By David Peter Hawkins
High value records don't always equate to high quality music, surely many collectors have been disappointed when finally getting there hands on a 500 pound holy grail, only to find the music average and uninspiring.
Frequent visitors to record fairs will be aware of the abundance of bargain boxes, "Everything For 1.00 pound", "Two For A Fiver" and so on. Trawling through boxes of cheap vinyl can often be rewarding, with classic albums of the last 40 years sandwiched between brass bands and budget compilations.
The aim of this exercise is to build a collection of quality albums, music at the top of its genre, groundbreaking, or simply remarkable from start to finish. In reality the price of some items will vary between fairs and dealers but I have tried to include albums that can be regularly found between 1 pound and 4 pounds. I have steered clear of internet sales because of varying quality and postage costs.
Of course you may disagree with many of my choices and yes music is subjective and a matter of personal taste. Some albums simply sell time and time again or are highly regarded for there style or musicality and this I have drawn upon in my selection. Feel free if you wish to replace some of my selections with your own.
Alongside each item I have attached a star rating, five for the most abundant and easy to acquire, fewer stars for those items that might take a little longer to track down. This is an ongoing project my object to compile an extensive library of value vinyl. So now it is time to begin building your collection.
Box 5. Article Summary
1. Fleetwood Mac 'Rumours' - World wide sales of almost 30 million will guarantee this item turning up at your local fair and almost certainly numerous copies can be found in bargain boxes throughout the nation. Fleetwood Mac's transformation from a classic blues outfit to one of the most successful rock and pop groups of the 70s and 80s is mainly down to this high profile album. Most of us who originally owned this album played both sides relentlessly and then grew tired with over exposure. But with thirty years behind it the album with its strong collective of song writing and musicianship guarantees nearly everyone's return. *****
Comments - Songbird covered by various artists. The Chain Grand Prix music. A version on white vinyl exists.
Other albums by this artist / group: Tango in the night, Tusk
2. Roxy Music 'For Your Pleasure' - Roxy Music's second album with its eclectic mix of musicians and broad musical influence is often lorded by lovers of progressive rock. This view is probably confirmed by the presence of the glorious nine minute romp "Bogus Man". The often strange combination of Brian Ferry's fifties throwback warbling and Eno's modernistic sensibility created a unique sound If you are familiar with Roxy Music through there commercial success of such albums as Avalon, this is a significantly darker and more challenging experience. ***
Comments -"Every Dream Home a Heartache" is the only track I am aware of that tells the tale of an inflatable sex doll. First issues of this album on the pink rimmed Island label with the original laminated gatefold sleeve go for around 15 pounds but you can regularly come across later issues for much less.
Other albums by this artist / group - Roxy Music, Country Life, Stranded, Siren, Flesh And Blood, Avalon. All of the Roxy Music albums can be found regularly within the budget box price range.
3. U2 'Unforgettable Fire' - U2 vinyl albums are abundant but I have chosen " The Unforgettable Fire" to go onto our list.With their new production team Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois the band might have some of the edge present on previous albums but the carefully crafted songs on this album have made this a favorite for many of there loyal fans. The album is chock full of classic tracks such as Bad, Wire, Pride, A Sort Of Homecoming and the title track. Vinyl issues of this album come in a quality textured sleeve and clean copies can be found for no more than a few pounds. *****
Comments - Lots of copies of this item turn up so be patient and get yourself a nice clean copy.
Other albums by this artist / group: Boy, Joshua Tree, War. October Under a Blood Red Sky. There are many U2 collectables and there later albums which sold in smaller numbers on vinyl are generally out of our budget price. But the earlier aforementioned classic albums are regularly accessible within our budget.
4. Ultravox 'Vienna' - One of the albums that defines the 80s new romantic era. After the departure of John Foxx, Ultravox must have felt insecure about there future instead with there new singer Midge Ure they created one of the defining songs of the 80s, Vienna. This album because of its commonality is often passed over, the public often forgetting Vienna is now nearly 30 years old and a landmark album. *****
Comments - A perfect starting point for your New Romantic collection.
Other albums by this artist / group: Quartet, Monument, Rage in Eden.
5. Lloyd Cole 'Rattlesnakes' - Coles Debut album was successful on release and gained in stature as a highly regarded exercise in singer songwriting. Intelligent lyrics and a classic folky background have assured this album has a longevity which many of its counterparts have failed to achieve. ***
Comments - Often overlooked as just another commercial pop record of the eighties this album offers much more.
Other albums by this artist / group: Easy Pieces.
6. Kate Bush 'Hounds Of Love' - It was a toss up between "A Kick Inside" and my chosen album by this highly individual artist and although her debut album has 'Wuthering Heights', one of those few records which seemed entirely unique yet achieved remarkable chart success, it is the beautiful atmosphere of "The Hounds Of Love" which by a small edge led me to choose this album. 'Running up That Hill' is probably the most well known track from the record but 'Cloudbusting' for me embodies the sentiment of the album. ****
Comments - Bush's long awaited 2005 album Ariel was also released as a quality vinyl package.
Other albums by this artist / group: Kick Inside, Never For Ever, Lion Heart, Dreaming. All these albums can be found for 3 pounds and under.
7. ZZ Top' Eliminator' - The fans who had followed them from the early blues orientated days might see this album as the bands point of sellout but you cannot ignore the impact this album had particularly on the MTV generation. In 1983 it was almost impossible to turn on your television without been confronted by the supped up dragster that fills the front cover of the album. "Gimme All your lovin', Legs and Sharp Dressed Man" were all massive hits with there often raunchy videos. *****
Comments - This album has great art work and because of its enormous sales can easily be purchased for 1 pound. There early albums on the London label usually sell for around 15 pounds but you can pick up much cheaper reissues. 'Afterburner' the follow up to Eliminator can also be found at 1 pound or just over.
Other albums by this artist / group: Afterburner
8. Eagles 'Hotel California' - The Eagles are one of those bands because of there enormous album sales provide great value for money on vinyl. Hotel California is the Eagles most commercially successful album moving in a more rock orientated direction than its previous counterparts. The title track has one of the greatest and most widely recognized solos in music history, drawing the track out to about seven minutes. ****
Comments - A very strong consistent album throughout. The early albums are finely crafted country rock influenced by such artists as Gram Parsons or the Byrds. All of these albums can be found for a few pounds.
Other albums by this artist / group - Eagles, Desperado, One Of These Nights.
9. Jon And Vangelis 'Friends Of Mr. Cairo' - Jon Andersons ethereal vocals and Vangelis's rich textures compliment beautifully. The album begins with two finely crafted pop songs "Find My Way Home" and State Of Independence", but it is the extended title track an homage to the classic film era which holds the albums real magic. ***
Comments - Background projector sounds and the voice of Peter Lorre add to the wonderful atmosphere of this album.
Other albums by this Artists / group: Private Collection.
10. Police 'Reggatta De Blanc' - This album stayed in the top 100 for more than a year so no problem acquiring a copy. Its longevity not surprising when you ponder its superb track listing "Message in a Bottle", Walking On The Moon", "The Beds To Big Without You" all with the reggae undertones which would become the bands trademark. *****
Comments - Lots of colour vinyl picture sleeve singles by the Police can be found for as little as 50p.
Other albums by this artist / group: Outlandos D'Amour, Zenyatta Mondatta, Ghost In The Machine, Synchronicity. You can confidently pick up originals of the first five please albums for under a tenner.
11. Simon and Garfunkel 'Bookends' - CBS's numerous reissues of Simon and Garfunkels's 60s albums give the punter plenty of opportunity to pick up there early catalogue for a song. With a rich choice of albums which would meet our criteria I have based my selection simply on personal preference. For me Bookends although only 30 minutes long breaks out of the folky influence of previous albums, explores a wide diversity of styles but manages maintain its continuity. ***
Comments - Reissues on the later Sunburst CBS label can be found with Simon and Garfunkel's entire early back catalogue but you can also find earlier issues on the orange label for a very reasonable price. Original 60s issues with flip back sleeve and textured labels in perfect condition can pass hands for around 30 pounds.
Other albums by this artists / group: Sounds Of Silence, Parsley Sage Rosemary And Thyme, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Wednesday Morning 3am.
12. Bob Seger 'Stranger In Town' - If your passion is for all American artists such as Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles and you appreciate quality song writing then this album will satisfy your needs. "Hollywood Nights" is a suitably rousing track to start proceedings but it is the super ballad" We've Got Tonight" which has become best known and covered by such artist as Kenny Rogers and Ronan Keating. **
Comments - Hollywood Nights was released as a picture sleeve silver vinyl single.
Other albums by this artist / group: Stranger In Town, Against The Wind, Nine Tonight Live.
13. Jean Michel Jarre 'Oxygene' - It's hard to believe this album is over 30 years old, created in the same year as the beginning of the punk revolution and at the tale end of the progressive rock era the album with its long extended instrumental tracks surprisingly achieved stratospheric success. The swirling electronic sounds are different from the mainstream of the period yet the album managed to be accessible to the masses. *****
Comments - HMV released a box set of the album on LP in 1988 limited to 3,300 only this sells for around 15.00 pounds.
Other albums by this artist / group: Equinoxe, Rendez Vous.
14. Dire Straits' Love Over Gold' - Probably not an obvious choice with multi million seller 'Brothers in Arms' and the first album containing guitar anthem 'Sultans of Swing' as strong contenders. But this album contains lots of musicality and thoughtful composition. The album contains Dire Straits longest ever track 'Telegraph Road' and song about the rise and fall of industrialism 'Rock "n" Roll. *****
Comments - The track 'Pivate Investigator' reached number two and was kept off the top slot by Survivor 'Eye of the Tiger'.
Other albums by this artist / group: Dire Straits, Making Movies, Communique, Alchemy, Brothers In Arms. All of these albums can be found for has little as a few pounds.
15. Eric Clapton '461 Ocean Boulevard' - An original copy of Creams Disraeli Gears with its vivid art work and original blend of psychedelic blues rock can fetch up to fifty or sixty pounds. So it seems surprising that Clapton's solo albums don't usually fetch more than a few pounds. "461 Ocean Boulevard" is second solo project is a lot slicker than previous albums and concentrates on his now smooth vocal style. ***
Comments - Most of Claptons 70s and 80s solo albums can be easily found within our budget.
Other albums by this artist: Slowhand, Journeyman, Just One Night, Backless, EC Was Here.
16. Scorpions ' Lovedrive' - There is numerous rock albums available within our budget price most of these tend to be late seventies onwards. As most teenage boys who came across this album I found my self taking an unhealthy interest in its provocative cover. The album strengths are a combination of confident song writing, great guitarists and a very distinctive vocalist in the shape of Klaus Meine. ***
Comments - There is also a twelve inch EP from this album on green vinyl.
Other albums by this artist / group: Blackout, Virgin Killer, Crazy World, Tokyo Tapes. The earlier album Virgin Killer is a little harder to acquire but can be found with persistence.
17. Yes 'Closer To The Edge' - A definitive album of the progressive rock era "Closer To The Edge" for many epitomizes the complex, extended music associated with this genre. As well as Jon Andersons ethereal voice the liberal inclusion of the progressive musician's favorite, the Mellotron gives this album a rich and often beautiful sound. ****
Comments - Although early textured sleeve issues are now becoming collectable, later issues can regularly be found for around 2 pounds.
Other albums by this artist / group: Fragile, The Yes Album, 90125, Relayer Going For The One, Drama, Yes Songs, Yes Shows. Original copies of the first four albums on the plum Atlantic label are considerably more than our budget price but these albums were reissued relentlessly.
18. Stranglers 'Stranglers IV' - Punk related items can be a little harder to pick up below five pounds, but albums like "Stranglers IV" which sold to a broader audience are more easily acquired. Although this album is titled four it is in fact their debut album. A crunching base line, raw vocals mixed with a strong song writing sensibility make this a great choice for your vinyl collection. ***
Comments - The biggest selling and therefore easiest album to acquire by the band is "No More Heroes".
Other albums by this artist / group: No More Heroes, Aural Sculpture, Feline, Black And White. Black White also comes in a White Vinyl edition with a free single this sells for around 15 pounds.
19. Genesis 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' - There are numerous Genesis albums I could include in our collection but I have chosen the "Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", a concept piece that bridges the musicianship of the progressive rock era with the raw energy of the new wave in the shape of Rael, Gabriels Urban antihero. Although other albums are far more representative of the Genesis legacy this epic double LP, for me is a masterpiece of its era. ***
Comments - Genesis are a highly collectible band with there first album "Genesis To Revelation" as a mono copy on the unboxed Decca label selling for up to 500 pounds.
Other albums by this artist / group: Trespass, Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound, Live, A Trick of the Tail, Seconds Out, And Then There Were Three, Wind And Wuthering, Duke, Three Sides Live, Invisible Touch, Duke. The first two Charisma albums are very collectible on the original pink scroll, but endless copies can be found on the later Mad Hatter Label.
20. Blondie 'Parallel Lines' - The bold stripes of "Parallel Lines" art work are instantly recognizable and Debbie Harry's drop dead good looks add to the classic album cover. This vinyl turns up in droves but is a constant seller with a new generation of vinyl enthusiasts. *****
Comments - Even more profuse than Blondie's albums are there 7 inch singles which turn up in abundance.
Other albums by this artist / group: Blondie, Eat to The Beat, Plastic Letters, Auto American, The Hunter.
21. Santana 'Abraxas' - If it's musicianship you desire then Santana are a strong candidate for your vinyl collection. Again with this band there are a number of contenders for this slot, Moonflower is a double album containing high octane live material and studio work such as there superb take of the Zombies classic "She's Not There", but the overriding choice has to be "Abraxas" right from the warm swell of its introduction to its classic cover of "Black Magic Women" this is an album which displays a perfect blend of both musical and commercial success. *****
Comments - If you want to explore Santana's true musicianship then check out "Caravansarai", Jazz sensibility, swirling percussion, warm strings and of course Carlos's emotionally charged guitar combine for a truly exceptional musical journey.
Other Albums By This artist / group: Santana, Santana II, Santana III, Welcome, Borbaletta, Moonflower, Amigo, Festival, Inner Secrets, Zebop. Marathon.
22. Elton John 'Tumble Weed Connection' - Elton John is an international music star with an extensive back catalogue. The early DJM albums are both strong and consistent and were often packaged with booklets, posters and textured sleeves. My own personal Elton favorite is "Tumbleweed Connection". The music influenced by the American West follows in the footsteps of such albums as Dylans "John Wesley Harding" and although not exactly a concept album rewards best when played in its entirety. ****
Comments - It's all so worth pointing out that earlier issues when held up to the light have a red wax glow.
Other albums by this artist / group: Goodbye Yellow Big Road, Madman Across The Water, Honky Chateau, Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player, Caribou, Rock Of The Westies, Blue Movies.
23. Talking Heads 'Remain In Light' - Yet another wonderful LP produced by Brian Eno and although the group were previously known for there punk sensibility this album is filled with highly danceable funk orientated rhythms. Probably the most well known track from this album is "Once In A Lifetime" with it's ultra catchy chorus. ***
Comments - "Little Creatures" is the album which gave the Heads there real commercial success so therefore is probably the easiest to acquire.
Other albums by this artist / group: Speaking In Tongues, Fear Of Music, Little Creatures, Talking Heads 77, The Name Of The Band Is The talking Heads, True Stories, More Songs About Buildings And Food, Stop Making Sense, Naked.
24. Bad Company 'Bad Company' - Signed to Led Zeppelins Swan Song label this super group made up of ex members from Free, Mott The Hoople and King Crimson produced a superb debut album. Classic blues tinged rock including the immensely catchy "Can't Get Enough of Your Love". ***
Comments - The "Straight Shooter" album produced Bad Co's most radio friendly offering in the shape of the power ballad "Feel Like Making Love".
Other albums by this artist / group: Straight Shooter, Run With The Pack, Desolation Angels, Burning Sky, 10 From 6, Rough Diamonds.
25. Marrillion 'Misplaced Childhood' - Marrillion were at the forefront of the miniature progressive rock revival in the 1980s and although influenced by early Genesis developed a distinctive poetic style of there own. This album contains there most successful and well known song "Kayleigh" but is much more than a one single album with a continuous sweet which takes up nearly three quarters of the LP. *****
Comments - Although "Misplaced Childhood" is there most commercially successful album Marrillion fans often site "Fugazi" as the bands finest moment.
Other albums by this artist / group: Scrip For A Jesters Tear, Fugazi,Clutching At Straws, The Thieving Magpie, Reel To Reel.
26. Human League 'Dare' - Although the band had been around at the beginning of the new generation of electronic music, it was the introduction of two female backing vocalists that finally gave the group there definitive sound. For anybody who reached their teens during the early eighties the massive hit single "Don't You Want Me" supplies the soundtrack for those years. *****
Comments - This album turns up in droves so you are bound to get a bargain.
Other albums by this artist / group - Travelogue, Hysteria, Love And Dancing, Crash.
27. Journey 'Escape' - If you like your AOR power ballads then look no further. "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Whose Cryin'" are perfect examples of the smooth rock formula that became popular in the early eighties. Former Santana band members Gregg Rolie and Neil Schon formed the group in 1973 and the band have accumulated over 80 million sales worldwide. *****
Comments - Journey shared there huge AOR sales with bands like Reo Speed Wagon and Asia whose albums can also be found in relatively large numbers.
Other albums by these artist / group: Frontiers.
28. Madness 'One Step Beyond' - A product of the 2tone movement of 1979, this album has all the boyish and anarchic energy of large group of fun loving young men embarking on their first recording. ***
Comments - Numerous 7 and 12 inch singles were produced by Madness and can often be found for as little as 1 pound.
Other albums by this artist / group: Divine Madness, Absolutely, Presents The Rise And Fall, Mad Not Mad, Utter Madness.
29. UFO 'Strangers In The Night' - A constant flow of rock bands visited The Victoria Hall, Hanley in the early eighties of which I attended many. A lot of the acts proved disappointing live but UFO exceeded expectation with there superior musicianship and ability to take there studio tracks to an extra level when performed in front of an audience. "Strangers In The Night" is up there with Thin Lizzy's Live And Dangerous as one of the superior live performances captured on record from that era. ***
Comments - Also worth collecting by UFO is a number of Colour vinyl singles, all which can be picked up for as little as a pound.
Other albums by this artist / group: The Wild The Willing And The Innocent, Force It, No Place To Run, Making Contact, Obsession, Mechanix, Lights Out.
30. CAROL KING 'TAPESTRY' - Kings song writing skills are homed to perfection on this album with at least four all time classic tracks "I feel The Earth Move", "So Far Away", "You've Got A Friend" and "Natural Women". Most artists if they are lucky write one great song in there lifetime on this album Carol has left a legacy of standards which will continue to be covered by future artists. ****
Other albums by this artist / group: Songs Of Long Ago.
Comments - Original seventies album comes with a textured sleeve.
31. VAN MORRISON 'INTO THE MUSIC' - Although Morrison's late 60s early seventies output is generally regarded as his most intensely creative period, there are equally rewarding excursions on many of his later albums. Into The Music was released at the height of the Punk revolution and like many of the songwriter albums from that period tends to get lost in the excitement of the new musical revolution. Morrison's mood is perfectly summed up in the title of this album Van at times completely lost in the music he has created and for me the last three tracks are a sublime example of musical creativity. ***
Comments - Unfortunately some of Van Morrison's better albums prove difficult to acquire within our budget, the superb live album "Too Late To Stop Now" normally selling for around 10 pounds. Astral Weeks and Moondance were both released as first issues on the Red Warner Bros label and command prices near 100 pounds but many reissues are available sometimes within our budget.
Other Albums by this artist / group: Easier to get within our budget price are Wavelength, Best Of, Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart, Poetic Champions Compose, Beautiful Vision, Live At The Grand Opera House. His first four albums on Warner Brothers can be acquired as reissues but sometimes difficult to find for under a fiver.
32. PRINCE 'PURPLE RAIN' - Although my record collection at the time of this albums release was primarily rock, like legions of others I felt compelled to buy Purple Rain on its release in 1984. The album brims with high octane funk, glittery rock guitar and hooks that most mere human artists would die for. Tracks like Let's Go Crazy, When Doves Cry and Purple Rain are superb songs that stay just on the right side of pomposity. *****
Comments - Look out for the rare purple vinyl version of this album.
Other albums by this artist / group: Love Sexy, Around The World In A Day, Under The Cherry Moon, Batman.
33. WEATHER REPORT 'HEAVY WEATHER' - For those venturing into the world of jazz fusion for the first time then Weather Reports Heavy Weather is a perfect starting point. The album is both accessible and challenging with jazz heavy weights Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul continuing ideas first explored with the Miles Davis group in the late 60s. The albums best known track Birdland as been covered by a number of artists including an acapella version by Manhattan Transfer. ***
Comments -Most albums by Weather Report usually sell for around £5 and above Heavy weather been the exception because of the quantity available.
Other albums by these artist / group: Black Market.
34. Jackson Browne 'Late For The Sky' - This mature and often subtle album with a distinctly American flavor grew out of a thriving US song writing movement. With intelligent lyrics, understated vocals and perfect accompaniment from guitarist David Lindley this album rewards the careful listener. **
Comments. - The title track is featured in Martin Scorcese's film Taxi Driver.
Other albums by this artist / group: Saturate before Using, The Pretender. (These albums are a little more difficult to acquire than the later release Late For The Sky).
35. PETER FRAMPTOM 'FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE' - A reference to the album on the US cult classic Wayne's World confirms Framptom Comes Alive's status in the American rock cannon. The double live album combines radio friendly acoustic ballads with epic guitar anthems all pulled from Frampton's career both solo and with previous band Humble Pie. *****
Comments - This album is famous for Frampton's some say excessive use of the guitar voice box.
Other albums by this artist / group: I'm In You.
36. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN 'BORN IN THE USA' - The multi million seller album is crammed full of stadium rock tracks all performed with 100% commitment by the "Boss" of the US music industry. Although "Born In The USA" has become associated with American patriotism a closer scrutiny of the lyrics present a much bleaker version of US history with abandoned Vietnam heroes and prison gangs populating his stories. *****
Comments - A live box set can also be acquired for around 5 pounds to 10 pounds.
Other albums by this artist / group: The River, Born To Run, Darkness At The Edge Of Town, The Wild The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle, Tunnel Of Love, Lucky Town, Human Touch.
37. PAUL MCCARTNEY 'BAND ON THE RUN' - After two albums under the guise of Wings, McCartney returned to recording under his own name with an album often regarded as his best work since the Beatles. The album has an uplifting start with the title track and "Jet" and manages maintain its consistency throughout. *****
Comments - Now is probably a good time to mention Beatles releases, with even reissues fetching around 5 pounds and more none of the original releases by the band can be acquired within our budget.
Other albums by this artist / group: McCartney, McCartney II, Ram, Red Rose Speadway, Give My Regards To Broadway Street. Venus And Mars, Wings At The Speed Of Sound, Wings Over America.
38. GARY NUMAN AND TUBEWAY ARMY 'REPLICAS' - Tubeway Army's self titled first album was strongly inspired by the punk revolution it was not until there second release "Replicas" that Numan and band members found there real voice. Haunting Synth arrangements and a vocal style heavily influenced by Bowie, combine to make an original sound that richly exploited the technological advances of the day. *****
Comments - Numans most well recognized track "Cars" can be found on his other highly influential album from this period "The Pleasure Principle".
Other albums by this artist / group: Tubeway Army, The Pleasure Principle, Telekon. The bands first album can be a little more difficult to acquire with a blue vinyl version selling for around 40 pounds.
39. THIN LIZZY 'LIVE AND DANGEROUS' - Lizzy's classic studio album Jailbreak with its die cut gatefold sleeve and dynamic artwork came close as my first choice, but for sheer value for money and perhaps one of the greatest live albums in the rock genre "Live And Dangerous slips into pole position. Here already established classics "The Boys Are Back In Town" and"Jailbreak" are infused with a new sense of urgency when given the live treatment. ****
Comments - The double albums earlier issues came in a fully laminated gatefold sleeve.
Other albums by these artists group: Jailbreak, Johnny The Fox, Fighting, Black Rose, Bad Reputation, China Town, Night Life, Renegade.
Astral Vinyl is a supplier of quality vinyl records in all genres. Based in the Stoke-on-Trent area we have sold thousands of items both on the internet and at venues across the UK. Original article at: http://www.astralvinyl.com
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