terça-feira, 31 de dezembro de 2019

Happy New Year!

One more year is gone, and more to come yes!!! Thanks to B., Miles, Snakeboy, Alfred, Antonio,
Spunkie, Mr.Radio, Mauro Filipe, Purpledog, Juan Manuel Munoz, T.G., George, Bill (24hrDejaVu), Bob (bamabob), Lawrence David, Zapata, and so many more, and to all this blog followers,....thanks for sharing life around!!! Happy New Year 2020!

Country Joe & The Fish - Together 1968

TogetherCountry Joe & the Fish's third album, was the group's most consistent, most democratic, and their best-selling record. Unlike their first two albums, which were dominated by Country Joe McDonald's voice and compositions, Together featured the rest of the band -- guitarists Barry Melton and David Cohen, bassist Bruce Barthol, and drummer Chicken Hirsh -- almost as prominently as McDonald. That's usually a formula for disaster, but in this case it gave the album more variety and depth: McDonald tended to favor droning mantras like the album-closing "An Untitled Protest," which worked better when contrasted with the likes of Melton's catchy anti-New York diatribe, "The Streets of Your Town," and the group-written "Rock and Soul Music." Songs like the latter cast the group as a soul revue, true, and they couldn't quite pull that off, but Together had the charming quality of unpredictability; you never knew what was coming next. Unfortunately, what came next in the band's career was a split. Barthol was out by September 1968, Cohen and Hirsh followed in January 1969. Thereafter, McDonald and Melton fronted various Fish aggregations, but it was never the same, even when this lineup regrouped for Reunion in 1977. AMG.

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The Chambers Brothers - Feelin' The Blues 1970

Musical siblings George Chambers (bass/vocals), Willie Chambers (guitar/vocals), Lester Chambers (harmonica/vocals), and Joe Chambers (guitar/vocals) were raised on rural gospel in their native Mississippi before switching over to folk and then soulful blues and R&B-fueled rock. The Chambers Brothers' recordings issued by the Los Angeles-based Vault label were nearly four years old when Feelin' the Blues hit the streets in 1970. The band's style had changed quite drastically from old-school blues, soul, and pop to the longer psychedelic jams heard on their international hit "Time Has Come Today." Although the mixture of live and studio selections gives the collection an odds-and-sods vibe, several of the performances are among the best of the Vault Records-era material. Somewhat contrasting with the album's title, the Chambers actually cover a wide spectrum of music on Feelin' the Blues. Their roots can be heard throughout the flawless interpretation of the sacred standards "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" and the excellent "Travel on My Way." Similarly, the midtempo reading of Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman" offers the Chambers an opportunity to subtly return to their gospel origins with call-and-response backing harmonies. The proceedings are far from being pious, however, as the quartet harmonizes the chorus of "Too Fat Polka" during one of the instrumental breaks. Perhaps wishing to remove some of the sting from the real storyline, the reworking of "House of the Rising Sun" -- according to the spoken introduction -- is told from the point of view of the receptionist (huh?) at the infamous bordello. Had the Chambers Brothers decided on a more straightforward translation, the song could easily have been one of the album's best. Other tunes worth spinning include a version of Bobby Parker's "Blues Get Off My Shoulder" -- in a longer form than on 1968's The Chambers Brothers Shout! -- and the comparatively brief but effective update of the jazzy "Undecided." In 2007, Collectors' Choice Music licensed all four of the Chambers Brothers' Vault Records releases, marking the first time they have been available in over three decades. AMG.

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Laura Nyro - New York Tendaberry 1969

Although New York Tendaberry was nearly as strong a record as its predecessor, Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, it wasn't as accessible. In large part that's because, unlike her first two albums, it didn't have three or four songs that would become instantly recognizable hits in the hands of other artists. But it was also because the mood of the record was considerably darker and the production quite a bit starker. It was hardly a gloomy affair, but the emphasis was on soulful laments and arrangements that often featured, in part or whole, nothing but her voice and piano. Without at all sounding blatantly derived from gospel, it often sounded very much in the spirit of gospel in its fervid passion, though using melodies from a wide pop/blues-soul canvas and addressing concerns far more secular and personal. There were crafty, dramatic punctuations of orchestration, yet these were far more subdued than they had been on the more jubilant Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. "Save the Country" (along with the upbeat section of "Time and Love") is really the only song here that has the immediate uplifting impact of her most famous early tunes, and even that track could have benefited from a less-bare setting. It's a rewarding album, but one that takes some effort to fully appreciate. The 2002 CD reissue adds two bonus tracks: the mono single version of "Save the Country," which has a far fuller arrangement than the album take, and the jaunty, previously unreleased "In the Country Way." AMG.

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David Peel & The Lower East Side - Have a Marijuana 1968

At first, second and third listen the debut record by New York street musician and John Lennon protégé David Peel seems pretty ridiculous. Recorded live on the streets of New York, the production is patchy, yielding more of a "recorded live in someone's bathroom" vibe than anything else. Then there's the lyrics, all of which are juvenile, dated and delivered in an erratic Tiny Tim-meets-Cheech & Chong style. But somewhere around the fourth or fifth listen Peel and his merry band of misfits begin to grow on you. By the six or seventh spin songs like "I Do My Bawling in the Bathroom" and "I Like Marijuana," with their dumber than dumb choruses and out of tune folk-rock progressions, actually become charming. Perhaps it's because Peel, a marginal figure born to be a cultural relic, is a much more interesting, exciting and entertaining '60s icon than all the overblown, bloated characters like David Crosby and Grace Slick. Unlike them, Peel never came in from off the streets. In fact, he can still be found singing these songs in New York's Tompkins Square Park to this day. And while that's mildly pathetic, it's also heartening. When he sings about smoking some grass and getting harassed by lame cops (the topic of just about every track) you tend to believe him. AMG.

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Cheryl Dilcher - Special Songs 1971

Perhaps one of the best folk albums of the 70's. Her debut album Special Songs is simply magnificent. The career of this girl, who herself wrote and performed her songs, began quite traditionally for those years. She performed in colleges, in small clubs and cafes, accompanying herself on a twelve-string guitar. In 1967, her performance was accidentally seen by novice producer Johnny Dee, who immediately realized what kind of talent he was dealing with. He recorded a demo that recording studios began offering and one of them, Ampex, agreed to work with promising young talent.

Then everything was simple - Johnny drew several musicians he knew to record, the rest were hired by the studio. and when another female voice was needed for backing vocals, they found a girl who was wandering around the city in search of earnings. She turned out to be ... Betty Midler. Yes, this record, to all its merits, is also the debut of a wonderful actress and singer.

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quinta-feira, 26 de dezembro de 2019

Grateful Dead - Live dead 1969

The Grateful Dead's fourth title was likewise their first extended concert recording. Spread over two LPs, Live/Dead (1969) finally was able to relay the intrinsic sonic magnificence of a Dead show in real time. Additionally, it unleashed several key entries into their repertoire, including the sidelong epic and Deadhead anthem"Dark Star" as well as wailing and otherwise electrified acidic covers of the Rev. Gary Davis blues standard "Death Don't Have No Mercy" and the R&B rave-up "(Turn on Your) Lovelight." Finally, the conundrum of how to bring a lengthy performance experience to the listener has been solved. The album's four sides provided the palette from which to replicate the natural ebb and flow of a typical Dead set circa early 1969. Tomes have been written about the profound impact of "Dark Star" on the Dead and their audience. It also became a cultural touchstone signifying that rock music was becoming increasingly experimental by casting aside the once-accepted demands of the short, self-contained pop song. This version was recorded on February 27, 1969, at the Fillmore West and is presented pretty much the way it went down at the show. The same is true of the seven remaining titles on Live/Dead. The rousing rendition of "St. Stephen" reinvents the Aoxomoxoa (1968) prototype with rip-roaring thunder and an extended ending which slams into an instrumental rhythmic excursion titled "The Eleven" after the jam's tricky time signature.
The second LP began with a marathon cover of "(Turn on Your) Lovelight," which had significant success for both Bobby "Blue" Bland and Gene Chandler earlier in the decade. With Ron "Pigpen" McKernan at the throttle, the Dead barrel their way through the work, reproportioning and appointing it with fiery solos from Garcia and lead vocal raps courtesy of McKernan. "Death Don't Have No Mercy" is a languid noir interpretation of Rev. Gary Davis' distinct Piedmont blues. Garcia's fretwork smolders as his solos sear through the melody. Likewise notable is the criminally underrated keyboard work of Tom Constanten, whose airy counterpoint rises like a departing spirit from within the soul of the song. The final pairing of "Feedback" -- which is what is sounds like it might be -- with the "lowering down" funeral dirge "And We Bid You Goodnight" is true to the way that the band concluded a majority of their performances circa 1968-1969. They all join in on an a cappella derivative of Joseph Spence and the Pinder Family's traditional Bahamian distillation. Few recordings have ever represented the essence of an artist in performance as faithfully as Live/Dead. It has become an aural snapshot of this zenith in the Grateful Dead's 30-year evolution and as such is highly recommended for all manner of enthusiasts. The 2001 remastered edition that was included in the Golden Road (1965-1973) (2001) box set tacks on the 45 rpm studio version of "Dark Star" as well as a vintage radio advert for the album. AMG.

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Grace Slick - Manhole 1974

While Bark and Long John Silver, the final stages of the original Airplane, displayed the excessive psychedelic nature of the musicians within the confines of their group format, Blows Against the Empire, Sunfighter, and Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun allowed for total artistic expression. Manhole concluded this phase with 1974's other release, the Jefferson Starship's Dragonfly. By taking the name from Paul Kantner's Blows Against the Empire solo project, Dragonfly began the renewed focus on commercial FM which would turn into Top 40 airplay. Manhole is the antithesis of that aim, but is itself a striking picture of Grace Slick as the debutante turned hippy being as musically radical as possible. To the kids who think she's the cool singer on the mechanical Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Manhole is an alien concoction, but it works on many levels as great head music. The title track itself is almost 15-and-a-half minutes of orchestrated underground rock with Craig Chaquico on lead guitar; Jack Casady on bass, along with Ron Carter; voices from David Crosby, David Freiberg, Slick and Paul Kantner; mandolin by Peter Kaukonen; and a 42-piece orchestra (51, if you include the fragments of the Airplane/Starship onboard). It's fun stuff, but looking back one wonders how they maintained a distribution deal for Grunt records with R.C.A., the material being so far from commercial.
The title track has a left-hand piano part which "was stolen from an improvisation by Ivan Wing," Slick's father, and the epic is rife with Spanish/English by the singer, translated in the booklet with Slick's "phonetic Spanish spelling." Again, this is total underground excess, but it is actually more than listenable than it looks on paper, and for fans, it has the serious/eccentric nature of this woman who emerged as a big, big star due to her quirky personality having the talent to back it up. Attacks on the government and Clive Davis in the elaborate booklet only prove all involved were not out to make friends, but songs like "Come Again? Toucan" are compelling and intriguing, more so than some of what would constitute 1981's Welcome to the Wrecking Ball, which contained more elements of guitarist Scott Zito than the star. On Manhole, the music is wonderfully dense, macabre, exhilarating, and totally out there. This is a great portion of music from the lead singer of one of America's great music groups. Maybe David Freiberg's "It's Only Music" deserved to be on an Airplane project or solo LP of his own, but it sounds great and works. "Better Lying Down" is Grace Slick and Pete Sears re-writing Janis Joplin's "Turtle Blues," a nice change of pace from the heavy instrumental backing of the other tracks. Slick is in great voice, and reflecting on the album years after it was recorded, the conclusion is that Manhole has much to offer fans. Compare this to Deep Space -- recorded live at the Hollywood House of Blues in the 1990s to see the difference between capturing the time and trying to recapture the magic. Despite the eye toward success and the more serious nature of that later project, it just doesn't have the charm of this artifact from the glory days. It's also a far cry from the 1980s, when Slick returned with three more solo outings: Dreams, Welcome to the Wrecking Ball, and Software, projects which differ vastly from Manhole. The hard rock of Wrecking Ball and the synths and post-Kantner Starship feel of producer Peter Wolf's collaborations on Software show a woman dabbling with other rock formats. Put those three discs in a boxed set with Manhole, and you have true culture shock from a major counterculture figure. Manhole is orchestrated psychedelia at its finest with the voice from "White Rabbit" stretching that concept across two sides. AMG.

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Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis- Bold As Love 1967

Jimi Hendrix's second album followed up his groundbreaking debut effort with a solid collection of great tunes and great interactive playing between himself, Noel ReddingMitch Mitchell, and the recording studio itself. Wisely retaining manager Chas Chandler to produce the album and Eddie Kramer as engineer, Hendrix stretched further musically than the first album, but even more so as a songwriter. He was still quite capable of coming up with spacy rockers like "You Got Me Floating," "Up from the Skies," and "Little Miss Lover," radio-ready to follow on the commercial heels of "Foxey Lady" and "Purple Haze." But the beautiful, wistful ballads "Little Wing," "Castles Made of Sand," "One Rainy Wish," and the title track set closer show remarkable growth and depth as a tunesmith, harnessing Curtis Mayfield soul guitar to Dylanesque lyrical imagery and Fuzz Face hyperactivity to produce yet another side to his grand psychedelic musical vision. These are tempered with Jimi's most avant-garde tracks yet, "EXP" and the proto-fusion jazz blowout of "If 6 Was 9." AMG.

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Frank Zappa - Waka Jawaka 1972

When Frank Zappa found himself stuck in a wheelchair for most of the year 1972 (after a "fan" pushed him off the stage in December of the previous year), he relieved his band (including singers Flo & Eddie) of its duties and turned to studio work. One of the first things he tried was to write jazz fusion music scored for wider instrumentation than an average rock band. Waka/Jawaka was conceived in parallel to The Grand Wazoo, but with fewer players. The album, released in July 1972, is comprised of two extended instrumental pieces and two shorter songs. "Big Swifty," a theme-and-solos showcase, would become a live favorite, but the highlight came in the form of the orgiastic title track, recorded with ex-Mothers of Invention keyboardist Don Preston, trumpeter Sal Marquez, trombonists Bill Byers and Ken Shroyer, saxophonist Mike Altschul, bassist Erroneous, and drummer Aynsley Dunbar. The songs, never performed live, feel like filler material. Waka/Jawaka was Zappa's second solo album and is occasionally referred to as "Hot Rats II" (the handles of the faucets on the cover artwork show the words "hot" and "rats" instead of "hot" and "cold"). His writing and recording technique had matured a lot in very little time. The dirty blues jamming of the 1969 LP was replaced by clean, crisp jazz improvisations -- no need to say this was also an abrupt change in style from the Mothers' 1969-1971 incarnation. But this album was only transitional: Zappa's big-band stylings would really flourish in The Grand Wazoo a few months later. AMG.

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George Harrison - Dark Horse 1974

With his first solo tour looming ahead in November and December of 1974, George Harrison felt impelled to rush out a new album, and even a steadily worsening case of laryngitis wouldn't stop him. Would that it did, for the appallingly weak state of his voice would torpedo this album and the tour, to his great embarrassment. "Hari's on Tour (Express)" -- with Tom Scott's L.A. Express churning out all-pro L.A.-studio jazz/rock -- gets the doomed project off to a spirited start, but it's an instrumental, and Harrison's vocal distress becomes obvious to all in the next track, "Simply Shady." Some of George's tunes -- particularly the title track and the exquisite "Far East Man" -- might have benefited from waiting for a better time to record, while others probably could not have been saved. The recording quality, like the voice, has a raw, coarse-grained sound that belies the impeccable musicianship. Dark Horse is perhaps most notorious for Harrison's bitter, slipshod rewrite of the Everly Brothers' hit "Bye Bye Love" -- referring openly to George's wife Pattie running off with Eric Clapton and, for good measure, having both of them on the session! Dark Horse would also be the name of Harrison's soon-to-be-formed new label, as well as a metaphor for the underestimated Beatle who leaped artistically and commercially ahead of his three colleagues immediately after the Beatles' breakup. Unfortunately, this album -- despite its humorous Sgt. Pepper parody on the cover and outright plea to critics on the margins of the inside jacket to go easy on its contents -- would only undermine Harrison's hard-fought campaign for respect. AMG.

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The Who - Who's Next 1971

Much of Who's Next derives from Lifehouse, an ambitious sci-fi rock opera Pete Townshend abandoned after suffering a nervous breakdown, caused in part from working on the sequel to Tommy. There's no discernable theme behind these songs, yet this album is stronger than Tommy, falling just behind Who Sell Out as the finest record the Who ever cut. Townshend developed an infatuation with synthesizers during the recording of the album, and they're all over this album, adding texture where needed and amplifying the force, which is already at a fever pitch. Apart from Live at Leedsthe Who have never sounded as LOUD and unhinged as they do here, yet that's balanced by ballads, both lovely ("The Song Is Over") and scathing ("Behind Blue Eyes"). That's the key to Who's Next -- there's anger and sorrow, humor and regret, passion and tumult, all wrapped up in a blistering package where the rage is as affecting as the heartbreak. This is a retreat from the '60s, as Townshend declares the "Song Is Over," scorns the teenage wasteland, and bitterly declares that we "Won't Get Fooled Again." For all the sorrow and heartbreak that runs beneath the surface, this is an invigorating record, not just because Keith Moon runs rampant or because Roger Daltrey has never sung better or because John Entwistle spins out manic basslines that are as captivating as his "My Wife" is funny. This is invigorating because it has all of that, plus Townshend laying his soul bare in ways that are funny, painful, and utterly life-affirming. That is what the Who was about, not the rock operas, and that's why Who's Next is truer than Tommy or the abandoned Lifehouse. Those were art -- this, even with its pretensions, is rock & roll. AMG.

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Gerald Wilson - Eternal Equinox 1969

From time to time, Gerald Wilson seemed like one of Los Angeles' better-kept secrets, an unusually skillful, imaginative, and charismatic bandleader who hadn't received his due outside the West Coast. His arrangements were distinctive, often complex voicings and harmonies, rooted in swing and bop, yet always forward-looking and energetic in tone. He liked to play around with structures, which contributed to the restless quality in much of his music, and being a bullfight aficionado, he was one of the first arrangers to make use of Spanish influences. He was consistently able to attract top-rank musicians to his bands, who played with immaculate precision and brio for the flamboyantly gesticulating maestro.
Upon moving from Memphis to Detroit with his family in 1932, Wilson studied music in high school and played with the Plantation Music Orchestra before undergoing the formative experience of his life, working with the Jimmie Lunceford band from 1939 to 1942. Replacing Sy Oliver as arranger, conductor, and trumpet soloist, Wilson learned his craft in the Lunceford band, after which he took off for Los Angeles to play with the bands of Les HiteBenny Carter, and Willie SmithWilson organized his first big band in 1944, which sported an intriguing blend of swing and bop and featured musicians like Melba Liston and Snooky Young. But it only lasted three years, and after playing for Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie in 1947 and 1948, Wilson quit the music business for a while to try his hand in the grocery trade. After a tentative return as a bandleader in 1952, it took a while for him to gradually ease his way back into jazz full-time; he even made appearances as a TV actor.
In 1961, after experimenting with a workshop band for four years, Wilson formed a new orchestra that made a string of successful albums for the Pacific Jazz label throughout the '60s, featuring soloists like Harold LandTeddy EdwardsBud ShankJack Wilson, and Joe Pass. One tune that he wrote for the Moment of Truth album, "Viva Tirado" (later reprised on Live and Swinging) became a surprise hit single for the Latin rock group El Chicano in 1970. He scored films and TV programs, worked as an arranger for recordings by singers such as Al HibblerBobby Darin, and Johnny Hartman, contributed arrangements to the Duke Ellington band, and wrote music for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He also started a series of hugely entertaining and informative classes in jazz history at California State University, Northridge (then San Fernando Valley State College) in 1970, moving them to UCLA in 1992, and had his own radio program on L.A.'s KBCA-FM from 1969 to 1976.
Wilson continued to lead big bands off and on through the '80s and '90s, as well as running the orchestra for Redd Foxx's NBC shows and serving as one of the Los Angeles jazz scene's more revered elder statesmen. In 1995, he commemorated more than half a century as a leader by releasing State Street Sweet, a vigorous tribute to the durability of his work, and scoring a solid hit at the Playboy Jazz Festival. In 1996, Wilson's life's work was archived by the Library of Congress, and in 1997 he completed Theme for Monterey, a piece commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival. In 2003 he recorded New York, New Sound, his debut for Mack Avenue Records, which went on receive a Grammy nomination in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble category. Several albums for Mack Avenue followed with In My Time in 2005, Monterey Moods in 2007, and Detroit in 2009. In 2011, Wilson released his fifth Mack Avenue album, the classical-themed Legacy. However, his health began to decline with his advancing years, and, after contracting pneumonia, Gerald Wilson died at his Los Angeles home in September 2014 at age 96. AMG.

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segunda-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2019

Hampton Hawes - I'm All Smiles 1966

Pianist Hampton Hawes led a trio during the 1960s and '70s that remained popular without compromising its sound or musical integrity. His phrasing and voicings could entice or amaze, and he displays great range, rhythmic vitality, and harmonic excellence during the five selections featured on this 1966 live date now reissued on CD. Hawes moves from the Afro-Latin feel of "Manha de Carnaval" to the brilliant chordal exposition on "Spring Is Here" and "The Shadow of Your Smile," before concluding with a flourish on "Searchin." Hawes is backed by wonderful bassist Red Mitchell and steady drummer Donald Bailey, who had both been with him for over a decade. They are not just a cohesive unit, but an intuitive team, maintaining a communication with him that is amazing even within a genre that demands it AMG.

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Family - Music In A Doll's Mouse 1968

The non-LP single "Scene Through the Eye of a Lens" b/w "Gypsy Woman" not withstanding, Music in a Doll's House (1968) is the debut full-length release from the earliest incarnation of Family, featuring Roger Chapman (harmonica/tenor sax/vocals), Rick Grech (violin/ cello/bass guitar/vocals), Rob Townsend (percussion/drums), John "Charlie" Whitney (guitar/pedal steel guitar/keyboards), and Jim King (harmonica/keyboards/soprano sax/tenor sax/vocals). Their highly original sound has often been compared to Traffic, which may be in part due to the production skills of Jimmy Miller and Dave Mason, the latter also contributing the organic and rootsy rocker "Never Like This." Additionally, neither band was overtly psychedelic or progressive, contrasting them from the other burgeoning combos such as Soft MachinePink Floyd, and CaravanFamily's deceptively involved arrangements are coupled with an equally unique blend of Chapman's commanding vocals driving through the jazz and folk-rooted tunes. "The Chase" is a spirited opener that immediately establishes their unmistakable vibe, which is furthered on the sides "Old Songs for New Songs" and the aggressive rocker "Peace of Mind." The antithesis can be heard on the rural-flavored "Mellowing Grey" and "Winter," or perhaps the almost blatantly trippy "See Through Windows." In 1996, See for Miles issued Music in a Doll's House along with Family Entertainment (1969) on a double-disc anthology, including the previously mentioned pre-LP 7" "Scene Through the Eye of a Lens" b/w "Gypsy Woman," both of which have been released on compact disc for the first time here. The package additionally boasts a 40-page booklet and hardback CD jacket, while the audio has been digitally remastered utilizing Super Bit Mapping. AMG.

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