Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Song:The Nutcracker Suite
Album:Ultimate Christmas Cocktails
Les Brown was a popular swing bandleader in the 40s. But when swing died out in the late 40s, he was able to keep his band going for many years. Many bands just closed up shop. Brown's band was never a jazz band. It was a dance band. What made him popular in the 40s was Doris Day and touring with Bob Hope. When Doris went on to film stardom and swing ended, Brown continued to tour with Hope and appear on Hope's TV specials. Later on he was house band for Steve Allen and Dean Martin's TV shows. In the 50s Brown recorded for Decca's Coral label and then he moved to Capitol. This elaborate arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite was on the 1956 album That Sound Of Renown which was one of his final albums on Coral. Then he recorded it on the 1958 live recording Concert Modern on Capitol. Neither album is available on CD. But Capitol has put Brown's recording of The Nutcracker Suite on its Ultra Lounge CD series. It appears on the CD Christmas Cocktails but it's an edited version and the CD is out of print anyway. But this 3CD Ultra Lounge comp is available. So if you are into the Ultra Lounge sound, this is the Christmas CD for you. The Nutcracker Suite was recorded by Freddy Martin and Fred Waring in the 40s. The most notable jazz version was by Duke Ellington in 1960. Brian Setzer's cover of Brown's version of The Nutcracker Suite appeared in the film Elf. Though Brown died in 2001, his son Les Brown Jr. continues to lead the band today. Here's a video for The Nutcracker Suite by Les Brown & His Band of Renown.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Song:Home For The Holidays
Of course the Carpenters were one of the most successful groups of the 70s. But by the late 70s, Richard and Karen Carpenter were both having health problems that would force them to go on hiatus. Christmas Portrait was their final album before the hiatus. They would return but then Karen died. Christmas Portrait was not only an album but a TV special that still airs on PBS stations. they had success with one off Christmas singles like Merry Christmas Darling. So this time Richard wanted to record a full blown Christmas album. They recorded enough material for two Christmas albums. A second album An Old-Fashioned Christmas was released in 1984. The current CD release seems to be a combination of both albums. Richard produced the albums and wrote most of the arrangements with Peter Knight who previously worked with The Moody Blues. Home For The Holidays was written by Al Stillman and Robert Allen. Perry Como had a hit with it in 1954. I don't think it was on the original album but the 1984 sequel. The album did very well. But Richard went into rehab soon after for drug addiction. Karen was supposed to record a solo album. But she got sick with the anorexia that would kill her. They returned with the 1981 album Made in America but Karen died in 1983. Richard produced An Old-Fashioned Christmas as a tribute to Karen. Here's a video for Home For The Holidays by the Carpenters.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Album:The Complete Capitol Recordings
In the 1930s, Paul Whiteman was known as The King of Jazz. He was the most popular bandleader of the time. But with the rise of swing in the late 30s, he was pretty much a has been. So he signed with Capitol Records when they opened in 1942. And this one off 1942 single featuring the legendary Billie Holiday was Whiteman's final chart hit. The problem with Whiteman was despite his nickname, he wasn't a jazz musician nor an innovator. He was a very good marketer. And he deserves a lot of credit for giving Bing Crosby to the world. But by the late 30s, guys like Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller made him obsolete. So as a last resort, he signed with the fledgling Capitol Records. Their first single was Whiteman's recording of I Found A New Baby. So Capitol co-owner Johnny Mercer wanted to make a big splash with a big hit. He found out that Billie Holiday was in Los Angeles. She just had a huge hit with God Bless The Child. He convinced her to record with Whiteman. I assume he promised to write a song for her. Mercer wrote Trav'lin Light with Whiteman band members Trummy Young and Jimmy Mundy. Mundy also arranged the recording. Because Billie was under contract to Columbia, Mercer credited Billie as Lady Day on the label. The trombone solo was by Skip Layton. It worked. The record was a big hit. It topped the R&B chart and reached #23 on the Hit Parade. It turned out to be Whiteman's final big hit. This comp has all his Capitol recordings. Trav'lin Light also appears on some Billie Holiday comps. Whiteman turned to radio and by the late 40s he was a regular on TV. He was musical director for ABC in the 50s. Here's a video for Trav'lin light by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra featuring Billie Holiday.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Here's the match video of Alexis Davis vs Liz Carmouche from last night's UFC show in Fresno, CA. Alexis won their first fight four years ago. Both fighters are dropping to Flyweight. Alexis fought at Flyweight before she was in Strikeforce. Liz says she thought she was undersized at Bantamweight. I don't think it matters much with Liz. I don't think she's an elite fighter and injuries have slowed her down. Alexis is good on the ground but she is error prone and that has cost her fights in the past. This is a close fight but not a great fight. I didn't think either gave a great performance. Round one is the key round as it could be scored either way. Liz got top position but didn't do much with it. But for some that could be enough to give her the round. But Alexis secured an armbar with time running out in the round. If she had got it earlier in the round, the fight would have been over. It was close enough to a finish for me to score the round 10-9 for Alexis. But it could have been scored for Liz based on what she did earlier in the round. So which is correct? They are both correct. It depends on your criteria. Two judges scored it for Alexis and the other one scored it for Liz. The other two rounds were easier to judge. I scored round two 10-9 for Alexis and round three 10-9 for Liz. And so did the judges. Alexis won by split decision. When you watch the fight, pay particular attention to round one and how you would judge it. I wasn't surprised by the fight. I think Alexis is a better fighter but her mistakes keep fights close. I have never been that high on Liz. And she didn't show me much in this fight. On Twitter, there has been speculation about who might get the first shot at Nicco Montano's UFC Flyweight Championship. I think the speculation is premature mostly because Nicco just had foot surgery so we won't see her until the middle of 2018. The other fighters need fights in the meantime. Most of the speculation assumes that Sijara Eubanks will get the first shot as a make good because she got sick. But I think its doubtful that she can make 125lb. She'll get the opportunity to prove she can do that before a title shot because Nicco is on the shelf anyway. And other contenders may surface. I'm not the one speculating about this. I'm telling those people to relax. Maybe watch this video and enjoy the fight.
Song:The Christmas song
Album:Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas
If you're a jazz guitar fan looking for a Christmas album, Kenny Burrell recorded a Christmas album in 1966. He was bouncing around labels at the time so it's an album that fell through the cracks for years. But it's now available as a budget CD. Burrell left Blue Note in 1963. His final album for Blue Note was Midnight Blue which was his most popular album. He recorded a couple of albums for Prestige with Jack McDuff and Shirley Scott. And he recorded a couple of albums for Verve including Blue Bash! with Jimmy Smith and Guitar Forms with Gil Evans. Then he went to Chicago and signed with the Chess Records label Cadet. He recorded three albums for Cadet and producer Esmond Edwards who produced most of the jazz albums recorded at Chess. Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas was Burrell's second album for Cadet and it was released in 1966. It is Burrell performing Christmas standards with an orchestra conducted by Richard Evans who was a house arranger at Chess. This album was out of print for years. Universal now owns the Chess catalog and Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas was released by Verve on CD in 1993. It's available as a budget CD and it's perfect for jazz fans looking for a Christmas album. Edwards left Chess for Verve in 1968 and Burrell went with him. By then Creed Taylor was running Verve and he left and eventually would start CTI Records. Edwards returned to Chess in 1970. Burrell recorded one album for CTI and then recorded for Fantasy in the 70s. Here's a video for The Christmas Song by Kenny Burrell.
Saturday, December 09, 2017
Album:Verve Presents: The Very Best Of Christmas Jazz
John Coltrane on a Christmas CD? From what I can tell, this was the only time Coltrane recorded what could be called a Christmas song and that's why it appears on a various artists Christmas CD. But there are a couple of interesting things about his recording of Greensleeves. Coltrane signed with Impulse Records in 1961. And this is also when he started what is known as the Classic Quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. But Greensleeves was on his 1961 debut album Africa/Brass with a much larger band. Impulse liked Greensleeves enough that they wanted to release it as a single. But it was ten minutes long. So they edited it and released it as a single. This was obviously influenced by the success of Coltrane's recording of My Favorite Things. The single was never on a Coltrane album though it did appear on the Deluxe Edition CD of Ballads which is out of print. Africa/Brass is available as a budget CD. Coltrane also recorded Greensleeves on Live At The Village Vanguard but it only appeared on the 1997 complete recordings box set. But Verve has included the single version on some various artists Christmas CDs including this budget CD released in 2001. Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, Mel Torme and Oscar Peterson are among the artists on this CD. As I have said in the past, I am always asked about jazz Christmas CDs and there are very few with Coltrane on it. Here's a video of Greensleeves by John Coltrane.
Friday, December 08, 2017
Album:The Story of Acid Jazz
Acid Jazz was created by British DJ Gilles Peterson for British clubs. Most of the music didn't cross the pond. But if you're a fan of smooth jazz or R&B, Acid Jazz might be for you. The Apostles were a one off band. But they had some success in clubs with this smooth jazz cover of the Eumir Deodato 70s jazz fusion classic Super Strut. The two guys behind The Apostles were sax player John Willmott and keyboard player John Dutton. Willmott is the better known of the two. He played sax for another popular Acid Jazz group The James Taylor Quartet. Dutton played keyboards for a version of the pioneering ska group Bad Manners. They decided to record an album together in 1992. They called themselves The Apostles and it was released on Acid Jazz Records. The album is mostly covers. Their cover of Super Strut did well enough in British clubs that the album was released in the US by Hollywood Records. But The Apostles only recorded one album. It's out of print but you can get Super Strut on this 2CD various artists comp which is a good intro to Acid Jazz for beginners. Willmott returned to The James Taylor Quartet and he was also in the spinoff group New Jersey Kings. More recently he was a member of The Perceptions led by Mark "Snowboy' Cotgrove. This was a one off spinoff of Snowboy and the Latin Section. That is certainly in the tradition of the Acid Jazz Willmott recorded with The Apostles. Here's a video of Super Strut by The Apostles.
Thursday, December 07, 2017
Album:Annie: A New Musical
Andrea McArdle was 13 years old when she starred in the Broadway musical Annie. You might ask whatever happened to her? I'm gonna tell you. Andrea was born Nov. 5, 1963 in Philadelphia. As a child, she appeared in TV commercials and was on the daytime soap Search For Tomorrow for two years. Of course Annie is based on the popular comic strip Little Orphan Annie. In 1972, lyricist Martin Charnin approached Thomas Meehan about turning it into a musical. Meehan wrote the story and Charles Strouse wrote the songs with Charnin. Kristen Vigard was originally cast as Annie. But in the pre-Broadway tryouts, the producers thought Kristen wasn't gritty enough and Andrea replaced her. Andrea was originally hired to play one of the orphans. Kristen was her understudy. Kristen went on to star in a couple of daytime soaps and she has been in music since 1988. This turned out to be a great decision as Annie was a huge hit and it won Tonys. Sony's 2009 CD release of the original cast album includes bonus tracks. It also made Andrea famous for a couple of years After the show ended, Andrea starred as Judy Garland in the 1981 NBC TV movie Rainbow. After that, she returned to the stage sometimes on Broadway in shows like Les Miserables, State Fair and Beauty and the Beast. She also appears in plenty of touring companies. Andrea also performs in clubs and has released the occasional CD produced by her ex-husband Edd Kalehoff. His claim to fame is he wrote the theme for The Price Is Right. There's a cash cow. Andrea has been on tour this year. It's likely she will return to the stage in the future. But she will always be famous for playing Annie. Here's Andrea McArdle performing Tomorrow 1977.
Wednesday, December 06, 2017
Album:The Best Of The Capricorn Years (& Rarities)
Gov't Mule is a spinoff of The Allman Brothers Band. They have built a strong fanbase and they are a very successful touring act. Lead singer and guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody joined The Allman Brothers Band in 1989. When the band went on hiatus after the 1994 album Where It All Begins, they decided to go on tour as Gov't Mule. Matt Abst was the drummer. He played with Haynes in the Dickie Betts band. They released an album and toured in 1995. When the Allmans remained on hiatus, Gov't Mule just continued to record and tour. Things were going great when Woody was found dead in a New York hotel room on Aug. 26, 2000 at age 44. When the Allmans returned in 2001, Haynes returned to them full time. He considered ending Gov't Mule. But first he wanted to record a tribute album to Woody. That became the two part project The Deep End. There is also a documentary about the making of the album. They brought in guest bassists as a tribute to Woody including Jack Bruce, Bootsy Collins, John Entwistle and Larry Graham. Haynes wrote Soulshine and it was on the 1994 Allman Brothers CD Where It All Begins. It's a regular song on Gov't Mule shows. The bassist is veteran session musician Willie Weeks. The success of The Deep End convinced Haynes to continue Gov't Mule and he signed a deal with Dave Matthews' ATO label. The Deep End is out of print. But you can get Soulshine on this comp of Gov't Mule's early recordings. They tried several keyboard players and bassists and settled on session keyboardist Danny Louis and Black Crowes bassist Andy Hess. Gov't Mule returned to regular touring and recording. And that's what they are doing today. Hess was replaced by Jorgen Carlsson in 2008. Gov't Mule's latest CD Revolution Come...Revolution Go was released by Fantasy Records June 2017. And they will tour in 2018. Here's Gov't Mule performing Soulshine on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn 2001.
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Alicia Fox from last night's episode of RAW. Well, at least it wasn't five seconds. At least Alicia got in some offense until Asuka took over and won with a flying armbar. Again, Absolution came to the ring and Paige waved bye bye to Asuka and then proceeded to beat up Alicia. At this point, we just have to wait to see where this goes. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Asuka vs Paige on an upcoming PPV. Enjoy the video!
Song:Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night
Album:The Hit Collection
In North America, Lonnie Donegan is known for the 1961 top five hit Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night. The song is a staple on the Dr. Demento radio show. But in England, he was as important as Elvis Presley in popularizing Rock 'N' Roll. He was born Anthony James Donegan Apr. 29, 1931 in Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland but he grew up in East London. His father was a violinist. As a child, Donegan listened to swing and country and he taught himself to play guitar by listening to the radio. He played in London clubs when he was spotted by jazz musician Chris Barber. While a member of that band, he was drafted into the military in 1949. After his 1952 discharge, he started the Tony Donegan Jazzband. After opening for bluesman Lonnie Johnson, Donegan took the name Lonnie as a tribute. Then Donegan became a member of Ken Colyer's band. Then Donegan created "skiffle". This was a mix of the Dixieland jazz he was already playing augmented by banjo and other folk and country music instruments. He performed sped up versions of traditional folk songs like Rock Island Line which was a top ten hit in the US in 1954. Donegan signed with Pye Records in 1955 and that's when things started to pick up for Donegan. He became a big star in England but he was unable to get anywhere in the US until Dot Records picked up Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night. It was a hit in England in 1959. In 1961, it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song dates back to the 20s. It was written as Does Your Spearmint Lose Its Flavour by famed bandleader Billy Rose along with Ernest Breuer and Jelly Roll Morton band member Marty Bloom. It was a hit at the time for The Happiness Boys. It was written as a novelty song but Donegan's skiffle version was a quicker tempo than the original. Donegan changed Spearmint to Chewing Gum for copyright reasons so the BBC would play the record. Donegan's career faded after that because of The British Invasion. But he made a big comeback in England in the 80s and he toured and recorded regularly until his death on Nov. 3, 2002 at age 71. Donegan had suffered several heart attacks since the 70s. This comp is a good intro to his music. Here's a video of Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night by Lonnie Donegan.
Monday, December 04, 2017
Song:Hymn To Freedom
Oliver Jones is the second greatest jazz pianist to emerge from Canada. Of course Oscar Peterson is the greatest. So for most of his career Jones has lived in that shadow. This doesn't seem to bother Jones. I'm sure he is asked about this in interviews. And he even got to perform one of Peterson's greatest songs Hymn To Freedom with the master himself. Jones was born Sept. 11, 1934 in Montreal. His parents were from Barbados. Jones studied piano and played at Montreal's Union United Church which is the home of the famed Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir so he worked with them a lot and he played local clubs. In the early 80s he led the house band at Biddle's in Montreal owned by bassist Charlie Biddle. Jones' debut album was recorded at Biddle's and it was also the first time he recorded Hymn To Freedom. It was on Justin Time Records. He still records for them. He also recorded Hymn To Freedom on the 1991 album A Class Act. The DVD Serenade was taped live at the 2004 Montreal Jazz Festival. I'm sure Jones always wanted to perform with Peterson. But after his 1993 stroke, Peterson was limited in what he could do on the piano. So as you can see in the video clip, Jones is carrying most of the load. It doesn't matter. It's great to see them on stage together. Most of the DVD features Jones' trio of Dave Young on bass and Norm Marshall Villeneuve on drums. For the two songs with Peterson, Young is replaced by Peterson's usual bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson and guitarist Ulf Wakenhuis. Jones is 83 years old and at a recent tribute show in Montreal, there was talk that it might be his final appearance. The 2017 documentary Mind Hands Heart details his road to retirement. But I would not be surprised if he changes his mind and performs a few times. Oliver Jones is a legend in Canada. He can do what he wants. Here's Oliver Jones featuring Oscar Peterson performing Hymn To Freedom at the 2004 Montreal Jazz Festival from the DVD Serenade.
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Here's the match video of Amanda Bobby Cooper vs Angela Magana from last night's UFC show in Detroit. Both fighters are terrible. So it's not a question of who's better. It's a question of who's worse. Angela has been around for years. She was in TUF 20. At one time she was an OK fighter. But injuries have really slowed her down. As a result, this is only her third UFC fight. She also exhibits unwarranted arrogance. Fans know she's terrible and I'm sure many were surprised she is still in the UFC. Amanda is from Michigan which is why she was on this show. She was on TUF 23. I've seen her since her Invicta days and she's just not very good. But she has a fan following because of her looks. As it turns out, Angela is worse but not by much. Once Amanda is on top of Angela, Angela can't get out from under. But Amanda should have finished her a lot sooner. As Joe Rogan points out, Amanda makes plenty of mistakes that would have got her into trouble against a good fighter. The only reason this fight goes almost two rounds is Amanda doesn't know how to finish. She's inept. Finally with less than a minute left in round two, ref Keith Peterson tires of telling Angela to fight back and he ends the fight. Mercy for Angela and us. I'm sure plenty of fans are happy to see Angela get her ass kicked. Not me. I just thought the fight was sad to watch. Neither belongs in the UFC. Check out the video for yourself.
Here's the match video of Felice Herrig vs Cortney Casey from last night's UFC show in Detroit. These two are decent fighters who are looking to move up in the rankings. Felice seems to have improved a lot lately. And Cortney is OK but I'm not sure she is any better than a midcard fighter. I was hopeful this would be entertaining but it wasn't. They didn't seem to want to fight each other. It was like a three round sparring session. The most entertaining part of the fight was when they flipped the bird at each other during round three. Unfortunately this was bleeped by Fox. I guess they weren't too happy with each other. I'm sure if they were asked why there was no action in the fight, they would blame each other. In the end, Felice won by split decision. But the fight was a dud so I don't really care who won. I think everyone including the fans lost. I've said this before but a win is not just a win especially for someone like Felice who wants into the title picture. She didn't do herself any favors. Check out the video for yourself.
Here's the match video of Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson from last night's UFC show in Detroit. Both fighters have title aspirations. I think they are both overrated for different reasons. And in this fight we see the flaws that I think will prevent either from getting near the title. Tecia is mainly a kickboxer with no power or ground skills meaning she's a points fighter. In her last fight, she got her first ever submission win over Julianna Lima. I don't see her doing that against better fighters. When Michelle first came to the UFC, I thought she would have problems with some of the better Strawweights because she's an Atomweight. And that has proven to be true. And injuries have slowed her down. Round one was close. I don't think either of them did much. I scored it 10-9 for Tecia very marginally. Round two was much easier to score. It went to the ground and that gave the edge to Michelle because Tecia is useless on the ground. So I scored it 10-9 for Michelle. The problem was that took a lot out of Michelle and she didn't seem to have much left in round three. And her left eye was closed. I don't think she could see much. Tecia was much fresher in round three. I credit that to training in the high altitude in Colorado. Tecia was winning the round anyway and then she got on top of Michelle and pounded her. I think she did enough to get a stoppage. But the ref let it go and Tecia won by unanimous decision. Afterwards, Tecia asked for a title shot. I don't think she's getting it yet. There are other contenders like Cynthia Calvillo for example. The situation is tougher for Michelle. Ideally, the UFC should start an Atomweight division. I don't see that happening immediately. That leaves Michelle spinning her wheels at Strawweight because she won't be released. That's a tough spot. Enjoy the video!
Album:Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970
Most jazz fans should be familiar with alto sax player Hank Crawford from his days as Ray Charles' musical director and then a long career as a leader. I saw him live in the 70s at The Colonial Tavern in Toronto. But I bet you don't know that before that he played sax and sang for the R&B group Little Hank & The Rhythm Kings. That's how he met Ray Charles. He was born Bennie Crawford Jr. Dec. 21, 1934 in Memphis. As a child, he played piano in the church choir. As a teen, he took up the alto sax. Influences include Charlie Parker, Louis Jordan and Earl Bostic. In 1958 he attended Tennessee State University in Nashville studying music theory and composition. That's when he started Little Hank & The Rhythm Kings. The nickname Hank was because he sounded like local sax legend Hank O'Day. Other members were Otha Hayes on piano, James Watkins on bass and Milt Turner on drums. They recorded a couple of singles including Christene. The most interesting thing is that Crawford not only played sax but he sang. The band didn't last very long because Turner left to join Ray Charles' band. And then he recommended Crawford and of course Crawford would eventually become Charles' musical director. Hayes is best known as co-writer of Shake A Tail Feather. You can get Christene on this 2CD history of Nashville R&B. Crawford left the Charles band in 1963 and he had a long career recording as a leader. But I don't think most jazz fans will be aware of his start leading Little Hank & The Rhythm Kings. Here's a video of Christene by Little Hank & The Rhythm Kings.
Saturday, December 02, 2017
Here's the match video of Nicco Montano vs Roxanne Modafferi from The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale to crown the inaugural UFC Women's Flyweight Champion. The problem with TUF 26 was the fighter talent level was shockingly low, even worse than TUF 23. We saw that in some of last night's fights. Some of them are inept. I also didn't care for the return of former Invicta champ Barb Honchak. Obviously they did that to have a clear favorite. But the long layoff has clearly hurt her. She doesn't have the quickness she used to have. As I always say, Father Time is undefeated. The championship match was supposed to be Sijara Eubanks vs Nicco Montano. Sijara is an Invicta veteran. The problem with her is three of her four fights were at Bantamweight. And during the show, she had problems making weight. She cut her damn hair to make weight. So I don't think anyone was surprised when she landed in the hospital on Thursday. At some point, the UFC needs to start taking responsibility for unsafe weight cutting. In this case, they are to blame for allowing Sijara on TUF 26 in the first place. They need to be proactive in avoiding this kind of crap. Fighters are not to be trusted. Of course they are going to say they can make weight. Sometimes the UFC just has to say no. Fortunately, Roxanne filled in admirably. This was a potential big disaster that could have been easily avoided with common sense. As for Nicco, she was seeded low because of her lack of experience. But unlike some of the higher seeds, she comes from a good camp and I suspect the UFC sandbagged her to possibly have an underdog champ. Nicco trains at Fit NHB in New Mexico. Her teammates include UFC fighter Tim Means and Invicta fighter Amber Brown. The fight itself was decent. I scored it 49-46 for Nicco. I'm sure the last minute change hurt Roxy more than Nicco. She didn't prepare for five rounds. The whole thing could have turned out a lot worse. And they got a Fight Of The Night bonus. Nicco and her boyfriend were living in a leaky basement. Now they can move to a decent place. We'll see if Nicco can defend the title. That will be tough. There were other women's fights on the show. They were all pretty bad and I don't have the time to post them all with another UFC show on tonight. So enjoy this fight as it's pretty good.
Song:My Angel Baby
Album:Do You Love Me?: All-Time Best Love Songs
I'm willing to bet you heard My Angel Baby when it was a top 20 hit in 1978. And you might think it's an Eagles song. But it was recorded by the band Toby Beau. It was their only big hit. Toby Beau was from San Antonio, TX led by lead singer and guitarist Balde Silva and lead guitarist Danny McKenna. Other members were Ron Rose on guitar, mandolin and banjo, Steve Zipper on bass and Rob Young on drums. They signed with RCA and their 1978 debut album Toby Beau was produced by KISS producer Sean Delaney. My Angel Baby was the first single and it reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also topped the Adult Contemporary chart. It was all downhill from there as neither the band or RCA were happy with Toby Beau's second album. It was scrapped and a new album recorded. McKenna was still unhappy with the 1979 album More Than A Love Song. He left followed by the rest of the band leaving Silva to record the 1980 album If You Believe. Then RCA dropped them. You can get My Angel Baby on this RCA various artists budget comp. McKenna died in 2006. But Silva continues to tour South Texas as Toby Beau accompanied by his wife and family members. He seems to do a lot of cruise ships which is not unusual for nostalgia acts. Here's a video for My Angel Baby by Toby Beau.
Friday, December 01, 2017
Song:(You're) Having My Baby
Album:The Most Of Paul Anka
After much success in the late 50s as one of the original teen idols, Paul Anka went through a long dry period before (You're) Having My Baby topped the charts in 1974. Hits like Diana in 1959 were some of the biggest in history. But like many early 60s artists, the British Invasion killed Anka's career. He continued to record and he had success as a songwriter with She's A Lady and My Way. He left his long time label RCA in 1972 and he recorded a couple of unsuccessful albums for Buddah. Then he signed with United Artists. And I guess his key move was going down to Muscle Shoals to record with Rick Hall at the legendary hit factory FAME Studios. (You're) Having My Baby was the first single from the 1974 album Anka. It topped the Billboard Hot 100. Anka wrote the song for his wife. He was going to record it solo. But UA exec Bob Skaff suggested recording a duet. Odia Coates was a backup singer at the recording session. Anka met her while touring. She appeared on a couple of Anka's other hits. But her career didn't amount to much after two unsuccessful albums for UA. Odia died from cancer in 1991. (You're) Having My Baby has frequently been a staple of Worst Songs of All Time lists. The song is certainly sappy. But Anka was heavily criticized as sexist and chauvinist. I don't think he was thinking about that while he wrote the song. He wanted to pay tribute to his wife. As a result, I don't think he performs the song anymore. You can get Having My Baby on this CD from EMI in England which also contains some of Anka's earlier hits. Anka last recorded in 2013 but he still tours. Here's Paul Anka featuring Odia Coates performing (You're) Having My Baby on The Midnight Special 1974.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Here's the match video of Kairi Sane vs Peyton Royce from this week's episode of NXT from San Antonio, TX. This match is probably typical of what Kairi's matches will be like. She gets beat down and then she comes back for the win. In this case, I thought the ending was abrupt. It looks like they ran out of time and had to end the match. I didn't think Kairi did enough to Peyton to set up her elbow drop. The match was OK. It was nothing special. Enjoy the video!
Song:(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
Album:All The Hits: The Ultimate Collection
Of course most fans are familiar with the 1969 B.J. Thomas number one hit Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head from the hit film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But he had a second number one hit when Thomas moved to Nashville and became a country singer. That was (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song. In the 60s, Thomas recorded for Scepter Records with modest success. Because it was from a hit movie, Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head was a fluke hit. He did score a couple of hits including Rock and Roll Lullaby in 1972. After that, he left Scepter for Paramount Records. After two unsuccessful albums, Paramount was folded into parent company ABC Records. Thomas' first album on ABC was Reunion in 1975. The title was because Thomas was reuniting with producer Chips Moman who he had worked with at Scepter. Reunion was supposed to be a country album. (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song not only topped the Country Singles chart. But it crossed over to top the Billboard Hot 100. I don't think they were expecting that. Moman wrote the song with veteran producer Larry Butler. Reunion is a short album and it has never been released on CD anyway. This BMG budget comp has both of Thomas' number one hits. Beware of rerecorded versions. Thomas never had another pop hit. But he did have success in the country market after MCA bought ABC in 1978. He also started recording Christian music for Word's Myrrh label. So he had success there as well. This versatility has served Thomas well as he still tours and records occasionally. Here's B.J. Thomas performing (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song on The Midnight Special 1975.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Album:Ultimate 16: Bump & Grind
Monifah Carter scored a top ten hit with Touch It in 1998. It was her only big hit but some of her other songs charted so she's not technically a one hit wonder. Before that she was known for her association with rapper Heavy D. She was born Feb. 28, 1972 in New York City. She grew up in Spanish Harlem. Her mom worked at the local church. As a teen, Monifah appeared in a couple of off-Broadway musicals before deciding to pursue a singing career in 1990. She was in a group called Rapture. Rapper Heavy D was also president of Uptown Records. When he got a Rapture demo, he was interested in Monifah as a solo act. But first he sent her out on the road as a backup singer for Maxi Priest for her to gain experience. When she returned, he signed her to a record deal. Heavy D produced a lot of Monifah's 1996 debut album Moods...Moments including the single I Miss You (Come Back Home) which was a top 20 R&B hit. For her 1998 album Mo'Hogany, she worked with Heavy D, Queen Latifah and Mario Winans. Touch It reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written and produced by Jack Knight who also rapped on the record. He had previously worked with Chico DeBarge and Total. Touch It sampled the 1983 Laid Back hit White Horse. Mo'Hogany is out of print but you can get Touch It on this various artists CD. After one more unsuccessful album, that was it for Monifah. Though she has recorded occasionally, she is known mainly as one of the stars of the TV One reality series R&B Divas: Atlanta. That show ran for three seasons and it was cancelled in 2015. Her website is kaput so I think she retired to spend more time with her family. Here's the video for Touch It by Monifah featuring Jack Knight.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Dana Brooke with the Absolution segment. So they did this match with Dana because she's been flapping her gums claiming she has found holes in Asuka's game. "She's a slow starter" says Dana. Dana comes forward and walks right into a flying armbar. The match is over in five seconds. And Michael Cole called it the Asuka Lock. Then Paige and her Absolution group come out and surround Asuka. They decide not to attack her. Paige smiles at Asuka. As usual, Asuka's facial expressions are fantastic. It raises a lot of questions for the future. That's what it was supposed to do. I really liked the segment. Check it out for yourself.
The South African band Seether had success in the post grunge era partially because they sound a lot like Nirvana. The 2007 single Fake It is probably their biggest hit to date. The band was formed in 1999 in Pretoria, South Africa as Saron Gas with lead singer and guitarist Shaun Morgan, bassist Dale Stewart and drummer Dave Cohoe. Morgan has acknowledged Nirvana as a major influence. They released an album on a local label that got enough attention that Wind-Up Records signed them. Wind-Up wanted a name change and Seether was chosen. They moved to the US in 2002. The album Disclaimer was released in 2002 followed by Disclaimer II in 2004. They got airplay on alternative rock radio and they toured with Evanescence. A rerecording of the song Broken featuring Evanescence lead singer Amy Lee reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Seether recorded with Amy because Wind-Up requested it. They weren't crazy about doing it but it did help them. Fake It is from the 2007 CD Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces. It topped the Alternative and Mainstream Rock charts which is why it's a slightly bigger hit than Broken. It certainly sounds like Nirvana. Since then, Seether continues to record and tour. They left Wind-Up in 2011. This 2CD budget comp is a good intro to their music. Their latest CD Poison The Parish was released in May on Canine Riot with Concord distribution. Seether is currently touring to support it. Here's the video for Fake It by Seether.
Monday, November 27, 2017
Album:High School Musical: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens came to prominence starring in the 2005 Disney Channel movie High School Musical. Breaking Free was a top five. Since then, Efron has become a big movie star. Vanessa tried music. But when that didn't work out, she switched to acting with modest success. Efron was born Oct. 18, 1987 in San Luis Obispo, CA. He got into acting as a teen and he moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school. He appeared on TV most notably in the WB series Summerland. Vanessa was born Dec. 14, 1988 in Salinas, CA. As a teen, she performed in local musical theater. She appeared on TV and in the 2004 film Thunderbirds. So High School Musical was the breakthrough for both. It's basically a modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet written by Peter Barsocchini and directed by veteran choreographer Kenny Ortega. High School Musical was so successful on Disney Channel that there have been several sequels. The big surprise was when the soundtrack album sold five million copies and Breaking Free reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Because Efron was not really a singer, Drew Seeley's voice is mixed in with his vocals. He works for Disney as an actor, singer and songwriter. Breaking Free was written by Jamie Houston who has worked on other Disney projects like Hannah Montana. The soundtrack is available in a 2CD special edition with Karaoke versions and some bonus tracks. Efron appeared in the High School Musical sequels and the film musical Hairspray. That made him a big star. Vanessa attempted to launch a recording career with Disney label Hollywood Records. When her two albums didn't sell, she returned to acting. They began a relationship while filming High School Musical. It ended in 2010. Since then, Efron has had success in film like Neighbors and Baywatch. He has also had substance abuse issues that have been well chronicled in the media. His new film The Greatest Showman is a musical biopic of PT Barnum played by Hugh Jackman. This will be Efron's first singing appearance on film since High School Musical. Dec. 20 is the release date. Vanessa appeared in the 2015 Broadway revival of Gigi. She also appeared on the live Fox broadcast of Grease as Rizzo. She starred in the TV series Powerless which was cancelled after one season. Her career would be much different if music had worked out. Here's the video for Breaking Free by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Song:Never Gonna Give You Up
So I'm sure you all know this 1987 worldwide chart topper. In recent years it has become an internet meme. It's the biggest hit from British producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. Astley was born Feb. 6, 1966 in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England. He grew up singing in church. And he played drums in local bands. He was playing drums in FBI when the lead singer left and Astley replaced him. Pete Waterman spotted him and brought him to London. And that was it. the 1987 album Whenever You Need Someone blew up when Never Gonna Give You Up topped worldwide charts. The record is a very typical Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) production. But it was so much bigger than anything else they produced. The song just clicked with people. Maybe it was Astley's deep voice and boyish looks. Together Forever was Astley's other number one hit. Astley's second album was delayed when the masters were destroyed by a studio fire. Meanwhile the British media upset Astley by calling him an SAW puppet. So he split with them after the 1988 album Hold Me In Your Arms. And Astley wrote and produced the 1991 album Free. Cry For Help was a top ten hit. After his 1993 album Body & Soul, Astley retired from the music business. You can get all his hits on this budget comp. After spending more time with his family, Astley signed with Polydor in 2001. He still tours and records but of course he's a nostalgia act now. He was back in the news when the video for Never Gonna Give You Up became an internet prank known as Rickrolling. Astley played along with it for a while especially at the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But he made no money from it so he returned to his normal career. It was certainly an odd sidebar to his career. Here's the video for Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. No rickrolling from me.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Here's the match video of Xiaonan Yan vs Kailin Curran from today's UFC show in Shanghai. I don't think Kailin is a UFC caliber fighter. She was 1-5 in the UFC going into this fight. She needed a win. She has a lot of flaws and I don't know if farming her out to Invicta like some suggest woild make any difference. Yan is 28 years old from Liaoning, China with an 8-1 record. She is mainly a striker. And she came out swinging in round one. She throws hard and she rocked Kailin a few times. She also has very good takedown defence. Kailin doesn't have the punching power to brawl with Yan. So Yan won the first two rounds. I thought Yan tired in round three. But Kailin needed a finish. Winning round three wasn't going to be enough. So I scored the fight 29-28 for Yan. And she won by unanimous decision. An impressive performance by Yan. I look forward to her next fight. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Gina Mazany vs Wu Yanan from today's UFC show in Shanghai. Gina lost her UFC debut to Sara McMann. It was a short notice fight. Gina trains with her brother at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. He is an EFC champ. Both of them do pro wrestling too. Yanan is 21 years old Chinese fighter with an 8-1 record mostly against local fighters. This is a big step up in competition for her and it showed. Gina won all three rounds fairly easily. She was more aggressive and more effective. Gina said afterwards that she broke her foot during training. It didn't seem to bother her. Yanan has a bad habit of grabbing the fence. Ref Marc Goddard warned her several times and finally got a translator to explain it to her. She also injured her shoulder at the end of round two and she fought round three with one arm. It's a big win for Gina. We'll see how she does against better fighters. Enjoy the video!
Song:The Bare Necessities
Album:Walt Disney's The Jungle Book
For everything Phil Harris did over the years, he is probably best known for singing The Bare Necessities in the 1967 Walt Disney film The Jungle Book. He was born June 24, 1904 in Linton, IN but he grew up on Nashville. His parents were circus performers and Harris' first job was as a drummer in his father's band. He moved to Los Angeles and led his own band in the early 30s. His 1933 short film So This Is Harris! directed by Mark Sandrich won a Best Short Subject Oscar. In 1936, Harris became musical director of the radio show The Jack Benny Program. When he showed that he could adlib snappy one liners, Harris was added to the cast of the show. He stayed with Benny until 1952. He also continued to record his own music. These were usually novelty songs with Harris talking as opposed to singing. The Thing was a number one hit in 1950. Harris married 20th Century Fox musical star Alice Faye in 1942 and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show was on NBC Radio in the late 40s. He got into TV in the 50s. While Walt Disney was casting the 1967 film The Jungle Book, he met Harris at a party and hired him to play Baloo. Harris adlibbed most of his lines. This also led to the hiring of Louis Prima as King Louie and the chemistry between them was a big part of The Jungle Book's success. The score was composed and arranged by long time Disney composer George Bruns. Terry Gilkyson was hired to write the songs. He was a Disney staff songwriter at the time. But Disney thought his songs were too dark. The Sherman Brothers were hired to write new songs. All of Gilkyson's songs were discarded except for The Bare Necessities. And it turned out to be the most memorable song from the film. Bruce Reitherman played Mowgli. He is the son of Disney animation legend Wolgfang Reitherman. He went on to produce TV nature documentaries. The trumpet solo is by former Woody Herman trumpeter Cappy Lewis. When The Jungle Book soundtrack was released in 1967, it had mostly the songs from the film. This 1997 CD release adds much of George Bruns' score and a couple of Terry Gilkyson demos for songs that weren't used. Harris also appeared in The Aristocats and Robin Hood. But he continued to appear on TV regularly until his death on Aug. 11, 1995 at age 91. Here's Phil Harris with Bruce Reitherman performing The Bare Necessities in the 1967 film The Jungle Book.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Fans of the thrash metal band Testament are probably familiar with guitarist Alex Skolnick. What they may not know is he switched to jazz and has led a jazz trio. That's very unusual. He was born Sept. 29, 1968 in Berkeley, CA. His parents were sociology professors. Skolnick took up guitar at age 9 influenced by Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck etc. He studied with Joe Satriani. He joined Testament in 1983 and they had a pretty good run. Skolnick left in 1993. He joined Savatage after guitarist Criss Oliva died. He also played with Ozzy Osbourne. In 1998, Skolnick decided to become a jazz musician. He studied at The New School in New York. Though he has occasionally returned to Testament and done a few other metal projects, he started recording with his own trio in 2001. The current members are Nathan Peck on bass and Matt Zebroski on drums. At first they recorded classic rock covers. But most of the songs on the 2011 album Veritas are original compositions. This is his most recent jazz album. Skolnick returned to Testament in 2005 and he has been recording and touring with them. For a while he was splitting his time between Testament and his trio. But right now he is concentrating on Testament. Here's the Alex Skolnick Trio performing Veritas 2011.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Album:I Am Calvin
Neo Soul singer Calvin Richardson has had some success on the R&B charts. But he has bounced around labels making it tough to find consistency. The 2014 single Hearsay is his biggest hit to date. He was born Dec. 16, 1976 in Monroe, NC. He grew up singing in church. His mom had a gospel group. Along with gospel, Bobby Womack was probably his biggest influence. When his buddies K-Ci & JoJo had success with Jodeci, Richardson formed the group Undacova. They signed with Tommy Boy and the song Love Slave appeared in the 1995 film New Jersey Drive. The group split up and Richardson signed with Universal. Though his 1997 CD Country Boy did OK, Universal dropped him and Richardson released the 2003 album 2:35PM on Hollywood Records. Again the album did OK but Hollywood dropped Richardson. He released his next three albums including a Bobby Womack tribute album on Shanachie which is a smaller label that doesn't have a promotion budget that someone like Richardson needs. For the 2014 album I Am Calvin, Richardson signed with Jordan House Records owned by Eric Benet with Primary Wave and BMG distribution. They are both publishing houses, not record distributors. The single Hearsay reached #11 on the R&B Singles chart. Richardson and Benet wrote and produced the album. It was the same story. The album did OK but not good enough. For his 2017 album All Or Nothing, Richardson returned to Shanachie. And that's probably where he will stay. Richardson is a great singer and Neo Soul fans should check him out. He just can't seem to break through to a larger audience. Here's the video for Hearsay by Calvin Richardson.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Album:Swing Troubadour 37-47
Charles Trenet was one of the most popular performers of the Chansons era. Boum! was his first hit in 1939 and probably his signature song. The most notable thing about Trenet is he wrote most of his own songs at a time when singers didn't write songs. He was born May 18, 1913 in Narbonne, France. When his parents divorced, Trenet was sent to boarding school. But he returned home with typhoid fever. It was during his convalescence that he started exploring the arts. Trenet went to art school in Germany and France. Then he moved to Paris. While working as a prop master in a film studio, he performed with pianist Johnny Hess as Charles and Johnny. They appeared on radio. The duo ended when Trenet went into the military in 1936. When he returned in 1937, he signed with EMI's Columbia label. At first he was compared with Maurice Chevalier. But Trenet forged his own path by writing his own songs. Boum! was his first big hit in 1939. He won the Grande Prix du Disques. He performed it in his first film La Route Enchantee which he also wrote. That Trenet wrote his own songs and even movie scripts was one of the reasons he had longevity. He remained very popular through the 40s with La Mer which when translated to English became Beyond The Sea. After WWII, Trenet moved to Hollywood. He had some success but he returned to Paris in 1951. Trenet faded on his later years. But he continued to perform and record until his death on Feb. 19, 2001 at age 87. This comp from Sunnyside is a good intro to Trenet's music. Here's Charles Trenet performing Boum! in the 1938 film La Route Enchantee.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Here's the match video of Asuka vs Dana Brooke from last night's episode of RAW. This was after last week when Dana was in a match to try to get on the Survivor Series match. Asuka tried to help Dana when she fell out of the ring. Dana slapped Asuka and then Asuka KOd her. They showed Dana's promo saying that she has found holes in Asuka's game. That was pretty funny. The match was the expected squash. Dana's attempted offense just pissed Asuka off. She hit Dana with a couple of spinning back fists and a spinning head kick followed by a roundhouse kick for the finish. If you watched last night's show, you'll know that Paige returned from neck surgery. And she brought friends from NXT, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. Both of them were on Tough Enough a couple of years ago. Sonya's real name is Daria Berenato. She has MMA training and a 2-1 pro MMA record. She has been appearing on NXT TV lately and she has a match on this week's show. Her gimmick is that she is a real fighter. Mandy Rose's real name is Amanda Saccomanno. She did fitness competitions before she was on Tough Enough. Since then she has appeared mostly on NXT house shows but she hasn't appeared very much on TV. I haven't seen enough of her to know if she's any good. She's been a heel at NXT so I guess she will test my Too Hot To Boo theory. There was a match going on and Paige came out and three of them beat up Sasha Banks and Bayley. Alicia Fox ran away. Then they went backstage and beat up Alexa Bliss. We'll see where this goes from here. There is also a rumour that some women will be added to Smackdown tonight. Anyway, enjoy the video.
This is the 2017 Survivor Series Women's match. For RAW, Alicia Fox was the captain with Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Bayley and Asuka. For Smackdown, Becky Lynch was the captain with Natalya, Tamina, Carmella and Naomi. I expected Asuka to be the sole survivor. No other result made sense. The match was OK but nothing special. Becky was the first eliminated by a Bayley roll up pin. And then Bayley was eliminated by Tamina's Superfly splash. Then Nia was counted out. I thought it was the right move to keep Nia away from Asuka for now. Alicia was eliminated when she forgot to kick out of Naomi's pin. And then Sasha quickly eliminated Naomi with the Banks Statement. That was a good adlib by both girls. Asuka eliminated Carmella with a phantom kick. So that leaves Asuka and Sasha vs Natalya and Tamina. And then Sasha taps out to the Sharpshooter. So that leaves Asuka vs Natalya vs Tamina. They beat her up until Tamina misses the splash and Asuka eliminates her with a flying armbar. Then Asuka uses the Asuka Lock to win the match for RAW. No surprise. That's about what I expected. Enjoy the match!
Song:Ever Ever After
Album:Walt Disney Pictures Presents Enchanted
Occasionally I come across songs that will interest fans of the artist but the song doesn't appear on an album by the artist. In this case, Carrie Underwood recorded Ever Ever After for the 2007 Disney film Enchanted and it isn't on any of her CDs. At the time, Carrie was already one of the biggest stars in music. The score for Enchanted was written by Alan Menken and he wrote the songs with Stephen Schwartz. Most of the soundtrack album consists of Menken's score. There are several songs recorded by Amy Adams and James Marsden who voiced the lead characters in the film. And Jon McLaughlin is the other guest singer but he appears in the film. The original plan for Ever Ever After was for Idina Menzel and Marsden to sing it during the film. However it was decided that the duet slowed down the pace of the film. So they ditched that and brought in Carrie to record the song. Her version ran near the end of the film. Menken wisely didn't try to change Carrie's singing style to suit the film. He brought in her producer Mark Bright and they also shot a video. It sounds like Carrie's usual music. But you can only get the song on the Enchanted soundtrack CD. I assume that Arista will eventually put it on a hits comp. But they haven't done that yet. So Carrie Underwood fans will need to get the soundtrack CD. Here's the video for Ever Ever After by Carrie Underwood.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Here is the four way match for the NXT Women's Championship with Ember Moon vs Kairi Sane vs Nikki Cross vs Peyton Royce from Saturday's NXT show in Houston. Of course Kairi won the Mae Young Classic and the other three won qualifying matches. I thought Ember would win partially because Houston is her home town and also to have Asuka pass the torch to her. Kairi has new music that sounds like something Alfred Newman would have written for a 1940s pirate movie like Captain From Castille. I'm not a big fan of four way matches because they can get disjointed and there can be a lot of standing around. It's hard to have a great match but it was OK. Kairi took a big Tower Of Doom bump. And Peyton showed she can work when she wants to. I didn't like the ending as it exposed Ember Moon's major flaw. Leading up to the ending, Kairi hit her flying elbow drop on Nikki and Peyton. Ember broke up the pin and then landed the Eclipse on Nikki and Peyton for the win. I thought it looked phony with the two of them standing with their heads together. And as I have said before, the move takes way too long to set up. I have no problem with Ember winning. But I don't like her character or her finisher. We'll see how she is as champ. Asuka presented her with the belt which was a nice touch. Now NXT creative needs to set up some new programs. Enjoy the video!
Here's one of those female empowerment anthems that you probably think is by Katy Perry. But it was a top ten hit from Rachel Platten's 2015 major label debut. She was born May 20, 1981 in New York City. She took piano lessons as a child and then took up the guitar as a teen. Rachel did some backup vocals while on a 2002 student exchange in Trinidad. That's when she decided to get into music. She performed in New York area cover bands and she self released a CD in 2003 which she has described as a collection of demos. She released the 2011 CD Be Here on the indie label Rock Ridge Music. After a couple of her songs were used on TV shows like Pretty Little Liars, Rachel signed with Columbia. Fight Song was released as a single in 2015 and it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. You may recall it was the theme for Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign. You may have heard it in a Ford commercial. And I know the WWE used it in their 2015 Rise Against Cancer campaign. Rachel wrote it as exactly what it is, an empowerment anthem. It was co-written and produced by Jon Levine of the Canadian group The Philosopher Kings. He produced the album Wildfire which was released Jan. 2016. It was certified Gold. She released her latest CD Waves Oct. 2017. To date it hasn't performed as well as Wildfire. I see a couple of problems. Fight Song was a big hit but it hasn't helped raise Rachel's profile. Music fans still don't know who she is. The other thing is she's 36 which is a little old to be an emerging young artist. In the video she is made to look much younger. Fortunately, Rachel writes her own songs. So she can still make a good living in music but not necessarily as a recording artist. It's always tough when the debut is a big hit. How does she follow that up? Here's the video for Fight Song by Rachel Platten.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Here's the match video of Nadia Kassem vs Alex Chambers from last night's UFC show in Sydney, Australia. Both fighters are Aussies. Alex was on TUF 20. The last time we saw her she blew out her knee while losing to Paige VanZant. So now she has had reconstructive surgery on both knees. Also, she is 39 years old. And she is an astro physicist. Why the hell is she fighting? I'm sure she loves the sport. She was one of several contracts the UFC purchased from Invicta. And she's not the only one who doesn't belong in the UFC. Nadia is 22 years old. She was supposed to debut a few months a few months ago. But she got injured. I had never seen her before. Her coach at Australian Top Team is her boyfriend. And her teammate Ashkan Mokhtarian was also on last night's show. Based on this fight, she needs a lot of work. I scored round one 10-9 for Alex. The problem was Alex was pooped out by the end of the round. So Nadia won the other two rounds despite the fact she doesn't know what she's doing half the time. She tries things that more experienced fighters wouldn't do. But she got away with it because Alex is not a very good fighter. Maybe she needs better coaching. She wouldn't get away with that kind of recklessness against better competition. So she will either get the coaching she needs or we'll wonder why they signed her in the first place. Enjoy the video!