Toby Walker

Doors open: 7 pm, show: 8 pm

Toby Walker was born in New York and now lives in Long Island. A winner of the prestigious Memphis International Blues Challenge Award, he has a widely acclaimed reputation as an exceptionally gifted, finger-picking blues guitarist and singer.

Like all great acoustic blues artistes, Toby is also a skilled storyteller, painting vivid pictures of his travels to the blues heartlands in the USA where he learned his trade at the feet of many old time blues musicians.

From the age of 11, Gary Edward Jones began writing songs, imitating those of his idols, Lennon & McCartney, Elvis, Crowded House and the legends of Motown. He joined the band, Day Without Rain, which played many of London’s iconic venues. A series of highs and lows inspired him to write more and more original songs. Trips to America then gave him the confidence to put together a debut album – The Cabinet Maker. He promises to be an ideal support for our headline act.

This will be Toby’s fifth visit to the Marina, which is a measure of his huge popularity. He never fails to entertain and this date is an absolute must for the diary.

Toby’s website:

Liverpool Marina is situated at Coburg Wharf, Sefton Street, Liverpool L3 4BP.

Tickets for the concert (£12 each in advance and £13 on the door) are obtainable from John Welsh on 0151 428 2855 or by email:

Please visit for a fund of information on the region’s excellent blues scene.


Live Gig Review for DANNY BRYANT and band supported by THE BLACK CIRCLES @ True Blues Club, Newton-Le-Willows – 2.10.15

At our favourite ‘juke joint’, the True Blues Club in downtown Earlestown, Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside, it was an evening to remember. The line up tonight was Danny Bryant and his band with the local Black Circles, in support.

Kicking off the evening, with a brilliant take of the BB King classic ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’, were the Warrington based band Black Circles – who are Sam Bratley on guitar and vocals, Martin Saunders on bass and Phil Wilson on drums . Moving onto a slow blues ‘Stop Acting This Way’, from their current EP, giving us an epic guitar solo and a self penned number ‘One Big Lie’ showcasing the bands talent.

Some classic Hendrix to follow with a great rendition of ‘Little Wing’ and a couple more numbers from their EP, ‘I’m Leaving’ and ‘Gypsy Girl’ with great tempo, super guitar, vocals and a full on bass line. The final number in the set was the Freddie King classic ‘Going Down’ with a well deserved encore of Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Child’, epic! An excellent young local band with a great future.


Headlining tonight, was South East based guitar player, singer songwriter, Danny Bryant and his band, Dave Raeburn on drums and Alex Phillips on bass. For his first set he gave us some great blues laden numbers , including his popular ‘Guntown’ and ‘Take Me Higher’ with a Texas blues flavour. He also included an Albert Collins shuffle, finishing off the set with a slow blues with an epic guitar solo.

The second set was more loaded with rock blues, opening with ‘Prisoner Of The Blues’ from Danny’s ‘Hurricane’ album’. A young guitar playing guest was invited to the stage at this point. Fourteen year old Oliver Vawdrey joined Danny for a great 12 bar blues and wowed us with his obvious talent. Oliver, from Manchester , has been playing guitar for just three years, but certainly made his mark at the True Blues Club this evening with a remarkable guitar solo. Certainly a young man to watch out for!


Hitting the heights was the epic rock anthem ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ with a great bass and drum solo. We then had the taste of ‘Razor Sharp’ from Danny’s ‘Temperature Rising’ album. The final number was an epic ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’ with audience participation and a well earned encore with Oliver joining Danny again on stage again for a fantastic take of ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’.

A fantastic evening with a full house and some of the very best of blues rock on the circuit from Danny Bryant and the Black Circles, with emerging talent from the young Oliver Vawdrey.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

Review – Kris Barras Band – Self-Titled

Posted on: Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

Kris Barras Band – (Self-Titled)


If you grew up with the sound of early 70s blues-rock ringing in your ears, get this, you’ll love it.

Norman Darwen

Oh, OK then, I suppose I’ll have to write a bit more . . .

Vastly experienced West Country-based singer, guitarist and bandleader Kris Barras lists his prime influence as Gary Moore, so that when he grew tired of playing jazz-rock instrumentals, he decided to return to his roots, and the result is this high energy set of muscular, power trio blues-rock. He is backed by Rocky Mitchell on bass and Jon Perrin on drums, in classic fashion.

Though Kris is no copyist and certainly not a tribute act, expect to hear echoes of Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, Free and the like, strong vocals, crunching riffs, powerhouse rhythms, incendiary solos. He can tackle the slow blues with ease too – take a listen to ‘Watching Over Me’ for a good example.

Unlike some, Kris and his crew do generally keep close to the blues format throughout the whole album too – so yes, if blues-rock’s your bag, you’ll love this. ‘Nuff said!



Harry Manx has been dubbed an “essential link” between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. His unique sound is bewitching and deliciously addictive to listen to.

He appears at The Ruby Lounge in Manchester, on Sunday, 1st November.

Review: David Gogo – Vicksburg Call

Posted on: Monday, Oct 5, 2015

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David Gogo – Vicksburg Call

(Cordova Bay Records: CBR-1322)

Canadian blues rocker David Gogo’s 14th release, “Vicksburg Call”, is a highly recommended ‘listen’, as the guitarist, singer and writer has put out a fine 10-track set that combines his own songs and some hand-picked covers – which showcase his virtuoso guitar playing and rugged vocals.

The album was recorded in the studio, but with a ‘live’ atmosphere, and it’s all the better for that. When Gogo was putting it together he had suffered some personal losses and some of the songs deal with the situation he was in, as well as exploring themes of love, hope and reconciliation, as well as new horizons.

He is helped out here by a fine group of musicians, with guest spots from Kim Simmonds on guitar, and the harmonica of Shawn Hall, from fellow-Canadian outfit, The Harpoonist And The Axe Murderer. His core band features Jay Stevens on bass, piano and harmony vocals; together with Bill Hicks on drums and percussion.

The music gets off to a muscular start with the gritty rocker, “Cuts Me To The Bone” – a most impressive opener indeed! The covers here are perhaps unusual choices for what is primarily a blues-based album, but Gogo’s interpretations of both Neil Young’s “The Loner” and Stephen Stills’s “Jet Set (Sigh)” both work in fine style.

The stripped-down “There’s A Hole” reminded me of Johnny Cash’s later material, and it boasts some lovely harmonica from Shawn Hall and slide guitar work from Gogo himself, with it’s mournful vocal. “What’s Not To Like?” is another crunchy rocker – Gogo’s guitar underpinned by the Hammond organ of Rick Hopkins.

Even more striking as choice of covers go is the album’s closer, Annie Lennox’s dramatic and sweeping, “Why” . . . a fitting closer to a most enjoyable release.


Scottish blues-rock outfit, The Lewis Hamilton Band, appear at Telford’s Warehouse, Chester, on Saturday, 24th October.

Free admission before 9 pm; £4 after.

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Live Review for SLACK ALICE @ The Grand, Clitheroe – Saturday 19th September 2015

A great evening of entertainment was on offer at the fantastic purpose built venue, The Grand in Clitheroe, Lancashire, with the amazing Slack Alice.

Supporting this evening were Solid Rock, a local six piece band, performing well grounded pop rock, Americana and Southern rock.

Slack Alice, from Lancashire, always give one hundred per cent and tonight was no exception. Fronting the band on amazing vocals was the legendary Cliff Stocker, with two class guitarists, Chris Preston and Colin Redmond and exceptional bass player Alan Sagar and drummer Liam Barber. They were also joined on stage by the incredible twelve year old saxophonist Maddy G.

Cliff gave his all with his superb gravel voice, kicking off with ‘Honky Tonk’, with him on cowbell. Some great guitar input from Chris and Colin. With the addition of a bit of good old up tempo rock ‘n roll, the crowd were getting in the groove.

A fantastic rendition of ‘Take A Little Piece of My Heart’ then onto ‘Don’t Come A Knockin’ When The Van Is A Rockin’, with the addition on Maddy G on sax and Cliff on harp, just excellent. More rock ‘n roll on the table with ‘Let It Rock’, a fantastic sound and great sax from Maddy. Both exceptional lead guitarists working well and the backline bass and drums keeping the pounding beat.

From the current album ‘Never, Ever, Ever Give Up’ soon to be released on vinyl, a great take of ‘Profits’ , a deep rock track with Cliff on harp and super sax from Maddy. At this point half the band left the stage, leaving bass player Alan and drummer Liam to perform another track from the album. ‘Conversations’ showcasing the expert solo bass playing with funky rhythms and slap bass.

A touch of country stomp on ‘Preacher’ with banjo and resonator slide and continuing the theme, tracks from older albums with ‘Get Your Shoes On’ and ‘Pick Up The Hearts’ giving some great country rock.

Some brilliant interplay on with lead guitars and bass on ‘Liar’ with an excellent guitar solo from Chris. Then bringing the tempo down with a slow blues ‘The Bottle Song’.

Coming towards the end of the set there had to be some heavy rock and ‘Let The Rock Roll’ did just that. The final number of the evening ‘Monday Morning Blues’ was just epic, with superb slide guitar from Chris and an excellent guitar solo from Colin. With Cliff on harp and magic vocals the crowd gave a standing ovation. A great evening from a great band!

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

Review: Andy Broad – Every Penny Of The Deal

Posted on: Sunday, Oct 4, 2015

Andy Broad – Every Penny Of The Deal


Singer and guitarist Andy Broad is based in Portsmouth, and “Every Penny Of The Deal” is his fifteenth release overall and his third solo studio album. An impressive release it is too, completely solo apart from organ playing by Sandy Walker on three tracks.

There is some fine Mississippi-styled blues playing on many tracks (hints of Son House, Skip James, Howling Wolf) – all the material is original – and a slightly jazz vaudeville inflected feel on a couple of numbers whilst ‘Too Late’ is reminiscent of Blind Blake; others have an electric guitar but it is all blues – and very listenable and accomplished.

It is difficult to believe that the full sound on ‘Paper’, ‘Holding These Feelings’ and the title track is the product of just two musicians. This is not the first time Andy has been praised on this website; the esteemed Brian Harman was impressed by his contributions to the group “Walker Broad” back in 2013 – and the set under consideration now sounds far bluesier.

Do check this guy out.


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GOOD FOXY – A young Lancashire band to watch out for.

Having reviewed the amazing debut album from this young and talented band, I was invited to the launch of the CD to listen again, but this time to a live take. All I can say is ‘watch this space’!!

These 19 and 20 year olds from Clitheroe in Lancashire, formed the band in 2013 and have continued over the past two years to explore and generate a personal sound that has become Good Foxy’s own. Playing a mix of rock and blues with a touch psychedelia, with roots taken from the 70’s, their influences have been from the likes of the Doors, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Zeppelin et al with acoustic flavours of Nick Drake and Tim Buckley, but with a total freshness of sound.

George Banks fronts the band with a voice so much bigger than his years. Incredibly distinctive with a wide range, not unlike that of a young Jim Morrison and he also plays a mean guitar.

Henry Crabtree sets the world on fire with his guitar playing, loving his wah wah pedal, he is certainly not a passive player and pushes his experimentation of sound to the upper limits.

Freddie Bruhin-Price is the most competent and animated bass player I have seen or heard for a long while. With a maturity of playing and the ability to work closely with the drummer , he also takes a lead role when needed. Freddie is also the poet in the band and general spokes person as well as providing backing vocals.

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Sometimes a drummer will be noticed for the ability to play with complex rhythms and a total flare, this is what I would say about Callum Sykora. He is a total natural rhythm maker and I’m sure he will be up there with the best before much longer.

The newest member of the band, co-opted last year, is keyboard wizz James Robinson. He has been a well added addition, bringing a new dimension to the already great sound. With strengths in the use of the synth and keyboard, he also plays the harmonica brilliantly and adds backing vocals to the Good Foxy sound.

All the material on the new album was written by Good Foxy and they have had a busy time playing in and around the north of England, with prestigious shows including the British Stage at the Great British R&B Festival in Colne this year, and supporting Status Quo at Hoghton Tower, Preston. They have also recently had a successful mini tour in Sweden.

The evening of the launch, at the amazing Grand venue in Clitheroe, was really well supported and totally enjoyed by the crowd, with many local fans. The live music reinforced what I had already thought … Good Foxy are going to be something a bit special! Their stage presence, energy and mix of musical sounds has an edge on many of the bands out on the circuit at the moment. I hope to see them at the major festivals next year, so if you are booking bands take note, for an exciting and musically interesting performance Good Foxy is it!

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer


Neil Warden – Adventures In Weissenborn Land (EP)

(Deep Blue Music Productions: DBCD0915)

Here’s one of those little gems that comes along ‘off the radar’ every now and then . . . a quite lovely four-track ‘journey’ through the sounds of the Weissenborn lap steel guitar – performed by the talented Scottish player and writer, Neil Warden. The music is mainly acoustic, but with some electric sounds, as the multi-talented Warden also contributes electric, baritone and classical guitar, bass & percussion, along with the dominant Weissenborn.

Warden boasts a most impressive CV, having worked with the cream of his homeland’s blues fraternity – including Tam White, Maggie Bell, Steve Hay’s Shades Of Blue and more. The Edinburgh-based musician has performed live at festival and theatre venues and composed music for film and video within a wide cross section of musical styles.

The four tracks here – three being instrumentals – take the listener from “Paris, Texas” flavours to sweeping improvisation and layers of ‘soundscapes’ created by Stuart Mitchell. Also helping out are Gary Martin, who supplies some fine harmonica on two tracks, and a vocal on “Bad Dog”, and bass flute from Dave Heath on “The Alchemist”.

The opening “Mojave” conjurs up desert landscapes with its sweeping Weissenborn, and atmospheric harmonica from Gary Martin, with Stuart Mitchell creating an almost Far Eastern sound on top – most impressive! The following “Bad Dog” is a straighter country blues with vocal and harmonica as previously mentioned by Gary Martin and more fine guitar from Neil Warden.

The remaining two tracks are equally as engaging – “Enchanted” is a moody and atmospheric piece, swathed in another stunning arrangement by Stuart Mitchell, and just cries out to be on a soundtrack or TV programme; as does the closing “The Alchemist” – with again Far Eastern sounds and textures emerging, and the contribution of bass flute from Dave Heath alongside Warden’s virtuosity.


Gigs: October at Bluefunk

Posted on: Friday, Oct 2, 2015


Garry White’s Bluefunk has a stellar line-up for October, with the following gigs at Poynton Legion:

Sunday, 4th: Mat Walklate and Paolo Fuschi

Thursday, 15th: Chris Bevington & Friends (inc. Jim Kirkpatrick)

Sunday, 25th: Ian Siegal

Full details here:

Review – The Beat Daddys – Hoodoo That We Doo

Posted on: Thursday, Oct 1, 2015


The Beat Daddys – Hoodoo That We Doo

(Melrose Hill Records)

Formed in 1986, by core members Larry Grisham and Tommy Stillwell who are both featured on this album, their ninth, for the first time on a studio album in 20 years, The Beat Daddys have a fine old school blues sound. On the sleeve they talk about working with Tommy Couch and others at the famed southern label Malaco (The Beat Daddys were signed to subsidiary label Waldoxy in the early 90s), and they turn in a fine version of A.D. Prestage’s ‘DUI Love’ – it is one of those lovely narrative type songs that could have been a hit for ZZ Hill or the like.

The set opens with a vaguely spooky-sounding version of Muscle Shoals’ Maxwell Russell’ ‘These Chains’, a highly effective introduction and continues with the moody, tightly controlled ‘Sorry’, before we hit the blues good and proper from then on ‘Pie Or Cake’ has a swamp-blues approach, a stop-time number with wailing harp, then there is ‘Hoodoo Woman’ with its echoes of vintage Fleetwood Mac (at least until the guitar solo), or the Albert King approach of ‘Been Thinkin’’ – the rhythm section excels throughout, but I just have to mention the groove they achieve on this one.

‘Luck’s Got To Change’ veers towards country-soul, ‘The Blues Can Heal Ya’ is one of those anthemic type of shuffles, and closer ‘I Need A Woman’ is a muscular track, the heaviest number on the album, with great slabs of Tommy Stillwell’s slide guitar work and fine harp work from Larry.

Pretty impressive when all is said and done – check it out.


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The countdown has begun to the start of the Big Blues Festival with headliners Chantel McGregor and The Nimmo Brothers on the bill.

The festival was developed from the one day event last year that saw American music icon Steve Cropper and The Animals perform.

Running from Friday, 9th to Saturday, 10th October it includes well known names including Chantel McGregor, The Nimmo Brothers, the Marcus Malone Band and North West favourites The Stumble playing alongside rising stars Tipitina and David Migden & The Twisted Roots, for a real eclectic mix of great music.

Emma Lloyd Principle Manager: Programmes, Audience Development & Enterprise said:

The Big Blues Festival is going to be one of the highlights of our season. Festivals  bring a great atmosphere to a venue and  really brings it to life. We want people to enjoy the special themed menu designed by our new chef  in the Bakery, to pop into the Museum and Gallery during the downtime and enjoy great real ale from Southport Brewery!

The weekend offers Chicago style rhythm & blues, gospel, rock and roots to the experimental across the 2 day event.  This years event has been so well supported and we are very grateful. There are a few festival tickets left, but we hope that won’t be the case by the time we kick off with The Nimmo Brothers on Friday night!”

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The Nimmo Brothers make their way to Southport from Glasgow to launch the weekend. They are the most respected exponents of modern blues the UK has seen since the blues boom of the 1960s.

Tipitina on Saturday 10 October deliver their own unique take on the blues, barrelhouse, boogie and gospel of New Orleans, in the footsteps of Professor Longhair, Dr. John, James Booker, Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint.

David Migden & The Twisted Roots  are a really exciting electric five piece, performing unique original material in a genre-busting crossover of rock, blues and twisted American roots. The band’s reputation has been growing with radio play across the UK, Europe and the US.

The Stumble is a powerful six piece band based in and around Preston in the North-West offering a classic valve driven back line driven with shuffle and roll.

The Marcus Malone Band is really making a name for itself across the festival and gig circuit. Marcus Malone has released six albums, the last being a real gem of the highest order. It boasts some compelling original material delivered by a finely honed band steeped in the spirit of blues. The album was nominated for Best Recorded Session 2014 by European Blues Awards.

And then we have  our headliner, Chantel McGregor. With the tone of Robin Trower, the inspiration of Hendrix, the influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan, the energy of Bonamassa, the intensity of Walter Trout and the haunting vocal of Stevie Nicks all rolled into one!

She has won and been nominated for a number of awards including “Young Artist of the Year” and “Best Female Vocalist”, “Guitarist Of The Year” and “Best Female Vocalist”, at the British Blues Awards . She has gone on to develop a career in the UK and international blues music scene, performing solo and with her band.

The line-up is big and bold and presents music that is desperate to be heard! Join us for a weekend of great music, great food, great ale and great fun at our first Big Blues Festival, as we celebrate what rock, rhythm and blues has to offer!

The Atkinson’s Big Blues Festival tickets are available for just £36 and are available online at or by calling the Box Office on 01704 533333. They are also available over the counter during The Atkinson opening hours.

*Please be advised that there is a £1 per ticket booking fee for telephone and online sales and 50p per ticket charge for over the counter sales.

Friday, 9th October:

8 pm: The Nimmo Brothers

Saturday, 10th October:

12 pm: Bar Opens

1 pm: Tipitina

2.45 pm: David Migden & The Twisted Roots

4.30 pm: The Stumble

7 pm: Marcus Malone Band

8.45 pm: Chantel McGregor

*Please be advised that there is a £1 per ticket booking fee for telephone and online sales and 50p per ticket charge for over the counter sales.

The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1DB


In person: Visit The Atkinson box office on Lord Street

For tickets: visit the website or call box office on 01704 533333

(Chantel McGregor pic: Steve Howdle; The Nimmo Brothers pic: Jan Fialkowski)


Fast-rising young guitarist Laurence Jones and his crack band appear at The Live Rooms in Chester, this coming Saturday, 3rd October.

(Picture: Geoff Oldfield)

Review: Mississippi Fever – 300 Miles To Memphis

Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015


Mississippi Fever – 300 Miles To Memphis


Mississippi Fever have been in existence since 2009 but the association of Brent Barker; vocals and guitar, and Louisianan, Ted May; bass, covers about twenty five years, they first met when they were recruited to play for a Los Angeles band, this tenure was short lived and Brent went back to his day job as a television and film soundtrack musician, while Ted continued to play bass for a string of L. A. based bands. The two met up again years later by accident in Louisiana, where they both had returned to with their families.

The man making up the trio is Tom May, brother of Ted, who on drums underpins their punchy, driving blues / rock power music machine which is currently turning people’s heads around. This, their second album consists of ten numbers two of which are covers. The numbers here reflect the many experiences of thirty or so years of individual and collective music making, all now poured into one highly combustible sound. Their stripped down clean, sparse and crisp style is splendidly reflected in the production, where the bass and drums reverberate in and around a stark, searing and raw guitar style that demands you sit up and take notice.

The music possesses a transatlantic feel that reaches out further than a common or garden power trio, for in the music there is a positive mixture of hurt and genuine emotion, “Feel Like Superman”, bursts from the speakers with a searing and funky chocka-chocka wah-wah guitar that is urged on by a driving and pulsating organ courtesy of Steve Grimes, Brent’s rasping vocals commandingly punctuates the pumping percussion. The calmer and more subdued hill country inspired cover of Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Riverside Blues”, evolves into a rather pleasant foot-tapping shuffler.

Z.Z. Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” starts with a light and airy acoustic guitar then is transformed into a burgeoning blunt bass slow burner with a building and roaring guitar, underneath this there is a bubble bursting organ undercurrent courtesy of Rick Steff. The building, slowburning romancer “Steal Away Your Love”, beautifully incorporates a late night smoky rolling piano again, courtesy of Rick Steff with a thumping bass and percussion underpinning a thoughtful and mellow guitar.

“Downtown Train”, Returns us nicely to a raw, power infused funk it up swaggering guitar fuelled ditty. “Three Hundred Miles to Memphis”, is a foot stamping, tramping, pulveriser incorporating a wonderfully wheezy and rasping Chicago evoking harmonica from Brandon Santini that is seductively entwined with a captivating and pulsating guitar, underpinned with driving percussion.



News: Blues Blast Music Awards winners

Posted on: Monday, Sep 28, 2015


The 2015 Blues Blast Music Award winners are listed below.

The winners were announced at the Blues Blast Music Award ceremonies on Friday evening September 25th at the Fluid Event Center in Champaign, IL.

Over the weekend we received information suggesting that our voting website had been hacked. We commend Anthony Gomes for coming forward with this information.

An investigation discovered fraudulent votes had been cast in the Contemporary Blues Album, Rock Blues Album and the Male Blues Artist categories.

These were the only categories involved in this hacking. No categories other than the Contemporary Blues Album, Rock Blues Album and the Male Blues Artist categories were affected.

Sony Music, MasterCard, Visa, Target and the IRS have all recently been hacked and this is a serious issue for every company. We have instituted security measures insuring the Blues Blast Music Awards can not be subject to tampering.

We have deleted the invalid votes and the results are shown below. Congratulations to the winners. For a complete list of all the nominees and winners CLICK HERE.

Thanks go out to the winners, the nominees, our sponsors and Blues fans all over the world for making this year’s Blues Blast Music Awards a huge success.


Bob Kieser
Publisher – Blues Blast Magazine

About this site is your one stop shop for blues information for the northwest of the U.K.

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