Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tonight I am going to the Mainstage in Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall to see black music legends Mavis Staples and Allen Toussaint. This is part of the Toronto Jazz Festival. It would take a book to detail Allen Toussaint's accomplishments. The short version is he personifies New Orleans R & B. He has produced so many artists and written so many classic songs that it boggles the mind. And he's still doing it today. A good illustration is that his first hit as a producer was the 1960 hit Ooh Poo Pah Doo by Jesse Hill and today he has worked with Hill's grandson Trombone Shorty. And he also appeared in the HBO TV series Treme. He currently records for Nonesuch Records and his latest CD The Bright Mississippi was released last year. Mavis Staples es best known as lead singer of her family group The Staples Singers and of course they had several hits in the late 60s. She currently records for Anti Records and her new CD produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco will be released in September. Her impassioned renditions of gospel songs and civil rights anthems has made her a favourite of musicians and fans alike. It should be a great show. I love watching black music legends in action. Here's the video for Eyes On The Prize by Mavis Staples.
Brenda Lee was one of the most popular recording artists of the early 60s and I'm Sorry was her biggest hit and signature song. It's probably forgotten that she was 16 years old at the time. She went on to great success in the country music market and still records today. She was born Brenda Mae Tarpley Dec. 11, 1944 in Atlanta. She began performing as a child and by age ten was the family breadwinner after her father died in 1953. She was named Brenda Lee by a radio show producer who thought Tarpley would be too difficult to remember. Her big break came in Feb. 1955 when she went to see Red Foley perform in Augusta. A DJ convinced Foley to listen to her sing and she became a regular on his Ozark Jubilee TV show. Decca Records signed her soon after and her first single was Jambalaya, a song she sang on TV. Her earlier recordings were more rockabilly than country or pop. That's why this 2CD Anthology released in 1991 by MCA is the best Brenda Lee comp. Most of the other comps ignore her early rockabilly recordings. The song Dynamite earned her the nickname Little Miss Dynamite. Brenda started to have more sustained chart success when she started working with producer Owen Bradley in 1958. Of course he also produced Patsy Cline. Her 1958 recording Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree is probably her biggest selling recording because it still sells today. But I'm Sorry was Brenda's crossover breakthrough and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. The song was written by rockabilly singer Ronnie Self who wasn't a successful performer but also wrote the hit Sweet Nothins. Because Brenda was 16 at the time, Decca was reluctant to release I'm Sorry because they thought she was too young to sing that kind of song. But it became a smash upon release. Brenda Lee made her final appearance on the pop charts in 1963 but she reestablished herself in the country market in the 70s and continues to tour today. She has a gospel CD Songs Of Inspiration coming out in August on Varese Sarabande. Brenda Lee wasn't the first teenage music superstar but she is certainly one of the most durable. Here's Brenda Lee performing I'm Sorry 1960.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
|Akira Shoji, Esui|
Album:Ultimate 60's Soul Smashes
This 1966 top ten dance classic was the only big hit for The Capitols. The group was ultimately unsuccessful because they were unable to take advantage of the success of Cool Jerk. The Capitols started out in Detroit in 1962 as The Three Caps with lead singer and drummer Sam George, guitarist Donald Storball and keyboardist Richard Mitchell McDougall. They met producer Ollie McLughlin while performing at a Barbara Lewis concert. McLaughlin produced her music and owned Karen Records. They released the single Dog and Cat in 1963. It went nowhere and The Capitols disbanded. But the group reformed in 1966 after Storball and new member Ralph Julius Jones wrote a song to capitalize on The Jerk dance craze. In Detroit, there was a version of the dance popular in clubs called The Pimp Jerk. The group called it Cool Jerk so it wouldn't get banned. So George called McLaughlin and told him he thought they had a hit and McLaughlin immediately booked the studio time. It helped that legendary Motown session musicians The Funk Brothers played on the song. They were under contract to Motown but it wasn't the only time they did sessions on the side. When Cool Jerk became a hit, McLaughlin sold it to Atco Records knowing that he was too small to handle it. It reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. The Captiols released two albums and several more singles but nothing caught on and they split up in 1969. Cool Jerk was officially a one hit wonder. Cool Jerk is still a very popular song and appears in films all the time, most significantly the 1997 film Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. You can get it on this Rhino budget comp of Atlantic soul classics. Sam George died in 1982 after being stabbed during a domestic dispute. Don Storball was a cop in Michigan and still lives in Detroit. Here's a video for Cool Jerk by The Capitols.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Tonight I am going to see The Stanley Clarke Band at the Mainstage at City Hall as part of the Toronto Jazz festival. Again this year Clarke is touring with the fabulous pianist Hiromi Uehara. Last year they toured with Lenny White. This year the have a brand new CD released two weeks ago featuring drummer Ronald Bruner Jr. and pianist Ruslan Sirota. Clarke says he loves working with Hiromi and both are on Heads Up Records. Here's a recent video of the band. I can't wait to see Hiromi and her lightning fast fingers and I will review the concert tomorrow.
|Mika Nagano, Mai Ichii, Sakura Nomura, Saori Ishioka|
Song:Grazing In The Grass
Album:The Best Of The Friends Of Distinction
Grazing In The Grass was one of the biggest hits of the summer of 1969 and the biggest hit for The Friends Of Distinction. If you think they sound like The Fifth Dimension, that's not a coincindence. The Friends Of Distinction were led by Harry Elston and Floyd Butler along with Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love. Elston and Butler were part of several Los Angeles vocal groups but the most significant of these was Ray Charles' mid-60s backup singers The HiFis. They also recorded for Charles' Tangerine label as The Vocals in 1964. The other members of that group were Lamonte McLemore and Marilyn McCoo. When they disbanded in 1966, McLemore and McCoo formed The Fifth Dimension and Elston and Butler formed The Friends Of Distinction. I wouldn't say that The Friends Of Distinction were a copy of The Fifth Dimension but the mix of pop and soul is identical. Both groups had the same idea but The Fifth Dimension recorded first. The Friends Of Distinction's big break came when pro football living legend Jim Brown became their manager and he got them a contract with RCA Records in 1968. Grazing In The Grass was their first single and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1969. The song was written by South African singer Philemon Hou and originally recorded as an instrumental by trumpeter Hugh Masekela and released as a single in 1968. Harry Elston wrote the words and sings the lead. Grazing In The Grass has been covered by many artists, sampled by hip hop guys and turned up in many films and TV shows. Going In Circles and Love Or Let Me Be Lonely were also big hits so I recommend this comp from RCA. Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love left in 1972 and Jessica would sing with Earth, Wind & Fire and Parliament/Funkadelic. Elston and Butler disbanded the group in 1976 and apparently didn't speak to each other for many years. They finally reconciled and were about to reunite Friends Of Distinction when Butler died of a heart attack in 1996. Elston did subsequently reunite a version of The Friends Of Distinction. Here's The Friends Of Distinction performing Grazing In The Grass 1970.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Cris Cybrorg successfully defended her Strikeforce 145lb Championship over a clearly overmatched Jan Finney. Look, Jan is a good fighter. She has a lot of heart. But she had no business being anywhere near Cris Cyborg. It was predicted that it would be a mismatch and that's what it was. The match was booked only to kill time until Erin Toughill is ready in the fall. Erin is supposed to fight in August against a fighter TBA. The big controversy about this match is many fans think that ref Kim Winslow should have stopped the fight much sooner. Of course one little hitch was that Winslow took a point away from Cris for hitting Jan repeatedly in the back of the head. And despite what you may have heard elsewhere, Cris was warned. This is an occupational hazard of the Chute Boxe style and you'll notice Cris was more careful after that. That lack of control is something she has worked on but she still needs to work on it some more. I think the fight probably should have been stopped towards the end of round one and Cris even let up and looked at the ref wondering when she was going to stop the fight. I guess she should have continued pounding Jan. So if you like your fights brutal, you'll enjoy watching this video. I didn't care much for it.
Song:Sitting On Top Of The World
Album:Honey Babe Let The Deal Go Down: The Best Of Mississippi Sheiks
Sitting On Top Of The World is a blues standard today and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2008. But I'm willing to bet that most music fans don't know where the song originated. The Mississippi Sheiks had a hit with it in 1930. The group originated with the Chatmon family in Bolton, MS. The father Ezell Chatmon was a musician himself and led various string bands in Mississippi. He was also the uncle of blues pioneer Charlie Patton. He had three sons; Armenter Chatmon, Lonnie Chatmon and Sam Chatmon. Armenter was already performing as Bo Carter and Sam was performing as a solo too. Along with fiddle player Walter Vinson, the three brothers called their group Mississippi Sheiks after the Rudolph Valentino hit film The Sheik. They were able to secure a recording contract with Columbia's race label Okeh Records. Sitting On Top Of The World was their first recording in 1930 and their most successful as it crossed over to the mainstream and went gold. The song was written by Vinson and Sam Chatmon though it's likely they based it on other popular songs. There are plenty of rumours out there. Of course it has been covered by plenty of artists though Howlin' Wolf's 1957 recording is probably the best known version. The Mississippi Sheiks recordings are available on several comps but this 1997 Sony/Legacy comp is digitally remastered and is recommended. The Mississippi Sheiks split up in 1935 when the Chatmon brothers went back to farming. Vinson continued to perform with various other groups and he actually recorded as the Mississippi Sheiks in the early 60s and Sam Chatmon recorded in the 60s as well. Very influential group. Here's a video for I'm Sitting On Top Of The World by Mississippi Sheiks.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Song:Heard It All Before
Heard It All Before was one of the top R & B jams of the summer of 2001. Sunshine Anderson's route into the music business may seem like a fairytale but it has since turned into a legal nightmare and she is currently on the comeback trail for the second time. She was born Oct. 8, 1974 in Winston-Salem, NC and grew up in Charlotte. The story goes that Sunshine was studying criminal justice at North Carolina Central University in Durham when Wallace Sellars heard her singing while she was standing in line at the cafeteria. Sellars brought her to the attention of Soulife Records VP and veteran music producer Mike City. He signed her up and singer Macy Gray became her manager. Soulife had a distribution deal with Atlantic Records and Your Woman was released in June 2001. The album reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 200. Heard It All Before is a great song written by Anderson and City. It reached #3 on the R & B Singles chart and #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video is also hot. It helps that Sunshine is gorgeous and her singing style is earthier than some of the other singers from that time period. The follow up single Lunch Or Dinner also charted. Unfortunately, Soulife got into a legal squabble with Atlantic and Sunshine was forced to leave the label. In 2004 she signed with Music World which is owned by Matthew Knowles (Beyonce's dad). She released Sunshine At Midnight in 2007. It reached the lower level of the charts but Music World may not have promoted it very well. Then she got married and had a baby in 2007. She currently works as a cosmetologist in Atlanta and is a single mom to her daughter Skyy. She has also signed to be managed by the great R & B singer Anthony Hamilton and they are currently working on a new CD. Sunshine Anderson is a great talent so I'd like to see her be successful again. Thanks to http://www.blackamericaweb.com/ for the update. Here's the video for Heard It All Before by Sunshine Anderson.
Friday, June 25, 2010
So you probably already know that Zoila Frausto knocked out Rosi Sexton in a shocking upset. The match video you see here on Big Bad Blog Video Theatre is the complete match. For some reason, Bellator decided to post a clipped version on Youtube. Obviously it's a big win for Zoila but it's difficult to say what it means in the long run. If you watch the complete match, nothing much happened before the KO. But Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith spotted that Rosi wasn't moving her head when attempting a takedown. That's a huge mistake and Zoila took advantage of it. She said afterwards that the knee shot was planned. I dunno if I believe that. It looked like that for one moment in time, the stars aligned for Zoila and her knee struck Rosi in the forehead. The knee may have been planned but the KO cetainly wasn't. It could be interpreted as a fluke if she doesn't follow it up. You can't take one fight out of career context and suddenly upgrade or downgrade a fighter. Proceed with caution. This loss probably means that Rosi will be under medical suspension and won't be able to compete in Bellator's tournament. Could Zoila be in the tournament? I suppose. She claims that she can cut to 115 but she's never done that so she doesn't really know if she can do it. Of course the other fighters in the tournament are Megumi Fujii, Lisa Ward, Jessica Pene, Jessica Aguilar, Angela Magana, Lynn Alvarez and Aisling Daly. Bellator will set up seeds and it will be 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7 etc. Megumi Fujii is the obvious favourite. Except for Lisa Ward, none of the others have faced anyone close to Fujii's level. So it's uncharted territory for all of them. It should be fun to watch. Like their other tournaments, Bellator announced that they will to a challenger's tournament in 2001. Enjoy the video!
Album:Warren Zevon: The First Sessions
Follow Me was a minor chart hit in 1965. Like a lot of early examples of psychedelia, it has been kept alive by Rhino's Nuggets comps. But this one is a bit different because it was the first recording featuring legendary singer songwriter Warren Zevon. Of course he would become famous in the 70s with songs like Werevolves Of London. The female half of lyme and cybelle was Violet Santangelo. The two met in 1964 while attending Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. They started writing together. Zevon called himself stephen lyme and Santangelo called herself cybelle after the 1962 French film Sundays and Cybele. And the use of lower case was influenced by e.e. cummings. Very pretentious. They performed for friends and one of those friends was child actor Michael Burns from the TV series Wagon Train. His mom worked at White Whale Records, best known as the home of The Turtles. Veteran producer Bones Howe produced their first single Follow Me. He said this was his first psychedelic single and he would go on to have a lot of success with The Association. It reached #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. Their second single was a cover of Bob Dylan's If You Gotta Go, Go Now. Santangelo says that the song was selling well until a powerful radio industry figure named Bill Galvin claimed the song was sexually suggestive. That killed it and Zevon left the duo. He was replaced by guitaist Wayne Erwin. They released one single and split up. You can get Follow Me on various artists comps but Warren Zevon fans will be interested in the First Sessions CD released by Varese in 2003. All six lyme and cybelle songs are on this CD. For Warren Zevon, lyme and cybelle was much different from the recordings that would make him famous. But he had to start somewhere. Viola Santangelo left the music business and became a successful Broadway actress as Laura Kenyon. Here's a video for Follow Me by lyme and cybelle.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Song:Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy
Album:Kid Creole Redux
Because Kid Creole & The Coconuts was very difficult to classify, Sire Records seemed to have difficulty promoting them. So they were much bigger in Europe than they ever were in the US. To simply classify them as dance music is too simple as their music was a mix of several different styles. Cab Calloway was probably the biggest style influence and Latin and Brazilian music was part of the group's style as well. Group leader August Darnell was born Aug. 12, 1950 in Montreal and grew up in Bronx, NY. His full name is Thomas August Darnell Browder. He had a group in the 60s with his half brother Stony Browder Jr. called The In-Laws. Darnell became an English teacher. In 1974, the two formed Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band that mixed disco with big band and Latin rhythms. They had a gold album in 1976 but when the group faded, Darnell went to work for ZE Records as a house producer working with James Chance and others. But Darnell wanted to get back into performing and called himself Kid Creole after the Elvis Presley film King Creole. The Coconuts were three female singers led by Darnell's wife Adriana "Addy" Kaegi along with Dr. Buzzard vibraphonist Andy Hernandez AKA Coati Mundi. Darnell portrayed Kid Creole in the image of Cab Calloway with a Latin twist complete with zoot suit. The song themes usually had the girls berating Kid Creole about something like Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy. ZE had a distribution deal in England with Island Records and they made a US deal with Sire Records. Their second album Fresh Fruit in Foreign Places did well on the British dance charts. The third album Tropical Gangsters did even better in England and three singles made the top ten. Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy reached #2. For some reason. Sire retitled the album Wise Guys and sold it strictly to the club market. So Kid Creole & The Coconuts never had much success in the US because Sire didn't promote them properly. They remained a cult group. This comp is a good intro to their music. The original group split in 1985 when Darnell divorced his wife. She had a group called Boomarang. Darnell continued Kid Creole & The Coconuts. He has worked on various film and stage projects and the group has recorded occasionally. Kid Creole & The Coconuts were a lot of fun and with better promotion could have been much bigger. Here's the video for Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy by Kid Creole & The Coconuts.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
If you're familiar with the previous Toy Story films, you'll know that Woody and the other toys are owned by Andy. Of course it's inevitable that Andy is leaving home to go to college. What will he do with his toys? His mom suggests that the toys be donated to Sunnyside Daycare so kids can play with them. He decides to take Woody to college and put the other toys up in the attic. But his mom mistakenly puts them out in the trash. Woody helps them escape and tries to explain the mistake. But they won't listen and decide to go to Sunnyside Daycare. It seems very nice when they first arrive and the stuffed bear Lotso welcomes them in a very reassuring folksy tone. But they are put in a room with children way too young for the toys and they get trashed. And then Lotso puts them in cages at night. And he even re-programs Buzz Lightyear to guard them. Woody escapes and needs to get home because Andy is leaving. But with help from some friendly toys, he finds out what is wrong with Lotso and devises a plan to help his friends escape.
Of course the animation is beautiful as usual and the story is wonderful. Toy Story 3 is not just for kids. It's for everyone. I'm not gonna give away the ending but I suggest you bring a tissue. And as I said before, it sets up a sequel and some new characters. All the original voices are back including Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear. And veteran character actor Ned Beatty is fantastic as Lotso. If the character is portrayed too cartoony, it wouldn't work. But it is played as a straight villain. And Michael Keaton is funny as Ken. Toy Story 3 was directed by Lee Unkrich. He was an editor on Toy Story in 1995 and also co-directed Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo. Pixar owner John Lasseter and day one Pixar employee Andrew Stanton get sceenplay credits. But the bulk of the screenplay was written by Michael Arndt who wrote the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine. The credibility of the basic story of Andy leaving for college is the main reason the rest of the film is effective. That happens in real life. Highly recommended. Here's the trailer for Toy Story 3.
Album:The End Of History
Fionn Regan is an Irish folksinger who has been very successful crossing the Atlantic and building his fanbase on the folk festival circuit. He grew up in Bray, Ireland which is on the Irish coast. His father is a musician and the whole family worked at a seaside resort hotel. He learned piano, violin and guitar and by age ten he was performing in public and then busking all over England as a teen. He moved to Brighton, England and released a couple of EPs on the indie label Anvil Records. This got the attention of Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins and he signed Regan to his Bella Union label. The End Of History was his 2006 debut CD. Regan wrote and produced the CD himself and recorded it in an empty stone barn on a portable recorder. The album created enough buzz to earn Regan a US contract with Universal's Lost Highway roots label. Regan has toured the worldwide folk festival circuit. He recorded a second CD with producer Ethan Johns that was rejected by Lost Highway. He left Lost Highway and that CD will not be released. He moved back to Ireland and in England signed with EMI's Heavenly label. The Shadow Of An Empire was released in England Feb. 2010 but has not been picked up by a US label. Like the first CD, it's a very intimate recording done in an abandoned factory. Regan said this CD was more in line with what he wanted to do anyway. He doesn't seem to like modern technology. He is recommended to folk music fans. Here's Fionn Regan performing Hey Rabbit at the Electric Picnic Festival in Ireland 2007.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Song:Be Thankful For What You Got
Album:Smooth Grooves: Cruisin' Classics
This song was one of the biggest hits of the summer of 1974. A lot of folks thought it was by Curtis Mayfield but it was the only big hit for William DeVaughn. And it's actually a vanity record. Very unusual. He was born in 1948 in Washington, DC. He was working as a drafting technician for the US government but he grew up singing in church and always wanted to record his own songs. So he paid $900 for a recording session at Omega Studios in Philadelphia. I guess he figured he would make a recording for family and friends. But the musicians at that session were guitarist Norman Harris, drummer Earl Young, bassist Ron Baker and vibraphonist Vince Montana AKA the legendary Philly Soul rhythm section MFSB. Omega VP Frank Fioravanti liked it so much, he shopped it to record labels and sold it to Roxbury Records, a new label owned by veteran music producer Wes Farrell. Be Thankful For What You Got sold a million copies, topped the R & B singles chart and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's a soul classic frequently sampled by hip hop guys. DeVaughn is a devout Jehovah's Witness and preferred preaching to singing and delivers sermons on stage. So though he had a lesser R & B hit with Figures Can't Calculate in 1980, he lost interest in the music business though he released a new CD in 2008. Unlike Al Green, he hasn't been able to find the balance between singing and preaching. There are two versions of Be Thankful For What You Got. The single most of you have heard is 3:26. The longer album version is over seven minutes long and doesn't really add much to the song. You can get the short version on plenty of various artists comps including this one from Rhino that has songs that sound great while driving. Here's a video of Be Thankful For What You Gor by William DeVaughn.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Here's the divas four way match from last night's WWE Fatal Four Way PPV featuring Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Maryse and Alicia Fox. I can understand why the WWE wants to do theme PPVs but four way matches aren't usually very good and are subject to random title changes. Four titles changed hands on this show which proves my point. The champ can lose the title without jobbing so I suppose it can set up a properly done feud. Oops, I almost forgot that this is the WWE. The match was fairly standard for a four way match and even the ending was standard for this sort of match and it portrays the new champ Alicia Fox as a vulture winning by picking up Eve Torres' scraps. That's appropriate for a heel. Of course the problem is Alicia is not much of a wrestler with little athletic ability. At least Eve has demonstrated some athleticism though she needs to work on her quickness. And of course the crowd was silent. What else is new? Enjoy the video!
Album:The Very Best Album Ever
There were two bands in the mid-60s called The Outsiders. There's the band from Cleveland best known for the top five hit Time Won't Let Me. This other group was from Amsterdam, Holland. They were very popular in Holland but never crossed the Atlantic.They sang in English so I don't know why they weren't picked up by a US record company. Of course they have a cult following now because of the Nuggets comps. The band was led by vocalist Wally Tax and guitarist Ronnie Splinter and they wrote all the group's songs. Other members were Appie Rammers on bass, Tom Krabbendam on guitar and Leendert "Buzz" Busch on drums. The Nederbeat Sound was heavily influenced by The British Invasion but The Outsiders in particular were influenced by The Rolling Stones and especially The Pretty Things who were very popular in Holland. They even opened for The Stones at a Nov. 1965 local concert. They had several hits locally but were unknown otherwise. There were Dutch bands that crossed the pond like Tee Set and Shocking Blue so it's odd that The Outsiders were never picked up by a US record company. You can get all their hits on this EMI Europe comp. By 1967, the Nederbeat bands weren't popular anymore. The Outsiders tried to keep going but split up in 1969. Wally Tax moved to the US and with Buzz Busch had a group called Tax Free. He recorded some solo albums in the 70s and moved back to Holland in the 80s. An alcohol addiction led to a public withdrawl and then his death in 2005. Ron Splinter quit the music business but reformed The Outsiders for a reunion tour in 1997 and they still play occasional gigs. If you're a fan of mid-60s garage band music, you should check them out. Here's The Outsiders featuring Edwin de Boer on vocals performing Touch in Amsterdam 1999.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Song:Love Makes A Woman
Album:20 Greatest Hits
Barbara Acklin is an overlooked Chicago soul singer who had a top twenty hit with Love Makes a Woman in 1968. She was also an accomplished songwriter and co-wrote The Chi-Lites classic Have You Seen Her. She was born Feb. 28, 1944 in Oakland, CA and grew up in Chicago. She sang in church and in nightclubs as a teen. Her cousin Monk Higgins was a sax player and producer at Chess Records and he produced a single for her as Barbara Allen and used her as a backup singer. In 1966, she went to work as a receptionist for Brunswick Records producer Carl Davis. She kept bugging him to record her until she gave one of her songs to Jackie Wilson and Wilson had a top twenty hit with Whispers (Gettin' Louder). So Wilson got her a contract with Brunswick and her duet with Gene Chandler Show Me The Way To Go reached #30 on the R & B Singles chart. Barbara's biggest hit and signature song Love Makes A Woman reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the R & B Singles chart in 1968. The song was written by Carl Davis, Chi-Lites leader Eugene Record and arranger Sonny Sanders. This began a long professional and personal relationship with Record as they wrote many songs together including The Chi-Lites classic Have You Seen Her. And Barbara toured with The Chi-Lites later on. Barbara Acklin was a regular on the R & B charts. But her relationship with Brunswick went south when they took her single Am I The Same Girl, replaced her vocals with a piano track and released it as Soulful Strut by Young-Holt Unlimited. It was a big hit. So she continued to write songs with Record and left Brunswick for Capitol in 1974. You can get all her Brunswick hits on this 2002 comp. BTW, terrible cover. She didn't have much success at Capitol but continued to tour with The Chi-Lites. Barbara earned a lot of songwriting royalties when MC Hammer covered Have You Seen Her in 1991. Barbara Acklin was getting ready to record a new album when she got sick and died of pneumonia on Nov. 27, 1998 at age 54. Here's a video for Love Makes A Woman by Barbara Acklin.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
|Yasuko Tamada pounds Naoko Omuro|
|Rin Nakai lands a straight right|
Album:Carrying The Tradition
The Lonesome River Band have been delivering traditional bluegrass music since the early 90s. Because their lineup has changed so much, you may not know that it was the home of the very talented Dan Tyminski before he became musical director for Alison Krauss. That's him singing on this 1991 version of the Roy Acuff classic Fireball Mail. The group has gone through a lot of changes over the years but it was started by banjoist and lead singer Tim Austin along with Steve Thomas on mandolin and fiddle, Rick Williams on banjo and Jerry McMillan on bass. In 1985 they recorded an album for a small label but then signed with the bluegrass label Rebel Records and released Looking For Yourself in 1989. At this point they reorganized and brought in Banjoist Sammy Shelor from The Virginia Squires along with bassist Ronnie Bowman. Dan Tyminski was hired to play mandolin. Carrying The Tradition was their first CD with the new lineup in 1991. It topped the Bluegrass Unlimited charts. They signed with Sugar Hill Records and released Old Country Town in 1994. Then Tim Austin left The Lonesome River Band touring group but continued to work on their albums. Dan Tyminski left to take over Alison Krauss & Union Station. They were replaced by Kenny Smith of Claire Lynch's Fromt Porch String Band and veteran mandolin player Don Rigsby. All the band members have recorded solo albums and The Lonesome River Band currently records for Rural Rhythm. Their new CD Still Learning is to be released shortly. They are recommended to bluegrass fans. Here's The Lonesome River Band featuring Dan Tyminski performing Fireball Mail.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Here's the match video from last night's Bellator show in Kansas City of Lisa Ward against Stephanie Frausto. Lisa is a veteran fighter. She wants to make a statement that she wants to win this tournament. And she's an aggressive fighter anyway. I've seen her several times and she doesn't mess around. So she took Stephanie down immediately and the end result was Stephanie going to sleep at 2:01 of round one. She said she saw cartoon when she was going to sleep. Lisa was just way too experienced for Stephanie. Of course Lisa lost to Megumi Fujii three years ago via a questionable stoppage. She would like another shot at Fujii. But Lisa knows not to overlook Rosi Sexton and we will see Rosi face Zoila Frausto on next week's Bellator show. Lisa was in a Smackgirl tournament a couple of years ago. Her goal was to face Fujii but she lost to Ana Michele Taveras and Smackgirl closed anyway. Bellator has announced se3ven of the fighters for this tournament. They are Megumi Fujii, Rosi Sexton, Lisa Ward, Jessica Pene, Angela Magana, Lynn Alvarez and Aisling Daly. Elena Reid was supposed to be the other fighter but she blew out her knee. She would have been the only non-ranked fighter. Kyoko Takabayashi is the best ranked fighter available. But I don't know what they're thinking. Enjoy the video!
Song:Where To Go From Here
Album:A Piece Of What You Need
As the son of legendary British folksingers Richard & Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson is certainly a chip off the old block. He is also pals with Rufus Wainwright, another famous offspring. Teddy has been playing in his dad's band for several years and has recorded his own music since 2000. He even coaxed his mom to record after a 17 year absence. A Piece Of What You Need is his latest CD. He was born Feb. 19, 1976 in London and along his brother Kamila grew up in a Muslim community outside London. Teddy moved to Los Angeles at age 18 and made his recording debut singing backup vocals on his father's 1996 CD You? me? us?. He also produced his mom's CD Fashionably Late. Teddy signed with Virgin Records and his 2000 self titled debut CD featured a duet with Emmylou Harris. It didn't sell and he joined Rosanne Cash's band for a few years. He signed with Verve Forecast and released Seperate Ways in 2005. Teddy has gradually done better commercially and A Piece Of What You Need has been his best seller to date. It reached #10 on the British Album Chart and #19 on the US Heat chart. All the songs including Where To Go From Here were written by Teddy. But he decided to work with producer Marius de Vries after meeting him at a Rufus Wainwright session. de Vries started out as a keyboard player for the 80s group The Blow Monkeys and is best known for his work with Bjork. Teddy described A Piece Of What You Need as his pop album. He currently lives in New York City and last year toured as opening act for Elton John. Obviously Teddy Thompson has quite the pedigree and I'm sure we will hear more from him in the near future. Here's the video for Where To Go From Here by Teddy Thompson. You'll notice he likes to play the ukelele.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
For a short time in the mid-90s, Lighthouse Family was one of the most popular groups in England. Their music never hit the mainstream in North America though they did get some club and Adult Contemporary airplay. Like a lot of R & B acts, they became Northern Soul favourites. They are worth checking out. Lead singer Tunde Baiyewu (born Nov. 25, 1968 in London) and keyboard player Paul Tucker (born Ayg. 12, 1968 in London) met while studying at Newcastle in 1988. They recorded some demos and one of them got the attention of Polydor Records A & R head Colin Barlow and he signed them to a developmental deal in 1993. He signed them to a full contract after some more demos and they recorded their debut CD Ocean Drive with producer Mike Peden. He started out as bass player for the dance pop group The Chimes and has been a producer since 1993. The single Lifted didn't do well when first released in 1995 but hit the British top ten when it was re-released in 1996. The album reached #3 and went Platinum. High is from their 1997 CD Postcards From Heaven. That album reached #2 on the British charts and also went Platinum. High reached #4 in 1998 but also did very well in many other countries including topping the Austrailan charts. It also got Adult Contemporary airplay in the US. So High was probably their most successful song internationally. Their third CD Whatever Gets You Through The Day didn't do as well and the duo split up in 2003. This 2002 comp was re-released in 2006 with two bonus tracks and that's the version you want to get. It's recommended to Neo Soul fans. Tunde Baiyewu released a solo CD in 2004 and he toured England in 2007. Paul Tucker formed The Orange Lights with Jason Hart of Spiritualized and they released a CD in 2007. Here's the video for High by Lighthouse Family.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Song:All For you
Album:...Somewhere More Familiar
Sister Hazel had their biggest hit in 1997 with All For You. They've had their major label fling and now distribute their own music. They started out in Gainesville, FL in 1993. Lead singer and guitarist Ken Block and guitarist and backup singer Andrew Copeland performed as a duo. Lead guitarist Ryan Newell was in the band Waterdog. Bassist Jeff Beres was playing while studying architechture. And drummer Mark Trojanowski had been in several jazz groups. The group was named after a local nun who ran a homeless shelter. They released their debut CD on their own Croakin' Poets label in 1994. They released their second CD ...Somewhere More Familiar in 1997. But Universal re-released it when Sister Hazel signed with them. The album reached #47 on the Billboard Hot 200 and went Platinum and All For You reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's their only pop hit to date though several of their songs have done well in the Adult Oriented market. Their 2000 CD Fortress went Gold but didn't perform as well. Sister Hazel left Universal and have released their own CDs since then. Their latest CD Release came out Aug. 2009 and apparently they have a new CD out this fall. Sister Hazel has built a very strong following with their strong songwriting and musicianship and is a good example of a band that doesn't need a major label deal. Here's the video for All For You by Sister Hazel.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Song:I'd Rather Be The Devil
Album:Sweet Little Mysteries: The Island Anthology
John Martyn started out as a standard British folksinger in the 60s but transcended the genre with some innovative albums in the 70s that added jazz and electronic elements. He was born Iain David McGeachey Sept. 11, 1948 in New Malden, Surrey, England. His parents were both opera singers and they divorced when he was five so he spent most of his childhood with his grandmother in Glasgow, Scotland. He was mentored by Scottish folksinger Hamish Imlach and eventually moved to London where he was spotted by Island Records owner Chris Blackwell and Martyn was the first white solo artist signed to the label. His early albums are fairly standard folk music. But his music changed when he started exploring jazz and using an Echoplex with his guitar and playing over tape loops. He recorded a couple of albums with wife Beverly but Blackwell suggested he would be more successful as a solo artist. And it was also at this time that Martyn began his long association with Pentangle bassist Danny Thompson who added a lot of jazz elements. Martyn's 1973 album Solid Air got him a lot of attention in England and includes his classic May You Never which was covered by Eric Clapton. Though Martyn wrote most of his own songs, I'd Rather Be The Devil is a Skip James song. Martyn continued to record his eclectic music in the 70s but alcohol and drugs led to the breakup of his marriage and Martyn left Island in 1981. Phil Collins got him a contract with WEA and produced his 1981 album Glorious Fool. It was more commercial that his Island recordings and Martyn was criticized as a sellout. He went back to Island in 1984 and recorded there until 1988. This 2CD comp covers his Island recordings. He continued to record for independent labels even after his leg was amputated below the knee due to a burst cyst. John Martyn received a lifetime achievement award from the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards in 2008 and died of pneumonia on Jan. 29, 2009 at age 60. Here's John Martyn performing I'd Rather Be The Devil on The Old Grey Whistle Test 1973.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Here's the match between Madison Rayne and Roxxi for the TNA Knockouts Championship from last night's TNA PPV. I'm sure you've already heard that Roxxi is gone from TNA. If you recall, last month they had Tara leave in a career ending match. Repeating that angle means that they're trying to sell Madison as a career killer. If it worked for Randy Orton... Of course the problem is that before getting her hands on this belt, I don't think Madison had won a match in TNA. So they're setting up a jobber as a career killer. It must make sense to someone...but not me. And as I'm sure you've already heard, they didn't tell Roxxi about this until yesterday afternoon. So obviously she wasn't under contract but I'm sure she was promised a contract. And that's why this career stip was added in an impromptu manner. What if they had told Roxxi the truth and did the angle in advance? They had to lie to her. It's very shabby treatment and the angle didn't make sense to anyone but Vince Russo. Why would she or anyone else accept that stip in that manner? It's stupid. Taz even said that. And then Roxxi got busted open by the mic and the match was given less than five minutes so the ending was rushed. Dixie Carter's response to the fan outrage over Roxxi's treatment was that she likes the Knockouts but TNA wanted to do this angle meaning Madison Rayne as career killer. You get rid of a good wrestler like Roxxi to advance a ludicrous angle. Madison Rayne is not believable as a career killer. Enjoy the video.
Sixteen Candles is probably one of the most memorable songs of the doo wop era probably because of it's use in the 1972 film American Graffitti and of course it was the title of a John Hughes film. The Crests started out as a standard New York City doo wop group founded by J.T. Carter along with Talmoudge Gough, Harold Torres and Patricia Van Dross (Luther Vandross' sister). Carter brought in Johnny Mastrangelo as lead vocalist in 1956. He changed his name to Johnny Maestro. The Crests signed with Coed Records but Van Dross left before they recorded. They had several hits but Sixteen Candles was the biggest reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written and produced by Luther Dixon. He would go on to produce The Shirelles among others as Scepter Records house producer. You can get all The Crests hits on this comp from Collectables. Johnny Maestro left The Crests to go solo in 1960 and eventually had success with The Brooklyn Bridge hit The Worst That Could Happen in 1969. He continued to tour until his death on Mar. 24, 2010 at age 70. James Ancrum replaced Maestro in The Crests and T.K. Carter led a version of the group on the oldies circuit for years. Carter sold the rights to The Crests in the 90s to lead singer Tommy Mara and Mara leads them today. Carter is in a group called Starz. Here's Johnny Maestro and Brooklyn Bridge performing Sixteen Candles and The Worst That Could Happen on Doo Wop Gold.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Song:The Road Goes On Forever
Album:The Party Never Ends: Songs You Know From The Times You Can't Remember
Robert Earl Keen is one of several singer songwriters who emerged from Texas in the late 80s. I guess he could be described as a country artist because that's where he has been successful. Of course it's not that simple. The Road Goes On Forever is one of his signature songs. He was born Jan. 11, 1956 in Houston and started writing poetry as a teen and majored in English at Texas A & M University. Lyle Lovett was a neighbour at the time and taught Keen to play guitar. After graduating in 1980, he wrote for a newspaper and started performing in clubs. He self financed the 1984 EP No Kinda Dancer and moved to Nashville to get a record contract. But that didn't go well and he moved back to Austin. He signed with Sugar Hill Records and The Road Goes on Forever was on his 1989 debut CD West Textures. He made a few more CDs for Sugar Hill and those recordings are covered on this comp. He has also recorded for Arista and has done DVDs for Koch Records. Keen currently records for Lost Highway Records and his latest CD Rose Hotel was released in Sept. 2009. Those who are fans of alt country or roots music should check out Robert Earl Keen. Here's Robert Earl Keen performing The Road Goes On Forever at the 2008 NCAA Final Four March 2008.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Song:Need Your Love So Bad
Album:The Very Best Of Little Willie John
Little Willie John is best remembered today as the man who originally recorded Peggy Lee's smash hit fever. But he was a tremendous singer and had several more R & B hits in the 50s. Sadly a volatile temper and a drinking problem led to an early death. He was born William Edward John Nov. 15, 1937 in Cullendale, AR. and grew up in Detroit. He was nicknamed Little Willie John because he was only 5'4". His sister Mable John recorded for Motown and Stax and his son Keith John was a backup singer for Stevie Wonder. He started out in the family gospel group until he was discovered by Johnny Otis. A stint singing with sax player Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams brought John to the attention of King Records producer Henry Glover and he signed in 1955. His first single All Around The World reached #5 on the R & B singles chart and Need Your Love So Bad did the same thing. The song was written by John's older brother Metris John Jr. Fever topped the R & B charts and would turn out to be John's biggest hit. Of course it has been overshadowed by Peggy Lee's much bigger hit version of Fever. He had several more R & B hits but was dropped by King in 1963. This comp from Collectables is a good intro to his music. John's short temper and drinking problems led to a fatal stabbing at a show in Seattle in 1964. He was convicted of manslaughter and sent to Washington State Peniteniary. After his appeal was denied, Little Willie John contracted pneumonia and died on May 26, 1968 at age 30. Another great talent who left us way too soon. Little Willie John was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996. Here's a video for Need Your Love So Bad by Little Willie John.
Friday, June 11, 2010
OK Gang. Here's the match video for Megumi Fujii vs Sarah Schneider at last night's Bellator show in Hollywood, FL. Megumi got her very first TKO win in round three and she is now 20-0. Some fans were surprised it went to round three. But if you watch the match, Sarah is clearly in survival mode. She seemed to be more interested in going the distance than trying to win. Megumi kept taking Sarah down and the ref kept standing them up because all Sarah did was wrap her legs around Megumi to prevent her from doing anything. She just seemed satisfied to hang in there. Megumi took her down again in round three and this time she was able to mount her and pound her until the ref stopped the fight. When a fighter takes a defensive posture, it can be difficult to finish. It was no big deal but Megumi said afterwards that she wasn't satisfied with her performance. Her performance was just fine. Megumi dedicated this victory to her father who celebrated his 66th birthday yesterday. Next Thursday Lisa Ward will face Stephanie Frausto. If you're wondering about Tammie Schneider, that was Bellator's fault. They put it on their website. Maybe they got confused. What else is new? And though they haven't announced it yet, Rosi Sexton is supposed to face Zoila Frausto on June 27. Bellator has also signed the undefeated Jessica Pene for the 115lb tournament and I understand that Jessica Aguilar and Angela Magana are likely to be in it as well. I think Bellator said that they've signed seven ranked fighters. God knows when they will annouce all this. It doesn't appear that they will bring any more Japanese over. Yuka Tsuji just had shoulder and knee surgery and will return next year. VALKYRIE Lightweight Champ V Hajime is booked for the SHOOT BOXING S-Girls Cup on Aug 29. Saori Ishioka will be in the JEWELS tournament and I think Sally Krumdiack will be in that tournament too. I think they should look at Kyoko Takabayashi (11-4) who won over Emi Fujino on the Apr. VALKYRIE show and Aisling Daly might be interesting. Obviously they're going for ranked fighters. Enjoy the video!
Song:Bring It With You When You Come
Album:The Best Of Cannon's Jug Stompers
Banjo player Gus Cannon was a pioneer in jug band music. His late 1920s recordings served as a bridge between minstrel show music and the blues. And he was around long enough to enjoy the 60s blues boom. He was born Sept. 12, 1883 in Red Banks, MS. His tombstone actually gives his birth year as 1874. At age 12 he moved to W.C.Handy's home in Clarksdale and taught himself banjo using a frying pan and a raccoon skin. He ran away from home at age 15 and entertained people at sawmills and work camps in Mississippi. Cannon learned to play guitar and fiddle and then moved to Memphis in 1907. He started playing in local jug bands and met harmonica player Noah Lewis and guitarist Ashley Thompson. These three became Cannon's Jug Stompers and toured the medicine show circuit in the south for decades. Cannon first recorded as Banjo Joe for Paramount Records in 1927. With the success of the Memphis Jug Band, Cannon's Jug Stompers recorded for RCA Victor in 1928-30 and those are the historic recordings on this CD from Yazoo. Cannon wrote a lot of folk and blues standards including Bring It With You When You Come and Walk Right In. His music is still very engaging today and was very influential on others. Gus Cannon continued to tour the south for decades but didn't record until the blues boom of the late 50s-early 60s. Gus Cannon died on Oct. 15, 1979 at age 96. Here's a video for Bring It With You When You Come by Cannon's Jug Stompers.