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Q: Are We Not Throbbleheads? DEVO’s Booji Boy limited edition
05.15.2015
09:40 am

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Music
Pop Culture

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Booji Boy (you’re supposed to say it like “Boogie Boy” but no one ever does) was a character created by DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh in the early 1970s after he found a sick-looking rubber “baby mask” in an Akron, OH novelty store and added a hazmat suit and high-pitched voice. Booji Boy made his first appearance in the short film DEVO made in 1976, The Truth About De-Evolution, where Booji Boy’s father, General Boy, was portrayed by Mothersbaugh’s own father, Robert Mothersbaugh, Sr.

Booji Boy’s “origins” were discussed in the booklet to DEVO’s CD-ROM video game Adventures of the Smart Patrol:

Obsessed with the idea of genetic mutation, Craig submitted to a botched operation in an effort to land a media deal with Big Media. Viola! Boogie Boy - a bizarre adult infant freak with pre-adolescent sexuality and Yoda-like wisdom.

The liner notes also discussed his father’s backstory a bit:

General Boy’s career as a military intelligence officer was cut short over his claim that he experienced an alien abduction. He was made to undergo psychiatric testing which resulted in progressive mental instability. Shortly after his son’s transformation into Boogie Boy, he stopped answering to Mr. Rothwell and became General Boy out of love and sympathy for his son.

 

 
And now there is a throbblehead based on Booji Boy, brought to you by Aggronautix, the same folks who have previously produced toys featuring Jello Biafra, Andrew W.K., GG Allin, Roky Erickson and Mark Mothersbaugh himself sporting a DEVO energy dome hat:

Based on DEVO concert photos dating back to the late 1970s, this limited edition bobblin’ Booji Boy figure is wearing his favorite over-stuffed exercise suit, and is armed with an early circuit-bent toy.

Booji Boy is limited to just 1000 numbered units and includes a Booji Boy vinyl sticker sheet. You can pre-order yours now, DEVO fanboys, and it will ship in June. Now they just need to make one of General Boy. That would be very… obscure.

After the jump, ‘The Truth About De-Evolution’

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bootleg Led Zeppelin album covers from Soviet Russia
05.15.2015
08:50 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Politics

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The Cold War seems an awful long time ago, long enough that it’s sometimes hard to remember that a huge percentage of our planet’s land mass was officially denied the right to listen to classic rock. You couldn’t just wander into the USSR with a bunch of Mott the Hoople albums under your arm and expect anyone not to mind, there were actual policies about this. Those people who had heard about and liked Led Zeppelin had to resort to illegal, grassroots ways of disseminating the music, and that process included pressing albums illegally and creating fake, yet plausible, album covers.

In the r/vinyl/ subreddit, reddit user “zingo-spleen” uploaded scans of several awesome album covers that were created for illegal Russian pressings of Led Zeppelin albums. Represented are the band’s second through fifth albums, being II, III, IV, and Houses of the Holy, which is hilariously called V in the Russian version.

Helpfully, “zingo-spleen” provided some background about the fantastic covers:
 

these are two double albums in gatefold sleeves, with a cover on each side. II and III are together as a set, while IV and V (Houses of the Holy) are together as a set. Not sure why the first one is not included - blame the Russians and their twisted logic. I found these in a thrift shop a long time ago and couldn’t bear to get rid of them, even though I’ve had offers.

 
The record label, AnTrop, was a major force in underground bootlegs, releasing illegal versions of all the most notable classic rock acts:
 

AnTrop was named after the legendary Russian underground producer and sound engineer, Andrey Tropillo, who in 1990, on the wave of “perestroika,” became the head of the St. Petersburg branch of Melodia. Since there was much turmoil in Russia at the time, he made the St. Petersburg branch independent of central headquarters and started releasing a series of classic Rock albums. These releases were not legitimate. They started with releases by The Beatles, Jesus Christ - Superstar, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and eventually Pink Floyd. All these records were released using Melodia facilities, but AnTrop was operating as an independent record label and was putting the Antrop logo and their own numbers and copyrights on the covers. However, since all the records were printed in Melodia owned and run facilities, AnTrop had to give its releases additional Melodia catalog numbers, which is why there are two catalog numbers on the releases. Antrop is the label that released most of the Pink Floyd albums in Russia. “P” in the AnTrop catalog numbers stands for Russian letter “P” (that looks like Greek “Pi”). AnTrop records were all pressed in Aprelevka.

 
According to “zingo-spleen,” the quality of the pressings is “really not bad at all ... certainly listenable.”

I think reddit user “arachnophilia” speaks for us all when he says, “oh man, i love aeg threenneauh.”

(Clicking on the images will spawn a larger version.)
 

 

 
More Soviet Zeppelin after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
That time when Jimi Hendrix jammed with Jim Morrison. Too bad it sucked.
05.15.2015
08:24 am

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Music

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You’d think it would have been a dream pairing—two legends, both lost to us young, turning up on stage together, and by sheer stroke of fate, it was recorded. Had those two legends been Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, or hell, even Jimi Hendrix and Mama Cass, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. But no, it was Jimi Hendrix and the drunken clod Jim Morrison. The result was eventually dubbed “Morrison’s Lament,” an apt title if by “lament” one means “drunken, formless discharge of inane profanities.”

The story of how it went down is hazy, accounts are contradictory, and some of the people who could clarify things are dead. What’s certain is that Jimi Hendrix jammed with some folks at the Scene Club in NYC in March of 1968, and a recording—likely made by Hendrix himself—of that night has been widely bootlegged, usually under the title Woke Up this Morning and Found Myself Dead. Some bootleg liners credit Morrison with vocals and harmonica, while online sources say Lester Chambers played harmonica. Some of the drumming is credited to future Band of Gypsys drummer Buddy Miles, some to “Randy Z,” a nom de rock of the McCoys’ Randy Zehringer, who was accustomed to playing with sweet guitarists, as he’s the brother of Rick Derringer. Johnny Winter is credited as rhythm guitarist, which is not implausible, as Zehringer later served Winter as drummer on a couple of albums and the club was owned by Winter’s manager, but many sources hold that Winter not only denies having been present, he claims to never have even met Morrison. Some lore about the night holds that the second guitarist was Rick Derringer. What is certain is that Morrison was on the East Coast in advance of some Doors performances in New York later in the week, and drunkenly grabbed a mic and commenced howling. (You can hear Hendrix telling him to “use the recording mic” at about 0:30.)
 

 
The liner notes on a 1980 UK edition of the LP were written by Hendrix biographer Tony Brown (Jimi Hendrix: Concert Files, Jimi Hendrix: The Final Days), who offered no help as to who played, but DID shed some light on the provenance of the tapes.

This recording stems from 1968 in the Scene Club, owned incidentally by Steve Paul, Johnny Winter’s manager. Jimi was a frequent visitor here because he loved the atmosphere and also loved to jam and as he always had a tape machine on hand, that night was captured forever, giving an insight into Jimi’s blues side, which he always reverted to when playing without any commercial pressures.

The tapes of this jam became the property of Michael Cox, who was founder member of the Irish group Eire Apparent, a band Jimi managed and produced. Peter Shertser from Red Lightnin’ Records had been offered the tapes by Cox and as he liked what he heard, an agreement was made in December 1970. However, another record company famed for issuing country and western records had previously heard the tapes and had surreptitiously made a copy. The tapes soon hit the market as a bootleg under the name “Sky High,” action was taken and an injunction issued to the other record company, whereupon the album strangely disappeared from the market!

 

 
More hammered Jim and Jimi after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Watch Spacemen 3 perform a mind-leveling, 20-minute homage to Suicide
05.15.2015
06:22 am

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Music

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If you’re a fan of Spacemen 3 (or Spiritualized, or Spectrum, or Suicide, or the Stooges, or anything else from the ‘S’ aisle of your local record store’s rock section), celebrate Friday by bathing your mind in this 20-minute live version of the trio’s homage to Alan Vega and Martin Rev. While the studio version of “Suicide” on Spacemen 3’s classic Playing With Fire has a stately, Krautrockish grandeur, only in live performance does the song’s lone riff achieve escape velocity.

This handheld camcorder footage, from Spacemen 3’s performance in Enger, Germany on May 6, 1989 (full show here), is not the most visually stimulating thing you will ever see. But the sound will massage your limbic system real nice, especially if you have a pair of headphones.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Isolated track of Barbra Streisand singing David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’
05.14.2015
12:32 pm

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Music

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ButterFly is probably the most controversial album in Barbra Streisand’s impressive catalog. It was produced by her boyfriend at the time, Jon Peters, who had been a hairdresser and had no experience producing albums (Allmusic.com credits arranger Tom Scott as the “real power” on the album). On ButterFly Streisand ventured far outside of her comfort zone, covering the likes of Bob Marley (“Guava Jelly”) and Buck Owens (“Crying Time”). Streisand’s majestic treatment of Bowie’s “Life on Mars” might be the most successful track on the album (this guy thinks so, anyway) but in the September 1976 issue of Playboy Cameron Crowe asked Bowie what he thought of Streisand’s version and this was his answer: “Bloody awful. Sorry, Barb, but it was atrocious.”

As an album overall, Streisand has named ButterFly as one of her least favorite; in a February 6, 1992, appearance on Larry King Live a caller asked Streisand what her favorite and least favorite of her own albums were; she cited The Broadway Album as her favorite and ButterFly as her least favorite: “That was pretty lousy. I think that’s the only one that I didn’t love. I just don’t remember the songs. I can’t remember what was on it. I don’t remember doing it.”
 

 
I don’t know. I’m no Streisand fan, but from this distance ButterFly looks punk as fuck. The sly album cover reminds me of Alex Chilton’s first album Like Flies on Sherbert, and the choice to do those unusual covers exhibits a certain “eff you” attitude that I enjoy. If middle-aged Barbra of 1992 didn’t agree, who could fault her, really. The whole Jon Peters thing and whatever criticism she received probably tarnished it for her.

Hear Babs cover Bowie after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Noise artist Aaron Dilloway is raising money for the Nepalese earthquakes with his field recordings
05.14.2015
08:10 am

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Current Events
Music

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One doesn’t have to be especially a fan of the noise underground to have heard of Wolf Eyes. The Michigan band leveled up in the mid oughts from cassette culture to Sub Pop, and the group continues today. Their classic early lineup featured the gifted sound manipulator Aaron Dilloway, who left in 2005, but remains an active solo artist based in Oberlin, OH, where he runs the store Hanson Records, which is also the name of the long-running label on which he’s released cassettes by the likes of Emeralds, Andrew WK, and of course Wolf Eyes.

According to the Detroit Metro Times, Dilloway has ties to Nepal via his wife, who did PhD fieldwork there, and he’s been raising money through the sales of his own field recordings to help the victims of the devastating recent earthquakes.

As soon as news broke of the devastating earthquake in Nepal two weeks ago, Dilloway offered his epic box set of field recordings for sale online, with all the proceeds benefiting quake relief. As of yesterday, he posted that he’s raised over $5,000 towards relief, just from sales of this one set.

 

 

 
The set is titled Sounds Of Nepal Volumes 1—3, and the digital download is yours for a $15 donation. Proceeds go to the America Nepal Medical Foundation, who have a direct fundraising link on their web site if you’d like to donate but “Buddhist Cremation Music” and “Cow Drinking From Public Water Tap” aren’t your bag.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘The Pot Smoker’s Song’: Neil Diamond’s terrible anti-weed anthem
05.14.2015
05:54 am

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Drugs
Music

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There’s no shortage of candidates, but my vote for the worst song in Neil Diamond’s catalog goes to “The Pot Smoker’s Song” from 1968’s Velvet Gloves and Spit. While it’s possible to write a decent anti-pot song—Jonathan Richman’s “I’m Straight” comes to mind—it seems Diamond’s ruthless songwriting instincts, so adroit with other kinds of subject matter, led him to adopt the most hysterical position on cannabis: smoking grass leads directly to shooting scag. (As readers of the stoner bible Newsweek know, it does not.)

In ‘68, says Laura Jackson’s Neil Diamond: His Life, His Music, His Passion, the Jazz Singer’s visits to an NYC rehab called Phoenix House inspired him to start an anti-drug group called Musicians Against Drugs (MAD). The organization soon changed its name to Performers Against Drugs (PAD), though I’m not sure it’s a better acronym for an anti-drug group—doesn’t it make you think “crash pad”? Anyway, the crystallization of that late-60s drug activism is “The Pot Smoker’s Song,” an album track which combines grim field recordings with a jolly chorus. During the verses, actual junkies from Phoenix House talk about how grass made drug fiends of them and ruined their lives, accompanied by merry instrumentation and backing vocals. (I think this is how Neil Diamond does sardonic?) See if you can come up with a melody for the first verse:

I started when I was thirteen, and, uh, I had saw some people smoking pot, and I bought myself a nickel bag, and I went behind my building and sat on a bench all by myself, and I smoked that bag—y’know, until I finally got high. Uh, I started with pot ‘cause I was curious, and at that time I was having problems with my family. I remember on one trip, I was at a party, and, uh, I got very sick from, uh, from speed, from meth. And, uh, I used to shoot it in my spine. I also used to shoot acid in my spine. And, uh, I had too much, I was building a big thing up over a week, and I got sick, and I tried to commit suicide.

Jackson’s bio reports the song was subject to such derision that it was omitted from later pressings of Velvet Gloves and Spit. I see no evidence of this on Discogs, but the song was left off of one UK pressing. Never mind: “The Pot Smoker’s Song” was lame. Neil said:

“The Pot Smoker’s Song” almost cost me my career. People just laughed at it.

 

 
But in the fullness of time, the scales fell from Diamond’s eyes and he repented of his error. Ben Fong-Torres’ classic piece “The Importance of Being Neil Diamond,” from the September 23, 1976 issue of Rolling Stone, opens with a 50-man squad from LAPD and the LA Sheriff’s Department raiding Diamond’s house on a cocaine tip. The Man didn’t find any coke at Neil’s place, but the search did turn up a little herb. Fong-Torres knew Velvet Gloves and Spit, and he nailed Diamond:

There is a track on a 1970 [sic] Neil Diamond album called “The Pot Smoker’s Song.” It begins, “Pot, pot, gimme some pot, forget what you are, you can be what you’re not, high, high, I wanna get high, never give it up if you give it a try.” And between the bouncy choruses are spoken testimonials from kids connecting grass to speed, acid, suicide and worse.

Today, Diamond says “The Pot Smoker’s Song” was “essentially misdirected”; that he learned the real villain is heroin after “The Pot Smoker’s Song” came out. He started smoking dope – “mostly out of boredom,” usually on long road trips.

“Fortunately, when I went through this stage,” he adds, “I was old enough to discern between marijuana and heroin.” Diamond is 35.

Fortunately? I, for one, would really have enjoyed hearing the results of a scag habit on Diamond’s later work, but I guess my loss is his gain. It’s never too late to start, Neil…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘They’re throwing bottles?’: Keith Levene on PiL’s infamous Ritz riot, a Dangerous Minds exclusive
05.13.2015
11:39 am

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Music
Punk

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This is the first part of Keith Levene‘s personal recollection of Public Image Ltd’s infamous Ritz riot show. The view from the eye of the hurricane, so to speak. Keith’s newest release is the wonderful and sprawling Commercial Zone 2014. His website is www.teenageguitarist76.com/

The atmosphere was intense. An event put together with the best of intentions in real time. Real time meaning no set list, no rehashes of Pistols numbers, potential audience participation, no real idea of how the event would pan out and certainly no idea it was going to turn into a hybrid of an old school R&R riot.

There was no plan, that was the plan. The potential was immense. There was no MTV and I was using one of largest video displays in existence at the time. There was one other similar screen this size in Tokyo. We had a fantastic control room that was capable of being a TV channel.

Cable was the big buzz of the time and this! Live video just seemed so exciting and yet to me, so obvious. When I agreed to do this with the powers that be at the Ritz the question was “Can we use and integrate all the video equipment and the screen into the show? Stanley London, and Jerry Brandt, the club’s owners, as I remember said “Sure.”

I said “We’ll have to bill this as something special, a video event with Public Image Ltd. Its key we do this for a myriad of reasons.” They agreed. The guys at the Ritz were fantastically helpful and enthusiastic. Jerry Brandt as I remember was involved in The Electric Circus in the 60s and had a good idea of what was going on and therefore had a special eye on what I was doing as this was coming together. (He definitely thought he’d seen this before in the 60s. I could feel that.)

I had such high hopes for what was coming together. I’d envisioned a live video event with audience participation or an interactive event on a personal level which to my mind would have been quite innovative and quite interesting for those days. This might not seem like such a big deal in these advanced technological times but back then it was. Plus even then “interactive only really meant an electronic experience, nothing this close up and personal.
 

 
In May 1981 there was no World Wide Web, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, no instant global communication anywhere, anytime at the touch of a button. People didn’t have access to personal computers, cell phones, or the Internet except under really geeky circumstances. MTV didn’t exist as of yet though it was on the table. Cable was the biggest and most interesting or exciting thing happening.

In those days PiL would get lots of offers many of which were turned down. I happened to be in Manhattan and was getting a good deal of attention when an offer from the Ritz came up. They’d had an unexpected cancellation from none other than Malcolm’s Bow Wow Wow and they needed something with proper impact to fill the gap. Impromptu? Whatever.

The Ritz was a Victorian place that was used for pretty damn classy gigs. A fantastic venue with balconies, an old school wooden ballroom floor and the perfect size for name bands to do their stuff. A great stage and crew. I imagine the likes of Madness, Squeeze or Talking Heads and bands of that ilk would’ve used this as a prefered prestige place in New York.

The Ritz had recently acquired one of just two (in the entire world) massive video screens for the venue with a General Electric video projection system. The highest resolution imagery anyone was going to get for those times. The projection certainly wasn’t “Hi Def” as we know it these days but no one knew the difference then and essentially it looked like a giant movie screen and was very clear (The only other screen like the one there was in Tokyo. HD was a dream concept at the time only Sony were working on). This all really knocked my socks off and fired my imagination like a Gatling machine gun on speed. Suffice to say the Ritz was well interesting due to the toys inside.
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘All That Glitters’: Vintage doc on legendary British glam rockers, The Sweet
05.13.2015
07:21 am

Topics:
Music

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In 1973, Sweet were the subject of a documentary All That Glitters for BBC Schools series Scene. Being intended for “educational purposes,” the program had to pose a relevant topic for debate among its teenage audience—in this case, “Is the music business really that glamorous?” Over a period of two to three days, Scene followed the band members Brian Connolly (vocals), Steve Priest (bass/coals), Andy Scott (guitar) and Mick Tucker (drums) as they rehearsed for a Top of the Pops appearance (which led to an outcry over Priest’s Nazi outfit) and their (now hailed as “legendary”) Christmas show at London’s Rainbow Theater.

It had certainly been a good year for the band—probably their best: three hit singles (“Blockbuster,” “Hellraiser,” “Ballroom Blitz”) adding to their chart-topping back catalog and tipping their record sales to 14 million sold; sell-out gigs the length and breadth of the UK; and plans to record their first proper studio album—for which they would write most of the material and play all of the instruments. Yes, it had been a long hard graft, and it wasn’t always glamorous, but it seemed as if things could and should only get better.

But fame is fickle and pop careers are measured by the durability of three-minute songs. Sweet’s pop hits had been penned by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who had originally cast the band as sub-Archies bubblegum pop supplying them with such jolly toe-tappers as “Co-Co,” “Little Willy” and “Wig Wam Bam.” However, Sweet were always rockers and had a desire to write and play their own songs. As if signalling their gradual move away from Chinn and Chapman, the band dropped the definite article from their name—changing from The Sweet to Sweet.
 
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Sweet’s audience were still mainly teenyboppers who liked their playground pop and the pretty boy make-up, though there were always some (including music journalist Paul Morley) who preferred the band’s self-penned hard-rocking B-sides. When Sweet started concentrating on their own kind of heavy glam music with the albums Sweet Fanny Adams (1974) and Desolation Boulevard (1975), they lost a chunk of their fan base who were now swooning over the Bay City Rollers while a younger generation were about to replace glam with punk.

Yet the music Sweet produced influenced artists such as Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Joan Jett and Poison.

Though half the band is sadly now dead (Connolly died in 1997, Tucker in 2002) the world is divided between Andy Scott’s Sweet, which covers Europe and Australia, and Steve Priest’s Sweet, which takes in the US, Canada and South America.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
That time James Brown tried to murder Joe Tex with a shotgun
05.13.2015
06:17 am

Topics:
Music
Unorthodox

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“Don’t shoot!”
 
R&B singer, Joe Tex, best known for his hits “Skinny Legs And All” and “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)” had a bitter rivalry with James Brown that went beyond simple diss tracks. At one point the feud became so heated that James Brown attempted to murder Tex with a shotgun, reportedly wounding six or seven people in the process.

The rivalry dates back to the early days of their careers, according to Joe Tex’s Wikipedia page:

The feud between Tex and fellow labelmate James Brown took its origins allegedly sometime in the mid-1950s when both artists were signed to associated imprints of King Records when Brown allegedly called out on Tex for a “battle” during a dance at a local juke joint. In 1960, Tex left King and recorded a few songs for Detroit-based Anna Records, one of the songs he recorded was the ballad “Baby, You’re Right”. A year later, Brown recorded the song and released it in 1961, changing up the lyrics and the musical composition, earning Brown co-songwriting credits along with Tex.

It had to have stung having your song usurped, with a songwriting credit added, and watching it become a bigger hit than your single.
 

 
Brown fueled the fire by hooking up and recording with Tex’s ex-wife. James Brown was kind of a dick:

By then, Brown had recruited singer Bea Ford, who had been married to Tex prior, but had divorced in 1959. In 1960, Brown and Ford recorded the song, “You’ve Got the Power”. Shortly afterwards, Tex got a personal letter from Brown telling him that he was through with Ford and if Tex wanted her back, he could have her. Tex responded by recording the diss record, “You Keep Her”, where he called Brown’s name out.

 

“James I got your letter, it came to me today. You said I could have my baby back, but I don’t want her that way.”
 
Things soon came to a head at a 1963 gig in Macon, Georgia when Joe Tex aped Brown’s cape act.

Find out what happened next after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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