Archive for new wave

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Loverboy- Lovin’ Every Minute of It

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2018 by 80smetalman

Possibly one of the best musical surprises for me in 1985 came in the form of Loverboy’s album, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.” After the more keyboard oriented previous album, “Keep It Up,” I thought that Loverboy were heading down the path of more commercialized rock. That meant that one night when I happened to have had MTV switched on and the video for the bouncy, hard rocking title track came on, I was pleasantly taken by surprise. The fact that they rocked things up a bit made me give this album a chance and I was impressed.

The first five songs of “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” are true rockers. Hell, the third song, “Friday Night” could be a heavy metal song with the way the guitar opens things and how the song progresses after. All I keep thinking was, “Well done, boys!” That track follows on nicely from its predecessors, which include the title track and “Steal the Thunder” holds its own in the hard rock stakes. Even when they go to a power ballad with “This Could Be the Night,” one doesn’t get to thinking that things will go commercial with this one. I have to confess, this is a good power ballad here. The rock party continues further with “Too Much Too Soon,” which is another song which could be taken for a heavy metal song, maybe even more than “Friday Night.” I will point out that Mike Reno does a great vocal performance on that one.

With all of the above said, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” is an album of two halves. After “Too Much Too Soon,” keyboards enter into things. This is not a bad thing although some of the tracks do sound 1980s new wave. “Lead a Double Life” sounds like it could have been used in a mid 80s comedy film soundtrack. “Dangerous” sounds like it could have been a Night Ranger song. “Destination Heartbreak” is a ballad but not as good as the power ballad mentioned previously. What redeems them in my view is that Paul Dean’s guitar can be heard along with all the keyboards and he does rip some really good guitar solos on the songs. In fact, this album could be called Paul’s album due to the way he solos all the way through it. It is a major contributor as to way the album is so good.

Track Listing:

  1. Lovin’ Every Minute of It
  2. Steal the Thunder
  3. Friday Night
  4. This Could Be the Night
  5. Too Much Too Soon
  6. Lead a Double Life
  7. Dangerous
  8. Destination Heartbreak
  9. Bullet in the Chamber

Loverboy

Mike Reno- vocals

Paul Dean- guitar, backing vocals

Doug Johnson- keyboards

Scott Smith- bass

Mike Frenette- drums

In 1985, I stopped labeling Loverboy as a hard rock band who had sold out and gone commercial. While “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” was still a very successful commercial album, it went double platinum, it also proved that that success could be done without compromising musical integrity. So full marks to the band all around on that.

Next post: John Cougar Mellencamp- Scarecrow

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: INXS- Listen Like Thieves

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2018 by 80smetalman

INXS were always one of those hit or miss bands for me, especially by 1985 when I was full throttle into heavy metal. I thought a lot of their 1983 album, “Shabooh Shoobah” album, however, I wasn’t that impressed with what I heard from their follow up album, “The Swing.” Then that’s how my strange mind works. As a result, I wasn’t sure whether or not I should give their 1985 effort, “Listen Like Thieves” a chance. In fact, I must confess that I didn’t actually listen to the album in 1985, it would be a few years later when I was treated to it. I realized then that this was a pretty decent album.

So-called experts claim that the three singles released from the album represented INXS’s move to being a more singles band. However, while “What You Need,” “Listen Like Thieves” and “Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)” all charted in the band’s native Australia, only the first one charted in the US. I’m not sure how they did anywhere else. This adds to my paradox in regards to them. Three singles from an album would have led me to brand them a top 40 band back then but the fact only one song actually reached that plateau in the US convinces me they weren’t and makes me like them more.

Now as most of you already know, I don’t judge an album by its singles and it’s the rest of the album I was most interested in. Fortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t disappoint. “Shine Like It Does” continues the fusion of new wave and hard rock and “Biting Bullets” gets my vote for hidden gem on the album. It has a catchy rhythm with a hard rock edge and the keyboards support the song and add an extra dimension to it. “This Time” has an intro that would sit well with a heavy metal song and though it’s not metal, the band makes good work of things with it. With nearly all of the songs, INXS employ a catchy melody that goes well with the guitars and new wave sound. Sure, there are keyboards but they are in no way synth pop and it makes things that much better. The only song that doesn’t really do it is the instrumental “Three Sisters” but there’s enough there on that one that I still will listen to it. It’s almost the same story with “Same Direction,” except it does have a catchy chorus and a nice little guitar hook. The rockiest song, however, is the closer, “Red Red Sun.” It seems here that INXS were determined to go all out in the end and they do it quite well here. There are no solos but some good guitar hooks on it, so it’s a great way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. What you Need
  2. Listen Like Thieves
  3. Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)
  4. Shine Like It Does
  5. Good + Bad Times
  6. Biting Bullets
  7. This Time
  8. Three Sisters
  9. Same Direction
  10.  One x One
  11. Red Red Sun

INXS

Michael Hutchence- lead vocals

Kirk Pengilly- guitar, saxophone, vocals

Garry Gary Beers- bass

Andrew Farriss- keyboards, guitar

John Farriss- drums, percussion

Tim Farriss- guitar

This is a case of appreciating now what I didn’t appreciate back then. Fearful to take the plunge, I had to wait a few years to see what a good album “Listen Like Thieves” actually was. Fortunately, this is also a case of all’s well that ends well.

Next post: Eric Clapton- The Edge of Night

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Dire Straits- Brothers in Arms

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2018 by 80smetalman

The arrival of “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits in the summer of 1985 brought many different reactions to people. Back then, I couldn’t help but laugh at teens who thought they were the brand new sensation of the 1980s. More than one of these was completely dumbfounded when I told them that Dire Straits had been on the go since 1978 and had four prior albums. Old time followers though, upon hearing this album accused the band of abandoning their original sound and going too new wave. Some even went onto say that Dire Straits had sold out. I never thought that though I realize now that particular label got banded around too much.

“Money for Nothing” was the first big single from “Brothers in Arms” and it seemed to be on every time I switched on MTV. It also got lots of radio airplay and that was one piece of evidence used by hardcore followers to insist the band sold out. Further evidence was the fact that Sting sang accompanying vocals on the song. If you want to know my thoughts, (and you do want to know my thoughts), I never thought this song was a sell out. Furthermore, I thought Sting did a damn good job on the vocals and I have always loved the fuzz guitar throughout the song. Okay, it didn’t dislodge “Sultans of Swing” off my top spot for my favourite Dire Straits songs, it didn’t even make the top three, but it is a good song.

In fact, “Money for Nothing,” isn’t even my favourite song on this album! That honour goes to the next song on the album, “Walk of Life.” Sure, there’s a heavy keyboard sound on it but it wasn’t done in that choppy synth pop style. Got to give full marks to Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher on it, they play it very well. Plus the song just has a vibe that grabs me and has me nodding along to the melody. Maybe also the American sports themed video on MTV might have had some influence on me too.

Unfortunately, after the those two songs and a cool opener, “So Far Away” is a more traditional sounding Dire Straits song for me, the album goes a little downhill on the next couple of songs. While the sax playing of Michael Brecker on “Your Latest Trick” is very good, it doesn’t redeem the song to a point where I can say, “Hey, this is good.” Nor do things improve with the next track, “Why Worry.” Both of these songs could be put on an album called, “Dire Straits Does Elevator Music” for that’s what they remind of.

Fortunately, the album improves to more familiar Dire Straits territory after that. While there are still elements of elevator music on “Ride Across the River,” at least Mark Knopfler let’s his guitar do some singing on it and I do like the jungle rhythms in the background. Then for a complete change, there is a country music sounding acoustic guitar intro on “The Man’s Too Strong” before going into more Dire Straits sounding guitar rock. This track will have you saying, “This is more like it” and my vote for hidden gem on the album. However, it does get some stiff competition for that honour from the next track, “One World.” More of the old Dire Straits here and again, Mr Knopfler isn’t afraid to let loose on the guitar. Those two songs all lead to the end which is carried out very somberly but nicely by the title track.

Track Listing:

  1. So Far Away
  2. Money For Nothing
  3. Walk of Life
  4. Your Latest Trick
  5. Why Worry
  6. Ride Across the River
  7. The Man’s Too Strong
  8. One World
  9. Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead guitar, lead vocals

Alan Clark- keyboards

Omar Hakim- drums

John Illsley- bass, backing vocals

Guy Fletcher- keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Sting- vocals on “Money for Nothing”

Michael Brecker- saxophone on “Your Latest Trick”

Randy Brecker- trumpet

Malcolm Duncan- saxophone

Jimmy Maelen- percussion

Mike Mainieri- vibraphone, keyboards

David Plews- trumpet

Jack Sonni- guitar synthesizer on “The Man’s Too Strong”

It was on the tour for this album when I finally got to see Dire Straits live. It was a good show but and they played “Sultans of Swing”  as well as several songs from this album. There was a good mix of old and new followers there too. However, my big hang up about that evening was they didn’t play my number two and three DS songs, “Skateaway” and “Industrial Disease.” You can’t have everything I suppose. Still, no matter which side of the fence you sit on for “Brothers in Arms,” I have to say that it’s not a bad album.

Next post: The Power Station

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537988591&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: The Hooters- Nervous Night

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2018 by 80smetalman

Thanks to everyone who wished me well on my holiday. It was just a long weekend at the Butlin’s Holiday Camp in Skegness and then a couple of days at Cleethorpes but it was nice. Now, I’m back and it’s back to the tour of the 1980s through my eyes.

Skegness Fair and park

Probably no one remembers when I posted about a band called Beru Revue a few months back. So, to refresh everyone’s memory, Beru Revue were a local band out of Philadelphia who were very popular in their native area but never broke out and made it elsewhere. At the end of that post, I mentioned that another band from Philadelphia would break out and rise to national attention in 1985. That band was The Hooters and they did so with their second album, “Nervous Night.”

It might not be well known but before this album came out, The Hooters had some previous commercial success when they co-wrote Cyndi Lauper’s second big hit single, “Time After Time.” Trust me, The Hooters’ version of the song totally blows Lauper’s out of the water. At least I think so. Looking back into history, one shouldn’t have been surprised when they did make the big time. I remember their first single and one of my favourite tracks on the album, “All You Zombies” getting played quite a bit on the radio. Then to my surprise, on a visit to Rhode Island, I saw the video to said song played on a local music channel. That confirmed that The Hooters had actually made it.

My theory behind the the success of “Nervous Night” was it down to the music being a bit different. Some called it new wave or punk because that was the label given to any music that didn’t fit any mold in 1985. I always think it’s great when you can’t pigeonhole music that’s good. The closest track that may fit into the mold others try to impose on it would be the fourth one, “Don’t Take My Car Out Tonight.” There is a synth sound supporting a hard rock sounding guitar along with some of the other unique instruments the band plays like a melodica. Saying that, it’s all done well. “Hanging on a Heartbeat” can also fit this mold and it does have a good guitar solo.

The two more successful singles “And We Danced” and “Day by Day” are also unique but still very commercial radio friendly. It’s probably why both either hovered around or cracked the top 20 in the singles charts. However, there are two possible hidden gems. While, “Where Do the Children Go,” which Patty Smyth makes a guest appearance on, did get some airplay on radio and MTV, it didn’t chart as well as the other two singles and most people have forgotten it. I haven’t. This is a brilliant song, especially the way the mandolin is played on it. The other hidden gem is “Blood From a Stone” which rocks a little more. The song is about working people struggling to keep their heads above water during a time when wages were being cut and people were only given part time jobs to make the unemployment figures look good. Even now, these lyrics ring true:

“I work hard to pay the rent and support my government

The highways and the railroad tracks

I’m not giving it up till they give it all back

You can laugh and but it’s no joke 

You got to fix the thing that’s broke

There’s no meat only bone, but you can’t get blood from a stone.”

“South Ferry Road” is a pretty good rocker as well and “She Comes in Colors” has a sound reminiscent of The Cars.

Track Listing:

  1. And We Danced
  2. Day By Day
  3. All you Zombies
  4. Don’t Take My Car Tonight
  5. Nervous Night
  6. Hanging on a Heartbreak
  7. Where Do the Children Go
  8. South Ferry Road
  9. She Comes in Colors
  10. Blood From a Stone

The Hooters

Eric Bazilian- lead vocals, guitars, mandolin, saxophone

Rob Hyman- lead vocals, keyboards, melodica

Arthur King- bass, vocals

John Liley- guitar

David Uoskkinen- drums

I’ll let you decide if The Hooters version is better than Cyndi Lauper’s

I think most people believe it’s great when a local artist makes the big time and for most people in the Delaware Valley, it was The Hooters in 1985. This would be their year as “Nervous Night” would win several awards and the band would open the Live Aid Concert. Yes great things and two years later, The Hooters would be one hit wonders in the UK but that’s a story for another day.

Next post: Fiona

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Lone Justice

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2018 by 80smetalman

My first hearing of the band Lone Justice in 1985 came not through MTV or the radio, nor did it come from anyone recommending I buy their debut album. I first heard about them when I was told they were supporting then legends, U2. Then two days before I was going to see them, my local radio station played their first single, “Ways to be Wicked.” I liked it and that gave me a greater expectation of the band when I finally did see them and on that night, I wasn’t disappointed! In 1985, U2 and Lone Justice made a very good combination.

Lone Justice are listed in Wikapedia as country rock and I don’t disagree with that assessment. Thre is definitely a country music influence and the album is too rock to be considered country. Have a listen to “Don’t Toss Us Away.” However, I think a better assessment is Southern Rock meets new wave. When listening to the rock guitars you can hear what was then called modern synths compliments of one Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Mike Campbell from the same band lends his guitar skills as well and there is even contributions from Little Steven who most of the world knows from Bruce Springsteen’s band. With this accompaniment assisting, it’s no wonder the album is so good. Not that I am taking anything away from the band because those players weren’t with them when I saw Lone Justice live and the band was quite capable of holding their own. Not only did they play material from this album, they also delighted the crowd to covers of CCR’s “The Fortunate Son” and “Sweet Jane.”

“Ways to Be Wicked” has always been my favourite Lone Justice song, probably to the exposure on radio and eventually MTV. Other songs which really stand out for me are “After the Flood” and “Soap, Soup and Salvation” which is about the extreme poverty that was rising in America during the mid 1980s. Again, I take nothing away from the rest of the album and while the musicianship is first rate, the driving force behind each and every song is the vocals of Maria McKee. She may be small in height but her vocal range makes her ten feet tall. Thinking about it, I’m rather disappointed that more wasn’t said about her vocal ability back then because she is phenomenal.

Track Listing:

  1. East of Eden
  2. After the Flood
  3. Ways to be Wicked
  4. Don’t Toss Us Away
  5. Working Late
  6. Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling)
  7. Pass It On
  8. Wait Til We Get Home
  9. Soap, Soup and Salvation
  10. You Are the Light

Lone Justice

Maria McKee- guitar, harmonica, vocals

Ryan Hedgecock- guitar, vocals

Marvin Etzioni- bass, backing vocals

Don Heffington- drums

Additional Musicians:

Mike Campbell- guitar

Tony Gilkyson- guitar

Bob Glaub- bass

Little Steven- guitar

Benmont Tench- piano, organ, synthesizer, backing vocals

Three years after seeing Lone Justice and hearing their debut album, I mentioned to someone who was heavily into the band that I had seen them support U2. He responded that U2 should have supported Lone Justice. I wouldn’t have gone that far but I can appreciate his feelings. Lone Justice should have achieved much more than they did and this album proves it.

Next post: Warlock- Hellbound

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Eric Clapton- Behind the Sun

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2018 by 80smetalman

In my last few posts, I have recollected how back in 1985, I thought several great rockers from the 1970s had sold out and gone too commercial only to realize that I was wrong when finally getting around to listening to their album. However, I never said this about guitar god Eric Clapton when his “Behind the Sun” album came out in the same year. Ironically, all the music critics at the time said he did exactly that, citing his collaboration with Phil Collins on the album. One said that Eric was in danger of turning his back on his faithful following and liable to end up playing his greatest hits on the Vegas circuit. What do critics know?

It was on tour for this album when I finally got to see Eric Clapton in his full glory in concert. I do make a passing comment about it in “Rock And Roll Children.” Memories from that piece of history have brought up two items from that night. One, Eric did play a lot of his greatest hits that evening but he did play some from the album too. The other and I think this might be down to management, his two female backing singers were dressed kind of new wave but that didn’t affect his brilliant music played that evening. If anything, I thought the biggest act of sacrilege from the show was that he let the rhythm guitarist play a solo on “Cocaine.”

If Eric Clapton sounds new wave or too commercial on the “Behind the Sun” album, I sure as hell don’t hear any evidence of it. To me, this was Eric Clapton at his usual best. Even looking at the two singles released from the album, “She’s Waiting” and “Forever Man” do not give me any thought that he was trying to go too commercial 80s here. “She’s Waiting” is everything I had always remembered and liked about his music and “Forever Man” reminds me of his great hit with Derek and the Dominoes, “Layla.” So again, I shoot down the accusation that Eric was trying to sound too commercial. One song that totally refutes that claim is my vote for hidden gem, “Same Old Blues.” Here, he shows how he got the nickname ‘Slow Hand’ as he solos all through the song, classic blues guitar at its very best.

Some my counter claim by citing his cover of the 1979 disco hit by one hit wonder Amii Stewart, “Knock on Wood.” Clapton’s version of this song sounds nothing like the original disco tune. He puts his own spin on the song, that’s a certainty. If there’s any variation from traditional Clapton, it has to be with “See What Love Can Do” which sound rather calypso but it’s played very well with a classic Clapton guitar solo it. In fact, what I love about the album is the fact that he solos his way all the way through it and that’s what I have always liked about him. He is truly a guitar god.

Amii Stewart

Track Listing:

  1. She’s Waiting
  2. See What Love Can Do
  3. Same Old Blues
  4. Knock On Wood
  5. Something’s Happening
  6. Forever Man
  7. It All Depends
  8. Tangled In Love
  9. Never Make You Cry
  10. Just Like a Prisoner
  11. Behind the Sun

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton- lead guitar, lead vocals

Phil Collins- drums (tracks 1,3,4,9,10), shaker (tracks 7 & 9)

Donald Dunn (From the Blues Brothers)- bass (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Jamie Oldake- drums (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Chris Stainton- synthesizers, organ, piano (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Marcy Levy- backing vocals (tracks 1-3 and 6-9)

Lyndsey Buckingham- rhythm guitar (track 5)

James Newton Howard- synthesizer (track 5)

Jerry Lynn Williams- backing vocals (tracks 2 & 5)

Lenny Castro- congas, percussion (tracks 2 & 6)

Ray Cooper- percussion, gong, bongos (tracks 1,3,7,8)

Nathan East- bass, backing vocals (tracks 2,5,6)

Steve Lukather- rhythm guitar (tracks 2 & 6)

Shawn Murphy- backing vocals (tracks 1,3,7,8)

Michael Omartian- synthesizer (tracks 2 & 6)

Jeff Procraro- drums (tracks 2 & 6)

Greg Phillinganes- synthesizer, backing vocals (track 5)

John JR Johnson- drums (track 5)

J. Peter Robinson- synthesizer (tracks 1,3,4 7-10)

Ted Templeman- shaker, tambourine, timbales (tracks 5 & 6)

When “Behind the Sun” came to my attention, I was glad that a classic album from a great musician was able to fill the gap in what was a few metal starved months for me. This album was never too 80s pop in my view, it just cooks.

Next post: Lone Justice

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: The Wrestling Album

Posted in Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2018 by 80smetalman

Big question: Is my memory not as good as I thought or is Wikopedia not as accurate as they are believed to be? For more than thirty-three years, I was convinced that “The Wrestling Album” came out in the early part of 1985. However, Wikopedia claims it came out in the November of that year. Anyway, when in 1985 the album came out doesn’t really matter, it did and it provided an amusing alternative. Besides, it was still better than a lot of the commercial synth crap that was around.

“The Wrestling Album” came out in a bid to take advantage of the “Rock and Wrestling Connection” which was established the previous year with Cyndi Lauper. She doesn’t sing on this album, with the exception of Rick Derringer’s “Real American,” the wrestlers do. Many of the big WWE, although back then it was still the WWF, who were around at the time have songs, some of them are quite good. The best ones in my view are “Grab Them Cakes” by Junkyard Dog and credit where due, “Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield” by bad guy manager Jimmy ‘The Mouth of the South’ Hart. Wrestling commentator Mean Gene Okerlund does do a pretty good rendition of “Tutti Fruitti.” Derringer’s song, like most of the ones sung by the wrestlers is done in a punk/new wave fashion but he does do a reasonably cool guitar solo on it. After all, that’s what makes Rick great! Furthermore, all the main WWE wrestlers perform on the first track, “Land of a Thousand Dances” which got considerable airplay on MTV. But the album isn’t just music, in between the tracks, you get some funny commentary from Vince McMahon, Gene Okerlund and wrestler, actor and the man who would eventually come to be governor of Minnesota, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura.

While it’s very easy not to take the album seriously, I can also see that those behind the album, especially Cyndi’s then manager David Wolf, made sure the songs were done right. He got Derringer and Meat Loaf producer Jim Steinman to produce the album. I have to admit, they do a good job on it, no matter how much I want to burst out laughing whenever I hear “Captain Lou’s History of Music/Captain Lou” by Lou Albano. Then again, I have never dismissed humour in music and there’s a lot to be had with “The Wrestling Album.”

Track Listing:

  1. The Wrestlers- Land of a Thousand Dances
  2. Junkyard Dog- Grab Them Cakes
  3. Rick Derringer- Real American
  4. Jimmy Hart- Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield
  5. Captain Lou Albano and George ‘The Animal’ Steele- Captain Lou’s History of Music/Captain Lou
  6. WWF All Stars- Hulk Hogan’s Theme
  7. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper- For Everybody
  8. Mean Gene Okerlund- Tutti Fruitti
  9. Hillbilly Jim- Don’t Go Messin’ With a Country Boy
  10. Nikolai Volkf- Cara Mia

Rick Derringer

Jim Steinman

Frank Zappa once asked, “Does humour belong in music?” My answer to this has always been an emphatic, “Yes!” “The Wrestling Album” is a very fun album and you can’t fault the quality of the songs even if the singers aren’t “ahem,” top notch. It did provide a humourous break in the action back in 85.

Next post: Van Morrison- A Sense of Wonder

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: … .cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre.html