Reggie P. (From The Archives)

Daddy B. Nice's #13 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Reggie P. (From The Archives) by Daddy B. Nice
 




"Why Me?"

Reggie P. (From The Archives)

June 1, 2021:

From The Archives:

This article, posted six years ago (although the first draft was posted somewhere around 2008-2010), has outdated links, the curse of any commentator who outlasts the constant vagaries of the music business. Readers, please ignore and excuse the broken links. Here are new links for the songs featured below:

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Why Me?" on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Droppin' Salt" on YouTube.

Listen to Theodis Ealey singing "Stand Up In It" on YouTube.

Listen to Quinn Golden singing "I'm Going To Be A Man About It" on YouTube.

March 1, 2015:

REGGIE P. RETROSPECTIVE



As someone who has spent the last decade championing the cause of contemporary Southern Soul music, it pains me to have to admit that, like the apostle Paul, I sometimes succumb to doubts. There are times--most recently this past winter--when I wonder where all the great new music is, times when the overall new product seems "thin," times when I have a dreadful, creeping suspicion that perhaps this nascent soul genre that I've spent so much time and energy trumpeting as the "next big musical thing" has in fact already played itself out.

And if, at the end of the nineties, anyone had told me that the core stars of contemporary Southern Soul--the "cream of the crop," the very artists who had seduced me and turned me into a passionate fan and believer--would all be dead or diminished in less than a decade, cut down at the height of their musical production, who knows if your Daddy B. Nice would even be here, writing about Southern Soul music, today?

Consider the "greats" who have fallen. Johnnie Taylor. Ronnie Lovejoy. Tyrone Davis. Little Milton. Quinn Golden. Jimmy Lewis. Jackie Neal. Frank Mendenhall. Add to this the vastly reduced output of Peggy Scott-Adams and Marvin Sease--not to mention the peripheral losses of James Brown, R. L. Burnside, Gerald Levert and Luther Vandross--and the depth and seriousness of the loss in talent (including the top five performers on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 Southern Soul chart) is nothing short of staggering.

Of course, faithful fans are well aware that new "flowers" are continually sprouting up on the graves of each departed hero and heroine. The question then becomes whether these young and often raw and unseasoned artists can produce legitimate music, music that justifies the attention of the record-buying public, music that taps into the tradition of the fallen stars while at the same time pushing it to fresh, new heights--no small task.

Not only must these new artists perform the dual task of recapturing the "magic" of their fallen mentors while pushing ahead with original perspectives of their own, they must do so in a commercially-hostile (or commercially-indifferent) marketplace in which self-publishing (not to mention self-promotion) is usually a financial and artistic necessity.

Not surprisingly, the result is a soul-music subculture strewn with both successes and failures. Thus, you have the triumph of Theodis Ealey, one of the best of the new stars, who self-published and self-promoted and finally broke through in a big way with a song--"Stand Up In It"--which very few people indeed ever guessed had "classic" written all over it.

And on the other hand, you have an immensely-talented vocalist, Robert "The Duke" Tillman, who since his initial breakthrough a few years ago with the dazzling "I Found Love," has either chosen not to (or simply not had the means to) self-publish. Unable to "buy" a record contract since, he has--artistically-speaking--withered on the vine.

(6/1/21: Daddy B Nice notes: Actually, Tillman is touring this summer on a level he hasn't in years.)

Your Daddy B. Nice has been slow to acknowledge many of this hardy new breed of Southern Soul newcomers. Partly, it's due to a natural tendency to avoid the hype that accompanies the latest album "du jour." But besides the new artists already on the Top 100 chart, there are a number who deserve to be, and among that up-and-coming elite none merits consideration more than a man named Reggie P.

When I first started hearing Reggie P.'s music years ago, I visualized a chunky guy with ham-hock hands and basset-hound-sized bags under his eyes, a grizzled old blues veteran on the lines of Charles Wilson or J. T. Watkins. Reggie P.'s music was so "vintage"--and the singer sounded world-weary and worldly-wise.

The song I was listening to was "Droppin' Salt," although in those days I knew it as "Droppin'." I couldn't make out the "salt," I was actually proud of making out the word "droppin'," and the name of the artist remained "anonymous" for months and then years, through dozens of listenings--always at unexpected intervals--on Deep South radio stations.

"Droppin' Salt" didn't bowl you over. It worked its way into your consciousness in a subtle manner, with a mid-tempo, middle-of-the-road atmosphere on the order of Quinn Golden's "I'm Going To Be A Man About It." With a memorably insidious female chorus, as sugar-coated and charming as its message was tart, "Droppin' Salt" was the kind of song you didn't know you liked until you heard it again.

And gradually, as each new listen revealed more sophisticated textures--in the horn charts, in the spare, impeccable lead guitar, in the catchy but understated chorus, but above all in the many-nuanced vocal performance of Reggie P.--I came to understand I was hearing the thing I most appreciated in Southern Soul music: a minor masterpiece shrouded in mystery. There was no hype--not even a name or an image of an artist--to divert attention from the primal flow of the music, a mellow-as-yellow melody saved from being overly saccharine by a vocal of gritty originality and intensity.

"Every time you see me,
I have tears all over my face.
I get so tired of being abused. . .

"But what does it take
To get along with you?
I've done all I can do.
I just can't seem to please you."

The arrangement of the song was the most marvelous example of achieving the "golden mean"--of having the musical "goods" while holding back--outside the Willie Clayton song catalog. Yet the text of the song--the crisis of a passionate, needful man and an indifferent, unnecessarily cruel woman--remained almost a footnote to the mesmerizing musicality of the song.

And the female chorus kept on:

"You keep droppin'
Why (do) you keep on droppin'?
You keep droppin'
Salt on me I don't need."

At last, roughly five years into his unheralded solo career, the sun began to shine on Reggie P. with the emergence of his third album, Why Me? The title cut was a rocking record--a defining track--in the mode of Johnnie Taylor's "Big Head Hundreds" or the aforementioned Theodis Ealey's "Stand Up In It."

Again the subject was a sensitive, passionate man, albeit one who was a litte more experienced, worn down, less romantic, and again his friends were asking him, "Why do you put up with it, Reggie P.?" And, as with "Droppin' Salt," the musicality of "Why Me?" was overpowering. The driving tempo was a refreshing contrast to the laid-back, rocking-the-cradle rhythm of the former, and the gritty, gospel-drenched Reggie P. vocal rode astride the galloping tempo as if it had found its perfect medium.

The "can't-miss" chords to "Why Me?" blended with its blistering rhythm section and Reggie P.'s growls, sighs and vocal pirouettes to seduce an audience that might never have noticed the more modest "Droppin' Salt." "Why Me?" took off on Southern Soul radio stations and dominated airplay for the better part of the year. In one fell swoop, with a hit song and at least four or five other radio-worthy singles, Why Me? catapulted the once-obscure Reggie P. into the relatively lofty status of Southern Soul enfant terribles Sir Charles Jones and T. K. Soul.

When it came time to compile Daddy B. Nice's Top 25 Songs of 2006 (which included songs published in 2005), I awarded Reggie P. two of the coveted positions with these remarks:

3."Droppin' Salt"------Reggie P.

An artist who combines the emotional power of Sir Charles Jones with the vocal chops and intensity of Bobby "Blue" Bland.

And . . .

13. "Why Me?"-------Reggie P.

It dominated Southern Soul radio station airplay in the early months of the year, but it never got boring or grating. Just better.

The Bobby "Blue" Bland comparison was not given lightly. Indeed, I had never likened another musician to Bland, the grandmaster of Southern Soul vocalists. And yet, there is no one to whom Reggie P.'s vocals more closely resemble--in pitch and timber, in power and intensity, in the elusive ability to communicate the human condition. Reggie P. is one of a chosen few who over the years could actually replace one of those fallen monuments of soul music with whom we began these observations.



Listen to Reggie P. singing "Dropping Salt" on YouTube.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide


Updated May 23, 2021:

October 1, 2016:

I love to hear today's artists remembering Reggie P., as--for instance--Christopher La'Mont does in his new song, "Catch A Groove (Dancing Shoes)". Most fans remember Reggie P. for "Why Me?", but he was no one-hit wonder. "Droppin' Salt," "Come On, Girl" and "Hold On" are just a few of the memorable songs Reggie recorded. But the Reggie P. song I never hear any more--and the song that has had the most checkered and obscured history in terms of fan accessibility--is "Your Love Is A Bad Habit". (See some of the commentaries below.) The good news is that "Your Love Is A Bad Habit" is back on YouTube in a couple of versions.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Your Love Is A Bad Habit" on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Your Love Is A Bad Habit (Remix)" on YouTube.

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Note: Reggie P. also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after Reggie P.'s name in the headline is to distinguish his artist-guide entries on this page from his artist-guide page on Daddy B. Nice's original chart.

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SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

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Listen to Reggie P. singing "Why Me?" on YouTube.

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April 5, 2014: GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN


Reggie P. died in his sleep of heart complications in Biloxi, Mississippi on April 17, 2011 and was buried ten days later in West Monroe, Louisiana. Reggie P. had a history of strokes and reportedly carried a defibrillator/pacemaker since suffering at least one prior heart attack.

--Daddy B. Nice

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SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

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For the latest updates on Reggie P., scroll down to the "Tidbits" section. To automatically link to Reggie P's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the website, go to "Reggie P." in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

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March 30, 2013:

Daddy B. Nice's Revised (21st Century Countdown) Profile:



In November of 2008 your Daddy B. Nice wrote a column entitled "Is That All You Got, Reggie P.?" that ran on Daddy B. Nice's Corner. Would I have published such a headline had I known at the time that Reggie was wearing a defibrillator (almost unheard-of at his age), enduring strokes and minor heart attacks? I ask that question now, two years after Reggie's untimely death in 2011, and the answer is, "Most assuredly not--and definitely not the headline."

Here was the context leading up to the headline-- from a Daddy B. Nice CD review of Your Love Is A Bad Habit:

"Your Love Is A Bad Habit (the original)" is a great if uncommon Southern Soul song. Without it Reggie P.'s new CD would be a scant measure of his talent. Reggie has spent a lot of time on the sidelines. Almost a decade has gone by with little more than an album's worth of distinctive material, most of it on the amazing, name-making Why Me CD. For an artist with vocal chops reminiscent of the great Bobby "Blue" Bland, this is under-achieving--a case of untapped potential--especially at a time when Southern Soul fans are begging for true stars. If Reggie P was the football player and Daddy B. Nice was Coach, I'd be asking, "Is that all you got, Reggie P?"

Reggie P. always brought out my hyperbole and highest expectations...

.... He had a voice arguably unequaled in the younger generation of soul singers, at least as good if not better than Sir Charles himself, and I think Charles always recognized that in Reggie and saw Reggie as a true and interesting equal.

And when I compared Reggie to specially-endowed vocalists like Bobby Bland and O.V. Wright, it's easy to forget just what that means in terms of soulful quotient and praise.

At his best, the otherwise shy and unprofessional Reggie P. could sing a song better than just about anyone in R&B...

But Sir Charles always "had it together," for the most part, and Reggie P. (who called himself "The Prince of Southern Soul" in deference to Charles' "The King of Southern Soul" long before seizing on "The Rude Boy of Southern Soul" label) didn't.

It's only in these latter years that the greater musical community has come to realize what a mentor-like role Sir Charles provided Reggie P...

.... Who knows if Reggie would have been able to record anything after Why Me? if not for Charles's longstanding generosity and support?

Reggie P. and Jackie Neal are the two greatest deceased stars of the younger generation of Southern Soul...

.... But the song "Why Me" catapults Reggie P. to the top of Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 21st Century Southern Soul Countdown in the same way the song "Sho' Wasn't Me" catapulted Ronnie Lovejoy to the top of the first. "Sho' Wasn't Me" was far and away Lovejoy's masterpiece, while in Reggie P.'s oeuvre a number of songs jostle near the top ("Droppin' Salt," "Your Love Is A Bad Habit," "Hold On," "Come On, Girl,") but don't quite equal the rocking, uptempo groove and blistering intensity of Reggie's "Why Me."

In addition, it's almost impossible not to regard Reggie P.'s Why Me? CD as one of the ten most essential Southern Soul LP's of the 21st century.

To automatically link to all the awards, citations and references to Reggie P. on the website, go to Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Reggie P. (From The Archives)

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Reggie P. (born Reginald Pettes) entered the music business via the legendary funk band, the BarKays, in the late nineties. His first solo effort, Who Am I (Avanti, 2000), was an uneven assortment of songs and styles ranging from rock--"Dream Weaver" and "Your Love Is A Bad Habit" (misprinted as "Your Lover Is A Bad Habit on the original liner notes)--to urban-smooth ("In The Air Tonight") to the Southern Soul promise of "Let Me. . . " and "Nobody Wants You."

The same year, Reggie P. teamed up with fellow Avanti artist Tina Diamond on a cover of Lee Fields' obscure Southern Soul masterpiece, "I'll Put My Life On The Line." The track, "Life On The Line," was included on the "Casino Queen's" In The Heart Of The City CD (Avanti, 2000).

An even more obscure LP, Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A Housewife, appeared in 2003. The CD found Reggie P. still vacillating between styles, with yet another reprise of the Gary Wright tune, "Dream Weaver." The disc, however, was notable for introducing two mid-tempo tunes that defined the Southern Soul formula Reggie P. would finally choose for good: "Don't Want To Lose Your Love" and "Droppin' Salt." "Droppin' Salt" in particular intrigued deejays in the Deep South, and word of mouth drew fans to Reggie P.

Reggie P.'s breakout CD, Why Me? (Allison), arrived in 2005. Led by its title track, the independently-produced disc was everything its forerunners had not been: a tightly-focused, emotionally and musically-overpowering expression of Southern Soul music at its best.

The vocal mastery displayed on the album stand-outs--"Why Me?," "Come On Girl," "Hold On," "Eyes Are Rainin'" (with Sir Charles Jones, who also composed) and "Droppin' Salt" (wisely reprised from the Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A Housewife album)--catapulted Reggie P. into the first rank of Southern Soul vocalists and set the standard for gritty, O.V. Wright-style Southern Soul in the new millennium.

In 2007 deejays Ragman and Handyman from WMPR (Southern Soul's flagship station in Jackson, Mississippi) began playing Reggie P.'s "Your Love Is A Bad Habit" from his debut disc, Who Am I?, and in February of 2008 Southern Soul RnB's Daddy B. Nice broke tradition in featuring the seven-years-old song as his featured #1 "Breaking" Southern Soul Single.

The following summer, prodded by fan interest, Reggie P. released Your Love Is A Bad Habit (Rude Boy, 2008), which recycled much of Reggie's debut Who Am I album, including "Let's Start All Over Again," "No More Tears," "Motel," "Nobody Wants You" and--most prominently--Your Love Is A Bad Habit, done in both the original and remix versions. The LP also included a new up-tempo duet with Sir Charles Jones called "I've Got That Feeling."

Reggie P.'s last album, The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul, (Rude Boy) came out two years later, in 2010. Once again, Sir Charles Jones was featured on a highlight track, P's & Q's.

The CD also included a cover of Teddy Pendergrass's "Love TKO" and a Marvin Sease homage ("Preacher Man") modeled on Sease's opening self-testimonial in "Mr. Jody." And for the first time Sir Charles Jones was listed as co-composer and producer on all the album's songs, although he had been instrumental in each of Reggie P.'s albums from Why Me? on.

Reggie P. died in his sleep of heart complications in Biloxi, Mississippi on April 17, 2011 and was buried ten days later in West Monroe, Louisiana. Reggie P. had a history of strokes and reportedly carried a defibrillator/pacemaker since suffering at least one prior heart attack.

For more details, see Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to Reggie P. (90's-00's).


Song's Transcendent Moment

"I haven't showered
In a few days,
I looked in the mirror--
I hadn't even shaved.

Somebody please, please
Tell me what to do.
I'm about to do some things
I don't want to do.

All my friends say,
'Reggie P, Reggie P,
Don't you know
What you've got yourself into?

Why me?
Why me, baby?
Why me?
Why me?
Why me?"


Tidbits

1.

March 27, 2013: Reggie P. on YouTube


Listen to Reggie P. singing "Why Me" on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Your Love Is A Bad Habit" on YouTube.

Listen to the first half of Reggie P. singing "Come On Girl" on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Hold On" on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A House Wife" on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Ready To Accept" on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Not Gonna Cry" on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Hold On" Live Onstage in Austin, Texas less than two months before his death on YouTube.

Listen to Reggie P. singing "Me On Top Of You" on YouTube.

2.

March 30, 2013: Read Big K-9's review of an August 5, 2008 Sir Charles and Reggie P. (Your Lover Is A Bad Habit) CD Release Party.


WELCOME 2 DA DAWG POUND!

(In the photo, Sir Charles Jones is the second from the left; Reggie P. is standing in the background.)

3.


March 1, 2015: REGGIE P. RETROSPECTIVE, PART 2

Daddy B. Nice Notes: Reggie P.'s "Your Love Is A Bad Habit" has been "removed by the user" from both its YouTube and MySpace pages. I don't believe these valuable showcases for this blues-drenched classic were removed by Reggie P. before his death. And if Reggie himself did not desire to withhold them, why would the heirs to his music withdraw them from the public?

Reggie did two versions, a scorching take dominated by his scathingly fierce vocal and a remix emphasizing the jazz-inflected instrumental track. Now, due to song being out of print, there is no way for Reggie P. fans to hear it. And I never hear it played the deejays any more. "Your Love Is A Bad Habit" was the precursor to "I Don't Want To Know" by The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Johnny Rivers' "Mountain Of Love," you'll love Reggie P.'s "Why Me?"


Honorary "B" Side

"Your Love Is A Bad Habit"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Why Me? by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Why Me?


CD: Why Me?
Label: Allison

Sample or Buy
Why Me?


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Your Love Is A Bad Habit by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Your Love Is A Bad Habit


CD: Who Am I?
Label: Avanti

Sample or Buy
Who Am I?


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Come On Girl by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Come On Girl


CD: Why Me?
Label: Allison

Sample or Buy
Why Me?


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Droppin' Salt by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Droppin' Salt


CD: Why Me?
Label: Allison

Sample or Buy
Why Me?


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Hold On by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Hold On


CD: Why Me?
Label: Allison

Sample or Buy
Why Me?


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Don't Wanna Lose Your Love by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Don't Wanna Lose Your Love


CD: Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A House Wife
Label: K.O.W.

Sample or Buy
Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A Housewife


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Life On The Line w/ Tina Diamond by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Life On The Line w/ Tina Diamond


CD: Life On The Line MP3 w/ Tina Diamond
Label: Avanti

Sample or Buy
Life On The Line MP3


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Me On Top Of You by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Me On Top Of You


CD: The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul
Label: Rude Boy

Sample or Buy
The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy My Eyes Are Rainin' w/ Sir Charles Jones by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
My Eyes Are Rainin' w/ Sir Charles Jones


CD: Why Me?
Label: Allison

Sample or Buy
Why Me?


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Not Gonna Cry by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Not Gonna Cry


CD: Why Me?
Label: Allison

Sample or Buy
Not Gonna Cry


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy P's & Q's w/ Sir Charles Jones by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
P's & Q's w/ Sir Charles Jones


CD: The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul
Label: Rude Boy

Sample or Buy
The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Preacher Man by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Preacher Man


CD: The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul
Label: Rude Boy

Sample or Buy
The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Ready To Accept by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Ready To Accept


CD: Why Me?
Label: Allison

Sample or Buy
Why Me?


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Soul Steppin' by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Soul Steppin'


CD: Why Me?
Label: Allison

Sample or Buy
Why Me?


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy T.K.O. by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
T.K.O.


CD: The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul
Label: Rude Boy

Sample or Buy
The Rude Boy Of Southern Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Your Love Is A Bad Habit (Remix) by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Your Love Is A Bad Habit (Remix)


CD: Your Love Is A Bad Habit
Label: Rude Boy

Sample or Buy
Your Love Is A Bad Habit


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A House Wife by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A House Wife


CD: Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A House Wife
Label: K.O.W.

Sample or Buy
Can't Turn A Street Woman Into A Housewife


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Let's Start All Over Again by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Let's Start All Over Again


CD: Your Love Is A Bad Habit
Label: Rude Boy

Sample or Buy
Your Love Is A Bad Habit


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Unforgettable Dreams by  Reggie P. (From The Archives)
Unforgettable Dreams


CD: Your Love Is A Bad Habit
Label: Rude Boy

Sample or Buy
Your Love Is A Bad Habit


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