Soul-Sides.com http://soul-sides.com something you can feel Sat, 16 Aug 2014 17:33:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=218 SOUL SIDES VOL. 4http://soul-sides.com/2014/08/soul-sides-vol-4/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/08/soul-sides-vol-4/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 23:39:38 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4243

Soul Sides Vol. 4 (The Proper Version) by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

When I sat down to brainstorm Soul Sides Vol. 3, I actually came up with tentative tracklistings for three future volumes. I didn’t want to drop all three at once since I knew, with the benefit of time and perspective, I would likely make tweaks here and there. So I sat on Vol. 4 and it’s only been over the last month or so that I’ve [...]

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Soul Sides Vol. 4 (The Proper Version) by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

When I sat down to brainstorm Soul Sides Vol. 3, I actually came up with tentative tracklistings for three future volumes. I didn’t want to drop all three at once since I knew, with the benefit of time and perspective, I would likely make tweaks here and there. So I sat on Vol. 4 and it’s only been over the last month or so that I’ve revisited it and, indeed, ending up making all kinds of changes to my original playlist.

As a reminder, the goal with these new volumes was to try to replicate the flow/feel of Vol. 1. rather than just slapping together 14 good songs at random. As I’ve done with every volume thus far, I’ve always tried to include at least one “echo” back to Vol. 1, whether via a cover song or something that’s very close, thematically (see the Masqueraders, below).

As with last time, the entire “album” is up on Mixcloud. If you like it, I’d be happy to accept a donation to help support the site’s costs. You’re 100% NOT obligated however.





(There is no vinyl. There may be CDs, but I burn them at home so it comes down to just making time to do that. And I do have a lossless version with individual tracks if you’d like one. Just hit me up).

Meanwhile, here are the liners:

1. Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band: Express Yourself (alt. mix)

I mentioned last week that this would be the lead song on Vol. 4 and partially, it’s because the song itself starts off with that lovely, understated lick. I have a hard time imagining they would ever have released this; it’s so much more of a slow burner than the final release but that’s precisely why I love it so.

2. San Francisco TKOs: Herm

Sure, maybe I only just got this at the beginning of the summer but besides the selfish desire to floss a showpiece, it’s another slow-burner but augmented with a heavy funk growl.

3. The T.S.U. Tornadoes: Got To Get Through To You

Over the last year or so, I’ve been totally infatuated with the ill-defined “crossover” soul sound. Like most genres, it’s hard to corral this into a consistent definition but if you want to know what crossover sounds like, this single is about as platonic an ideal as I can imagine.

4. Shirley Nanette: Give and Take

To quote myself (because I’m lazy), choosing this came down to how: “there’s something raw and affecting about Nanette’s performance. These are not hyper-polished songs and for those who can’t take too much “saxy sax,” this may test you at times, but as befits a private issue record, its coarse-ness is also part of its charm. “Give and Take,” especially, floors me everytime; I love the vocal arrangement on here. It swings in all kinds of unexpected directions and drops in background harmonies at perfect moments.”

5. The DeVons: Someone To Treat Me (The Way You Used To)

The rare James Brown-produced Northern Soul song. I adored this enough to highlight it on Jesse Thorn’s Bullseye earlier this year (3 minute mark).

6. Edwin Starr: Running Back and Forth

My man Hua put me up on this crossover song back in 2008 and it’s in my definitive “Top 5 favorite Motown singles.” It moves with such slick grace; I love playing it out for that exact reason. (The version I included here is the 7″; the only difference is that instead of jumping into the sax, it starts with 4 bars of piano instead.)

7. Marva Whitney: Ball of Fire

Another one I need to credit to Hua, only made more embarrassing by the fact that I’ve owned this for years except I never knew it because I didn’t bother to flip to the b-side. Better late than never.

8. Jimmie Raye: Look At Me Girl

A discovery (for me) from 2011 (via Nydia Ines Davila), this is such a perfect, mid-tempo ballad on so many levels: the opening piano, Raye’s melancholy hook, the contrast with the higher-pitched back-up singing (which might just be Raye over-dubbed for all I know), the heavy snare that anchors the rhythm section.

9. Holly Maxwell: Only When You’re Lonely

It’s only when I finalized the tracklisting that I realized how many of the songs on here are in that aforementioned crossover vein. Clearly, it’s invaded my heart’s soft spot but my weakness (hopefully) is your gain, especially with this Chicago single that was the object of my obsessions from two summers ago.

10. The Isley Brothers: You Walk Your Way

Another “hey, what’s on the b-side of this 7″?’ discovery from a couple years back, this song is hardly rare – it’s from a massive best-seller by the Isley Bros. at the height of their success – but you also never see it included on any “best of” comp by the group. In my book, it should’ve been.

11. The Masqueraders: I’m Just An Average Guy

On the original Soul Sides Vol. 1, the #11 spot was filled by Joe Bataan’s “Ordinary Guy” and as I just got this Masqueraders 7″ in earlier this summer, it seemed like the natural “echo” track to sequence in. I certainly wouldn’t have done it if not also for the fact that it’s another fantastic example of a “cheap but good” single that you shouldn’t need to drop more than $10 or so to cop. I go weak in the knees for the doo-wop background singing at at :20.

12. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: If This World Were Mine

I forgot to write about this at the beginning of summer but if there’s one song that I played on repeat (to the point of annoyance of anyone around me), it was this. Props to DJ Phatrick for helping me to it by including it in his great mix, Float. I don’t know how, for a hit Motown single, I managed to never hear it before, but regardless, I am absolutely besotted with where the song goes around 1:30, where the arrangement shifts and Marvin and Tammi ready their “woah hoo hop hooooos.” I know it’s greedy to want them to keep going with it – the song is perfect as is – but would I have liked another 4-8 bars of them doing that? Oh my, my yes.

13. The Festivals: You’ve Got the Makings of a Lover

Somehow, I never wrote about this either despite my deep affections for it. I became acquainted with it thanks to Mayer Hawthorne’s great cover of it and that compelled me to track down the original. Mayer said he was compelled to re-record it because the original was mixed poorly (lacked oomph, basically) and while I hear where he’s coming from, I’ve never found cause to regret spinning this one out. Much like the object of the artists’ eye, I find this “fine, and so sublime.”

14. Lady: Sweet Lady

I’ll always end these volumes with a recent recording and no way would I pass up the opportunity to show love to Lady again. Alas, the group went from a duo to a solo-lead outfit but I still eagerly await their return either later this year or next.

So there you go: Vol. 4. While you all (hopefully) enjoy it, I’ll continue marinating on Vol. 5 and we’ll see what bubbles up by year’s end.

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DEE EDWARDS: I CAN DEAL (BUT WITH WHICH VERSION?)http://soul-sides.com/2014/08/dee-edwards-i-can-deal-but-with-which-version/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/08/dee-edwards-i-can-deal-but-with-which-version/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 19:16:35 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4240 Dee edwards i can deal with that

Dee Edwards’ “(I Can) Deal With That” is one of the best crossover ballads I’ve ever heard but for the longest time, I had no clue that there were two versions on De•To, from the same year1 It was Nydia Ines Davila (long-time Daptone PR chief), who schooled me to the fact that the two versions are based around the same master recording. What I assume to be the second mix (based on matrix numbering) is basically the original mix + strings + a tambourine and [...]

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Dee edwards i can deal with that

Dee Edwards’ “(I Can) Deal With That” is one of the best crossover ballads I’ve ever heard but for the longest time, I had no clue that there were two versions on De•To, from the same year1 It was Nydia Ines Davila (long-time Daptone PR chief), who schooled me to the fact that the two versions are based around the same master recording. What I assume to be the second mix (based on matrix numbering) is basically the original mix + strings + a tambourine and (to my ears), it’s mixed better 2.

I already owned V2 (w/ strings) and because I was impulsive and had some money to burn, I recently copped V1 and was able to do a side-by-side listening. So can you:

Dee Edwards: (I Can) Deal With That (v1, no strings)
From 7″ (De•To, 1977). This version is also on Searching For Soul.

Dee Edwards: (I Can) Deal With That (v2, with strings)
From 7″ (De•To, 1977)

The consensus I heard was that V1 was better because it lacked the strings but to my ears? I have to say: V2 sounds better if only because the mix sounds a lot cleaner. What say you?

  1. Just to confuse things even more, Edwards re-recorded the song in 1990 for the Morning Glory label.
  2. The second version also has “1977″ on the a-side label which the original version does not. Otherwise though, the two labels look identical and both have the same catalog #. Yeah, confusing.
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SHADES OF SOUL, EP 2.14: SUMMER JAMS FEAT. DJ SOFT TOUCHhttp://soul-sides.com/2014/08/shades-of-soul-ep-2-14-summer-jams-feat-dj-soft-touch/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/08/shades-of-soul-ep-2-14-summer-jams-feat-dj-soft-touch/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 06:14:03 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4236

Shades of Soul, EP 2.14: Summers James with DJ Soft Touch by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

Clifton, aka DJ Soft Touch, might damn well be the best dressed DJ in town (provided, it might be a low bar but seriously, Clifton is dapper). He’s a long-time resident at Funky Sole but also DJs at both the Standard and Ace Hotels (downtown), Rubbish in North Hollywood, and many other parties around the city.

He put together a pair [...]

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Shades of Soul, EP 2.14: Summers James with DJ Soft Touch by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

Clifton, aka DJ Soft Touch, might damn well be the best dressed DJ in town (provided, it might be a low bar but seriously, Clifton is dapper). He’s a long-time resident at Funky Sole but also DJs at both the Standard and Ace Hotels (downtown), Rubbish in North Hollywood, and many other parties around the city.

He put together a pair of sweet sets for our summer song series (my actual spins marked by an *):

    *Ronnie Foster: Summer Song (remix from The New Groove)
    Style Council: Headstart for Happiness
    Six Feet Under: She’s Not There
    Barbara Acklin: Am I the Same Girl
    Curtis Harding: Keep on Shining
    Small Faces: I Feel Much Better
    *Kenny Dope Unreleased Project: Comin’ Inside
    Dodgy: Good Enough
    Mighty Ryaders: Evil Vibrations
    The Exits: You Got to Have Money
    Derek Martin: Sly Girl
    Boogaloo Assassins: No No No
    Jerry Jones: Compared to What
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IT’S COMING…http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/its-coming-3/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/its-coming-3/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 06:38:48 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4231 Ssv4 smaller

As I ask too often, I beseech your patience as I’m juggling a slew of summer projects…one of which is Soul Sides Vol. 4. Just need to put some finishing touches on it but I should have it out sometime next week. To whet your appetite/tide you over, here’s what I most likely going to be the first song:

Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band: Express Yourself (alt. mix)
From Puckey Puckey (Rhino Handmade, 2010)

Here’s the background on the song. Always loved how the song itself [...]

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Ssv4 smaller

As I ask too often, I beseech your patience as I’m juggling a slew of summer projects…one of which is Soul Sides Vol. 4. Just need to put some finishing touches on it but I should have it out sometime next week. To whet your appetite/tide you over, here’s what I most likely going to be the first song:

Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band: Express Yourself (alt. mix)
From Puckey Puckey (Rhino Handmade, 2010)

Here’s the background on the song. Always loved how the song itself opens and it made sense to open Vol. 4 with it as well.

(As with Vol. 3, no vinyl, probably no self-made CDs. This is just personal comp for your enjoyment).

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BAD RAP EDITShttp://soul-sides.com/2014/07/bad-rap-edits/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/bad-rap-edits/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:54:15 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4227 Ill rhyme small

I’m sympathetic to the fact that record labels were under pressure to create clean edits of rap songs, especially in the 1990s. It may seem quaint now to read about C. Dolores Tucker or the Parents Music Resource Center in an era where any kid can listen to songs on YouTube and experience 1000x the profanity…and that’s just in the comments (*rimshot*). Nonetheless, creating radio edits was good business, a nod to DJs to let them know that it’d be safe to play this new single without the [...]

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Ill rhyme small

I’m sympathetic to the fact that record labels were under pressure to create clean edits of rap songs, especially in the 1990s. It may seem quaint now to read about C. Dolores Tucker or the Parents Music Resource Center in an era where any kid can listen to songs on YouTube and experience 1000x the profanity…and that’s just in the comments (*rimshot*). Nonetheless, creating radio edits was good business, a nod to DJs to let them know that it’d be safe to play this new single without the FCC getting on their ass.

However, clean edits are an art. Some artists simply recorded two different versions of their lyrics (*cough cough* “My Hitta” ain’t fooling no one) but usually, it was up to someone at the label (read: probably an intern) to do a quick edit using the existing studio tapes. I always thought that Gang Starr did it up nice, with Premier scratching over where the profanity would have been. In other cases, an engineer simply dropped the lyrics out while the beat continued to play on. That wasn’t so bad if you only had a few words to deal with but if you’ve ever heard KDAY’s radio edit of “Ain’t No Fun,” the end effect is like masturbating with your elbows; it’s possible, it’s just not that enjoyable.

But until today, I’m not sure I ever heard a radio edit done as sloppily as this one:

Civilized Savages: Ill Rhyme Skill (original clean edit)
From 12″ (Armageddon, 1994)

I mean…you can tell the label cut some serious by the fact that no one thought to check their label design to avoiding putting key text over where the spindle hole is supposed to go. It makes the b-side title confusing…I thought it was “New Rule Flava” for the longest. It’s not surprising then that the clean edit would be similarly wack. What they did was clip out any profanity but without an instrumental bed. Given that this was 1994, I’m assuming someone had a razor and was literally splicing tape to make this edit. I originally thought that my speakers were going out until I realized what was going on.

Now…I like this song and would have very much preferred the option to have a dirty version that didn’t sound like _____ so I loaded it into my multitrack editor and came up with what I think is a pretty good edit-of-the-edit.

Civilized Savages: Ill Rhyme Skill (edit of the clean edit)
From 12″ (Armageddon, 1994)

I used the 4 bar intro of the song to fill in the spaces where sound was originally cut out and from what I can hear, it works rather organically and likely would have been similar to what a proper radio edit would have done to begin with. Did I really need to spend an hour or so working on this? No…but it was bugging me so much, I just had to do something about it. Enjoy.


Edit: I didn’t realize that Chopped Herring reissued this EP in 2009including the original dirty version.

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SHADES OF SOUL, EP 2.13: SUMMER JAMS FEAT. MILES TACKETThttp://soul-sides.com/2014/07/shades-of-soul-ep-2-13-summer-jams-feat-miles-tackett/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/shades-of-soul-ep-2-13-summer-jams-feat-miles-tackett/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 17:36:26 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4222

Shades of Soul EP 2.13: Summer Jams feat. Miles Tackett by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

For my latest Shades of Soul (summer) episode, I invited Miles Tackett (FB/Twitter) to join. Folks know him best as the founder of Breakestra and for the very long-running weekly Funky Sole party. He’s got a new album out: Fool Who Wonders and I invited him in to talk about the album, his career and a few of his favorite summer jams.

[...]

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Shades of Soul EP 2.13: Summer Jams feat. Miles Tackett by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

For my latest Shades of Soul (summer) episode, I invited Miles Tackett (FB/Twitter) to join. Folks know him best as the founder of Breakestra and for the very long-running weekly Funky Sole party. He’s got a new album out: Fool Who Wonders and I invited him in to talk about the album, his career and a few of his favorite summer jams.

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POCKET GEARhttp://soul-sides.com/2014/07/pocket-gear/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/pocket-gear/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:26:09 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4221 Da951fca 0a58 4180 93c2 a94723b51e30 300

A random post that’s (mostly) not music related but I was thinking about the things that I rely on most at any given time of the day and I narrowed it down to four items I literally don’t leave home without.

•iPhone 5S. ‘Nuff said. I don’t rotate the music enough but I keep a playlist that’s strictly “new arrivals + favorites” that ends up being very handy when I come up with my “year end” posts.

•Quirky Wrapster. Because those %)!!)( iPhone earbuds always get [...]

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Da951fca 0a58 4180 93c2 a94723b51e30 300

A random post that’s (mostly) not music related but I was thinking about the things that I rely on most at any given time of the day and I narrowed it down to four items I literally don’t leave home without.

•iPhone 5S. ‘Nuff said. I don’t rotate the music enough but I keep a playlist that’s strictly “new arrivals + favorites” that ends up being very handy when I come up with my “year end” posts.

Quirky Wrapster. Because those %)!!)( iPhone earbuds always get tangled in my pocket otherwise).

Big Skinny card holder wallet. I’m strictly a “front pocket wallet” kind of guy and these are fantastic for that purpose.

•Prescription sunglasses (I get mine from Eyebuydirect.com). It’s terribly cliche for someone in L.A. I suppose but I spend so much time either in the car or on my bike, shades are essential.

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ERIC DUCKER ON THE STORY BEHIND “PISTOLGRIP PUMP”http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/eric-ducker-on-the-story-behind-pistolgrip-pump/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/eric-ducker-on-the-story-behind-pistolgrip-pump/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:46:57 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4219

“Pistolgrip Pump” is one of my favorite L.A. hip-hop songs and now Eric Ducker has written a thorough history of how the song came to be (and truly, the many ways in which it could have NOT come to be). Great music journalism at work here.

(Also a sobering reminder of how the song ended up defining Volume 10′s style as something that was actually quite different from what it actually was. Listen to practically anything else on the album and his Good Life bonafides are instantly obvious).

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“Pistolgrip Pump” is one of my favorite L.A. hip-hop songs and now Eric Ducker has written a thorough history of how the song came to be (and truly, the many ways in which it could have NOT come to be). Great music journalism at work here.

(Also a sobering reminder of how the song ended up defining Volume 10′s style as something that was actually quite different from what it actually was. Listen to practically anything else on the album and his Good Life bonafides are instantly obvious).

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CULLING THE COMPShttp://soul-sides.com/2014/07/culling-the-comps/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/culling-the-comps/#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2014 17:19:27 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4216 Screen Shot 2014 07 11 at 8 40 08 AM

One main “summer project” has been to finish purging my collection. I recently got to the box that held most of my soul/funk/jazz/Latin compilations and I was surprised at how few of them I felt the urge to keep.

Back when I had a weekly radio show on KALX FM (1994-2004), these kinds of comps served multiple purposes. First and foremost, they helped fill those 3 hours of airtime every week; you figure your average album may [...]

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Screen Shot 2014 07 11 at 8 40 08 AM

One main “summer project” has been to finish purging my collection. I recently got to the box that held most of my soul/funk/jazz/Latin compilations and I was surprised at how few of them I felt the urge to keep.

Back when I had a weekly radio show on KALX FM (1994-2004), these kinds of comps served multiple purposes. First and foremost, they helped fill those 3 hours of airtime every week; you figure your average album may only have 2-3 cuts you’d want to play but almost by nature, a well-curated comp is meant to be chock-full of awesome tracks.

But even more importantly, comps helped serve an important role in the era before YouTube/Wikipedia/et. al. for someone to learn about styles/artists/labels, etc. The best curated of them came with liner notes that provided history and context. It’s easy to take for granted how we’re able to access that same information instantaneously now but in the ’90s, comps were a crucial “analog” source for that kind of knowledge dissemination. I genuinely liked buying comps for all those reasons; they were like little gift packs of interesting music that I also got utility out of as a DJ.

However, in 2014 though, I realize that I don’t really need them anymore…not because they’ve become outdated as a concept. It’s because these comps – the ones I’ve already owned – have fulfilled their purpose to help educate me. This isn’t to brag (much) but over the years, I used the knowledge from them to track down the original recordings I wanted most, thus partially negating their utilitarian purpose. Besides: the goal this summer is to winnow, winnow, winnow. All of which is to say, I’ve been steadily listing them for sale in case anyone else out there feels like they can benefit from them in the same ways I once did. They’re all in great condition – I’ve never been one to ever abuse my vinyl so most of these are barely played. If anyone’s interested in making a bulk order, just contact me directly and I’m happy to work out a deal.

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LITTLE JOE AND THE LATINAIRES: FOLLOW THEIR COVERShttp://soul-sides.com/2014/07/little-joe-and-the-latinaires-follow-their-covers/ http://soul-sides.com/2014/07/little-joe-and-the-latinaires-follow-their-covers/#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2014 16:59:34 +0000 http://soul-sides.com/?p=4214 180320912274

Little Joe and the Latinaires: Just Because I Really Love You + Soul Pride + Take Five
From Follow the Leader (Buena Suerta, 1970)

I’ve been up on the San Antonio’s Little Joe for years but somehow, never snatched up one of their records until now. It’d be an understatement to call José María De León Hernández (aka Little Joe) “prolific,” especially if you’re a fan of his tejano recordings. However, while he and his bands likely have far more followers in the world of regional Mexican music, in the ’70s, [...]

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180320912274

Little Joe and the Latinaires: Just Because I Really Love You + Soul Pride + Take Five
From Follow the Leader (Buena Suerta, 1970)

I’ve been up on the San Antonio’s Little Joe for years but somehow, never snatched up one of their records until now. It’d be an understatement to call José María De León Hernández (aka Little Joe) “prolific,” especially if you’re a fan of his tejano recordings. However, while he and his bands likely have far more followers in the world of regional Mexican music, in the ’70s, he and the Latinaires had no shortage of American pop-influenced LPs too, especially Follow The Leader which includes a dozen covers of chart-topping hits of the era. What I adore about the LP is how broad the group’s tastes were. They cover everyone from Syl Johnson to Jerry Butler to The Impressions to Dave Brubeck to Stevie Wonder to James Brown to Classics IV. If Little Joe and the Latainires were a Top 40 station, I would have locked in the signal and then snapped the knob off.

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