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An Open Letter to Rick Fielding

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catspaw49 22 Mar 04 - 09:01 PM
Deckman 22 Mar 04 - 09:21 PM
Amergin 22 Mar 04 - 09:28 PM
Fortunato 22 Mar 04 - 09:50 PM
wysiwyg 22 Mar 04 - 10:09 PM
Justa Picker 22 Mar 04 - 10:28 PM
Bobert 22 Mar 04 - 10:35 PM
DonMeixner 22 Mar 04 - 10:37 PM
Amos 22 Mar 04 - 10:43 PM
harpgirl 22 Mar 04 - 10:53 PM
harpgirl 22 Mar 04 - 11:05 PM
CarolC 22 Mar 04 - 11:33 PM
Amos 22 Mar 04 - 11:48 PM
Justa Picker 22 Mar 04 - 11:59 PM
Little Hawk 23 Mar 04 - 12:26 AM
Big Mick 23 Mar 04 - 09:41 AM
catspaw49 23 Mar 04 - 10:24 AM
kendall 23 Mar 04 - 10:54 AM
JedMarum 23 Mar 04 - 11:14 AM
SINSULL 23 Mar 04 - 01:12 PM
catspaw49 23 Mar 04 - 02:47 PM
Willie-O 23 Mar 04 - 03:25 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 23 Mar 04 - 05:45 PM
Max 23 Mar 04 - 06:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Mar 04 - 07:44 PM
Paul Mills 23 Mar 04 - 08:01 PM
catspaw49 23 Mar 04 - 11:59 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 24 Mar 04 - 12:38 AM
katlaughing 24 Mar 04 - 12:45 AM
Peter T. 24 Mar 04 - 08:28 AM
Willie-O 24 Mar 04 - 09:22 AM
Amos 24 Mar 04 - 09:43 AM
wysiwyg 24 Mar 04 - 10:39 AM
katlaughing 24 Mar 04 - 10:46 AM
Peter T. 24 Mar 04 - 02:00 PM
Morticia 24 Mar 04 - 03:19 PM
katlaughing 24 Mar 04 - 08:42 PM
Arnie Naiman 24 Mar 04 - 10:38 PM
catspaw49 25 Mar 04 - 01:13 PM
John Hardly 25 Mar 04 - 01:29 PM
Willie-O 25 Mar 04 - 04:03 PM
Eve Goldberg 26 Mar 04 - 11:52 AM
katlaughing 26 Mar 04 - 01:01 PM
Little Hawk 26 Mar 04 - 05:16 PM
Peter T. 26 Mar 04 - 06:40 PM
black walnut 27 Mar 04 - 11:57 AM
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Subject: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 09:01 PM

Dear Rick,

Well Pard, I think you're probably about over the edge (no pun intended) with all the things being said about you in your Obit thread. I know you want to thank everyone and are grateful and all of that but I also know you're probably uncomfortably embarassed. So I figured I might as well write this note to you now to just BS with you awhile about a few things.

I don't know where exactly you are right now and as many times as we talked about this stuff, we're both agnostics who never had a clue. I reckon we could throw this one out to WYSIWYG. Kat knows a lot about this kind of thing, or others might have a better idea but only you know the answer. So for me, I'll just assume that it is somewhere, a big assumption, and that they have internet access, another assumption. Surely though they must have the internet by now. Say, listen, if they do, could you put a hold on an e-mail addy for me? I'd like before anyone else gets it. Send me your new one when you have a chance. That said, let's get on with it.

First, I hope you don't mind all the stories that we're already dragging up here and there on other threads and I figure a few will collect here as well. There are some things that everyone didn't know and some are likely to share. You can handle it.........Like the fact that you are really a closet detective. Some of us know that, some don't. I couldn't believe when you started telling me things about people you had learned through your Sherlock persona. When we first started having troll and flaming problems on the 'Cat many years ago, you rarely got involved on the threads. Oh, you did get involved often enough and let your opinion be known, but you were too busy having tons of fun figuring out who was who and what was what through analyzing writing styles, time of day, concurrent postings, and about 50 other factors, almost none of which I had considered Geeziz Man, you were like Nero Wolfe going after angles and things totally out of the blue. What was strange though was that you were often right!!! Seriously, you had a career as a Private Eye if you had decided to go that way.

There are several things I'll add later, but since my modem is acting up, let me get to the really important things! Other stuff can wait for Page Two.

What am I supposed to do with these idiot half-brothers of yours? When you sent the Reg Boys to me 5 years ago, I figured it was just for a visit with Paw, Buford, and Cletus, but they hit it off and now I have twice the problem around here. Reg is okay, but Reg can be really stupid at times. And I tell you Reg is really a problem when he hangs with Cletus instead of Reg, Reg, and Paw. Honest to Christ if I catch them playing "Sink the Cheerios" in my downstairs bathroom again, he and Clete will be joining you, wherever ta' hell that is! I talked to Heather today and asked her what I was supposed to do with them and she said, "Don't send them here!" I care way too much about Heather to do that to her anyway. But I gotta' tell ya', I think I got the short and brown end of the stick on this deal............

I have a few things to add later as I said, but let me end Page One of this letter with this.

I've been in a quandry about what to do regarding Lane, Fielding, Patterson, and Swan.....Layabouts-At-Large and For Hire. I contemplated discussing it with the other two founding partners, but I figure they're as lazy as we all have always been so it's better if I just make the decisions here and figure they'll go along because it would take too much energy to do anything else.I think the best overall decision is to keep you on as the important founding partner that you are. Well really, it's that we already have the all that damn stationery and business cards and Corporate Sportswear and it would cost a fortune to change it.

The other thing here is that at LFPS, we have always prided ourselves on how much time we have devoted to doing nothing and being better at doing nothing than anyone else. Now that you're gone, I figure you have a lot more time than ever before to devote to the business AND it seems to me that you now should be even better at doing nothing. Perhaps you have some orientation program or whatever where you are, but as soon as that's over, hey, why not?............ I mean, when you think of it, who has more time with more ability to do nothing than you do now? This could be a major boost to the business so rest assured (again, no pun intended), you are not just a founding partner, but absolutely more integral to the business than ever before!

More later, but for now that's about it. Catch ya' later,


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Deckman
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 09:21 PM

Very heartfelt. Thank You. Bob

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Amergin
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 09:28 PM

Spaw, for all that you pretend to be a got one of the biggest hearts I have ever come across. I think you outdid yourself here, my friend.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Fortunato
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 09:50 PM

Dear Rick,

The Gallagher cracked. I had a humidifier in there, yes, goddammit. I think John Warden can fix it, it's small. I reckon I played some notes on it with your hands informing mine on Sunday.

You grabbed two chairs and made me sit down and play "Rolling in My Sweet Baby's Arms" the first time we met, just to set the stage. I'll do that with Susette next gig. Oh, and she's quite taken with your version of Ola Belle's High on the Mountain. We'll have to do that one too. I knew Ola Belle slightly, having been up to Rising Sun before she died. She would have liked your version, I believe.

Your 'workshop' cd ain't too bad. Susette and I are listening to Hesitation Blues, a lot. It's a good arrangement.

Old Kendall and you and I and some others had a good jam at the Getaway. I think he's gonna miss you pretty bad. Jed Marum is coming down to see me and play some gigs in DC in April,   I reckon we'll talk about you some.

I never knew if you liked our CD that I sent you. And I never came up to Toronto.

I think catspaw isn't quite as dumb as he could be. I appreciate the opportunity to say these things. I wish I'd been a mite more sober when we jammed at the Getaways, but I think I remember we lifted it up. Oh, well, it'll get better in the remembering. They just don't turn out good pickers like you just all the time. You were all right.

So long, Rick.   Drop in any time. My hands are yours.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:09 PM

Dear Rick,

I do indeed know exactly where you are right now and it's just where I would expect to find you. You see, I understood a long time ago that your agnosticism had in it a deep awareness of our human limits in understanding... you just didn't presume to say you "knew," and you were looking forward to finding out. And I respected you for that so much that even when I knew you were going-- all the signs were clear, I mean DUH, tribute threads, gosh, what do THOSE usually mean-- even when I could see the close gathering-in of the ones dearest to you, I never put your ass out on the prayer chain, especially when I most wanted to. It would not have been right... oh I prayed, myself-- I'd told you I would, and that was OK with you, but I didn't make your choice to go your own way into something for others to fasten onto. I knew that people who pray, would pray, and ya know, that's enough of that shit.

But I never worried about you. You see, I do know where I am going, and for me, it just would not be heaven if you were not there. And ya see, buddy, this last year? I figured out sumpin really important. I figured out that if the Bible's true, dead folks in heaven are required to spend eternity singing, and being actually joyful. And the people I know? Sheeshe, there is NO WAY they are ready for that, crabby buncha crap-brains most of us are most of the time. Well, there's gotta be a buncha people laying about near the gate to teach folks how to sing. Yup. Yer right in the middle of the "Welcome to Glory" newbies' songcircle, delighted and surprised at each human bean's soul that comes by, laffin with 'em as they encounter the Truth and start to dig it. You among all the people I know are just the one to help them pass on into the music thing they were too bungled-up-inside to get into, in earthly life.

So I am looking forward to having heaven my way-- I always get my way, ask Hardi-- and that means you WILL be there, so you must be there now!

And I hope you will do one thing for me when I get there, a little like you did here at the Cat-- you'll tell me the REAL inside skinny on how to get along so I don't make a TOTAL ass of myself (just nearly total), but you will let me figure out the important parts myself, and we'll laff and laff about the wacky things dead folks can see once they aren't so worried about all that earth-people crap.

Another really good thing for you to do Up There is to help living folks see each other better. You had this trick of being so curious about life and people living it, that Usual Assumptions were not worth much and it could get real easy to see inside a thing to what really mattered about it. We could use a lot more of that around here, and a nudge now and then to screw our eyes on straight would be a big help, if it's not too much like being productive.

Love, and yes in heaven I WILL play slide guitar AND clawhammer banjo,


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Justa Picker
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:28 PM

Love you Pat. :-)

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:35 PM

Well, Rick, I never got to know you too well since I was both late gettin' here an' too busy fightin' with DougR and Teribus but I have witnessed the love that you had/have for these folks and the love they had/have for you so here's the way I see it. The best of Christains are agnositic in their weaker moments so I'm not going to hold that aginst you. I'd like to think that with the love that you gave you were indeed hooked up with the Big Guy, who is the original Doctor Love. And if that's the case, and I beleive it is, then yer getting a kick out of this thread...

Can you believe that Spaw actually wrote close to a thousand words without a single "F word"? Go think it? Nor did he burp or fart during the post!!! Now that, Rick, is a testament in itself. So, my friend, I lift my glass to you and if you get to the Pearly Gates and Robert Johnson is holding the clipboard, tell him that you just as soon wait on St Peter 'cause Robert gonna ask you some purdy obscure blues questions to get in.... St. Peter? A pussycat.......

Love to you...


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: DonMeixner
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:37 PM

Dear Rick,

It wonders me how often I look in my banjo and think fondly of the gift you gave me that nite in your garden a few years ago. When you gifted me that Fielding Banjo mute were you telling me something I should know?

I can't tell you how much those few short hours are in my memory. How great it was to have a musician of your caliber play with a musician of mine and make me feel equal and not awkward. Thats the mark of a teacher you know.

My banjo deserved your hands upon it if only to show me how well it could be played.

I'm sorry the bracelet didn't work as well as we hoped.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Amos
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:43 PM

Seconded and Passed, Spaw.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: harpgirl
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:53 PM

Dearest Rick,
Please don't pay Paterson any attention. Everyone knows that he is just an old windbag and that he yacks online all day because his buckeyes are so shriveled his wife mistook them for rasins and dropped them in her carrot cake. He had some viagra but I heard he is so stupid he gave it to his lawyer to hold and all it did was make him a little taller!

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: harpgirl
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 11:05 PM

Oh, and Rick,Paterson is a lot like Kendall. Little pieces will keep flaking off for the next hundred years, until nothing will be left but a tiny little sphincter muscle!

One of the many cool things you said was that you had to tune the guitar down to C to sound like Leadbelly!

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: CarolC
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 11:33 PM

Please say hi to little john cameron and LR Mole, and give them each one of your great massive bear-hugs for me. I miss those guys a lot. I'm going to miss you and your hugs a lot, too.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Amos
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 11:48 PM


Don't start with the joke about being a Hereford in New Jersey, okay? We've all been to the Catskills at some point. But on the other hand if you should run across some really NEW humor, by all means, pass it on -- rest assured we'll try to give credit where credit is due. We need it.

I'm gonna start playing the banjo, okay? If you can stomach it, feel free to drop by and correct my frailing, wouldja? I could really use the help.

Thanks, man.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Justa Picker
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 11:59 PM

Here's a little something from my personal scrap book I'd like to share.
(Feb. 2002 - Radio Show)
He was in excellent form, flat picking on the Gibson J-45!

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 12:26 AM

Hi, Rick. We had a great Monday night song circle in Orillia, as usual, and Ron B brought your name up and we had a sort of wake. Some songs were sung in your honour and we shared reminiscences about knowing you. Jives was there, me, John A, Mike L, Ron B, Katy A, and a couple of more recent people who didn't know you. I sang Dylan's "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" for you.

I still regret that I did not get some guitar lessons from you while I had the chance.

Anyway, things are basically going well here and we all think fondly of you and feel that you are still with us whenever the music is being played.

- LH

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Big Mick
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 09:41 AM

Dear Rick,

I love Spaw's suggestion, and while you are at it would you reserve spawsallassandwheredoistart? for me? I am not sure what Swanno is going to ask for, but I am not sure if the wee fella can get through the gate for the size of that friggin' 'stach of his anyway. And I think he would rather not get in than cut it.

About Lane, Fielding, Patterson and Swan. I realize that you have not been away long, but I got to tell you that it hasn't made much difference. We still ain't doing shit, and doing it well. I am not sure what difference that has made in the bottom line, cause I am too damn lazy to go and check the spreadsheets. But if you want your share of the profits, you are going to have to get a forwarding addy to someone. Spaw ... see if you can figger out who the hell to ask about that. If you need help, call Swanno. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that the last two times I saw you, you were wearing your LFPS zip up sweatshirt. I do love those things!!

I know that you were a bit uncomfortable when people gushed, and I hope you don't mind, but I am going to let these good folks know how absolutely honored you were by the love shown, and the tributes given to you at the CD release a few weeks ago. When I saw you the next day, well, it was as if you couldn't believe that all this had actually been done for you. Seemed to me, and it is my opinion, that you were pretty knocked out by it. It is an awakening to find how much love you have earned, isn't it? And now you really know. Just take it, Fielding, cause you earned it. I can speak as one of the Senior, and founding partners in the firm, we are not going to hold this against you. The simple fact is, pal, that all this is coming because of who you are. You earned it not by intent to earn it, but by intent to walk with integrity, learn from mistakes, and live by a code. Honorable stuff, even for a musician and layabout at large.

BTW, you heard about the three fella's that came to the Pearly Gates, and St. Pete asks the first one, "How much money did you make your last year on earth?" "$250,000", sez the fella. "What did you do for a living?". "I was a CPA", sez he. "Enter Heaven", sez Pete. To the next, the same question. "$175,000" sez yer man, "and I was an Attorney". "Enter Heaven" sez the good Saint. To the third, the same question. "$10,000" sez the lad. "And what instrument did you play?" asks St. Pete.

Got to run, and don't let me hear about you doing anything resembling work where you are. Layabouts at Large and for hire means just that. Oh, yeah, and don't forget to forward any cash that comes by way of Laying about where ever you are just now.

One last thing, ole buddy. On the radio show you christened Paul Mills as one of the Beef Brothers. He will be a good one, but is there any kind of initiation rite that Jed and I have to put him through? I don't think Bev will go for the one you made Jed and I do, you know the one that had to do with ..... never mind, I think you will get forgiveness for that one.

And the real last thing. Spaw is just like you always said. You always said he had the biggest heart of the lot of us. It is a bit scarred and patched up, but came through tougher and stronger than the lot of us together. I agree, even if he is a horses ass. And just so's we don't neglect important rituals:


Damn, that wore me out. Got to go take a nap.

Love you, buddy. More later.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 10:24 AM

Geeze Mick....That was great! I know you're not a pro at it and yet that was a real pro-type piece of work. Enjoy the nap! I'm sure that took a lot out of you. Professional Crepitation, also known as the Delicate Art of Flatulent Renderings, takes a lifetime of dedication and practice so for you to emit one like that I know took some work.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: kendall
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 10:54 AM

Rick, I never knew my 12 string could handle that tune, "Walk right in" until you played it. The old dear hasn't been the same since.
As Tom Paxton wrote:
Thank you for the honor of your company,
The music was as sweet as the good red wine,
Thanks for the company, thanks for the harmony,
I'm here to say the honor was all mine."

So long Rick, we hate to see you go.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: JedMarum
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 11:14 AM


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 01:12 PM

Well, I'm still miffed that for your last song Saturday night at the Getaway you chose to sing Heather's song instead of the Everly Bros. that I requested. You always liked her best!

That aside, we will look after her for you whether she likes it or not.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 02:47 PM


Just backin here for a few minutes before I have to go out and trackdown the fuel smell in Karen's car.

Have you seen what's going on thatshawl thread? If not, here's a Blue Clicky Thing to it. Amazing what this place can come up with isn't it?

And Yeah, I know.....You were the originator of the phrase "Blue Clicky Thing." Now how you can pull something that silly out of your ass and have it become woven into the fabric of this joint, I'll never know.................Even when Jeff added the linkmaker, it says, "Make a Link (Blue Clicky)" .........That's amazing Man....



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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Willie-O
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 03:25 PM

Rick, you only ever requested me to play one song on your old 6-string so it could remember your good times together, and I have to admit that I haven't gotten around to learning it yet.

But I will.

Hey Sins, what WAS the song you were referring to -- Heather's request at Getaway?

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 05:45 PM

Rick, Rick, Rick...

How couldja do it, man? No, I don't mean dyin'. Hell, everybody's gonna do that someday. I mean how couldja do it before Spaw? Look at what's happened! He's gone and started this thread that may well be the start of a trend. Like, every time somebody cashes in their chips Spaw's gonna wanna write an "Open Letter" to 'em. Aw, Jesus! Can you imagine how embarassing it's gonna be?

Of course, most of us don't make a big enough blip on Spaw's radar to merit such a grand insult, but some of us definitely do and, who knows? There's always the possibility that Spaw could start an "Open Letter to (insert name of some yo-yo who had been around a week)" just for the hell of it. Ya never can tell. I'd sure as hell hate to see it happen to me!

But, as with most things, there is a good side. The possibility that Spaw will heap postmortem isults upon us should make us all more determined to live longer than he does. And, since nobody but Gargoyle wants to see the Asshole from Ohio go away any time soon that means the rest of us should be hangin' around for a really long time.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Max
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 06:33 PM

Dear Rick,

Thanks for showing me that Fannin Street could actually be played by someone other than Leadbelly. I by no means have it down yet, but at least I now know its possible. Wish I could have moved to Toronto to get a couple lessons from ya.

I'll miss ya buddy, and rest assured that your legacy will be preserved here at the cat. Your place in history is secure at least as long as till I see you again. I'll try to get one of my kids to take over when I come up. Enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet I heard about. Help them angels with their harps and lyres.

Oh, and not to be selfish, but could you do me a favor? A few years ago someone stole my guitar which was handed down to me after my uncle Frankie died in his prime. It was real special to me, nice classical jobby with a hand painted pick guard. We used to call it the magic guitar on account it was so easy to play. Could you see if you can talk the big guy into striking down the thief? Or maybe just a rash or some hydroids or something? Or better yet, could you have him bring it back to me? Thanks a bunch.

With great love and profound respect,


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 07:44 PM

"I'll try to get one of my kids to take over when I come up."

That's a promise, Max. And you'll have Rick holding you to it. (And a lot more of us by that time...)

Just been listening to Rick on that link Justa Picker gave. He's sounding just fine. A bit like having a phone connection to heaven, where there's a party going on. (And, to quote a song I once wrote, "The bar of heaven's never closed
With a session that's for ever only just begun."

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Paul Mills
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 08:01 PM

Dear Rick...

I want to thank Spaw for getting this started. In the days since you left us, I've been doing a lot of processing and unable to write anything. Writing a letter to you gave me a chance to actually say some of what I wanted to say.

Now I know part of you must have been a mite embarassed with all the gushing about you that was going on in the days and weeks leading up to last Saturday night but a tiny corner of you was probably grinning a bit, right? How many people have the chance to attend their own wakes and hear all the tributes before they go? You knew how much people loved you as you were slipping away, didn't you? If only we were all so lucky.

For my own part, I'm really glad you agreed to finish the CD. As you said to me, I caught you on a good day, because otherwise you may not have agreed to muster up the energy you needed to see it through. But there it is, a CD that you were totally involved in completing - not some hastily thrown-together thing done after you were gone with all of us second-guessing what you would have wanted or not wanted. Thanks for putting in the effort, my friend.

Finally, there are a lot of us down here talking about how we want the radio show to continue in the same vein and how we are going to be working together as a community and with Heather to make sure that happens. We'll keep you posted!

Thanks for the music, the friendship and the encouragement! I'll be dedicating Curly Boy's album to your memory.

Cheers and love,


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 11:59 PM

Just an aside here to Paul......Glad you found your way to this thread. A lot of us are in your debt for all you did to get that album out and done "Rick Way." Many thanks........Ya' done good!!!

And Max.....Sounds like a plan to me too my friend!! The legacy of what is here has always been the important thing and right now it takes on added significance. You deserve all the commendation and credit........'Course if you blow it down the road you deserve a kick in the balls. Just thought I'd mention it.......


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 12:38 AM

Ya were WRONG bout so, so, so many musical things....

But being a charlatine was part of the personae.

Don't try to slip St. Peter a wooded nickel....or an A# when they are really calling for a Gb.

Sleep in Pease Grand Fellow Sleep in Pease<0>

Sincerely, Gargoyle
Once only ponder of the hell paid to a musicains mendance.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 12:45 AM

Well, m'dear *Ricky*:-), here we are and there you be, dammit. Leave it to Spaw to make us laugh through our tears and help to put into words what the hole in our heart feels like. Like I needed another hole in mine!

Anyway, Spaw seems to think I know something about think he's been out back playing with the faeries, kicking up the litter too much, again, but ya know I have *heard* things about last Saturday night and I know you were travelling a little, checking up on folks you care so much foot here and one foot there. Kind of fun being able to do that, isn't it? Well now you can do it all you want, visit each and every one, play silly games, strum all those geetars and other geegaws we've all got hanging around, startle us out of our wits, then gentle us down with a "Oh, it's just Rick *rifflin* "hello."

Now, you know I named my dulcimore "Peaches" after Spaw's character in the Juke Joint thread...I am ashamed to admit I haven't had her down much lately, but I will do so, directly, in your honour. I've got that old French ditty, "Jean Petite Biron" worked up really good, segued into my own "Touchstones." See what'cha think, okay and leave a light on for us...

boy, we had us some times and you stole our hearts, showing us how to be good to one another and ourselves, most of all,


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 08:28 AM

There is a brief obituary for Rick in the Toronto Star today, also online at It was put together from the words of Bill Garrett, and some help from Tony Quarrington, and Mose Scarlett. You have to do a search when you get there.


Peter T.

FIELDING, Rick _ Born December 1, 1944, son of Dorothy and William, survived by his beloved wife Heather, and sister-in-law Linda, passed away March 20th, 2004 after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer. Originally born in Toronto, Rick grew up in Montreal, Quebec, and was smitten by folk and blues music as a teenager. He later moved back to Toronto and in a career that spanned over thirty years toured extensively throughout Canada, Great Britain and the United States. Apart from recording, touring and playing his own music, Rick taught acoustic techniques on guitar, banjo, mandolin and dulcimer, ran workshops on songwriting and professional development for musicians, did custom leather work, and until the last few weeks of his illness, hosted the radio show Acoustic Workshop on CIUT-FM. Above all Rick was a giving person as a performer, teacher, friend, and supporter of the music community. He will be missed deeply by hundreds of his friends and students, to whom he opened up whole worlds of music. ''This earth is just rehearsal For when I'm heaven bound, I'll be well prepared to take my place With harmony and rhyme And sing with the angels when it's time.'' A memorial celebration will be held at a later date. Date Posted: 2004-03-24

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Willie-O
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 09:22 AM

By the way, when is the "Fielding Plays Hendrix" box set coming out on Boring Alice Records?

Oops...Rick wasn't sposed to know about that.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Amos
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 09:43 AM

Geeze, Rick.

I gotta tell ya, that obit didn't half do you justice. I am glad they wrote it though. It's pretty thin gruel compared to finding some crack or caring lesson from you in the morning posts. {retty damn thin.

Hope you have found a safe place to hang out until things look stable, buddy -- your back yard for starters, I'd imagine.

If you are coming back sometime soon, try finding a family in the ranks of high-tech multimillionaires to grow up in who ALSO went to Woodstock. I am sure there are some around. Or maybe a Dylan grandchild. That's about the right timing, isn't it?
We'll play together down the road, pal. Woodstock or no, I realize you're probably gonna have to take instrument lessons when you get your next incarnation warmed up some; don't fight it. It's gonna be tough because you'll know how much more you know than the guy who's teaching you, but probably won't remember what, exactly. Just go wit da flow, man, ya know? They'll recognize your peculiar genius pretty damn quick. Just be your everlovin' self.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 10:39 AM

Dear Rick,

OK, OK, OKAYYYYY!!!! I did that little thing you asked me to do (a LONG time ago). I'm sorry it took so long, and I will NEVER delay like that again! Geeze, rest in peace, OK????? Next time you visit me in a dream, let's just play music, OK?

Hm, maybe there was a reason the thing didn't happen till today. Ya know, it's no excuse for my faithlesness, but maybe 99% of the stuff you wanted us to do for each other around this place (Earth) will not kick in till a lot later. At least from where you are now, you can see them happen and see how the effects kick in and ripple out, eh?



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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 10:46 AM

Peter, thanks for posting the obit. I think it's brevity is exactly what he would want. Thanks to all who contributed to it.

When this all first started, I remember talking with him and he was adamant about not letting on to folks, in general, about what he was going through. He just didn't want a bunch of gushing, benefit concerts, "poor you's" and such. So, while our threads probably have embarrassed him some, I am sure the obit was to a "T."

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 02:00 PM

Hey, this wasn't a eulogy -- it was cost per word!!! (plus picture!!) We will all say more -- have said more -- elsewhere, and at other times.


Peter T.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Morticia
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 03:19 PM

hey Rick,

spent some of today looking back through old threads and realising just how often you reached out with help, humour and sage advice to me and to so many others.We're going to miss that round, if we're lucky, we'll have to make do with Spaw making gastro-intestinal noises and a quick side trip to the NYCFTTS.

I was looking up something you said to me in a PM, and accidently hit the button that said to send you a message.Guess I need something more powerful than the Mudcat for that.Or maybe I don't....maybe there are few things more powerful than the Mudcat in it's way....after all, that's how I got to meet you.

On your next trip around, try not to live so far away, 'kay?

much love


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 08:42 PM

Now I know who to blame when a snippet of a song snags in my mind and keeps going and going and goi...:-) and, there's nuttin' you can say! Like last night...could only remember a few lines, but YOU were in my mind when it started cycling...

We'll meet again,
Don't know where, don't know when....

Goodnight, Rickdarlin'

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Arnie Naiman
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 10:38 PM

I don't need to write down here all the things that I've been thinking about you since you departed. You don't really need an internet connection to realise that do you? Fact is I can't stop thinking about you and the great things I know you for, and I think many of us here are going through the same darn thing. I picked up a new banjo for Chris Coole today from Bill Rickard, and one of the first things that I thought of was that I wish YOU could check it out right away, give your opinion, and get the story behind it all. You KNOW that boy plays some good banjo thanks to you. I love your new CD. The cut with Trishka is classic - but I gotta tell ya High On The Mountain just about does me in. I'm gonna really miss your pickin around here and your presence behind those strings and songs that only you had. Remember your solo concert in Cobourg a few years back? - That was the best I ever heard or saw you- such an engaging and professional performance - brilliant command of the audiences attention with your music and stories- and that tune you played with the big Gibson mandola was friggin amazing! There are a lot of young folks now in T.O. who can really play as you know, and there'll be some awesome music coming around , and a lot of that is due to you spreading the music. I appreciate all the chances you gave me and Kathy and Chris, and all the support and the occasional but meaningful friendship we had. You're gonna be with me in my musical journey from time to time - you know that, so I'll be talking to often.
And I do cherish our Ragged But Right leather masterpiece which I intend to put to good use.
By the way , is Charlie Poole there- and how does he play like that?

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 01:13 PM

Dear Rick,

Not much time right now, but I was thinking that you have got to be (humbly) impressed with the things that have been said about you the past few days and of course you deserve them. You were always pretty good at self-deprecation and I think some of the folks here who missed that part of you may have missed a lot! I mean, you accepted the compliments but it was always more comfortable for you to tail them with a story where you were the butt-end of the joke. So I think for those who missed those times, I'd repost one of them.

In the midst of having a long discussion on 12-strings where you gave out some tremendous advice, someone new to Twelves brought up tuning to standard pitch. Several of us gave all the reasons against it and you came in and posted a real winner as I recall, summing up in that way you're so good at. So several people come in and thank the bejesus out of you and you then told the following story showing we all were young and dumb once which cracked me was like a scene from a sit-com! You didn't title it but I did.......Anyway, here it is as you told it then........


"Each of my 12 strings has it's own little memory but the worst was "Pedro" the Mexican built beauty that I bought when I was about twenty. The salesman said it was built to be tuned to pitch and I foolishly believed him. Now the problem was that my girlfriend at the time felt (justifiably so) that we should be saving our money, so when I purchased "Pedro" I snuck him into a closet for the night, planning to tell her about it the next day.(after I had thought up some story to justify my purchase) About 5am, a noise like a bazooka woke everyone up with a start in our communal rooming house. People were searching everywhere for the source of the explosion......but in my heart I knew what it was. I let someone else find the broken pieces of wood and wire, but I had to own up to it. Needless to say I got yelled at, AND lost Pedro one day after buying him!"

Catch You Later......Gotta' go to the store....


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 01:29 PM you take your ring finger and put it on the low E string at the third fret. Next you take your middle finger and hold down the A string at the second fret. Finally, without touching the strings in between, use your pinky to hold down the high E string at the third fret?

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Willie-O
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 04:03 PM

Hey Rick, you'll probably run into a friend of mine near the gates. Danny O'Connell. Look for him in the nearest pub, playing outrageously great fiddle. Young guy in a baseball cap with a shock of red hair. Back him up on guitar, say hi from me, and ask him for "Jean's Reel", if you don't mind...I wish he would have stuck around and had the kind of career in music you did.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 11:52 AM

Dear Rick,

I've been holding off on writing you because so many people have said it so much better than I ever could. What would there be to add?

But I do want you to know how much your teaching, your support, and your friendship has meant to me over the years. You had a wonderful, quirky, unorthodox way of bringing out the best in people. I will never forget the experience of being invited onto the stage or onto your radio show and being asked to play along with something I'd never heard before. OK, to be honest, that drove me crazy, but I love you anyway. So there.

And you were always trying to bring people together. How many times during my lessons did a friend or another student drop by and presto-- a new connection. How many people came to The Woods Music and Dance Camp or the Toronto song circle because you sent them?

And I always wanted to thank you for sending me off one day from a lesson with the homework of writing a tune on my guitar. I went off and came back the next week with something terribly unremarkable and derivative. I didn't do much with it for a couple of years -- in fact, I forgot all about it. And then one day I remembered it and I started fooling around with it again. That tune turned into "Watermelon Sorbet," the tune that now opens Richardson's Roundup on CBC Radio One every day. If it hadn't been for your prodding, that tune never would have been written. Thanks for that.

I'm sure it's been a little bit overwhelming to read all the incredible stories people are telling about your influence, how you helped them in some way or another. I don't think you ever realized how much you were doing for people when you did those little things. This week, reading all the things people have written, I realized that I needed to go back to the source and re-dedicate myself to learning some of those guitar things that I'm always saying I'll get to someday. So now every day when I pick up my guitar I try to work on something new, in your honour.

I will miss our long rambling conversations about folk music, classic blues, capos, guitar picks, politics, people, and sometimes baseball. Who else had so many interesting stories about so many people? Who else could I call up to discuss obscure blues records or long-forgotten folk history or who dated who in 1963? I will miss your advice, your provocation, your cynical sense of humour, and your way with a song.

But when it's all said and done, when I look around at what you left me with, I think the thing that sums it up the best is the fart machine which you lent Ellen and I a couple of months ago. It's sure come in handy. How do you think we managed to keep smiling for the four hours it took to take the photographs for our wedding invitation? We will never look at those photos without thinking of you, my friend.

Thanks for everything,


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 01:01 PM

Thanks for sharing that, Eve; it's beautiful.

Rick, my new grandson, Morgan, now four months old, has had a little cold. Yesterday, he was cranky; didn't want the bottle, to be held, or anything else we tried. Finally I put him on a blanket on the floor to just let him fuss. I could tell he was fighting sleep and just feeling a bit puirly.

Then, as promised, I took "Peaches" down off the wall, and played for you and Morgan. I played Jean Petite Biron and my own Touchstones. Do you know, that baby's first expression was a gentle smile, which went right off into a BIG smile and then a big sigh of contentment. He drifted gently off to sleep as I played a few more tunes, all of them with you in my heart and mind. Thanks to you and Spaw and Night Owl for that inspiration.


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 05:16 PM

Rick, I am remembering the times you got up to Orillia and how much you touched the lives of other musicians here. I am touched to see that some of the fine Canadian musicians who have played for us in past shows in Orillia are also dropping in on this thread...Eve Goldberg, Paul Mills, Curly Boy Stubbs...

The Orillia Folk Society has another show going tonight, featuring Manitoba Hal Brolund, whom I have not seen before. I bet he knows you too.

We'll all be thinking of you tonight as the local "musical friends" in the Orillia area gather to share the music.

Best wishes,

George Coventry

p.s. Have been listening for a couple of days to a great CD of Bob Dylan on Cynthia Gooding's radio show in 1962. One of the things I really appreciated, Rick, was your high regard for ol' Bob as a guitar player, writer, and performer of the first quality. It was great discussing Dylan memorabilia with someone who really understood it and got it. When Rick Fielding says someone is a fine guitar player...he IS. No two ways about it.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 06:40 PM

Funny, I was just reading a new (mediocre) book about the making of "Blood on the Tracks", and one of the musicians said that Dylan made multiple complex key changes on his guitar without using a capo, quite casually. I thought it was just the kind of thing Rick would have liked to hear about, damn it all.

We once played part of the Cynthia Gooding show tape on Rick's show -- an early protest song (can't remember which one), and we talked for quite awhile about how powerful a protest singer he was, and the interesting, casual, way he talked on that show about who he was influenced by. We also had a good laugh about his lying.


Peter T.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: black walnut
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 11:57 AM

Dear Rick,

Almost exactly 10 years ago, I went to bed really early for some reason, and as I lay there, I listened to your radio show for the first time. You, and a group of about five or so other people, were talking about The Woods Music and Dance Camp, and about a Song Circle in Toronto. My life was in need of a big change right about then - I'd just been forced to give up playing classical flute due to severe TMJ disorder. I was wandering around feeling musically lost, and I was craving a way to fit into a new musical community. The people on your radio show made The Woods Camp and the Song Circle sound so welcoming and inviting. I'd always loved listening to folk music, but you were providing a way for me to actually join in.

So, without knowing a soul, I went up to The Woods that year, in the summer of 2004, and I haven't missed a year since. A couple of years later, I began attending song circle, and I go as often as I can.

I don't have to tell you what The Woods and Song Circle have meant to me. You know very well. The friends, the fun, the creativity, the song-writing, the dancing, the new instruments, the jams, the's been an amazing decade, and it all began with listening to your radio show!

And you know, Rick, that you and I didn't spend a lot of time together here in Toronto, but whenever we did, you treated me as a friend and I was someone you were proud of, and you showed it. Oh, I'm not anything did that for EVERYone. That's what I'm trying to say, you had a way of making EVERYone around you feel really special and that you were proud of them, not only for what they did, but for who they were.

I remember many years ago when you said, "Debbie - ask me anything...nothing is too silly to ask" And you meant it. And I learned so much from you and you knew that I could ask you questions without needing to feel defensive about my 'classical' background. In fact, you seemed to be invigorated by the most basic questions. You loved to find a way to make something complex seem simple - simple enough for a beginner to grasp and understand. That's how Bill felt too, when he came to you for those beginner guitar lessons. He was in good hands.

Yesterday I was going through some papers, and I came across an email you wrote me almost exactly one year ago. You were talking about the Mudcat, and about your cancer, and about you and me making plans to have me as a guest on your radio show. Talk about full circle!! I started crying then and I'm crying now.

You've touched so many people's lives. You've certainly touched mine in a major way. I'm so glad you were there, Rick.

Love you,
BIG hugs,
now and down the road,


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 04:41 PM

The protest song you mentioned, Peter, is "The Death of Emmett Till", and it's a scorcher.

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: CapriUni
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 07:01 PM

Dear Rick Fielding,

One of the sorrows I have in my life is that it often takes an obit thread such as this one for me to truly get to know how wonderful, wise and generous someone is. And I find myself going through the same thing with you, now.

You and I never met in the flesh, nor, that I recall, have we conversed with each other in MudChat, or in the forum threads. However, I could feel your pressence throughout Mudcat -- your gentle humor and your generous wisdom -- like a warm breeze on a lazy August afternoon. You kindness was is infectious, and inspires those who knew you far more directly than I to be kind and generous in turn.

That kindness inspired me to branch out and try new things, like writing a song or two, and have the audacity to post them here, in public. It also makes this forum one of my favorite places to be, especially when I need to be reminded of the greater joy that exists beyond the confines of my own worries.

And for that, I thank you.

Sincerely, and in Joy,

Ann Magill

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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: maire-aine
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 11:46 PM

Hi, Rick. It's Maryanne here. I just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for all you've done. I meant to write sooner, but I wanted to wait until I got through this evening. I played at an open mic tonight, and I ended my set with Voices of Struggle. Everybody liked it, and I feel like you were there helping me get through it. I nailed all the lyrics and I didn't even mess up on the guitar part. Thanks for leaving us such a great song. I started learning it just about the time that Bush invaded Iraq and it gave me an outlet for my anger and frustration. I knew I had to stick my neck out and express myself. Your words made it a lot easier. Anyway, you've touched more people than you could ever imagine. Thanks again,


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Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Rick Fielding
From: Little Robyn
Date: 28 Mar 04 - 04:15 AM

Dear Rick,
We broadcast a 1 hour radio show here in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand and today, in your honour, we played a Canadian special. Although it included American and Scottish performers, all the songs were about Canada.
They included JP Cormier;Long for the sea, Hank Cramer;Nova Scotia Farewell, Matapat;La traverse du Saguenay, Connie Doucet & Paul McGraw;Home once again, Trout Fishing in America;Alberta postcard, Enock Kent;The farm auction, Grit Laskin;My city, Lee Murdock;The Great Lakes song, Keith Kendrick;A shantyman's life, Margaret Christl;The picture in my mind, Tom Lewis;Rolling home (to Nova Scotia), and finally your own When we gather once more. A fitting way to end our show, I think.

Now if I find a resting place
Before I'm back this way
Or if the road be just too long
And my feet have turned to clay
If from tonight you do recall
Just one line from this song
Then even if our roads do end
This song will travel on......

Now is the time to sing with the angels Rick.

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