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One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper

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CarolC 01 Apr 02 - 12:37 AM
Big Mick 01 Apr 02 - 12:43 AM
GUEST,Jack the Sailor 01 Apr 02 - 12:47 AM
CarolC 01 Apr 02 - 02:36 AM
Cappuccino 01 Apr 02 - 03:12 AM
CarolC 01 Apr 02 - 07:37 PM
GUEST 01 Apr 02 - 07:41 PM
Bill D 01 Apr 02 - 09:33 PM
CarolC 01 Apr 02 - 09:35 PM
Sorcha 01 Apr 02 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,Lynn 01 Apr 02 - 10:42 PM
CarolC 01 Apr 02 - 11:30 PM
53 02 Apr 02 - 10:15 AM
CarolC 02 Apr 02 - 06:59 PM
Ian Darby 02 Apr 02 - 07:15 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Apr 02 - 07:34 PM
pict 02 Apr 02 - 07:50 PM
Dave the Gnome 03 Apr 02 - 12:28 PM
Dave the Gnome 03 Apr 02 - 12:32 PM
Ian Darby 03 Apr 02 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,FMF 18 Jan 09 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,gabaritny 21 Feb 10 - 06:48 PM
Dave MacKenzie 21 Feb 10 - 07:10 PM
Seamus Kennedy 22 Feb 10 - 02:44 AM
CarolC 22 Feb 10 - 03:11 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Feb 10 - 04:45 AM
Dave MacKenzie 22 Feb 10 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,broonysblues 31 Mar 10 - 11:48 AM
maeve 31 Mar 10 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,johnypebs 05 May 11 - 08:29 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 May 11 - 08:56 AM
Fred McCormick 05 May 11 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,les raphael 06 May 11 - 09:16 AM
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Subject: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 12:37 AM

A little while back, my friend and yours, Dave the Kindly Gnome, sent me a tape recording of some wonderful circus music called "Duck On His Head". On side two of the tape, Dave (tKG) put some filler from BBC Radio 2's "Folk on 2". One of the pieces on this gem of a tape is a documentary of the legendary one armed Glaswegian piper and bluesman, Jamie Mcgee, put together by collector and scholar Sidney Anglo. Here is an excerpt:

You wouldn't need the fingers of one hand to count those who might recognize this...

Ah pipe the blues, that's what ah do
Ah pipe the blues, that's what ah do
Ah pipe the blues, that's what ah do
Ah pipe the blues and ah (unknown word) in a word or two.

Everybody gets the blues sometimes
Everybody gets the blues sometimes
Everybody gets the blues sometimes
So ah blow oan ma pipes and ah (unknown words).

Um blum um blum um blum (etc.)

That's "Piping The Blues", performed by the extraordinary blues bagpiper, "One Armed" Jamie McGee, and recorded in Atlanta around 1932 for F.M.F. The music is obviously modeled on Blind Lemon Jefferson's "One Dime Blues", but it's magically transmuted by the unique "suck, blow, and holler" technique by the emigree Scot.

McGee's piping method defies analysis. Naturally, I have discussed the matter with a number of pipers, all of whom feel that much of what he does, in the way of simultaneous piping and singing, should be utterly impossible with two hands, let alone one.

He also developed what he, himself, called a kind of "blue mumble", which was easier than singing while blowing the pipes. "It gives the auld lungs a wee rest", as he once explained. We can hear this "mumble" at the end of his "Weary Haggis Moan", where, mingling with the pipe's drone, it provides an eerie epilogue to the almost unbearable sadness of the words.

Ooo ooo, I cannae keep from cryin' noo
Ooo ooo, I cannae keep from cryin' noo
Ma poor weary haggis is a layin' doon and dyin' noo.

Ooo ooo, ma haggis cannae get up an' go
Ooo ooo, ma haggis cannae get up an' go
Ma poor auld wee haggis ain't gonna get up no more.

Ma haggis is so flaccid, he just cannae raise his head
I think ma wee haggis is damn well nigh nearly dead.

Och, aye... Woah!

Um buh um buh um buh (etc.)


What a treasure! How did we in the US manage to miss this one?


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 12:43 AM

I absolutely MUST find a recording of this guy! Thanks, Carol. I hope to hell you ain't pullin' mah leg on this one........LOL.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: GUEST,Jack the Sailor
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 12:47 AM

Miss him?? He plays here in Columbus every couple of months. He lives in LaGrange with a ex-lady-wrestler. He's got a couple of patents on one-way pipe valves. His new CD "Highland Zydaco" is amazing. You sould all check it out!


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 02:36 AM

No, Mick. I wouldn't pull your leg. I can't reach that high. (*g*)


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Cappuccino
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 03:12 AM

Is this the only known occurrence of the word 'flaccid' in blues?

- ian B


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 07:37 PM

Here's a little more to whet your appetite, excerpted from the tape:

His performances are well documented by many eye witnesses. While he himself always claimed that his unique virtuosity was rooted in his early experiences, when, before he lost his left arm in the first world war, he had performed regularly as a one-man band on an almost incredible combination of instruments.

Here he is talking about it to Otis Regrets, who recorded this conversation with him in a Dallas speakeasy, in August 1952, when researching his classic study: The Emigre Hibernian Bluesmen.

Incidentally, the pianist you can hear in the background has been variously identified as "Two Finger Johnson", "Three Finger Schenectady Ted", or "Four Finger Amos K. Gonzales", all of whom were playing in Dallas at that time. A fact which makes one understand why the Basque mutant, Gaston Pichegru (sp?), who had seven fingers on each hand, was generally regarded as the most formidably equipped musician of them all, and was the envy of his colleagues.

McGee: Oh yes, son, I always played any number of instruments from when ah was a little, little, bitty, wee boy, wee boy. Yes, I tell you son, I used to play the one man band in Glasgow sometimes fifteen hours a day. Sometimes fifteen hours a night."

Regrets: Well, what did you play? Drums? Cymbals? Trumpet? That sort of thing?

McGee: Drums, cymbals, trumpet, by god son, all of them. And the double bass, and your mouth organ, your concertina, your jew's harp, all throwed in together, ooohh, son, ah made a hell of a noise!


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 07:41 PM

is he related to the boogie woogie piper from bonnie dundee?


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 09:33 PM

The amazing thing about a blues piper is that is is largely dependant on an application of woad; but playing with only one arm is quite unususal!

I suspect he learned his skill from a legendary one-armed tin whistle player from Kerry. The fellow made his living busking till he lost an arm in the Crimean War...then spent 12 years re-learning his music...(there is a little skit that I learned about him many years ago..remind me at the Getaway)....but it was a marvelous thing to behold, I gather, as he used his little finger as support on high notes.


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 09:35 PM

More from the tape:

...There was a wild streak in (Jamie McGee's) makeup, and around the age of seventeen, he broke away from home, and thereafter earned a precarious living as an itinerant street musician. Which is how he honed his instrumental skills, and learned to dodge missiles. He served as an infantryman in the Great War, where he failed to dodge the shell which cost him so dear, and it was immediately after the armistice that he decided to seek adventure, if not fortune, in the United States.

...Here's...McGee with "Blind Lemon Meringue" in the fascinating "Wheezing Bag Blues"; an impassioned lament, occasioned, as the introduction to the song makes clear, by a rather nasty barroom brawl:

I was standing, playing in the bar, when this big fella starts makin' disparagin' remarks about ma kilt. And ah says tae him, "You never seen a kilt before?", and he says, "Only on pretty wee lassies", and ah was nae sae pretty. But he lifted up ma kilt all the same tae see what he could see. And he begins tae lift up ma kilt and ah says tae him, ah says tae him, "If you do that again, ah'll melt you." And he does do it again. Sae I fetched him a crack in the scones wi' ma pipes, and he pulls a knife at me, and sticks it intae me. As he thinks. And it woulda done for me too, but it hits the auld bag first, an the leather takes most o' the blow. So ah kicks him in the goolies and his head comes forward and ah jam the chanter intae his mouth and damn near push his brains out through the top o' his skull. But ever since then, the auld pipes wheeze, somethin' dreadful. Now just you listen to them wheeze... yeah."

Ah got a hole in ma bagpipes, and they dinnae blow true
Ah got a hole in ma bagpipes, and they dinnae blow true
They wheeze and they whistle, like the pipes shouldnae do.

Oh Mama! Listen to those bagpipes wheeze!
Oh Mama! Listen to those bagpipes wheeze!
Mama, they just squeak! No matter how ah squeeze!

Yeah!

Ooo ahh covered up (unknown words) leather pipes
Ah done done done covered up (unknown words) auld leather pipes
It's a nice wee fair leather, but the tartan disnae match.

Oh, but just hear those bagpipes wheeze
Umm, man, they're wheezin' noo
Oh, wheeze wheeze wheeze wheeze...


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Sorcha
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 09:46 PM

Good heavens...........I really ought to hear this, huh?


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: GUEST,Lynn
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 10:42 PM

Sounds like an April Fool gag to me...


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 11:30 PM

Thanks, Bill D, I'll look forward to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: 53
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 10:15 AM

the drummer of Def Lepard has only 1 arm.


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 06:59 PM

I have been informed by his Kindly Gnomish Self that the tradition of blues piping continues in his neck of the woods in the form of blues bagpiper and bombarde player John Snelson, who used to perform with the blues group, "Right Band, Wrong Planet".

Blues bombarde, indeed. I think we need a tape of that.


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Ian Darby
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 07:15 PM

Damn! I heard a record on Radio One, Ireland, that featured a piper playing Jazz, and it worked.

I'll try and find out who it was.

There was also a guy in Eccles, Manchester, U.K. that used to jam with a rock'n roll band on 'Johnny B Goode'.

This thread reminds me of a sleeve note on one of the Steeleye albums, it said (of a fiddler) "Sure you think he's fast, but he records the left hand first, and puts the right hand down afterwards."


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 07:34 PM

The best jazz piper I've heard is Hamish Moore, who is, incidentally, the foremost authority on the playing style of Jamie McGee.


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: pict
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 07:50 PM

I've got a tape of the show also it was on the radio(I think radio Scotland) on Burns Day about 12 years ago Jim Mullen was the guitarist on the recordings.


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 12:28 PM

I think the guy in Eccles would have been John Snelson, Ian - He lives there! It is one of his many claims to fame that he did indeed play the pipes at the Jazz nights at the Drop Inn in Monton but I never saw him there so I dunno the band name.

I did see him playing blues 'pipes and bombarde at the Kings Head in Salford.

Very weird indeed...;-)

Cheers


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 12:32 PM

Oh - and I should have added for completeness that he now plays in the same band as our very own Spot the Dog - The Kamikaze Ceilidh Band.

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Ian Darby
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 07:31 PM

Dave

The name's familiar, they used to have bands on in the Town Hall and I know he used to play there.

The place was full of Hell's Angels, Boris the Vulture & Riz spring to mind.

We used to do Folk nights at the Cross Keys and the Duke of York, but our first paid gigs were at the Bulls Head, (very character building, we played from eight 'til eleven Friday to Sunday) we then went on to tour the Hare & Hounds, Town Hall, and Brown Cow.

Graham Nash came and saw us in the Bulls Head one night and nobody told us until he'd gone.

It was in the days of CSNY and the Landlord, thinking Graham had made a bad career move asked him 'why did you ever leave 'th Hollies?

Those were the days....


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: GUEST,FMF
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 01:02 PM

I've heard the programme. It's a spoof. You can tell by the names of the other characters mentioned: Otis Regrets (from the song "Miss Otis Regrets") the one-legged dancer Pegleg McTotter (Yes I've heard ogf Pegleg Bates), Blind Lemon Meringue - not to mention that the FMF record label is named after Foul Mouth Finkelstein. None of these people exist.


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: GUEST,gabaritny
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 06:48 PM

I have a copy of Piping The Blues - Unbelievably good


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 07:10 PM

Harvey insists that all these people are just as real as he is.


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 02:44 AM

From my "A Smile And A Tear" CD of 2001:

THE BOOGIE WOOGIE PIPER   
(Seamus Kennedy, Gransha Music))

There was a young Scots laddie called Jock MacRae
He lived over round bonnie Dundee way;
He was a champion piper with a local band,
All the drones and the chanter were at his command;
He played bagpipe music twenty-four hours a day.

Well, he'd mastered tunes like Caber Feidh,
And Amazing Grace and Scots Wha Hae,
Playin' reels and jigs and pibrochs too,
Strathspeys and hornpipes, old and new;
Everybody raved when he played Scotland The Brave.

Now, there wasn't much work in bonny Dundee,
And he heard there were more gigs across the sea;
So he bought a ticket for the USA,
Then he packed his pipes and he came to stay,
And he found himself in Nashville, Tennessee.

He went to the Opry and the clubs in town,
And he fell in love with that country sound,
Sittin' in with bands and doin' his thing,
Playing honky-tonk, bluegrass and western swing,
But his boogie-woogie bagpipes brought the whole house down.

He played boogie-woogie like old Hank Snow,
And folks flocked to hear him everywhere he'd go;
Pretty soon the word was going around
About the hot young Scot with the boogie sound
They just loved to see him grab his pipes and blow.

Well, the stars all started hanging round his door,
'Cause his pipin' really had them on the floor;
And they wanted the kid from bonny Dundee
To play his pipes on their CD,
'Cause the Boogie Woogie Bagpipes made folks holler for more.

When Jock started makin' his own CDs,
He became a star on QVC;
Pipin' on the late-night TV shows,
Now everybody shouts wherever he goes:
"There's the Boogie Woogie Piper from Nashville, Tennessee!"



I always wondered what pipes would sound like on country
music and boogie-woogie, so I wrote this one to find out.
That's E.J. Jones of Clandestine piping his way into the
Country Music Hall of Fame with bluegrass legend Mike Auldridge on Dobro, Tad Marks on fiddle, and Brad Hayford on lead electric too.


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: CarolC
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 03:11 AM

Now, Guest,FMF (she asks more than a year later), why would talk about those good people like that? They don't talk like that about you !


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 04:45 AM

I am glad this was resurected if only because I can remember none of it. Wonder what I was on at the time:-) Sadly one fact I do know is that John Snelson - Known here as Pied Piper - passed away some time ago as the result of a long illness.

I still don't know if it was spoof or real but my great grandad was a one armed boxing instructer - So stranger things can and do happen!

Carol - Someone was after the Lion Tamers song from that album recently. Can't remember who though. Not doing very well today am I?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 06:03 AM

I've known two one-armed guitarists!


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: GUEST,broonysblues
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 11:48 AM

hi there, ive posted the whole of the jamie mcgee show on you tube1 for those of you that may be interested!                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjM2baqFnAI


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: maeve
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 12:29 PM

GUEST,broonysblues' link


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: GUEST,johnypebs
Date: 05 May 11 - 08:29 AM

I was given a cassette recording of the radio show by a friend, I lost mine but he still has the original. At the end of the programme, the performers of the various characters are given. my own favourite part is when peg leg can be heard cursing, after skiting in some spilled porridge and falling to the floor.


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 11 - 08:56 AM

Nearly 10 years down the line and I still can't remember a thing about it :-) Tnanks for the link though, broonysblues. Absolutley hilarious.

:DtG


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 05 May 11 - 09:05 AM

That had me going for a minute. Otis Regrets, my arse.

Actually it all takes me back to the first record I ever heard of Bulgarian music. It included a track of a singer accompanying himself on the bagpipes. "Ahah", thinks I, "they must have bellows blown bagpipes in Bulgaria."

Wrong! They just have enormous airbags in Bulgaria and the trick is to play the tune whilst blowing the bag up, sing a verse, play the tune again, while replenishing the air supply, sing another verse, and so on.

But for sheer breathtaking virtuosity, you should have seen Peg Leg Sam, the only one legged step dancer I ever heard about at any rate. You can see a film of him here


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Subject: RE: One armed Jamie McGee, blues bagpiper
From: GUEST,les raphael
Date: 06 May 11 - 09:16 AM

To : mudcat.org
From : leslieraphael@ymail.com
Fri 6 May 11
Some notes on your thread about Piping the Blues :
title song, verse 1, missing last line : Ah pipe the blues and I holler a word or two.
Verse 2, last line : So ah blaw the pipes and earn mysel a dime.
Gaston Pichegru (sp ?) : correct sp(elling), and a real name - Charles Pichegru was a general in French
Revolution times.
Wheezing Bag Blues, slight correction to words : a crack on the sconce (= head)
Verse after "Yeah !" : Ooo ah covered up the puncture wi an auld leather patch ; Ah done done done covered up that puncture mama wi an auld leather patch ; It's a nice wee bit o' leather, but the tartan disnae match.
"I heard a record on Radio One, Ireland, that featured a piper playing jazz" - probably the black piper Rufus Harley, whose album covers (or one of them) showed him in full Scottish regalia - kilt, etc. Proved you can play jazz on any instrument - he was a great player - and this is not a joke.
I thought the programme was genuine when I saw the Radio Times blurb, but listening to the actual broadcast soon changed my mind (you don't mention, incidentally, that the wonderful Bill Paterson played Jamie). I think Anglo meant it as a satire on the very earnest blues programmes on Radio 3 by Paul Oliver - a great presenter, and a blues authority - but he used to recite black blues lyrics in a prim, precise middle-class English accent, which could be unintentionally hilarious, reminding many (including me) - going back even further, to the 60s - of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook dissecting Mama's Got a Brand New Bag, by Bo Dudley. Even in those days, folk were taking the mick out of white English blues fans - and then there's the Bonzos' song Can Blue Men Sing the Whites ?
I sent a copy of my tape of the programme to my friend Steve Blamires, in case he'd missed a belter of a programme - but the next day it was a case of tapes crossing in the post and arriving the same day - he'd heard it, and done ME a copy. It's not something you want to play a million times, but it can still be painfully funny - occasionally.
Les Raphael


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