Thursday, June 30, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Duke Ellington and Count Basie

Artist:Duke Ellington and Count Basie
Song:Segue In C
Album:First Time! The Count Meets The Duke





As I have said in the past, when Duke Ellington's career was revived in the late 50s, one of the things he decided to do was record with other jazz legends. After all, he wasn't getting any younger. This included albums with Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. Of course in Ellington's heyday of the 40s, Count Basie was considered to be Ellington's greatest rival. I don't think there was ever a real rivalry between the two. It seems like any rivalry was fan motivated. Both bands were outstanding but they had different styles. But when First Time! was recorded, the two bands did work together. You can clearly hear this on Segue In C which was written by Basie sax player Frank Wess and the Basie band first recorded it on the 1959 album Chairman Of The Board. Basie and Ellington both solo on the song. And I think Wess and trombonist Benny Powell also solo. But the integration is seamless. You won't know that there are two bands on this album. It could have been a big mess but it isn't. Columbia wanted to call the album Battle Royal after the Ellington song that leads off the album. But Basie balked at the album title as he thought the recording session was very genial. So obviously Basie didn't think there was a rivalry. In 1999, Sony released First Time! with several bonus tracks. These are mostly alternate takes but there are a couple of songs that weren't on the original album. And it's available as a budget CD. It's a must for Ellington and Basie fans. Here's a video of Segue In C by Duke Elington and Count Basie.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ronny Jordan

Artist:Ronny Jordan
Song:After Hours
Album:The Essential Guide To Jazz




Guitarist Ronny Jordan was successful mostly in his native England in the 90s in Smooth Jazz and also in Acid Jazz. Unfortunately his most popular album is out of print. He was born Robert Simpson Nov. 29, 1962 in London, England. His father was a preacher so he grew up singing in church. In the 80s, he got interested in jazz. Jordan was a self taught guitarist influenced by Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. When hip hop took off, he wanted to mix it with jazz. This got him a record deal with Island's 4th & Broadway label. The Antidote was his debut CD in 1992. Jordan's cover of the Erskine Hawkins jazz standard After Hours was probably the first song to get noticed by hip hop fans. His cover of Miles Davis' So What also did well. A couple of tracks featured rapper IG. Other musicians included Philip Bent on flute, Joe Bashorun on piano, Arnie Somogyi on bass and Longsy D on drums. Unfortunately The Antidote is out of print but you can get After Hours on this 3CD various artists comp intended for beginners. Jordan also appeared on Guru's Jazzmatazz and this set him up for success on the jazz charts. Jordan recorded four albums for Island and he also recorded for Blue Note and N-Coded. Jordan had plans for new music when he died on Jan. 13, 2014 at age 51. Here's a video of After Hours by Ronny Jordan.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs

Artist:Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs
Song:Sugar Shack
Album:Top Hits of the Sixties: Amazing Hits





Sugar Shack topped the charts for five weeks in 1963. It might seem like a one hit wonder. But The Fireballs had a long history and they even scored another top ten hit with Bottle Of Wine in 1967. The Fireballs were the house band for Norman Petty in Clovis, NM. Of course as many fans are aware, this is where Buddy Holly recorded all his hits. The Fireballs recorded their own records and would back up other acts. They got the name from the Jerry Lee Lewis hit Great Balls Of Fire. The original 1958 lineup was Chuck Tharp on lead vocals, George Tomsco on lead guitar, Dan Trammell on rhythm guitar, Stan Lark on bass and Eric Budd on bass. They charted with Torquay and Bulldog in 1959 and Quite A Party in 1961. Then Tharp, Trammell and Budd left The Fireballs. They were replaced by Jimmy Gilmer on piano and vocals and Doug Roberts on drums. Gilmer was already working at Petty as a studio musician and he had released a single on Decca in 1959. Petty signed The Fireballs to Dot Records. Sugar Shack was the first single released as Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs. It topped the charts for five weeks in 1963. The song was written by Keith McCormack of The String-A-Longs who had success recording for Petty. The catchy organ riff was played on a Hammond Solovox. Petty would release some records as Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, some as The Fireballs and even some as just Jimmy Gilmer. But they were all recorded by The Fireballs. Most of their singles didn't chart except for the 1963 top 20 hit Daisy Petal Pickin'. Sugar Shack is still a memorable song and you can get it on this various artists comp from Collectables. And Ace Records has released The Fireballs recordings through a deal with Petty's estate. Of course like a lot of bands, The Fireballs were killed by the British Invasion. They returned to the charts with the 1968 top ten cover of Tom Paxton's Bottle Of Wine on Atco Records. By this time, Gilmer had left The Fireballs to become a producer in Nashville. The Fireballs are still around led by Tomsco and Gilmer. Sugar Shack has had a long life. Here's Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs performing Sugar Shack 1968.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lauren Murphy vs Katlyn Chookagian added to July 13 UFC show

Lauren Murphy, Katlyn Chookagian
This afternoon, Combat Press reported that Lauren Murphy vs Katlyn Chookagian has been added to UFC Fight Night 91 July 13 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD. This show will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. I expect this fight will air on the prelims. Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not a Lauren Murphy fan because she is a points fighter. She's a striker with no power or ground game. I thought she was overrated when she was a champ in Invicta. So she came to the UFC and lost a couple of close decisions. But that's the chance she takes as a points fighter. She actually got a late third round finish in her last fight. But her opponent Kelly Faszholz came in on short notice and ran out of gas early in the fight. So it doesn't count in my assessment of Lauren and I don't think the win helped her move up the Bantamweight ladder because here she is fighting another UFC newcomer on the prelims. Fans in the Northeast US should be familiar with Katlyn. She's from New Jersey and she trains at Renzo Gracie in Philadelphia. Her record is 7-0. The only problem is she has fought mostly at Flyweight and she is undersized for a Bantamweight. She was CFFC Flyweight Champion and she also fought in the WSOF and in Europe. I like that she has fought outside her region. The size difference could be a factor. I would be surprised if there is a finish in this fight. I expect it to go to a decision.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Amboy Dukes

Artist:The Amboy Dukes
Song:Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Album:Dick Clark's All Time Hits Vol. 3





Most fans should be familiar with guitarist Ted Nugent's solo career. But his solo career was a continuation of The Amboy Dukes. He just dropped the name in 1975. The Amboy Dukes scored a top 20 hit in 1968 with the psychedelic classic Journey To The Center Of The Mind. Though Nugent is from Detroit, he went to high school in Chicago. He was in The Lourds in the early 60s and this is where he met Amboy Dukes lead singer John Drake. Nugent first formed The Amboy Dukes in 1964. He stole the name from a defunct band. After the original band split up, Nugent moved back to Detroit and he formed a new Amboy Dukes. They signed with Bob Shad's Mainstream Records and released their debut album The Amboy Dukes in 1967. The band was Nugent on lead guitar, Drake on lead vocals, Steve Farmer on guitar and vocals, Dave Palmer on drums, Rick Lober on keyboards and Bill White on bass. For the 1968 album Journey To The Center Of The Mind, Lober and White were replaced by Andy Solomon and Greg Arama. Most of the songs including Journey Of The Center Of The Mind were written by Farmer. Journey To The Center Of The Mind reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Today it is considered to be a psychedelic classic and much different to Nugent's later music. Things began to go south for The Amboy Dukes when Drake was replaced by future Cactus lead singer Rusty Day. They left Mainstream for Polydor and then Frank Zappa's DiscReet label. Nugent seemed to have problems keeping lead singers and that hurt the music and record sales. By 1975, Nugent signed with Epic and dropped the Amboy Dukes name. You can get Journey To The Center Of The Mind on this various artists CD. The original album is also available. The Amboy Dukes reunited at the 2009 Detroit Music Awards. They received a Distinguished Achievement award. Here's The Amboy Dukes performing Journey To The Center Of The Mind 1968.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Thomas Dolby

Artist:Thomas Dolby
Song:She Blinded Me With Science
Album:The Best Of Thomas Dolby: Retrospectacle




Thomas Dolby is an electronic keyboard whiz who scored a top five hit with She Blinded Me With Science in 1982. He has been very successful as a songwriter, producer and session musician. These days he is the Music Director for the TED Conference. He was born Thomas Morgan Robertson Oct. 14, 1958 in London, England. His father Martin Robertson was an internationally known professor of classical Greek art and archaeology at the University of London. Dolby is a self taught pianist influenced by Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck. The nickname Dolby came from messing around with electronics in the 70s. Robertson decided to call himself Thomas Dolby so he wouldn't be confused with singer Tom Robinson. Dolby was an important figure in the early days of synth pop. He was the keyboard player for Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club (Video Killed The Radio Star) and he wrote the single New Toy for Lene Lovich. He also worked with Foreigner, Robyn Hitchcock, Whodini and Def Leppard. Then he signed with EMI's Harvest label and released the 1982 album The Golden Age Of Wireless. The original British release did not contain She Blinded Me With Science. That was on an EP that was released after that. When She Blinded Me With Science started getting radio play, it was added to a re-release of The Golden Age Of Wireless. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. I think everyone remembers the video featuring this old guy playing a scientist. But he was a real scientist. Magnus Pike was best known for appearing on the 70s British TV show Don't Ask Me where he was on a panel answering science questions. He was actually a food scientist and he wrote several books. Here in America, Dolby is viewed as a one hit wonder. But he was much more successful in England and he continues to record today. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Dolby has continued to produce bands like Prefab Sprout and also as a session musician. In the 90s, Dolby became involved with internet technology and in 2001, he was named Music Director for the technology conference TED. And he is also a professor at Johns Hopkins University. So maybe Thomas Dolby really is a scientist. Here's the video of She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby. Much to my surprise, this video is not on Youtube.

Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science from Mad Hatter on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Michael Jackson

Artist:Michael Jackson
Song:Ben
Album:The Definitive Collection





Ben was Michael Jackson's very first number one hit as a solo artist in 1972. And it was his only number one solo hit for Motown. When The Jackson Five came to Motown and topped the charts with their first four singles, it was inevitable that they would spin off Michael as a solo artist. He sang lead on most of their hits anyway. Michael's first solo album was Got To Be There in 1971. The single Got To Be There reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and his cover of the Bobby Day classic Rockin' Robin reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. They released two more singles that didn't do as well. The album was certified Gold. It doesn't look like they were planning another solo album when Motown was approached by the producers of the film Ben. Ben was the sequel to the successful killer rat film Willard produced by Bing Crosby Productions. The song Ben was sung in the film by the film's star Lee Montgomery. But the film producers wanted a version of the song played over the end credits. They wanted Donny Osmond to record it but he was on tour and unavailable. So they offered it to Motown and Michael Jackson. Ben was written by Don Black and Walter Scharf. Black was a Brit best known for writing Thunderball and other James Bond themes with John Barry. Scharf was a veteran composer of film and TV music since the 30s. He composed the score for Ben. When Ben topped the charts in late 1972, I guess it surprised Motown because there were no plans for a second Michael Jackson solo album. Berry Gordy brought in a team of producers to record a new album. Fortunately, Ben was nominated for an Oscar and Michael performed Ben on the Oscar broadcast. So that was still fresh when the album was released in May 1973. The album did OK but there were no other hit singles. Then things went sour for the Jacksons at Motown and by 1975 they left for Epic. This budget comp covers Michael Jackson's Motown solo hits along with some Jackson 5 hits. Of course he would become a mega star at Epic. But remember it all started with a song about a rat. Here's Michael Jackson performing Ben at the 1973 Oscar Awards broadcast.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Jessica Eye vs Bethe Correia added to Sept. 10 UFC show

Today it was finally confirmed that Jessica Eye vs Bethe Correia has been added to UFC 203 Sept. 10 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. I expect this fight to air on the prelims. This was first reported a couple of weeks ago by Globo in Brazil. But we were waiting for UFC confirmation because Globo has sent us bum steers in the past. Jessica finally confirmed the fight on Twitter today as she was doing a promotional appearance with her teammate UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic. Of course Cleveland is Jessica's home town so it's not surprising that she is on this show. Both fighters are on losing streaks. Jessica is on a three fight losing streak. She has looked the same in all three of those fights. Several fans have asked me why she is still on the UFC roster. I can't answer that but she just hasn't looked good in any of those losses. Bethe should be an easier opponent as like Jessica, Bethe is a striker and has no ground game. I think Jessica punches harder so if she can land enough leather, she should be able to beat Bethe. Bethe couldn't break an egg with her punches. This could be a loser gets cut from the UFC match but I thought Jessica might get cut after her most recent loss. I dunno. I guess the UFC knew the Cleveland show was coming up.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Barbra Streisand

Artist:Barbra Streisand
Song:Somewhere
Album:Super Hits





Of course Barbra Streisand is one of the biggest stars of all time. She has been successful in movies, TV and music. But she started out on Broadway. So when she left Broadway in the 60s, it was a sad day on the Great White Way. The 1985 album The Broadway Album marked a return of sorts. It was surprising at the time because in the 70s, Barbra's hit singles were either film related like The Way We Were or Evergreen or she was recording contemporary pop like the disco song No More Tears with Donna Summer or You Don't Bring Me Flowers with Neil Diamond. Her most successful album of that era was the 1980 album Guilty produced by Barry Gibb and the number one hit Woman In Love. After that she directed and starred in the film Yentl. And then she recorded the 1984 album Emotion. That album was standard 80s pop. She worked with several producers including Maurice White, Richard Perry and Jim Steinman. The album was certified Platinum but it didn't do as well as her previous albums and there were no hit singles. Then she decided to return to recording show tunes for the 1985 album The Broadway Album. She got Stephen Sondheim to write additional lyrics for Send In The Clowns and Putting It Together. It was her first time recording this kind of music since the 60s and she worked with many of the same musicians. Somewhere from West Side Story was the first single from the album. It did well on the Adult Contemporary chart and that led to the album topping the Billboard Hot 200 and it was certified 4XPlatinum. Somewhere was produced by David Foster. And I guess the most notable thing about the record was the synthesizers played by Michael Boddicker and arranged by Randy Waldman. The main arranger on the album was Peter Matz who worked with Barbra in her early days. Somewhere is on this budget comp which is a good basic intro to Barbra's music. For a more comprehensive comp, check out the 2CD The Essential Barbra Streisand. And The Broadway Album is available as a budget CD. In 1988, Barbra recorded several songs for a second Broadway album with Rupert Holmes. But she wasn't happy with it and it was scrapped. After a few years concentrating on film, she released the 1993 album Back To Broadway. It didn't do as well as the first album. Barbra will release Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway in August. This is an album of Broadway duets with Anthony Newley, Hugh Jackman, Melissa McCarthy and others. Here's the video for Somewhere by Barbra Streisand.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Paige VanZant vs Bec Rawlings added to Aug. 27 UFC show

This morning, Paige VanZant appeared on ESPN's SportsCenter to announce that she will face Bec Rawlings at UFC on FOX 21 Aug. 21 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver. This match will probably air on the main card on FOX in the US and CTV2 in Canada. Paige has been getting a lot of attention recently for her run on Dancing With The Stars. I don't watch that show so I can't comment about it. Of course it raises the question among fans about whether Paige wants to be a fighter or something else. And then In May, Deadline Hollywood reported that Paige would join the cast of Kickboxer: Retaliation. That just added more fuel to the speculative fire. She decided not to do the movie and so now she is returning to the cage. The last time we saw Paige, she was getting clobbered by Rose Namajunas. She went a little too far into the deep end of the pool. Look, I was never convinced that Paige was much of a fighter anyway. Maybe she would be better off in acting. This fight against Bec might give us a better idea of where Paige is as a fighter. In March, Bec returned from a long injury layoff to win a close decision over Ham Seo Hee. Bec is mainly a striker with no ground game. I didn't see anything new from her in that fight. She was just marginally more effective than Ham. So I think Bec and Paige are at a similar level and whoever wins should be able to go up the ladder a bit unless one of them is dominant. But I don't expect that. This fight should go to a decision.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Doug E. Fresh

Artist:Doug E. Fresh f/Slick Rick
Song:The Show
Album:The Greatest Hits





As the original human beatbox, Doug E. Fresh was a key figure in the early days of rap. The Show is probably his biggest hit. Today he's considered a hip hop legend. He was born Douglas E. Davis Sept. 17, 1966 in Christ Church, Barbados but he grew up in Harlem, New York City. His first appearance was on the 1983 single Pass The Budda by Spoonie Gee. But what really got him noticed was his performance in the 1984 film Beat Street doing the human beatbox. He released a couple of one shot singles and then he signed as Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew with Reality Records. The first single was La Di Da Di with The Show on the B-side. MC Ricky D who would later go on to his own career as Slick Rick was the lead rapper on La Di Da Di. The problem was they had to go back and reedit that record to due an unauthorized sample. The original version of La Di Da Di doesn't exist. In the meantime, The Show was released as a single and it reached #4 on the R&B Singles chart. Of course it samples the theme from Inspector Gadget. This would turn out to be Doug E. Fresh's biggest hit single. Today it is praised as one of the building blocks of hip hop and it is frequently sampled by hip hop guys. MC Ricky D left soon after to launch his solo career as Slick Rick. Doug continued to record but he just didn't have the same success with other rappers. This comp CD which looks like it is an Amazon production, has all of Doug's hits. Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick reunited in 1995. Doug recorded for Island and Epic but he wasn't as successful. Doug E. Fresh still performs. He last recorded in 2007. But he says he's working on new music. I guess he's a nostalgia act at this point. Here's the video for The Show by Doug E. Fresh featuring Slick Rick.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Larry Carlton

Artist:Larry Carlton
Song:Smiles and Smiles To Go
Album:Collection





Guitarist Larry Carlton was already a very successful studio musician when he decided to begin a solo career in the late 70s. He was very successful in the 80s with songs like Smiles and Smiles To Go. He was born Mar. 2, 1948 in Torrance, CA. He learned to play guitar as a child and got into jazz as a teen. His main influences are Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel and the classic Miles Davis album Kind Of Blue. He moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and he released his solo debut on UNI in 1968. Then he got into session work and he joined The Crusaders in 1971. Among the artists he worked with in the 70s were Helen Reddy, Barbra Streisand, Tom Scott, David Cassidy and Albert Hammond. He also got into film and TV work with Henry Mancini. Carlton's most significant performance from those days was his solo on Kid Charlemagne from the 1976 Steely Dan album The Royal Scam. Then Carlton released a couple of albums on Warner Bros. But what really launched Carlton as a solo artist was when the theme from the TV series Hill Street Blues became a top ten hit in 1980. Carlton played lead guitar. Carlton was also a member of the 80s band Fourplay. He moved to MCA in 1983. And Carlton had a lot of success in the 80s mostly on the jazz charts. Smiles and Smiles To Go is one of Carlton's most popular songs. It's from his 1986 album Alone/But Never Alone. On this album, Carlton plays acoustic guitar. Other musicians are Terry Trotter on keyboards, Abraham Laboriel on bass, Rick Marotta on drums and Michael Fisher on percussion. Smiles and Smiles To Go is on this 1988 budget comp. There is also a Collection Vol. 2 available. Carlton continued to record for MCA/GRP through the 90s. In recent years, Carlton has recorded on his own label 335 Records. He released a live album with David T. Walker last year. Carlton continues to tour as a leader and also with Fourplay. And he sells instructional videos on his website. Carlton has won numerous awards. He's one of those guys that even if you have never heard of him, You have heard him as he has played on so many records. Here's Larry Carlton performing Smiles and Smiles To Go at the 1990 Montreal Jazz Festival.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Alice Cooper

Artist:Alice Cooper
Song:School's Out
Album:Mascara & Monsters: The Best Of Alice Cooper




School's Out was the biggest hit for the band Alice Cooper. Later on Cooper would have success as a solo artist. And I think the blurred lines were confusing to fans. But Alice Cooper lead singer Vince Furnier knew the difference. He was born Feb. 4, 1948 in Detroit. His family moved to Phoenix and he attended high school there. His father and grandfather were preachers. So Alice Cooper grew up in church. 16 year old Furnier formed The Spiders in 1964 with guitarist Glen Buxton and bassist Dennis Dunaway, both future Alice Cooper members. They released a couple of singles that went nowhere and then they moved to Los Angeles where drummer Neal Smith joined the band. They wanted to call themselves Nazz. But Todd Rundgren was using that name. So they needed to find a new name. Furnier wanted to do horror movie tricks on stage. And he thought that having an innocuous name like Alice Cooper would add to the shock value. The band bought into this. At first it wasn't successful until they auditioned for Frank Zappa and he signed them to his Straight label. One of Zappa's other bands, the all girl group The GTOs, helped with the Alice Cooper look. They got a rep for stage antics including the infamous chicken incident in Toronto in 1969. The publicity helped but the band's Straight albums didn't sell. So for the 1970 album Love It To Death, Alice Cooper worked with veteran producer Bob Ezrin. They finally scored a hit with I'm Eighteen and Warner Bros. bought Alice Cooper's contract from Straight. And that's when Alice Cooper really became successful. School's Out reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in n1972. And of course the song became a huge anthem with kids. And they were still doing the horror movie stuff on stage. Furnier officially changed his name to Alice Cooper and he released his first solo album Welcome To My Nighmare in 1975. The other band members formed Billion Dollar Babies which didn't really pan out. This budget comp covers Alice Cooper's entire career. Cooper is still around. He released a live CD last year and he still tours. But I'm sure long time fans remember a time in the 70s when Alice Cooper was notorious. Just remember it was all an act. Here's Alice Cooper performing School's Out on Top Of The Pops 1972.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Analysis of Invicta FC 18 card

Today Invicta announced most of Invicta FC 18. It looks like there will be a couple more prelims to be added. The show will be July 29 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City. This will air on UFC Fight Pass. So that's the first disappointment. The original plan was to run in Las Vegas during International Fight Week. When that didn't work out, Invicta stupidly returned to Kansas City where MMA just doesn't draw. Of course the other problem is there are no title matches on this show. Cris Cyborg was supposed to be on this show but she recently was bitten by a spider so she's not available. They probably would have been better off delaying the show but maybe they can't do that contractually. The main event will have Mexican Alexa Grasso vs Jodie Esquibel for a Strawweight title shot. The last time we saw Alexa she beat MIZUKI in Feb. 2015. She has twice pulled out of fights with injuries. Cross your fingers, folks. Jodie recently failed to make TUF 23. She hasn't fought since Nov. 2014. She's OK but she's one of those dreaded points fighters and you all know I don't like points fighters. I think it's a weak main event. Alexa's teammate Irene Aldana will face Brazilian Talia Santos. This will be for a Bantamweight title shot which neither deserve. Irene just isn't anywhere near as good as her teammate Alexa. Talia has a fishy smell. She has a 13-0 record but most of those of those fights have been for Aspera Fighting Championships which is located in her home of Santa Catarina. Her record seems heavily padded. I don't know if she's any good and neither does Invicta. This bad habit of bringing in unproven Brazilian fighters for main card fights needs to stop. She should be on the prelims. It seems like a setup to hand Irene a title shot on a silver platter. I could be mistaken but it smells bad. Then you have Talia's teammate Claudia Rey vs Polish fighter Agnieszka Niedziewicz. Claudia's 6-0 record has padding similar to her teammate. She's never beaten a fighter with a winning record. She's unproven. Agnieszka is 7-0 mostly beating no name European fighters. This fight should be on the prelims. Then we have Cindy Dandois vs Jessamyn Duke. Both are very popular with Twitter fanboys but neither is very good. Megan Anderson will face Peggy Morgan. Megan seems to have improved since moving to the US from her home in Australia. She is probably the next opponent for Cris Cyborg. Most fans will remember Peggy from TUF 18. I didn't think she was any good on the show and I still don't like her. Manjit Kolekar will face Lynn Alvarez. Manjit is from India and she has fought mostly for Super Fight League. She's 8-0 but unproven otherwise. Lynn is 6-3 but those losses were to high profile fighters like Carla Esparza and Jessica Aguilar. I haven't been impressed with her. And Sijara Eubanks will face Amberlynn Orr. Amberlynn is making her pro debut after a lot of amateur experience. Sijara is 1-1. She won her pro debut on a 2015 Invicta show. I understand a couple more matches will be added to the prelims. I think there are too many unproven fighters on the main card.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Poison

Artist:Poison
Song:Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Album:The Best Of Poison: 20 Years Of Rock





Poison had success in the dying days of heavy metal before grunge took over in the early 90s. Every Rose Has Its Thorn was their only number one hit in 1989. Poison is from the Pittsburgh suburb of Mechanicsburg, PA. Lead singer Bret Michaels (real name-Bret Sychak), drummer Rikki Rockett (real name-Richard Ream) and bassist Bobby Dall (real name-Robert Kuykendall) had the band Paris in 1983. They decided to move to Los Angeles and change their name to Poison. Guitarist Matt Smith decided not to go with them. So they auditioned guitarists and hired C.C. Deville (real name-Bruce Johannesson) famously over future Guns 'N' Roses member Slash. One of the reasons Deville was chosen is he was into the glam thing that Poison wanted to do and Slash was uncomfortable with wearing makeup. Poison signed with Enigma Records with EMI Capitol distribution. Their debut album Look What The Cat Dragged In was released in 1986. The producer was Ric Browde who was into the glam thing. The album was certified 3XPlatinum and the single Talk Dirty To Me was a top ten hit. For the 1988 album Open Up and Say...Aah!, they worked with veteran hard rock producer Tom Werman. That album was even more successful. It was certified 5XPlatinum. The power ballad Every Rose Has Its Thorn would turn out to be Poison's only number one hit. Their 1990 album Flesh and Blood was certified 3XPlatinum and Unskinny Bop and Something To Believe In were top ten hits. Then they started to fade. They were having problems with Deville who was addicted to cocaine. After a Michaels vs Deville fight backstage at the 1991 MTV Music Awards, Deville was fired and replaced by Richie Kotzen. Their 1993 album Native Tongue did not sell well. the recording of their next album was interrupted by Michaels suffering serious injuries in a car crash. The album was shelved and they released a couple of new songs on a Greatest Hits CD. Deville returned in 1996. Poison remained the same and they continued to tour until 2012. You can get all their hits on the 2006 budget comp. Of course Michaels has been involved in acting and reality shows. He released a solo album in 2015. The other members of Poison now tour as The Special Guests. They play Poison songs but they don't have the right to use the name. Here's the video for Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Randa Markos vs Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger

Here's the match video of Randa Markos vs Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger from last night's UFC show in Ottawa. This fight aired on UFC Fight Pass. For her last fight, Randa trained at Tristar in Montreal. She says they tried to turn her into a more patient or cautious fighter. So she moved back to her home in Windsor and her old camp Michigan Top Team in Dearborn, MI led by former UFC fighter Daron Cruikshank. Randa is a wrestler who needs to improve her striking. Jocelyn is a former RFA champ who came to the UFC for a short notice fight against Tecia Torres in Dec. Jocelyn is mainly a striker and she trains at MMA Lab in Phoenix. The main thing I saw in that fight is that Jocelyn lacks quickness especially in counterpunching. There are things in MMA that can be improved or fixed. I don't think Jocelyn can improve her quickness in short order. I saw the same thing in this fight. The fight was mostly standing and Randa's striking was much quicker than Jocelyn. So did Randa improve her striking or is Jocelyn react too slowly. It's the same thing I saw in Jocelyn's first UFC fight. She's not quick enough for the UFC. And it's not a problem that will magically go away. Randa won by unanimous decision and I scored it 30-27 for Randa. The only thing that surprised me was that Randa didn't go for a lot of takedowns. I guess she figured out that her striking was good enough to win the fight. Enjoy the video!

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Joanne Calderwood vs Valerie Letourneau

Here's the match video of Joanne Calderwood vs Valerie Letourneau from last night's UFC show in Ottawa. This aired on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. This was the first UFC women's fight at 125lb. This is a weight class the UFC plans to start probably in 2017. Joanne says she asked matchmaker Sean Shelby if she could fight at 125 and the UFC agreed to it. And Valerie should never have to drop to 115 again. After much personal turmoil, Joanne moved from her home in Scotland to train at Tristar in Montreal. This was her first fight since that move. Valerie is a native of Montreal and she used to train at Tristar. She now trains at ATT in Florida. Plenty of folks praised her toughness in her title fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. But the only reason Joanna didn't finish Valerie is that Joanna broke her hand early in the fight. The story of this fight was the terrible performance by ref Jerin Velal. In round one, Joanne dropped Valerie with a spinning back elbow. I thought the fight should have been stopped right there as Valerie seemed to be out cold. Velal must have been out for a coffee because he missed it completely and the fight continued. His job is to protect the fighters and he failed. Even if Valerie was only out for a second, to allow the fight to continue is asking for brain damage. And for the rest of the fight, Valerie seemed to be in a fog. Velal even messed up in round three before he finally stopped the fight. If he had done his job, this fight never would have gone past the first knockdown. I know that Velal was trained by Big John McCarthy so I hope John goes over the fight with him. We can't have reffing like that. I was asked on Twitter last night about Valerie's top. If you watch the fight, you'll notice she adjusted it several times. And for the record, I noticed it at the time. And if you watch the other women's fight, Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger also had trouble with her top. This has been an ongoing problem with the Reebok tops. I guess they don't fit properly. For that reason, Julianna Pena and Michelle Waterson were allowed to wear non-Reebok tops. I know there have been complaints about ill fitting tops. You guys should know by now that I hear about everything that goes on. Obviously this is something that the UFC and Reebok need to rectify as it's a known issue. Congratulations to Joanne for the big win. It's too bad that the poor reffing and wardrobe problems overshadowed it. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John Klemmer

Artist:John Klemmer
Song:Touch
Album:Touch





Though he didn't know it at the time, today sax player John Klemmer is considered to be one of the pioneers of Smooth Jazz. The 1975 album Touch is probably his most successful album. He was born July 3, 1946 in Chicago. He started out playing guitar as a child and then switched to alto sax. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and Interlochen's National Music Camp and he played in local clubs. Upon graduating from high school, Klemmer signed with Chess and he recorded several albums for Cadet Records. Some of these albums were early efforts of jazz rock fusion. Klemmer was urged by Eddie Harris to take up the electronic sax. In 1968, Klemmer moved to Los Angeles and he was a key soloist and arranger for Don Ellis' big band. Then he signed with ABC Records in 1970. After recording four albums for Impulse, Klemmer convinced ABC to let him record commercial jazz so he could cross over to pop and R&B. What Klemmer tended to do was he would alternate albums of commercial jazz with more adventurous jazz. He wrote and produced all his own music so he knew what he was doing. The 1975 album Touch was so successful that what would later be called Smooth Jazz was called "Touch" music. The musicians on Touch were all Smooth Jazz pioneers including Dave Grusin on piano, Larry Carlton on guitar, Chuck Domanico on bass, John Guerin on drums and Emil Richards and Joe Porcaro on percussion. The success of Klemmer's music set the stage for the success of Smooth Jazz. Touch is available as a budget CD. When MCA bought ABC in 1978, they only wanted Klemmer to record commercial jazz. So he left MCA and recorded the 1979 album Nexus for Arista's Novus label. Then he signed with Elektra. Eventually he returned to MCA and Grusin's GRP label. Now Klemmer seems to be semi-retired. He recorded his most recent album on his own label in 1998. And though he occasionally performs in Los Angeles, he doesn't seem to tour anymore. But he was certainly a big deal in the 70s. Here's John Klemmer performing Touch probably in the late 70s.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Carol Robbins

Artist:Carol Robbins
Song:Moraga
Album:Moraga




The harp is not an instrument that most folks would associate with jazz. It's mainly a classical instrument. A few years ago I wrote about pioneering jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby. Carol Robbins is one of her students and Carol now works as a session musician. And she has also recorded a few CDs as a leader. Carol was born in Chicago but she grew up in Los Angeles. She learned to play piano as a child. At age ten, she began to study the harp and Dorothy Ashby accepted her as a student. Carol's mentor in jazz is veteran pianist Billy Childs. She is a member of his band Jazz Chamber Ensemble. Carol has recorded with The Manhattan Transfer, Dianne Reeves, Brian Wilson, Boz Scaggs and most recently Carmen Lundy. And she is an in demand session musician for film and TV work. Carol has recorded four CDs on her own label Jazzcats. Moraga is her latest CD from 2012. It's straight ahead jazz with Billy Childs on piano, Larry Koonse on guitar, Gary Meek on soprano sax, Darek Oles on bass and Gary Novak on drums. Carol wrote most of the songs on the album. When Carol is not in the recording studio, she tours with Billy Childs. She appeared on his very successful 2014 CD Map To The Treasure: Imagining Laura Nyro. Here's a video for Moraga by Carol Robbins. Many thanks to jazzharp.org for the Carol Robbins bio. Check them out for more on jazz harpists.

Friday, June 17, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Skid Row

Artist:Skid Row
Song:I Remember You
Album:Forty Seasons: The Best Of Skid Row





I Remember You was one of two top ten hits for Skid Row. They faded in the early 90s mostly because music had changed and Skid Row's brand of hard rock wasn't popular anymore. They are still around. Skid Row was formed in Toms River, NJ in 1986 by bassist Rachel Bolan (real name-James Southworth) and guitarist and founding member of Bon Jovi Dave "The Snake" Sabo. These two wrote most of Skid Row's songs. Southworth took the name Bolan as a tribute to Marc Bolan. He was a backup singer before Skid Row. Through newspaper ads, they recruited guitarist Scotti Hill, drummer Rob Affuso and singer Matt Fallon. Fallon was replaced by 18 year old Sebastian Bach (real name-Sebastian Bierk) when he sang at a friend's wedding. Bach is from Peterborough, ON. Sabo used his friendship with John Bongiovi to get Skid Row a record deal with Atlantic. Their 1989 debut album Skid Row was recorded with Dokken producer Michael Wegener. But there was already an Irish band called Skid Row so they paid $35K for the name. The album did very well. It was certified 5XPlatinum. The single 18 and Life reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. I Remember You reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Supposedly I Remember You was popular at high school proms at the time. The band began to have issues with Bach. On Dec. 27, 1989, a thrown bottle hit Bach in the head. He jumped into the crowd to beat on the guy. Then he wore an anti-gay T-shirt on stage. Bach said it was given to him by a fan and he didn't read it before wearing it. Skid Row's 1991 album Slave To The Grind didn't do as well as the first album and there were no hit singles. The rise of Grunge was affecting Skid Row and they took time off after touring hoping that Grunge would fade. But it didn't and Skid Row left Atlantic after the 1995 album Subhuman Race didn't sell. Bach was fired in 1996 after he booked Skid Row to open a tour for Kiss without talking to Bolan. This comp covers their Atlantic recordings and it was released in 1998. At this point it looked like Skid Row was through. Bolan had formed a new band Prunella Scales but he decided to reform Skid Row in 1999 with new lead singer Johnny Solinger. Bach released his debut solo album in 1999. Skid Row has released a couple of CDs and they still tour. Bolan and Sabo still lead Skid Row. Last year, Solinger was fired and replaced by Tony Harnell of the Norwegian band TNT. Then he left and ZP Theart from DragonForce is Skid Row's lead singer on their current tour. They haven't decided if he is a permanent replacement. Here's the video for I Remember You by Skid Row.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cortney Casey vs Cristina Stanciu added to July 13 UFC show

Cortney Casey, Cristina Stanciu
Yesterday the UFC announced several fights. And one of those fights will have Strawweights Cortney Casey and Cristina Stanciu both looking for their first UFC wins. This fight will be on UFC Fight Night 91 July 13 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD. This show will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. But I expect this fight will air on UFC Fight Pass. Cortney is 0-2 in the UFC. Her first fight was a short notice loss to Joanne Calderwood in Scotland. Her second loss was a close decision to Ham Seo Hee in Korea. The interesting thing is that though Cortney is American and lives in Hawaii, this will be her first fight in the US since 2013. She fought most of her career for PXC in Guam and UFC fighter and Guam native Jon Tuck will be in her corner. She was supposed to fight for Invicta when she the UFC called her. In both of her UFC fights, she has had good moments. But she needs to be more consistent if she wants to win fights. Cristina is from Bucharest, Romania. This will be her first time fighting outside of Europe. She lost her UFC debut to Maryna Moroz. That fight was in Croatia. All her previous fights were at home in Romania. She is 22 years old. Her lack of experience was fairly obvious in her loss to Moroz. In the first round, she expended a lot of energy trying to apply a guillotine that went nowhere. She ran out of gas. These kind of mistakes should be eliminated before coming to the UFC. It makes me think she would be better off in Invicta prelims. Going from low level competition in Romania to the UFC is a big leap. Maybe Cristina isn't ready for it. We shall see.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Benny Green

Artist:Benny Green
Song:I Waited For You
Album:Source





Pianist Benny Green started out as a sideman in the 80s and then he had success as a leader on Blue Note in the 90s. His cover of the Dizzy Gillespie song I Waited For You is from his 2011 CD Source. He was born Apr. 4, 1963 in New York City and he grew up in Berkeley, CA. His father played sax. Green studied piano as a child and his dad got him into jazz. His major influences are Oscar Peterson and Bud Powell. Green recorded an album with Peterson in 1998. As a teen, he played with Eddie Henderson and he also played a weekly gig at the famed club Yoshi's. Green moved to New York in the early 80s and he was in Betty Carter's band for a few years. And then he was in Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Green first recorded as a leader for Criss Cross in 1988 and then he signed with Blue Note in 1990. He recorded for Blue Note until 1999 and his albums did well on the jazz charts. Green was also a member of Ray Brown's band. His first album for Telarc was Oscar and Benny with Oscar Peterson in 1998. He also recorded with guitarist Russell Malone. Unfortunately Telarc went out of business and Green wouldn't record again until the 2011 CD Source for Jazz Legacy. The album is a cover of jazz standards with Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. Both guys are veteran sidemen. Peter Washington is from Los Angeles and he was in Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers with Green. Kenny Washington is from New York and he played with pianist Bill Charlap before he started with Green. Green currently records for Sunnyside. His latest CD Live In Santa Cruz was released last year. Kenny Washington is still touring with him. And former Pete Zimmer bassist David Wong replaced Peter Washington. They are currently on tour. Green lives in Ann Arbor, MI and he is on the University of Michigan faculty. Here's Benny Green performing I Waited For You at the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Connecticut.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jack White & Alicia Keys

Artist:Jack White & Alicia Keys
Song:Another Way To Die
Album:Quantum Of Solace: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack




Conventional wisdom says that when two high profile musicians collaborate on a James Bond theme, it's a sure chart topper. But this theme from the 2008 film Quantum Of Solace did not live up to those expectations and now it's forgotten. Former White Stripes leader Jack White is clearly a very talented guy. I think he stretches himself way too thin. Sometimes great musicians try to do too much. The original plan for the theme of Quantum Of Solace was for Amy Winehouse to sing a song to be written and produced by her regular producer Mark Ronson. Ronson decided that Winehouse wasn't in good enough health to record anything. So Quantum Of Solace composer David Arnold contacted Jack White. White had wanted to record with Alicia Keys and he thought a high profile James Bond theme would be a good vehicle for them to work together. She agreed and she went to White's studio in Nashville. White wrote the song. The video was shot while both were in Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival in Sept. 2008. When the single was released, the main criticism of the song is it was clunky and didn't really work as a James Bond theme. I agree with that. It was the first time a duet was a Bond theme and it just seemed very awkward. And the poor chart performance reflected that. It reached #81 on the Billboard Hot 100. The soundtrack of Quantum Of Solace is available as a budget CD. Another Way To Die also appears on the deluxe edition of the 2008 Alicia Keys CD As I Am. It's a song that should have been a big hit but it's now forgotten. One might suggest that Alicia could have recorded solo. But remember White brought her in so that probably wasn't an option two months before the film's release. Here's the video of Another Way To Die by Jack White & Alicia Keys.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Wolf Alice

Artist:Wolf Alice
Song:Bros
Album:My Love Is Cool





After success in their native England, Wolf Alice are making inroads in North America with songs like Bros and Moaning Lisa Smile in the Alternative Rock market. They could break through in a big way with their next album. Wolf Alice was formed in London in 2009 by lead singer Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie. The name Wolf Alice is from a short story by Alice Carter. They started out as an acoustic duo but then decided to become a band by adding Ellie's friend Sarah Cleary on bass and Oddie's friend George Barlett on drums. After releasing an EP, Barlett broke his wrist and was replaced by Joel Amey. Sarah returned to school and was replaced by Theo Ellis. The song Leaving You was released on Soundcloud. It got airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Wolf Alice released the single Fluffy. Then they released Bros and the EP Blush. They finally signed with Dirty Hit Records and that just got them better distribution in England. They were named Best Breakthrough Band at the 2014 UK Festival Awards. They also won iTunes and NME awards. Wolf Alice's full length debut CD My Love Is Cool was released June 2015 on RCA in the US. The album was produced by Arctic Monkeys producer Mike Crossley. Moaning Lisa Smile and Bros both got significant airplay on alternative radio in the US. They toured the US in late 2015. They are currently touring Europe but they will appear at Lollapalooza in July. They released the single Freazy a few months ago but they should begin work on a new album after they finish touring. Wolf Alice is a band to watch. Be the first on your block to check them out here. Here's the video for Bros by Wolf Alice.

Monday, June 13, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Victoire Scott

Artist:Victoire Scott
Song:4eme Dimension
Album:Ultra Chicks Volume 6: Vous Dancez Mademoiselle




If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know that I am a big fan of the Ye Ye singers of France from the 60s. Most of them are unknown outside France but the music is outstanding. Usually I can find artist bio info no matter how obscure the singer is. But Victoire Scott seems to be a mystery woman. 4eme Dimension from 1968 is probably her best known song. You can get it on this Ultra Chicks CD. And there's a great video clip. But even those who are experts about Ye Ye can't seen to come up with much info about Victoire Scott. I can tell you that she recorded a handful of singles between 1968-71 for Decca, London and CBS. 4eme Dimension was her second single on Decca in 1968. The song was written by Christian Turban and Guy Bonnet. Bonnet is an experienced songwriter but this was early in his career. Turban seemed to write only for Scott. Supposedly his lyrics in this song are about an LSD trip which wouldn't surprise me in the late 60s. So maybe they were a couple. The arranger and orchestra leader was Jean-Daniel Mercier who worked with many singers of that era first with Vogue but then he worked for Decca, London and Polydor. But no one seems to know anything about Victoire Scott or what became of her after she stopped recording in 1971. But at least we get a great video from her. Here's the video for 4eme Dimension by Victoire Scott.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Michael Sembello

Artist:Michael Sembello
Song:Maniac
Album:Flashdance: Original Soundtrack From The Motion Picture




Session musician Michael Sembello topped the charts with Maniac from the 1983 hit film Flashdance. It was a complete fluke that the song was in the movie so Sembello never would have scored a hit single otherwise. He didn't need it as he was already a successful session musician, songwriter and producer. He was born Apr. 17, 1954 in Philadelphia and he grew up in the suburb of Ardmore. He studied with jazz guitarist Pat Martino. His first professional gig was playing guitar on Stevie Wonder's 1974 album Fullfillingness' First Finale. Then Sembello was the lead guitarist on Songs In The Key Of Life. Then he got into session work with Sergio Mendes, Stephen Bishop, The Jacksons and many others. Sembello signed with Warner Bros. and released the 1983 album Bossa Nova Hotel. Maniac was on the album. When Sembello's wife sent a demo tape of his recordings to Paramount Pictures for possible use in Flashdance, Maniac was included by mistake. Paramount chose Maniac for the film and the rest is history. Flashdance was a huge hit and Maniac topped the charts in 1983. The song was not eligible for an Oscar because it wasn't an original song written for the film. Sembello wrote Maniac with keyboard player and frequent songwriting partner Dennis Matkosky who wrote the lyrics after watching the 1981 slasher film Maniac. BTW, the dancer in the video is Marine Jahan. Flashdance star Jennifer Beals could not dance. Marine doubled all of her dance scenes. The Flashdance soundtrack is available as a budget CD. Since then, Sembello has recorded occasional solo albums. But mostly he went back to session work. He has worked with all kinds of artists and also on film and TV music. But Michael Sembello will forever be remembered for Maniac. Here's the video for Maniac by Michael Sembello.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Frank Mills

Artist:Frank Mills
Song:Music Box Dancer
Album:The Very Best Of Frank Mills





The instrumental Music Box Dancer is one of the most unlikely top five pop hits in pop music history. It was written and recorded by Canadian pianist Frank Mills. I'm sure no one was more surprised than Mills when the song became a hit. He was born June 27, 1942 in Montreal and he grew up in the Montreal suburb of Verdun. He started playing piano as a child. Mills studied at Montreal's McGill University. In the late 60s, Mills was a member of The Bells. But he left before they had their big hit Stay Awhile. He went to work for the CBC and he recorded his 1972 debut album Seven Of My Songs for Polydor Records. His single Love Me, Love Me Love was a hit in Canada and it charted in the US. He left Polydor for the small label Sonogram. He first recorded Music Box Dancer on the 1974 album The Poet And I. But Sonogram went bankrupt. Mills re-signed with Polydor in 1978. They released a single with Music Box Dancer on the B-side. It was supposed to be sent only to easy listening radio stations but it was accidentally sent to rock stations. DJ David Watts of CFRA in Ottawa started playing Music Box Dancer and it became a hit in Canada. Then Polydor released Music Box Dancer in the US and Nashville DJs played it after it was used as a theme on a local news show. The song broke nationally and Music Box Dancer reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. A couple of Mills' other singles charted but Music Box Dancer was his only big hit. You can get them on this comp. But Love Me, Love Me Love is an instrumental though Mills' original version was a vocal. Mills left Polydor for Capitol in 1981. He recorded for Capitol for years. In recent years, he has released DVDs and instructional videos on his own label. Here's Frank Mills performing Music Box Dancer 1979.

Friday, June 10, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Billy May

Artist:Billy May
Song:You're Driving Me Crazy
Album:The Best Of Billy May Vol. 1





Billy May was a house arranger for Capitol Records in the 50s. So he worked with all the singers recording for Capitol including Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. He also led a big band that could best be described as easy listening. It certainly wasn't jazz. This kind of music was very popular with older listeners yearning for the sound of 40s big bands. May's band was a studio band. He didn't tour. He was born Nov. 10, 1916 in Pittsburgh. He played tuba in high school and at age 17 he worked for Gene Olsen's Polish-American Orchestra. In 1938, he worked as an arranger for Charlie Barnet. His work for Barnet was noticed by other bandleaders. He went on work for Glenn Miller, Les Brown and NBC before he became a house arranger at Capitol Records. When May worked for Barnet, he showed a flair for satirical music. So in his early days at Capitol, he worked on children's records by Mel Blanc and Pinto "Goofy" Colvig and comedy records by Jerry Colonna. Later on he was a big part of Stan Freberg's success. Freberg's albums were big sellers in the 50s. But his big break came when Frank Sinatra came to Capitol in 1956 and May worked on the 1956 album This Is Sinatra. Then he worked with many Capitol artists including Nat King Cole and George Shearing. He began recording as a leader in 1952. You're Driving Me Crazy is from his 1952 album Big Band Bash. You're Driving Me Crazy was written by Walter Donaldson in 1930 and Rudy Vallee had a big hit with it. Big Band Bash was first released as a 10" LP and later reissued as a 12" LP after it was successful. You can get it on this budget comp from Aero Space Records. After May left Capitol in the late 50s, he continued to be an in demand arranger for all kinds of performers. He also worked on film and TV themes usually with Nelson Riddle. Though May retired in the 80s, he returned in the 90s to work with his old pal Stan Freberg. Freberg had always credited May for contributing to his success. May also wrote the 1950 Mel Blanc hit I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat. May's two chart singles were the 1952 single Charmaine and the 1956 theme for The Man With The Golden Arm. Billy May was not someone who was known to the average music fan. But he was very successful within the music business for contributing to plenty of hits. Billy May died on Jan. 22, 2004 at age 87. Here's a video for You're Driving Me Crazy by Billy May.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Asuka vs Nia Jax

Here's the match video of Asuka defending her NXT Women's Championship against Nia Jax from last night NXT Takeover show. I am posting this for Asuka fans who don't have the WWE Network. If you have been watching NXT, you will know that Nia is the WWE version of a monster heel. She is also the cousin of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Her big problem is her lack of experience. She also probably doesn't know her own strength. After Asuka won the belt on the last Takeover show, the obvious thing was to give Bayley a rematch. Instead they decided to have Nia beat Bayley badly enough to injure her. It was an angle because Bayley continued to work house shows. She will get that rematch at the Aug. NXT Takeover show. They sold Nia as a monster heel including having her powerbomb Asuka at the contract signing. The match went pretty much as I expected. I thought Nia would beat the crap out of Asuka but that Asuka would ultimately win. The thing that stood out to me in this match is Asuka's attention to detail. Everyone in the WWE can learn so much by watching her. It starts with her entrance. Asuka changes her look and her entrance routine at each Takeover show. The only things that don't change is her music and her robe. I think she changes her hair colour every week. And though she wears the same basic costume, she changes elements of it just to freshen it up. As a graphic designer, Asuka knows this is important. As expected, Nia was in control for the first part of the match. Asuka sold Nia's offense like she was getting killed. Her facial expressions are fantastic. This includes a guillotine attempt that Nia turns into a suplex. Asuka's comeback attempts are easily cut off. Nia seems overconfident and that's her big mistake. First, Asuka turns a sunset flip attempt into an ankle lock. Her transitions are unbelievable. The end comes after Nia powerbombs Asuka and then misses a leg drop. Asuka follows this with a Shining Wizard and a hip attack. She goes for an Asuka Lock but Nia is too big to apply it properly. So instead she hits four consecutive kicks to the head and it's all over. Asuka is still the NXT Women's Champion. The ending reminded me of when Io Shirai beat Alpha Female in Stardom a couple of years ago. Asuka's attention to detail continues post match. She celebrates but she still sells Nia's offense. And she continued to do that in her post match interview which I am posting here. And she continued that this morning on Twitter. The WWE is frequently criticized for lapses in continuity. And here's someone who knows how important continuity is. Plenty of wrestlers would have shown no evidence of a tough match in the post match interview. Asuka's performance last night was simply brilliant. Enjoy the videos!
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AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bob James

Artist:Bob James
Song:Feel Like Makin' Love
Album:The Essential Collection: 24 Smooth Jazz Classics



Pianist Bob James started out as a producer and arranger and parlayed that into a successful solo career. It all started with the 1974 single Feel Like Makin' Love. James is one of the pioneers of Smooth Jazz. He was born Dec. 25, 1939 in Marshall, MO. He learned to play piano as a child and as a teen, he played local clubs. James studied in Berklee in Boston and frequently played gigs with his roommate sax player Nick Brignola. James was discovered by Quincy Jones of Mercury Records. This led to James recording the 1962 album Bold Conceptions and then James worked for Sarah Vaughan for several years. She was on Mercury at the time. Studio work got James a house arranging job at Creed Taylor's CTI Records. He worked a lot with Hubert Laws, Hank Crawford and especially Grover Washington Jr. who became very successful while recording with James in the early 70s. Then Taylor let James record as a leader with the 1974 album One. James' cover of the Roberta Flack hit Feel Like Makin' Love was a surprising hit single on the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts and it successfully launched James to a solo career. James left CTI for Columbia in 1975 and he started his own Tappan Zee label. James' most successful song in this period was his theme for the TV series Taxi called Angela. That and many of James' other recordings are on this 2CD comp from Metro Records. James had success recording with guitarist Earl Klugh in 1979. They won a Grammy for the album One On One. He began touring at this time and he still tours today. He also had success with the 80s group Fourplay. That group is also still around and they are currently on tour. James latest CD The New Cool is with Fourplay bassist Nathan East. It was released on East's current label Yamaha Sept. 2015. Today James' legacy is as one of the originators of Smooth Jazz. He certainly didn't know that when he was working on those Grover Washington Jr. records. Here's Bob James performing Feel Like Makin' Love at the 2010 Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Kongos

Artist:Kongos
Song:Come With Me Now
Album:Lunatic





Though I'm sure all of you are now familiar with Come With Me Now, it took three years for it to become a hit and make Kongos stars. Kongos is a family group of brothers Johnny, Jesse, Daniel and Dylan Kongos. They are the sons of veteran South African rocker John Kongos, best known for the 1971 hit He's Gonna Step On You Again. Supposedly this was the first record to use tape loops and sampling. After that, Kongos ran a successful recording studio in London and wrote music for movies and TV, most significantly Fraggle Rock. In 1996, the Kongos family moved to Phoenix. Not surprisingly, the four Kongos brothers got into music. They all sing and write songs. Daniel Kongos plays guitar. Dylan Kongos plays bass and slide guitar. Jesse Kongos plays drums and Johnny Kongos plays keyboards and accordion. They released their debut CD in 2007 on their dad's label Tokoloshe. Then Lunatic was released in 2011. At first they had success in South Africa and Europe. Then Kongos broke through when Come With Me Now was used as the theme for the WWE's 2014 Extreme Rules PPV and in the film Expendables 3. This got them a deal with Epic Records and Come With Me Now became a hit. It seemed like an overnight success but it actually took three years for the song to get airplay and distribution. Kongos has a different sound from other bands because of their dad's influence and his South African roots. Kongos' new album Egomaniac is out this week and they are currently on a US tour. We'll see if they can follow up on their success. Here's the video for Come With Me Now by Kongos.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Rose Namajunas vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz added to July 30 UFC show

Last night the UFC announced that Rose Namajunas vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz has been added to UFC 201 July 30 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta. They haven't announced the match order for this show. But I would not be surprised to see this fight headline the prelims that will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and on TSN in Canada. It could also air on the main card on PPV. This fight could set up a future UFC Strawweight Championship contender. Rose got a big win when she beat Tecia Torres in April. Afterwards, she said she wanted to take a break. This fight clearly changed that plan. Though she is undefeated, I believe Karolina is overrated because she's a points fighter and that will catch up to her. So if I am Rose's trainer Trevor Wittman, I would tell Rose that Karolina is undefeated but beatable. And a win over an undefeated fighter will launch Rose into title contention. Karolina is a very good striker. But she has no power so she doesn't finish. I've been watching her since her KSW days and she doesn't go to the ground either. Six of her nine wins have been by decision. So even when she was facing lesser opponents in KSW, she doesn't finish fights. Against a higher competition level, that's a big flaw. And Rose is a big step up in competition for Karolina. Rose was already a good fighter when she moved to Colorado to train with Wittman. He has really helped calm her down and he has also improved her striking technique. And she likes to finish fights. As she did with Tecia, Rose may want to keep her distance so Karolina can't land any punches. I don't think Karolina is quicker than Tecia so Rose could try to get inside for a takedown. Contrast in styles make for interesting fights. And this fight has title implications.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers

Artist:Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers
Song:Bustin' Loose
Album:Funk Nation





Chuck Brown was known as The Godfather of Go-Go which was a style of funk that originated in Washington, DC. He didn't invent it but the 1979 hit Bustin' Loose made him the face of Go-Go. It was the only big hit Brown ever had but today the song is considered a classic. Brown was born Aug. 22, 1936 in Gaston, NC. His family moved to Washington when Brown was six years old. He began to live on the streets and do odd jobs at age 15. In the 50s, Brown was convicted of murder and he learned to play guitar while in jail. Brown always maintained that he was defending himself. Afterwards, he got more serious about music. Brown said the creation of Go-Go was for Washington to have its own sound like James Brown had his own sound. He worked on this sound through most of the 70s. And he finally got his big break when Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers signed with MCA's Source label. Bustin' Loose was their first single and album in 1979. The single topped the R&B charts and it was a top 40 pop hit. It was a big influence on the hip hop scene and it's one of those songs that is frequently sampled. The most obvious example of this is Nelly's Hot In Here. Unfortunately Bustin' Loose was Brown's only big hit and he only recorded two albums for Source but he continued to record for small labels. You can get Bustin' Loose on the various artists budget CD originally released by Cold Front in 1996 but now available from K-Tel. Chuck Brown continued to perform in the Washington area until his death on May 16, 2012 at age 75. Here's the video for Bustin' Loose by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers.

Monday, June 06, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-God's Property

Artist:God's Property f/Kirk Franklin and Cheryl James
Song:Stomp
Album:God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation



Stomp is the record that turned Kirk Franklin from a gospel artist into something much bigger. But what fans may not realize is that Stomp is not from a Kirk Franklin record. It's from an album by the choir God's Property. Franklin produced the album. It was very successful but then things got messy. God's Property was formed in Dallas in 1992 by music teacher Linda Ray Hall-Searight and her drummer son Robert "Sput" Searight. They worked with Kirk Franklin on his 1995 album Whatcha Lookin 4. Then Franklin signed God's Property to his B-Rite Music label and he produced the 1997 album God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation. Franklin produced the album with Buster and Shavoni and Kevin Bond. Stomp was the first single. Franklin wrote it using a sample from Funkadelic's One Nation Under A Groove. Franklin does his shtick. And Cheryl James of the rap group Salt-n-Pepa is also featured. The record blew up. Not only did it top the gospel chart but it crossed over to R & B and the Billboard Hot 100. To date it is still the best selling gospel album of all time. And it launched Kirk Franklin to stardom. But it was the only God's Property album. It all ended when Linda Ray Hall-Searight sued B-Rite in 1998 to cancel what she described as a one sided contract. Franklin went on to form his new group Nu Nation. God's Property imploded. Some choir members went with Franklin, most significantly Myron Butler who has gone on to a solo career. Robert "Sput" Searight is a member of the popular group Snarky Puppy. In 2014, Franklin announced plans to reunite with God's Property. That may still be in the works but nothing has come of that yet. God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation is available as a budget CD. Here's the video for Stomp by God's Property featuring Kirk Franklin and Cheryl James.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sugi Rock wins DEEP JEWELS Atomweight Championship

Emi Tomimatsu, Sugi Rock
Today DEEP JEWELS held a show at Shinjuku FACE. The main event had Naho "Sugi Rock" Sugiyama vs Emi Tomimatsu for the vacant DEEP JEWELS Atomweight Championship. Neither fighter is what I would call championship caliber. Sugi Rock's problem is once she started losing it spiraled out of control. And then she got injured. So she was looking for redemption. Tomimatsu always seems like she's just happy to be there. If DEEP JEWELS had any talent, she would never get a sniff of a title. Sugi Rock won round one after knocking Emi down a couple of times. Emi came back a bit in round two and it may have been even after two rounds. Round three was close but Sugi Rock squeaked out a win and she is the new DEEP JEWELS Atomweight Champion. She still has work to do and she's no spring chicken. The semi main had former JEWELS poster girl Saori Ishioka vs model Hana DATE. Remember Team DATE is this group of models hired by DEEP JEWELS to appeal to their main fanbase of dirty old men. Ishioka has been lackluster since returning after having a baby. She had no trouble with Hana and Ishioka won with a first round armbar. Then she said she wants to fight RENA on the New Year's Eve RIZIN show. DEEP JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki says he plans to try to work something out with RIZIN. But even he doesn't think Ishioka vs RENA is a good idea. RIZIN doesn't need DEEP JEWELS anyway. Then Nori DATE got her first win after two losses with a win over Amiba. The problem was Nori won round one with effective striking. And in a two round fight, that puts Amiba behind the eight ball. She desperately tried for a finish but she didn't get it. Nori wins by unanimous decision. Two round fights are for Mickey Mouse organizations. Mika Nagano retired two years ago. She got married, had a baby and she returned today in a grappling match vs Natsumi Makai. Makai won by split decision but I'm sure Sakai was very happy to see Nagano return. I'm sure we'll see her in MMA next. In other fights, Mina Kurobe beat Renju DATE by first round TKO. Tomo Maesawa beat Karei DATE by first round TKO. And Karei missed weight. Yuko Kiryu won by unanimous decision over Real DATE. And in an amateur fight, Karen DATE beat Ayumi Misaka when her corner threw in the towel with seconds remaining in the fight. I don't think this Team DATE stuff is working out too well. But they do attract dirty old men.

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Jessica Andrade vs Jessica Penne

Here's the match video of Jessica Andrade vs Jessica Penne from last night's UFC show in Los Angeles. The last time we saw Jessica Penne she was getting clobbered by UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Her number one flaw is she's a terrible striker and her striking defense isn't very good. Her hope was to take Andrade to the ground. I have liked Jessica Andrade since before she came to the UFC. She was undersized for a Bantamweight. But she said she didn't want to drop to 115lb because she likes to eat. But she agreed to drop to 115 and this is her Strawweight debut. The story of this fight is Jessica Penne had no answer for Jessica Andrade's striking. There was almost a finish at the end of round one. I scored it 10-8 for Jessica Andrade. If this fight continued like this, it would end pretty soon. And so it did. Jessica Andrade wins by second round TKO. I think it makes her an immediate contender in the Strawweight division. She's pretty good on the ground too. The guillotine is her favourite finisher. Jessica Andrade says she wants to fight Carla Esparza who turned her down supposedly because Carla didn't think Jessica could make weight. She actually took an easier opponent. Jessica wants to fight Carla in Brazil. I like that idea. Enjoy the video!

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Buddy Rich Big Band

Artist:The Buddy Rich Big Band f/Cathy Rich
Song:The Beat Goes On
Album:Big Swing Face





Of course Buddy Rich was a big name in jazz mostly in the 60s when jazz was in a post bop lull. On The Beat Goes On, he features his teen daughter Cathy who he was attempting to launch into a singing career that ultimately didn't pan out. She now runs Rich's estate. For most of the 50s and into the 60s, Rich recorded albums for various labels and worked mostly for Harry James. In 1966, he formed his own big band and signed with Pacific Jazz Records. The first album of this new deal was the 1966 album Swingin' New Big Band featuring a West Side Story arranged by Bill Reddie who was previously leader of French singer Line Renaud's band. The album was so successful that Rich got a summer replacement variety show Away We Go on CBS in 1967 replacing The Jackie Gleason Show. It featured Buddy Greco and George Carlin and ran for ten episodes. At the same time, Rich released a new album Big Swing Face recorded live at the Chez Club in Los Angeles. The album is standard hard driving big band jazz except for this cover of the Sonny and Cher hit The Beat Goes On featuring Rich's teen daughter Cathy Rich. And he had her on his TV show too. The Beat Goes on was arranged by Shorty Rogers and the sax solo is by Jay Corre who was in the Harry James band with Rich. Again the album was very successful. Blue Note released Big Swing Face on CD in 1996 with several bonus tracks that were recorded at the same Chez Club shows but not used on the original album. It's available as a budget CD. So what about Cathy Rich's singing career? She released a cover of Wild Thing in 1969 produced by Kim Fowley. And she appeared on her dad's 1971 album Rich In London. She became his manager and she now runs his estate. The Buddy Rich version of The Beat Goes On lives on in samples on the 2010 Duffy hit Girl and the 1997 cover by The All Seeing I. Here's The Buddy Rich Big Band featuring Cathy Rich performing The Beat Goes On on Away We Go 1967.