Monday, February 27, 2017

Claudia Gadelha vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz added to June 3 UFC show

Today the UFC announced on the UFC Europe Twitter account that Claudia Gadelha will face Karolina Kowalkiewicz on UFC 212 June 3 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The winner of this fight is likely to get a title shot against either Joanna Jedrzejczyk or Jessica Andrade. Those two will fight on UFC 211 May 13 in Dallas. I expect Claudia vs Karolina to air on the main card of UFC 212. Both women have lost title shots to Joanna by unanimous decision. After Claudia lost to Joanna in July, she left her long time gym Nova Uniao and trainer Andre Pederneiras. Claudia felt her training camp was too long and that led to her lack of endurance in the five round title fight. Claudia has opened her own gym in Philadelphia. For her Nov. win over Cortney Casey, Claudia trained with long time coach Jair Lourenco at Nova Uniao in Sao Paulo. My guess is she will train there again. The problem I see with Claudia is she doesn't finish fights anymore. She last finished a fight in 2013. This is why endurance has become an issue. She didn't need it early in her career. I think she has gone away from what made her successful early in her career. She seems to fight more conservatively. If she goes back to her old ways, it could be a problem for Karolina who is mostly a points fighter. She is counting on her opponent lacking aggression so she can outpoint her. Karolina is a kickboxer with no power but her defense is solid. This allows her to hang in fights and eke out wins. Though Joanna beat her easily, Joanna fought too conservatively to get a finish. That's why Karolina is still a top contender and could get another title shot if she wins this fight. You all know I hate points fighters. So I like Claudia if she's aggressive and goes for a finish. If she doesn't, all bets are off.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Helio Sequence

Artist:The Helio Sequence
Song:Shed Your Love
Album:Keep Your Eyes Ahead

The Helio Sequence are a mix of folk and neo psychedelia. They were formed in 1999. in Beaverton, OR by singer songwriter guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer Benjamin Weikel. Weikel also programs the keyboards. He was a one time member of Modest Mouse. After self releasing an EP, they released two albums on the local label Cavity Search. For the 2004 CD Love and Distance, they signed with the larger label Sub Pop. This was mainly to get better distribution. They went on hiatus because Summers damaged his vocal cords. It was during this hiatus that Weikel joined Modest Mouse. After Summers recovered, The Helio Sequence returned with the 2008 CD Keep Your Eyes Ahead. They toured with Modest Mouse and then the British group Keane. Meanwhile their recording studio flooded so they had to find new space. The new studio encouraged the duo to produce other bands like the Brazilian group Quarto Negro and the hip hop group Shabazz Palaces. For their 2015 album The Helio Sequence, they gave their friends a list of songs and had them vote which ten would appear on the album. They toured to support the album. They just announced some upcoming shows but I haven't seen anything about new music. Here's The Helio Sequence performing Shed Your Love at the Independent in San Francisco Feb. 29, 2008.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Art Garfunkel

Artist:Art Garfunkel f/Paul Simon and James Taylor
Song:(What A) Wonderful World
Album:The Singer

Of course Art Garfunkel is best known as one half of Simon and Garfunkel. After they split up in 1970, Garfunkel had success as a solo artist including this cover of the Sam Cooke classic (What A) Wonderful World in 1978. He was born Nov. 5, 1941 in Queens, NY. He began singing at an early age even in the synagogue. Apparently his Bar Mitzvah was quite the show. He met Paul Simon in sixth grade and they performed as Tom and Jerry for several years. Their main influence at the time was The Everly Brothers. They split up and then reformed as Simon and Garfunkel in 1963. They were not successful at first and Simon moved to England. But they reformed when Sounds Of Silence was a hit. They were one of the most popular groups of the 60s. They split up in 1970. Simon had immediate solo success. Garfunkel appeared in the films Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge. Then he released his 1973 debut album Angel Clare and the single All I Know reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. For his 1975 album Breakaway, Garfunkel reunited with Simon for the single My Little Town. It reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's Garfunkel's biggest hit to date and the album was certified Platinum. For the 1977 album Watermark, Garfunkel decided to do an album of Jimmy Webb songs. But when the first single didn't chart, Columbia pulled the album and had Garfunkel record a cover of the Sam Cooke classic (What A) Wonderful World with Simon and James Taylor. The single reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it helped with album sales too. One note is that this album was sax player Paul Desmond's final appearance before his death from cancer. After Garfunkel's 1979 album Fate For Breakfast was released, his longtime girlfriend Laurie Bird committed suicide. He dedicated the 1981 album Scissors Cut to her and then he disappeared for several years until his 1988 album Lefty. He was married by then and he and his wife have two kids. Garfunkel still records occasionally. He left Columbia in 1998 and he has recorded for Blue Note and Atco. He's had voice problems in recent years which seems to be a byproduct of years of heavy smoking. He still tours so I expect him to record at some point. This 2CD comp has all of his hits along with Simon and Garfunkel highlights. Here's a video of (What A) Wonderful World by Art Garfunkel featuring Paul Simon and James Taylor.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Mina Kurobe is the new DEEP JEWELS Atomweight Champion

DEEP JEWELS held a show today at Shinjuku FACE. The good news is there were no DATE girls on this show. So the talent level was marginally higher. In the main event, Mina Kurobe continued her winning streak and she won the DEEP JEWELS Atomweight Championship from Sugi Rock. She also avenged an earlier loss. The fight was close enough that I'm sure we'll see a rematch. But Kurobe definitely won by unanimous decision. The problem with Kurobe is she's 39 years old and there is no upside when a fighter with limited experience is that old. There was also the return of Shizuka Sugiyama after time off to have a baby. There's no question that Sugiyama has been a great disappointment. She has the poster girl looks but not the fighting skills. And winning by split decision over Yukari Nabe is not encouraging. Former boxing champ Emiko Raika returned to DEEP JEWELS with a win over newcomer Komachi Karate who chose to wear a gi for some reason. Kanna Asakura is young. So she is thought to have potential. She won her fight over Natsuke Shimonakise with a first round rear naked choke. The problem is Shimonakise is now 0-4 and Asakura has had difficulty with better competition as we saw with her loss in RIZIN. Let me know when she beats someone half decent. DEEP JEWELS has this new larger fighter they are calling King Reina. Finding competition in Japan for her is a problem. So they brought in ex-UFC fighter Shayna Baszler to fight her. Shayna is not really fighting anymore. She is concentrating on pro wrestling. She was in Japan working for STARDOM and she lost to Io Shirai a couple of days ago. She was there anyway so why not take their money. But Reina won easily and they are going to have to send Reina to the US to get decent competition so she can improve. Emi Tomimatsu beat Kai by unanimous decision. And Sarami beat Korean Ye Jin Jung with a first round rear naked choke.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-George Davis

Artist:George Davis
Song:Sixteen Tons
Album:Classic Mountain Songs From Smithsonian Folkways

Most music fans should be familiar with Sixteen Tons as it was a huge hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford. Some fans may also be aware that the song was written by country music legend Merle Travis. But George Davis known as the Singing Miner claimed for many years that Travis based Sixteen Tons on one of his songs of the 30s. The problem was Davis didn't copyright it or record it. So no one knows for sure. Davis was born Aug. 19, 1906 in La Follette, TN but he grew up in Hazard, KY which is coal mining country. Everyone worked in the coal mine and Davis was no exception. He began work at the Crawford Coal Co. in 1920. He got married and raised a family. Davis worked in the mines for 28 years. But in 1933 he helped organize the United Mine Workers Union. He also messed around with the guitar. In Oct. 1933, he suffered a serious arm injury so he wasn't able to play guitar. So instead he started writing songs. There were songs like Coal Miner's Boogie, When Kentucky Had No Union Men and Nine To Ten Tons. This is the song that Davis claimed Travis used to write Sixteen Tons. Travis has denied this. He says Sixteen Tons is influenced by his father who was a coal miner. Davis never recorded his song so he couldn't prove anything. Davis left the coal mines in 1947 to work at the local radio station. He was a DJ for many years. In 1967, he recorded an album for Folkways Records that included his own recording of Sixteen Tons. This album is available on CD. But you can get Sixteen Tons on this various artists budget comp. George Davis died on Nov. 3, 1992 at age 86. Here's a video of Sixteen Tons by George Davis.

Friday, February 24, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jim Sturgess

Artist:Jim Sturgess
Album:Across The Universe: Music From The Motion Picture

Jim Sturgess is a British actor whose best known role to date is Julie Taymor's 2007 Beatles tribute Across The Universe. Sturgess sings in the film but he hasn't released an album. He may do that in the future. Most recently he starred in the now cancelled AMC series Feed The Beast. He was born May 16, 1978 in Wandsworth, London, England but he grew up on Farnham, Surrey. He had bands as a teen and he attended Salford University in Manchester to try to get into the Manchester music scene. Instead he got involved with a group of aspiring actors. He signed with an agent in 1999. For the next few years he worked on British TV shows like Judge John Deed and A Touch Of Frost. For her 2007 film Across The Universe, Julie Taymor was looking for actors who could sing. The main actors were Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson and Dana Fuchs with musical guest stars like Bono, Eddie Izzard and Joe Cocker. So all the actors sang. Sturgess sings several songs including Something. It's all on the soundtrack CD. The score was composed by Elliott Goldenthal who has lived with Taymor for years. T-Bone Butnett produced Something and some of the other musical numbers. The film got mixed reviews and it didn't perform well financially. Producer Joe Roth tried to get Taymor to agree to a shorter cut of the film but she refused. Sturgess also starred in the 2008 film 21 with Kevin Spacey. He's been in a few other films like Crossing Over and Cloud Atlas. He is appearing in Geostorm which is scheduled for release later in 2017. He also returned to TV. He starred in the BBC mini series Close To The Enemy. And he starred with David Schwimmer in the AMC series Feed The Beast. The show was panned and did poor ratings. It was cancelled after the first season. Sturgess still writes and performs music. He wrote songs for the films 21, Crossing Over and Heartless and he recorded five songs as a fundraiser for a sick friend. So Sturgess could get back into music but his acting career is busy so he might not be able to. Here's Something by Jim Sturgess as it appears in the 2007 film Across The Universe.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Andrade to co-main event May 13 UFC show

After all kinds of rumours, it was announced on a Facebook chat today that Joanna Jedrzejczyk will defend her UFC Strawweight Championship against Jessica Andrade on UFC 211 May 13 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. I think this will be Joanna's most difficult title defense partially because they know each other so well. And that's why Joanna moved to American Top Team last year. She knew Jessica was going to get a title shot. Back when Jessica was a Bantamweight, these two trained together and they even had the same manager. Not anymore. Jessica has gone 3-0 as a Strawweight in a dominant fashion. And in her last title defense against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, I thought Joanna won easily but she was too conservative. That's not going to cut it against Jessica. Jessica may punch as hard as Joanna. And she also has a strong ground game and the guillotine is her favourite finisher. Joanna's takedown defense could be the key to this match. If Joanna can stuff Jessica's takedowns, she may be able to tire Jessica out with elbows and knees in the clinch. Remember Jessica has never gone five rounds. But Jessica is also a great striker and that's something Joanna has to watch out for. Either way, I expect match of the year fireworks. This fight will be a war.

Amanda Bobby Cooper vs Cynthia Calvillo added to Mar. 4 UFC show

Amanda Bobby Cooper, Cynthia Calvillo
Today the UFC announced that TUF 23 fighter Amanda Bobby Cooper will face UFC newcomer Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 209 Mar. 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This fight will air on the UFC Fight Pass prelims. Amanda is from Howell, MI. She trains at Scorpion Fighting Systems. Her record is 2-2. We first saw her lose to Aspen Ladd in Invicta. Then she was in TUF 23 and she lost in the finals to Tatiana Suarez. Amanda bounced back with a win over Anna Elmose in Nov. Anna has since been released. Amanda is only 25 so she has time to develop. Cynthia is from San Jose, CA. But she trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. So she is a teammate of Paige VanZant and is trained by Justin Buchholtz. Her record is 3-0. Her last win was by third round TKO over Montana Stewart on the Jan. 13 LFA show in Dallas. I just watched that fight and Cynthia won easily. Montana is the same fighter who was twisted into a pretzel by Mackenzie Dern back in October. So it's hard to tell if Cynthia is that good or Montana is that bad. The latter is more likely. I thought Cynthia could have ended that fight a lot sooner and she was just messing around with Montana. You can't get away with that stuff in the UFC. This fight should give us a better idea of what kind of fighter Cynthia really is. I think Amanda is better than her record. But Cynthia is unproven at the UFC level.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Stan Freberg

Artist:Stan Freberg
Song:St. George and the Dragonet
Album:The Best Of Stan Freberg

I guess Stan Freberg was the last radio comedian. Because when TV was taking over for radio in the 50s, Freberg's comedy records were still popular. St. George and the Dragonet topped the pop charts in 1953. Of course he did a lot on radio, TV and especially in advertising. They don't make them like Stan Freberg anymore. He was born Stanley Friberg Aug. 7, 1926 in Pasadena, CA. His father was a Baptist minister. As a teen, he started out doing children's puppet shows. After graduating high school, he hopped a bus to Los Angeles and successfully auditioned for a job at Warner Bros. animation. Freberg worked alongside the legendary Mel Blanc. He was Bertie in the Hubie and Bertie cartoons, Pete Puma in the 1952 cartoon Rabbit's Kin and probably most famously as Junyer Bear in Chuck Jones' Three Bears cartoons. He signed with Capitol Records in 1951. His first single was the soap opera parody John and Marsha. Once that charted, he was off to the races. The Dragnet spoof St. George and the Dragonet was Freberg's only number one hit. It topped the charts for four weeks in 1953. Capitol told Freberg that he needed Dragnet creator and star Jack Webb's permission to parody him and use Walter Schumann's theme music. Webb loved the idea. Freberg wrote the sketch with the legendary Daws Butler and Freberg, Butler, June Foray and Hy Averback did the voices. The animated film seen below was produced for one of Freberg's 50s TV specials. Freberg continued to have great success in the 50s with albums, radio and TV. This budget comp was first released in 1963 and it was released on CD by the British label Hallmark. In the 60s, Freberg turned his attention to advertising. One of his more memorable commercials was for Sunsweet Prunes featuring sci-fi author Ray Bradbury. And Heinz Great American Soups with dancer Ann Miller. Freberg was less active later on. But occasionally he would show up on TV like as the supermarket manager in the sitcom Roseanne. He continued to do voice work until his death on Apr. 7, 2015 at age 88. Here's an animated film of St. George and the Dragonet by Stan Freberg.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Alexis Davis vs Cindy Dandois added to Apr. 22 UFC show

Alexis Davis, Cindy Dandois
It was announced today that Alexis Davis vs Cindy Dandois has been added to UFC Fight Night 109 Apr. 22 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. This will air on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. Both are veteran fighters but Cindy is new to the UFC. Alexis is from Port Colborne, ON which is between St. Catherines and Niagara Falls. She trains at Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu in California which is also home for the Diaz brothers and Leslie Smith. After taking a year off to have a baby, she lost to Sara McMann in Dec. 2016. She has good submission skills but she is prone to errors and that usually costs her matches. Cindy may be new to the UFC but Invicta fans are familiar with her and I knew about her long before that. Cindy is from Belgium and I first heard of her when Scott Coker was looking to bring her in to Strikeforce but he never did. I saw a couple of her European fights including a loss to current Invicta Bantamweight Championship contender Yana Kunitskaya. In that occasion, she seemed to get jobbed by a Russian ref. Then she took time off to have a baby. With three kids and a teaching career, Cindy wasn't planning a return to fighting. But a 2014 trip to Las Vegas to help Miesha Tate train convinced her to return. The thing I remember is how bad she looked challenging Tonya Evinger for the Invicta Bantamweight Championship. And I know she has won fights since then. She got hit in the face and she folded like a cheap suitcase. I guess it just makes me wonder about her resolve. Cindy has also fought at 145 and she was supposed to fight Cris Cyborg in Invicta last year. I think Cris got sick or something. I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen. I guess she's an OK but flawed fighter.

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Porcupine Tree

Artist:Porcupine Tree
Song:Way Out Of Here
Album:Fear Of A Blank Planet

Porcupine Tree will remind you of a 70s progressive rock group. But they are more recent than that. They have had success in their native England and Europe and made inroads into the US before going on hiatus. The 2007 album Fear Of A Blank Planet is probably their best seller to date. The band leader is guitarist Steven Wilson. He was born Nov. 3, 1967 in Kingston upon Thames, England but he grew up in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. As a teen, he was in several bands and he also messed around at home with multi track recording techniques. In 1986, he launched two projects. The first was called No-Man and the second was Porcupine Tree. Both were supposed to be home studio projects and Porcupine Tree was supposed to be a fictional tribute to Pink Floyd. As No-Man had some success as a band, Wilson also thought Porcupine Tree could turn into a band. After a trial run, Wilson signed with Delerium Records in 1991. After releasing a couple of Porcupine Tree albums, Wilson turned it into a band in 1993 so the songs could be performed live. Wilson was lead singer and guitarist. Other members were Colin Edwin on bass, Chris Maitland on drums and Richard Barbieri on keyboards. Maitland and Barbieri were also in No-Man. Wilson is still recording albums solo but eventually he turns Porcupine Tree into a real band with the 1996 album Signify. This album was released in the US on Ark 21. Wilson decides to leave Delerium for Kscope. The band had outgrown Delerium. The 1999 album Stupid Dream was more of a pop album. It was their best seller to date. Maitland left in 2002 and he was replaced by Gavin Harrison. Then they signed with Lava/Atlantic for the next few albums. In England, they moved to Roadrunner in 2006 but remained on Atlantic in the US. The 2007 album Fear Of A Blank Planet marked a return to a progressive rock sound. King Crimson leader Robert Fripp appears on Way Out Of Here and Alex Lifeson of Rush also makes a guest appearance. The album was very successful and they followed it up with the 2009 album The Incident. After touring, Wilson released a solo album and he put Porcupine Tree on hiatus. He continues to record solo and though there have been rumours of a Porcupine Tree reformation, it seems unlikely at this point. Wilson says that even if he was to reform Porcupine Tree, it would only be as a side project. He wants to focus on his solo work. Here's the video for Way Out Of Here by Porcupine Tree.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Senator Bobby

Artist:Senator Bobby
Song:Wild Thing
Album:Cameo Parkway 1957-1967

This novelty record was a top 20 hit in 1966. Senator Bobby is Senator Bobby Kennedy as portrayed by comedian Bill Minkin. On the B side he performs Wild Thing as Senator Everett Dirksen. The idea to do this record came from the guy who wrote Wild Thing. Chip Taylor is a veteran producer and singer songwriter who is the brother of actor Jon Voight. He got together with a comedy group called The Hardly-Worthit Players. It's supposed to be a spoof of the NBC newscast The Huntley-Brinkley Report. The guys behind that were Dennis Wholey and Steve Baron. They signed a record deal with Cameo-Parkway Records and they released their 1966 album The Hardly-Worthit Report. Minkin was a friend who did an impersonation of Senator Bobby Kennedy. Wholey asked Taylor if he could use Wild Thing. When he told Taylor what he was going to do, Taylor agreed to produce the single. The record reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Wild Thing was not on the album The Hardly-Worthit Report but it was added to a second pressing. It is not on the mp3 version of the album currently available. But you can get Wild Thing on this 4CD Cameo-Parkway box set. The Hardly-Worthit Players released a second album in 1967 and then they split up. Dennis Wholey went on to be a talk show host for PBS in Detroit. Minkin recorded a second single as Senator Bobby called Sock It To Me, Baby for RCA in 1968. Obviously it's supposed to play off of The Rowan and Martin Laugh-In. Minkin is the host of the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio concert series. Chip Taylor is currently an alt-country performer with his own label Train Wreck Records. Here's Bill Minkin as Senator Bobby with Dennis Wholey and Steve Baron performing Wild Thing on The Hollywood Palace 1966. Kate Smith's intro is pretty funny too.