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George Foreman Pays Tribute to ‘The Champ’ – “He Was So Much More Than A Fighter”

On the birthday of ‘The Champ’ this interview takes us back to the respect that George Foreman held for Muhammad Ali. His words so sincerely expressed in this interview done for Ali’s birthday 6 years ago. A true testament that boxing is a gentleman’s sport and we are ever so thankful for those that have brought class and inspiration to the ring.

“I remember I was preaching on the street one night, many years ago. I’d gained pounds, cut off all my hair; no one recognised me, I was just a crazy man on the street corner. So I started to say, “Yes, this is George Foreman. I was the heavyweight world champion,” but people kept walking. Then I said, “I fought Muhammad Ali,” and they stopped. Right then I realised that this guy was helping me carry my message, that he was a real blessing — not because he beat me, but because he was in my life at all.

Ali and I spent so many years in opposite camps, then, all of a sudden, 32 years ago, we realised there was only ever one camp. Boy, we missed a lot of precious years, but for 32 years now we’ve been closer than white on rice.

He hasn’t changed. I was talking with him by way of texting recently. I texted a photograph of my new grandbaby and he texted back saying, “She looks just like you!” And the next day I had two photographs of his new grandbabies. I sent him one photograph and he had to out-do me. That’s Muhammad Ali.

If you put Ali in boxing, you won’t get what he really was. The life he lived outside of the ring, what he had to say, the bravery he had, made him what he was: a prophet, a hero, a revolutionary — much more than a boxer. It really brings him down to rate him as a boxer. He only did boxing to run his mouth. Whatever message he was destined to get across, he used boxing to do it. I mean, he could do the shuffle and occasionally throw a good jab, even get a few knockouts, but that doesn’t put him in boxing. Forget about boxing, he’s been a gift to the world.

When I was young, Ali was the first athlete that you would turn on the television to see. He called himself pretty — and he was a handsome boy — and he could do tricks with his feet. He’d tell jokes, make people laugh; you couldn’t miss it. If you didn’t love him, you must have been jealous, which is the same thing as loving him. If I could have recorded him, I would have listened to him 24/7.

I was over-confident when I fought him. I’d gone through fighters who’d beaten him, such as Joe Frazier and Kenny Norton. All I thought was, “Should I be merciful or not?” I thought he was just one more knockout victim until, about the seventh round, I hit him hard to the jaw and he held me and whispered in my ear: “That all you got, George?” I realised that this ain’t what I thought it was.

I’d never lost before. I was so high with this power that for years I was in denial; they cheated me, I got tricked, something was wrong. Then, in 1981, a reporter came to my ranch and asked me: “What happened in Africa, George?” I had to look him in the eye and say, “I lost. He beat me.” Before that I had nothing but revenge and hate on my mind, but from then on it was clear. I’ll never be able to win that match, so I had to let it go.

What I really regret is, when he got up against the ropes, I kept hitting him on the side of his neck. I hit him hard. I wake up sometimes and wish I’d never done that. Not to say I caused his illness, but I cheated a little bit. If I had to do it all over again, I never would’ve fought him.

I don’t find his illness sad, though, as the guy is a hero. He’s still beautiful to me. You can talk with war veterans and not know they have a wooden leg. What they did makes their illness unnoticeable. A hero is a guy that you get into a corner and you beat him and you beat him and you beat him and, rather than going down, he says to himself, “If I go down, all the people that believe in me will go down with me. I must stand.” And because Ali stood, he got injuries. I don’t feel sorry for him; I feel proud that I even know him.

What makes Muhammad Ali special is that he loves life. He didn’t fall in love with being young and doing the shuffle, he fell in love with life. Right now, he’s probably thinking how he’s going to sneak a dessert past his caretakers. He’s still living. He doesn’t hide.

Remember him lighting the torch at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996? He was saying, “I’d love to do this, thank you.” This guy loves life.

I do believe he’s the greatest, but forget about boxing — give that to Joe Louis, or somebody — I believe he’s one of the greatest men I’ve ever met.

Happy birthday, Muhammad Ali. I love you.

George Foreman, January 2012″

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Brett Waterman Brings Us A New Season of Restored

“Some of my fondest memories go back to my childhood in Oklahoma when I would drive with my Parents past a Dairy on the way to my Grandparents farm. Over my youth I remember watching it get more and more dilapidated and I would tell my Parents – ‘Someday I am going to buy that Dairy and Restore it.’ – It really stuck with me and that was where my passion for preservation really began.” – Brett Waterman

Restored on DIY Network heads into Season Two in Redlands, California.

It feels a privilege to be invited inside these hand picked Arts & Crafts homes, destined to be touched by Brett Waterman’s infectious enthusiasm. Trusting the expertise and intuition of this Preservationist, home owners are able to invest the best of the old with the new in their restoration projects.

Yes this Craftsman admits stripping paint really is a turn on – as it lights up his curiosity for all that is buried deep within. Brett brings viewers back to a time and place, when roots began to grow – inspiring all to appreciate what came before – and to reinforce the pillars of time. This working man feels most at peace with his hands in the earth, adding the finishing touches to the homes entrusted in his care.

Growing up my own Dad instilled in me to bring the best of yourself to whatever you do – and that is what inspires me most about Brett. Not only does he bring the ‘best of himself’ to what he does – he has the ability to make you fall in love with it too.

One of my favourite interviews to date.

There are loads of ‘renovation style’ shows to spend your time on – but Restored TV with Brett Waterman – is soon to be deemed a national treasure.

 Restored – Brett Waterman

Season Two Begins Wednesday January 10th

DIY Network

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Katey Brooks – Will She

“I don’t often like to give too much of  the meaning inspired behind a song, so as to allow the listener their own journey with it . ‘Will She’ comes from an intense breakup – that feeling when someone you love so deeply has to leave your life, and coming to realize that another human can not fix that – instead you have to find that inside yourself.”

– Katey Brooks

Truly delightful speaking with Bristol born Katey Brooks this morning, whilst she was sitting on a bus near Manchester.

How lovely she is, and most equally her new single ‘Will She’ which is warming us up for her album coming in the new year.

I will forever say the best part of what I do is meeting good people.
I know you will enjoy Katey Brooks  as she finds her way not only onto your playlist – but into your heart.

Stay tuned for more of this sultry soul as we flip over the calendar to a New Year.

Fresh Independence

Documentary – Music – Life

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Galadrielle Allman’s – “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father”

By Doug Hall

“He could play rhythm, acoustic, anything you want,”… “He couldn’t read a chart but he had this amazing talent. You hear this all the time but Duane really had it. He’d hear a song one time and you didn’t have to tell him – you play any chord in the song and he would know right where it was.”
-Jimmy Johnson, FAME Studio’s House guitarist & producer of Hour Glass demos.

‘Most slide players are muddy,’… ‘Their playing sounds sour. Duane is one of the very, very few who played clean, sweet and to the note.”
-Jerry Wexler, Producer, Atlantic Records

“I mean I couldn’t understand it…He would do – I really don’t know how to describe it(reference to the guitar notes hit by Allman on slide for “Layla” recording sessions). I loved the fact that he was an improviser… He threw away tradition a lot of the time. You know he was fantastically gifted.”
-Eric Clapton, “Layla” recording sessions

“He was the foremost electric slide guitar player… all the way around.”
– Dickey Betts, founding member and guitarist of The Allman Brother’s Band

“It’s always great to get a glimpse of something in somebody’s formative years, …with Duane Allman, who was here such a short period of time, you see the growth: He was great in 69’, but he was better in 70’ and in 71’ he was way better still, so who knows what 72’ and 73’ and 74’ would have brought…his ability was increasing at an exponential rate.”… “He was a huge influence on me.”
-Warren Haynes – founder of the band Government Mule, and guitarist/ singer of The Allman Brother’s Band since 1989.

These are some of the first hand acknowledgements that have come to describe Duane Allman, his guitar playing, his musicianship, and finding few other peers (i.e. Hendrix, Clapton, Page) – a definition in itself of being exceptional. Following in parallel, is the consideration of the explosive creativity signified by the 1960’s and early 1970’s. A chapter that closes a particularly crowded field of great musicians, bands and notably – lead guitarists – of this same time period. And yet Duane Allman still stands tall on a short list. But in a life tragically cut short in 1971, at the ascending rise of his star, with the accompanying frantic pace of performances and demands for his time – to record, to sit-in on a session, to collaborate with a musician in NYC, after finishing a concert in Atlanta the night before, or finding a moment to just to jam with a friend, and then off to catch the next flight to a gig, and on and on – How do we ever come to know him? – without reflection, or a chance to peek backwards.

a duane allman

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