Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why America Needs Musicians Like Dylan

By David Lorango

"But you who philosophize disgrace, and criticize all fears", a young Bob Dylan wailed off on a signature track for Times They Are A'Changin'. "Take the rag away from your face, now ain't the time for your tears". The emotional and social plea found in the musical halls of Dylan's The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll is emblematic of an era where topical songwriting, and songwriters, confronted injustice with the keen eye of an artist.

Today, music takes the safest approach to topics. Turn on a radio and you'll be whisked away by females protesting that you should "just dance" and male vocalists confounded by the prospect of "tryinna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful". And if you can identify these musical voices, they're not the only culprits. Name any pop star with a top ten album and you're bound to find the same three topics, regurgitated ad nausea. These are: dancing, women, and heartbreak.

Pop music has mostly relied on these tried and true topics. Even our most beloved figures sang about these topics 50 years ago (Elvis, anyone)? Dylan, and those like him during the '60s, captured the zeitgeist and political upheaval and managed to put this strife into lasting artistic impressions in the form of notes and sound.
America's current political state of being is perhaps one of the most tumultuous since the Great Depression and World War II.

With two wars, record unemployment, a congress bought off by the ever increasing dominance of America's few major corporations, and an uncertain economic future, America is at a precipice. Yet for all this turmoil, America's music has ramped up the incessantly banal. Our approach, like it was after September 11th, was to just dance and shop away the concerns from our daily lives. A war is a world away, except at the airport.

Americans are seeking a way to reconnect with one another over the injustices in the world. There are tea party movements, Glenn Beck watch parties, health care rallies, and protest movements of all kind about the internet. Music has responded to its most precious task of bringing people together by doing so in the most inoffensive and uninspiring way it can: to induce a state of ignorant blind euphoria.

Listeners turn to music less and less to reflect about the world and their position in it, and more to get happy and dance drunkenly with one another. Particularly in the younger generations, the thought of listening to a song where a slightly disheveled young man croons "killed by a blow, slain by a cane [...] doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle" would strike them as "too depressing" to merit further listen.

There was a belief in the 1960s that music could change the world. This is not a belief that should be given up. America's plights, for better or worse, appear to be boiling, and music will need to do more than cultivate a sense of collective euphoria for whatever little amounts of joy remain at America's splintered core. Music can heal and cull from America's depths the deep morals, ideals and promise always beating at its center. As a culture, we must open our eyes. If not, our cynicism will lead, just as it did in Dylan's song, to our "burying the rag, deep in our faces" and finding, unwillingly and unwelcomed, that "now is the time for our tears".

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Ambiguity and Abstraction in Bob Dylan's Lyrics

By Jeffrey Side

To many people contemporary poetry is a turn-off. The reason for this is that the majority of these poems are boring. They are so because they fail to enable people to identify with them. The bulk of modern poetry is no longer about reader identification but about information transfer, information that could just as easily be conveyed in a prose form. These poems are written merely to convey the poet's thoughts and feelings about a specific event, situation or place he or she has experienced or is in the act of experiencing.

The poet is not necessarily concerned with whether the reader is moved or not by the poem, so long as he or she understands clearly the information the poet is trying to convey. This may consist of some "important" insight gained from an experience, or it could be (as is usually the case) a jaded statement or commentary about some mundane aspect of contemporary life.

The popular song at its best, however, does more than this. It excites both the imagination and emotions; it enables you to unlock your own highly personal box of images, memories, connections and associations. This is most readily evidenced in the songs of Bob Dylan. Even the most perfunctory of his songs is able to do this to a greater extent than most "serious" poetry. This is because his songs (and to a lesser extent songs in general) frequently utilise imprecise and abstract statements rather than particular and specific ones. Contemporary poetry, on the other hand, does the exact opposite of this: it utilises particular and specific statements rather than imprecise and abstract ones.

Dylan is not afraid to generalise, for he knows that it is only through generalisation that the reader can recognise the specific. Keats understood this when he said that a poem 'should surprise by a fine excess, and not by singularity' and that 'it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost as a remembrance' (letter to John Taylor, 27 February 1818).

David Bleich, in Readings and Feelings champions the creative powers of the reader. He believes writing about literature should not involve suppressing readers' individual concerns, anxieties, passions and enthusiasms because 'each person's most urgent motivations are to understand himself'. And as a response to a literary work always helps us find out something about ourselves, introspection and spontaneity are to be encouraged. Every act of response, he says, reflects the shifting motivations and perceptions of the reader at the moment of reading, and even the most idiosyncratic and autobiographical response to the text should be heard sympathetically. In this way the reader is able to construct, or create, a personal exegesis by utilising the linguistic permutations inherent in the text to construct units of meaning constituted from a predominantly autobiographical frame of reference.

The ambiguities present in Dylan's oeuvre enable the listener to do exactly this.

Jeffrey Side has had poetry published in various magazines including: T.O.P.S., The White Rose, Poetry Salzburg Review, ism, Sphinx and Homeground. And his poems have appeared on various poetry web sites such as Poethia, nthposition, Ancient Heart Magazine, Blazevox, hutt and Cybpher Anthology. He has reviewed poetry for New Hope International, Stride Magazine, Acumen and Shearsman Magazine. From 1996 to 2000 he was the assistant editor of The Argotist magazine. He now runs The Argotist Online web site:

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: I'm Not There - A Biography of Bob Dylan

By Jacob Destree

Tod Haynes' 2007 docu-drama "I'm Not There" is a poetic meditation on the life and career of Bob Dylan. In tone and structure, the film is a radical departure from traditional music biopics.

Haynes' screenplay accepts as its basic premise, that Dylan's story is too enigmatic to be summarized in conventional narrative terms. His solution is to cast six different actors to portray different aspects of Dylan's personality, at various stages in his lengthy career. The characters are given alternate names (like Jude Quinn, or Billy the Kid) and their stories take liberties with Dylan's life (one of them is an actor, not a musician) in order to convey the shifting nature of Dylan's art. The actors include both an African American boy and a woman.

The woman is Cate Blanchett. Along with Heath Ledger, they deliver the two most solid Dylan incarnations in the film. Blanchett was nominated for an Oscar for her vivid portrayal of Dylan in the mid-sixties. She brilliantly conveys the alienation that comes with fame, and the pointlessness of celebrity.

Ledger, on the other hand, plays Dylan later in life - after he had turned his back on pop music. His scenes depict the breakup of Dylan's marriage, and the inherent difficulty of balancing a public persona with a private life. Ledger's performance is introspective and understated, like Dylan's albums in the early seventies.

The other performances are good too, but none can overcome Haynes' self-conscious, reference-stuffed script. He incorporates many allusions to the real-life Dylan which are disorganized and lacking context.
Using song titles as dialogue, for example, strikes a particularly hamfisted tone. In one scene, Cate Blanchett's Jude Quinn is confronted by a crazed fan with a knife. When a groupie subdues the fan by smashing a bottle over his head, Quinn quips, "Just like a woman!" Winks and nods to real-life Dylan trivia needn't be so cringe inducing as that!

It begs the question as to whether Haynes' entire approach is even necessary. Surely a traditional biopic like "Walk The Line" feels genuine (in part) because Johnny Cash talks like a real person. If he cuddled up next to his wife June and whispered in her ear, "I walk the line... because you're mine," no one would take the film seriously.

Fortunately, for each such misstep, "I'm Not There" corrects course with a sure-footed step. (Richie Havens delights in a brief singing role, and David Cross steals a scene as poet Allen Ginsburg.) But by the end, writer/ director Haynes has meandered too much. "I'm Not There" offers only a vague semblance of a musician and his art. Maybe this is all one can expect when the subject of the piece is as enigmatic as Dylan.

Yet we are left to wonder: perhaps seeing six different sides of Bob Dylan is simply another side of Bob Dylan too many.

Grade: B

Written By Jacob Destree. Do you love the cinema too? Go to Jacob Destree's Movie Blog and read all about the latest blockbusters and classic movies. Only at!

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Bob Dylan - A Potted History

By Chad Koch

"I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom" - Bob Dylan.

1. Crooning Bob, Hidden Muse

Recently a Japanese writer named Junichi Saga was astonished and flattered to learn that passages from one of his books apparently found their way into a few of Bob Dylan's lyrics. In Bob Dylan's 2001 song, "Floater", he croons - "My old man, he's like some feudal lord, got more lives than a cat." "I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound" "Sometimes somebody wants you to give something up, and tears or not, it's too much to ask."

On page six of Junicihi Saga's book, "Confessions of a Yakuza", he writes - "My old man would sit there like a feudal lord." "I'm not as cool or forgiving as I might have sounded." Then on page 182, writes - "Tears or not, though, that was too much to ask."

The practitioner of Chinese medicine resounded that the revelation of Dylan calling upon his own work was surprising. This could be counted as a literary theft of sorts, but the author has stated he has no plans to sue. "Why would I sue? To take something that made people around the world happy and try to exploit it for money - that's poverty", stated Saga.

"This shows that people in other countries can relate to the harsh realities of prewar Japan, which was a poor, struggling nation. I'm just happy somebody read my book and liked it.", said Saga. "My book hasn't even sold that well, and it's out of print in Japan." He further added he has estimated to have only made about $8,475 from the publication.

A few weeks ago, Saga bought his first Bob Dylan CD, "The Best of Bob Dylan".

2. Masked and Anonymous

Would you reach out a hand to save a drowning man if you thought he might pull you in? This is the tagline for Bob's latest film called, "Masked and Anonymous". In it, Bob plays Jack Fate, a singer whose career has gone on a downward spiral and is forced to make a comeback to the performance stage for a benefit concert.

For this film he was joined by some of Hollywood's hottest and brightest, all of which reportedly signed onto the film at scale rates. The cast includes: John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, Reggie Lee, Angela Bassett, Steven Bauer, Larry Campbell, Bruce Dern, Alex Desert, Treva Etienne, Dan Frischman, Tony Garnier, Laura Elena Harring, Ed Harris, Shawn Michael Howard, Val Kilmer, Bruce Kirschbaum, Antonio David Lyons, Cheech Marin, Chris Penn, George Receli, Giovanni Ribisi, Mickey Rourke, Sam Sarpong, Charlie Sexton, Jon Sklaroff, Christian Slater and Fred Ward. On top of all of that, T-Shirt King friend, Keri Bruno, pulls 2nd Unit Directing duties on the talent heavy film. The film hits theatres in a limited US release on July 25th.

3. Robert Allen Zimmerman

At 5 foot six inches, Robert Allen Zimmerman might be a slight man, but under the name Bob Dylan, he is a legendary giant of a musician.

4. Elston Gunn

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born May 24th 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. His father, Abe, was employed by the Standard Oil Company there, but when Robert was six the family moved to Hibbing, Minnesota. The one riddling note about Hibbing is that is very often the coldest place in the United States. Yikes. Growing up there he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. Around this time he toyed with the stage name, "Elston Gunn".

5. A Star Is Born

By 1959, Robert entered the University of Minnesota and began performing under the name Bob Dylan at clubs in Minnesota and St. Paul.

6. A Legend Mends A Legend

In 1960 he traveled to New York to perform in various folk clubs throughout Greenwich Village. While in New York he spent time with his idol, Woody Guthrie at his hospital room.

7. Emergence

Late in 1961 he landed a contract with Columbia Records and the following year his debut album was released with two original songs. A year after that, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" emerged with an all original album, including a song that became an anthem of the '60's - "Blowin' in the Wind".

8. Bringing It All Back Home

In February 1964 Dylan and a small group of friends drove south out of New York City and stopped in unannounced to see poet 'Carl Sandburg' in North Carolina. Disappointingly, Dylan left only 10 minutes after arriving when he realized he couldn't get the venerable man of letters to take him seriously as a fellow poet.
He popped folk-rock into the mainstream after touring with Joan Baez with his own flavor of electric/acoustic swagger, culminating with his hit song, "Bringing it all Back Home". Soon after the Byrd's turned his song "Mr. Tambourine Man" into another hit with their cover version of the famous tune.

9. Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid

Following a motorcycle accident in 1966 which took him out of the limelight until 1969. Around that time, Sam Peckinpah asked him to compose the score and appear in his film, "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid". This would be the only the beginning of a long and continuing relationship with Hollywood and filmmaking.

10. Grammy Time

In 1974, Bob Dylan and The Band hit the road to promote their first number one album, "Planet Waves". The next year they had another chart-topper with the release of, "Blood on the Tracks". He followed that with several Rolling Thunder tours, a film called, "Renaldo and Clara" and then stunned the music world with the release of his fundamentalist Christian album, "Slow Train Coming". A song from this album garnered him his first Grammy.

11. Pope On The Red Line

In May 1997, he was stricken with histaplasmosis, a possibly fatal infection of the heart sac, but recovered to take on a tour of Europe. He kicked off the trip by September, starting off in Rome by special request of the Pope.

12. In Their Father's Footsteps?

His son Jakob Dylan has made a good time semi-emulating his infamous father with his own band, The Wallflowers. However, his Jesse Dylan has taken a slightly altered route to stardom, opting for the glamour of Tinsletown. His first major directing gig is about to be released, "American Pie 3". Jesse also directed a film called, "How High" and appears with a special thanks credit on "The Matrix Revisited".

13. Albums Of The Year

He is truly legendary, his 1997 album, "Time Out of Mind" and his 2001 album "Love and Theft" were both voted Album of the Year by the Village Voice's annual critics' poll. Seems like a no-brainer to us.

14. Hollywood Hit List

He has composed and recorded songs or had his recorded songs used in the following films:

Gods and Generals
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Vanilla Sky
Remember the Titans
High Fidelity
Wonder Boys
The Hurricane
American Beauty
Hope Floats
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Big Lebowski
Jerry Maguire
Breaking the Waves
With Honors
Band of the Hand
American Pop
Renaldo and Clara
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

15. Jack Fate

The small $10 million dollar film, "Masked and Anonymous" was directed by veteran TV comedy director, Larry Charles, who has also helmed shows for, "Mad About You", "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm".
He appeared on the TV show, "Dharma and Greg" playing himself. When he met Conan O'Brien at a recent concert, Bob was quoted as saying, "I know you from the TeeVee."

16. Award Monger

He has received numerous awards of note, including: The Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2000, The Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France in 1990, an honorary doctorate from Princeton University in 1970 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Bruce Springteen at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1988.

17. The Missing Beatle?

He appears on the sleeve of the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club". At the famous "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" concert, Johnny Cash introduced a song he co-wrote with Dylan by describing his as "... the greatest writer of our times."

To read more articles by Chad, visit the American Pop Culture Encyclopedia at: American Pop Culture Encyclopedia. If you would like to read this article, or others like it, on American Pop Culture Encyclopedia, please visit: Bob Dylan

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Mark Knopfler - A Guitar Legend - Part 1

By Eric H. W.

Mark Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but was raised in Newcastle, England. His parents were working class, of modest means, so it was a stretch when Mark asked them for an electric guitar as a present when he was a boy.

Mark was overjoyed to get his first guitar, however he did not know that he needed an amplifier to properly play it. Initially then, Mark had to play it with no power, until one day when he got the idea to rewire a radio so he could plug the guitar into it as an amp. It worked, briefly. Mark Knopfler once commented on the radio/amp as pumping out "1.5 watts of sheer power!" The radio blew up shortly thereafter.

However, this experience was enough to get Mark hooked on guitars for life. Later as a teen he came upon a guitar that had a warped neck, and consequently did not sound right when played with a pick. The only way Mark could get it to sound right was by playing with only his fingers, a technique known as finger picking. This as he later recalled was when he developed his "sound" that would later become so well known in the songs of Dire Straits, such as Sultans of Swing, Brothers in Arms, Telegraph Road, Romeo and Juliet, and so many more.

Dire Straits first album, also titled Dire Straits was released in 1978 in Britain, with little fanfare on the charts. However, once the album burst onto the scene in the U.S., Dire Straits found itself rocketing to the top of the charts. It was on this first album that one of the bands most well known singles, Sultans of Swing would cement itself into the rock music lexicon. The entire album is a brilliant set of work from the (at the time) four piece band. Mark Knopfler with his shiny red Fender Stratocaster was now an international sensation.

Stay tuned for part two...

E.H. Williams is in addition to being an avid Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits fan, a purveyor of information about various household appliances and snack machines. If you a popcorn lover, you may want to check out popcorn machine supplies. I like several others I know also happen to really like red accent furniture and kitchen supplies, including candy apple red trash cans. You can find out more about those at red trash can.

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Muddy Waters - The Original Hoochie Coochie Man

By Bruce B Lamb

McKinley Morganfield, born on April 4 1913 and died on April 30 1983, more popularly known among his fans as Muddy Waters, was a reputed musician of the American blues genre. Muddy Waters was generally acknowledged as "the Father of Chicago blues".

Muddy Waters debuted on harmonica but by the age of 17 had started playing the guitar at a number of parties where he emulated two very reputed blues artists Robert Johnson and Son House. Qualities for which he got instantly noticed were his rich baritone, his ability to add dark coloration to his tone and his wonderful ability to add a lot of embellishments to the music he played.

The real success phase for Muddy Waters, the Original Hoochie Coochie Man, began with an association with the Chess brothers Phill and Leonard Chess who had formed a music company known as Aristocrat. In 1948, his "I Feel Like Going Home" and "I Can't Be Satisfied" were huge hits and that was the point when he began to climb the popularity charts in the clubs.

Soon after this, Aristocrat rebranded their name to Chess Records and instantly, Muddy Waters, the Original Hoochie Coochie Man's signature tune which happened to be "Rollin' Stone", became a huge hit among his fans.

By September 1953, Muddy Waters had started recording in association with one of the more acknowledged blues groups ever in history: This group comprised Elga Edmonds on drums, Otis Spann on piano, Little Walter Jacobs who played harmonica; and lastly, Jimmy Rogers who strummed the guitar. The highly acclaimed band had already recorded a number of blues classics during the early 1950s, with the active help of Willie Dixon who was a bassist/songwriter and the masterpieces included "I Just Want to Make Love to You"; "Hoochie Coochie Man", and "I'm Ready".

These songs were branded macho songs and they earned a lot of critical acclaim. These songs gave Muddy Waters a series of showstoppers and a tremendous thrust, which proved very important for a hitherto unknown bluesman who was trying to break free from the world of local gigs into the limelight of national prominence.

His beginning was not great but he had a lot of support, both institutional and from his peers who helped him with free guitar lessons and Blues Guitar lessons. It was to his credit that he utilized the opportunities to rise to prominence.

Muddy Waters, by the time he passed away, had carved out his own niche and his music and songs had inspired an entire generation and Blues Music had begun to earn its laurels.

Bruce Lamb has been playing guitar for 40 years and has been an award winning video producer for 25 years. He began producing instructional guitar videos and DVD's with world class Grammy Award winning artist in 2000. Bruce is also the owner of The Guitar Workshop, and the inventor of the Casextreme Guitar Flight Case for airline travel. The Guitar Workshop has Free learn to play guitar DVD lessons sent to the student's door for members who also sign up for online lessons.

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Skip James - Deep Dark Delta Blues Man

By Bruce B Lamb

Robert Leroy Johnson who was born on May 8, 1911 and died on August 16, 1938 was a famous musician of the American blues genre, and is counted among the most famous of all the musicians of the Delta blues category. His compositions have been a testimony to a remarkable and exquisite combination of guitar skills, singing, and talent for songwriting that have widely influenced multiple generations of talented musicians. However, not much is known about the life of Robert Leroy Johnson who died at an early age. Robert Leroy Johnson was popularly known as Skip James Deep Dark Delta Blues Man.

In his early days, Skip James would typically play for small tips on the corners of the street or in the front of a restaurant or a local barber shop. Skip James exactly played what the audience wanted him to and not essentially original compositions, and certainly not blues music.

With the God-gifted ability of picking up any kind of tune just by hearing once, Johnson would have no problem at all in giving the audiences exactly what they demanded to hear. At a music recording session, held in November 1936 in San Antonio, which the Brunswick Records had turned into a studio that was temporary, Johnson would typically perform facing the wall.

Among all the compositions Johnson had recorded while in San Antonio were "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom", "Kind Hearted Woman Blues", "Come On In My Kitchen", and "Cross Road Blues". The "Come on in My Kitchen" song included the famous lines: "The woman I love took from my best friend/some joker got lucky, stole her back again/you better come on in my kitchen, it's going to be rainin' outdoors."

In "Cross Road Blues," which happened to be another of his masterpieces, he sang: "I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees/I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees/I asked the Lord above, have mercy, save poor Bob if you please/Uum, standing at the crossroads I tried to flag a ride/Standing at the crossroads I tried to flag a ride/Ain't nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by." At least 6 of Johnson's blues songs had a mention of the devil incarnate or a certain form of the eerie and the supernatural.

Johnson died at the early age of 27 and with him went a great deal of promise and talent. He had almost singlehandedly made popular the Blues genre. He had this unconventional streak about him when many of his masterpieces had a mention of the supernatural and the eerie and these songs would repeatedly mention of the devil and Satan. Johnson was a trendsetter in the truest sense.

Bruce Lamb has been playing guitar for 40 years and has been an award winning video producer for 25 years. He began producing instructional guitar videos and DVD's with world class Grammy Award winning artists in 2000. Bruce is also the owner of The Guitar Workshop, and the inventor of the Casextreme Guitar Flight Case for airline travel. The Guitar Workshop has Free learn to play guitar DVD lessons sent to the student's door for members who also sign up for online lessons.

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The Eagles Glare remains the same‏

by James Rach

The Eagles are a Californian band who emerged from the southern California scene in the late 1960s, along with Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon amid country and bluegrass influences.

They are pioneers of country rock, and the band was formed in 1971. The Eagles were formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey. In the beginning, the band consisted of four members, namely Randy Meisner (vocals and bass), Bernie Leadon (vocals, guitar and banjo), Don Henley (vocals and drums) and of course its founder Glenn Frey (guitar, piano and vocals).

In 1974, they enrolled a new guitarist, Don Felder. The band then met huge success and became well-known on both sides of the Atlantic. The following year (1975) was their year for making huge strides on the international scene. In 1976, the most well-known of their songs, Hotel California, was released and they reached the heights of their success.

In 1982, the Eagles' broke up, and then each member took on a solo career. In the mid-90s, a second chapter of their story began. Glenn Frey and Don Henley met again and re-started the band, before being joined by their old friends Joe Walsh and Timothy Smith for a new start, and a tour together again.

Globally, the group is among the international best selling bands, placing four singles at the top of the American charts and winning four Grammy Awards. Unexpectedly, in 2007 after 28 years The Eagles revived their musical life yet again. Their typical sound didn't get change and the new songs stick perfectly to their repertoire. The group's back-catalog remains a great reference, so it surprises no-one to know that their Greatest Hits compilation remains their best selling album of all time.

The band is preparing for a world tour, which will start in Europe from next June, and their fans are waiting impatiently. The older generation of fans wanting to relive some of their past and the newer generation wanting to feel the freshness of their music and a combination of authenticity and modernity.

What makes The Eagles a special story is this ability to maintain their huge number of fans despite the long breaks they have had. The band will remain one of the great bands of rock history, even if they finally stop playing together.

The above article is sponsored by Ticketsinventory. is a leader in the business of selling Eagles tickets (http://www.ticketsinventory.comconcert/the-eagles-tickets/) plus more concert tickets, sports tickets, theater tickets as well as special events tickets.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Brief Guide to the Beatles Butcher Cover

By Scott Heron

John, Paul, George and Ringo belong to the all time famous group, The Beatles. They were also known as the fab or fabulous four. If you remember that in the 1960's the Beatles came out with these Butcher Covers which depicted them wearing butcher coats with baby parts and raw meat. During that time, while Elvis maintained a smooth image, the Beatles were all out for violent reactions created by their cover. It is not typical in those times to express gory images like decapitated bloody parts and raw meat as promotional images.

There are many speculations behind the butcher cover. Some claimed that it is some sort of a political cry for the halting of the Vietnam war. While some have claimed, that it was a protest against Capitol Records, who were reducing the number of songs they produce per Beatles Album in order to generate faster production and more sales. The fab four apparently were unhappy with this and they felt that their songs were butchered out.

A lot of people were outraged with this album cover and so Capitol Records had to reproduce the album again by covering the initial photo with a new one. It was a good thing they had not pushed through with their original plan of ripping off the butcher cover. But whether people like the butcher cover or not, it was still shocking publicity for the Beatles, which was probably its main purpose, to shock and open the eyes of its followers. Aside from the album cover, the quality of the music was also improved. From mono music, they offered good quality sound of a stereo in their albums. They were also able to combine several tracks together conveying a new element into the music scene.

The Butcher Cover, which was famous for its butcher images, came in three states. The first one maintained the original photo and earns up to fifty thousand US dollars. However, buyers were still skeptical into purchasing them because they were not sealed and therefore they could be merely copies. Meanwhile the next generation of albums were about twenty thousand dollars because they were pressed and sealed. In fact it proved to be difficult to determine whether it was an authentic butcher cover or not. They cost a lot of money not only for its authenticity but also because it is unpeeled. Meanwhile the thirds sate is a peeled pressed album and accordingly its value is dependent on the amount of peeling on it.

Looking For More On The Beatles Butcher Cover?

Well you will be glad to know there is a website dedicated to the Butcher Cover. Yes, that's right! Head on over to right now to find out more on the secret history of the Beatles Butcher Cover. You will be stunned at what you find there.

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The Beatles & The Butcher Cover

By Scott Heron

In the upcoming June 2010 it will have been 44 years now since the Beatles Butcher Cover was banned. Controversy was caused because there was a photo of the four Beatles with a baby doll that was dismembered, while all four Beatles dressed in butcher's aprons with fresh cut meat all over their bodies for the catchy title Yesterday and Today.

Most DJs wouldn't even play the record because of the revoltingly grotesque art cover sleeve. What could the meaning have been by this art cover? What would have made them choose this art cover sleeve? Every one was shocked by the grotesquely revolting cover. The cover is now very hard to find, and if you can find it. It is going to cost you.

Capital One Records reported that over $200,000 dollars was spent for printing the sleeve cover. Their black humour was said to have resulted in the countless number of boring hours that it took to take pictures for their albums. However when each member was asked the question "why?" each one had a different response. The band was severely criticized from the media and the public. However, the album still reached the number one spot. It wasn't until 25 years later that the band was let off the hook for the art cover.

After all of those years finally a statement to free the four from all of the controversy. Anyway you look at it the fab 4 from Beatlemania were the England heart throbs of their era with all of their fans screaming and fainting at the sight of them. The group went on to make more hits until John Lennon's departure in 1969. Paul McCartney left the group in 1970 and released a solo album.

The band was over in 1971 however, the band legally broke up in 1975. The four could never step out into public because of all the Beatle mania. The fab 4 sadly grew tired of each other over the years. After all they were together for over ten years. Paul, Ringo, Lennon, and Harrison were a British evasion rock sensation. There are not many people who do not know who the Beatles are. The Beatles will be forever remembered and their hit songs and their never ending legacy carried on.

The group were so popular that to this day people still pay to see actors dress as the Beatles and have a show called Beatle mania. Even though they broke up, John Lennon passed Dec. 8, 1980 and George Harrison passed Nov. 29, 2001. Paul McCartney is still performing, and Ringo Starr is still releasing albums as well. The group will always be remembered as the fab 4.

Additional Reading On The Beatles and The Butcher Cover

If you are still thirsty for more information on the legendary band that was The Beatles then please head on over to They have lost of great articles on the Butcher Cover and also a ton of other secret information about the Beatles. If you are interested in cheap Butcher Covers then make a visit now!

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Which Dylan Album to Buy

By Michael J. Casey

Which Dylan Album Should I Buy?

If you have read my first article on how to become a bob Dylan fan you may have some questions on certain choices that you have. One of the main ones being buying albums. If you haven't been listing to Dylan since 1962, when he released his self-titled debut album, then you have almost 50 years of music and over 30 albums to choose from.

I know I recommended starting with a greatest hits album to help get your juices flowing, but that is going to be just the tip of the iceberg. Dylan is known for his many deep tracks, and longtime fans often have favorite songs that other fans haven't even heard of. To avoid not being able to hold yourself in a conversation, you will need to own more than just a couple of albums. If you have the money to go out and by every one of his CDs more power to you, but not many of us have the money to throw around. Some might say just to download his whole catalog, but I do not condone illegal activity.

What I suggest is look into the many different areas of music that Dylan has covered over the years and starts with your favorite areas and expands from there. Dylan has been known to cover everything from folk, rock, jazz, blues, country and even Christian rock. Take a look at what areas you like the best and start from there.

One of my recommendations is to start were it all began for Dylan. Folk music is where he has his roots and it is where some of my favorite songs have been produced. His first four albums are derived in manly folk music. These albums include Bob Dylan, the Freewheelin' Bob Dylan; the Times Are A-Changing, and another Side of Bob Dylan. These albums were released in 62', 63', 64', and 64', and all have considered being great albums.

The first album Bob Dylan is true folk music with the majority of the songs being traditional folk music not even written by Dylan himself such as "House of the Rising Sun" and "Man of Constant Sorrow" The former known for the rendition preformed by the band The Animals and the latter grew fame in the Coen Brothers film O' Brother Where Art Thou. My opinion would to choose one of the other three, that way you will have a better chance of knowing some of the more popular songs on the Album and still be able to experience some great music you haven't heard before.

Now I don't really have a favorite when it comes to any of the three albums but if I had to choose I would most likely go with The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. This album included the masterful "Blowing in the Wind" a song that is recognizable around the world and his been performed by countless others musicians across all genres of music. This is the only great protest song that appears on the album, but also "Masters of War" a song that gives me the chills when I listen to it today because the theme of the songs still resonates so well with today's current issues. It also have songs of relationships like the songs "Girl from the North Country" (although the Nashville Skyline version played with Johnny Cash is a better version) and a song that great break-up song, "Don't Think Twice its Alright".

Well you might say to me what if you like Dylan electric period better; well you're in luck because his music is just as good in that genre too. Again his early rock music you have many amazing rock albums to chose from, and the choice is not necessarily and easy one. Here you have three albums that have appeared on all sorts of list for great albums, and all are great in their own respect. These albums would be "Bring it All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde. These albums are known not just for the amazing music, but many can pick out the album from the cover art alone. Bring it All Back Home is a great choice for those who can't really decide between the folk acoustic sound of Dylan and they knew rock sound that he would unleash on the world. The reason why I say this is because the Album contains a little bit of both.

Songs like "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Maggie's Farm" but also contains songs like "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "It's all Over Now Baby Blue". If you want more rock then Highway 61 Revisited is the album that you need to buy. It includes some of the greatest rocks songs ever created and one that many think is the epitome of rock. Of course that song is "Like a Rolling Stone". Beside that it has the song which it gets it title from, the 11 minute masterpiece Desolation Row and my personal favorite of the album "Ballad of a Thin Man", which, like "Masters of War" still continues to make feel like I did the first time I heard it. And of course you have Blonde on Blonde an album that has many references to women and love, and relationships. This was one of Dylan's most successful US releases of his career and many consider it to be one of the best albums of all time, although the same is true for his previous album.

These seven albums would be recorded in five years and before his 18 month break from music due to his motorcycle accident. This time period consist of what many people would consider classic Dylan and have some of his most famous songs. The truth is though this isn't the end of the line for Dylan and he will go on to write many more albums. If you were to choose an album other than these seven I would recommend Blood on the Tracks another Dylan masterpiece.

I hope that one of these eight recommendations can help you figure out which album you would want to buy, realizing that this isn't the limit of Dylan's music, in fact it is the opposite he much more great more music to be heard and this is just the tip of the iceberg and if you like this you going to love the rest of what he has done.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Modern Times by Bob Dylan

By Michael J. Casey

I would like to give a very detailed review on one of my recent favorite Dylan Albums and also one of his most recent. Modern Times is an awesome album, released in 2005 in won Dylan two Grammys. This album is just one of his recent albums that seem to have given him new life in his career. What I am going to do for you is go song by song and give a detailed description of each song. I'm going to focus on the lyrics because that is what brought me to listen to Dylan in the first place, and I'll mention the actual music when I think it is necessary.

1. Thunder on The Mountain

This songs starts with some subtle drums and a guitar riff and then Dylan's voice seems to shine. The song even includes a very strange shout out to Alicia Keys. This is just one of many from this album that takes from other older songs, and adapted them a bit. He takes that verse that includes Alicia Keys from an old blues tune by Memphis Minnie. This is one of my favorite songs of the albums that seem to be a little bit all over the place, but it has a great beat and I enjoy the blues feel of the song.

2. Spirit on the Water

A very mellow song that is also pretty long at 7:42. The songs is one that makes you just sway back and forth with its gentle music. The songs seem to talk about an older man who is in love with a younger lover who may not be as faithful to the old man as she should. There is a hint of prostitution which Dylan talks about how he doesn't care if he has t o pay a price, and that others seem to brag about her "sugar" but, I'm not sure if that is certain. The song is defiantly one of my favorite songs and includes my favorite line, "You think I'm over the hill/ you think I'm past my prime /Let me see what you got/ we can have a whoppin' good time". Whether or not the woman is a prostitute that he is sinning about it is a great song none the less.

3. Rollin' and Tumblin'

Another song about being mistreated by a woman, makes you wonder who seems to be doing Dylan wrong. One of my friends think it is the continuation of the story line before and the old man has realized, based on the line "Some young lazy slut has charmed away my brains" and the next verse "Well, I did all I know just to keep you off my mind / Well, I did all I know just to keep you off my mind/ Well, I paid and I paid and my sufferin' heart is always on the line. There are other lines to make one to think that. This song is much more beat to it than "Spirit on the Water" with nice rifts between verses.

4. "When the Deal Goes Down"

Like a great album it goes from quick music to slow paced and this is no exception with this song slowing it back down a bit, a great song of loyalty. The song basically states that no matter what we seem to go through these days and all of the changes that the world is throwing at us we are reminded that "I'll be with you when the deal goes down" something that you would want to hear from anyone of your loved ones. The music never seems to get to loud and just flows you through the song very nicely and sends certain calm over you when you hear the song.

5. "Someday Baby"

Back in fashion this song picks up rhythm. Like the majority of the songs on this album it seems to be talking to women, and like "Rollin' and Tumblin' it is a negative situation. A man who seems to be so hooked about on a woman he would stop at nothing to get rid of her even, the line "Well, I don't want to brag, but I'm gonna ring your neck" seems to be evidence enough, as well as the repeated line "Someday baby you ain't gonna worry po' me any more" in which it seems the man just needs to get away from his women at any cost.

6. "Workingman's Blues"

The first song to have nothing to do with a woman. Instead it details the unfortunate state of the working man in America. A great topical song, something that Dylan does best, the makes you realize that this economy that were isn't what it needs to be. Makes you wonder if Dylan knew something that we didn't seeing this song was written three years before the horrible market collapse and the insuring recession. The song details how the working man doesn't have much to do but just continue to work his hardest and the fight hungry and turning to crime. This is a song that I think more people should listen to so they can see what people have to fight for. This song following in tradition tends to slow down a bit with some great piano play in it.

7. "Beyond The Horizon"

Another love song about a man who seems will stop at nothing to get beyond the horizon to get to the one he loves. Whether it is through treacherous sea or blowing winds he will follow his love and do his best to get to her and love her.

8. "Nettie Moore"

Yet another song about a man and his lover. This one is about a man who hasn't seen his woman in a while and how he longs to see her again. Nothing is going to be able to keep them apart. The song has a theme very similar to "Beyond the Horizon" Again this is another very slow paced that is great to just listen to and relax. This song has my favorite line it, "They say whiskey will kill ya, but I don't think it will", I am not sure why but that line always seems to but a smile on my face.

9. "The Levee's Gonna Break"

This song takes the line from another old Memphis Minnie song that was also used in a Led Zeppelin song. Some say that it has something to do with Katrina seeing the song was released less than a year after the Hurricane, but I'm not sure although one line is defiantly a great supporting fact, Some people on the road carrying everything that they own/Some people on the road carrying everything that they own/ Some people got barely enough skin to cover their bones"

10. "Ain't Talkin'"

This song gives me a spooky chill for some reason and I'm not sure why. Maybe it is the use of birds chirping in the background and the pictures that are painted throughout the song brings a certain eerie feeling to the song. The song in my opinion is about revenge. A man who was beat is gunning for his enemy. The whole song seems to back up that fact especially," If I catch my opponents ever sleepin'/I'll just slaughter them where they lie" At 8:48 it is the longest song, but you don't even realize when you are listing to, the song just kind of happens.

This album is one of my favorite of Dylan's. The only complaint I have is that seeing this live the music has a little more to it, but then again most of the lyrics call for a subtle tone. This is a fantastic album that tells some great stories. Some may even be connected. If you haven't purchased this album I highly recommend that you do, it is worth the ten bucks.

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How to Be a Bob Dylan Fan

By Michael J. Casey

Step One

For people who are interested in the life of Bob Dylan that first thing you need to do is introduce your self to his music. Obviously Dylan can be heard on countless radio stations across the nation but what I would suggest you do first is go and by a greatest hits CD. Although this will be only a sliver of his catalog, if you don't like what you hear you probably won't want to continue.

Now for this there are many CDs to choose from I would recommended one of two. Either his recent collection the three Disc Dylan which is a very good collection that spans his career very well including hits off his more recent albums. A less in depth but still very good collection would be The Essential Bob Dylan only a two disc collection but it is the one that put me in motion and also a fine collection, also a little cheaper.

Step Two

Now with a man with so many different albums its time to look into certain areas that you liked the best. Now his first nine or ten albums that he had were golden and any Dylan fan would enjoy the music on the albums. So for that I would say maybe one or two of those albums would need to go into our collection. But Dylan was making music continuously through five decades so you have some other albums to look at two.

Blood on the Tracks is a definite buy after that there are any number of albums some better than others. I would say think about looking into some of the Bootleg Volumes for some more insight. The more recent albums have also been successful such as Modern Times and Love and Theft. Now with a man who has 50 albums including all the greatest hits and live music you cant have them all, unless you have the money for it. But get yourself a handful of CDs and research songs on the Internet to see if there ones you like.

Step Three

Now that you got yourself a small collection it is time to start to find out more about the man himself. You can do this through books and movies. One documentary that I think is a much see is Martin Scorsese No Direction Home. This was an amazing movie that showed great Dylan interviews, old footage of concerts, and what some of his old pals thought of him. It gives you something that you just can't get from the music alone.

A recent bio called I'm Not There stars many great actors such as Heath Ledger and Christian Bale and they all play Bob Dylan. Although some people were not fans of this movie, because it is defiantly a different way to view someone I think it is something that a true Dylan fan would enjoy, because we all see Dylan as more that just a man and one way to show that is make him ten different men, all with different goals and personas, and note the movie is worth watching just to see Cate Blanchett play Dylan.

Step Four

There are plenty of books and articles written about Dylan. One book worth looking into is Chronicles: A Bob Dylan Series book one of what will be three is a book written by Dylan himself that talks about select areas of his career. If you want to learn about someone who better than straight from the horse's mouth. Interviews with Rolling Stone among others are great insight into Dylan. Although some of these things may be hard to get a hold of if you can its really exciting.

Since Dylan is known to be standoffish one way that you could get around this is by buying the book Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews by Jonathan Cott. By the time you have gotten to this step you will know if you want to continue I would defiantly say not get into this until you feel like you have somewhat of a grasp on Dylan, although I don't think Dylan himself has a full grasp on who he is, but this book is great for the Dylan fan who has showed more than just a liking for a few songs, mainly because it can be a lot for a new fan to deal with. Cott who is know as a Dylan expert, who has work with Rolling Stone has put together 31 interviews that he says cover all the areas that you can think off.

Step Five

See him on tour. I would not recommend anyone who likes a few of his songs to do this; his voice is definitely not what it use to be. He also does not just go around playing his greatest hits. He plays songs from recent albums, and some you just might not know. For someone who is truly into what Dylan has done, you will appreciate it. Lets be honest there aren't many people out their like him today, and its an honor just to say you've seen him play. I have seen him twice, once when I was 15, and again at 20. When I was 15 I really had not matured as a Dylan fan, I didn't know a lot of the songs, and he was hard to understand (I was also piss drunk). At the age of 20 it was much better.

I have begun to come full circle on Dylan, I had just brought his latest CD Modern Times, and I was a little bit more coherent. I thought this Concert was great. It was the first tour in a long time that he played guitar on, although only for his first three songs. I went with a group of kids that thought Dylan was great, but not exactly die hard fans. They did not enjoy the show as much as me, they had not heard any of Modern Times and the majority only knew the three opening songs and the encore. Me on the other hand knew every word to every song, so if you think you are finally ready that I would say go see a concert, and he is almost always on tour.

Step Five

Repeat steps two through five. Dylan has been around for a long time now, you will most likely ever be able to listen to all his songs, read all his interviews, and know everything there is to know about him. Especially as someone who has 50 years to cover. For the people who followed him from day one its easy to go along as new things come out, but for me at least I view him as a subject of history, there is always more to learn about him. Keep buying CDs that you like, keep your ears open for rare tracks you might hear on the radio. There are always other books and movies than the ones I mentioned that could give you a great insight on the man.

What I've said cannot be accomplished in a day, or a month or even a year. To dive into Dylan can take a long time, I have been doing it for almost ten years and I would not consider myself an expert by any means, just a really big fan. At times you going to get frustrated because there is just so much out there to know about him, but you need to keep on trying to get there, you got to "keep on keeping on."

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Bob Marley - Music and Soul

By Pollux Parker

No-one comes close to how Bob Marley has touched the world with the vibrant jive of reggae music. This is true, even to this day.

This dreadlock-sporting musician and singer from Jamaica was born on February 6, 1945. Robert Nesta Marley was born to Norval Sinclair Marley and Cedalla Booker. His father, who was away most of the time, would usually just give financial support to him and his mother. His father died - away from his wife and from Bob - when he was only 10 years old. The pain that he actually carried in his heart for a lifetime was the way people mocked his being "a half and half," which he deeply felt as he grew. However, through his songs, he described the hardship a man of African-American descent faces in this kind of world.

He did not finish schooling and joined a group of friends to play music. From "The Teenagers," the group became "The Wailers" and this team up has produced songs like "I Shot the Sheriff" and "Get Up, Stand Up." Even though he broke up with his band, he continued to record songs as "Bob Marley and The Wailers."

He was also famous for being a member of Rastafari and many people have adapted this way of life through his influence. Rastafari are monotheists who worship a supreme being called Jah. According to its members, it is not a religion, but an ideology - one which aims to find "faith from within." Membership reached to around a million, many of whom may have been heavily influenced by Bob Marley and the reggae music.

By the time of his death in 1984, his compilation album has already sold around 20 million units around the globe. His music and artistry is a testimony to how deeply he left a mark in this world, and how he gave honor to the Jamaican flag.

Pollux Parker is an adventurer who loves discovering secret island getaways in each country he visits. Pollux also likes to collect Jamaican Flag and buy Jamaican Flag.

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Freaky Janis Joplin

By Fatu Judy Henderson

In our community she was considered a "...dirty little white girl trying to sing the blues"; scarred in the face, plain and unappealing. Southern Comfort and heroin coursed through her veins on a regular basis. She says she was not pretty and as a youth she definitely was not popular; taunted by words such as "freak" and "pig." In spite of these tormented beginnings no other female has had as much impact in the world of the White Rock and Roll movement as the outcast, Janis Joplin.

I was first exposed to Janis at the age of 16 while viewing a documentary which featured both Jimmie Hendrix and Janis Joplin and discussions of musicians who died before their time. What struck me first about her was that she was sweating; not politely but profusely. Julie Andrews she was not. Her face contorted in a grimace of pain, she held onto her mic like an alcoholic forcing the last drink from a bottle of cheap wine. Her hair was a mess and she looked like some wild thing crawled from the bush! I was both captivated and repulsed by her appearance. The image of women on stage had been shattered and shattered hard. There was no going back from here!

Then I saw that she was white but singing like Mother R. in the church. The influence of the greats like Bessie Smith; maybe a little Aretha and definitely Lead Belly could be heard in the way she arranged and belted that song, Bobbie McGee!" Like most blacks of that era, I was hyper-sensitive to the appropriation of African American Music: "... the Blues and Rock and Roll were ours. Yet here was something strange singing both like one born in the tradition. Something remorseful had followed her back from the ethers and forced itself through her mouth as music.

Even at that age, I knew that something in the world of music had changed. The influence of the Blues and Rock and Roll was shifting into the White American world through the Hippie Culture and was transforming into something new. Race relations in American music, after years of racism and shameful turmoil, would change. Gender relations in American music would, by necessity, have to change. Those were not necessarily negative things and resistance on anyone's part would be futile.

Janis Joplin became the first woman to breech the barriers of the rising Hard Rock genre which was dominated by white men. Performing with her own band, The Full Tilt Boogie Band, she shared the stage with such groups such as the Grateful Dead, Erik Anderson and the Band. While it is said that she blew her performance at Woodstock due to her heroin use and drunkenness, her image; sweaty and contorted, is now used as a poster front for the Woodstock generation.

Janis Joplin struggled with her self-image throughout her life. She never liked her voice nor her looks. Yet, many female rock artists such as Bette Midler and Stevie Nicks credit Janis for having a great impact on their music. "Freaky", she may have been at that time, but now over 30 years later, we know she was a trail blazer; a trend setter which none have successfully mimicked in the Women's Rock Music industry.

Janis Joplin died in 1970 at the age of 27 of what is considered an accidental overdose of heroin. Fearful, rebellious, defiant to the end; it was her humanness that many came to relate to. Her music is iconic and few have risen to match her stature in rock music.

Fatu Judy Henderson is an Indie Musician and lay ethno-musicologist specializing in West African and Native American music and culture. She has traveled to Africa and across the United States to learn the music and dance forms of various African and American Indigenous cultures. Fatu conducts classes in African and Native music throughout the United States and has gained recognition for her expertise in these tightly niched music categories.

Fatu is also the owner of Dragon Head Music and Productions; a company devoted to producing and promoting Inidie Artists as well as helping Indie Artists to learn to utilize internet marketing tools and strategies. Visit Fatu at her primary site at to view many of the strategies discussed in her articles.

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The Beatles Legacy - The Pioneering Influence of the Fab Four

By Virginia Magary

Every era produces a handful of historically significant artists whose work perfectly captures the spirit of their times and becomes an inspiration for countless generations to follow. Looking back at the 20th century, only a few musical artists represent the best in popular music: Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, perhaps Elvis Presley. However, one band holds the top spot for the most influential of the century: The Beatles.

The four lads from Liverpool took the music world by storm and, in the course of a mere six years, established themselves as innovators of rock and became known as one of the greatest bands of all time. Their music continues to delight generations of new fans, as well as influence many other artists such as U2, Radiohead, Nirvana, Coldplay, Green Day and countless others.

Their astonishing career has produced numerous albums that are now considered masterpieces of rock music as well as capturing the zeitgeist of the 1960's. Not many critics or serious music fans can name even one artist with as profound a legacy in popular music, and The Beatles' albums "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Revolver," and "The White Album" still frequently top the lists of the best rock albums of all time.

This is quite significant, given that the modern recording industry is many times larger than it was in the Beatles' time, with literally tens of thousands of albums being released each year. Still, The Beatles' recordings have weathered the test of time and continue to sell steadily, as old and new fans alike continue to enjoy their timeless music.

Though The Beatles' recording career was relatively short, mostly from 1963 to 1969, their work cannot be viewed as a mere relic of the 1960's. The Beatles may have been initially influenced by Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, but they did not limit themselves to those early styles of rock for long. With the help of producer George Martin, The Beatles pioneered many recording techniques that proved that rock music could encompass a nearly limitless array of harmonies, structures and sounds.

Many types of "experimental" rock have a precedent on Beatles albums. Some of the effects heard in their music were created using backward tapes, distortion, filters, animal sounds, and unfamiliar musical instruments.

This dramatic change came about in late 1965 with the release of the "Rubber Soul" album. At this point, they had decided that they would no longer tour and they wanted to focus on developing and experimenting with more creative musical ideas and recording technology. Most of their music was recorded using four-track recorders, and multi-tracking was achieved by overlaying new tracks onto existing tracks. The result of their trailblazing in the studio was the development of the multi-track recording studio, with many technological innovations that are in use today. The band utilized everything that was available to them in a way that no other artists had had the creativity or possibility to do before, and which no one has replicated since.

In late 2009, The Beatles re-released their main catalog with the much anticipated remastered recordings of their original works. Later, their company, Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI released a unique box set: a beautifully crafted, green aluminum apple-shaped USB drive containing the entire stereo box set, plus visual elements such as documentary films, album art, rare photos and complete liner notes.

To read more about the Beatles and their influence, and to see a review of the Beatles USB Box Set, go to this site:

Virginia Magary is a freelance writer and designer in Florida, who is also a die-hard Beatles fan.

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Tribute to Stevie Wonder

By Scott Thomas

Why do I say this you ask? Because I have been a big Stevie Wonder Fan since I was a young teen. I remember my youth ... going to the beach with my little hand-held radio with the one earpiece listening to his music on the radio back in '76 - '77 a whole lot.

Smoothie Award winning jazz guitarist Vernon Neilly's new CD - featuring the Legendary Hit Maker Stevie Wonder's music - is chock-full of Wonder's hit songs and has got to be one of the best Tribute CDs I've heard in a long while. The album reeks of Pure Class. Vernon has out done himself with the arrangements, recording, and engineering of this sweet music. The record label owner and producer has taken those celebrated hits and has made them flawlessly and collectively all his own.

I remember it was still winter in Upstate New York and we had just had a late winter snow storm (March '77). The snow was 4 foot deep everywhere ... no kiddin'! After ol' man winter hit again, the only way to get around for a few days was with a snow mobile. And talk about freakin' cold!!!

However, as soon as the roads were drivable, my uncle (who was only a few years older than me) drove up from Norfolk, Virginia Naval Base for the weekend to take care of family business (he was a young sailor in the navy at the time). While he was there on furlough, he asked me if I wanted to go to back with him to Norfolk for a couple of weeks and it was just in time for my two week spring break from school. I was 15 at the time and he was 18 ... you betcha. To my amazement, my mother said GO! He had to come back to New York to finish his family business in a couple of weeks anyway.

The CD is Vernon's fourth on his Boosweet Records. The diversity the album gives ranges from Jazz, Fusion, Pop to Rock. Having Greg Howe and Kiko Loureiro (progressive guitarists) on board has definitely set the bar for the other musicians involved. Other instrumentalists featured on the album with Neilly include U-Nam, Juan Nelson, Michael Paulo and Miguel Mega (Brazilian guitarist) and they also don't hesitate to also step out into the lime light to bring us some serious tunes.

So ... here I leave the cold blistering North Country and 12 hours later (we drove) I was in balmy Norfolk Virginia, 72 degrees at nite, 85 and breezy during the day, everything blooming and swimming in the ocean! I would go to the beach during the day while my uncle was at work on the aircraft carrier the USS Forrestal.

I'd take my l'il radio to the beach and lay out all day drinkin' Big Red, eatin' Moon Pies, and livin' the GOOD LIFE! "Susie by the Sea Shore, Selling Sea Shells ... Yeah Baby!!! Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Elton John, were playing on the airwaves and man I was in heaven. The smell of coconut oil ... the jamz, chicks on the sand ... damn!!! On the board walk there were pay phones and I would call my family while looking at the waves splashing upon the beach all the while teasing my younger brothers about the warm weather and the beautiful girls walking by while they were freezing their butts off in upstate New York.

From this new breed of illustrious artist you will hear a lot of Stevie's favorite hits: Stevie Wonder's "Boogie on Reggae Woman" recorded twice as Rock and Urban/Pop; "I Wish," which has a Jazz-Fusion sound. What you don't hear in these songs is musicians stepping all over themselves trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. These artist picked the tunes that appealed to them individually and they didn't try to rewrite history ... only to graciously expand on it.

Every one of the songs has been crafted to perfection. The song "Superstition" has a Heavy Rock sound and vocals; "Sir Duke" has a Pop sound; "Isn't She Lovely" has two versions - Urban/Pop and Smooth Jazz; "I Was Made To Love You," the first single off the album has a smooth Jazz feel as well; "Don't You Worry about a Thing," and "For Once in My Life" which has a Pop vibe and vocals. The singers did a wonderful job nailing Stevie Wonder's vocal vibe.

When I heard Vernon's arrangements on this Tribute CD - "A Tribute to Stevie Wonder: Vernon Neilly and Friends" on Boosweet Records ... I was flooded with grand, reflective and heartfelt emotions by several songs.

I was 15 at the time and the world was new to me and so were Stevie Wonder's youthful and intriguing sounds. Vernon's CD has tapped into my youth. The music has conjured up happy, energetic feelings and that old adventureist spirit of yesteryear. Stevie Wonder has an uncanny style with his gospel / Motown / jazz / fusion / blues / pop influenced music that is easily identifiable. His motifs and hooks seem to dance around the music instead of just riding along with the groove. You'll find the same here with this all-star cast of musicians.

"I give this wonderfully arranged and played cd a perfect "10" for a being a tribute album. I think this CD will be up for some sort of award in the near future ... I bank my money on it!"

Scott Thomas - Guitarz Editor
by Scott Thomas

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The Development of Rock Music

By Stewart B Johnston

Rock music is a kind of music (music genres) that began to be popular in the mid-50s. Its roots were derived from rhythm and blues, country music from the 40s and 50s as well as various other influences. Furthermore, it also took from a variety of other musical styles, including folk music, jazz and classic music.

The distinctive sound of this music often revolved around the electric guitar or acoustic guitar, and the use of a very subtle back-beat in the rhythm section on electric bass guitar and drums, and keyboards like organ, piano or synthesizers from the 70s. Besides the guitar or keyboard, saxophone and blues-style harmonica were sometimes used as solo instruments. In its pure form, rock music had three chords, a consistent and striking back-beat, and attractive melody.

In the late 60s and early 70s, it evolved into several types. Rock music that mixed with folk music (local music in the U.S.) became folk rock, the music that mixed with blues became blues-rock and the music that mixed with jazz became jazz-rock fusion.

In the 70s, rock combined the influence of soul, funk, and Latin music. Also in the 70s, rock evolved into various sub-genres (sub-categories), such as soft-rock, glam-rock, heavy metal, hard-rock, progressive rock, and punk rock. The sub-categories of rock that were popular in the 80s were New Wave, hardcore punk, and alternative rock. In the 90s, there was grunge, Britpop, indie rock and nu metal.

A group of musicians who specialize in playing this music is called a rock band or rock group. Many rock groups consist of a guitar player, a lead singer, a bass guitar player, and a drummer. In this case, they form a quartet.

Some rock groups take one or two positions above or use the main singer as an instrumentalist in addition to singing. In this case, they form a duo or trio. Another type of group has additional musicians like two rhythm guitars or a keyboardist. Somewhat less frequently, the rock group uses stringed musical instruments such as violin, cello or wind instruments, such as saxophones, trumpets or trombones.

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The Profound Impact of the Music of The Beatles

By Roman Holland

There are numerous cultural touchstones that will not transcend generations. A great cigarette is one, as is a really great steak. Excellent television programs not so much - there's a concrete and very easily measurable generation gap when it comes to what distinct generations of folks like watching on the tube. Excellent music is even more stratified. You're not going to uncover a lot of baby boomers who'd list the Arctic Monkeys among their favorite bands, just like you won't come across many Generation Y'ers who'll profess their enjoyment of James Taylor or Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

Yet whatever the race, color, creed or generation, it seems unanimous that everyone loves the music of the Beatles. From the quiet early strains of "Love Me, Do" to the last refrain of "Hey Jude," Beatles music crosses generations and bridges cultures in a way the music of no other artist does.

My family is an interesting example. I'm thirty-three years old, a bit of a musician, a liberal, and I live in New York City. Some would call me a hipster (a label I'd reject, but that would just make me more hipsterish, so whatever). My brother is a year and a half older than me, an engineer living in the suburbs with a wife, a kid, a sit-down lawnmower and a pick-up truck.

Then take my mom. At age sixty-five she's still teaching troubled children from the inner-city, as well as mentally-handicapped children from both the city and the well-to-do suburbs.

What's the typical thread? We all appreciate Beatles music. The themes that John Lennon and Paul McCartney dealt with lyrically are universal, needless to say - regardless of whether it comes to a really great song like "Yesterday" or a call for social responsibility like "Across the Universe", nearly all Beatles music rings true and distinct. There's something for everyone to latch onto in almost any given piece of Beatles music, and as a result it's timeless.

On top of that, you can add that, musically, the Beatles blended ear-candy style bubblegum pop with complex basslines, creative lead guitar and ground-breaking sound mixing. What they did in the studio from Rubber Soul to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band basically hasn't been replicated. Even the most snobbish classical music or jazz buffs recognize the virtuosity in Beatles music. And that's what sets the Beatles apart.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Jack Bruce: Composing Himself – The Authorised Biography by Harry Shapiro

[Book from Jawbone - Review by Jeff Penczak]

Article on Terrascope:

Shapiro's definitive, authorised biography traces the life of this fiery, egotistical Glaswegian from his birth to card-carrying Communists (who instilled a left-wing political stance that's stuck with him throughout his life) to the much-heralded Cream reunion in 2005, leaving no stone unturned in the process.

From the beginning, he inherited his controlling behaviour from his mum that led to his perfectionism that drives his work to this day. By the time he was 18, he had mastered the bass and was earning more than his dad and was playing in a band on a US Air Force base in Italy. A drunken accident sent him back home after he nearly burned his arm off! There, a chance meeting/sit-in with Dick Heckstall-Smith and Ginger Baker in Manchester, 1962 led to his gig in Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated and a lifelong a love-hate relationship with Baker.

Shapiro masterfully paints the scene at the Ealing Club where we hang around with the likes of Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Erics Burden and Clapton, not to mention Long John Baldry and Graham Bond, whose Organisation led to his first extended gig and earliest recordings.

The formative years with Korner, Bond, and Baker are detailed with amusing anecdotes, like the time Alexis, "the world's scariest driver," fell asleep at the wheel, nearly killing Jack and Ginger, or the time John McLaughlin, during his brief stint in the GBO in April, 1963 got so stoned at a gig at the Leofric Hotel in Coventry that he fell off the stage in a catatonic fit!

We also learn that Ginger actually fired Jack from GBO, after which he jumped into John Mayall's Bluesbreakers for a dozen gigs or so following John McVie's sacking for drinking. It was here he enjoyed his first time on stage with Clapton, although he would soon quit for a more lucrative gig as Manfred Mann's bassist before eventually forming Cream. We also learn the importance that the Bee Gees had in Jack's career, both in Cream's signing to Atlantic and his future dealings with Robert Stigwood.

The book's a virtual encyclopaedia of information, gruesomely detailing the heroin addictions that threatened the careers and lives of Jack and so many of the musicians, producers, and engineers he played with, including both of the superstar trios and a world famous producer. In fact, Jack once saved Baker's life after he OD'd following a Top of The Pops taping in 1967.

While the book thankfully does not focus on the Cream years, which are nevertheless adequately covered, there are a few tidbits that fans may enjoy, such as the reason they didn't play at Monterey, their fateful meeting with Hendrix where he sat in at a Cream concert, and the stories behind all the classics, from 'I Feel Free' and 'White Room,' to 'Strange Brew' and 'Sunshine of Your Love.'

We'll even discover the source of the album title Disraeli Gears and learn that the lads were stoned on LSD when the cover was shot over in Scotland! Shapiro's detailed account of the band's horrendous touring schedule in the US gives great insight into life on the road, including the gig in Boston on the night after Martin Luther King died (while James Brown was playing his infamous gig across town), the time they played in Detroit on the night of the race riots, and their run-ins in Chicago with Mayor Daley's police mob. You'll even learn "the weirdest gig Jack ever played"!

Shapiro clearly unravels the internecine trail of Jack's musical collaborations through all his post-Cream projects, including the offers to join Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills, and Nash that he turned down. Then there's the synergistic writing relationship with Pete Brown, the importance of jazz to his playing and composing skills, as well as the reason he delayed his solo debut (and the mysterious surprise guest who sat in, along with the famous session guitarist who got his start on 1969's Songs for A Tailor; we also learn the inspiration behind the title). In fact, Shapiro also unearths the meanings or inspirations behind almost all the songs and album titles throughout Jack's career.

We also cringe at the details behind the drug-induced disaster that was West, Bruce & Laing, that led to Jacks' downward spiral into a 15-year drug haze. This chapter on Jack's drug problems also helpfully puts the contemporary British and US drug scene into perspective, while also explaining how heroin hijacked the Out of the Storm recording sessions. His description of how they were rescued will have you scurrying back for a relisten.

And the sordid tale behind 'Madhouse' (from 1976's How's Tricks) is one of the most bizarre and frightening in Jack's life and almost worth the price of admission. Even the story of Jack's legal hassles with RSO (Robert Stigwood Organisation) that nearly led to his suicide are handled with sensitivity, honesty, and explanatory information that makes one wonder why anyone would want to make a career out of music!

Finally, we share Jack's devastation over the death of his eldest son, Jo, which "drove him to the brink of insanity," resulting in his abandonment of music for two years, and the frightening news about his cirrhosis of the liver which led to a life-saving liver transplant (during which he was conscious throughout in a state of "anaesthesia awareness"!)

The much-heralded reunion is also explained in detail, including the reasons why they did it, the differences between the UK and US gigs, and why it will never happen again. There's even an Appendix for gearheads that details all of Jack's basses and equipment and his reasons for using each.

So, yes, the book is certainly excruciatingly detailed, but it's not all muckraking, gossip-mongering drivel. Shapiro took the time to track down the important players in Jack's life, including the most important person of all, Jack Bruce himself. And with Bob Elliott's extremely detailed and authoritative 30 page disc/gig-ography, one need look no further to discover the true account of one of the world's best (and best-loved) bassists. A classic job well done and one of the best rock bios you'll ever read. (Jeff Penczak).

No more Cream: Jack Bruce has ruled out another reunion

Article from - 11/04/2010

Former Cream bassist Jack Bruce has said there won't be any more gigs with the supergroup. Speaking about his newly published biography, Composing Himself, Jack said he has moved on from his time with the outfit, which rose to heights before splitting in 1968 – after just over 2 years together.

The book details the highs and lows of his career, which spans over 5 decades; looking back on life on the road, his family tragedies and battles with drug addiction. It also concentrates heavily on life in Cream. Jack explained that when the group began, they wanted their sound to be ground-breaking.

"I think we were trying to forge a new musical language using what we knew – and what we were beginning to find out about music – for example blues and jazz." Despite writing and singing a lot of their big hits, including Sunshine of Your Love and White Room, he never felt like the frontman: "I think in the studio I had a lot to do with the production; but in the live shows, whoever took the lead, took the lead and we all tried to keep up. It was very competitive as well."

While Jack admits that a spirit of competition spilled over into arguments, he says it was never as bad as it was made out to be: "It's become a myth and a legend. I think that with lots of rock bands that if you're sitting in a van or on a plane, you kind of disagree a bit."

He also said that tension from the early days was still evident during the reunion gigs of the last decade; "There was one argument where I mis-remembered the phrasing of one of the songs. Ginger said 'You've got that wrong', and I said 'No I haven't'. But Jack says his approach to conflict was different this time round; "I thought about it and realised he was right and I apologised, so everything was alright."

While the band last played together in 2005, when they reunited for a series of shows, Jack is adamant there won't be any in the years to come. "There's a new story now – Cream is over."

Jack Bruce was pleased to reveal he has other plans on the horizon, although he was tight-lipped on the details. "I'm doing something very exciting – so much so I can't even talk about it. It's the most exciting project I've ever been involved in."

Roger Waters Announces North American Tour Commemorating 30th Anniversary Of Pink Floyd's The Wall‏

Article from

Roger Waters, co-founder and principal songwriter of the archetypal progressive band Pink Floyd, is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the original release of The Wall with a monumental tour featuring a full band and a newly-mounted state-of-the-art production of his epochal masterpiece of alienation and transformation performed in its entirety.

Up-to-date details on Roger Waters' The Wall Tour, and more, may be found on the artist's newly relaunched and redesigned website, Waters is personally involved with the site and will be communicating with fans through it.

The Wall has been previously performed live in its entirety by Waters just 31 times including Pink Floyd's 1980-81 tour in support of the album. A spectacular Roger Waters solo staging and performance of the rock opera in July 1990, celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall, drew nearly a half million fans to the Potsdamer Platz.

Roger Waters' The Wall North American Tour, produced by Live Nation, will open September 15th in Toronto and runs through December 13th at the Anaheim Honda Center (please see full itinerary following).
The New York Times (March 2nd, 1980) declared that "The Wall show remains a milestone in rock history, it will be the touchstone against which all future rock spectacles must be measured."

Originally released in November 1979, The Wall was America's top-selling album of 1980, is one of the top-selling double albums of all time, and is still in the US Top 5 best-selling albums of all time. The Wall was made into a metaphorical musical film, directed by Alan Parker with screenplay by Roger Waters, in 1982.

One of the most profoundly influential albums in the history of recorded music, The Wall continues to affect pop culture while resonating with generations of music fans.

Roger Waters' The Wall North American Tour Itinerary (find tickets here):

15 - Toronto - Air Canada Centre
20 - Chicago - United Center
21 - Chicago - United Center
26 - Pittsburgh - Consol Energy Center
28 - Cleveland - Quicken Loans Arena
30 - Boston - TD Garden

5 - New York - Madison Square Garden
8 - Buffalo - HSBC Arena
10 - Washington DC - Verizon Center
12 - Uniondale - Nassau Coliseum
15 - Hartford - XL Center
17 - Ottawa - ScotiaBank Place
19 - Montreal - Bell Centre
22 - Columbus - Schottenstein Center
24 - Detroit - Palace of Auburn Hills
26 - Omaha - Qwest Center
27 - St Paul - Xcel Energy Center
29 - St. Louis - Scottrade Center
30 - Kansas City - Sprint Center

3 - New York - Izod Center
8 - Philadelphia - Wachovia Center
9 - Philadelphia - Wachovia Center
13 - Fort Lauderdale - Bank Atlantic Center
16 - Tampa - St. Pete Times Forum
18 - Atlanta - Philips Arena
20 - Houston - Toyota Center
21 - Dallas - American Airlines Center
23 - Denver - Pepsi Center
26 - Las Vegas - MGM Grand Garden Arena
27 - Phoenix - US Airways Center
29 - Los Angeles - The Forum

6 - San Jose - HP Pavilion
10 - Vancouver - General Motors Place
11 - Tacoma - Tacoma Dome
13 - Anaheim - Honda Center

Roger Waters Tickets - The Wall of Waters Always Has a Meaning‏

by James Rach

Thirty years have passed, but the album "The Wall" still has a special meaning in the world of rock ... and his co-creator Roger Waters.

So to commemorate the anniversary of The Wall, Waters will present on tour in the fall, the music of the concept album with a new staging that will present history, freely inspired from his own life - for a new generation.

The tour will begin Sept. 15 in Toronto and will continue until December, with stops at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa (October 17) and the Bell Centre in Montreal (October 19). Roger Waters does not wish, however, to simply wipe the spectacle as did Pink Floyd decades ago.

He maintains that what he finds exciting in the idea of bringing "The Wall" back to stage is how the new technology allows him to do things he could not have dreamed of in the 1980s and 1990s.

The tour promises to be a grand theatrical experience, but what matters most for Waters, is the social and political commentary of the album, which is still relevant today, he said.

"When we were doing concerts at that time, it was after the end of the Vietnam War, and we are currently in the midst of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is in "The Wall" an anti-war message powerful that existed then and still exists today," he said.

Waters plans to pay tribute during the show to the soldiers who lost their lives not only in the recent wars, but also in other conflicts.

For the musician, the concert series will doubtless mark the end of his career on stage. "I'm not as young as I was. I am not like BB King or Muddy Waters, admitted the 66 year old. My friend Eric Clapton (...) will play guitar and be on stage until his death, because that's what he does."

"I am not a big singer nor a great musician or anything, but I always have the passion and I have something to say. I have a swansong in me and I think (the next tour) will be it," he concluded.

The above article is sponsored by Ticketsinventory. is a leader in the business of selling Roger Waters tickets: plus more concert tickets, sports tickets, theater tickets as well as special events tickets.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Who is Haille Selassie, Or Ras Tafari?

By Ron Givens

When I lived in San Diego, I was playing with a band called Ishmael and the Peacemakers. We were playing at gig at the World Beat Center in Balboa park. As was the norm, we waited backstage while the opening band played.

I was sitting next to our bass player, Preston. Preston was a very nice guy and always had a lot of information about "life stuff". I remember there was a huge portrait of an Egyptian or Absynnian looking guy that I had been seeing for months now. Ever since I started playing reggae, this guys mug was popping up everywhere.

"Hey Preston ...why do I see that guys face in every place we play a show?" I asked him. He then went on to explain who Haille Selassie was and when someone says "Rasta", they actually mean this guy. His name was Ras Tafari, and he was descendant of King Solomon of the Old Testament.

Up until that point I had no idea that this was who Bob Marley was referring to, and that Rastafarians worship him.

The key beliefs of rastafarians are:
  • Selassie is worshipped as divine
  • Rastafarians also honor Old Testament prophets like Moses and Elijah
  • Another central concept is Babylon, which refers to the power structure of Europe and the Americas
  • Marijuana is used primarily during the two main Rastafari rituals: reasonings and nyabingi
  • Dreadlocks have several purposes and layers of meaning for Rastafarians, including the biblical command not to cut one's hair (Leviticus 21:5)
  • The most observant Rastas follow a dietary law called Ital
  • Most Rastafarians are vegatarians or vegans
  • Rastafarians reject the use of alcohol, since it is a fermented chemical that does not belong in the temple of the body and it makes a person stupid
There are many others, but I think I got the key points. Some Rastafarians see Rasta more as a way of life than a religion, that's why you will often meet people who love reggae so deeply they can be dubbed "rasta-(insert name here)", and still be respected by all those who love reggae music and culture. I know hundreds of Ras-Benjamins and Ras Ralphs and Ras Tony's and Ras-Cornelius ... you name it. I am not Rastafarian at all, however many of you do know me as...Rasta Ron:). Or Just call me Pasta.

Ron Givens has been playing reggae drums for over 10 years. You can check out his reggae website at

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