Friday, August 31, 2012

Supermodel (You Better Work) • RuPaul

Well, if it is Labor Day Weekend, then, girls, "You Betta Werq!" At least that is what RuPaul tells us in her brilliant song, "Supermodel (You Better Work)"

"Supermodel (You Better Work)" can be found on the Supermodel of the World album. You can purchase it on iTunes and Amazon. And have a great weekend. It's a long one, and don't we all love long ones?

Donna Summer Works Hard For Her Money

Donna Summer

This is Labor Day Weekend, a national holiday in the United States that looks to appreciate the working men and women. As it is a holiday, I will be just featuring some light posting over the weekend, and taking some time to recharge the batteries. I thought it might be great to start the celebration with Donna Summer's 1983 classic She Works Hard For The Money. Actually, it celebrates the workers of the fairer sex, at a time when equal pay for equal work was certainly not the order of the day. Here is Donna making a statement of her own, and singing it live.

And while it might not be about working, I thought I would post another performance my the late, great diva. Only this time, she is making the dreams of one gay boy come true. You see, she sings "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" and Mark Feehily lives a dream, and sings harmony with the great singer. Of course, Mark is joined on the stage by his brothers in song, Shane Filan, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne. This is actually a pretty good version of the song. Enjoy.

You can purchase Donna Summer's Greatest Hits on iTunes and Amazon.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Christopher Dallman • Toxic Video

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Singer/songwriter Christopher Dallman has released his final video from the Sad Britney EP, featuring "Toxic". The EP, released at the end of 2009, featured Dallman's take on 4 songs from Britney Spears' heyday. Only Dallman explored the brooding, darker side of four songs associated with the Pop Princess. In the "Toxic" video, you can see and feel the demons at work as Dallman fights off his urges on the streets of Las Vegas.

For those who might need a little more of a taste of Dallman's delicious take on the music, here is the audio for "...Baby, One More Time". It is one of my early YouTube efforts, after Christopher asked if someone could do that. I was more than happy to help him out, for I do love his music.

While I'm at it, might has well give you the opportunity for the trifecta, watching the music video for "Gimme More". There is a sexy insatiability in Dallman's version of the song, but with a hint of needy desperation.

You can purchase Sad Britney on iTunes. For more about Christopher Dallman, visit his official website. There you can listen to some of his latest music, from the EP Light The Love. In fact, for less than $9, you can get both on iTunes or Amazon, and make your Labor Day weekend that much more tuneful. Christopher will certainly be a big part of my holiday weekend.

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Matthew Mitcham • When In Rome...

Matthew Mitcham Matthew Mitcham

Handsome Australian Olympic Gold medalist Matthew Mitcham was back on YouTube at the end of this post-Olympic vacation. After what some might call a disappointing Olympics in London, Matthew and partner Lachlan Fletcher spent some time in Rome. Matthew, following a season plagued with injuries, was unable to be the first out gay man to repeat as an Olympic Gold medalist. But he has remained upbeat and positive, something I appreciate and applaud. He posted another video, this time breaking out his ukulele to sing an ode to his vacation spot, Rome. I'll let Matthew explain it to you.
"An ode to our vacanza Romana, I've done a little mashup of Morcheeba's "Rome Wasn't Built In A Day" and B-52s' "Roam" with my ukulele. Add a little footage of our Roman shenanigans and "presto!", you've got my very first iMovie!

I thought I would take a moment to remind everything they Matthew did four years ago in Beijing. Going into the competition, the Chinese diver was a heavy favorite to win the 10M Platform event, completing a sweep for the home country of all the diving gold medals. If you don't remember, check the video...

To learn more about Matthew Mitcham, you can find him on Twitter and Facebook. I am not sure what is coming up next for Mitcham, be it heading back to the pool for more diving, or whatever he would like to do. No matter what might have happened in London, I still think Matthew is a hero, competing as an out athlete to win a gold medal. Whatever the future brings, I just hope there are a few more adorable videos coming our way.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blues Great Long John Baldry

Long John Baldry longjohn

I have to begin this by saying that I had no idea who John William Baldry was until his death in 2005. This makes me angry, still to this day? By then, he was better known by his stage name, Long John Baldry. Of course, upon first hearing that name, I was given to thoughts that were less than chaste, to be sure. But then I learned it was because the British-born performer was 6'7", a tall drink of water to be sure. And handsome. But what made me mad was that even in the 1960s, when there were laws on the books making homosexuality illegal and punishable by time in prison, Long John was an out and proud gay man, making a career in music. I wasn't too familiar with him music until reading about his death, and his truly brave life.

Long John Baldry 1973 LongJohnBaldry1 301547q, Mandatory Credit: Photo by HARRY MYERS / Rex Features ( 301547q )The Beatles 'Yellow Submarine' premiere at the London Pavilion, London, Britain - 17 Jul 1968 - Long John BaldryVarious

In fact, he is thought of by many as the father of the British Blues, the first to bring the Blues to the UK, which gave him a pretty amazing group of friends. I will begin with a 1964 performance of "Got My Mojo Workin'", featured on the television special "Around The Beatles". The song was written in 1956 by Preston Foster, and first sung by Ann Cole. The popularized by Muddy Waters in 1957, whose version Baldry had heard, and persuaded him to cover. While Long John was out front singing, the background vocals were supplied by the Beatles, who invited Baldry to be on the show, and another popular group, the Rolling Stones. Nice friends, indeed.

Not only had he inspired the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, he also worked with Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones, aka The Rolling Stones. Later he also fronted a band that included Rod Stewart and Elton John. He also worked with Eric Clapton, a young musician looking to learn more about the Blues. It was also long-rumored that he had an affair with Dave Davies, lead guitarist for The Kinks, who later came out as a bisexual. If that weren't enough, Baldry topped the charts in the UK in 1967 with "Let The Heartache Begin", a song written by Tony Macaulay and John Macleod. In fact, Macaulay was quoted as saying "Long John Baldry sings it extraordinarily well, thanks to three-quarters of a bottle of Courvoisier." Here is Long John performing the song on a show in 1968.

In 1971, Long John released an amazing album, It Ain't Easy. It was produced by two friends, both of whom had worked with Baldry, wanting to learn about the blues from him. You might be familiar with them, their names were Rod Stewart and Elton John. In fact, 'legend' has it that Reginald Dwight was working with Baldry during a dark point in his life. A relationship with a woman had gone wrong, and Dwight tried to take his own life. Baldry and another young songwriter, Bernie Taupin, were their to pick up the pieces, and told the young man he was not in love with that woman, but instead with his writing partner, Taupin. When Dwight was coming up with a stage name, he chose Elton John, the last name an homage to Baldry. In 1975, John wrote "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" about that event with Long John Baldry. On the album 'It Ain't Easy', Long John sang an early song written by Taupin and Elton, "Rock Me When He's Gone". Unfortunately, the video was taken down, but here is his great recording of "Midnight Hour Blues".

In truth, the album had songs written by song of the biggest names of the day. They included Elton and Bernie, Leadbelly, Randy Newman, Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart and Ronnie Lane. The title track from the album was written by Ron Davies, an American Country writer. In fact, "It Ain't Easy" had been recorded not only by Davies, but also by the American group Three Dog Night, and British Rocker David Bowie on his historic album, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

Long John Baldry continued to make music up until the time he died. He had left England and moved to Canada. Baldry died on 21 July 2005, in Vancouver General Hospital, of a lung infection. He was survived by his partner, Felix "Oz" Rexach. They had been together some 30 years. After reading about him in 2005, I started finding him music, and realizing what a gifted man he was. And hot. And gay. I'm still angry I didn't know earlier, but so very glad I can celebrate the man's music today. To learn more about Long John Baldry, you can visit the official site dedicated to his memory. You can find much of his music on both iTunes and Amazon. I now have a bunch of it in my collection, and I don't think you can go wrong.

Derek Nicoletto • Champion Remixes

Derek Nicoletto Champion Remixes

The set of remixes for Derek Nicoletto's "Champion" have been released, and are waiting to join your iTunes collection. The eight-song package includes the album cut, and an extraordinary acoustic version featuring some brilliant guitar work from producer Jamie Siegel. Give a listen to "Champion (Acoustic Version)" and I bet you'll need to buy it...

In case you don't remember from an earlier post, "Champion" is a driving rock song with bold imagery, brash instrumentation, and a strong performance from Nicoletto, whose voice has a strength and depth perfectly suited to the song. Here is the video for "Champion".

You can find the Champion Remixed on iTunes and Amazon. The song is featured on the great album Kind Ghosts, which can also be found on iTunes and Amazon. For more about Derek Nicoletto, check out his official website.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Drake Jensen • Pancho & Lefty Music Video

Drake Jensen, Pancho & Lefty video
Drake Jensen, Pancho & Lefty video Drake Jensen, Pancho & Lefty video

Drake Jensen has released a new music video, tackling Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho & Lefty". The song is our first sneak peak at the new album Drake has coming out, Outlaw. Written for Van Zandt's 1972 album, the song is considered his most popular. It has been covered by the legends of Country music, like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris. Now, you can add Drake Jensen's name to the list. Check it out.

Drake is joined in the video by Jonathan Edwards on guitar and Rich Haller on the mandolin. Jensen is a fantastic Canadian performer, and out and proud gay man delivering strong Country music. For more about Drake Jensen, visit his official website, follow him on Twitter, or "like" him on Facebook. Outlaw is schedule to be released in early 2013.

Wrong Direction • Disclosure

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I have to give thanks to my friend JD Doyle for bringing this video to my attention. It seems like a group of handsome and sexy boys decided to put on their bathing suits to take on a politically-charged adaptation of One Directions' hit, "What Makes You Beautiful". They are making a statement about Mitt Romney's lack of full-disclosure, bit it his taxes, as well as a few other gaffs along the way. Did I mention the boys are cute, almost naked, and having a good time?

The video features the talents of Colby Melvin, Quinn C. Jaxon, David Brackett, Brandon R. Brown, and Johnathan Myers. "Disclosure" was written and produced by Conor Gaughan, Rob Conant, David Forest, James Fraenkel, and Keelin Clark of Full-Frontal Freedom, a coalition of independent artists and media folks using their creativity to promote civic engagement. Join the community, and check them out online. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, or the official website. You can hear what they are up to, or make a donation for their next project. They look to counteract the money spent by Corporate America on political races with intelligent and often humorous creativity, all to promote equality and freedom.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Dark Monday • From Dust to Dreams

Cheyenne Jackson & Laura Osnes
Cheyenne Jackson kisses Laura Osnes, that lucky bitch.

I happened across these clips from the upcoming PBS special From Dust to Dreams, to be televised in September 2012. As a big Cheyenne Jackson fan, I couldn't resist checking it out, and then sharing it with the readers. In the first clip, I was nearly giddy with the thought of Cheyenne singing the role of Tony in West Side Story. He takes on "Tonight", with Laura Osnes singing the role of Maria. The legendary show has music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

the also tackle another great Sondheim show, Merrily We Roll Along. Cheyenne, Benjamin Walker, Sherie Rene Scott, Laura Osnes, and Montego Glover sing "Our Time" from the musical, first produced in 1981.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Morning with Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt

Today I offer you a couple of songs from Country Blues artist Mississippi John Hurt. He was born in the 1890s in Avalon, Mississippi. He taught himself the guitar when young, and played for his lifetime. Artists who have covered his music include Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Jerry Garcia and Beck. I will start off with "Do Lord Remember Me", an old southern spiritual often attributed to Sally Ward Howe, who also wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".

He also recorded another classic spiritual, "I Shall Not Be Moved". While no one is sure who wrote it, it can be traced to the Southern churches. While it often is thought of as an abolitionist's song, it later was also used as a song of protest, including in the 1950s and 1960s for civil rights.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Night with Blossom Dearie

Blossom Dearie

For those of you who might not know who the amazing Blossom Dearie is, I will start off my saying she is not related to Mayim Bialik or her sitcom character 'Blossom'. Margrete Blossom Dearie was born in 1924, in the town of East Durham, New York. As a child, she studied Classical piano, and later took on Jazz as well. After graduating high school, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in music. She played in several groups, but in 1952, she relocated to Paris. By the end of the decade, she moved back to New York City, recording albums and playing in supper clubs. As she built a reputation in the clubs, she also occasionally appeared on a new television program, The Today Show. Then host Dave Garroway was a fan, and it really helped her career. During the later half of the 1960s, she was playing in clubs in the US and in the UK, gaining both popular and critical praise wherever she went. She continued to play for several decades, in clubs, theaters and Jazz festivals.

Blossom Dearie

Now let's get to the real point, her music. I will start with a favorite of mine, and countless others as well. This first song is "Peel Me A Grape", written by Jazz pianist Dave Frishberg, and performed to perfection by Dearie. The song offers a sexy humor that is too much fun. Check out this performance by Dearie from 1999, when she was 74 years old.

Next we will get the chance to hear Blossom sing a great song written in 1932 by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills, with lyrics added later by Mitchell Parish. "Sophisticated Lady" is a jazz standard, but no one performs it quite like Dearie.

"I Wish You Love" is a French popular song, with music by Léo Chauliac & Charles Trenet and lyrics by Trenet. Trenet first recorded it in 1942. In the 1950s, Albert A. Beach wrote an English translation, and quickly became an American standard. Enjoy as Blossom gives her own special reading of the song.

In 1927, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote the musical, A Connecticut Yankee. It was the musical take on Mark Twain's popular novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Several of the songs were sung by the likes of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan, and became Jazz standards. "Thou Swell" was perhaps the most popular of them, and was given this delightful reading by Dearie.

Finally, I wanted to add in one more very special song, by the amazing Cole Porter. "Give Him the Ooh-la-la" was written for the 1939 musical DuBarry Was A Lady. The original Broadway cast included Bert (Cowardly Lion) Lahr, Ethel Merman, Betty Grable, and Gypsy Rose Lee. It was Merman who introduced the song. I have to believe Blossom's take on the song was very different than that.

Blossom Dearie passed away in 2009 in New York City, at the age of 84. But she left a wonderful legacy of music that will be enjoyed forever. You can purchase Verve Jazz Masters 51: Blossom Dearie at iTunes and Amazon.

Judy & Liza Make Beautiful Music Together

Judy Garland adn Liza Minnelli

If I say "Judy and Liza", I bet almost everyone instantly got an image of a mother and daughter, both iconic actresses and singers who battled their demons quite publicly. I have no problem admitting their music is still part of the soundtrack to my day. Well, the early 1960s was the time this duo were in their heyday, with Liza in her late teens and Judy in her 40s. In fact, the following clip was part of The Judy Garland Show, the television show cancelled after the first season. Thankfully, it did leave video of the two singing several different songs, including the following. Judy and Liza sang a medley that included the songs: "We Could Make Such Beautiful Music Together", written by Henry Manners and Robert Sour; "The Best Is Yet To Come" written by the brilliant Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh; "Bye-Bye, Baby" by Leo Robin and the immortal Jule Styne for the Broadway musical Gentlemen Prefer Blonds and later sung on film by Marilyn Monroe; "Together (Wherever We Go)" from the musical Gypsy, written by hall of fame writers Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne. Enjoy Judy and Liza, recorded about 49 years ago.

Thanks for modern technology, you can purchase this and many other duets sung by Judy Garland with other bright stars on iTunes.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Raja • Sublime

Raja Sublime cover

Earlier this week, Sutan Amrull released his second single. Who is this Amrull person, you ask? For nine seasons, Sutan was the make up artists for America's Next Top Model, helping countless ladies strut the televised catwalk to fame and fortune. Still not sure? How about he is also known by the name 'Raja', winner of the third season of the RuPaul's Drag Race. About a year ago, Raja's first single, "Diamond Crown Queen", was released and debuted on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart, and soon made it into the Top 40. Check out the official video.

As I said, earlier this week Raja released a second single. "Sublime" is a Electro-Dance gem written by a favorite of the blog, SIRPAUL. The song is more melodic than the first single, but still retains that edge Raja loves. I haven't seen a video as of yet, but you can sample the song.

You can find "Sublime" on iTunes. If you enjoyed "Diamond Crown Queen", it can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon. For more about Raja, visit the official website. For more about SIRPAUL and his music, visit his official website. You can also purchase his latest album, The Horse, on iTunes or Amazon. I've heard through the grapevine SIRPAUL is working on the second video single from the new album, and can't wait to see it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dead Or Alive Revisited

Dead Or Alive

There are few bands that could raise the roof quite like Dead Or Alive, in every sense of the words. First, there was no bigger drag queen on the scene in the 80s than lead singer Pete Burns. At that time, the music industry called it gender-bending, but we all knew what they meant. Some of the glam rockers like David Bowie, Iggy Pop and other might have experimented a bit, but some of the New Wave kids took it to a new level. Like Boy George, Pete was riding the "New Wave" of music, only Burns took it to an edgier extreme, while George went more on the Pop route. Burns certainly enjoyed the Gothic side of music, and it came out in the songs.

Dead Or Alive

Their journey began in 1981, when Dead Or Alive released some non-album songs that didn't really have an impact in the States. In 1984, Pete Burns, Mike Percy, Tim Lever, Steve Coy, and Wayne Hussey were the lineup for the band. That same year, they released the first album, Sophisticated Boom Boom. The first single, "Misty Circles", went to #4 on the US Billboard Dance Charts. As you can see in this video, Boy George and Pete Burns shared that club kid look, although they would soon be taking different stylistic directions.

In 1985, Dead Or Alive released their second album, Youthquake. Well, it certainly had as great an impact as many quakes, for the first single the went to #! on the US Dance chart, and #11 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Soon, everyone was singing "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" everywhere, and loving every minute of it. Check out the video for the song.

That was followed up by "Lover Come Back To Me". The song, when made it to #13 on the US Dance chart, certainly wasn't as big a winner as the first, but I loved the song, and adored the video. Burns had this deadpan deliver that was too fantastic.

One of my personal favorites was also on the album, "Brand New Love". The song rocketed to the top of the US Dance chart, and soared to #15 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Pete continued to deliver a video performance that seemed like a tired Supreme, so totally over the whole thing, one eye-roll away from yawning. This was so contrasting the feeling of the song, you just had to smile.

I remember hearing them in the clubs and dancing up a storm! There was so much energy and life in their music, you wanted to be on the dance floor with them. n 1989, they were once again riding on top of the US Dance chart with the song "Come Home With Me Baby". It did not do as well in the Pop arena, for many thought the cavalier attitude toward sex at a time when AIDS was widely discussed by many citizens (although no one in the Republican Party). But check out the video for "Come Home With Me Baby".

As the years went on, controversy continued to surround the band. While their time in the spotlight was brief, Pete continues to maintain the attention of the public, and not always in positive ways. His issues with cosmetic surgeons hit the courts, with Burn winning settlements for bad work. Pete also made headlines when he divorced his wife of many years to marry his boyfriend. That didn't ever come to be, and Pete made more headlines distancing himself from gay marriage. Pete also appeared in the British version of the TV show Big Brother. You can purchase the album Evolution: The Hits, a collection of their hit songs, on iTunes and Amazon. To find out more about the band and Pete Burns, visit their official website.

Chadwick Johnson Revisited

Chadwick Johnson

I first brought you the sweet EP Soul Rising by gifted vocalist, Chadwick Johnson. You can find that post here. While I loved the music, I had a few questions about a couple of the songs, and they were answered by the man himself, Chadwick Johnson. I am always moved when an artist takes a moment to read the blog, and respond to a question or two I might have.

Chadwick Johnson

I got an email and Chadwick told me Soul Rising was dedicated the EP to his stepfather, Jeff Moll, who passed away unexpectedly last November. That explains why the project seemed so close to his heart, to be sure! In fact, he mentions that just before he sang the touching "Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground", written by the great Willie Nelson.

The EP was produced by Matt Bobb and the artist himself. In fact, they also wrote "Stain On My Heart" and "I'm Gonna Live" together for Chadwick to record. He also told me the song "Everywhere You Are" was written by Kalani Queypo and Kyle Puccia. Here is a video featuring a great live performance of the moving "Stain On My Heart" from the Release Party in Los Angeles.

To purchase your digital download of Soul Rising, go to iTunes or Amazon. To purchase the physical CD, complete with dedication and more pictures, go to Amazon. And his cover of Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" is only available on the digital download version. You can hear the music being featured on Jango Radio.

Chadwick Johnson - Soul Rising

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tom Goss & Matt Alber Live at the Atlas

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This past Sunday night, I was lucky enough to be holding a ticket for a show featuring Matt Alber and Tom Goss at the Atlas Theater in Washington, DC. The space was amazing, so beautifully designed and great acoustics. And a magnificent grand piano, I must add. And that piano came in very handy for the two talented singer/songwriters. Both played their guitars and tickled the ivories as they played some of their recent favorites for the full house of appreciative fans. For the moment, I am going to post these highlight clips of the show, with more to come soon. So I will start with Matt Alber, singing songs from both his albums, Hide Nothing and Constant Crows.

And is was Tom Goss who had the first set, filled with charm and some of my favorite songs from his recent albums Turn It Around, Lost Songs & Underdogs, and Back To Love. That includes a charming version of "Till The End", when Matt joined Tom on stage to play that baby grand. here are the highlights from Tom's set.

I had a brilliant time at the show, for for Alber and Goss were in top form. For more about Matt Alber, check out his official website. For more about Tom Goss, visit his official website. You can find their music on iTunes, Amazon, and, well, anywhere good music is sold.

Beyond The Mountain • This Old River Single Available

Beyond The Mountain - This Old River cover, Theo Tams Carly Jean

Well, I can't tell you how excited I was to hear the new single from Beyond The Mountain was available. What, you don't know who Beyond The Mountain are? The duo are two very talented Canadians, Carly Jean Campbell and Theo Tams. Theo has been featured on the blog before, loving his music very much. Together, they are making stylized Roots music, with brilliant vocals and gorgeous harmonies. This is a clip of the two performing the first single, "This Old River". I must warn you - I am loving the single, and have it on replay on iTunes. It is so addictive.

I won't beat around the bush here. "This Old River" is now available on iTunes. Buy it. No, buy it now. For more about Beyond The Mountain, visit the official website.

Mr. Z & the Shashka Frashkas • Starts With You Music Video

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It's not often I get to announce a new single and video by Mr. Z & the Shashka Frashkas. However, it wouldn't be the first time I am featuring the lead singer, Mr. Z. We are better acquainted with him by the name of Josh Zuckerman, a growly rocker. Seems the out and proud musician had more dreams than could fit on his Pop Rock albums, so he released a kid's album, From A to Mr. Z. Check out the video for "Starts With You".

I think that is a message we can all hear, and should hear! So give yourself a hug, and buy it! You can purchase From A to Mr. Z on iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon. You can also buy it for friends with kids, I am sure they will love it. For more about Josh Zuckerman, visit his official website.

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