Sunday, January 31, 2010
This 1995 top five hit really hit the spot and over time proved to be an excellent template for today's Neo Soul movement. Groove Theory only recorded one CD but rapper songwiter producer Bryce Wilson (born 1972 in New York City) and singer songwriter Amel Larrieux (born Mar. 8, 1973 in New York City) have done very well individually. Wilson is a cousin of LL Cool J and Lil' Kim. He started out as Bryce Luvah in the pioneering rap group Mantronix replacing MC Tee in 1990. After Mantronix disbanded in 1991, Wilson met Amel while she was working as a receptionist at a music publishing company and they started working together. He was looking for a singer and she was looking for a producer. They signed with Epic Records and Groove Theory released their debut CD in 1995. Tell Me was a smash hit. It reached #3 on the R & B Singles chart and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Amel and Wilson along with session bassist Darryl Brown wrote most of the songs on the CD. Amel said she had been writing for a long time so she had a lot of songs stockpiled. She's a tremendous singer and has done guest vocals on lots of other projects. Groove Theory also appeared on the hit TV show New York Undercover in 1997. Unfortunately, Groove Theory never released a second CD. Amel left in 1999 and continues to record solo on her own Blisslife label. Wilson brought in Makeda Davis to replace her. They recorded a CD called The Answer scheduled for a 2001 release. But Wilson was conflicting with Sony over their lack of promotional support for R & B and he asked to be released. The CD was never released. He signed Makeda to a solo deal with Interscope but nothing ever came of it. Bryce Wilson started Czar Entertainment in 2003. The company manages artists like The Game, Too Short, Gucci Mane and others. He also continues to produce artists like Beyonce, Amerie and others. And he's done some acting. You may recognize him from the 2005 film Beauty Shop. So Groove Theory may have only had one big hit. But their influence is felt in today's R & B. Here's the video for Tell Me by Groove Theory.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
The Lost Trailers hit a home run on the country music charts in 2008 with this gentle poke at being country in a hip hop world. They started out back in 2000. Lead singer Ryder Lee and lead guitarist and songwriter Stokes Nielson went to high school together in Alexandria, VA. In 2000, they released a CD called The Story of the New Age Cowboy. They moved to Nashville and Nielson took a job as DJ on a Nashville radio station. While interviewing Willie Nelson, he gave him a demo and he invited them to play at his annual 4th Of July picnic in Texas. They added Stokes younger brother Andrew on keyborads, Jeff Potter on drums and Manny Medina on bass. They released another independent CD in 2002 called Trailer Trash and then signed with Republic/Universal. But their 2004 CD Welcome To The Woods didn't sell. Veteran producer and former Sony Music exec Blake Chancey spotted the group at a show in Fort Worth, TX. He's best known for his work with The Dixie Chicks. He got The Lost Trailers a deal with BNA Records. Their 2006 CD The Lost Trailers did OK but Holler Back reached #9 on the country singles chart in 2008. The album reached #5 on the album chart. Nielson wrote Holler Back with veteran songwriter Tim James. Nielson writes most of their material. And though Chancey produced most of the CD, Holler Back was produced by Brett Beavers (Dierks Bentley). The Lost Trailers continue to tour and I expect we'll see a new CD from them down the road. Here's the video for Holler Back by The Lost Trailers.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Album:Best Of Big Bands: Drum Boogie
Gene Krupa was a jazz pioneer and the first drummer to become a superstar. He was also the first musician to use a full drum set on record. He was born Jan. 15, 1909 in Chicago. He started playing professionally in the mid-20s with Thelma Terry & Her Playboys. He first recorded in 1927 with banjo playing bandleader Eddie Condon and his comb playing partner Red McKenzie. Yes, I said comb. Krupa started setting up his drum set and sax player Mezz Mezzrow told him no one had ever recorded with a full drum set. Obviously it turned out fine. Krupa moved to New York in 1929 to join the Red Nichols band. And then he was a featured member of Benny Goodman's band beginning in 1934, especially on Sing Sing Sing. He left the Goodman band in 1938 after an argument and formed his own band featuring singer Anita O'Day and trumpeter Roy Eldridge. They became very popular and Krupa performed Drum Boogie in the 1941 Howard Hawks film Ball Of Fire starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Krupa's career came to a grinding halt in 1943 when he was busted for weed. He really didn't perform much for the rest of the decade. This comp is a good intro to his music. By the time he returned in the 50s, big bands were dead. He appeared as himself in The Glenn Miller Story and The Benny Goodman Story and then Sal Mineo played Krupa in the 1959 film The Gene Krupa Story. Krupa continued to perform until his death on Oct. 16, 1973 at age 64. Here's Gene Krupa performing Drum Boogie in the 1941 film Ball Of Fire. Barbara Stanwyck's vocal was dubbed by Benny Goodman singer Martha Tilton.
Here is Ariel Helwani's video interview with Cris Cyborg. And the big news is this is her first interview in English. That's great news. I think Ariel and some of the other writers have been after her to do this. She does fine. I don't care if her English is perfect but I'm interested in her personality coming through. That ain't happening with an interpreter. The funniest thing is her Playboy offer. She said at last week's conference call that she only told one person. It was in the Brazilian MMA mag Tatame. I follow those guys on Twitter. Of course I'm going to see it. Her husband doesn't want her to do it. Enjoy the video.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Song:My Own True Love
Album:All-Time Greatest Hits
The Duprees were one of the last doo wop groups to have chart success before music changed completely. My Own True Love was one of their three big hits. They were from Jersey City, NJ. Joey Vann (real name:Joey Canzano) was lead singer and other members Michael Amone, Joe Santollo, John Salvato and Tom Bialoglow. They were discovered by former big band leader George Paxton and he signed them to his Coed label. The Duprees style was dictated by Paxton's preferences so they usually recorded covers of pop songs with a full orchestra. You Belong To Me was their first top ten hit in 1962. It was originally a hit for Jo Stafford in 1952. My Own True Love did well on the Adult Contemporary chart. That was from the 1939 film Gone The Wind and did so well they recorded a cover of Tara's Theme. They also had a top twenty hit in 1963 with Have You Heard. That was originally recorded by Joni James. Of course The Duprees faded with the onslaught of Beatlemania but they continued to record until the late 60s and even had a disco hit in 1975. The comp from Varese has their Coed recordings. The Duprees toured the oldies circuit in the 70s. Joe Santollo died in 1981, Joey Vann died in 1984 and Mike Amone died in 2005. Tom Bialoglow leads a group called Twilight Time and John Salvato is a booking agent. Here's The Duprees performing My Own True Love on the 70s RV show I Love Doo Wop.
Here's a video interview with Marloes Coenen courtesy of Ariel Helwani of Fanhouse. The vodeo was taped at the open workout at America's Top Team. Marloes has that same look that she had before the Roxanne Modafferi fight. It should be very interesting.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Here's a video of Hiroyo Matsumoto and Misaki Ohata promoting the Feb. 11 Ibuki show. The end of the video is funny. This is still being promoted as the last Ibuki show. Mariko Yoshida has said nothing about her future. She did say on her blog that 2009 was the first year that she willingly did not wrestle a match. I'm sure all will be revealed on Feb. 11. Enjoy the video.
Song:A Whiter Shade Of Pale
A Whiter Shade Of Pale was a surprise hit for Procol Harum in 1967. Fortunately, they were able to turn it into more than a one shot deal and they are still touring today. The main man behind Procol Harum is lead singer, songwriter and keyboard player Gary Brooker (born May 29, 1945 in East London). In 1962 he formed The Paramounts with guitarist Robin Trower (born Mar. 9, 1945 in South East London). The group had minor success and split up in 1966. Then Brooker started writing songs with a poet named Keith Reid (born Oct. 19, 1946 in Hertfordshire, England). He wrote all the lyrics to Procol Harum songs but was never a member of the group. Other group members were organist Matthew Fisher, guitarist Ray Royer and bassist Ray Knights. Producer Denny Cordell took them into the studio with session drummer Bill Eyden and they recorded A Whiter Shade Of Pale. The group didn't originally plan to tour but when A Whiter Shade Of Pale became an international hit, Brooker brought Trower back along with former Paramounts drummer B.J. Wilson and Brooker has led a version of the band ever since. Brooker actually disbanded Procol Harum in 1977 but reformed them in 1991. This comp is a good intro to the music of one of the pioneers of progreassive rock. Here's the video for A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Song:All Your Love
Album:As It All Began: The Best Of John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers 1964-1969
Of course John Mayall is a pioneer of British blues. Many musicians got their start in his band including guitarist Eric Clapton. Mayall's heyday was in the 60s but he's still going strong today. He was born Nov. 29, 1933 in Macclesfield, England. His dad was a jazz guitarist and Mayall grew up listening to the blues and he taught himself to play guitar, piano and harmonica. After a stint in the service in Korea, he studied art and then worked as a designer while playing in bands on the side. The legendary Alexis Korner convinced Mayall to become a full time musician and he formed The Bluesbreakers in 1963. He recorded a live album for Decca in 1964 but it didn't sell and he was dropped. In 1965, Eric Clapton left The Yardbirds to join The Bluesbreakers. They re-signed with Decca and Bluesbreakers was their first album. The rest of the band was John McVie on bass and Hughie Flint on drums. They mostly recorded blues standards including the Willie Dixon/Otis Rush song All Your Love. The album is now considered a classic and was released on CD in 1998 in an expanded edition. I recommend this single CD comp as an intro to Mayall's music. Clapton left to form Cream and was replaced by Peter Green. Mayall moved to the US in the early 70s. Many musicians have worked for Mayall including Mick Fleetwood, Mick Taylor, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Harvey Mandel, Aynsley Dunbar and many more. John Mayall is semi-retired but he still tours occasionally and his most recent CD Tough was released Sept. 2009 on Eagle Records. Here's John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton performing All Your Love at Mayall's 70th birthday concert 2003. This is available on DVD.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Song:I Wanna Be Loved By You
Album:Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 20s
When you think of the phrase Boop-Boop-A-Doop, you probably think of the cartoon character Betty Boop. But that character was based on singer Helen Kane's performance of I Wanna Be Loved By You. And Helen didn't even get to do the voice of Betty Boop. Helen had a long career first on Broadway and then in Hollywood. She was born Helen Schroeder Aug. 4, 1903 in New York City. At 15 years old, she toured in the Marx Brothers show On The Balcony. She worked vaudeville in the 20s but got her big break in the 1927 Broadway show A Night In Spain. Though the show flopped, Helen adlibbed Boop-Boop-A-Doop during a performance and that led to a role in the 1928 Oscar Hammerstein show Good Boy. Herbert Stothart, Harry Ruby & Bert Kalmar wrote the song for her and Helen took on this Flapper Girl character. She recorded I Wanna Be Loved By You and several other songs between 1928-30. They are all available but I Wanna Be Loved By You is on this RCA various artists comp of music from the 20s. This led to Helen getting a film contract with Paramount in 1929. She was used mostly as a special attraction and never became a star. Meanwhile, Fleischer Studios animator Grim Natwick created the Betty Boop character based very obviously on Helen Kane. And Helen didn't even do the voice. That was Mae Questel. Helen sued Fleischer but couldn't prove that her singing style was unique enough to win the lawsuit. Of course in the 30s, Helen's flapper character wasn't appropriate anymore and she worked as a costume designer in films for many years. When MGM produced the Kalmar/Ruby biopic Three Little Words in 1950, Debbie Reynolds played Helen Kane but Helen dubbed I Wanna Be Loved By You in the film and she appeared on TV in the 50s. Helen Kane died of breast cancer Sept. 26, 1966 at age 62. Here's Debbie Reynolds performing and Helen Kane singing I Wanna Be Loved By You from the 1950 film Three Little Words.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Just wanted to take a moment out from the usual Big Bad Blog business to encourage everyone to donate to Haiti earthquake relief. Of course there are plenty of ways to do that. I donated to http://www.onexone.org/ through Rogers Wireless. You should do something similar. They need all we can give them. To inspire you to take action, here's a brand new music video called Are You Listening: A Love Song For Haiti. Last weekend all of the contemporary gospel artists were in Nashville for the Stellar Awards ceremony. So Kirk Franklin took them all into the studio to record the video for this song and Gospel Music Channel premiered the video on Friday. I may miss a couple but among those appearing in the video are Bebe & Cece Winans, Marvin Winans Sr., Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Mary Mary, Smokey Norful, J. Moss, Shirley Caesar, Kierra Sheard and plenty of others. Enjoy the video and be sure to make a donation.
Song:Gimme Some Lovin'
Album:Gimme Some Lovin'
The Spencer Davis Group had a top ten hit with Gimme Some Lovin' in 1967 but the main value of the group was to introduce legendary singer songwriter Steve Winwood. Guitarist Spencer Davis (born July 17, 1939 in Swansea, Wales) was part of the Birmingham music scene in 1963 when he spotted a group called Muff Woody featuring bassist Muff Winwood (born June 15, 1943 in Birmingham) and his brother Steve Winwood (born May 12, 1948 in Birmingham) on keyboards and vocals. Along with drummer Pete York (born Aug. 15, 1942 in Yorkshire, England), they called themselves The Rhythm & Blues Band and played R & B covers on the local club circuit. Island Records owner Chris Blackwell signed them after spotting them in a local club. They had some success in England before United Artists picked them up and started releasing their music in 1966. The version of Gimme Some Lovin' that was released in the US was different from the UK version It was more uptempo and reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The beginning of the end of The Spencer Davis Group was when Steve Winwood left to form Traffic and of course he's also had a significant solo career. Muff Winwood went to work as an A & R man for Island. This rerelease on CD from Sundazed has several bonus tracks. Davis tried to keep the band going but they split up in 1969. Davis moved to Catalina Island in California and still performs today. Here's the video for Gimme Some Lovin' by The Spencer Davis Group.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Album:Boom Boom Rock 'n' Roll: The Best Of Freddy Cannon
I'm not going to try and tell you that Freddy Cannon is a great singer. But the fact is that his string of early 60s hits still hold up well today. They're fun records. He was born Frederick Picariello Jr. Dec. 4, 1939 in Revere, MA and grew up in Lynn, MA. His father was a truck driver who played trumpet in local bands and Cannon grew listening to R & B. He dabbled in music in the mid-50s but then joined the National Guard and became a father. His group Freddy Karmon & The Hurricanes became a local Boston favourite in 1958 and DJ Jack McDermott became his manager. McDermott took a demo to producer Bob Crewe and Crewe turned it into Tallahassie Lassie. Dick Clark liked it and re-recorded it for Swan Records, a label he co-owned. Tallahassie Lassie reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the artist was now called Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon. Of course the raucous sound of the music reflected that. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans reached #3 in 1959. But Palisades Park is probably Cannon's most memorable song and reached #3 in 1962. The song was written by future game show baron Chuck Barris. Cannon left Swan for Warner Bros. in 1964. By that time, the British Invasion was in full swing and except for the 1965 top twenty hit Action, he was not that successful and left Warners in 1967. This comp from Shout! Factory compiles his music chronologically. Freddy Cannon has recorded occasionally over the years and tours the oldies circuit today. Here's Freddy Cannon performing Palisades Park on American Bandstand 1962.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Song:Cold On The Shoulder
Album:Tony Rice Sings Gordon Lighfoot
Guitarist Tony Rice is best known as a bluegrass musician. He's very versatile. He's been in all kinds of bands, does sessions and records his own music. He was born June 8, 1951 in Danville, VA and grew up in Los Angeles. His dad played in West Coast bluegrass groups. In 1970, Rice became a big part of the Newgrass movement when he moved to Louisville and joined Bluegrass Alliance and he joined the pioneering contemporary bluegrass group J.D. Crowe's New South with Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas. Then in 1975 he got together with mandolinist David Grisman to form The David Grisman Quintet. Since 1979 he has recorded his own solo projects mostly on Rounder Records and has been in various bluegrass supergroups and still plays sessions. Cold On The Shoulder is a Gordon Lightfoot song from his 1984 album Cold On The Shoulder. Musicians include Sam Bush on mandolin, Vassar Clements on fiddle, J.D. Crowe on banjo and Jerry Douglas on dobro. Rice has been a huge Lightfoot fan and Rounder released this Tony Rice Sings Gordon Lightfoot comp in 1996. Bluegrass fans should check it out. Tony Rice suffered damage to his vocal chords due to dysphonia. But his guitar picking is still great and in recent years he has recorded and toured with Peter Rowan. Their latest CD Quartet was released in 2007. He also toured with Alison Krauss in 2007. Tim Stafford's biography of Tony Rice is scheduled to be published in 2010. Here's Tony Rice with Mark O'Connor, John Hartford, Vassar Clements and Jerry Douglas performing Cold On The Shoulder on the 80s TNN TV series American Music Shoppe.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Moby Grape had the talent to be one of the most enduring groups of the late 60s. The fact that they are mostly forgotten due to record company bungling and internal conflicts within the group is a cautionary tale. Moby Grape was started in San Francisco in 1966 by former Jefferson Airplane drummer Skip Spence (born Apr. 18, 1946 in Windsor, ON). Spence and Jefferson Airplane manager Matthew Katz has been fired and were looking to form a new group. Spence played guitar in Moby Grape. He met bassist Bob Mosely (born Dec. 4, 1942 in Paradise Valley, CA) and guitarist Peter Lewis (born July 15, 1945 in Los Angeles) and nemed the band Moby Grape. Lewis is the son of actress Loretta Young. Spence recruited lead guitarist Jerry Miller (born July 10, 1943 in Tacoma, WA) and drummer Don Stevenson (born Oct. 15, 1942 in Seattle, WA) from the Seattle group The Frantics. They all wrote songs and sang. As a publicity stunt, Columbia released five Moby Grape singles simultaneuosly. It backfired as the group was then perceived as overhyped. Moby Grape appeared at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. But Katz wanted a small fortune to allow them to appear in the film. They weren't in the film. Another missed opportunity. The 1967 debut album Moby Grape was critically acclaimed and reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 200. It is available on CD from Sundazed with bonus tracks. Columbia released the follow up Wow/Grape Jam as a 2 for 1 album. The music wasn't as good as the debut and it underperformed commercially. But the band really fell apart when Skip Spence went on an LSD feuled rampage at a New York recording studio and wound up in Bellevue Hospital under psychiatric care. Spence continued to have mental health issues until his death on Apr. 16, 1999 at age 52. Then Bob Mosely enlisted in the US Marines. He was discharged with schizophrenia and his mental health problems have him currently homeless. There were attempts to keep Moby Grape going during the 70s but they were unsuccessful. They do reunite occasionally. Here's Moby Grape performing Omaha and 8:05 on The Mike Douglas Show 1967.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
http://www.bite.ca/ ). I expect the product to at least be halfway decent because most of the wrestlers are experienced. I didn't like the skits that I saw on their trailer and I don't think that the skits or the contrived stereotypical characters are necessary. Hopefully that stuff won't hurt the show too much.
Album:Fragments Of A Rainy Season
Of course Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is now considered a classic mostly because of the late Jeff Buckley's cover version. But legendary Welsh musician John Cale was the first to cover the song on a Cohen tribute CD and he now closes his show with it. Of course Cale is best known for his days with 60s group The Velvet Underground but there's more to him than that. He was born Mar. 9, 1942 in Garnant, Wales. He performed on the BBC as a teen and then went to the US on a music scholarship. He formed The Velvet Underground with Lou Reed & Sterling Morrison and of course they were a very influential band. Cale left in 1968 over a power struggle with Reed. He's been recording as a solo artist ever since. Cale recorded Hallelujah for the 1991 Leonard Cohen tribute CD I'm Your Fan. He added it to his live repertoire and is on this 1992 live CD which is also available on DVD. Cale's version is on the soundtrack of Basqiat, Shrek and the TV series Scrubs. Nothing wrong with Buckley's version of the song but he based it on Cale's version of Hallelujah. John Cale's most recent CD Circus Live was released in 2007. Here's John Cale performing Hallelujah 1992.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
In a Welterweight match (61.2kg), Rin Nakai will face Mizuho Sato. Nakai is now training at Shooto in Shikoku. Her record is 5-0 and her last win was over WINDY Tomomi on the Dec. 7, 2008 Pancrase show. And though this is her VALKYRIE debut, Nakai is one of Japan's top fighters and is an excellent acquisition for VALKYRIE. Sato trains at WK. Her record is 5-3 and her last fight was a win over Chisa Yonezawa on the Nov. 14 GCM Demolition West show. This match is scheduled for three three minute rounds. In a Featherweight (52.2kg) match, SACHI will face sakura. SACHI now trains at Angura. Her record is 6-4-1 and her last fight was a win over Maho Muranami at the Oct. 24 VALKYRIE show. sakura is 0-1-1 and her last fight was a loss to Madoka Ebihara on the July 12 CAGE FORCE/VALKYRIE show. In a Bantamweight (48.5kg) match, Mamiko Mizoguchi will face Megumi Morioka. Mizoguchi trains at Alliance-Square. Her record is 2-3-1 and her last fight was a win over Ayumi Funakoshi at the Jan. 25 ZST show. Morioka trains at the Iwate branch of WK and is making her MMA debut. These two matches are scheduled for two three minute rounds. Expect some more matches to be announced shortly.
Song:I Am Weary, Let Me Rest
Album:Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: O Brother, Where Art Thou
The family bluegrass group The Cox Family are one of several bluegrass acts to get a big boost from the Coen Brothers 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou. Unfortunately personal tragedy has rendered them inactive. I think bluegrass fans will enjoy them. They are from Cotton Valley, LA led by father Willard Cox on fiddle. Oldest daughter Evelyn Cox plays guitar, Lynn Cox plays bass, son Sidney Cox plays banjo & dobro and Suzanne Cox plays mandolin. And of course they all sing and it's those harmonies that will hook you. They had been performing since the mid-70s but got a big boost when they mey Alison Krauss. Alison got them a contract with Rounder Records and produced their two albums on the label. Adam Duritz of Counting Crows liked The Cox Family so much that he took them on tour to open up for them. This earned them a contract with Asylum Records for their 1996 CD Just When We're Thinking It's Over. They continued to gain acclaim when T-Bone Burnett had them record I Am Weary, Let Me Rest and they appeared on the Down From The Mountain concert. Sadly, Willard Cox and wife Marie were seriously injured in a car accident in July 2000 and that took The Cox Family off the road. Marie Cox died in Feb. 2009. So I don't know if The Cox Family will ever return but I know bluegrass fans will enjoy their music Here's The Cox Family performing I Am Weary, Let Me Rest on the Down From The Mountain concert.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Whether you saw last night's TNA Genesis PPV, I'm sure you already know about some of the changes including the end of the six sided ring. But the one thing that didn't change was a mediocre TNA Knockouts Title match between ODB and Tara. This time they decided to do a 2 of 3 falls match. Why? Knowing Russo, he did it just to be different. But the whole feud has been blah so I don't know why they would continue it. As has been the case with all the matches between Tara and ODB, it's just not a good match and there is zero crowd reaction. I know that ODB is a veteran wrestler but she hasn't been good in TNA. There are a couple of puzzling things in the match. I think they were trying to sell ODB as maybe being sick or something. She's taking her pulse every five seconds and that long body scissors spot is something they would do at a house show to kill time. On a PPV, that stuff will put viewers watching at home to sleep. So Tara won in two straight falls. I have the match on two videos. The match begins about five minutes into the first video. Enjoy!
Song:Need U Bad
Jazmine Sullivan made a big splash on the R & B charts with her 2008 debut CD Fearless. She is an accomplished singer and songwriter with deep roots in Philly Soul. She was born Apr, 9, 1978 in Philadelphia. Her mom was a Philadelphia International backup singer. She grew up singing in church and was signed to Jive Records at age 16. She recorded a debut CD but it was never released and Jive dropped her. So she started writing for others including Fantasia and Christina Milian. Missy Elliott took her under her wing and this led to a contract with J Records. Need U Bad was the first single and it topped the R & B singles chart. Jazmine wrote the song with producers Missy Elliott and Cainon Lamb. It has a dance hall reggae vibe and the Jamaican patois at the beginning and end of the song is by Sandra "Pepa" Denton. Jazmine won a 2009 BET Centric Award and was nominated for several Grammys. I haven't seen anything about her next CD but she has been touring and made a guest appearance on Snoop Dogg's 2009 CD Malice n Wonderland. Here's the video for Need U Bad by Jazmine Sullivan.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band had a brief run in the 70s. But he was around for a long time before his brand of rock struck a chord with fans and then he died prematurely. Alex Harvey was born Feb. 5, 1935 in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1959 he started Alex Harvey's Soul Band. They had modest success and he dissolved the band in 1965 and returned with Giant Moth in 1967. That ended when Harvey accepted a job in the pit band of the London production of the musical Hair. In the early 70s he recruited a band called Tear Gas and renamed the band The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. They were Zal Cleminson on guitar, Hugh McKenna on keyboards, Chris Glen on bass and Ted McKenna (Hugh's cousin) on drums. It took a few years for the band to become popular with fans but this cover of Delilah was a top ten single in 1975. Their albums were released in North America but their success in England didn't translate. Harvey left the band in 1976 and they continued as SAHB Without Alex. They continued to record seperately until Alex Harvey suffered a heart attack while on tour in Belgium and died Feb. 4, 1982 at age 47. This comp is a good intro to their music. SAHB reformed in 2004 and still tours today. Here's The Sensational Alex Harvey Band performing Delilah on The Old Grey Whistle Test 1975.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Song:I'm Telling You Now
Album:The Very Best Of Freddie & The Dreamers
Though Freddie & The Dreamers rode the coattails of the British Invasion and the Mersey Beat sound, they were not from Liverpool but from Manchester. They were known for their goofy dancing and I'm Telling You Now was their biggest hit. Lead singer Freddie Garrity was born Nov. 14, 1936 in Manchester, England. He worked as a milkman before he got into music. Other members were Roy Crewdson & Derek Quinn on guitars, Peter Birrell on bass and Bernie Dwyer on drums. Garrity's whole shtick was to be as goofy as possible including wearing fake glasses. He had a hit with Do The Freddy which was a dance consisting of arm flapping. They had four top ten hits in England in 1963 and were basically fading away when Mercury Records picked them up in 1965 to take advantage of the British Invasion. Some previous singles were released in the US on Capitol and didn't chart. I'm Telling You Now was a number one hit in 1965. Garrity wrote the song with veteran songwriter Mitch Murray. Murray wrote songs for Gerry & The Pacemakers. Not surprisingly, Freddie & The Dreamers faded and Garrity continued to tour until his death in 2006. This comp from EMI in England is available domestically. Here's Freddie & The Dreamers performing I'm Telling You Now 1966.
Friday, January 15, 2010
So finally I have the Showtime video vignette featuring Marloes Coenen including the Marloes Coenen vs Roxanne Modafferi fight from November that was foolishly not broadcast in favour of a Jake Shields snorefest. There are two problems here. If you saw the Cyborg/Coenen press conference, you know that Strikeforce has done a remarkably poor job of telling fans about Marloes' accomplishments because of the inane questions asked by the media. So of course the November fight should have been broadcast. Then Showtime posted this video on their website and made it unembeddable and DRM protected. Someone must have told them off and they have now posted it on Youtube. Enjoy!
Album:Nuggets Vol. 2: Original Artyfacts From The British Empire & Beyond
So back in the 60s The Ugly Ducklings were a big deal here in Toronto because they were from Toronto. I doubt that most fans outside Canada have ever heard of them. And they weren't around that long. They started out in 1965. Dave Bingham was lead singer. Rodger Mayne & Glynn Bell played guitar. John Read played bass and Robin Baers played drums. They were a basic garage band influenced by British Invasion bands. They had an album on the local York Town label and they had some hit singles locally but they were gone by 1967. What has kept The Ugly Ducklings and other obscure garage bands alive is various artists garage band comps. This second volume of Rhino's Nuggets series concentrates on foreign bands. There's some really odd stuff on this box set. The Ugly Ducklings recordings are available on Sundzed in the US and Unidisc in Canada. Rodger Mayne died in 2004 but Dave Bingham has been very active in keeping The Ugly Ducklings name alive by reuniting the group occasionally and releasing new material on Freeway Records. This clip of The Ugly Ducklings performing Nothin' at the Peel Pub in Toronto in 2000 is available on DVD.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Album:Cadillac Walk: The Mink DeVille Collection
Though Mink DeVille came out of the New York punk rock scene, they weren't a punk rock band. Group leader Willy DeVille (born William Borsey Jr. Aug. 25, 1950 in Stamford, CT) was more interested the roots of American music. That's why the music still sounds great today though at the time Mink DeVille was more of a cult band. Mink DeVille began when DeVille was living in Oakland, CA in 1974 and met drummer Manfred Allen and bassist Ruben Siguenza. An ad in the Village Voice led DeVille back to New York and they became the house band at CBGB in 1975. A couple of the band member didn't make the trip to New York and guitarist Louis X. Erlanger and keyboard player Bobby Leonards joined the band. CBGB was usually a punk music club but Mink DeVille was more of an R & B band. And after getting a lot of critical acclaim, Mink DeVille signed with Capitol Records. Spanish Stroll is from their 1977 debut album Cabretta. DeVille wrote all the songs and the album was produced by the legendary Jack Nitzsche. Though their music was critically acclaimed, the albums didn't sell and they split up and DeVille moved Mink DeVille from Capitol to Atlantic in 1981. This comp covering the Capitol years was originally released as an import in 2001 but Capitol released it domestically in 2007. Deville continued to record as Mink DeVille until 1985 and had a long solo career until his death on Aug. 6, 2009 at age 58. Here's Mink DeVille performing Spanish Stroll 1977.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Song:Love Me Do
Album:The Beatles: Stereo Box Set
There's not much I can really say about The Beatles that you haven't read before. They revolutionized the music business because it was stagnating at the time. They were the right band in the right place at the right time. Love Me Do was one of their earliest songs. It was a hit in England in 1962 and then topped the US charts in 1964. That's how hot they were at the time. Of course The Beatles started out in 1957 as The Quarrymen in Liverpool. John Lennon started the band with Paul Mccartney and were soon joined by George Harrison. They would go through several drummers. They changed their name to The Silver Beatles in 1960 and then The Beatles. They paid their dues in Germany playing non stop gigs with Tony Sheridan. But the key event for The Beatles was when record shop owner Brian Epstein became their manager and got them a deal with producer George Martin at EMI Records. They couldn't seem to get drummer Stuart Sutcliffe to commit to the group and Pete Best was fired. So they hired Ringo Starr from Rory Storm & The Hurricanes. They also used session drummers and there is a version of Love Me Do with Andy White playing drums with Ringo on tambourine. It was one of Lennon & McCartney's earliest compositions and their first single in England. It reached #17 in 1962. Capitol released it in the US in 1964 and it topped the charts joining plenty of other Beatles songs. Apple Records recently released The Beatles recordings in box sets. There are seperate box sets for stereo and mono versions. Why mess around? You might as well go for the gusto. Here's the video for Love Me Do by The Beatles.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Song:Couldn't Get It Right
Album:Couldn't Get It Right
By the time Climax Blues Band had a top five hit with Couldn't Get It Right in 1977, they weren't a blues band. But they did start out as a blues band in 1968. They were led by lead singer and sax player Colin Cooper from Stafford, England. The other main members were guitarist Peter Haycock and bassist Derek Holt. They originally recorded as Climax Chicago Blues Band to take advantage of the late 60s blues boom. They dropped Chicago so they wouldn't be confused with Chicago Transit Authority. In 1970, they signed with Harvest Records and gradually went to a more mainstream rock sound. For the US they signed with Sire Records and built a fanbase by touring college campuses. Their 1974 album Sense Of Direction reached #37 on the Billboard Hot 200. But they really hit it big when Couldn't Get It Right reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. The rising popularity of punk and new wave hurt the band and they were through in 1983. You can get all their hits on this comp from Repertoire. Colin Cooper continued to lead a version of Climax Blues Band until his death in 2008. A version of the band still tours today. Pete Haycock has recorded solo albums but he has also worked with film composer Hans Zimmer and was lead guitar on the Thelma & Louise score. He leads his own band True Blues. Here's Climax Blues Band performing Couldn't Get It Right on the British TV show Supersonic 1976.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Song:Life Is Real
Ayo is a neo soul singer songwriter from Germany. She's done very well in Europe and is now attempting to translate that success to North America. She was born Joy Olasunmibo Ogunmakin Sept. 14, 1980 in Cologne, Germany. Her father is Nigerian and her mother is Romanian. She wound up in foster care when her mom went to jail for drugs. She was reunited with her father at age 14. He was a part time DJ and influenced her musical taste. At age 21, she moved to London and then Paris and New York. She was discovered in Paris in 2002 and signed with Polydor Records. The name Ayo is the Yaruba translation of Joy. Ayo lives with the reggae singer Patrice and she gave birth to their son in 2005. Then she recorded her debut CD Joyful in New York with engineer Jay Newland producing. He has worked with Norah Jones. The key musician on the album is veteran guitarist Larry Campbell who worked with Bob Dylan in the 90s. Brian Mitchell plays keyboards but Lucky Peterson is now touring with Ayo. Ayo wrote all the songs including Life Is Real. The album did very well in Europe especially in France. Interscope released it in the US Nov. 2007 and it got some attention on the Heatseekers chart. Her 2008 CD Gravity At Last topped the French charts and went Gold. Ayo and her family now live in New York City and she is continuing to tour in an effort to break the US market. Here's the video for Life Is Real by Ayo.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Song:A Terceira Margem Do Rio
Caeatano Veloso is one of several musicians along with guys like Milton Nascimento and Gilberto Gil took Bossa Nova to the next level and added political activism for good measure. He was born Aug. 7, 1942 in Santo Amaro da Purifcacao, Brazil. This is in the Bahai region of Brazil. By the mid 60s he followed his singer sister Maria Bethania to Rio de Janeiro. He won a songwriting contest and signed with Philips Records. Along with Gil, Veloso created Tropicalia which took Bossa Nova and added North American folk and rock elements. The Brazilian government didn't look kindly on Veloso & Gil's political statements in their music They were imprisoned and then exiled and moved to London in 1968. When Veloso returned to Brazil in 1972, he became one of Brazil's biggest stars and that hasn't changed over the years. US music critics started touting him in the 80s so he has had more exposure internationally. He signed with Nonesuch Records and Circulado was released in 1991. Arto Lindsey produced the CD and other guests included Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Bebel Gilberto, Marc Ribot, Ryuchi Sakamoto and Nana Vasconceles. Veloso wrote A Terceira Margen Do Rio with Milton Nascimento. This album got him a TV series in Brazil. Caetano Veloso continues to tour and record today. His latest CD Zii e Zie was released Apr. 2009 on Nonesuch. Here's Caetano Veloso & Milton Nascimento performing A Terceira Margem Do Rio 1997.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Album:The Crusaders' Finest Hour
The Crusaders have been around in one form or another since the 60s. The 1979 song Street Life is probably their biggest hit and made Randy Crawford a star. The leader of The Crusaders is pianist Joe Sample (born Feb. 1, 1939 in Houston). He teamed up with sax player Wilton Felder (born Aug. 31, 1940 in Houston) and and drummer Nesbert "Stix" Hooper (born Aug. 15, 1938 in Houston) to form The Swingsters and then The Nite Hawks. They added trombonist Wayne Henderson (born Sept. 24, 1939 in Houston) and moved to Los Angeles in 1961 as The Jazz Crusaders. They recorded for Pacific Jazz in the 60s. When they left for Blue Thumb Records in 1971, they changed their name to The Crusaders and added guitarist Larry Carlton (born Mar. 2, 1948 in Torrance, CA) and bassist Robert "Pops" Popwell (born Dec. 29, 1950). As the 70s progressed, The Crusaders started to have mainstream R & B success. Henderson left in 1975 to become a producer. Street Life was written by Sample and lyricist Will Jennings and the group brought in Randy Crawford for a guest vocal. It was their only top 40 pop hit and you can get the full 11 minute version on this Verve comp. Street Life was also used in Quentin Tarantino's film Jackie Brown. The Crusaders split up in 1983 after Hooper left. Joe Sample has had a significant solo career and they have reunited occasionally. Here's the video for Street Life by The Crusaders featuring Randy Crawford.
Friday, January 08, 2010
Album:The Best Of Garnet Mimms: Cry Baby
Last week I was talking about Erma Franklin's original version of Piece Of My Heart. Today I'm going to talk about another song most folks identify with Janis Joplin. And the interesting thing is the source of the song is the same. Cry Baby was a top five hit for Garnet Mimms in 1963. He was born Garrett Mimms Nov. 16, 1933 in Ashland, VA and grew up in Philadelphia. He grew up singing in church and sang with several gospel groups until he went into the military in 1953. When he was discharged in 1958, he formed the doo wop group The Gainors with Howard Tate. They split up in 1961 and Mimms and Sam Bell started Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters with Charles Boyer and Zola Pearnell. Mimms moved to New York and was signed to United Artists Records by Bert Berns. And Berns and partner Jerry Ragavoy wrote Cry Baby. Aren't those the same guys who wrote Piece Of My Heart? Exactly. Cry Baby topped the R & B charts and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Of course Janis Joplin recorded Cry Baby for her 1970 album Pearl and and most folks should be familiar with that version. Mimms continued to have success on the R & B charts through 1966. When things petered out, he followed Ragavoy to Verve and then later in the 70s, he recorded some disco funk for Arista. You can get all of Mimms' UA hits on this 1993 comp from Capitol. Garnet Mimms quit the music business for the ministry. But he returned to recording with the 2008 gospel CD Is There Anybody Out There on Evidence Records. Here's a video for Cry Baby by Garnet Mimms.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Before I get into the brackets, I wanted to mention that Amanda Buckner was supposed to be in this tournament but had to pull out due to injury. It's very unfortunate as we haven't seen Amanda in a long time and I know she wanted to be in this tournament. The first fight will have AJ Jenkins vs Sarah Schneider. AJ is 16-2 and trains at Miletich Martial Arts in Honolulu. She has fought mostly in the Midwest and her last win was over Krista Stufflebeem at the Oct. 17 Extreme Challenge show in Iowa. This is a step up for her. Sarah trains at Cavewman Crew in Kansas. She's 4-3 and her lasr fight was a loss was to Sarah Kaufman at the Apr. 23 PCF show in California. She's had mixed success against top fighters. The second fight will have Jan Finney vs Liz Carreiro. Jan is from Ohio. Her record is 6-7 and her last fight was a win over Brighton Hutton at the Oct. 30 C3Fights show in Oklahoma. She hasn't done well against top fighters. Liz is a regular at FCF. Her record is 5-5 her last fight was a win over Malissa Sherwood at the July 25 FCF show. She may be in over her head.
The third fight will have Kaitlin Young vs Jennifer Tate. Kaitlin trains at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. Her record is 4-3 and her last fight was a loss to Shana Olsen at the Dec. 11 Ironman MMA show in Welch, MN. It should be pointed out that Shana missed weight. Kaitlin is known for her win at the 2007 Hook 'n' Shoot tournament and for her May 2008 loss to Gina Carano. She's a strong Muay Thai fighter but her ground game is unproven. Jennifer trains at Team Steve Heath in Stockton, CA. Her record is 5-1 and her last fight was a win over Sarah Schneider at the Nov. 1, 2008 Pure Combat show in Sacramento. Lately she's been working a lot of Muay Thai fights in Thailand. So I guess the winner is the one who gets the last punch. The fourth fight is Megumi Yabushita (pictured) vs Shayna Baszler. Megumi owns the Tomoegumi dojo in Tokyo. Her record is 18-15 and is a pioneer of women's MMA. Her last fight was a win was over Atsuko Emoto at the Sept. 13 JEWELS show. She also continues to work regularly as a pro wrestler as she has done both for her entire 12 year career. Her basic training is judo. She was an amateur judoka before Jaguar Yokota recruited her to pro wrestling. Shayna is from Sioux Falls, SD. Her record is 9-6 and her last fight was a loss to Sarah Kaufman on the June 19 Strikeforce show. She's known as a submission specialist. These two are known for their showmanship so I expect it to be the fight of the night. And maybe they can do some pro wrestling afterwards. Shayna would enjoy that. It's unfortunate that we probably won't get to see these fights because it should be a good show.
Song:Baby It's You
Album:A Group Called Smith
This cover of The Shirelles' Baby It's You was a top five hit for Smith in 1969. They were primarily known as a cover band in Los Angeles clubs. The lead singer was Gayle McCormick along with Rich Cliburn on guitar, Larry Moss on organ, Jerry Carter on bass and Robert Evans on drums. Del Shannon discovered them in a club and got them a deal with Dunhill Records. Shannon produced their 1969 debut album A Group Called Smith with ABC Records house producer Steve Barri, Joel Sill and the songwriting producing team of Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. Veteran sessionman Larry Knechtel was brought in to play piano and help with the arrangements. Of course Baby It's You was written by Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Luther Dixon and was originally a smash for The Shirelles and then The Beatles. Smith's version reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. Follow up singles charted but not as well so technically they're not a one hit wonder. Smith was also known for recording The Weight for Easy Rider when the producers were unable to get The Band's version. The album was all covers but their second album Minus Plus did have some original material produced by Lambert & Potter was unsuccessful and the group split up. Gayle MacCormick released a solo album on Dunhill in 1971 and had a minor hit with the Lambert & Potter song It's A Cryin' Shame. She also recorded solo albums for Decca & Fantasy. She last recorded in 1974. Jerry Carter records with his family blues group The Carter Brothers. Smith's Baby It's You got new interest when Quentin Tarantino used it in his short film Death Proof in Grindhouse. It's on that soundtrack but Varese has done a nice job on this reissue of A Group Called Smith by adding The Weight and Gayle McCormick's solo hits. Here's Smith perfrorming Baby It's You on The Leslie Uggams Show 1969.
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Song:Tired Of Toein' The Line
Album:Radio Daze: Pop Hits Of The 80s Vol. 3
Tired Of Toein' The Line was a top ten hit for Rocky Burnette in 1980. He was part of the 80s rockabilly revival. Unfortunately bad luck has made him a one hit wonder. He was born June 12, 1953 in Memphis the son of rockabilly legend Johnny Burnette. And as I'm sure you're aware, his dad died in a 1964 boating accident. Rocky and his cousin Billy got record contracts around the same time. Billy went to country and Rocky went to rock. EMI America released Rocky's debut album Son Of Rock 'n' Roll in 1979 and Tired Of Toein' The Line reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980. It predated the success of retro rockabilly acts like The Stray Cats. The problem was that EMI America was having financial problems and they were unable to promote Rocky as they should have. His follow up album Heart Stopper didn't sell. Rocky was moved to Enigma and his album Go Hot Or Go Home! didn't sell either and he was dropped. In the 90s he worked with artists like Rosie Flores, Dwight Twilley and Paul Burlison and continued to write songs for others. His 1996 CD Tear It Up went nowhere when the record company went bankrupt. This Rhino various artists comp from Rhino is part of a series of 80s music comps. Rocky Burnette continued to tour until his death on Sept. 27, 2003 at age 50. Here's the video for Tired Of Toein' The Line by Rocky Burnette.