Sunday, November 30, 2014
Song:She'd Give Anything
Album:Today's Country At Its Best
She'd Give Anything was one of two top five country hits for Boy Howdy. They were together from 1990 to 1996 so they split up before they could have any kind of longevity. Boy Howdy were from Los Angeles. Jeffrey Steele was lead singer, bassist and songwriter. He recorded a song for the 1987 various artists CD A Town South Of Bakersfield produced by Dwight Yoakam's producer Pete Anderson. He formed Boy Howdy in 1990 with brothers Cary (guitar, fiddle, mandolin) and Larry Park (guitar). They are the sons of bluegrass musician Ray Park. The Parks had worked with Randy Meissner and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Hugh Wright was the drummer. An independent release of When Johnny Comes Marching Home got them a record deal at Curb Records. Chris Farren was hired to produce and he wrote most of Boy Howdy's songs with Steele. Curb wanted to change the group name to New Frontier but Nashville Now host Ralph Emery liked the name Boy Howdy and he convinced Curb to let them keep it. Their 1992 CD Welcome To Howdywood didn't sell. The single A Cowboy's Born With A Broken Heart reached #12 on the Country Singles chart. Hugh Wright was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. He was in a coma for five months. After rehab, he returned to Boy Howdy July 1993. Curb released the single She'd Give Anything and it reached #4 on the Country Singles chart. Curb wanted to release an album but Boy Howdy hadn't recorded enough songs for a full album. So Curb released an EP instead. The second single from the EP They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore reached #2 on the Country Singles chart. Curb never released those songs on a full length CD. That's why I am suggesting you get She'd Give Anything on this K-Tel various artists budget CD. The EP is available but too expensive. Boy Howdy's next full length CD Born This Way in 1995 just didn't do well and there was no hit single. Boy Howdy split up and Steele moved to Nashville to start a solo career. He recorded an album for Curb but it wasn't released. He released a CD on Monument in 2001 and has released several CDs since then with no success. But he has had success writing songs for Rascal Flatts and others. And he was a judge on the TV talent show Nashville Star. Cary and Larry Park are session musicians. Here's the video for She'd Give Anything by Boy Howdy.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Song:Ring My Bell
Album:Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Official Soundtrack
I think most music fans are familiar with the 1979 Anita Ward hit Ring My Bell. I actually like this reggae cover of Ring My Bell better than the original. It went nowhere when it was released in 1979 but was rediscovered when it appeared on the 2003 CD Hustle! Reggae Disco. That led to it appearing in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Of course the music that appears in those games can amass a big following. And this record is really obscure. I'm not sure who the Blood Sisters are but I have my suspicions. The man behind this record is British record producer Neville King. He owned a couple of labels including NK Records and Sound City in the mid-70s. One of the groups he produced was One Blood with brothers Errol, Ewan, Paul and Trevor Robinson. They recorded singles as One Blood and were also King's studio band. So they backed up anyone recording for King. There was a girl group called Simplicity. They were London schoolgirls Sandra Blake, Millicent Taffe, Yvonne Webley and Patricia Rowe. They scored a hit in 1977 with To Be In Love for Jamaican producer Coxsone Dodd. King stole them away from Dodd and produced a couple of singles. But continuing to release them as Simplicity probably wasn't a good idea in case Dodd sued him for using the name. So I think he changed the name to Blood Sisters to avoid Dodd. They were also known as Nairobi Sisters. They only recorded a few singles. Ring My Bell got a boost when it appeared on the various artists CD Hustle! Reggae Disco and then in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The soundtrack for the game is available and it is currently the only place you can get Blood Sisters recording of Ring My Bell. Later on, Neville King discovered Maxi Priest. The group Simplicity still performs in England. I could be way off on my thinking. But it's odd that the members of Blood Sisters were never identified and I don't think that was an accident. Here's a video for Ring My Bell by Blood Sisters.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Album:Christmas Time Is Here
So if you're going to buy a Christmas CD, you might as well buy one by one of today's great jazz singers. I have been a Dianne Reeves fan since the early 80s. She's from Denver. Trumpet legend Clark Terry and her cousin George Duke got her started and she recorded for Blue Note from 1987 to 2005. Christmas Time Is Here was released in 2004 around the time that Dianne was working on the George Clooney film Good Night and Good Luck. She records Christmas standards in her own style. So even Dianne Reeves fans should enjoy the CD just for the music. The Christmas Waltz was written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Frank Sinatra. It was the B-side of Sinatra's 1954 recording of White Christmas. Sinatra later recorded it on his 1957 album A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra. The song was never a hit but it has been recorded by many singers including Peggy Lee, Mel Torme and Harry Connick Jr. who charted with his 2003 recording of Christmas Waltz. Dianne produced Christmas Time Is Here with long time pianist Peter Martin. Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo plays the guitar solo. Other musicians are Steve Wilson on sax, Joe Locke on vibes, Reuben Rogers on bass, Gregory Hutchinson on drums and Munyungo Jackson on percussion. It's available as a budget CD. Dianne Reeves currently records for Concord. Her latest CD Beautiful Life was released Feb. 2014. Here's a video for Christmas Waltz by Dianne Reeves.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Though there wasn't any drama in this episode of The Ultimate Fighter, there was an overlong Harley-Davidson commercial. The fight on this episode was Jessica Penne vs Aisling Daly in the quarter finals. They're not buddies but they don't hate each other. So other than Aisling getting a visit from her teammate Conor McGregor, this episode emphasized the boredom of the TUF house. So I guess the drama comes out of boredom. I'm not crazy about either fighter. Jessica Penne is a really good 105lb fighter. But in the past she has been overmatched at 115. I don't think she's strong enough to compete with the top fighters in that weight class. Aisling Daly should be able to outmuscle Jessica if she keeps it standing. But she has no ground game and I've seen her stuck in bottom position in the past. Round one was very close but Aisling scored enough to win it 10-9. Jessica couldn't take her down. She did better in round two and I thought it was tied after two rounds. In the extra round, Jessica finally did what was needed to beat Aisling. She took her down and trapped her in bottom position. She was active enough so the ref didn't stand them up. By the time Aisling got out from under, it was too late in the round. Lay and pray is not my favourite strategy by any means. But it's the exact strategy Jessica needed to win. I was not surprised that she went that route. Jessica Penne wins and moves on to the semi final. Next week will be the other two quarter final matches with Carla Esparza vs Tecia Torres and Joanne Calderwood vs Rose Namajunas. I am looking forward to those fights. Enjoy the video!
Song:I Believe in Father Christmas
Album:A Rock 'n' Roll Christmas
Greg Lake is best known as the lead singer and bassist for Emerson Lake & Palmer and a founding member of King Crimson. He released I Believe In Father Christmas as a one off single in 1975 and it was a big hit in England. It is now a Christmas perennial. Lake was born Nov. 10, 1947 in Bournemouth, Dorset, England. Growing up, his big hero was Cliff Richard & The Shadows guitarist Hank Marvin. Lake played in a few bands in the 60s until his childhood pal Robert Fripp asked him to play bass in King Crimson. That group were innovators of progressive rock with Court Of The Crimson King. Lake left King Crimson in 1970 and Keith Emerson was putting together a progressive rock band. He liked Lake's singing in King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer was born. Lake wrote and sang ELP's biggest hit Lucky Man. After touring to support the 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery, ELP went on hiatus. During that hiatus, Lake released the single I Believe In Father Christmas. It reached #2 on the British Singles chart. Lake wrote the song with King Crimson lyricist Peter Sinfield. The song protests the commercialization of Christmas and the loss of innocence. It was a one off single. Lake didn't record an album at the time and the song was added to ELP shows when they returned in 1977. ELP recorded a different version of the song on Works Vol. II. I Believe In Christmas is now a Christmas classic in England. Plenty of artists have covered it. You can get it on many various artists Christmas CDs. A Rock 'n' Roll Christmas is very cheap and recommended to those looking for a rock Christmas CD. ELP first split up in 1979 and the band has reformed frequently over the years. Lake was also a member of the 80s band Asia. He has only recorded solo a couple of times and he is currently working on a live theater presentation of his life and career. I Believe In Father Christmas is an interesting sidebar of Greg Lake's career. Here's the video for I Believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Song:Easier Said than Done
Album:Only Rock 'n' Roll 1955-1965
I'm sure you have all heard Easier Said Than Done as it topped the charts in 1963 and is still a staple of oldies radio. But you probably don't know anything about The Essex. The most interesting thing about The Essex is they were all active Marines when they recorded Easier Said Than Done. Guitarist Walter Vickers and drummer Rodney Taylor were stationed in Okinawa, Japan. After being transferred to Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, they formed The Essex with fellow marines Billy Hill, Rudolph Johnson and lead singer Anita Humes. Another Marine, William Linton, wrote Easier Said Than Done. A demo got them a record deal with Roulette Records. Easier Said Than Done topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. It was released as a B-side to Are You Going My Way but DJs flipped it over and the rest is history. The Essex weren't happy with the record. They thought it was too short. They recorded three albums but weren't able to score another big hit. You can get Easier Said Than Done on this various artists budget CD from Rhino. Because they were Marines, the Essex couldn't tour and then Johnson was transferred to Japan. Roulette attempted to record Anita Humes as a solo artist but that was unsuccessful. She performed occasionally until her 2010 death. Rodney Taylor was murdered in 1966. Here's a video for Easier Said Than Done by The Essex.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Album:The Definitive Collection
Though Jacob's Ladder wasn't country singer Mark Wills' biggest hit, it was his first top ten hit in 1996. I would describe him as a second tier neo traditionalist country singer. He had some chart success but didn't reach the heights of the big stars of the era. He was born Daryl Mark Williams Aug. 6, 1973 in Cleveland, TN and grew up in Blue Ridge, GA. He grew up listening to country music but got into hard rock as a teen. Then he got back into country and won a local talent contest. While playing a local club, he was spotted by veteran producers Carson Chamberlain and Keith Stegall. They brought him to Nashville and Wills signed with Mercury Records. They produced his 1996 debut CD mark Wills. Jacob's Ladder was the second single and it reached #6 on the Country Singles chart. The song was written by veteran songwriter Tony Martin and Cal & Brenda Sweat. Martin wrote the Joe Diffie hit Third Rock From The Sun. Though Places I've Never Been also hit the top ten, the album sales were disappointing. Wills' 1997 album Wish You Were Here got him established. It was certified Platinum and the single Wish You Were Here was his first number one hit single. His 2000 CD Permanently also did well and Wills' cover of Brian McKnight's Back At One was a top five hit. Wills was starting to fade. The duet with Jamie O'Neal I'm Not Going To Do Anything Without You was disappointing. He had one final hurrah when 19 Somethin' from Wills' 2003 Greatest Hits CD became his second and final number one country hit. After one more CD, Wills left Mercury. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. Since then Wills has recorded for small labels. His latest CD was released in June 2011. He still tours but Mark Wills is not heading back to the top of the country charts anytime soon. Here's Mark Wills performing Jacob's Ladder on Deep Rock Drive April 2008.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Album:The World From The Side Of The Moon
Phillip Phillips won season 11 of American Idol in 2012. He's a singer songwriter similar to guys like Dave Matthews. Home was released right after AI and is his biggest hit to date. He was born Sept. 20, 1990 in Albany, GA and his family moved to Leesburg, GA when he was 12. His brother-in-law Benjamin Neil got him into music and they formed a band. Phillips says his favourite singer is Jonny Lang and he is also a big Dave Matthews fan. A major criticism of Phillips is he sounds too much like Matthews. After winning a local talent contest, Phillips unsuccessfully auditioned for America's Got Talent and then successfully auditioned for American Idol in Savannah, GA. He had kidney stones while on AI and had that taken care of after he won. There was concern that he might have to leave the show. Phillips writes most of his own songs. But Home was chosen by AI mentor Jimmy Iovine as Phillips' AI coronation song. The song was written by Greg Holden who planned to record it himself. His publishing company brought in songwriter Drew Pearson who wrote The Zac Brown Band hit Where The River Goes to help him. They submitted the song to AI. Pearson produced the record and Home reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was played on TV a lot. Phillips wanted to use one of his own songs for his coronation so he wasn't happy with the decision to use Home. But it was successful. Phillips wrote most of the songs on his debut CD The World From The Side Of The Moon. The CD was produced by Gregg Wattenberg who has worked with other AI artists. The CD sold over a million copies and was certified Platinum. Phillips' second CD Behind The Light was released May 2014 and it didn't do nearly as well as the first one. And there were no hit singles. This kind of brief success only to be forgotten is typical of AI winners. There's nothing wrong with him but he sounds too much like other successful singer songwriters. And that's why I have always said American Idol is a double edged sword. It can get an artist to the top of the charts but it can't keep him there. Here's the video for Home by Phillip Phillips.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Here's the video of Paige VanZant vs Kailin Curran from last night's UFC show in Austin, TX. The fight was on UFC Fight Pass so a lot of fans missed it and it was Fight of the Night so I know you want to see it. Paige was one of the Invicta contracts Zuffa purchased to stock The Ultimate Fighter 20. But Paige was too young to be on the show. Kailin is from Hawaii and has fought a couple of times for PXC in Guam. Both fighters lack experience. This fight was originally set for the Halifax UFC show in October. But Paige was recovering from a back injury so the fight was delayed for six weeks. The other thing is for the last couple of years, Paige trained at Team Alpha Male in California. Urijah Faber said he hadn't seen Paige recently. It turns out she moved back to her home town of Reno, NV and switched to Reno Academy of Combat. You know who else trains there? Amateur female fighter Taylor Stratford. In Paige's corner was RAC owner and former heavyweight fighter Rick Collup and Bellator fighter Hector Ramirez. Maybe Paige needed a change and sleeping in your own bed at home can be very reassuring for a young fighter. The first round was very close. Kailin got a couple of takedowns and though Paige defended well and came back late in the round. I scored it 10-9 for Paige but the judges could have scored it the other way especially in Texas. I thought they both looked tired but who would be fresher in round two? Though Kailin got a couple of takedowns, Paige did a lot of damage in the clinch with punches and knees. Her gymnastics background really came in handy. Kailin didn't have an answer for any of that so I scored the round 10-9 for Paige. The fight is close enough that both fighters should try for a round three finish. But Paige went back to the clinch which was very effective in round two. Kailin had nothing for her and Paige took her down near the fence and pounded her until the ref stopped the fight. The stoppage might have been a little early but not by much. Kailin was not defending herself. Paige VanZant won her UFC debut and looked good enough that the fight was named Fight of the Night. Paige won't be on UFC Fight Pass prelims anymore. A star is born...maybe. I want to see how she does against a higher level fighter. Remember Tecia Torres beat Paige in Invicta. And Paige wants revenge. It shows that sometimes moving home to familiar surroundings can calm a fighter and give her renewed focus. Enjoy the video!
Song:So Nice To Be With You
Album:Nice To Be With You: All Time Greatest Performances
Gallery scored a top five hit in 1972 with Nice To Be With You. Though they are perceived as a one hit wonder, they had a couple of other hits so they technically aren't one hit wonders. But most fans will only remember Nice To Be With You. The lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of Gallery was Jim Gold. He was born Jan. 12, 1947 in Detroit. He started writing songs and playing guitar as a teen. In 1971, Gold was working as a welder during the day and playing clubs at night. He was spotted by Funk Brothers guitarist Dennis Coffey and was signed to Sussex Records which was also the home of Bill Withers. Gold wrote Nice To Be With You and Coffey produced the record. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gold thought he was a solo artist. But Sussex wanted a band and gave the act the name Gallery. Gold formed a band and went out on tour. They scored two more top 30 hits with a cover of the Mac Davis song I Believe In You and Big City Miss Ruth Ann. Gallery recorded a second album Gallery Featuring Jim Gold that didn't sell. Sussex ran into financial problems after Bill Withers won a lawsuit for back royalties. They closed in 1976 and that was the end of Gallery. This comp from Fuel 2000 has most of the two albums. When Sussex owner Clarence Avant started his new label Tabu, Gold recorded a couple of solo albums in the late 70s. He hasn't recorded since then but he still plays locally in Detroit. And I'm sure he gets plenty of royalty cheques for Nice To Be With You. Here's Gallery performing Nice To Be With You 1972.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Album:Under A Painted Sky
Jazz singer Judy Wexler works mostly on the west coast. She grew up in Los Angeles listening to her father's record collection. She took piano lessons and got into theater as a teen. She studied theater and classical piano at University of California Santa Cruz. After graduating, she moved to San Francisco to work in theater. She met her future husband and he was a big jazz fan so they started going to the Keystone and other local jazz clubs. She did some acting when they moved to Los Angeles. But she also studied jazz at Dick Grove Music School. Judy recorded her debut CD Easy On The Heart in 2005 and that earned her a record deal with Jazzed Media. Her 2008 CD Dreams & Shadows did well on the jazz charts. She records mostly standards. Wonderful Wonderful is from her 2011 CD Under A Painted Sky. Wonderful Wonderful was written by Brill Building songwriters Sherman Edwards and Ben Raleigh and it was a big hit for Johnny Mathis in 1957. It's not a song I see covered much by jazz musicians so that makes Judy's recording interesting. The pianist and arranger is Alan Pasqua who has been playing sessions since the 70s with Tony Williams, Carlos Santana and Bob Dylan and many others. The alto sax solo is by Bob Sheppard who has worked with Chick Corea, Billy Childs and many others. Other musicians include Walt Fowler on trumpet, Bob Mintzer on tenor sax, Larry Koonse on guitar, Darek Oles on bass, Steve Hass on drums and Alex Acuna on percussion. Jazz vocal fans should check out the CD. Judy's latest CD What I See was released on Apr. 2013. She has a new arranger Jeff Colella who also works with singer Sylvia Brooks. Here's a video for Wonderful Wonderful by Judy Wexler.
Friday, November 21, 2014
|VV Mei, Ayaka Hamasaki|
Song:Up All Night
Album:Write You A Song
Jon Pardi made a big splash on the country charts with his debut CD Write You A Song and the single Up All Night. He was born May 20, 1985 in Dixon, Ca which is near Sacramento. Pardi was a big Hank Williams Jr. fan growing up and liked to imitate him at family functions. He was in bands as a teen and was in the band Northern Comfort while attending college. Pardi moved to Nashville in 2008 and worked as a lifeguard while writing songs. He got a publishing deal and that's where he met his songwriting partner and producer Bart Butler. Butler had worked with Dierks Bentley and Bentley's frequent songwriting partner Brett Beavers. This led to a deal with Bentley's label Capitol Nashville. Up All Night reached #10 on the Country Singles chart in 2013. The song was written by Pardi, Butler and Beavers. The CD Write You A Song was released Jan. 2014. Pardi is currently touring with Alan Jackson. The one criticism of Pardi is he sounds too much like Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line. So his big challenge is to distinguish himself from other country singers. But even if he fizzles, Pardi could still have a long career as a songwriter. Here's the video for Up All Night by Jon Pardi.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
This episode of The Ultimate Fighter 20 begins with a Team Melendez slumber party to celebrate Rose Namajunas' win. Some of the girls get drunk and some go to another room to sleep. Felice Herrig vs Randa Markos is the first quarter final. Anthony Pettis has a problem because Carla Esparza has been vocal about not training or even being in the same room with potential opponents. Some other fighters don't care about that. Pettis has a team meeting and his mistake is he puts this issue to a vote. It's a mistake because as he admits later, he can't enforce the result of the vote. Of course Carla, Felice and Jessica Penne are pals so they vote together and training sessions are split in two. Randa ignores this and tells the coaches she is coming in for the second training session to work on cardio. All hell breaks loose. And Pettis isn't there on that day. The coaches can't deal with it. One of them tells Carla what all of us are thinking. She's being silly. When Pettis returns, he admits he can't force Randa to do anything. The team thing is over. Carla and Felice harass Randa. Randa ignores them which makes them angrier. There was also a coaches trivia challenge which was a waste of time. I have covered Felice Herrig's entire career going back to the Fight Girls reality show. And there are two things I can tell you about her. She likes to use animosity towards her opponent to motivate herself. Sometimes she needs to create animosity when it doesn't exist. Manufactured drama. Most fighters don't need to do that. The second is Felice is a kickboxer with zero ground game. Randa knows this so her goal is to take Felice down and submit her. And Randa does that with a very slick scarf hold armbar. You don't see that every day. Anyone thinking this loss would shut Felice up is dreaming. But the real problem seems to be with Carla who offers to fight Randa right there. BTW, I don't expect these two to face each other on TUF. It could happen at the finale. Randa is a poker face and won despite the harassment. Carla is the complete opposite and it could cost her. Next week will have Aisling Daly vs Jessica Penne. Enjoy the video!
Song:Doin' It Right
Album:First Decade/Greatest Hits
The Powder Blues Band have been around since the late 70s and though they tour internationally, they have been very successful in their native Canada. Doin' It Right is probably their best known song. The leader of Powder Blues Band is lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Tom Lavin. Lavin is from Chicago but he moved to Vancouver in the 70s. He was the guitarist for Prism on their 1977 debut album. He formed Powder Blues Band as a house band for a Vancouver club. They started out playing blues covers and then Lavin started writing songs. The band included Lavin's brother Jack Lavin on bass, Willie & The Walkers leader Willie MacCalder on keyboards, Wayne Kozak, Gordon Bertram and Dave Woodward on sax, Mark Hasselbach on trumpet and Duris Maxwell of Skylark on drums. They recorded the album Uncut and after every record company in Canada rejected it, they released it themselves. When Doin' It Right got airplay on Canadian radio, RCA Canada picked up Uncut and Powder Blues got a US record deal with Liberty Records. Powder Blues Band won the 1981 Juno for Most Promising Group of the Year. They recorded three albums in the early 80s. They had some chart success in Canada and became a popular concert attraction. They won the 1986 W.C. Handy Award for Best Foreign Blues Band. This comp is a good intro to their music. Lavin still leads Powder Blues Band. They last recorded in 2004. Lavin has produced albums for Stony Plain Records and he is the director of the Pacific Audio Visual Institute in Vancouver. Here's Powder Blues Band performing Doin' It Right on the TV show On Stage in Edmonton 1991.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Song:Eye Of The Tiger
Eye Of the Tiger topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks in 1982. As I'm sure you know, it was the theme of the film Rocky III. Survivor are from Chicago. Jim Peterik was lead singer and guitarist of The Ides Of March who scored with Vehicle in 1970. Then Peterik was in the jazz rock group Chase. As you may know, most of Chase died in a 1974 plane crash. Peterik and bassist Dennis Keith Johnson were supposed to be on that plane but couldn't make it. That's where the band name Survivor comes from. After recording a 1976 solo album, Peterik formed Survivor with Johnson, drummer Gary Smith, lead singer Dave Bickler and guitarist Frankie Sullivan. Sullivan was in the band Mariah who released an album on United Artists in 1976. Peterik and Sullivan had worked on jingles and wrote all of Survivor's songs. They signed with Scotti Bros. Records who were distributed by Atlantic at the time. After their 1980 debut album Survivor, Johnson and Smith were replaced by Stephan Ellis and Marc Droubay. Peterik thought Johnson and Smith were jazz musicians and he wanted a rock group. The album Premonition was released in 1981. Then Scotti Bros. moved to Columbia Records. Sylvester Stallone heard the Survivor single Poor Man's Son and he asked Peterik to write a song for Rocky III. At first Peterik thought the title Eye Of The Tiger was a little too obvious and he was going to call the song Survival. But sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice. The song was a huge hit of course. Dave Bickler was forced to leave Survivor due to vocal cord problems. Jimi Jamison was the new lead singer for the 1984 album Vital Signs. Survivor had four more top ten hits including Burning Heart from Rocky IV. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Survivor faded and split up in 1989. Jamison continued to tour as Survivor. He eventually reformed with Peterik and Sullivan but Jamison seemed to prefer leading his own version of Survivor. Bickler returned to Survivor and they toured for a couple of years. Then Peterik left and Sullivan won the legal battle with Jamison for the Survivor name. Jamison replaced Bickler. This back and forth with Jamison would continue until his death on Sept. 1, 2014. Bickler had returned to Survivor and they were on tour at the time but that has been cancelled. Here's the video for Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Song:Crush On You
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of The Jets
The music business has a long history of family groups aimed at the teen market like The Jackson 5 and The Osmonds. The Jets were a family group who had success in the 80s with frothy pop songs like Crush On You. The Wolfgramm family moved from their native Tonga to Minneapolis in 1965. There were 17 children and eight of them formed The Jets. The oldest was Leroy Wolfgramm on guitar followed by Eddie Wolfgramm on tenor sax, Eugene Wolfgramm on congas and alto sax, Heinrich Wolfgramm on bass, Rudy Wolfgramm on drums, Kathi Wolfgramm on keyboards and Elizabeth and Moana Wolfgramm on lead vocals. They signed with MCA Records and their debut album The Jets was released in 1985. The producers were David Z (David Rivkin) who worked with Prince. His brother is Prince drummer Bobby Z. The other producer was former Slade drummer Don Powell. Crush On You was the second single and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by former Raydio bassist Jerry Knight and studio musician Aaron Zigman. They wrote several songs on the album. The album was certified Platinum and the single You Got It All was also a top five hit. After a Christmas album, Magic was released in 1987 also produced by Powell. They had three more top ten hits. Eugene Wolfgramm left The Jets in 1988 to form Boys Club as Gene Hunt. The Jets 1989 album Believe did not do well and MCA dropped them. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Elizabeth attempted a solo career. Today The Jets are still touring. They have recorded gospel CDs and a couple aimed at the nostalgia market. If you were around in the 80s, I'm sure you will remember The Jets. You may wonder why you listened to them in the first place. Here's the video for Crush on You by The Jets.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Song:Let Her Go
Album:All The Little Lights
Passenger is another singer songwriter attempting to hide behind a band name. Let Her Go was a surprise smash hit in 2012. Passenger is Mike Rosenberg. He was born May 17, 1984 in Brighton and Hove, England. His father is from New Jersey and his mother is British. He wrote songs at an early age. His father worked in film and introduced him to Jamie Catto of Faithless and this led to a gig on a 2002 benefit show where he met Andrew Phillips and they started working together. They formed The Mike Rosenberg Band which was changed to Passenger. Passenger released an album in 2007 and then split up. Rosenberg kept the name Passenger and moved to Australia. All The Little Lights was Rosenberg's third album as Passenger. A Dutch fan emailed Rosenberg asking if he could promote Let Her Go. The song grew from there and got a big boost when it was used in a Budweiser commercial shown during Super Bowl XLVII. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was an international chart topper. Rosenberg is unlikely to have another hit like that. But it got him a deal with Nettwerk Records and he has been very successful on tour. He's buddies with Ed Sheeran and has opened for him. He works with Aussie musicians on his albums and they also tour with him. But it is not officially a band. His latest CD Whispers was released June 2014. Here's the video for Let Her Go by Passenger.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Here's the match video for Jessica Eye vs Leslie Smith from last night's UFC show in Mexico City. This is one of those fights that is not for the squeamish. If you can't stand the sight of blood, don't watch it. The main reason Jessica lost her last fight to Alexis Davis is she wasn't aggressive enough. She acknowledged that it was a missed opportunity and she would never allow that to happen again. Opportunity is what Leslie Smith is all about. She did well as a late replacement losing to Sarah Kaufman and then won by TKO over Jessamyn Duke. Jessica looked great in round one. She was quicker than I had seen her fight over the last couple of years. Leslie couldn't keep up with her. The key blow in the fight was a right cross to Leslie's ear with a minute left in the round. Her ear burst and there was blood all over the place. Like a lot of fighters, Leslie has cauliflower ears. It's an occupational hazard. We don't see this sort of thing often but it does happen. I thought they should have stopped the fight between rounds because the ear was only going to get worse and the fight would have to be stopped anyway. The ear was a target that Jessica was going to go after. And she should go after it. She's trying to win the fight. Not surprisingly, ref Herb Dean stopped the fight about a minute into round two. And the ringside doctor advised him to stop the fight. Leslie said in Spanish that she wanted to continue. But she admitted afterwards she didn't know how bad the ear looked. The last thing the UFC needed was Leslie Smith's ear laying on the mat. And that could have happened. One who can identify with Leslie's problem is veteran WWE wrestler Mick Foley. Foley lost an ear while working a WCW European tour in the early 90s. Foley declared that Leslie is his favourite fighter and he tweeted her a picture of himself after he lost his ear. So Leslie may have lost the fight but I think she gained a lot of respect for her willingness to continue. And Jessica got a big win. I'd like to see her face Jessica Andrade in Brazil. That could be fight of the night. Enjoy the video!
Album:The Temptations Give Love At Christmas
Around this time of year I always get asked about Christmas CDs. AccuRadio could play anything at random. So if something is played and I have a decent video clip, I could do it. The Temptations scored a top ten hit with Silent Night in 1968 and I think their version is very popular today. They recorded Silent Night three times. The first time they recorded it was for the 1970 album The Temptations Christmas Card. It was released after Ball Of Confusion. The group at the time was Dennis Edwards, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin and Otis Williams. Kendricks sang lead on Silent Night. The album was very successful. The second time they recorded Silent Night was on the 1980 album The Temptations Give Love At Christmas. This was right after they returned to Motown after recording two albums for Atlantic. Dennis Edwards had just returned from a modest solo career. You have to remember Edwards didn't get along with Otis Williams which is why Edwards left The Temptations in the first place. The other two members were Richard Street and new addition Glenn Leonard. Street joined The Temptations in 1971 and was a mainstay of the group until the 90s. Very underrated guy. The third time The Temptations recorded Silent Night was for the 2001 CD The Best Of The Temptations Christmas. Williams had recently brought in G.C. Cameron as lead singer to replace Barrington "Bo" Henderson. Other members were Ron Tyson, Harry McGilberry and Terry Weeks. All three CDs are available as budget CDs so take your pick. I like the 1980 album best. Any one of them would make for a great R & B Christmas. Here are The Temptations performing Silent Night around 1997. Bo Henderson was lead singer at the time.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Album:Intimate Portrait: Women With Soul
Pillow Talk may seem like a fluke one hit wonder. But there is much more to Sylvia Robinson than one song. And Pillow Talk paved the way towards more explicit content in black music. Sylvia was born Mar. 6, 1936 in New York City. Until Pillow Talk, she was best known as one half of Mickey & Sylvia and the 1956 smash hit Love Is Strange. They split up in 1959 and Sylvia married Joe Robinson. She recorded as Sylvia Robbins and then reunited with Mickey Baker until he moved to France in 1964. Then the Robinsons moved to New Jersey and started All Platinum Records. The label's biggest success was The Moments' Love On A Two Way Street and Shirley & Company's Shame, Shame, Shame. Sylvia co-wrote both songs. She wrote Pillow Talk with Michael Burton for Al Green. But Green thought it was too explicit so Sylvia recorded it. I'm sure no one was more surprised than Sylvia when Pillow Talk reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973. Because there was no album at the time. But they did record a Pillow Talk album but they rushed it so it's not very good. It is available on CD but instead I suggest this various artists budget CD released by Rhino as a companion to the Lifetime series Intimate Portrait. And if you don't think Pillow Talk was influential, remember Love To Love You Baby by Donna Summer was a huge hit in 1975. Would that have even been recorded without the success of Pillow Talk? Sylvia went on to form Sugar Hill Records and helped give birth to rap music with The Sugar Hill Gang and Grandmaster Flash. And until her death on Sept. 29, 2011 at age 75, Sylvia Robinson continued to develop new acts. Producer Paula Wagner recently announced plans for a Sylvia Robinson biopic with Joe and Sylvia's son Joey Robinson to co-produce. Here's Sylvia performing Pillow Talk on Soul Train 1973.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Album:G I R L
Pharrell Williams is so busy as a producer I'm surprised he had time to record his own album. Happy is a song Williams wrote for the film Despicable Me 2 that grew into the biggest hit of 2014. He was born Apr. 5, 1973 in Virginia Beach, VA. He met his long time partner Chad Hugo at summer camp. They formed The Neptunes in the early 90s. While in high school, they were discovered by producer Teddy Riley and they worked with him after graduating high school. The Neptunes stopped bring a band and the two became producers. Their first number one hit was I'm A Slave 4 U by Britney Spears in 2001 followed by Nelly's Hot In Here. The Neptunes released a remix CD in 2003 but they never recorded a CD of original music. Williams decided to release the solo CD In My Mind in 2006. It did OK but there were no hit singles. The Neptunes continued to produce artists like Britney Spears, Beyonce, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and others. And The Neptunes also recorded as N.E.R.D. Williams worked on the 2010 film Despicable Me with composer Hans Zimmer. Then he worked on the sequel Despicable Me 2 in 2013. While working on that, Williams signed with Columbia Records and released G I R L Mar. 2014. Happy became a huge worldwide hit helped by a video featuring celebrity guest shots. Happy doesn't have any verses. It just has a chorus and a bridge and he just repeats them. It's like they used to say on American Bandstand. It's got a good beat so we'll give it a 95. So now Williams is a pop star and out on tour. Happy was nominated but did not win an Oscar. But there are plenty of Grammys in Pharrell Williams future. I don't know how he's going to juggle everything and still record his next solo CD. He's a busy boy. Here's the video for Happy by Pharrell Williams.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
|Miesha Tate, Sara McMann|
With Bec Rawlings vs Tecia Torres as this week's fight on The Ultimate Fighter 20, things are getting very testy in the house towards Tecia. Some of the girls are upset that Tecia accepted Dana White's offer to get back into the tournament when Justine Kish dropped out. They're blaming Tecia for accepting an opportunity that any of them would have gladly accepted when they should be mad at White as he could have brought in an alternate. Oh wait, he's the boss. He can do what he wants. It reminds me of when women go on Dr. Phil and blame the other woman for the husband's cheating. Why aren't they mad at him? To her credit, Tecia ignores them and gets ready for her fight. The worst thing is it overshadows Bec's story of leaving an abusive relationship and raising two sons as a single mother. The stuff in the house is childish nonsense. So the first half of this episode is a waste of time. I expected the fight to be close as neither are dominant fighters. They prefer striking but neither has knockout power. And neither has much of a ground game. So it was a technical fight and Tecia won both rounds by a very narrow margin. Her striking was crisper and she landed more volume. But there was never going to be a finish. Some of the girls booed after Tecia was announced as the winner. Joanne Calderwood, who usually has little to say, told them to knock it off. So afterwards, it was announced that Felice Herrig vs Randa Markos will be the first quarter final fight. That could be a tough fight for Felice. The key fight is Joanne Calderwood vs Rose Namajunas. I think the winner of that fight could win the championship. Their staredown was epic. Enjoy the video!
Album:Sun Goddess: Expanded Edition
Pianist Ramsey Lewis has always mixed jazz with R & B. He had a big hit with The In Crowd in 1965. His second biggest hit was Sun Goddess in 1974. This song has been very influential and is frequently sampled by hip hop guys. The two hits are on different labels and don't appear on the same CD. Lewis was born May 27, 1935 in Chicago and played piano in church. He started out in jazz in the 50s and signed with Chess Records and recorded for Argo and Cadet. After the In Crowd was a big hit in 1965, drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt and bassist Eldee Young left to form Young-Holt Unlimited. The new drummer was Maurice White. White left to form Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969. Lewis moved to Columbia Records in 1972 which was also EW&F's label. After Lewis recorded a couple of albums with his trio, White suggested recording with EW&F. That was the 1974 album Sun Goddess. The single Sun Goddess was Lewis' biggest hit since The In Crowd. And the album was very successful on the R & B charts. Sun Goddess was written by Maurice White and Jon Lind. White produced the album and several EW&F members appeared including Charles Stepney on guitar, Verdine White on bass, Maurice White on drums, Don Myrick on sax and Philip Bailey on background vocals. This was the first time Lewis played electronic instruments. EW&F plays Sun Goddess on their live shows. An expanded edition of Sun Goddess was released on CD by the R & B reissue label Funky Town Grooves as a budget CD. Sun Goddess was sampled by Mos Def on the 1999 song Mr. Nigga. Lewis' next two albums were produced by Stepney who he knew from his Chess Records days. But Stepney died in 1976. Lewis recorded for Columbia until 1989 and has also recorded for GRP, Narada, Concord and Hidden Beach. He still tours and lives in Chicago. His Ramsey Lewis Foundation is dedicated to teaching music to at risk children in Chicago. Here's Ramsey Lewis with Henry Johnson on guitar, Mike Logan on keyboards, Chuck Webb on bass and Steve Cobb on drums at Jazz Club in Germany Mar. 1990.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Song:Love Take Over
Album:The Greatest Hits
The R & B group 5 Star were much more successful in their native England than in North America. They had a few R & B and dance hits in the mid-80s. They were a family group. Buster Pearson was born in Jamaica and was a session guitarist in the 70s. After he moved his family to England, he decided to form a group with his children obviously influenced by the Jackson 5. Denise Pearson was the lead singer. The others were Doris, Lorraine, Steadman and Delroy Pearson. Doris was the choreographer. They got a record deal with RCA Records. It took a while but All Fall Down was their first big hit in England in 1985. They had success on the US R & B and Dance charts with Let Me Be The One and Love Take Over. But they were unable to cross over to pop. Their 1985 debut album Luxury of Life was certified Platinum in England. Most of it was recorded in Philadelphia by producer Nick Martinelli who also produced the British group Loose Ends who played on the album. Love Take Over was written and produced by the Dutch duo of Bernard Oattes and Rob Van Schaik who recorded as The Limit. 5 Star continued to have success in England with hits like System Addict and Rain Or Shine. And the won some BRIT Awards. So they were big in England at the time. They started to fade in the late 80s and tried to project a more mature image. So they left RCA for Epic in 1990. You can get all their RCA hits on this budget comp. Epic dropped them after one album. 5 Star split up in 1995. Denise Pearson moved to the US and attempted an unsuccessful solo career. Delroy Pearson moved to the US and was in the group Immature. Denise returned to England in 2001 and reformed 5 Star with Steadman and Lorraine. All five reunited for a couple of shows in 2012. Denise released her debut solo CD Imprint in June 2014. Here's the video for Love Take Over by 5 Star. I guess this typifies the 80s.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Jordin Sparks was 17 years old when she won American Idol in 2007. She's had a couple of hits including Tattoo. But her third CD wasn't released due to record company problems and her talent may be more suitable for Broadway anyway. She was born Dec. 22, 1989 in Phoenix. Her father is former NFL defensive back Phillippi Sparks and Jordin grew up in New Jersey while her dad played for the New York Giants. She performed as a child and was named Coca Cola's Rising Star in 2002. She released an EP in 2003 and she looked to be headed for a Contemporary Christian Music career. She also did plus size modelling. She's a big girl with potential for weight problems. This all changed when she made American Idol in 2007. She had auditioned in 2006. She won probably because of her age. Tattoo was released Aug. 2007 and it reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written and produced by the Norwegian duo StarGate who have worked a lot with Ne-Yo. The CD Jordin Sparks was released Nov. 2007 and sold over a million copies. Her follow up single No Air reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. That was a duet with Chris Brown who was hot at the time. Jordin Sparks is available as a budget CD. Though the first single from her second album Battlefield was a top ten hit, the album didn't sell well compared to the first one. That has been typical of AI winners. It's hard to follow up that sales spike from the AI win. After touring, she made her Broadway debut in 2010 in the musical In The Heights. She also signed to make her film debut in the remake of the 70s film Sparkle starring with Whitney Houston. That was released in 2012. She records her third album but she can't seem to come to an agreement with RCA about a release date. They keep pushing the release date back supposedly to avoid conflict with Jordin's other activities. The single Vertigo with Jason Derulo was released Sept. 2013. She was dating him at the time. Then she signs to appear in the film Left Behind starring Nicolas Cage which was released Oct. 2014. Jordin announced she left RCA for producer Salaam Remi's new label Louder Than Life distributed by Sony. A new CD will be released in 2015. Whether she can recover from the delays remains to be seen. If it doesn't work, she can always go back to Broadway and films. here's the video for Tattoo by Jordin Sparks.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Song:Oh, Lady Be Good
DVD:Ella Fitzgerald & Other Jazz & Swing Greats Live From Lincoln Center
Though she continued to tour, it looked like Ella Fitzgerald's career was winding down in the late 60s. After MGM bought Verve Records, her contract wasn't renewed and she bounced around labels like Capitol, Atlantic and Reprise with little success. This all changed when former Verve owner Norman Granz started Pablo Records in 1972 and immediately signed Ella. This revived Ella's career. Meanwhile she appeared on the 1972 NBC TV special Timex All Star Swing Festival and kicked off the show with a performance of Oh, Lady Be Good with The Count Basie Orchestra. Ella first recorded with Basie on the 1957 album One O'Clock Jump and they also recorded the 1963 album Ella and Basie!. Oh, Lady Be Good is a Gershwin song first recorded by Ella in 1948. She also recorded it with Louis Armstrong on the album Ella and Louis. She didn't record it with Basie so it's not on a CD. But it is on the DVD of this TV special. It was hosted by The Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen and taped live at Lincoln Center in New York City. Others who appeared on the show include Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Bobby Hackett and Dizzy Gillespie. And there is a tribute to Louis Armstrong. The show won a Peabody Award. It's been released on DVD twice by dodgy companies. I am told the video quality isn't the greatest and could probably use a remastering. And the show is not complete on either DVD version. But at least it's out there and those who want it can get it. Though he voice was declining, Ella continued to record for Pablo and in the late 70s she recorded three albums with Basie. Here's Ella Fitzgerald with The Count Basie Orchestra performing Oh, Lady Be Good on the 1972 NBC special Timex All Star Swing Festival.
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Here's the match video of Juliana Lima vs Nina Ansaroff from last night's UFC show in Uberlandia, Brazil. The last time we saw Nina Ansaroff she was pounding out a win over Munah Holland on the Dec. 2013 Invicta show. She was an alternate on TUF 20. But I think she's a better fighter than some of the girls who made the show. She says she was thinking about retirement when she got called by the UFC. Juliana Lima was one of the 11 fighter contracts purchased from Invicta last year. They decided not to have her on TUF because she doesn't speak much English. Then she got pounded by Joanna Jedrzecyk in her UFC debut. She claimed she wasn't feeling well. Ugh! I hate excuses. Nina completely underperforms in this fight. And I think she had bad luck too. Juliana won the fight but the only thing she showed me is that she knows how to lay and pray. Nina is supposed to be a striker but she never got her act together. Early in round one, Nina stumbled trying to break away from a Muay Thai clinch and Juliana jumped on her. Does that even count as a takedown? Juliana did nothing from top position. But Nina didn't do enough from the bottom and many times judges look at top position favourably. The ref threatened to stand them up a couple of times. But Juliana did just enough to prevent that. Nina gets her in a standing guillotine. Then she takes her down but Nina's on the bottom again. A guillotine is a very low percentage submission and she would have been better off disengaging and striking with her. The fight was stopped for Nina's illegal upkick. I scored the round 10-9 for Juliana and I expected the judges to score it that way too. Top position is important even if the fighter does nothing with it. Round two was very similar. Juliana grabbed Nina's leg and she wasn't able to shake her. Down she went. Both attempted ineffective submissions. And the ref finally tires of Juliana's stalling in top position. I also scored this round 10-9 Juliana. In round three, Nina needs a finish. But you wouldn't know it by the way she was fighting. There was a lot of stalling on the fence. Juliana was tired and playing it safe because she won the first two rounds. But Nina didn't do enough and all three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Juliana. I scored it that way too though I didn't like her lay and pray strategy. Like Kenny Florian said, maybe it was the UFC jitters. Not a great performance by either fighter. Check out the video.