Wednesday, March 17, 2021

My Oldest Mix Tape

The day my mother showed me how to use a blank cassette and the record button, I was hooked. I have no clue what day that was, but it was pretty early in life. 

Today, I'm diving into my personal collection of junk and sharing one of the first mix tapes I ever recorded. When I was around five or six years old, my mother decided to join a religious cult. Due to this life-changing event, there were certain things I was no longer allowed to have in my life such as Christmas & Birthdays. Other things suddenly became satanic such as certain nursery rhymes & songs that originated from other religions. It's obvious that this cassette pre-dates the cult life because the song "Put Your Hand in the Hand" appears not one, but THREE times on this cassette. Also the nursery rhyme "1,2,3,4,5,6,7, all good children go to heaven" hasn't been cut, and I distinctly remember doing this when recording the record in question to cassette at other times during my youth. There are also no songs from the first Mini Pops album which my parents purchased for me shortly after I recorded this tape. So this cassette is a real place mark in life, and I'm actually very happy to still have it after all this time. My mother generally made a habit of throwing away some of my cassettes, and somehow this one survived every single one of my room cleanings. 

At this point in my life, I was completely illiterate. I only knew what record I was selecting by the pictures on the cover, the logo, or the color of the record label. To get the name of the classical music pieces on side B of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" record (which are included on this tape), I did a Google search and came across the cover for it which terrified the shit out of me. This record was given to me by my aunt who sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago.

So now, let's talk about the tape itself. The label folded over the top and the one rusty screw are all that's holding this tape together. By the tiny bit of label left, I can tell that this was a Woolcrest 60 minute cassette. These cassettes were sold at Woolco, three in a bag for one special price. The 60 minute tapes were red, and the 90 minute tapes were yellow. However, what's inside the shell of this one is a very different story.

It became obvious that I transplanted this cassette at some point, possibly because I stepped on the original shell and broke it. This was most likely a K-Mart branded cassette. My surprise came when I transferred it and realized that it was a 120 minute tape. K-Mart tapes had different labels for different lengths: C-60 was red/orange, C-90 was green, and C-120 was blue. I haven't seen a K-Mart branded C-120 in decades. These cassettes were also sold as three in a bag.

The stereo used to record this was a Morse branded floor model unit with a turntable, cassette and 8-track player, kinda like the one pictured above except without the fancy disco decorations. I distinctly remember chewing on the chrome-trimmed rubber that ran along the edge of the fake wood panelling.

So here's some highlights about this cassette:

- It is (currently) 38 years old

- It contains 57 tracks which are mostly children's albums (some of which I've already covered on this blog)

- It's full of splices, dropouts, and twists

- It contains 45 RPM records playing at 33 RPM and vise versa

- There is a song by Alan Alda

- You can hear the record player shut off at the end of Side B

- Contains an Engelbert Humperdinck song which skips repeatedly for a while

In other words, this tape is an absolute mess. Due to this tape being a C-120, it was a real marathon to get through while digitizing it. While I somewhat remember the joy of recording this cassette, there's not as much joy listening to it in my 40s. However, the fact that I could fill a C-120 as a five year old child is a true testament to my addiction to music. This cassette may also be partially the reason why this entire blog exists.

These are the albums I took some of the content from:

- Funtown with Petite & Mayor Bob

- Petite Sings For You

- Elvis' Gold Records Vol. 1

- Engelbert Humperdinck - Sweetheart

- Walt D1sney's Acting Out The ABC's

- Marlo Thomas - Free To Be You & Me

- The Western Union

- Varous 7" records

So now, let's celebrate the content of this cassette! I shall give you some highlights and a download link if you choose to torture yourself for two hours.

Listen to Engelbert skipping

Listen to a portion with a twist in the tape

Listen to the French version of Bunny Beat playing on the wrong speed

Download the whole mess

Yes, I know I've been a bit absent. February is usually my "dead" month due to the winter blahs and there's lots of stressful garbage going on at work. I always come back, and I have another couple of entries in queue which should be fun. See you again shortly!

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