Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Song:Into Your Arms
Album:Laughing All The Way To The Cleaners: The Best Of
The alt rock group the Lemonheads had success in the early 90s. They never had a hit single but a couple of their albums did well. The Lemonheads are from Boston led by lead singer, main songwriter and guitarist Evan Dando. Dando, drummer Ben Deily and bassist Jesse Peretz were classmates. They were at first called The Whelps and then Dando named them after a brand of candy. They released a couple of albums for a local label. Regional airplay got them a deal with Atlantic Records. Deily left and was replaced by David Ryan. The Lemonheads Atlantic debut CD Lovey did OK but then Peretz left and was replaced by Juliana Hatfield. The 1992 album It's a Shame About Ray was released. Then a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel classic Mrs. Robinson was released as a single to promote the video release of The Graduate. The single was popular enough that Atlantic re-released It's a Shame About Ray with Mrs. Robinson added. The album was certified Gold. With the 1993 album Come On Feel The Lemonheads, Dando was searching for that big hit single. He never got that but Into Your Arms topped the Modern Rock chart. The album was certified Gold. Then the band fell apart mostly due do Dando's cocaine habit. He formed a new version of The Lemonheads for the 1996 album Car Button Cloth. But the album didn't do well and Dando was unable to keep the band together anyway. He even toured solo for a while. Atlantic dropped The Lemonheads. This 2CD comp from the British label Music Club is definitive. Dando released a solo album in 2003. He toured and performed a mix of Lemonheads and solo songs. He formed a new version of The Lemonheads in 2005. They have released a couple of albums and they are currently on tour. There has been talk about a new album since 2012. Ryan Adams was supposed to produce. Maybe it never happened. Here's the video for Into Your Arms by The Lemonheads.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Song:Take A Message
Album:The Way I Feel
Blue eyed soul singer Remy Shand had success and critical acclaim with his 2002 debut CD The Way I Feel and the single Take A Message. Then he seemed to disappear. He has reemerged recently but a lot of fans of this album believe he should have been a star. He was born Oct. 14, 1977 in Winnipeg. Shand moved to Toronto and got into the local studio scene. Shand not only sings and writes songs but he plays all the instruments and produces. So this led to a contract with Universal Canada and then Motown in the US. The Way I Feel did well especially in Canada. And Take A Message was an R&B hit. Shand won a Juno in 2003 for Best R&B Recording and he was nominated for four Grammys. So what happened to him? Apparently he recorded a second album but Motown didn't like it and it was never released. This was around the time that former Elektra CEO Sylvia Rhone replaced Kedar Massenburg as president of Motown. And it's not unusual for new management to clean house of artists signed by the old management. Then he went through a messy divorce and that led to other problems including depression. Shand surfaced with his own label in 2013. He still lives in Toronto. He has released a couple of albums and several singles. He also records as CANARY. The Way I Feel is available as a budget CD. And his new recordings are available as digital downloads at his website Remy Shand World. Though I doubt Shand will ever be a star again, it's good to see that he's still making music. Here's the video for Take A Message by Remy Shand.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Here's the match video of Kairi Hojo defending her Wonder of STARDOM Championship against Mayu Iwatani on the May 14 STARDOM show at Korakuen Hall. This match has historical significance as Hojo had already announced she is leaving Japan for the WWE. So naturally she had to drop the belt. With Io Shirai also signing with the WWE, that makes Mayu STARDOM's ace by default. The only problem with that is Mayu announced early this year she plans to retire at the end of 2017. I suppose she could change her mind if she is made the ace. She's an OK wrestler but nothing special. The match is OK. Obviously there's no heat. Both are babyfaces. Kairi gets to leap from the Korakuen Hall balcony and land some of her other trademark spots like the rolling cradle. The turning point comes when Mayu gets her knees up for a flying elbow drop. Then Mayu lands a couple of tiger suplexes for the win. So enjoy the match. Kairi will make her final Japanese appearance this Wednesday at an autograph session. Then it's off to Orlando. I will have more on that subject very soon.
Mayu Iwatani vs Kairi Hojo by scott1060
Mayu Iwatani vs Kairi Hojo by scott1060
Album:Is This It
The alt rock band The Strokes had success with the 2001 album Is This It and the single Last Nite. Though they are American, they were a much bigger deal in England. The Strokes are from New York City. The lead singer and songwriter is Julian Casablancas. He is the son of Elite Modelling owner John Casablancas. Casablancas, guitarist Nick Valensi, bassist Nakolai Fraiture and drummer Fab Moretti went to school together. When Casablancas was sent to school in Switzerland, he met guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. His dad Albert Hammond scored a big hit with It Never Rains In Southern California in 1972. When Hammond moved to New York to attend Tisch School of the Arts, he shared an apartment with Casablancas. And that's when The Strokes began. They got a deal with Rough Trade in England and an EP was released. When an mp3 of Last Nite was given away in the British music paper NME, there was enough buzz to start a bidding war for The Strokes which was won by RCA. Is This It was released October 2001 and it did fine. The album was certified Platinum but The Strokes never had a hit single. They got most of their airplay on Alt Rock radio. They were much bigger in England because the music press hyped them and Rough Trade knew how to use that hype. Is This It is available as a budget CD. Of course The Strokes toured. This album was their peak. They recorded three albums and they all did OK especially in England. They went on hiatus in 2006. Hammond released a couple of solo albums. Casablancas released a solo album in 2009. The Strokes reformed in 2009. They still tour and they have released a couple of albums. It looks like they are in the process of recording new music now. Here's the video for Last Nite by The Strokes.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Here's the match video from last night's NXT show of Asuka vs Nikki Cross vs Ruby Riot for the NXT Women's Championship. This was set up by a number one contender battle royal. Asuka interrupted it and waylaid Ruby, Nikki and Ember Moon. It was supposed to be a four way but Ember was pulled due to a shoulder injury. I'll get back to her later. Regular readers of this blog will know that I don't like three way matches because inherent flaws make them disjointed. But if anyone can make a three way match watchable, it's Asuka. She has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. Nikki is part of Sanity. And she is portrayed as so insane that she sometimes loses concentration. Ruby is a punk rocker chick. Both are pretty good wrestlers. It was a pretty good match. It appears that Asuka may have hurt her right elbow performing a missile dropkick. She rarely goes to the top rope. Among the highlights were Asuka hitting Ruby with an Iguchi bomb and transitioning into an ankle lock. Then Ruby missed a top rope Alabama Jam and Asuka hooked the Asuka lock. Nikki broke it up. I also liked Nikki trapping Asuka in the apron and beating the crap out of her. Of course that led to the finish with Asuka pinning both of them. So Asuka is still the champ and still undefeated. The WWE obviously still wants to push Ember Moon as they had her on the pre-show and showed her watching this match. I still think the character needs a reboot because I don't think she will ever get over. Don't they know this? And the women's tournament is coming. I'll have more on this when I know who's in it. I know some who are in it but I'll wait until it's official. Of course we already know that STARDOM's Io Shirai and Kairi Hojo are coming. I'll have more on that when Io's signing is official. William Regal is in Japan now to get her signature in he dotted line. Maybe he's scouting other talent. Until then, enjoy the video.
Album:King Of The Beats: Anthology 1985-1988
Though they never had mainstream success, Mantronix were hip hop pioneers especially as it relates to electronic dance music and DJ techniques. Bassline is probably their best known song. The two guys in Mantronix were DJ Kurtis Mantronik (Kurtis el Khaleel) and rapper MC Tee (Toure Embden). Both guys were born in Jamaica and grew up in New York City. el Khaleel was inspired by Ryuchi Sakamoto of The Yellow Magic Orchestra to start experimenting with electronic music. He became the in store DJ at Downtown Records in New York City and Embden was a customer. They decided to work together and they signed with local hip hop label Sleeping Bag Records. el Khaleel also became their house producer. Mantronix: The Album was released in 1985. Songs like Bassline were a very early example of electronic dance music. Though commercial success eluded Mantronix, the music was very influential on other hop hop guys. Bassline has been sampled many times. Their second album for Sleeping Bag Music Madness was more dance music oriented. And that eventually forced Embden to leave Mantronix in 1988. He moved to Atlanta and left the music business. They signed with Capitol Records and the 1988 album Full Effect was Embden's final album with Mantronix. He was replaced by rapper Bryce "Luvah" Wilson. el Khaleel also brought in singer Wondress Hutchinson and the single Got To Have Your Love had R&B and dance chart success. After the 1991 album The Incredible Sound Machine, el Khaleel was burned out and he quit the music business. This 2CD comp covers Mantronix's 80s recordings. el Khaleel returned in 1998 and he has recorded two albums. He still does plenty of remixes and producing. Here's the video for Bassline by Mantronix.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Sax player Boney James is one of the more durable smooth jazz artists. This cover of Stevie Wonder's Creepin' was on his 1992 debut album Trust and it's one of his signature songs. He was born James Oppenheim Sept. 1, 1961 in Lowell, MA and he grew up in New Rochelle, NY. He began to play clarinet at age eight and then switched to sax. His main influence was smooth jazz pioneer Grover Washington Jr. At age 15, he moved to Los Angeles with his family. He was in the fusion band Line One while attending UCLA. After graduating, Morris Day hired James to play keyboards. James convinced Day to let him play sax. He toured with Day for four years. He also toured with The Isley Brothers, Bobby Caldwell and Randy Crawford. The nickname Boney James was a comment about Oppenheim's physique by a fellow starving musician. While on tour with Caldwell, James met guitarist and producer Paul Brown. They released the 1992 album Trust on the indie label Spindletop. And it did so well that Warner Bros. signed James to a contract. Of course Creepin' is a Stevie Wonder Song from the 1974 album Fullfillgness First Finale. James and Brown wrote most of the other songs with arranger Jeff Carruthers. Musicians include Allen Hinds on guitar, Roberto Vally on bass, Carlos Vega on drums and Lenny Castro on percussion. James had a great run on Warners until he left for Concord in 2004. He also had success recording with trumpeter Rick Braun. I was surprised that Warners hasn't released a Boney James comp. Trust is out of print on CD but it is available as a digital download. James is currently on tour. He does a lot of jazz festivals and jazz cruises. He still records for Concord. His latest CD futuresoul was released 2015 and it includes guest appearances by singer Stokely from Mint Condition, Dwele and trumpeter Marquis Hill. Here's Boney James with Gregg Karukas on keyboards, Ray Fuller on guitar, Smithy Smith on bass and Donnel Spencer on drums performing Creepin'.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Song:If You Were Here Tonight
Alexander O'Neal is probably best known for his duets with labelmate Cherelle. But he also had success mostly on the R&B charts with hits like If You Were Here Tonight and Fake. He was born Nov. 15, 1953 in Natchez, MS. His father died before he was born. After attending Alcorn State University, he moved to Minneapolis and he was in The Mystics, Wynd Chymes and Enterprise. Then he joined Flyte Tyme led by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Monte Moir. Moir was in The Time who were popular at the time and the bands toured together. O'Neal was brought in as lead singer after Cynthia Johnson left. Flyte Tyme merged with The Time. O'Neal was replaced by Morris Day. Jam and Lewis left the Time in 1983 and became hotshot producers for Tabu Records. They signed O'Neal and his debut album Alexander O'Neal was released in 1985. If You Were Here Tonight was the second single. It reached #17 on the R&B Singles chart. Moir wrote the song. O'Neal continued to have success with duets with Cherelle. His biggest hit was the 1987 single Fake which topped the R&B Singles chart and reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. O'Neal continued to have success on the R&B charts until he left Tabu after the 1993 album Love Makes No Sense. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. Since then O'Neal has recorded occasionally but he seems to tour England a lot. I think he lives there now. Last year he released a remake of Fake with the British band Mamma Freedom. He seems to appear on British TV a lot most recently on Celebrity Big Brother in 2015. And in 2011, O'Neal and Cherelle were featured on TVOne's Unsung series. Here's the video for If You Were Here Tonight by Alxander O'Neal.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Album:Ultimate Anita O'Day
Anita O'Day is one of the all time great jazz vocalists. She is best known for her days with Gene Krupa in the 40s. But she went on to have a lengthy solo career most notably for Verve from 1951-64. She originally performed Boogie Blues with Krupa and it became one of her signature songs. She was born Anita Belle Colton Oct. 18, 1919 in Kansas City, MO. She grew up in Chicago. She left home at age 14 to tour as a dancer with Walk-a-thons dance marathons. She sang occasionally and she was determined to be a professional singer. This began when she met and married drummer Don Carter in 1937. He taught her music theory. She worked in the Chicago club Off Beat and that's when Gene Krupa saw her. She joined the Krupa band in 1941. Of course that band was very popular and had many hits. That band disbanded when Krupa was arrested for marijuana possession in 1943. Anita worked for Woody Herman and Stan Kenton and then returned to Krupa in 1945. That stint only lasted a year but it did yield the hit Boogie Blues written by Krupa. Anita went solo in 1946 and she recorded for several labels including Coral and Mercury. She also went to jail for marijuana possession along with her husband Carl Hoff. When she got out, she sang with Herman, Kenton and Count Basie. Then she signed with Norman Granz in 1951. She recorded for Norgran, Clef and then for Verve beginning in 1956. Meanwhile, she got addicted to heroin and almost landed in jail again. In the studio she usually worked with the Verve house band led by Oscar Peterson. Drummer John Poole led her touring band for years. By 1960, Granz wanted to retire. So he sold Verve to MGM in 1961. They put Creed Taylor in charge of Verve. Anita's re-recording of Boogie Blues is from the 1962 album All The Sad Young Men. Here she is working with a larger band arranged and conducted by Gary McFarland. Musicians are Bernie Glow, Herb Pomeroy and Doc Severinsen on trumpet, Bob Brookmeyer and Willie Dennis on trombone, Phil Woods and Walter Levinsky on clarinet and alto sax, Zoot Sims on tenor sax, Hank Jones on piano, George Duvivier on bass and Mel Lewis on drums. You can get Boogie Blues on this comp compiled by Alan Paul of Manhattan Transfer. Anita left Verve soon after and had serious drug problems through the 60s. She returned at the 1970 Berlin Jazz Festival and she recorded mostly for her own label until her death on Nov. 23, 2006 at age 87. In the 80s, she appeared on TV a lot talking about her drug addiction. No doubt a lot of this footage turns up in the 2007 documentary Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer. I may have to check that out. Here's Anita O'Day with John Corwin on piano and Toshiyuki Miyama and The All-Star Orchestra performing Boogie Blues at TBS Studio in Tokyo Dec. 30, 1963.