Cassettes – Strays And Detritous From Years Of Dubbing

In a shake up of the office arrangement in our house, Cindy moved her desk upstairs and I moved my desk to my music room. Technically I had only used the room sparingly, and less so since I stopped making YouTube videos intended for The Vinyl Community (howdy y’all!) so this seemed a great combined use of the room. Office / Music Room.

I moved the desk that was in there out to make room for my big Ikea desk and suddenly the room seemed messy and claustrophobic. I embarked on a large scale cleanup. Turns out it was just a mess of things that needed to be collected and put in one place largely, but I did notice that there were piles of cassettes, well, everywhere.

There were store bought tapes, bootleg tapes, dubbed tapes, blues tapes… all in separate piles. I decided that they needed to be dealt with. For one thing, I don’t even have a tape player set up at the moment, so playing any of these tapes would be a project. I’d have to set up a tape deck and maybe I will, but right now, I just wanted to get things straightened up. So… I brought them all out of the room and piled them on the desk to be sorted.

To be fair, the blue basket in the middle is CD’s, but everything else is tapes. Not shown here since it took up too much room was the case of blues tapes. However the 2 piles on the right are more blues tapes that didn’t fit in the case.

There is no reason to keep them in this case, which by the way, is held together with electrical tape. This was the first decision I made: to get rid of the case and box the tapes. I have a renewed interest in these tapes since Alan’s “The Blues” came into my life, but none the less, the case is still superfluous.

So I sorted and sorted and sorted.

All the blues tapes fit in 3 photo boxes (which I had bought for $2 each specifically for this purpose) and I thanked the tape case “Marie Kondo” style and put it in the garbage. I also got rid of a case that held 12 tapes and was silly. I think I got it at a garage sale for a buck with tapes in it.

I went through all the pre-recorded tapes and got rid of some, and stored the rest.

I also fit all the bootleg tapes in one box.

In the end I got rid of 4 unmatched plastic bins that I had been using to store tapes, each only 1/3 full, and put everything in matching boxes and the sheer space was reduced by a lot. Success!

The only thing tape-wise not shown here, that remains a project… are the strays and detritus of a lifetime of tape dubbing. Tapes with no labels, labels with no tapes that I still hope to find, tapes with post it notes on them and variations thereof.

I have had a small box like this for years. That Buddy Guy & Junior Wells at Biddy Mulligan’s bootleg tape was awesome and somehow I don’t have the tape anymore, but still have the box. Is it one of these unlabeled tapes? Who knows. Maybe. Jeff Healey A and B, great but which albums and where is the box?

I was a freak about having boxes, labeled properly and so this makes me sad, but somehow, I have had these for years and years. I took a stand and brought them upstairs today and am determined to go through them. If one of these unlabeled tapes is not Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, I need to accept that it’s gone and toss the j-card. Sigh.

Not having a tape deck set up, I had to get out the Panasonic RQ-L317.

I have had this little tape player/recorder forever. I have taped shows with it, and used it for making tapes for Alan. Not sure how it got melted on the cover, but it still works.

The first tape I put in to check out turned out to be a blues mix of my fave tunes. I could now recreate this tape on my phone of computer in like a minute, but I recall that it took an afternoon to put together using 2 tape decks. Ah, technology.  I’ll make a label for it and keep it.  Still love it.

I also have a label from my “Brown Bag Studio” days. This was when I was using old crappy tapes and making j-cards out of paper grocery bags on my dot matrix printer. I loved the uniform look of them on my shelf and have several blues tapes still with these covers. Sadly, Walter Horton and Black Ace, 2 albums I recorded from Madison Public Library vinyl, seem to be missing.

This took forever to set up on the computer and usually required a couple tries to get the song list to fall into the right place. There was no template for this and it was all trial and error. This one came out pretty good.

There is also a tape that I recorded from Dalton, not sure what it is yet, that I noted the date on the j-card that I recorded it from him. I was going to do this on all the tapes I recorded from him, to 1 denoted that I had gotten it from him and 2 note the date for some reason. This was soon replaced by digital and mix CD’s and such, so this is a nice relic. Just slightly over 30 years old… man I can’t believe it.

P. S. It’s Iron Maiden. “Number Of The Beast” on one side and “Piece Of Mind ” on the other. Nice.

Another item is the missing Luther Allison recorded at local Barrymore Theater (July 10 1997) which I copied from a supervisor Jeff T. when I worked at Erdman still. It was an awesome tape, recorded from the radio or soundboard and Luther jammed. Sadly, now missing. If it’s not in this set of orphaned tapes, I’m gonna have to actually toss the post it note.

Update! The Luther Allison tape was in the box and has now been labeled. Only took like a handful of years.

Other updates:

A Buddy Guy & Junior Wells @ Biddy Mulligans 1982 bootleg tape was reunited with its cover and box.

The Jeff Healey turned out to be a bootleg show, though I have 0 information. Still good and now labeled.

I came across a tape that had Backstreet Boys on it. Not mine. The kids must have used the tape at some point. I DID come across a tape with Ace Of Base on both sides and I’m afraid I must claim that one.

This tape was NOT recovered:

The Albert King album “Live Wire, Blues Power” was the one that introduced me to Albert King. It will be missed. It wasn’t easy, but I placed this j-card gently in the trash and turned away quickly.

I have now dealt with all the tapes in that box. Some success, some loss, but at least the remainder can be filed into the appropriate boxes of like tapes and I will likely never create such a box of randoms and strays again.

I listened to the Mike’s Blues Mix several times. Good stuff.

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1 Comment

  1. I feel your pain when it comes to mismatched tapes and cassette boxes. I kept 50-100 cassettes for years and a few years ago my wife convinced me to scale down the collection in the name of space management i.e. limited storage in the house.So I went through many old pre-recorded tapes and got rid of some good ones but with the thought “I can always get those albums on I Tunes or something”. But you can’t buy sentimentality. I kept a lot of recorded tapes of my radio shows and interviews and even mixed tapes. Must digitize those at some point.

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