Saturday, April 30, 2016

Big Bad blog Video Theater-Asuka vs Eva Marie

Here's the match video of Asuka vs Eva Marie from this week's NXT. The goal is for Asuka to make Eva Marie look half decent. That's a tough job because Eva Marie's offense is terrible and she has a bad habit of admiring her own offense. The contrast is very striking. When Asuka kicks Eva, it looks like it hurts. Asuka tries to sell Eva's offense but no one is buying that. When Asuka's hip attack dumps Eva to the floor, Nia Jax comes out to give Eva moral support. After Asuka kicks Eva in the chest a few times, She hits a Shining Wizard followed by a spinning head kick for the win. Afterwards, Asuka has a staredown with Nia and Nia leaves. I expect that Asuka vs Nia Jax will be on the June NXT Takeover show. I thought they might turn Asuka heel and give Bayley a rematch. But we will see in the next couple of weeks that won't happen. Enjoy the video!
Asuka vs. Eva Marie by therackattackvideos

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Pat Metheny Group

Artist:Pat Metheny Group
Song:Daulton Lee
Album:The Falcon And the Snowman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Fans of guitarist Pat Metheny will want to check out this soundtrack from the 1985 film The Falcon and the Snowman. It was Metheny's first film score and from what I can tell, this music doesn't appear on any of his other albums. Metheny was between record companies at the time. He left ECM and he would soon begin recording for Geffen Records. He made some changes to his band in the early 80s though Lyle Mays was still his right hand man. And he was starting to get into South American music which would become very prominent in his late 80s albums. Metheny was a guest soloist on Jerry Goldsmith's score for the 1983 film Under Fire which was nominated for an Oscar. So it's not surprising that Metheny would be hired to score a film. The Falcon and the Snowman starred Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn and it was directed by John Schlesinger. The studio was Orion who also produced Under Fire. So I assume an Orion exec suggested Metheny to Schlesinger. Metheny used his usual group with Lyle Mays on piano, Steve Rodby on bass and Paul Wertico on drums. Metheny uses his synclavier to alter his guitar sound. There is also an orchestra and a choir and vocals by Argentinian singer Pedro Aznar who was a member of Metheny's group in the late 80s. The kicker is that David Bowie contributes guest vocals on This Is Not America and that song was a top 40 pop hit. Bowie was on EMI at the time and that's why the soundtrack is on EMI. Metheny fans will want the soundtrack because none of this music appears on any of Metheny's other albums. It's the only time he recorded for EMI. You can get This Is Not America on Bowie's EMI comps. It's a little different than Metheny's usual music because it's a film score. His only other score was for the 1999 film Map Of The World. So the Falcon and the Snowman is a very unusual Pat Metheny album and his fans should check it out. Here's Pat Metheny Group performing Daulton Lee in France 1987.

Friday, April 29, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Paul Young

Artist:Paul Young
Song:Everytime You Go Away
Album:The Essential Paul Young

Blue eyed soul singer Paul Young scored his biggest US hit with the 1985 number one hit Everytime You Go Away. He's a much bigger deal in his native England. He has had problems with his voice that has curtailed his career. But he's still around and he just released a new album. He was born Jan. 17, 1956 in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. He started out as a bassist. But in the 70s he was lead singer of Kat Kool & The Kool Kats and then Streetband who scored a top 20 hit in England with the novelty song Toast. After Streetband split up, Young formed Q-Tips and he started writing songs with keyboard player Ian Kewley. Q-Tips signed with veteran producer Mickie Most and his RAK label. They recorded two albums with modest success. But they split up in 1982 when Young signed a solo deal with CBS Records. Working with Ian Dury & The Blockheads producer Laurie Latham, Young's 1983 debut album No Parlez did well in England and his cover of the Marvin Gaye classic Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) was his first British number one hit. But Young's 1985 album The Secret Of Association also did well in the US. And the single Everytime You Go Away topped the Billboard Hot 100. Everytime You Go Away was written by Daryl Hall and it appeared on the 1980 Hall & Oates album Voices. They never released it as a single. It turned out to be Young's biggest hit in the US. For one thing, he was having problems with his vocal cords. And rest was the only thing that seemed to help. Young continued to record but he couldn't tour as he would have liked because of his voice problems. His other top ten hit in the US was his 1990 cover of The Chi-Lites classic Oh Girl. You can get all of Young's hits on this budget comp. He left CBS in 1993. He briefly reformed Q-Tips and formed the Tex-Mex group Los Pacaminos in 1995. He continues to record as a solo artist and with Los Pacaminos. Young released a new CD Good Thing last week and he is touring Europe to support it. Here's the video for Everytime You Go Away by Paul Young.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Valerie Letourneau vs Joanne Calderwood added to June 18 UFC show

This morning the UFC announced that Valerie Letourneau vs Joanne Calderwood has been added to UFC Fight Night 89 June 18 at TD Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The interesting thing is that this fight will be at Flyweight. This will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. At a December fan Q&A, UFC President Dana White said that they would add a Women's Flyweight division but he didn't say when. UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has also expressed interest in fighting at Flyweight. She wants to hold two titles. She fought at 125lb before she came to the UFC. And I'm sure if she was asked, her upcoming opponent Claudia Gadelha would say the same thing. Though the UFC has not committed to a Flyweight division yet, this is a sign that it's something of interest. They already have fighters on the roster who have fought at 125lb. And in the case of Valerie Letourneau, the cut to 115lb is very tough for her. And she is undersized for 135lb. She is better suited to fight at 125. Of course Valerie is a native of Montreal but she now trains at American Top Team in Florida. Valerie lost her Strawweight title shot. But obviously the UFC wants to keep her around and that's why they are looking at Flyweight. The last time we saw Joanne, she won over Cortney Casey last July in front of her home town fans in Glasgow, Scotland. Since then, she has moved to Montreal and trains at Tri Star. So I will be interested to see if she has picked up any new tricks there. Valerie trained at Tri Star for most of her career before moving to Florida a couple of years ago. I expect this to be a kickboxing match because neither fighter is adept on the ground. I wouldn't mind some surprises though. Look at this as a trial balloon. If it goes well, we could see a UFC Flyweight division by early 2017. That would be good.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Suicide

Song:Touch Me

Though the pioneering punk band Suicide were never a commercial success, they were one of the first punk bands to use synthesizers so they were influential. Suicide was a duo with singer Alan Vega (born Alan Bermowitz June 23, 1938 in Brooklyn, NY) and keyboard player Martin Rev (born Martin Reverby Dec. 18, 1947 in Brooklyn, NY). Vega studied art in college and he called himself Alan Suicide after the Ghost Rider comic book Satan Suicide. After seeing The Stooges in 1969, Vega met Rev and the two started playing New York clubs. Apparently Suicide was one of the first groups to use the word "punk" to describe themselves because that's how they behaved on stage. Things started to pick up for Suicide when Rev began to experiment with synthesizers and drum machines. They signed with Red Star Records owned by former Paramount and Buddah exec Marty Thau. Though the 1977 album Suicide was not a commercial success, the use of synthesizers on the album was a big influence on what was to come in the 80s. Artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, The Fleshtones and most 80s synth pop bands have acknowledged Suicide as an important band. Thau hired Ric Ocasek of The Cars to produce Suicide's second album in an effort to give them a more commercial sound. But the album was never distributed properly and Suicide split up. Vega and Rev immediately recorded solo and though they have occasionally reunited, the two are still active individually. The album Suicide is available on CD and those interested in the evolution of punk music should check it out. Here's Suicide performing Sweetheart and Touch Me at Hurrah in New York 1980.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Joaquin Phoenix

Artist:Joaquin Phoenix
Song:I Walk The Line
Album:Walk The Line: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Actor Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for his performance as Johnny Cash in the 2005 film Walk The Line. He did his own singing but he isn't a singer. He comes from a family of actors. He was born Oct. 28, 1974 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. His family traveled around like hippies and all the kids did street performing to earn money. He followed his older brother River into acting in the early 80s. At first he called himself Leaf Phoenix but he later changed his name back to Joaquin. The 1989 film Parenthood was his biggest film as Leaf Phoenix. When River died in 1993, Joaquin quit acting for a couple of years. But then he returned as Joaquin Phoenix in the 1995 film To Die For. Since then he has been very busy. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the 2000 film Gladiator. Walk The Line is his biggest starring role. Johnny Cash and wife June Carter Cash appeared on a 1993 episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Series star Jane Seymour is married to director James Keach. Cash asked Keach to produce a biopic. Keach hired James Mangold to develop the project. It was supposed to be done at Sony but they turned it down and Fox 2000 picked it up. Mangold looked at several actors to play Cash but he really liked Phoenix though it appears Phoenix himself wasn't convinced he was the right choice. Mangold decided to have the actors do their own singing and T-Bone Burnett produced the music. The film was very successful and Phoenix was nominated for an Oscar. It's the only time Phoenix has sung on film and he isn't planning to do any more music. Phoenix is still active. His latest film Irrational Man directed by Woody Allen was released last year. He announced plans to star in the Western Far Bright Star directed by his brother in law Casey Affleck. Here's a video for I Walk The Line that mixes the Johnny Cash and Joaquin Phoenix recordings.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jamie Grace

Artist:Jamie Grace
Song:Beautiful Day
Album:Ready To Fly

Singer songwriter Jamie Grace was discovered on Youtube and she has done very well in the Contemporary Christian market. Beautiful Day is her biggest hit single to date. She was born Jamie Grace Harper Nov. 25, 1991 in Los Angeles. Jamie and sister Morgan Harper Nichols grew up in Atlanta. Her parents are pastors at Kingdom City Church in Stone Mountain, GA. Jamie was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome at age 11. Both Jamie and Morgan started writing and performing music and Jamie started her Youtube channel in 2006. She was spotted by Mark Stuart of the CCM group Audio Adrenaline and he got her on the Trinity Broadcasting series iShine. She toured and Christian rapper TobyMac signed Jamie to his Gotee label. The EP Hold Me was released Feb. 2011 and the single Hold Me featuring TobyMac reached #3 on the Christian chart. It was also nominated for a Grammy. Her full length debut CD One Song At A Time was released Sept. 2011. Jamie also released a Christmas EP. She won the 2012 Dove Award for New Artist of the Year. Ready To Fly was released Jan. 2014. Both of Jamie's albums were produced by Christopher Stevens who has worked with TobyMac for many years. Jamie co-wrote all the songs mostly with TobyMac and Stevens but also with her sister Morgan who also records for Gotee. Beautiful Day reached #3 on the Christian chart. Though Jamie is black, she is considered CCM because she records for Gotee though TobyMac has always had black artists on his label. The Christian/Gospel music business can be a little weird. Jamie is currently on tour. She recently announced that her next album is done but a release date has yet to be announced. I think she is very talented and she has a bright future. Here's Jamie Grace performing Beautiful Day on KLOVE Feb. 2014.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Syuri wins MMA debut

Veteran pro wrestler Syuri made her MMA debut on yesterday's PANCRASE show. This aired on UFC Fight Pass so I did watch the match but the video hasn't turned up yet. It's not that interesting anyway. Syuri's opponent was 18 year old Kanna Asakura. Kanna's record is 3-0 but all her opponents have been older fighters. She beat Yasuko Tamada who is old enough to be her grandmother. So it's a padded record. Syuri has been a pro wrestler for the better part of a decade but she was also a kickboxing champ for Krush. I never liked her much as a pro wrestler but I think she has potential in MMA because she has athletic ability. I think that ability is better suited to MMA rather than pro wrestling. The problem was this fight was scheduled for three three minute rounds. When are Japanese promoters going to learn that female fighters deserve five minute rounds. Even DEEP JEWELS does five minute rounds though most matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds. Both decisions are equally stupid when all fights in the UFC are three five minute rounds. Smarten up! The decision to have three minute rounds hurt the match because there's no time to do anything. The first two rounds was mostly clinching against the fence. And it was the same in round three until Syuri got Kanna in a rear naked choke with time running out. That probably won her the fight and the judges gave Syuri a unanimous decision. With five minute rounds, I'm sure she would have finished the fight. Afterwards, Syuri says she wants to finish fights and go to the UFC. As long as she is fighting in three minute rounds, she's going nowhere because old fart Japanese promoters refuse to conform to the world standard.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nancy Sinatra

Artist:Nancy Sinatra
Song:These Boots Are Made For Walking
Album:The Very Best Of Nancy Sinatra

These Boots Are Made For Walking is probably one of the kitschiest songs of the 60s with an equally kitschy video clip. It topped the charts in 1966 and made Nancy Sinatra the star her loving father Frank Sinatra wanted her to be. The record is still very popular today. Nancy had been with her dad's label Reprise Records since 1961. She recorded several singles but none of them charted. This all changed when producer Lee Hazlewood entered the picture. He had previously produced guitarist Duane Eddy. He told Frank that Nancy needs to be sexy and that would sell records. Hazlewood wrote These Boots Are Made For Walking. He told Nancy to sing it as if she were "a sixteen year old girl who ****s truck drivers". He used the Los Angeles session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. Guitarist Billy Strange wrote the arrangement. Other musicians include Hal Blaine on drums, Al Casey and Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Carol Kaye on electric bass and Chuck Berghofer on double bass who played the famed bass run suggested by Hazlewood. Apparently Strange liked using the two basses together. Of course the record topped the charts and was a huge success and it made Nancy a star. Of course the problem was she wasn't a great singer. Nancy had a few other chart hits. Her other number one hit was the duet with her dad Something Stupid. Both hits are on this comp. Nancy left Reprise in 1970 and she recorded for RCA and Private Stock in the 70s. She never had another big hit but These Boots Are Made For Walking is still popular today. Some folks see it as a female empowerment song but I doubt Hazlewood had that in his mind. He just wanted to give Frank Sinatra a Nancy Sinatra hit record. Here's the video for These Boots Are Made For Walking by Nancy Sinatra.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Carla Esparza vs Juliana Lima

Here's the match video of Carla Esparza vs Juliana Lima from last night's UFC show in Las Vegas. it aired on the prelims on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. Of course Carla was the first UFC Strawweight Champion. After she lost the title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Carla had shoulder surgery and this was her first fight since the surgery. Carla is a four time All American wrestler but her striking is not up to par. You never know what a fighter will be like after major surgery. I think Juliana was a reasonable opponent for Carla's return. Juliana is 2-1 in the UFC but her wins were not impressive. I don't think she's very good at anything. It's funny because Joe Rogan was talking about Juliana's attributes during the fight and it sounded like he was talking about someone else. I thought it was his worst commentary. The fight went as I expected. Afterwards plenty of fans complained that the fight was boring. But all of Carla's fights are boring. She's a grinder who occasionally wins by submission if the opponent makes a mistake. Carla took Juliana down in all three rounds. She never came close to a finish as Juliana defended well. Juliana even scored with a few upkicks. But upkicks don't win fights and Juliana needed to generate a more sustained offense. Juliana did get top position near the end of round three. But she lost the first two rounds and she needed a finish. Too little, too late. I scored the fight 30-27 for Carla and so did the judges. I think Carla needs to raise her game if she wants to be a title contender again. I don't know if she can do that. Her other big flaw which came up in post fight interviews is she thinks too much and psyches herself out. Sometimes fighters need to resort to natural instinct and leave the fight analysis to guys like me. She tends to overthink strategy and sometimes it negatively affects her performance. Check out the fight for yourself!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Walls Group

Artist:The Walls Group
Song:Perfect People
Album:Fast Forward

The Walls Group made a big splash on the gospel charts with their 2014 major label debut CD Fast Forward and the single Perfect People. Like some of the best acts in music, they are a family group in the tradition of great gospel groups like The Clark Sisters and Mary Mary. The Walls Group are from Houston. There are eight siblings in the family and four are The Walls Group. They are Darrel McGlothen Walls, Rhea Walls, Alic "Paco" Walls and Ahjah Walls. They released the CD the Walls Group independently in 2012 and posted videos on Youtube. The buzz around this teen gospel group got the attention of another Texan named Kirk Franklin. He signed The Walls Group to his Fo Yo Soul label distributed by Sony. He produced their 2014 CD Fast Forward. Franklin knows how to produce gospel music that will appeal to young people. Franklin also makes a guest appearance on the album and so does Brandy and Lecrae. The album zoomed to the top of the gospel charts and Perfect People also did well. They were nominated for a Grammy and Stellar awards. Franklin wrote most of the songs on the album including Perfect People. The Walls Group do write so maybe on the next album they will have more input into the songs. They released a Christmas EP in 2015 and they are currently touring. I would expect them to begin working on new music very soon. Here's the video for Perfect People by The Walls Group.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lizz Wright concert review

Last night I went to see jazz singer Lizz Wright at Koerner Hall in downtown Toronto. The opening act for this concert was classically trained cabaret singer Patricia O'Callaghan. Patricia is associated with the Soulpepper Theater Company so I assume she is popular in the Toronto theater community. But she's not a jazz singer and she should not have been booked to open a jazz concert. She's too pretentious for me so I didn't care for her. We had an intermission and Lizz came out with her band. Lizz grew up singing in church in Atlanta. She was discovered by Joe Sample of The Crusaders and that led to a contract with Verve. That's when I first heard of her. Her latest album Freedom & Surrender was released Sept. 2015 and it's her first album on Concord. It was produced by Larry Klein who used to be married to Joni Mitchell and he is currently married to the fabulous Brazilian singer Luciana Souza. Someone please bring her to town. Klein and Lizz wrote most of the songs on the album with veteran songwriter David Batteau. They use mostly session musicians on the album. Lizz's touring band is led by organist Kenny Banks and he has worked with Lizz for a decade. Other musicians were Chris Rosser on guitar, Nicholas D'Amato on bass and veteran sideman Brannen Temple on drums. Lizz told this story that she told on Facebook about Prince coming to her show in Minneapolis last week. I thought she might do a Prince song but she did not. Instead she performed a cover of the Neil Young classic Old Man. She performed some other covers like the standard I'm Confessin' and also some original songs. Though Lizz is classified as jazz, her main influence is gospel similar to Gregory Porter who appears on her new album. She mixes several styles of music seamlessly and I love her voice. She doesn't sound like any other jazz singer. I thought her band was great especially Banks who got in some great organ solos. I don't know why there was an opening act as there wasn't one on the other concerts I went to this year. I would have preferred another half hour of Lizz and her band.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nashaz

Song:Hijaz Nashaz

This group Nashaz is a mix of jazz and Arabic music. I see some jazz musicians go off on a tangent like this. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The man behind Nashaz is guitarist Brian Prunka. He has mastered the oud. For those not familiar with it, the oud resembles a mandolin or a lute. It is very common in Middle Eastern music but most music fans here wouldn't be familiar with it. Prunka was born in Newtown, CT and he grew up in Miami. He studied guitar in New Orleans and then he moved to New York in 2003 to study the oud with Simon Shaheen. At the time he led the Near East River Ensemble. It doesn't look like they ever recorded. In 2008, he moved back to New Orleans to teach guitar at Loyola University. Then he moved back to New York and since then he has led various bands that mix jazz with Arabic music. Prunka said in an interview that he still plays guitar but he is drawn to the oud. He plays in several bands but Nashaz is his main band right now. Prunka released the album in 2013. He plays oud. Other musicians are Kenny Warren on trumpet, Nathan Herrera on alto sax and flute, Apostolis Sideris on bass, George Mel on percussion and Vin Scialla on tambourine. From what I can tell, Prunka still leads Nashaz in New York clubs and apparently the band has a following in the Arabic community. Here's Nashaz performing Hijaz Nashaz on what seems to be a New York Arabic community access show called The Bridge.

Friday, April 22, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Israel & New Breed

Artist:Israel & New Breed
Song:Moving Forward
Album:Playlist: The Very Best of Israel & New Breed

Israel Houghton is one of today's top gospel artists usually leading his group New Breed. He also occasionally records solo as he did with Moving Forward from his 2009 CD Power Of One. I would describe Houghton as very similar to Fred Hammond, maybe a little too similar. He was born May 19, 1971 in Oceanside, CA to single teen mother who resisted her family urging her to have an abortion. He started out in the late 80s and formed his group new Breed in 1995. Before that he was in Fred Hammond's group for a while. So I think much of Houghton's music is inspired by Hammond and to me he almost seems like an imitation of Hammond. But it hasn't stopped him from being successful in the gospel market. Moving Forward is from Houghton's 2009 CD Power Of One. This was supposed to be Houghton's solo debut and it was the first CD his label Integrity had with a new distribution deal with Columbia. He has performed songs from Power Of One acoustically. But more typically he performs with New Breed. This budget comp from Columbia has a good enough mix of Houghton's music so you can figure out if you like him. Houghton is currently the worship leader of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston. He could cross over to mainstream music if he wanted to but I don't think he wants to. He has released several live CDs and DVDs including the 2015 CD Covered: Alive In Asia. He now records for RCA Inspiration which is an amalgamation of all the gospel labels that used to be under the Sony banner. He's won plenty of awards and he's popular with the faithful. He's not unique enough for me. Here's Israel & New Breed with Donnie McClurkin performing Moving Forward.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Felice Herrig vs Kailin Curran added to July 23 UFC show

Felice Herrig, Kailin Curran
The UFC announced this afternoon that Felice Herrig vs Kailin Curran has been added to UFC on FOX 20 July 23 at the United Center in Chicago. Felice is a Chicago native. The last time we saw Felice she lost a "Battle of the Blondes" to Paige VanZant in Apr. 2015. So what does the UFC do? They put her in another "Battle of the Blondes". Felice is best known for her ability to promote herself to the point that I think she should teach that skill to other fighters. But she's not a great fighter. She's a very good kickboxer but she's never mastered the other MMA skills. Her weigh ins are always fun. Kailin is 1-2 in the UFC. she beat Emily Kagan for her first UFC win. Emily was recently released. Kailin's big problem is she loses focus during fights. This was particularly noticeable when she lost to Alex Chambers. Kailin was winning that fight. Her trainer has acknowledged she has this problem. I don't know if she can overcome that and it raises doubts that she belongs in the UFC. So I'm not crazy about either of them.

Randa Markos vs Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger added to June 18 UFC show

Randa Markos, Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger
The UFC announced this afternoon that Randa Markos vs Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger has been added to UFC Fight Night 89 June 18 at TD Place in Ottawa, ON. This show will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. Randa is from Windsor, ON but she is currently training at Tri Star in Montreal. You might not recognize her because she just dyed her hair red. Randa is a very good wrestler but she needs to work on her kickboxing skills. In her last fight, I thought she got jobbed a bit losing to Karolina Kowalkiewicz. But Karolina certainly took advantage of Randa's weakness on her feet. I expect Jocelyn will try to do that too but she's not as quick as Karolina and she has no ground game. Jocelyn was a late replacement when she lost to Tecia Torres in December. She needs to prove she belongs in the UFC. I have my doubts. She was a champ in the RFA but this ain't the RFA and she has to raise her game.

Review of The Ultimate fighter 23 episode 1

Last night was the opening episode of The Ultimate Fighter 23 featuring coaches Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha. Last night's episode was the elimination matches to get into the house. The drama starts next week. So instead of posting the entire episode which I might do beginning next week, I am posting the video of the most interesting Strawweight match. All these matches are already on Youtube. All of these matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds and if the match is tied there could be a third round. The first Strawweight match has Invicta veteran Amanda Bobby Cooper vs Dutch kickboxer Mellony Geugjes. One would think that Mellony would want to keep it standing. But instead she takes the fight to the ground after Amanda slips and winds up in an armbar. Amanda wins. Next is Invicta veteran Ashley Cummins vs British fighter Lanchana Green. As I said in my preview, Ashley hasn't been the same since losing to Joanne Calderwood a couple of years ago. This is still the case. Ashley started out OK but Lanchana took over and almost finished with a rear naked choke. Ashley was saved by the bell. In round two, Lanchana blasted Ashley with knees and the match was stopped. Next was Canadian Alyssa Krahn vs Invicta veteran Jamie Moyle. Alyssa gets a takedown but is unable to maintain her position. She attempts another takedown. But Jamie stuffs it and wins with a rear naked choke. Next is Ashley Yoder vs Jodie Esquibel. as I said in my preview, I'm not crazy about Jodie because she's a points fighter. This match is very close but the match was edited on TV. So I am posting the entire match. Both rounds are close enough that there should have been a third round. But instead the judges scored it a split decision win for Ashley. It's a very poor decision. So Ashley goes to the house. But don't be surprised if we see Jodie on the UFC roster very soon. Next Invicta veteran JJ Aldrich won an easy unanimous decision over Kristi Lopez. Then Tatiana Suarez won by unanimous decision over Chel-C Bailey who is pals with Miesha Tate. The first round is close but Tatiana took over in round two and won easily. Kate Jackson won by unanimous decision over Irene Rivera. And finally Brit Helen Harper won by first round armbar over Invicta veteran Amy Montenegro. Except for the one really close fight, none of the results were surprising. And I have posted the video of Ashley Yoder vs Jodie Esquibel so you can see for yourself. The Team Claudia members are Tatiana, Kate, Lanchana and Amanda. The Team Joanna members are JJ, Jamie, Ashley and Helen. Next week's match will be with two of the men so I'm not sure about posting the video yet. We shall see. Enjoy the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Chuck Mangione

Artist:Chuck Mangione
Song:Feels So Good
Album:Greatest Hits

I'm sure that no one was more surprised than jazz flugelhornist Chuck Mangione when the 1977 single Feels So Good was a top ten pop hit. Today Mangione is revered as a smooth jazz pioneer but he didn't know that back then. He was born Nov. 29, 1940 in Rochester, NY. His brother Gap Mangione is a pianist. Dizzy Gillespie was a family friend. The Mangione family has always been a big part of the Rochester jazz scene. While attending the Eastman School of Music, Mangione recorded for Riverside Records as The Jazz Brothers. This band included Gap Mangione on piano and Sal Nistico on sax. In the mid-60s, Mangione was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He also got into arranging and conducting sessions. By the late 60s he moved back to Rochester and started working with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Mangione signed with Mercury Records and released the 1970 album Friends & Love. This was the album that first got him noticed. The album was a mix of jazz, rock, folk and classical music featuring the Rochester Philharmonic, singer songwriters Don Potter and Bat McGrath and jazz musicians like Gerry Niewood and Marvin Stamm. After a few similar albums for Mercury, Mangione moved to A&M Records. His recording of Chase The Clouds Away was used in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Then Feels So Good reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. At the time long time sax player Gerry Niewood had launched a solo career so he wasn't on the record. He would return to Mangione's band later. The featured musician on Feels So Good was guitarist Grant Geissman along with Chris Vadala on sax, Charles Meeks on bass and James Bradley Jr. on drums. Mangione recorded for A&M until 1982 and then he recorded for Columbia in the 80s. He wasn't as commercially successful in those days but there's no question he paved the way for today's smooth jazz artists. He won a Grammy for the soundtrack of the 1978 film Children of Sanchez. Fans of the animated series King of the Hill will remember Mangione for his voice work on that show. Tragedy struck when Mangione band members Gerry Niewood and Coleman Mellett died in a plane crash over Buffalo on Feb. 12, 2009. Since then I don't think Mangione has been as active though he plays occasional gigs. This budget comp covers his Mercury and A&M years. Here's Chuck Mangione performing Feels So Good on The Midnight Special 1977.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dirty Old Man MMA (DEEP JEWELS) announces June 5 card

Yesterday DEEP JEWELS announced the card for their June 5 show at Shinjuku FACE. The story here is not the underwhelming main event which I will get to in a minute but that the rest of the show is dominated by these teen models known as Team DATE. This nonsense emphasizes the dirty little secret of not only Japanese women's MMA but joshi puroresu. The main audience for both products are dirty old men. Why do you think STARDOM owner Hiroshi Ogawa wants a bikini model as his champ? Dirty old men are a big part of his fanbase. It's the same thing for DEEP JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki. He knows that pretty teens attract dirty old men. Of course they don't like to acknowledge this and that's why it's a dirty little secret. When I mentioned this to a friend who lived in Japan and attended JEWELS shows, he was surprised that I knew about the dirty old men. And he also acknowledged it as true. But I've been writing about this stuff for many years and I know how Japanese promoters think. And dirty old men have always been the target audience for women's MMA. The problem now is it's too damn obvious. And anyone who tries to tell you anything else is blowing smoke up your ass. The main event of this show will have Emi Tomimatsu vs Sugi Rock for the vacant DEEP JEWELS Atomweight Championship. They are both mediocre midcard fighters. But Saeki generates more revenue for DEEP JEWELS farming out his better fighters to outside organizations. It doesn't leave much for DEEP JEWELS shows. And then they fill the rest of the show with the Team DATE teen models. Saori Ishioka will face Hana DATE, Amiba will face Nori DATE, Mina Kurobe will face Renju DATE, Tomo Maesawa will face Karei DATE and Yuko Kiryu will face Real DATE. And in an amateur match, 12 year old Karen DATE will face Ayumi Ozaki. That should be enough to attract the dirty old men. Maybe DEEP JEWELS should change their name to Dirty Old Man MMA. At least that would be truth in advertising.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Shelby Lynne

Artist:Shelby Lynne
Song:Your Lies
Album:I Am Shelby Lynne

For the first part of her music career, singer songwriter Shelby Lynne followed the rules of country music and had modest success. When she didn't get that big breakthrough hit single, she moved to a new record company and went in a different direction. The result was the 1999 album I Am Shelby Lynne. Though the album was critically acclaimed and it won her a Grammy, her country music fans abandoned her and the album was ultimately a failure. She was born Shelby Lynn Moorer Oct. 22, 1968 in Quantico, VA. Her sister is the outstanding singer songwriter Allison Moorer. These two perform together sometimes and they are a potent combination. Of course the story is well known that their father was an abusive alcoholic and murdered their mother in 1986 and then killed himself. The girls moved to Nashville in 1987 and Shelby signed with Epic Records. Her first single If I Could Bottle This Up was a duet with George Jones. And her Epic albums were produced by legendary producer Billy Sherrill. But he couldn't do for Shelby what he did for Tammy Wynette and she left Epic in 1991 after three albums. She recorded the 1993 album Temptation for Morgan Creek Records, a short lived offshoot of Morgan Creek Films. When the label closed, she recorded the 1995 album Restless for another short lived label Magnatone. Curb picked up the album for distribution. So then Shelby moved to California and got together with producer Bill Bottrell who had recently had success with Sheryl Crow. They wrote and produced the 1999 album I Am Shelby Lynne for Island Records. Though the album was critically acclaimed and Shelby won a Best New Artist Grammy, there was no hit single and the album didn't sell. And it was so far from her country music base that those fans abandoned her. Her 2001 album Love, Shelby was even slicker pop music produced by Glen Ballard. Shelby recorded two albums for Capitol and then the 2008 Dusty Springfield tribute album Just A Little Lovin' for Lost Highway. After recording a couple of albums on her own label, Shelby signed with Rounder for the 2015 album I Can't Imagine. Rounder is now owned by Concord. She recently announced she will star in the film The Magnificent Room scheduled for release later this year. I Am Shelby Lynne is available as a budget CD and it's a good place to start to check out Shelby's very interesting career. Here's the video for Your Lies by Shelby Lynne.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Walter Egan

Artist:Walter Egan
Song:Magnet and Steel
Album:Singers & Songwriters: Late '70s

Walter Egan started out as a Los Angeles sideman and graduated to solo artist in the late 70s. The 1978 top ten hit Magnet and Steel was his only big hit. He is also known for his close association with Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac and the late guitar legend Gram Parsons. He was born July 12, 1948 in Jamaica, NY. In the early 60s, he led the surf rock band The Malibooz. They played the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. Then Egan moved to Washington, DC and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Georgetown. He planned to do art and music. His band Sageworth and Drums signed with Warner Bros. but the band split up before they could record. Egan appeared on the 1973 Gram Parsons album Grievous Angel and then he moved to Los Angeles with Emmylou Harris. He was backing up guys like Jackson Browne and David Lindley. Columbia Records execs spotted Egan playing at the Troubador and signed him to a record deal. Magnet and Steel is from the 1978 album Not Shy. It was his second album. Both albums were produced by Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. Magnet and Steel reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would turn out to be Egan's only big hit. You can get it on this Time Life 2CD budget various artists comp. Magnet and Steel got a big boost when it appeared in the 1997 film Boogie Nights. Egan left Columbia and recorded for Polydor and Backstreet/MCA but he was never able to score another hit. He reformed The Malibooz and they recorded an album. And he participates in Gram Parsons and Flying Burrito Bros. tribute bands. And he does graphic design. Egan is still around. He released new music in 2014. But his claim to fame is the retro sound of Magnet and Steel. Here's the video for Magnet and Steel by Walter Egan.

Monday, April 18, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jessica Reedy

Artist:Jessica Reedy
Song:Put It On The Altar
Album:From The Heart

Gospel singer Jessica Reedy made a big splash when she was runner up on season two of BET's Sunday Best. This is American Idol for gospel singers. Put It On The Altar was a hit on the Gospel charts. Jessica released two albums and it looks like she has taken a break to raise her family. She was born July 12, 1988 in Saginaw, MI. Her pastor grandfather started calling her on stage to sing at age four. Eventually she landed in Las Vegas as a backup singer. After a failed American Idol audition, she got a music scholarship to Tougaloo College in Mississippi. But then she got pregnant and she moved back to Saginaw. A friend took her to an audition for BET Sunday Best. If you're not familiar with the show, it's been on BET since 2007. The show is produced by Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary. Franklin also hosts the show and Mary Mary and Bebe Winans were the judges when Jessica appeared on the show in 2009. The winner gets a contract with Franklin's record company. Jessica didn't win. She finished second and she signed with eOne's Light label. From The Heart was her 2011 debut CD. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard Gospel Album chart and the single Put It On The Altar did well. Guests on the album include The Soul Seekers, Doc Powell and Faith Evans. Producers include Deon Kipping, Warryn Campbell and Israel Houghton. Put It On The Altar was produced and written by the husband wife team of Charles and Nakeia Homer who have also worked with Cheryl "Coko" Gamble. For her 2014 album Transparent, Jessica left Light and started her own label Purity. It seems she wanted more creative control over her music. She won a Stellar Award for that album. But she hasn't recorded since then and it looks like Jessica has taken an extended break to raise her family. She's a pretty good singer so I would like to see her return. But she seems disillusioned with the music business and it wouldn't surprise me if she doesn't return at all. Here's the video for Put It On The Altar by Jessica Reedy.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Raquel Pennington vs Bethe Correia

Here's the match video of Raquel Pennington vs Bethe Correia from last night's UFC show in Tampa. Guess what, folks? I didn't like this fight either. Fighters should be aggressive and fight to win. In this fight, both were fighting to not lose. And the difference is that when a fighter fights to not lose, she holds back and isn't aggressive enough. So I wasn't impressed with either fighter but I expected more from Raquel. She mentioned this in her post fight interview. The judges gave the fight to Raquel by split decision. I scored it 29-28 for Raquel and I would characterize that she was marginally more effective. I hate scoring fights like this because it's more about who is less effective instead of more effective. It's like Raquel won by default. After the first round, Bethe's corner read her the riot act. She came out more aggressively in round two and then she just stopped and went back to her bad habits. That's why she lost. Enjoy the video!

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Rose Namajunas vs Tecia Torres

Here's the match video of Rose Namajunas vs Tecia Torres from last night's UFC show in Tampa. I was not a fan of this fight. If either of these two wants to be a title contender, a statement needs to be made. And I don't think either of them did that. This goes back to when Tecia beat Rose in Invicta three years ago. To avoid a repeat of that, Rose decided to keep her distance and be less aggressive. She was concerned about getting outpointed because Tecia doesn't finish fights. So she fought Tecia's style to beat her at her own game. Of course Tecia was concerned about getting taken down and submitted. Tecia can be an effective counterpuncher but she didn't do enough to win the fight. All three judges scored the fight 29-28. I scored the fight 30-27 for Rose not because she was dominant and effective but because Tecia was completely ineffective. It's funny because after round two, Tecia's corner told her she was losing and she needed a big round. I guess they don't watch her fights because Tecia doesn't finish fights. And she didn't fight any differently in round three because they told her that. She's a points fighter and that finally bit her in the ass. I would have liked a more dominant win for Rose because it would have set her up as title contender. But she admitted afterwards that she's not ready for a title shot. And I don't think Tecia lost badly enough for her to consider changing her fighting style. So I don't know if this fight proved anything. Maybe they'll do a rubber match. enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Stacey Kent

Artist:Stacey Kent
Song:Waters Of March
Album:Dreamer In Concert

Jazz singer Stacey Kent lives in England but she was born in New Jersey. Most of her popularity is in Europe to the point where I guess a lot of fans think she's British. But she was born Mar. 27, 1965 in South Orange, NJ. She grew up listening to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Then she earned a degree in comparative literature at Sarah Lawrence College. She moved to England to study at the Guildhall School of Music. She met British sax player Jim Tomlinson. They married in 1991 and he has been her musical director ever since. Stacey sang for the Vile Bodies Swing Orchestra which led to an appearance as a jazz singer in the 1995 film Richard III starring Ian McKellan. Then she signed with Candid Records and released her debut CD Close Your Eyes in 1997. She became popular in England when trumpeter and jazz critic Humphrey Lyttleton championed her and this led to Stacey winning a couple of BBC Jazz Awards. Then she signed with Blue Note in 2006 and this led to more success mostly in Europe. This recording of the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic Waters Of March is from the 2011 CD Dreamer In Concert. This was recorded live at the La Cigale in Paris. She performs mostly standards arranged by husband and musical director Jim Tomlinson. Other musicians are Graham Harvey on piano, Jeremy Brown on bass and Matt Skelton on drums. Recently Stacey signed with Sony's Okeh label and the album Tenderly was released Jan. 2016. She is currently on tour in Europe and she will be in the US in July including a week at Birdland in New York City. Here's Stacey Kent with Suzanne Vega performing Waters Of March on French TV 2008.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jennifer Saunders

Artist:Jennifer Saunders
Song:Holding Out For A Hero
Album:Shrek 2: Motion Picture Soundtrack

British comedian Jennifer Saunders is best known for the 90s sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. But she does plenty of other things including voice work in animated films. Holding Out For A Hero is from the 2004 film Shrek 2. She was born July 6, 1958 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England. Her family moved around a lot because her dad was a pilot in the Royal Air Force and then he worked for British Aerospace. Jennifer planned to be a drama teacher but then she met future partner Dawn French. They became members of the comedy group Comic Strip. They appeared on Channel 4 TV. They spun off in 1987 as French and Saunders on the BBC. While doing that show, Jennifer and Dawn planned to spin off one of their sketches as Absolutely Fabulous. When Dawn was unable to do the show, Jennifer hired actress Joanna Lumley. Not only was Absolutely Fabulous a hit in England but it was a hit on Comedy Central in the US. The show ran from 1992-2012 and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie will be released July 2016. Jennifer has also appeared in US sitcoms and done voice work in animated films. Her most notable voice role was as the villainous Fairy Godmother in the 2004 film Shrek 2. Of course Holding Out For A Hero was a hit in the 80s for Bonnie Tyler. It's a bonus track on the soundtrack CD. There is a second CD with the film's score by Harry Gregson-Williams who produced Holding Out For A Hero. Jennifer won a People's Choice Award for Best Movie Villain. Jennifer still does a lot of TV work for the BBC. And she did the voice of Queen Elizabeth II in the animated film Minions. And as I said, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie will be released this summer. She is also in the animated film Sing to be released this Christmas. Here's a video for Holding Out For A Hero by Jennifer Saunders from the 2004 film Shrek 2.

Friday, April 15, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Europe

Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Europe

The Swedish hard rock group Europe scored two big hits in 1986. The first was The Final Countdown and the second was the power ballad Carrie. Both were top ten hits in the US. Carrie was the bigger hit in the US and The Final Countdown was the bigger hit in Europe. But both songs were big enough to keep this band going so that they are still around today. The lead singer, pianist and main songwriter of Europe is Joey Tempest (born Joakim Larsson Aug. 19, 1963 in Stockholm, Sweden). The band was called Force when they were formed in 1979. Other members were guitarist John Norum, bassist Peter Olsson and drummer Tony Reno. They sent out demos and record companies told them to cut their hair and sing in Swedish. John Leven replaced Olsson. Tempest changed the band name to Europe after the Deep Purple album Made In Europe. They won a talent contest and that got them a record deal. They recorded two albums and then signed with Columbia Records. Tony Reno was fired for unreliability and replaced by Ian Haugland. They also added keyboard player Mic Michaeli so Tempest could concentrate on singing. The 1986 album The Final Countdown was recorded with Journey producer Kevin Elson. The single The Final Countdown was a number one hit in the UK and other European countries. It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Carrie reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album The Final Countdown was certified 3XPlatinum. This was the height of Europe's career. They never had another big hit single. And by the early 90s their albums weren't selling either. So they went on hiatus in 1992. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Europe reformed in 2003 and they are still around. Their latest CD War Of Kings was released last year. They just finished a US tour. Maybe you saw them in a recent GEICO commercial. Here's the video for Carrie by Europe.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Jessica Andrade vs Jessica Penne added to June 4 UFC show

Jessica Andrade
Brian Martin of the Los Angeles Daily News reported this afternoon that Jessica Andrade vs Jessica Penne has been added to UFC 199 at The Forum in Inglewood, CA. For those who don't know, The Forum has recently been renovated. This will be Jessica Andrade's first fight as a Strawweight. She was 4-2 in the UFC as a Bantamweight. After she lost to Raquel Pennington last September, Jessica announced plans to drop to Strawweight. She's short for a Bantamweight but powerful. I'm sure this was suggested by the UFC. On the other hand, Jessica Penne is undersized for a Strawweight. in Invicta, she was Atomweight champ. Last time we saw her in June 2015, UFC Strawweight Champ Joanna Jedrzejczk was punching her lights out. I could see her having problems with Jessica Andrade's power. This fight should be very interesting.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk

Artist:Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk
Album:Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk

This is a 1958 one off album with legendary pianist Thelonious Monk sitting in on an Art Blakey recording session. It was the only time these two jazz giants would record together. The Jazz Messengers started out as a band led by Art Blakey and Horace Silver. Blakey took over in 1956. The band on this 1958 album was the second version of The Jazz Messengers after Blakey took over. They first recorded together on the 1957 Columbia album Hard Bop. The musicians were Bill Hardman on trumpet, Jackie McLean on alto sax, Sam Dockery on piano and Jimmy "Spanky" DeBrest on bass. After McLean signed a solo deal with Blue Note he was replaced by tenor sax player Johnny Griffin. That's the band on this album of course with Monk replacing Dockery. It was recorded in 1957 right after Monk got his cabaret card back and he was able to perform in New York clubs again. He had a band with John Coltrane at the time. Blakey helped Monk on numerous occasions. So in return Blakey asked Monk to record this one off session for Atlantic Records. Most of the songs are Monk standards including Rhythm-A-Ning which was first recorded on the 1957 album with Gerry Mulligan called Mulligan Meets Monk. Rhino released this album on CD adding some bonus alternate takes. It's available as a budget CD. Soon after this Blakey signed with Blue Note and he formed an all new Jazz Messengers featuring Lee Morgan and Benny Golson. Coltrane left Monk for Miles Davis and Johnny Griffin joined Monk's new band. Blakey and Monk never recorded together again. Here's a video of Rhythm-A-Ning by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nickel Creek

Artist:Nickel Creek
Song:This Side
Album:Reasons Why (The Very Best)

The bluegrass group Nickel Creek started out as teens and were then discovered by Alison Krauss. She used her stardom to help them and they did very well in the early 00s. They split up in 2006 but they reformed and toured in 2014. Nickel Creek are from Vista, CA which is near San Diego. Sean Watkins and Chris Thile were taking mandolin lessons from the same instructor. Sean's sister Sara Watkins was taking lessons from a friend of that instructor. They were all pre-teens at the time. But they decided to form Nickel Creek with Chris Thile's dad Scott Thile playing bass. In the 90s, Nickel Creek toured the festival circuit and they self released a couple of CDs. Alison Krauss saw them and agreed to produce their next album and she got them a record deal with Sugar Hill Records. The 2000 CD Nickel Creek was certified Platinum. They were also nominated for a couple of Grammys and CMA awards. They also backed up Dolly Parton on the 2001 Grammy broadcast. Scott Thile retired from the road and he was replaced by various bassists. The 2002 CD This Side aimed to cross over to pop. It was certified Gold and Nickel Creek won a Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy. After the 2005 album Why Should The Fire Die?, Nickel Creek decided to split up after a 2006 tour. Sugar Hill released this CD/DVD comp in 2006. All three worked on solo projects and in various groups. They decided to reform in 2014 and they released the CD A Dotted Line on Nonesuch Records and they toured. It's not clear if Nickel Creek intends to continue. Sean Watkins just released a new CD What To Fear and he is touring. Here's the video for This Side by Nickel Creek.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Wet Willie

Artist:Wet Willie
Song:Keep On Smilin'
Album:Keep On Smilin'

The Southern fried rock band Wet Willie were never as popular as The Allman Brothers Band or Lynyrd Skynyrd but they had success of their own. Keep On Smilin' was their biggest hit and their signature song. Wet Willie was formed in Mobile, AL in 1969 as Fox. They moved to Macon, GA, changed their name to Wet Willie and signed with Phil Walden's Capricorn label which was also the home of The Allman Brothers Band. Jimmy Hall was the lead singer of Wet Willie and he also played harmonica. His brother Jack Hall played bass and sister Donna Hall was one of the background singers The Willettes. Other members were John David Anthony on keyboards, Ricky Hirsch on guitar and Lewis Ross on drums. Wet Willie's first couple of albums didn't do well. But they broke through with the 1974 album Keep On Smilin'. The single Keep On Smilin' reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Some of their other singles charted but Keep On Smilin' was their biggest hit. After five studio albums and two live albums for Capricorn, Wet Willie left for Epic in 1977. They recorded two unsuccessful albums for Epic and Wet Willie went on hiatus in the early 80s. There are no Wet Willie comps in print right now. But the album Keep On Smilin' is available on CD. Jimmy Hall recorded solo in the 80s. He reformed Wet Willie in the 90s and a version of the band still tours. Here's Wet Willie performing Keep On Smilin' at Volunteer Jam IV in Nashville Jan. 14, 1978.

Monday, April 11, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Hozier

Song:Take Me to Church

Irish singer songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne came out of nowhere to score a worldwide smash hit with Take Me To Church. It was a hit first in Europe and then in North America in 2015. Of course the big question is longevity. Is he a one hit wonder? He was born Mar. 17, 1990 in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. So yeah, an Irishman born on St. Patrick's Day. His father was a local blues singer. Hozier says he was heavily influenced by listening to Delta Blues. While studying music at Trinity College in Dublin, he was in the Trinity Orchestra. He dropped out of school to record demos for Universal Music. Then he was a member of the popular choral group Anuna for several years. Hozier self released Take Me To Church as an EP in 2013. It got the attention of local label Rubyworks and producer Rob Kirwin. Kirwin has worked with U2 among others. Kirwin reworked Take Me To Church with new backing tracks but he kept Hozier's vocal. Then the video got a lot of attention on Youtube. The song is about Hozier's frustration with homophobia in the Catholic Church. It's a hot button topic. This got him a record deal with Island. Take Me To Church was a big hit in Europe and this got him a US record deal with Columbia. The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album has sold two million copies worldwide. This guy literally came out of nowhere. Hozier has been on tour for the last year. Take Me To Church was nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy and Hozier performed the song with Annie Lennox on the Grammy Awards broadcast. He recently told Associated Press that when he finishes touring he will record a new album. And that's the big question about Hozier. Can he maintain his success? One never knows in the music business. Here's the video for Take Me To Church by Hozier.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Maryna Moroz vs Cristina Stanciu

Here's the match video of Maryna Moroz vs Cristina Stanciu from today's UFC show in Croatia. Maryna is from the Ukraine. The last time we saw her, she didn't look very good losing to Valerie Letourneau. She is 1-1 in the UFC. She trains with her boxer husband but she is also partial to using the triangle armbar as a finisher. Cristina is from Romania. Her nickname is Barbie from when she was a teenage dancer. Her record is 5-0. Before coming to the UFC, both fighters fought at 125lb. The first thing I notice about Cristina is she holds her hands too low. She charges at Maryna with a flying knee which leads to a guillotine attempt which ultimately doesn't pan out. The problem is she expends too much energy trying for a submission that clearly isn't working. I see this a lot from European fighters who lack experience. As a fighter, you need to know when a submission is going nowhere. And a guillotine is a low percentage submission at best. This poops her out and Cristina never really recovers from it. Maryna takes over and she never looks back. She almost finishes the fight in round three with her triangle armbar. Maryna wins by unanimous decision. Cristina needs to work on her endurance if she plans to be successful in the UFC. But she's only 22 years old and she had plenty of time to work in things. Enjoy the video.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-April Wine

Artist:April Wine
Song:Just Between You And Me
Album:Over 60 Minutes With...April Wine: The Hits

April Wine were successful in their native Canada for a decade before breaking through in the US. Just Between You And Me was their biggest hit in the US in 1981. April Wine formed in Halifax in 1969 but they moved to Montreal in 1970. Myles Goodwyn was lead singer, guitarist and main songwriter. Other members were David Henman on guitar, his brother Richie Henman on drums and cousin Jim Henman on bass. Shortly after moving to Montreal, April Wine signed with Aquarius Records and their debut album April Wine was released in 1971. The single Fast Train got some airplay on Canadian radio. Jim Henman left and was replaced by Jim Clench of Coven. For their 1972 album On Record, April Wine signed a US record deal with the Atlantic Records label Big Tree Records. The first single was a cover of Hot Chocolate's You Could Have Been A Lady. It reached #2 on the Canadian charts but April Wine never seemed to get anywhere in the US with Big Tree. On Record was certified Gold in Canada. Then the Henman brothers left and were replaced by former Mashmakhan drummer Jerry Mercer and guitarist Gary Moffet. Aquarius suggested Moffet and April Wine producer Ralph Murphy also produced Mashmakhan. They continued to have success in Canada. After the 1975 album Stand Back, Clench was replaced by former Mashmakhan guitarist Steve Lang. Clench would go on to replace Randy Bachman in BTO and he was an original member of Loverboy. Then April Wine got a big break. They played a 1977 charity gig at the El Mocambo in Toronto headlined by The Rolling Stones. This got them a new US record deal with Capitol and a chance to tour in the US. Then they added guitarist Brian Greenway also from Mashmakhan. Greenway was an accomplished singer and songwriter and his addition allowed Goodwyn to switch to keyboards. April Wine continued to have success in Canada and they finally had success in the US when the 1981 album Nature of the Beast was certified Platinum. Just Between You And Me reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Supposedly it was the first Canadian video played on MTV. Things started to fall apart for April Wine when Goodwyn moved to the Bahamas and started working in a solo album. The band fell apart but Goodwyn and Greenway recorded one last April Wine album with session musicians. Capitol has released the budget comp Classic Masters but it doesn't have any of the Big Tree material on it. This comp is a more expensive import but it includes April Wine's early recordings. April Wine reunited in 1992 and Goodwyn and Greenway continue to lead them today. Jim Clench died in 2010. April Wine were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame in 2010. Here's the video for Just Between You And Me by April Wine.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Analysis of Invicta FC17 card

Invicta has finally announced the complete card for Invicta FC17 May 7 at The Hangar at OC Fair in Costa Mesa, CA. This show will air on UFC Fight Pass. They added some prelims last night and I always like to analyze the card as a whole. My first impression is this is one of the weakest cards they have ever put together. And this is from a company that has been notorious for mediocre matchmaking since they began. They just can't seem to stop playing favourites with fighters they are friendly with but have no business getting title shots. There are two title matches on this show. Both of them got a big eye roll from me. Tanya Evinger with defend her Invicta Bantamweight Championship against Colleen Schneider. I understand that division is very thin but there's no way Colleen should get a title shot based on a split decision win over Raquel Pa'aluhi. I guess they have no one else. They need to develop new contenders because this doesn't cut it. The second title match has Livia Renata Souza defending her Invicta Strawweight Championship against Angela Hill. This idiotic matchmaking shows that even if a fighter was a failure in the UFC, just being in the UFC and having a big mouth will get you stroke in Invicta. Angela won her first two Invicta fights over mediocre fighters and that's enough for a title shot? Livia is way too slick for Angela. Adding insult to injury, they have MIZUKI on this show facing veteran Brazilian midcard fighter Aline Serio. MIZUKI looked great beating Lacey Schuckman in her last Invicta match. They take Hill over MIZUKI after that performance? What the hell is wrong with those dopes? And Serio is a mediocre fighter. She's 9-5 and her history is she loses to fighters better than her. So instead of a title shot, MIZUKI gets a worse opponent. None of this makes any sense. The other three fights on the main card are prelim quality matches. Veteran kickboxer Charmaine Tweet will face boxer Latoya Walker. I don't like either of them. Tessa Simpson will face Julia Jones in an Atomweight bout. I would describe both as unproven and it's a prelim fight. And in a Welterweight fight, Aussie Megan Anderson will face Amanda Bell. I don't care for either of them. In the prelims, Christine Stanley will face Shannon Sinn. Both are older fighters with not much experience. I don't look at fighters like this as prospects because of age. Fans get pissed with me about my negative bias towards older fighters. But Father Time is undefeated in the fight business. Rachael Ostovich will face Ariel Beck. Rachael is memorable as the fighter who likes to dress up as Wonder Woman. Her record is 2-2. Ariel is new to Invicta. And in a Bantamweight fight Brit Laura Howarth will face Alexa Connors. Laura is 2-1 but she hasn't fought since 2014. Alexa is making her pro debut. That's what the prelims are for. But this show seems like it's filled with prelims and mismatches.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Richard Harris

Artist:Richard Harris
Song:How To Handle A Woman
Album:Camelot: Original Motion Picture Sound Track

Richard Harris was an actor who scored a surprising smash hit in 1968 with MacArthur Park. But his performance in the 1967 film musical Camelot is likely what convinced Harris that he could record an album. It was in the 1963 film The Sporting Life that Harris was first noticed. He was very similar to guys like Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole. So when Joshua Logan was looking to direct a film version of the Lerner and Leowe musical Camelot, he cast Harris as King Arthur and Vanessa Redgrave as Guenevere. Of course Camelot was a Broadway success in 1959 starring Richard Burton and Julie Andrews. By the time Warner Bros. turned Camelot into a film, Burton and Andrews would have been too expensive. So casting Harris in a role made famous by Burton was good for Warners and for Harris. Though Camelot was not received well by critics, Harris and Redgrave were praised for their performances and Harris won a Golden Globe. It also convinced Harris that he could record a pop album. And soon after this he met songwriter Jimmy Webb at a party and they produced the smash hit MacArthur Park. Camelot was a box office success and the soundtrack is available as a budget CD. Harris returned to play King Arthur in Camelot in a 1981 stage production on Broadway and then in London. It aired on HBO. Here's Richard Harris performing How To Handle A Woman in the 1967 film Camelot.

Friday, April 08, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dionne Warwick and The Spinners

Artist:Dionne Warwick and The Spinners
Song:Then Came You
Album:The Very Best Of Dionne Warwick

The 1974 chart topper Then Came You came at a very low point in Dionne Warwick's career. The Spinners were actually more popular at the time. In 1971, Dionne left Scepter Records for a $5M contract with Warner Bros. The idea was for Dionne to continue working with songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David as she had in the 60s. But they split up after producing the 1973 film Lost Horizon and it bombed. This left Dionne without her producers. She sued them and it was settled out of court for $5M. Warners tried to pair her with veteran producers like Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Jerry Ragavoy but nothing clicked. Producer Thom Bell approached Dionne about recording Then Came You with The Spinners. She didn't like the record much. But Bell told her it would be a hit. After Then Came You topped the charts, Dionne apologized to Bell. Bell went on to produce Dionne's 1975 album Track of the Cat. Her Warners albums did poorly and she left Warners for Arista in 1979. Arista owner Clive Davis revived her career in the 80s. You can get Then Came You on this budget comp of Dionne's 60s music from Rhino. You can also get it on The Very Best of The Spinners. Here's Dionne Warwick and The Spinners performing Then Came You on Solid Gold 1985.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Strawweight fighters announced for The Ultimate Fighter 23

Last night the UFC announced the fighters participating in The Ultimate Fighter 23. This will start airing Apr. 20 on Fox Sports 1 and TSN. Of course the coaches are UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and her number one challenger Claudia Gadelha. After the show is over, Joanna will defend her title against Claudia on July 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. There are 16 Light Heavyweights and 16 Strawweights in the cast. So let's look at the Strawweights in alphabetical order. J.J. Aldrich is 23 years old from Denver. Her record is 2-1. All three of her fights were in Invicta. Chelsea Bailey is 23 years old from Oklahoma City. Her record is 2-0. One of those two fights was in Brazil. Amanda Bobby Cooper is 24 years old from Bath, MI. Her record is 1-1. That loss was to Aspen Ladd in Invicta. Amanda usually fights at 125lb. Ashley Cummins is 28 years old from St. Louis. She's a police officer. Here record is 3-3 and her last three fights (all losses) were in Invicta. I remember she got badly hurt in her 2012 fight against Joanne Calderwood. I don't think she has been the same since then. Jodie Esquibel is 29 years old from Albuquerque. She trains at Jackson's. Her record is 5-1, 3-1 in Invicta. She's too much of a points fighter for me. Mellony Geugjes is 23 years old from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her record is 1-0 and that win was in Croatia. Lanchana Green is 26 years old from Darlington, England. Her MMA record is 0-1 but she has had a lot of Muay Thai fights. But she hasn't fought in a couple of years. She's pretty though. Helen Harper is 28 years old from Farnborough, England. Her record is 4-1. Her loss was to UFC fighter Cortney Casey for PXC in Guam. Kate Jackson is 29 years old from Newquay, England. Her record is 7-2. One of those losses was to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2013. She normally fights at 125lb. Alyssa Krahn is 28 years old from Edmonton. Her record is 3-1. Kristi Lopez is 33 years old from Los Angeles. Her record is 2-0. She normally fights at 125lb. She's a little old considering her experience. Amy Montenegro is 32 years old from Lynwood, WA. Her record is 7-2 and 1-1 in Invicta. I don't think I liked her. Jamie Moyle is 27 years old from Orlando, FL but she trains at Syndicate in Las Vegas. Her record is 3-1 all in Invicta. She lost her latest fight in Sept. Irene Rivera is 23 years old from Malaga, Spain. Her record is 6-2 and she has fought for Cage Warriors and Super Fight League. Tatiana Suarez is 25 years old from Covina, CA. Her record is 3-0. She normally fights at 125lb. And finally Ashley Yoder is 25 years old from Temecula, CA. Her record is 4-1. She has fought for BAMMA USA. Pick your favourite and we'll see you Apr. 20.

Miesha Tate to defend UFC Bantamweight Championship against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200

It was announced on last night's episode of UFC Tonight that Miesha Tate will make her first defense of the UFC Bantamweight Championship against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 July 9 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Miesha appeared on the show to announce this. Amanda is from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil but she currently trains with former UFC fighter Mike Brown at American Top Team in Florida. Her record is 12-4. Amanda likes to finish fights in the first round. So I expect her to be very aggressive and try to finish. But if she is unable to do that, she could have problems getting through five rounds. She has problems getting through three rounds. In her last fight, Amanda easily won the first two rounds over Valentina Shevchenko but then ran out of gas in round three. She's had trouble with this for her entire career. And I know Brown has been working with her on her endurance. It's still a problem. When Miesha won the title from Holly Holm, she was behind on the judges scorecards after four rounds. She needed a finish and she got it. That's what Amanda is up against. So there has been a lot whining on Twitter that Ronda Rousey or Holly Holm didn't get this match. Ronda isn't expected to return until the fall so I don't know why anyone would expect her to get this fight. With Holly Holm, the likely answer is that UFC president Dana White wanted to stick it to her manager Lenny Fresquez. It's common knowledge that White hates him. I was not impressed with Holly's performance in that fight. She did the exact opposite of her sterling performance against Ronda. It makes me think she's a fluke. She has to prove that she's not a fluke. I think there is some concern that the fighter we saw that night is the real Holly Holm. A red flag should go up. It's a good reason not to give her a rematch.

EDIT:This afternoon Holly Holm's manager Lenny Fresquez told Rick Wright of the Albuquerque Journal. that the UFC gave Miesha Tate a choice of defending against Holly or Amanda Nunes and Miesha chose Amanda. In his words, Miesha chose "the weaker opponent". Of course he thinks Holly is a better fighter than Amanda. He's Holly's manager. But Amanda is probably more dangerous especially in the first round. She's more aggressive and better on the ground. But Amanda hasn't had high profile fights.

EDIT: Last night, Miesha Tate told Steven Marrocco of MMA Junkie that the UFC suggested Amanda Nunes over Holly Holm. That brings me back to my initial thought that Dana White was looking to stick it to Holly's manager Lenny Fresquez.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Gregoire Maret

Artist:Gregoire Maret
Song:Lucilla's Dream
Album:Gregoire Maret

The harmonica is not an instrument that most music fans would associate with jazz. Probably the best known jazz harmonica player is Toots Thielemans who is still going strong at age 93. Gregoire Maret is following in Thielemans' footsteps. Maret is mainly a sideman but he has released a couple of CDs. He was born May 13, 1975 in Geneva, Switzerland. After graduating from the Geneva conservatory, Maret moved to New York and studied at New School University. In 1999 he started working as a sideman for Jacky Terrasson, Jimmy Scott, Kurt Elling, Marcus Miller and many others. He toured with Pat Metheny and Herbie Hancock. He released the 2007 CD Scenarios with pianist Andy Milne. The 2012 CD Gregoire Maret was released on eOne Music. Among the guest artists are Toots Thielemans, Cassandra Wilson, Raul Midon, bassist Marcus Miller and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. His basic band on the album is Federico Gonzalez Pena on piano, James Genus on bass and Clarence Penn on drums. For his touring band, Genus was replaced by Reggie Washington. While Maret continues to work as a sideman for Dianne Reeves and Luciana Souza, he signed a new deal with Sunnyside Records. The CD Wanted was released last week. Guest artists include Mark Kibble of Take 6, Chris Potter, Ivan Lins and Jimmy Scott. Maret was the subject of the 2003 documentary Sideman. I didn't see any tour dates on his website. But I expect him to tour this summer's jazz festival circuit. Check him out if he's coming your way. Here's Gregoire Maret with Federico Gonzalez Pena on piano, Reggie Washington on bass and Clarence Penn on drums performing Lucilla's Dream Jan. 23, 2011 in Switzerland.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Art Ensemble Of Chicago

Artist:The Art Ensemble Of Chicago
Album:Restoration Ruin/Bap-Tizm

If you are interested in exploring avant garde jazz, The Art Ensemble Of Chicago is a good place to start. They started out in the late 60s and continued into the new millennium. They normally close all their shows with Odwalla which first appeared on the 1972 album Bap-Tizm. The Art Ensemble Of Chicago came out of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Sax player Roscoe Mitchell recorded the 1966 album Sound with trumpeter Lester Bowie and bassist Malachi Favors. In 1967 they were joined by sax player Joseph Jarman and drummer Phillip Wilson. Wilson was replaced by Don Moye in 1970. Other than that, this was the lineup until Jarman's 1993 retirement. They first recorded as The Art Ensemble Of Chicago in 1969 for the French label BYG Actuel distributed in the US by Freedom Records. They were living in France at the time and the name was suggested by the label. They recorded the a 1970 album with Bowie's singer wife Fontella Bass. They moved back to the US in 1972 and they signed with Atlantic Records. Bap-Tizm was the first of two albums for Atlantic and today is considered a classic. It was recorded at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival in Michigan. Odwalla was written by Mitchell and as I said, they usually close all their shows with it. The vocals are by Moye. Unfortunately Bap-Tizm is not available on its own on CD. Instead Collectables has chosen to pair it as a twofer with the 1968 Keith Jarrett album Restoration Ruin where Jarrett chooses to sing instead of play piano. That's not a very pleasant surprise for jazz fans. The Art Ensemble of Chicago also recorded for ECM and the Japanese label DIW. Jarman retired in in 1993 but he returned in 2004. Bowie died in 1999 and Favors died in 2004. The Art Ensemble Of Chicago last recorded in 2006. Mitchell is still active but it looks like the Art Ensemble is not active right now. I suppose he could reform them if he wanted. Here's The Art Ensemble Of Chicago with Amina Claudine Myers on vocals performing Odwalla at Jazz Festival Lugano in Switzerland July 1993.