art Of The Modern Jazz Quartet

The Modern Jazz Quartet were one of the most popular jazz groups in history because they appealed to hardcore jazz fans and casual fans. A lot of this goes back to pianist John Lewis' interest in mixing jazz with classical music. They also had guests on their albums like this 1958 recording with sax legend Sonny Rollins. Bags' Groove is one of vibraphonist Milt Jackson's best known songs. He first recorded it in 1952 on Blue Note as The Milt Jackson Quintet. The band on that album would become The Modern Jazz Quartet including Lewis, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke. Clarke was later replaced by Connie Kay. Another notable version of Bags' Groove was recorded by Miles Davis in 1954. So the song was a regular part of The Modern Jazz Quartet repertoire. This version of Bags' Groove featuring Sonny Rollins is from one of two albums recorded live at Music Inn in Lenox, MA. The first was released in 1956 and it featured clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre on three songs. The second was recorded in 1958 and released in 1959. Rollins was featured on Bags' Groove and Night In Tunisia. This was officially the only time Rollins recorded with MJQ. Rollins did record with members of MJQ in 1951 and in 1956 Prestige released it as Sonny Rollins With The Modern Jazz Quartet. They hadn't become MJQ in 1951. The album The Modern Jazz Quartet at Music Inn Vol. 2 is available. But Bags' Groove featuring Sonny Rollins appears on this 2CD comp first released in 1973 and released on CD by the reissue label Wounded Bird. It is recommended to beginners. Of course MJQ was very durable. They split up in 1974 and and reunited occasionally in the 80s. They split up for good after Connie Kay died in 1994. Here's a video for Bags' Groove by The Modern Jazz Quartet featuring Sonny Rollins.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Heather Jo Clark vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz added to May 8 UFC show

This morning the UFC announced that Heather Jo Clark vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz has been added to UFC Fight Night 87 May 8 at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This will be the UFC's first appearance in The Netherlands, a country that has always been a hotbed of kickboxing. This show will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. I expect this fight to air on the prelims maybe on UFC Fight Pass. The last time we saw Heather was in TUF 20. She won over Bec Rawlings in the TUF Finale Dec. 2014 and then she had knee surgery. This is her first fight upon recovery. One never knows how a fighter will perform after that. She trains at Syndicate in Las Vegas. One plus about Heather is she is a good talker. Karolina won her UFC debut over Randa Markos by unanimous decision in Dec. though I scored the fight in Randa's favour. I would describe her as a points fighter. She's a kickboxer with no power or ground game. The maxim in the fight game is never let the fight go to the judges. A points fighter is depending on the judges to score the fight in her favour. Eventually her luck will run out. Because of her surgery, Heather is a question mark as well. So this fight could answer questions about both fighters.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Patti LuPone

Artist:Patti LuPone
Song:Anything Goes
Album:Anything Goes: The New Broadway Cast Recording

Patti LuPone is arguably the most acclaimed musical theater performer of this generation. Though her signature role is probably as Eva Peron in Evita, she has won two Tony Awards and has been nominated for six including for the 1988 revival of the Cole Porter show Anything Goes. And she does movies and TV. She was born Apr. 21, 1949 in Northport, Long Island, NY. Her older brother Robert LuPone starred in the original production of A Chorus Line. Patti graduated from Juilliard with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1972. She was a member of The Acting Company led by legendary actor and producer John Houseman, best known for his star turn in the film and TV series The Paper Chase. Patti earned her first Tony nomination for the 1975 musical The Robber Bridegroom. Patti left The Acting Company in 1976 and she was supposed to star in the musical The Baker's Wife. That show never made it to Broadway. After a few more shows, Patti was hired in 1979 to play Eva Peron in Evita. She won her first Tony. But she has said in recent years that she was treated badly by the show producers so it was not an enjoyable experience. After appearing in the 1984 Broadway revival of Oliver!, she starred in the 1985 original London production of Les Miserables and she won an Olivier award. Then she starred in the 1987 revival of the 1934 Cole Porter show Anything Goes. The show was very successful and Patti and co-star Howard McGilpin were both nominated for Tonys. Then she got into movies and especially TV. She starred as Lady Bird Johnson in the 1987 TV movie LBJ: The Early Years and she starred in the series Life Goes On. Patti returned to Broadway in the 1993 show Sunset Boulevard but she was fired and replaced by Glenn Close. She and Andrew Lloyd Webber do not get along. Then she did a one woman show on Broadway in 1995. Among her significant Broadway performances since then were Sweeney Todd in 2005 and Gypsy in 2007 for which she won her second Tony. She also does a lot of TV guest shots and the occasional film. She currently appears in the Showtime series Penny Dreadful. No doubt Patti will return to Broadway if the opportunity comes up. But she doesn't need to. She's already a legend. Here's Patti LuPone performing Anything Goes on the 1988 Tony Awards broadcast.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Meiko Satomura vs Syuri

With Syuri leaving pro wrestling for MMA, she's getting a couple of dream matches in before her final pro wrestling appearance this Friday. Her opponent here is joshi puroresu legend Meiko Satomura on the Mar. 11 Sendai Girls show. Meiko is a good opponent for Syuri because their styles mesh very well. Because Syuri was a dancer before she got into pro wrestling, she likes to use a lot of kicks. And of course she's a pretty good kickboxer too. Meiko is still pretty good but she can't do a lot of the things she used to do because of several back surgeries. I thought it was a pretty good match. I think you will be entertained by it. And for those MMA fans who haven't seen Syuri as a pro wrestler, this is your chance to check out one of her recent matches. Enjoy the video!
{Sendai Girls} Meiko Satomura Vs. Syuri (3/11/16) by NoCode1

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Leslie Smith vs Rin Nakai

Here's the match video of Leslie Smith vs Rin Nakai from last night's UFC show in Brisbane, Australia. The last time we saw Leslie, Jessica Eye split her ear open. Then she had knee surgery. She trains with Gilbert Melendez in California. She is mainly a striker with no ground game. Of course Rin is from Shikoku Island in Northern Japan. It's amazing that an elite fighter can come from a remote location like that. Most Japanese MMA fighters live in either Tokyo or Osaka because the facilities are more modern and there are sparring partners available. Rin doesn't have any of that. Rin is a judoka. Because of her height disadvantage, she needed to get this fight to the ground. And her big problem for the last few years has been lack of aggression early in fights. And that was Rin's problem in round one of this fight. She lacks the range to strike with Leslie and Rin didn't attempt a takedown until late in the round. Leslie didn't dominate but she won round one 10-9. Between rounds, Rin's trainer Wild Usami read her the riot act. Rin was much more aggressive in round two. She took Leslie down and came very close to a submission with a side choke. I would have liked to have seen her transition to an armbar which is a better finishing move. But Rin won the second round 10-9. But she was tired and it showed in round three. I thought Leslie won easily and I scored round three 10-9 for Leslie. Two of the judges scored it 29-28 for Leslie and the third scored it 30-27 for Leslie. Leslie Smith won by unanimous decision and that was the correct decision. Rin's UFC contract is up and I don't expect it to be renewed. Her manager husband is a pain in the ass to deal with. When Dana White said in December that the UFC has plans for women's Flyweight division, Rin posted on her blog that she plans to drop to 125lb. I don't expect the UFC to start that division until late this year. The most logical landing place for Rin would be a joint Bellator RIZIN deal. Bellator is starting a women's Flyweight division and I think RIZIN would be interested in her anyway. Her mental block at the start of fights is her biggest problem and until she conquers that, I doubt she will be successful outside Japan. High level fighters know she has this problem. Enjoy the video.

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Bec Rawlings vs Ham Seo Hee

Here's the match video of Bec Rawlings vs Ham Seo Hee from last night's UFC show in Brisbane, Australia. Bec has been out for the last year with a couple of injuries. She's an Aussie but she now trains with Eric Del Fierro at Alliance in San Diego. A lot of female fighters train there. Bec is mainly a striker and she is vulnerable on the ground. Ham is a Korean kickboxer who got a big win last time she fought. She has fought most of her MMA career in Japan and she is undersized for 115lb. So I expected this fight to be mostly a kickboxing match. It was a close fight but I thought Bec won. In round one, I thought Bec landed harder punches and she scored a knockdown. Some fans thought that Ham threw more punches but I don't think she was more effective than Bec. Quantity does not necessarily mean quality and effectiveness is a valid judging criteria.  I scored the round 10-9 for Bec and so did all three judges. I thought Ham could have helped herself if she had tried more leg kicks to take Bec off her game. Round two was very similar except Bec grabbed Ham's foot after a kick and took her down. So I scored round two 10-9 for Bec. So now Ham needs a finish. But she's not a finisher and I didn't see that changing in this fight. Bec got tired and Ham scored a takedown and a couple of submission attempts. I was not surprised she didn't come close to a finish. So I scored round three 10-9 for Ham and I scored the fight 29-28 for Bec. I guess the controversy was because two of the judges scored the fight 30-27 for Bec and the third scored it 29-28. I thought that Bec won the first two rounds anyway so the third round didn't matter much. I guess 3X29-28 would have made people happy. And it's not like Bec was dominant. She did just enough to win. It doesn't position her any closer to the title. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Carol Lawrence

Artist:Carol Lawrence w/Larry Kert
Album:West Side Story: Original Broadway Cast Recording

Though Carol Lawrence has had a long career on stage and on TV, she is probably best known for playing Maria in the original 1957 production of West Side Story and the kerfuffle when she wasn't in the film version. She was born Carol Maria Laraia Sept. 5, 1932 in Melrose Park, IL. Her parents were Italian immigrants. After a year at Northwestern University, Carol moved to New York and appeared in Borscht Capades with Yiddish comedian Mickey Katz. She made her Broadway debut in Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952. That ran for a year. Then she appeared in shows like Plain and Fancy, South Pacific and Ziegfeld Follies of 1957. Then she was cast as Maria in the original 1957 production of West Side Story. She was nominated for a Tony. Despite her success, neither Carol or co-star Larry Kert were considered for the film version of West Side Story because the producers thought they were too old. The kerfuffle was Natalie Wood was hired to play Maria and she can't sing and her vocals were dubbed by Marni Nixon. Many fans felt that Carol got a raw deal. Natalie wasn't much younger than Carol but she looked younger and she was a bigger star. Carol appeared in shows like Subways Are For Sleeping and I Do! I Do!. Carol married singer Robert Goulet in 1963 and she started appearing on TV a lot either on variety shows or series guest shots. She was a regular on The Dean Martin Summer Show Starring Vic Damone in 1967. While she was raising her kids in the 70s and 80s, Carol continued to do guest shots on TV. She also returned to Broadway for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. Carol wrote a cookbook which she sold on Home Shopping Network and she hosted a show on The Food Network. She was a regular on General Hospital in 1992. Young fans may recall she made several appearances on Saved By The Bell. Carol last appeared in the 2013 off Broadway show Handle With Care. I think most West Side Story fans believe Carol Lawrence deserved to be a much bigger star than she was. She certainly has the talent. But she had to balance her career with raising her family and I think she made family her priority. Here's Carol Lawrence with Larry Kert performing Tonight on The Ed Sullivan Show Nov. 2, 1958.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jenny Galloway, Siobhan McCarthy, Louise Plowright

Artist:Jenny Galloway, Siobhan McCarthy, Louise Plowright
Song:Dancing Queen
Album:Mamma Mia!: A Decca Broadway Original Cast Album

Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical based on the songs of the very popular Swedish group ABBA. Despite what it says on the CD cover, the CD is of the London cast. Jukebox musicals have become very popular on Broadway, London and they are a great way for fans to hear fresh versions and see elaborate stage productions of their favourite songs. Usually the musical is produced with the approval of the original artist. Producer Judy Craymer first met with ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderssen in 1983. They eventually let her produce a musical and she hired Catherine Johnson to write the book. There is a story but as with most jukebox musicals, Mamma Mia! is all about performing ABBA's hits on stage. Mamma Mia! opened in London in 1999 and a version of the show still runs in London's West End today. It also ran on Broadway beginning in 2001 until it finally closed Sept. 2015. And it was turned into a 2008 film. So Mamma Mia! has been very successful. The cast on this CD is from the original 1999 London cast. Dancing Queen is performed by Jenny Galloway, Siobhan McCarthy and Louise Plowright. All three are British TV and stage veterans but not well known otherwise. Jenny is best known for playing Madame Thenardier in the musical Les Miserables. Siobhan is best known for the British TV series Bad Girls. Louise was a regular on the British TV series EastEnders. She recently died of pancreatic cancer. ABBA fans should check out Mamma Mia!. The rest of us will watch something else. Here's Jenny Galloway, Siobhan McCarthy and Louise Plowright performing Dancing Queen on British TV.

Friday, March 18, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of the Day-Ann Cole & The Suburbans

Artist:Ann Cole & The Suburbans
Song:Got My Mo-Jo Working (But It Just Won't Work On You)
Album:The Baton Label: Sol's Story

So most music fans recognize Got My Mo-Jo Working as a signature song of blues great Muddy Waters. But he didn't write the song and it was originally recorded by Ann Cole in 1956. Who? She was a soul singer thought to be way ahead of her time. She was born Cynthia Coleman Jan. 29, 1934 in Newark, NJ. Her father and uncles were the gospel group The Coleman Brothers. So Cynthia formed her own gospel group The Colemanaires in 1949. They toured the US and released a couple of singles. When Cynthia decided to record secular music, she used the name Ann Cole because she didn't want her family to know about it. She signed with Sol Rabinowitz' label Baton Records. Her first single Are You Satisfied was a top ten R & B hit. Got My Mo-Jo Working was her second single. The problem was she was on tour with Waters and she performed the song before it was released and Waters decided to record it. Because Waters was on the much larger Chess label, it got wider exposure and it is now one of Waters' signature songs. But he gave himself the songwriting credit. The song was actually written by Preston "Red" Foster (not the actor). Rabinowitz sued Chess for royalties and Foster made a living from royalties as the song was frequently covered. Leonard Chess told Rabinowitz that Waters brought the song into the studio and claimed he wrote it. The song should have made Ann Cole a star. But that never happened. You can get her version on this comp from Ace Records. Ann recorded a few more singles for Baton, Roulette and MGM. Then she was seriously injured in a car crash and forced to retire. She was confined to a wheelchair until her death in Nov. 1986. It's too bad because she was a great singer. Here's a video for Got My Mo-Jo Working by Ann Cole & The Suburbans.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Bayley & Asuka vs Nia Jax & Eva Marie

Here's the match video of Bayley & Asuka vs Nia Jax & Eva Marie from last night's episode of NXT. I am posting all of Asuka's NXT matches for her fans who don't have the WWE Network. After Bayley successfully defended her NXT Women's Championship over Carmella, Nia Jax and Eva Marie attacked them and Asuka made the save. Of course she eyed the belt. That set up this tag team match. The WWE is trying to turn Eva Marie and Nia Jax into wrestlers with mixed results. Eva is just not a wrestler. She was found at a casting call and appears on Total Divas. A lot was made of her private training in LA with Brian Kendrick. But she still can't wrestle and the WWE has used that in storylines. That's why they have paired her with monster heel Nia Jax. But the former plus size model is also inexperienced in the ring. But I think she'll pick it up eventually. Asuka is in this match very briefly delivering Muay Thai knees and kicks to Eva Marie. Then Bayley and Nia tag in and Nia gets heat on Bayley. Asuka and Nia are never together in the ring because of course the WWE wants to save that for later. Asuka nails Eva with a head kick from outside the ring and Bayley wins with a Bayley To Belly suplex. NXT GM William Regal comes out and announces that Bayley will defend her NXT Women's Championship against Asuka on NXT Takeover Dallas Apr. 1 live on the WWE Network. I expect Asuka to win and for Bayley to go up to the main roster. She wasn't brought up last year because of a broken hand. I'm sure they asked Bayley who she wanted to drop the belt to and she asked for Asuka because Bayley has watched videos of Asuka for years but has never wrestled her. Next week Asuka will face Emma in a NXT Takeover London rematch. I'm expecting the match in Dallas to tear the house down. Enjoy the video!
Asuka Bayley vs Nia Jax Eva Marie by asukalock

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jack Gilford

Artist:Jack Gilford
Album:Cabaret: Original Cast Recording

Character actor Jack Gilford had a long career in films, TV and Broadway despite being blacklisted in the 50s. You don't know his name but you would know him if his face appeared on your TV. He starred in the 1966 original Broadway production of Cabaret. He was born Jacob Gellman July, 25, 1907 in New York City the son of Romanian Jewish immigrants. His father was a furrier and his mother owned a restaurant and supposedly was a bootlegger. Gilford was working in a pharmacy when he was discovered by Milton Berle and Gilford became known for impressions. His big break came in 1938 when he was hired to be the emcee at the new club Cafe Society. He did standup comedy. While doing this, he also appeared in a few Broadway shows and movies. In the early 50s, Gilford and wife Madeline Lee testified at the HUAC hearings. They were labeled as Communist sympathizers and blacklisted. When things eased up in the late 50s, Gilford was finally able to find work. His big break came as Hysterium in the 1963 Broadway show A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. He was nominated for a Tony and then reprised his role in the 1966 film. So this got Gilford back on the radar and he was also Tony nominated for playing Herr Schultz in the 1966 production of Cabaret. Gilford worked a lot on TV but he is probably best known for a series of memorable Cracker Jack commercials. He was also nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the 1973 film Save The Tiger. Gilford did many TV guest shots until his death on June 4, 1990 at age 82. He and his wife were married for 40 years. Here's a video of Jack Gilford performing Meeskite from the 1966 Broadway show Cabaret.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nelly

Artist:Nelly f/Kelly Rowland

Rapper Cornell "Nelly" Haynes Jr. was one of the top selling recording artists of the 00s. He had a strong run from 2000-2005 including the 2003 chart topper Dilemma featuring Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child. These days he's probably better known for his reality TV show. He was born Nov. 2, 1974 in Austin, TX. His father was in the military. When his parents divorced, he moved with his mom to St. Louis. While in high school, Nelly rapped and played baseball. After regional success with his group St. Lunatics, Nelly signed a solo deal with Universal Motown in 2000. Universal A & R director Kevin Law did a very smart thing by emphasizing Nelly's St. Louis roots. His 2000 debut CD Country Grammar was a huge success. It was certified 9XPlatinum and the singles Country Grammar and Ride Wit' Me were top ten pop hits. His 2002 CD Nellyville was just as successful and Hot In Herre was Nelly's first number one single. It was immediately followed by Dilemma which also topped the charts. Dilemma was a late addition to Nellyville. The album was already finished. Producer Ryan Bowser played a skeleton track for Nelly which was based on the 1984 Patti LaBelle hit Love, Need and Want You. Bowser is a St. Louis guy. Nelly decided to add a female vocal to the record so he called Kelly Rowland who he had met while on tour. She was launching a solo career anyway. After the album was released, radio programmers took a liking to Dilemma. So Universal decided to release it as the second single. The song appeared on Nellyville and Kelly's debut solo CD Simply Deep. It was her first solo appearance so it really helped her. The only Nelly comp available was released only in Japan. Both Nellyville and Simply Deep are available as budget CDs. Nelly scored two more number one hits with Shake Ya Tailfeather in 2003 and Grillz in 2005. But by the end of the decade, he had faded and his albums weren't selling anymore. He was getting more into acting with a recurring role on the TV series CSI: NY. Currently Nelly stars in the BET reality series Nellyville. He has released a couple of singles. But it is not yet known if he is planning to release a new CD. He still tours. Here's the video for Dilemma by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland. And yes, that is Patti LaBelle playing Kelly's mother.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Sergio Mendes

Artist:Sergio Mendes f/Joe Pizzulo & Leza Miller
Song:Never Gonna Let You Go
Album:Classics Vol. 18

Fifteen years after scoring top ten pop hits with The Look Of Love and The Fool on the Hill, Sergio Mendes made a surprise return with the 1983 top ten hit Never Gonna Let You Go. It marked the end of a long lean period for Mendes and a return to A&M Records after ten years on other labels. Though the song was a big hit, it frequently is overlooked by comp producers because it's more of a standard R & B ballad than a Brazilian flavoured song. After his late 60s success, Mendes continued to tour successfully especially in international markets like South America and Japan. But his recording career had stalled. So he left A&M for Bell Records in 1973. His two albums for Bell were recorded with jazz musicians led by producer Bones Howe. He left Bell for Elektra when Clive Davis bought Bell and turned it into Arista. His albums on Elektra didn't sell. So he returned to A&M for the 1983 album Sergio Mendes. The big surprise was when Never Gonna Let You Go reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Of course this revived Mendes' career which continues today. Never Gonna Let You Go was written by the legendary husband and wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for Earth Wind & Fire. They didn't record it but Dionne Warwick recorded it on her 1982 album Friends In Love. Mendes thought the ballad would be a good change of pace for the album. The track was arranged by Canadian born session musician Robbie Buchanan. He also played keyboards. The guitar solo is by veteran session musician Michael Landau. The vocals are by studio singers Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller. Pizzulo toured with Mendes after the song was a hit and then later he returned to studio work which he still does today. Leza didn't even tour with Mendes which is why she isn't in the video clip. She worked a lot with sax player Tom Scott and she retired in the 90s. You can get Never Gonna Let You Go and Mendes 60s hits on this comp. As I said, a lot of Mendes comps don't include Never Gonna Let You Go and they should because it was a big hit. Of course Mendes is still around having success with the Black Eyed Peas. Here's Sergio Mendes featuring Joe Pizzulo and Kate Yanai performing Never Gonna Let You Go on Solid Gold 1984.

Monday, March 14, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Gertrude Lawrence

Artist:Gertrude Lawrence
Song:I Whistle A Happy Tune
Album:The King And I: Original Broadway Cast

Gertrude Lawrence was one of the most popular stage performers in the first half of the 20th century. The King And I Marked a triumphant return to Broadway in 1951. Sadly, she died soon after. She was born Gertrude Alice Klasen July 4, 1898 in London, England. Her father was an opera singer but his heavy drinking forced Gertrude's mother to leave him and remarry. Gertrude performed as a child and eventually took her father's surname Lawrence. She toured with him for a while. But by age 16, she was living on her own. She appeared in shows in London and also performed in a nightclub. She also had an unsuccessful marriage. After meeting Noel Coward a few years earlier, he wrote the 1923 musical London Calling! for Gertrude. These two had a lengthy professional relationship. In 1926, Gertrude became the first British performer to star in a Broadway musical in the Gershwin show Oh, Kay!. She moved to New York hoping to star in another successful Gershwin show Treasure Girl. But it flopped and Gertrude returned to England. She worked in several musicals in the 30s but then she met theater manager Richard Aldrich while preparing for a Broadway run of Skylark. They married and settled in the US. Gertrude had a very successful run in the 1941 musical Lady in the Dark. And then the 1945 show Pygmalion. In 1950, Gertrude wanted the book Anna and the King of Siam turned into a musical that she would star in. Her business manager convinced Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to do it. The King and I was a huge success and Gertrude won her only Tony award. But she got sick and died on Sept. 5, 1952 at age 54. Decca released an original cast album which is out of print. But copyright laws are different in Europe so it is available as a budget CD with some added odds and ends. Gertrude Lawrence is mostly forgotten today. But The King and I and her sudden death made her a big deal at the time. Julie Andrews starred as Gertrude in the 1968 biopic Star!. Here's a video for I Whistle A Happy Tune by Gertrude Lawrence.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The O'Jays

Artist:The O'Jays
Song:Lovin' You
Album:Love Train: The Best of The O'Jays

The O'Jays are one of the most durable vocal groups of all time. They are still around. Though they are mainly known for 70s hits like Back Stabbers and Love Train, they continued to have chart success into the 90s. And these later hits are frequently overlooked by fans and record labels tend not to put them on comps. Lovin' You was a number one R & B hit in 1987. It was The O'Jays final hit single with legendary producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. By this time, The O'Jays were a trio. After William Powell died of cancer at age 35 in 1977, he was replaced by former Anthony and the Imperials member Sammy Strain. Of course the core of the group continued to be Eddie Levert Sr. and Walter Williams. Though The O'Jays final top ten pop hit was Use Ta Be My Girl in 1978, they continued to have success on the R & B charts with hits like Forever Mine and Girl, Don't Let It Get You Down. They declined in the 80s and I guess they thought they were getting stale with Gamble and Huff. At the urging of Levert's sons Gerald Levert and Eddie Levert Jr., they decided to leave Philadelphia International for Capitol. The 1987 album Let Me Touch You was The O'Jays final album for Gamble and Huff. Lovin' You topped the R & B Singles chart. It was their first number one hit in a decade. You might think they would have second thoughts after that. But they did switch to Capitol and The O'Jays began producing themselves. Lovin' You is a great song that is frequently overlooked on O'Jays comps. You can get it on this 2CD comp from the British label Music Club. The O'Jays had a good early 90s run on Capitol. They still tour and they are worth checking out if they are coming your way. Here are The O'Jays performing Lovin' You on The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers 1987.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ayaka Hamasaki successfully defends her Invicta Atomweight Championship

Last night's Invicta show was one of their better efforts. A couple of fights on the show actually overdelivered. The big problem is that anyone watching on TV could see that the Tropicana in Las Vegas was half empty. I think the solution to this problem is to stop running standalone shows even in Vegas. If they had run this show last week on the Friday before UFC 196, the place would have sold out. It ain't rocket science, folks. In the main event, Ayaka Hamasaki successfully defended her Invicta Atomweight Championship with a third round armbar. The most interesting thing about this is that Ayaka's coach Megumi Fujii wasn't in her corner. She is cornering a couple of fighters at the Road FC show in Korea. AACC owner Hiroyuki Abe was cornering Ayaka. It didn't make any difference because Ayaka stuck to her gameplan and worked on the ground until she got the finish. Amber countered with a triangle in round one. But Ayaka remained calm and stuck to her guns. Plenty of fighters would have panicked and thrown the baby out with the bath water. Ayaka didn't do that and that's why she won. Afterwards she said she wants to move back up to 115 and go to the UFC. I don't think Invicta is quite ready to let her go. But if she wants to do that, it's OK with me. In the semi main, Jennifer Maia won the Invicta Interim Flyweight Championship by unanimous decision over Vanessa Porto. Vanessa's failure to finish Jennifer in the early rounds came back to bite her as Jennifer won the last three rounds. It was a missed opportunity for Vanessa. The fight was affected by questionable reffing by Mark Smith. Invicta has changed their minds half a dozen times about what to do about the Flyweight belt. An interim belt is never a good answer. They could have already started a tournament for a new champ. At age 38, will Barb Honchak even return? Supposedly they are going to run a Flyweight prospects tournament in May. Don't be surprised if it changes again. Indecision seems to follow Invicta around. The other two main card matches were not as interesting. Alexa Grasso dropped out due to injury and Angela Hill stepped up and finished Stephanie Eggink with a first round KO. This was another Kim Winslow late stoppage. This was Stephanie's first fight back after pregnancy and one never knows what fighters will be like after that. I didn't see anything from Angela to make me change my tune about her. She's a kickboxer and she belongs in Lion Fights. Now she has won two fights in Invicta against questionable competition and some want her to get a title shot. Did y'all forget about Mizuki? Then we had the other Mexican Irene Aldana win over Jessamyn Duke by first round TKO. Jessamyn is still under UFC contract. I thought she was overrated before she was in the UFC. She was terrible in this fight against someone who isn't all that good either. And I heard a few months ago the WWE is interested in her. Who knows if she would be any good at that. But she's not very good at MMA. In the prelims, Roxanne Modafferi won by split decision over DeAnna Bennett who is returning to Flyweight after a failed Atomweight title match. Roxy has improved since training at Syndicate. She's making progress. The fight was close but I thought Roxy won. But DeAnna has been gifted wins by judges before so I was concerned about that. I'm glad she didn't get that this time. She didn't do enough to win. Jinh Yu Frey won by unanimous decision over former Invicta Atomweight champ Herica Tiburcio. I never thought Herica was as good as she seemed when she beat Michelle Waterson for the title. Jinh was much quicker than Herica and that's why she won. Maybe Herica is a case of too much too soon. Sarah D'Alelio won by third round rear naked choke over Andrea Lee. This was pretty good and it just shows that you can't count Sarah out because she can come back and got an upset. Aspen Ladd came in on short notice and won over Kelly McGill by first round TKO. Aspen needs to be in the UFC. Paging Sean Shelby. And the opener had Ashley Greenway win by unanimous decision over Sarah Click. I thought Sarah won the first two rounds and the judges blew it. Invicta's next show will be May 7 at Costa Mesa, CA.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Amy Grant

Artist:Amy Grant
Song:Every Heartbeat

Amy Grant is known as The Queen of Christian Pop. After a very successful Contemporary Christian Music run, she successfully crossed over to pop. Every Heartbeat was one of her two big early 90s hits. She writes a lot of her own songs so that makes her very durable. I find her music is bland. She was born Nov. 25, 1960 in Augusta, GA. Her great grandfather was Nashville insurance exec and philanthropist A.M. Burton. She started writing songs as a teen. She recorded some of her songs and it landed in the hands of producer Brown Bannister. He signed her to Word's Myrrh label and she released her debut album in 1977. Amy and Bannister would work together for many years. He produced Every Heartbeat. So she's recording albums while attending school. She also met future husband Gary Chapman and started touring with him. One of her biggest early CCM hits was El Shaddai in 1982. But she could only go so far as a Christian artist. Her mid-80s recordings were leaning towards mainstream pop. In 1985, A&M Records made a deal with Word to distribute some of their artists to mainstream record stores and radio stations. Until then, you could only get Amy's albums at Christian book stores. The 1985 album Unguarded was her first pop album. She scored a number one hit with her 1986 duet with Peter Cetera The Next Time I Fall. Unguarded was certified Platinum. So now A&M really wants to push Amy. Her 1988 album Lead Me On wasn't a hit. But with the 1991 album Heart In Motion, Amy scored her two biggest hits. First Baby Baby topped the Billboard Hot 100. Amy wrote and produced it with Keith Thomas. This was immediately followed by Every Heartbeat which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Amy wrote the song with veteran CCM songwriters Wayne Kirkpatrick and Charlie Peacock. Bannister produced the track. The album Heart In Motion was certified 5XPlatinum. Amy had a couple more pop hits. But eventually she faded and she returned to her CCM roots. You can get all her hits on this budget comp. Amy left Word in 2005 and she currently records for EMI's Sparrow label. Her latest CD of new music was released in 2013. She is currently on tour with veteran CCM singer Steven Curtis Chapman. Here's the video for Every Heartbeat by Amy Grant.

Friday, March 11, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Fabulous Souls

Artist:Fabulous Souls
Song:Take Me
Album:Peanut Butter Wolf Presents Stones Throw Ten Years

Today this 1971 one off single is considered to be an early funk classic. It was lost for many years until it was resurrected by the popular California DJ Peanut Butter Wolf and his record label Stones Throw Records. Fabulous Souls were led by sax player and lead singer Ira Raibon. They were from Indianapolis. Other members were Michael Clay on bass, Lance Sennet on guitar, Jeffrey Speights on keyboards and Johnny Whitby on drums. Take Me was released on their own label in 1971. It was quickly forgotten and Raibon moved to Santa Ana, CA. He resurfaced in the late 70s group Sweetalk. But mostly he has been a sideman and session musician working mostly with singer songwriter Nick Waterhouse. Peanut Butter Wolf (real name-Chris Manak) is based in San Jose, CA. He releases a lot of remixes on his Stones Throw label. One of his frequent collaborators is rapper Madlib (real name-Otis Jackson Jr.). A self confessed rare 45 junkie, when Manak heard that Raibon lived in Santa Ana, he asked him if he could release Take Me on one of his CDs so that a new generation could hear the song. Raibon agreed to that and Stones Throw released it as a single in 2002 and on the CD Peanut Butter Wolf's Jukebox 45s. That CD is available but so is this 2CD Stones Throw retrospective. As I said, Raibon is currently in Nick Waterhouse's band. But now he is known for this rediscovered lost funk classic. Here's a video for Take Me by Fabulous Souls.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Percy Bady

Artist:Percy Bady
Song:Painful But Necessary
Album:Kingdom Inspiration

Percy Bady is a gospel music producer, songwriter and arranger known as Bad Bady. But he has occasionally recorded albums and this 2013 CD will appeal to gospel fans. Bady is from Chicago. His brother Ray Bady is also a musician. Their dad was Pastor O.D. Bady. So not surprisingly, they grew up in church. He taught himself to play piano. He got into secular music as a teen and considers Quincy Jones to be a major influence. After studying at Roosevelt University, Bady's first job in gospel music was with Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Choir. He was a big part of turning them into The Tommies. Artists like Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams and Fred Hammond hired him to produce their music. In 2003, Bady released his first CD The Percy Bady Experience on GospoCentric Records. The album did well but Bady seems to prefer remaining behind the scenes. Then in 2013, Bady signed with Marantha! Music. Marantha is a Praise & Worship label looking to expand to the Black Gospel market. So they not only signed Bady to a record deal but they hired him as Gospel A & R director. Kingdom Inspiration is Bady's first album on Marantha!. Though Bady sings Painful But Necessary, he uses a lot of guest vocalists on the album including Lowell Pye of Men of Standard, Donald Lawrence, Canton Jones and Jesse Campbell from The Voice. The song Still was nominated for a Best Gospel Song Grammy. Kingdom Inspiration is available as a budget CD and it is recommended to gospel fans. No doubt Bady will return to producing and will maybe release an album down the road. He worked on Common's 2014 CD Nobody's Smiling and no doubt he is developing new artists for Marantha!. He likes to Periscope his activities on Twitter. Here's the video for Painful But Necessary by Percy Bady.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Charlotte D'Amboise

Artist:Charlotte D'Amboise
Song:I'm Flying
Album:Jerome Robbins' Broadway: Original Broadway Cast Recording

Charlotte D'Amboise got her big break and her first Tony nomination for her performance in the 1989 show Jerome Robbins' Broadway. She is playing Peter Pan in this performance of I'm Flying though she never appeared in a production of Peter Pan. She was born May 11, 1964 in New York City. Her parents are dancers Jacques D'Amboise and Carolyn George and her brother Christopher D'Amboise is also a dancer. She made her Broadway debut as Cassandra in Cats in 1983. She met her actor husband Terrance Mann on that show and they have two daughters. Charlotte also starred in the ill fated 1988 musical adaptation of Carrie. The show closed after three performances. But she got her big break in the 1989 musical Jerome Robbins' Broadway. I guess this is a Broadway equivalent of a jukebox musical. The show is a greatest hits of veteran director and choreographer Jerome Robbins tied together by narrator Jason Alexander. It also stars Faith Prince and Debbie Shapiro. I'm Flying from Peter Pan is Charlotte's big number from the show. She also sings America from West Side Story. The show opened Feb. 1989 and ran until Sept. 1990. So it had a very successful run. And it was nominated for six Tonys and it won four including Best Musical. Charlotte was nominated but did not win. She was also nominated for a Tony for her performance as Cassie in the 2006 production of A Chorus Line. She has played Roxie Hart in touring productions of Chicago. Her most recent show was a 2013 revival of Pippin starring with her husband. Charlotte has done some film and TV but nothing significant. The cast recording of Jerome Robbins' Broadway is available on CD. Here's Charlotte D'Amboise performing I'm Flying on Kennedy Center Honors Mary Martin 1989. Of course Mary was the first to play Peter Pan on Broadway.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Seal

Song:Kiss From A Rose

British soul singer Seal scored his only number one hit when Kiss From A Rose appeared in the 1995 hit film Batman Forever. He's had a few other hits and he's a bigger deal in England. He was born Olusegan Olumide Adeola Samuel Feb. 16, 1963 in London, England. His father is Brazilian and his mother is Nigerian. The scars on his face are the result of a form of lupus. It looks like Seal is a childhood nickname. Seal earned a degree in architecture. While working construction jobs, he started singing in clubs. He met the popular house producer Adam "Adamski" Tinley. Seal sang lead on the 1990 single Killer which topped the British charts. This got the attention of veteran producer Trevor Horn and Seal signed with his ZTT label distributed by Warner Bros. His debut album Seal was released in 1991 and the single Crazy reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified Platinum and it did even better in England. Seal's second album also titled Seal was released in 1994. The first single Prayer For The Dying was a minor hit. So Warners was looking for a bigger hit. They got it when Kiss From A Rose was used in the 1995 hit film Batman Forever. The song topped the charts and the album Seal was certified 4XPlatinum. The Batman Forever soundtrack CD was also a big seller and there is also a CD containing Elliot Goldenthal's score from the film. Seal won three Grammys including Record of the Year. But Seal didn't even like the song. He wrote it in 1987 and only showed it to Horn when they were looking for songs for Seal's second album. Seal had recorded a demo but he discarded the tape. Horn heard about the song and kept bugging Seal until Seal finally agreed to play it for him. Seal credits Horn for making the song a hit. A few of Seal's other songs have charted but he hasn't been able to repeat the success of Kiss From A Rose. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. It is also available in a couple of deluxe editions, one with a disc of rarities and the other with a live DVD. Seal's latest CD 7 was released Nov. 2015. He plans to tour Europe later this year. He's a much bigger star in Europe than in the US. Seal married supermodel Heidi Klum in 2004. They had four kids and then divorced in 2012. He is currently dating Aussie model Erica Packer and she is expecting his child. Here's the video for Kiss From A Rose by Seal. There were two videos for this song. This one featuring scenes from Batman Forever was the more popular of the two.

Monday, March 07, 2016

PANCRASE names opponent for Syuri's MMA debut

Syuri Hondo, Kanna Akasura
Today PANCRASE announced the opponent for pro wrestler Syuri's MMA debut. It will be at PANCRASE 277 Apr. 24 at Differ Ariake. This will air live on UFC Fight Pass. They are billing her as Syuri Hondo. Her opponent is 18 year old Kanna Akasura. Kanna trains at Paraestra Matsudo which is also the home of DEEP JEWELS fighter Emi Tomimatsu. Kanna has amateur wrestling experience. Her MMA record is 3-0. She fought older ladies on VTJ shows. In her last fight in September, Kanna beat Yasuka Tamada by unanimous decision. That's like beating Methuselah. Tamada must be 50 years old. Who knows if she's any good. Since PANCRASE announced Syuri's signing, she has given up her Krush kickboxing belt. She also announced she is leaving REINA and pro wrestling to become a full time MMA fighter training with Invicta Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki at AACC. So she's going all in on MMA. Syuri has natural charisma and she has had success at kickboxing. So she has star potential if she picks up MMA and does well. I will be observing her progress very closely.

DEEP JEWELS needs to ditch Team DATE

After yesterday's DEEP JEWELS Shinjuku FACE show, matchmaker Shigeru Saeki complained that DEEP JEWELS was being frozen out of RIZIN and the success of RENA won't help DEEP JEWELS. Obviously he is suggesting that instead of bringing in an Italian kickboxer, they could have used a DEEP JEWELS fighter. Of course the problem is that DEEP JEWELS really sucks right now. The talent level is very low and in desperation, Saeki has hired this Team DATE group of models in the hopes of attracting dirty old men with pretty girls. The problem is none of them can fight. I don't know how long he can keep using them if they keep losing. The main event of yesterday's show didn't help. It was Emi Tomimatsu vs Saori Ishioka. Neither is a top talent. Ishioka claims to be a top draw but that was before she got married and had a baby. She hasn't been the same since she returned. Tomimatsu isn't a top fighter either but she's probably better than Ishioka right now. Tomimatsu won with a rear naked choke in round two. Maybe Ishioka will threaten to retire again. In the semi main, MIZUKI got a day off by finishing one of the DATE girls with a first round armbar. I expect we'll see MIZUKI in Invicta in the near future and then maybe the UFC. In the other matches, Mina Kurobe beat one of the Team Date girls by unanimous decision, Mei Umeo beat SARAMI by split decision and Kai beat one of the Team DATE girls by unanimous decision. So Team DATE pitched a goose egg. Get rid of them.