Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sound Alike 8-tracks

This is my official attempt to create a discography... well, maybe a tape-ography of the releases created by a shit hole company named "Sound alike Music". They also seem to have gone under the name "Delmar" so who knows what they were really called.

Each one of these 8-tracks is a tribute album of a specific artist done by some fly-by-night band that never made it anywhere in the music industry (possibly because some of them REALLY sucked).

There's a lot of problems with these 8-tracks. Without even getting to the music that's contained on them, the biggest problem I had with these is they all play very unreliably in my machine. The tape garbles in the same exact spots every time I play them. This leads me to believe that Sound Alike used the absolute cheapest bottom-of-the-barrel tape to fill these cartridges. While refurbishing these for reliable playback, I tried everything in my power to make these tapes play properly, but I had to accept the fact that these tapes just don't fucking work right. If I play an 8-track released by a major label, it plays for hours without sounding like it's having an emotional breakdown, so the problem certainly isn't my player.

I've been collecting these 8-tracks for a while, and I'll likely find more (and post them here for your listening pleasure). If there's one positive thing I can say about them, it's that the person who painted the album covers did a really nice job.

I've left the spelling errors intact just because spelling errors are unintentional comedy that I don't have to write myself. Some of the songs are split up between two programs and I couldn't be bothered to patch them together, so don't be surprised if a song suddenly gets interrupted by a cue tone, a clunk, another cue tone, and then continues to play as if it was just your imagination playing a prank on you. That's just the way the 8-track format worked.

I've put the entire albums up for downloading, just because there something here for everyone to loathe. If you don't want all this garbage cluttering up your iPod, I've selected one special song from each for your sampling pleasure.

Songs Made Famous By Led Zeppelin
Performed by The Chancellors


01) Dy'er Maker
02) Whole Lot Of Love
03) The Ocean
04) Black Dog
05) Dancing Days
06) Stairway To Heaven

I don't know who The Chancellors are, but they shouldn't be covering Led Zeppelin songs. These ones are pretty bad. The singer isn't very good, and the guitar player is an insult to Jimmy Page. Whoever mixed this doesn't know what a volume control looks like, so everything's all fucked up when it comes to the right parts being loud enough. But believe it or not, this isn't the worst Zeppelin tribute album I own.

A Tribute To Linda Rondstadt

01) You're No Good
02) Rescue Me
03) Long, Long Time
04) Leavin' It All Up To You
05) I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
06) Different Drums
07) Rock Me On The Water
08) I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You

I don't think this sounds like Linda Ronstadt, but the songs aren't performed all that badly. Linda Ronstadt never had much of a knack for writing her own shit, so this is likely a cover album of covers. Therefore, I'm going to give this band credit because it's pretty hard to fuck up a song that someone else already fucked up.

Rick Michaels Sings
The Best Of Englebert Humperdinck


01) Domage Domage
02) Release Me
03) There Goes My Everything
04) The Last Waltz
05) Am I That Easy To Forget
06) A Man Without Love
07) I'm A Better Man
08) Les Bicyclettes De Belsize
09) The Way It Used To Be
10) Winter World of Love

If this guy was singing songs by Engelbert instead of Englebert, then I'd say he sounds a lot like him! Rick has a little extra vibrato in his voice due to this tape playing like it has Parkinson's Disease.

Here's a copy with an alternate cover.

Phil Shields Sings
The Best of Tom Jones


01) I'll Never Fall In Love Again
02) Help Yourself
03) A Minute Of Your Time
04) Without Love
05) Daughter of Darkness
06) Young New Mexican Puppeteer
07) It's Not Unusual
08) Detroit City
09) Green Green Grass of Home
10) Delilah

Phil does a good job recreating the sound and power that Tom Jones has. If I didn't know better, I'd say this is a live Tom Jones album.

Ladd Hooker Sings
The Best of Elton John


01) Bennie and the Jets
02) Your Song
03) Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
04) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
05) Honky Cat
06) Daniel
07) Crocodile Rock

Why the fuck did this guy have to do Bennie and the Jets? In my opinion, it's the WORST song Elton John ever did. On the subject of this recording, it's passable. It's not awful nor is it crap. There's just nothing fantastic about it except for the terrible recording job on "Saturday Night".

According to a search on the internet, a second volume was also released.

A Salute to Jerry Lee Lewis
Done by Various Artists

(Between 9128-9138 - Part of the label is ripped off on my copy)

01) Hound Dog
02) Johnny B. Goode
03) Slippin' and Sliding
04) Kansas City
05) Good Golly Miss Molly
06) Long Tall Sally
07) Great Balls of Fire
08) Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On
09) What'd I Say

Another really boring one to listen to. Was Jerry Lee really so untalented that he had to cover everyone else's stuff? It could be anybody playing these songs, so why is it specific to him? I really don't know.

Cabbage Sings
The Best of Grand Funk


01) The Loco Motion
02) Walk Like a Man
03) Rock N' Roll Soul
04) Upsetter
05) We're An American Band
06) Footstompin' Music
07) Closer To Home

Cabbage makes me fart. An 8-track of someone eating cabbage and then farting would showcase more talent than these guys. This 8-track was also released in quadraphonic. If anybody has a copy that they're willing to part with, I'll have no problem putting it up so everyone can hear shitty Grand Funk covers in four discreet channels of surround sound-ish goodness! I've got a quad player just waiting to bring some realistic displeasure to your ears.

Songs Made Famous by Alice Cooper
Performed by Zachary Meadows


01) Only Woman Bleed
02) Elected
03) No More Nice Guy
04) I'm Eighteen
05) Welcome To My Nightmare
06) Muscle of Love
07) Billion Dollar Babies
08) School's Out

Zack faithfully duplicates Alice Cooper hits such as "Only Woman Bleed" and "No More Nice Guy". The band is tight, the covers are pretty faithful, and Zack should've taken his talent somewhere else instead of serving the idiots at SAM Studios (which according to the Elton John tape is located in both Los Angeles, California and London, England!)

I found a couple of mentions of this oddball record label on the internet. They made TONS of these 8-tracks.

Here is a link to a site called the 8-track Shack who has a number of these up for sale. There's lots of Quadraphonic versions of these, but there's no way in hell I'm paying $35-$50 for one lousy tape.

Here's a tripod site called "The 8 Track Landfill" which briefly mentions a couple of these treasures.

Hopefully more will make it here in the near future!


H said...

Benny and the Jets is one of my least favourite songs of all time.

Anonymous said...

I was playing the Led Zeppelin one, and i noticed the defects. if you want your 8 tracks to be 'repaired', you should take these ALL (especally the Led Zeppelin one) and send them to KATE'S TRACK SHACK and get them repaired...because regardless they need new Pads and Splices (and along the way, if you tell them , they may be able to repair the problem causing the tape to have 'tension')
5611 Louise Way Dr.
Arlington, TX 76017
prices are resonable. and i swear you need to spend money to get this repaired ITS A CLASSIC!!!

Ben Century said...

I'm very much aware of Kate's track shack. I've also been repairing 8-track tapes for 20+ years. About 98% of the tapes I repair play fantastic. The fact that most of this specific line of tapes play like garbage after being repaired leads me to believe that there were major defects in the manufacturing process, especially with the tape itself.

These tapes were made solely to make money, and they were made by companies who didn't care about quality control. Shoddy shells and bottom-of-the-barrel recording tape reduces cost and increases profit.

Play every single major label 8-track in my collection and you won't hear a single defect.

Anonymous said...

this is the guy who said about kate tracks shack, you should have a 'pro' look at it to get the 'glitches' out of it. Also if you play WHOLE LOTTA LOVE and listen very very closely, in 2 places, you can hear LED ZEPPELIN ORIGINAL I swear you can, but it is very quickly. in the background...very faint but its there. as if they were playing along with the song then erased it...

pcolamiles said...

I have searched the Web for years for anything about the buddy had it back in the 70s...this is the first time I've found anything...thanks!

Shades Below said...

Wow, these are bad! Production-wise, these sound like a bunch of guys in a musty garage recording these songs into an old battery-operated reel-to-reel recorder, or an old answering machine. I can picture these things being sold at gas stations, or the local Rexall drugstore for cheap, and the people who bought them (without checking the label!) and popped them into their tape-decks quickly hurled them out of the car window!

Anonymous said...

I recall music industry "public awareness" ads in magazines that showed a pirate 8-track versus a legitimate one, urging people not to be duped into buying shoddy pirates. I'm pretty sure that at least one of these tapes was shown as an example of what not to buy. I believe the ads also asked people to contact police if they spotted pirates being sold, but I could be wrong about that. Such a very long time ago and the memories blur.

pcolamiles said...

This is my 2nd time commenting on this ... last time was almost 4yrs ago... again I had trouble finding it... I have trouble remembering Chancellors... I just remembered the guy I knew that had this one killed himself around 1980... I was fucking his girlfriend's twin sister for a minute... in 77 I was 14 and she was 17... Sweet!!