lately i've been reminiscing about the tape mix which i am sure has been done here before but just go with me on this one. from time to time i've found myself humming or singing a random song from long ago to ella. the other day it was the samples' "feel us shaking" and i started to remember how i first heard it on a tape mix my friend allison made me in high school and it was my very favorite tape mix ever. i'm wishing i wrote down the songs so i could re-create it today. anyway, to this day when i hear a song that i had on a tape mix, i always anticipate the next song to be what followed on that tape. i can hear "uncle john's band" (which, confession time here, i've always been the worst on remembering song titles and ended up calling it "uncle john's cabin". such. a. loser.) on the radio and then i always expect to hear "can't help falling in love with you" by lick the tins from the "some kind of wonderful" soundtrack. likewise, when i hear "into the mystic" by van morrison, i always expect to hear van's voice get all smooshed and squashy at the beginning because on THAT tape mix, the ribbon broke in a tape player and i had to perform surgery and gently tape the two ends together. it played but poor van got all mangled.
cd mixes are great, don't get me wrong. i am sure all of this has been explored in "high fidelity". but there's something about the challenge of getting just the right amount of songs on a tape so the last song doesn't get cut off and still have a good theme in place. plus, the tape insert was just the right size for wacky drawings and liner notes. and the tape in general was the perfect size for mailing, stashing in the glove compartment or carrying around in one's back pocket. somehow cds have gotten all messed up with those rotten slim jewel cases. i hate those slim jewel cases. can i get an amen?
my junior year of high school -- 1990 -- my dad called on his way home from buying a car to tell me and my brothers that he got a used car with a tape player. we were estatic. we loaded our arms up with our fav tapes and tape mixes and waited for my dad to get home. my dad pulled into the driveway behind the wheel of a white, two-door 1978 mercury zephyr. there's was nothing cool about this car. but the allure of a tape player propelled us to swarm the car and peering into the window we saw the horror of horrors: AN EIGHT TRACK TAPE PLAYER. tapes fell from our hands as we let out a collective "daaaad!". jesus h. luckily -- luckily -- the previous owner sent my dad packing with a shoebox of eight tracks. instead of tooling around and listenting to a cool led zepp tape mix my friend kevin made me as an intro to led zeppelin, i got to listen to elton john, barry manilow and yes, the bee gees. it wasn't half-bad, truth be told.
i wish i kept my all old tape mixes. there's one i stole from my friend william when we lived in wilmington that rich made that had all sorts of tunes by bicycle face and belly and i don't even know who else on it but i loved it. even if i had a tape mix on me right now i wouldn't know what to do with it...i don't have a tape player anymore. i'm pretty sure i have one old tape william made that has some of his old songs on it back when he was in cool bands. it includes a great rendition of "mmm mmm mmm" by crash test dummies sung with his brother robert at a fair where they had one of those recording booths. it also includes a great song called "constipation" performed by one of his bands with the infamous line "constipation! IN MY ASS!". if i find it, i'll somehow figure out how to throw it on a mix for you.