Sunday, December 31, 2017
Here's the match video of Carla Esparza vs Cynthia Calvillo from last night's UFC show in Las Vegas. Cynthia is considered a bright prospect who with a win would get a big boost into the title picture. Carla is a former champ possibly on the way to Palookaville. I thought the only way Cynthia losses this fight is if she does something stupid. And that's exactly what she did. Cynthia looked great in round one. She took Carla down and stayed on top. Carla attempted a couple of armbars but Cynthia won the round 10-9. I don't know why she didn't do this for the other two rounds. I don't know what kind of strategy leads to losing a striking contest to Carla Esparza. But that's what happened. I don't understand her strategy. If she's winning, why change? I scored round two and three 10-9 for Carla and the judges all scored the fight 29-28 for Carla. The funniest part was Cynthia was shocked. She thought she was robbed. The fight wasn't very good anyway and Cynthia's strategy made no sense. Check out the video for yourself.
Here's the match video of Cris Cyborg vs Holly Holm from last night's UFC show in Las Vegas. I thought that if Cyborg fights the way she normally does, the result was going to be very similar to the Tonya Evinger fight, a third round finish. But Cyborg's trainer Jason Parillo has convinced Cyborg to be more patient. And that patience could have cost Cyborg this fight. I scored the fight 50-45 for Cyborg. Round two was close but I thought Cyborg pitched a shutout. The problem was Holly was winning after two rounds. Two of the three judges scored round one 10-9 for Holly. And they all scored round two for Holly. What did Holly do in round one to get that scoring? She did a lot of clinching on the fence but I thought that was a stalling tactic so I can't explain what they saw to give her that round. And if you look at the fight stats, Holly's main problem is she didn't land enough strikes. Cyborg outstruck her in each round by a significant margin. This didn't surprise me because Holly doesn't fight aggressively. She's looking for an opening to land a big shot. That never came in this fight. I guess Cyborg underperformed. This was the first Cyborg fight to go the distance since she beat Yoko Takahashi for EliteXC in 2008. Reasons for this atypical performance could be that she had trouble breathing through a bloody nose, something that was a first. It also looks like she may have broken her right hand. But I think Cyborg and Parillo need to rethink this patience strategy because it could have cost her this fight against a more active opponent. This got a Fight of the Night bonus. All of the fights that went the distance on last night's show were blah so I didn't think there should be a FOTN bonus. Afterwards, Cyborg talked about facing Megan Anderson in her native Australia. She needs an xray on her hand first. So I guess I like the old version of Cyborg better than this patient version. Check out the fight for yourself.
Song:What Have You Done For Me Lately
Album:Icon: Number Ones
We all know who Janet Jackson is. I think it might surprise folks that she wasn't an overnight success in pop music. What Have You Done For Me Lately was her first hit single but it was on her third album. It's not her biggest hit but it certainly paved the way for success. She was born May 16, 1966 in Gary, IN. She was the youngest of the ten Jackson children. As a child, she appeared in the sitcoms Good Times and Diff'rent Strokes. At age 16, her dad and manager Joe Jackson got her a record deal with A&M Records. Her 1982 album Janet Jackson and 1984 album Dream Street didn't sell. There were no hit singles. Critics panned them as bland. Her dad supervised and hired producers to work with Janet. Soon after, Janet split with her dad and married James DeBarge. The marriage was annulled but Janet got a new manager. A&M A&R exec John McClain took over. He saw Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis when they were in The Time. They produced The SOS Band and worked with Prince. McClain introduced them to Janet and they wrote and produced most of the songs on the 1986 album Control. They were producing an album for former Atlantic Starr singer Sharon Bryant. Those songs were given to Janet and rewritten to suit her. What Have You Done For Me Lately was rewritten to reflect Janet's failed marriage. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequent singles did even better and the album Control was certified 5XPlatinum. Of course Janet became an even bigger star with the 1989 album Rhythm Nation 1814. And it was all because Janet took control of her music career. This budget comp is a good intro to her music. Her partnership with Jam and Lewis is one of the longest and most successful in pop music history. They produced all her albums for twenty years. Janet is still around. Her latest album was released in 2015. Of course she has faded. But she had a longer run than most artists. And I think Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis deserve a lot of credit for that run. Here's the video for What Have You Done For Me Lately by Janet Jackson.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Album:The Vogue Years
Francoise Hardy was one of France's most successful pop singers in the 60s. She was also successful in films and modelling. Attempts to have her sing in English and sell her in the US didn't work. But she had success in England. Et Meme charted in England. She was born Jan. 17, 1944 in Paris. Her parents were divorced and she was raised by her mom. Her musical influences included french stars like Charles Trenet and Anglophones like Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde who were popular in Europe. In 1962, she answered a newspaper ad looking for singers and she signed with Vogue. Her very first single Tout Les Garcons et Les Filles topped the French charts. It's her signature song though Francoise hated the record because she didn't enjoy recording it. It set her up for the rest of the decade as all her songs were hits in France. Et Meme is from the 1964 album Mon Amie La Rose. It was released in the US in 1966 as Maid In Paris. It reached #11 in France and it charted in England. Francoise wrote Et Meme as she wrote most of her songs. It was produced by Vogue house producer Jacques Wolfsohn and arranged and conducted by Charles Blackwell. These guys worked on all of Francoise's 60s recordings. You can get them all on this 2CD comp. Francoise did plenty of modelling at the time. She also appeared in films mostly in France. But you may have seen her in the 1966 film Grand Prix. She recorded in several languages including English. That was successful in Europe but not in the US. As the 60s ended, Francoise changed her music to more of a folk music style. Francoise has lived with singer Jacques Dutronc since 1973. They married in 1981. Health problems have slowed her down in recent years. I would say she is semi-retired. She's a living legend in France. Here's Francoise Hardy performing Et Meme Apr. 1965.
Friday, December 29, 2017
Here's the match video of Cindy Dandois vs King REINA from today's RIZIN show. I was asked to look at this fight because it was close. I think REINA has talent. But she will stagnate if she stays in Japan. The training and more importantly the competition level isn't good enough for her to become an elite fighter. Cindy is a good barometer to see where REINA is at. I thought Cindy won round one because though she didn't do much with it, she maintained top position for most of the round. I thought REINA won round two for the same reason. She was on top and didn't do much until she applied an Americana but it was too late in the round. Round three was so close that it was too close to call. Cindy may have stolen the round with a couple of late takedowns. But if REINA is truly an elite fighter, it shouldn't be that close. The judges gave Cindy the win by split decision. I scored it 29-28 for REINA but the split decision was not surprising. I hope REINA sees this as a wakeup call. Her crown and teddy bear gimmick is cute but it won't win her any fights. She needs to get her act together. Check out the fight for yourself.
Song:Treat 'Em Right
Richard "Chubb Rock" Simpson had success on the rap charts in the early 90s. But he never crossed over to pop. Treat 'Em Right topped the rap charts in 1991. He was born May 28, 1968 in Brooklyn, NY. Usually he worked with his cousin Howard "Howie Tee" Thompson. When Thompson became house producer for Select Records, he brought Simpson with him. Thompson's greatest success was producing Color Me Badd. The One was Simpson's third album in 1991. Treat 'Em Right was his first number one rap hit. It samples the 1979 First Choice song Love Thang. Simpson's biggest hit Just Ask Me To was a top ten R&B hit because Tevin Campbell did a guest shot. Campbell was hot at the time. Simpson recorded four albums and he was a member of the 1995 edition of the Crooklyn Dodgers. Simpson is still around. He released an album in 2009 and he appeared on the 2011 hit Summertime Anthem by R&B singer Eric Roberson. Here's the video for Treat 'Em Right by Chubb Rock.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Sunny Day Real Estate (SDRE) could have been successful if they had been able to stay together. it's hard to build momentum when the band is always splitting up and then reforming. It's too bad because they were one of the better bands to emerge from the 90s Seattle music scene. SDRE was formed in 1992 when guitarist Dan Hoerner and bassist Nate Mendel shared a house while attending the University of Washington. They brought in drummer William Goldsmith who had been in several bands. The band name was from the Talking Heads song (Nothing But) Flowers. At first Hoerner sang lead. But Goldsmith invited his high school buddy Jeremy Enigk to try out. Enigk added a pop element to their grunge sound. He and Hoerner wrote all the songs for the 1994 CD Diary which was released by Sub Pop. SDRE appeared on The Jon Stewart Show and MTV's 120 Minutes and they went out on tour. But there was conflict when SDRE returned to the recording studio to record their second album. Enigk became a born again Christian. A second album was released. But SDRE split up before its release. Enigk released a 1996 solo album and Mendel and Goldsmith joined Foo Fighters. Diary is available as a budget CD with two bonus tracks. Enigk and Hoerner reformed SDRE in 1997. Goldsmith returned but Mendel didn't and he was replaced. After the 1998 album How It Feels To Be Something On, SDRE left Sub Pop for Time Bomb Recordings distributed by BMG. After the 2000 CD The Rising Tide, they split up again after Time Bomb pulled funding for a tour. Enigk, Goldsmith and Mendel formed The Fire Theft who released an album in 2003. Hoener retreated to his farm in rural Washington. Enigk released a 2006 solo album. SDRE reformed to tour in 2009. In 2010, Hoerner said they were working on a new album. But it never happened and SDRE split up for good in 2013. Enigk just released a new solo album. Mendel is still with Foo Fighters. Here's the video for In Circles by Sunny Day Real Estate.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Album:Come Together: Guitar Tribute To The Beatles
You don't have to be a Beatles fan to dig this guitar tribute to The Beatles. This CD has jazz guitarists recording Beatles covers. Fans of the late Allan Holdsworth will want to check it out as his cover of Michelle does not appear on any of his albums. The man behind this 1993 CD is veteran pianist, vibraphonist, session musician and producer Mike Mainieri and he released it on his own NYC label. Jazz fans will know Mainieri as leader of Steps Ahead, a group he has led since 1980. Back in the 60s, he introduced the electric vibraphone when he was in Buddy Rich's band. He first recorded as a leader in the late 60s and got more into production and session work in the 70s. But Mainieri has continued to play New York clubs and lead Steps Ahead. He started NYC Records in the early 90s. And in 1993 he released Come Together: Guitar Tribute To The Beatles. By this time, Holdsworth lived in San Diego and he owned his own recording studio. Musicians on Michelle include Holdsworth's long time collaborator Gordon Beck on piano, Gary Willis on bass and Kirk Covington on drums. Both guys are from Scott Henderson's Tribal Tech. Other guitarists on this album are Mark Whitfield, Toninho Horta, Ralph Towner, Steve Khan, Zachary Breaux, Adrian Belew, John Abercrombie, Leni Stern, Larry Coryell and Toots Thielemans on guitar and harmonica. These Beatles covers were recorded for this album so you won't find them anywhere else. And it's available as a budget CD. This album did so well that Mainieri released a second CD of Beatles covers with a completely different lineup of guitarists. Jazz guitar fans should check out both albums. Here's a video of Michelle by Allan Holdsworth.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Song:4 Real Christmas
Album:A Gospel Greats Christmas
I always say that if you want a great Christmas album you should get one by a gospel artist because they sing about God all year. Most gospel fans should be familiar with Commissioned. They were very popular in the 80s and 90s. And I think many fans know that Fred Hammond and Marvin Sapp started out as members of Commissioned. They never recorded a Christmas album. But they did record a couple of Christmas songs for the 1996 CD The Real Meaning Of Christmas. Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker and Colorado Mass Choir also appear on this album. By 1996, Hammond left Commissioned to start Radical For Christ. He was replaced by Montrell Darrett who had been in John P. Kee's choir. Marvin Sapp was still in Commissioned along with Karl Reid and Mitchell Jones. This is the group that recorded the 1996 album Irreplaceable Love. And they also recorded two Christmas songs for The Real Meaning Of Christmas. Darrett wrote 4 Real Christmas. He left Commissioned soon after and so did Sapp. Darrett recorded a solo album in 1999 and since then he has done some writing and producing. The Real Meaning Of Christmas is out of print. But you can get 4 Real Christmas on this 2003 budget CD released as part of Verity's Gospel Greats series. Here's a video for 4 Real Christmas by Commissioned.
Monday, December 25, 2017
Portishead could have been huge stars. They chose not to be stars. They could reform tomorrow and tour and record successfully. They aren't interested in stardom. Dummy was their 1994 debut CD and their most popular album. The formation of Portishead came out of the Bristol, England studio scene. Geoff Barrow was working as a recording engineer with Massive Attack and they allowed him to use some of their spare studio time to work on his music. He became known for his remixes and he wrote and produced for Massive Attack's Tricky and Neneh Cherry. Barrow planned to start his own group and he needed to find a singer. He saw Beth Gibbons performing in a local club and they started working together. Guitarist Adrian Utley backed up American jazz musicians when they toured England and he also was a session musician. Portishead, named after Barrow's home town, was born. They signed with Go! Discs and Mercury in the US. Dummy was their 1994 debut CD. They had chart success in England. They had a cult following in the US that started in dance clubs. They toured successfully in the US and Dummy was certified Gold. Portishead is influenced by all kinds of things. But Barrow and Utley seem to have a real fondness for film music. Sour Times is based on a song from Lalo Schifrin's music for Mission Impossible. Portishead released an album in 1997 and after touring, they went on hiatus. Barrow started his own label. He seems to like film composition though he works on all kinds of projects. Beth released a solo album in 2002 that could be described as folk music. Portishead reformed for the 2008 CD Third. They occasionally perform on special occasions but there are no plans for a new album. Beth announced in 2013 she signed with Domino Records and she was working on a new album. I don't know if that is still in the works but there has been no news about it. As I said, Portishead could have been big stars. They don't want stardom. Here's the video for Sour Times by Portishead.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Album:Music From And Inspired By Spider-Man 2
Vindicated is probably the best known song by Dashboard Confessional. It played over the end credits of the 2004 film Spider-Man 2. Group leader Chris Carrabba was born Apr. 10, 1975 in West Hartford, CT. At age 16, he moved with his mother to Boca Raton, FL. He started Dashboard Confessional as a side project while he was lead singer of Further Seems Forever. He wrote a few songs and a friend convinced him to record them. The first album The Swiss Army Romance was released in 2000 on Fiddler Records. Then Carrabba signed with Vagrant Records with Interscope distribution. He turned Dashboard Confessional into a band with John Lefler on lead guitar, Scott Schoenbeck on bass and Ben Homola on drums. They didn't have a hit single but their albums did well and they were a good live draw. The use of Vindicated in the 2004 film Spider-Man 2 got them exposed to a much larger audience. It reached #2 on the Alternative Rock chart. Carrabba wrote Vindicated after watching the film. A different song was going to be used but he wrote Vindicated to suit the film. The song does not appear on a Dashboard Confessional album. You can only get it on the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. Danny Elfman's score for Spider-Man 2 is on a separate CD. There are no Dashboard Confessional comp CDs. Dashboard Confessional went on hiatus after the 2009 CD After The Ending. Carrabba's sister was in a serious car accident and she was in a coma for several months. Carabba released a CD of covers in 2011. He recently reformed Dashboard Confessional and they have a new record deal with Atlantic's Fueled By Ramen label and the CD Crooked Shadows will be released Feb. 2018. And I assume they will tour to support it. Here's the video for Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Here's the match video of Ham Seo Hee vs Jinh Yu Frey from today's Road FC show in Korea. This is Ham's first title defense. Ham is a kickboxer who fell into MMA when she beat Hisae Watanabe on a Smackgirl show in Japan. Most fans have probably seen her UFC fights. She did OK but Ham is too small to be a Strawweight. So when her UFC contract ended, she signed with Road FC for a lot more money. Ham is a good striker but she has no power so she normally doesn't finish fights. Jinh is an Invicta veteran from Arlington, TX. She's an OK fighter but I don't think she's an elite fighter. Round one was mostly uneventful until with about a minute left, Jinh stopped moving. Ham landed a left hook and that was it. Ham Seo Hee successfully defends her title with a knockout win. I guess it could be described as a lucky punch except that Jinh set herself up for it by not moving or keeping her hands up. It looks like Ham broke her hand according to an Instagram post I saw. Someone asked me if Ham will defend her title in Invicta. I don't see why Road would allow that. Also, she's the champ. Challengers should be coming to her. Enjoy the video!
Song:The Nottingham Twang
Eddie Izzard has been a very successful standup comic. So many of today's comedians seem very similar. Izzard has done a good job of standing out in the crowd. He has also done acting in films and on stage. He was born Feb. 7, 1962 in Colony of Aden which is now Yemen. His father was an accountant for British Petroleum. His family moved to Northern Ireland and then Wales. His mother died of cancer when he was age 6. Izzard went to boarding schools. Izzard says he knew he was transgender at age 4. And not long after, he knew he wanted to be an actor. He performed in stage shows as a teen. He got into comedy while studying accounting at Sheffield University. He started out as a street performer but by the late 80s he was performing regularly in London clubs. One of the things that set Izzard apart is he performed in a dress and that was part of his humor. He also started getting into acting on stage, films and TV. He released his first home video in 1993. The Nottingham Twang is from his 2003 CD/DVD Glorious. It's available as a budget CD. Among his more significant acting roles was in the 2003 Broadway revival of A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg and the Showtime series United States Of Tara. He seems to do a lot of miniseries on British TV. And he does a lot of voice work. Izzard published his memoirs in October. So he's been on a book tour and doing comedy shows. He will begin 2018 touring France. Apparently he speaks several languages. Here's Eddie Izzard performing The Nottingham Twang from the 2003 DVD Glorious.
Friday, December 22, 2017
album:Nothing But The Best
Today My Way is considered to be one of Frank Sinatra's signature songs. It was supposed to be a retirement song. And Sinatra did retire in 1971. But of course he came out of retirement in 1973. In the 60s Sinatra recorded for his own label Reprise Records. He scored a number one hit in 1966 with Strangers In The Night and then a hit duet with daughter Nancy Somethin' Stupid. He started telling friends that he was planning to retire. Albums with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Duke Ellington were bucket list albums. He had dinner one night with Paul Anka and he told Anka he planned to retire. So Anka decided to write a retirement song for Sinatra. Anka heard the record Comme d'Habitude by French pop singer Claude Francois. Anka didn't like the record but he liked the melody of the song. So he acquired the adaptation rights for a dollar. He could do what he wanted with the song as long as he paid royalties to the songwriters. He wrote English lyrics that have no relation to the original song. After he finished, he took it to Sinatra at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. It was on the 1969 album My Way. The album is mostly covers of contemporary songs arranged by Don Costa. The single wasn't a big hit at the time. It reached #27 on the Billboard Hot 100. It became more popular when Sinatra retired in 1971. Also, Elvis Presley recorded My Way and that may have helped Sinatra's version. Though Sinatra continued to perform My Way after he returned, he hated the song. You can get it on this comp which is the best single CD comp of Sinatra's Reprise years. Here's Frank Sinatra performing My Way on his 1971 retirement show.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Song:Romance Without Finance
Album:Still Stompin' At The Savoy
Lloyd "Tiny" Grimes may have been the first bebop guitarist. He is probably best known for having Charlie Parker in his band in 1944. they recorded several songs including Romance Without Finance. Grimes sings on the record. But on the video, he has a girl singer and no Parker. Well, at least you get to see Grimes play guitar. He was born July 7, 1916 in Newport News, VA. The electric guitar was new at the time and Grimes took it up after hearing Charlie Christian. Before that he played piano and drums. I guess his big gig before starting his own band was with Art Tatum in 1943. Grimes signed with Savoy and he recorded as Tiny Grimes Quintette with Charlie Parker on alto sax, Harold "Doc" West on drums, Jimmy Butts on bass and Sir Charles Thompson. Red Prysock replaced Parker after Parker started his own band. They recorded mostly instrumentals except for two songs including Romance Without Finance. Grimes sings it on the record but when they made the Soundie, they wanted a girl singer. I don't know who she is and I don't know if she ever recorded with Grimes. It may have been recorded just for the Soundie. But as I said, at least you get to see Grimes play guitar. The Grimes recordings turn up on some Parker Savoy sessions box sets. If you are new to bebop, try this various artists comp. Grimes continued to lead his own groups and play as a sideman for other jazz greats. He died on Mar. 4, 1989 at age 72. He's a forgotten legend of electric guitar and certainly he is worth checking out. Here's the Soundie for Romance Without Finance by Tiny Grimes.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Song:Christmas Ain't Christmas (Without The One You Love)
Album:Forever Soul: Christmas
So here's a long lost Christmas single that you probably haven't heard before. Most fans should be familiar with the O'Jays' 70s hits. This Christmas song was recorded before they had their big run. the O'Jays had been around since the early 60s. They had some minor hits but things didn't really click until they got together with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Gamble and Huff set up Neptune Records with Chess distribution. They released some singles and a couple of albums including The O'Jays In Philadelphia. Then they left Chess and and started Philadelphia International (PI) with Columbia distribution. The deal was more lucrative in the first place and they quickly became one of the hottest labels in music. Christmas Ain't Christmas was written by Gamble and Huff. The single was released in 1969 on Neptune and then re-released on PI in 1970. It was never a hit but I think classic soul fans and especially O'Jays fans will enjoy it. You can get it on this Sony various artists budget comp that also has a rare James Brown Christmas song. The O'Jays released a Christmas album on EMI in 1991. But Christmas Ain't Christmas was only released as a single. You won't find it on an O'Jays album, only on various artists comps. Here's a video for Christmas Ain't Christmas (Without The One You Love) by The O'Jays.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Alicia Fox from last night's episode of RAW. This was supposed to happen last week but Absolution attacked Alicia and then they came out and attacked Asuka. The women's locker room emptied and drove Absolution off. They followed up on this later in the show. But they gave Alicia her rematch with Asuka first. Of course there wasn't much to it. Alicia got a little bit of offense in but Asuka won easily. The WWE seems content with having Asuka do squash matches. But they are running out of time to do that with the Mixed Match Challenge approaching. And last night they announced there would be a women's Royal Rumble. One mistake they are making is having Booker T and Corey Graves argue about Asuka. Vince is telling Booker to say that stuff. It makes him look very foolish. The WWE seems unsure about what to do with Asuka. They have to figure something out. What about the women's Royal Rumble? It's premature to comment about it. They haven't said how many wrestlers will be in it or who will be in it. The number of wrestlers is the big thing. They have 30 in the Royal Rumble. Are they going to have 30 women? We don't know yet. Until then, enjoy the video.
Song:What I Wouldn't Do
Singer songwriter Serena Ryder has had success in her native Canada. Attempts to break her in the US haven't worked. That's not unusual for Canadian artists who benefit at home because of Canadian content regulations. She was born Dec. 8, 1982 in Toronto. Her father was from Trinidad and a founding member of The Tradewinds. She grew up in Millbrook when her mom remarried. Millbrook is near Peterborough. She started performing as a child and she started writing songs as a teen. She moved to Peterborough to play local clubs. She released a CD in 1999. Serena's big break came when she played a club in Wakefield, Quebec. And the club owner liked her so much that he got her a spot on the CBC Radio show Bandwidth. Hawksley Workman liked her enough to sign her to his Isadora label. She recorded two albums which did OK. She signed with EMI Canada and for the 2008 album Is It O.K., she signed with Atlantic in the US. The album went Gold in Canada and she won a couple of Juno awards. Attempts to break her in the US didn't go as well including a duet with American Idol contestant Jason Castro. For the 2012 CD Harmony, Serena worked with former OneRepublic drummer Jerrod Bettis and Jon Levine of The Philosopher Kings. The singles Stompa and What I Wouldn't Do did very well in Canada. Stompa appeared on Grey's Anatomy. Stompa topped the Adult Alternative chart but it failed to break through to mainstream pop radio. So that's where Serena Ryder is right now. She's very successful in Canada but unable to convert that to success in the US. She moved to Universal Canada for her latest CD Utopia and she is currently touring Canada. But it doesn't look like mainstream success in the US is in the cards. Here's the video for What I Wouldn't Do by Serena Ryder.
Monday, December 18, 2017
Album:Freestyle's Greatest Hits Volume 2
Temptation was the only big hit for Corina Katt Ayala in 1991. She only recorded one album and then turned to acting. Corina grew up in New York's Spanish Harlem to Puerto Rican parents. She had formal training in ballet, voice and theater. Her big break in the music business came in 1987 when she signed with the dance music label Cutting Records owned by Aldo and Amado Marin. Corina released a few singles and when Temptation got some radio play, Cutting licensed it to Atco Records and an album was released in 1991. Temptation reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The record was produced by Carlos "After Dark" Berrios. He was a DJ best known as one half of the remix duo The Hit Squad. He produced some of Corina's previous recordings. This is Corina's only album to date. You can get Temptation on this various artists comp. Corina has recorded occasionally. Her 1997 single Summertime Summertime from So So Def Bass All Stars Vol. 2 did well on the dance chart. Corina turned to acting. She starred in the 1990 film East Side story with Marc Anthony. She also played Frida Kahlo in Tim Robbins' 1999 film Cradle Will Rock. She also starred in the 2013 sitcom Latin In America. It looks like it only ran one season. She has written a one woman show that she tours with. And she also has a Youtube series Lupita Says. Here's the video for Temptation by Corina.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Album:Gold: Greatest Hits
Dancing Queen was ABBA's only US number one hit. Obviously they were a much bigger deal in Europe. And they may be more popular today than they were in the 70s. The beginnings of ABBA go back to the mid-60s Stockholm music scene which was heavily influenced by The Beatles. At age 18, Benny Andersson joined The Hep Stars who were known as The Swedish Beatles. He played keyboards and wrote some of their hits. Bjorn Ulvaeus led the folk group The Hootenanny Singers. So they knew each other from touring similar circuits and they wrote a song together that was a hit for The Hep Stars. Hootenanny Singers manager Stig Andersson encouraged them to work together. The way they became ABBA is Andersson met Anni-Frid Lyngstad at the Eurovision Song Contest and they married. Agnetha Faltskog had success as a solo artist. But she met Ulvaeus during the filming of a 1969 TV special and they married in 1971. At first the plan was for Andersson and Ulvaeus to record as Bjorn & Benny and the girls would record as solo artists. They did this for a few years. The single People Need Love was by Bjorn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid. When it was decided to turn it into a permanent group, Stig Andersson wanted a simple name and ABBA was chosen. ABBA had success in Sweden with songs like Ring Ring. The Eurovision Song Contest helped them with the rest of Europe. Their first US hit was Waterloo in 1974 which reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. But they didn't break through in the US until the 1976 album Arrival and the single Dancing Queen. It topped the charts worldwide and it was their only #1 hit in the US. Dancing Queen was more disco influenced than previous songs especially by the George McCrae classic Rock Your Baby. ABBA continued to have success until the two married couples divorced. It was over in 1983. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Both girls launched solo careers with modest success. Andersson and Ulvaeus had success with the musical Chess written with Tim Rice. They have remained behind the scenes figures though they could make a fortune reuniting ABBA. But the spirit of ABBA is still alive through the musical Mamma Mia! and other projects especially Priscilla, Queen if the Desert. Here's the video for Dancing Queen by ABBA.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Song:To Heck With Ole Santa Claus
Album:White Christmas Blue
If you're looking for a country music Christmas album, living legend Loretta Lynn released one last year. Her first Christmas album was A Country Christmas in 1966. It came at a time when Loretta was just starting to have success on the country charts. So I find the timing a little odd as you would expect a Christmas album from a more established artist. She recorded it with her usual producer Owen Bradley with The Jordanaires on backup vocals. Loretta performs the usual Christmas standards. But she also wrote four songs including the tongue in cheek To Heck With Ole Santa Claus which was released as a single. The problem with the album is it's less than a half hour long. And when Universal released it in 1980 as Christmas Without Daddy and then on CD in 2005 as part of their Millennium Collection series, they did nothing to enhance it with bonus tracks. Last year Loretta released White Christmas Blue on Sony Legacy. The album was produced by Loretta's daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash who also produced her 2016 CD Full Circle. She is accompanied by Shawn Camp who has toured with Loretta since 2007. Again she records mostly Christmas standards. But she also records new versions of To Heck With Ole Santa Claus and A Country Christmas from the 1966 album. Normally I prefer original versions. But I don't think it matters in this case. And White Christmas Blue is available as a budget CD. Loretta has already finished her next album Wouldn't It Be Great. But as you may have heard, Loretta suffered a stroke in May and the album release has been delayed until she is fully recovered. Here's Loretta Lynn with Shawn Camp performing To Heck With Ole Santa Claus.
Friday, December 15, 2017
Song:You Send Me
Album:Give It What U Got
Guitarist Hiram Bullock was mainly a session musician and sideman known for his two year stint in Paul Shaffer's Late Night with David Letterman band. But in the 80s, Atlantic Records tried to turn him into a solo artist. When that didn't work out, he returned to session work though he continued to release albums in Japan. He was born Sept. 11, 1955 in Osaka, Japan. His father was in the military. But he grew up in Baltimore and studied piano as a child. He took up guitar as a teen and studied at the University of Miami with Pat Metheny and Steve Morse. He also met bassists Jaco Pastorius and Will Lee. Lee was also in the Letterman band. After graduation, Bullock moved to New York and settled into session work. Among his more high profile gigs were with Steely Dan, Paul Simon and Billy Joel. he also recorded three albums as a member of the 24th Street Band. Bullock joined the Letterman band in 1982 and stayed for two years. Then he signed with Atlantic Records. The 1987 album Give It What U Got was the second of Bullock's three albums for Atlantic. His main collaborator on the album was pianist Ricky Peterson who was a veteran of the Minneapolis R&B scene. They wrote most of the album songs and even sang together on one track. For the cover of Sam Cooke's You Send Me, guest singer Al Jarreau was brought in. Bullock had played on some of Jarreau's albums. The rest of the band was Will Lee on bass, Charlie Drayton on drums and Don Alias on percussion. This album has been released on CD by the reissue label Wounded Bird. It might be of interest to Al Jarreau fans as I don't think You Send Me appears on any of his albums. In the 90s, Bullock returned to session work and he continued to do that until his death from cancer on July 25, 2008 at age 52. Here's a video for You Send Me by Hiram Bullock featuring Al Jarreau.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Bleeding Love topped the worldwide charts in 2007. It turned out to be Leona Lewis' only big hit in the US. She continued to have success in her native England though she has faded there too and is currently not signed to a record label. Her fame was mostly as winner of Simon Cowell's talent contest show X Factor. She was born Apr. 3, 1985 in London, England. She went to high school at the BRIT School for the Performing Arts. And then she recorded demos and wasn't able to get a record deal. And that's why she auditioned for X Factor. So we all know Simon Cowell from American Idol (AI). He created X Factor because he didn't own AI. There were differences so he wouldn't get sued. With X Factor, he signed the winners to his label Syco. Leona won the third season of X Factor in 2006. When music journalists heard her, she sounded so much like Mariah Carey they called her the Limey Mariah. Leona's single after she won X Factor was a cover of Kelly Clarkson's A Moment Like This. It was a big hit in England. So then she signed a US deal with Clive Davis' J Records. She worked with all kinds of big producers on Spirit. Leona writes songs but she didn't write any of the songs on the album. Bleeding Love was the first single and it topped the charts worldwide. It was produced by OneRepublic leader Ryan Tedder and he wrote it with singer songwriter Jesse McCartney for his album. But his label didn't like it. Tedder thought they were nuts. He saw a video of Leona and brought the song to Cowell. And predictably the song was a big hit. Spirit sold seven million copies worldwide. Though Bleeding Love was Leona's only top ten hit in the US, she continued to have success in England. She continued to fade and she left Syco in 2013. Her latest CD I Am was released on Island Def Jam but she left there as well. Both departures were because she wanted more control of her music. I don't think she has signed with a new label yet. She made her Broadway debut in a 2016 revival of Cats. Maybe that's where her future lies. Here's the video for Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Song:The Nutcracker Suite
Album:Ultimate Christmas Cocktails
Les Brown was a popular swing bandleader in the 40s. But when swing died out in the late 40s, he was able to keep his band going for many years. Many bands just closed up shop. Brown's band was never a jazz band. It was a dance band. What made him popular in the 40s was Doris Day and touring with Bob Hope. When Doris went on to film stardom and swing ended, Brown continued to tour with Hope and appear on Hope's TV specials. Later on he was house band for Steve Allen and Dean Martin's TV shows. In the 50s Brown recorded for Decca's Coral label and then he moved to Capitol. This elaborate arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite was on the 1956 album That Sound Of Renown which was one of his final albums on Coral. Then he recorded it on the 1958 live recording Concert Modern on Capitol. Neither album is available on CD. But Capitol has put Brown's recording of The Nutcracker Suite on its Ultra Lounge CD series. It appears on the CD Christmas Cocktails but it's an edited version and the CD is out of print anyway. But this 3CD Ultra Lounge comp is available. So if you are into the Ultra Lounge sound, this is the Christmas CD for you. The Nutcracker Suite was recorded by Freddy Martin and Fred Waring in the 40s. The most notable jazz version was by Duke Ellington in 1960. Brian Setzer's cover of Brown's version of The Nutcracker Suite appeared in the film Elf. Though Brown died in 2001, his son Les Brown Jr. continues to lead the band today. Here's a video for The Nutcracker Suite by Les Brown & His Band of Renown.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Song:Home For The Holidays
Of course the Carpenters were one of the most successful groups of the 70s. But by the late 70s, Richard and Karen Carpenter were both having health problems that would force them to go on hiatus. Christmas Portrait was their final album before the hiatus. They would return but then Karen died. Christmas Portrait was not only an album but a TV special that still airs on PBS stations. they had success with one off Christmas singles like Merry Christmas Darling. So this time Richard wanted to record a full blown Christmas album. They recorded enough material for two Christmas albums. A second album An Old-Fashioned Christmas was released in 1984. The current CD release seems to be a combination of both albums. Richard produced the albums and wrote most of the arrangements with Peter Knight who previously worked with The Moody Blues. Home For The Holidays was written by Al Stillman and Robert Allen. Perry Como had a hit with it in 1954. I don't think it was on the original album but the 1984 sequel. The album did very well. But Richard went into rehab soon after for drug addiction. Karen was supposed to record a solo album. But she got sick with the anorexia that would kill her. They returned with the 1981 album Made in America but Karen died in 1983. Richard produced An Old-Fashioned Christmas as a tribute to Karen. Here's a video for Home For The Holidays by the Carpenters.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Album:The Complete Capitol Recordings
In the 1930s, Paul Whiteman was known as The King of Jazz. He was the most popular bandleader of the time. But with the rise of swing in the late 30s, he was pretty much a has been. So he signed with Capitol Records when they opened in 1942. And this one off 1942 single featuring the legendary Billie Holiday was Whiteman's final chart hit. The problem with Whiteman was despite his nickname, he wasn't a jazz musician nor an innovator. He was a very good marketer. And he deserves a lot of credit for giving Bing Crosby to the world. But by the late 30s, guys like Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller made him obsolete. So as a last resort, he signed with the fledgling Capitol Records. Their first single was Whiteman's recording of I Found A New Baby. So Capitol co-owner Johnny Mercer wanted to make a big splash with a big hit. He found out that Billie Holiday was in Los Angeles. She just had a huge hit with God Bless The Child. He convinced her to record with Whiteman. I assume he promised to write a song for her. Mercer wrote Trav'lin Light with Whiteman band members Trummy Young and Jimmy Mundy. Mundy also arranged the recording. Because Billie was under contract to Columbia, Mercer credited Billie as Lady Day on the label. The trombone solo was by Skip Layton. It worked. The record was a big hit. It topped the R&B chart and reached #23 on the Hit Parade. It turned out to be Whiteman's final big hit. This comp has all his Capitol recordings. Trav'lin Light also appears on some Billie Holiday comps. Whiteman turned to radio and by the late 40s he was a regular on TV. He was musical director for ABC in the 50s. Here's a video for Trav'lin light by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra featuring Billie Holiday.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Here's the match video of Alexis Davis vs Liz Carmouche from last night's UFC show in Fresno, CA. Alexis won their first fight four years ago. Both fighters are dropping to Flyweight. Alexis fought at Flyweight before she was in Strikeforce. Liz says she thought she was undersized at Bantamweight. I don't think it matters much with Liz. I don't think she's an elite fighter and injuries have slowed her down. Alexis is good on the ground but she is error prone and that has cost her fights in the past. This is a close fight but not a great fight. I didn't think either gave a great performance. Round one is the key round as it could be scored either way. Liz got top position but didn't do much with it. But for some that could be enough to give her the round. But Alexis secured an armbar with time running out in the round. If she had got it earlier in the round, the fight would have been over. It was close enough to a finish for me to score the round 10-9 for Alexis. But it could have been scored for Liz based on what she did earlier in the round. So which is correct? They are both correct. It depends on your criteria. Two judges scored it for Alexis and the other one scored it for Liz. The other two rounds were easier to judge. I scored round two 10-9 for Alexis and round three 10-9 for Liz. And so did the judges. Alexis won by split decision. When you watch the fight, pay particular attention to round one and how you would judge it. I wasn't surprised by the fight. I think Alexis is a better fighter but her mistakes keep fights close. I have never been that high on Liz. And she didn't show me much in this fight. On Twitter, there has been speculation about who might get the first shot at Nicco Montano's UFC Flyweight Championship. I think the speculation is premature mostly because Nicco just had foot surgery so we won't see her until the middle of 2018. The other fighters need fights in the meantime. Most of the speculation assumes that Sijara Eubanks will get the first shot as a make good because she got sick. But I think its doubtful that she can make 125lb. She'll get the opportunity to prove she can do that before a title shot because Nicco is on the shelf anyway. And other contenders may surface. I'm not the one speculating about this. I'm telling those people to relax. Maybe watch this video and enjoy the fight.
Song:The Christmas song
Album:Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas
If you're a jazz guitar fan looking for a Christmas album, Kenny Burrell recorded a Christmas album in 1966. He was bouncing around labels at the time so it's an album that fell through the cracks for years. But it's now available as a budget CD. Burrell left Blue Note in 1963. His final album for Blue Note was Midnight Blue which was his most popular album. He recorded a couple of albums for Prestige with Jack McDuff and Shirley Scott. And he recorded a couple of albums for Verve including Blue Bash! with Jimmy Smith and Guitar Forms with Gil Evans. Then he went to Chicago and signed with the Chess Records label Cadet. He recorded three albums for Cadet and producer Esmond Edwards who produced most of the jazz albums recorded at Chess. Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas was Burrell's second album for Cadet and it was released in 1966. It is Burrell performing Christmas standards with an orchestra conducted by Richard Evans who was a house arranger at Chess. This album was out of print for years. Universal now owns the Chess catalog and Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas was released by Verve on CD in 1993. It's available as a budget CD and it's perfect for jazz fans looking for a Christmas album. Edwards left Chess for Verve in 1968 and Burrell went with him. By then Creed Taylor was running Verve and he left and eventually would start CTI Records. Edwards returned to Chess in 1970. Burrell recorded one album for CTI and then recorded for Fantasy in the 70s. Here's a video for The Christmas Song by Kenny Burrell.
Saturday, December 09, 2017
Album:Verve Presents: The Very Best Of Christmas Jazz
John Coltrane on a Christmas CD? From what I can tell, this was the only time Coltrane recorded what could be called a Christmas song and that's why it appears on a various artists Christmas CD. But there are a couple of interesting things about his recording of Greensleeves. Coltrane signed with Impulse Records in 1961. And this is also when he started what is known as the Classic Quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. But Greensleeves was on his 1961 debut album Africa/Brass with a much larger band. Impulse liked Greensleeves enough that they wanted to release it as a single. But it was ten minutes long. So they edited it and released it as a single. This was obviously influenced by the success of Coltrane's recording of My Favorite Things. The single was never on a Coltrane album though it did appear on the Deluxe Edition CD of Ballads which is out of print. Africa/Brass is available as a budget CD. Coltrane also recorded Greensleeves on Live At The Village Vanguard but it only appeared on the 1997 complete recordings box set. But Verve has included the single version on some various artists Christmas CDs including this budget CD released in 2001. Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, Mel Torme and Oscar Peterson are among the artists on this CD. As I have said in the past, I am always asked about jazz Christmas CDs and there are very few with Coltrane on it. Here's a video of Greensleeves by John Coltrane.
Friday, December 08, 2017
Album:The Story of Acid Jazz
Acid Jazz was created by British DJ Gilles Peterson for British clubs. Most of the music didn't cross the pond. But if you're a fan of smooth jazz or R&B, Acid Jazz might be for you. The Apostles were a one off band. But they had some success in clubs with this smooth jazz cover of the Eumir Deodato 70s jazz fusion classic Super Strut. The two guys behind The Apostles were sax player John Willmott and keyboard player John Dutton. Willmott is the better known of the two. He played sax for another popular Acid Jazz group The James Taylor Quartet. Dutton played keyboards for a version of the pioneering ska group Bad Manners. They decided to record an album together in 1992. They called themselves The Apostles and it was released on Acid Jazz Records. The album is mostly covers. Their cover of Super Strut did well enough in British clubs that the album was released in the US by Hollywood Records. But The Apostles only recorded one album. It's out of print but you can get Super Strut on this 2CD various artists comp which is a good intro to Acid Jazz for beginners. Willmott returned to The James Taylor Quartet and he was also in the spinoff group New Jersey Kings. More recently he was a member of The Perceptions led by Mark "Snowboy' Cotgrove. This was a one off spinoff of Snowboy and the Latin Section. That is certainly in the tradition of the Acid Jazz Willmott recorded with The Apostles. Here's a video of Super Strut by The Apostles.
Thursday, December 07, 2017
Album:Annie: A New Musical
Andrea McArdle was 13 years old when she starred in the Broadway musical Annie. You might ask whatever happened to her? I'm gonna tell you. Andrea was born Nov. 5, 1963 in Philadelphia. As a child, she appeared in TV commercials and was on the daytime soap Search For Tomorrow for two years. Of course Annie is based on the popular comic strip Little Orphan Annie. In 1972, lyricist Martin Charnin approached Thomas Meehan about turning it into a musical. Meehan wrote the story and Charles Strouse wrote the songs with Charnin. Kristen Vigard was originally cast as Annie. But in the pre-Broadway tryouts, the producers thought Kristen wasn't gritty enough and Andrea replaced her. Andrea was originally hired to play one of the orphans. Kristen was her understudy. Kristen went on to star in a couple of daytime soaps and she has been in music since 1988. This turned out to be a great decision as Annie was a huge hit and it won Tonys. Sony's 2009 CD release of the original cast album includes bonus tracks. It also made Andrea famous for a couple of years After the show ended, Andrea starred as Judy Garland in the 1981 NBC TV movie Rainbow. After that, she returned to the stage sometimes on Broadway in shows like Les Miserables, State Fair and Beauty and the Beast. She also appears in plenty of touring companies. Andrea also performs in clubs and has released the occasional CD produced by her ex-husband Edd Kalehoff. His claim to fame is he wrote the theme for The Price Is Right. There's a cash cow. Andrea has been on tour this year. It's likely she will return to the stage in the future. But she will always be famous for playing Annie. Here's Andrea McArdle performing Tomorrow 1977.
Wednesday, December 06, 2017
Album:The Best Of The Capricorn Years (& Rarities)
Gov't Mule is a spinoff of The Allman Brothers Band. They have built a strong fanbase and they are a very successful touring act. Lead singer and guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody joined The Allman Brothers Band in 1989. When the band went on hiatus after the 1994 album Where It All Begins, they decided to go on tour as Gov't Mule. Matt Abst was the drummer. He played with Haynes in the Dickie Betts band. They released an album and toured in 1995. When the Allmans remained on hiatus, Gov't Mule just continued to record and tour. Things were going great when Woody was found dead in a New York hotel room on Aug. 26, 2000 at age 44. When the Allmans returned in 2001, Haynes returned to them full time. He considered ending Gov't Mule. But first he wanted to record a tribute album to Woody. That became the two part project The Deep End. There is also a documentary about the making of the album. They brought in guest bassists as a tribute to Woody including Jack Bruce, Bootsy Collins, John Entwistle and Larry Graham. Haynes wrote Soulshine and it was on the 1994 Allman Brothers CD Where It All Begins. It's a regular song on Gov't Mule shows. The bassist is veteran session musician Willie Weeks. The success of The Deep End convinced Haynes to continue Gov't Mule and he signed a deal with Dave Matthews' ATO label. The Deep End is out of print. But you can get Soulshine on this comp of Gov't Mule's early recordings. They tried several keyboard players and bassists and settled on session keyboardist Danny Louis and Black Crowes bassist Andy Hess. Gov't Mule returned to regular touring and recording. And that's what they are doing today. Hess was replaced by Jorgen Carlsson in 2008. Gov't Mule's latest CD Revolution Come...Revolution Go was released by Fantasy Records June 2017. And they will tour in 2018. Here's Gov't Mule performing Soulshine on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn 2001.
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Alicia Fox from last night's episode of RAW. Well, at least it wasn't five seconds. At least Alicia got in some offense until Asuka took over and won with a flying armbar. Again, Absolution came to the ring and Paige waved bye bye to Asuka and then proceeded to beat up Alicia. At this point, we just have to wait to see where this goes. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Asuka vs Paige on an upcoming PPV. Enjoy the video!
Song:Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night
Album:The Hit Collection
In North America, Lonnie Donegan is known for the 1961 top five hit Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night. The song is a staple on the Dr. Demento radio show. But in England, he was as important as Elvis Presley in popularizing Rock 'N' Roll. He was born Anthony James Donegan Apr. 29, 1931 in Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland but he grew up in East London. His father was a violinist. As a child, Donegan listened to swing and country and he taught himself to play guitar by listening to the radio. He played in London clubs when he was spotted by jazz musician Chris Barber. While a member of that band, he was drafted into the military in 1949. After his 1952 discharge, he started the Tony Donegan Jazzband. After opening for bluesman Lonnie Johnson, Donegan took the name Lonnie as a tribute. Then Donegan became a member of Ken Colyer's band. Then Donegan created "skiffle". This was a mix of the Dixieland jazz he was already playing augmented by banjo and other folk and country music instruments. He performed sped up versions of traditional folk songs like Rock Island Line which was a top ten hit in the US in 1954. Donegan signed with Pye Records in 1955 and that's when things started to pick up for Donegan. He became a big star in England but he was unable to get anywhere in the US until Dot Records picked up Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night. It was a hit in England in 1959. In 1961, it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song dates back to the 20s. It was written as Does Your Spearmint Lose Its Flavour by famed bandleader Billy Rose along with Ernest Breuer and Jelly Roll Morton band member Marty Bloom. It was a hit at the time for The Happiness Boys. It was written as a novelty song but Donegan's skiffle version was a quicker tempo than the original. Donegan changed Spearmint to Chewing Gum for copyright reasons so the BBC would play the record. Donegan's career faded after that because of The British Invasion. But he made a big comeback in England in the 80s and he toured and recorded regularly until his death on Nov. 3, 2002 at age 71. Donegan had suffered several heart attacks since the 70s. This comp is a good intro to his music. Here's a video of Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night by Lonnie Donegan.