Jon Gibson – Jesus Loves Ya – 1990

It is with “Jesus Loves Ya” that many believe Jon Gibson found his artistic center. Though it may not be his best album it remains his most consistent and completely Jon Gibson. Longer and more progressive songs without fear of needing to create three minute radio friendly singles, Gibson here explores more musical diversity and allows the songs to be rather than editing them for record company suits. The result was the longest running number one single in CCM history clocking in at over 6 minutes with no “radio edit” ever released by the record company. The single stayed at number one despite its length and the album also hit number one on the CCM sales charts. Too bad more record companies and radio stations never learned this lesson in artistic freedom and the listeners’ desire for real good songs no matter the length. The album remains Gibson’s “grittiest” and most “street sounding of his career. The quiet soulfulness of Body and Soul is gone and the slick pop of the follow-up Forever Friends had not yet surfaced. Here Gibson’s penchant for scat, improvisation and “vamping” is given free reign and results are stellar. As the song continues and builds Gibsons’ passionate soul draws the listener in. The album also contains more rap than any other album with several guest appearances as well as Gibson’s own blue-eyed rap style. But the most important influence on this album is clearly the late Gene Eugene (Adam Again) whose production help and funk grooves gave Gibson more a polished platform to perform. The drum and bass sounds are unmistakably Eugene. Along with title tracks claim to fame, Love Come Down also reached Number one and Preacher Man made it to the Top 5. The latter really stands out as something wonderful from Gibson with the rousing brass section and sounds like something off of “Songs in the Key of Life.” This album may not be Gibson’s best or most popular but it clearly may be the most important album in his career.

Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Enough Is Enough – 4:32
2 – Love Come Down – 5:45
3 – Jesus Loves Ya Intro – 0:10
4 – Jesus Loves Ya – 6:26
5 – From Heaven – 5:34
6 – Call On My Love – 4:59
7 – Everlasting – 6:08
8 – Straight On – 3:09
9 – Preacher Man – 3:26
10 – In Too Deep – 4:25
11 – Forever Now – 4:32
12 – His Love Is Strong – 5:08
13 – Watching All My Days Go By – 6:51

Credits
Bass [5 String Bass] – Myron Dove
Clavinet – G. Eugene
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Electronic Drums, Programmed By – Jon Gibson
Organ [B-3], Strings – Rob Watson
Rap – Jon Gibson, M.C. Peace
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar – Dave Koval
Drums, Congas – Cubby Ingram
Rhythm Guitar – Rick Zunigar
Saxophone – Doug Webb
Vocals (Kids) – Kumari Lewis, Vivian Lewis
Backing Vocals – Ray Sidney, Shelly Penir, Vivian Lewis
Lead Guitar – Tony Palacios
Arranged By [Clavinet] – Gene Eugene
Arranged By [Drum, Piano, Synth And String] – Jon Gibson
Arranged By [Horns] – Rob Watson
Arranged By [Rhythm Guitar] – Rick Zunigar
Arranged By [Saxophone] – Doug Webb
Art Direction, Design – Ed McTaggart
Mixed By – G. Eugene
Photography By – Michael Seeley
Recorded By – G. Eugene
Written-By – Jon Gibson

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – The Mixing Lab
Mixed At – The Mixing Lab

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Mark Heard – Fingerprint – 1980/1995

The story goes that in 1980 Mark was having difficulties with Larry Norman and Solid Rock Records. As he was on contract in the USA he went to Europe to record and release this album. However there is a secondary story that is much simpler and in my opinion more possible. It is that Mark was essentially living in Europe and as such chose to release his next album there. The album was originally released on his own label in Switzerland which is a relatively odd business decision. All that aside this album was missed by most Mark Heard fans as it wasn’t released in the US until 1995. By now he was free and clear of Larry and Solid Rock Records so he released it on VIA Records. The album is about three quarters Mark’s signature acoustic guitar work but there are a few 70’s style rocking tunes. Mark rerecorded a few of these tracks between 1980 and 1995 to put on his North American releases so some of these versions may surprise you.

Tracklist
1 – I’m In Chains – 3:30
2 – Nowadays – 3:25
3 – One More Time – 3:03
4 – Epistle – 2:57
5 – Just The Same – 3:16
6 – Well-Worn Pages – 2:48
7 – Gimme Mine – 3:51
8 – All The Sleepless Dreamers – 3:33
9 – Negative Charge – 3:58
10 – Brown-Eyed Sue – 3:20
11 – Es Tut Mir Leid – 2:04
12 – Remarks To Mr. McLuhan – 2:02
13 – Threefold Amen – 0:20

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Mandolin, Synthesizer [Moog], Percussion, Vocals, Backing Vocals – Mark Heard
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Slide Guitar – Jon Linn
Backing Vocals, Photography By – Janet Sue Heard
Drums – Peter Johnson
Piano, Synthesizer – Tom Howard
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By, Written By, Photography By – Mark Heard

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – King’s Records
Recorded At – Peace In The Valley Recording
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Palmfrond Communications
Copyright (c) – Palmfrond Communications
Manufactured By – King’s Records
Pressed By – Turicaphon AG

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1995 Cover

Various – Sweet Family Music – A Tribute To Stryper – 1996

This project appears to have been spearheaded by Alex Parker who owned Flying Tart Records. The publishing rights are held by Sweet Family Music which is in some way owned by Stryper themselves. It is a collection of alternate versions of Stryper songs by a variety of bands in 1996. At times the album almost seems to mock Stryper and if I was a Stryper member I don’t think I would have thought much of this album. The album also has NO flow and has a huge variation in style and quality. There’s Metal, Punk, Grunge, and even Techno sounds. Reading on the internet I see that this album was not well received by Stryper fans and quite frankly I can’t blame them. I’m not a huge Stryper fan but I have to sympathize with their fans. This album just really wasn’t that good an idea and the execution/quality just isn’t there. That said there are a couple of good tracks on the album but I’ll leave it to you to listen to it and pick them out.

Tracklist
1 – Cell Dweller – The Abyss – 2:01
2 – Steve Hindalong – To Hell With The Devil – 3:33
3 – Morella’s Forest – Calling On You – 4:14
4 – Klank – The Way – 3:51
5 – Cricket – Makes Me Wanna Sing – 3:03
6 – Havalina Rail Co. – Always There For You – 5:51
7 – Dinner Mint – All For One – 4:02
8 – Argyle Park – Lonely (Two-Timing Mix) – 5:08
9 – Grammatrain – More Than A Man – 4:45
10 – Combat Chuck – You Know What To Do – 3:20
11 – Ghoti Hook – First Love – 3:12
12 – Echoing Green – You Won’t Be Lonely – 3:42
13 – The Blamed – Soldiers Under Command – 5:26
14 – Aleixa – Makes Me Wanna… – 3:37
15 – Joe Christmas – (Waiting For) A Love That’s Real – 3:53
16 – Fluffy Featuring Ralph Melish – Honestly – 5:23
17 – Marriage Is Madness – Free – 3:50
18 – Unknown Artist – Outro – 0:39

Credits
Concept By [Conceived By], Compiled By – Alex Parker
Design Concept [Cover And Artwork Concept] – Alex Parker
Executive-Producer [Of Sorts] – Alex Parker
Layout, Design – Craig A. Mason
Mastered By – Buddy Miller

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Circle Studio
Mixed At – Circle Studio
Recorded At – Broadway Production Studios
Recorded At – Assembly Line Studios
Recorded At – Secret Studios
Mixed At – Secret Studios
Published By – Sweet Family Music
Published By – Stryper Music
Published By – Amgine Music
Published By – Sir Oz Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Flying Tart Records
Copyright (c) – Flying Tart Records
Manufactured By – Liquid Disc Records
Distributed By – Liquid Disc Records
Pressed By – Disctronics USA – 139326

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Xalt – Under The Ruins – 1990

This is the second album from Xalt. The band had one lineup change between albums with Randy Carlson replaced Steve Davis on Bass. It’s another commercial sounding Metal album and falls right in line with their first album. The album was not well received however and all the reviews I read criticized the lyrics and engineering. I do agree the engineering was not great and I admit that I greatly enhanced it for our YouTube videos. As for the lyrics personally they sound like all the other metal lyrics of the era so I don’t understand that complaint. All in all sounds like a solid Metal effort. It was reissued in 2021 by Retroactive Records and included a bonus track which I have included with our YouTube playlist. Strangely the reissue also came with trading cards. I don’t remember seeing that before.

Tracklist
1 – Through The Night – 3:44
2 – Forgiven – 2:46
3 – Under The Ruins – 3:59
4 – Waste Your Life Away – 3:29
5 – Lost Without You – 4:05
6 – Piercing The Darkness – 4:47
7 – The Fortress – 2:45
8 – Wounded Heart – 4:45
9 – The Kingdom Within – 2:50
10 – Lift Him Up – 3:32
11 – Take A Look (2021 Bonus Track) – 2:25

Credits
Randy Carlson – Bass
Allan Chase – Engineer, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Scott Doerfler – Lead and Background Vocals
James Erdman – Producer, Guitars
Todd Gleason – Drums
Andie Leheay – Assistant Engineer
Carolyn Neito – Background Vocals
Joey Powers – Producer
Kevin J. Wessner – Executive Producer

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Imperials – Love’s Still Changing Hearts – 1990

The Imperials entered the 90’s with some big changes. They left Myrrh records for Star Song records who actually had a distribution deal with Sparrow. This was a surprise in the industry as Star Song wasn’t considered a big dollar label but here’s the proof they were. Lineup changes continued with this album. David Robertson replaced Jimmie Lee Sloas who left for a solo career that never took off. David promptly left the band after this album also for a rather non spectacular solo career. They simply weren’t Russ Taff but I think that’s what they envisioned. Anyway drama aside the album was successful as usual. “It’s Raining Again” made it to #1, “I Will Follow You” to #3, “Come Into My Life” to #5, and “Original Love” made it to #9. Personally however I think the best track on the album is “It’s Gonna Be Alright” which personally I could have heard on a Blues Brothers album. Shout out to the horn section. Yes it’s that good a track and is in my regular rotation.

Tracklist
1 – Big Ball Turning – 5:17
2 – Love Can Make It Happen – 4:37
3 – Come Into My Life – 4:33
4 – Original Love – 4:36
5 – I Will Follow You – 4:51
6 – It’s Raining Again – 4:45
7 – It’s Gonna Be Alright – 4:47
8 – Love’s Still Changing Hearts – 4:26
9 – Come Let Us Worship – 4:40
10 – Goin’ Away – 3:40
11 – Platinum Medley – 8:46

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Billy Panda, David Barrett
Alto Saxophone – James A. Perkins, Jr.
Arranged By – Morris “Butch” Stewart
Arranged By [Original] – Diane Louie
Art Direction, Design – Jackson Design
Backing Vocals – Jason Morales, Kim Fleming, Morris “Butch” Stewart, Tanya Goodman-Sykes, Vicky Hampton
Baritone Saxophone – Steve Eisen
Bass – Ronald Hall
Drums – Wayne Stewart
Electric Guitar – Peter Lerner, Richard Davis
Engineer [2nd] – John David Parker, Scott Ahaus, Tom Russo
Engineer [3rd] – Graham Lewis
Executive-Producer – Armond Morales, Jeff Moseley
Mixed By – Nick Froome
Photography By – Russ Harrington
Producer – Morris “Butch” Stewart
Recorded By – Larry Millas, Paul Klingberg
Sequenced By – “Kuk” Harrell, Morris “Butch” Stewart
Synth, Organ [Hammond B-3] – Chris “Hambone” Cameron
Synthesizer – Morris “Butch” Stewart, Neil Artwick
Tenor Saxophone – James A. Perkins, Jr., Steve Eisen
Trombone – Michael Halpin
Trumpet – Grant Cramer, Mark Ohlsen
Vocals [Guest] – Kim Fleming
Vocals [The Imperials] – Armond Morales, David Robertson, David Will, Ron Hemby

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Star Song
Copyright (c) – Star Song
Distributed By – Sparrow/Star Song Distribution
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia
Recorded At – River North Studios
Recorded At – Home Boy Studios, Evanston, IL
Recorded At – Reflections Studio, Nashville, TN
Mixed At – 16th Avenue Sound
Mastered At – Georgetown Masters

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Jacob’s Trouble – Door Into Summer – 1989

This was the introductory album from Jacob’s Trouble. I can’t find any info on the band before they hit the studio to record this album. The album was produced by Terry Taylor (Daniel Amos) and Gene Eugene helped out on keyboards. The album features both a Monkees cover “Door Into Summer”, and a Beatles cover “Tell Me What You See”, The rest of the album has a Beatles / Monkees feel and sound too. Their future albums were better received than this one and I can understand why. This album seemed kind of dull to me. I just can’t get excited about it. It’s not a bad album just kind of dull. That said this is an important milestone in CCM music for who the band was and what they would become.

Tracklist
1 – Wind And Wave – 5:14
2 – Tell Me What You See – 3:20
3 – She Smiles At The Future – 3:59
4 – Church Of Do What You Want To – 4:45
5 – Awfully Familiar – 4:58
6 – Waiting For The Son – 4:15
7 – Door Into Summer – 3:07
8 – If You Believe – 4:22
9 – Million Miles – 3:28
10 – All For You – 3:38
11 – Psalm 151 – 3:51

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals – Terry Taylor
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Jerry Chamberlain, Ric Alba, The Troubling Jacobury’s
Bass [Rickenbacker], Vocals, Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Steve Atwell
Drums, Vocals, Tambourine, Backing Vocals – Jerry Davison
Engineer – Gene Eugene
Guitar, Twelve-String Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals – Mark Blackburn
Guitar, Keyboards, E-Bow – Greg Flesch
Photography By – Michael Seeley
Piano, Keyboards – Gene Eugene
Producer – Terry Taylor
Tambourine, Maracas, Percussion [Etc.] – Alex MacDougall
Written-By – Jerry Davison, Mark Blackburn, Steve Atwell, Terry Taylor

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Broken Songs
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.

DeGarmo And Key – Rock Solid Absolutely Live – 1988

I believe D & K were trying to recreate the huge success of their 1982 Live album “No Turning Back”. This album also came out as a video entitled “Rock Solid…The Rock-U-Mentary”. I took in the “No Turing Back” tour and while this album is good it’s not even in the same ballpark. I have seen the video for this album and it is mainly the guys hamming it up for the camera and this effects the music quality in my opinion. Also the noted for the album state that the sound is raw and not enhanced. This is plainly obvious when you listen to it as the engineering is questionable. In my OPINION live albums need “enhancing” to relay the feel of the concert to the listener. Now all that said it’s a pretty good album and I enjoy listening to it but I strongly prefer “No Turning Back”

Tracklist
1 – Casual Christian (Chorus) – 1:11
2 – Rock Solid – 7:09
3 – Ready Or Not – 3:27
4 – Soldier Of Fortune – 4:24
5 – Six, Six, Six – 5:35
6 – Don’t Stop The Music – 6:16
7 – Holy Hustle – 3:54
8 – When The Son Begins To Reign – 3:04
9 – Are You Ready – 3:43
10 – Addey – 7:37
11 – Let The Whole World Sing – 1:22
12 – Alleluia, Christ Is Coming – 1:07
13 – Destined To Win – 2:21
14 – Rock Solid (Reprise) – 3:33

Credits
Artwork [Art Coordination] – Connie Sneed
Bass, Vocals – Tommy Cathey
Design – Katherine DeVault Design
Engineer – Gary Hedden
Engineer [Assistant] – Jim Kaiser
Executive-producer – Dan R. Brock, Ron W. Griffin
Guitar, Vocals – Steve Taylor
Keyboards, Vocals – Eddie DeGarmo
Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar – Dana Key
Management – Brock & Associates
Mastered By [Digitally Mastered] – Hank Williams
Mixed By [Assistant Engineer] – James Craft
Mixed By, Drums, Percussion – Greg Morrow
Photography By – Paul Wharton
Producer, Mixed By – Degarmo & Key
Recorded By [Remote Recording] – GHL Audio Engineering

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – ForeFront Records
Copyright (c) – The Benson Company, Inc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Mixed At – Crosstown Recorders
Mastered At – Mastermix

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Bill Mason Band – No Sham! – 1979

In early 1981 I got my first job at a Christian bookstore in Orange, CA. Before the days of computerized listening centers or even tape decks with headsets you had to listen to something on the stores overhead system. Suffice it to say, considering the age and demographic of the average Christian bookstore shopper, there were few chances to hear anything like the Bill Mason Band album. In fact, the demo album had never been opened and the store owner let me buy it for a buck! That one dollar bought an album that has been played more often over the years than any LP I own except maybe Zionic Bonds. Though it has been released on CD I have yet to get a copy. I sometimes wonder if the pops and clicks that are son ingrained in my mind will disrupt the listening of a pristine CD version. As for the album itself, it is clearly an AYSO! Punk rock that is still so very cool to listen to. Touches of ska are here and there, but for the most part it is a Clash like rock version of punk with Elvis Costello’s pop sensibilities. Completely British, raw and irresistible. Produced, surprisingly, by John Pantry, the album had a cup of coffee in the US through a limited release on Star Song. The band stands out on the faster cuts like Billy and the Rotas, Stand Up and Be Counted and radio. The latter is a personal favorite and some 30 years later there still “ain’t no God on that radio.” Another favorite is “Get Inside,” a longer song at nearly 5 minutes that builds and builds into a raucous finish. I always wanted to hear Mike Roe cover the song. The album is actually pretty well produced, especially for the time and sounds great today. It is the definitive punk classic for Christian music from the 70’s. The reader must remember this preceded Undercover, Lifesavors and the Altar Boys by a few years. There was literally nothing else like it.

Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Billy & The Rota’s – 3:27
2 – Detectives – 3:45
3 – Out On The Streets – 2:00
4 – I Don’t Want You – 3:24
5 – Stand Up And Be Counted – 2:57
6 – Radio – 2:19
7 – I Got The Answers – 2:21
8 – Mr. G – 3:41
9 – Get Inside – 4:41
10 – Lost Years – 6:36

Credits
Backing Vocals – Paula Holmes
Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals – Iain Beeston
Congas, Noises [Whale Noises] – Steve Gilbert
Drums, Percussion – Dave Rawding
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Synth [Korg Synth], Piano [Acoustic Piano], Vocals – Phil Holmes
Engineer – Steve Foely
Guitar, Backing Vocals, Written-By – Si Hawthorne
Lead Vocals, Percussion, Written-By – Bill Mason
Producer – John Pantry

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Smile Studios
Published By – ThankYou Music

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Tom Howard – Danger In Loving You – 1981

Tom Howard was another one of the Solid Rock posse that circled around Larry Norman throughout the 1970s. This 1981 release was on NewPax records, produced by Terry Taylor of DA, after his debut on Solid Rock with Larry. Danger In Loving You has some strong rock songs and also a lot of the softer side that Tom became known for in his career. “Power Play” is radio single material, while “This Quiet Place” is a song that lives up to its name. “The Serious Occupation of Fish” is a quirky tune that uses humour to get at a profound point. Randy Stonehill also makes an appearance on this album. He’s uncredited, but you can hear his voice come out of the background vocals in places.

Tracklist
1 – Horizon – 2:35
2 – Shine Your Light – 3:35
3 – House Of The Father – 3:32
4 – Passing In The Night – 4:24
5 – Run The Race – 4:30
6 – This Quiet Place – 3:24
7 – Strong Love – 4:15
8 – The Serious Occupation Of Fish – 3:15
9 – Power Play – 2:54
10 – Danger In Loving You – 4:40

Credits
Art Direction – Ronald Thomas
Backing Vocals – Bill Batstone, Dori Lynn Howard, Elsa Harris, Gerry Limpic, Jerry Chamberlain, Jessy Dixon, Linda McCreary, Randy Stonehill, Sam Allen, Terry Taylor, Tom Howard
Bass [Alembic Five-string Base] – Flim Johnson
Drums – Bill Berg
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Wayne Johnson
Engineer – Thom Roy
Lacquer Cut By – Wally
Percussion – Alex MacDougall
Percussion [Percussive Embellishments] – Bruce Brown
Photography By [Black and White] – D.C. Riggott, Kim Halliday
Photography By [Color] – Marlene Nelson Millican
Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Synthesizer [Oberheim Polyphonic; Moog], Lead Vocals – Tom Howard
Producer – Terry Taylor, Tom Howard
Saxophone, Oboe – Jon Clarke
Typography, Design – Kim Halliday
Written-By, Arranged By – Tom Howard

Companies, etc.
Produced For – Rebel Base Productions
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Mastered At – Capitol Mastering
Pressed By – PRC Recording Company, Richmond, IN
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Copyright (c) – NewPax Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – NewPax Records
Copyright (c) – Tongsongs Music
Copyright (c) – Lifesong Music Press
Copyright (c) – Joyful Road Music
Published By – Tongsongs Music
Published By – Lifesong Music Press
Published By – Joyful Road Music
Published By – The New Benson Music Company, Inc.

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Michael Hart – True – 1985

This is a micro Canadian release album. In fact it was so micro that we never heard of the artist or the album and we’re Canadian. That said the producer was Roy Salmond who you may not recognize but I can guarantee you have heard his productions as he was one of the best producers of the era. He was also very influential in Canadian music circles and I’m sure it’s that influence that helped supply the excellent lineup of studio musicians for this album. In fact the drummer, Phil Robertson, was the drummer for Idle Eyes who were a very big Canadian secular band at the time. Anyway, let’s talk about the album. It’s a solid Pop offering with some quirky spots here and there and several tracks almost have a calypso fell/sound. This is an album that could have done well but it was stuck on the Producers micro label and I don’t even think it had a distribution deal. Too bad cause it’s a pretty good album.

Tracklist
1 – True – 3:23
2 – Beachcomber – 3:57
3 – Small Voice – 4:00
4 – Robin’s Song – 4:30
5 – Waterfall – 2:59
6 – Blackbeard’s Gold – 3:13
7 – Peter Was A Fisherman – 4:02
8 – Wings Of Your Love – 3:12
9 – Hear The Lord – 2:37
10 – 2,000 Years – 4:16

Credits
Alto Saxophone – Bill Runge
Backing Vocals – Pattie Howard, Rebecca Kemery
Bass – Miles Hill
Drums, Percussion – Phil Robertson
Electric Guitar – Brett Wade, Dane DeViller
Engineer, Mixed By – Don Ramos (tracks: Don Raymus)
Flute – Mark Dowding
Keyboards – Dave Pickell
Percussion – Darryl Bennet
Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Composed By – Michael Hart
Producer, Synthesizer, Piano – Roy Salmond

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Profile Sound Studios
Published By – Riverbed Publishing Co.

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