Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tape Love

All this talk of a mix CD (thanks for all the suggestions, you guys -- you're amazing!) made me nostalgic for my rather too-abundant collection of mix tapes. I can't bring myself to get rid of many of them. I weeded out most of the straight recording-of-an-album-to-tape tapes a while ago, but even had to retain some of those. I'm mean I could buy a CD version of Wilson Pickett's Greatest Hits, but it wouldn't have those choice Professor Longhair tunes stuck on end like the tape James made for me.

But the real treasures are the mix tapes made for me by friends, especially Al. He has a gift for mixing songs, and most of the tapes he made for me became the correct context for those songs in my head. Of COURSE, "Somewhere Where Love Can't Find Me" by Marshall Crenshaw should be followed by "She Don't Love Nobody" by Nick Lowe and Tom Petty's "Feel a Whole Lot Better" on that collection of covers he made. And I always felt like that place (on the other side of the same tape!) where "Hog Tied Over You" by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Ella Mae Morse segued into "I Call Your Name" by Johnny Clegg was a revelation. Could there be some genetic connection between American hillbillies and white South Africans?

Sometimes the tape covers were super cool:

This one had Billie Holiday on one side and Michelle Shocked on the other. He created this design with paper images and scotch tape in a way I have not been able to duplicate. It was a multi-layered design, on both the case and the tape itself:

God, I love that. Here's another Al artifact:

It was Tracy Chapman on one side and the Talking Heads' Naked on the other. It stills makes me laugh. Possibly because I'm a dork. I'm listening to Naked now, and rediscovering how much I love "(Nothing But) Flowers": "If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn mower!"

So good.


cK said...

Viva la Fish! That cat's the cat's meow.

[Sound of shrieking cat, sound of bottle breaking. In the distance, a dog barks.]

Cool tape designs...though that indulgent Chapman Naked cover is scary in a toxic sludge way.

Sassmaster said...

The tapes made me think of that newsletter Gehner did called "Kelsey Comin' Atcha." Do you remember? He wrote a story about me that referenced my grubby tape collection. (I believe he also had me strangling my boyfriend at the time with speaker wire for insulting my cat. Dang.) I looked for that in my files, but couldn't find it. Can it be lost?

shining example of human potential said...

i am so proud to have been represented from your collection of 'grubby tapes' i had forgotten about them, and am so honored that you still have them. thanks!