Geoff Barton

ARTICLE ABOUT Ritchie Blackmore (Rainbow) FROM Sounds, January 31, 1976

There are some very interesting bits in this, one of them a comment about the lute, and the other begs the questionif Dio was in an illusion about whose band this really was.
A really great read from the legendary writer, Geoff Barton.
Read on!


The view from the top of the Rainbow

The Blackmore proclamation

`It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… who spends himself in the worthy cause… and whose place shall never know neither victory nor defeat.`

as read to Geoff Barton

IT’S BEEN a matter of the merest months, but even now , the original publicity shots are stacked in useless piles; already your just slightly scratched, only marginally over played album is outdated.
There’s been a second shower and the fading, at once suddenly jaded Rainbow has been replaced by another. One with newer, and probably brighter colours than before.
Gary, you see, has made way for Cozy. Craig’s place has gone to Jimmy. And for Mickey Lee, now read Tony.
Once again Ritchie Blackmore has moved on.
But it was callous, the way he kicked out most of Elf to further his own ends. Well, wasn’t it?
“The first album was recorded very quickly,” Ritchie relates. “I’d written some songs with Ronnie Dio, Elf’s vocalist, and the rest of his group were available for recording. We tried to get together as a band, we really did, but certain things were found to be lacking.”
Maybe callous ‘is too strong a word. Intolerant or unfeeling would have been better terms to use. Or perhaps none of them at all. Still, it’s true to say that to the average punter, the typical Deep Purple – Blackmore – Rainbow fan, however, the adjectives probably do ring true.
It does seem, on the surface and without a degree of insight, that Ritchie Blackmore has conducted his solo career rather ruthlessly: leavink Purple to join Elf, as some inaccurate reports would have it, recording an album as he did, and then, in the wake of its commercial success, ousting all the band’s personnel save one and drafting in replacements of his own.
Whatever your opinions on that score, I feel sure that you’ll renounce them soon enough. The new Rainbow, comprising carefully selected musicians, pulses with a seemingly boundless enthusiasm and almost fanatical verve, something that you rarely find in bands these days. After being in the company of the whole outfit for a few short hours, you can`t help but realise that Blackmore, even with all his wheelings and dealings, his acquisitions of new members, is infinitely right.
And it’s not just an initial freshness and excitement that the three of them feel, being in the band. It’s got permanence.


Munich’s snowbound Arabella hotel: conveniently sited above Musicland studios, fast becoming a veritable European recording Mecca, despite its comparative infancy. Rainbow are in Germany rehearsing, preparing to lay down their second album in a few days time. But meanwhile, we’re all packed tight in Blackmore’s room. Medieval music of his own choosing, full of lute, harpsichord and suchlike, is filtering through modest speakers, and we talk about the past, present and future.
I wondered, nonetheless, if Ronnie Dio felt saddened about the, shall I say, disbanding of Elf – which was, ostensibly, his band – to form Rainbow.
“Yes, I do. A little,” he admits, tonight looking more of an urchin than an Elf. “Three of us, myself, Mickey Lee Soule the keyboard player and especially Gary Driscoll the drummer, had been together for years.
“We knew each other so well that we dearly wanted to rise with Ritchie together. We fought the odds and we thought, ‘yeah, we’re all going to do it’.
“It was only when I saw myself progressing and the rest of them standing still, then gradually falling off by the wayside, that I realised that Elf had finished. It was a problem. It was sad. It was like cutting off a part of myself as opposed to just breaking up a band.
“But the joy of it was knowing that everything was going to be better for me — you have to think of yourself at some point. That offset the sadness a lot.”
And certainly, Rainbow’s remoulding puts paid once and for all to the aforementioned rumours that Ritchie Blackmore had left Rainbpw to join Elf.
“That was silly,” says Blackmore in his customary, if initially disturbing, monotone. “That was for silly people. In every interview I did at the time I made the point that I had not become a member of the band — but it didn’t seem to make the slightest difference!”
“It would have been obvious to anyone who had heard Elf’s music and had then listened to Rainbow that there was a vast difference,” interjects Ronnie, anxious to make his point. “Elf’s style was firstly moulded around Ritchie’s ideas and, secondly, my own. Ritchie and I had written some songs and we had a definite idea as to what our band
would be like.
“Really, I think that you have to consider the rest of Elf very fortunate in that Ritchie actually said, ‘all right, I want to use you on this album I’m going to do. I don’t want you to join, but I`ll use you because I think you’re capable of doing it.


“But recording is an entirely different thing to rehearsing, gigging and banging out songs. So it was that the various members of Elf left, over a period of time. It wasn’t anything to do with a lack of talent, it was just a lack of talent in the right direction. What I’m trying to say is Ritchie formed the band Rainbow, gave the others a chance, but then, being true to himself and true to the music he believes in, found out that it didn’t work.”
First to leave was the bassist, then, soon after, the keyboard player and drummer. Replacements are Jimmy Bain, Tony Carey and Cozy Powell respectively. Cozy’s tale was chronicled with fair accuracy in a recent SOUNDS interview:
a one time Jeff Beck sideman, late of Bedlam and Hammer, he was about to leave the musicbiz for motor racing when he got a call from Blackmore, who was in the States, asking him to come over. Cozy was the thirteenth drummer Rainbow auditioned. But they got lucky.
Neither Bain’s nor Carey’s stories have been documented so far, however.
Jimmy Bain is Scottish and, true to the saying, is is proud of it, even though his accent is already becoming tinged with an inevitable LA influence. Long haired, slight, friendly and an ex-Harlot.
“Ronnie saw me playing with Harlot at the Marquee when he and Ritchie were over in Britain doing interviews, just before the release of the first album. He sort of approached me, we drank 18 pints of Stella Artois, I went along with him to jam with Ritchie, managed to get my guitar out of the case, never actually played a note… but I found myself in the band!”
Were Harlot near to splitting up, when you were approached to join Rainbow?
“No, actually the band were doing quite well. In fact, we got more offers after people heard that Ritchie was interested in me than we ever did at any time in the past. People who totally ignored us before began trying to sign us up. They were all too ready to jump in when there was a name involved, but previously, when we were struggling, they just didn’t care. That wasn’t for me, it was too late. The band had been together for 18 months and nothing had happened during that time — I decided to move on and further my career.


“So I sat around with Ronnie and Ritchie and found them to be so totally compatible, totally professional people, in their atitudes, in everything. It worked.”
Tony Carey, meanwhile, is a 22-year-old, half Cherokee American Indian. Classically trained, he started playing piano when he was 12, and majored in string bass at college. He’s great. Jimmy Bain came across him when he, Ritchie, Ronnie and by that time Cozy were back over in the States.
“I was with a kind of Country and Western band, signed to ABC Dunhill, called Blessings at the time,” Tony recalls. “Jimmy bumped into me and said, ‘Hey, want to have a blow?’ I say, `Sure’.
“So I go down and there’s all this gross equipment and this big, huge soundstage. I took to some keyboards and played. It was the loudest thing I ever heard. I loved it. Oh, I loved it.” His voice is laced with exhilaration as he’s reliving that exact moment. “I played for about half an hour, then Ritchie says, ‘OK, let’s jam’. So he brings in Cozy, this monster, and asks, can you play this?’ — ratatataratatata! he goes. I guess I kept up. That’s the last thing I remember,” he admits, looking at me with suitably glazed eyes.
Now … back to the regularly scheduled interview. My first conversation with Ritchie Blackmore was, very much a feeling-of-the-way affair. I`d heard of his temperament, his mean and moody, ‘man in black’ image – true or not, who hasn’t? – and, although the victim of the inevitable practical jokes, I got through relatively unscathed. Second time around was more comfortable. Slightly.
“I was very pleased with the reaction to the first album,” Blackmore says, genuinely, “very pleased. My only criticism was that it could have had a little more zest.
“A lot of critics, I seem to recall, complained that it sounded like just another Deep Purple LP. Well, I wrote most of Purple’s music, so it’s obviously going to sound similar. I’m not going to start to play the classics or take up the lute,” he cocks an ear towards the continuing time-worn background recording, “just because I’ve started a new band and the critics want me to. The way I play is hard and heavy and I can’t alter that.

“I wrote something about critics once.” He stands up to rustle in a nearby briefcase and finally discovers what looks like a piece of scrap paper. On it, however, he has painstakingly written some sort of ode or proclamation. He reads it out loud and, curiously, it fits in with the quietly playing music, even though the subject matter appears to belong much to the present and is obviously close to his heart. ‘It is not the critic who counts,’ it runs, `not the man who poihts out how the strong man stumbles, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who spends himself in the worthy cause … and (whose) place shall never know neither victory nor defeat.’
Think on it.
To less enigmatic matters, I wondered how Ritchie felt about Deep Purple at present. Are they just clinging to the name and past glories? Or have they still something valid to offer?
The answer was predictably evasive: “Ahhh … I don’t know. I don’t take much notice of what they’re doing. I only listened to their new album once and, I suppose, they’re doing what I expected them to do. They’re just … awww, it’s not fair. I can’t be objective. Maybe in four or five years I’ll be able to. I wish them well, and that’s it.”
“Donny and Marie said it all didn’t they?” jibes Jimmy Bain.
Rainbow’s first LP was naturally, a formative effort, and while being unmistakeably Blackmore, had it share of rough edges. For the next album, which will be released in April, the band are striving for a more striking, more aggressive sound.
“All the songs on the first album were written at my own house,” Blackmore says, “then I put them down on tape and said to the band, ‘play this’. But now, with the new line-up, it’s every man for himself. We’re writing, funnily enough, in the same way that Purple used to write — if they used to write at all — during rehearsals and in the studio.

“It’s very hard, very much like early Purple in ‘In Rock’ days. There are some involved tracks, but I don’t think we ever lose sight of our original objectives. We’re not playing to musicians, we’re playing to the people,” he concludes, not sounding cliched, surprisingly enough.
Rainbow’s long-awaited British debut tour won’t be until August, when about ten dates are scheduled. There are plans to gig in the States two months after the album is released and then to play Europe. Blackmore hopes to bring the band’s entire stage show over to Britain: “We’ve taken a lot of trouble with our lighting,” he reveals, “we use as a backdrop the picture of the guitar-cum-castle, as on the album cover. We have a rainbow, as well”
A rainbow?
“Yeah. It was made in New York, took four months to make and takes six hours to erect. It’s run by a digital computer. It’s a vast thing, it changes colours like a real rainbow and eats up electricity like nobody’s business. We may even have to take our own generator, when we play Britain.”
As a final question, I asked Ritchie how he felt about the fact that both he and the band have figured strongly in the SOUNDS poll.
“Dynamic. I think that’s the right word. I haven’t thought too much about the people over the past few years, I’ve just been content to play the sort of music I like to hear. But obviously, others want to hear it too. It’s really nice to know that they’re listening.”
And he means it, kids.


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ARTICLE ABOUT Blue Oyster Cult FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

This band were on the verge of their big breakthrough at the time of this concert. Mr. Barton was not as impressed with the opening band…
Read on!


Concert review from Hammersmith

By Geoff Barton

Support act Lemmy`s Motorhead played the second worst set I`ve ever seen. The only past concert I can think of that surpasses it, in terms of musical ineptitude, was of course the same band`s first gig some while back at the Chalk Farm Roundhouse.
Blue Oyster Cult`s long-awaited British debut at Hammersmith Odeon on Sunday couldn`t have been further removed: far from careless and clumsy, the US band turned in the slickest, most professional, most finely honed `metal set` I have ever seen.
The Cult are a five piece: three guitars (mainly), keyboards and drums. The front line is shared more or less equally between unassuming lead guitarist Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser and `stun` guitarist Eric Bloom.
Musically, they are excellent: overall, the concert made the band`s recent live album `On Your Feet Or On Your Knees` sound like a demo record.
All the Cult faves are there, and an enthusiastic audience knew it: `Od`d On Life Itself`, `Havester Of Eyes`. `Buck`s Boogie` (overlong, in retrospect, and featuring the only lowspot of the evening, a heavy handed drum solo) and the encore to end all encores – a triple dose of `Dominance And Submission`, `Hot Rails To Hell` and an awesome `Born To Be Wild`.
The effects were impeccable: flame shooting from Bloom`s fingertips, massed revolving strobes, diz-busting explosions and, during the five – count them, five – guitar showcase `ME 262`, enough dry ice smoke to make Bradford look like a Green Belt area.
To say that Blue Oyster Cult lived up to my expectations would not do them justice. To predict that, when they return to do more dates in November, they`ll have the country on its knees, would be no rash thing. Od`d on the Cult themselves.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Deep Purple FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

Time would definitely tell for this record. A very interesting perspective from the time it was released here. Do you agree with Mr. Barton?
Read on!


Purple: tastes good, but…

Deep Purple: `Come Taste The Band` (Purple TPFA 6715) 39 mins.

Album review by Geoff Barton

Deep Purple have undergone personnel changes in the past and have always successfully pulled themselves through. Happily, `Come Taste The Band`, featuring guitarist Tommy Bolin in Ritchie Blackmore`s stead, brings the band out of their most recent crisis – although not as thoroughly nor as completely as you may have hoped.
This is a particularly fine rock album – but is that really enough? Although `Come Taste The Band` is on a rung above both `Burn` and the jaded `Stormbringer`, it`s not quite up to the required height. To justify their position as one of the world`s top bands and to quell the somewhat cynical rumours that they`ll never be able to fully recover from Blackmore`s departure. Purple needed to come up with a killer LP, something that would stand up proudly alongside the likes of `In Rock` and `Machine Head`. This isn`t it.
Tommy Bolin is an accomplished guitarist; of that there`s no doubt. He`s slotted into the band as neatly as a well-worn key into its lock. He`s injected a heavy dose of fresh energy – I haven`t heard Purple play with such boyish enthusiasm in a long time. His guitar work is succinct, immensely fluid, but never overbearing – indeed, `CTTB` displays a much freer, give-and-take musical attitude than even several early Purple albums.
The problem lies with the quality of the songs. Bolin`s songwriting prowess (he`s contributed eight numbers) is OK – yet he`s a long way from being able to write numbers of the calibre of `Space Truckin“, `Smoke On The Water`, or even (to switch to `RB`s Rainbow album) `Man On The Silver Mountain`.
Even so, they`re not appreciably different from the band of old, here – if anything, they seem to have consciously adhered to tradition, with numbers like `Comin` Home` (even though it has brief `Quadrant Four` guitar) and `Drifter`.
There are snatches, however, that may serve to betray the direction in which Purple may move in the future: the initially punchy `Love Child` has an incongruous funky section, together with what could well be Billy Preston`s moog. `Gettin` Tighter` and `I Need Love` have brief funk passages, as well.
Still, before I get too tied up in (minor) criticisms, let it be said that there is a lot to get excited about, here: notably the rampant `Dealer`, with its `Purple Haze`- like opening, timely ballad section and Hughes` meaty vocals more than making up for its hackneyed lyrical theme, and `Lady Luck`, a potential single.
`Come Taste The Band` is an album that stands head and shoulders above your normal mundane rock release, but at the same time the question must be asked: does it show enough potential and promise to ensure the new Purple a safe passage into the future? Time will tell.

Deep Purple

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM SOUNDS, September 20, 1975

Mr. Barton was not convinced by Cooper going it alone. Quite an interesting perspective in this one.
Read on!


Alice`s pantomime

Concert review by Geoff Barton

“Well, …. it`s surrealist, innit?” remarked the girl sitting in front of us, eyes open wide, staring at the impressive Empire Pool stage.
Alice has obviously spared no expense for this show: two tall, translucent grey pillars with a thick beam lying on top of them, like a futuristic version of Stonehenge, dominated the platform. In between them was a bed of twisted metal, beside them an over-large toy box, behind them provision had been made for a band. Surrealist indeed.
The Heavy Metal Kids got the evening off to a raucous start: front man Gary Holton was as obnoxious as ever, tripping over periodically and telling his year-old jokes (“We`re gonna play a dancin` number now, but seein` as you`re sittin` down rub your asses on the seats”) The Kids were brash and loud, but didn`t try quite hard enough to win over the crowd. No encore.
Alice took to the stage after a long interval and, tugging at his red leotard, cavorting gormlessly around to tunultous cheers, snarled out the appropriate opening lines to `Welcome To My Nightmare`.
It soon became clear, however, that what should have been the ultimate fusion of rock and theatrical excess was in fact no more than a rather lewd pantomime.
Alice, taking the lead role in this epic, has well and truly discarded his malevolent, blood-lusting `Killer` image and now reminds you of a demented Jack minus his beanstalk.
He plays the frightened little boy, plagued by rotten dreams: he`s taunted by groups of superbly acrobatic dancers, he cowers, crawls, sits cross-legged in front of the toy box and enjoys a Punch and Judy show – in all, a rather embarrassing role.
He acts a vengeful Peter Pan figure who slashes with a sword, kicks around a limp female dummy, is attacked by bulbous spiders and decapitates a blundering cyclops – theatrical overkill, at times laughable and mostly less than convincing.

This was Alice`s trip. If nothing else, it served to tax his abominable voice and reveal to one and all that he has the absolute minimum of stage presence. He should never really have gone it so completely alone.
Alice`s musically excellent band were demoted to mere backing musicians. They were lined up at the back of the stage and could generate little excitement because of their seemingly minor roles (except for the Steve Hunter/Dick Wagner guitar duel, one of the highspots of the evening). Alice had to carry the whole show – and he just failed to pull it off.
It was all precisely timed and choreographed: a combination of live and filmed action, where dancers would leap from and into a cinema screen was quite impeccable – even though it wasn`t rock and roll. Many were all too easily impressed by the effects – the biggest cheer of the evening arose when a giant spider`s web was hoisted up from wisps of dry ice and not when, for example, Alice sang `No More Mr Nice Guy` or `Department Of Youth`.
Even when the theatricals were over and the band played straight rock and roll for the encore, it was strictly anti-climatic. I believe solos were played, though the only clear view I had was of the keyboard player`s head.
“I expected something a little more spectacular,” said the same girl at the end of the concert. I wouldn`t necessarily agree with that – but I do believe that Alice should save shows like this for Broadway and at the same time carefully assess his position in the leading role.


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ARTICLE ABOUT Hawkwind FROM SOUNDS, May 10, 1975

I keep noticing that a lot of the articles that I post these days are by either Geoff Barton or Pete Makowski. These two men have, throughout the years, been utterly important in promoting and making known to us all much of the music we are still listening to today. Their contribution to modern music history must not be underestimated and they deserve a place in the history books when the story of modern rock music goes down on paper.
Oh, well… here`s a good one with those guys from Hawkwind!
Read on!


Hawkwind: Not a single minded band

Feature by: Geoff Barton

Almost tasteful. A remark that can be taken two ways, to two different extremes: either complimentary, or derogatory.
`Wind are taking it as a compliment, and seem well pleased with their new album which has been called, as I`ve said, `almost tasteful`.
“The album`s called `Warriors At The Edge Of Time`,” remarks drummer Simon King. “Or is it `Warriors On The Edge Of Time`?”.
“I believe it`s just called `Warrior`,” counters co-percussionist Alan Powell.
“No, no, no,” says Simon, “I`m sure it isn`t. I did the layout for the sleeve, after all…”
Typical Hawkwind vagueness and uncertainty – but, given the events surrounding the recording of the album (the title eventually being resolved to `Warriors On The Edge Of Time`), quite forgiveable.
“Yeah, we did it in about a week,” says Simon. “That was totally insane – but at the same time I enjoyed it. We had just one track – Simon House`s – laid down before we went into the recording studios at Rockfield. There, we laid all the backing tracks down in about three and a half days. Then, after we had a couple of days off, we went down to Olympic and added bits here and there, dubbed over vocals and mixed it all. That took about three days, and it was finished.


“We had to do it in such a short space of time because we`re soon to tour America. Atlantic, our recording company over there, needed an album to coincide with our visit. It was just fortunate that we had the numbers written and that we managed to get it ready. Still, we got it together and now we`re just sitting here waiting to go over to the States.”
The new album, released in Britain within the next few weeks, as the introduction to this piece suggests, features a much more mature and varied band. While not totally devoid of archetypal Hawkwind numbers, at the same time there`s a fine 6/8 track written by Simon House (“Just to prove that we can do some things that aren`t 4/4”) and a mellow acoustic contribution from Dave Brock (a `The Watcher`). `Space Ritual` type narratives also make their return, with Nik Turner and Michael Moorcock handling the spoken parts, and both Alan and Simon contributing the atmospheric backing.
The album is broadly based around sci-fi author and on-off Hawkwind member Michael Moorcock`s character Erekose, the Eternal Champion.
“It links up with a lot of Moorcock`s books,” says Alan. “We`ll probably do some more work with him for the next album. Not a lot, just bits here and there. `Warriors` was originally going to be some sort of concept thing between us and Moorcock, but it never really came together except for a few of the tracks – the poems, and the lyrics for some of the songs.”
Are you looking forward to returning to America?
“I really can`t wait,” replies Simon. “The first time I went I didn`t like it at all, but now that I`ve got to know some people over there I`m really looking forward to it. It`s only going to be a short tour and we`re going to play familiar places, so it should be perfectly all right.”
Will you be playing numbers from the new album on the tour?
“Yeah – but actually it won`t be the first time we`ll have played them live,” Simon says. “We gave them their debut on two British gigs at Yeovil and Dunstable a short while ago – which we kept quiet about. We just wanted to try them out, you know.
“I expect you can remember the saga at the end of our last British tour – we had to blow out a number of the final dates, because everyone was physically and mentally wiped out, retarded. It was unavoidable.
“We`ve only partially recovered now,” he jokes, “but what with doing the album and having to have a break, we`ve only had the chance to do two of the cancelled gigs. We did virtually the whole of the new album on those dates together with a few of the old numbers. It worked really well – we were so enthusiastic about doing new numbers that the old ones sounded fresher as well.”



Hawkwind have so far been unable to equal `Silver Machine`s` singles chart success. You may remember the band voluntarily withdrew their follow-up single `Urban Guerilla` from the shops just as it was about to break into the charts because of political implications – bombs were being planted all around the country at the time. A noble gesture, but one that in the end proved harmful for the band: the newest single, `Kings Of Speed`, seems to have flopped rather badly.
“Never mind, I didn`t like the number anyway,” admits Simon. “Apparently, we had to do a single to fulfill our record contract, but really we don`t know how to make them. A band like Sweet, for example, can go into a studio and turn out great three minute singles. I`m not a Sweet fan, but give credit where credit`s due, most of their singles work well.
“We`re not singles-minded, we can`t do things in their way. If Sweet had done `Kings Of Speed` then maybe it would have been a hit – but when we laid the number down we felt like, well, we had to do it, so let`s get it out of the way as soon as possible.”
Last time I talked to Simon, he seemed quite enthusiastic about the single. Why the change of heart?


“Well at one point I was quite into doing the number, I was quite into getting a few things done. `Kings Of Speed` could have been okay, I suppose, but really it was a case of `too many cooks`. People kept on saying to us that it had to have this, had to have that. In the end the band didn`t want to know. It got released, and it just got overlooked. I wasn`t bothered at all, you know?”
I thought the single did fairly well – it may even still be a breaker.
“Maybe, I don`t know. I wasn`t even aware it had been released for some time. A lot of people say to you that the band could really do with another hit single, and all the rest of it. Well okay, maybe we do. I don`t think we do, but I might be wrong. I probably am.
“After all, Chelsea got relegated and I thought they were going to win the league.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Back Street Crawler, Mallard, Leo Sayer, Mud, Jet, Average White Band, Al Green, Ray Charles, Chinn and Chapman, Hawkwind, Slade, Genesis, Dr. Hook, Helen Reddy, Alex Harvey, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Bill Munroe, Kraftwerk, Kinks.
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.