Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Stacie Cullen from last night's episode of RAW. Stacie is New Jersey based wrestler Kacey Catal. This may have been her first match. This is the kind of squash some fans wanted to see last week. The funniest thing is Asuka's smile through the whole match. The bottom line is the WWE won't do a squash with anyone on the roster...yet. Some fans may want squashes now but you'll get tired of them very quickly. So I'm sure you all know by now that Emma (Tennille Dashwood) was released on Sunday. So I have been asked why they didn't squash her last week if they were going to release her. I don't think the WWE knew Emma was going to be released until later in the week. And I was surprised she wasn't released after the aborted Emmalina angle. They spent a lot of time and money on that and then she didn't want to do it. I thought Emma was a decent wrestler but not great. I didn't like her stupid dancing character. They turned her heel and she suffered a back injury when she was about to get a push. That was bad luck. After the Emmalina character was dropped, creative didn't seem to know what to do with her. Or maybe they thought developing a character for her was a waste of time. I guess they didn't like her new character. I think the WWE was prepared to get her over as Emmalina. After that was spiked, they didn't care about her anymore. For that reason, her release was not surprising. Enjoy the video!
Song:Handful Of Keys
Album:Dick Hyman Plays Fats Waller
Though he is probably best known for his scores for several Woody Allen films, pianist Dick Hyman is a champion of jazz traditions. He's been recording since the 50s so he's very versatile. He seems to like to educate us about the masters like Fats Waller. He was born Mar. 8, 1927 in New York City. His uncle Anton Rovinsky was a concert pianist and taught him piano. Hyman got into jazz as a teen and he played in local dance bands. He attended Columbia University and was in the military. Hyman won a contest for Teddy Wilson piano lessons. Among other things, Hyman appeared on TV with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and he was the pianist on Sing Along With Mitch. He first recorded as a leader in 1953. He has recorded for MGM. Command, Project 3, Columbia Masterworks, RCA Red Seal, Concord and most recently Arbors. Dick Hyman Plays Fats Waller was released in 1989 by Reference Recordings. Apparently it was the first album to be recorded directly to a CD master recording. At first it was released as a limited edition CD. But it's still available. Of course Hyman has scored several Woody Allen films and films like Moonstruck. At 90 years old, Dick Hyman still performs. And his latest CD was released in 2015. Here's Dick Hyman with Mike Lipskin performing Handful Of Keys at Filoli in California Aug. 10, 2014. Hyman is on the right.
Monday, October 30, 2017
Song:Yo No Se
Album:Up All Night
The girl group Pajama Party had brief success on the dance charts in the late 80s. They only recorded two albums so they weren't around very long. They recorded Freestyle music which was a mix of R&B, dance and salsa that originated in New York's Latino community in the mid 80s. Expose was probably the most successful Freestyle act. Pajama Party was formed in 1986 by recording engineer Jim Klein and his songwriting partner Peggy Sendars. The members of Pajama Party were Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jennifer McQuilkin and Suzi Ranta. They signed with Atlantic Records and their debut album Up All Night was released in 1989. Yo No Se was one of three singles that were top 20 dance hits. Jennifer sings lead on the song. Jennifer and Suzi were replaced by Lynn Critelli and Amanda Homi and then Amanda was replaced by Maraliza Costanzo. The 1991 album Can't Live Without It didn't do well. Pajama Party split up in 1992. Up All Night is available as an mp3. Daphne Rubin-Vega went on to a Tony nomination as Mimi in the Broadway show Rent. She still performs on Broadway. Jim Klein went on to compose music for commercials and he won Daytime Emmys for his music for the soap All My Children. A version of Pajama Party was formed in 2000 and it looks like they still perform in the New York area. Here's Pajama Party performing Yo No Se on the 80s TV show Dance Party.
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Song:Love Changes Everything
Album:Love Changes Everything: The Collection
Michael Ball is a musical theater performer very popular in his native England. He parlayed this into a recording career when Love Changes Everything from Aspects Of Love was a top five hit in England in 1989. It is his signature song. He did appear in the Broadway production of Aspects Of Love but he is unknown outside England. He was born June 27, 1962 in Bromsgrove, England but he grew up in Dartmoor. He was a big Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra fan. And his parents took him to live theater. Ball studied drama at Guildford School of Acting. His big break came when producer Cameron Mackintosh cast him as Marius in the 1985 production of Les Miserables. Then he replaced Michael Crawford in Phantom of the Opera. And then he was cast as Alex in Aspects of Love in 1988. All three shows were produced by Mackintosh. Ball also appeared in the Broadway production of Aspects Of Love. Ball had planned to stick to live theater. But Love Changes Everything from the Aspects of Love original cast album was released as a single. A video was shot. The song reached #2 on the British Singles chart in 1989. That got Ball a record deal at Polydor. His 1992 debut album Michael Ball was produced by veteran Polydor house producer Mike Smith though Aspects of Love composer Andrew Lloyd Webber produced Love Changes Everything. To date this is Ball's only big hit though his albums sell very well. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. Ball continues to record and tour. His most recent albums were recorded with Les Miserables star Alfie Boe and they are on tour in England. He also appears on TV a lot. He hosted his own variety show in 2010. Ball last appeared on the London stage in 2012. I'm sure he will return when the time is right. Here's the video for Love Changes Everything by Michael Ball.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Song:I Remember You
Album:The Essential Frank Ifield Collection
I Remember You was a top five hit in 1962. It was the only big US hit for Frank Ifield. He was a much bigger deal in his native England and in Australia. And when Beatlemania killed his pop music career, he turned to country music which was his first love anyway. He was born Nov. 30, 1937 in Coundon, Warwickshire, England. His family moved to Dural, Australia in 1946. This is a rural area near Sydney. His father was a farmer and engineer who invented the Ifield pump used in jet aircraft. Ifield loved country music and he learned to yodel imitating Hank Snow. The yodeling was always a part of Ifield's music. As a teen, Ifield was a regular on the Bonnington's Bunkhouse radio show and then The Ted Quigg Show. He also hosted the TV show Campfire Favourites. At the height of his success in Australia, Ifield moved to England and signed with EMI's Columbia label. When I Remember You topped the British charts in 1962, VeeJay Records picked it up in the US and it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. I Remember You was written by Johnny Mercer and Victor Schertzinger and it was performed by Dorothy Lamour in the 1942 film The Fleet's In. Jimmy Dorsey had a hit with the song at the time. Ifield popularized the song and country singer Slim Whitman scored a country hit with his cover. Veteran EMI house producer Norrie Paramor arranged and produced the record. The harmonica solo is by veteran session musician Harry Pitch who apparently taught John Lennon to play the harmonica. Ifield continued to have success in England especially in country music. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. Ifield still tours and on Nov. 30 in Sydney, there will be an 80th birthday celebration on a boat. Here's a video of I Remember You by Frank Ifield.
Friday, October 27, 2017
Song:Spend Some Time
Album:The Best Of 20 Years
The Brand New Heavies were pioneers in Acid Jazz which I guess would be called Neo Soul today. The Acid Jazz term came out of the 80s London club scene and DJs like Gilles Peterson. Jazz is an influence but the music is also influenced by 70s funk and R&B. When I first heard the term Acid Jazz, I thought it was a marketing gimmick. The Brand New Heavies popularized Acid Jazz in the early 90s in England but also the R&B and Dance charts. Spend Some Time topped the Dance charts in 1994. The Brand New Heavies were formed by guitarist Simon Bartholomew and bassist Andrew Levy in 1985 as Brothers International. At first they were an instrumental group and then they added singer Jay Ella Ruth. After they signed with Acid Jazz Records, they changed the name to Brand New Heavies based on a James Brown album liner notes. They signed with Chrysalis in England and Delicious Vinyl in the US. Delicious brought in singer N'Dea Davenport who is from Atlanta. She had worked with Guru among others. Delicious had the band re-record their album with N'Dea. They had success in England and on the R&B charts with singles like Never Stop and Stay This Way. N'Dea wasn't on their second album Heavy Rhyme Experience. Instead there were guest rappers and it didn't do as well. She returned for the 1994 album Brother Sister. As I said, Spend Some Time topped the dance charts. N'Dea wasn't getting along with the band. And she put off recording a solo album to work with them. So she left and for the 1997 album shelter, veteran session singer Siedah Garrett was brought in. The album did OK and they scored a British top ten with a cover of You've Got A Friend. They recorded with singer Carleen Anderson on the 2000 CD Trunk Funk. And Sy Smith was on the 2003 album We Won't Stop. After her solo career didn't work out, N'Dea returned for the 2006 album Get Used To It. The Brand New Heavies are still around. They last recorded in 2014 and they still tour in England. This 2CD comp covers their entire career. Here's the video for Spend Some Time by The Brand New Heavies.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Album:It Takes A Thief: The Very Best Of Thievery Corporation
The duo Thievery Corporation have been around since the mid-90s with their jazz and bossa nova influenced electronic music. They usually bring in guest singers as they did with the 1998 single Lebanese Blonde. It was the first of their songs that DJs really liked. The song also got a big boost when it was used in the popular film Garden State. Thievery Corporation came out of the Washington, DC club scene. Rob Garza and Eric Hilton owned the Eighteenth Street Lounge in Washington. They started their own label in 1996. It's electronic music influenced by jazz, Brazilian music and Asian music. Lebanese Blonde was released as a single in 1998 and then it appeared on the 2000 album The Mirror Conspiracy. And as I said it got a big boost when it was used in Garden State. They usually bring in guest singers and sometimes extra musicians. In this case the singer was Washington based jazz singer Pam Bricker who sadly committed suicide in 2005. Rick Harris contributed the horns. Guitarist Rob Myers of Thunderball played the sitar and the percussion is by Brazilian Roberto Berimbau. Thievery Corporation continues to release albums and they tour as well. Their latest CD The Temple Of I & I was released Feb. 2017. This budget comp is a good intro to their music. Here's the video for Lebanese Blonde by Thievery Corporation featuring Pam Bricker.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Song:Must Be The Moon
!!! (pronounced "chk chk chk") started out in the mid 90s as a post punk band. And then they added dance beats. They have had modest success in the indie and dance markets. They will never be a commercial band. !!! are from Sacramento. They were formed in 1996 out of the ashes of a couple of local bands. Lead singer Nic Offer came from the punk band The Yah Mos. The name !!! comes from the film The Gods Must Be Crazy. The other original members still with the band are guitarist Mario Andreoni and trumpeter Dan Gorman. They have gone through several lineup changes including when original drummer Mikel Gius was killed when his bike was hit by a car. !!! released a couple of albums until they signed with the British label Warp Records in 2004. Must Be the Moon is from the 2007 album Myth Takes. It's their most successful album to date. They have done well in Japan. Their latest CD Shake the Shudder was released in May and they are currently on a European tour. Those who like punk with a dance beat should check them out. Here's the video for Must Be The Moon by !!!.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Today I have two videos for you. First is Asuka vs Emma from Sunday's TLC show. And then the rematch from last night's RAW. Based on the WWE's Asuka vignettes leading up to her debut, a lot of fans got the false impression that Asuka's debut would be a two minute squash match. Part of the problem is the WWE keeps using the word "dominant". I would not have used that word because it means different things to different people. She may have taken over Goldberg's winning streak but she is nothing like him. If you look at her NXT matches, she may have done a half dozen squash matches in two years. And I don't think the WWE would bury Emma like that anyway. What Asuka is great at is putting herself and her opponent over. After this match, there was a lot of talk about how it was the best match Emma has had on RAW. Who do you think was responsible for making her look that good? Asuka did this consistently at NXT. The match was about what I expected. Emma gets in some offense. But she just can't put Asuka away. And Asuka uses that adversity to get herself over and then wins with the Asuka Lock. It's the same formula she used at NXT. There were also complaints about Michael Cole's "Asuka is having fun" comment. Of course Vince fed him that. Corey Graves tries to sell Asuka as a serious performer. So there may be a difference of opinion of how best to put Asuka over. As Vince becomes more familiar with Asuka, he should come over to Graves' approach because it's more effective. I thought the match was fine considering that Asuka was recovering from a broken collarbone and she hadn't worked a match for two months. She looked fantastic as usual and her entrance is great. Fans make a lot of noise for her. Afterwards, Emma asked for a rematch and she got that on last night's RAW. Of course it was a lot shorter than Sunday's match. And Asuka will have to learn how to get her stuff in shorter matches on RAW. She's used to longer matches. Asuka did a brief interview last night where she said both matches were fun. I don't know what that means but I'm sure we'll find out. The one thing I recommend is if Sunday was the first time you have seen Asuka, I suggest you see some of her NXT matches especially the Last Woman Standing match vs Nikki Cross. And maybe some of her Japanese matches. The first two nights on RAW were just a taste. Asuka has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. Enjoy the videos!
Album:Songs I Like A Lot
Drummer John Hollenbeck is best known as leader of The Claudia Quintet. But like a lot of jazz musicians, he likes to experiment with different kinds of music. This 2013 album of covers was recorded with a big band and guest singers. He was born June 19, 1968 in Binghamton, NY. Hollenbeck has a degree in percussion and composition from the Eastman School of Music. He moved to New York and for several years he was a member of Bob Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra. He was also a sideman for Fred Hersch and Cuong Vu among others. Hollenbeck formed The Claudia Quintet in 2001 and that has been his main band ever since. But he still likes to work with big bands. The 2013 CD Songs I Like A Lot was recorded with the hr Big Band for Sunnyside Records and Kultur Video. They are the house band for Frankfurt Radio in Germany. It's an album of covers including the Jimmy Webb classic Wichita Lineman. The singers are Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann. Bleckmann was born in Germany but he lives in New York. He has worked with Hollenbeck for many years. Kate records for Palmetto Records and she has recorded with Fred Hersch. The guitar solo is by Martin Scales of hr Big Band. The album did so well that a sequel Songs We Like A Lot was released in 2015. Hollenbeck continues to record and tour with The Claudia Quintet. They released an album last year. His latest side project is called JASS, a quartet featuring French musicians. Here's John Hollenbeck with the hr Big Band featuring Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann performing Wichita Lineman 2013.
Monday, October 23, 2017
Song:To All The Girls I've Loved Before
Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias was already an international star when Columbia Records decided to sell him to the US audience. To All The Girls I've Loved Before was a top five hit in 1984. He was born Feb. 23, 1943 in Madrid, Spain. His father was a gynecologist. Iglesias played professional soccer. He was a goaltender. And he studied law at CEU San Pablo University. A serious car accident ended his soccer career. He learned to play the guitar as physical therapy. And that's when he got into music. He was going to go back to school to get a law degree. But instead he won the 1968 Benidorm International Song Festival and that led to a record deal with Columbia's Spanish branch. Iglesias has recorded for Columbia his entire career. He had a lot of success in Europe in the 70s. In 1979, Iglesias moved to Miami and he signed a new deal with Columbia. He continued to record in Spanish and other languages. But a 1981 English cover of Begin The Beguine was a hit in England. So Columbia thought if Iglesias recorded a whole album in English, it could do well in the US. They brought in veteran producer Richard Perry for 1100 Bel Air Place. Almost all of the songs are in English. It looks like songwriter Albert Hammond had a lot to do with the song selection. Hammond wrote To All The Girls I've Loved Before with Hal David. And Hammond recorded it on his 1975 album 99 Miles From LA. In those days, Willie Nelson was recording duets with everyone. And he was on Columbia. The record reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it topped the Country Singles chart. Iglesias also recorded duets with Diana Ross and The Beach Boys. But he never had another big hit in English so he went back to recording in various languages. This budget comp covers his English recordings. Iglesias still records for Columbia. His 2015 CD Mexico did well in Spain. But for a brief time, he was a big deal here. Here's Julio Iglesias featuring Willie Nelson performing To All The Girls I've Loved Before on the 1984 CMA Awards broadcast.
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Here's the match video of Aspen Ladd vs Lina Lansberg from yesterday's UFC show in Gdansk, Poland. This aired on UFC Fight Pass. Aspen was supposed to make her UFC debut a couple of months ago but she got sick from food poisoning. Most fans should know her from Invicta. I really like her. She's 22 years old and she trains at MMA Gold in El Dorado Hills, CA. Lina trains with former UFC fighter Akira Corassani in Malmo, Sweden. She was brought in to the UFC as a sacrificial lamb for Cris Cyborg. She won her second fight but she didn't look good. She's a kickboxer who likes the clinch. Hence the nickname The Elbow Queen. In round one, Aspen decided to clinch with The Elbow Queen. She said afterwards she was just feeling Lina out. But Lina landed some good knees so I gave her the round 10-9. Between rounds, Aspen's trainer Jim West read her the riot act. He told her to take Lina down and pound her out. And that's exactly what Aspen did. She won by TKO. That's one of the things I like about Aspen. She does what she is told and finishes fights. Perfect. There were complaints that the finish was early. I had no problem with it. Lina wasn't going anywhere. The end was inevitable. Obviously I am looking forward to seeing more Aspen Ladd in the UFC. Given time, she could be Bantamweight champ. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Jodie Esquibel from yesterday's UFC show in Gdansk, Poland. This aired in Canada on The Fight Network and on UFC Fight Pass. The big deal was that Karolina was fighting at home just like in KSW. She lost a title shot and then lost to Claudia Gadelha. So she needed a win and she was favoured to win over Jodie. Though Jodie was making her UFC debut, most fans should be familiar with her from Invicta and TUF 23. Both are kickboxers with no power meaning both are points fighters. I think Karolina is marginally better at that so I expected her to win by unanimous decision. And that's what happened. Karolina is a better distance fighter. And that's how she won round one. And in round two it almost looked like Karolina might get a finish. No such luck. If a fighter is clearly losing, she should want to change what she is doing or go to a plan B. But even back in her Invicta days, I noticed that Jodie doesn't seem to be able to do that. She only knows how to fight one way. That means if she's losing, she can't come back. And that's why I don't think she belongs in the UFC. She's a one note fighter who can't adjust her style. That won't work in the UFC. So does this win mean that Karolina is back in the title picture? No because Jodie is not an elite fighter. Karolina did ask for Jessica Andrade. Another name I would throw out there is Cynthia Calvillo who has a fight coming up. A win over either of them would get her back in the title picture. Enjoy the video!
Song:City Of New Orleans
I'm sure most of you have heard City Of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie or Willie Nelson. It is the best known song written by Steve Goodman. He recorded it on his 1971 debut album. Sadly, Goodman died in 1984. So he never had commercial success though his albums are worth seeking out. He was born July 25, 1948 in Chicago. He began to write and perform as a teen. He also led the synagogue choir. He formed a cover band while attending the University of Illinois. Then he moved to New York in 1967 and sang in clubs. He returned to Chicago to go back to school. But then Goodman was diagnosed with leukemia and he decided to continue with music. He performed mostly at the Chicago club Earl Of Old Town and he sang jingles. This was when he became close friends with John Prine. One night Goodman was opening for Kris Kristofferson. Kristofferson liked what he heard and he decided to help Goodman get a record deal. Kristofferson introduced Goodman to Paul Anka who paid for demos. Those demos got Goodman a deal with Buddah Records. Steve Goodman was his debut album. The album was produced by Kristofferson and veteran Nashville session bassist Norbert Putnam with Kristofferson's band. The album is available as a budget CD. One night Goodman was opening for Arlo Guthrie. Guthrie told Goodman he could pitch him a song if he bought Guthrie a beer. That song was City Of New Orleans and it guaranteed Goodman's financial security. He recorded two albums for Buddah and several for Asylum. In 1980, he started his own label which is run by John Prine. Steve Goodman died on Sept. 30, 1984 at age 36. Goodman was a huge Chicago Cubs fan so his ashes were scattered at Wrigley Field. You know that song Go Cubs Go? Goodman wrote it. Also check out Clay Eals' 2007 biography Steve Goodman: Facing The Music. He'll be happy I finally did Steve as SOTD. Here's Steve Goodman performing City Of New Orleans on The Old Grey Whistle Test 1972.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Album:Romeo Must Die: The Album
If she hadn't died in 2001 at age 22, there's no doubt that Aaliyah Houghton would have been a big star in music and possibly in movies. Try Again was her only number one hit from the film Romeo Must Die which was Aaliyah's first starring role. She was born Jan. 16, 1979 in Brooklyn, NY but her family moved to Detroit when she was age five. Her route to the music business was her uncle Barry Hankerson was married to Gladys Knight. He managed Aaliyah's career and started Blackground Records for her. She was 12 years old when Hankerson signed a distribution deal with Jive Records and he introduced Aaliyah to R. Kelly. He produced her 1994 album Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. The album was certified 2XPlatinum and Back & Forth and At Your Best were top ten hits. Aaliyah and Kelly were married on Aug. 31, 1994 when Aaliyah lied about her age on the marriage certificate. Her parents had the marriage annulled. Aaliyah never talked much about Kelly except that Hankerson moved Blackground to Atlantic and she had no contact with Kelly afterwards. It didn't hurt her music career. For her 1996 album One In A Million, Aaliyah worked mostly with Missy Elliott and Tim "Timbaland" Mosely. The album was certified 2XPlatinum. The One I Gave My Heart To was a top ten hit. Aaliyah really seemed to click with Mosely. Then after graduating high school, she got into acting. While her songs appeared in films like Anastasia and Dr. Doolittle, Aaliyah appeared on an episode of New York Undercover. Then she signed to star with action star Jet Li in the film Romeo Must Die. The movie did OK but the soundtrack album was very successful. Try Again was Aaliyah's only number one hit. Mosely wrote and produced the song. The 2001 album Aaliyah was very successful. It was released July 2001. And it was while on a video shoot in The Bahamas that Aaliyah died in a plane crash on Aug. 25, 2001 at age 22. An investigation showed there was too much weight on the plane. And that was it. Obviously Aaliyah was going to be a big star. Miss You was a top five hit in 2004. I was surprised that there is no single CD Aaliyah comp available. The Romeo Must Die soundtrack is available and some versions of the 2001 CD Aaliyah have Try Again added as a bonus track. Take your pick. Apparently there are unreleased Aaliyah songs in the vault. But Mosely won't allow any of them to be released. Here's the video for Try Again by Aaliyah.
Friday, October 20, 2017
Song:Our Little Town
Album:A Jazz Christmas
Around this time of year, I always get asked about Christmas albums, especially jazz Christmas CDs. So here's a various artists CD that is available at a budget price. Most jazz fans should be familiar with The Heath Brothers. Bassist Percy Heath was a long time member of Modern Jazz Quartet. Sax player Jimmy Heath and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath were mainly sidemen who occasionally recorded as leaders. When the MJQ retired in 1973, The Heath Brothers decided to tour as a unit and they recorded four albums on Columbia. Our Little Town is a reworking of O Little Town Of Bethlehem. It wasn't on a Heath Brothers album. Columbia released the various artists jazz Christmas album God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen in 1981. Our Little Town was recorded by the band that recorded the 1980 album Expressions Of Life. Albert had left. He would return later. He was replaced by drummer Akira Tana who would later be a long time member of Art Farmer's band. Of course there was Percy and Jimmy Heath, the great Stanley Cowell on piano and guitarist Tony Purrone who I think still works with the Heaths. God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen is out of print. But you can get Our Little Town on this various artists budget CD originally licensed to Music Masters but now available from Sony. It's a mix of recordings from the 1963 album Jingle Bell Jazz and God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen including songs by Dexter Gordon and McCoy Tyner. Check it out if you are looking for a jazz Christmas album. Here's a video for Our Little Town by The Heath Brothers.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Album:Bobby's Girl: The Complete Seville Recordings
No, Bobby's Girl is not a lost Leslie Gore recording. Marcie Blane scored a top five hit in 1962 with Bobby's Girl. It turned out to be her only hit though a couple of other songs charted. You can get all her recordings on this budget comp. She was born Marcia Blank May 21, 1944 in Brooklyn, NY. Her father Ernest Blank was a pianist and music teacher. Marcie grew up on Long Island. She was in the high school band at Jamaica High. Bobby's Girl was written by Gary Klein and Hank Hoffman. Klein has had a long career in the music business. Hoffman asked Marcie to record some demos for him. Seville Records A&R man Marv Holtzman liked Marcie's voice and he signed her. Bobby's Girl was the first single and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was arranged and the orchestra was led by veteran session guitarist Billy Mure. So now she's a pop star. In England, Bobby's Girl was a hit for Susan Maughan. Klein and Hoffman wrote and produced similar songs for Marcie. But they were unable to score a second big hit. Marcie continued to record for a couple of years. She also studied music at Queens College. But she quit the music business after her contract ended in 1965. Marcie got married, had two kids and became a teacher. In a 1988 interview, Marcie said she loved music but she hated the music business. Now she appreciates her success but back then she was miserable. Here's a video for Bobby's Girl by Marcie Blane. Thanks to Spectropop for the Marcie Blane info.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Song:What You Want
Rapper Mason "Ma$e" Betha had success in the 90s mostly guesting on recordings produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs. After he had three top ten hits from his 1997 debut album Harlem World, he seemed to be conflicted about music. He keeps retiring and then he returns. He was born Aug. 27, 1975 in Jacksonville, FL but he grew up in Harlem in New York City. As a teen, he got into trouble. So his mom sent him back to Florida. Betha returned to New York at age 15 and that's when he got into rap. Mason attended SUNY in Westchester on a basketball scholarship. But he left after two semesters to pursue a music career. His big break came when his manager took him to a rap convention in Atlanta. Betha auditioned for Combs and signed with Bad Boy Entertainment. Before he recorded Harlem World, Betha appeared with The Notorious B.I.G. on the 112 single Only You. He also appeared on the Puff Daddy album No Way Out. Then he recorded Harlem World produced by Combs and members of his production team The Hitmen. After the death of The Notorious B.I.G, Combs had big plans for Betha. There were three top ten hits from Harlem World. What You Want was the second single. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It featured the popular girl group Total. There were so many guest singers on this album it made it look like Betha was the guest artist. What You Want was produced by Nashiem Myrick of The Hitmen. It samples the Curtis Mayfield song Right In For The Darkness. Harlem World was certified 4XPlatinum. After Betha's 1999 album Double Up didn't do nearly as well, he promptly retired from music with plans to become a minister. Of course he returned with the 2004 album Welcome Back. It did OK but I guess many fans had forgotten about him. Betha started hanging around with 50 Cent who wanted him to join his group G-Unit. But Combs wouldn't let Betha out of his Bad Boy contract. He retired again but he returned in 2009 as a guest rapper. He did that for a while and again tried to get out of his Bad Boy contract. When that didn't happen, Betha retired again in 2010. Of course he returned again and a new CD Now We Even will be released in December. This will get him out of his Bad Boy contract. I just find it hard to believe that after 20 years that music fans remember Ma$e. He was a big deal in 1997. Not anymore. Here's the video for What You Want by Ma$e featuring Total.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Motley Crue was a band that didn't need hit singles. They were very popular in the 80s. But they had two top ten hits from their 1989 album Dr. Feelgood including the power ballad Without You. Motley Crue was formed in Los Angeles in 1981. Bassist Nikki Sixx had just left the band London and he was jamming with drummer Tommy Lee and guitarist and singer Greg Leon who Sixx worked with in another band. When Leon left, they brought in Mick Mars who had placed an ad in The Recycler as a loud rude guitarist looking for a band. Lee knew lead singer Vince Neil from high school. Mars saw him with his band Rock Candy. Neil was reluctant to leave at first. But when Rock Candy started falling apart, he jumped ship. Mars heard the expression "motley crew" about a band he was in. The stylized spelling was because they were drinking Lowenbrau beer at the time. They released a single and then signed with Elektra Records in 1982. They had already recorded an album which Elektra released. And the band toured Canada. They soon became famous for bad behavior. Sometimes these incidents were staged like a phony bomb threat that got them banned from Edmonton. What really got Motley Crue noticed was touring with Ozzy Osbourne in 1984. Their next few albums did very well. They had a 70s glam look and excessive behavior may have helped too. But Sixx almost died after a 1987 heroin overdose. And in 1988 the whole band went into drug rehab. Upon recovery, the 1989 album Dr. Feelgood became their most successful album. It was certified 6XPlatinum. Dr. Feelgood and Without You were both top ten pop hits. Without You reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is notable for Mars' steel guitar solo. Supposedly Without You is about Tommy Lee's relationship with actress Heather Locklear. Motley Crue faded after that mostly due to changing musical tastes. Grunge became very popular in the early 90s. Neil was replaced by John Corabi in 1992. But it didn't work out and Neil returned in 1997. They left Elektra to start their own label in 1998. Motley Crue continued until they retired in 2015. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Here's the video for Without You by Motley Crue.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Song:Black Out Days
Phantogram is a duo who began to pick up steam when they signed with a major label in 2013. I doubt they will ever be mainstream but they have done well on tour. Phantogram is from the upstate New York town of Greenwich and they live in Saratoga Springs. Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel went to high school together. After briefly separating, they returned home and started working on songs together. Sarah sings and plays keyboards. Carter plays guitar, bass and drums in the studio. They hire musicians for touring. At first they performed in local clubs as Charlie Everywhere and that was changed to Phantogram in 2009. After releasing a couple of EPs, they signed with Barsuk Records for their debut album Eyelid Movies. The album was reviewed positively. They also wrote and produced a couple of songs for Big Boi from Outkast. It was enough to get them a deal with Universal's Republic label for the 2014 album Voices. The album and a couple of singles did well on alt rock charts. But they haven't crossed over to mainstream yet. To promote Phantogram, songs have been placed in TV shows. Black Out Days appeared on CSI: Las Vegas, Shameless and The Magicians. The theory is fans use that to find Phantogram on Spotify or iTunes. That strategy must be successful or labels wouldn't do it. For their 2016 album Three, Phantogram worked with producers Ricky Reed and former Semisonic leader Dan Wilson in an attempt for mainstream success. But Three didn't sell as well as Voices. Phantogram are on tour. My guess is they will record when the tour is over. Maybe Republic should leave them alone and let them make music minus outside producers. That seemed to work well for Voices. Here's the video for Black Out Days by Phantogram.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Here's the match video of RENA vs Andy Nguyen from today's RIZIN show in Fukuoka. This was the main event of the show and part of the first round of the Atomweight tournament. So Andy missed weight yesterday. Remember Japan is not regulated. So it's up to RIZIN. I don't think they did anything. The match was live on Fuji TV. When that happens here a percentage of the purse goes to the opponent. I can assure you RENA was pissed off with Andy. RENA got off to a slow start and Andy took her down. Andy got RENA's back. But her big mistake was letting RENA get back up. Andy was still on her back trying for a standing rear naked choke which is a low percentage submission. And RENA's Shoot Boxing experience came in handy. Once she got out of it, RENA hammered Andy especially to the body. After one body shot took a lot of steam out of Andy, another one dropped her and it was over. As expected RENA goes on to the semi final. In other tournament bouts, Maria Oliveira bear Alyssa Garcia by unanimous decision, Kanna Asakura beat Sylwia Juskiewicz by unanimous decision and Irene Rivera beat Miyuu Yamamoto by armbar. and in a non tournament match, King REINA beat Crystal Stokes by unanimous decision. Enjoy the video!
Album:Journey To Freedom
Michelle Williams is best known as a member of the second version of Destiny's Child. As a solo artist, she has recorded mostly gospel. An attempt to record secular music didn't work out. She's had success in the gospel market including this 2014 Destiny's Child reunion Say Yes. She was born July 23, 1980 in Rockford, IL. She grew up singing in church. Michelle studied criminal justice at Illinois State. But after two years, she decided to try singing as a career. After touring as a backup singer for Monica, she met Beyonce and Kelly Rowland in an Atlanta hotel lobby. And that led to Michelle joining Destiny's Child in 2001. While still a member of Destiny's Child, she released the 2002 album Heart To Yours. It was a gospel album. The single Heard A Word was written and produced by gospel music producers Buster & Shavoni. She also made her Broadway debut in the hit musical Aida. she released the 2004 CD Do You Know mostly produced by her brother Erron Williams. After Destiny's Child split up, Columbia convinced Michelle she should record secular music. But the 2008 album Unexpected didn't do well. And she left Columbia in 2010. For a while she concentrated on musical theater. And she also appeared on the British TV dance competition Strictly Come Dancing. Apparently she was recording a secular album in 2011 but it doesn't look like anything came of it. She decided to return to gospel and signed with Light Records. the 2014 album Journey to Freedom was produced by Brit Harmony Samuels. He's a protege of Rodney Jerkins and he has produced Fantasia among others. The single Say Yes was a Destiny's Child reunion. They appeared on her other albums. The song topped the gospel charts. The African groove is because Samuels is of Nigerian descent. Destiny's Child performed Say Yes on the 2015 Stellar Awards broadcast. Other guests on Journey To Freedom are Eric Dawkins, Lecrae, Tye Tribbett and Fantasia. Since then she has made some TV and stage appearances. And she has appeared at some events with a new boyfriend. But there is no word on new music. Maybe she is working on something and we don't know about it yet. She'll always be overshadowed by Beyonce. That's why gospel is a good market for her. Here's the video for Say Yes by Michelle Williams featuring Beyonce and Kelly Rowland.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Rapper's Delight was the very first rap record to cross over to pop in 1979. It was actually the second rap record released. Like doo wop in the 40s, rap started in the streetcorners of Harlem in New York City. Sylvia Robinson was best known as one half of Mickey and Sylvia and for the hit single Pillow Talk. But with her husband Joe she also had success as owner of All Platinum Records, especially The Moments. Sylvia was aware of street rappers and she wanted to record them. So she started Sugar Hill Records with funding from Roulette Records owner Morris Levy. At first she had trouble finding rappers willing to record. Some rappers thought rap should only be live. Sylvia's son heard a rapper at a pizza place. He went there to find him. That was Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson. Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien worked in the pizza place. When he saw this, he auditioned too. And so did Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright. Sugarhill Gang was born. Rapper's Delight is based on Chic's Good Times. When Chic's Nile Rodgers found out, he sued Sugar Hill. Rodgers says he likes the record. He just wanted proper credit. The band on the record is Positive Force. Rapper's Delight reached #4 on the R&B Singles chart and it was also a hit in England. Then it crossed over to pop and it reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100. And the term "hip hop" came from Wonder Mike's rap at the start of the song. Sugarhill Gang recorded four albums and some of their singles were successful on the R&B and dance charts and in Europe. Of course rap became this big thing. Sylvia Robinson deserves most of the credit for having the vision to record rap in the first place. Rapper's Delight was so successful she was able to buy out Levy. Henry Jackson died in 2014. But Sugarhill Gang toured last year. You can get all their hits on this Rhino budget comp. Here's the video for Rapper's Delight by Sugarhill Gang.
Friday, October 13, 2017
Song:If It Isn't Love
It looked like New Edition was through after Bobby Brown left in 1985. But the group was able to overcome that by adding Johnny Gill and recording in a more mature style with the 1988 album Heart Beat. If It Isn't Love was a top ten hit. After the 1985 album All For Love, New Edition voted Brown out of the group for behavioral problems. Mainly, Brown wasn't getting along with Ralph Tresvant. They also had a poor contract with MCA Records. None of them were making as much money as they should but Brown was more vocal about it. So MCA wanted him out too. New Edition continued as a four piece and released the 1986 album Under The Blue Moon, an album of doo wop covers produced by Freddie Perren who was very successful in the 70s but the death of disco killed his career. The album did not sell as well as previous albums. The only hit single was New Edition's cover of Earth Angel from The Karate Kid Part II. It wasn't supposed to be on Under The Blue Moon and was tacked on afterwards. Tresvant was thinking of going solo. But the other members voted to bring in Johnny Gill who had success recording with his childhood friend Stacy Lattisaw. At first Tresvant was uneasy about Gill. But they became friends and Tresvant stayed in the group. For the 1988 album Heart Break, New Edition went to Minneapolis to record with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis who were becoming the hottest producers in the record business. They gave New Edition a more mature sound. If It Isn't Love was the first single. It reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Tresvant sang lead. Heart Break was certified 4XPlatinum. So New Edition was back. But they split up after a successful tour. Gill and Tresvant both went solo. and the other three guys became Bell Biv Devoe. New Edition returned in 1996 mostly because they owed an album to MCA. But that album was successful and it solidified New Edition's durability. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Here's the video for If It Isn't Love by New Edition.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
|PANCRASE owner Sakai|
Song:Can We Rap
Album:The Funky 16 Corners
Most folks who listen to this song probably think it's an obscure James Brown song. But Can We Rap is the best known song by the obscure 70s funk group Carleen & The Groovers. They were from Charleston, SC and a family group. Carleen Butler played drums and her brother Clary Butler played trumpet and sang. So they grew up singing in church and Clary was a big James Brown fan. He even toured briefly with Wilson Pickett. Carleen played drums in her high school marching band. She was playing in a local jazz band in 1970 when Clary talked her into starting a band with some guys he played with in The Exotics from Orangeburg. So the band that recorded Can We Rap was Clary Butler on trumpet and vocals, Leonard Chisholm on sax, John Scott on guitar, David Stevens on bass and Carleen Butler on drums. They recorded three singles and then Carleen moved to Germany in 1975 and the band ended. Carleen played jazz on tour boats in Germany before moving home to become a deputy sheriff. After briefly reforming The Groovers, Clary was a DJ before becoming a minister. Of course DJs are always on the lookout for classic funk. Chris "Peanut Butter Wolf" Manak started Stones Throw Records to release classic funk on CDs like The Funky 16 Corners. All the bands are obscure but as you will tell with Can We Rap, any of these songs could have been hits if they had been on labels with decent distribution. Here's a video for Can We Rap by Carleen & The Groovers.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Album:Greatest Hits...So Far!!!
When Alecia "P!nk" Moore started out, she seemed like just another pop singer. But she's still around and she has a new album coming out in a couple of days. The 2008 single So What is her biggest hit to date. She was born Sept. 8, 1979 in the Philadelphia suburb of Doylestown, PA. She performed in Philadelphia clubs as a teen. P!nk was a childhood nickname. Apparently she was very rambunctious. She was in the group Basic Instinct which didn't last. Then she was in the group Choice. A demo landed in the hands of LaFace Records owner LA Reid. They auditioned and signed. They recorded an album that was never released. After one single was released, Reid decided he only wanted P!nk. He told her to go solo or go home. Her 2000 debut album Can't Take Me Home was certified 2XPlatinum. The singles There You Go and Most Girls were top ten hits. She worked with several producers including Babyface and Kevin "She'kspeare" Briggs who had produced Destiny's Child. P!nk writes the lyrics for all her songs. And that's one of the reasons she has been successful. she writes about her life and fans identify with her. P!nk's first #1 hit was the cover of Lady Marmalade with Christina Aguilera, Mya and Lil' Kim from the film Moulin Rouge!. So yeah, it was a gimmick hit. for her 2001 album Missundztood, P!nk brought in veteran songwriter Linda Perry. And they wrote and produced most of the album including the top five hit Get The Party Started. The album was certified 5XPlatinum. Her 2003 album Try This had more of a punk sound as P!nk brought in Rancid's Tim Armstrong to produce. But it wasn't as successful as the first two albums. She bounced back a bit with the 2005 album I'm Not Dead. Most of the album was produced by Billy Mann. But it was also the first time she worked with Swedish producer Max Martin who was very successful producing Britney Spears. She worked even more with Martin on the 2008 album Funhouse. And that really paid off when So What topped the charts. So What is about P!nk's split with motocross racer Carey Hart. They got back together and they now have two kids. It is her biggest hit to date. Funhouse was certified 3XPlatinum. Her next #1 hit was Raise Your Glass from Greatest Hits...So Far. It was also produced by Martin. The success continued with the 2012 CD The Truth About Love and the #1 single Just Give Me A Reason. Her new album Beautiful Trauma is coming out on Oct. 13. I expect her success to continue. If it doesn't sell as well, P!nk seems to be very good at adjusting to changing musical tastes. Here's the video for So What by P!nk.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Song:More, More, More
Album:Summer Party: The Essential Collection
Andrea True was a porn star who lucked into one of the more memorable hits of the disco era despite the fact she couldn't sing or dance or anything. More, More, More was a top five hit in 1976. She was born Andrea Marie Truden July 26, 1943 in Nashville. As a teen, she moved to New York City to become famous. She sang in clubs and did bits in a couple of films like The Way We Were. Her friends were making a porn movie and she decided it would be good experience. She did about a dozen porn films in the mid 70s. Andrea was hired to go to Jamaica and film a commercial for a real estate company. While she was there, Jamaica imposed sanctions preventing foreigners from transferring money out of the country. So she decided to make a record. She contacted drummer Gregg Diamond who had a group called Five Dollar Shoes. He was also a session musician. He brought musicians to Jamaica and recorded an album. Remix pioneer Tom Moulton remixed More, More, More. Buddah Records at first released the song to clubs. But it became so popular that it crossed over to pop and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. She recorded two albums for Buddah. Her music did OK in clubs but More, More, More was her only memorable song. You can get it on this 2CD various artists budget comp from Demon Records. After a third album failed, Andrea tried to return to porn but she was too old. And she had vocal cord surgery. So she couldn't sing anymore. She still got royalties from More, More, More. She eventually became a drug rehab counselor in Florida. Andrea True died on Nov. 7, 2011 at age 68. Here's The Andrea True Connection performing More, More, More on Musikladen in Germany 1976.
Monday, October 09, 2017
Song:Do You Still Love Me?
Album:Do Me Baby: Expanded Edition
Meli'sa Morgan is a big voiced soul singer who had success on the R&B charts in the 80s. She may be best known for the single Love Changes that she recorded with Kashif. She was born Dec. 6, 1964 in Queens, NY. She grew up singing in church. Meli'sa started out as a background singer. She was in a couple of groups. Shades Of Love had a dance hit with Keep In Touch in 1982. There was also High Fashion who had an R&B hit with Feelin' Lucky Lately in 1982. High Fashion recorded two albums for Capitol. At the same time, Meli'sa sang backup for Melba Moore who was produced by Paul Laurence who had a deal with Capitol. She left High Fashion and signed with Capitol. Laurence was one of two producers who worked on Meli'sa's 1986 debut album Do Me Baby. Her cover of the Prince song Do Me Baby was produced by Laurence. It topped the R&B Singles chart and reached #46 on the Billboard Hot 100. Do You Still Love Me? was the second single. It reached #5 on the R&B Singles chart. Meli'sa wrote and produced that song with Lesette Wilson who had worked with smooth jazz trumpeter Tom Browne among others. The album Do Me Baby did OK. It has been released on CD by the R&B reissue label SoulMusic owned by the British label Cherry Red. Meli'sa continued to have success with her 1987 album Good Love featuring the hit Love Changes written and produced by Kashif. Her 1990 album The Lady In Me didn't do as well and she left Capitol. Since then Meli'sa has recorded occasionally. She appeared on an 2015 episode of the TVOne series Unsung. She still tours. She doesn't have a website anymore but she uses Twitter to promote her appearances. Here's the video for Do You Still Love Me? by Meli'sa Morgan.
Sunday, October 08, 2017
Here's the match video of Poliana Botelho vs Pearl Gonzalez from last night's UFC show in Las Vegas. This aired on the prelims. Pearl is a former XFC champ from Chicago. She looked OK there but she may not be a UFC caliber fighter. I guess her chief asset is she's hot. She lost in her UFC debut. Poliana is from Brazil. She was supposed to make her UFC debut last year. They said on the broadcast that she broke her hand twice. She's also a former XFC champ. She's big for a Strawweight but she has fought most of her career at Flyweight so I would expect her to wind up there. She's mostly a striker. Pearl's strategy was to avoid her striking and then take her down. But Pearl wasn't strong enough to take her down. So she pushed her against the fence. Poliana landed strikes from that position and that's how she won the fight. There are some coaches who misguidedly think that cage control counts on the judges scorecards. Like takedowns, cage control only means something if the fighter follows up with offense. All Pearl did was push Poliana against the cage and lean on her. Ref Jason Herzog kept breaking them up but Pearl kept going back to it. So that means her coach came up with faulty strategy based on misguided assumptions about scoring. That's a recipe for failure and a one way trip to Palookaville. Maybe Pearl needs a new coach.
Here's the match video of Mara Romero Borella vs Kalindra Faria from last night's UFC show in Las Vegas. This was on the main card but at least it should have been moved to the prelims. But really when Andrea Lee was forced out due to a previous positive drug test, the fight should have been scrapped and Kalindra's UFC contract cancelled. Having seen her before, she doesn't belong in the UFC. Being a late replacement is the only way the UFC books her and that was as a warm body to face Andrea Lee. And yes, I have seen Kalindra's record. It's heavily padded with Brazilian regional fights. She has failed miserably each time she has fought outside Brazil. Mara is from Italy but she trains at American Top Team in Florida. We saw her in Invicta in July. She won but she wasn't impressive. This fight was at Flyweight. The fight went as I expected. Mara took Kalindra down and it took a couple of minutes but she won with a rear naked choke. Kalindra couldn't even help herself. In an attempt to cage walk, she positioned herself farther away from the cage. So it wasn't so much that Mara was impressive but that Kalindra is inept. We'll see what happens when Mara faces a better level of competition. A win against a terrible opponent tells me nothing. Here's the video!
Album:20 Greatest Hits
Suzy Bogguss had a good run on the country music charts in the early 90s with four hits from the 1991 album Aces including this cover of the 60s classic Someday Soon. She was born Dec. 30, 1956 in Aledo, IL. Her father served in the US Army in WWII and was a machinist in an International Harverster plant. Suzy sang in church and took piano lessons. She also visited Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in California. They were friends of her grandparents. She graduated from Illinois State University in 1980 with a degree in metalsmithing. Then she started performing in local clubs and released a couple of albums. She moved to Nashville in 1985. She auditioned for Dolly Parton and became a featured performer at Dollywood. Eventually one of her demos got the attention of Capitol Nashville head Jim Fogelsong and he signed her to Liberty Records. Suzy's career didn't take off until Jimmy Bowen took over as head of Capitol Nashville. He produced her 1991 album Aces. Someday Soon was the first single and it reached #12 on the Country Singles chart. Someday Soon was written by Ian Tyson and Ian and Sylvia recorded it in 1964. Probably the most memorable version of Someday Soon was recorded by Judy Collins in 1969. And the familiarity that fans had with that song probably helped make it a hit for Suzy. That led to three top ten hits from Aces and Aces was certified Platinum. The first single from Suzy's 1992 album Voices In The Wind was Drive South. It reached #2 on the Country Singles chart and it would be her biggest hit. Suzy faded after that and went on hiatus in 1995 to start a family with husband Doug Crider. She left Liberty in 1998. Suzy started her own label in 2001 and she still records and tours. You can get all her hits on this budget comp. Here's Suzy Bogguss performing Someday Soon on Nashville Now June 12, 1991.
Saturday, October 07, 2017
Album:Melody's Echo Chamber
Fans of neo psychedelia will want to check out Melody's Echo Chamber. It's another case of a solo artist hiding behind a band name. Melody Prochet was born Apr. 3, 1987 in Puyricard, France. She recorded as Narcoleptic Dancers and My Bee's Garden. She turned My Bee's Garden into a band and in 2010 they toured with the Aussie band Tame Impala. Tame Impala leader Kevin Parker invited Melody to record at his recording studio in Perth, Australia. Apparently the name Melody's Echo Chamber came from a dream she had about the acoustics in her bedroom. It also meant she could sell it to a different record company. Fat Possum released Melody's Echo Chamber in 2012. Melody's music certainly isn't mainstream but it got a lot of critical buzz. As I said, I recommend Melody's Echo Chamber to fans of neo psychedelia or dream pop. There is a second album. Melody released a single in 2014. Earlier this year she released a video on Youtube. The album is called Bon Voyage. Then in June her family posted on Facebook that Melody was in a serious car accident and she is in hospital for the next few months. The album release is postponed and her tour was canceled. Hopefully Melody returns in 2018 and the album is released and the tour rescheduled. Here's the video for Crystallized by Melody's Echo Chamber.
Friday, October 06, 2017
Sing:Sadeness Part 1
Album:Love Sensuality Devotion: Greatest Hits & Remixes
I always thought it was appropriate that this act was called Enigma. Because it's certainly odd that this mix of new age music, Gregorian chants and dance beats spawned the 1990 top five hit Sadeness. Enigma is Romanian born musician Michael "MC Curly" Cretu. In the late 70s, he was a session musician in Germany working for famed disco producer Frank Farian (Boney M). He also released albums of New Age music. After marrying his singer wife Sandra in 1988, Cretu got the idea for Enigma. You may recall when Gregorian Chants were popular briefly in the 80s. This gave Cretu the idea of mixing those chants with his usual music and do it to a dance beat. He recorded the album MCMXC a.D with Sandra on vocals, lyrics by David Fairstein and samples by Frank "F. Gregorian" Peterson. Cretu signed with Virgin Records and he decided to call himself Enigma. Sadeness is part of a larger suite called Principles Of Lust. Virgin decided to release a radio edit of Sadeness as a single. I don't think they expected much. So I'm sure they were surprised when Sadeness started gaining steam in dance clubs. Then it became a big hit in Europe and then it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. On the original album, you can only get Sadeness as part of the larger suite. But it is separate on this 2CD budget comp. Polydor sued Virgin for sampling Gregorian Chant recordings. The chants are public domain but not the recordings. It was settled out of court. The album was certified 4XPlatinum. Enigma scored one other hit single Return To Innocence in 1993 from the album The Cross of Changes. By that time Cretu was sampling African tribal chants and he was sued for that as well. Cretu recorded as Enigma for years on Virgin. But he switched to Island for his latest CD The Fall of a Rebel Angel released last year. So Cretu turned a fluke hit single into a 20 year career. Here's the video for Sadeness Part 1 by Enigma.
Thursday, October 05, 2017
Here's the match video of Kairi Sane vs Aliyah from this week's episode of NXT. As I did with Asuka, I am posting all of Kairi's matches for fans who don't have the WWE Network. For those not familiar with Aliyah, she's been doing jobs on NXT for a couple of years. She's 22 years old from Toronto and she trained with Rob Fuego at Toronto's Squared Circle Training Center. She's an OK wrestler but she lacks personality. She's of Arabic descent so they tried to give her a gimmick based on that. Now it looks like the WWE doesn't know what to do with her. Aliyah may want to talk to Kairi who has plenty of personality. I guess charisma is a special sauce that can be hard to acquire. Kairi's entrance is already a big event. And of course she can back it up in the ring. The match is about what one would expect. Aliyah gets some offense in. But Kairi takes over and wins with her elbow drop. Kairi will be part of a four way match to crown the next NXT Women's Champion on November's Takeover show. I already know who will be participating but I don't do spoilers. Enjoy the video!
Song:I Will Survive
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Gloria Gaynor
I Will Survive was one of the biggest hits of the disco era. It was also Gloria Gaynor's biggest hit and her signature song. And it became an anthem for the gay community. Gloria Gaynor was born Gloria Fowles Sept. 7, 1949 in Newark, NJ. Her dad played New York clubs in the duo Step 'n' Fetchit. He sang and played ukulele and guitar. Gloria grew up singing in church. She was in the late 60s group The Soul Satisfiers and that's when she changed her name to Gloria Gaynor. She was spotted and signed by MGM Records president Mike Curb. On Wikipedia, it claims she was signed to Columbia by Clive Davis. That "error" is politically motivated. Davis is a Democrat. Curb is a Republican and a former Lt. Governor of California. Gloria scored a top ten hit in 1975 with a cover of the Jackson 5 hit Never Can Say Goodbye. That was produced by Meco Monardo and Tony Bongiovi. Monardo is best known for the disco version of Star Wars. Gloria recorded two albums for MGM and then moved to Polydor. She released two albums but was hindered by health problems. She took a year to recover from a car accident. And her mom died. For the 1978 album Love Tracks, she worked with producers Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren. They wrote and produced I Will Survive. Perren produced the Jackson 5, The Sylvers and many others. I Will Survive was released on the B-side of the single Substitute. But DJs flipped it over and dance clubs really made I Will Survive huge. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 on 1979. You'll notice there are no background vocals on I Will Survive. The video features a roller skater named Sheila Reid-Pender. She was a member of a Harlem skating group. After this, disco died and Gloria never had another hit. She left Polydor in 1982. You can get all her hits on this budget comp. Gloria Gaynor still tours and records occasionally. But I guess she's a nostalgia act at this point. Here's the video for I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor.
Wednesday, October 04, 2017
Album:Made Of Bricks
Singer songwriter Kate Nash had success in her native England with her 2007 debut CD Made Of Bricks and the single Foundations. When her music career stalled, she turned to acting and she is currently a regular on the Netflix series GLOW. She was born July 6, 1987 in Dublin, Ireland but she grew up in London. She learned to play piano as a child but she was more interested in acting. Unfortunately, she was unable to get into an acting school. So she worked a couple of day jobs. While recovering from a broken foot, Kate wrote some songs and uploaded them to MySpace. This got her a manager and producer and a single was released in 2007. Then she signed with Polydor's Fiction label. The 2007 album Made Of Bricks was produced by Paul Epworth. Epworth was just getting established at the time but his work with Adele has made him an in demand producer. The single Foundations reached #2 on the British Singles chart. The album topped the British charts. In the US, the album was released on the small Cherrytree label. It never got the promotion needed to go anywhere. Maybe Kate sounded too British. She doesn't hide her accent. Kate toured and also appeared on Later...With Jools Holland. For her 2010 album, My Best Friend Is You, Kate worked with producer Bernard Butler who had recent success with Duffy. The album didn't do as well and there were no hit singles. Polydor dropped Kate and she started her own label. She began to explore acting and she appeared in the 2012 film Greetings From Tim Buckley. Kate released her third album Girl Talk in 2013. She is currently working on a new album which she financed through Kickstarter. Meanwhile, Kate plays Britannica on the Netflix series GLOW. They should be shooting season two of GLOW in the near future. Kate toured England last summer and she has a new album planned. But the success of GLOW could lead to more acting opportunities and less time for her music. Here's the video for Foundations by Kate Nash.