Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Here's the match video of Asuka and The Miz vs Sasha Banks and Finn Balor from last night's Mixed Match Challenge (MMC). This was on Facebook Watch which is only available in the US. The story here is that The Miz is trying to take credit for The Streak by calling it "our streak". Asuka quickly reminds him that he lost on RAW last night and it's "my streak". Commentary tries to sell this as a language barrier. There's no language barrier. Asuka wants The Miz to take her streak seriously. At one point the WWE did consider ending Asuka's streak on the MMC. If that were to happen, The Miz would have to run for his life. But they won't do that now because of the Ronda Rousey signing. They play this for comedy during the match when Balor is getting the best of The Miz. At first Asuka looks on in horror and then she yells at The Miz in Japanese. That gets his attention. Asuka tags herself in and works with Sasha. The recent MMC matches have been a little blah. So it was good to see some high quality wrestling by Sasha and Asuka. In the end, there are a couple of near falls. Sasha gets the Banks Statement on Asuka but Asuka turns that into the Asuka Lock. That distracts Balor and The Miz wins with a roll up pin. Then in a backstage interview, The Miz still tries to take credit for Asuka's streak and the interview ends with Asuka saying "Mine! Mine! Mine!". She also posted "Mine! Mine! Mine!" on Twitter. I don't know if that kind of stuff will eventually turn Asuka heel but it could. So if you live outside the US, this is your opportunity to see this match so check it out.
Most music fans probably remember Chevy Van but know nothing about singer songwriter Sammy Johns as it was his only big hit. He was born Feb. 7, 1946 in Charlotte, NC. His father gave him a guitar and Johns had a band as a teen. They recorded a few singles and then Johns moved to Atlanta and signed with General Recording Corporation (GRC). GRC had a brief run in the mid-70s with artists like Loleatta Holloway, Moe Bandy and Rick Cunha. The label closed in 1976 when owner Michael Thevis was convicted of murder and thrown in jail. Johns released the album Sammy Johns in 1973 produced by Jay Senter who produced Helen Reddy and veteran LA session man Larry Knechtel. Knechtel wrote the arrangements and brought session musicians like Chuck Rainey, Jim Gordon, Dean Parks, James Burton, Jim Horn, Mike Melvoin and Buddy Emmons with him. Chevy Van reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. After GRC closed, Johns signed with Curb Records and he produced music that was used in the 1977 film The Van. There were a couple of new songs but producer Michael Lloyd used Chevy Van and other songs from the original 1973 album. That was Johns' final album and this Collectables CD covers his recording career. Johns signed with Elektra and he was supposed to record an album. But it didn't happen after the single Common Man was released in 1981 though that song was a number one country hit for John Conlee in 1983. Some of Johns' other songs were recorded by Waylon Jennings and Conway Twitty. I'm sure he lived comfortably off the Chevy Van royalties until he died on Jan. 4, 2013 at age 66. Here's a video for Chevy Van by Sammy Johns.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Here's the entire opening segment from last night's RAW including Asuka, Bayley and Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. Alexa and Mickie come out to cut a promo. So is Mickie a heel now? Actually, she's filling in for the injured Alicia Fox. That brings the question if the WWE isn't going to do anything with Mickie, why did they bring her back in the first place? Of course Alexa runs down everyone including Asuka. She also talks about facing Nia Jax at Wrestlemania which I'm sure she will regret later. Of course Asuka comes out looking fresh as a daisy despite Alexa's assumptions about Asuka's health. I told you Asuka was fine. There is an art to taking bumps and Asuka is a master of that art. Sometimes she oversells offense. So it turns into a six girl tag team match. Did you know that in almost two years at NXT, Asuka never appeared in a tag team match on TV? She did them at house shows. Her Mixed Match Challenge match was her first ever tag team match on TV. The match was nothing special until Bayley refused to tag Sasha Banks in retaliation for Sasha's actions in the Elimination Chamber. Unfortunately that part is missing from this video. I guess there was a satellite glitch. But the rest is complete. I wanted to post the entire segment. Meanwhile, Asuka still hasn't said who she will face at Wrestlemania. She will face Nia Jax on next week's RAW. Maybe she will tell us then. Enjoy the video!
Song:I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
The Supremes and The Tempations had a long history going back to when they were known as The Primes and The Primettes. And of course they were two of the biggest groups at Motown. So why did it take until 1968 for them to record together. Well, Motown owner Berry Gordy was indecisive to a fault. I'm sure he thought of recording them. But he finally did put them together for the TCB TV special. By this time, The Supremes weren't really The Supremes anymore. They were Diana Ross and The Supremes. And on the 1968 album Diana Ross & The Supremes Join The Temptations, The Supremes don't appear. It's Diana singing with The Temptations. I haven't seen the TCB TV special in a long time but I think it's the same thing. You can watch it on Youtube. The big hit single from this album was I'm Gonna Make You Love Me which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. But the song wasn't performed on TCB and from what I could tell, they never performed the song together though The Temptations performed it on The Ed Sullivan Show. I'm Gonna Make You Love me was written by Kenny Gamble and Jerry Ross and it was first recorded by Dee Dee Warwick in 1966. Ross produced that and Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson were on backup vocals. Jerry Butler was among those who also recorded the song. But it wasn't a hit until Ashford and Simpson brought it to Motown producer Frank Wilson. Eddie Kendricks and Diana Ross sang lead and Otis Williams does the spoken word introduction. It says here that Diana performed the song with Stevie Wonder on a 1970 episode of Hollywood Palace. That doesn't appear to be on Youtube. The Supremes and The Temptations recorded the album Together in 1969 but it didn't do as well. Of course there are plenty of comps available but #1's is a budget CD. Here are The Temptations performing I'm Gonna Make You Love Me on The Ed Sullivan Show 1968.
Monday, February 26, 2018
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Nia Jax from last night's WWE Elimination Chamber show. The way the WWE was trying to push this match is that despite The Streak, Asuka is the underdog. They even had Corey Graves pick Nia on the pre-show. Once that happened, I knew Asuka would win. I expected the match to be very similar to the NXT TV matches the two had in 2016. Nia beats the crap out of Asuka, gets overconfident and Asuka takes advantage of that. They also practiced the match on the weekend house shows. I saw one of those matches and Asuka used a particular move that I hadn't seen her use before. I'll get to that shortly. The match was about what I expected. Nia beats the crap out of Asuka but can't finish her. It's important to understand that Asuka is good at everything including selling Nia's offense like she is being murdered. But she won't stay down. And Nia doesn't recognize that and gets overconfident. In the NXT matches, Asuka kicked her in the head to finish her. And I suppose she could have used her armbar. And she did apply it but then she let her out of it. So obviously she was asked to do a different finish. I'm sure Asuka asked what was wanted and she was asked if she could do a flash pin. So Asuka won't do just any flash pin. She decided to use the Momoracci. That's the move I saw her use at the house show. This twisting roll up pin was the signature finish of retired joshi legend Momoe Nakanishi, one of my all time favorite joshi wrestlers. Back when Asuka was starting out in 2004, Momoe left AJW and was training at Arsion/A To Z and I'm sure she taught the Momoracci to all the girls. As far as I know, Asuka had not used the Momoracci until now. It's a great move to beat a larger opponent because of the quickness of the move. And if you don't believe me, check out Momoe's matches against Amazing Kong on Youtube. Unfortunately there are a couple of glitches in this video including one during the finish. I checked out several copies and all have the same glitch. Obviously the reason for the flash pin was Nia's post match attack. Of course Asuka looked like she was dead. But she was backstage tweeting ten minutes later so she's fine. So we'll see what happens on RAW tonight. Meanwhile, enjoy the video!
Song:If You Could Only See
Album:A Casual Affair: The Best Of Tonic
The 1997 single If You Could Only See was the only big hit for the post grunge band Tonic. They went on hiatus after recording three albums. But they have reunited and are back touring and recording. Lead singer and songwriter Emerson Hart and guitarist Jeff Russo were friends growing up in New Jersey. They reconnected as adults in Los Angeles in 1993. They formed a band with bassist Dan Rothchild and drummer Kevin Shepherd. They wanted to call themselves Radio Flyer but the name was taken so they settled on Tonic. They played gigs around Los Angeles before signing with A&M Records in 1995. By this time A&M was owned by PolyGram. Their debut album Lemon Parade was released in 1996 produced by Jack Joseph Puig. Puig was a recording engineer who usually worked in Christian music. If You Could Only See was the third single and it reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lemon Parade was certified Platinum. Apparently If You Could Only See was the most played song on rock radio in 1997. Hart says the song was aimed at his family who did not approve of a relationship he was in at the time. Tonic toured to support the album. Rothchild and Sheppard left in Dec. 1996. Dan Lavery replaced Rothchild and drummers were hired for touring. After recording a few songs for movie soundtracks, Tonic released their second album Sugar in 1999 which they self produced. By this time, Universal had bought PolyGram and Tonic was moved to Polydor. Management changes are usually bad news for artists and the album didn't sell. For the 2002 album Head On Straight, Tonic recorded in Nashville with veteran producer Bob Rock. It didn't help. The album didn't sell. Tonic went on hiatus in 2004. This budget comp was released in 2009. Hart released a solo album in 2007. Russo's new band Low Stars released an album in 2007. Lavery joined The Fray. Tonic reformed in 2008. And after touring, they released an album in 2010. They continue to tour and they released an acoustic version of Lemon Parade in 2016 which they funded through PledgeMusic. So they are still around but I don't expect any more hit singles. Here's the video for If You Could Only See by Tonic.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Check out today's edition of my podcast on Anchor. I review last night's UFC women's matches and I also preview tonight's WWE Elimination Chamber show. and a Bianca Belair update. If you have any comments or questions, you can leave them on the blog or an audio message on Anchor. Check it out.
Here's the match video of Angela Hill vs Maryna Moroz from last night's UFC show in Atlanta. This fight went as I expected. Angela is a kickboxer. She has no ground game. Maryna is a boxer and so is her husband. The difference was Angela landed more punches and got the unanimous decision. Maryna threw a lot of punches but most of them didn't land. She used a very similar strategy when she beat Danielle Taylor in 2016. But Angela is more aggressive than Danielle so it didn't work. And then she didn't change her strategy and that's why she lost. I guess her attempt to try and look busy without doing anything is an attempt to fool the judges. It's not a strategy that I think fighters should use. I still don't think Angela is an elite fighter. But I guess this win will give her the opportunity to prove herself against better competition. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Marion Reneau vs Sara McMann from last night's UFC show in Orlando. The thing I was wondering about was if Sara's move to Team Alpha Male would improve her. And after this fight, the answer is no. She still does things that I didn't like about her since she started MMA. And at age 37, it doesn't look like she can change. Marion is 40 years old as the UFC kept telling us. I'd like her a lot better if she was consistent. And we saw the flaws of both fighters in this fight. Sara took control in round one and pounded Marion. But she didn't try to finish and the same thing happened when Sara lost to Miesha Tate. Sara won round one 10-9 but by the end of the round, the tide had turned. In round two, Marion knocked Sara loopy with a hard shot. Then she took her down and got the win with a triangle choke. The Bantamweight division is weak right now so I guess Marion could get a title shot. I don't think she's consistent enough. I dunno about Sara. She has the physical tools but she hasn't learned from her own mistakes. I have always thought she was overrated because of the Olympic medal. I still believe that. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Jessica Andrade vs Tecia Torres from last night's UFC show in Orlando. It's possible that the winner of this fight is in line for a Strawweight title shot. Tecia likes to dart in and out and that's one of the things that makes her a points fighter. I was wondering how she would handle Jessica's constant pressure. And the answer is she didn't handle it very well. Tecia started out OK and I thought she won round one 10-9. But the tide had turned by the end of the round and Jessica controlled the other two rounds. The only thing she wasn't able to do was get a finish. Jessica won by unanimous decision. I don't know if she will get the next title shot. there are a couple of upcoming fights that play into that. So we just have to wait and see. Jessica sure made a good case for herself. Enjoy the video!
Song:Sugar, We're Goin' Down
Album:Believers Never Die: Their Greatest Hits
The 2005 album Under The Cork Tree was the breakthrough album for punk emo band Fall Out Boy. Sugar, We're Goin' Down was their first hit single. They went on hiatus in 2009 and their return has been very successful. Fall Out Boy is from the Chicago suburb of Willmette, IL. Pete Wentz had been in several Chicago punk bands in the 90s. But he wasn't getting anywhere and in 2001 he decided to start a band with Joe Trohman. Trohman met Patrick Stump at a bookstore and he joined. They tried out several drummers but eventually settled on Patrick Hurley. Fall Out Boy was a character in The Simpsons. They released a couple of EPs and eventually signed with Island Records. The idea was for their 2003 CD Take This To Your Grave to be released on the small Fueled By Ramen label. And if it did well, and it was certified Gold, Fall Out Boy would graduate to Island. So Under The Cork Tree was on Island. The album was produced by Everclear producer Neal Avron. They started recording in Nov. 2004 and then it was delayed when Wentz attempted suicide in Feb. 2005. He returned after therapy. That probably helped the record. Wentz writes all of the lyrics. Stump writes the music. Sugar, We're Goin' Down was the first single and it reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. That and the second single Dance, Dance propelled Under The Cork Tree to 2XPlatinum certification. Sugar, We're Goin' Down has been described as the most listened to emo sing of all time. The kid in the video with the antlers is played by The Virgins lead singer Donald Cumming. At this point, Wentz got into a relationship with pop singer Ashlee Simpson. So that made Fall Out Boy more than just a pop band. Their 2007 album Infinity On High was certified Platinum so it was also successful. And the single This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. They began to have problems while recording the 2008 album Folie a Deux. Stump and Wentz were quarreling and Frohman and Hurley wanted more say in the band's music. The album was not as successful as the other two. And they would get booed onstage while performing songs from Folie a Deux. Stump decided that Fall Out Boy needed a break and the others agreed. This comp CD was released at that time. Wentz divorced Simpson and he went back into therapy for a prescription drug addiction. Stump got married and lost 60 pounds. He also released a failed solo album in 2012. Fall Out Boy reformed and released the album Save Rock and Roll in 2013. They just released the album Mania last month. They aren't as successful as they were but Fall Out Boy is still a successful concert draw. Here's the video for Sugar, We're Goin' Down by Fall Out Boy.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Many of you are probably not aware that I trained in radio broadcasting years ago. A podcast is something I wanted to do for a while. But many of the podcast publishers are clunky and not that easy to use. Yesterday I came across Anchor and not only is it free but I can record using my phone. It actually sounds pretty good but I guess I have to turn down my TV when I record. What I plan to do with the podcast is do previews of upcoming shows and talk about subjects that I don't plant to write about. For example, on this episode, I talk about the history of women boxers trying MMA. I don't know how often I will record a podcast but I will do one tomorrow to preview WWE Elimination Chamber. The podcast is automatically published on all the major platforms including Apple and Google. And I have also embedded it on the blog. If you like, you can leave a voice comment. Maybe some of you have questions about fighters. I dunno. Anyone who wants to be a guest or wants me to appear on a podcast can contact me through the comments. I could add music but I just decided to get started and record. It's not perfect but I'm happy with it and I am open to suggestions. Listen and enjoy!
Song:Nothing Ever Happened
Album:Microcastle/Weird Era Continued
Deerhunter is an experimental rock band from Atlanta that have been around since 2001. They have had enough success to hang around but their music is not mainstream. Deerhunter is led by lead singer Bradford Cox. He's very tall and skinny which is the result of the genetic disease Marfan Syndrome. He formed Deerhunter in 2001 with keyboard player Moses Archuleta. The band name was chosen by drummer Dan Walton who didn't remain. Cox didn't care about the name because the band was not supposed to last. But they started doing shows and eventually released a couple of EPs and an album. They finally signed with Kranky Records and released the 2005 CD Cryptograms. Meanwhile they were having problems with guitarist Colin Mee who wasn't showing up to gigs. Nothing Ever Happened is from the 2007 CD Microcastle which got some airplay on alt rock radio. You can get it on a twofer with the 2009 album Weird Era Continued. Deerhunter was forced on hiatus when Cox was struck by a car in 2014. But they returned and their latest CD Fading Frontier was released in 2015. As I said, Deerhunter is not a mainstream band but they do have a loyal following. Here's Deerhunter performing Nothing Ever Happens in 2008.
Friday, February 23, 2018
Camila Cabello rose to fame as a member of the girl group Fifth Harmony. Since leaving the group in 2016, she released a solo album and the single Havana topped the charts. So far so good. She was born Mar. 3, 1997 in Cojimar, Eastern Havana, Cuba but she grew up in Miami. Her mother is Cuban and her father is Mexican. She left high school after grade 9 to pursue a singing career. Camila auditioned for Simon Cowell's TV talent show X Factor. She was eliminated but was brought back to be part of the girl group Fifth Harmony. They finished third but Cowell signed them to his Syco label. They released a couple of albums which did OK but then Camila left in Dec. 2016 to go solo. Camila told E! News that she planned to remain with Fifth Harmony and record solo. But they decided not to have her in the group and continue without her. The whole thing is not surprising when X Factor likes to take strangers and turn them into groups. Apparently she wasn't getting along with the other girls. And when she released the successful single I Know What You Did Last Summer with Shawn Mendes, I guess the writing was on the wall. So she started working on her debut solo album. The album was produced mostly by Canadian Adam "Frank Dukes" Feeney who started as a teen DJ in Toronto and got his big break with rapper Lloyd Banks. He has also worked with Drake among others. Originally the plan was to record a straight pop album. But when Havana topped the charts, Feeney decided to discard a lot of what was already recorded and incorporate Camila's Cuban influences. The video for Havana is pretty funny featuring this guy LeJuan James as the grandma, Noah Centineo of The Fosters as the boy and Lele Pons as her friend Bella. Pharrell Williams is credited as one of the songwriters. It looks like he brought in other songwriters to work on the song. Young Thug only appears briefly. The album was finally released last month. She is beginning her first world tour next month. It's too early to tell if Camila will be a flash in the pan or have a long career. I think those Cuban influences will serve her well in the long run as she could stand out in the crowd. Here's the video for Havana featuring Young Thug.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Album:The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 11A: 1971
Though most music fans should not know the name Gordon Staples, you have heard him on many Motown songs of the 60s. Staples was a violinist and concertmaster for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. So he was the leader of any string orchestra that you heard on a Motown hit. Of course this partnership ended when Motown moved from Detroit to Los Angeles in 1969. So as a thank you for all his hard work, Motown owner Berry Gordy allowed Staples to record an album. The album was called Strung Out and it was released in 1970. The title song was released as a single. Most of the songs on the album including Strung Out were written and produced by veteran Motown arranger Paul Riser. Riser started out as a trombonist in the Motown house band The Funk Brothers. He arranged strings on hundreds of Motown songs. Though they aren't credited, The Funk Brothers play on this record. Dennis Coffey's trademark guitar is fairly obvious on Strung Out. Some of the music from this album was used in Fred Williamson's 1974 film Mean Johnny Barrows. That was a few years later so I assume Williamson got Gordy's permission to use it. The album Strung Out is available on CD but too expensive. But you can get Strung Out on this 6CD box set which is part of the complete history of Motown singles. Of course Staples returned to his job at the Detroit Symphony and he turned up on albums occasionally. I know he worked with the legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters. Here's a video for Strung Out by Gordon Staples and the String Thing.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Song:You Only Live Twice
Album:Best Of Bond...James Bond: 50th Anniversary Collection
Of course we all know that Nancy Sinatra is Frank Sinatra's daughter and she had some hits in the 60s like These Boots Are Made For Walking. But you may not know that she sang the theme for the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice. It turned out to be one of Nancy's final hits. I think it's fair to say that she was at the end of her mid-60s chart run. She was doing a lot of TV specials at the time. John Barry wrote You Only Live Twice with Leslie Bricusse. Of course Barry wrote most of the James Bond scores of the 60s. It was always a negotiation with producer Cubby Broccoli about who would get to sing the theme. The first singer to record You Only Live Twice was Julie Rogers. She had a big hit in England with The Wedding in 1964. But she was unknown in the US. Then they tried Lorraine Chandler who recorded a Shirley Bassey version. I guess Shirley wasn't available. Broccoli asked Frank Sinatra to sing the song. He suggested Nancy. Barry wanted Aretha Franklin. When Nancy was in the recording studio, she asked "Are you sure you don't want Shirley Bassey?" Obviously Nancy had no illusions about her singing ability. She says she was very nervous and they did 30 takes. The song plays over the opening and closing credits. It reached #44 on the Billboard Hot 100. It did well in England at #3. Lee Hazelwood recorded his own version of the song with Nancy. Obviously you will want the film version. The soundtrack for You Only Live Twice is available on CD. But I like these James Bond comp CDs. This one is available as a budget CD. As I said, this record was near the end of Nancy's successful run on the charts. Here's Nancy Sinatra performing You Only Live Twice as it played over the opening credits of the film.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Song:Honky Tonk Badonkadonk
Album:The Definitive Greatest Hits: Til The Last Shot's Fired
Neo traditional country singer Trace Adkins had a good run from 1996 until he switched record companies in 2010. Honky Tonk Badonkadonk was one of his biggest hits in 2005. He was born Jan. 13, 1962 in Sarepta, LA. His dad taught him to play guitar. Adkins was in a gospel group in high school. He was to play football at Louisiana Tech but a knee injury ended that. He left school and worked on an oil rig among other things. Then he started to play local clubs and he moved to Nashville in the early 90s. Record companies started showing interest in him until Scott Hendricks signed him to Capitol Nashville in 1995. Hendricks produced most of Adkins' albums. Adkins had success from the start. His 1996 debut album Dreamin' Out loud was certified Platinum. His first number one country hit was (This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing in 1997. His 2005 CD Songs About Me was certified 2XPlatinum so it is probably his most successful album. Honky Tonk Badonkadonk reached #2 on the Country Singles chart. The song was written by veteran singer songwriters Dallas Davidson, Randy Houser and Jamey Johnson. Johnson says they were watching a dancer in a club and Houser invented the word badonkadonk to describe her butt. After that, the song wrote itself. Though Hendricks usually produced Adkins, session guitarist Dann Huff produced this song. Adkins left Capitol for Toby Keith's Show Dog label in 2010 which is funny because the main criticism of Adkins is he sounds too much like Keith. Capitol released this 2CD comp after Adkins left. Adkins did OK at Show Dog but he left in 2013 and he now records for Broken Bow's Wheelhouse label. He released the album Something's Going On Mar. 2017. So he's still touring but he seems to be on the decline after a very good run. He may get more into acting as he has done that in the past. His most significant appearance was on a couple of seasons of Celebrity Apprentice. Last year he starred in the western Hickock with Luke Hemsworth and Kris Kristofferson. So he may already be transitioning to acting. Here's the video for Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Here's the fight video of Lucie Pudilova vs Sarah Moras from last night's UFC show in Austin, TX. Sarah is from Kelowna, BC. She was on TUF 18 but she has been injured a lot which is why we haven't seen much of her. She's good on the ground but her striking is terrible. Lucie is from the Czech Republic. She is a striker and she's terrible on the ground. So I don't believe either is an elite fighter. This fight centers around a very poor call by ref Jacob Montalvo. In round one, Sarah takes Lucie down and pounds her. I don't think she was going to finish but she was keeping busy. And then Montalvo inexplicably stands them up. Not only was it a terrible call but it may have changed the course of the fight. And that's the last thing refs should be doing. So they stood up and Lucie knocked Sarah down. Sarah tried to get an armbar from the bottom but no dice. I scored the round 10-9 for Sarah. The problem was Sarah was never able to get control of the fight again. One of her big flaws as pointed out by Jimmy Smith before the fight is she doesn't follow through properly on takedown attempts. This is something she needs to fix but I guess it isn't that easy to fix or she would have done it already. In the other two rounds, Lucie turned this flaw into top position. And the ironic thing is she did a lot of stalling but Montalvo wouldn't stand them up. Maybe Herb Dean needs to talk to him. Lucie was stalling because she is clueless on the ground. Of course Sarah is equally clueless on her feet. She has no head movement and she only throws one punch at a time. That's easy pickings for a kickboxer like Lucie. I scored the fight 29-28 for Lucie and she won by unanimous decision. But what if the ref never makes that call. That's not something I want to question after the fight. Check it out for yourself.
Song:Look In My Eyes
Album:Ultimate 60s Collection Vol. 1
Most doo wop fans are probably familiar with the classic Maybe by The Chantels. It was a top 20 hit in 1957 and is considered an all time classic. Their second top 20 hit Look In My Eyes isn't as well known probably because of personnel changes and it was on a different label. The original Chantels were lead singer Arlene Smith, Sonia Goring, Renee Minus, Jackie Landry and Lois Harris. They went to high school together in The Bronx. They were discovered by The Valentinos lead singer Richard Barrett and he got them a deal with George Goldner's End Records. Maybe reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957. They released a few singles and an album. But when nothing caught on, End dropped them and then Arlene left to go solo in 1959. They continued as a four piece and they finally scored another hit with Look In My Eyes in 1961. Barrett still wrote and produced. It was released on Carlton Records and reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite the success, Carlton wouldn't let them record an album. So they left. The song isn't as durable as Maybe. You may have heard it on the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese's 1990 film Goodfellas. And you can get it on this 3CD various artists comp from Collectables. I think Arlene Smith still leads a version of The Chantels that tours the oldies circuit. And they were inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. Here's a video of Look In My Eyes by The Chantels.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Johnnie Taylor is one of the all time soul greats best known for his 60s Stax recordings. But his only number one hit was Disco Lady in 1976 after Stax closed. Taylor was born May 5, 1934 in Crawfordsville, AR. He grew up in nearby West Memphis. He grew up singing in church. Eventually he moved to Chicago and he replaced Sam Cooke in The Soul Stirrers. The two were close friends. And when Taylor left gospel for secular music, he signed with Cooke's label SAR. Taylor released a few singles. After Cooke's 1964 murder, Taylor signed with Stax. His biggest hit at Stax was Who's Making Love in 1968. That was a top five pop hit. Taylor was a staple on the R&B charts until Stax began to have financial problems and went bankrupt in 1975. Taylor signed with Columbia. Fortunately he brought longtime producer Don Davis with him. Davis had left Stax for Chess to work with The Dramatics. But he continued to work with Taylor. When The Dramatics left Chess for ABC, Davis became a producer for hire. So Davis produced Taylor's 1976 album Eargasm. Disco Lady topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Disco Lady was written by Harvey Scales and Al Vance. Scales led The Seven Sounds in the 60s but he had most of his success as a songwriter. He brought Disco Lady to Davis who reworked it with P-Funk's Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins. P-Funk's guitarist Glenn Goins and drummer Jerome Brailey also played on the record. Columbia then tried to turn Taylor into a disco singer. They even brought in former Wilson Pickett producer Brad Shapiro. But it didn't work and Taylor left Columbia in 1980. This 3CD Stax box set is the only place you can get Disco Lady and Taylor's Stax hits. Taylor signed with Malaco in 1984 after he sang at ZZ Hill's funeral. He recorded some great albums for Malaco mostly at Muscle Shoals. Taylor also worked for KKDA radio in Dallas. He continued to record for Malaco and tour until he died of a heart attack on May 31, 2000 at age 66. Taylor's complicated personal life was chronicled on the Investigation Discovery series The Will: Family Secrets Revealed. Here's Johnnie Taylor performing Disco Lady on Soul Train 1976.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Song:You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
Album:Evolution: The Hits
Dead Or Alive had most of their success in the dance clubs. You Spin Me Round was their biggest hit in 1985. It was also the first big hit for the Stock Aitken Waterman production team. Dead or Alive were from Liverpool led by lead singer and songwriter Pete Burns. I guess the shtick that got him attention was androgyny similar to Culture Club's Boy George. Burns always claimed that George stole that shtick from him. Burns went through a couple of bands before he formed Nightmares In Wax in 1979. The name was changed to Dead Or Alive in 1980. The band released a few singles and went through a lot of members before signing with Epic Records in 1983. They started to have success in England and the dance clubs with the 1984 album Sophisticated Boom Boom including a cover of the KC & The Sunshine Band hit That's The Way (I Like It). Obviously Epic thought dance music was the way to go for the 1985 album Youthquake. So they brought in the newly formed team of Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) who were known for their remix work. The band was Burns on vocals, Mike Percy on bass and guitar, Tim Lever on keyboards and Steve Coy on drums. They had success when You Spin Me Round topped the British charts and reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Burns said Epic hated the record and he was forced to take out loans to finance the recording and the video shoot. Despite the success, the band did not get along with SAW though they produced the 1987 album Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know. The single Brand New Lover reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the dance charts. After that, Lever and Percy left to start a production company. Burns and Coy continued with the self produced 1990 album Fan The Flame Part 1 which was released only in Japan. It looked like Dead Or Alive was through. But they reformed for the last record on their contract and then they left Epic. You can get all of Dead Or Alive's hits on this budget comp. After that, Dead Or Alive released an album of covers in 2000 and they would release occasional singles. Burns became a celebrity in England by appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006. He died of a heart attack on Oct. 23, 2016 at age 57. Here's the video for You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) by Dead or Alive.
Friday, February 16, 2018
Album:Live (And Very Plugged In)
Drummer Dave Weckl is best known for his days with Chick Corea from 1986-1994. But he has also recorded as a leader since the 90s. He was born Jan. 8, 1960 in St. Louis. He taught himself to play drums as a child by listening to Buddy Rich records. He studied jazz at the University of Bridgeport. After two years, he left for New York City to start his career. His early bands included Nitesprite where Peter Erskine saw him and got him into French Toast with pianist Michel Camilo. He got into session work in the early 80s. In 1986, he was performing with Bill Connors and Corea invited him to join his Akoustic Band. And he stayed in that band until 1994. Weckl recorded a couple of albums for GRP while was still with Corea. After he left, he formed a band with guitarist Mike Stern and he signed with Corea's Stretch label. He formed Dave Weckl Band in 1998. The Chicken is from the the 2003 2CD set Live (And Very Plugged In) recorded live at the Catalina Bar & Grill in Los Angeles. Musicians are Gary Meek on sax, Steve Weingart on keyboards and Tom Kennedy on bass. Kennedy is from St. Louis too and he works a lot with Weckl. Though most of the songs were written by the band, The Chicken is a classic James Brown song written by sax player Pee Wee Ellis. Weckl's latest album as a leader is the 2015 CD Of The Same Mind by Dave Weckl Acoustic Band. Meek and Kennedy are in this band too along with Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone. Weckl continues to work with Corea, Stern and plenty of others. He has also written several books and released instructional DVDs and he even has an online drumming school on his website. And he does drum clinics around the world. Later this year he will tour with the Chick Corea Akoustic Band. Weckl has had a long association with Drummerworld. That's where I found this video of the Dave Weckl Band performing The Chicken at the Drummer's Collective 25th Anniversary Concert Oct. 2012. This concert is available on DVD but it isn't on Youtube.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Song:Love Me With All Your Heart
Album:Music Of Your Life: It Must Be Love
No it's not THAT Ray Charles. This Ray Charles worked for Perry Como for many years. And he recorded a lot of easy listening albums very similar to Ray Conniff. Love Me With All Your Heart was a top five hit in 1964. He was born Charles Raymond Offenberg Sept. 13, 1918 in Chicago. He started out with his own radio program in Chicago. After graduating college, he met future choir director Norman Luboff and that led to radio work. He moved to New York City in 1944. He was singing on ten shows a week. Then he took the stage name Ray Charles because it's easier than Offenberg. That was ten years before Ray Charles Robinson started calling himself Ray Charles. Charles continued to sing on the radio while in the US Navy during WWII. He met Perry Como in 1948 when his group The Satisfiers appeared on Como's radio show. When Your Hit Parade became a TV show in 1950, Charles led the vocal group on the show. This led to Charles becoming musical director of The Perry Como Show. He worked for Como for 35 years. He worked on other shows like Caesar's Hour starring Sid Caesar. Charles also recorded a few albums for MGM and Decca. He first formed The Ray Charles Singers in 1959. They were used for studio work at Decca but they also recorded a few albums. They backed up Buddy Holly on his final singles. Charles left Decca for Command Records owned by instrumental music legend Enoch Light. Charles heard the Spanish song Cuando Calienta el Sol while on vacation in Mexico. He liked the song so much he had English lyrics written for it. Love Me With All Your Heart reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. The English lyrics were credited to Michael Vaughn but that appears to be an alias for veteran big band songwriter Sunny Skyler. That was Charles' only big hit but his albums sold well so he kept the group going for years. Charles continued to work for Como and he also worked on The Hollywood Palace and the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and plenty of TV specials. Charles also wrote arrangements for Sha Na Na. And that's him singing the theme for the popular sitcom Three's Company. Charles went on to work on The Muppet Show and Kennedy Center Honors. Ray Charles died on Apr. 6, 2015 at age 96. He used to joke about being the other Ray Charles but the two worked together on TV. You can get Love Me With All Your Heart on this Time Life various artists budget comp. Here's a video for Love Me with All Your Heart by the Ray Charles Singers.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Song:Dirty Little Secret
The All-American Rejects scored three top ten hits including Dirty Little Secret in 2005. They faded enough that they lost their major label record deal and they plan to release new music themselves. The All-American Rejects are from Stillwater, OK. Guitarist Nick Wheeler was performing in a band and Tyson Ritter offered to play bass. So they started playing together and they formed the band with guitarist Mike Kennerty and drummer Tim Campbell. Campbell was soon replaced by Chris Gaylor and that was the band that signed with DreamWorks Records. DreamWorks re-released their 2002 album which was released independently. They toured to support it and the album did very well. Then they moved to Interscope for the 2005 album Move Along. The album was certified 2XPlatinum and Dirty Little Secret reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. It Ends Tonight was also a top ten hit. The 2008 single Gives You Hell reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. That would turn out to be their biggest hit. But the 2008 album When The World Goes Down was certified Gold. So they are starting to fade. They had problems on tour. Ritter had a tumor removed from his knee and he was drinking heavily after a failed relationship. When the 2012 album Kids In The Street didn't sell, The All-American Rejects left Interscope after releasing an EP last year. They are planning to release their next album on their own label. Move Along is available as a budget CD. Here's the video for Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Song:Because I Love You (The Postman Song)
Album:The Best Of Stevie B.
Steven Bernard Hill AKA Stevie B. was mainly known in South Florida for his dance hits. He was known as the King Of Freestyle. But his biggest hit was the slow jam Because I Love You in 1990. He was born Apr. 19, 1958 in Fort Lauderdale, FL but he grew up in Miami. Hill worked on his music while working odd jobs. Party Your Body was his first Dance hit in 1987. It was on the dance label LMR. Hill wrote and produced the record. He continued to have success on the dance charts and he started to cross over to mainstream when Love & Emotion reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. Because I Love You was the next single and it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in 1990. Both of those songs and most of the 1990 album Love & Emotion were written and produced by Warren Allen Brooks of the production duo The Uptown Crew. After this it looks like Hill took over LMR and changed the name to Saja. So now he owns his music and what he normally does is license it to labels. This comp was released in 1991 on Atlantic. But he never recorded new music for Atlantic. His next album was on Epic. Hill has continued to release new music. In the late 90s, he became a big star in Brazil. He released his latest album on his own label in 2017. Here's the video for Because I Love You (The Postman Song) by Stevie B.
Monday, February 12, 2018
Song:Sweet Child O' Mine
Sax player Pete Robbins is a mainstay of today's New York jazz scene. He records occasionally and tours with his Transatlantic Trio. This cover of the Guns 'N' Roses song Sweet Child O' Mine is from his latest CD. He was born Nov. 28, 1978 in Queens, NY but he grew up in Andover, MA. After studying at Tufts University and the New England Conservatory of Music, Robbins moved to New York City in 2002 and he has been a part of the jazz scene since then. He first recorded as a leader in 2002. He has performed with Vijay Iyer, John Hollenbeck, John Zorn, Craig Taborn and many others. Sweet Child O' Mine is from the 2015 CD Pyramid on his own Hate Laugh Music through CD Baby. Musicians are Vijay Iyer on piano, Norwegian bassist Eivind Opsvik and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Robbins mostly writes his own songs. When asked why he covered Sweet Child O' Mine, Robbins says it was his favorite song when he was a child. When Robbins tours, he tours with his Transatlantic Trio that is on this video clip. The band is Danish bassist Mikkel Ploug and drummer Kevin Brow. Robbins recorded the 2011 album Live In Basel with this band. Robbins usually plays New York clubs but I expect he will tour the jazz festival circuit later this year. Here is the Pete Robbins Transatlantic Trio performing Sweet Child O' Mine at Bogui Jazz in Madrid, Spain Apr. 12, 2012.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Song:Comin' Through The Apple
Album:The Best Of Joe Pass
Guitarist Joe Pass is best known for his 70s recordings on Pablo Records and his time with Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald. But you don't want to overlook his early 60s recordings on Pacific Jazz Records. Fortunately Blue Note has released a CD of those recordings. Pass spent much of the 50s in prison addicted to heroin. After going through the Synanon rehab program and his release from jail, Pass signed with Pacific Jazz. His debut album Sounds Of Synanon was released in 1962. At the same time, Pass recorded with Pacific Jazz artists Richard "Groove" Holmes and Les McCann. Comin' Through The Apple is from Holmes' 1962 album Somethin' Special. It's a tribute to McCann. So McCann wrote all the songs and arrangements. Pass is on guitar. Ron Jefferson is on drums. He was in McCann's trio. The sax player is credited as Joe Splink. That appears to be an alias for former Lionel Hampton and Bill Doggett sax player Clifford Scott. He also recorded for Pacific Jazz. I don't know why he used an alias. He only used it on a couple of albums. Unfortunately Somethin' Special is out of print and so is the Holmes Pacific Jazz comp. But you can get Comin' Through The Apple on this Blue Note Joe Pass comp of his Pacific Jazz recordings. Pass fans should check it out. Pass released a half dozen albums on Pacific Jazz. Then he went into session work until the 70s. Pass recorded another album with Holmes and McCann. it was recorded in 1962 and released in 1966 as Tell It Like It Is. He also appeared on the 1963 Les McCann album Soul Hits. Here's a video for Comin' Through The Apple by Joe Pass with Richard "Groove" Holmes and Les McCann.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Album:Planet BAD: Greatest Hits
Big Audio Dynamite (BAD) was formed after Mick Jones left The Clash. Their music was more dance oriented than The Clash. Rush was their biggest hit in 1991. After Jones was fired from The Clash, he joined General Public which was a result of The English Beat split. He left and formed Top Risk Action Company with ex-Clash drummer Nicky "Topper" Headon. Headon's heroin addiction led to a quick end to that band. Jones and TRAC bassist Leo "E-Zee Kill" Williams formed Big Audio Dynamite with drummer Greg Roberts, keyboardist Dan Donovan and film director Don Letts who did all of the sampling. They recorded four albums. Most of their success was in England and in dance clubs. BAD was a mix of the punk sound of the Clash mixed with hip hop. They split up after the 1989 album Megatop Phoenix and it was also after Jones nearly died from pneumonia. Jones formed a new band and called it Big Audio Dynamite II. Other members were Nick Hawkins on guitar, Gary Stonadge on bass and Chris Kavanagh on drums. The first album by this band was Kool Aid in 1990. But it's the 1991 album The Globe that was their biggest success. The single Rush topped the British charts and it was a top 40 US hit. The album was certified Gold. There are several samples in Rush but the most obvious is the keyboards from The Who's Baba O'Reilly. This turned out to be BAD's biggest hit and you can get all their hits on this budget comp. BAD II split up in 1995 and Jones left Epic. He released one more album as BAD and then ended it in 1997. Jones formed Carbon/Silicon in 2002 and they are still a unit. He is also involved with Damon Albarn's Gorillaz. BAD reformed to tour in 2011 but they did not record new music. Jones still produces and has formed short term bands but nothing permanent from what I could tell. Here's the video for Rush by Big Audio Dynamite.
Friday, February 09, 2018
Song:Shape Of You
Ed Sheeran may not look like a pop star but he certainly is one especially in his native England. Shape Of You was his first US number one hit. He was born Feb. 17, 1991 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England but he grew up in Framingham. He started out singing in church and learned to play guitar in school. As a teen, he was in a music development program and studied at the National Youth Theater. He began recording music in 2004. And he played gigs with Mike "Passenger" Rosenberg. Sheeran moved to London in 2008 and played local clubs. He continued to release EPs and post Youtube videos and that led to signing with Asylum Records in 2011. His debut CD Plus was a big hit in England with three top ten hits. Also , other artists started recording his songs. He toured the US opening for Taylor Swift. She recorded some of his songs. His 2014 album Multiply was even bigger. It sold 14 million copies worldwide. He didn't quite score a number one hit in the US. Thinking Out Loud reached #2. But he finally got that #1 hit with Shape Of You from the 2017 album Divide. Sheeran says it was the final song recorded for the album. He wrote Shape Of You for Rihanna but his label convinced him to keep it for himself. Sheeran wrote and produced the record with Steve McCutcheon AKA Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid. McDaid is a frequent songwriting partner. McCutcheon is a very busy producer. The song samples the TLC classic No Scrubs. So now Ed Sheeran is one of the most popular music stars in the world. Divide was the biggest selling album in the world in 2017. Who knows where he goes from here? He writes his own songs so even if things dry up he can write for other artists. Here's the video for Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran.
Thursday, February 08, 2018
Album:Regulate...G Funk Era
Like many rappers, Warren Griffin III had a couple of big hits, a million selling album and then it seemed like he fell off the face of the earth. In Griffin's case, he took too long to release his second album and fans forgot about him. He was born Nov. 10, 1970 in Long Beach, CA. He is the stepbrother of Dr. Dre. He worked on Dr. Dre's 1992 album The Chronic. He was in the group 213 with Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg. 213 didn't release any albums but they all worked on each other's solo projects. Snoop Dogg had success first. Griffin's breakthrough was when Regulate appeared on the Above The Rim soundtrack. That reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then he recorded the album Regulate...G Funk Era and it sold three million copies. This D.J. was the second single and it reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The guest rapper who appears in the video is O.G.L.B. It appears to be his only appearance on anything. Griffin samples a couple of songs. But the main sample is the 1984 Midnight Star song Curious. Regulate...G Funk Era is available as a budget CD. By the time Griffin released his 1997 album Take A Look Over Your Shoulder, fans forgot about him. The album did OK but not even close to the first one. Griffin is still around. He released the EP Regulate...G Funk Era Part II in 2015. He produces other artists occasionally. But he's mostly known for the one album. Here's the video for This D.J. by Warren G. featuring O.G.L.B.
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Song:Down By The Henry Moore
Album:The Best Of Murray McLauchlan: Songs From The Street
Though he never made it in the US, folksinger Murray McLauchlan is a legend in Toronto. Down By The Henry Moore is one of his most popular songs. It topped the Canadian country charts in 1974. He was born June 30, 1948 in Paisley, Scotland but his family moved to Toronto when he was five years old. McLauchlan studied art at Central Technical School but he decided on a career in music and he started playing Yorkville coffeehouses. He moved to New York's Greenwich Village for a few years. And though some of his songs were recorded by Tom Rush and Kris Kristofferson, he wasn't able to land a record deal. So he moved back to Toronto and signed with True North Records owned by his manager Bernie Finkelstein. Bruce Cockburn was also on True North. They had similar audiences except McLauchlan had country music leanings. So he got a lot of radio play on Canadian country stations. Down By The Henry Moore is probably McLauchlan's biggest hit. It topped the Canadian Country and Adult Contemporary charts in 1974. Henry Moore was a famous sculptor and one of his sculptures is in Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall. He also namechecks Toronto landmarks Kensington Market and The Silver Dollar Club. This 2CD comp covers McLauchlan's entire career. McLauchlan left the music business for a while in the 90s to become a bush pilot. He has a commercial pilot's license and he would jokingly threaten to quit the music business all the time. But he returned to the music business and he released a new album last year. He also performs and records with Marc Jordan, Ian Thomas and Cindy Church as Lunch At Allen's. McLauchlan's wife is music industry veteran Denise Donlan and she will receive the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at this year's Junos. McLauchlan was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. Here's Murray McLauchlan with Canadian rocker Barney Bental performing Down By The Henry Moore at The Diamond Club Feb. 1989. This aired on MuchMusic's Miller Big Ticket.
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Bayley from last night's episode of RAW. After Asuka's match last week with Sasha Banks, many fans thought it was Sasha's best RAW match. I heard the same thing about Bayley after last night's match. Asuka is the gift that keeps on giving. One of the things they are trying to do with this is have tension between Bayley and Sasha. I don't know if they will ever turn Sasha heel. Asuka doesn't care. She is interested in delivering a match that will get herself and her opponent over. So last night's match was very similar to last week's match. It had a slow build. Bayley got in some offense so commentary can say that she might win. But it's one thing to knock Asuka down. So far no one has been able to keep her down. And all indications are her winning streak will continue indefinitely. Last night, RAW GM Kurt Angle announced that Asuka vs Nia Jax will happen at Elimination Chamber. If Nia wins, the RAW Women's Championship match at Wrestlemania becomes a three way match. The only thing is Asuka hasn't said which title match she wants at Wrestlemania. So it's possible we could see a swerve. Let's assume that Asuka wins at Elimination Chamber. And though she will take a beating, I do expect her to win just like she beat Nia in NXT. She could say that she wants to face Charlotte for the Smackdown Women's Championship at Wrestlemania. I'm pretty sure Charlotte has requested exactly that. Plans change all the time in the WWE so who knows what will happen. But that swerve is possible. It would not surprise me. If that happens, remember I said it first. Enjoy the video!