CASSETTES COLLATED

A few years back I came across a seemingly serious new event: International Cassette Day. Apparently some misguided souls were entirely genuine in wanting to reenergize this obsolete and never-very-good-in-the-first-place medium on the back of the (then) nascent vinyl revival. Well, LPs are certainly going strong, but thankfully cassettes remain consigned to the back of the audio wardrobe in a small battered cardboard box, where they rightfully belong.

Still (I thought at the time) it might be amusing to take some slightly tongue-in-cheek photos of cassettes and see if anyone thought they were fun. A few did.

So as part of the clean-up of the Vinyl Connection back room, those photos are compiled here. Hope you get a smile.

Cassette - The Band

Jules & The Polar Bears

Cassette - Kong

cassette matchbook

#3 Cassette - Kraftwerk

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And the bonus ‘new’ cassette photo…

Kiss cassette

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Got a favourite amongst these? Do tell…

Got a defence of the cassette as an audio medium? Do tell…

 

48 comments

  1. Well,the cassette was a lot less clunkier than the 8-track. So it had that going for it. I never did own a bunch of pre-recorded tapes. But,I sure did buy a bunch of Maxell XLII-90’s.I was contributing to the downfall of the major record labels at a young age….ted

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was a TDK man myself, but definitely plowing (or perhaps pirating) the same furrow.

      Like

  2. WOW I had lots of those Maxell XLII’s seen above!

    I have a favourite but I don’t need to tell you which 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe it’s on your list (of the best things in life). Or that’s what Hall and Oats told me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I almost gave up on Oates when he shaved the ‘Stache. Almost. Faith was recently restored when I read that article about his relationship with his mustache!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sounds a bit hairy!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I never seemed to have enough side stickers for the number of times I re-recorded my tapes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful. Homesick and Horny? are the Mighty Kong any good? that title would have sold me the album easily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mighty Kong was a transitional band/album between the wonderful Daddy Cool and the radio friendly Mondo Rock. I rather like the album.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have a Donkey Kong (the video arcade game) story and I’ve been trying to tie it together with this album for ages! If it ever happens, the album will get a review spin.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Outside of its wonderful legacy of the mixtape, not a lot I can defend. 8-track still sounded better, but their size and function made cassettes (along with the fact you easily fast-forward & reverse them) the popular choice. Still, the slow type speed and narrower tape width bequeathed way too much “hiss.” Vinyl, and of course reel-to-reel, still sounded better.

    Well, if I could give the cassette kudos, it’d be for making audiobooks much more convenient, widespread, and practical. Hell, as with any new format coming down the pike, not all material comes with it. Just like there is music still on vinyl and not CDs, MP3, or streaming, there are some audiobooks only on cassette. And I can finally digitize them — owning cassette mp3 encoding deck myself. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, digitising. A twenty-first C process!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just bought a cassette from a musician the other night. I love them and still buy them. In fact, there are so few artists that sell them, I snatch them up whenever I see them.
    Also, believe it or not, they really hold their value. Just check out the prices of them sometime on Discogs.
    If you have a quality 3 head deck and decent tapes, you can make wonderful music.
    Cassettes got a bad rap because the gear was often low budget, plus most people never service the equipment. A little bit of alcohol on a Q tip and some adjusting goes a long way towards better sound.
    Pre recorded cassettes (especially pre 1990’s) were often lower quality, and so many assumed that is how all cassettes sounded.
    I have mentioned to a few fellow bloggers that with the proper deck and cassette, if you were to be blindfolded, you would not be able to pick out which one was the cassette. None believe me, but it is true.
    I have been wanting to do some cassette posts for years.
    Perhaps now I will.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Boppin’. Great to read an apology for tapes. It sometimes seems that everything is collectible, so why should cassettes be any different?

      Look forward to your series!

      Like

  7. I am torn between the Kiss and the Mighty Kong. I was out at some trendy store with my daughter and they were selling brand new cassettes. I couldn’t believe it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AussieByrdBrother tells me that artists on Bandcamp sell cassettes too. Fancy that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mostly due to cost and turnaround.

        Over here at least, there is a wait time of up to a year to get vinyl pressed. Also, there are minimum quantities a band must order and many can not afford to press that many. Plus some are stuck with boxes of vinyl if they do not sell.
        Cassettes are cheaper to produce, no minimums, and fans like them because they are retro and less expensive.

        My last few purchases on bandcamp were cassettes. Many are limited versions.and I even bought one with a bonus track not found on cd.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Also, I almost forgot rhe issue of shipping.
          For me, the shipping costs often make vinyl too expensive, but cassette shipping is much nicer.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Too true. Shipping vinyl is a pain in the neck. It often gets damaged and costs a bomb.

          Like

        3. Fascinating, but still strange. I just cannot imagine that small run CD releases would be more expensive than cassettes.

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        4. Cd’s are done by everyone so they are usually my 3rd choice behind vinyl and/or cassette . Usually if a band has all 3, the vinyl and/or cassettes are limited runs and the cd’s are more for the masses.
          I usually only buy the cd when it is a deluxe version or import with bonus tracks.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Fun! How does the boy feel about your having raided his belongings for props (fuzzy bear, banana-munching ape, nifty robot)? (Or do those belong to you?) I’m old enough that my very first stereo (General Electric) had an 8-track tape player. I was a big fan of cassettes–the Sony Walkman debuted during my college years–and, like other commenters here, I have a soft spot for mix tapes. Of the ones you’ve presented here, I think I like Mighty Kong the best, for the aptness of the toy ape’s expression upon seeing a fellow simian with a human squeeze. Lastly, how were the pancakes at Errol’s Pancake Parlour?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not as good as the gateau at Cafe Lalo (which I patronised a few times in 1993. What a name dropping plonker I am!).

      The boy wanted my robot in exchange for the use of his toys. I said no, of course.

      The Kong is my favourite too. “What do you mean, all I get is a banana?”

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Just the other day I was speaking to a chap who said that The Dream Syndicate’s Days Of Wine and Roses was his entry point into decent music and I has to confess that I only had it on cassette. I then dug it out out, played it and it sounds great. I’ve got three large boxes of cassettes festering I thought but with time I’m going to delve into them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a fun bit of re-discovery. Hope you find some half-forgotten gems.

      Like

  10. These are great! My favorite would have to be Kraftwerk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a sexy robot, isn’t it? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes indeed! 🙂

        Like

  11. I love the matchbook covers.

    I don’t know why people had problems with tapes. I still have a lot of my old ones and they play just fine. I have a dual deck component in my stereo, and a walkman in my desk drawer! So I dunno if I’m defending them, but for me they’re just another way to get sounds in my ears.

    There’s a kid at work in a grindcore band. They made an EP, printed CDs and tapes. He said on their mini tour of Ontario last month, the tapes sold out first.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Data from the field of grindcore. Love it.

      Confession: I have a radio/cassette player in the bathroom and sometimes roll a tape.

      Like

  12. I have one tape somewhere, it’s a C100 that Roy Harper sold me at a gig called Born In Captivity II. I cannot find it and if I did would have no way of playing it, it later came out as Unhinged on CD missing the best ever version of Short and Sweet. Apparently there were only 2000 made. I bet it’s gone, now I feel quite sad.

    My son just told me his car has a cassette player so I could sit in the car I guess.

    I recently found one of those small cassettes that went in answering machines, I dread to think what is on it.

    I like the Polar bear picture best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good story, Neil. Hope you uncover the Roy Harper cassette (C100, eh? Very generous) and can take up your son’s offer to occupy his car.

      Like

  13. Several things:-
    Who’d have thought cassettes​ would bring out so much passion? I went to check my buried stash – not an original among them but I think a Chick Corea might be around somewhere. 30 or so of talking stuff in the storage box – some produced by me for marketing purposes; great fun at ICI. Another dozen mixes that were a wonderful way for distance-friends to inform each other about faves etc (cassette-pals?).
    Mighty​ Kong getting my vote.
    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just remembered! An unused car cassette player in my wardrobe! Probably 15 years old, bought to replace one in a classic Volvo. I baulked at cutting the wires on the old one as they had been done so beautifully! Rigged up an adapter to play CDs so as to preserve cars integrity. (Yes, true).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. All the recording media were/are about sharing the music (or other data) weren’t they?

      I think I remember from a much earlier DD comment that you saw Daddy Cool at the TF Much Ballroom. Do you recall whether Mighty Kong gigged during their short lifespan?

      PS. Hard to imagine CDs in an old Volvo – doesn’t seem quite right 😉

      Like

  14. Yes, I’m pretty sure I did (but can’t be certain).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. cassettes- better than 8 track, but the store-bought ones sounded awful. Best for mix tapes- for laying your records down on tape and the car – worked for awhile but quite a hassle! I’ve not much nostalgia for em… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nor I, Douglas. Though mix tapes are getting the most love in this thread. As well as music hunter-gatherers, I guess we are also compilers!

      Like

  16. Yes. My favorite is the Ampex. Good lord, that takes me back along with BASF, TDK, etc. That and a pencil to get the tape loop back in place! – Marty

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  17. I’ll defend the cassette medium!
    I’ve been fortunate to find several 1001 albums at bargain prices (whereas with vinyl being back en vogue, LPs have become increasingly expensive over the last 5 years).
    And I still own a working walkman, cutting the lawn in the summer wouldn’t be the same without it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  18. These are great. Only heard one of ’em (The Band), but I do like that Mighty Kong one.

    As for tapes, I loved them. My first music medium right there… had a ton of them. Also spent hours compiling mixes on various C-90s.

    One of my favourite record haunts sells cassettes for a £1 a go. If I had something to play them on I’d likely buy some. Just cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “Misguided souls”? “Obsolete and not very good”? Shame on you sir! Tapes were to the 70’s and 80’s as radio was to the original rock’n’roll boom. Were it not for tapes there would be vast gaping holes in my musical education. The portability (is that a word? I said it so it must be) of them combined with the disposabilty made them ideal for spreading music in a way that fragile valuable vinyl never was. OK, I’ve got crap hearing so I tend not to be precious about different formats but cassettes were always more sociable whereas vinyl is still a very solitary habit. There, that’s got it out of my system!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Not hard to make me smile. I have boxes of these little rascals. I’ve been peeking at them and there are quite a few treasures. It’s like going to my own yard sale. I have that Band cassette just different case. I need to get the Walkman serviced so I can listen to a few of these on my strolls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Strolling with a Walkman? Sounds deliciously retro!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t let all that good music go to waste. I found ‘Topographic Oceans’ in one of the boxes. Thought you might like that little gem. “Deliciously retro!” I really like that. It suits the stroll perfectly. You are a wordsmith. ( Getting close to being caught up on your stuff. I’m getting a little emotional.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Aw shucks. (Dabs eye).
          Cassette of TFTO is very good. Gee, I love that album. It’s my go-to when feeling overwhelmed and in need of spirit.
          But can’t chat now. Working on an Easter post!

          Liked by 1 person

  21. I still have all my cassettes, minus the many that were stolen from my 60 cassette holder from my car as a teen. For me it’s the nostalgia factor, walking home from school with my Walkman killing my hearing day by day. I did buy a jvc dual cassette deck from a record store a few years back and actually sat down and made a couple mix tapes from my records. It brought back those memories of trying to make the perfect mix tape. Wish I would have bought more vinyl back then and recorded it to cassette. Actually working on collecting all the kraftwerk on vinyl now so I’m digging the kraftwerk cassette photo. Thanks for the post, nice to read the comments of everyone’s memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there was more nostalgia for cassettes than anticipated. And the cassette/walkman combo certainly figures for quite a lot of people in their musically formative years! Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

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