Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1987: Aerosmith- Permanent Vacation

Posted in Uncategorized on July 20, 2021 by 80smetalman

It has been said that “Permanent Vacation” was Aerosmith’s true comeback album. I agree. “Done With Mirrors” let the world know that Aerosmith had not gone away and their 1986 collaboration with RunDMC on their classic song, “Walk This Way,” gained them access to a new generation of listeners, but it was this 1987 album where people could truly say, “Aerosmith were back!”

It is the quality of this album is what truly made Aerosmith’s return to the limelight possible. They remembered that swagger which brought them so much success in the 1970s and brought it to “Permanent Vacation.” It can also be noted that this was the first album where song writers outside the band contributed, although only for the first three songs. Still, having the likes of Desmond Child, Holly Knight and Jim Vallance can’t hurt as all of them were respected song writers.

“Permanent Vacation” also gave Aerosmith three singles in the form of “Rag Doll,” “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and “Angel.” Not one to judge an album by the singles, I have to admit that all three of these songs are brilliant. Though I only remember “Dude Looks Like a Lady” being played when I saw them at Download in 2017. Still, “Rag Doll” is still full of swagger and pizazz, something the band had lacked for many years. You can’t help moving your head along to it. “Angel,” the power ballad on the album, is also good. My first thought was that this might have been a good closer song but it’s okay where it is.

Download 2017, Aerosmith rocks!

So, that brings me to the obvious question: What about the rest of the album? There are many candidates for hidden gem on this album but the award goes to “Simoriah.” That song has the swagger but is still the heaviest song on the album and Joe Perry does nail one great guitar solo on it. However, it did have some stiff competition from “Magic Touch” and “St. John.” Both are great songs and “Hangman Jury,” with its rockabilly feel, is also a great song. But while there are so many great songs on the album, I do have one criticism. I might have been tempted to end the album with the title track. The last two songs, “I’m Down,” which is a Beatles cover and “The Movie” don’t really need to be on the album. They’re not bad songs but they don’t measure up, in my opinion, to the rest of the songs on the album. On the plus side, however, they in no way spoil my enjoyment of this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Heart’s Done Time
  2. Magic Touch
  3. Rag Doll
  4. Simoriah
  5. Dude Looks Like a Lady
  6. St. John
  7. Hangman Jury
  8. Girl Keeps Coming Apart
  9. Angel
  10. Permanent Vacation
  11. I’m Down
  12. The Movie

Steve Tyler- vocals

Joe Perry- lead guitar

Brad Whitford- rhythm guitar, lead guitar on track 8, 10 and 12

Thomas Hamilton- bass

Joey Kramer- drums

No arguments from me, with “Permanent Vacation,” Aerosmith were well and truly back. The songs on this album are just so good. With the album title in mind, I will be going on my own vacation. Mrs 80smetalman and I are off to Cleethorpes for the week to look after her two granddaughters. There will be no postings for at least one week.

Also, late news in, I’m a grandfather again! My daughter in law, Ela, my son Will’s wife gave birth to a baby girl. So please join me in welcoming to the world, Juliana Elisabeth Kendra LeFevre. Photos to follow.

Next post: Beastie Boys- License to Ill

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Great Soundtracks of 1987: The Secret of My Success

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2021 by 80smetalman

According to recent jargon, Mrs. 80smetalman and I have been ‘pinged.’ Three days ago, we had notification that we had been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid. As a result, we both have to self-isolate for a week. While, they won’t make the location of this contact known, we speculate it was at our local Starbucks as that’s the only place in recent days we went to together and used our Track and Trace apps. Fortunately, I will still get basic pay from work but I will lose out on the payments for “sleep ins’ nor will be able to undertake substitute teaching early next week. It’s a bit of a bummer, although it has given me time to make the front yard look tidy and post this a day early.

If it wasn’t for Night Ranger and their “Big Life” album, I wouldn’t have posted any soundtracks for 1987. However, the song from that album, which bears the same name of the film, prompted me to look at the soundtrack and seeing some of the songs on it, I thought I would give it a go. Now that I’ve heard the soundtrack to “The Secret of My Success,” I can now post about it and I can say that this is simply a typical 1980s film soundtrack. The Night Ranger sung title track leads it off and is a good way to open the album. It’s not the best song on the soundtrack but decent enough. However, the second song is a bit of a disappointment as someone who loved Pat Benatar in the early 1980s. When I heard “Sometimes the Good Guys Finish First,” I had to check again to make sure it was Pat who was actually singing. It’s an 80s synth pop song and I keep asking, “Pat, how could you sing something like this?”

On the subject of 80s soundtracks, there is nothing more indicative of it here than on the power ballad “Don’t Ask the Reason” by Restless Heart. When I heard the opening notes, I expected Peter Cetera of Chicago fame to start singing. Saying that, it’s not a bad song, an okay ballad to say the least. However, there is a hidden gem and one semi-hidden gem. I’ll start with the semi one, which is “The Price of Love” by Roger Daltrey. Most people will agree that Roger’s voice is legendary and he lends that voice to the song. It is also helped by the fact that this is not an 80s synth pop song, especially with the horn arrangement which is done very well. The real hidden gem comes in the form of the closer, “Heaven and Heartaches,” by little known UK heavy metal band Taxxi. This song is a complete rocker and if I had known about it back in the day, I would have explored the band more.

As for the rest of the soundtrack, there is another ballad by Danny Peck and Nancy Shanks, whoever they are, but that doesn’t really do anything for me. There is also one from Bananarama, which isn’t bad, it’s far better than their chart song from that time, “Love in the First Degree” and has a cool guitar solo but it doesn’t make me want to check out their archives. There is also some instrumentals from producer David Foster on it which act as a good bridge between the songs. My verdict: “The Secret of My Success” has some good songs on it but overall, I wouldn’t call it bad but it’s nothing to get excited about.

Track Listing:

  1. Night Ranger- The Secret of My Success
Pat Benatar

2. Pat Benatar- Sometimes the Good Guys Finish First

3, Danny Peck and Nancy Shanks- I burn for you

4. Bananarama- Risking a Romance

5. David Foster- Gazebo

Roger Daltrey

6. Roger Daltrey- The Price of Love

7. David Foster- Water Fountain

8. Restless Heart- Don’t Ask the Reason Why

9. David Foster- 3 Themes

Taxxi- Heaven and Heartache

10. Taxxi- Heaven and Heartaches

To this day, it still amuses me how soundtracks in the 80s tried to bring on songs from many genres of rock in order to incorporate interest. That formula is never more clearer than the soundtrack to “The Secret of My Success.” It has at least one song that most people will like.

Now to further prove my insanity, I have an idea for a horror film:




Yes, it’s “Chucky vs. Anabelle!” What do people think, a box office sensation?

Next post: Aerosmith- Permanent Vacation

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Rest in Peace Jeff LaBar

Posted in Uncategorized on July 15, 2021 by 80smetalman
Jeff LaBar

Again, more sad news with another metal passing. I have learned that Cinderella guitarist Jeff LaBar has passed away at the age of 58. Cause of death is still undetermined. With Cinderella being from Philadelphia, I was especially into them and was even more glad when they played Donnington 1987 and gained a huge following of metalheads in the UK. Fellow band members and guitarists have been paying their tributes to him.



Rest in peace Jeff.

More Songs From 1987

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2021 by 80smetalman

To be perfectly blunt, I never liked the song. I’m talking about “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. It was their only number one single, at least in the UK. When it was shown on “Top of the Pops” in the Spring of 1987, a friend of mine who was with me in the college bar stated, “They’ve come a long way down from Woodstock.” I had to agree with him, especially since two years prior, they ceased to be my favourite band after the departure of Paul Kantner, who took the Jefferson name with him. However, this song does have meaning in my life. When my then fiance and I announced to the world we were getting married, we did get quite a bit of opposition from parents on both sides. As a result, my fiance adopted it as our theme song because we were determined to be married and did so and remained married for 13 years. I did try to get a local radio station to play it for our 8th anniversary but the station said they didn’t do phone requests. So, while I don’t really like the song, it still has significance in my life.

One song I forgot to mention from my “One Hit Wonders of 1987” was “Barcelona,” which was a collaboration between Freddie Mercury, whom you all know from Queen and Spanish operatic soprano Monserrat Cabelle. I didn’t realize that the two had put out an entire album but the song was very good and showed that Freddie could stretch his voice to do some amazing things.

Geno White

While I was in England, my sister sent me a sample from a local New Jersey guitarist by the name of Geno White. Geno has played around the world and has appeared on stage with the likes of Carmine Appice and I can say that he’s a bitchin’ guitarist. Actually, my sister said it but I have to agree with her. You can have a look at his website here. If you look at his photos, you might be impressed with some of the people he has met:

Next post: Soundtrack- The Secret of My Success

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1987: Triumphs and Near Tragedies

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2021 by 80smetalman

First, let’s start with the near tragedy which occurred in 1987. Those who have been following me for awhile might remember when I made a similar post for 1986, criminal charges were brought against Dead Kennedys lead singer, Jello Biafra, for distributing harmful material to minors on account of a photo on the inner sleeve of the “Frankenchrist” album. Even today, I still believe in Kerrang’s (the mag didn’t suck back then) assertion that the US legal system was prosecuting Biafra because they believed that since his record company was such a small one, they wouldn’t have the resources to fight. Then, after securing a conviction on him, they would have a legal precedent in order to go after bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister and of course, arch nemesis, Ozzy. Fortunately, seven members of the jury didn’t play ball and after a 7-5 deadlock in favour of Biafra, a mistrial was declared and charges were dropped.

Dead Kennedys

While Jello Biafra escaped prison, the legal costs had an adverse effect resulting in the Dead Kennedys disbanding later in the year. As a result of the trial, Jello Biafra has become a spoken word artists and an active campaigner for First Amendment rights in America. He was nominated for president by the New York state Green Party in 2000 but only received ten delegates at the party’s national convention. Imagine how history would have been different if he had been elected president!

Now onto to the triumph.

It was said that every year at Donnington was better than all of the previous years. For, me in 1987, I can definitely say this was the case. Dio and Anthrax on the same bill was reason enough for me to go. The addition of Metallica, WASP and Cinderella were just added bonuses. True, Bon Jovi was the headliner and they did a decent job but they weren’t the band I was there to see. Although I did think it was great that they brought Dee Snider, Paul Stanley and Bruce Dickinson out to sing with them on covers of CCR’s “Travelling Band” and the Grand Funk Railroad classic, “We’re an American Band.” Dio and Anthrax were the best bands on the day but I would probably say that. Cinderella played well as an opening act and I was quite pleasantly surprised by WASP. I hate to say this but Metallica failed to live up to my expectation on the day. It could have been because they didn’t open with “Battery” However, it was a great day!

Unfortunately, the Tubes of You aren’t featuring any individual songs from any of the bands on the day but full performances are available. They are worth checking out. I did find one song from Dio.

Next post: A few other songs

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Great One Hit Wonders of 1987 and Other Significant Songs

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2021 by 80smetalman

They say you learn something new every day and in my case, every post. After reading the responses from my last post on T’Pau’s “Bridge of Spies” album, I have come to the following conclusion: That T’Pau were to North America what The Hooters were to the UK. Both bands enjoyed some major success in their own countries with albums and charting singles but in regards to the other country, both were just one hit wonders. The Hooters had some great albums in the mid to late 1980s but will only be known in the UK for their single, “Satellite.” Likewise, T’Pau will only be known in the US for “Heart and Soul.” Their biggest single, “China in Your Hand,” went to number one in the UK and several European countries and did hit number 20 in Canada but failed to even chart in the US. That is why I’m kicking things off with T’Pau and “China In Your Hand.”

The Hooters

I think the first one hit wonder is truly a one hit wonder. I remember hearing the song, “Sonic Boom Boy,” from Westworld in the student union bar quite a bit in the early year. I thought it was an amusing rock tune but because it wasn’t metal, I didn’t pursue further at the time. I haven’t heard anything from them since.

This next one could be considered a naff song but it was so amusing then and now that I thought I had to include it here. The song is “Star Trekkin'” by The Firm. No, not the band with Paul Rodgers and Jimmy Page! It’s simply a good laugh and enjoyable if not taken seriously.

The next one still is a dilemma for me after all these years. Back in 1987, it was social suicide for any metalhead to admit that he liked anything other than “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. However, I can boldly declare that I do like the song, “Dirty Diana.” It is a good rock song. My theory is that Michael was a shrewd music businessman. He saw how white rockers ate up that song up when they learned that Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo on it. Therefore, he knew that if he made at least one song in this vein on an album, people would get it and it worked. I know that much controversy surrounds him still but in 1987, I liked this song.


Don’t panic, I won’t post links to either of these songs but I must point out that there were not one but two naff songs in 1987. The most known was Tiffany with “I Think We’re Alone Now,” which went to number one in the US and UK. The other was “Call Me” by Italian singer, Spagna, which went to number two in the UK charts. Both of those songs are the type of annoying songs you want to forget but can’t. Anyway, these are the one hit wonders of 1987.

Next post: Music Happenings of 1987

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Great Rock Albums of 1987: T’Pau- Bridge of Spies

Posted in Uncategorized on July 4, 2021 by 80smetalman

Admittedly, it was the singles which turned my attention to T’Pau and their debut album, “Bridge of Spies,” in 1987. The first single, to dispel one misbelief in history, was “Heart and Soul.” The track did do very well, not only reaching the number four in the charts but it also had me thinking, “This song’s pretty good, not metal but a good rock tune.” At first, the introduction might give the impression that it’s going to be an 80s pop song but once the guitars kick in, you are left with no doubt. It is good song and a good album opener.

No matter what was thought of the album, no one can deny that the colossal single, “China In Your Hand,” was what made T’Pau a household name in late 1987. The amusing thing was that the single version is shortened and when my then wife heard the full album cut, she was a little confused but like me, she grew to like the album version better. I simply love the power chords and the fact that as far as the UK charts was concerned, a good rock song not only made the top ten, it got to number one! The timing was perfect because KISS’s “Crazy Crazy Nights” was disappearing from the charts. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, trendies!

Five of the first six songs on “Bridge of Spies” were singles, seven were released from the album, including the two mentioned. The other two are the power ballad, “I Will Be With You” and the rather amusingly titled, “Sex Talk.” Reading a little history, Carol Decker said she got the idea for the song on her first trip to New York and saw all the adverts for sex chat lines. She actually called one of the numbers although the details of that conversation aren’t recorded. Still, it shows that T’Pau could get down and dirty while rocking out.

While the first half of the album has the hits, this isn’t one where the second half of the album doesn’t deteriorate. Of course, there is a hidden gem and on this album, it happens to be “Monkey House.” The track is a total rock out but the main reason I like it is because it houses the best guitar solo on the entire album. I can’t find which to the two guitarists play the solo on it, but whoever does nails it. “Valentine,” which was also a single and a cool power ballad, provides the climax. The remaining tracks, while not filler, serve the purpose of taking the album out very nicely. Though I think tracks nine and ten should be the other way around as “Thank You for Goodbye” would be a better pre-closer but only just as “You Give Up” is quite energetic.

No matter which song on the album is mentioned, the factor no one can ignore is the voice of Carol Decker. At the time, she was called a ‘shorter Cyndi Lauper.’ You can have Cyndi, I’ll take Carol’s voice anytime. Hers is a very powerful but versatile voice which fits every song. Another source said she was no Annie Lennox. Of course not, I think she’s better.

Track Listing:

  1. Heart and Soul
  2. I Will Be With You
  3. China In Your Hand
  4. Friends Like These
  5. Sex Talk
  6. Bridge of Spies
  7. Monkey House
  8. Valentine
  9. Thank You For Goodbye
  10. You Give Up
  11. China In Your Hand (Reprise)

Carol Decker- vocals

Ronnie Rogers- guitar

Taj Wyzgowski- guitar

Michael Chetwood- keyboards

Paul Jackson- bass

Gary Barnacle- tenor sax

Tim Burgess- drums, percussion

Recently, I saw an advert for a cruise where 80s pop acts were providing the entertainment. One of these acts was T’Pau. Yes, they were never a pop act in my opinion but when my daughter does marry her Norwegian fiance and decides to live in Norway, I might have to book a cruise when I would visit her. Hopefully, T’Pau will still be playing and I get to soak up the memories of this album.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1987

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Great Rock Albums of 1987: George Harrison- Cloud Nine

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2021 by 80smetalman

I’ve said this in the past, although the last time was quite a few years ago, so some of you might not have heard me say it or those who had may not remember it. What I said was that of all the Beatles solo material post split, it is George Harrison’s which I like the best. I know I said it when I posted about his 1979 self-titled album, though I’m not sure if I did when I posted about the 1981 “Somewhere in England” one. Anyway, I’m saying it again, because I do like his 1987 “Cloud Nine” album.

Reading up on a little history, George took a five year hiatus from music to follow other pursuits such as film making, though he did pop up on the odd charity song. The reason for this was that he wasn’t too impressed with the music coming out in the 1980s. Part of me can’t blame him although I wonder what his views were towards heavy metal. Anyway, I digress yet again, so back to history. By 1987, he felt the desire to make music and so he contacted Jeff Lynne of ELO fame who helped him co produce the album.

Another thing George did was instead of enlisting an army of musicians to play on “Cloud Nine” he had some of the greatest names in the business to play on it. Just take a look at the supporting cast and you will have no doubt as to why this album is so good. Here’s the paradox that is me. I can’t really say that this or any of George Harrison’s albums are mind blowing rockers. Actually, they are more easy listening. I remember once upon a time I had the “Thirty-Three and a Third” album playing in the car and a friend demanded to know what we were mellowing out to. He seem okay with the fact it was George Harrison.

While Eric Clapton lays down some cool jams on several songs, I have always thought George was a decent guitarist in his own right. Furthermore, the album also upholds my belief that he was the best singer in the Beatles. That’s just my opinion though. Getting back to my point, his vocals are great on each song and while Eric makes four songs very memorable, I thing George does a great job on the track, “Fish on the Sand,” which, if the guitars were turned up a bit more, might have been a decent rock tune. It is the closest he comes to hard rock anywhere on the album.

Three of the four songs where Eric lays down the jams are all standout tracks on the album, though the fourth one is pretty good too. However, the most standout of those is “Devil’s Radio.” Of course, it’s not just Mr. Clapton who is the reason why it’s the best track on the album, I think the piano player on the song might have had a hand in it. This too is close to be a hard rocking song, especially with the guitar hooks.

Now, I can hear some people screaming at their computer screens, ‘What about “Got My Mind Set On You’?” Yes, that song went number one in the US and two in the UK. It is a decent song and proves that you don’t have to be AC/DC to be basic and yet be good. That’s the charm about that song. Actually, I think AC/DC could cover it, put their own stamp on it and it would sound great. However, it’s been ruined for me. Every time I hear it, I immediately think of Weird Al’s parody of it. On the other hand, George must have been doing something right to catch Weird Al’s attention.

Track Listing:

  1. Cloud Nine
  2. That’s What it Takes
  3. Fish on the Sand
  4. Just for Today
  5. This is Love
  6. When We Was Fab
  7. Devil’s Radio
  8. Someplace Else
  9. Wreck of the Hesperus
  10. Breath Away
  11. Got My Mind Set on You

George Harrison

George Harrison- lead and backing vocals, guitars, keyboards, synthesizers and sitar

Jeff Lynne- guitars, backing vocals, bass, keyboards, synthesizer

Eric Clapton- guitar on “Cloud Nine,” That’s What it Takes,” “Devil’s Radio” and “Wreck of the Hesperus”

Elton John- piano on “Cloud Nine,” “Devil’s Radio” and “Wreck of the Hesperus”

Gary Wright- piano on “Just for Today” and “When We Was Fab”

Jim Horn- tenor and baritone saxophones on “Cloud Nine,” “Wreck of the Hesperus” and “Got My Mind Set On You”

Jim Keltner- drums

Ringo Starr- drums

Ray Cooper- drums, percussion

Bobby Kok- cello

Bucking the 1980s trends, George Harrison put out an album that was neither metal or bubble gum synth pop. Normally in 1987, such and album would not have made a dent among listeners, whether it was from an ex-Beatle or not. However, George put out a great mellow out rock album in “Cloud Nine” and it was considered great by many critics, listeners and me.

Next post: T’Pau- Bridge of Spies

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Rest in Peace- Johnny Solinger

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2021 by 80smetalman
Johnny Solinger

I have learned of the passing of former Skid Row singer Johnny Solinger, who passed away from liver failure. FFI:

Another tragic loss for music. Rest in peace Johnny

Great Rock Albums of 1987: Loverboy- Wildside

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2021 by 80smetalman

When I lived in the US, I was frustrated by the fact that there were some great albums from British bands which I only heard about or passed me by totally. In 1987, having been in the UK for nearly a year, I was getting frustrated the other way around. The only reason that I discovered that Canadian rock legends Loverboy had an album out in said year was because my friends’ band, Torque Show’ opened for them when they played at the famous Marquee Club in London. While big in North America throughout the 1980s, Loverboy never really made a great impact in the UK. Of course, another reason was the fact that their album, “Wildside,” was their first album not to go platinum, signifying a great decline in the band’s popularity.

Torque Show

This album confirms that whatever I think, the mainstream public seems to take the opposing view. Therefore, I conclude that the reason why “Wildside” wasn’t such a popular album is because I like it. After the more keyboard oriented “Keep It Up” album, Loverboy went more hard rock with their follow up 1985 album, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.” With “Wildside,” that hard rock progression continues. Sure, the keyboards are there but they are used in a way which complements the music. One great example of this is the track, “Walkin’ On Fire,” where you get to hear some great keyboard moments behind the hard rock before Paul Dean rips out a cool guitar solo. Then again, keyboards players in hard rock or metal don’t always get the recognition they deserve and Doug Johnson does a superb job on the keys on this album. It’s my vote for song of the album.

One aspect of “Wildside,” which I find rather amusing is that many of the songs have an intro which sound like they are going to be an 1980s synth song but then the rock just completely takes over. One song which highlights this is “Can’t Get Much Better.” The introduction sounds like it’s going to be a Night Ranger clone but then the guitars come pounding in. I also like the way the guitar complements the harmonizing on the chorus. An even more synth pop intro is “Love Will Rise Again.” This track is the closest the band comes to synth pop as there is a synthesizer loop in the background but they do not overtake Dean’s guitar. I do love the riff after the guitar solo.

With the previous Loverboy albums, I never took really notice of the bass but it does come through quite noticeably on the album. So here’s where I get to sing the praises of Scott Smith, especially on the way his bassline is used on the intro of the title track. So well done Scott! I can’t leave out the other two members. As always, Mike Reno’s vocals are brilliant, he sounds even better than he did on the previous album and stating the obvious, drummer Matt Frenette gives all the songs their much needed heartbeat. I think the best song where they all come together is the power ballad, “Don’t Keep Me in the Dark.” Especially at the end where there is this spooky vibe to it.

Track Listing:

  1. Notorious
  2. Walkin’ on Fire
  3. Break It to Me Gently
  4. Love Will Rise Again
  5. Can’t Get Much Better
  6. Hometown Hero
  7. Wildside
  8. Don’t Let Go
  9. That’s Where My Money Goes
  10. Read My Lips

Mike Reno- lead vocals

Paul Dean- guitar, backing vocals

Scott Smith- bass

Doug Johnson- keyboards

Matt Frenette- drums

Most of the world might have ignored “Wildside” but I didn’t. It’s an album, which got bypassed in a time where musical tastes were divulging into separate camps. Metalheads probably thought it too commercial and trendies, too hard rock. Whatever camp people are in, I still like it.

Next post: George Harrison- Cloud Nine

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