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Alan White

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Alan White Ramshackled album cover
2.50 | 59 ratings | 9 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ooooh Baby (Goin' to Pieces) (5:32)
2. One Way Rag (4:04)
3. Avakak (6:54)
4. Spring - Song of Innocence (5:00)
5. Giddy (3:11)
6. Silly Woman (3:14)
7. Marching into a Bottle (1:59)
8. Everybody (3:13)
9. Darkness (5:35)

Total Time 38:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Alan White / drums, percussion, vocals, producer

- Alan Marshall / vocals
- Jon Anderson / vocals (4)
- Madeline Bell / backing vocals
- Joanne Williams / backing vocals
- Vicky Brown / backing vocals
- Peter Kirtley / guitar, vocals
- Steve Howe / guitar (4)
- Kenny Craddock / keyboards, vocals
- Bud Beadle / saxophone solo, flute
- Steve Gregory / tenor saxophone, flute
- Henry Lowther / trumpet
- Colin Gibson / bass, percussion
- Andy Phillips / steel drums
- David Bedford / orchestral arranger & conductor
- The Martyn Ford Orchestra / strings

Releases information

Artwork: Jeff Cummings

LP Atlantic ‎- K50217 (1976, UK)

CD Atlantic ‎- AMCY-23 (1990, Japan)
CD Wounded Bird Records ‎- WOU 8167 (2006, US)

Thanks to Ghost Rider for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy ALAN WHITE Ramshackled Music

ALAN WHITE Ramshackled ratings distribution

(59 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (31%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

ALAN WHITE Ramshackled reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
4 stars My late father was a great record collector of mainly Classical music records. Also he liked to have the best audio equipment available in the seventies (and later in the 80s-90s, but with less interest). So, he had subscriptions for some audio equipment magazines ("High Fidelity", "Stereo Review" and "Audio") and also, as a very good customer of one record shop, he was given for free (for years too!) the monthly Schwann record catalogues! He lent me his magazines and his record catalogues and I was more interested in reading the record reviews in that magazines and to see the new released albums in the record catalogues. So, I remember that I read in those magazines the reviews for many albums, and I read there the reviews for the solo albums that the then members of the band YES released between 1975 and 1976. The only album from which I never read a review was for this album, Alan White`s "Ramshackled", released in April 1976, but I knew about the existence of this album because it was listed in the Schwann catalogues. I also have a cousin who had a very good record collection of Prog Rock musicians, and he also had the other solo albums from the members of YES, but he didn`t have this album. I remember that I also read in one Schwann record catalogue from 1978 that this album was marked as "to be out of print soon; it is not going to be included again in the future editions of this catalogue". So, I never have seen a copy of the old LP of this album, and it seems that many people never knew about this album being released. But, in 1992, a now defunct and very missed FM Radio station in my city broadcasted a series of programmes dedicated to the discography of the band YES and also to some of the solo albums recorded by their members and former members. So, I recorded it in a cassette. But this album was previously released on CD only in Japan, but in this year, it was released for the first time on CD in the U.S., so it is available again, and I`m going to buy it as soon as I see it in the record shops.

This album is very good, IMO, it has a mixture of several styles with good Prog Rock arrangements. It was recorded by Alan White assisted by musicians who played with Alan before he joined YES. The songs of this album were not composed by Alan, but the songs were composed by Kenny Craddock, Colin Gibson and Peter Kirtley, alone or in different combinations. Alan and these musicians played together in a band called "Griffin", and also played together in several albums as session musicians. Craddock, Gibson and Kirtley also composed songs together for other projects before this album was planned and recorded. So, they had a lot of experience working together with Alan White before he joined YES, so I think that it was easier for them to record this album which was released as Alan`s solo album, but it could be also considered as a Griffin album.

The songs:

1. Oooh Baby (Going to Pieces`): it starts with Alan playing drums and percussion in a Samba- Bossa Nova musical style. Then, the other instruments appear and then the singer sings in a Soul music style.

2. One Way Rag: this song is influenced by Soul and Rhythm and Blues music, it is a simple song really, sometimes sounding like Pop music.This song was played a few times by YES on their "Solo Albums" tour in 1976. In the first gigs of that tour, the band played selected songs from their solo albums, but the idea was eliminated soon.

3. Avakak: it is an instrumental piece of music in the Jazz-Rock musical style with the addition of wind instruments and very good rhythm patterns by Alan and basist Colin Gibson.

4. Spring - Song of Innocence: with lyrics by William Blake, this is a song very influenced by New Age music ( a style not so called like that in those days) and Prog Rock, with very good atmospheres, and the guest appearances of YES members Jon Anderson and Steve Howe. I think that this song could have been included in any YES album in those years.Alan plays a slow rhythm similar to YES song`called "Wonderous Stories". There are also very good flute-guitar-keyboard arrangements.Anderson sings lead and backing vocals.This song also was played a few times by YES on their "Solo Albums" tour in 1976.

5. Giddy: is a funny song also influenced by Jazz-Rock and Soul music. The lyrics tells the story of "a night of fun in the city". It includes a very good drum part by Alan. Again, lead singer Alan Marshall sings very well. This song also has a good orchestral arrangement.

6. Silly Woman: a Reggae song with good drums by Alan and a steel drum part. Maybe the lyrics are a bit offensive, but it is a funny song anyway. In the "Yesyears" video it is included a fragment of a promotional video for this song on which Alan appears smiling, and Patrick Moraz said in one interview that he also appeared briefly in this video as guest without having played a note in the song! This could be a good danceable song. It also has wind instrument arrangements.

7. March into a Bottle: is a song with classical guitar, flutes and other wind instruments and tuned and untuned percussion, inlfuenced a bit by Classical music and Folk Rock a la Jethro Tull. It also sounds IMO in the style of Steve Hackett`s music as soloist.

8. Everybody: is an energetic song with very good drums by Alan, a bit heavy, with wind instrument arrangements and backing vocals by Madeleine Bell, Joanna Williams and Vicky Brown. It has very good bass guitar parts, and acoustic guitar and steel drum.

9. Darkness: is the most Progressive song in this album, maybe the most "serious", with three parts, also influenced by Jazz-Rock. It also has wind instrument arrangements and an orchestral arrangement by David Bedford (who previously worked with Mike Oldfield) in the third part. The arrangements are a bit inlfuenced by YES music.There are some lead guitar parts too. The final part of the song includes a trumpet solo.

I think that this album deserves to be "discovered" and listened by the Prog Rock Fans who never have listened to it. The album is very eclectic, but it shows Alan White`s versatility as a drummer. He, in the "Yesyears" video, talking about this album, said that his idea was to record an album with a mixture of several styles. It seems to me that his previous musical experience of playing with artists of different musical styles helped him a lot to record an album with a lot of variety in the musical arrangements. This album, IMO, it is also interesting for Prog Rock Fans who also play drums and percussion (which is my case). I can hear a lot of interesting things in this album, and I hope that other listeners could find something interesting on it too. It also sounds to me like it was recorded with Alan and all the musicians having a lot of fun. So, even being a collaborative effort, not only a solo album, it is very good, IMO.

In Alan White`s official website there are some promotional videos for this album which can be seen there. They are also available in .

Update (11-January-2008): a year ago I bought the C.D. version of this album, released in the U.S. by Wounded Bird Records, and it sounds very good, but the booklet doesn`t include the lyrics and the full cover artwork. Anyway, it was a good buy for me.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars The (ALAN) white album

Alan White's only solo album to date is this 1976 release recorded subsequent to Yes' "Relayer", when the entire band decided to indulge themselves in solo activities.

White, probably wisely, chose not to try to create an album which sounded anything like his mother band, but instead went down the jazz funk route. He gathers together a proficient band, White's roll appearing to be primarily one of co-ordinator and co- producer, apart of course from being the drummer! White is not involved in the song writing either, leaving that aspect to the principal musicians on the album.

After a couple of vocal dominated funky numbers, "Avakak", which according to the lyric sheet also has a number of rather silly alternative names, is a piano based jazz instrumental which drifts through a number of moods and lead instruments. I have to confess it is too jazzy for my tastes, but those who enjoy the music of bands such as Soft Machine may find it appealing.

The only other Yes members to contribute are Jon Anderson and Steve Howe who appear on "Song of innocence", written by William Blake. The song is the most orthodox on side one of the LP (yes, I still have the record!), essentially sounding like an Anderson solo work.

Things take an unfortunate dip on side two on the second track "Silly woman", which is a second rate clone of 10CCs "Dreadlock holiday". According to the lyric sheet, the title of the following instrumental was to be "Darch of the lesbian Mwarphs", but the more prosaic "Marching into a bottle" was used instead. The track is quite different to the rest of the album, being a flute based acoustic piece with baroque influences. It sounds like Alan White may not actually perform on this track at all.

"Everybody" sees things take a turn for the worse again, in an rather unfocused melee which sounds like "Captain Beefheart" on an off day. The best is however saved for last. "Darkness" has an impressively progressive structure, and much tighter composition. The first section is a bluesy vocal performance which leads into an orchestrated jazz rock burst. A delicate latter section, with good vocals and a trumpet voluntary concludes the album in fine style. This is undoubtedly the finest track on the album. Had the rest of the tracks been of a similar style and quality, White could have been competing with Squire for the best Yes solo album award. As it is, this is a competent but unexciting offering which is a solo album in name only. The fact that it took Alan the best part of 30 years to take one the role of leader on an album again (see WHITE) perhaps indicates that he recognised that he could achieve far more as 20% of the finest prog band ever.

The album sleeve is, unsurprisingly, similar to that of "The White Album", inside though is a colourful print of the hand written lyric sheet, and an insert with an illustration by Henry S Hodgson which at first appears to be a sophisticated old man, but closer inspection reveals his face to consist of a number of naked ladies.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars White goes black!

After the release of the Relayer album, the members of Yes decided to all release solo albums. Jon Anderson released his Olias of Sunhillow, Steve Howe his Beginnings, Chris Squire his Fish Out Of Water, Patrick Moraz his The Story Of I and Alan White released this. While none of these solo albums are similar to the style of Yes music, Ramshackled is definitely the least Yes-like of them all. This is a laid-back, very funky, jazzy and soulful album! Ironically this White album has a very black sound!

This is not poorly performed or badly recorded; Alan enlisted a number of talented musicians and helpers here. However, this is just not my cup of tea at all. Also, the role of Alan himself is very dubious. He played drums for sure, but everything else, including all the writing as far as I understand, was handed over to other people. This is an Alan White album in name only.

All this make this album into a typical example of an album that is for completionists only - people, like myself, who wants to have everything Yes related just because it is Yes related and for no other reason. But this album stretches the boundaries even of how far even I am willing to go for Yes related stuff.

Alan was smart to enlist Steve Howe and Jon Anderson to perform on one track making the album more interesting for Yes fans. But even with this song included it is not enough to make this album really interesting for more than one listen. All five 1975-76 solo albums by the Yes members took fans far away from Yes in many diverse and interesting directions, but this album simply took us too far away!

This is perhaps not a poor album, but the Prog quotient is very poor indeed. And the relevance of this album to Yes is almost none. Therefore, one star only.

Review by stefro
3 stars Certainly a departure from his day job, 1976's 'Ramshackled' proves the real oddity amongst the numerous Yes solo albums issued in the wake of both 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' and 'Relayer'. Whilst his cohorts produced either classy symphonic rock(Squire's excellent 'Fish Out Of Water'), classically-influenced piano prog('Story Of I' by Patrick Moraz) or glacial art-pop (Jon Anderson's delicate 'Olias Of Sunhillow') White opted to a navigate a different path, cooking up a funky, jazz-rock mixture glazed with cool pop melodies and augmented by the occasional fusion-laced instrumental flight-of-fancy. Strangely, a glance at the writing credits reveals not a single mention of the name 'White', with 'Ramshackle' written entirely by the little-known trio of Peter Kirtley, Kenny Craddock and Colin Gibson. White does contribute a collection of impressive percussive displays - check out the whirring, rock-solid beat of the groove-licked 'Avakak (a.k.a. Twelve Ways To Drink Meths)' - yet he is by no means the star performer. A slick, polished and slightly over-sweet album, 'Ramshackled' nevertheless exudes a certain infectious charm, the streamlined blend of rock, fusion and funk tinged with just enough progressive artfulness for it to maybe catch the ear of the odd Yes aficianado and beyond. Some may find it all a bit too close to Weather Report or suchlike for their liking, those who dabble in the occasional slice of classic 1970s funk - Green, Gaye, Hayes etc - may just find their next favourite album. Kudos to Alan White for treading such an unexpected pathway. Yes this certainly ain't; 'Ramshackled' really does proves a very apt title. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
Review by patrickq
1 stars I was so excited to discover that this out-of-print LP was going to be released on CD - - Japanese CD, no less - - in the winter of 1990 as part of Atlantic Record's "AMCY" release campaign. I was a bit less excited when I heard the music. In short, I didn't feel my US$20 (roughly $40 today, thirty years later) was well spent, and as my post-Ramshackled purchasing pattern demonstrates, I can't even say that I learned an important lesson.

A bit of context which is probably widely known by anyone looking up this album - - but just in case: after the Relayer recording-release-touring cycle, each of the five members of Yes recorded a solo album. This kind of made sense for singer/bandleader Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire, and wasn't a terrible idea for guitarist Steve Howe or keyboardist Patrick Moraz. But it seems obvious in retrospect that drummer Alan White just made Ramshackled because everybody else was making solo LPs. And Atlantic Records went along with the plan for the same reason.

Anderson, Howe, and Moraz made traditional solo albums, writing and producing most of the material themselves, with session musicians as needed.* Squire's album was more of two-person collaboration, made with substantial and crucial input from arranger-conductor Andrew Pryce Jackman. As White's contribution to the pentalogy, Ramshackled was essentially a reunion of his band Griffin, which released the 1969 UK single "I Am the Noise in Your Head" / "Don't You Know" and, with the horn section of Ginger Baker's Airforce, re-formed and toured the US in 1972 as Simpson's Pure Oxygen. The core of Griffin was White, guitarist Peter Kirtley, bassist Colin Gibson, and keyboardist Kenny Craddock; Kirtley, Gibson, and Craddock wrote Ramshackled and performed most of the instrumentation other than the drums. The duties of White himself consisted of co-producing the album (with future Hawkwind producer Bob Potter) and playing the drums.

The album was an obligatory product with surprisingly limited participation from the man whose name was on the cover - - but that doesn't mean it couldn't also be an excellent album.

But as it happens, there apparently was a reason that Griffin and Simpson's Pure Oxygen were short-lived bands. Ramshackled sounds like a compilation of b-sides from unsuccessful early-1970s pop-rock singles. It's well-performed and well-intentioned. Everything about it is professional, but little of it is memorable. Sadly, the only song that sticks out, so to speak, is "Spring - - Song of Innocence," which is a showcase for White's Yes mates Anderson and Howe. This was the album cut for which a video was filmed, and Yes performed it (along with "One Way Rag") on tour a few times. But "Song of Innocence" pales when compared to nearly any track of any of the other four Yes solo albums from 1975 and 1976.

There are two bright spots: the lead brass lines of "Avakak" and the really cool groove, beginning at 1:12 but unfortunately lasting less than twenty seconds, in "Darkness, pts. 1-3." These are, however, more than counterbalanced by the regrettable reggae of "Silly Woman," the greeting-card sentimentality of "Song of Innocence," and the way-too-soft pastoral flavor of both "Song of Innocence" and the time-filler "Marching into a Bottle." Still, most of Ramshackled is marked by the utter forgetability of songs like "Everybody," "Giddy," and probably some others I'm forgetting at the moment.

As a rule, albums should be judged on their own merit. By that standard, Ramshackled is pretty poor. But in this case I think it's fair to consider the album as advertised - - as an Alan White solo album or as one of a set of five debut solo albums. Either way it falls even shorter of the mark.


*Anderson apparently performed, wrote, and produced Olias of Sunhillow entirely by himself, and although I've never been completely convinced of this, I can't point to any part of the album as evidence to the contrary.

Review by VianaProghead
2 stars Review Nº 319

As we know, Alan White is better known as the drummer of Yes for more than forty years. But, before that, he was a very successful session drummer that played with a lot of musicians from local unknown bands as well as with many famous musicians and bands, such as, John Lennon, George Harrison and Joe Cocker, only to mention a few of them.

So, it was in this context that appeared his collaboration with some of the musicians that appear on "Ramshackled". He had worked with Pete Kirtley and Kenny Craddock in the Alan Price Set and Happy Magazine. White, Kirtley, Craddock and Colin Gibson worked together in the short lived Griffin in 1969. In the early of 1970, White, Kirtley, Craddock, Gibson and Bud Beadle played together in the band Simpson's Pure Oxygen. So, naturally he invited them to the album. Besides those musicians and a handful of others, he also invited his colleagues of Yes, Jon Anderson and Steve Howe.

"Ramshackled" is the debut solo studio album of Alan White and was released in 1976. It was one of the five solo music works released in the same period of time by all Yes' members, during a hiatus of time by the band, after the release of their seventh studio album "Relayer", in 1974. The other albums of their bandmates are Jon Anderson's "Olias Of Sunhillow", Chris Squire's "Fish Out Of Water", Patrick Moraz's "Story Of I" and Steve Howe's "Beginnings". Alan White's first solo album garnered its share of criticism, both from critics and Yes' fans, because it was associated with Yes and it didn't sound enough like Yes, really. But, remembering for the moment that White had only been with Yes a short while, his music naturally draws equally from his past employers, some of them already mentioned by me.

"Ramshacked" is a very strange album for a solo album of any solo artist. Not a single track on "Ramshackled" was written or even co-written by White. So, somehow, it's a band's project only tangentially related to Yes, released under the Yes' name due to a fluke of circumstances. For his solo debut, White returned to his side project with other session men, dating back to before his membership in Yes. So, due to his music past with so many collaborations with so many and diversified musicians with so many different styles of music, and none of them was a prog musician, naturally we would expect a strange album too. Even in terms of quality, as well, there's something about a 70's collaboration of session men from outside of the progressive scene that almost seems to doom the project from the beginning. Throughout the various styles that are featured on this album, and to be fair, it's rather diverse, or if you prefer, too much diverse, there seems to be a strange and exotic aura over the entire album. Perhaps, any such collection is bound to suffer in comparison with Yes. But even on its own terms, though, "Ramshackled" isn't all that so impressive, really.

"Ooooh Baby (Goin' To Pieces)" begins with some good drumming and the presence of a distorted saxophone. The sound is mainstream with a few prog inflections. It has nice moments, the introductory section the keyboard setting shifts and the acoustic guitars too. "One Way Rag" has jazz influenced. It's a sort of track that would dominate "classic rock" radio. The guitar solo and the wind instruments add a bit to the track. "Avakak" is the first instrumental, the most experimental and the most successful track. The piano introduction and the percussion section are good. It isn't Yes, but it isn't bad. "Song Of Innocence" features an arrangement that even Anderson couldn't save. Howe's role is good enough, but peripheral. The participation of the rest of the band is limited. "Giddy" returns the listener to the soul/funk of the initial track. The performances aren't really problematic, but there's still not much to recommend. "Silly Woman" is a reggae number. However proficient the musicians have been, the essence of the song isn't great. But, the lyrics are the most dismal part of the number. "Marching Into A Bottle" is a good and brief instrumental, somewhat atypical of the album. Acoustic guitar, flute and percussion dominate the track, featuring a pleasant melody and good performances by all musicians. "Everybody" is another rock/soul track vaguely with a prog form. The vocalist attempts a Joe Cocker impersonation. White isn't bad and the return of the steel drum is favourable enough. "Darkness" is a good track. The arrangement, the lyrics and the singing are really good. The subsequent keyboard and trumpet leads are good as well.

Conclusion: "Ramshacked" is an eclectic mix, sampling soul, rock, jazz, classical and even with a little bit of reggae. Somehow, you could say the same about Steve Howe's "Beginnings". But "Ramshackled" isn't as good as all that, with White ceding the song writing to his old Griffin's bandmates Craddock, Gibson and Kirtley. If "Ramshackled" fails, it's because the rest of Yes were talented musicians with a vision. White might just as well have gone fishing during Yes' hiatus. Instead, he recorded this low key album of songs. "Ramshackled" great sin may be that Yes' fans, who were curious for a window into what made White, knew so little about him now, as they did before. In reality, the revealing science of percussion it isn't, but approaching this with realistic expectations, will go a long way toward appreciating "Ramshackled" for what it is a solo album from a 70's session drummer who had only recently hitched up with Yes.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars After the successful tour the Yes experienced that supported the album "Relayer", it was decided that the five members of the band at the time would each release solo albums. "Ramshackled" is drummer Alan White's attempt at a solo album. What White wanted to accomplish is to create an album that had a wide variety of tracks, and he definitely accomplished that in this album. He also created an album that was nothing like anything Yes had done. Instead of releasing tracks that reflected their progressive stylings, he reverted to some of the styles that he had delved into with his participation in various other bands prior to his membership in Yes in 1972, when he replaced Bill Bruford as drummer.

There is not much on this album that spotlights White's talent as a drummer/percussionist. White did not write any of the tracks, but left that up to his band members and friends, most of who had been in his prior bands Griffin, The Alan Price Set, Happy Magazine, and Simpson's Pure Oxygen. The music on the "Ramshackled" album would reflect the various styles by becoming a mostly uneven affair and the vocalists would have a hard time being believable, but instead would often be laughable as they would try to add inflection to the music.

In the end, the album ended up being made up of bad tracks. However, 3 of the tracks on the album are pretty good, namely "Avakak", "Spring-Song of Innocence" and "Darkness Pts 1-3, but they only help to accentuate how bad the other tracks are. Here is a run down of the tracks on the album:

Ooooh Baby - Cool, funky vibe introduced by effects, organ/synth bring in r&b plastic vocals. One Way Rag - a smoother sound with better vocals this time, but sticking with the r&b style. Avakak - Leads out with piano, a very nice solo that eventually turns into a tropical feeling rhythm. Horns take the lead while other instruments copy the theme. Later, things mellow out quite nicely as the brass continues to take the theme. The song continues to deconstruct itself and it becomes somewhat experimental, percussion comes back in to sew it all together to return to the main theme, this time taken by the electric guitar which is followed by the sax improvising upon the theme. A very nice fusion instrumental. Spring-Song of Innocence - includes fellow Yes-men Jon Anderson on vocals and Steve Howe on guitar. It begins with atmospheric and dreamy sounds from the instruments before smoothing out to bring in Anderson's voice and Howe's mellow guitar. Lovely and shimmery, this one is a nice homage to William Blake's verse of the same name.

Giddy - A smooth r&b inspired piece that brings in more of a rock sound, but the vocals are goofy. Silly Woman - an awful track with cliché reggae sound. Marching Into a Bottle - Folkish instrumental with pastoral guitar and flute leading chamber orchestra sound. Though it's pretty standard, it's a nice break from the rubbish from the two previous tracks. Everybody - Tries hard to rock, but is another embarrassingly bad endeavor with steel drums added in. Things just don't gel here at all. Darkness Pts 1-3 - Settles into a nice bluesy rhythm with a soulful spirit which later picks up a more complex rhythm that melds the verses together. Vocals are better at points, but other places are laughable. The ending part is a bit more free-form when the rhythm disappears and things become more pensive. The trumpet is a nice addition here. Overall, this is a passable attempt at a more progressive and fusion style sound.

Overall, this album is not that great, but is only salvageable because of the 3 better tracks on the album. Is it worth looking for? Well, not specifically, but if you can find a cheap, used copy like I did, then I wouldn't pass on it. However, just don't have real high expectations of it being like a Yes record, because you will be disappointed. Just know that there are a few passable tracks that are decent, the rest of it is quite questionable.

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