Miscellaneous Rumbles

Mix Tapes?

1

Something I've been doing lately is buying cassette tapes at the local thrift store. I needed blank cassettes for a few different projects, and the River City Rescue Mission has them for $0.05, but I soon discovered what a veritable treasure trove of old mix tapes were on those shelves.

In particular I've come across a collection of tapes made by a guy named Jack for his (friend, sister, girlfriend?) "dear Jan". The guy had great taste in cassette quality, which is the reason I first picked them up, but he also seems to have had some pretty cool taste in music. Based on the tracks, these were probably made between 81-91, usually containing the latest (presumably) post-punk/new-wave numbers along with some classic female vocalists (I'm guessing these were Jan's favorites). He obviously put a lot of care into making these, listing artist and title for all the tracks, sometimes decorating the inner sleeve or including little notes to "my dear Jan".

Anyways, before I start crying about how unbearably 80s-hipster-romantic these two must have been, I'd like to share one of the track lists, because it's a really awesome time capsule:

(Almost) Cocktail Cak pt. 2

a

  • Public Image Ltd - Radio 4

  • Joy Division - Love will Tear us Apart

  • New Order - Ceremony

  • Wild Swans - God Forbid

  • Young Marble Giants - Final Days

  • Weekend - Past meets Present

  • The Gist - This is Love

  • The Gist - Love at First Sight

  • New Order - Temptation

  • A Certain Ratio - Lucinda [this one's my personal favorite, check this band out]

  • Modern English - Melt with You

b

  • Stranglers - Golden Brown

  • The Jam - English Rose

  • OK Jive - En Route

  • The Jam - I am called Malice

  • The Jam - Absolute Beginnings

  • Marlene Dietrich - Falling in Love Again

  • Edith Piaf - Non Je Ne Regrette Rien

  • Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man

  • Louis Prima & Keely Smith - Yeah Yeah Baby

  • Die Doraus und die Marinas - ?

  • Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe

  • Talking Heads - Don't Worry about the Government

  • Blondie - Touched by your Presence

  • Velvet Underground & Nico - Femme Fatale

  • Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

  • The Pretenders - Stop Your Sobbing

I can post more of these if people are interested.

2

Mostly an 80s thing going there with some serious classics.

I keep thiking I am going to use a bunch of sealed cassettes I have. Although the turntable and LPs went out very recently... 25 years after everyone else-- I may stay connected to The Modern World of Casettes a bit longer.

3

That's just to cool. I'm fortunate to come from a very lively, erudite, well read, educated, and witty family, the witty being at my expense more often than not. We as a family have always made gifts of books that we have read and mixed tapes (and then CD's) of the music we were into at any given point in time thus giving all of us a very eclectic book and music collection. It is funny how myself and my siblings try to put together the most inspiring mix for any holiday or special event. A mixed tape is a window into the soul of the person who spent the time to make one for you. It is cool.

4

I do indeed like the Louis-Ella.

5

While I definitely appreciate the fidelity of records or later digital media, the accessibility and interactiveness of the cassette made it a super cool medium. I grew up at the tail end of the cassette's heyday, but I remember fondly making mixtapes and my own recordings. My first guitar teacher used them heavily in my early lessons.

6

I first saw cassettes in my high school language lab during my sophomore year in '65. They weren't commonly available till the early '70s. They outlasted 8 track carts, and were easier to deal with than reel to reel. Still, they had terrible sound quality compared to reel to reel or records even with the advent of Dolby noise reduction. The ease of use and personal recording are what made them great. The record companies were all up in arms over them, wanting to add a surcharge because they knew people would be copying records and passing tapes around. I liked them for their portability, and I could play cassettes and leave my records pristine. I'm old enough to remember 78s and when 45s and 33ss were new, and as such, I'm a nostalgic old man. I still play records on occasion, but I got rid of my tapes years ago. CD's far better frequency response has spoiled me.

A caveat---don't bother with anything longer than 90 minutes. Anything longer uses thinner tape and won't hold up.

7

Oh yeah, I have no illusions about the sound quality on these tapes, no nostalgia for hiss and low bandwidth. I just think it's a neat cultural phenomenon, how quickly we abandoned something that was so ingrained in our lives for decades.

Finding these is just such a cool snapshot of these people's lives, something that was once so personal and important, forgotten in the corner of a thrift store in the middle of nowhere, available by the box-full for fifty cents.

I went in looking for some Type II cassette's for my homemade tape delay, and I came away with a list of artists to check out and a mysterious story about two people who cared about each other 30 years ago.

8

Somewhere I have the mixtape that helped to make my wife fall for me.

It was like a sonic bouquet of roses, that you put thought into, carefully crafting, and hoping she would see your intent without being so blatant as to say "I Love You"...that'd be uncool.

Such tracks as "Answering Machine" and "I Will Dare" by the Replacements, "Cheer" by the Decendents, plus the Swans version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" were all part of my mixtape. I had dozens.

Fun to make and listen to as well.

9

The Swans "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is on one of these tapes! Any chance you used to go by Jack?

10

nice choice from the Blondie repertoire

11

My brother and I got a couple of boxes of Ford Trac Com mechanic course cassettes from the early '70s and re-recorded music over them. Of course we were pretty sloppy, recording until the tape ran out and not bothering to erase a partial song. On some, the song ended and then the mechanical lesson continued. The clowning around and freshly learned guitar bits we did are on those tapes are priceless.

12

I have a tape of my Dad and Uncle , drunk as hell, playing harmonica (Halls of Montezuma---and neither was a marine) and telling bad jokes. It's horrid quality, but priceless.

13

Memories. And sometimes that's all you have. Good post Slim.

14

Thanks, Chris. My Dad's been gone for 40 years, and my uncle about as long. The one year I made it home from the service for Christmas, my cousin made it home as well, my Dad and Uncle included us in the all night harmonica and beer festivities. "Today, I am a man!" I still think about him daily, from advice and the things he taught me to the stupid dad jokes he told. How many guys could make Polish/English puns? He was a B-17 crew chief, an interpreter that helped liberate a couple of Nazi death camps, a machinist, TV repairman, mechanic that wrenched on Indy cars, and was a master of most trades.

15

The Swans "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is on one of these tapes! Any chance you used to go by Jack?

– Otter

My Dad was Jack, but he had a Jazz record collection and 8-Tracks.

16

Otter, please do post more track listings when you have time.

17

Sure, here's another one I've been listening to this morning. Definitely got a thematic thing going on side B.

This Chicken Man Ain't Wearing No Drawers!

a

  • Swans - Love Will Tear Us Apart Again

  • Michael Jackson - Ben

  • Patsy Cline - Sweet Dreams

  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Running Scared

  • Dolly Parton - Jolene

  • Bobby Brown - My Prerogative

  • (The World Renown) Del Rubio Triplets - Light My Fire

  • The Seekers - Georgy Girl

  • Lesley Gore - You Don't Own Me

  • Joe Tex & the Sexolettes - I Don't Want to Bump No More

  • Blondie - Pretty Baby

  • Johnny & June Carter Cash - Jackson

  • Jeannie C Riley - Harber Valley PTA

  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Deanna

  • Eydie Gorme - Blame it on the Bossa Nova

  • The Supremes - The Happening

b

  • Lene Lovich - I Think We're Alone Now

  • Nina Hagen - New York New York

  • Lene Lovich - The Bird Song

  • Nina Hagen - I Love Paul

  • Lene Lovich - Telepathy

  • Nina Hagen - Africa Reggae

  • Lene Lovich - One in a Million

  • Nina Hagen - Fruhling in Paris

  • Lene Lovich - Angel

  • Nina Hagen - Zarah (intro)

  • Lene Lovich - Joan

  • Nina Hagen - Zarah

  • Lene Lovich - Home

  • Lene Lovich - Lucky Number

  • (Can't Get Enough of Those) Del Rubio Triplets - Walk Like an Egyptian

18

Oh yeah, I have no illusions about the sound quality on these tapes, no nostalgia for hiss and low bandwidth. I just think it's a neat cultural phenomenon, how quickly we abandoned something that was so ingrained in our lives for decades.

Finding these is just such a cool snapshot of these people's lives, something that was once so personal and important, forgotten in the corner of a thrift store in the middle of nowhere, available by the box-full for fifty cents.

I went in looking for some Type II cassette's for my homemade tape delay, and I came away with a list of artists to check out and a mysterious story about two people who cared about each other 30 years ago.

– Otter

Screenplay. Graphic novel. (I'm marking the date, just in case) Beautifully put, Otter.

19

Haha, sounds like a very hip rom-com

20

Slim, they just don't make men like that anymore, or maybe men like that were just in the right or wrong place as history exploded around them and a few had the fortitude and shoulders broad and strong enough to carry the load and face every new thing that came down the pike. Your father as you describe him was such a man.

21

I think this is my favorite one so far. Some serious deep cuts on this tape.

(Original) Cocktail Music ジャンJAN

a

  • Rip Rig & Panic - Intimacy, Just Gently Shimmer

  • Blue Orchids - Conscience

  • Marilyn Monroe - You'd Be Surprised

  • Marine Girls - He Got the Girl

  • Benn Watt - Waiting Like Mad

  • Edith Piaf - La Vie En Rose

  • Talking Heads - Heaven

  • Die Doraus und Die Marinas - Zu Spät

  • Joy Division - Decades

  • Billie Holiday - Gloomy Sunday

  • Joy Division - In a Lonely Place

  • Marlene Dietrich - Falling in Love Again

  • VU & Nico - Femme Fatale

b

  • Connie Francis - Where the Boys Are

  • Billie Holiday - Stormy Weather

  • Strawberry Switchblade - Trees & Flowers

  • New Order - Your Silent Face

  • Petula Clark - Downtown

  • Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding

  • Tammy Wynnette - Stand By Your Man

  • Nat King Cole - It Was Fascination

  • Bessie Smith - Lost Your Head Blues

  • Kindertotenlieder *

  • Tracey Thorne - Simply Couldn't Care

  • Lulu - To Sir With Love

  • Bing Crosby - Moonlight Becomes You

  • Felt - Evergreen Dazed

* This is an awesome synth pop version of a weird old orchestral poem about kids dying. I wish I could find the artist's name, but I'm still looking.

22

Of all the folks who are real good at making music. Not a huge country fan unless you would include Blue Grass and New Orleans and all those Black dudes that started it all and a bunch of other regional guy and girls that still make it happen. I was just listening to an old Dolly Parton tune and, MY God, that girl has a voice just like the angles showed up and allowed for us to hear it. I will find her works and put some on my next mix.

23

This is really fascinating stuff, Otter. No kidding. It's like that guy Howard Carter uncovering King Tut's tomb and the first words out of his mouth were, "I see wonderful things."

There are wonderful things on these tapes you've discovered. (Die Doraus und die Marinas on that first tape you have no song title. Probably "Fred From Jupiter," their big "hit.") I actually grew up listening to 90% of the music on these tapes. Heck, for a moment I had to scratch my head and wonder if these were my mix tapes!

Anyway, a profile of Jack could easily be drawn from these tapes. Decent looking, college educated, fine taste in women, no drugs or alcohol. And he probably never did get Jan. Just a platonic relationship. Watch any of those '80s teen movies for proof of that.

Truly fun stuff you are posting here. Keep it up.

24

Yeah, I haven't been able to track down that Doraus song title. It's not Jovian Fred. Luckily Spotify seems to have a great catalog for Doraus, so it's really a matter of skipping through the D und M collection to see what sounds similar (I don't understand a lich of German), which I haven't done yet.

I have made a playlist from this most recent mix tape if anyone is interested:

https://open.spotify.com/us...


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