August 2, 2000

The backgrounds for these last few months are starting to look like Easter eggs so in an attempt to achieve harmony I put a dark backdrop for August. And since I havenít been scoring much 8-track wise itís relevant.

I suppose the problem with 8 tracks lately is not so much quantity but quality. I could easily drive a 50 mile radius from this computer and have no problem getting  200 tapes for like $30.00 but it would be fodder like Englebert Humperdink, 101 Strings, and  Willie Nelson. Since the basement is full of boxes of this crap whatís the use.

Lately Iíve been making my own multi track guilty pleasure eclectic tapes with blanks. They come in lengths of 40 min, 60, 80 and 90. I have a short attention span and when I think about it I really canít name a single album I can listen all the way through, maybe thatís why Iím so into K-tel compilations. Finding enough "cream" for an 80-min tape is a lot of work.

None of it would be played on those "Golden Oldies" stations and I often wonder if people ever get tired of classic rock? Itís like the DJ has a play list of 20 songs in rotation over and over for the last decade that have now taken on a muzak- like quality. I canít even listen to Hotel Calif. or Stairway to Heaven the same way I canít drink Budweiser beer anymore.

Strange,  Iíve never thought that finding 1960ís-70ís tiki culture memorabilia would be easier to score, must be the area. Iíd put a tiki link on this web page of these great objects but when I signed up on the "8 Track Web Ring" (In blood mind you). I signed away my soul. That contract strictly forbid "Any non 8 track pages" and I donít want to have an unscheduled visit from the 8-track mob here. "Youíve got a nice Weltron here, It would be a shame if something were to happen to it".

One pays dearly for accessibility, maybe after the 20,000 hit on this page youíll be able to find it on a keyword search instead of the obscure links.


August 5, 2000

The 12 garage and yard sale safari began with the usual finds- Polynesian pop culture relics, knick-knacks shaped like body parts. Today was a mug for a decongestant product modeled after a nose. 8 tracks have slowly taken a back seat to these finds due to their scarcity.

I ended up in a line for an estate sale that would only allow 12 people in at a time by "Strict Order of The Fire Marshall". I wonder how many yard sales have been  officially inspected in this manner. Will metal detectors soon be a staple at garage sales?

20 min later I was inside and found a quad Herb Alpert tape and the soundtrack of The Fiddler On the Roof, not worth bragging about. The other two tapes were a copy of Bing Crosbyís Hey Jude/Hey Bing! That sounds like the Beatles meet Mitch Miller. I also snagged a copy of The Sandpipers-Come Saturday Morning.

The Sandpipers can be heard on those "Beautiful Music" easy listening stations and were a trio from LA in the 60ís who sing in a relaxed dreamy style. They use to tour with a go go dancer in boots and a mini skirt which makes about as much sense as well, Bing Crosby singing Beatles tunes.

The reason Iím making a big wow about it is they cover the Theme from Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls on this tape. This is probably my favorite film and once when I heard Roger Ebert was in town for a book signing years ago I forced my way to the front of the line and quized him on all the BTVOD and Z-Man trivia (he does TV commercials) I could before I had to move on.

When Orson Wells was 24 he made Citizen Kane. When Roger Ebert was the same age he did BTVOTD. These are the only films you need to see.






August 8, 2000

Today I found the first cartridge of the two tape set called This is The Moody Blues. Iíll add it to the shelf where I have The Beatles Part 2 1967-1970 tape 2, The Beatles Part 1 1962-1966 tape 1and The Quad Isaac Hayes Live at the Sahara Tahoe tape 2.

I wonder where the other half of these twin tapes are? Probably on the floor of some rig heading towards Texas, at least when they change tracks they donít continue on the missing tape.

August 11, 2000

Todays present came in the form of a dog chewed 8 track case filled with 15 cartridges that probably belonged to some truck stud.

I got the hard sell at the sale when I asked how much and the woman gave me the clichť 8 track used car salesman line that beginsÖ"They donít make these anymore, $10.00 for them all."

As I composed myself ready to escape she said to make and offer and I said $2.00 and she turned sour grapes and whined "Theyíve been in the garage for years and I donít have a player." With that I seized the booty.

I may have overpaid. Hereís the verdict ,

Into The Furnace

3 Donna Fargo tapes (who?) 6 Lynn Anderson (Huh?), Hank Williams, Glen Campbell and Gary Pucket

Life without Parole

Truck Drivin Man-Various Artists. I donít like the music but I love the idea of a musical genre targeted at people who drive rigs. I drive a Ford Festiva and want music I can call my own too.

Not Guilty

A tape called British Gold that has such classic rock commodities like Laya (the decent version not that horrible bossa nova unplugged that radio stations with slogans like "The station that everyone at work agrees on") play. And lots of British invasion obscure Beatles cash in tunes whose music I havenít heard in decades.

Guilty By Reason of Insanity

I dig this one, itís a cheep bootleg called "Convoy". I thought it would be a knock off of C.W. MaCallís 70ís novelty CB radio hit. This tape sounds like it was recorded at a karaoke bar and the bad musicians and off singers tackle the nadir of the 70ís like Ė I Write the Songs, Country Boy and a passionless version of The Bay City Rollerís S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night where the singer sounds drugged. They donít make em like this any more, shame.



August 13, 2000

No 8 tracks today but I found something strangely similar, 3 Betamax videotapes. The parallels with 8 tracks are obvious and I once heard that the reason that they stopped making them was a corporate coup by Panasonic that made them the sole video company for movies made past a certain date. The reason I sound vague on this is I only found one page on this subject thatís like a poor mans version of 8 Track Heaven . The links are outdated and have everyone's favorite "This Page Cannot Be Found" message.

A lot of 8 trackers say the clunky size of the tapes led them to be replaced by cassettes but thatís the exact opposite of Beta tapes. Of course everything will be moot once DVD take over this quaint technology. Better stock up now. I wonder how much a sealed ET will go for on Ebay?

August 19, 2000

Today I found a portable player put out by that harbinger magazine Readerís Digest. I guess I should play one of these RD 8 track compellations with titles like "Great Masterpieces or Some Enchanted Evening but those make Ford Car 8-tracks sound like Iggy Pop. Readerís Digest is so wonderfully square that it nearly works on the camp level. The joke page is so innocent and dry it always breaks me up and I memorized one years ago for a reason I canít explain-Where do you take a psychic cat? To the ESPCA. That joke fascinates me in a similar way that sock monkeys do.

It has a handle on it so that makes it a portable even though it weights like 20 pounds. The sale was kind of funny and Iím not sure if the woman was serious or not. While I was scrutinizing it she greeted me in that frightening used car salesman manner, telling me how it was her fathers and by his headboard for 15 years and to please test it since the sound is "just perfect".

I did and it was so I bit my lip and asked here how much and did a double take when she said a buck! Righteousness prevails

 It even came with batteries

August 23, 2000

Anyone worth their pinch roller has heard of those staid CARtridges like Chryslers "The Sound of Stereo" and Oldsmobile Presents. Well this little oddity I got a few days back was put on the major label Audio Techniques and is named "Motor Home Owners Guide". It is 4 tracks of car and maintaining a mobile home. This is much more in tune with contemporary 8-track stereotypical culture than say a Cadillac tape.

A few choice cuts are ĖSafety Tips, Electrical and Plumbing and my personal favorite, Vacationing Tips where the narrator give trailer driving tips to the strains of a flute. "Go to a supermarket parking lot after is closes and practice turning."

It blows away any car tape but then again what doesnít?







August 27, 2000

A chance stop led me to one of those dreadful yard sales that are 80% toddlerís clothing and barrels of fast food toys that they canít choke on.

So I was thumbing through the 9 albums she had in the corner and she said half jokingly "Do you know anyone who still listens to 8-tracks?" I froze, stood up and she retrieved a medium sized box of tapes. This would be a nice fantasy story but  was brought back to Sequim was when I saw that most of the tapes were country music. Out for like 30 cartridges I nabbed The Alan Parsons Project, Grover Washington Jr., Barry Manilow, and the Broadway recording of A Chorus Line.

 This tape really offended my delicate sensibilities. When I popped it in the car player I heard such gutter language that would make a sailor blush. What gives, I thought these expletives were reserved for that vulgar Compact disk technology. So to restore order I tossed in the Manilow tape and heard him doing a number with Lily (One ringy dingy) Tomlin? This was almost as surprising as the swearing .What brought up this strange alliance? Maybe Lionel Richie should perform a duet with Ruth Buzzi? I want the recording rights.







August 30, 2000

Today weíre discussing 8 track tapes I own and covet but never listen to. In a lot of ways I think of these tapes as precious gems that I remove form the vault, fondle, and return to their respected pedestals. Some music is best seen and not heard.

  1. 1. Lou Reeds Metal Machine Music in quad. I got this one years ago still sealed and in hindsight I probably should have left it that way. The stereo version induces a splitting headache in 2 min but with quad you double your pain. It would be nice to have a 4-bedroom house and put one speaker in each bedroom hooked up to an alarm clock. I bet when Lou made this album he thought he was Andy Warhol and could get away with it.
  3. 2. The clear Muntz tape of Trini Lopez Music. The transparent nature makes this one a keeper but add on that cool Muntz pirate logo and Iím so there. What a great tattoo that would make.
  5. 3. God Bless Tiny Tim 4 Track (Yes I know it's not an 8 Track). I have a Tiny Tim playtape, a Tiny 8 track of his second album and 6 of his CDs (the horror). I donít have a 4 track player and probably never will so this tape plays homage to the lost art of pinch rollerless cartridges.
  7. 4. This is a Japanese Karaoke 8 track and the image on the tape recalls those stereotypical Japanese bar maids. When I was living in Hawaii there was an institution called a "Korean barí where co-workers of mine would spend their entire paycheck in one night for the pleasure of the company of these barkeeps in some dark booth. This tape captures that scene perfectly and sometimes when I miss the land where palms trees sway I just look at this tape and fix myself the most popular Hawaiian cocktail- Miller lite with ice. Such is life
  9. September 1, 2000

    What a wonderful start for the month. I feel like Columbus when his ship sailed past the horse latitudes. Today in one of the poorer sections of town there was a garage sale that showcased boring contemporary items. I use to think the impoverished held on to old stuff because thy couldnít afford now things but now they just seem to go into a credit card indentured servant debt and keep up with the Jonesí like everyone else.

    The kindly old gentleman there had a case of 12 8 tracks by the porch and saw my zeal at the rock tapes and said he had more inside but didnít think anyone would want them. So I asked to see them and was soon salivating at an estimated 300 cartridges that filled a large box and 2 shopping bags (not grocery bags mind you, but Old Navy bags).

    I tried to contain myself when on top I saw The Clash, Gary Numan, Rockpile, and a Bread Quad. I only had $15.00 in my wallet and would have put my car down as collateral if it were necessary but he went for my offer and looked as excited for it as I was (no way).

    Of course like John Travolta sang so eloquently "You canít have rainbows with out the rain." On closer examination I saw that about 40 of them were horrible gospel tapes reserved for either the very religious or the masochistic (make offer). But I got 5 K-tels Iíve never heard of, Cheech and Chong, a disco dance instructional tape and what really made my pupils enlarge was a copy of Frank Zappaís Ship Arriving too Late to Save a Drowning Witch on his Barking Pumpkin label. Thatís news to me on 8 track.

    My player has been on for the last 6 hours with no end in site and Iíve barley dented the pile.




                                                                                                                                        So Many Tapes, So Little Time

September 6, 2000

I was feeling particularly gutsy today and ventured into the paper bag of religious tapes I got last week. So I grabbed about a 10 of them and picked up a portable off the shelf to see if any were tolerable.

Gospel 8 tracks are a strange lot, I guess Iím not crazy about hearing someone sing about someone elseís experiences. And how many times can you praise Jesus before the boredom sets in? Blind faith doesnít leave much room for creativity. My Favorite Religious singer is Little Marcy.

Here are the meat and potatoes of the pile albeit itís more like a Slim Jim. Presenting (Dig this cartridge title) The Astonishing Outrageous Amazing Incredible Unbelievable Different World Of Gary S. Paxton. Mr. Adjective scores points with me for his originality. His songs are loud with a country twang but the titles are a breath of fresh air from the same old Amazing Grace core. The standouts are- Weeds, Sophisticated Savage, and You Ainít Smokin Them Cigarettes (Baby Theyíre Smokin You). Yes I know itís not great but what did you expect.

I may take a road trip to K-tel Seattle this weekend, and I do pick up hitchhikers. 

While they listen to Whitney Houston I'll listen to Thelma Houston



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