Sunday, August 20, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Ember Moon from last night's NXT Takeover show. It's a rematch from April. The story had Asuka injuring Ember Moon's shoulder and then on her return, she said Asuka cheated to win the first time. She gave Asuka The Eclipse. Actually, she botched it but Asuka sold it anyway. As with the first match, many supposed experts picked Ember to win because Asuka needs to drop the best to go to the main roster. But that's not true. She can keep The Streak going and vacate the NXT belt which is what Paige did a few years ago. So as I did in April, I went against traditional logic and I expected Asuka to win. This match was a lot better than the April match. Once again, Asuka showed how great she really is. Everything from her entrance complete with a headdress that may have been worn by a Vegas showgirl to her strategy and her tremendous selling of Ember Moon's offense was perfect. Her attention to detail is second to none. And the bonus is she may have gotten Ember Moon over. Ember started the match quickly. But they went outside and Asuka gave Ember Moon a hammerlock suplex on the steel ramp. And for the next few minutes, Asuka gave a clinic on how to work an arm. This was great strategy because of Ember's injury. And it sets up the Asuka Lock. Ember got her offense in which Asuka sold like she got shot. And she even used The Eclipse on Asuka. But once Asuka kicked out of that, that was the beginning of the end. In the end, Asuka outsmarted her by playing possum after a superkick and applying the Asuka Lock. The crowd cheered both after the match. So I don't know when Asuka is going up to the main roster, maybe for her 36th birthday next month. In an interview with USA Today's Josh Barnett, HHH said that he kept Asuka at NXT to protect her from Vince McMahon. That's the purpose of The Streak. He also said he needed her to sell NXT tickets after Nakamura went up to Smackdown. They did the same thing with Finn Balor. He remained in NXT for two years because he's a draw. I think Asuka needs to go up very soon because new blood is coming in. We'll see what happens. Enjoy the video!
Asuka vs. Ember Moon (NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III... by VanishingWalker
Asuka vs. Ember Moon (NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III... by VanishingWalker
Song:Theme from New York, New York
Album:Nothing But The Best
The theme from the 1977 film New York, New York was Frank Sinatra's final big hit and it quickly became one of his signature songs. After Sinatra returned to the top of the charts with Strangers In The Night and That's Life, he recorded with his daughter Nancy, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Duke Ellington. After the 1970 album Watertown and a series of concerts with Count Basie, he decided to retire. Barbara Sinatra said he was bored doing the same old songs every night. Of course he didn't stay retired and in 1973 he returned with the TV special and album Ol' Blue Eyes is Back. For the rest of the 70s, Sinatra performed mostly at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. But he didn't record for a few years until the 1980 album Trilogy: Past Present Future. This was a three record concept album where each record was supposed to represent a different era. Sinatra planned to record this with longtime arranger Nelson Riddle. But they had a falling out. The first LP was covers of standards arranged by Billy May. It's supposed to represent the past. May worked with Sinatra in the 50s. The second LP was covers of contemporary songs arranged by Don Costa. It's supposed to represent the present. Costa worked with Sinatra in the 60s. The third LP was a suite called The Future written and arranged by Gordon Jenkins. Apparently this was the kind of thing Jenkins had wanted to do with Sinatra for years. This audacious project was the brainchild of producer Sonny Burke. One day Sinatra was fooling around in the recording studio and Burke suggested it. The album was certified Gold mainly because New York, New York was a hit. Of course the song was written by the legendary team of Fred Kander and John Ebb for Martin Scorsese's 1977 film New York, New York. Liza Minnelli sang it in the film. The film was a critical and box office failure but Sinatra popularized the theme and it reached #32 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sinatra performed it regularly in concert sometimes with Liza. He even recorded it with Tony Bennett for the 1992 album Duets. It turned out to be Sinatra's final hit single though he continued to record until his 1995 death. Trilogy was released on 2CDs but I don't recommend it. Jenkins' The Future was criticized at the time as pretentious and it hasn't aged well. So I recommend this comp which has Capitol and Reprise hits. Here's Frank Sinatra performing Theme from New York, New York.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Song:Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye
Album:The 60's Ultimate Collection Vol. 1
This cover of the song Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye was a top ten hit in 1967. It's a little odd as The Casinos were a doo wop group and doo wop was already dead by the mid-60s. The Casinos were from Cincinnati led by Gene Hughes. They were formed in 1962 and they played local clubs. Hughes left The Casinos but he returned in 1965. Cincinnati DJ Tom Dooley saw The Casinos in a club. He wanted to record a song and asked The Casinos to back him up and he would pay for the studio time. Hughes asked if he could record something for themselves and Dooley agreed to that. The song The Casinos recorded was Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye. The song got a good crowd reaction at live shows. The song was written by legendary songwriter John D. Loudermilk and it was first recorded as a country song by pop singer Don Cherry in 1962. The Casinos recorded it and Fraternity Records released it in 1967. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. They recorded an album but it turned out to be their only hit. You can get Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye on this Collectables 2CD various artists comp available at a budget price. Hughes went on to work for MCA Nashville as a record promoter for many years. He died in 2004. Former lead singer Ken Brady led The Casinos on the oldies circuit for years but I think they are now retired. Here's the video for Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye by the Casinos.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Album:Dumbo: Original Soundtrack
Though Betty Noyes appeared on screen in films and TV, she is best known for two off screen appearances. The first was singing the Oscar nominated song Baby Mine in the 1941 classic Disney film Dumbo. The other was for dubbing two songs in the 1952 classic film Singin' In The Rain. She was born Oct. 11, 1912 in Tulsa, OK. She started out in a group called the Debutantes in the big band of Ted Fio Rito. She appeared on radio with Bing Crosby and she was getting calls for film work. The first film Betty's voice appeared in was The Wizard Of Oz though it is not known what she did. Then she got the call from Walt Disney to sing Baby Mine in Dumbo. The song was nominated for an Oscar. Nobody knew who sang the song so it didn't make her famous. The film studios, especially Walt Disney, didn't want anyone to know who did the voice work. Betty's other big credit was dubbing Debbie Reynolds' singing voice in Singin' In The Rain. Betty sang Would You and You Are My Lucky Star. Her other notable dubbing appearance was in the 1954 film Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Her voice appeared in other films of the 50s and 60s. The most notable of these was as Lady Fish in the animated part of The Incredible Mister Limpet. Her one notable on screen appearance was as Mother in the 1965 TV musical Cinderella. She also appeared in a 1956 episode of I Love Lucy called Lucy Goes To Scotland. But for most of her career, Betty Noyes worked in anonymity as a studio singer. She died on Dec. 24, 1987 at age 75. Here's Betty Noyes performing Baby Mine as it appeared in the 1941 film Dumbo. Get your hankies out.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Song:I'ma Make It
Album:Tell You What I Know
JJ Thames always had the singing talent. But it was only recently that she was able to concentrate on music. And now she appears at blues festivals worldwide. JJ grew up in Detroit. And though she was exposed to all kinds of music, she showed talent as a blues shouter. But then she gave birth to her first son at age 17 and she moved to Jackson, MS to study business and marketing at Mississippi College. She continued to sing on the side. Then in 2004 she gave birth to her second son who died in 2006 of lymphoma. So JJ moved back to Detroit and started singing in local clubs. A move to New York didn't work out. And then she gave birth to her third son in 2010. She was getting work as a backup singer. But she wanted more so she took her family back to Jackson. She was spotted by producer Grady Champion. He is president of the Malaco Records label DeChamp. He produced JJ's 2014 debut CD Tell You What I Know. She wrote most of the songs on the album with keyboard player Sam Brady. The rest of her band is Celeb Armstrong on guitar, David Hyde on bass and Vince Barranco on drums. Guitarist Eddie Cotton appears on a few tracks. The album did well and JJ is currently on a European tour. I guess she always had that star quality. She just needed an opportunity. JJ's latest CD Raw Sugar was released last year. She does a lot of blues festivals. Here's JJ Thames performing I'ma Make It at the 2015 Bagnols Blues Festival in France.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Here's the match video of Jamie Colleen vs Tiffany Masters from last night's episode of Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS) at the UFC Gym in Las Vegas. This aired on UFC Fight Pass. This was the first women's match on the show. the fighters are not only fighting each other but they are competing with the other fighters on the show for a UFC contract. This is supposed to encourage fighters to be aggressive. I guess these two didn't get that memo. Jamie is from Philadelphia and a King Of Cage regular. Tiffany is from Wisconsin and she was supposed to be on last month's Invicta show. I didn't think she looked in shape and I thought her cardio could be a problem. Jamie is know for her striking but she didn't come out very aggressively. Tiffany wasn't much better but she was marginally better and I scored round one 10-9 for Tiffany. She also won round two by taking Jamie down and scoring with some ground and pound. But she needed to go for a finish to get that contract. Instead she pooped herself out. Jamie was read the riot act between rounds. She was much better in round three and ultimately got an armbar submission in the last minute of the fight. But I didn't think either would get that contract. It was the first fight on the show so we had to wait to find out and as I expected, neither got UFC contracts. If Jamie had come out aggressively from the start, she had a chance. But inexplicably, she didn't do that. That's a wasted opportunity. Enjoy the fight!
Song:Kisses In The Rain
Album:Kisses In The Rain
Smooth jazz trumpeter Rick Braun has been successful since the 90s when he recorded for Atlantic and then Warner Bros. He is still successful today recording for his own label. He was born July 6, 1955 in Allentown, PA. Braun's mom played piano. He played drums in high school. His high school music teacher suggested he try the trumpet. Braun's influences include Freddie Hubbard but he has acknowledged Herb Alpert as his biggest influence. While studying at the Eastman School of Music, he was in the jazz fusion band Auracle. They recorded a couple of albums in the late 70s for Chrysalis produced by Teo Macero. They were pretty good but they split up after two albums. Braun got into session work in the 80s with acts like REO Speedwagon, Johnny Mathis, Natalie Cole and others. He began to record as a leader in the early 90s with Mesa/Blue Moon with Atlantic Records distribution. He had success on the jazz charts. Blue Moon was taken over by Atlantic in 1998 and Braun was moved to Warner Bros. His first album for Warners was with popular sax player Boney James. Shake It Up is one of the best selling smooth jazz albums in history. The 2001 album Kisses In The Rain was his second of three albums for Warners. Smooth jazz guitarist Peter White makes a guest appearance on the song Kisses In The Rain. The song was written by David Woods who also plays keyboards and bass. Woods also worked with Boney James. The rest of the band is Peter White on acoustic guitar, Tony Maiden of Rufus on electric guitar, Fourplay's Harvey Mason Sr. on drums and Cuban percussionist Luis Conte. He has worked a lot with Poncho Sanchez. In 2005, Braun started his own label Artistry. His latest CD Around The Horn was released in February. He is also in the band BWB with sax player Kirk Whalum and guitarist Norman Brown. Braun is currently on tour. Not surprisingly, he does a lot of jazz festivals and smooth jazz cruises. Here's Rick Braun with Peter White performing Kisses In The Rain.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Song:We Belong Together
Album:#1 To Infinity
Of course Mariah Carey has been very successful since the 90s. But there was a time when things weren't going so well and she faded. The 2005 single We Belong Together was her big comeback hit. And I think it's fair to say that record solidified her status. The decline began with the success of the 1997 album Butterfly. That was when she split with long time producer Walter Afanasieff and husband Tommy Mottola. She had one album left on her Columbia contract. Rainbow was released in 1999. Though the singles Heartbreaker and Thank God I Found You topped the charts, the album was her least successful to date. There was a lot of tension with Columbia while making the album. After she was through, Mariah couldn't wait to leave and sign with Virgin Records. Her first project for Virgin was the film Glitter and the soundtrack. She was also having health problems mostly exhaustion from overworking. She said later that at the time there was no one to tell her to rest. And then Glitter bombed. Her 2003 album Charmbracelet also didn't do well. Among other things, she was criticized for her voice. Virgin bought out her contract and she signed with Island Records. It looked like she was through. For the 2005 album The Emancipation Of Mimi, Mariah worked mainly with veteran producer Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal Jr. The name of the album was LA Reid's idea as Mimi is her nickname. He wanted it to be her comeback album. We Belong Together was the second single. Dupri and Seal produced the song. It topped the charts and the Emancipation Of Mimi was Mariah's most successful album since Daydream in 1995. Her albums since then haven't been as successful. But I don't think it's a big deal anymore. She doesn't need a second comeback. In 2015, she began a residency at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and signed with Epic Records. This comp is the first to have songs from Mariah's entire career. She has also been doing Mariah's World for E!. I don't expect her to make the top of the charts again. Mariah may have other ideas. Here's the video for We Belong Together by Mariah Carey.
Monday, August 14, 2017
|Ayaka Miura, Viviane Araujo Gomes|
Song:Somehow Our Love Survives
From what I could tell, this is the only time singer Al Jarreau ever recorded with pianist Joe Sample. It was on Sample's 1989 album Spellbound. But it never appeared on a Jarreau album. At the time, Jarreau was a big star on Warner Bros. Records and Spellbound was Sample's first Warners album after leaving MCA. The album was produced by veteran producer Tommy LiPuma who had worked with both of them. He also produced the Crusaders. After many years of success, The Crusaders disbanded in 1987. Sample signed with Warner Bros. and he decided to reunite with LiPuma after producing his own albums at MCA. No doubt it was LiPuma's idea to bring in Jarreau and a couple of other guest singers. I'm sure Sample and Jarreau knew each other from the Los Angeles jazz scene. But they had never recorded together. Somehow Our Love Survives was written by jazz singer Michael Franks who also appears on this album. The band is Michael Landau on guitar, John Pena on bass, Omar Hakim on drums and Lenny Castro on percussion. Other guest singers are Michael Franks, Take 6 and Ruben Blades. As I said, it's the only time Sample and Jarreau ever recorded together though they may have toured together. Jarreau fans may not be aware he recorded this as it does not appear on one of his albums. Here's a video for Somehow Our Love Survives by Joe Sample featuring Al Jarreau.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Song:You Talk Too Much
Album:The Golden Age Of American Rock 'N' Roll Vol. 9
You Talk Too Much was a top five hit in 1960. It was the only big hit for Joe Jones. One of his other singles charted so he's not technically a one hit wonder. He went on to a career in music publishing and he was an advocate for black songwriters. He was born Aug. 12, 1926 in New Orleans. He served in the US Navy and studied music at Juillliard. Jones returned to New Orleans to valet for BB King. He became a pianist and arranger for King. Jones also worked for Shirley & Lee. He released a single on Capitol in 1954. Reggie Hall wrote You Talk Too Much for his brother in law Fats Domino. Domino rejected it but Jones liked it and recorded it for Roulette Records. But they didn't release it. So Jones recorded a new version on Ric Records. When the record started to get airplay, Roulette filed an injunction and the Ric version was pulled. The original Roulette version is the one that reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. The sax solo is by Harold Battiste. You can get You Talk Too Much on this Ace Records various artists comp. It turned out to be Jones' only big hit. He also discovered and managed The Dixie Cups. But when Jones sued to prove that he wrote their hit Iko Iko, he lost. Then he moved to Los Angeles and got into music publishing and jingles. He became an advocate for black songwriters who were taken advantage of by record companies. Joe Jones died after heart surgery on Nov. 27, 2005 at age 79. Here's a video of You Talk Too Much by Joe Jones.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Song:I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You
Album:The Best Of Leon Haywood
R&B singer, songwriter and producer Leon Haywood had success on the R&B charts beginning in the late 60s. But he crossed over to pop with the top 20 hit I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You in 1975. He was born Feb. 11, 1942 in Houston. He learned to play piano as a child and performed locally as a teen. Then he moved to Los Angeles to work with Big Jay McNeely and Sam Cooke. He recorded a couple of singles for Fantasy and then two more for Imperial. The single She's With Her Other Love was a top 15 R&B hit in 1966. While releasing his own music, Haywood got into session work especially with the Booker T & The MGs spinoff group The Packers led by Stax owner Estelle Axton's son Packy Axton. Things finally picked up for Haywood when he signed with 20th Century Records. He scored a top 15 R&B hit in 1974 with Keep It In The Family. Then I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You reached #7 on the R&B Singles chart and #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. If you have heard this song, you probably remember the moaning on the record obviously influenced by Donna Summer's Love To Love You Baby. Haywood wrote and produced the record with Love Unlimited Orchestra arranger Gene Page. All the musicians on the album are veteran session musicians. Haywood plays piano along with Joe Sample of the Crusaders and Larry Nash, David T. Walker, Dean Parks, Ray Parker Jr and Roland Bautista on guitar, Gary Coleman on vibes, Wilton Felder of The Crusaders on bass and Vince Charles on drums. The song has been liberally sampled by hip hop guys, most notably Ain't Nothin' But A "G" Thang by Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg in 1992. You can get the full version of this record on this comp. Beware of edited versions. Haywood had some other hits but then 20th Century closed. Haywood's albums on Columbia, MCA and Casablanca weren't successful. So he turned to producing and scored the 1981 Carl Carlton hit She's a Bad Mama Jama. After that, he recorded occasionally for his own Evejim label and he produced Jimmy McCracklin among others. Leon Haywood died on Apr. 5, 2016 at age 74. Here's a video for I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You by Leon Haywood.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Song:You Are Woman
Album:Funny Girl: Original Broadway Cast
Most film fans probably know that legendary comic Charles Chaplin had a brother Sydney Chaplin who was also an actor. But Chaplin's son was also named Sydney Chaplin. The son had a pretty good run on Broadway including starring with Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl. He was replaced by Omar Sharif in the film. Then Chaplin went to Hollywood and things didn't go so well. He was born Mar. 30, 1926 in Los Angeles. He was the second son of Charles Chaplin and Lita Grey. They divorced and Chaplin married Oona O'Neil. He and his older brother were raised by Grey's mother. After serving in WWII, Chaplin got into local theater in Los Angeles. His film debut was in his dad's 1952 film Limelight. He appeared in a few films. The most notable of these was the 1955 film Land of the Pharaohs. Then he co-starred with Judy Holiday in the 1956 Broadway musical Bells Are Ringing. Both actors won Tonys. And the show ran for three years. So I guess that was the highlight of Chaplin's acting career. He was replaced by Dean Martin in the film Bells Are Ringing. I guess that's the story of his career. Chaplin appeared in some other Broadway shows. Then he got hired to play Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl. You Are Woman was one of his two songs in the show. Of course Funny Girl made Streisand a star. It did nothing for Chaplin. He moved back to Hollywood and appeared in his dad's 1967 film A Countess From Hong Kong. Other than that, he mostly appeared in B movies and TV. He retired in 1977 and owned the Palm Springs restaurant Chaplin's. He rarely appeared in public. Sydney Chaplin died of a stroke on Mar. 3, 2009 at age 82. Here's a video of You Are Woman by Sydney Chaplin with Barbra Streisand from the Broadway show Funny Girl.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Song:The Moon Is Down
Album:Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever
Explosions In The Sky have built a significant fanbase mostly through live shows. The music is guitar based instrumental rock with symphonic overtones. They have also gotten into scoring films. Explosions In The Sky are from Austin, TX. They were formed in 1999 as Breaker Morant by drummer Chris Hrasky, Michael James on guitar and bass, Munaf Rayani on guitar and keyboards and Mark Smith on guitar. The name Explosions In The Sky was Hrasky's reaction when fireworks went off during one of their live shows. The band got some local buzz in Austin and a demo got the attention of New York based indie label Temporary Residence. The Moon Is Down is from the 2001 album Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever. The album got some publicity because the album cover seemed to exploit the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The album was released on Sept. 4 so there was no connection. The controversy helped them build their fanbase. Since then Explosions In The Sky continue to be successful. The band has gotten into scoring films like the 2004 film Friday Night Lights for which there is a soundtrack album. Their latest CD The Wilderness was released in 2016. They are touring England right now and they will tour the US in the fall. This kind of music is not for everyone but some like atmospheric rock music. I think they are looking for a mood and this provides it. Here's Explosions In The Sky performing The Moon Is Down at the Metro Theater in Sydney, Australia Dec. 2011.
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
|King REINA, Young Ji Kim|
Song:Beware Of Doug
Dave Douglas is one of today's top jazz trumpeters. He has been around the New York jazz scene since the late 80s and has been recording as a leader since 1993. He has recorded for his own label Greenleaf Music for the last 15 years. He was born Mar. 24, 1963 in East Orange, NJ. He took piano lessons as a child and took up the trumpet at age 9. Douglas got into jazz and improvising during high school while on a student exchange program in Spain. He studied at Berklee, the New England Conservatory and New York University and he earned a degree in music. His first big professional gig was a 1987 European tour with legendary pianist Horace Silver. Douglas has had a long history with John Zorn's group Masada. He joined that group in the early 90s and he's still a member today. Douglas made his recording debut as a leader in 1993. He has recorded for all kinds of labels including Soul Note and DIW. But his most significant run was with RCA from 2000-2004. Since then Douglas started his own label Greenleaf music. He also joined the SF Jazz Collective in 2008 and he still tours and records with them. Beware Of Doug is from the 2013 album Time Travel. He is working with young musicians that he has recorded with frequently in recent years. On tenor sax is Jon Irabagon from Chicago. He has recorded as a leader and plays with several Chicago based bands. Pianist Matt Michell is from Philadelphia. He also records with Matt Berne and Darius Jones. Bassist Linda Oh is from Australia. She works frequently with Irabagon and she has recorded a couple of albums for Greenleaf. Drummer Rudy Royston is from Texas. He also works with trumpeter Ron Miles. This album is available as a budget CD. Douglas' latest CD Dada People was released in 2016. He doesn't seem to be on tour right now. But I'm sure you can find him in New York clubs. Here's Dave Douglas with Jon Irabagon, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh and Rudy Royston performing Beware Of Doug in the recording studio 2013.
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Song:The Killing Moon
Album:The Killing Moon: The Singles 1980-1990
Echo & The Bunnymen were successful mostly in their native England. The 1984 single The Killing Moon was probably their biggest hit. They are from Liverpool. Lead singer Ian McCulloch had been in bands like Crucial Three and A Shallow Madness who would become A Teardrop Explodes. In 1978, he formed Echo & The Bunnymen with guitarist Will Sargeant and bassist Les Pattinson. They went to school together. They used a drum machine at first but Pete de Frietas joined the band in 1980. They started playing gigs locally and a single on Zoo Records got them a deal with Warner Music's Korova label. In the US they were on Sire Records. Their 1980 debut album Crocodiles was certified Gold in England. the 1984 album Ocean Rain was probably their most successful album. The singles the Cutter and The Killing Moon were top ten singles in England. And The Killing Moon is probably their best known song in North America. This Rhino budget comp has all their singles. de Frietas left Echo & The Bunnymen in 1985 and then he returned. McCulloch wasn't getting along with Sargeant and Pattinson. He left in 1988. Then de Frietas died in a 1989 motorcycle accident. McCulloch released a solo album in 1989. Sargeant and Pattinson hired a new singer and drummer and attempted to keep the band going. But they disbanded in 1993. In 1994, McCulloch and Sargeant recorded as Electrafixion. Pattinson joined in 1997 and they decided to revive the Echo & The Bunnymen name. Pattinson left in 1999 to take care of his sick mother. Since then they have continued to tour and record. Their latest CD was released in 2014 and Echo & The Bunnymen are touring with The Violent Femmes. Here's the video for The Killing Moon by Echo & The Bunnymen.
Monday, August 07, 2017
Album:Soul Twistin' With The King
Sax player King Curtis was a legend as a sideman and session musician. But he scored a top 20 pop hit in 1962 with Soul Twist. It was his first single for Enjoy Records. He was born Curtis Montgomery Feb. 7, 1934 in Fort Worth, TX. He was adopted and his name changed to Curtis Ousley. He went to high school with Ornette Coleman. After graduating high school, Curtis joined the Lionel Hampton band and learned to arrange music. He moved to New York and became a session musician. He worked for Atlantic Records on records by The Coasters and Ruth Brown. Then he recorded jazz albums for Atco and Prestige. Curtis had recorded a few singles but then he met Bobby Robinson and Curtis agreed to record a couple of singles and maybe an album if things worked out for Robinson's Enjoy label. He likely knew Robinson from Atlantic. The band was called King Curtis and the Noble Knights. Soul Twist was the first single. It topped the R&B charts and reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. The musicians were Ernie Hayes on organ, Billy Butler on guitar, Jimmy Lewis on bass and Ray Lucas on drums. They were all jazz guys working as sidemen. That band only recorded two singles. Curtis did record an album for Enjoy. Those recordings are on this CD from the reissue label Jasmine. Then he released several albums for Capitol. Some of his singles charted. But Soul Twist turned out to be his biggest hit. Curtis moved to Atlantic in 1965 and became part of their studio band. And of course he became famous touring with Aretha Franklin. Sadly, King Curtis was murdered on Aug. 13, 1971 when he got into an argument with a couple of drug dealers. He was moving an air conditioner into his apartment and they blocked him from entering. King Curtis was inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame in 2000. Here's a video of Soul Twist by King Curtis.
Sunday, August 06, 2017
Here's the match video of Alexa Grasso vs Randa Markos from last night's UFC show in Mexico City. So Alexa is from Guadalajara and therefore she is a star in Mexico. She's not a great fighter yet. She's mainly a striker with no power. So yes, she's a dreaded points fighter. She lost for the first time to Felice Herrig because she didn't do enough. She said she will try to rectify that. She did miss weight due to a urinary tract infection. Randa is from Windsor, ON and she trains at Michigan Top Team in Dearborn, MI. Last time out, she beat Carla Esparza for the biggest win of her career. She's mainly a wrestler. Her big problem is she is mistake prone. And that was the key to this fight. In round one, Randa's big mistake was the dreaded headlock takedown. She really needs to stop doing them as it cost her this fight. Alexa got her back and did enough to win the round 10-9. If you look at the whole fight, that one mistake was the difference. I gave Randa round two 10-9 because she took Alexa down a couple of times after catching body kicks. Between rounds, Alexa's corner told her to knock off the body kicks. I thought round three was very close. Randa got a takedown and if she had been able to keep Alexa down, she would have won the fight. But Alexa showed great defense and kicked her off. Then she slowed Randa's momentum with a standing guillotine and she landed some good strikes to a tired Randa to close the fight. I scored the round 10-9 for Alexa and 29-28. But I wasn't surprised by the split decision. It was a close fight. Alexa was better in this fight than in her loss to Felice. But I think she would have big problems with the top fighters in the division. I think it's questionable that she can improve enough to be a title contender. Time will tell. Enjoy the video!
Song:We Put The Spring In Springfield
Album:Go Simpsonic With The Simpsons
So we're all familiar with The Simpsons. It's probably one of the most successful and enduring TV shows in history. You may also be aware that some albums were released. At first they recorded songs specifically for the albums. But later on they used songs that appeared in the show. We Put The Spring In Springfield is from a 1996 episode and the song won an Emmy. The Simpsons was created by Matt Groening based on his own family. They first appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show and then FOX turned it into a series. As the show became more popular, there was plenty of merchandise for sale. The 1990 album The Simpsons Sing The Blues featured songs that were not on the show. Do The Bartman was a hit single. The other album that was like this was The Yellow Album in 1998. Those two albums were on Geffen Records. For the 1997 album Songs In The Key Of Springfield, the songs had already appeared on the show. It was on Rhino Records. The album was very successful so in 1999 Go Simpsonic With the Simpsons was released. We Put The Spring In Springfield is from the 1996 episode Bart After Dark which is based on the film The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. The song was written by series songwriter Alf Clausen with lyrics by show producer Ken Keeler. These two wrote many songs together. The song won an Emmy. The lead singer is the madam Belle voiced by veteran voice actor Tress MacNeille. She did many voices on The Simpsons and also Futurama from the same producers. Tress has worked for all the studios. Probably her best known role was as Babs Bunny in Tiny Toon Adventures. Like many voice actors, Tress is very versatile. That's why she works so much. She currently voices Daisy Duck and Wilma Flintstone. Since then, there was a soundtrack album for The Simpsons Movie and the 2007 CD Testify which is songs from the TV show. These CDs are a must for Simpsons fans as they hold up well as recordings. Here's We Put the Spring in Springfield as it appeared in the 1996 The Simpsons episode Bart After Dark.
Saturday, August 05, 2017
Not to be confused with the French actress, this Maria Schneider has led a big band since the 90s. She's a disciple of the legendary bandleader, composer and arranger Gil Evans. So Maria's music is in that tradition. She was born Nov. 27, 1960 in Windom, MN which is a small town in south Minnesota. Maria studied music theory and composition at the University of Minnesota and then earned a master's degree in music at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. in 1985. Then Gil Evans hired her as a copyist and assistant. She went on tour with him with Sting and she also helped Evans with the score for the film The Color Of Money. Then Maria worked with trombonist and bandleader Bob Brookmeyer for five years. In 1992, she formed the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra and played weekly gigs in New York. When she's not leading her band in New York, she is touring the world doing a lot of guest conducting of jazz orchestras. Obviously it's cost prohibitive to take a full orchestra on tour. Maria signed with Enja Records in 1994. Hang Gliding is from the 2000 CD Allegresse. Musicians are Tim Ries, Charles Pillow, Rich Perry, Rick Margitza and Scott Robinson on sax and flute, Tony Kadleck, Greg Gisbert, Laurie Frink, Ingrid Jensen and David Ballou on trumpet, Keith O'Quinn, Rock Ciccarone, Larry Farrell and George Flynn on trombone, Ben Monder on guitar, Frank Kimbrough on piano, Tony Scherr on bass, Tim Horner on drums and Jeff Ballard on percussion. This was Maria's final album for Enja. She now records for ArtistShare which is a crowdfunding website for jazz musicians. Her latest CD The Thompson Fields was released in 2015. And it's interesting to note and some of the same musicians still record with Maria. The key guy seems to be Kimbrough who has been around since the 80s. Maria has also recorded with opera singer Dawn Upshaw. And she has won nine Grammy awards including two for The Thompson Fields. She is playing the Newport Jazz Festival this weekend so be sure to check her out if you are there. Here's Maria Schneider with the WDR Big Band performing Hang Gliding in Germany 2006.
Friday, August 04, 2017
Song:Jet Black Heart
When you listen to the song Jet Black Heart, you may think it's a pretty good Joan Jett record. Except it's not Joan Jett. It's Canadian singer Britt Black. She recorded an album in 2006 that generated some buzz but ultimately went nowhere. She was born Brittin Karroll Feb. 22, 1990 in Vancouver. Her father Peter Karroll is a veteran musician. Back in the 70s, he had a band called Karroll Brothers. But he was also Britt's doorway to the music business. By 1999, Karroll was working with Bif Naked. He brought along his 10 year old daughter Britt who wrote a song with Bif. Then Karroll formed the record label Her Royal Majesty's with Bif. Britt joined the teen girl group LiveonRelease. That group released two albums on Warners and then they split up. Britt was lead guitarist of the band. Karroll decides to concentrate on turning Britt into a solo artist. He renames her Britt Black and he produced the album Blackout. Britt co-wrote most of the songs with her dad and also Todd Kerns who had toured and recorded with Slash of Guns 'N' Roses. Then Karroll sold Her Majesty's to Bodog and that was his fatal mistake. Bodog was a Vancouver based online casino involved with all sorts of things including MMA and the record label Bodog Music. The problem was they had so much debt it all came crashing down in 2008. But they sure were riding high and spending a lot of money for a while. Unfortunately Blackout went nowhere. There's nothing wrong with Britt. She was going to record a second album. Instead she formed the band Stay Beautiful. When that didn't work out, she played guitar for Lillix. It looks like Britt was uncomfortable as a solo artist and preferred to be part of a band. Today Britt is a hairstylist at Clear Hair Studio in Vancouver. She quit the music business with no plans to return. She had potential. You can see that in this video for Jet Black Heart by Britt Black.
Thursday, August 03, 2017
You may remember seeing the video for Sucked Out on MTV. But I doubt you know much about the band that recorded it. The MTV play turned out to be the only success for Superdrag. The song didn't cross over to mainstream radio as was hoped by the record company. Superdrag was from Knoxville, TN led by John Davis. He was lead singer, songwriter and he played all the instruments. He formed a band to perform live. His first recruit was guitarist Brandon Fisher who was dating Davis' cousin. The other members were Tom Pappas on bass and Don Coffey Jr. on drums. They were all veterans of other local bands. They released an EP in 1995 which got them a deal with Elektra Records. Regretfully Yours was released in 1996. The video for Sucked Out went into rotation on MTV. The song got some airplay on Alt Rock radio. But it only reached #72 on the Billboard Hot 100. I think Elektra was hoping for better results after the MTV success. The ironic thing is that Sucked Out is about how record companies suck the life out of music. When the second single Destination Ursa Major didn't do well and the album didn't sell, Elektra was going to drop Superdrag. But they agreed to one more album as long as all the songs were radio friendly like Sucked Out. Instead the 1998 album Head Trip In Every Key was the exact opposite. Davis deliberately made uncommercial music to piss off Elektra. Obviously Elektra dropped them. Regretfully Yours is available as a budget CD. Superdrag returned to the label Arena Rock who they worked with before Elektra. They continued to record and tour until Davis disbanded Superdrag in 2010. By then Davis had recovered from alcoholism and become a born again Christian. He believed Superdrag was part of his old life and it had to end. His current band The Lees Of Memory has released a few singles. So I guess that means that Superdrag is officially a one hit wonder. Here's the video for Sucked Out by Superdrag. This video is not on Youtube.
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Song:Walk On The Moon
At first look, you might think that Asobi Seksu is a Japanese band. They were actually from New York. Their music is described as Dreampop. Lead singer, pianist and songwriter Yuki Chikudate was born in Okinawa, Japan. But she grew up in California and moved to New York at age 16. She formed a band in 2001. At first they were called Sportfuck and an EP was released. But she wisely changed it to Asobi Seksu which supposedly means "play sex" in Japanese. So that's the vibe Yuki was going for. When they released their 2002 full length debut CD Asobi Seksu, the other members were James Hanna on guitar, Glenn Waldman on bass and Keith Hopkin on drums. Hanna and Hopkin had previously been in the Space Rock band Three Cornered Season and Theta Wave State. Hanna was the only one of the three that remained with Asobi Seksu long term. Asobi Seksu was self released but when the band signed with Friendly Fire, the CD was rereleased with bonus tracks. Waldman and Hopkin left Asobi Seksu after the band toured. Yuki and Hanna remained as the core of Asobi Seksu with a revolving door of musicians brought in when needed. For the 2009 album Hush, Asobi Seksu moved to Polyvinyl Records. They went on hiatus in 2013. They reunited for a 2014 show in Boston. Yuki has been playing New York clubs but I don't think she has recorded any new music. Hanna formed the band Youth Worship and an album was released in 2015. I recommend Asobi Seksu to fans of Dreampop. Here's the video for Walk On The Moon by Asobi Seksu.
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Song:In The City
Those who are into folksingers will want to check out Chris Bathgate. He is frequently compared to guys like Iron & Wine. He was born Apr. 21, 1982 in Pecatonica, IL which is a suburb of Rockford. He began writing as a teen. And then he moved to Ann Arbor, MI to study art and design at the University of Michigan. Bathgate still lives in Ann Arbor. Bathgate played guitar in a heavy metal band. When he moved to Ann Arbor, he formed the folk group Ambitious Brothers with Michael Beauchamp and Karl Sturk. They released a couple of albums and then split up in 2005 when Sturk moved to New York. Bathgate and Beauchamp joined the band The Descent of the Holy Ghost Church led by Jansen Swy. The members were all U of M students. They played a few gigs and disbanded. Bathgate had already released a couple of solo CDs which a local record store sold for him. In 2007, he decided to stay solo instead of joining another band. He signed with the local indie label Quite Scientific. He released the CD A Cork Tale Wake and went on tour. He started generating interest when NPR featured him as song of the day. Because he references local Ann Arbor landmarks in his music, he is popular there. And touring has got him a decent fanbase especially in England. In The City is from Bathgate's 2011 CD Salt Year. His latest CD Dizzy Seas was released in May. All of Bathgate's albums are available as digital downloads. I recommend him to folk music fans. Here's Chris Bathgate performing In The City at the Dream Away Lodge in Becket, MA Apr. 2015. This video is not on Youtube.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Song:Don't Be Afraid Of Love
Album:The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968
Here's a very obscure 1963 single that will interest Stax fans. Oscar Mack recorded a few singles. But mostly he was Otis Redding's Man Friday. And he was Redding's opening act. Mack was his valet, chauffeur, whatever. If someone in the band needed something, they would get it from Mack. He was somewhat of a father figure on the road. And apparently he was a great performer. He would do flips on stage and banter with the audience. He wrote songs and Redding recorded a couple of them. And he even got to record for Stax a couple of times. Mack wrote Don't Be Afraid Of Love with Capricorn Records founder Phil Walden. The band isn't credited but it sure sounds like Booker T & The MGs with the Stax Horns. And that may be Otis Redding singing harmony with Mack. It was released as a single so you can get it on the 9CD box set The Complete Stax/Volt Singles which is a must for Stax fans. It's probably the best thing Mack recorded. Redding even recorded the song but it sat in the vault until the 90s. The Lo Fidelity All Stars covered the song. It looks like Mack left Redding in 1966 and joined the band of soul singer James Duncan. And he recorded the 1968 single I'm Glad It's Over for Bell Records' label Amy. It looks like Mack left the music business and moved to Detroit. He died in 1989. Here's a video for Don't Be Afraid Of Love by Oscar Mack. Thanks to Sir Shambling's Deep Soul Heaven for the Oscar Mack info.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Here's the match video of Alexandra Albu vs Kailin Curran from last night's UFC show in Anaheim. This aired on UFC Fight Pass. Alexandra is from Russia. The last time we saw her was in 2015. Jon Anik said on the broadcast that she was finishing school. They announced her record as 6-0 but according to all records I have seen, she is actually 2-0. Her 2015 opponent was so bad she was released. So I'm not sure if she's a good fighter or not. I just haven't seen enough of her. She's a fitness model in Russia so I know she will be ripped. Kailin is from Hawaii. Her main flaw is she loses concentration during fights and that has cost her in the UFC. So I'm watching round one and it's a decent round. The thing I like about Alexandra is she punches hard and that won her the first two rounds of this fight. What I don't like about her is she's too easy to hit. There's no head movement. It's like she hasn't been taught to avoid punches. Alexandra's problems are related to inexperience. And that's good because she can improve with good coaching. In round one, Alexandra was winning with more effective striking when suddenly she pulled Kailin into her guard. Again, that's inexperience. And Kailin broke Alexandra's nose which obviously affected her endurance. But I thought Alexandra's striking was more effective so I scored the first two rounds in her favour. After the second round, Kailin got read the riot act. And she was a lot better in round three. But she didn't get the finish she needed. So I scored the fight 29-28 for Alexandra and so did the judges. It was not a great fight but it wasn't boring. Afterwards there was Twitter complaints that Kailin landed more strikes. I looked at the stats and Kailin did throw more punches but Alexandra landed more significant strikes. And that's what I thought while I watched the fight and that's what the judges saw too. Quality is more important than quantity. Alexandra went to the hospital after the fight for her broken nose. I think she has potential but she needs a lot of work. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Cris Cyborg vs Tonya Evinger from last night's UFC show in Anaheim, CA. This match was for the vacant UFC Welterweight Championship. Of course the problem with this fight is that though Tonya is an Invicta champ but she's a Bantamweight. I don't know what she was going to do to beat Cyborg. But from listening to her interviews this week, I don't think Tonya knew either. I guess she thought if she took Cyborg into the late rounds, she might get tired and that would be Tonya's big chance. Well, it did get to the third round but only because Cyborg allowed it. In her post match interview Cyborg said she was being patient. It's almost like she was toying with Tonya until Cyborg finally put her away with a third round knee to the head. And I don't think fans like patient Cyborg. It's like WWE fans and Braun Strowman. They want to see BRAUN CRUSH. Her fans want to see CYBORG CRUSH. Tanya said she was disappointed with her performance. I don't think she should be disappointed. I guess she did better than expected though Tonya would disagree. At least she got paid a lot of money and now she can go after the Bantamweight belt. She is a threat in that division. Then Joe Rogan starts with this "if you build it they will come" nonsense about Welterweights. I have said for years there are no credible 145lb fighters. Take note of the word "credible" because most 145lb fighters, including the ones in Bellator, stink. The exception to that is Meghan Anderson but it's too soon for her. Cyborg's next title defense will probably be against Holly Holm who is ill equipped for Cyborg. Cat Zingano and Ediane Gomes have also expressed interest. Of course all of them are Bantamweights. That's what we will see in the UFC. This is not a new problem going back to 2012 when then Strikeforce owner Scott Coker asked Cyborg to drop to 135 because she ran out of 145lb opponents. Meanwhile I expect Cyborg to do an angle at WWE SummerSlam with Becky Lynch. They have been Tweeting each other for the last couple of weeks. Enjoy the video.
Album:The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
Fans of neo-psychedelia are going to want to check out The Besnard Lakes. Albatross is one of their more popular songs. The Besnard Lakes are from Montreal led by the husband wife duo of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. He plays guitar and she sings and plays bass. The Besnard Lakes is a real place in Saskatchewan. Lasek owns Breakglass Studio in Montreal. He has worked on albums by Wolf Parade among others. At first the Besnard Lakes were a full band. But everyone left and Lasek recorded their 2003 debut album themselves with some help from guest musicians. They do hire musicians to tour but they come and go. For the 2007 album The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, they signed with Jagjaguwar Records. The album was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. Albatross is from the 2010 album The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night. This was also nominated for a Polaris Music Prize. They also scored the 2010 film Sympathy For Delicious for actor Mark Ruffalo. Their latest album A Coliseum Complex Museum was released last year. The Besnard Lakes will never have pop hit singles. Their music isn't commercial. But those who enjoy psychedelic influenced rock should enjoy their music. They do tour but operating his recording studio is Lasek's bread and butter. So any tours have to work around his schedule. Here's the video for Albatross by The Besnard Lakes.