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GOOD ROCKIN´ TONIGHT FESTIVAL, ATTIGNAT / FRANCE
held between April 23rd and April 26th 2015
Phil Haley & The Comments
Gina Haley is due to return to the Good Rockin´ Tonight Festival in Attignat, France. This time she will be backed by Phil Haley & The Comments, with whom she also recorded the album "Rock & Roll Lifestyle" for Preston Records.
Gina will also celebrate her 40th birthday at the Festival, on April 23rd 2015. This will be also a chance to purchase the album "Rock & Roll Lifestyle", or get it signed. Otto Fuchs, Author of "Bill Haley – The Father of Rock & Roll" (Wagner Verlag ISBN 978-3-86683-901-4) will be accompanying Gina Haley, promoting the release of the Revised edition of this 1070 pages Bill Haley Biography.
Gina Haley at the induction of the late great Bill Haley at the South Texas Music Walk of Fame
Of Bill Haley
Linda Georgina Haley was born on April 23th 1975. She is the third child of Bill Haley and Martha Haley-Velascoe. She grew up in Harlingen, Texas - and was only five years old when her father Bill Haley died on February 9th 1981.
She is classically trained on piano. Self taught on the guitar, and a gifted songwriter. During the mid 1990's she moved to Los Angeles, where she caught the eye of producer Michael Sembello. With him she recorded, wrote and arranged tracks which appeared in television and film. She also worked closely with songwriter Richard Rudolphand and published songs through Music Sales Group. Her first album was released in Japan in 1999 - Heat Wave.
In Los Angeles she also was part of the world music group The Bridge whose members included Edu Falcao, Daniel Jobim, Paulinho Da Costa, Vincent Colaiuta and Michael Sembello.
She later formed the Gina Haley Band and continues to work in the musical field in her home state - Texas.
July 6th, 2005, what would have been her father's 80th birthday, saw her perform with Bill Haley's Original Comets Franny Beecher (lead guitar), Johnny Grande (piano), Joey D'Ambrosia (saxophone), Dick Richards (drums) and Marshall Lytle (bass) at the Viper Room in West Hollywood. This date also marked the 50th anniversary of "the national anthem of the teenagers" (Lillian Roxon) "Rock Around The Clock" first entering the Number One Spot in the American charts.
Bill Haley was inducted to the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi, Texas in June 2008. Other inductees were Chelo Silva, Pat Grogan, Joe Gallardo, Max Stalling and The Reverend Horton Heat. Meeting Jim Heath alias Reverend Horton Heath was an important event in Gina Haley's life. Heath, who had not planned to perform at the Induction Ceremonies, as his band had not travelled with him, decided to perform "Rock The Joint" - recorded by Bill Haley as early as 1952, and which had inspired Jim Heath to become a musician.
Currently she prepares a personal album as well as a CD together with Britain's Phil Haley & His Comments to be released on Preston Records in 2011.
Backed by Phil Haley and His Comments Gina Haley will headline the Shake Rattle & Roll Weekender in Great Yarmouth, England (www.shakerattleandrollweekender.co.uk) , held from March 18th until March 21st. This will be followed with a European tour with a band named "Bill Haley's New Comets”. This will reunite her with Bill Turner - the former lead guitarist of Bill Haley - in the 1970s. Turner accompanied her to the Philadelphia Music Awards in 1987, at Bill Haley's Induction. The german group will be completed with Bill Turner (US) and Peter Davenport (UK). The ladder also played steel guitar on several dates with Bill Haley's Original Comets: Following the reunion of the band, after Bill Haley's death in 1987 - substituting Billy Williamson, who had retired from show business altogether.
She will then return to the UK for the Kings of Rock & Roll Weekender, backed once more by Phil Haley & His Comments - held from September 30th 2011 until October 3rd 2011 at the Sand Bay Leisure Resort, England.
Gina Haley supported the tour of Bill Haley's Comets featuring the first-generation members of Bill Haley & His Comets Joey D'Ambrosio (sax) and Dick Richards (drums) in 2014. Both were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of two Original Line-Up's of Bill Haley's famous band in 2012. The band on this tour also featured Bill Turner who played the lead guitar for Bill Haley from 1974 until 1976. On steel guitar was none-less than Peter Davenport, who already supported the Original Comets for a Reunion Tour in the early 1990s. Recording with Bill Haley's Comets a live album entitled "We'r Gonna Party" on Hydra Records in 1991.
Mar 1st, 2014 - Germany - Wolfsburg - Hallenbad
Mar 2nd, 2014 - Germany - Munich - German Theatre
Mar 5th, 2014 - Austria- Vienna - Metropol
Mar 14th, 2014 - Switzeralnd - Zurich - Albisguetli
Mar 15th, 2014 - Austria - Greifenburg - Kultursaal Mar 20th, 2014 - Germany - Kiel - Schloss
Mar 21st, 2014 - Germany - Ebersbach - OKV
Mar 29th, 2014 - Switzerland - Beringen - Jazz & Blues Days
NEW ALBUM RELEASED!
Rock & Roll Lifestyle
Press Tone Music International
Gina Haley together with Phil Haley & His Comments recorded a brand
new album, which was released coinciding with her June 2012 appearances at
Australia's longest running Vintage and Rock & Roll / Rockabilly Festival
"Wintersun". The foundation for the release was laid in England in
March and October 2011. When Gina Haley appeared with The Comments at the
"Shake, Rattle & Roll Weekender" in Great Yarmouth (which was her
debut with a full show featuring her dad's music) and at the Kings of Rock
& Roll Weekender in Weston-Super-Mare.
TRACKS: Rock & Roll Lifestyle (Phil Haley) / One Step Away (Phil Haley) / Thirteen Men (Gina Haley) / Chick Safari (Gina Haley) / Mockingbird Hill (Phil Haley) / Dance Me (Phil Haley) / Farewell, So Long Goodbye (Gina Haley) / Jealous Heart (Gina Haley) / Later (Phil Haley & The Comments featuring Martyn Savage on vocals) / Hawk (Gina Haley) / Tell Me (Phil Haley) / Rock My Baby (Phil Haley & The Comments featuring Martyn Savage on vocals) / Loveless Blues (Gina Haley) / Come Rock With Me (Phil Haley) / Happy Baby (Gina Haley) Are You Lonesome Tonight (Phil Haley)
The songs Gina Haley chose from recordings of her dad Bill Haley:
"Thirteen Men (And Only One Woman In Town)", originally recorded by Dickie Thompson. Bill Haley cut it at the same session which produced the biggest selling rock single of all times - "Rock Around The Clock". Gina Haley sings about "Thirteen Men" of course. She stated: "The way I see it is that this song, being the actual A side (to "Rock Around The Clock") was pushing the limits back then but acceptable being sung by a man's point of view. I also figure, that NOW it would be totally acceptable for a woman to sing from her point of view and yet, even now, it still sort of pushes the limits doesn't it? (laughs). Very cool song."
"Chick Safari" - should have been a hit for Bill Haley & The Comets. Bill Haley waxed it for Warner Bros. Records in 1960 - and it was coupled with "Hawk" for single release. The Bill Haley release received rave reviews in both Billboard and Cashbox.
"Farewell So Long Goodbye" - originally cut for Essex Records with "Haley's Comets" and baritone saxophone by Tony Lance (Liquori) - was re-recorded by Bill Haley in 1976 for the album "R-O-C-K" - Recorded In Muscle Shoals - and also leased by Sonet Records to Shelby Singleton's SUN International Records in the late 1970s. Being the only release of Bill Haley and The Comets on SUN Records.
"Jealous Heart" – wich Bill recorded in 1967 in Phoenix Arizona, with a Mexican trio. It remained unreleased until 1999 ("The Warner Bros Years & More" Box Set on Bear Family Records). It was reported that only three copies of the song existed, one Bill Haley had, one the owner of JD's Lounge who produced the session. Plus one remained in the collection of Hugh McCallum - President of the International Bill Haley & The Comets Fan Club. Gina Haley's version is excellent, and the backing reminds of Bill Haley's Comets as heard on the great Country & Western album "Haley's Juke Box" recorded for Warner Bros.
"Loveless Blues" recorded by Bill Haley as Johnny Clifton & His String Bands, in his days before Rock & Roll just on the road to discover Rockabilly!
"Happy Baby" - also performed by Bill Haley & His Comets in the first ever full-length Rock & Roll motion picture "Rock Around The Clock" (Columbia Pictures) - a fast, optimistic, slap-bass dominated view of a "going steady"!
Gina Haley delivers these songs straight from the heart. She is sincere. She lives the songs in performing them. This not only shows what an impact the father of Gina Haley - the late great Bill Haley - had and still has. But also shows that Rock & Roll stood the test of the time.
The songs by Phil Haley & The Comments:
The fact that Phil Haley and his boys do not solely cover material from the Bill Haley catalogue, but also write their own material, in so adding to the Rock & Roll sound made famous by Bill Haley & The Comets, sets them apart. Also for this release, they chose self penned songs - such as "Rock & Roll Lifestyle" with some great Comet-style lead guitar played by Phil Haley, "One Step Away", "Dance Me", "Tell Me", "Rock My Baby". Even Elvis Presley's love ballad "Are You Lonesome Tonight" from 1960, was transformed into an up-tempo Rock & Roll ballad. I particularly like "Come Rock With Me" which was cut by Bill Haley for the album "Rockin' Around The World", released on DECCA in 1958. The LP's theme was songs standing for different countries in the world. "Come Rock With Me" was a reworking of the Italian song "O Sole Mio". Two years later, it was again adapted into another English title: Elvis Presley's "It's Now Or Never". Also The Jodimars favorite "LATER" is on this CD. As this title had been a favorite in the Rockabilly community some years back, it's nice that it is still remembered - and Martyn Savage gives it the right vocal and slap-bass treatment!
A must buy, not solely for the Haley Fan or Haley Collector, but also for anyone interested in Rock & Roll / Rockabilly!
THE LINERNOTES TO THE ALBUM
ROCK & ROLL LIFESTYLE
Phil Haley & His Comments
(sleeve notes from the Press Tone International release "Rock & Roll Lifestyle” by Otto Fuchs)
... is a dream come true for any lover of pure 1950s Rock & Roll! Phil and the boys provide the backing which in the 1950s only two bands could provide – The Comets and The Jodimars (the ladder developed out of Bill Haley's most famous band)!
And to have in 2012 the youngest daughter of Bill Haley onstage with a band that can provide The Comets' sound is a tremendous gift for audiences, which only Rock & Roll history can write.
How did it become to be?
After travelling twice to the US (1992 and 1993) with visiting also some of the places which were important in the Bill Haley story, such as Highland Park / Michigan (his birthplace), Boothwyn / Pennsylvania (where he spent most of his childhood and had built Melody Manor at the height of his career) and Harlingen / Texas (where Bill Haley died at the untimely age of 55 years).
I decided to write a book on Bill Haley, many years later – in 2011 I finalized an 896 pages English language book entitled "Bill Haley – Father of Rock & Roll” (WagnerISBN: 978-3-86683-901-4).
In the last stages, I eagerly wanted to interview Bill Haley's daughter Gina Haley – as she was an independent singer, songwriter, and musician in her own right. And as the youngest daughter of the late great Bill Haley, also being able to add the thoughts to the book which helped to cross the bridge and bring Bill Haley in the right context today.
I finally succeeded, and had successfully contacted Gina Haley – and she agreed to do an interview, which was later also published in UK Rock & Roll Magazine. One of the questions, which invariably came up where:
Otto Fuchs: "What plans do you have for the future? What goals does Gina Haley still want to achieve?"
Gina Haley: "I really would like to get more involved with the rockabilly community out in Europe. I want play out there, and stir up as much interest in rockabilly and Bill Haley, that maybe one day we can get Bill Haley the credit he deserves and secure his place in history. I want to see one day that the story of his life will be told the way he intended it. And I would love to see a wonderful movie made of his life. And I want his music to be played, by new young musicians that really get it. I want to be there to be this revival. Even after his death you know I think his music lives on, it is just so full of life. It is possible, we just need to have the fans come together and need their support. If I can get to tour, go on the road, play this music and spark some interest. I’ll be there, it’s a big goal but I think it’s not impossible.”
I had seen Phil Haley & His Comments first in my teens at the International Rockabilly / Rock & Roll Meeting in Munich, Germany. From the audience it seemed as if Phil was Bill Haley who had stepped out of a time machine and right into today! The backing was superb, the stage show was great in just being as authentic as it can be, plus having both the same kind of straightness and humor as Bill Haley & The Comets were known for!
It was quite an experience. I could not think of any better band, to provide backing to Gina Haley if her plans for the future should turn into reality. As luck would play it, Phil Haley & His Comments did a show in Vienna at the time, I was transcribing the interview. I proposed the idea to them, and they were excited.
After that I contacted "One call – book them all – Paul Barrett” who finalized two shows for Gina Haley with Phil Haley & His Comments at two very popular 1950s Rock & Roll Weekenders – "Shake Rattle & Roll” in March 2011 held in Great Yarmouth, and "Kings of Rock & Roll” held in Weston-Super-Mare in 2011!
I was fortunate to accompany Gina Haley to England, meet the band for rehearsals and witness two great shows and having generally the time of my life!
& the rest they say, will be history, I still remember the question of a promoter "Can she sing?” Well she surely does, she ROCKS – so turn up the volume and "rock, rock, rock everybody – roll, roll, roll everybody!”
Author of "Bill Haley – Father of Rock & Roll” (Wagner ISBN: 978-3-86683-901-4)
Otto Fuchs' biography on Bill Haley. Otto presenting the book to Gina (March 2011) at the terrace of the Schlosshotel Weikersdorf, as documented by the local newspaper of Baden / Austria.
Gina Haley about her father:
"Well, I think I share the same opinion as any Bill Haley fan. Basically, he changed America, which is ... that was no easy feat! He gave kids music of their own, he gave them a voice. At a time when they really just didn’t have a place, a place to fit in. And rock & roll was it. He helped to open the door for other musicians, who at the time, were not being treated with respect...at the time maybe they weren’t being played. He certainly really opened that door, he opened the flood gates. He changed the world forever. For that, he is my hero."
NOW DIG THIS
Gina Haley is featured in the English Rock & Roll magazine - Now Dig This"! Bill Haley historian Chris Gardner gives an excellent portrait of "The Princess of Rock & Roll", as he rightfully dubbed her.
Not only for german speakers - but recommended, in order to be able to read it - DYNAMITE (Huber Verlag, Germany) features an in-depth interview with Gina, in it's current issue. Plus a review of her successful performance, at the "Shake, Rattle & Roll Weekender 2011" in Great Yarmouth, England. Why it is not solely for german speakers? Well, now dig this - you also get the brand new recorded adaption of "Thirteen Women", entitled "Thirteen Men" - recorded by Gina Haley with the British combo Phil Haley & His Comments on the accompanying CD Sampler. From a forthcoming album of Bill Haley songs by Gina Haley & with Phil Haley & The Comments to be released on Press Tone Music International.
TOURS / CONCERTS
Featuring in 2012 Gina Haley with Phil Haley & His Comments!
The 2012 Festival will run from June 1st to June 11th in Coffs Harbour,
New South Wales Australia.
(For a full schedule of Australia's longest running Retro
Nostalgia Festival featuring the cars, music and lifestyle
mainly of the 1940's, 50's and 60's - see the link below)
Return to the UK
By Otto Fuchs
Gina Haley, youngest daughter of rock & roll icon Bill Haley,
returned to the UK in September 2011 for her performance at the Kings of Rock
& Roll Weekender in Weston Super Mare, England.
Once again, this Rockabilly Hall of Fame reporter was fortunate enough to accompany her on this trip:
It was a long journey from Dallas, Texas via Amsterdam, Holland to Leeds, England, where she would reunite with Britain's best and most authentic Haley sounding band - Phil Haley & His Comments, for preparing her show at the Kings of Rock & Roll Weekender in Weston Super Mare, England.
But Gina Haley also used the one-week of rehearsals for completing her soon-to-be released Bill Haley tribute for Press Tone Music with Phil Haley & His Comments in Leeds. All I can say is that the songs she chose are not the usually Haley fare, and that they sound absolutely marvelous. She was very excited in getting it together, and that she featured many of this tracks at her concert in Weston Super Mare.
By the way it was Paul Barrett, the infamous and to British Rock & Roll so important agent, who brought her to England for the first time (Shake, Rattle & Roll Weekender 2011, Kings of Rock & Roll Weekender 2011, with more dates to follow, hopefully). It was absolutely amazing to watch Gina Haley. She is not only a great vocalist, songwriter. But also can rely on great stage presence and persona.
As well as witnessing some of the sessions for the upcoming album. I also had the privilege of spending some of her little spare time, and enjoying her company. On October 30th Martyn Savage (bass, The Comments) drove us all the way from Leeds to Weston Super Mare. Phil Haley & His Comments, Linda Gail Lewis (who was headlining the Friday night at the Kings of R&R Weekender) plus her band "Some Like It Hot", Gina Haley and myself shared a table at the restaurant at Martyn's leisure break. It was a nice kick start into the first rockin' night of this great event! Linda Gail did a tremendous show entertaining the legion of Rock & Roll fans, as did the other acts & DJ's on the opening night, of this event.
Also that night, I and Gina Haley had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting the "tattooed sledgehammer of Rock & Roll" Wild Bob Burgos, personally. I have several CD's of Shotgun and Wild Bob Burgos & His Houseshakers in my personal collection. And I did not expect to meet a soft-spoken English gentleman. But that's the way he is. He and Gina Haley got along very well.
And it was Wild Bob Burgos, who did a great job, making a long and fitting presentation of Gina Haley to the audience on Saturday:
Gina Haley, who headlined the Saturday night, had Phil Haley & His Comments to warm up the audience. Phil and the boys, with great antics by bassman Martyn Savage, right on the beat drumming by Brian Nichols, well played saxophone by Allen Paris, and the Haley vocals done convincingly by Phil Haley - not only brought the right atmosphere into the ballroom, but also got all the jivers on the dance floor. While the Teds, and other crazy rock & roll people stomped their feet and clapped their hands in approval.
After three songs, it was time for Gina Haley - she entered the stage and opened her show with "Shake, Rattle & Roll" (a million seller for her late dad in 1954). Then without giving the audience any chance to cool off, she launched into the great "Hot Dog Buddy Buddy" well known by her father from the movies "Don't Knock The Rock" (1956) and "Here I Am - Here I'll Stay" (1958)!
She does a great job on the vocals, of course she does not sound like her dad, but more like a female Bill Haley, if the female Elvis title also suits the reader with Janis Martin!
Then she slowed the tempo down a little for her adaption of Dickie Thompson's "Thirteen Women", naturally entitled "Thirteen Men". This was the original a-side when "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets was first released on a single by Decca Records in 1954. And not since Ann Margaret, has a female singer captured the song so perfectly since Gina Haley chose to do it that night!
Gina was really happy to be there, she showed it form head to toe, in the Haley classic "Happy Baby" which was the next number, getting a large number of the audience out there dancing!
Next up - one of the early Haley rock & roll sides: 1953's "Farewell, So Long, Goodbye"! Followed by an ultra rare treat for all the die-hard Bill Haley fans. It was in 1967, when Bill Haley recorded, backed by a Mexican trio, the ballad "Jealous Heart" in Phoenix, Arizona. It should have been released in that year as a single with the then contemporary rock song "Rock On Baby". On which Bill was backed, not by The Comets, but by a local rock group called Superfine Dandelion. Sadly this songs, and especially "Jealous Heart" did not see the light of the day until 1999, when Bear Family featured it on a Bill Haley box-set focusing on his US recordings of the 1960s! For years, the acetates which existed, three in total, belonged - one to Hugh McCallum then the President of the International Bill Haley Fan Club, one - to the club owner of JD`S Lounge in Phoenix, where it was recorded and one to Bill Haley himself.
Gina then treated us to "Sundown Boogie" one of the early Haley songs which crossed over from Western Swing to Rockabilly. This was after a very short break, in which The Comments treated the audience to a song, and after which Gina treated herself and us in wearing a new stage dress!
Another one from the same period, is the 1952 Bill Haley & The Saddlemen recording of "Rockin' Chair On The Moon" which Gina did next! I think with song material like this, Gina Haley would go down extremely well at the Hemsby Weekenders! "Hook Line & Sinker" one of the Decca tracks, also released on the top selling album (both in the UK & US) "Rock & Roll Stage Show" by Bill Haley & His Comets form 1956, was given the Gina Haley treatment too.
Gina Haley is the youngest of the Bill Haley children. Not many of them are known for keeping the memory of their late great father alive. First it was John W. Haley who, with his groundbreaking biography on his dad - deserves credit. Next in line Gina Haley - the baby girl of Bill. I think Bill Haley would be proud of them.
Back to the show: Gina now in a wonderful dress by Bernie Dexter sang A- and B-side of a Warner single of Bill Haley - "Hawk" and "Chick Safari". "Hawk" reminds one of Peggy Lee's "Fever", and "Chick Safari" should have been a hit as well, back in 1960. Both Billboard and Cashbox were convinced it would chart, but it didn't. Both songs suit Gina's style! It was time for the clymax - "Rock The Joint" - for many rock historians the first ever rockabilly record, cut by Bill Haley in 1952, and then "The National Anthem of Rock & Roll" (Dick Clark & Lillian Roxon) - "Rock Around The Clock" as encore! One last hit, and it was over again, a lot of hard work and sweat not only on but also off-stage ended with "See You Later Alligator".
In that spirit, "See You Later, Gina - until the next time!" Otto Fuchs
Interview with Otto Fuchs
Remembers Bill Haley and his recent tour with Bill's youngest daughter Gina Haley
Bill Turner, lead guitarist for Bill Haley & The Comets from 1974 until 1976 spoke to Rockabilly Hall of Fame columnist Otto Fuchs about his time with Bill Haley. As well as about the "Remember Bill Haley Tour" which led him back to the UK and continental Europe after thirty-five years!
Otto Fuchs: "Could you tell the
reader, a little about your time with Bill Haley & The Comets: When did you
join them? How did that come to be?
And also about the highlights in your career with Bill Haley?"
Bill Turner: "Well, I joined them in July 1974. Rudy Pompilli hired me after Nick Masters decided to remain in the UK after their successful spring 1974 tour, so they needed a replacement guitar player. I first met Bill and Rudy in September 1971 when they appeared in Brooklyn (NY) 5 blocks from my house at a supper club called the "Club 802"...this was the same club where the movie "Saturday Night Fever" was filmed some years later, and it had changed its name to the "2001 Odyssey" club...but back in its heyday it had many of the nightclub acts appearing there, like Jimmy Roselli, Frank Sinatra Jr. as well as many of the vocal groups such as the Duprees, the Platters, the Ink Spots...the acts of that calibre; the type of acts you'd see in places like Atlantic City in the casinos. I visited them backstage again in the spring of 1973 at a Richard Nader concert in Long Island, and mentioned to Bill and Rudy that I was finishing with college and that I was interested in playing guitar for them, as I knew ALL their material and I'd noticed that everytime they passed through New York, they had a different lead guitarist. They hired me one year later and I stayed on the band until the end of the year 1976, when Bill Haley pretty much retired after the death of Rudy Pompilli."
Otto Fuchs: You just finished a tour with the german group "Bill Haley's New Comets" featuring yourself on lead guitar, as well as the talented steel guitarist Peter Davenport (who already toured with the reunited Bill Haley's Original Comets) as well as Bill Haley's youngest daughter Gina Haley - would you tell us about this tour?"
Bill Turner: "This was my first extended European tour since that winter 1976 Bill Haley tour, and it was a great experience to return. Now, I did go to England for 2 weeks with the 1954-55 Original Comets in March 1991; and just 3 years ago I made a brief appearance in Munich Germany for the opening of the Bill Haley Museum at Hydra Records, where I had cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony and appeared that night in concert along with Mike Berry, who I became good friends with. This recent tour was a 3 week over-the-road trek through Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, England and the Czech Republic, with the concerts being in Germany, Austria and Britain."
Otto Fuchs: "How was life on the road at this tour, compared to touring with Bill Haley & The Comets?"
Bill Turner: "On the tours with Bill Haley, there was more flying involved from city to city or country to country. Also with Bill Haley, the amps were bigger and louder, as were a number of the venues--such as the Hallenstadion in Zurich. On this recent tour we used smaller amplifiers, which actually were closer in wattage to the amplifiers used in the 1950s. We also had a travelling soundman with us who kept the overall stage volume under control, so these concerts were nowhere near as loud as the concerts in the 1970s!We also used the new in-ear monitors instead of the wedge monitors you would normally see on the edge of the stage. This was the first time I'd ever had to use the in-ear devices, and it took me quite a while to get used to them. I listen to more of the 'room sound', which you do not get with the in-ear system, so I had to adapt my playing accordingly. On the road, in the tour bus everybody got along very well the entire tour. The driving time ranged from 3 to 10 hours on the road travelling to the night's concert...and sometimes we didn't get to the hotel until after the concert ended. On this tour, we set up an autograph table at the end of each concert where we'd sit for an hour after each show signing autographs and taking pictures with the fans. This was never done in the 1970s--as soon as the concerts ended, Haley was out the door and gone in a seperate limousine. We had to put our instruments in the cases first, so we'd sign autographs for any remaining fans before we got into the other limousine to leave. In any event, I'd gotten to see so much more on this tour, of some of the historically significant places...since we were driving,rather than flying."
Otto Fuchs: "You also accompanied
Gina Haley in 1987, then 12 years young, to Philadelphia, where Bill Haley was
honored. Please tell us about that Induction ceremony!"
Bill Turner: "This was actually the "Philadelphia Music Foundation Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony" and it took place two months after the "Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony" which happened in February...so this was in April and it was another lavish affair very much like the "Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame" except this celebrated the artists who made the Philadelphia music scene world famous, and of course that included Bill Haley. In February, Pedro Haley attended the New York ceremony; then in April I had accompanied Georgina-who was 11 years old at that time. None of the other artists present knew who she was, so I had made the formal introductions for her...and everyone treated her with great respect and made her feel most welcome, despite the vast age difference! There was a third ceremony in October of that year, again in Philadelphia-and this was the event that reunited the Original Comets. 1987 was a big year for Bill Haley with all the belated recognition he received, seemingly all at once! WHO says the 1980s were bad times for music??!!"
Otto Fuchs: "How was the reunion
with Gina Haley in 2011 - and did you two meet over the years, since
Bill Turner: "This was the first time we had seen each other since 1987! The only contact we had over the years was an occasional phone call. As far as the reunion itself went, it was very easy, musically speaking--she grew up to be a well-rounded and versatile performer with strong vocals and an equally strong stage presence! She was 100% professional every way possible--she knew her keys, tempos, intros and had total mastery of her material. A real joy to work with. She even referred to me as an "uncle", we'd known each other so long!"
Otto Fuchs: "What's your
definition of Rock & Roll?"
Bill Turner: "Oh, man--the parameters of "rock & roll" are ever expanding...but my own definition of the music remains the same, namely the marriage of blues, country and big beat swing...it knows no color line, though at one time it was considered the music and lifestyle of strictly young people. It takes in every single age demographic today, being ever closer to 60 years old. I just wish the so-called "oldies" radio stations would go back to playing 50s music...Personally, I do not like the way big advertising divides
people into "target groups". I hate that term "baby boomer"...it's so shallow and demeaning. I much prefer "postwar generation" as a more dignified name!"
Otto Fuchs: "Where do you see Bill
Haley's place in Rock & Roll history?"
Bill Turner: "Right at the beginning of it--and totally secure. You, yourself just released the long-awaited English language version of your definitive Haley bio, "Bill Haley, Father Of Rock 'n' Roll" ... yet even as we speak, there is still another Bill Haley book in the works by a writer from Muscle Shoals, Alabama--Wade Sockwell, who is analyzing Bill Haley's career from the impact his early rock & roll hits made on the commercial music business and how it completely changed the record, movie, and music publishing
business--from the "Tin Pan Alley" establishment, to the sudden rise of the new self-contained artist-musician-writer as the new entrepeneur to be reckoned with by the major record labels and their hierarchy. It was actually Bill Haley who got this establishment "all shook up" from Broadway to the beat generation writers!"
Otto Fuchs: "Joe Bill Clifton,
in reference of Bill Haley's full name (William John Clifton Haley) had the
task to fill in the shows of The Father of Rock & Roll. How close is his
voice, and stage presence to Bill Haley?"
Bill Turner: "He spared no expense in recreating the visual graphics for the stage backdrops, as well as the detail in the stage costumes; the plaid jackets followed by a second costume change into maroon suits. He portrayed the part very well--being close to Bill Haley's physical stature and having a similar vocal range. He'd really done his homework on the correct song lyrics! This is an area where a lot of the other singers trying to sing like Haley fall short! Roland has a fine eye and ear for detail--and this is what I like too. Nothing is drab or dark on this show--it's all in "living color" and in high gear! All 'killer'—no 'filler'...and the attendance figures speak for themselves!"
Otto Fuchs: "What are your plans for the future? Will this tour be repeated?"
Bill Turner: "They have already asked me about my availabilities for the fall of this year. Now, I have to be in Meridian Mississippi during the 3rd week of October for personal business, but I did let them know my availabilities, so this is very possible that it can be repeated. The venues all mentioned about having us back....that's a good sign for sure!"
IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE & THE UK
By Rockabilly Hall of Fame writer Otto Fuchs
BILL HALEY REMEMBER TOUR
With The New Comets featuring Bill Turner (US) and Peter Davenport (UK)
Special Guest Star: GINA HALEY
"The Remember Bill Haley Tour 2011 will play shows throughout Europe in March and April. Gina Haley, will front a band billed as Bill Haley's New Comets, featuring Bill Turner, who played lead guitar for The Father of Rock & Roll during the mid-70s, and Pete Davenport of The Stargazers on steel guitar, who accompanied the reformed Original Comets on various tours!"
Dates are as follows:
March 26th - Stadthalle Lahr, Lahr, Germany
March 27th - Kulturhaus Milbertshofen, Munich, Germany
March 28th - Metropol Wien, Vienna, Austria
March 31st - Franz Fürst Freizeitzentrum, Wiener Neudorf, Austria
April 1st - Stade, Germany*
April 2nd - 31302 Theater, Burgdorf, Germany
April 3rd - Chicago 33, Essen, Germany
April 5th - Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon
April 6th - Stockport, Plaza, Stockport
April 7th - Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa
April 10th - Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St. Albans
April 17th - Good Rockin Tonight Festival, Attignat, France*
(* Bill Turner will not be appearing at these gigs)
Meeting Gina Haley!
Gina Haley was on a flight from Dallas Fort Worth via London Heathrow to Vienna International Airport. Shortly after landing, which took place at 2.10pm. I was to welcome her on continental European soil for the first time.
I welcomed her in a city, where her father had introduced live Rock & Roll in the Vienna concert house, as early as 1958. A triumphant show, not only to his fans, but also to conservative music critics of the city where "Strauss discovered waltzes" (as Bill Haley put it in his 1956 hit "R-O-C-K"). She was happy to accept a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
On we went to Baden bei Wien, a historical city, famous for it's healing waters. There Gina Haley checked into the Schlosshotel Weikersdorf. Obviously she must have been jet lagged, but she still found time for a photo shoot for the local newspaper - "Baden News".
Then it was rest for two days, and in the early hours of March 13th it was all the way to London - where Gina Haley, enjoyed her first full English Breakfast at The Elephant's Head, in the heart of London's rockabilly scene - Camden Town. In the evening she enjoyed anecdotes by rock & roll and rockabilly enthusiasts who had seen her late father perform. At Ed's Easy Diner, in Soho (London's West End) two Swiss Teddy Boys (in their twenties) were as stunned as she was seeing them, meeting the daughter of The Father of Rock & Roll in a 1950s diner.
The next day it was all the way to Leeds - where Gina Haley would meet her backing band for the Shake, Rattle & Roll Weekender in Great Yarmouth - Phil Haley & His Comments. Rehearsals were done the very same evening, and Gina surely proved she could sing - on Haley rare track "Jealous Heart" (not released until 1999, recorded by Bill Haley, on the advice of his wife Martha Haley in Phoenix, Arizona 1967). She and the band surely rocked - on "Shake, Rattle & Roll". This was also filmed by television station "ITV Yorkshire" with interviews with Gina and Phil, at the Purple Audio Pro Recording Studio in Bromley - just outside of Leeds in Bromley filmed. This footage was shown on Friday - at Calendar News ITV Yorkshire.
Around the time it was aired, Gina Haley gave already another interview in the back of the car, which took us to the Vauxhall Holiday Park where the Shake, Rattle & Roll Weekender was held - this time BBC Radio Yorkshire.
At the Shake, Rattle & Roll Weekender Haley historian Chris Gardner was also on site, and he led an interview with Gina Haley, to be published in the Now Dig This Magazine very shortly.
The The British band Phil Haley & His Comments, warmed up the audience, with two very convincing Bill Haley favorites - namely "R-O-C-K" and "You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming". Straight forwarded authentic Comets sound
"From Dallas, Texas - USA - we are very proud to have her with us - Miss Gina Haley!"
Gina launched into "Shake, Rattle & Roll", flipside "ABC Boogie" was played also - "Thirteen Men" (the flip of "Rock Around The Clock" - she dedicated the song to her father, and to the song's writer Dickie Thompson. . Also Phil Haley & His Comments received their solo spot with "Rudy's Rock" - then Gina completed a show, gaining more confidence from song to song - titles heard that evening were "Hot Dog Buddy Buddy", "Mambo Rock", "Rock Around The Clock", "Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie" (to quote Bill Haley - "The song that gave the name to Rock & Roll"), the 1953 Essex-hit "Crazy Man Crazy" (the first Rock & Roll song to both climb the Billboard's and Cashbox's Pop-Charts).
Further Essex tunes which were produced by the "equally talented as Sam Phillips - Dave Miller" (quote Marshall Lytle) were: "Rock The Joint", "Real Rock Drive", "Farewell So Long Goodbye", "I'll Be True", "Sundown Boogie" and as the moon was the closest to the earth on that night, since 1982 - "Rockin' Chair On The Moon".
When returning to the caravan, for the after party with Phil Haley (rhythm guitar & vocals), Martyn Savage (bass), Allen Paris (sax) and Brian Nichols (drums) and Gina Haley and her boyfriend Michael - not only myself noticed, looking just like magic - the moon:
I'd like to think myself that somewhere from above - Bill Haley rocked in his rockin' chair on the moon, looking down on his daughter and being very proud of her.
But before that, Gina Haley signed dozens of autographs, had dozen pictures of taken. She was quite the toast of the "Shake, Rattle & Roll Festival".
February 9th 2011 marked the 30th anniversary of Bill Haley's untimely death. A new book on the Rock & Roll legend has been published. Written by Otto Fuchs from Austria, the book entitled "Father of Rock & Roll" (Wagner ISBN: 978-3-86683-901-4) - shall contribute to have Bill Haley's legacy live on.
Official book launch will occur, with Otto Fuchs and Gina Haley, at the Shake, Rattle & Roll Weekender (www.shakerattleandrollweekender.co.uk) - which is held from March 18th until March 21st 2011 in Great Yarmouth, England:
An Interview with Gina Haley
By Otto Fuchs
Otto Fuchs: "Gina Haley, the youngest daughter of the founding father and first king of rock & roll Bill Haley, and a singer, songwriter and musician in her own right, takes time to review her career, as well as remembering her late father, and will point out his importance to popular music. Thank you Gina, and with your permission - I'd like to start with our interview."
Gina Haley: "Thank you, Otto."
Otto Fuchs: "Gina, where did it all begin for you? Where and when were you born? What were your early musical influences?
Gina Haley: "Well, I was born in 1975 in Vera Cruz, Mexico. This is a beautiful port city in the gulf. My father moved there because he loved to fish. And he bought a house right on the ocean. I grew up in Harlingen, Texas which is at the very south tip of Texas, near the border to Mexico. That is primarily where I was raised, and then went on to California, and different parts of Texas. Growing up: As far as my musical influences, my mother, being Mexican, she played a lot of romantic trio music that was popular in the 50s and 60s. And she also loved various classical music. We heard a lot of operas; Puccini and I remember one of my favorite composers was Debussy. So we listened to a lot of that. And of course my father enjoyed country & western; he always did, so we heard a lot country & western, lot of Hank Williams, lot of early Willie Nelson. He loved Ray Charles and Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra. I listened to a lot of Frank Sinatra especially in my teen years. That became a major influence. As far as rock & roll, my brother and my sister loved different types of popular music. We heard a lot of Led Zeppelin and the Who and Disco. My sister, being a teenager in the 70s, listened a lot to the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. (Laughs) And then of course my own taste: I discovered and was drawn to the kind of not so popular performers in America such as Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, and Joni Mitchell. That was what I was listening to during that time - lots of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and a lot of Neil Young. That was what motivated me to write my own music, Billy Joel too, which I really loved."
Otto Fuchs: "How much did your father influence you musically? And what memories do you still have of him?"
Gina Haley in Venice Beach, California
Gina Haley: "My father's influence on me started out mostly, I guess from him just being a dad. Encouraging me to be a performer. I think he recognized at an early age that I was quite the little performer. I remember that he used to like to record me singing. And he would set it up, he would announce that I was about to go on stage before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second of England. And he would say: "Tonight we have Georgina Haley at a Royal Command Performance. He would announce it. And then I would come out on stage and make up a silly song. And he would interview me afterwards. And it was hilarious, because it wasn't until much later that I found out that he had just returned from exactly that kind of performance. It had a really big impact on me, and it had been very motivating at different points in my life because you know, maybe he just got a kick out of watching me and recording me making up silly songs. But I like to think that he was my biggest supporter. And throughout my life, the longing for a relationship with my dad, has become a major theme in a lot of the songs I write. Mostly he influenced me in being my father. His music certainly later on. It influences me now, because his music was great. I think I had to become a musician first, to fully appreciate it."
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and Bill Haley (Theatre Royal, London, Royal Command Performance 1979)
Otto Fuchs: "Today the importance of your dad, who was the first white artist to record rock & roll, is a little overshadowed. As early as 1951, when recording his version of Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" for legendary producer Dave Miller's "Holiday" Records, Bill Haley recorded rockabilly / rock & roll and wrote musical history from then on. Why do you think he is somehow left out of history despite the fact that he recorded the biggest selling rock single - "Rock Around The Clock" of all times, on April 12th 1954 for Decca Records, predating Elvis Presley's first ever single "That's Alright" - only a regional hit in Memphis - by two months?"
Gina Haley: "I think there is a couple of different ways to answer this. I thought a lot about it over the years. I think one of the obvious reasons would be because the world loves things that make them feel good. And music that makes them feel good. And Bill Haley certainly made them feel good first, with his music. But soon after that, Elvis came along. And he had such tremendous sex appeal, and was younger. And sex appeal is selling something. And it just worked. And the other factor, management had a lot to do with it. And later in my father's career, he was certainly mismanaged, from what I understand. In my opinion he got stuck in the 50s in a way, though he made some amazing recordings later, proving that he was more than just a great rock & roll star. But then again, he died way too young. Ever since then, he is sort of forgotten, primarily because any time that there has ever been interest in telling the Bill Haley story. People, a lot of people, tend to turn his story into a rock & roll tragedy, which I guess is part of what society likes. They like to know all the details, all the good and the bad. I think in the case of my father, the family has really just wanted to celebrate Bill Haley the man's life and his work and his important role in American history, and his part in world history. He
changed the world, and how different music would sound today, had there been no Bill Haley."
Otto Fuchs: "Bill Haley wrote "Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie" the theme song of Alan Freed's famous radio show, and inspiring the Ohio born DJ legend, for giving the new music its name, ‘rock & roll'. You also write your own material, what subjects do you choose for your songs? Just to throw that in before you answer, your father's compositions were mostly: "have a good time - rock & roll". Even though, he also recorded songs like "Who'll Stop The Rain?", "Games People Play" and "Me & Bobby McGee" ... in the 1970s in Nashville."
Gina Haley: "For a really long time, music has been such a bitter-sweet thing for me. It's still the dad's shaped whole in me. In that way my songs are emotionally charged, it's quite the opposite of my dad's music. But I've grown up a lot, since then. And in the past few years I really started to enjoy life: And really started to understand what music can be about. That it is okay for it to be happy. (Laughs) That it is okay for it, to be simple. And not so complicated, a lot of times as a musician in my evolution: I'd tend to over-complicate things maybe, perhaps because I'm classical trained. I kind of went overboard on a lot of my compositions. I found that sometimes the simple ‘feel good' sounds are the best. Maybe now that I'm older and happier, it's starting to show in my music too."
Otto Fuchs: "Your material is more or less your own brand of alternative rock music, does that make it easier for you, to somehow step out of the possible shadow your father's music might have on your own repertoire?"
Gina Haley: "I don't know about that. I don't necessarily care if I'm in or out of the shadow. `Cause the music created in the past came from a different place of inspiration. I wasn't trying to be the opposite of my father. It just happened the way. Music for me is a necessity. I have to. It's therapeutic. If I don't do it, I don't feel right, I go crazy. I am not trying to please anyone. I am just trying to be who I am. A creative person. On the other hand, if I do my father's music. It is for the sole purpose of keeping it alive, and drawing some much needed attention to his memory. I think I'll never be close to the greatness of my father. If I'm ever to be seen singing rockabilly, it is just me trying to keep his music alive and a way of bonding together."
Otto Fuchs: "It was reported that you are interested in recording a rockabilly album, one of the rock & roll and country & western inspired forms. With a big following in California's hot rod scene, and many enthusiastic European fans, as well as in the Far East - thinking of Japan - here. "Rockabilly Music" would have not existed in the form it does now, without Bill Haley songs such as "Rock the Joint" (1952), "Rocking Chair on the Moon" (1952) and "Crazy Man Crazy" (1953), the latter being the first rock & roll / rockabilly record to enter the pop charts. If you still consider making such an album, would you also choose songs from your father's catalogue?"
Gina Haley: "This is the question I would love to take a poll. Perhaps we could ask your readers, about this and see what they think. Probably, if I make this rockabilly album, I partly will be doing it for me because I've really come to enjoy rockabilly. Probably I would be inclined not to include any of my father's big hits on my own album because they have been recorded, they are untouchable. For me, they are kinda off-limits. But on the other hand, I would perhaps do them in a live performance. On the album, I would probably cover some of his more obscure material. But I certainly would like to poll on that, and see what everybody thinks. "
Otto Fuchs: "Great idea, so could we have your feedback dear readers?"
Otto Fuchs: "What line-up is the Gina Haley Band, and what are the talents of its musicians? What are your favorite Gina Haley Band songs, what are the favorite Bill Haley songs, and what songs of other artists - like all (your) time favorites?"
Gina Haley: "Okay, the Gina Haley Band right now - is a trio. It consists of me on guitar and vocals, Mike Peacock on drums and Michael Redin on bass. Michael Redin and I first played together at the Bill Haley Induction to the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi. I think it was in ‘08. And that was a lot of fun. That was where we got to meet Reverend Horton Heat. Jim Heat of Reverend Horton Heat. ... We met here in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. They are local musicians and are very good in what they do. As far as our favorite Gina Haley songs probably my most favorite and the one that people seem to like a lot, is one called "Mountain Top" that I wrote. It's about my dad, at the very end of the song it talks about when he shook the hand of the Queen of England. And there is the famous photo of him, shaking Queen Elizabeth's hand and she is in the beautiful pink gown. And that was sort of the inspiration of that song. My favorite Bill Haley song: "Rose of My Heart". I like the early country stuff-that is a lot of fun I enjoy that and "Yodel Your Blues Away", I also love "Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie" and of course "Rock Around The Clock" that is just like the best song that ever existed (laughs). I love his version of "Martha" that he did on one of the Mexican albums. I like his recording of "That's How I Got to Memphis", which I only found out about recently, so that's my newest favorite. But my most favorite Bill Haley song would be his recording of "Jealous Heart". That song I also just found out that song was my mother's idea to record it with that Mexican trio. Told that, when they drove to Phoenix, Arizona they drove around and found a Mexican trio to come in and play. And apparently that song had been a hit for a group (Los Panchos) in Mexico, during that time - of course they sang it in Spanish. It was a success over there. And my mother gave the idea to my father, and he loved it. That is probably the best work in his career, and his best work had of course my mother behind it. As far as my favorite songs: Gosh, that's so hard to answer. I have such an inspiration for music. I guess if you'd look at my I Pod it would have such a vast variety of different music. It's really hard to pinpoint one or two songs. I probably can't do it. (Laughs).
There are just too many. I could go on and on. Probably for me, anything from Joni Mitchell's album "Ashira" is amazing. That's probably my standard answer. I always give Joni Mitchell the credit for the greatest songs. I think she is just such an amazing songwriter. And of course I have to put Paul McCartney way up, way up there. I think anything he writes, is gold."
Otto Fuchs: "Every musician has his / her experiences about life on the road. When I interviewed Sun Records legend Billy Lee Riley, he said he would have to write a book on it. How is it with you? Would you like to let us in a little on your own on the road experiences?"
Gina Haley: "I was thinking about this. I was trying to think of something that would be worth sharing. (Laughs) Someone reminded me the other day: I just had finished a gig. And I packed up the car, and it was raining - and I had to drive an hour to get home. This was just really typical of being a starving artist. My windshield wiper plates on the car, they stopped working. It was pouring down the rain. And I had no way to wipe the windshield. So I had a stick shift car at the time, and I had to get creative. And I tied a shoe string on one side of the wiper plate and I ran it through the left window, and I took a ribbon from my hair and I tied it to the other one, and ran it through the right side window and I manually moved the wiper blades as I drove in the rain and shifted gear. And I think I probably smoked. (Laughs)"
Otto Fuchs: "Rock & Roll Life can be dangerous, especially on the road."
Gina Haley: "You know that was pretty typical. You gotta get to the gig and you gotta get home. So you get creative on the road."
Otto Fuchs: "How would you like your father to be remembered, what historic significance does he have, in your opinion?"
Gina Haley: "Well, I think I share the same opinion as any Bill Haley fan. Basically, he changed America, which is ... that was no easy feat! He gave kids music of their own, he gave them a voice. At a time when they really just didn't have a place, a place to fit in. And rock & roll was it. He helped to open the door for other musicians, who at the time, were not being treated with respect...at the time maybe they weren't being played. He certainly really opened that door, he opened the flood gates. He changed the world forever. For that, he is my hero."
Gina Haley & the Original Bill Haley's Comets
(From left: Dick Richards (drums), Joey D'Ambrosio (sax), Johnny Grande (piano), Gina Haley, Marshall Lytle (bass) and Franny Beecher (lead guitar)
Otto Fuchs: "John Lennon remarked about Bill Haley, "The Man Who Started It All". Does this remark ring true to you?"
Gina Haley: "Absolutely. I also recall that Graham Nash once said in an interview that he still carries a Bill Haley concert ticket in his wallet. (Laughs)"
Otto Fuchs: "I even saw a picture of Graham Nash with that ticket to prove it."
Gina Haley: "That was the reason he got into music. A lot of really good musicians say that, and that was the reason he got into music. A lot of musicians say that and they must - because he had such a tremendous impact."
Otto Fuchs: "George Thorogood once said: "you could describe him as the ‘foster father' of guitar as lead instrument. Without him, some thousand top guitarists would rather have become drummers..... take me, for instance."
Otto Fuchs: "What plans do you have for the future? What goals does Gina Haley still want to achieve?"
Gina Haley: "I really would like to get more involved with the rockabilly community out in Europe. I want play out there, and stir up as much interest in rockabilly and Bill Haley, that maybe one day we can get Bill Haley the credit he deserves and secure his place in history. I want to see one day that the story of his life will be told the way he intended it. And I would love to see a wonderful movie made of his life. And I want his music to be played, by new young musicians that really get it. I want to be there to be this revival. (Laughs) Even after his death you know I think his music lives on, it is just so full of life. It is possible, we just need to have the fans come together and need their support. If I can get to tour, go on the road, play this music and spark some interest. I'll be there, it's a big goal but I think it's not impossible."
Otto Fuchs: "So, March 2011 will bring you to England for they first time. You will tour with Phil Haley & The Comments?"
Gina Haley: "I can't wait. It's gonna be great. And I can't wait to see all the crazy Bill Haley, Fans out there. I am looking forward to it and I am really excited."
Otto Fuchs: "Thank you very much for taking the time, and may the future work out in the best and most satisfying way for you. And hopefully we'll see the definitive Bill Haley Story in cinema's worldwide soon."
Gina Haley: "Hopefully.
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