The Essential Clapton Bundle - THE BEST OF CREAM +BLIND FAITH+SLOWHAND FOR £49.99-SAVE NEARLY 30%!





Eric Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is regularly referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and fourth in Gibson's "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time". He was also named number five in Time magazine's list of "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" in 2009.

Clapton has been the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards, and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. He has received four Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In his solo career, Clapton has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time.

 Cream - Best of Cream: 2014 reissue on 180g Vinyl

Widely regarded as the world's first supergroup, Cream were highly regarded for the instrumental proficiency of each of their members.

Their music spanned many genres of rock music, including blues rock, psychedelic rock, and hard rock. In their career, they sold more than 15 million records worldwide. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), is the world's first platinum-selling double album.

In 1993, Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were included in both Rolling Stone and VH1's lists of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", at number 67 and 61 respectively. 

Cream were a British rock band formed in London in 1966. The group consisted of bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton, and drummer Ginger Baker. Bruce was the primary songwriter and vocalist, although Clapton and Baker also sang and contributed songs. Formed from members of previously successful bands, they are widely regarded as the world's first supergroup. Cream were highly regarded for the instrumental proficiency of each of their members. Tensions between Bruce and Baker led to their decision in May 1968 to break up, though the band were persuaded to make a final album, Goodbye, and to tour, culminating in two final farewell concerts at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 and 26 November 1968 which were filmed and shown in theatres, then in 1977 released as a home video, Farewell Concert.

Their music spanned many genres of rock music, including blues rock ("Crossroads", "Born Under a Bad Sign"), psychedelic rock ("Tales of Brave Ulysses", "White Room"), and hard rock ("Sunshine of Your Love", "SWLABR"). In their career, they sold more than 15 million records worldwide. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), is the world's first platinum-selling double album.

In 1993, Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were included in both Rolling Stone and VH1's lists of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", at number 67 and 61 respectively. They were also ranked number 16 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock".

By July 1966, Eric Clapton's career with the Yardbirds and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers had earned him a reputation as the premier blues guitarist in Britain. Clapton, however, found the environment of Mayall's band confining, and sought to expand his playing in a new band. In 1966, Clapton met Ginger Baker, then the drummer of the Graham Bond Organisation, for which Jack Bruce had played bass guitar, harmonica and piano. Baker felt stifled in the Graham Bond Organisation and had grown tired of Graham Bond's drug addictions and bouts of mental instability. "I had always liked Ginger", explained Clapton. "Ginger had come to see me play with the Bluesbreakers. After the gig he drove me back to London in his Rover. I was very impressed with his car and driving. He was telling me that he wanted to start a band, and I had been thinking about it too."

Each was impressed with the other's playing abilities, prompting Baker to ask Clapton to join his new, then-unnamed group. Clapton immediately agreed on the condition that Baker hire Bruce as the group's bassist; according to Clapton, Baker was so surprised at the suggestion that he almost crashed the car. Clapton had met Bruce when the bassist/vocalist briefly played with the Bluesbreakers in November 1965; the two also had recorded together as part of an ad hoc group dubbed Powerhouse (which also included Steve Winwood and Paul Jones). Impressed with Bruce's vocals and technical prowess, Clapton wanted to work with him on an ongoing basis.

In contrast, while Bruce was in Bond's band, he and Baker had been notorious for their quarrelling. Their volatile relationship included on-stage fights and the sabotage of one another's instruments. After Baker fired Bruce from the band, Bruce continued to arrive for gigs; ultimately, Bruce was driven away from the band after Baker threatened him at knifepoint.

Baker and Bruce tried to put aside their differences for the good of Baker's new trio, which he envisioned as collaborative, with each of the members contributing to music and lyrics. The band was named "Cream", as Clapton, Bruce, and Baker were already considered the "cream of the crop" amongst blues and jazz musicians in the exploding British music scene. Initially, the group were referred to and billed as "The Cream", but starting officially with its first record releases, the trio came to be known as "Cream". Despite this, the band was referred to as "The Cream" on several occasions by promoters and disc jockeys, and even on occasion by the band members themselves.

Before deciding upon "Cream", the band considered calling themselves "Sweet 'n' Sour Rock 'n' Roll". Of the trio, Clapton had the biggest reputation in England; however, he was all but unknown in the US, having left the Yardbirds before "For Your Love" hit the American Top Ten.

The band made its unofficial debut at the Twisted Wheel on 29 July 1966. Its official debut came two nights later at the Sixth Annual Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival. Being new and with few original songs to its credit, they performed blues reworkings that thrilled the large crowd and earned it a warm reception. In October the band also got a chance to jam with Jimi Hendrix, who had recently arrived in London. Hendrix was a fan of Clapton's music, and wanted a chance to play with him onstage.

It was during the early organisation that they decided Bruce would serve as the group's lead vocalist. While Clapton was shy about singing, he occasionally harmonised with Bruce and, in time, took lead vocals on several Cream tracks including "Four Until Late", "Strange Brew", "World of Pain", "Outside Woman Blues", "Crossroads", and "Badge".

From its creation, Cream was faced with some fundamental problems that would later lead to its dissolution in November 1968. The antagonism between Bruce and Baker created tensions in the band. Clapton also felt that the members of the band did not listen to each other enough. Equipment during these years had also improved; new Marshall amplifier stacks produced more power, and Jack Bruce pushed the volume levels higher, creating tension for Baker, who would have trouble competing with roaring stacks. Clapton spoke of a concert during which he stopped playing and neither Baker nor Bruce noticed. Clapton has also commented that Cream's later gigs mainly consisted of its members showing off.

Cream decided that they would break up in May 1968 during a tour of the US. Later, in July, the band announced that they would break up after a farewell tour of the US and after playing two concerts in London.

Cream were eventually persuaded to do one final album, appropriately titled Goodbye. The album was recorded in late 1968 and released in early 1969, after the band had broken up. It comprised six songs: three live recordings dating from a concert at The Forum in Los Angeles, California, on 19 October, and three new studio recordings (including "Badge", which was written by Clapton and George Harrison, who also played rhythm guitar and was credited as "L'Angelo Misterioso"). "I'm So Glad" was included among the live tracks.

Cream's farewell tour consisted of 22 shows at 19 venues in the US from 4 October to 4 November 1968, and two final farewell concerts at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 and 26 November 1968. The final US gig was at the Rhode Island Auditorium on 4 November. The band arrived late and, due to local restrictions, were able to perform only two songs, "Toad" and a 20+ minute version of "Spoonful". The two Royal Albert Hall concerts were filmed for a BBC documentary and released on video (and later DVD) as Farewell Concert. Both shows were sold out and attracted more attention than any other Cream concert, but their performance was regarded by many as below standard. Baker himself said of the concerts: "It wasn't a good gig ... Cream was better than that ... We knew it was all over. We knew we were just finishing it off, getting it over with." Bruce had three Marshall stacks on stage for the farewell shows but one acted only as a spare, and he only used one or two, depending on the song. In an interview from Cream: Classic Artists, he added that the band was getting worse by the minute.

Blind Faith, a band that included both Clapton and Baker, was formed after the demise of Cream, following an attempt by Clapton to recruit Steve Winwood into Cream in the hope that he would help act as a buffer between Bruce and Baker. Inspired by more song-based acts, Clapton went on to perform very different, less improvisational material with Delaney & Bonnie, Derek and the Dominos, and in his own long and varied solo career.

Bruce began a varied and successful solo career with the 1969 release of Songs for a Tailor, while Baker formed a jazz-fusion ensemble out of the ashes of Blind Faith called Ginger Baker's Air Force, with Winwood, Blind Faith bassist Rick Grech, Graham Bond on saxophone, and guitarist Denny Laine of the Moody Blues and (later) Wings.

All three members continued to explore new musical ideas and partnerships, play concerts and record music for over four decades after ending Cream.

In 1993, Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and re-formed to perform at the induction ceremony. Initially, the trio were wary about performing, until encouraging words from Robbie Robertson inspired them to try. The set consisted of "Sunshine of Your Love", "Crossroads", and "Born Under a Bad Sign", a song they had not previously played live. Clapton mentioned in his acceptance speech that their rehearsal the day before the ceremony had marked the first time they had played together in 25 years. This performance spurred rumours of a reunion tour. Bruce and Baker said in later interviews that they were, indeed, interested in touring as Cream. A formal reunion did not take place immediately, as Clapton, Bruce and Baker continued to pursue solo projects, although the latter two worked together again in the mid-1990s as two-thirds of the power trio BBM with Irish blues rock guitarist Gary Moore.

At Clapton's request, Cream reunited for a series of four shows, on 2, 3, 5, and 6 May 2005 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the venue of their final concerts in 1968. Although the three musicians chose not to speak publicly about the shows, Clapton would later state that he had become more "generous" in regard to his past, and that the physical health of Bruce and Baker was a major factor: Bruce had recently undergone a transplant for liver cancer in 2003, and had almost lost his life, while Baker had severe arthritis.

Tickets for all four shows sold out in under an hour. The performances were recorded for a live CD and DVD. Among those in attendance were Bill Wyman, Steve Winwood, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Roger Waters, Brian May, Jimmy Page, and Mick Taylor. The reunion marked the first time the band had played "Badge" and "Pressed Rat and Warthog" live.

Inspired by the success of the reunion, the band agreed to an additional set of three shows at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, from 24–26 October 2005. According to Clapton, these concerts did not live up to the Royal Albert Hall performances due to, among other reasons, lack of rehearsal and the resurgence of old grudges among band members.

In February 2006, Cream received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their contribution to, and influence upon, modern music. That same month, a "Classic Albums" DVD was released detailing the story behind the creation and recording of Disraeli Gears. On the day prior to the Grammy ceremony, Bruce made a public statement that more one-off performances of Cream had been planned: multiple dates in a few cities, similar to the Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden shows.

However, this story was refuted by both Clapton and Baker, first by Clapton in a Times of London article from April 2006. The article stated that when asked about Cream, Clapton said: "No. Not for me. We did it and it was fun. But life is too short. I've got lots of other things I would rather do, including staying at home with my kids. The thing about that band was that it was all to do with its limits ... it was an experiment." In an interview in the UK magazine Music Mart, about the release of a DVD about the Blind Faith concert in Hyde Park 1969, Baker commented about his unwillingness to continue the Cream reunion. These comments were far more specific and explosive than Clapton's, as they were centred around his relationship with Jack Bruce. Ginger said, "When he's Dr. Jekyll, he's fine ... It's when he's Mr. Hyde that he's not. And I'm afraid he's still the same. I tell you this – there won't ever be any more Cream gigs, because he did Mr. Hyde in New York last year."

When asked to elaborate, Baker replied:

“Oh, he shouted at me on stage, he turned his bass up so loud that he deafened me on the first gig. What he does is that he apologises and apologises, but I'm afraid, to do it on a Cream reunion gig, that was the end. He killed the magic, and New York was like 1968 ... It was just a get through the gig, get the money sort of deal. I was absolutely amazed. I mean, he demonstrated why he got the sack from Graham Bond and why Cream didn't last very long on stage in New York. I didn't want to do it in the first place simply because of how Jack was. I have worked with him several times since Cream, and I promised myself that I would never work with him again. When Eric first came up with the idea, I said no, and then he phoned me up and eventually convinced me to do it. I was on my best behaviour and I did everything I could to make things go as smooth as possible, and I was really pleasant to Jack.”

Baker and Bruce appeared on stage in London when Baker was awarded a lifetime achievement award by legendary cymbal manufacturer Zildjian. Bruce told Detroit's WCSX radio station in May 2007 that there were plans for a Cream reunion later in the year. It was later revealed that the potential performance was to be November 2007 in London as a tribute to Ahmet Ertegun. The band decided against it and this was confirmed by Bruce in a letter to the editor of the Jack Bruce fanzine, The Cuicoland Express, dated 26 September 2007:

Dear Marc,

“We were going to do this tribute concert for Ahmet when it was to be at the Royal Albert Hall but decided to pass when it was moved to the O2 Arena and seemed to be becoming overly commercial.”

The headlining act for the O2 Arena Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert (postponed to December 2007) turned out to be another reunited English hard-rock act, Led Zeppelin. In an interview with BBC 6 Music in April 2010, Bruce confirmed that there would be no more Cream shows: "Cream is over." Bruce died on 25 October 2014 and Baker died on 6 October 2019, leaving Clapton as the last surviving member.


Blind Faith - Blind Faith: The Legendary Album, on 180g Vinyl 

Blind Faith (2013 UK) is the audiophile issue of the 1969 6-track album pressed on 180g vinyl and issued as part of the Back To Black series. The music is brilliant featuring, as it does, the psychedelic blues of Eric Clapton, the soulful vocals and keyboards of Steve Winwood and Ginger Baker on drumming duties

Blind Faith were an English supergroup featuring Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech. They were eagerly anticipated by the music press as a continuation of Clapton and Baker's former group Cream and Winwood's former group Traffic, but they split after one album and tour.

The group originated with informal jamming by Clapton and Winwood in early 1969 following the break-ups of Cream and Traffic. Baker joined them in rehearsals, and they decided to form a group. Grech joined as the fourth member from the band Family in May, and they began recording their eponymous debut album. It drew controversy for featuring a photograph of a topless 11-year-old girl on the front cover, and it was issued with a different cover in the United States.

The first Blind Faith concert was on 7 June in front of an estimated 100,000 fans in Hyde Park, London, but they felt that they had not rehearsed enough and were unprepared. They subsequently played concerts in Scandinavia and the US, but the lack of material in the live set led them to play old Cream and Traffic songs which pleased the audience but disillusioned the band. Clapton became increasingly isolated during the tour, preferring to spend time with support act Delaney & Bonnie, and the band split up immediately after their last performance. Clapton and Winwood both enjoyed the music that they played together in the group's limited time, and they have since collaborated on several tours playing Blind Faith material.

The origins of Blind Faith lay in the break-up of Cream, in mid-1968. That group had become a major critical and commercial success, selling millions of records within a few years and bringing international popularity to both the group and each individual member. Despite that success, the band was crumbling from within because of frequent animosity between bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, with Eric Clapton doing his best to mediate. In addition, Clapton became tired of playing commercially driven blues and hoped to move forward with a new, experimental, less straitjacketed approach to the genre. The group disbanded in November 1968 following two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.

Steve Winwood had faced similar problems to Clapton in The Spencer Davis Group, where he had been the lead singer for three years. Winwood wanted to experiment with the band's sound by infusing jazz elements, but left due to his musical differences, instead forming a new band, Traffic, in 1967. While that band was on hiatus in Christmas 1968, Winwood started to jam with his good friend Clapton in the latter's basement in Surrey, England. Clapton was pleased with the jam sessions with Winwood but was hesitant to start a serious group. The music press were hopeful that Clapton would form a band even better than Cream. At one point, Clapton and Winwood thought they might record with Duck Dunn and Al Jackson Jr., the rhythm section of Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

In early 1969, Clapton and Winwood moved to Traffic's rehearsal cottage in Aston Tirrold, Berkshire. Baker turned up one day to sit in with them, and the three seriously considered forming a group. Clapton questioned letting Baker in the band, because he had promised Bruce that, if they were to work with one another again, all three of them would play. Moreover, Clapton didn't want to reunite with Cream barely nine weeks after the break-up, and also didn't want to deal with another band whose members had large reputations individually. Winwood ultimately persuaded Clapton to finalize Baker's inclusion in the line-up, arguing that Baker strengthened their musicianship and that it would be hard to find an equally talented drummer. Traffic was put on hold and the other remaining members, multi-instrumentalist Chris Wood and drummer / singer Jim Capaldi, were informed. Winwood later realised that Clapton would probably have rather had Capaldi in the new group instead of Baker.

Clapton and Winwood's respective managers, Robert Stigwood and Chris Blackwell, said they would be happy to manage the new band. This created immediate tension; Stigwood wanted a quick money-making formula while the band wanted time to write songs and develop as a unit. Winwood later said, "they wanted a supergroup and we didn't".

The formation of the group was announced to the press on 8 February 1969. By May, Ric Grech, bassist with Family, was invited to join them. He left Family midway through a US tour, causing considerable acrimony with the rest of the group. The new band's name was confirmed as "Blind Faith" around this time by Clapton, who thought it described everyone's self-belief that the band would be successful, no matter what happened.

Because Winwood was signed to Island Records, he had to obtain permission from Blackwell (who owned the label) to appear on Polydor Records (to whom Clapton and Baker were signed in the U.K.). A promotional single was released by Island, although the promotion was for the label itself. It was a single announcing the fact that they were moving their offices, titled "Change Of Address From 23 June 1969". This one-sided promo featured an instrumental jam by Blind Faith, who were not mentioned on the label (the only other label info is the new address, phone number, and new cable address of Island). Recorded at Olympic Studios during session for the debut album, an estimated 500 copies of the single were pressed, and mostly sent to UK disc jockeys and other music industry insiders. The track was finally released widely when it appeared as a bonus track on the two-CD "Deluxe Edition" of the Blind Faith album in 2000 (titled "Change Of Address Jam").

Upon its release in July 1969, the band's first and only album Blind Faith topped both the UK chart and Billboard's chart for Pop Album in the U.S. The album sold more than half a million copies in the first month of its release and helped rejuvenate sales of Cream albums. Best of Cream reached No. 3 in the Billboard charts at the same time that Blind Faith was at the top.

The cover art for the album was created by photographer Bob Seidemann, a personal friend and former flatmate of Clapton, who is known primarily for his photos of Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. The cover was nameless – only the wrapping paper told the buyer who the artist was and the name of the album. It provoked controversy because it featured a topless 11-year-old girl, holding in her hands a silver space ship. The US record company issued it with an alternative cover with a photograph of the band on the front. The model on the cover posed upon consent by her parents and was paid £40 (£663 as of 2019) for the shot.

During 2000 the entire album was remastered and re-released as a two-CD deluxe edition from Polydor that includes alternative takes, out-takes and studio rehearsal versions of the band's music created during the early months of 1969.

News of Blind Faith's formation created a buzz of excitement among the public and press. The group debuted at a free concert at London's Hyde Park on 7 June 1969 in front of 100,000 fans. Capaldi and Wood attended the gig, as did Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull. The setlist contained all six numbers that would appear on the debut album, along with a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb", Traffic's "Means to an End", and Sam Myers' "Sleeping in the Ground". The performance was well received by fans, but troubled Clapton, who thought that the band's playing was sub-par. He spent much of the gig close to his amplifiers and not coming forward on stage; only Baker supplied any showmanship and theatrics during the set.

Though the group were still developing, their management insisted they continue touring to provide income. Clapton, knowing the band had not rehearsed enough and was unprepared, was reluctant to tour, but agreed to do so because he could collaborate with Winwood and had no better work offers. The recording of their album continued, followed by a short tour of Scandinavia, where the band played smaller gigs and was able to rehearse their sound and prepare it for bigger audiences in the US and UK. After Scandinavia, the band toured the United States, making their debut at Madison Square Garden on 12 July.

A major problem with the tour was that the band had only a few songs in their catalogue, barely enough to fill an hour, which the audience did not know well. Clapton in particular was against any lengthy jamming, which had been Cream's trademark, which would have allowed them to stretch out a set to a sufficient length. The group were forced to play old Cream and Traffic songs, to the delight of a crowd which usually preferred the old hits to the new Blind Faith material. Clapton resented being in a popular supergroup when he had intended to start a more low-key project. They were playing the same material from his Cream days, to appease the audience and to fill the void left by the lack of adequate new material. Clapton wanted to play the Woodstock Festival, which occurred during the tour, but was outvoted by the rest of the group.

The tour was supported by opening acts Free, Taste, and R&B-based rock act Delaney & Bonnie. Because Clapton liked the soulful, folksy-sounding blues of Delaney & Bonnie, he began spending most of his time with them instead of Blind Faith, letting Winwood take a more prominent role in the band. Clapton even began sitting in on Delaney & Bonnie's opening sets, sometimes simply playing percussion, and showing more interest in them than his own band. He also wanted them to be the headliners instead of Blind Faith.

The band toured for seven more weeks in the US, finishing in Hawaii on 24 August. After the gig, Clapton and Winwood decided to end the group. Grech was immediately informed, but Baker did not find out until he had returned to England following a short holiday in Jamaica. When he finally got home to the UK, he met with Winwood and was upset to find that the band had split up.

After the tour finished in August, various press reports speculated on future band activity, with Stigwood announcing that there would be further tours forthcoming. In October, the band issued a press release saying they had split up. There was no further activity from the group, though several tracks from the band can be found on Steve Winwood's 1995 retrospective album The Finer Things. In 2005, the live album London Hyde Park 1969 was released, documenting the entire concert at the park.

Clapton had mixed feelings about ending the group and felt guilty about abandoning a project that Winwood had put more involvement into than himself. He stepped out of the spotlight, first to sit in with the Plastic Ono Band, and then to tour as a sideman for Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. This freed him of the limelight that he had considered a plague to both Cream and Blind Faith. After his sideman stint, he took several members from Delaney & Bonnie to form a new super-group, Derek and the Dominos. He never dropped his Blind Faith repertoire completely, as "Presence of the Lord" and "Can't Find My Way Home" have been performed occasionally throughout his solo career.

Unlike Clapton, Baker had enjoyed his Blind Faith experience and looked to carry on an offshoot of the band in the form of Ginger Baker's Air Force with both Grech and Winwood. After a few shows together, Winwood left to record a solo album Mad Shadows, which turned into the Traffic album John Barleycorn Must Die. Clapton turned up backstage to a Traffic gig in 1970 and played dual lead guitar with Winwood on "Dear Mr. Fantasy", fuelling rumours of a reunion of the pair. Grech joined Traffic's touring band after the album was released, and played on the Traffic albums The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and Welcome to the Canteen. Winwood would later go on to have a successful solo career, and Grech was a member of various groups before his death in 1990. Baker died on 6 October 2019, leaving Winwood and Clapton as the only two surviving members of Blind Faith.

Clapton and Winwood performed together again on stage as part of the Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis (ARMS) tour in 1983. The shows were a benefit for former Small Faces and Faces member Ronnie Lane, who was suffering from the syndrome.

In July 2007, Clapton and Winwood reunited for a performance during the second Crossroads Guitar Festival held at the Toyota Park Center of Bridgeview (Illinois), where the duo performed a number of Blind Faith songs as part of their set. That performance inspired the two to perform three reunion concerts at Madison Square Garden that took place on 25, 26 and 28 February 2008. It was not an official Blind Faith reunion, but simply "Winwood and Clapton". They performed the four songs on the first side of Blind Faith as well as selections from Traffic, Derek and the Dominos, Clapton's solo career and some covers. A DVD and a two-disc CD of these performances was released in 2009.

On 10 June 2009, Winwood and Clapton began a 14-date United States summer tour at the Izod Center in New Jersey, again including Blind Faith material in their setlist. Winwood and Clapton met again for a series of five concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall from 26 May to 1 June 2011. Clapton and Winwood both returned to play Hyde Park on 8 July 2018, though they performed separately.

In February 2020, Clapton and Winwood played a selection of Blind Faith material at a tribute gig to Baker at the Eventim Apollo.



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