The Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music Album By Album Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dr. Weber, Dec 24, 2008.

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  1. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    An excerpt (Part 2, and last) from “The Importance of Being Bryan Ferry” by Timothy White in the October 1985 MUSICIAN, pages 54-5:

    MUSICIAN: Let’s run through the history of the project (Boys and Girls).

    FERRY: I’d been working on this record since July of 1983. All the tracks were started on an eight-track system that I rented – not having a studio of my own – and brought into my home in Sussex. They all were started on keyboards with my chief engineer Rhett Davies programming a rhythm machine. And then Andy Newmark or Omar Hakim or a combination of both would play with it at a later date to get some sort of human element.

    The guitar at the end of “Slave To Love,” with all that spiky stuff and those little licks, is Neil Hubbard, and the backwards stuff in the beginning and in the central solo is Keith Scott, who plays with Bryan Adams’ band. Bob Clearmountain suggested him during a time when the Adams band was in London doing concerts.

    “Sensation” was begun six to nine months before the last Roxy tour. Guy Fletcher, a keyboard player who was on the road with Roxy, and who has since been snatched up by Dire Straits, played on that track at Phil Manzanera’s Gallery Studio in England. What you hear there, with all those changes and settings that sound like steel drums, is his audition!

    “The Chosen One” was started as a kind of raga thing, with Chester Kamen playing acoustic guitar because I’d thought it’d be unusual to have a dance beat set by such an instrument. The chords of “Valentine” to me always had the feeling of a Brecht-Weill Berlin cabaret thing with the la-la-la-la chorus of European street songs, and I deliberately contrasted it with a reggae mood. “A Wasteland” was a reprise of “Valentine” and I kind of moved it away from that song and gave it space of its own. I like “Windswept” for the South American rhythmic elements, and it’s Mark Knopfler’s semi-acoustic guitar that provides the heavy, beautiful solo there, although it doesn’t sound like him. And I get to play a keyboard solo, finally, after several years, on “Stone Woman,” and it sounds a bit like a guitar, interestingly. “Don’t Stop the Dance” began with a chord sequence that Rhett Davies devised and I wrote to it. That’s how collaborations with Roxy always were, and I used to like that.

    David Gilmour adds the strong licks on “Boys and Girls,” and I want to play with him more in the future. I made it the title track because I thought it was the central piece, the meat and bones, musically and thematically, of the record. The principal song, for me, is never the single, yet I name the record after it to spotlight in people’s minds when they think of the album as a whole cloth.

    Overall, to me it has a steamy feeling, of the jungle almost, the concrete jungle. It has a sensuality thing, like a snake, which I like very much. A vividness.

    Dr. Weber
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  2. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    BOYS AND GIRLS reviewed by Jon Young in the October 1985 CREEM, page 47:

    Some people scoff at silly love songs, but romance is a deadly serious business for Bryan Ferry. Pick a track, any track, on his hypnotic new Boys and Girls LP, and you’ll turn up a description of amour better suited to a dangerous disease than pleasure. Either he’s sadly “outside looking in” or a “slave to love” who can’t escape the trap. Everyone’s had similar feelings at one time or another, of course, but Ferry must hold the record for nonstop preoccupation with fatal romance. He’s been wandering around in a fevered haze for over a decade!

    It wasn’t always so. Back in the early days of Roxy Music, leader Ferry and band were a three-ring circus that both mocked and celebrated junk culture with incredible style. Like the Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Roxy had a fab balance of cool postures and thinly veiled passion; you could choose to groove on the flash or dig into the emotions of the music. Ferry himself was a bizarre, almost scary hybrid of Sinatra-style pop guy and Presleyish wild boy, impossible to pin down for long.

    Slowly, he began to strip away the gimmicks and tone down the sensationalism. By 1975’s “Love Is the Drug,” Ferry had his revised, “adult” persona ready to go: smooth, slightly sweaty, and perpetually in search of a new affair of the heart. Allow for a decade’s aging and mellowing (although not too much), and that’s still pretty much the story in 1985. Boys and Girls finds Ferry alone at the end of the bar at closing time, clutching a smoldering cigarette and staring into a half-empty glass of Scotch as he reflects on the perils and rewards of the high life.

    While the idea of the restless playboy is hardly new – you’ll find endless versions of the same character in old Hollywood movies – there’s no one better suited to it than Ferry. Still a slick crooner without peer, he deserves an Oscar for the dreamy “Windswept,” where he sighs, “Oh baby do it again and again” like a man devastated by desire. “Slave To Love” sends shivers up the spine, too, gently bopping to Ferry’s weary, knowing account of being “too young to reason / too old to dream.” And so on. The almost-rocking “Stone Woman” anticipates a new encounter, while the shimmering title cut portrays the game of love as a sad ritual. Betcha didn’t realize there could be so many variations on a single theme.

    The supporting cast, featuring such credible cats as David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, and Nile Rodgers, cushions the lovesick one with appropriately elegant textures, vaguely funky and always urbane. It does sound an awful lot like Avalon, the last Roxy album, which is probably something he should try to avoid the next time. And nonfans may complain that the songs on Boys and Girls tend to run together, thanks to similar melodies and a heavy use of midtempos. I figure that’s the whole point, though, since the LP is one long meditation on one of the few subjects that never goes out of style. (In fact, Ferry thinks the perfect relationship holds the key to the meaning of life itself, but we don’t have time to get into that here.)

    What does it all have to do with rock ‘n’ roll? Admittedly, anyone looking for fireworks will probably be asleep by the middle of side one. However, the obsessive edge that Ferry brings to his torch songs is a hallmark of great (dare I say it?) art. If Boys and Girls doesn’t seem like a slice of reality right away, wait ‘til that old devil called love gets ahold of you. Then see if it doesn’t make sense. – J.Y.

    Dr. Weber
  3. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Ferry Furore
    author unknown
    MELODY MAKER, 27th June 1987 (via Roxyrama and Buckley)

    Bryan Ferry is being sued by EG Records over his forthcoming album, Bete Noire.

    Ferry claims his recording agreement with EG ended in March this year and is now in a position to sell his new album to any company. But EG say he is in breach of a 15-year contract which gives them exclusive rights to market the album in Canada and the United States. The action will be heard at the High Court in London in six months time.

    In a preliminary hearing last Friday, the parties agreed that if the album is released before the main hearing, Ferry will pay a third of the royalties into a joint account with EG Records – which they will receive if they win the case.

    EG Records also agreed not to sue Warner Brothers, the company Ferry may take the album to, without first applying to the High Court. The EG Records logo will still appear on the album cover.

    No release date has yet been confirmed for the album. -Melody Maker

    Additionally, Buckley writes in THE THRILL OF IT ALL, page 265:

    “I had a very painful business divorce from my managers at the time which dragged on for a couple of years and was very, very painful. It was my first experience of that,” Ferry was to reflect later. “It seems to have happened to virtually every pop, rock and soul artist at some point or another in their careers, I think. So historically I was due for mine, and I got it in spades, I felt.” -D.B.

    Robert Fripp of King Crimson, responsible for introducing Ferry to Fenwick and EG Management, also went through a similar “business divorce” that ultimately led to his creating DGM.

    Dr. Weber
  4. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    by Bryan Ferry

    Recorded: no specifics given, likely 1986, certainly 1987
    at: Compass Point, Nassau, Bahamas
    Studio Marcadet, Paris
    Studio Minaval, La Val, Var, France
    Studi Guillaume Tell, Paris
    Released: November 1987
    Label: Virgin CDV 2474 (UK); Reprise / E.G. 1-25598 (US)
    Peaked at: #9 (UK); #63 (US)

    Engineered by: Steve Jackson, Kevin Killen, Ian Eales
    Mastered by: Robert C. Ludwig
    Mixed by: Alan Meyerson and Bruce Lampcov
    Produced by: Patrick Leonard and Bryan Ferry
    *Produced by: Patrick Leonard, Chester Kamen, and Bryan Ferry
    Executive producer: Simon Puxley
    Directed by: Bryan Ferry

    Photographers: Albert Sanchez, and Alistair Thain
    Art direction and artwork: no specifics given

    All lyrics published by Virgin – Nymph Inc. /B.M.I. 1987

    01. “Limbo” (Ferry / Patrick Leonard) (5:00)
    02. “Kiss and Tell” (Ferry) (4:57) *
    03. “New Town” (Ferry) (4:50) *
    04. “Day For Night” (Ferry / Leonard) (5:35)
    05. “Zamba” (Ferry / Leonard) (3:00)

    06. “The Right Stuff” (Ferry / Johnny Marr) (4:25) *
    07. “Seven Deadly Sins” (Ferry / Chester Kamen / Guy Pratt) (5:10) *
    08. “The Name of the Game” (Ferry / Leonard) (5:28)
    09. “Bete Noire” (Ferry / Leonard) (4:53)

    Single: “The Right Stuff” b/w “The Right Stuff (Brooklyn Mix)”
    Label: Virgin VS 940 (UK)
    Released: September 1987
    Peaked at: #37 (UK)

    Single: “Kiss and Tell” b/w “Zamba”
    Label: Virgin VS 1034 (UK); Reprise 28117 (US)
    Released: February 1988
    Peaked at: #41 (UK); #31 (US); #38 (Australia)

    Single: “Limbo (Latin Mix)” b/w “Limbo (Brooklyn Mix)”
    Label: Virgin VS 1066 (UK)
    Released: June 1988
    Peaked at: #86 (UK)

    Among the numerous and vague credits:

    Bryan Ferry: vocals, keyboards
    Mario Abramovich: violin
    Tawatha Agee: backing vocals
    Vinnie Colaiuta: drums
    Michelle Cobbs: backing vocals
    Paulinho da Costa: percussion
    Yanick Etienne: backing vocals
    Siedah Garrett: backing vocals
    David Gilmour: guitar
    Neil Hubbard: guitar
    Dan Huff: guitar
    Paul Johnson: backing vocals
    Patrick Leonard: keyboards
    Jimmy Maelen: percussion
    Johnny Marr: guitar
    Marcus Miller: bass
    Andy Newmark: drums
    Courtney Pine: saxophone
    Guy Pratt: bass
    Fonzi Thornton: backing vocals

    The AMG review by Ned Raggett:

    Hooking up with regular Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard as the co-producer of this album proved to be just the trick for Ferry. Bete Noire sparkles as the highlight of Ferry's post-Roxy solo career, adding enough energy to make it more than Boys and Girls part two. Here, his trademark well-polished heartache strikes a fine balance between mysterious moodiness and dancefloor energy, and Leonard adds more than a few tricks that keep the pep up. Five out of the nine songs are Ferry/Leonard collaborations; all succeed, from "Limbo"'s opening punch and flow to the cinematic (and unsurprisingly French-tinged) feeling of the title track. The atmospheric, almost chilling "Zamba"'s minimal, buried drums, soft synths and doomy piano, make it the best of that bunch. Ferry's best moment here is all his own, though — the great single "Kiss and Tell," with a steady, bold bassline leading the way for his slightly dissolute portrayal of mating rituals and all they entail. Like Boys and Girls, the album's supporting cast mixes a lengthy list of session pros with a few guest stars. David Gilmour returns, but even more interesting is the appearance of another guitar hero — none other than Johnny Marr, hot on the heels of the Smiths' dissolution. He took the music of a Smiths instrumental, "Money Changes Everything," and made it the basis of a full collaboration, "The Right Stuff." Marr shows a little more fluidity than usual, likely thanks to the rhythm section's smooth, effortless groove, while Ferry steps to the fore with gusto. In sum, a great listen from start to finish.

    Personal notes and observations:

    Is this dance music for eggheads? Labored or too labored? Polished or too polished? Ferry’s French album or another stab at the American market? For certain, it was the last Ferry album I bought on vinyl. That Madonna’s producer had a hand in the proceedings never hindered my purchase or subsequent enjoyment, and, although it is far, far removed from the beeps and quirks of the Eno-era Roxy Music, it is a logical extension of Avalon and Boys and Girls, that is, a fine, listenable Ferry album, never mind that my record remains in surprisingly fine condition.

    Favorite tracks include: “Limbo,” “Kiss and Tell,” and “The Name of the Game.”

    “Kiss and Tell” is the only Ferry solo single to reach the U.S. Top 40, no doubt thanks to the song’s inclusion on the Bright Lights, Big City soundtrack.

    Dr. Weber

    next: Taxi by Bryan Ferry
  5. AtcoFan

    AtcoFan Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, USA
    Bryan Ferry
    Bete Noire

    Billboard Review
    14 November 1987

    Former Roxy Music maestro's much-awaited follow-up to "Boys And Girls" harbingers well for his new association with Reprise. Like past Ferry solo efforts, this displays the singer/writer's usual suaveness; tunes hinge on his familiar theme of l'amour moderne on the rocks. Tracks are uniformly solid, although "Kiss & Tell" and "Seven Deadly Sins" stand out.
  6. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    No favorites, no comments whatsoever? No criticisms?
  7. mdm08033

    mdm08033 Forum Resident

    My only criticism is that in a moment of poor judgement I traded my original CDs of Boys and Girls and Bete Noir for a remaster of of Boys and Girls. For some reason, educated and informed listeners unlike myself, kept their copies of Bete Noir because I never see it in the used bins. For a taste I should dig out my 12" remixes and give them a spin and pretend I'm back at Revival at 3:30 on a Sunday morning.....

    Cheers, Michael
  8. Done A Ton

    Done A Ton Birdbrain

    Rural Kansas
    Big letdown for me, after the brilliance of Boys and Girls. The only song I put on my Fuze was The Right Stuff.
  9. fabtrick

    fabtrick New Member

    The 12" mix of Kiss & Tell is GREAT. The tour was great. The album - better than what came after it, but the signs of the drought that continues to this day were there.
  10. johnnyyen

    johnnyyen Forum Resident


    I've only ever heard it once, and it passed me by. I didn't think much of the three singles either, and never pursued it afterwards.

    What did impress me from the tour around this time was an excellent version of In Every Dream Home A Heartache, which I heard for the first time a couple of months ago.
  11. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Care to elaborate? No detail is insignificant, date, venue, setlist, lineup, wardrobe, size of crowd, other acts on the bill, impressions, favorites, disappointments... :righton:

    Dr. Weber
  12. elvotix

    elvotix Forum Resident

    Marlton, NJ
    ... I played the 12" versions of Right Stuff, Kiss and Tell, and the Brooklyn mix of Limbo quite a bit at Revival - always a great reception from the Philly dance crowd to Bryan's music back then.
  13. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Canton, NY, USA
    While I agree that the signs of drought began with this album, I disagree strongly that it is better (or even anywhere near as good) as Mamouna, which came after (but more on that when it's that album's turn).

    While BN had its moments of brilliance (like the title track), overall I think that Patrick Leonard was a less than ideal choice for producer; to me, the album feels too thin, mechanical, and synthetic in a sort of dance pop way. While I can't point to any tracks that are particularly bad, I just never really enjoyed listening to the album all the way through. The richer sound palette on subsequent albums was more to my taste.
  14. elvotix

    elvotix Forum Resident

    Marlton, NJ
    saw the Bete Noire tour at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, just outside of Philadelphia's city limits. A full house, as would be expected at the time. A lot of excitment in the air, with concert attendees dressed to impress.

    Thought the show was very good, although I remember thinking that the lead guitarist was too heavy-handed & "metal" for Ferry's music. Also, I did not care for the drumer, thought he sounded too much like a studio musician, all flash & cymbal crash, and not having the soul and feel of someone like TGPT.

    have a tour book and t-shirt from this tour. the shirt has song titles printed in various font sizes all over the front.
  15. fabtrick

    fabtrick New Member

    I saw him at the London Palladium in December 1988 It was a killer show. "Dream Home" is what stands out in my mind. Bryan had this hired "guitar slinger" that I'm pretty sure I saw play with John Waite in early 1986 - he did a great job, but he had this "hair metal" look about him that didn't mesh with the 1988 Ferry - if this had been early Roxy, he would have fit in perfectly!

    We had great seats, it was my brother's first visit to the UK, and my only show at the legendary Palladium. And I believe the show was on a "Sunday Night"....
  16. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter


    I had forgotten about the 1988 recording of “In Every Dream Home A Heartache” and went rummaging downstairs for the disc. That song with “Don’t Stop the Dance” and “Bete Noire” were recorded in Glasgow and included on the UK “Your Painted Smile” CD single and on the US “Mamouna” CD single.

    The disc isn’t date specific, nor is Roxyrama’s itinerary complete for 1988. The youtube video dates from 1 December 1988 in Milano, Italy. The Palladium gig was December 15th. However, These Vintage Years says the Glasgow SECC concert occurred 10th December 1988.

    Other songs recorded at the Glasgow 1988 concert and released on the Japanese-only The Girl of My Best Friend quasi-comp included “A Wasteland,” “Windswept,” “Boys and Girls,” “The Bogus Man,” “Ladytron,” and “While My Heart Is Still Beating.”

    Has anyone heard these versions? Apparently the entire Glasgow concert was recorded.

    Dr. Weber
  17. elvotix

    elvotix Forum Resident

    Marlton, NJ
    I have the five CD singles with the live Glasgow 1988 tracks - the first three singles were released as part of the Archive and Live collection, where three CD singles from Taxi were released separately, but meant to be stored in a 3-disc digipak that came with the first release.

    The second two CD singles were for songs appearing on Mamouna. I kept hoping that all of the live tracks would someday be collected on a single disc.

    the CD singles are:

    Archive and Live Collection disc 1:
    I Put A Spell On You
    These Foolish Things
    Ladytron (live)
    While My Heart Is Still Beating (live)

    Archive and Live Collection disc 2:
    Will You Love Me Tomorrow
    A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall
    A Waste Land (live)
    Windswept (live)

    Archive and Live Collection disc 3:
    Girl of My Best Friend
    Let's Stick Together
    Boys And Girls (live)
    The Bogus Man (live)

    Your Painted Smile CD Single:
    Your Painted Smile
    Don't Stop The Dance (live)
    In Every Dream Home A Heartache (live)
    Bete Noire (live)

    Mamouna CD Single:
    Jealous Guy (live)
    Slave To Love (live)
    The 39 Steps (Brian Eno mix)
  18. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Bryan Ferry – “Kiss and Tell”
    author unknown
    MELODY MAKER, 6th February 1988 (via Roxyrama)

    Bryan denies the scurrilous rumour that this smooth croon is about his less than smooth relationship with leggy Texan temptress Jerry Hall – an authoress, no less. We believe Bry coz he’s okay. Could do with a new choreographer but basically he’s alright. So what’s it all about? Well, an adultress no less. Now we’re not getting all high and mighty and male but the point is the Jezebel took Bry for a ride. She kissed and she told. And then she published. And then she legged off with someone else, someone who, in the dark, looks like Mick Jagger but who, in the cold light of day, looks like Mick Jagger, only older. The vicious hussy. We’re on your side, Bry. Give us a ring sometime.

    Dr. Weber
  19. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Who has heard this Smiths instrumental? To the best of my knowledge, I haven't. Aside from the vocal, how much does it differ from "The Right Stuff"?

    Dr. Weber
  20. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    If you two... fabtrick and elvotix... haven't already, would you check out the YouTube video link johnnyyen provided. Is this the same guitarist you saw in concert? Elvotix, if you will, please check your tour book for his identity. Is it Dan Huff? AMG doesn't even have much about him. However, These Vintage Years mentions...

    Dan Huff is a guitarist who is credited on Bryan Ferry's Bete Noire album.

    He has also appeared with : Mariah Carey, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, Reba McIntre, Wynonna, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, DC Talk & Clint Black among others.

    I never recognized the name when typing the Bete Noire overview. That he has also worked with Madonna suggests that producer Patrick Leonard introduced Huff to Ferry.

    And since you mention the drummer, elvotix would you provide us with a list of all of the musicians on the 1988 Ferry tour? (I am assuming the names are in the tour book and won't be as difficult to read as are the credits on the Bete Noire inner sleeve... :righton:)

    Dr. Weber
  21. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Peak chart positions of the Bryan Ferry solo albums:


    These Foolish Things #--- (no significant chart activity)
    Another Time, Another Place #--- (ditto)
    Let's Stick Together #168
    In Your Mind #126
    The Bride Stripped Bare #159
    Boys and Girls #6
    Bete Noire #63


    These Foolish Things #5
    Another Time, Another Place #4
    Let's Stick Together #4
    In Your Mind #5
    The Bride Stripped Bare #13
    Boys and Girls #1
    Bete Noire #9

    Dr. Weber
  22. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Good grief, I lost a digit. Boys and Girls peaked at #63.
  23. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Rejuvenated… in my wildest pipedreams… for the sprint to the end…

    Horoscope Sessions tomorrow, Sunday at the latest
    Taxi Monday, Tuesday at the latest
  24. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Chanel Ferry
    by Chris Roberts
    MELODY MAKER, 7th November 1987 (via Roxyrama)

    BETE NOIRE – Virgin

    We seem to be clutching at any old backyard anti-pop screech in search of the fresh and new, thus ending up with the Jesus and Springsteen Chain, the AR Kane Gang, and the Hersham Pet Shop Boys. Where we perhaps ought to try looking for differentness is towards the classy aliens, the distinctive born outsiders. Thus Sylvian’s new lagoon, the ever-so-yearning bit in Donna Summer’s “Dinner With Gershwin” where she goes “so close just as close as I can get,” and of course Bjork’s “Birthday,” have licked God’s toenails with an aplomb to shame the rest of the year’s laborious runts. We need aesthetics and lazy instinct more than ever before if we’re to stick an arm up and catch the albatross as we drown. And right here is where old Uncle Bry starts praying again.

    As far removed from Pop Will Eat Itself as is Catherine Deneuve from Su Pollard, Bete Noire is slim, glacial, and smells sublime. Radical, no, but a generation whose style icons are Paula Yates and Jonathan Ross desperately need a considered demonstration of knowing class, the sophistry of old-style romantic bluff, if we’re to see champaign and roses outlive Dirty Den and Atari.

    With Boys and Girls, Ferry reached a zenith of his vagueness. It was the least eventful record of all time. As such, one could only pan it, then after cooling down, hold it up to the light and marvel at its perfect lack of any emoting. It was a muted sigh, not even a gasp, a decade (more) since he tried to put it into words on “Mother of Pearl.”

    The ’87 remodel, starting with “Limbo” (ha!), hovers slyly, waiting, observing, winking once so quickly you can’t be sure you didn’t imagine it. And as his doddering peers try everything from hapless hip-hop to whorish haircuts, Bry just ropes in some ******** indie guitarist called Johnny Marr, knowing this will win him fifty thousand credibility units, then orders him to play Manzanera on mandrax. Relax! A few titles with chic rugged-but-elegant connotations – “The Right Stuff,” “Seven Deadly Sins,” “Kiss and Tell” – and we’re home and moist. The clicking of typewriters, the coo of lust from Siedah, Tawatha, Fonzi, and Pine. That Ferry can slide this definitive absence of commitment, this crinkled twinkling narcissism, into the homes of millions, is a conjuring trick of devastating skill. Bete Noire is pure nihilism, a veiled zero in flames, a hedonistic long hot bath while Rome freezes over. It is utterly out of touch with reality. I recommend it without reservation. – C.R.

    Dr. Weber
  25. johnnyyen

    johnnyyen Forum Resident


    I wondered who the guitarist was, and asked on the comments section of the youtube clip. I got this reply from Yannick Etienne (or someone claiming to be her)

    "Hey Johnny: Jeff Thall is the cutie blond. Neil Hubbard was the other guitarist. Loved them both! What memories this brought back!!!!"
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