Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Song:Liza and Louise
Album:White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean
The punk band NOFX have been around since the 80s but they were particularly successful on their own terms in the 90s. They have never been on a major label and they have never softened their music to get commercial success. And that could be a reason why they are still successful. NOFX are from Los Angeles. Guitarist Eric Melvin met bassist and singer Mike "Fat Mike" Burkett in 1983. The band was called NOFX after the punk band Negative FX. Drummer Erik "Smelly" Sandin joined. He left and then returned. Dave Allen joined but he died in a 1986 car accident. They released EPs in limited quantities until they signed with Epitaph Records which is owned by Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion. Guitarist Dave Casillas joined in 1987 but he was replaced by Steve Kidwiller in 1989. Kidwiller was replaced by Aaron "El Hefe" Abayta in 1991. NOFX has had the same lineup since then. With the success of bands like Offspring and Bad Religion, things started to pick up for NOFX with the 1993 album White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean. Their next album Punk in Drublic did even better. It was certified Gold. Major labels came calling but NOFX turned them all down. They could have had music videos played on MTV. They didn't want to play that game. They continued to record and tour. NOFX started their own label Fat Wreck Chords in 2003. NOFX is still going strong. 2015 saw a 25th anniversary tour. And their latest CD First Ditch Effort was released Oct. 2016. They are currently touring to support that. A band autobiography NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories was published last year. There's something to be said of a band that has been around all these years and has never sold out to commercialism. Here's NOFX performing Liza and Louise at Rockpalast in Germany 1993.
Monday, February 27, 2017
Song:Shed Your Love
Album:Keep Your Eyes Ahead
The Helio Sequence are a mix of folk and neo psychedelia. They were formed in 1999. in Beaverton, OR by singer songwriter guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer Benjamin Weikel. Weikel also programs the keyboards. He was a one time member of Modest Mouse. After self releasing an EP, they released two albums on the local label Cavity Search. For the 2004 CD Love and Distance, they signed with the larger label Sub Pop. This was mainly to get better distribution. They went on hiatus because Summers damaged his vocal cords. It was during this hiatus that Weikel joined Modest Mouse. After Summers recovered, The Helio Sequence returned with the 2008 CD Keep Your Eyes Ahead. They toured with Modest Mouse and then the British group Keane. Meanwhile their recording studio flooded so they had to find new space. The new studio encouraged the duo to produce other bands like the Brazilian group Quarto Negro and the hip hop group Shabazz Palaces. For their 2015 album The Helio Sequence, they gave their friends a list of songs and had them vote which ten would appear on the album. They toured to support the album. They just announced some upcoming shows but I haven't seen anything about new music. Here's The Helio Sequence performing Shed Your Love at the Independent in San Francisco Feb. 29, 2008.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Song:(What A) Wonderful World
Of course Art Garfunkel is best known as one half of Simon and Garfunkel. After they split up in 1970, Garfunkel had success as a solo artist including this cover of the Sam Cooke classic (What A) Wonderful World in 1978. He was born Nov. 5, 1941 in Queens, NY. He began singing at an early age even in the synagogue. Apparently his Bar Mitzvah was quite the show. He met Paul Simon in sixth grade and they performed as Tom and Jerry for several years. Their main influence at the time was The Everly Brothers. They split up and then reformed as Simon and Garfunkel in 1963. They were not successful at first and Simon moved to England. But they reformed when Sounds Of Silence was a hit. They were one of the most popular groups of the 60s. They split up in 1970. Simon had immediate solo success. Garfunkel appeared in the films Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge. Then he released his 1973 debut album Angel Clare and the single All I Know reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. For his 1975 album Breakaway, Garfunkel reunited with Simon for the single My Little Town. It reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's Garfunkel's biggest hit to date and the album was certified Platinum. For the 1977 album Watermark, Garfunkel decided to do an album of Jimmy Webb songs. But when the first single didn't chart, Columbia pulled the album and had Garfunkel record a cover of the Sam Cooke classic (What A) Wonderful World with Simon and James Taylor. The single reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it helped with album sales too. One note is that this album was sax player Paul Desmond's final appearance before his death from cancer. After Garfunkel's 1979 album Fate For Breakfast was released, his longtime girlfriend Laurie Bird committed suicide. He dedicated the 1981 album Scissors Cut to her and then he disappeared for several years until his 1988 album Lefty. He was married by then and he and his wife have two kids. Garfunkel still records occasionally. He left Columbia in 1998 and he has recorded for Blue Note and Atco. He's had voice problems in recent years which seems to be a byproduct of years of heavy smoking. He still tours so I expect him to record at some point. This 2CD comp has all of his hits along with Simon and Garfunkel highlights. Here's a video of (What A) Wonderful World by Art Garfunkel featuring Paul Simon and James Taylor.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Album:Classic Mountain Songs From Smithsonian Folkways
Most music fans should be familiar with Sixteen Tons as it was a huge hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford. Some fans may also be aware that the song was written by country music legend Merle Travis. But George Davis known as the Singing Miner claimed for many years that Travis based Sixteen Tons on one of his songs of the 30s. The problem was Davis didn't copyright it or record it. So no one knows for sure. Davis was born Aug. 19, 1906 in La Follette, TN but he grew up in Hazard, KY which is coal mining country. Everyone worked in the coal mine and Davis was no exception. He began work at the Crawford Coal Co. in 1920. He got married and raised a family. Davis worked in the mines for 28 years. But in 1933 he helped organize the United Mine Workers Union. He also messed around with the guitar. In Oct. 1933, he suffered a serious arm injury so he wasn't able to play guitar. So instead he started writing songs. There were songs like Coal Miner's Boogie, When Kentucky Had No Union Men and Nine To Ten Tons. This is the song that Davis claimed Travis used to write Sixteen Tons. Travis has denied this. He says Sixteen Tons is influenced by his father who was a coal miner. Davis never recorded his song so he couldn't prove anything. Davis left the coal mines in 1947 to work at the local radio station. He was a DJ for many years. In 1967, he recorded an album for Folkways Records that included his own recording of Sixteen Tons. This album is available on CD. But you can get Sixteen Tons on this various artists budget comp. George Davis died on Nov. 3, 1992 at age 86. Here's a video of Sixteen Tons by George Davis.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Album:Across The Universe: Music From The Motion Picture
Jim Sturgess is a British actor whose best known role to date is Julie Taymor's 2007 Beatles tribute Across The Universe. Sturgess sings in the film but he hasn't released an album. He may do that in the future. Most recently he starred in the now cancelled AMC series Feed The Beast. He was born May 16, 1978 in Wandsworth, London, England but he grew up on Farnham, Surrey. He had bands as a teen and he attended Salford University in Manchester to try to get into the Manchester music scene. Instead he got involved with a group of aspiring actors. He signed with an agent in 1999. For the next few years he worked on British TV shows like Judge John Deed and A Touch Of Frost. For her 2007 film Across The Universe, Julie Taymor was looking for actors who could sing. The main actors were Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson and Dana Fuchs with musical guest stars like Bono, Eddie Izzard and Joe Cocker. So all the actors sang. Sturgess sings several songs including Something. It's all on the soundtrack CD. The score was composed by Elliott Goldenthal who has lived with Taymor for years. T-Bone Butnett produced Something and some of the other musical numbers. The film got mixed reviews and it didn't perform well financially. Producer Joe Roth tried to get Taymor to agree to a shorter cut of the film but she refused. Sturgess also starred in the 2008 film 21 with Kevin Spacey. He's been in a few other films like Crossing Over and Cloud Atlas. He is appearing in Geostorm which is scheduled for release later in 2017. He also returned to TV. He starred in the BBC mini series Close To The Enemy. And he starred with David Schwimmer in the AMC series Feed The Beast. The show was panned and did poor ratings. It was cancelled after the first season. Sturgess still writes and performs music. He wrote songs for the films 21, Crossing Over and Heartless and he recorded five songs as a fundraiser for a sick friend. So Sturgess could get back into music but his acting career is busy so he might not be able to. Here's Something by Jim Sturgess as it appears in the 2007 film Across The Universe.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
|Amanda Bobby Cooper, Cynthia Calvillo|
Song:St. George and the Dragonet
Album:The Best Of Stan Freberg
I guess Stan Freberg was the last radio comedian. Because when TV was taking over for radio in the 50s, Freberg's comedy records were still popular. St. George and the Dragonet topped the pop charts in 1953. Of course he did a lot on radio, TV and especially in advertising. They don't make them like Stan Freberg anymore. He was born Stanley Friberg Aug. 7, 1926 in Pasadena, CA. His father was a Baptist minister. As a teen, he started out doing children's puppet shows. After graduating high school, he hopped a bus to Los Angeles and successfully auditioned for a job at Warner Bros. animation. Freberg worked alongside the legendary Mel Blanc. He was Bertie in the Hubie and Bertie cartoons, Pete Puma in the 1952 cartoon Rabbit's Kin and probably most famously as Junyer Bear in Chuck Jones' Three Bears cartoons. He signed with Capitol Records in 1951. His first single was the soap opera parody John and Marsha. Once that charted, he was off to the races. The Dragnet spoof St. George and the Dragonet was Freberg's only number one hit. It topped the charts for four weeks in 1953. Capitol told Freberg that he needed Dragnet creator and star Jack Webb's permission to parody him and use Walter Schumann's theme music. Webb loved the idea. Freberg wrote the sketch with the legendary Daws Butler and Freberg, Butler, June Foray and Hy Averback did the voices. The animated film seen below was produced for one of Freberg's 50s TV specials. Freberg continued to have great success in the 50s with albums, radio and TV. This budget comp was first released in 1963 and it was released on CD by the British label Hallmark. In the 60s, Freberg turned his attention to advertising. One of his more memorable commercials was for Sunsweet Prunes featuring sci-fi author Ray Bradbury. And Heinz Great American Soups with dancer Ann Miller. Freberg was less active later on. But occasionally he would show up on TV like as the supermarket manager in the sitcom Roseanne. He continued to do voice work until his death on Apr. 7, 2015 at age 88. Here's an animated film of St. George and the Dragonet by Stan Freberg.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
|Alexis Davis, Cindy Dandois|
Song:Way Out Of Here
Album:Fear Of A Blank Planet
Porcupine Tree will remind you of a 70s progressive rock group. But they are more recent than that. They have had success in their native England and Europe and made inroads into the US before going on hiatus. The 2007 album Fear Of A Blank Planet is probably their best seller to date. The band leader is guitarist Steven Wilson. He was born Nov. 3, 1967 in Kingston upon Thames, England but he grew up in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. As a teen, he was in several bands and he also messed around at home with multi track recording techniques. In 1986, he launched two projects. The first was called No-Man and the second was Porcupine Tree. Both were supposed to be home studio projects and Porcupine Tree was supposed to be a fictional tribute to Pink Floyd. As No-Man had some success as a band, Wilson also thought Porcupine Tree could turn into a band. After a trial run, Wilson signed with Delerium Records in 1991. After releasing a couple of Porcupine Tree albums, Wilson turned it into a band in 1993 so the songs could be performed live. Wilson was lead singer and guitarist. Other members were Colin Edwin on bass, Chris Maitland on drums and Richard Barbieri on keyboards. Maitland and Barbieri were also in No-Man. Wilson is still recording albums solo but eventually he turns Porcupine Tree into a real band with the 1996 album Signify. This album was released in the US on Ark 21. Wilson decides to leave Delerium for Kscope. The band had outgrown Delerium. The 1999 album Stupid Dream was more of a pop album. It was their best seller to date. Maitland left in 2002 and he was replaced by Gavin Harrison. Then they signed with Lava/Atlantic for the next few albums. In England, they moved to Roadrunner in 2006 but remained on Atlantic in the US. The 2007 album Fear Of A Blank Planet marked a return to a progressive rock sound. King Crimson leader Robert Fripp appears on Way Out Of Here and Alex Lifeson of Rush also makes a guest appearance. The album was very successful and they followed it up with the 2009 album The Incident. After touring, Wilson released a solo album and he put Porcupine Tree on hiatus. He continues to record solo and though there have been rumours of a Porcupine Tree reformation, it seems unlikely at this point. Wilson says that even if he was to reform Porcupine Tree, it would only be as a side project. He wants to focus on his solo work. Here's the video for Way Out Of Here by Porcupine Tree.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Album:Cameo Parkway 1957-1967
This novelty record was a top 20 hit in 1966. Senator Bobby is Senator Bobby Kennedy as portrayed by comedian Bill Minkin. On the B side he performs Wild Thing as Senator Everett Dirksen. The idea to do this record came from the guy who wrote Wild Thing. Chip Taylor is a veteran producer and singer songwriter who is the brother of actor Jon Voight. He got together with a comedy group called The Hardly-Worthit Players. It's supposed to be a spoof of the NBC newscast The Huntley-Brinkley Report. The guys behind that were Dennis Wholey and Steve Baron. They signed a record deal with Cameo-Parkway Records and they released their 1966 album The Hardly-Worthit Report. Minkin was a friend who did an impersonation of Senator Bobby Kennedy. Wholey asked Taylor if he could use Wild Thing. When he told Taylor what he was going to do, Taylor agreed to produce the single. The record reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Wild Thing was not on the album The Hardly-Worthit Report but it was added to a second pressing. It is not on the mp3 version of the album currently available. But you can get Wild Thing on this 4CD Cameo-Parkway box set. The Hardly-Worthit Players released a second album in 1967 and then they split up. Dennis Wholey went on to be a talk show host for PBS in Detroit. Minkin recorded a second single as Senator Bobby called Sock It To Me, Baby for RCA in 1968. Obviously it's supposed to play off of The Rowan and Martin Laugh-In. Minkin is the host of the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio concert series. Chip Taylor is currently an alt-country performer with his own label Train Wreck Records. Here's Bill Minkin as Senator Bobby with Dennis Wholey and Steve Baron performing Wild Thing on The Hollywood Palace 1966. Kate Smith's intro is pretty funny too.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Here's the match video of Randa Markos vs Carla Esparza from last night's UFC show in Halifax. After Carla lost the UFC Strawweight Championship, she had shoulder surgery. Now she's on the comeback trail to get back into the title picture. Her forte is wrestling. I think she needs to improve in other areas to get where she wants to go. Randa is a pretty good wrestler who loses when she makes mistakes. Carla wanted to fight Randa because they didn't get along during TUF 20. Carla needs a dominant win but I think she underestimated Randa. The first two rounds are very similar. Nothing much happened for the first half of each round. In both rounds, Carla scores a takedown. In round one, Randa reverses it so I scored round one 10-9 for Randa. In round two, Carla comes close to a submission but runs out of time. I scored round three 10-9 for Carla. In round three, the key blow was Carla's knee to Randa's head while she was down. But ref Keith Peterson missed the call. He's looking right at it. What a bozo! So I scored round three 10-9 for Carla but I took off the point that Peterson missed. So I scored the fight a draw. The judges gave Randa the win by split decision. And if they had scored it for Carla, Randa would have had grounds for appeal due to the missed call. It doesn't matter much. Though it's a big win for Randa over a ranked opponent, Carla needed to win this fight dominantly. A squeaker win would have meant nothing and it may show that time has passed her by and her game is not developing. She's not improving and maybe she'll never improve. She's out of the title picture now. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Sara McMann vs Gina Mazany from last night's UFC show in Halifax. Sara is trying to get back into the title picture. She made progress with her last win over Alexis Davis. Last night, she was supposed to fight Liz Carmouche. But Liz pulled out due to injury and Gina Mazany who didn't make TUF 18 was brought in. Gina is from Anchorage, AK but she now trains at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Her brother is also a fighter. So there are two schools of thought about a late replacement. Sara has spent money on a training camp and she needs to fight and get paid. But in Sara's case, she needs to fight a ranked opponent to get back into the title picture. So she might have been better off waiting for that. No matter how easy it was, a win over Gina doesn't help her. She still needs to beat a ranked fighter. And based on what Sara said after her win, she knows this. Allow me to put on my manager's hat. If I'm her manager, she doesn't take this fight. She should wait for a ranked opponent. Sara won easily but it doesn't help her get closer to a title shot. Look, I know my thinking goes against conventional wisdom. Fighters gotta fight. Sometimes waiting is a better call. Enjoy the video!
Song:I Think We're Alone Now
Tiffany Darwish was 16 years old when she topped the charts with her 1987 cover of the Tommy James and the Shondells classic I Think We're Alone Now. But her decline was as quick as her rise and she quickly faded into obscurity. She was born Oct. 2, 1974 in Norwalk, CA. She sang country music as a child. She toured with country music veteran Jack Reeves. Then she was discovered in 1982 by singer songwriter Hoyt Axton and his songwriter mom Mae Axton. They took her to Nashville and she performed on TNN's The Ralph Emery Show. She appeared on Star Search in 1985. Then her manager George Tobin got her a record deal at MCA. He owned his own recording studio and had minor success as a producer and songwriter. His biggest success was co-writing the 1968 one hit wonder Cinnamon for Derek. Tiffany's debut album Tiffany was released in 1987. When her first single didn't chart, Tobin sent her on a tour of shopping malls. The second single I Think We're Alone Now topped the charts. So now she's on the cover of teen fan mags with Debbie Gibson. Though Tobin is credited as producer, most of the songwriting and arranging was by John Duarte who had previously worked with New Edition. He probably should have gotten a producer credit. Could've Been was Tiffany's second and final number one hit. She was supposed to tour with New Kids on the Block opening for her. She discovered them and got them a deal with MCA. Her mom sued Tobin for control of Tiffany's career. A court rejected this and Tiffany's grandmother was named as her guardian. Keep in mind that Tiffany's mother signed that contract so Tobin did nothing wrong. The tour was cancelled. Tiffany's second album Hold An Old Friend's Hand didn't do nearly as well as her first album. And then she split with Tobin in 1990. She continued to record for MCA until 1993. She was through. Even reuniting with Tobin didn't help. Tiffany now lives in Nashville. She records occasionally on small labels and she still tours. She has done some acting but like many minor celebrities, she seems to do a lot of reality TV. This budget comp covers Tiffany's brief success. Here's the video for I Think We're Alone Now by Tiffany.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Song:A View To A Kill
Duran Duran was one of the biggest bands of the 80s. The 1985 theme to the James Bond film A View To A Kill was at the end of their initial run but it was also one of their two number one hits in the US. Duran Duran were from Birmingham, England formed in 1978 by bassist John Taylor and keyboard player Nick Rhodes. The name came from a character in the French sci-fi comic strip Barbarella though I think they may have got it from Roger Vadim's 1966 film starring Jane Fonda. The first lead singer was Stephen Duffy of Tin Tin and Simon Colley was the original bassist. Taylor played guitar. They didn't have a drummer. They used a drum machine. Colley left and auditions resulted in the hiring of guitarist Andy Taylor. John Taylor switched to bass. Duffy was replaced by Andy Wickett and he was lead singer for a year. They tried out different guys. But by 1980, they settled on Simon Le Bon as lead singer, Andy Taylor on lead guitar and they added drummer Roger Taylor. They sent out demos and signed with EMI. Their debut album was released in 1981. Their first big hit was their third single Girls On Film mostly because of the video. An edited version was played heavily on MTV. They toured the US and Hungry Like The Wolf was their first big hit in the US. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another thing that gave them a big edge over other bands of the era was they appeared regularly in teen fan mags directed at teenage girls. That was Duran Duran's fanbase at the time. Their first US #1 hit was the 1984 single The Reflex. But there were problems brewing. John and Andy Taylor formed The Power Station with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson. They scored two top ten hits. Le Bon and Rhodes released an album as Arcadia. Rhodes admits today that splitting into two bands was commercially self destructive. Then John Taylor drunkenly approached James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli at a party and asked him when he was going to get a decent band for one of his theme songs. This led to a meeting with Bond composer John Barry. Duran Duran wrote A View To A Kill and Barry produced and arranged the record. It was the first James Bond theme to top the Billboard Hot 100. You can get all of Duran Duran's hits on this budget comp. Then things fell apart. Roger Taylor quit due to exhaustion. Andy Taylor recorded the 1986 album Thunder in Los Angeles. The others released the 1986 album Notorious and the single Notorious reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Duran Duran continued though they weren't as successful as they were previously. They continued in the 90s until they left EMI in 1999. Duran Duran recorded for Hollywood and Epic. Their latest CD Paper Gods was released in 2015 on Warner Bros. They still tour. Andy Taylor is no longer a member but the other four guys still are. Rhodes took a break and was replaced by Amanda "MNDR" Warner. But he's back and he will be on the 2017 tour. Here's the video for A View To A Kill by Duran Duran.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Album:The Best Of Kenny Lattimore
R&B crooner Kenny Lattimore scored his biggest hit with For You in 1997. Today it's a very popular wedding song. Lattimore is still around. He was born Apr. 10, 1970 in Washington, DC. Though he always wanted to sing, he studied architecture at Howard University just in case. He started doing sessions and that led to Lattimore becoming lead singer of the group Maniquin. They signed with Epic and released a 1988 album with big name producers like Charlie and Ronnie Wilson of The Gap Band and Charlie Singleton of Cameo. But they didn't have a hit single and the album didn't sell. Maniquin split up and Lattimore returned to session work. He worked with a group called Dem Twinzz but Lattimore wanted to be a solo artist. So he moved to New York in 1993. He recorded demos with producer J. Dibbs who had produced Joe. This got him a deal with Columbia and his 1996 debut CD Kenny Lattimore. For You was the third single and it reached #6 on the R&B Singles chart. It crossed over to be a top 40 pop hit. And it's also a very popular wedding song. The song was written by Lattimore's friend Kenny Lerum and it was produced by Barry Eastmond, best known for producing Freddie Jackson. Lattimore recorded two albums for Columbia and then moved to Arista in 2001. He continued to have success on the R&B charts. This budget comp has all of his hits. After Lattimore married singer Chante Moore in 2002, Arista president LA Reid suggested they record as a duo. They recorded two albums together. One was a gospel album and the other was an album of covers. And they toured together. They divorced in 2011. Lattimore recorded an album of covers for Verve in 2008. Then he started his own label with eOne and released the 2015 album Anatomy of a Love Song. His latest CD for Motown is A Kenny Lattimore Christmas. And he still tours. Here's the video for For You by Kenny Lattimore.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Song:The Only One I Know
Album:The Best Of The Charlatans: Melting Pot 1990-1997
The Charlatans were one of several bands to emerge from the Madchester scene in England in the late 80s. The Only One I Know was their first top ten hit in England. They have had plenty of success at home but not as much here. The Charlatans are from Northwich in the West Midlands in England. They were formed in 1988 by bassist Martin Blunt, Rob Collins on keyboards, Jon Brookes on drums, Jon Day on guitar and lead singer Baz Ketley who would be replaced by Tim Burgess. They were called The Charlatans UK in North America because The Charlatans was already copyrighted. They released a single in 1990 and then signed with Beggars Banquet. The Only One I Know was the first single and it reached #9 on the British Singles chart. It was added to the 1990 album Some Friendly. They signed with RCA in the US. The Charlatans toured the US but they never broke through commercially. They were more successful in England. Day was replaced by Mark Collins. They had a setback when Rob Collins was convicted of armed robbery and served four months in prison. Apparently he was unknowingly waiting in the car for a friend who committed the crime. They again had success in England when the 1995 album The Charlatans topped the charts. While recording their 1996 album Telling Stories, Rob Collins was killed in a car crash. Martin Duffy was brought in to replace him temporarily. The album was their most successful to date featuring the top five hit One To Another. The Charlatans contract with Beggars Banquet was up and they signed with Universal. This comp was released at that time. It covers their Beggars Banquet recordings and it's available as a budget CD. Tony Rogers was the new keyboard player. The Charlatans recorded three albums for Universal and they moved to Sanctuary in 2006. After one album, they moved to Cooking Vinyl. They had another setback when Jon Brookes collapsed during a 2010 performance in Philadelphia. He died of brain cancer in 2013. The Charlatans released a new CD Modern Nature in 2015 on BMG. They continue to tour. They usually hire a drummer and other musicians for touring. Here's the video for The Only One I Know by The Charlatans UK.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Album:Chacun Dans Son Espace
Singer songwriter Vincent Vallieres has had success in his native Quebec. He is unknown otherwise. He was born Aug. 8, 1978 in Sherbrooke, QC. He learned to play guitar and he began writing songs as a teen. Influences include Harmonium, Robert Charlebois and Paul Piche. Vallieres won second place in a songwriting contest and he recorded a demo. In 1997, local promoter Bernard Caza signed him to his BYC label. His 1999 CD Trente Arpents was successful in the rural areas of Quebec. Traditionally Montreal tends to spurn artists from the "back country" as it is called. Initially, Vallieres was sold as a folksinger. But he wanted to form a rock band. Chacun Dans Son Espace was his third album in 2003. By this time, he was just known as Vallieres. Vallieres writes and produces all his songs with the help of Eric Goulet on guitar and organ, Michel-Olivier Gasse on bass and Alain Berge on drums. Vallieres left BYC for Spectra in 2011. Vallieres just released a new single Bad Luck and he's touring Quebec. So that means a new album is coming. Here's Vallieres performing Manu on the ARTV show Pour L'Amour Du Country.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Song:Keep On Truckin'
Album:Kings Of Western Swing
John "Smokey" Wood was a pioneer of Western Swing which is a mix of country and jazz. The problem was he only got a couple of opportunities to record. And when it didn't work out, he went back to being a sideman. He was born Sept. 16, 1918 in Harrison, AR. His mother played piano. Wood grew up in Oklahoma and he moved to Houston in 1935. His nickname was The Houston Hipster. Wood's first band was called The Oklahoma Playboys. The big difference between Wood and other Western Swing pioneers was he leaned more towards jazz than country. The band played local clubs but they weren't able to get on the radio consistently which would have led to recording. So Wood formed bands like the Blue Ridge Playboys and the Georgia Flyers. When he finally got on a radio station, Wood changed the group name to the Modern Mountaineers. Wood was also well known for his love of weed. Apparently he was high most of the time and he even grew his own. The Modern Mountaineers finally got the opportunity to record in 1937. The problem was the band's manager didn't like Wood's voice. Wood was replaced as lead singer and he left to take a job at a gas station. The same record company asked Wood to put together a band to record. They were called the Wood Chips and they recorded several songs in Sept. 1937 including Keep On Truckin'. This was Wood's final opportunity to record as a leader. You can get Keep On Truckin' on this 2CD various artists comp from the Irish label Pazzaz. Wood had other opportunities in music including with Spade Cooley in 1945. But they never seemed to work out. He seemed to be more interested in financing his weed habit. Wood toured the carnival circuit for many years and his final gig was with sax player Joe Sanchez. Smokey Wood died on Jan. 6, 1975 of heart failure at age 57. Here's a video of Keep On Truckin' by Smokey Wood & His Wood Chips.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Song:How Do U Want It
Today rapper Tupac Shakur is best known for his 1996 death due to a drive by shooting. But he was one of the more significant rappers of the era. How Do U Want It was one of his two number one hits. He was born Lesane Parish Crooks June 16, 1971 in New York City. His mother renamed him Tupac after an 18th century Peruvian revolutionary. Both his parents were Black Panthers so he grew up around that. Shakur began acting in high school. His family moved to Baltimore in 1986 and he attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. He also started rapping and he was considered the best rapper in his school. In 1988, his family moved to the San Francisco suburb of Marin City. He got into the music business as a roadie and backup dancer with Digital Underground. After appearing on the 1991 Digital Underground single Same Song, Shakur signed with their label Interscope and released his 1991 debut CD 2Pacalypse. Though there were no hit singles, it was hailed for its underground feel. Of course some of the songs were controversial. His 1993 album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..... was certified Platinum as the singles I Get Around and Keep Ya Head Up were top 20 hits. Then Shakur formed the group Thug Life and released an album. It did OK but he didn't tour with them. Also Interscope forced Shakur to re-record some of the songs because they thought they were too controversial. Shakur then moved to Death Row Records and released a solo album Me Against The World in 1995. It was certified 2XPlatinum. Dear Mama was his very first top ten single. He finally broke through with the 1996 album All Eyez On Me. It was certified Diamond and the singles California Love and How Do U Want It topped the charts. They were released as double A sides. How Do U Want it features K-Ci & JoJo from Jodeci. Shakur wrote and produced it with Johnny "Johnny J" Jackson who was a member of Thug Life and he produced much of All Eyez On Me. It samples from Quincy Jones' Body Heat. The song appeared in Shakur's final film Gang Related. After Shakur released an album under the name Makaveli, he was killed on Sept. 7, 1996 in a Las Vegas drive by shooting. Though there was a suspected shooter, nothing has ever been proven. Of course with the way Shakur died, he's a legend now and he's getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame this year. If he had lived, it's likely Shakur would have left music for films. He had already acted in a few films and acting is what got him into rap in the first place. Maybe if he stars in the 1993 film Menace II Society, he doesn't even go back to music. He was replaced by Larenz Tate after an altercation with director Allen Hughes. Morgan Creek Productions is making a Tupac Shakur biopic to be directed by Benny Boom. It is filming in Atlanta. Obviously Shakur was a talented guy. But his murder overshadows that talent and it always will. Here's the video for How Do U Want It by 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Album:House Of Pain
This very catchy rap song was a top five hit in 1992. Then like a lot of rap acts of that era, House Of Pain were forgotten by the mid-90s. The man behind House Of Pain was rapper Erik "Everlast" Schrody. After recording an unsuccessful 1990 solo album for Warner. Bros. produced by Ice-T, he formed House Of Pain with Leor "DJ Lethal" Dimant and high school buddy Daniel "Danny Boy" O'Connor. The name House Of Pain is from the HG Wells novel The Island Of Dr. Moreau. The idea was to present themselves as Irish hooligans. Schrody and O'Connor were Irish but Dimant was born in Latvia and was Jewish. The 1992 single Jump Around reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Everlast wrote it and it was produced by DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill. The song is based on two samples. The horn fanfare is from the Bob & Earl 1963 classic Harlem Shuffle and the repeated screaming sax is from Junior Walker's Shoot Your Shot. That sax riff is repeated 66 times. The song also samples Popeye (The Hitchhiker) by Chubby Checker. The video was shot during New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade. That got them constant airplay on MTV. The album was certified Platinum. Apparently they behaved like hooligans on tour and Schrody was arrested in 1993 for trying to take a gun through Kennedy Airport in New York. Their 1994 album Same As It Ever Was was certified Gold but there were no hit singles. So the writing was on the wall. It was not unusual for rap groups to end up as one hit wonders. House Of Pain's 1996 CD Truth Crushed To Earth Shall Rise Again didn't sell. Everlast went solo and House Of Pain disbanded. The 1992 album House Of Pain is available as a budget CD. Everlast had success with his 1998 single What It's Like and the album Whitey Ford Sings The Blues. DJ Lethal joined Limp Bizkit. Danny Boy was out of music for a while but in 2006 he formed La Coka Nostra with some Everlast and DJ Lethal involvement. House Of Pain have reunited for a couple of tours but they have not recorded. DJ Lethal still tours with Limp Bizkit. House Of Pain doesn't appear to be active right now but La Coka Nostra released a CD in 2016. Everlast will release a new CD in 2017. Here's the video for Jump Around by House Of Pain.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Here's the match video of Germaine De Randamie vs Holly Holm from last night's UFC show in Brooklyn. This was for the inaugural UFC Women's Featherweight Championship which was created for Cris Cyborg. But then Cris flunked a drug test. The UFC should have put the kibosh on a Featherweight belt or at least replace it with Flyweight. But instead they went ahead with this match. Germaine is a champion kickboxer. Holly is a champion boxer. But they both suck at MMA. My concern was this fight would be five rounds of suckage. And unfortunately that's what we got. We got five rounds of Holly throwing a lot of ineffective punches. Germaine's punches were more effective but she wasn't as active. Then Holly tried to take Germaine down and they ended up clinching at the fence doing nothing. Ref Brad Anderson could have put a stop to that crap but he didn't. Then after Germaine hit Holly after the bell at the end of the second round and then again at the end of round three, he didn't deduct a point from Germaine. So he sucks too. That affected the result because all three judges scored it 48-47 for Germaine. That would have been a draw with a point deducted. That would have been appropriate. That brings me to two more pet peeves. When fighters aren't active enough, the ref can tell them to get busy. A lot don't do this but they are supposed to and they should. John McCarthy is one of the few refs who does do this. And I would like to see points deducted for stalling. There is also the reluctance of judges scoring tie rounds. I scored all five rounds 9-9. I didn't think either fighter deserved to win. I have no problem with a fight being scored no contest due to lack of action. It might smarten up some fighters. Then after the fight, Germaine declares that she needs hand surgery. And I guess the next step depends on what happens at Cyborg's USADA hearing. Then in the post show press conference, Holly says a lot of woulda coulda shoulda...but you didn't and that's why you lost. Sometimes fighters think too much and forget to use instinct. Enough about this fiasco. Check out the fight for yourself.
Album:Gran Hotel Buenos Aires
With the help of Thievery Corporation, Argentine guitarist Federico Aubele mixed traditional Argentine music with electronica. Esta Noche is probably his best known song. He was born Aug. 26, 1974 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His main influence is legendary tango guitarist Astor Piazzola. Aubele moved to Berlin, Germany in 2002. He sent out a demo and the popular duo Thievery Corporation (Rob Garza & Eric Hilton) signed him to their label Eighteenth Street Lounge Music. Gran Hotel Buenos Aires was Aubele's 2004 debut CD. The idea was to mix Aubele's traditional Argentine guitar style with Thievery Corporation's electronica. The album got a big boost when Esta Noche was used in the TV series Alias. The singer on Esta Noche is Gabriela Mairu. Aubele recorded four albums for Eighteenth Street. He left in 2011. His 2013 album 5 featured a duet with jazz singer Melody Gardot. This album is only available as a digital download. Aubele now lives in Brooklyn, NY. He tours but he has no record deal right now. He will be of interest to those who enjoy the tango style of guitar. Here's Federico Aubele performing Esta Noche at ToolboxDC Oct. 7, 2014. Kids, don't set your guitar on fire like Aubele does at the end of this video.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Album:Now's The Time
I don't know how frequently jazz legend Charlie Parker worked with singers. Not very often from what I could find. This recording was one of two songs featuring singer Earl Coleman from the 1947 Dial records sessions. Coleman was born Aug. 12, 1925 in Port Huron, MI. Coleman moved to Indianapolis in 1939 and sang with bands led by Ernie Fields and Bardu Ali. In 1943 he joined Jay McShann's band and he also sang with Earl Hines, Billy Eckstine and King Kolax. Then he moved to Los Angeles with McShann and that is when Coleman recorded with Parker, Fats Navarro and Max Roach. Dark Shadows was one of two songs Coleman sang with Parker's quartet on Feb. 19, 1947 in Los Angeles for Dial. The song was written by bassist John "Shifty" Henry who was a sideman. All three guys might have known each other from the Eckstine band but I'm not sure. Other musicians were Erroll Garner on piano, George "Red" Callender on bass and Harold "Doc" West on drums. You can get this recording on this 10CD budget box set from the German label Membran. These recordings are essential for jazz fans. Though Earl Coleman recorded occasionally as a leader, he usually was a supporting player with musicians like Gene Ammons, Art Farmer, Sonny Rollins and Gerald Wilson. In 1956, he recorded Earl Coleman Returns for Prestige with Art Farmer, Gigi Gryce, Hank Jones and Oscar Pettiford. It looks like he moved to Paris in the 60s with Don Byas. He recorded an album in 1967 as Earl Coleman and the Latin Love In. In 1968, he recorded the album Love Songs for Atlantic with Billy Taylor, Gene Bertoncini and Reggie Workman. Coleman recorded a couple of albums for Xanadu in the 80s. A handful of recordings over 30 years isn't enough for most jazz fans to remember Coleman. He died on July 12, 1995 at age 69. Here's a video for Dark Shadows by Charlie Parker featuring Earl Coleman.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Song:The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Album:Walt Disney's Fantasia: Remastered Original Soundtrack Edition
For many years, this segment from the 1940 film Fantasia was the most popular animated film in the world. Fantasia was still a popular theatrical film in the 60s. I should know. I went to see it in a theater in the late 60s. And The Sorcerer's Apprentice segment certainly stands on its own. Walt Disney had already changed the future of animation with the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the very first animated feature film. So now he has to figure out what to do next. They were already working on the next feature Pinocchio. But the studio still produced Silly Symphony shorts. The Sorcerer's Apprentice started as a Silly Symphony comeback for Disney's most popular character Mickey Mouse. But when production costs soared, Disney decided it wouldn't be profitable as a short. He decided to turn it into a feature with animated segments set to classical music. He thought of using a famous conductor to record the score. He met Leopold Stokowski by chance at the restaurant Chasen's in Los Angeles. And Stokowski agreed to do the project right there. Other than The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Stokowski chose the music. It was also decided to make a serious film aimed at adults as opposed to kids. The Sorcerer's Apprentice was directed by James Algar who had just started with Disney. The animation supervisors were Fred Moore and Vladimir "Bill" Tytla. Tytla also supervised the Night On Bald Mountain segment. The key animator was Preston Blair who also animated the hippo alligator dance in the Dance of the Hours segment. When it came time to release Fantasia, Disney's distributor RKO thought the film was too long and too highbrow. They didn't think it could make any money. Part of the problem was Fantasia was produced in stereo and most movie houses were still mono. So Fantasia was a limited release. And though it did well, the film cost too much to make money on initial release. Fantasia wasn't profitable until the 1969 re-release. That's when I first saw it. I recall that it was promoted as a psychedelic experience. I dunno about that but Fantasia still holds up very well. You can get the soundtrack on this 2CD budget set. The film was last released on DVD in 2010 and it's on moratorium until 2019. You can find it but not at a reasonable price. Here's The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra from the 1940 film Fantasia.
Thursday, February 09, 2017
If you have seen the 2015 documentary Keep On Keepin' On about jazz trumpet legend Clark Terry and his protege pianist Justin Kauflin, you probably want to know what happened to Kauflin. You can read my review of the film on the blog. Kauflin was born Mar. 10, 1986 in Silver Spring, MD and he grew up on Virginia Beach, VA. He took piano lessons and became somewhat of a child prodigy. Kauflin lost his sight at age 11 due to retinopathy. It didn't stop him from playing and he switched to jazz piano as a teen. He met Terry at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Kauflin's other influences include pianists Harold Mabern and Mulgrew Miller. Kauflin self released the CD Introducing Justin Kauflin in 2010. Keep On Keepin' On is about Terry's mentorship of Kauflin. You may recall that at the end of the film, Terry brings Quincy Jones to his home to see Kauflin. And that's where the film ends. Jones took Kauflin on tour. The video below was Kauflin's international debut at the 2013 Montreux Jazz Festival. Jones got Kauflin a record deal with the French label Jazz Village. The CD Dedication was released in 2015. Kauflin wrote all the songs. Musicians are Christopher Smith on bass, Billy Williams on drums and Matt Stevens on guitar. Since then he has been touring. he is currently on a European tour. So it looks like he's doing fine. Sadly, Clark Terry died. He was very ill in the film. His legacy as a mentor begins with 12 year old Quincy Jones and ends with Justin Kauflin. RIP Clark but you live on through all your students. Here's Justin Kauflin performing For Clark at the 2013 Montreux Jazz Festival.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Album:Evolved...From Boys To Men
The idea behind 21:03 was to create a gospel group that would have the appeal of an R&B act like Boyz II Men. The man behind this was legendary singer songwriter and producer James Moss and his partners Paul "PDA" Allen and Walter Kearney. They are known as PAJAM and they produce a lot of artists. Of course Moss records as J. Moss and he comes from a legendary gospel music family. His dad was Bill Moss and his aunt was Dr. Mattie Moss Clark so The Clark Sisters are cousins. So they held auditions in Detroit and Evin Martin, Torrence Green and Jor'el Quinn became 21:03. They released three albums on Sony's gospel label Verity Records which is now called RCA Inspirational. Still Here is from the 2011 CD Evolved...From Boys To Men. It did well on the Gospel chart but I think Moss was hoping 21:03 would cross over to mainstream R&B or pop. That hasn't happened. The PAJAM guys write and produce all the songs with some 21:03 input. Martin wrote the lyrics for Still Here after his dad died. Quinn left 21:03 and the group was a duo when they released the 2015 EP Outsiders. Now it looks like 21:03 is defunct. I checked their Twitter account. They haven't posted anything since last summer and their website is kaput. You never know. They could rise from the ashes but it doesn't look good. Here's 21:03 performing Still Here on BET's Bobby Jones Gospel 2011.
Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Album:At Home With Owen
Mike Kinsella was in several Chicago area bands. He decided he needed a solo outlet for some of his songs. So he started recording in his bedroom and releasing the music on CD under the name Owen. Among the bands he has been part of are Cap'n Jazz, Joan Of Arc and American Football. Usually his brothers Nate and Tim were part of these bands. After releasing the 1999 album American Football, the band split up and Kinsella decided to record in his bedroom. It's not clear why he called himself Owen, probably to remain anonymous and separate his solo persona from bands that he was in. Since 2001, Kinsella has been releasing CDs as Owen through Polyvinyl Records which was also American Football's label. Bad News is from the 2006 CD At Home With Owen, an ironic title since this was the first Owen CD that was recorded in a studio instead of Kinsella's bedroom. His latest Owen CD was released last year. While performing and recording as Owen, Kinsella is part of other bands like Owls and Their/They're/There. And recently American Football reformed and released a new CD. He says his Owen recordings are more personal than any of his bands and he isn't planning on turning Owen into a band. Here's Owen performing Bad News at Union Hall in Brooklyn, NY Oct. 19, 2009. This video is not on Youtube.
Monday, February 06, 2017
Here's the match video for Syuri vs Minna Grusander from yesterday's PANCRASE show at Differ Ariake in Tokyo. This show aired on UFC Fight Pass. Of course Syuri is the pro wrestler and kickboxer looking to get to the UFC. She's 3-0 but this fight should give us a better idea of where she is at. Minna is from Finland. She's 2-0 as a pro but she has an extensive amateur MMA record. she was the 2015 IMAAF Strawweight Champion. This fight was the main event of the show. I was hoping that Minna would really push Syuri. But she didn't. It all started with Syuri's jab followed by overhand rights. Minna just never had an answer for that. She tried several times to take Syuri down and Syuri defended. I guess Minna just wasn't as good as we thought. Syuri looked great. She had a game plan. She stuck to it when it was obvious Minna had no answer. There was no reason for Syuri to change anything. If she continues like this, she will get that UFC call. RIZIN owner Sakikabara announced yesterday that Kanako Murata will make her PANCRASE debut shortly. Match her against Syuri. I know there are some fans who really like Murata. I was very disappointed in her performance against Rin Nakai on the RIZIN show. Murata seemed very timid during that fight. Her stock dropped drastically for me. Of course Murata wants a rematch with Rin. Rin is out right now with an elbow injury. But I don't think Murata has earned a rematch anyway. Syuri could be a good test for her. In other PANCRASE news, you may have heard that Differ Ariake will close June 2018. It will be demolished. The building is old and run down. The owners have decided renovation would be too expensive. So yesterday PANCRASE owner Sakai announced that they would be moving to Studio Coast in Feb. 2018. Studio Coast was built in 2002. It's in the Shinjuku area so it's convenient. PANCRASE will be the first combat sport to run there. At 2400 capacity, it's about twice the size of Differ Ariake. So it's larger and more modern. It even has a pool and a poolside cafe along with VIP boxes. It seems like a good choice. It will be interesting to see if PANCRASE can fill it. Enjoy the video!
Song:Soul Coaxing (Ame Caline)
Album:The Golden Age Of American Popular Music: Hits With Strings and Things
Here's a song you have probably heard. Those who listen to the British radio station Radio Caroline should be very familiar with it as it was the station theme for years. The record charted in 1968 and it very popular in the Easy Listening market. Raymond Lefevre was a composer popular in his native France and in Japan. He was born Nov. 20, 1929 in Calais, France. He studied at the Paris Conservatory and played jazz piano in clubs. He was in a band led by clarinetist Hubert Rostaing and he was also in Bernard Hilda's band at Club des Champs-Elysees. In 1956, he joined Barclay Records as a house producer and arranger. He worked there for his entire career. He worked with singer Dalida for several years. And he also started getting into films and TV. He scored a minor hit with The Day The Rains Came in 1958. Lefevre worked on TV shows like Musicorama and Palmares Des Chansons. Soul Coaxing was written and originally performed by singer songwriter Michael Polnareff. Lefevre was one of several bandleaders to record an instrumental of the song. Lefevre's recording became a hit in England and then Kapp Records released it on their Four Corners of the World label. It reached #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. And the record has always been an Easy Listening favourite. Radio Caroline kept the record alive for years by using it as its theme. You can get it in this Ace Records various artists comp. The hit single changed nothing for Lefevre. He returned to film and TV composing. He became a big favourite in Japan and he toured there with a live orchestra. Raymond Lefevre died on June 27, 2008 at age 78. Here's a video for Soul Coaxing (Ame Caline) by Raymond Lefevre and his Orchestra.
Sunday, February 05, 2017
Here's the match video of Tecia Torres vs Bec Rawlings from last night's UFC show in Houston. Readers of this blog will know that I don't care much for either fighter. Tecia is a kickboxer with no ground game and in her last fight, we saw her flaws exposed. It was her first loss. She says she's trying to improve her ground skills. And she does go to the ground a couple of times during this fight. But she's also talking about retiring. She is a criminology student and she wants to go into law enforcement. I guess she knows she's going nowhere. To plan for a real career is a smart. I don't think Bec is a high level fighter. I have thought that since her Invicta days. She trains now at Alliance in San Diego. Based on this fight, she's just not improving. And she's had health problems that have slowed her down. And she missed weight. The story of this fight is that Tecia is not a finisher. But she's too quick for Bec. So Bec can't do anything with her. She's too slow. In interviews, Tecia said she wasn't happy about facing Bec. But she hadn't fought in almost a year. So I think she just wanted to get back in the cage with someone. She normally trains at American Top Team in Florida. But for this fight, she trained with Raquel Pennington in Colorado. Raquel was in her corner. She recently had shoulder surgery. That's why she is wearing a sling. I'm sure Tecia was happy to win the fight. But the retirement talk says that she's not too happy right now. Enjoy the video.
Here's the match video of Jessica Andrade vs Angela Hill from last night's UFC show in Houston. The bottom line is if Jessica wins this fight she gets a shot at Joanna Jedrzejczyk's UFC Strawweight Championship. They tried to set this up a couple of months ago. But Angela needed a USADA exemption because she was returning from Invicta. Normally a fighter needs 40 days of USADA testing before a UFC fight. That rule has now been changed. So did Angela Hill improve in Invicta? Maybe a bit but I also think the competition level of her opponents was low. She may be a fighter who is at a certain level. She beats those who are below her and loses to those who are above her. She's decent especially at kickboxing but she won't upset anyone. And an upset of Jessica would be a very tall order. Jessica was simply relentless in hammering Angela. The only thing she didn't get was a finish. Angela tried to fire back but she just doesn't have the power. And that's what separates Jessica from other fighters and it's why she's getting a title shot. The interesting thing is Joanna and Jessica used to train together and they even had the same manager. That manager Tiago Okamura translated Jessica's post fight interview. So now you know why Joanna made so many changes recently. She knew she would have to face Jessica. I expect that fight to be a war as both fighters have power and strong defense. Jessica also has a good ground game and she favours the guillotine and has won several fights with it. I'm surprised she didn't use it in this fight. Last night Angela was praised for having an iron chin. That's a backhanded way of saying she knows how to take a beating. But at least they got a Fight Of The Night bonus. So it wasn't a total loss for Angela. I just don't see her upsetting any of the top fighters in the division. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Felice Herrig vs Alexa Grasso from last night's UFC show in Houston. Alexa was unbeaten coming into this fight and she was heavily favoured. She has looked very good in all her fights. The only thing that has slowed her down has been injuries. She has star potential partially because she's Mexican and the UFC considers Mexico an emerging market. The problem with Felice is she is inconsistent. But I noticed that she is again working with former UFC and Bellator fighter Jeff Curran. She really seems to click with him. The problem with this fight is neither fighter is very effective. But Felice was slightly more effective and that's why she won the fight. Alexa simply didn't do enough. And if you saw her reaction after the decision was announced, she thought she won. And that means her corner told her that she was winning. That explains why Alexa showed no urgency in round three. I scored the fight 30-27 for Felice. And it's not like Felice was dominant. She eked out a win over an underperforming Alexa Grasso. I can't imagine why Alexa would fight that way. Hopefully she learned her lesson. Felice says she would like to fight either Michelle Waterson or Paige VanZant. Enjoy the video!
Album:The Box Set Series
Of course The O'Jays were one of the most popular R&B groups of the 70s. And though their last top ten pop hit was in 1978, they continued to score on the R&B charts in the 80s. Lovin' You topped the R&B chart in 1987. In their prime in the 70s. The O'Jays were Eddie Levert, Walter Williams and William Powell. Powell was diagnosed with cancer and he died in 1977. He was replaced by Sammy Strain of Little Anthony & The Imperials. Their final top ten pop hit was Use Ta Be My Girl in 1978. But The O'Jays continued to record with long time producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at their label Philadelphia International. The label simply wasn't as successful in the 80s due to changing musical tastes. At some point in the 80s, Gamble and Huff moved Philadelphia International distribution from Columbia to Capitol/EMI. EMI wanted to show how much they wanted the label. So they spent more money on promotion. The 1987 album Let Me Touch You was The O'Jays most successful album since the 70s. The single Lovin' You topped the R&B Singles chart. It was at this point that Gamble and Huff closed Philadelphia International and The O'Jays signed directly with Capitol/EMI. The 1989 album Serious was the first O'Jays album since the 60s that wasn't produced by Gamble and Huff. Levert and Williams produced much of the album. The #1 R&B hit Have You Had Your Love Today? was produced by Eddie Levert's son Gerald Levert and partner Marc Gordon. And that's how things went until The O'Jays left EMI in 1993. This 2014 Sony Legacy budget 4CD box set is the only comp available that covers both Columbia and EMI recordings. Of course The O'Jays are still touring but their most recent CD was a Christmas album in 2010. They were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Here's The O'Jays performing Lovin' You on The Late Show 1987.
Saturday, February 04, 2017
Album:The Best Of Saint Tropez: Fill My Life With Love
Saint Tropez may seem like Euro Disco especially since this 1982 song Femme Fatales is in French. And it also seems like a soundtrack to a murder mystery movie. But Saint Tropez is one of several disco groups produced in Los Angeles by Laurin Rinder and W. Michael Lewis. Rinder was already part of the Los Angeles studio scene in the 60s when he met Lewis at an audition. The two had a band for a while. Then they were hired by AVI Records co-owner Ed Cobb to record some disco remixes. Cobb was a member of The Four Preps and he became a producer after they split up. This led to a 1975 album released under the name El Coco. There was no group. The music was performed by Los Angeles studio musicians. But the music was successful enough especially in the dance market that they thought they could produce several anonymous disco acts. Among the group names were Le Pamplemousse and Saint Tropez. So they released two Saint Tropez albums on Butterfly Records owned by a friend AJ Cervantes. Saint Tropez scored two top ten dance hits. It sounded like Euro Disco so even fans of the music didn't know where it was produced. After two albums, Rinder and Lewis seemed to retire the Saint Tropez name. They continued to record El Coco and Le Pamplemousse. But then Cervantes started a new label Destiny Records and a new Saint Tropez album was recorded in 1982 called Hot and Nasty. Femme Fatales got some airplay in clubs. But it was probably too weird to be successful. This comp covers all the Saint Tropez recordings. Rinder and Lewis continued in the 80s and they are still around but not as active as they were in the 70s. Here's a video for Femme Fatales by Saint Tropez.