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#1156596 - 09/19/19 01:09 PM KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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I hope if anyone have an interest in music history, particulary country and Nashville, will watch the PBS series going on, Ken Burns, COUNTRY MUSIC Documentary. Done decade by decade from the late 1800's, into the 2000's, it is an 8 part series, (the first four have shown this week, the next four will start this coming Sunday.) is an amazingly researched series, very factual and amazingly detailed. And always entertaining.A funny part is seeing things I have always said, like the "Divisions in country music."

Today, there is an undending conversation going on among writers, artists, publishers, and the general public about "what is country." Country radio and artists today have very little to do with what country music was when they grew up. But what I have always said and know is it has ALWAYS been that way. And this series points out from the beginning of the genre we refer to as "COUNTRY" that began with a record called "THE BRISTOL SESSIONS" in 1927. That is considered "THE BIG BANG" of country music.It was many artists, recorded by a man named Ralph Peer, who recorded various local artists from the hills of Tennessee in the little town of Bristol Tenn./Virginia. (The state line is down the middle of the street.) Among those local and regional musicians, were Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family.

Those records would go on to sell 4 million records during the depression and make superstars out of the Carters and Jimmie Rodgers. But they argued over which was "country." The appalachian hillbilly music, popularized by the Carters,  or the delta blues coming out of the black people in Mississippi, that Jimmie brought in.And that argument goes on today. Throughtout the series it is pointed out. Texas Swing, being considered "Big Band music", people like Marty Robbins, considered "Pop Singers, and not country. and it goes on today. The fact is, it is ALL country music, and while it may not fit our definitions, it certainly is that. 

As it was once explained to me by the president of MCA records, hit producer and mogul, Tony Brown, "If Country writers write it, Country artists record it, country publishers publish it, country labels release it, country press writes on it and most importantly, country AUDIENCES EMBRACE IT.... IT'S COUNTRY. 

I hope anyone with an interest in music history and finding out how we got where we are today, will check it out. You can do an internet search and find out where you can see it. "Ken Burns, "Country Music." Hope you'll tune it in.

MAB

PS: Jimmie Rodgers was my Grandmother's second cousin. So I come by this honestly.

#1156597 - 09/19/19 02:40 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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ben willis Offline
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Been watching it Marc. I caught a possible error in the episode about Hank Williams. If I heard it right they claim that Hank wrote the song "Lovesick Blues". I always heard that it was an old show tune that he recorded and was one of his first hits. I Googled the history of the song and sure enough they say it was a show tune written by Irving Mills and first recorded in 1922.

This isn't a gottcha moment. I may have heard the explanation on the documentary wrong but it sure did sound like they said Hank wrote the song.

Last edited by ben willis; 09/19/19 02:43 PM.
#1156599 - 09/19/19 04:07 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Brunswick, Ga. USA
Yes,
I did watch the first episode but forgot to see the next installments. I hope it is released on DVD so we can buy it. Several years ago there was a 6 hour program, Roots of Country Music that also covered much of the History of Country Music. I taped it over 3 weeks and put it on DVD. Haven't watched it in a while but may have to dig it out and watch it. I also have the DVD's that were recorded in the 50's, MEMORIES, Grand Ole Opry Stars of the fifties 12 DVDs

Of course, after all these years there may be a few glitches in Ken Burns program. Hard to remember everything from those years.


Ray E. Strode
#1156617 - 09/19/19 07:13 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: ben willis]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Hey guys,

Ben, I didn't know that and I'll have to go back and check but I think they might have talked about his recording of Lovesick blues, but I didn't catch it, since I didn't know what to look for. I had always thought he wrote it. The researchers on this are from the Country Music Hall of Fame and they have been working on it for 8 years, so it might be a miss or possibly a different definition. I have seen interviews with Ken Burns, who said that everything can't be included and some people won't be pleased with it, so maybe there will be some controversy involved. I'm around quite a few musicians who go back to that era and they are pretty pleased with it so far.

I've very much enjoying it and am glad they've taken the time to showcase our genre. The only down side will probably be an even further explosion of tourists who come here afterward, as if we need any more.
All in all, it's a pretty solid history lesson, and I look forward to seeing the rest.

MAB

#1156619 - 09/19/19 07:24 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Gavin Sinclair Online content
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Ray, no need to wait for the DVD. If you google Ken Burns Country Music, it will show you a link that will take you straight to the episodes at your local PBS station and you can watch it on your computer. Might even be better than the TV with headphones plugged in.

#1156622 - 09/19/19 07:43 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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ben willis Offline
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Marc, like I said, it's not a gotcha thing. I just believed that it was an old show tune. I just perked up when I thought I heard them say that Hank wrote the song. I agree with you 100% that the documentary is a very learning experience.

#1156628 - 09/19/19 09:42 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Brunswick, Ga. USA
Well
I don't know what was said about Lovesick Blues in the show but according to the double CD I have of Hank a Friend and Mills are on the credits as writers.But you would think Hank wrote it as he recorded it much as his own. Recorded in January 1949 according to the CD.

Gavin, I would want a DVD of it for prosperity. I watched the first 30 minutes of the earlier recording I now have on DVD. Much of the same footage Ken Burns used is the same as the earlier release on The Roots of Country Music about the Carters as that is all they had.

Another great song Hank recorded you would think Hank wrote, LOST HIGHWAY was actually written by Leon Payne, a blind singer that was from San Antonio Texas and came to Corpus one time and appeared at the EM Club.

Now all you Country Buffs, what was the last song Hank Recorded before he passed. Hard to believe but I actually heard it on the radio back when!


Ray E. Strode
#1156692 - 09/20/19 08:17 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Ken Burns (and his team) does amazing work and I am enjoying this as well. Mainly cuz I'm being turned onto all kinds of great music I would not otherwise have entertained any notions of listening to. Burns makes it seductive..

I've been into the Carter Family since discovering Gillian Welch a decade or so ago. She named them as one of her main inspirations.

That's the great thing about music: it exists both inside and outside of time. I mean...all this great music is just sitting there, waiting to be discovered and re-discovered..

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 09/21/19 03:26 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1156719 - 09/21/19 10:02 AM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Brunswick, Ga. USA
All Right!
You are all forgiven for not knowing the last song Hank Released before he passed Probably most if not all of you were not even here yet. I was barely here. The song was, I'LL NEVER GET OUT OF THIS WORLD ALIVE.


Ray E. Strode
#1156722 - 09/21/19 10:20 AM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Sue Rarick Offline
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Going to have to wait on this till it's on one of the streaming services. You would think the name PBS would be on Sling or Roku at the very least. Funny how they are so behind the times depending on just broadcast or cable networks.
In 6 months it'll probably be on Amazon Prime

Last edited by Sue Rarick; 09/21/19 11:49 AM.



#1156731 - 09/21/19 11:45 AM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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I haven't had a chance to see this yet, but I look forward to checking it out.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#1156787 - 09/22/19 05:12 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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ben willis Offline
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I was wrong and glad to admit it. I just saw the Hank Williams episode again. They didn't say that Hank wrote "Lovesick Blues" like I thought. They said it was an old hit by Emmett Miller. Sorry about that.

#1156809 - 09/23/19 07:52 AM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Nice to have people admit when they make a mistake, it shows character. So many will not admit to their errors for pride's sake. Thanks Ben.

#1157007 - 09/27/19 12:22 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
MY TAKE ON THE KEN BURNS COUNTRY MUSIC SERIES

Well, last night was the final episode of the Ken Burns PBS “Country Music” documentary, and I have to say I am at the least, as impressed with it as I have been on every Ken Burns documentary. Starting with THE CIVIL WAR, through BASEBALL, THE ROOSEVELTS, WORLD WAR II, VIETNAM, and on and on, I’m pretty much firm in the Ken Burns camp. Again, sir, well done.

Having said that, I notice people on the web with their own takes and while most seem to be positive, there are always personal biases we all bring to it, and people that feel there was “too much this or that…. And “why was my friend/person/colleague skipped….” Etc. it is true you can’t please everyone. In something with the scope and literally millions of stories and people, songs and events, it is impossible to include everything and everything. You have to give the best overview that you can. And I think they did a great job.

With myself and, I think a lot of people from our Nashville community, there are going to be a lot of personal experiences. Each night we watched as people, places and things from our own life experiences are flashed on the screen. Stories we heard or experienced turned out to be different than we heard or experienced them. This is normal. Sort of like being at a party and one person starts a story and by the time it gets to you, it is totally different. Hey, it happens.

I’m just glad we have a pretty damn good narrative of our business, our town, our forefathers and our present and future participants.

*For me, it was quite personal. From finding out some things about my distant relative, Jimmie Rodgers, that I heard from my Father’s Mother, who was Jimmie’s second cousin, to remembering my Father’s stories of singing at the Ryman in his early years as a gospel quartet singer in the 1950’s and 60’s, there was a lot to bring back memories for me.

*With each successive night, I would see more and more people that I personally had a connection with. And like anyone who was around history making things, sporting events, National calamities, wars, or whatever, we never quite realize it until we see it from a broader perspective. Because at the time, we were just around things in a very small way. My entire relationship with this town and business is from a very small part, but it is a part nonetheless and it has been pretty fun to see a little larger picture.

*There was a lot of “Oh… so that’s who that was..” in this. I would see pictures or hear stories of people that I had connections or conversations with but never really knew it at the time. Billy Sherril, for instance, the producer who discovered Tammy Wynette and George Jones, who produced my first cut, “THAT’S WHERE IT HURTS” a song I wrote with Ron Muir and my Dad, Grady Ross Barnette, was featured prominently. He just happened to be walking down the hall going to the bathroom when he heard my song at Tree publishing and wanted to put it on the new project with Shelby. It was featured in a WILLIE NELSON/KRIS KRISTOFFERSON TV Movie of the week, “ANOTHER PAIR OF ACES” where Willie, Kris and Actress Sela Ward, two-stepped to the song. My Dad was one of the worlds biggest Willie fans, so seeing that was surely on his “bucket list” and getting our names in People magazine, had to be a lot of fun for him. And he used to rib me about “I don’t know what’s so hard about writing songs.” He had only written ONE. Pretty good track record.

*People like hit publishers Bob Beckam, who actually offered me a deal twice, but I was unable to do it because I was in another deal.

*Seeing the amazing Amy Kurland and the Bluebird featured so prominently and took me back to the days of my audition and then all the shows I did there. Standing outside the window to see an artist I was sent to see by my ASCAP rep TOM LONG. The guy was ASTOUNDING! And even more than that, I remembered the five minutes of conversation we had after his set when he talked to me outside.
And reminded me of a song of MINE that he had been interested in. That guy was GARTH BROOKS. And that was the night he got signed. I had told his manager I was “Holding on to the song, “CAN’T BLAME NOBODY” for myself as an artist! (OPEN MOUTH, INSERT BOTH FEET!) “Hey Garth, I’m still holding on to that song if you want to do it! LOL!”

*The “weird at the time” advice I got from TOWNES VAN ZANDT, who told me I needed some “WANK WANK” in my song after hearing me one night and complimenting me on the song. I thought he was just badly inebriated but would find out months later that “Wank Wank” is a noise you make running your hands up the strings and hitting it with a percussive effect. Gives a “PUSH” to the song. I use it to this day and pass it along to my students. Thanks Townes.

*The night I performed before this guy on a Steven Farmer writer’s night at the Commodore. He was pretty depressed, talking about his frustration with the business, having been known by everyone, played on everyone’s records but not being able to break through as a singer. He was going to give it one more try before giving up the artist thing. Then he played his “last ditch song.” “NOBODY ANSWERS WHEN I CALL YOUR NAME.” That was Vince Gill.

Being able to write, do shows with, hang out and become friends with Larry Butler, Grammy Producer, writer of “Hey Won’t You Play Another somebody done somebody wrong song.” Richard “Don’t it make my brown eyes blue” Leigh, Wood Newton, Jimbeau Hinson, Jon Imms, Chas Sandford, and on and on with people who had such a huge impact on music. Yeah we were all there too.

The night that I ran into Chuck Cannon, and Billy Dean, at Gibson Guitar Café’, and they were asking me to go to “SEANACES” a particularly popular Irish bar at the time, and I thought they said “SHONEYS”.I wasn’t hungry. They ended up writing a huge hit song that night. Forks in the road.

*Having back-up singers like Heather and Jennifer Kinley step up and become Superstars. Watching my friends like Chuck Cannon, Stephanie Smith, Jimmy Stewart, go on to have enormously successful careers. And watching Jimmie, as he got a cut with his dream artist, Keith Whitley, on his song, BROTHERLY LOVE, and being so excited, then being dashed when Keith battling demons, died before finishing it. Then being excited again ,when, they brought in Earl Thomas Conley a year later and finishing the song and taking it to number one, two years after Keith’s death. And when Jimmy brought in a new writer to sit in with us in a round at Douglas. That was Toby Keith.

*Seeing your friends succeed, and then many who moved home. Troy McConnel, Clint Bullard, who are as good as it gets as writers and artists, but ended up going other places and carrying on there. Being in so many places, and often being so close, yet not quite THERE, but still being able to have amazing experiences you can always look back fondly on and be grateful for being there.

The hundreds of shows, special events, thousands of songs, late night guitar pulls, parties, benefits, all the people I’ve met and had enormous fun and great experiences. That’s what we’ve all had. And seeing this documentary fuels a lot of our own memories. We’re all just very fortunate3 to have been able to play small parts in this drama we call COUNTRY and NASHVILLE. I guess we could all do our own documentaries. But I’m just glad we had this one.

Thanks all.
MAB



Last edited by Marc Barnette; 09/27/19 12:26 PM.
#1157012 - 09/27/19 01:14 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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This series was so so amazing. Up there with "Jazz," "Baseball," et al..

Did they ever make that Keith Whitley movie they were casting for around 2006? There's a sad story..Alcoholism was no stranger to Country artists.

Love your Townes anecdote..I was living in Nashville when he died and was depressed for months after that. I must have seen him (many times with Guy Clark) performing..have to be over a 20-30 times over the years, in various cities including The Palms Playhouse in Davis, California, which was a tiny barn that had been upgraded to have great acoustics and many (mostly) folk artists would make the trek out there..

Mike


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 09/27/19 01:28 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1157019 - 09/27/19 05:47 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,256
Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,256
Nashville, Tn.
Hey Michael,

That was the only time I actually SAW Townes in my years in Nashville. He died not long after that, and if you had seen him that night, you would have expected. Looked pretty rough and as I said, was pretty well toasted, when he spoke to me. But his advice was spot on.

As far as the Keith Witley movie, I remember that, but don't know if it was ever finished. I don't remember anything past talk about it. It might have happened, but we just never heard or saw anything about it. Of course, the only thing more prevelant in this town than songwriters and songs are people that have BOOKS, STORIES, SCREEN PLAYS, TELEVISION SHOWS ,etc, ABOUT SONGWRITERS AND SONGS. Everyone you run into has some work they are doing that is "just about to happen." There are a lot of productions going on, a lot of talk, but most is just that, talk.

The ABC television show, NASHVILLE, was one of those that we thought "Yeah, right..." but never really expected to happen. There were at least a half dozen other movies or shows in some form of pre- production or production at the time, so we were really dismissive about all of them. But when it happened it exploded all over this town and for six years we were Hollywood East, with film production units all over town, trucks, casting calls, and a LOT of extras. Most every friend I had was involved in that show in one way or another. They would go do these extra jobs thinking it was really cool, tben find themselves sitting bored on sets for 16 hours a day for a week, in the same stinky clothes, staying in make up, spending all day and night on these things. Was really cool the first time or so. Not a lot wanted to become "proffessional extras."

And every writer was trying to score songs in the show. Some of the biggest writers submitted but didn't get their songs in. A big reason was that they didn't want songs that were "too good." That would distract from the show. Was a very different take than the "lets spin off a song" from the show. They didn't want to do that. This was an imaginary universe all the way, and they didn;t want too much to be too realistic. But we got a bunch of attention and Lord, we still do. The tour buses, constant traffic, unending construction and tourists are all here every day.

Gotta take the good with the bad.

#1157027 - 09/27/19 08:08 PM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,089
Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,089
California
Hey Marc,

Conne Britton is one of my favorite actresses but I haven't seen Nashville yet, but in this day-and-age, that don't matter. It'll be there when I decide to watch it, and I want to, having been a part of that scene for a few years in the mid Nineties, and loving her work.

That's funny..about wanting songs that weren't too good, ha! I guess a really good writer could go back through a great song and muck it up, but I would image that would be painful.

Yeah, Townes was in really bad shape but still making gigs as I recall, up through that fall in '96..

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 09/27/19 08:35 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1157197 - 10/02/19 11:05 AM Re: KEN BURNS HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,613
Dave Rice Online content
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Dave Rice  Online Content
Top 30 Poster

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,613
Texas
Hi Marc:

I watched this highly informative series and enjoyed it very much. The early history of the "Peer Era" was an eye opener but the entire series is worth watching... even twice if you were able to record it. Loved seeing so many of those historical performers and artists as well as many from the very recent past.

I was amazed to learn so many artists on a broad front hail from either Kentucky or Oklahoma. Naturally, we have more than a few from Texas and Arkansas. Thanks for informing JPF and for being "our man in Nashville."

Wishing you all the best, ----West Mayberry Dave


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