Thursday, November 30, 2017
Here's the match video of Kairi Sane vs Peyton Royce from this week's episode of NXT from San Antonio, TX. This match is probably typical of what Kairi's matches will be like. She gets beat down and then she comes back for the win. In this case, I thought the ending was abrupt. It looks like they ran out of time and had to end the match. I didn't think Kairi did enough to Peyton to set up her elbow drop. The match was OK. It was nothing special. Enjoy the video!
Song:(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
Album:All The Hits: The Ultimate Collection
Of course most fans are familiar with the 1969 B.J. Thomas number one hit Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head from the hit film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But he had a second number one hit when Thomas moved to Nashville and became a country singer. That was (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song. In the 60s, Thomas recorded for Scepter Records with modest success. Because it was from a hit movie, Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head was a fluke hit. He did score a couple of hits including Rock and Roll Lullaby in 1972. After that, he left Scepter for Paramount Records. After two unsuccessful albums, Paramount was folded into parent company ABC Records. Thomas' first album on ABC was Reunion in 1975. The title was because Thomas was reuniting with producer Chips Moman who he had worked with at Scepter. Reunion was supposed to be a country album. (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song not only topped the Country Singles chart. But it crossed over to top the Billboard Hot 100. I don't think they were expecting that. Moman wrote the song with veteran producer Larry Butler. Reunion is a short album and it has never been released on CD anyway. This BMG budget comp has both of Thomas' number one hits. Beware of rerecorded versions. Thomas never had another pop hit. But he did have success in the country market after MCA bought ABC in 1978. He also started recording Christian music for Word's Myrrh label. So he had success there as well. This versatility has served Thomas well as he still tours and records occasionally. Here's B.J. Thomas performing (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song on The Midnight Special 1975.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Album:Ultimate 16: Bump & Grind
Monifah Carter scored a top ten hit with Touch It in 1998. It was her only big hit but some of her other songs charted so she's not technically a one hit wonder. Before that she was known for her association with rapper Heavy D. She was born Feb. 28, 1972 in New York City. She grew up in Spanish Harlem. Her mom worked at the local church. As a teen, Monifah appeared in a couple of off-Broadway musicals before deciding to pursue a singing career in 1990. She was in a group called Rapture. Rapper Heavy D was also president of Uptown Records. When he got a Rapture demo, he was interested in Monifah as a solo act. But first he sent her out on the road as a backup singer for Maxi Priest for her to gain experience. When she returned, he signed her to a record deal. Heavy D produced a lot of Monifah's 1996 debut album Moods...Moments including the single I Miss You (Come Back Home) which was a top 20 R&B hit. For her 1998 album Mo'Hogany, she worked with Heavy D, Queen Latifah and Mario Winans. Touch It reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written and produced by Jack Knight who also rapped on the record. He had previously worked with Chico DeBarge and Total. Touch It sampled the 1983 Laid Back hit White Horse. Mo'Hogany is out of print but you can get Touch It on this various artists CD. After one more unsuccessful album, that was it for Monifah. Though she has recorded occasionally, she is known mainly as one of the stars of the TV One reality series R&B Divas: Atlanta. That show ran for three seasons and it was cancelled in 2015. Her website is kaput so I think she retired to spend more time with her family. Here's the video for Touch It by Monifah featuring Jack Knight.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Dana Brooke with the Absolution segment. So they did this match with Dana because she's been flapping her gums claiming she has found holes in Asuka's game. "She's a slow starter" says Dana. Dana comes forward and walks right into a flying armbar. The match is over in five seconds. And Michael Cole called it the Asuka Lock. Then Paige and her Absolution group come out and surround Asuka. They decide not to attack her. Paige smiles at Asuka. As usual, Asuka's facial expressions are fantastic. It raises a lot of questions for the future. That's what it was supposed to do. I really liked the segment. Check it out for yourself.
The South African band Seether had success in the post grunge era partially because they sound a lot like Nirvana. The 2007 single Fake It is probably their biggest hit to date. The band was formed in 1999 in Pretoria, South Africa as Saron Gas with lead singer and guitarist Shaun Morgan, bassist Dale Stewart and drummer Dave Cohoe. Morgan has acknowledged Nirvana as a major influence. They released an album on a local label that got enough attention that Wind-Up Records signed them. Wind-Up wanted a name change and Seether was chosen. They moved to the US in 2002. The album Disclaimer was released in 2002 followed by Disclaimer II in 2004. They got airplay on alternative rock radio and they toured with Evanescence. A rerecording of the song Broken featuring Evanescence lead singer Amy Lee reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Seether recorded with Amy because Wind-Up requested it. They weren't crazy about doing it but it did help them. Fake It is from the 2007 CD Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces. It topped the Alternative and Mainstream Rock charts which is why it's a slightly bigger hit than Broken. It certainly sounds like Nirvana. Since then, Seether continues to record and tour. They left Wind-Up in 2011. This 2CD budget comp is a good intro to their music. Their latest CD Poison The Parish was released in May on Canine Riot with Concord distribution. Seether is currently touring to support it. Here's the video for Fake It by Seether.
Monday, November 27, 2017
Album:High School Musical: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens came to prominence starring in the 2005 Disney Channel movie High School Musical. Breaking Free was a top five. Since then, Efron has become a big movie star. Vanessa tried music. But when that didn't work out, she switched to acting with modest success. Efron was born Oct. 18, 1987 in San Luis Obispo, CA. He got into acting as a teen and he moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school. He appeared on TV most notably in the WB series Summerland. Vanessa was born Dec. 14, 1988 in Salinas, CA. As a teen, she performed in local musical theater. She appeared on TV and in the 2004 film Thunderbirds. So High School Musical was the breakthrough for both. It's basically a modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet written by Peter Barsocchini and directed by veteran choreographer Kenny Ortega. High School Musical was so successful on Disney Channel that there have been several sequels. The big surprise was when the soundtrack album sold five million copies and Breaking Free reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Because Efron was not really a singer, Drew Seeley's voice is mixed in with his vocals. He works for Disney as an actor, singer and songwriter. Breaking Free was written by Jamie Houston who has worked on other Disney projects like Hannah Montana. The soundtrack is available in a 2CD special edition with Karaoke versions and some bonus tracks. Efron appeared in the High School Musical sequels and the film musical Hairspray. That made him a big star. Vanessa attempted to launch a recording career with Disney label Hollywood Records. When her two albums didn't sell, she returned to acting. They began a relationship while filming High School Musical. It ended in 2010. Since then, Efron has had success in film like Neighbors and Baywatch. He has also had substance abuse issues that have been well chronicled in the media. His new film The Greatest Showman is a musical biopic of PT Barnum played by Hugh Jackman. This will be Efron's first singing appearance on film since High School Musical. Dec. 20 is the release date. Vanessa appeared in the 2015 Broadway revival of Gigi. She also appeared on the live Fox broadcast of Grease as Rizzo. She starred in the TV series Powerless which was cancelled after one season. Her career would be much different if music had worked out. Here's the video for Breaking Free by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Song:Never Gonna Give You Up
So I'm sure you all know this 1987 worldwide chart topper. In recent years it has become an internet meme. It's the biggest hit from British producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. Astley was born Feb. 6, 1966 in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England. He grew up singing in church. And he played drums in local bands. He was playing drums in FBI when the lead singer left and Astley replaced him. Pete Waterman spotted him and brought him to London. And that was it. the 1987 album Whenever You Need Someone blew up when Never Gonna Give You Up topped worldwide charts. The record is a very typical Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) production. But it was so much bigger than anything else they produced. The song just clicked with people. Maybe it was Astley's deep voice and boyish looks. Together Forever was Astley's other number one hit. Astley's second album was delayed when the masters were destroyed by a studio fire. Meanwhile the British media upset Astley by calling him an SAW puppet. So he split with them after the 1988 album Hold Me In Your Arms. And Astley wrote and produced the 1991 album Free. Cry For Help was a top ten hit. After his 1993 album Body & Soul, Astley retired from the music business. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. After spending more time with his family, Astley signed with Polydor in 2001. He still tours and records but of course he's a nostalgia act now. He was back in the news when the video for Never Gonna Give You Up became an internet prank known as Rickrolling. Astley played along with it for a while especially at the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But he made no money from it so he returned to his normal career. It was certainly an odd sidebar to his career. Here's the video for Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. No rickrolling from me.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Here's the match video of Xiaonan Yan vs Kailin Curran from today's UFC show in Shanghai. I don't think Kailin is a UFC caliber fighter. She was 1-5 in the UFC going into this fight. She needed a win. She has a lot of flaws and I don't know if farming her out to Invicta like some suggest woild make any difference. Yan is 28 years old from Liaoning, China with an 8-1 record. She is mainly a striker. And she came out swinging in round one. She throws hard and she rocked Kailin a few times. She also has very good takedown defence. Kailin doesn't have the punching power to brawl with Yan. So Yan won the first two rounds. I thought Yan tired in round three. But Kailin needed a finish. Winning round three wasn't going to be enough. So I scored the fight 29-28 for Yan. And she won by unanimous decision. An impressive performance by Yan. I look forward to her next fight. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Gina Mazany vs Wu Yanan from today's UFC show in Shanghai. Gina lost her UFC debut to Sara McMann. It was a short notice fight. Gina trains with her brother at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. He is an EFC champ. Both of them do pro wrestling too. Yanan is 21 years old Chinese fighter with an 8-1 record mostly against local fighters. This is a big step up in competition for her and it showed. Gina won all three rounds fairly easily. She was more aggressive and more effective. Gina said afterwards that she broke her foot during training. It didn't seem to bother her. Yanan has a bad habit of grabbing the fence. Ref Marc Goddard warned her several times and finally got a translator to explain it to her. She also injured her shoulder at the end of round two and she fought round three with one arm. It's a big win for Gina. We'll see how she does against better fighters. Enjoy the video!
Song:The Bare Necessities
Album:Walt Disney's The Jungle Book
For everything Phil Harris did over the years, he is probably best known for singing The Bare Necessities in the 1967 Walt Disney film The Jungle Book. He was born June 24, 1904 in Linton, IN but he grew up on Nashville. His parents were circus performers and Harris' first job was as a drummer in his father's band. He moved to Los Angeles and led his own band in the early 30s. His 1933 short film So This Is Harris! directed by Mark Sandrich won a Best Short Subject Oscar. In 1936, Harris became musical director of the radio show The Jack Benny Program. When he showed that he could adlib snappy one liners, Harris was added to the cast of the show. He stayed with Benny until 1952. He also continued to record his own music. These were usually novelty songs with Harris talking as opposed to singing. The Thing was a number one hit in 1950. Harris married 20th Century Fox musical star Alice Faye in 1942 and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show was on NBC Radio in the late 40s. He got into TV in the 50s. While Walt Disney was casting the 1967 film The Jungle Book, he met Harris at a party and hired him to play Baloo. Harris adlibbed most of his lines. This also led to the hiring of Louis Prima as King Louie and the chemistry between them was a big part of The Jungle Book's success. The score was composed and arranged by long time Disney composer George Bruns. Terry Gilkyson was hired to write the songs. He was a Disney staff songwriter at the time. But Disney thought his songs were too dark. The Sherman Brothers were hired to write new songs. All of Gilkyson's songs were discarded except for The Bare Necessities. And it turned out to be the most memorable song from the film. Bruce Reitherman played Mowgli. He is the son of Disney animation legend Wolgfang Reitherman. He went on to produce TV nature documentaries. The trumpet solo is by former Woody Herman trumpeter Cappy Lewis. When The Jungle Book soundtrack was released in 1967, it had mostly the songs from the film. This 1997 CD release adds much of George Bruns' score and a couple of Terry Gilkyson demos for songs that weren't used. Harris also appeared in The Aristocats and Robin Hood. But he continued to appear on TV regularly until his death on Aug. 11, 1995 at age 91. Here's Phil Harris with Bruce Reitherman performing The Bare Necessities in the 1967 film The Jungle Book.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Fans of the thrash metal band Testament are probably familiar with guitarist Alex Skolnick. What they may not know is he switched to jazz and has led a jazz trio. That's very unusual. He was born Sept. 29, 1968 in Berkeley, CA. His parents were sociology professors. Skolnick took up guitar at age 9 influenced by Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck etc. He studied with Joe Satriani. He joined Testament in 1983 and they had a pretty good run. Skolnick left in 1993. He joined Savatage after guitarist Criss Oliva died. He also played with Ozzy Osbourne. In 1998, Skolnick decided to become a jazz musician. He studied at The New School in New York. Though he has occasionally returned to Testament and done a few other metal projects, he started recording with his own trio in 2001. The current members are Nathan Peck on bass and Matt Zebroski on drums. At first they recorded classic rock covers. But most of the songs on the 2011 album Veritas are original compositions. This is his most recent jazz album. Skolnick returned to Testament in 2005 and he has been recording and touring with them. For a while he was splitting his time between Testament and his trio. But right now he is concentrating on Testament. Here's the Alex Skolnick Trio performing Veritas 2011.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Album:I Am Calvin
Neo Soul singer Calvin Richardson has had some success on the R&B charts. But he has bounced around labels making it tough to find consistency. The 2014 single Hearsay is his biggest hit to date. He was born Dec. 16, 1976 in Monroe, NC. He grew up singing in church. His mom had a gospel group. Along with gospel, Bobby Womack was probably his biggest influence. When his buddies K-Ci & JoJo had success with Jodeci, Richardson formed the group Undacova. They signed with Tommy Boy and the song Love Slave appeared in the 1995 film New Jersey Drive. The group split up and Richardson signed with Universal. Though his 1997 CD Country Boy did OK, Universal dropped him and Richardson released the 2003 album 2:35PM on Hollywood Records. Again the album did OK but Hollywood dropped Richardson. He released his next three albums including a Bobby Womack tribute album on Shanachie which is a smaller label that doesn't have a promotion budget that someone like Richardson needs. For the 2014 album I Am Calvin, Richardson signed with Jordan House Records owned by Eric Benet with Primary Wave and BMG distribution. They are both publishing houses, not record distributors. The single Hearsay reached #11 on the R&B Singles chart. Richardson and Benet wrote and produced the album. It was the same story. The album did OK but not good enough. For his 2017 album All Or Nothing, Richardson returned to Shanachie. And that's probably where he will stay. Richardson is a great singer and Neo Soul fans should check him out. He just can't seem to break through to a larger audience. Here's the video for Hearsay by Calvin Richardson.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Album:Swing Troubadour 37-47
Charles Trenet was one of the most popular performers of the Chansons era. Boum! was his first hit in 1939 and probably his signature song. The most notable thing about Trenet is he wrote most of his own songs at a time when singers didn't write songs. He was born May 18, 1913 in Narbonne, France. When his parents divorced, Trenet was sent to boarding school. But he returned home with typhoid fever. It was during his convalescence that he started exploring the arts. Trenet went to art school in Germany and France. Then he moved to Paris. While working as a prop master in a film studio, he performed with pianist Johnny Hess as Charles and Johnny. They appeared on radio. The duo ended when Trenet went into the military in 1936. When he returned in 1937, he signed with EMI's Columbia label. At first he was compared with Maurice Chevalier. But Trenet forged his own path by writing his own songs. Boum! was his first big hit in 1939. He won the Grande Prix du Disques. He performed it in his first film La Route Enchantee which he also wrote. That Trenet wrote his own songs and even movie scripts was one of the reasons he had longevity. He remained very popular through the 40s with La Mer which when translated to English became Beyond The Sea. After WWII, Trenet moved to Hollywood. He had some success but he returned to Paris in 1951. Trenet faded on his later years. But he continued to perform and record until his death on Feb. 19, 2001 at age 87. This comp from Sunnyside is a good intro to Trenet's music. Here's Charles Trenet performing Boum! in the 1938 film La Route Enchantee.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Dana Brooke from last night's episode of RAW. This was after last week when Dana was in a match to try to get on the Survivor Series match. Asuka tried to help Dana when she fell out of the ring. Dana slapped Asuka and then Asuka KOd her. They showed Dana's promo saying that she has found holes in Asuka's game. That was pretty funny. The match was the expected squash. Dana's attempted offense just pissed Asuka off. She hit Dana with a couple of spinning back fists and a spinning head kick followed by a roundhouse kick for the finish. If you watched last night's show, you'll know that Paige returned from neck surgery. And she brought friends from NXT, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. Both of them were on Tough Enough a couple of years ago. Sonya's real name is Daria Berenato. She has MMA training and a 2-1 pro MMA record. She has been appearing on NXT TV lately and she has a match on this week's show. Her gimmick is that she is a real fighter. Mandy Rose's real name is Amanda Saccomanno. She did fitness competitions before she was on Tough Enough. Since then she has appeared mostly on NXT house shows but she hasn't appeared very much on TV. I haven't seen enough of her to know if she's any good. She's been a heel at NXT so I guess she will test my Too Hot To Boo theory. There was a match going on and Paige came out and three of them beat up Sasha Banks and Bayley. Alicia Fox ran away. Then they went backstage and beat up Alexa Bliss. We'll see where this goes from here. There is also a rumour that some women will be added to Smackdown tonight. Anyway, enjoy the video.
This is the 2017 Survivor Series Women's match. For RAW, Alicia Fox was the captain with Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Bayley and Asuka. For Smackdown, Becky Lynch was the captain with Natalya, Tamina, Carmella and Naomi. I expected Asuka to be the sole survivor. No other result made sense. The match was OK but nothing special. Becky was the first eliminated by a Bayley roll up pin. And then Bayley was eliminated by Tamina's Superfly splash. Then Nia was counted out. I thought it was the right move to keep Nia away from Asuka for now. Alicia was eliminated when she forgot to kick out of Naomi's pin. And then Sasha quickly eliminated Naomi with the Banks Statement. That was a good adlib by both girls. Asuka eliminated Carmella with a phantom kick. So that leaves Asuka and Sasha vs Natalya and Tamina. And then Sasha taps out to the Sharpshooter. So that leaves Asuka vs Natalya vs Tamina. They beat her up until Tamina misses the splash and Asuka eliminates her with a flying armbar. Then Asuka uses the Asuka Lock to win the match for RAW. No surprise. That's about what I expected. Enjoy the match!
Song:Ever Ever After
Album:Walt Disney Pictures Presents Enchanted
Occasionally I come across songs that will interest fans of the artist but the song doesn't appear on an album by the artist. In this case, Carrie Underwood recorded Ever Ever After for the 2007 Disney film Enchanted and it isn't on any of her CDs. At the time, Carrie was already one of the biggest stars in music. The score for Enchanted was written by Alan Menken and he wrote the songs with Stephen Schwartz. Most of the soundtrack album consists of Menken's score. There are several songs recorded by Amy Adams and James Marsden who voiced the lead characters in the film. And Jon McLaughlin is the other guest singer but he appears in the film. The original plan for Ever Ever After was for Idina Menzel and Marsden to sing it during the film. However it was decided that the duet slowed down the pace of the film. So they ditched that and brought in Carrie to record the song. Her version ran near the end of the film. Menken wisely didn't try to change Carrie's singing style to suit the film. He brought in her producer Mark Bright and they also shot a video. It sounds like Carrie's usual music. But you can only get the song on the Enchanted soundtrack CD. I assume that Arista will eventually put it on a hits comp. But they haven't done that yet. So Carrie Underwood fans will need to get the soundtrack CD. Here's the video for Ever Ever After by Carrie Underwood.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Here is the four way match for the NXT Women's Championship with Ember Moon vs Kairi Sane vs Nikki Cross vs Peyton Royce from Saturday's NXT show in Houston. Of course Kairi won the Mae Young Classic and the other three won qualifying matches. I thought Ember would win partially because Houston is her home town and also to have Asuka pass the torch to her. Kairi has new music that sounds like something Alfred Newman would have written for a 1940s pirate movie like Captain From Castille. I'm not a big fan of four way matches because they can get disjointed and there can be a lot of standing around. It's hard to have a great match but it was OK. Kairi took a big Tower Of Doom bump. And Peyton showed she can work when she wants to. I didn't like the ending as it exposed Ember Moon's major flaw. Leading up to the ending, Kairi hit her flying elbow drop on Nikki and Peyton. Ember broke up the pin and then landed the Eclipse on Nikki and Peyton for the win. I thought it looked phony with the two of them standing with their heads together. And as I have said before, the move takes way too long to set up. I have no problem with Ember winning. But I don't like her character or her finisher. We'll see how she is as champ. Asuka presented her with the belt which was a nice touch. Now NXT creative needs to set up some new programs. Enjoy the video!
Here's one of those female empowerment anthems that you probably think is by Katy Perry. But it was a top ten hit from Rachel Platten's 2015 major label debut. She was born May 20, 1981 in New York City. She took piano lessons as a child and then took up the guitar as a teen. Rachel did some backup vocals while on a 2002 student exchange in Trinidad. That's when she decided to get into music. She performed in New York area cover bands and she self released a CD in 2003 which she has described as a collection of demos. She released the 2011 CD Be Here on the indie label Rock Ridge Music. After a couple of her songs were used on TV shows like Pretty Little Liars, Rachel signed with Columbia. Fight Song was released as a single in 2015 and it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. You may recall it was the theme for Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign. You may have heard it in a Ford commercial. And I know the WWE used it in their 2015 Rise Against Cancer campaign. Rachel wrote it as exactly what it is, an empowerment anthem. It was co-written and produced by Jon Levine of the Canadian group The Philosopher Kings. He produced the album Wildfire which was released Jan. 2016. It was certified Gold. She released her latest CD Waves Oct. 2017. To date it hasn't performed as well as Wildfire. I see a couple of problems. Fight Song was a big hit but it hasn't helped raise Rachel's profile. Music fans still don't know who she is. The other thing is she's 36 which is a little old to be an emerging young artist. In the video she is made to look much younger. Fortunately, Rachel writes her own songs. So she can still make a good living in music but not necessarily as a recording artist. It's always tough when the debut is a big hit. How does she follow that up? Here's the video for Fight Song by Rachel Platten.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Here's the match video of Nadia Kassem vs Alex Chambers from last night's UFC show in Sydney, Australia. Both fighters are Aussies. Alex was on TUF 20. The last time we saw her she blew out her knee while losing to Paige VanZant. So now she has had reconstructive surgery on both knees. Also, she is 39 years old. And she is an astro physicist. Why the hell is she fighting? I'm sure she loves the sport. She was one of several contracts the UFC purchased from Invicta. And she's not the only one who doesn't belong in the UFC. Nadia is 22 years old. She was supposed to debut a few months a few months ago. But she got injured. I had never seen her before. Her coach at Australian Top Team is her boyfriend. And her teammate Ashkan Mokhtarian was also on last night's show. Based on this fight, she needs a lot of work. I scored round one 10-9 for Alex. The problem was Alex was pooped out by the end of the round. So Nadia won the other two rounds despite the fact she doesn't know what she's doing half the time. She tries things that more experienced fighters wouldn't do. But she got away with it because Alex is not a very good fighter. Maybe she needs better coaching. She wouldn't get away with that kind of recklessness against better competition. So she will either get the coaching she needs or we'll wonder why they signed her in the first place. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Jessica Rose Clark vs Bec Rawlings from last night's UFC show in Sydney, Australia. Bec was supposed to fight Joanne Calderwood but she got injured and fellow Aussie Jessy Jess came in on short notice. This was the third time those two were booked and it was cancelled. This fight was at Flyweight. Bec had previously fought at Strawweight. She's been in the UFC since TUF 20. I never liked her much going back to her Invicta days. And she has had some serious injuries and I think she has slowed down considerably. She currently trains at Alliance in San Diego. I don't like Jessy Jess either. She didn't impress me in Invicta. She now trains at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas. She also missed weight but that isn't unusual when a fighter comes in on short notice though Jessy Jess was training for an upcoming Invicta show. I thought the fight would be close as they are at a comparable level. I scored round one 10-9 for Bec. It was a very close round but Bec's striking was marginally better. Jessy Jess was better in round two as Bec slowed down considerably. 10-9 for Jessy Jess. One judge scored it 10-8. The third round was close as both of them were tired. But I scored it 10-9 for Jessy Jess. So I scored it 29-28 for Jessy Jess. One of the judges scored round three 10-9 for Bec. So Jessy Jess won by split decision. That didn't surprise me. It was a close fight. It's hard to get invested in fighters who aren't that good. There are plenty of UFC fighters who only appear on foreign shows because the UFC wants local fighters on those shows. But Bec has slowed down so much maybe it's time for her to call it quits. We'll see what Jessy Jess is like against better competition. Based on her history, I'm not expecting much. Enjoy the video!
Song:I'll Be Home For Christmas
Album:Christmas With Babyface
If you're looking for a smooth soul Christmas CD, the 1998 CD Christmas With Babyface might be right up your alley. It's an album of Christmas standards with Babyface's trademark style. It was his final album for Epic Records so it looks like he recorded it to fulfill contractual obligations. Babyface was very successful at the time. His 1996 album The Day was certified 2XPlatinum and Every Time I Close My Eyes was a top ten pop hit. He also won a Record of the Year Grammy for producing Eric Clapton's Change the World. Babyface and his wife Tracey Edmonds wanted to get into producing films. And they produced the 1997 film Soul Food which was very successful and was turned into a TV show. The other thing is that his long time business partner LA Reid had just started working as an executive at Arista. So Babyface wanted to leave Epic. But he had two albums remaining on his contract. The first album was MTV Unplugged in 1997 and Christmas With Babyface was the second album. With one exception, the album is Christmas standards like this cover of the 1943 Bing Crosby hit I'll Be Home For Christmas. Babyface produced the album with Mariah Carey's producer Walter Afanasieff. I'll Be Home For Christmas features background vocals by Take 6. And the guitar solo is by veteran session musician Michael Thompson. Afanasieff plays keyboards and other musicians are Nathan East on bass, Ricky Lawson on drums and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion. Babyface fans will enjoy this album. After Babyface left, Epic released a shorter version of this album in 2001 as Spirit Of Christmas. I'm not sure why they did that. Stick with the original which is available as a budget CD. Here's a video for I'll Be Home For Christmas by Babyface.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Album:Vanguard Dance Classics Part 1
Alisha Ann Itkin was 15 years old when Baby Talk topped the dance charts in 1985. Attempts to cross her over to pop were unsuccessful and her recording career was over at age 21. She was born Apr. 16, 1968 in Brooklyn, NY. Her parents had her take singing lessons and paid for demos which they sent to record companies. Alisha was 14 years old and lead singer of The Babysitters. Producer Mark Berry liked the demo. He had a song called All Night Passion and he needed a singer. Berry was a house producer at Vanguard Records. I know what you're thinking. Wasn't Vanguard the home of Joan Baez and other folk music legends? Certainly but they would get into other kinds of music and Berry was into the New York club scene at the time. Alisha recorded All Night Passion and it reached #4 on the Dance chart. Then she recorded the album Alisha. Baby Talk was the third single and it topped the Dance chart. Baby Talk was written and originally recorded by Greg Brown and it was a dance hit in England. An attempt to cross Alisha over to pop didn't work. Vanguard even had People Magazine do a piece on Alisha trumpeting her as the next Madonna. Berry left Vanguard and Alisha only recorded one album for them. The album is available on CD but expensive. So I suggest this Vanguard various artists comp. Berry took Alisha to RCA and produced the 1987 album Nightwalkin'. It was more synth pop than dance in an attempt to sell Alisha as a pop singer. But it didn't catch on. Alisha signed with MCA for the 1990 album Bounce Back. Michael Jay, who had produced the Martika hit Toy Soldiers, was brought in to produce. But the album was unsuccessful. This was Alisha's final album to date though she has recorded occasionally and she still plays New York clubs. It's hard to believe that her recording career was over at age 21. One problem was fans may not have known Alisha was 15 when Baby Talk was released. In the video, she is made to look older and the guy in the video is much older than her. So maybe Berry miscalculated by not having her record age appropriate songs. She recorded You Wanna Be A Star (Superstar) with legendary producer John "Jellybean" Benitez. It was the theme for the 1999 film Superstar starring Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon. Here's the video for Baby Talk by Alisha.
Friday, November 17, 2017
Album:We Love Nelson Riddle!
Nelson Riddle is probably best known as the arranger and producer of Frank Sinatra's 50s Capitol recordings. Of course he did plenty of other stuff. He even topped the pop charts with Lisbon Antigua in 1956. He was born June 1, 1921 in Oradell, NJ. His father was a local bandleader. Riddle learned to play the piano as a child and then took up the trombone as a teen. He wanted to be a jazz musician. But Riddle said he didn't have the coordination so he got into composing instead. While playing in Charlie Briggs' band, he took lessons from Bill Finnegan who had been an arranger for Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. During WWII, Riddle was in the Merchant Marines and he played trombone in Charlie Spivak and Tommy Dorsey's bands. After the war, he moved to Los Angeles. He backed up Doris Day's 1949 hit Again. Then Les Baxter hired Riddle to work on a Nat King Cole session at Capitol Records. Riddle arranged Mona Lisa but Baxter got the credit. When Frank Sinatra signed with Capitol in 1953, Riddle was hired to work with him. Of course this was a very successful partnership and Riddle worked with all the great Capitol singers of the era. He also started recording his own albums. Lisbon Antigua was released on a 10" EP in 1956. It topped the pop charts for four weeks. It's a Portuguese song written in 1937. Nat King Cole's manager heard the song and brought it to Riddle. Riddle played piano accompanied by an orchestra and chorus. The record got him into scoring films as he used it in the 1956 film Lisbon starring Ray Milland and Maureen O'Hara. After that, Riddle recorded many albums. Lisbon Antigua was never released on an album. But you can get it on this comp CD from the British label El. Riddle left Capitol for Sinatra's new label Reprise in 1963. When Sinatra stopped working with him in 1966, Riddle produced several albums for Ella Fitzgerald. He also got more into films and TV. He won an Oscar for The Great Gatsby. And then in the 80s, he was very successful working with Linda Ronstadt. Riddle died on Oct. 6, 1985 at age 64. But he won a Grammy for his final album with Ronstadt and she accepted the award and narrated a tribute to Riddle. His son Christopher Riddle took over his orchestra and toured. I don't think the band is active right now. Here's a video for Lisbon Antigua by Nelson Riddle.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Album:The Definitive Collection
What started out as a Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketch grew into a cottage industry with films, records and a full touring band. The Blues Brothers cover of Soul Man was a top 15 pop hit. They even created a history of Jake and Elwood Blues. The real history is that John Belushi grew up in Chicago and Dan Aykroyd grew up on Toronto. And both were on SNL. After SNL tapings, the cast and crew went to a club rented by Aykroyd to listen to music on the jukebox. And sometimes bands would play. It was here that Aykroyd introduced Belushi to blues and Aykroyd also wrote the script of the movie there. The characters first appeared on a 1976 SNL sketch wearing their bee costumes singing Slim Harpo's I'm A King Bee. They started playing New York clubs and turned it into The Blues Brothers. The whole thing was based on Aykroyd's days performing with the Toronto band Downchild Blues Band and they also borrowed from Sam & Dave. The dancing and hats was borrowed from John Lee Hooker. When The Blues Brothers decided to perform on SNL, music director Paul Shaffer added to his usual band with Stax legends Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn along with guitar legend Matt "Guitar" Murphy. They performed on SNL Nov. 1978 and then they released the album Briefcase Full Of Blues recorded live in Los Angeles. The album was certified 2XPlatinum and the single Soul Man reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then of course they made The Blues Brothers movie which was a huge success. When he was accused of selling out to Hollywood, Cropper said he thought Belushi was as good as any other singer he had worked with. Of course the other thing is folks will seek out the original versions of Soul Man and the other classics. After the movie soundtrack, the album Made In America was released in 1981. And then of course Belushi died in 1982. This comp covers all three albums. Aykroyd has continued to revive The Blues Brothers with Jim Belushi and John Goodman for the film Blues Brothers and a 2004 stage musical. I don't like those much. I suggest you stick with the original Jake and Elwood Blues. Here are The Blues Brothers performing Soul Man on Saturday Night Live Nov. 1978. This video is on Youtube but this is much higher quality.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Song:Just To Be With You
Album:It All Started With Doo Wop: The Glory Of Love
Just To Be With You was the only chart hit for The Passions in 1959. A version of the group still performs. They started out as The Sinceres in 1956 in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, NY. When The Sinceres heard Jimmy Gallagher sing, they decided to recruit him as their lead singer. Gallagher had been in The Palladiyms and the Runaraounds. They followed him home and knocked on his door. After convincing Gallagher's mother that they weren't there to beat him up, he joined the group. The other members were Tony Armato, Albie Gallone and Vinnie Acierno. They were friends with The Mystics who recorded for Laurie Records and scored a hit with Hushabye. They convinced their manager to let The Sinceres record. He agreed after he changed the group name to The Passions. He gave them a demo of Just To Be With You to rehearse. The song was written by Marv Kalfin but the demo was by The Cousins aka Paul Simon and Carole King. The record was on Sol Winkler's Audicon label and it reached the Billboard Hot 100. It wasn't a big hit but it was big enough that The Passions still tour the oldies circuit. You can get Just To Be with You on this 2CD Time Life various artists budget comp. The Passions recorded a few more singles for Audicon and other labels. But nothing ever caught on and Gallagher left to join the US Navy in 1960. The Passions disbanded in 1963. Gallagher reformed The Passions in the 90s to tour the oldies circuit. I'm not sure how active they are. They seem to do occasional shows. Here's The Passions performing Just To Be With You on American Bandstand 1959.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Album:Four Classic Albums
Vibraphonist Dave Pike is probably best known as a member of Herbie Mann's 60s band. But Pike was an proponent of Brazilian music in the early 60s. He just never got any credit for that. He was born Mar. 23, 1938 in Detroit. He moved with his family to Los Angeles at age 15. He taught himself to play drums and then the vibraphone. Pike made his recording debut with pianist Paul Bley in 1958. And then he made his debut as a leader on Riverside Records in 1961. Carnival Samba is from the 1962 album Bossa Nova Carnival on Prestige's New Jazz label. It is an album of songs written by Brazilian composer Joao Donato. At the time musicians were recording Jobim or Gilberto. Donato was not as well known but just as good. Musicians are Clark Terry on flugelhorn, Kenny Burrell on guitar, Chris White on bass and Rudy Collins on drums. White and Collins were in Dizzy Gillespie's 60s band. The album is available on CD. But Avid has released Pike's first four albums on 2CDs. The other albums are It's Time For Dave Pike with Barry Harris, Reggie Workman and Billy Higgins, Pike's Peak with Bill Evans, Herbie Lewis and Walter Perkins, and Limbo Carnival with Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Raney, Leo Wright, George Duvivier, Willie Bobo and Ray Barretto. Pike was a member of Herbie Mann's band in the 60s. Then he moved to Europe in the late 60s and recorded on MPS with German musicians. They were called The Dave Pike Set. He moved back to the US in the late 70s and recorded for Muse. Pike wasn't as active in the 80s. It looks like he may have semi-retired. Dave Pike died on Oct. 3, 2015 at age 77. Here's a video for Carnival Samba by Dave Pike.
Monday, November 13, 2017
Song:Next Door Neighbor
Album:Beginners Guide To Ska
Of course The Skatalites invented ska in the mid-60's. Their records are great. But they also backed up other artists like the brother duo of Owen & Leon Silvera. They recorded a handful of singles on Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label. The singles including Next Door Neighbor did well enough when Island Records released them in England that the brothers moved there and were a part of the 80s British ska revival. Now, the Silveras are brothers. Some sources say that Owen is Jamaican music pioneer Owen Gray. Apparently the Silvera brothers wrote songs with their mom and they recorded a couple of singles in 1962. Then in 1964 they got the call to record at Treasure Isle with The Skatalites backing them up. The sax solo on Next Door Neighbor is by Tommy McCook of The Skatalites. It looks like they recorded about ten singles including songs with Baba Brooks and Stranger Cole. Usually they were on the A side with another artist on the flip side. In the case of Next Door Neighbor it was Roland Alphonso. So they didn't record enough to get their own comp CD. This 3CD various artists comp is a good intro to ska. It's available at a good price so I strongly recommend it to beginners. Owen & Leon Silvera moved to England and they recorded as The Black Brothers in the 70s. And then they got involved with 80s British ska groups like The Selecter. Here's a video for Next Door Neighbor by Owen & Leon Silvera.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Here's the match video for Nina Ansaroff vs Angela Hill from last night's UFC show in Norfolk, VA. These days Nina is probably best known as the girlfriend of UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes. She also works in the American Top Team office. She's 1-2 in the UFC. She's nothing special. She likes standup and she really doesn't have a ground game. They mentioned on the broadcast she was considering retirement when this fight was offered. Angela is very popular because of her personality. I just don't think she's a very good fighter. She was a kickboxer before she got into MMA. She hasn't improved. She's still just a kickboxer. Angela was favored probably because fans have seen more of her. Both fighters are kickboxers with no power. Neither is a finisher. So I expected this fight to go the distance. Angela got off to a good start in round one. She was clearly quicker than Nina so I scored round one 10-9 for Angela. But Angela slowed down considerably in round two and Nina was able to outpoint her 10-9 in round two and round three. It looked like Angela broke her nose early in round two. That did not help. So I scored the fight 29-28 for Nina. She paced herself better and it paid off. I don't think Nina is an elite fighter. But she's good enough to keep around for prelims. I'm sure Angela was very disappointed but she's not a finisher. She needed to pace herself for three rounds. Was this an upset? I think Angela is overrated so no. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Tatiana Suarez vs Viviane Pereira from last night's UFC show in Norfolk, VA. Tatiana won TUF 23. I thought she was the only decent fighter to come from that show. She's from Rancho Cucomonga, CA. She was supposed to fight last year but she had to have shoulder surgery. So this fight is her comeback. Her record coming into this fight was 4-0. Viviane's record was 13-0. That makes it look like she is a lot more experienced. But that record is padded with low level Brazilian fighters. She won her first two UFC fights. But I didn't think she looked very good. Her opponents were just worse than her. So Tatiana is a big step up in competition. One never knows how a fighter will be after major surgery. The fight went as I expected. Tatiana dominated but she wasn't able to get a finish. She probably isn't happy about that but she probably needed three rounds to shake off the cage rust. But I thought she did very well after being off for a long time. I scored the fight 30-26 for Tatiana. Now we need to see Tatiana face ranked fighters. She stood out on TUF 23 and I still think she has championship potential. I want to see her against better competition. Enjoy the video!
Song:The Sweet Escape
Album:The Sweet Escape
No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani launched a successful solo career in 2004. The Sweet Escape is probably her biggest hit to date. She recently recorded solo after a ten year break because she's juggling all kinds of other things. I'll get to that in a minute. She was born Oct. 3, 1969 in Fullerton, CA. Her brother Eric formed No Doubt in 1986 mainly influenced by 2 Tone ska like Madness and The Selecter. They signed with Interscope in 1991 and they have been very successful. Gwen had recorded a couple of one off singles. No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal (her boyfriend at the time) convinced her to get serious about recording solo. Love.Angel.Music.Baby. was released Nov. 2004. The biggest hit from the album was The Neptunes produced Hollaback Girl which topped the Billboard Hot 100. The album sold seven million copies worldwide. She immediately recorded The Sweet Escape and it was released Dec. 2006. A lot of the album was produced by The Neptunes. The single The Sweet Escape reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 but it remained in the top ten for several weeks. A website I use that gives points to chart position considers The Sweet Escape a slightly bigger hit than Hollaback Girl because it did better worldwide. Interscope CEO Jimmy Iovine brought in Akon who was hot at the time. Gwen was reluctant to work with him only because she didn't know him. Iovine convinced her to work with him anyway. She had low expectations so I'm sure she was pleasantly surprised when the single was a hit. After that, Gwen wouldn't record solo again until 2016. She returned to No Doubt and they released an album in 2012. She also had three kids with husband Gavin Rossdale. And she's a judge on The Voice. Gwen and Rossdale divorced in 2015 and she is currently dating The Voice judge Blake Shelton. The album This Is What The Truth Feels Like was released in 2016 followed by the Christmas album You Make It Feel Like Christmas last month. She hasn't had any hit singles so the albums haven't taken off as hoped. That just shows when an artist takes a break for whatever reason, fans forget about her. It's not like Gwen disappeared. The music business is very fickle. Here's the video for The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani featuring Akon.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
|Nakana Kawamura, REICA|
Song:That's Not My Name
Album:We Started Nothing
The Ting Tings topped the British charts with That's Not My Name in 2008. It also did well on the dance charts. It's all been downhill from there. The Ting Tings are from Manchester, England. Lead singer Katie White led the group TKO while in school. She met drummer Jules De Martino and they formed Dear Eskiimo and they signed with Mercury Records. That went nowhere due to a management change. But they continued to work together and called themselves The Ting Tings after a friend of Katie's. They started playing gigs and record companies came calling. They released a couple of singles on the local label Switchflicker. The second single Fruit Machine got airplay on BBC. And this led to a deal with Columbia in late 2007. Their debut album We Started Nothing was released in 2008. That's Not My Name topped the British charts and reached #4 on the US Dance chart. They had a couple more hits in England. That's Not My Name is about Katie's distrust of the record business. They recorded an album in Germany but decided to scrap it against Columbia's wishes. De Martino said it was too Euro Pop influenced and sounded like everything else on the radio. Sounds From Nowheresville was released in 2012. When it didn't do as well as the first album and there were no hit singles, Columbia dropped them. I'm sure they were still upset about the scrapped album. They now record for Finca Records. They seem to be the only artist on the label but I couldn't tell if it was self owned. The album Super Critical was produced by Duran Duran's Andy Taylor and was released in 2014. It says on their website they are recording a new album. So The Ting Tings had some success at home but it looks like that is in the past. Here's the video for That's Not My Name by The Ting Tings. This was the first of three videos produced for this song.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Combate in Brazil reported that Germaine De Randamie vs Ketlen Vieira has been added to UFC Fight Night 125 Feb. 3 at the Mangueirinho Gymnasium in Belem, Brazil. This will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. So we all know what happened with Germaine. She won the Welterweight Championship in one of the worst fights in UFC history and then she refused to fight Cris Cyborg and turned in the belt to move back to Bantamweight. She was supposed to fight Marion Reneau in Sept. but she had hand surgery. Germaine is one of the all time kickboxing greats. She just isn't any good at MMA. Ketlen is 26 years old from Manaus, Brazil. she trains at Nova Uniao. She's 9-0 and 3-0 in the UFC. She didn't look very good in her first two fights. But she scored a major upset over Sara McMann with a first round rear naked choke. So is that the real Ketlen Vieira? That's what we want to find out. Maybe she'll do the same thing to Germaine. Germaine will try to keep it standing as she has no ground game. Another win for Ketlen could put her in the title picture.
Song:The Spirit Carries On
Album:Original Album Series
Dream Theater is a progressive rock band who gained fame in the 90s mostly for their live shows. They are still around performing and recording. Dream Theater was formed in 1985 as Majesty by Berklee College Of Music students John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums) while standing in line for Rush tickets. They started out covering Rush so they were an obvious influence. Petrucci brought in a couple of high school friends, singer Chris Collins and keyboardist Kevin Moore. They left school and started playing New York clubs. They recorded demos but Collins wasn't working out. After auditions, former Franke and the Knockouts guitarist Charlie Dominici was hired. Then the band name had to be changed as there was already a band called Majesty. Portnoy's father suggested Dream Theater which is a venue in Monterey, CA. They signed with MCA's Mechanic label and released the 1989 CD Dream and Day Unite. The band was unhappy with Mechanic's lack of promotion and they got out of their contract. Meanwhile, Dominici wasn't working out. And after trying a couple of singers, they settled on James LaBrie of Winter Rose. That turned out to be the right decision as he is still with them. They signed with Atlantic's EastWest label and Images and Words was released in 1992. The video for Pull Me Under went into heavy rotation on MTV. And the band toured constantly. Moore left in 1985. He was replaced by Derek Sherinian and later by Jordan Rudess. The Spirit Carries On is from the 1999 album Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory. This would turn out to be one of their most popular albums. It was a concept album that followed up in the 1992 song Metropolis. This was followed by their biggest tour ever. The album is available but I suggest this 5CD set of five full Dream Theater albums. As I said, Dream Theater is still active. They left Elektra in 2007 and they currently record for Roadrunner. They released a new album last year. Portnoy left in 2010 to concentrate on side projects. He was replaced by Mike Mangini who was on the faculty of Berklee. Dream Theater is currently on tour and they will record a new CD in 2018 for a 2019 release. Here's Dream Theater featuring Theresa Thomason performing The Spirit Carries On at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City Aug. 30, 2000 from the DVD Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York.
Thursday, November 09, 2017
Here's the match video of Kairi Sane vs Billie Kay from this week's episode of NXT. I am posting all of Kairi's matches for fans who don't have the WWE Network. This match was set up when Peyton Royce qualified for the four way match for the NXT Women's Championship and Billie didn't. They got all pouty and tried to dis Kairi. Kairi threatened them with her elbow and this match was made. Billie started out in control. But a Kairi spear turned the tables and led to her flying elbow drop. The match was OK. It was nothing special. I guess they don't want fans to forget about Kairi . Put her on TV every couple of weeks. It gets us ready for next week's Takeover show. Enjoy the video!