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PIGSHIT: TEN YOU MAY HAVE MISSED In 2018

Lindsey Buckingham got kicked out of Fleetwood Mac (again), The Monkees made their first-ever Christmas album (!), and I am still waiting for that big Turtles Battle of the Bands Commemorative Special Anniversary Collectors Edition. In the meantime though, I remained happily singing along beneath headphones to (in strictly Alphabetical order)…  


EDGAR BREAU
Edgar Breau
(Flying Inn Recordings)

Understandably kept quite busy piloting Simply Saucer since his Patches Of Blue in 2012, this marvelous return to root launches from the man’s consistently astonishing acoustichords into realms only hinted at on previous releases. Meticulously, beautifully recorded by Jordan Mitchell and Adam Bentley at their TAPE Studio, the often haunting aural landscapes – evident often during each track’s decaying moments, so as to ensure the listener’s listening – support and perfectly compliment the album’s deceptively tranquil lyrics. And Edgar’s eye, not just ear for detail has rarely been as keen (“Days Of Golden Sunlight”) nor as sharp (“Mount Idaho”); even when cast with W. B. Yeats (“He Wishes His Beloved Were Dead”)!  Kim Deschamps’ pedal steel adds ideal touches, to the N.ville North of “Martha’s Back” for instance, and Colina Phillips’ vocal harmonies are of course, and I quote, knockout. Not since my most recent digital encounter with Johnny Dowd have I spent such a fulfilling three-quarters of an hour with the lights out, and the campfire slowly fading.       

 

“D.O.A.: A RIGHT OF PASSAGE”
(MVD Rewind)

Celebrating, if that’s the correct word, the 40th (!) anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ ill-fated inaugural tour of the U.S. – and subsequent implosion – this more-than-bountiful Blu-ray + DVD edition contains still-incendiary mosh-eye footage of John Paul Steve ‘n’ Sid wow’ing (all the while confusing, baiting, and too often inflaming) the unsuspecting denizens of Atlanta, San Antonio and Dallas et al, then heads to the very heart of the matter – the decaying rot of James “No Future” Callaghan’s once Great Britain – to watch Generation X record “Kiss Me Deadly,” ex-Pistol Glen Matlock’s Rich Kids attempt a pretty lame “Pretty Vacant,” and X-Ray Spex, the Dave Clark Five of the New Wave, belting out their cheeky “Oh Bondage Up Yours.” The bonus Punk Documentary That Almost Never Was featurette (actually, it’s longer than the main attraction!) is absolutely Required Viewing as well, if only to discover the hidden connection between p-u-n-k and High Times Magazine, followed by – wait for it! – vintage footage of Barbara Walters interviewing Malcolm McLaren.  

 

FLAMIN’ GROOVIES
Fantastic Plastic
(Sonic Kicks/Severn Records)

Technically a 2017 release, which didn’t arrive at the sty til early oh-18… but it’s still not a minute too late to miss! Jumpin’ just like the Groovies we all know and will always love, right off the bat “What The Hell’s Goin’ On” shakes solid not-so-slow death, maximum mid-range on each and every guitar with the rhythm a compressed Wall of Deep Sound. Even when riding NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad,” or their ol’ Bay Area Beau Brummel pals’ “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” the impressively intact C. Wilson/C. Jordan vocals most notably retain a sense of substance and style which has punctuated this band for (how can it possibly be?!!) fifty-plus years and counting. Sure, while the retro MAD Jack Davis/Beatles ’65 packaging may well point direct towards the Larry Williams bass beneath “Crazy Macy,” the “Street Fighting Man” licking “Let Me Rock,” and the wonderfully Flamin’ Springfield “She Loves Me” – to say nothing of the big beat ballads “Lonely Hearts” and “I’d Rather Spend My Time With You,” Fantastic Plastic bends, not buckles with the undeniable durability and strength of the Flamin’ Groovies …NOW.

 

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
Electric Ladyland
(Legacy Recordings)

As the boomers – or at least their hearing – slowly but surely all f-f-fade away, what remains of the recorded music industry scramble to squeeze the last remaining blood off the tracks of warehoused catalog items prior to shuffling them permanently out to audio pasture. Hence the ongoing onslaught of Deluxe Remastered Super 50th Anniversary Numbered Limited Special Signed Commemorative Collectors Editions of each and everything from that White Album to Big Green Village Pink on down. But! One such big bonus Yule box deserves a fate much better than play-once-stick-up-on-some-shelf; in fact, its contents have aged not one note since first appearing upon countless turntables a half-century ago. Produced and directed in true cinematic fashion by Jimi alongside studio savant Eddie Kramer, a 2018/19 visit to Ladyland is every bit as mind-boggling and, yes, ear-shattering as it was circa ’68. And its Electric extras, including demos, out-takes, grungerful Hollywood Bowl concert plus expanded Making of Electric Ladyland Blu-ray only serve to enhance and enlighten this bona fide classic. Why, even its original Jimi-approved (but never used) front cover has been reinstated: another example of how this is one 50th Anniversary done entirely right.

JOHN & YOKO
Imagine / Gimme Some Truth
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)

And! Not to be one-upped by that above-mentioned White anniversary, the Lennon quarter of our forever Fab equation is more than fairly represented by these 152 (!) minutes of gorgeously upgraded sight and sound, centered on and around the recording of his most popular-ever long-player. The original 1972 Imagine film – the world’s first “video album” as it turns out – is still a joy to behold, guest-starring Dick Cavett, Jack Palance, George Harrison and, ever the debonair perfectionist, Fred Astaire …though it’s still not entirely clear who that man and/or woman wandering around London in a black bag is. 1999’s Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ Album is just that; to watch things getting, um, testy as Phil Spector tries voicing his high “Oh Yoko!” harmony in the Lennons’ right-by-the-kitchen Ascot Sound Studio is, as Yoko says, “home cookin’.” Self-indulgent, ultra-big-budget glorified home movies, you say? Well, I say Where else are you going to be able to watch Miles Davis shooting hoops with John Lennon as Andy Warhol skulks in the shadows with Jack Nicholson, shooting off Polaroids?!

 

CHRIS RICHARDS AND THE SUBTRACTIONS
Peaks and Valleys
(Futureman Records)

Barely a minute into this disc and we’re already thoroughly, willingly submerged by every single Vox-happy, ooooh-ahh’ing, tom-tom’d beat; long a specialty of Chris’, but the first we’ve heard from this incarnation of his since 2012’s Get Yer La La’s Out. And now with Andy Reed – yes, he of Bay City’s Reed Recording facility – on board, the musical team is complete, and completely compatible. Andy’s keyboards, be they a Wing-y Moog on the “Weekend,” dash of Mellotron (“The Coast Is Clear”) or strings “Wrapped In A Riddle” color but never overwhelm he and Chris’ angular axes and luscious vocals. Yes, those vocals! Meanwhile, “Maybe That’s All” is the BEST track Cheap Trick hasn’t cut …yet, and “Call Me Out” stars guitar lines worthy of, dare I compare, ex-Mac Lindsey. But it’s throughout the four infallible minutes of “In A Sense” all of these Subtractions’, er, pluses ring finest as Larry Grodsky’s drums pitch against, then wash amongst the 6-strings, Todd Holmes’ lock-step bass, and (speaking of Bay City again) wholly Roller-worthy backing choral. Bonus Points are due too towards Chilton/Bell’s “Thirteen”: it takes a big band to tackle Big Star, but it’s just one of many many peaks Chris has hit herein. As he regularly does.     

SEX CLARK FIVE
Mrs. Von Braun You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter
(Records to Russia)

Four songs, Seven inches, Nine minutes: my still favorite strum ‘n’ drummers from Alabama offer vinyl obsessives ample reason to heave their latest too-big-stickered Record Store Day hauls off the turntable, making way for something altogether groove-ier. Track-by-lovely-track then, the final 30 seconds of “Saint Barbara” would not have sounded a tad out of place inside a Saucerful of Secrets or even The Who Sell Out, why “Quasar” wasn’t chosen as The Big Bang Theory theme I’ll never know, cue up “Painting” if you ever wondered what Del Shannon (!) produced by Joe Meek (!!) would’ve sounded like, and “Paper Rock Saber” takes a mere three-minutes-five to flawlessly encapsulate those first four Doors albums …with Sexier lyrics and vocals, it should go without singing. Which reminds me: Their grand new Live! album (SC5 in NYC for CMJ on 11/1/91) should be grabbed ASAP as well. “A typically out of control show,” in their own wide words.

 

LANE STEINBERG
Lane Steinberg & His Magical Pony
(Lane Steinberg)

Leave it to Lane to again provide me with just about the fun-nest, most rewarding forty minutes I’ve spent (after taxes) all year. This time ’round and ’round however, the man is joined by a stellar assortment of fellow DIY-at-home writers and players: R. Stevie Moore, Irwin Chusid, the remarkable David Grahame and, for a splendidly understated little trio of Broadway-bound trinkets, the piano of Tot Taylor. One screen over, “You’re Not Connected To The Internet” sports a decidedly dial-up sound, “Everyone Thinks I’m Happy Now” rests upon one phenomenal cat indeed, “Crazy As A Shithouse Rat” must certainly be The Title – perhaps even Zeitgeist? – of The Age, and “Another Early Autumn” with perhaps even “Portofino” makes one won-won-wonder why Lane isn’t writing (for starters) Brian Wilson’s next couple of albums. After all is said and sung, I will conclude by saying “Magical” only begins to describe the ever-melodious goings-on in and around this astounding collection …and, come to think of it, this one too.

 

TODD AND JINGYU
Find Me Find You: A Story
(Todd Lerner Music)

Delicate yet disarming, always enchanting yet occasionally striking; purely adjectively speaking this seemingly merry skip down a romantic trail belies the over ten years it took to write and record. For not a solitary word or chord is ever overwrought or self-consciously labored. The piano-focused à la Left Banke Michael Brown/Odessey and Oracle Rod Argent arrangements – which, most cleverly, build and bloom as the album progresses – remain sparse, while often nuanced (the vocals especially). Speaking of which, Jingyu and Todd’s voices mix, match, then will overlap and counterpoint …the better to subtly conjure the musical dialog their dance relates. Then, as in “Everything Is Good,” a simple whistling “da-da-da” can, and does, suffice. Then, a minute later, “Where It Goes” demonstrates a remarkably complex, though again seamlessly tossed-off mastery of time and tempo. Find Me Find You is truly unlike anything I have heard this year; I now hope you hear it soon yourself. P.S.: and, as the couple themselves suggest when cueing up the tracks, “if one listens in order they tell a fully-integrated story on finding romantic love.”    

 

“WHITE LACE AND PROMISES: THE SONGS OF PAUL WILLIAMS”
(Curry Cuts)

For those who may have in 2018 – or, for that matter, 2019 – question the very concept of the “tribute album” (not to mention the compact disc itself), I would suggest even a cursory listen to any of the twenty-three tracks on this downright delight-filled, yes, tribute to iconic songwriter / singer / actor / supreme 70s talkshow guest Paul Williams. Everything about this endeavor, right down to Craig Dorfman’s rock and roll reporting introductory notes reflect much, much love within its labors. As its subject unquestionably deserves. From the Davenports’ “Evergreen” clear through Brandon Schott’s “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday” the material, as challenging as it may be stands not only the test of four decades’ time, but also the approaches, often whimsical yet always respectful, each participant offers. And while several bravely recast, as in “update” I suppose one could say (Cait Brennan’s “Old Fashioned Love Song” and even more so XNYMFO’s “Dangerous Business”) the existing templates, wisely none ever stroll too far from the indelible, impactful originals. Even Sitcom Neighbor, as they take my All Time Fave PW tune “Out In The Country” straight back to America …as in Gerry, Dewey etc. that is. Paul Williams is most deserving of such a talent-heavy nod, of that there can be no doubt. Thankfully, Andrew and all at Curry Cuts have now produced it.         

 

by Gary Pig Gold

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Stone Diamond “Don’t Believe What You Think”

Back when the band Stone Diamond first formed, the Rock and Roll ensemble was a trio consisting of: Cy on vocals/bass, Josh on vocals/guitar and The Tongue on drums. Today, the band has expanded to a quartet and now consists of: Cy on bass, Pete on drums, Marc on guitar/vocals and Zaki on guitars/backings. And while the band went from the trio setting to a band consisting of four members, not much has changed as far as talent is concerned. Just like before, the Rock and Roll music created by the band is strong and very listener-friendly.  

It was back in 2013 that Stone Diamond released their debut album entitled We Stole the Stars from the Black Night. That particular album was so strong and was such a breath of fresh air as far as Rock and Roll was concerned that it made quite an impression on those who were lucky enough to have been exposed to it. They would then go on to add the album Phoenix to their discography. Now, five years after the release of the original album, the ensemble (now a little larger than before) returns with their third album. That album is entitled Don’t Believe What You Think.

The first track off of the Don’t Believe What You Think release from Stone Diamond is the track “Amy Van Dango”. The track takes the listener straight back into the eighties. The song features a Rock and Roll feel to the music that blends a lot of Soul elements into the music. It also seems to feature a generous amount of Hall and Oates feel to the music and the lyrics. This track would fit right in with any song on Top 40 Radio back in the eighties. But that doesn’t mean that it would be out of place on today’s radio. With all of the retro artists out there like Bruno Mars creating tracks like “24k Magic” currently blowing up commercial radio, there is plenty of room out there for Stone Diamond’s “Amy Van Dango”. And with this track as the first single, the band has begun to promote the Don’t Believe What You Think release. Of course, the single version of the song is much shorter than the original seven minute-plus album track.  

Stone Diamond’s newest release continues with the track “The Art of Breaking Hearts”. The track begins with a guitar riff that is rather reminiscent of something from Jimi Hendrix; especially if you consider that the riff sounds as if it had been inspired by Hendrix’s song “The Wind Cries Mary”. That Hendrix-inspired riff soon blends into a slow-paced track that features an easy pace to the music. The relaxed feel to “The Art of Breaking Hearts” adds a bit of emotional feeling to the track’s lyrics about a relationship that has its ups and downs. As the listener makes their way through the track, they notice a strong Classic Rock vibe that revolves around that Hendrix-inspired musical approach. While the track contains more than just the Hendrix influence, it’s hard to ignore that influence in the track.

On the very next track, the band dramatically changes the direction of the Rock and Roll that they create. While the first two tracks contain a Classic Rock approach, the song “Mine” finds the band blending together two different eras of music. In fact, the opening riff on the bass will remind listeners of something reminiscent of the bassline from “Come as You Are” from Nirvana. But the track also contains a feel that brings images of music from the sixties. The lyrical feel to the track especially conjures up visions of that time period. The blending of the two elements create a track that feels as much out of place with any time period as it reminds people of two different eras. A rather strange blend of styles creates a track that ends up feeling as out of place with today’s music as it also feels as if it belongs with today’s music.

While the next track continues the Classic Rock feel of the music on Don’t Believe What You Think, the new release from Stone Diamond, the song “1000 Suns” takes the band’s music in a direction that would feel right at home on any Power Rock radio format. As a matter of fact, “1000 Suns” brings the band’s music into the eighties with a sound that blends influences from Aerosmith and other such Rock and Roll bands together to form a track that would have been right at home on any Power Rock radio format back during the eighties. The track alternates between a strong Power Rock feel and a more laidback approach that would be closer to a power ballad than anything else. But the strong guitar riff that brings to mind something from the likes of someone like Joe Perry from Aerosmith keeps the track from getting too laidback.

With the track entitled “No Sleep,” Stone Diamond adds a bit of Country Music twang to their sound. While there is still plenty of Classic Rock feeling to the music on “No Sleep,” the slight twang in the music gives the band’s song more Americana flair to it than the rest of the tracks on the album. With the inclusion of the twang in the music, “No Sleep” feels as if it would fit right in with Country Music radio formats just as easily as Classic Rock formats. The song ends up being a perfect crossover track.

Stone Diamond returns to more of a straight-out Rock and Roll approach to their music on the next track of “Let’s Go”. With this track, the band creates music that has a musical feel that could have come from any of the last four decades. The undeniably timeless feel of the music as well as the simple lyrical content of the track helps to create a song that feels very timeless.

Just as the track “No Sleep” stands out because of the inclusion of a slight Country Music twang in the track’s musical content, the final track on the release also stands out…for very much the same reason. The song “Misty Eyes” finds a band that creates songs with a strong Classic Rock direction changing that direction for a very different feel to their music. Instead of that Classic Rock/Power Rock vibe, “Misty Eyes” finds Stone Diamond creating a track with a Pop-Rock approach. Like much of the music that can be found on the Don’t Believe What You Think release, “Misty Eyes” contains a sound and feel that would fit right in with much of the music that was around during the eighties.

The Don’t Believe What You Think release from Stone Diamond is a solid release from beginning to end. And with the inclusion of many different elements and influences, the Classic Rock from the band changes from one track to the next. For those music lovers who enjoy Classic Rock, Stone Diamond creates a release that will surely be something you’d want to experience first and then add to your own music library.

To experience a little of the music from Stone Diamond, check out the band’s current single of “Amy Van Dango”. 

To check the newest album from Stone Diamond entitled Don’t Believe What You Think, click on the album cover below: 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Welshly Arms S/T

In the short amount of time that Welshly Arms has been together, the Cleveland-based band has made a lot of noise in the music scene.  Comprised of Sam Getz (vocals/guitar), Brett Lindemann (keys/vocals), Jimmy Weaver (bass/vocals), and Mikey Gould (drums), Welshly Arms is a band that has been shaking the music world off its foundation.

Since coming together, the band has created one EP called Welcome; a 3-song release that simply features the band creating new versions of well-known tracks from the likes of Deep Purple, The Chamber Brothers and Roy Orbison; and the band’s newest release: a full-length self-titled album. The band is currently promoting that 2015 self-titled album.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Cotton Mather “Kontiki Deluxe Edition”

Prior to my becoming a music journalist and reviewer, I was still paying attention to the more unusual and unknown bands and artists; the ones that were being promoted by the record stores and not really being promoted by the mainstream radio. The self-titled release from the band Naked, the album Notwithstanding from Chalk Farm and the mostly ignored band The Family Cat and their Magic Happens release are three such albums that were better than the coverage they received. Each of these three releases was well done, enjoyable to listen to and were impossible to understand why they didn’t receive the attention and respect they deserved. Another band around during that time period that was all but ignored in the U.S. music industry (so much so, I never even heard of them at that time) was Austin, Texas-based Cotton Mather. It was in 1997 that they released a classic pop/rock album entitled Kontiki. At the time, this album was almost completely ignored here in the U.S.

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Features

PIGSHIT: Ten Reasons to Now Revisit Hendrix at Winterland and In the West

1. These original live recordings – totaling 47 tracks over five hours plus – have previously been semi-available only on long-out-of-print releases (not counting quite inferior-sounding bootlegs), and in the case of the Winterland performances now features three (!) full discs of additional material. 

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Features

PIGSHIT: Love, or Confusion? The West Coast Seattle Boy Comes Home

Last I checked over at All Music Dot Com, there were 591 titles listed within the Jimi Hendrix discography – all but nineteen of which representing items released after the man’s most untimely death on September 18, 1970.

Let’s see:  with 572 albums / singles / EPs / 8-tracks / cassettes / picture discs / video tapes / laser discs / compact discs / Mini-discs / DATs / DVDs / Blu-rays / whatevers posthumously issued so far, someone out there is certainly making many, many dollars re-issuing, re-packaging, re-mixing, re-mastering and re-processing in general the (re-) recorded legacy of perhaps the greatest electric guitarist who ever died.

Most unfortunately however, the vast majority of this sonic slicing and dicing is redundant at best; ridiculous and utterly reprehensible more often than not. Why, even Elvis Presley’s last two-hundred-or-so albums have been afforded at least a certain amount of historical accuracy and aesthetic concern.

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Features

Open Source Rebellion talks roots, rock orphanages and calls out to DJs who want to add rock to their set

Open Source Rebellion is an electro-rock hybrid that combines dirty synths with guitar-driven rock and roll riffs. Elements of bands like ZZ TOP, Queens of the Stone Age and Muse definitely stand out. They have a great heavy rock n’ boogie sound with just enough electro and synth thrown in to really get things moving and a groovin’. I recently spoke with Dela from Open Source Rebellion.

Q: How did Open Source Rebellion form and can you tell us more about the band’s history?

A: A few years ago my old band, Black Diamond Love, went into the studio to record our first LP. We had a sort of artist development arrangement with Westlake Studios and through them we were paired up with a young engineer (erock) who had been sort of an apprentice to Al Machera, who was one of the two owners of that studio. During this time, erock and I became good buddies and we worked together on the eight or so songs that BDL was recording. Around March or April of last year I decided that it was best to leave BDL and I went off and started working on some new things.

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Features

Deep Manalishi and Manalishi Purple were considered, but Black Manalishi was born

Black Manalishi are emanating, illuminating and blasting out of the Northwest corner of the U.K. They have a classic/heavy rock style shaped by many great influences such as Black Sabbath, Cream, Crosby, Deep Purple, Free, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynrd, Nash & Young, Pink Floyd and a great many more.

I recommend you check out their tunes, as these guys have got everything that a true classic rock fan is looking for, in triplicate. The band members are Nathan Moore on guitar, Adam Ward on vocals, Lee Gallagher on drums and Sean Gallagher on bass. Yes, you may have guessed the fact that Sean and Lee are brothers, which must add so much to the bands synergised, taught sound. Black Manalishi stimulate your mind, body and soul with an amazing wall of guitar sound and vocals backed up so well with that brotherly rhythm section. I recently threw a few questions at Nathan…

Q: How did Black Manalishi come to form initially and what inspired the choice of name?

A: I met Adam Ward through a mutual friend when forming a cover band for fun. I decided to form a new band and continue writing and performing original material, something I had done since first learning to play. Being a great vocalist, with a style reminiscent of some of my favourite rock singers, Adam was the perfect choice for vocals. The other members have always been auditioned to find the best musicians when needed.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jeff Beck – Emotion and Commotion

Jeff Beck – Emotion and Commotion
Atco

Legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck returns with his latest album! Full of the same rock and roll bombast of his past solo albums but with added participation from several up and coming vocalists to balance out the shredding, it is nonetheless Beck’s album. With his mastery of the guitar, how could it not be? While Beck is respected and well-known among musos for his guitar work, his relatively low public profile has long puzzled many fans, who recognize Beck’s vast accomplishments and innovative techniques but puzzle over his career choices.

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Artists and Bands Record Labels

Alive and Rocking: Part 2

This is the second part of this round-up review/label profile so let me repeat:

Let me tell you, I get a decent bit of music in the mail thanks to this gig right here and although every day brings a package with a little bit of melodic lovin’ inside, there are days where the bounty is just so fucking cool it makes me glad I decided to become a music writer. The day I received this fat package of music from the Alive label was one of those great days. Alive is one of the few labels left which is dedicated to keeping rock and roll…ahem…alive in many ways, but most importantly in spirit. The label is a throwback to the days when substance meant more than anything else and sticking by your bands while they grew and matured was more important than milking them for one monster hit. I mean, while I am sure Alive would love to sell a ton of records and have a huge fat hit on their hands, they seem incredibly loyal to their bands and are nurturing their roster as each band builds their own reps and fanbases which will eventually help the label as a whole. As it is, the label has one of the best young rosters out there and will soon be able to compete with any other label out there is the discs contained in this package is any clue. Since they sent me so many wonderful releases, I am splitting this article into two parts so I don’t hit you with too much good stuff at one time. This is, of course, the second part!