Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #35

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
Artie Schroeck Implosion – Six O’Clock (Verve)
Bud Shank – Coconut Grove (World Pacific)
Sound Symposium – Darling Be Home Soon (Dot)
Tony Hatch – Black Is Black (WB)
George Tipton – Rainmaker (WB)
Pat Williams – Don’t Leave Me (Verve)
Billy Vaughn – Time of the Season (Dot)

Gary McFarland – Get Back (Skye)
Bobby Bryant – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (World Pacific Jazz)
Don Randi – Tomorrow Never Knows (Reprise)
Cal Tjader – Lady Madonna (Skye)
Count Basie – Come Together (Tiger)
Freddy McCoy – I Am a Walrus (Prestige)
Living Guitars – Baby You’re Rich Man (Camden)
Mike Melvoin – Paperback Writer (Liberty)

Electric Tommy – Amazing Journey (Viva)
Electric Tommy – Sparks (Viva)
Enoch Light and the Light Brigade – Over Under Sideways Down (Project 3)
Ronnie Aldrich – Ride My Seesaw (London)
Helmut Zacharias – Hurdy Gurdy Man (Capitol)
Mariano and the Unbeleivables – Sunshine Superman (Capitol)
Living Guitars – San Franciscan Nights (Camden)

Freddy McCoy – Pet Sounds (Prestige)
Liberace – Suite Judy Blue Eyes (WB)
Sound Symposium – America (Dot)
Paul Horn – Eight Miles High (RCA)
Living Guitars – Out and About (Camden)
Roger Coulam – Dizzy (Contour)
101 Strings – Spinning Wheel (Alshire)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 35 – 191MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

Welcome to this month’s episode of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

I know I said last week that I would be posting some Dave Van Ronk stuff this week, but I forgot that I already had this month’s podcast in the can, so Dave and his pals will be along next week.

This month, the Iron Leg Radio Show is dedicated completely to instrumental covers of 60s pop and rock tunes from all ends of the instro spectrum. There are jazzers, easy listening, Moog, pop orchestras, you name it, there’s something here for everyone.

It is a groovy collection, and I hope you dig it.

See you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

The Spotlights – Batman and Robin b/w Dayflower

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The Caped Crusaders

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Lou Courtney, Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett

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Listen/Download – The Spotlights – Batman and Robin

Listen/Download – The Spotlights – Dayflower

Greetings all.

Welcome back to the Iron Leg experience.

I hope you all had a chance to download and listen to last week’s edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show. If not, pull down the ones and zeros and give it a listen. I think you’ll dig it.

The tune I have for you today is not only very groovy on its own sonic merits, but carries with it the traces of a very interesting back story.

When I was digging at the Allentown all-45 show a while back, I pulled ‘Batman and Robin’ out ofa box of mixed genre 45s, and due to my own fascination with 1966-era, pop art Batman and any musical manifestation thereof, I grabbed it.

It was only when I got home and took a closer look at the label that I realized that the disc might have a more interesting pedigree than I figured.

The writing of the song is credited to Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett (who were working together frequently in the mid-60s, most prominently on Gary Lewis and the Playboys stuff), but also to a certain ‘L. Pegues’.

Now, to most people that name will mean little to nothing, but to dedicated soul collectors like myself, it rings an especially interesting bell.

That is on account of the fact that Louis Pegues was the given name of soul giant Lou Courtney, who in addition to making a grip of amazing records under his assumed name, also worked extensively as a songwriter and producer.

He wrote songs (first with his composing partner Dennis Lambert) for acts like Freddie and the Dreamers, Leslie Gore and the Nashville Teens, and later (with Bob Bateman) wrote for soul artists like Mary Wells, Lorraine Ellison, the Webs and Henry Lumpkin (among many others).

Though I don’t know the specific circumstances of his artistic intersection with Leon Russell, my first instinct is to attribute it to Leon’s ubiquity in the studios of Los Angeles in the 1960s.

The tune, ‘Batman and Robin’ (released in 1966) is a first rate slice of garagey novelty with pounding piano and organ, comic-book specific lyrics and Leon (I’m pretty sure) on lead vocals.

The flipside is a very cool and extremely unusual instrumental called ‘Dayflower’, in which the band performs a mash-up of the Beatles ‘Day Tripper’ and the old bluegrass standard ‘Wildwood Flower’.

There was also a full LP by the Spotlights (all comic-related titles) which I’ve never seen, and one other 45 with tracks from the LP (‘Dayflower’ was 45-only).

If any of you has any more specific info on the Spotlights, please add on in the comments.

I hop you dig it and I’ll see you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Dance the Slurp!!

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Slurp, slurp…POW!!!!

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Listen/Download – 7-11 – Dance the Slurp

Greetings all.

I hope you’re all well.

I’d like to start by telling you that the mighty soul singer Solomon Burke died this past weekend, and if you dig him (or want to) head on over to Funky16Corners to check out my tribute.

In another bit of Funky16Corners synchronicity, the tune I bring you today is something that, no matter how many gallons of Slurpee I have ingested in my time on the earth, I would never have discovered were it not for a now famous mix of obscure funk 45s by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, known as Brainfreeze, which turned this 45 from a nickel and dime flea market oddity into a collectible.

The record in question is not, however funk, nor is it funky, or particularly soulful.

What is is, is an odd bit of au-go-go product placement, wherein the good people of the Southland Corporation, i.e. 7-11, long thought of as a repository of soft drinks, beef jerky, pornography, cigarettes and loitering (in other words a microcosm of suburban America), decided to musical-ize a paen to the wonderfulness of sugary slush, hoping that their customers, existing and future, would be taken away by the rapture (and the sugar, natch) and start dancing.

I have no inkling who the performer on this 45 is, but it is groovy, and what is a great record collection if not decorated with the fillagree of a great vinly oddity?

So, take off your pants, get out your straws and dance the slurp people.

It’s the only sane thing to do.

See you later in the week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a tribute to the late Solomon Burke.

Ian Whitcomb & Bluesville – You Turn Me On (The Turn On Song)

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Ian Whitcomb

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Listen/Download – Ian Whitcomb & Bluesville – You Turn Me On (The Turn On Song)

Greetings all.

Welcome back to Iron Leg: the Sweltering…
I just walked out back to take out the garbage and I very nearly melted on my way to the bin.
Jeebus it’s hot out.
Naturally, not being a complete moron I realize that it is summer and I should expect temperatures like this (and in reflection I do remember griping about the cold during the winter), but no amount of reality prepares you for the feeling of your hair catching fire as you step out into the sun.
Fortunately (for me anyway) I’m writing this in the air conditioned sanctuary of my record room, with an album being recorded on the turntable and my sons on the other laptop playing computer games (my wife is recuperating on the divan…).
I have a backlog of vinyl awaiting digimatization, and since a lot of it is entire albums I want to record, I can just set up the recorded, drop the needle on the record and go about my business until the side is complete (now playing/recording Chad and Jeremy ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’ soon to be featured at a blog near you.
The tune I bring you today is of a slightly earlier vintage, and teeters right at the edge of Novelty Canyon, but I dig it for a couple of significant reasons.
Way back in the day, when I was a long-haired college student I pulled out my library card and borrowed a book entitled ‘Rock Odyssey’ by today’s artist, Ian Whitcomb.
Whitcomb, and Englishman who attended college in Ireland and had a couple of hits here in the States has had a very interesting career indeed, moving on later in life as a curator of sorts of early pop music, a re-popularizer of the mighty ukulele, writer and all around nice guy.
Though it’s been nearly 30 years since I paged through ‘Rock Odyssey’, I recall it being a fantastic read, both as a personal memoir and as a vividly rendered look at the world of rock and pop circa 1965/66.
Whitcomb hit the charts with ‘The Turn On Song’ in the Spring of 1965, just as the British Invasion was colliding with Sunset Strip mod-ism, so he fell right into the thick of the Shindig, the Hullaballoo and all such groovy things.
Interestingly, when Whitcomb first came to the US he was based out of the Pacific Northwest, thus the credit on the label of the 45 for Jerry Dennon/Jerden Records (as in The Sonics et al).
The record itself is a bright, poppy, piano driven blues all running under Whitcomb’s somewhat bizarrely affected falsetto (affected in that it sounds like a put on as opposed to a classic, doowop/soul falsetto) leading up to his breathless (quasi-orgasmic) heaving. It’s just the kind of thing that would have (and did) get an easy foothold in the charts, and as soon as America’s teenaged girls got a look at Whitcomb’s toothy smile and long, Beatle-y hair, it was all over but the shouting.
‘The Turn On Song’ was actually Whitcomb’s second chart hit with his band Bluesville (formed while studying in Ireland), the first being ‘This Sporting Life’, which scraped the outer limits of the Top 40 a few months earlier.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back with something groovy later in the week.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a new guest mix in the Funky16Corners Soul Club

Iron Leg Digital Trip #17 – Iron Leg Confidential

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Playlist
Joe Bennett & the Sparkletones – Black Slacks (ABC – Paramount)
Boyd Bennett – Boogie Bear (Mercury)
OC & the Holidays – The Tuttle (Warners)
Eddie Cochran – Something Else (Liberty)
Ray Sharpe – Linda Lu (Jamie)
Jim Dandees – The Loco Motion (Star Crest)
Buddy Knox & the Rhythm Orchids – C’ Mon Baby (Roulette)
Buzz Clifford – Baby Sittin’ Boogie (Columbia)
Duals – Oozy Groove (Infinity)
George Hamilton IV – If You Don’t Know (ABC – Paramount)
Four Jets – Jet Black (Capitol)
Link Wray – Turnpike USA (Swan)
Joe Bennett & the Sparkletones – I Dig You (ABC – Paramount)
Kipper & the Exciters – Drum Twist (Torch)

Listen/Download 43MB Mixed MP3

Download 43MB ZIP File-

Greetings all.
I hope all is well on your end, and that you’re just a hair away from recovering from a weekend of debauchery.
I for one spent the last few days running errands, writing, reading and hanging out with my wife and kids. My debauched years are behind me.
However….
Much in the same way as the Big Bang was a huge explosion, the effects of which are still rippling out in the far reaches of the universe, I like to think that I have some debauchery “credits’ built up, with a huge storehouse of memories filed away. If I ever have a yearning to act the fool again, I can dip into that file and live vicariously through memories of my younger self while simultaneously reflecting ruefully on a whole host of youthful tomfoolery (so ruefully as to prevent 2006 Larry from walking into the same dead ends as 1988 Larry). This formula is not foolproof (pun intended), and I sometimes – like many of my species – do things I know to be stupid, but I like to think that those occurrences are in the minority.
That said, the sounds I bring you today, blended together to suggest a vibe of sorts are just the kinds of things you might want to be flowing from the speakers in your crappy, barely-functional vehicle as your best friend hangs out the window, beer in hand, all the while howling like Lon Chaney Jr on the night of the full moon.
There’s a fair amount of rockabilly here, along with some greasy trash rock, echoey guitar instros and pounding drums. This is primal stuff, much of it close to (or more than) half a freakin’ century old, yet (and this is the important part) more vital than any fifty current popular songs.
There is of course the likelihood that most of the folks who bopped to this stuff the first time around are either dead, or in Florida riding to bingo on electric scooters, but I like to think that out there somewhere, maybe in a walled compound that time has somehow forgotten, there dwells a group of superannuated greasers, bad attitudes not only intact, but seasoned with age. Perhaps this greasy Shangri-La exists on another plane entirely, having been forced to leap dimensions in order to survive. A dimension soaked in reverb, guitar twang, hiccupping vocals, tribal drum thumping, raised eyebrows and Dixie Peach pomade.
Maybe not….
However (again)….
I (we) can dream, and if we’re going to, let this edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip be our soundtrack.
The actual time-span here reaches from about 1956 to around 1964, though I haven’t been able to track down info on everything here, so if I am incorrect in that particular assumption, please let me know.
Things get off to a rousing start with a track that I first heard in a cover by retro-billy Robert Gordon. Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones were a South Carolina group who actually had a Top 20 hit with ‘Black Slacks’ in 1957. The lyrics to this one are brilliant (derbies, cat chains, red bowties???).
Boyd Bennett was a Nashville based singer who recorded a number of well regarded rockabilly tunes in the 50s. ‘Boogie Bear’ (clearly an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Yogi Bear) was his last hit in 1959.
I haven’t been able to track down much of anything on OC & the Holidays, other than the label they recorded for was owned by Bob Shad, who went on to found Mainstream Records. ‘The Tuttle’ sounds as if it were based on the riff from ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’.
I’ll go ahead and assume you all know who Eddie Cochran was. Cochran, who made some of the best, and most commercially successful rockabilly sides, had the movie star good looks to be huge. ‘Something Else’ is by far my favorite of his many amazing sides. One can only imagine what he might have gone on to do had he not died in a car crash (which Gene Vincent and Cochran’s girlfriend, songwriter Sharon Sheeley survived) while touring the UK. He was only 21 years old.
Ray Sharpe was that rarest of the rare, a black rockabilly singer! The Texan hit the Top 50 with ‘Linda Lu’ in 1959. The single was produced by Lee Hazlewood and reportedly features none other than Duane Eddy on guitar. I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I believe Sharpe is the same guy who went on to record for Philadelphia’s ‘Sock & Soul’ label (with the Soul Set) in the late 60s.
The Jim Dandees are another group I haven’t been able to dig up anything about. ‘The Loco Motion’ – no relation to Little Eva or Mark Farner – is a cooker with a real Duane Eddy-style twang to it.
Buddy Knox and the Rhythm Orchids were a Texas group (they recorded at the same New Mexico studio as Buddy Holly & the Crickets) who had several chart hits in the late 50s, including the 1957 number one, ‘Party Doll’. ‘C’mon Baby’ suggests that they were sharing ideas as well as a studio.
Buzz Clifford had a million seller with ‘Baby Sittin’ Boogie’ (dig those crazy sound effects) in 1961, and not long after faded deep into the background. However, his post rockabilly career was quite interesting. He worked steadily as a songwriter through the 60s and 70s, and was part of the band Carp, which also featured a pre-insanity Gary Busey.
The Duals were a West Coast group who had some success in 1961 with a tune called ‘Stick Shift’, which was originally released on the Star Revue label and then picked up for national distribution by Sue. ‘Oozy Groove’ was the b-side of their third single, which was released first on the Sue-associated Juggy label, then again on Infinity. It’s an absolutely superb bit of reverb drenched guitar madness. The intro alone is worth the price of admission.
George Hamilton IV (no, not the naugahyde tanned TV pitchman) is best known as a huge country star of the 60s and 70s, but he got his start in the 50s as a rock’n’roller. ‘If You Don’t Know’ – the flip side of his first big hit ‘A Rose and a Baby Ruth’ – is one of his better efforts and a great example of how country boys (George Jones had some great rockabilly-ish stuff in his catalog) could grease up when they had their cat clothes on (not to mention the Elvis namecheck…).
The Four Jets was actually bassist Jet Harris and the Drifters (soon to become the Shadows) . They had a UK hit with ‘Jet Black’ in 1959, and the group’s name had to be changed when the record was released in the US. The lead guitar on ‘Jet Black’ is actually Harris’ bass! The roots of the Shadows sound are there, but there’s a rougher edge too.
I’ve covered the genius of Link Wray in this space before, specifically the brilliant ‘Jack the Ripper’. ‘Turnpike USA’ was his distortion drenched 1963 follow up to that killer. It may be a lesser effort in comparison, but let’s be honest, pretty much everything else is.
Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones’ rocking ‘I Dig You’ was the b-side of their 1958 single ‘Cotton Pickin’ Rocker’. There are a couple of places where the multi-tracked (or at least doubled) vocals seem to be slightly out of sync. I dig the rough and ready guitar solo on this one.
The set closes out with yet another anonymous instro, ‘Drum Twist’ by Kipper and the Exciters. The only thing I’ve been able to discover is that this song charted regionally (California) in 1962. It sounds like it was recorded on the back of a truck going through a long tunnel (with the sax player being dragged behind).
That all said, I hope you dig the vibe of this mix, and I’ll see you all next week.
Peace
Larry
Example

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for an old-school, soul dance party on Funky16Corners Radio.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too…

Iron Leg Digital Trip #15 – It Came From Outer Space!

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Playlist
Johnny Bond – X15 (Republic)
Dickie Goodman – Martian Melody (Luniverse)
Jim Lowe – Take Us To Your President (Dot)
Rockers – Rocket Ship (Mark)
Buchanan & Goodman – Flying Saucer the 2nd (Luniverse)
The Saucerman – Saucer Serenade (Luniverse)
Buchanan & Goodman – The Flying Saucer Goes West (Luniverse)
The Busters – Astronaut (Arlen)
Billy Lee Riley – Flying Saucers Rock and Roll (Sun)

Listen/Download 29MB Mixed MP3

Download 28MB ZIP File-

Greetings all.
I hope the new week finds you well, and in the mood for something new and different.
The mix I bring you today, Iron Leg Digital Trip #15, is something of a departure.
Some years back, thanks to the good graces of my father-in-law I came into ownership of a collection (mountain is a more suitable description) of 45s numbering in the thousands. I spent the better part of a summer combing through the many boxes, initially pulling out the big ticket items (some for my crates, some for the sale/trade box), and then on to exploring everything else. Though it would be fair to say that the vast majority of the collection was either incredibly common and/or incredibly lame, there was a bunch of great stuff, much of it new to me.
The cool thing – aside from a number of great soul and funk 45s – there was a lot of British Invasion stuff, and a fair amount of rockabilly/old school rock’n’roll discs.
As I was going through the latter category I started to notice – and put aside – a small pile of 45s that all centered around the late 50s/early 60s flying saucer/space craze.
Since that day I’ve always wanted to take that little snapshot of an era and make a mix out of it.
And so I did…
Anyone that ever stayed up late for a monster horror chiller theater type scare show on a Saturday night already knows that the 50s and early 60s saw the world (especially middle America) obsessed with flying saucers and all things outer space. Since the term ‘flying saucer’ was coined in 1947, the idea that we might be visited by beings from outer space (or more specifically in a motif set long before by folks like HG Wells, Mars), in combination with the space race aspect of cold war hysteria pop culture filled up with any number of recurring motifs/archetypes.
Martians, little green men, super intelligent robots, flyings saucers, rocket ships, all turned up in movies and television, not to mention food, drink, toys and most importantly science fiction literature (which fed the movies and TV) to the point of ubiquity.
A small – but significant – part of this world was evidenced in pop music.
This mix opens with a cut by Johnny Bond. The tune ‘X-15’ – dedicated to the supersonic experiment rocket of the same name which first took to the air in 1959. Bond was a longtime western swing/cowboy singer (he worked with Gene Autry) who recorded the first popular version of the classic ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’. He recorded ‘X-15 in 1960 and it has a great sound on the country end of the rockabilly spectrum.
Dickie Goodman was one half of the novelty hitmaking duo Buchanan and Goodman. They hit the charts a number of times in the 50s and 60’s, their specialty being what became known as “break-in” records, in which snippets of actual pop records were dropped into an ongoing comedic theme. ‘Martian Melody’ was a short instrumental that appeared on the flipside of 1961s ‘Touchables’, which if you haven’t already figured it out was a parody of ‘The Untouchables’ . Though Buchanan and Goodman hit the charts a number of times as a duo, most successfully in 1956 with ‘The Flying Saucer Pts 1&2’, Goodman had a much larger number of hits under his own name over a dozen times between 1961 and 1977. As was the case with his later soul and funk based break-ins, which featured interesting instrumentals on their b-sides, ‘Martian Melody’ – which was recorded twice ?!? – is worth a listen, if only for the chipmunks-esque opening intro, and the oddly pitched music which has the potential to be vaguely nauseating for those with motion sickness.
The next cut is by a guy that I knew for years as a middle-of-the-road, easy listening DJ in New York City, having no idea that he’d had a recording career in the mid-50’s (his version of ‘Green Door’ also recorded by Esquerita and later Wynder K Frog was a hit in 1956). Jim Lowe’s ‘Take Us To Your President’ – from 1958 – is a twist on the ‘take us to your leader’ meme, with the invaders being moon men who decide to fall by to get some of that good earth grub (including potatoes, meat, tomatoes, salmon, tuna), since they apparently subsist on a diet of green cheese. The music here is pretty bland, but you get plenty of wild theremin effects.
The Rockers (who also recorded as Dusty Boyd and the Rockers) were an Upstate New York group who recorded the low-fi ‘Rocket Ship’ in 1958. The vibe here is pure, hiccupping rockabilly which sounds like it was actually recorded in outer space.
The next cut is the follow-up to Buchanan and Goodman’s ‘Flying Saucer’, imaginatively titled ‘Flying Saucer the 2nd’. Released in 1957, the record included break-ins from the Everly Brothers, Diamonds and Marty Robbins among others, as well as a couple of calypso records, for a small taste of yet another fad.
The next two tunes are actually both sides of the same single. The instrumental ‘Saucer Serenade’ is a solid, R&B sax number. I would love to find out where Buchanan and Goodman got these instrumental tracks – especially Goodman, who put a couple of tasty funk instrumentals on his later singles. Were these leftover tracks laying around a studio somewhere, instrumentals that had been released under other names and were essentially being re-used, or were they in fact original recordings for these 45s?
The a-side of the record was 1958s ‘The Flying Saucer Goes West’. It is – at least in my opinion – the best of their ‘flying saucer’ sides (which reached into the mid-60s), which probably has a lot to do with the music they drop into the mix, which included snippets of tunes by Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns, the Champs, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Though I haven’t been able to track down any info on the Busters, ‘Astronaut’ which was released in 1963 came out on the Philadelphia-based Arlen label. It’s a great, honking, reverbed sax instro that wouldn’t be out of place as background music for a buxom stripped swinging her tassels over a bar somewhere.
The last track is probably the all-time classic of the rockabilly/flying saucer subgenre, 1957s ‘Flying Saucers Rock and Roll’ by Billy Lee Riley. It helps that Riley’s backup band was billed as the Little Green Men. Riley was one of the greats of Sun rockabilly, recording the all-time classic ‘Red Hot’, later covered by Robert Gordon. ‘Flying Saucers Rock and Roll’ has a wailing vocal by Riley, reverbed guitar and pounding Jerry Lee-style piano. Riley went on in the 60s to a more R&B sound.
I hope you dig this little snapshot of a pop culture back alley. I have some cool mixes coming up, including a new garage punk mix and some more rockabilly.
I’ll see you later in the week.
Peace
Larry
Example

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some Jamaican funk.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too…

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