Sunday, April 23, 2017
Here's the match video of Alexis Davis vs Cindy Dandois from last night's UFC show in Nashville. This aired on UFC Fight Pass. Though both are veteran fighters, Cindy is a UFC newcomer. Most fans have probably seen her in Invicta. A few years ago, Cindy had not planned to return to fighting post pregnancy. She is a high school teacher in Belgium and she has three kids. Who has time for fighting? But Miesha Tate convinced her to return. Cindy trained with Miesha at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas and Miesha was in her corner. Cindy's major flaw is terrible striking. For that reason alone, I don't believe she belongs in the UFC. Alexis is a former title contender in her second post pregnancy fight. The one thing is her striking is better than Cindy's. But that's not saying much. The fight was close but not very good. I didn't think Alexis was at her best and it makes me wonder if she'll ever be good again. Sometimes fighters aren't the same post pregnancy. But I thought she was marginally more effective. I don't think she can beat an elite fighter anymore. But the buzz on Twitter last night was how shockingly bad Cindy's striking really is. She's been a fighter for a long time. Her striking has always been bad. Of course the UFC magnifies that. I wasn't surprised because I've seen her in Invicta and in Europe. She needs to improve if she wants to get anywhere in the UFC. But Cindy is 32 years old and it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I believe the UFC signed her for the Welterweight division as she has fought at 145 in the past. But I certainly don't want to see her sacrificed to Cris Cyborg. Again, I don't believe Cindy is a UFC caliber fighter. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Danielle Taylor vs Jessica Penne from last night's UFC show in Nashville. This aired on Fox Sports 2 in the US and The Fight Network in Canada. Of course Jessica is a former title contender on a two fight losing streak. She needs a win. She has a significant height and reach advantage over Danielle. Plus Danielle doesn't have any wrestling skills. So one would think Jessica would want to take Danielle down. Brian Stann compared Danielle to Tecia Torres. Danielle shows a lot of movement but she doesn't do anything. It's the kind of fighting style that fools judges. She seems busy by darting in and out. And she has no power. So she's a points fighter like Tecia. Jessica needed aggression to deal with that. She just didn't do it. There's no excuse for that. And that's what the fight was like, three rounds of light sparring where neither fighter did enough to win. I scored the fight 29-28 for Jessica but the judges scored it 29-28 for Danielle. It was a close fight but not a very good fight. It's a big win for Danielle. Look, this is how Danielle always fights. Being a points fighter is like playing with fire. Sometimes you get burned by a judges decision going the other way. That's what will happen to Danielle. Jessica knew Danielle's fighting style. She did nothing to counter it. What happens next with Jessica depends if her contract is over. I would not expect the UFC to renew it. She already works as a coordinator at Alliance in San Diego. I would not be surprised if she retired to do that. She needed a win and she didn't go out and take it. Maybe it's time to go. Enjoy the video!
Album:This Is Acting
Sia Furler has been around since the 90s as a singer and songwriter. In 2016, she finally scored her very first number one hit with Cheap Thrills. So she seems like an overnight success but she's not. She was born Dec. 18, 1975 in Adelaide, Australia. Her dad is a musician and her uncles are actor Kevin Colson and Colin Hay of Men At Work. Sia's early influences include Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. She was a singer in the acid jazz group Crisp. But when they disbanded in 1997, she moved to England. She worked as a background singer and she recorded and toured with Zero 7. Then she signed with Sony's Dance Pool label and released the 2001 album Healing Is Difficult. Unhappy with the label's promotion of the album, she fired her manager and left Sony for Universal's Go! Beat label. Again, she was unhappy with Universal's promotion of the 2004 album Colour The Small One. She moved to New York in 2005. Sia got a boost when one of her songs appeared in the HBO series Six Feet Under. Sia signed with the Starbucks label Hear Music for the 2008 album Some People Have Real Problems. She had modest success on the dance charts and in Australia. In 2009, Christina Aguilera approached her about writing songs and she's worked a lot with Christina and she has written for other artists. She had some success with the 2010 album We Are Born but she took a hiatus from recording. When the David Guetta Titanium featuring Sia's vocal was a top ten hit, record companies started sniffing around. Sia wrote Titanium for Alicia Keys but Guetta got his hands on it and decided to use Sia's demo vocal. She didn't know about it until she heard it on the radio. She wasn't happy because she just wanted to be a songwriter. While she's writing songs including Flo Rida's top five hit Wild Ones, Sia signs with RCA and releases the 2014 album 1000 Forms Of Fear. The single Chandelier reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. So that's her overnight success story. Then with the 2016 album This Is Acting, the single Cheap Thrills topped the charts. The record features rapper Sean Paul but he isn't in the video. The album was certified Platinum. So now she's a big star on tour and Sia is getting plenty of attention. I bet many fans don't know she's 40 years old. I don't know what Sia will do next. But it wouldn't surprise me if she quit recording and touring to keep her privacy. She already disguises herself in public appearances for that reason. It seems like she would be perfectly happy writing songs for others. She gets the money but not the fame. Here's the video for Cheap Thrills by Sia.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Song:You Were On My Mind
The husband wife duo of Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker were Canadian music pioneers and a big part of the early 60s folk music boom. Though they never had a hit single, You Were On My Mind is Ian & Sylvia's signature song especially after We Five scored a big hit with it in 1965. Ian Tyson was born Sept. 25, 1933 in Victoria, BC. He was a rodeo rider as a teen. But he got injured and he took up the guitar. Tyson acknowledges Canadian country music pioneer Wilf Carter as an influence. He started playing Vancouver clubs while attending the Vancouver School of Art. After graduating, Tyson moved to Toronto to take a commercial art job. That's where he met Sylvia Fricker. She was born Sept. 19, 1940 in Chatham, ON. Her mom was a church organist and choir leader. Sylvia always wanted to be a singer so she moved to Toronto in 1959. Ian & Sylvia started performing together in Toronto clubs. In 1962, they moved to New York. They got the attention of Albert Grossman who managed Peter, Paul & Mary and Bob Dylan. He got them a record deal with Vanguard Records. They released their debut album and performed at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. They married in 1964. You Were On My Mind is from the 1964 album Northern Journey. Though You Were On My Mind was not a hit at the time, it became a hit in 1965 when We Five leader Michael Stewart wrote an uptempo arrangement that was more commercial. Folk music purists complained at the time. But I don't think Sylvia complained about the royalty cheques she got in the mail. Ian & Sylvia were successful mostly in Canada with hits like Four Strong Winds and Gordon Lightfoot's Early Morning Rain. This budget comp covers their Vanguard recordings. It was first released in 1970 as a 2LP set and released on CD in 1987 as a "twofer". Ian & Sylvia became more of a folk rock act in the late 60s. They left Vanguard for MGM in 1967. They formed Great Speckled Bird and released a Todd Rundgren produced album in 1970. That album was hurt by poor distribution but it is worth seeking out. Then they recorded two albums for Columbia that went nowhere and they divorced in 1975. Ian & Sylvia have had significant solo careers in Canada. They reunited for a 1986 CBC TV special which you can watch on Youtube. Here's Ian & Sylvia performing You Were On My Mind on the 1986 CBC TV special The Ian & Sylvia Reunion.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Song:This Guy's In Love With You
Of course Herb Alpert is best known as a trumpeter and leader of the very successful 60s instrumental group Tijuana Brass. So it's ironic that his only number one hit in the 60s was This Guy's In Love With You where Alpert sings. Alpert would be the first to admit that he can't sing. At the time Alpert was just supposed to perform the song on his 1968 TV special The Beat Of The Brass. So I'm sure he was surprised when people went nuts for it. Of course Alpert started Tijuana Brass and A&M Records in his garage and his first big hit was The Lonely Bull. There wasn't even a band at first. Alpert used studio musicians. But he started touring in 1965 and he was very successful especially because of the cover for the album Whipped Cream. Alpert is appearing on TV regularly and then he does his own special for CBS in 1967. It did so well that CBS asked him to do a second show. It was called The Beat Of The Brass and it aired on Apr. 22, 1968 and there was an album released to go with it. The story goes that Alpert was at Burt Bacharach's house and he asked Bacharach if he had any old songs that he wasn't using lying around. Alpert claims that he would routinely ask this of songwriters. Bacharach gave him This Guy's In Love With You. It was suggested to Alpert that he could sing this song on the TV special. Alpert agreed to do it as long as there was room for a trumpet solo. The video was filmed in Malibu and Alpert is singing the song to his wife Sharon. The song was not supposed to be released. It was just for the TV show. But when viewers started phoning TV stations asking where they could get the record, A&M released it as a single and added it to the album The Beat Of The Brass. It topped the charts. Bacharach arranged the song and conducted the orchestra. I think his arrangement and Bacharach's piano riffs were a big part of the record's success. Alpert faded after this and he would disappear from the charts until his 1979 number one hit Rise. That means Herb Alpert is the only one to have number one vocal and instrumental hits. Here's the video for This Guy's In Love With You by Herb Alpert.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Soul For Real were teens when they scored the 1995 top five hit Candy Rain. After a second chart hit, they faded and they have been trying to recapture the magic ever since. Soul For Real is a family group from Wheatley Heights, NY which is in Long Island. There are four brothers, Christopher "Choc" Dalyrimple, Andre "Dre" Dalyrimple, Brian "Bri" Dalyrimple and 13 year old lead singer Jason "Jase" Dalyrimple. In 1992 they were discovered by Dwight "Heavy D" Myers and he got them a deal with Uptown Records. Of course Heavy D and the Boys were a popular rap group. But even when they were popular Myers was scouting talent for Uptown. Candy Rain was Soul For Real's debut album and single. The single topped the R&B Singles chart and it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified Platinum. Myers and the production duo Trackmasters (Samuel Barnes and Jean-Claude Olivier) wrote and produced most of the album and the single Candy Rain. It samples from the 1991 A Tribe Called Quest song Check The Rhime which sampled Minnie Riperton, Average White Band, Grover Washington Jr., Dalton & Dubarri and Biz Markie. Soul For Real's second single Every Little Thing I Do hit the top 20. And that was it for Soul For Real. Candy Rain is available as a budget CD. By the time Soul For Real's 1996 album for Life... was released, Uptown founder Andre Harrell left to run Motown. Universal promoted Myers to president of Uptown. You would think that would be good for Soul For Real. But Universal cut Uptown's promotion budget and there were no hit singles and the album stiffed. Soul For Real released a 1999 album on a small label that went nowhere. They started their own label in 2003 and a single was released in 2007. Then in 2009, Brian Dalyrimple was indicted for identity fraud. The group has continued and they are supposedly working on new music. They have released a couple of singles. Here's the video for Candy Rain by Soul For Real.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Cash Money Records is a very successful rap music label owned by Bryan "Birdman" Williams and brother Ronald "Slim" Williams. In 2013, they were looking for a way to promote new signings without having to invest in a full album. They can test out artists to see if they are worth keeping around. They decided to release a various artists album under the name Rich Gang. It was a good idea to label it so fans could easily find it. For the 2013 debut CD Rich Gang, they decided to have established stars on the album just so the audience would become familiar with Rich Gang. Fortunately the single Tapout reached #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album also sold well. Tapout featured Lil Wayne, Birdman, Future, Mack Maine and Nicki Minaj. Anyone who bought the album got an assortment of artists. Once the Rich Gang was established, Cash Money released the single Lifestyle in 2014. This was only available as a digital download. This single did better than Tapout. It topped the R&B charts and it reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The featured rappers are Jeffery "Young Thug" Williams and Desquantes "Rich Homie Quan" Lamar. As it turned out, neither of these guys signed with Cash Money. Williams bounced around several labels and has now started his own label. Lamar is working on his debut album for Motown. the single was produced by Cash Money house producer London "London on da Track" Holmes. Cash Money has released several Rich Gang singles. None of them have charted and Cash Money hasn't compiled them on one album. Lifestyle is available as a single and it's also on the various artists album Now R&B Vol. 1 available from iTunes. I expect Cash Money to continue to release Rich Gang singles. Just remember Rich Gang is not a group but an identifying label. Here's the video for Lifestyle by Rich Gang featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Album:Against The Clock: The Best Of Allan Holdsworth
Guitarist Allan Holdsworth was mainly a sideman renowned for his technique. He just died yesterday so plenty of guitarists took the time to praise him on Twitter. When he recorded as a leader, it was usually with a trio as on this 1984 recording of Tokyo Dream. He was born Aug. 6, 1946 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. His father was a pianist and taught him music. Holdsworth started playing guitar as a teen. He was a quick study and he soon moved to London under the wing of sax player Ray Warleigh. Holdsworth was in several early 70s bands including 'Igginbottom, Sunship, Nucleus and Tempest. But his big break came when he joined Soft Machine for the 1975 album Bundles. The band was actually Nucleus with Soft Machine founder Mike Ratledge. But it led to Holdsworth being discovered by jazz drummer Tony Williams. And that was the real beginning of Holdsworth's career. He appeared in The New Tony Williams Lifetime, Gong and Jean-Luc Ponty. Holdsworth always credited Williams for giving him his career. Holdsworth's debut as a leader Velvet Darkness was released in 1976. But Holdsworth always claimed the music was recorded without his knowledge or consent. Yes founding drummer Bill Bruford was looking to start a fusion band. Holdsworth played with Bruford and Bruford also recruited him for the supergroup U.K. which only lasted one album and Holdsworth hated that band. So he returned to Bruford. He left Bruford after the 1979 album One Of A Kind. He recorded three albums with pianist Gordon Beck and then he led the band I.O.U. They released an album in 1982. This got Eddie Van Halen's attention and he brought Holdsworth to Warner Bros. and this led to the 1983 EP Road Games. Tokyo Dream is a track on the EP. Musicians are Jeff Berlin on bass and Chad Wackerman on drums which was I.O.U. Jack Bruce made a guest appearance on vocals. The EP is available but it's too short. So I recommend this 2CD comp from Universal Japan. This recording of Tokyo Dream is from the 1992 album Wardenclyffe Tower. After Road Games, Holdsworth left Warners for Enigma and he moved to Los Angeles. It was around this time he started playing the SynthAxe which is a synthesized guitar. Holdsworth was the face of this product for years. Then he opened his own recording studio in San Diego. Holdsworth continued to be active in the 90s but he slowed down in later years due to health problems. He died on Apr. 15, 2017 at age 70. Holdsworth was not known to most music fans. Most of his fans were guitarists he influenced. Here's Allan Holdsworth with Jeff Berlin and Chad Wackerman performing Tokyo Dream in Japan 1984.
Monday, April 17, 2017
Here's the match video of RENA vs Dora Perjes from Sunday's RIZIN show in Yokohama. Of course we all know about RENA and I guess we are all looking forward to the women's Grand Prix which I expect she will win. Dora is from Hungary. Her record is 7-1 which seems impressive but she hasn't faced anyone like RENA. Dora gets off to a quick start by taking RENA down and try to submit her. She almost hooked an armbar. It was certainly entertaining BUT it was way too early in the fight to try that. RENA was still fresh and I'm sure she knew that Dora would do this. Dora may have gotten away with this back home in Hungary but it's not a strategy that will work against a good fighter. So once RENA got to her feet, that was the beginning of the end. She dropped Dora with a body shot and then walked away. The ref yelled at RENA and she rushed back. It looks like she forgot this is MMA. They have standing eight counts in Shoot Boxing. I'll get back to that in a minute. Among other things, RENA stomps Dora. Then she drops her with another body shot and this time it is over. I have been saying for the last year that RENA needs to quit Shoot Boxing and concentrate on MMA. The mistake she made in this fight reinforces that. If she makes a mistake like that during the Grand Prix, it could be very costly. I know she is loyal to SB owner Takeshi Caesar but he's a weasel and he only appreciates his cut for letting RENA fight in RIZIN. Maybe RIZIN owner Sakikabara can work something out with him. RENA is his star now and she may be the biggest home grown star to come out of RIZIN. Saori Ishioka, Kanna Asakura and King REINA all won their matches at yesterday's show. Ishioka and Asakura will be in the Grand Prix and both were stalking RENA at today's press conference. As for King REINA, there's no one for her to fight in Japan so RIZIN has to keep bringing in gaijin. She has already threatened to move to the US. She will probably have to move anyway. The talk is REINA may fight Gabi Garcia but REINA would give up a lot of size and weight. Remember in Japan it's Open Weight. So enjoy the fight and remember that RENA is the one who could bring MMA back to the mainstream in Japan.
Album:All Of Who You Are
Simon Collins is the son of Phil Collins. He grew up in Canada after his parents divorced. He had modest success with the 1999 single Pride. He currently leads the band Sound Of Contact. He was born Sept. 14, 1976 in Hammersmith, London, England. He is the oldest son of Phil Collins and Canadian Andrea Bertorella. When his parents divorced in 1984, he moved with his mom and sister Joely to Vancouver. Collins started playing drums as a child mentored by his dad and Genesis drummer Chester Thompson. He first appeared on stage with his dad at age 12. Collins got into songwriting because he didn't want to be just a drummer. He moved to Germany and signed with Warner Music after sending out demos. The album All Of Who You Are was released in Germany and Canada. The album and the single Pride did very well in Germany. It also got some airplay in Canada because Collins would have been considered as Canadian Content. The album was produced by the German production trio Schallbau (Matthias Hoffmann, Ralf Hildenbeutel & Stefan Britzke). They are studio musicians with a fondness for electronica and trance. You can hear that in Pride. I did like the use of Sheldon Clare's bagpipes. You don't hear that every day on a pop record. Collins moved back to Vancouver in 2003 to start his own label. While he released two albums, Collins started the band Sound of Contact with keyboard player Dave Kerzner who he met in New York while working with Steve Hackett on a Genesis tribute record. Collins describes Sound Of Contact as progressive rock. I guess Collins is used to being compared to his dad. Sound Of Contact released an album in 2013. Kerzner left and then returned Apr. 2015. They announced at the time they were recording a new album. There has been no news since then and Collins has moved Sound Of Contact to his own website. It's unclear what Collins is doing now. Here's the video of Pride by Simon Collins.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Here's the match video of Ketlen Vieira vs Ashlee Evans-Smith from last night's UFC show in Kansas City. This fight aired on the UFC Fight Pass prelims. Though she is 2-1 in the UFC, Ashlee has not looked very good in her last couple of fights. She's a former All American wrestler who now trains with her long time pal Carla Esparza at Team Oyama. Ketlen won her first UFC fight. But this fight should give us a better idea of where she is at. The big difference in this fight was that Ketlen was much quicker than Ashlee. Ketlen was throwing combinations and landing more. Ashlee seemed sluggish but I think she just lacks quickness. Ashlee makes up for that with her wrestling. But Ketlen was too quick for her. Ashlee did a little better in round three when Ketlen got a little tired. But Ashlee needed a finish and didn't get it. She needed to show some urgency and I don't know why she didn't. Ketlen will probably face a top ten opponent in her next fight. If she doesn't get her act together, Ashlee could be headed for Palookaville. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Rose Namajunas vs Michelle Waterson from last night's UFC show in Kansas City. The winner of this fight is likely to get a title shot. The result was going to depend on which Rose Namajunas shows up. Is it the elite fighter? Or will it be the Rose that lost to Karolina Kowalkiewicz last year? That's a fight she should have won and she beat herself. Michelle is undersized for a Strawweight. She's a good but not an elite fighter. But she is marketable to casual fans. I saw a lot of whining about Michelle being the betting favourite. Did you all forget that Rose looked terrible in her last fight? She could have done that again. But she didn't. Michelle's big mistake was getting a head and arm throw takedown and not immediately transitioning to side control. The problem with that throw is even if it's successful, it leaves her back open. To hold on to it like she did is a rookie mistake by a ten year MMA veteran. Once Rose took Michelle's back, that was the beginning of the end. Rose got the finish in round two after a jarring head kick. Rose took Michelle down and eventually got a rear naked choke for the finish. So now it looks like Rose will get a title shot. Afterwards, she admitted that she has been guilty of thinking too much. That's why she lost to Karolina. It's very important that coach Trevor Wittman helps Rose keep her head on straight and make sure she avoids overthinking. That's a big flaw I see in a lot of fighters but it is fixable. He needs to remind her to use her instincts and physical skills and he'll worry about strategy. Keeping focused on that could get Rose a title belt. Enjoy the video!
Song:It'll All Blow Over
Album:Cabaret: Original Broadway Cast
John Kander and Fred Ebb are one of the most successful songwriting teams in history. They have written plenty of musicals. Cabaret was their first successful show. It'll All Blow Over is one of four songs rejected for the 1966 production of Cabaret. Demos of these songs sat in the Columbia vault for years until they were added to the 1998 CD release as bonus tracks. Kander was born Mar. 18, 1927 in Kansas City, MO. He was in the Merchant Marines and the Army Reserves while studying at Columbia University. After his discharge, he wrote dance arrangements for West Side Story and Irma La Douce. Then he wrote the 1962 musical A Family Affair with James and William Goldman. Ebb was born Apr. 8, 1928 in New York City. He also studied at Columbia. Ebb wrote songs with Phil Springer and Paul Klein and he worked on a couple of Broadway revues. Their music publisher introduced them in 1962. They wrote a couple of songs together and then Hal Prince hired them to write Flora The Red Menace which starred Liza Minnelli when it was on Broadway in 1965. Then Prince hired them to write Cabaret and that was their breakthrough. It'll All Blow Over was one of four songs not used in the show. The song was supposed to run at the end of act one when Fraulein Schneider (Lotte Lenya) and Cliff (Bert Convy) are worried that marrying a Jew wasn't a good idea. Sally (Jill Haworth) sings the song to convince them there is nothing to worry about. This and the other deleted songs sat unreleased until Columbia's 1998 CD of Cabaret. Kander and Ebb perform demos of the songs with brief introductions. Of course Kander and Ebb have written several successful shows including Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Ebb died in 2004 but Kander is still writing shows. His musical Kid Victory written with Greg Pierce recently opened on Broadway. Here's a video for It'll All Blow Over performed as a demo by John Kander and Fred Ebb.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Album:Fishin' In The Dark: The Best Of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
In all their history, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (NGDB) scored their only top ten pop hit with this 1970 cover of Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles. Most of the time they record country, bluegrass and folk. Some say they are a mirror image of The Byrds with NGDB more steeped in country. They were formed in Long Beach, CA in 1966. Jeff Hanna and Bruce Kunkel performed together and they joined jam sessions at McCabe's Guitar Shop with Ralph Barr, Les Thompson, Jimmie Fadden and Jackson Browne. NGDB started as a jug band. Browne soon left to go solo. He was replaced by John McEuen and his older brother William McEuen became the band manager and he got them a deal with Liberty Records. Their debut album was released in 1967. The single Buy Me For The Rain reached #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. This got them on The Tonight Show and other TV shows. When their second album Ricochet didn't do well, Kunkel wanted to go electric and record original songs. He left when that didn't go over well and he was replaced by Chris Darrow. When their next couple of albums didn't do well, NGDB split up after appearing in the 1969 film Paint Your Wagon. They reformed with William McEuen taking over as producer. And Jimmy Ibbotson replaced Darrow. The 1970 album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy was a mix of country, bluegrass and folk. Mr. Bojangles was a surprise hit single. It reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written and first recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker. Hanna heard the song on the radio and suggested to Ibbotson that NGDB should record it. Ibbotson was already familiar with the song. The hit single allowed NGDB to record what they want and not have to be too commercial. This comp from Rhino covers their entire history. The other NGDB album worth getting is Will The Circle Be Unbroken which features a who's who of country and bluegrass legends. After Ibbotson left in 1976, they called themselves The Dirt Band for a few years. And then they restored the full name in 1982. McEuen was replaced by Eagles founding member Bernie Leadon in 1986. He left in 1988. By that time, Ibbotson returned. McEuen returned in 2001. Original members Hanna, McEuen and Fadden are still part of NGDB. Bob Carpenter has been a member since 1977. They last recorded on their own label in 2009. But they still tour. Here's Nitty Gritty Dirt Band performing Mt. Bojangles at Church Street Station in Orlando, FL. Hanna is lead singer, McEuen plays mandolin and drummer Fadden plays the harmonica solo.
Friday, April 14, 2017
The Breeders are a mostly girl group that started as a side project of Pixies bassist Kim Deal. They had success with the 1993 album Last Splash and the single Cannonball. The Breeders became a priority after Pixies split up. In 1989, Pixies were touring Europe with Throwing Muses. Kim Deal wasn't happy and she was writing songs for a possible solo project. She discussed this with Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donnelly. They recruited violinist Carrie Bradley and recorded a demo. They didn't have a drummer yet. They signed with 4AD with Elektra distribution. Kim had used the name The Breeders before. They brought in Josephine Wiggs from The Perfect Disaster to play bass. Steve Albini was hired to produce. He had worked with Pixies. He suggested drummer Britt Walford who used the pseudonym Shannon Doughton. The 1990 album Pod was recorded in Scotland. It was critically acclaimed but it was not a commercial success. So everyone returned to their original bands. But then Pixies split up in 1991. Kim and Josephine recorded a song on England and then recorded more songs in New York. That was released as the Safari EP. Tanya started the band Belly. So Kim asked her sister Kelley Deal to play guitar and she also brought in Pixies drummer Jim McPherson. The Breeders opened for Nirvana on their European tour. They released Last Splash in 1993. The single Cannonball reached #44 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video was in heavy rotation on MTV and the album was certified Platinum. After touring, Kelley was busted for drugs. The Breeders went on hiatus. Kim and McPherson formed The Amps and released an album. She revived The Breeders in 1996 with McPherson and Bradley. Eventually the Deal sisters reunited and the Breeders toured in 2001 and released an album using studio musicians in 2002. They continued to tour and they released an album in 2008. The Breeders' status is uncertain. Last year there was talk about them recording new music. But their website hasn't been updated since 2014. That's a sign that they aren't active. Here's the video for Cannonball by The Breeders.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Song:Love Is To Die
Warpaint is an all girl band who have had success on the indie rock circuit with their atmospheric sound. They were formed in Los Angeles in 2004 by lead singer Emily Kokal and guitarist Theresa Wayman who were childhood friends along with sisters Jenny Lee Lindberg on bass and Shannyn Sossamon on drums. Shannyn is also an actress who made a big splash in the 2001 film A Knight's Tale. She left Warpaint in 2007 after having a baby and then her acting schedule got too busy. She would eventually be replaced by Stella Mozgawa. Warpaint got their big break in 2007 when Emily was dating Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. He helped them produce an EP and Warpaint signed with the British label Rough Trade. Their debut album The Fool was released in 2010 and they toured to support it. Love Is To Die is from the 2014 CD Warpaint which the band wrote and produced with veteran recording engineer Mark "Flood" Ellis. Love Is To Die got a big boost when it was used in a Calvin Klein commercial. After Warpaint toured to support the album, each member worked on side projects. Theresa formed the band BOSS and Jenny released a solo album. It gave them a fresh perspective when it came time to record the album Heads Up which was released Apr. 2016. They toured, took a Christmas break and they are touring again. I recommend Warpaint to fans of Dream Pop and psychedelia. Here's Warpaint performing Love Is To Die on Conan 2014. This was Warpaint's TV debut. I think they did pretty well.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Song:Drink To That All Night
Jerrod Niemann started out as a songwriter and he has had success as a recording artist since signing with Sea Gayle Music co-owned by Brad Paisley. Drink To That All Night is his biggest hit to date. He was born July 24, 1979 in Liberal, KS. He has been writing songs since he was a child and he competed in local talent contests. While attending South Plains College in Levellead, TX, he played local clubs and self released an album in 1999. After moving to Nashville, Niemann signed with Mercury Records. Nothing came from that except he toured regularly. Then he signed with Category 5 Records but they closed after owner Raymond Termini was found guilty of misappropriating funds to fund the label. Meanwhile, Niemann wrote the 2005 Garth Brooks hit Good Ride Cowboy. In 2010, he signed with Sea Gayle co-owned by Brad Paisley with Arista distribution. He had success with the 2010 album Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury and the single Lover, Lover. His next album Free The Music did not perform well and there were no hit singles. But he bounced back with the 2014 album High Noon produced by Jimmie Lee Sloas. The single Drink To That All Night reached #4 on the Country Singles chart. He also recorded a remix with rapper Pitbull. Niemann co-wrote most of the songs on the album. But Drink To That All Night was written by Brad and Brett Warren who had modest success recording as The Warren Brothers. They have had a lot of success writing hits for others. They write frequently with Niemann and Lance Miller who co-wrote this song. Derek George from Bryan White's band was also a co-writer. When Niemann's single Donkey flopped, it led to his departure from Arista. He signed with Curb Records. The single God Made A Woman was released last month so a new album is forthcoming. here's the video for Drink To That All Night by Jerrod Niemann.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Song:A Night To Remember
Album:I Can Make You Feel Good: The Best Of Shalamar
In 1977, Soul Train owner Don Cornelius and talent coordinator Dick Griffey started a record company Solar Records. The first act on the label was Shalamar. The 1977 album Uptown Festival used studio singers. It was successful enough that Griffey thought they could form a group using Soul Train dancers. The original lead singer was Gary Mumford. He was soon replaced by Gerald Brown. After the 1978 album Disco Gardens, Brown left over a money dispute and he was replaced by Howard Hewett. And that's when Shalamar really took off. The other two members were Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel. The 1979 album Big Fun was Hewett's first album. That album was certified Gold and the single The Second Time Around topped the R&B charts and it was a top ten pop hit. Shalamar's success continued mostly on the R&B charts. A Night To Remember reached #8 on the R&B singles chart. It's probably their second biggest hit. It's from the 1982 album Friends. The record was produced by Leon Sylvers III and written by his sister Charmaine Sylvers, Nidra Beard of Dynasty who were also on Solar Records and Dana Meyers who was a staff songwriter at Solar. After that, Watley and Daniel left Shalamar probably over money. Of course Jody Watley went on to a successful solo career. Daniel became a choreographer for Michael Jackson among others. Shalamar continued to have success until Hewett left to go solo in 1985. He has also had a solid solo career especially in the gospel market. You can get all of Shalamar's hits on this budget comp. Shalamar officially ended in 1990. Though the classic Shalamar lineup has never recorded, they have toured mostly in England. They will tour England again starting in a couple of weeks. Here's the video for A Night To Remember by Shalamar.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Song:The Lusty Month Of May
Album:Camelot: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Of course Vanessa Redgrave is from a family of actors. She didn't really sing except for playing Guenevere in the 1967 film adaptation of the musical Camelot. The Lusty Month Of May was her big song. She was born Jan. 30, 1937 in Greenwich, London, England to British acting legend Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. The entire family are actors. By the late 50s she was appearing regularly on the London stage. Early starring roles included The Tiger and the Horse and As You Like It. Her breakthrough film was the 1966 film Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment for which she got an Oscar nomination. And she starred in the popular 1966 film Blowup which is a must see. When Joshua Logan was looking to film Camelot, he hired Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave to star. Neither actor was known for singing. My guess is Vanessa looked at singing as a challenge. And she does well. Camelot was not critically acclaimed but Harris and Vanessa were both praised for their singing. It doesn't look like Vanessa ever sang on film again. She did appear in the 1969 musical Oh! What A Lovely War but she didn't sing. Maybe she sang on TV. Of course she has appeared in plenty of films. She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the 1977 film Julia. And she won an Emmy for the 1981 film Playing For Time. If you want to see one of her films, that's probably the one to see. Vanessa is still around. Her most recent significant film was Foxcatcher in 2014. She has had health problems recently caused by smoking. And of course she is known for her political activism. Well, she may be notorious for that stuff. Here's Vanessa Redgrave performing the Lusty Month Of May from the 1967 film Camelot.
Sunday, April 09, 2017
Here's the match video of Katlyn Chookagian vs Irene Aldana from last night's UFC show in Buffalo. This aired on UFC Fight Pass. When I previewed this fight on the blog, I said that neither fighter belongs in the UFC. I figured it would be competitive with very little aggression and the end result would be a split decision. And that's what happened. These two fighters need to show dominance to move up in the rankings. They didn't do that. I didn't like the fight so I'm not going to look at each round. But I did score it 30-27 for Irene because I thought she was marginally more effective. Though Katlyn threw more punches, most of them didn't land. And Irene's punches that did land were harder. The fight was very close and Katlyn got the win by split decision. And no I didn't think it was a robbery. It was a close fight between two mediocre fighters. It doesn't matter who wins. I think Katlyn has to face a ranked fighter to see if she improves when the competition is better. I doubt it. Katlyn is 2-1 in the UFC and all her fights have been split decisions. Any fighter or coach who is satisfied with that is out to lunch. Irene's results don't surprise me because I didn't like her when she was in Invicta. So yeah, this fight was as bad as I expected. Check out the video for yourself.
Here's the match video of Cynthia Calvillo vs Pearl Gonzalez from last night's UFC show in Buffalo. The big story before this fight was the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) told Pearl Gonzalez after the weigh ins that she couldn't fight because she has boob implants. Not surprisingly, the UFC had Pearl's doctor tell the NYSAC that Pearl could fight with no health risk. The fight was back on. So why is this stupid rule on any athletic commission's regulations? It was originally put in for boxers years ago. It's the kind of archaic rule that should be struck from their books. It's ludicrous. In her application, Pearl told them she had implants. But they didn't bother to tell either her or the UFC about this rule. So not only is it a stupid rule but the NYSAC was incompetent to not notify them about it. Enough of this nonsense. Let's get to the fight. It's clear that the UFC has high hopes for Cynthia or they wouldn't have brought her back so quickly after her debut win on a PPV no less. And though Pearl was making her UFC debut, I think she's better than Cynthia's first opponent. The first round was pretty close but I scored it 10-9 for Cynthia. She landed enough shots and scored a takedown near the end of the round. She was more active. Between rounds, Cynthia's trainer Justin Buchholtz told her to take Pearl down. Cynthia did exactly that and she won with a rear naked choke. Cynthia looked very good in this fight. My guess is they will have her face a ranked opponent next. They seem sold on her as a possible title contender. Depending on the opponent, we should get a clearer picture of Cynthia's potential with her next fight. Enjoy the video!
Album:Banned In D.C.: Bad Brains Greatest Riffs
The one big change in today's music business is bands can easily distribute their own music. That wasn't the case when Bad Brains started out in the 80s. It was a big barrier for them to be anything more than a cult band. Bad Brains were a mix of punk and reggae. They are from Washington, DC. They started out in 1976 as the jazz fusion group Mind Power. Then they were influenced by The Sex Pistols to change to punk and call themselves Bad Brains. Of course the kicker is this was a black band. Of course no one was expecting a black punk band. The lead singer is Paul "H.R." Hudson. He's a Rastafari originally from England. He records reggae as a solo artist and punk as a member of Bad Brains. Other members are Gary "Dr. Know" Miller on guitar, Darryl Jenifer on bass and H.R.'s younger brother Earl Hudson on drums. Bad Brains moved to New York in 1979 when they were unofficially banned in D.C. They became very popular in New York clubs but they couldn't get a record deal. Their 1982 debut album was released only on cassette. For the 1983 album Rock For Light, they signed with the Passport Records owned label PVC. The album was produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars. Big Takeover was on the first album and re-recorded on the second album. Later on the British label Caroline released Rock For Light on CD and they released this comp. They signed with Caroline in 1987 and in the 90s they recorded for Epic and Maverick. By this time the band had become more of a metal band. The other problem was H.R. wanted to devote his time to reggae. So he left several times taking his brother with him. But he would always return when he needed money. He also behaved erratically on stage and sometimes attacked fans. The band that has been most influenced by Bad Brains was Fishbone. So they are an influence but not really successful. Bad Brains is still around. Their latest album for Megaforce was released in 2012. H.R. and Dr. Know have had recent health issues. They said in a recent Rolling Stone interview they are planning a new album. Here's Bad brains performing Big Takeover at CBGB's in New York City 1982.
Saturday, April 08, 2017
Album:The Rockin' Hammond Of...
Milt Buckner was a pioneer of the Hammond organ. The 1956 song The Beast is probably one of his best known songs as it has been used in movies and is considered to be a lounge/exotica classic. He was born July 10, 1915 in St. Louis. His younger brother Ted Buckner played sax in the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra. Their parents died when Milt was nine. They were sent to Detroit to be raised by uncle John Tobias who played trombone for the Earl Walton Orchestra. By age 15, Buckner was writing arrangements for the band. He worked for several bands in the 30s until his big break came in 1941 as an arranger with Lionel Hampton. He worked for Hampton for most of the 40s. He recorded occasionally for smaller labels. Buckner signed with MGM Records in 1949 and he released a few big band singles. He started playing the Hammond organ in 1952 and he developed his signature sound. Probably Buckner's best known recordings were two albums he recorded for Capitol in 1956. The albums were Rockin' With Milt and The Rockin' Hammond Of... Both albums are on this CD from Jasmine Records. The Beast was first released as an EP and then added to The Rockin' Hammond Of... The musicians appear to be Everett Barksdale and Mickey Baker on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums. The Beast is a staple of Capitol's Ultra Lounge CD series. And it got a big boost when David Lynch used it in his film Mulholland Drive. Buckner moved to Chess and he recorded for Argo and Cadet. Then he moved to Paris and worked a lot with other US jazz musicians living there like his lifelong pal from the Hampton band Illinois Jacquet. Buckner lived in Paris until he died on July 27, 1977 at age 62. He was setting up for a show with Jacquet in Chicago when he collapsed and died. There's no question that many organ players owe a debt of gratitude to Buckner for popularizing the Hammond organ. Here's a video of The Beast by Milt Buckner.
Friday, April 07, 2017
Song:Sixteen Going On Seventeen
Album:The Sound Of Music: 50th Anniversary Edition
Daniel Truhitte and Charmian Carr are both known for appearing in the 1965 film musical The Sound Of Music. Neither continued in show business so Sixteen Going On Seventeen was the high point of both of their careers. Truhitte was born Sept. 10, 1943 in Sacramento, CA. He took dance and voice lessons as a child and he earned scholarships at The Sacramento Ballet and The Pasadena Playhouse. He also studied at Ambassador College in Pasadena. When he auditioned for The Sound Of Music, the producers didn't like his hair colour. But his performance of Sixteen Going On Seventeen was so good, they hired him to play Rolf and dyed his hair. He met his first wife Gabriele on the set. She was Charmian Carr's stand in. Afterwards he was in the Marine Corps. Today he lives in Concord, NC and he is involved in the local theater scene. His son Thomas Rolf Truhitte is an opera singer. Entertainment Tonight did a Where Are They Now feature about Truhitte in 1993. Charmian Carr was born Charmian Anne Farnon Dec. 27, 1942 in Chicago but her family moved to Los Angeles when she was age ten. Her parents and sisters were all performers. Charmian was going to school, working in a doctor's office and doing occasional modelling when her mom got her to audition for The Sound Of Music. Director Robert Wise hired her but didn't like the name Farnon so he changed it to Carr. Obviously the film made her famous. Afterwards she did a TV pilot with Van Johnson that wasn't picked up and she starred with Anthony Perkins in the musical Evening Primrose which aired on ABC Stage 67 in 1966. Then she married dentist Jay Brent in 1967 and quit show business. Charmian owned an interior design company for many years. She died on Sept. 17, 2016 at age 73. Here's Daniel Truhitte and Charmian Carr performing Sixteen Going On Seventeen in the 1965 film The Sound Of Music.
Thursday, April 06, 2017
Song:Pay Attention/In A World Of My Own
Album:Walt Disney's Alice In Wonderland: Original Soundtrack
British actress Kathryn Beaumont is known for playing Alice in the 1951 film Alice In Wonderland and then Wendy in the 1953 film Peter Pan. Then she got her education and was an elementary school teacher. She was named a Disney Legend in 1998. She was born June 27, 1938 in London, England. Walt Disney saw her in the 1948 Esther Williams film On An Island With You and cast her as Alice in the 1951 film Alice In Wonderland. Kathryn not only performed the voice of Alice but she was the artist model. Disney produced an Alice In Wonderland short in 1923 with a live action Virginia Davis in an animated world. He used the film to raise money to start his own studio. He wanted to produce a full length Alice In Wonderland in 1932. But Paramount beat him to the punch with their 1933 film so he put it off though he used the story in the 1936 Mickey Mouse film Thru The Mirror, one of my favourite Disney cartoons. He started developing the Alice In Wonderland full length film in 1939, put it aside for a few years and then revived it in 1945. Disney's usual composer Oliver Wallace composed the score. Disney usually had staff songwriters. For Alice in Wonderland, he used established songwriting teams. In A World Of My Own was written by Tin Pan Alley veterans Bob Hilliard and Sammy Fain. Of course the film was very successful. There was a soundtrack album released in 1951. But when Disney wanted to release a soundtrack on CD in 1998, they found that many of the songs were very short and they needed some of the score to fill out a full album. So they hired Rocky Horror Picture Show composer Richard Hartley to re-record Wallace's music and mix it with the songs. Pay Attention is an instrumental lead in to In A World Of My Own. As I said, Kathryn also played Wendy in Peter Pan. Then she attended USC and she became an elementary school teacher. Other than occasional work for Disney, Kathryn retired from show business. She says she loves teaching and she never regretted her decision. And she was named a Disney Legend in 1998. Here's In A World Of My Own by Kathryn Beaumont from the 1951 film Alice in Wonderland.
Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka defending her NXT Women's Championship against Ember Moon from Saturday's NXT Takeover show in Orlando. A lot of "experts" thought Ember Moon would win only because it was thought that Asuka was moving up to Smackdown. A couple of weeks ago, I thought Asuka might appear at Wrestlemania. But Naomi returned from her injury and I'm glad Asuka didn't appear on WM. Her first appearance should make a major impact. But I thought Asuka would win for two reasons. One is her record winning streak. She probably didn't even know about it until Bill Goldberg congratulated her on Twitter for breaking his record. And we all know that the WWE loves winning streaks. The other reason is the Ember Moon character doesn't work. We all liked Adrienne Reese as Athena. She can still be good but the Ember Moon character needs to go. You can even see the difference in the entrances. Ember Moon is all dark and brooding. I know what the WWE is trying to do but it doesn't connect with the audience. Contrast that with Asuka's entrance and it's striking. Asuka has enhanced what was given to her. She dances to the ring. She wore another new outfit. She wasn't told to do that. That stuff is her idea. I expected a competitive match because Ember Moon is good. But she's not that good. For the most part, it was a back and forth match. One spot which the announcers messed up was the Asuka Lock attempt. It should have been pointed out that Asuka never applied the body scissors that makes the hold inescapable. All three of those guys missed that. Instead they noted that Ember Moon escaped mainly to make us think she could win. Then at the end Ember went for her Eclipse finisher. As I have said before, it takes too long to set up. And of course they had Asuka push the ref into the ropes. Ember came crashing down and Asuka finished Ember Moon with a kick to the head. Are they trying to turn Asuka heel? They've been teasing a heel turn for a while. But I doubt that fans will boo her. We will see a rematch on the next Takeover show in May. And don't forget the WWE announced plans for a women's tournament this summer. Asuka could face the tournament winner. How about Io Shirai? Stay tuned and enjoy the video.
Asuka vs. Ember Moon (NXT TakeOver Orlando 2017) by VanishingWalker
Asuka vs. Ember Moon (NXT TakeOver Orlando 2017) by VanishingWalker
Robin Thicke was a successful songwriter and producer before he scored a worldwide number one hit with Blurred Lines in 2013. He lost a plagiarism lawsuit but he is currently appealing. He was born Mar. 10, 1977 in Los Angeles. I think most folks know his parents are Alan Thicke and Gloria Loring who both had success in music. His dad helped him learn songwriting. As a teen, Thicke had a group called As One. He asked his dad to pay for a demo but dad wanted him to finish high school first. They recorded a demo paid for by jazz singer Al Jarreau who was uncle to one of the other members. Brian McKnight invited them to his studio. This led to Thicke signing a record contract with Interscope at age 16. Instead of recording, he got into songwriting and producing for others including Brandy, Jordan Knight and Mya. Thicke signed with Andre Harrell and Babyface's label Nu America. He finally released his debut CD A Beautiful World in 2003 and he had some success with the single When I Get You Alone. Thick was disappointed with the album's performance. Nu America could have promoted it better and that led to Thicke leaving and signing with Pharrell Williams' Star Trak label still distributed by Interscope. Thicke had moderate commercial success until the 2013 single Blurred Lines blew up and topped the charts worldwide. Thicke wrote the song with Williams and a rap by T.I. The problem is they got sued by Marvin Gaye's estate for plagiarizing Got To Give You Up. They lost but are now appealing. Williams claims that Blurred Lines was influenced by Got To Give You Up but he didn't plagiarize it. Boy, that's a slippery slope. In 2014, Thicke released the album Paula in an attempt to win back ex-wife Paula Patton. That didn't work and the album didn't sell. He's in a custody war with her now. Thicke has recorded a new album called Morning Sun. A couple of singles were released but the album has not been released yet. And I don't expect it to be released as long as he's in that custody war. At least if his recording career doesn't pan out Thicke can always go back to writing and producing for others. Here's the video for Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell and T.I. This is the unrated version so it is NSFW due to nudity.
DJ EDU - robin thicke - blurred lines org from edu berrospi on Vimeo.
Tuesday, April 04, 2017
Song:Superman (It's Not Easy)
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Five For Fighting
Singer songwriter John Ondrasik records as Five For Fighting. Superman (It's Not Easy) was a top 20 hit in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. I guess it was a bit of a fluke hit as his album had been out for a year. He was born Jan. 7, 1965 in Los Angeles. His mother was a piano teacher so he learned to play as a child. Then he took up the guitar as a teen. Though Ondrasik graduated from UCLA with a degree in applied science and mathematics, he wanted to be a musician. He called himself Five For Fighting as a nod to his lifelong fandom of the Los Angeles Kings. He appears on TV in Los Angeles as a celebrity hockey expert. Ondrasik chose a stage name because he thought people would struggle with Ondrasik. He released the 1997 album Message For Albert on Nettwerk/EMI. While that went nowhere, Ondrasik got the attention of Mark Cunningham of Columbia's Aware label. They signed him and the 2000 album America Town was recorded with producer Gregg Wattenberg. The album was released Sept. 2000. Superman (It's Not Easy) was the second single and it didn't chart when it was released Apr. 2001. But the song struck a chord with listeners after the 9/11 attacks and it climbed to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. America Town was certified Platinum. It would turn out to be Ondrasik's only big hit though his next album The Battle For Everything was also certified Platinum. After the 2006 album Two Lights, Ondrasik left Columbia and reunited with Wattenberg at Wind Up Records for the 2009 album Slice. This budget comp covers his Columbia recordings. For Slice, Ondrasik worked with legendary Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz. Ondrasik's latest CD was released in 2013 though he released a single last summer that debuted on the TV series American Ninja Warrior. Ondrasik has been touring in conjunction with the NHL's 100th Anniversary. So he's still active but it's unlikely he will ever repeat the commercial success of 2001. Here's the video for Superman (It's Not Easy) by Five For Fighting.