Bernie Marsden – And About Time Too (1979)

frontcover1Bernard John “Bernie” Marsden (born 7 May 1951) is an English rock and blues guitarist. He is primarily known for his work with Whitesnake, having written or co-written with David Coverdale many of the group’s hit songs, such as “Fool For Your Loving” and “Here I Go Again.”

After playing with a Buckinghamshire band called Skinny Cat, Bernie Marsden got his first professional gig with UFO. He next played with Glenn Cornick’s Wild Turkey in 1974, before Bernie Marsden joined Babe Ruth in 1975, and played on two releases, Stealin’ Home (1975) and Kid’s Stuff (1976), before moving on to Paice Ashton Lord in 1977, with Tony Ashton and ex-Deep Purple members, Ian Paice and Jon Lord. (by sessiondays.com)

And this is his first solo-album during his Whitesnake period:

Bernie Marsden was well into a recording career when he struck out on his own for 1979’s And About Time Too, which may explain the album’s joking title. At the time, Marsden was playing guitar in Whitesnake, following years with UFO, Wild Turkey, Cozy Powell’s Hammer, and Babe Ruth, among others, so he had a significant résumé, all suggesting that he was ready for a spot of heavy rocking, but And About Time Too is much softer than his past or present, a slick and phased collection of ’70s album pop and rock featuring such impressive players as Powell, Jack Bruce, Ian Paice, and Jon Lord. Again, all this suggests a harder record than what And About Time Too actually is. Certainly, much of its appeal is down to its period stylings, particularly when he indulges himself on a piece of sprightly pop like “Love Made a Fool of Me” or “Sad Clown” — songs that could’ve crossed over from album rock to adult contemporary — and these tunes are strong enough that they make such heavy blues workouts as the grinding “Brief Encounter” and the woozy, solo-laden closer “Head the Ball” feel like detours even when they’re much closer to Marsden’s main line of work. Other remnants of the time, such as the heavy layers of analog synths from Don Airey and the long stretches of instrumental pyrotechnics, keep this somewhat at a remove from modern listeners, but it is those aforementioned poppier numbers that do make this worth a spin; they may not capture Marsden at his most representative but they may capture him at his best. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

This edition includes the single B-side “You & Me,” a pretty good arena rockerand two more live recordings, including a great version of the classic “Shakey Ground”.

And itßs the jazz-rock part of this album, that is more than brilliant (listen to “Head The Ball” sounds a little bit like “Colosseum II”)

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Personnel:
Don Airey (keyboards, synthesizer on 01., 02., 03.,  04.,  05., 07., 09.)
Jack Bruce (bass on 01., 02., 04., 06, 07., 08., 09.)
Jon Lord (organ on 06., 07. , 08, clavinet on 08.)
Bernie Marsden (guitar, vocals)
Neil Murray (bass on 03., 05.)
Ian Paice (drums on 01., 07., 08.)
Simon Phillips (drums on 02., 04., 06., 09.)
Cozy Powell (drums on 03., 05.)
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background vocals:
Alan Carvell – Stuart Calver – Tony Rivers – Doreen Chanter – Irene Chanter

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Tracklist:
01. You’re The One (Marsden) 3.58
02. Song For Fran (Marsden) 2.52
03. Love Made A Fool Of Me (Marsden) 3.48
04. Here We Go Again (Marsden) 3.30
05. Still The Same (Marsden) 6.27
06. Sad Clown (Marsden) 5.13
07. Brief Encounter (Marsden) 4.25
08. Are You Ready (Marsden) 3.38
09. Head The Ball (Marsden(Airey) 5.30
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10. You And Me (Marsden) 2.53
11. Who’s Fooling Who (live) (Marsden) 4.17
12. Shakey Ground (Bowen/Boyd/Hazel) 4.20

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Return To Forever feat. Chick Corea – Where Have I Known You Before (1974)

lpfrontcover1Where Have I Known You Before is the fourth album by jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever, the second since leader Chick Corea had “revamped” the line-up and moved towards electric instrumentation, playing jazz fusion with clear influences from progressive rock.

While the style of music did not change much since the previous album, Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973), important changes took place in the band’s sound and line-up. Chick Corea, for instance, had started to use synthesizers (most notably the Moog Minimoog and ARP Odyssey synthesizers), developing the distinctive sound he became known for. An equally important change in the band was the replacement of guitarist Bill Connors with the then 20-year-old virtuoso Al Di Meola. Connors left the band before the recording of this album to concentrate on his acoustic solo career. Overall, the band developed a clearer, more focused sound and style. This was due in part to the personnel changes, the implementation of new technology, and new playing techniques, but it was also a product of more careful recording and production in the studio.

Between the album’s longer tracks are three of Corea’s short piano improvisations that all bear a title that begins “Where Have I…”. The first track is Stanley Clarke’s “Vulcan Worlds”, which features some melodic motifs that would also appear on Clarke’s self-titled second solo album Stanley Clarke the same year. The song proved Clarke “one of the fastest and most facile electric bassists around”. Each player except for drummer Lenny White takes long solos. The next long track is Lenny White’s composition “The Shadow of Lo”, a complex piece with many changes in mood. The last track on Side A is Corea’s “Beyond the Seventh Galaxy”, a sequel to his “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy”, the title track from the group’s previous album.

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Side B begins with the collective jam “Earth Juice”. Most of Side B is taken up by Corea’s 14-minute epic “Song to the Pharaoh Kings”, a song notable for its use of the harmonic minor scale. The track has a long keyboard intro, after which Chick Corea is joined by the full band, and an “eastern” theme appears. Each member of the band plays a long solo.

This Return to Forever set finds guitarist Al DiMeola debuting with the pacesetting fusion quartet, an influential unit that also featured keyboardist Chick Corea, electric bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White. On this high energy set, short interludes separate the main pieces: “Vulcan Worlds,” “The Shadow of Lo,” “Beyond the Seventh Galaxy,” “Earth Juice” and the lengthy “Song to the Pharoah Kings.” Acoustic purists are advised to avoid this music, but listeners who grew up on rock and wish to explore jazz will find this stimulating music quite accessible. (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Stanley Clarke (bass, organ, bell tree, chimes)
Chick Corea (keyboards, synthesizers, percussion)
Al Di Meola (guitar)
Lenny White (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Vulcan Worlds (Clarke) 7.51
02. Where Have I Loved You Before (Corea) 1.02
03. The Shadow of Lo (White) 7.32
04. Where Have I Danced With You Before (Corea) 1.14
05. Beyond The Seventh Galaxy (Corea) 3.13
06. Earth Juice (Corea/Clarke/White/Di Meola) 3.46
07. Where Have I Known You Before (Corea) 2.20
08. Song To The Pharoah Kings (Corea) 14.21

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Rick Sanders – String Time (1983)

frontcover1Richard ‘Ric’ Sanders (born 8 December 1952, in Birmingham, West Midlands) is an English violinist who has played in jazz-rock, folk rock, electric folk and folk groups, including Soft Machine and Fairport Convention.

Sanders’ first experience with a professional band was in the summer of 1972, touring Europe with classical/rock percussionist Stomu Yamash’ta’s Red Buddha Theatre. He later went on to play with jazz pianists Johnny Patrick and Michael Garrick. In the late 1970s he briefly toured as a member of the jazz-rock group Soft Machine and followed with a stint in The Albion Band. In 1981 he co-founded a recording studio, Morgreen Studios, with which he remained active for a few years. In 1984 he joined Fairport Convention and recorded his first album with them, Gladys’ Leap, the following year. Since 2002, in addition to his work with Fairport, he has also been working regularly with his trio, known as the Ric Sanders Trio, which features Vo Fletcher on guitar and Michael Gregory on drums and percussion.

Over the years Sanders has worked with a diverse roster of artists, including: Rick Wakeman, Dave Cousins of Strawbs, Jethro Tull, Robert Plant, Roy Harper, Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, Pentangle, Gordon Giltrap, Andrew Cronshaw, June Tabor, Martin Simpson, Charlie Landsborough, All About Eve, The Mission, Fred Thelonious Baker, Catherine Howe and John Etheridge (guitarist with Soft Machine and Stéphane Grappelli) with whom he co-led the group 2nd Vision, whose record has been re-released on Blueprint Records (Voiceprint Records Group).(by wikipedia)

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This is his first soloalbum, recorded for a small German independent label calles “Jeton Records” (so the liner notes are in German only). Together with Steve Richardson and Pete York (from “Pete York´s New York”) he recorded a very unique and exciting album with great instrumentals … sometimes he reminds me to the great Sugar Cane Harris.

This is not only a very rare record … this is highclass Jazz-rock, recorded in direct to disc procedure  (Direct-to-disc recording refers to sound recording methods that bypass the use of magnetic tape recording and record audio directly onto analog disc masters.)

In other words: This is a masterpiece !

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Personnel:
Steve Richardson (bass)
Rick Sanders (violin)
Pete York (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. New Years Day Celebration (Sanders/Jiving Broth.) 7.09
02. Something (Harrison) 5.04
03. Every Little Thing She Does (Sting) 4.26
04. Ebony Slide (Richardson/Jiving Broth.) 4.52
05. Mother Nature’s Son (Lennon/McCartney) 2.37
06. Allois Manius Syneda + Don’t Fret (Sanders/Baker/Jiving Broth.) 9.43

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Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express – Looking In The Eye Of The World (2006)

frontcover1Since forming this groundbreaking fusion ensemble in 1970, the legendary rock and jazz organist has thrived despite various incarnations of the group and numerous personnel changes. The early 2000s lineup was one of the best, in part because of the powerful, emotional contributions by Brian Auger’s children, lead vocalist Savannah Grace Auger and drummer/percussionist Karma D. Auger. Savannah’s soulful turns on a moody rendering of Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly” and a magical, retro-soul/funk reading of Marvin Gaye’s “Troubleman” are early highlights here, as are Brian’s brisk and lively “Happy Overture” and the buoyant, horn drenched “Freddie’s Flight.” Savannah and Karma collaborate with bassist Chris Golden on the mystical ballad “Homeward,” another showcase for Savannah’s heartfelt voice. Most of the rest of this supercharged date is a mix of original barnburners (“Meet Mr. Eddie”) and the wistful, low-key title track, with a few cool retro exceptions: a soulful, bluesy rendering of Donovan’s thought-provoking ballad “Season of the Witch” and a unique, mid-tempo arrangement of “Light My Fire” that makes it a jazzy torch tune. Although Brian’s magical retro keys are front and center, every brilliant, transcendent moment here belongs to his daughters, who carry on her father’s tradition in grand style. (by Jonathan Widran)

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Personnel:
Brian Auger (keyboards)
Karma Auger (drums)
Savannah Grace Auger (vocals)
Katisse Buckingham (saxophone, flute)
Chris Golden  (bass)
Larry Williams (trumpet)

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Tracklist:
01. Happy Overture (B.Auger) 2.04
02. Butterfly (Auger/Hancock) 6.15
03. Troubleman (Gaye) 4.44
04. Freddie’s Flight (B.Auger) 6.01
05. Homeward (K.Auger/Golden) 6.52
06. Light My Fire (Krieger/Morrison) 5.31
07. Meet Mr. Eddie (B.Auger) 5.53
08. Looking In The Eye Of The World (B.Auger) 4.43
09. Ghostown (B.Auger) 6:38
10. The Night Town (B.Auger/K.Auger/Golden) 4.59
11. Season Of The Witch (Leitch) 6.59
12. Mugusic (B.Auger) 4.13
13. Soundcheck (B.Auger/K.Auger/Golden) 6.08
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Chicago – Christmas With Chicago (1998)

frontcover1In 1998 Chicago released their 25th album, called “The Christmas Album”.

And William Ruhlmann wrote about this album in “All Music Guide” (12/1999):

When Chicago first achieved national recognition in the late 1960s and early ’70s, it wasn’t hip for rock bands to make Christmas albums. Things changed, of course, but it took until 1998 for Chicago finally to fill this missing item in its catalog, at a time when the group seemed to have entered that phase of its career when it wanted to keep putting out records but didn’t want to risk releasing new material. (Chicago’s three previous releases had consisted of an album of big band standards and two greatest hits sets.) Whatever the circumstances, however, it was good to hear the Chicago style applied to seasonal standards. As ever, the group was a cooperative unit, with the three lead singers-Bill Champlin, Robert Lamm, and Jason Scheff-taking turns on the different songs, arranged by various band members and always allowing for generous contributions by the horn players Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, and Walt Parazaider. The songs were all seasonal favorites except for Loughnane and John Durrill’s “Child’s Prayer, ” featuring a choir dominated by the musicians’ children, which sounded so much like a Middle Ages English hymn that it fit right in. Highlights included a particularly moving vocal on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by the gruff-voiced Champlin, a wonderful doubled flute passage by Parazaider on “O Come All Ye Faithful, ” and a rare lead vocal by Loughnane on “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” But the whole album, pristinely produced by E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, was well performed. It sounded exactly like you would expect a Chicago Christmas album to sound, and if you liked the band and holiday music, you’d like the record, too.

And here ist a very rare live performance from Chicgo, to promote this album, recorded live at the House Of Blues, Los Angeles, CA, December 8, 1998 —  it´s a broadcast recording … so, we can hear the sound of Chicago in an excellent quality …

Enjoy this album … but I have to say …  the early incarnation of Chicago (Transit Authority) was much better !

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Personnel:
Bill Champlin (vocals, keyboards, guitar)
Keith Howland (guitar, keyboards)
Tris Imboden (drums)
Robert Lamm (vocals, piano)
Lee Loughnane (trumpet, flügelhorn, vocals)
James Pankow (trombone)
Walter Parazaider (woodwinds)
Jason Scheff (vocals, bass)

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The Christmas studio album (coming soon in this blog)

Tracklist:
01. Intro 1.23
02.Little Drummer Boy (Davis/Onorati/Simeone) 4.39
03. You´re The Inspiration () 4.30
04. Hard Habit To Break () 3.49
05. The Christmas Song () 3.59
06. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Kahn/Styne) 4.03
07. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Traditional) 3.43
08. Saturday In The Park () 2.55
09. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane) 4.17
10.  Just You N Me () 6.04
11. Hard To Say Sorry + Get Away () 5.31
12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Gillespie/Coots) 4.11
13. Outro 1.18

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Back Door – Live At The BBC (1973)

frontcoverBack Door was a jazz-rock trio, formed in 1971.

Colin Hodgkinson first met Ron Aspery whilst the two were playing in Eric Delaney’s Showband. The two began to talk about forming their own band around 1969, and eventually Back Door came to fruition in 1971, with Tony Hicks joining on drums. Hodgkinson made an innovative use of the electric bass, making it a lead instrument rather than a part of a rhythm section.

Their unique brand of jazz-rock and Hodgkinson’s original playing was a hit at their regular venue; the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge, Yorkshire. However, record labels were not keen and the band were repeatedly told “No singer, no contract”. Ever the innovators, the band decided to record their first album themselves. It was recorded on a 4-track Ampex mixing console in eight hours, and mixed in four hours the next day. Around 1,000 copies were first printed by RCA. The album was sold over the bar at The Lion Inn, and at a few record shops in the local area.

A copy of the record somehow made its way to the NME headquarters in London, and a superb review by Charles Shaar Murray was printed. After a few more reviews, the band passed an interview, and began playing a regular slot at The Senate in Peterlee, despite Aspery snapping a key off his saxophone moments before the audition. The band’s popularity increased when they were asked to play a two-week stint at Ronnie Scott’s club in London, opening for Chick Corea, a run that was eventually lengthened to three weeks. The record companies changed their tune, and after receiving many offers, the trio decided to sign with Warner Brothers. The band rejected an offer from Richard Branson (who was just starting up Virgin Records at the time) because, according to Hodgkinson, “they were successful – this other guy seemed really nice, but he had no track record”. Warner Brothers then re-released their debut album.

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In 1974, the trio went to New York City to record their second album, 8th Street Nites. The album was produced by former Cream producer, Felix Pappalardi. This was their first album to feature vocals, provided by Hodgkinson because “we needed a singer, and I was the least bad out of us.” Pappalardi himself also played on a few tracks. Warner Brothers duly released the record, and a tour of the United States supporting Emerson, Lake & Palmer followed. Subsequent tours (usually as the support act) included one with Alexis Korner in Germany, which led to a long-lasting collaboration between Korner and Hodgkinson, and The J. Geils Band in the US, and a few as headliners on the university circuit in the UK.

By the time they recorded their third LP, Another Fine Mess, Dave MacRae had joined the band on piano. He was a friend that Hicks made while in Australia. The band shifted style slightly on this album, and more effects, processing, and electronic sounds were used, although they were still defined as jazz-rock. McRae’s stint in the band only lasted about a year, however, and by the time they recorded Activate in 1976 he had departed the band, as had longtime drummer, Tony Hicks. The band hired Adrian Tilbrook as a replacement on drums, claiming they needed “a more hard-hitting drummer.” The album was produced by Carl Palmer.

After the release of Activate, the band played less and less together, and eventually broke up around 1977. Aspery went on to do work as a session musician, and Hodgkinson worked in a string of projects including The Spencer Davis Group, a stint playing live with Alexis Korner, as did Aspery, and a few outfits alongside Jan Hammer, then of The Mahavishnu Orchestra.

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The original line-up briefly reunited for what was initially one night at the Ronnie Scott’s 1986, although this was subsequently followed by a short tour of the UK.

In 2003, the original line-up reunited once again to record a new album. Askin’ the Way consists of 6 re-workings of favourite old songs, and 13 new recordings. Hicks also played accordion on this album on a couple of tracks.[4] The official launch took place in The Lion at Blakey Ridge, where the band had first started out back in 1971. The band then played a few more shows but Aspery had been suffering from an illness for quite some time, and decided that the rigours of the road were no longer for him.

On 10 December that year, Ron Aspery died at his home in Saltdean, Sussex.

The band played a few more concerts in 2005 with Rod Mason on saxophone, including the Guildhall venue at the Brecon Jazz Festival, Hull Jazz Festival, and further sold – out Blakey concerts in 2005.

Tony Hicks died in Sydney, Australia on 13 August 2006.

In 2007 Colin Hodgkinson formed a new trio under the name Colin Hodgkinson Group with Rod Mason (sax) and Paul Robinson (drums). In 2008 they released Back Door Too!, a mixture of old Back Door numbers and new material. (by wikipedia)

And this is the B-side of a BBC In Concert album, recorded live at the Paris Theatre, London and the band was introduced by the one and only Alexis Korner, who played with Colin Hodkginson many, many year.

Listen to this unique jazz-rock-blues trio … withthis unbelieveable sound … one of the finest jazz-rock bands we ever had … !

This is another item from my tape collection …

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Personnel:
Ron Aspery (saxophone, flute, keyboards)
Tony Hicks (drumss)
Colin Hodgkinson (bass, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction by Alexis Korner 0.27
02. Folk Song (Hodgkinson/Aspery) 3.21
03. Introduction to the band 0.30
04. Roberta (Leadbetter) 2.57
05. Linin´ Track (Leadbetter) 4.10
06. Forget Me Daisy (Hodgkinson/Aspery) 2.39
07. Country Blues Nr. 1 (Hodgkinson/Aspery/Hicks)
08. His Old Boots (Hodgkinson/Aspery)
09. Walkin´ Blues (Johnson) 4.13
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09. Live At The BBC (complete show without editing)

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Klaus Doldinger & Passport – Down To Earth (1993)

klausdoldingerfrontcover1Passport was a German jazz/fusion group formed in 1971. Founded by Ace Saxeman, composer and arranger Klaus Doldinger along with Curt Cress (percussion), Kristian Schultze (keyboards), and Wolfgang Schmid (bass & guitar). This was the classic lineup that started with their 4th album “Looking Thru” in 1973, their first US release. I’m not familiar with their first 3 albums, but outside Klaus, the lineup was pretty different. This classic lineup continued through the next 5 albums. Utilizing spacey electronic jazz with rock and classical styles, this group was very groundbreaking. Klaus has a knack for coming up with some of the most beautiful saxe melodies you ever heard. Curt Cress was probably one of the first drummers to experiment with electronic drums. Bassist Wolfgang Schmid’s classical guitar adds a nice demension. And Kristian Schultze’s use of synth and mellotron gives them an expansive orchestral sound. After their 8th album, PASSPORT went through many different incarnations with only Klaus as the common denominator in all of them. In the 80’s, Klaus did other projects like motion picture soundtracks, most notably “Das Boot”. But PASSPORT still to this day records and performs (mostly in Europe, they came to the US only once) with various personnel. But it was the classic lineup that expanded their audience and gave them critical acclaim. (by progarchives)

This is the 22th album (!) of Klaus Doldinger & Passport and it´s another fine example of his high energy jazz-rock … with “Down To Eart” he won the Gold Jazz Award in Germany.

Klaus Doldinger is today 80 years old and … believe it or not … he´s still touring through Germany and Europe … A master of his own !

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Personnel:
Klaus Doldinger (saxophone, flute)
Roberto Di Gioia (keyboards)
Wolfgang Haffner (drums)
Peter O’Mara (guitar)
Jochen Schmidt (bass)
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Allen C. Cuffey (rap vocals on 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. Wise Up 5.25
02. Lowdown And Flyin’ High 6.55
03. Korako 6.32
04. Allemande Deux 6.32
05. Nighttime In The City 5.03
06. Esperanto 5.24
07. Passport’s In The House 5.01
08. Missing You 5.00
09. Ridin’ On A Rainbow 5.19
10. Never Ending Blues 6.55

All compositions by Klaus Doldinger

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