Maffitt/Davies “The Rise and Fall of Honesty”

The Rise And Fall Of Honesty

Maffitt/Davies was a short lived duo who released one album off Capitol in 1968. Judging by the cover you’d expect psychedelic fireworks but The Rise and Fall of Honesty is really an Ameriana folk-rock record. This is another good one that never saw release in the cd era. I found a vinyl copy in the Boston area for only $15 dollars though lately this lp has been somewhat hard to come by. While labelmate lps by the Common People and Food attract more attention I think that Maffitt/Davies was a much, much better group.

The record starts off with a brilliant version of Bob Dylan’s Just Like A Woman. Maffitt/Davies transform this standard into a heartbreaking orchestrated folk track that must surely rank as one of the best versions of this song. Forest Lawn, the album’s failed single, has a distinct Face to Face Kink’s sound though it’s notable for its dobro and freaky church organ. Tom Thumb’s Blues is the other Dylan cover on this record and shows the band taking a Byrds/Everly Brothers vocal harmony approach. The playing is topnotch throughout the record (check out instrumental Lungi Dal Caro Beni) and the duo’s vocal harmonies are tight if a bit unconventional. This is a quiet, tranquil record that never bores and reminds me of prime late 60′s Dillards on their folk-rock outings.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is Landscape Grown Cold. This is a visionary slice of American music that predates the alt. country/folk boom with dark lyrics, strings, phasing towards the end, and a vibe similar to Texas band Euphoria. More noteworthy tracks are Kingswood Manor which is a good folk-rock track that flirts with psychedelia by way of tabla (and drug references within the lyrics) while country-rocker City Sidewalks is very trancey and will appeal to any true Byrds fan. About 3 or 4 tracks on the album include drums though electric guitar fans should note with caution that most of this disc is acoustic.

The music is time worn, ancient and has that lived in feel but always inventive and never short on ideas. What ever happened to these musicians? Does anyone know? Anyway, if Americana or folk-rock is your bag, prepare yourself for a really good one.

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“Landscape Grown Cold”

:) Original Vinyl | Search eBay for Maffit Davies ]


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69 Comments.

  • Anonymous

    great picks…hadn’t heard this in a long time. Maffitt did a lot of theater in the northwest…believe he’s on Martha’s Vineyard now. not sure about Davies

  • Art Schaak

    Maffitt and Davies did a second lp, which saw the light of release. Dr. Demento played one of the songs, “October in Oxnard,” which was the title track of the lp. The song was a play on “Autumn in New York.”

  • Cheryl

    I used to see Maffitt $ Davies at the original Ice House in Pasadena, California back in the mid 60′s. I own the Rise and Fall of Honesty album, it’s time worn and was hoping to find it somewhere in a cd…bummer. This is one of my favorite albums….wonder if either is performing anywhere….

  • Tim Forster

    Good to hear from others who like this album. I am in touch with both Maffitt & Davies (in fact I met Brian when he was over in London a couple of years ago) and I am in the process of trying to get the LP reissued by Rev-Ola (I did the Euphoria LP with them a while back). Davies had previously made an album as a duo called The Missing Otis Trio (the name was a joke) and together they also recorded a fine single under the name Friends of Gifford Pinch. So watch this space! Tim

  • Cheryl

    Eureka!!! I would love to know if/when this is re-released either as a viny or cd. Actually, Forest Lawn was one of my favorites. I was working at THE Forest Lawn in the office at the time, and it was one of the favorites there when I played my record for them….

    Cheryl

  • Tom Landon

    Anything new on the re-issue? Waiting with baited breath. Only got to see them twice with Glenn Yarborough.

    Tom

  • philspector

    i don’t know anything about the futur reissue, but try ebay. I found an original vinyl copy for 10 dollars !!!!!
    and thx again TheRisingStorm for this wonderful album

    keep up the good work

  • Tim Forster

    Tom,

    No firm news yet I’m afraid. Please contact me off line because I am still hopeful and I would love to hear your recollections. I can also send you anything you don’t have. tim.forster@lineone.net

  • Barbara Nelson

    Old friend of theirs, would love to contact Clark.

  • Tim Forster

    Hi Barbara,

    I’m in touch with both of them. Please emal me at the address in my posting above.

    Regards,

    Tim

  • Tim Forster

    I am glad to confirm that the Rev-Ola label here in the UK has been given the go-ahead for an official reissue of the Maffitt & Davies LP. So watch this space..!

    Tim

  • Mel Ponton

    Wow, it is interesting to learn that I am not the only one with a high regard for this album. I saw Maffitt & Davies at Ohio Wesleyan Univ. when they wree touring with Glen Yarborough in ’66 or ’67 – I was a sophomore then. As far as I was concerned, they stole the show. They did their version of “The Unicorn” and I have never heard anyone do it as well as they did.

    Way back when, I played my copy of “Rise and Fall…” until it was shot. Then, in 2001, I got a software product called “Cool Edit 2000″ (later acquired by Adobe and now called “Audition”), copied the LP to CD, loaded the CD to the PC and went to work. I can’t remember how many hours it took me to get the snaps, clicks, pops and hisses out, but I did and it sounds almost like new (if I do say so myself).

    Anyway, if they come out with ANYTHING by these 2 guys, I’ll buy it. In fact, I’ll buy copies for everyone of my musical friends. Let me know if you will and I ‘ll be grateful.

  • Tim Forster

    Yes, it’s good to hear they haven’t been forgotten – Clark and Brian will be very pleased.

    Would Mel and anyone else who has memories of the duo – or wishes to be informed of the progress with the release – please contact me direct my the address which is a few postings above…

    Tim

  • Mel Ponton

    I found the following at – http://popculturefanboy.blogspot.com/2008/11/november-27-2008-happy-birthday-1913.html

    “1967 – During two sessions held this day in Los Angeles, California Maffit/Davies (Michael Lang on piano; Clark Maffitt and Brian Davies on guitar; Jimmy Bond and Joe Osborne on bass; James Gordon on drums; and Milt Holland on tabla) record the track “Kingswood Manor” and the (as of 2005) unissued track “Parade” at the first session and “Forest Lawn” and “You’ll Never Now” at the second session. Capitol Records will issue “Kingswood Manor” and “Forest Lawn” together as a single (Capitol 2311) and, with “You’ll Never Know” on the duo’s only album for Capitol “The Rise And Fall Of Honesty” (ST 2999).”

    According to the web page, “This blog contains information, that I gather daily, about the history of Capitol Records, related labels, The Capitol Records Tower, and other pop culture events and anniversaries. Please contact me if you have any corrections, comments and/or facts you’d like to share. To see some great photos of the opening of The Capitol Tower and to get a quick overview of Capitol’s early history check out the archive for April 2006.”

    The diversity of interests that people have never ceases to amaze me.

  • Clark Maffitt

    What a treat to see these nice comments. It’s good to be remembered. The link that Mel posted is indeed me. The pictures of me today shock even me, but it’s been a wonderful production and a nice break from Martha’s Vineyard.

  • Clark Maffitt

    I hope Barbara Nelson checks back. I’d love to re-establish contact. So Barbara if you see this I have a Facebook page. Or you can try leaving an email at clark@maffitt.com but as I haven’t been home in a couple of months it may be full.

  • Dave

    My friend and I preformed “Big Time Man a lot when we were in College. He caused me to look up my old Vinyl to see if I still had it. I Do. I need to see if I get get it ppput on a CD!

  • Mel Ponton

    Regarding the picture(s) on the album jacket, which one is Maffit and which is Davies?

  • Tim Forster

    Clark is wearing his hat, Brian is holding his.

  • Mel Ponton

    From what saw at the Glen Yarbrough’s web site (http://www.glennyarbrough.com/band.html), Brian Davies will be touring with Glen later this year. It also fills in some blanks about what Brian has been doing since the Maffitt and Davies days – he had an entirely separate, non-music career in nursing for 16 years from which he retired about 3 years ago.

    These guys really impress me.

  • Brian Davies

    .
    Good to see M&D still live in cyberspace. Thanks for the warm comments

  • Mel Ponton

    Hail! Hail! The gangs all here! M and D!

    Do you guys have any more recordings that could be made available to those of us who enjoyed your work so much? Are there any tabs of your arrangements? “Big Time Man” was very well done – I only pick that one because I was playing it for a friend the other day.

    Brian, is the tour with GY on? If I were able to attend, I certainly would.

  • Merle

    I’m so sorry to hear that this incredibly unique album never was released as a CD. I was privileged to attend a performance of Glenn Yarbrough and Maffitt & Davies at the Hungry I in San Francisco in the late sixties. When we left the theater, we walked to a nearby record store and I bought “The Rise and Fall of Honesty” on the spot. I listened to the album so many times that it was indelibly etched in my memory, but my record collection was lost in a fire years ago, and I was hoping to replace this hauntingly beautiful album with a CD. What does it take to inspire the recording companies to make it available once again?

  • BOB COLEMAN

    Brian worked for two summers as a wrangler at my parents dude ranch in Wisconsin in the early 60′s. I was begining to grow in to a musician and Brian and I did some material together on the resort’s talent night. In 1963, he and Dave made contact while traveling through Chicago heading West. They came to a party being held for our high school graduation. We played some songs together and then went on a tour of folk clubs in Chicago with a few girls from my high school. Brian, if you read this, contact me at bobandchico@aol.com. I am retired and living on the old ranch property.
    Bob Coleman

  • Tore Hermansen

    They are not forgotten, not even in the remote area of Norway. Their album has been my no. 1 favourite ever since it came out. So glad to see I am not the only one. Cant wait to by the CD.

  • Cheryl Hawkins

    Happy Days are here again…my friend and I (who saw Maffitt & Davies several times at the Ice House in Pasadena oh, so many years ago in the 60′s), were able to get tickets to the Glen Yarborough concert in San Luis Obispo, Ca on September 18th – which happily, includes Brian Davies! A trip down memory lane…I told my husband, too-bad-for-you, this is a girls night out! I certainly hope that Glen gives Brian a chance to show off his talents as a solo. Really looking forward to the evening!

    Cheryl Hawkins

  • Cheryl Hawkins

    This past Friday night, September 18th, my friend and I were able to to attend the Glen Yarbrough concert in San Luis Obispo, Ca. What a treat! She was going because Glen was her favorite, and I because (from this website) I learned that Brian Davies was part of the band. We decided to go and make a “girls weekend” out of it. Brians 12 string guitar as well as his banjo really stood out for me as I was listening and remembering this same talent so many years ago at the Ice House in Pasadena. I was able to talk a bit with Brian after the show and discuss the “old days” at the Ice House and what’s he’s been up to since then. He also mentioned his other album October in Oxnard, so I’ve been trying to find it on the web, with no luck. Does anyone know where I should look for it? Brian also mentioned (as it has been mentioned here) that Rise and Fall of Honesty is scheduled to re re-released in England. Will we be able to get it here as well? Again, Brian’s talent was evident at this concert, and I hope he stays out there so that we can still enjoy his work! Thanks again Brian for coming back on stage! Cheryl Hawkins (the redhead from Santa Clarita)

  • Robert

    “Time Of Towns” . The Best song from this LP in my opinion. A Very interesting a mesmerizing composition – no chorus to speak of really, it doesn’t need one because it’s deviously part of the verse! I think the time signature is in 3/4 but does not stay that way. And the orchestration? Was it a last-minute idea to to edit out most of the backing instruments at mix-down in favor of this paired down and desolate sound? That’s my theory. I know it was a long time ago, but I’m just interested.
    Thanks for an answer.
    Robert.

  • Art Schaak

    “Time of Towns” was written by Hoyt Axton and originally appeared on his classic “My Griffyn Is Gone” lp. It is a great song and both Hoyt and Maffitt and Davies give it remarkable performances.

  • curseofthehead

    I gave my copy of this album to my brother .It was something I regretted ever since because he lost it at a party . But I am happy to have found this page and I see I am not alone in my respect for this stunning band.

  • Merle

    Still hoping to receive good news about the re-release of this one-of-a-kind album. Thanks to this website, I was able to share a sample of Maffitt and Davies’ incredible album with my husband, and he immediately recognized the genius of their music and the reason why I have always loved it.

    Merle

  • Tim Forster

    I am glad to say that all licensing issues have now been resolved and the album will be coming out on CD in a couple of months or so. The label, Rev-Ola, is one I have worked with many times and they always turn out a good quality article which will be widely available on amazon (for example) both here in Europe and the US. There will also be at least 7 extra tracks (out takes from the Capitol sessions) which I have managed to track down from the vaults and I am in the process of forwarding these to Clark & Brian who haven’t heard them for over 40 years! Tim

  • RJ

    Maffitt and Davies provide the main instrumental work for Glenn Yarbrough’s “For Emily Wherever I May Find Her” lp/cd. One of my favorites of Glenn’s, with songs included by Phil Ochs, Ian Tyson and many more.
    Here is a link to see the track listings:
    http://www.amazon.com/Emily-Whenever-May-Find-Her/dp/B00003Q077

  • r.a. parli

    Remembering Clark from when he was 18 to 30. Liked this recording.! Hope you are doing well, Clark.

  • phil spector

    at last the reissue is finally ready for march the 29th with 7 bonus tracks !!!!

  • Kevin

    Just met Clark and he is cool.

  • Tim Forster

    For those still waiting with baited breath for the reissue to appear, there were a few last minute hold-ups (OK, I had to finish the sleeve notes) but these have now been resolved. I expect it to be out within the next month.

  • Mel Ponton

    I justr went to Phil Spector’s (is it really THE Phil Spector?) link and it looks like it is already available, but there is no clear way to buy it from the U.S.A. I sent them an email to ask how an American can get it.

  • Clark Maffitt

    Mel… Amazon has it listed for release on May 18th.

  • Mel Ponton

    I am really looking forward to this especially with additional tracks. You don’t know what I went through cleaning up the much played vinyl with Adobe Audition to get out all the noise. It came out pretty good, but the CD will be much better.

  • Tom Landon

    H’lo all,

    Just got an email from Amazon saying that “Estimated arrival date: July 01 2010 – July 19 2010″.

    Any idea what the delay is?

    Tom

  • Mel Ponton

    None, but I have my order in.

  • Tim Forster

    I am glad to say that advance copies of the CD reached me last week. UK amazon has already released it – and it has sold out (although I imagine they only advance ordered a few copies and more are on their way). So it should be with you in the US pretty soon. I hope everyone likes the package and finds something of interest in the the extra tracks (which are merely demos, after all). One more thing: the sound quality is excellent. I promise you all that, whether you have been listening to it on the original vinyl or a cleaned up CD version, there is nothing quite like this remaster from the original tapes! Tim

  • Len Liechti

    Now (June 2010) freely available on Amazon at a bargain price. And what a bargain! Tremendous stuff, folk-psych veering into folk-baroque with more than a little of what we now call Americana – Woody Guthrie meets Nick Drake? The acoustic guitars are wonderfully redolent of the 1940s, steely with a touch of ring and very little bass, and the whacked-out, quizzical harmony vocals are simply amazing. Play Simon & Garfunkel’s Parsely, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme and then this one, and you’ve got the two extremes of sixties neo-folk: “angels” and “devils”. I was initially a bit worried about the preponderance of covers, but when you take fine, mostly obscure songs from great writers like Dylan, Hoyt Axton and John Hartford and make them your own like this, no problem. The principals profess themselves less than overjoyed with Nick Venet’s studio enhancements to their basic sound, but I think these complement the material beautifully and are never OTT, though the un-enhanced outtakes also have an innocent quality of their own. I know I’ve said this before, but we are so lucky to live in an era when lost gems like this are able to be rediscovered and made available in quality-remastered form at sensible prices, and so lucky to have the Internet and particularly The Rising Storm to alert us to their presence. Finally, a big heads up to Tim Forster for all the work he’s put in to get this one back on the shelves. You gotta love people who believe in great music enough to take that sort of trouble.

  • Mel Ponton

    Just received word from Amazon USA that the delivery date has slipped to 7/26 – 28.

  • Tim Forster

    I just want to check – has anyone in the US managed to get hold of this CD by regular means – e.g. from amazon? They are now showing it as unavailable for several weeks and I am trying to find out if this is down to a supply problem so I can ask Rev-Ola to try and sort it out. Tim

  • Cheryl

    Tim – It is available at Best Buy. The ship date is one to two weeks.

  • Tom Landon

    Just got confirmation that Amazon has shipped! Can’t wait!!!

    Tom

  • Mel Ponton

    Amazon has shipped mine too.

  • Tom Landon

    Just got mine, and all I can say is WOW!!!!!

    Brings back a real raft of memories.

    Tom

  • Mel Ponton

    Got my CDs on Tuesday and, like Tom said, WOW!! Looking back on this I realize that there are probably a LOT fo really talented people who come close but never quite make it. At the risk of waxing maudlin, I am reminded of a line from Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written In a Country Churchyard”:

    “Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
    The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

    http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Poetry/Elegy.htm

    I am going to try to get all my family and friends to try this CD out. I have already bought several for gifts. I would like to see the talent of these men acknowledged.

    It was also kind of flattered to see my name in print, associated with these guys. Perhaps it’s a little silly of me, but it is flattering to me nevertheless.

  • Clark Maffitt

    Just got my copy of the CD and have to say Tim did a great job on the liner notes and photos. Thanks Tim.

  • Legs & Lois From Estes park

    Hi I’m sorry to bother you but I was a good friend Of Brian and Selene davies in estes park co. Then we moved to alaska and they to washington. Have lost touch & would love to reestablish. We now live in Nampa ID. Thank you. Legs.

  • Brian Davies

    Hey you guys!!

    Just caught your message. Great to hear from you! We’re in pearblossom CA in the high desert
    listening to the coyotes which I’m sure is no strange song to you. My phone is 626 428 1533.

  • Tony C.

    Would love to find another copy of this on vinyl or cd. Lost mine in a move. One of the greatest duos I’ve had the privilege to see. This album is great.

  • Legs & Lois

    Hey Guys, It’s good to hear all the interest in you. I always knew you were great. I’m still hoarding my rise and fall copy, didn’t know you had another. I would certainly be interested in a CD of each if (when) they become available. Brian I’ve been meaning to call but keep getting into something else. I’ll do it in the next few days. Legs

  • Cathy Sumners

    Running across this site was a miracle to me. I’ve spent most of the afternoon trying to find a copy of the Rise and Fall of Honesty on vinyl since my original one disappeared many years ago. I’ll definitely order the remixed CD but I still desperately want the original vinyl and they are not easy to find! Anyone who knows where I can get one in good condition, please let me know at the email below.

    I was lucky enough when I was just a kid to meet Yonnie Wells who introduced me to both Glen’s music and Maffitt & Davies music. Since my copy of Rise and Fall disappeared in my twenties, I’ve been relying on singing it in my head for at least 35 years!! Trust me, I know most of the words. I was thrilled to hear Landscape Grown Cold on this site and also found Kingswood Manor on YouTube.

    Clark & Brian – Yonnie remembers you guys very well and would love to know how you’re doing and how to get in touch.

    I can be reached at csumners@acc.org for info on my vinyl search, how to reach Yonnie or just general chatting about how wonderful these guys are!

  • Tony C.

    Got my copy of the CD and it lives up to my memory (one of the very few things that does). Fantastic! I wish they were still preforming together. They had a huge influence on my playing. Did they ever record the Unicorn song? I heard them do it in concert and it was awesome.

  • Ken Henry

    Hello to Clark and Brian!!! Wow it is so great to find that you guys are still around and that there is a remake of your album I can’t wait to get mine. I had to great good fortune to meet you guys the night you played West. Texas State University in Canyon Texas back in the later 60′s as I recall. You were on tour with Yarborough. My musical partner was Danny Palmer from Amarillo and we sat out behind the auditorium and laughed at Yarborough’s white Rolls with daisys pasted all over it and towing an eight foot u-haul trailer ROFL!!!! You told us about your upcoming/or just released album which we purchased at the first opportunity and learned several of the songs. Oddly enough I just asked my oldest daughter earlier tonight if she had ever heard me do Big Time Man!!!! God I wish Palmer was still alive!!! I think Todd Osenbaugh has gone now too. He had asbestiosis really bad. Palmer and I used to do several of the songs from that album. God those were fun years and I only wish I had stuck to music instead of all the other things I did. I would love to hear from you guys Let me know I don’t care if they give out my email to you guys. God Bless!!!
    Ken Henry

  • Keith G.

    I second Ken’s comments! I’ve been looking on the web for years to see if I could find anything about “Moffit” & Davies (maybe the mis-spelling messed up my searches) and if they ever put out that album I promised them I’d buy some 44 years ago. So great to hear that M & D are still around I can finally hear some more of their music!

    I was a sophomore at Oklahoma State back in ’67 when I took on the task of bringing in some big name entertainment to raise money for the residence halls there. With the help of the OSU business manager I selected and contracted for an appearance by Glenn Yarbrough. That was my introduction to show biz contracts, lighting engineers, ticket sales, safety & security regulations, whatnot.

    One snafu putting the program together was that the contract stated that the drummer platform was to be elevated “12′ above the stage”. We contacted Yarbrough’s agent and asked “don’t you mean 12 inches, not 12 feet?”, and got the brushoff response “if it says it in the contract, you have to do it”. School safety officials balked, so the carpenters built a compromise eight foot tall platform instead. When the band arrived that evening the comment was “no way in hell I’m going up there!”, and we hurriedly arranged to have it knocked back down to twelve inches.

    I had no prior knowledge of Maffitt & Davies before the show … but instantly came to appreciate their music once they started doing the opening warmups. I was watching in awe through the curtains offstage when this chubby little guy came up to me and said “they’re really very good, aren’t they?”. I agreed, and then realized I was chatting with Yarbrough himself! What a thrill for an Okie teenager! He asked about the stage issue, I explained, he apologized, and muttered something rataher uncomplimentary under his breath about his agent…

    Next morning I was returning to my dorm from the Student Union (carrying my just-purchased Yarbrough’s “For Emily” and “Rain Must Fall” albums) when a convertible pulled up beside me and there were Maffitt & Davies themselves, recognizing me from the previous evening. Wanted to know where was the best place in town to go to “pick up chicks”! (Geez, like I would know!!!) I complimented them again on their great music, and thats when they told me they were coming out with an album of their own.

    I promised them I would buy it as soon as I could find it. And now … I CAN! Thanks, guys!

  • rb

    One of my all time favorite albums. I wish I knew who was doing the lead vocals and what became of these two. Landscape Grown Cold is devasting. So many of the songs are so moving. It’s incredible that this album didn’t have more impact.

  • Nik

    Hey R.B, I’m thinking you should check out the previous comments! After hearing about this record for years I finally went and picked up a copy (the recent Revola reissue) and good lord, am I glad I did. This is one that really deserves its legendary reputation, and the additional unreleased cuts are fantastic – almost a second album. I can understand how Clark and Brian may have been put off by Venet’s elaborate production touches, but I’m going to have to add to the chorus in saying that they really do expand the record’s character and are never overwhelming.

    Digging “Forest Lawn” – that one really cracked me and my friends up on first listen.

  • Clark Maffitt

    rb… Thanks for the nice comments. I was the “lead” vocalist and Brian was the lead guitarist. I now live on Martha’s Vineyard and Brian is still in L.A.

  • Len Liechti

    For more Maffitt and Davies – and Nik Venet – see my recent post on Dory Previn’s Mythical Kings And Iguanas. Clark and Brian very prevalent on guitars, production/arrangements by NV.

  • Cathy Sumners

    Today I received a copy of Rise & Fall of Honesty on VINYL! My boyfriend sent it to me because he knew how much I wanted it.

    To Brian and Clark – Thank you SO much for creating such a wonderful album. I mentioned in an earlier post I knew all the words, which I actually confirmed after singing along with the entire album twice (so far). Did either of you guys ever get in touch with Yonnie Wells? I saw her last week and we were talking about you guys.

    Please note I have a new email address.

    NEW email address for me is cfsumners@yahoo.com

    Time to flip back to side 1 and listen at least one more time!

  • Wally Weaver

    Heard these guys at Auburn University in the sixties in Alabama and bought the album immediately thereafter. It’s been a favorite for decades. One of the great albums of all time. Glad to hear you guys are still kickin’ it. It was a great concert. Something I’ll never forget…

  • Patrick Mulcahy

    You played a song at the Ice House in Pasadena which had Cigarettes in the lyrics. What was the name and did you record it? My wife and I enjoyed your performances there. Ordered your CD today.

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