Welcome to another Mixtape Monday here on The Hideaway! For those of you still playing along at home, today's featured tape is U and like all the other tapes in the alphabetical series of my Eighties audio courtship with my future ex-wife, U is a TDK SA90, as pictured below. Let's pop it in the ol' JVC TD-W222 deck and see what's on it because no one took the time to fill out the j card with songs or artists so its really anybody's guess as to what we're gonna hear.
- Side A opens beautifully with what seems to be a precise needle drop near the end of "Wet Rubber Soup" the first track on Godley & Creme's The History Mix, Vol. 1 album. A Trevor Horn production, the song is made up of bits and pieces of three 10cc songs fed into and played back through a Fairlight CMI. The third song of the three was "I'm Not In Love" and it comes in at about the ten-minute mark of the 12:26 track and leads right into what was track two on my copy of the album on vinyl, "Cry". It's a really cool, non-stop segue between the two tracks as the lyric "be quiet/big boys don't cry" lends itself particularly well to "Cry". On the Japanese import CD version of the album here in The Archives, both tracks are joined as one creating an 18:56 monster.
- "Road To Nowhere" comes next on the tape and it keeps this party moving quite nicely. Does Anyone else feel that Little Creatures is still under-rated? Definitely gonna give it a spin this weekend.
- It took me a while to recognize the next song, "Give", but once Dale Bozzio's voice came on there was no doubt it was Missing Persons and while I slept on it back in 1985 (and every year since), my love for the band's self-titled EP and their anagram-titled Spring Session M, both from 1982, just might get me to go back and re-evaluate the group's other two studio albums from the Eighties.
- Have always liked how "The Dance Electric" just starts - there's no fade in or intro - its just BAM! And while it's easy to write Andre Cymone off as a Prince-clone, he made two decent albums of new wave-infused funk, closer to Rick James' Street Songs than most of what Prince was putting out at the time though some parallels can be drawn. Prince sent Cymone a song in 1984. That song was "The Dance Electric" and in 2017, Prince's original version of the song finally saw a legitimate release as part of the Purple Rain Expanded Special Edition Super Deluxe Anniversary package after circulating amongst Prince fans for decades.
- I may have thought it was a good way to go back when I was making this tape but listening today, the Jonzun Crew track was weak and wack. I loved their first album, 1983's Lost In Space, but their next two albums were just watered-down carbon copies.
- Diana Ross's "Swept Away" has its fans but I'm not one of them. I did get the album for super cheap and only because I liked her ode to Marvin Gaye, "Missing You". The best of my recollection tells me my girl liked "Swept Away" or had mentioned the video because like a lot of people, she loved her MTV.
- As a diehard Adam Ant fan, buying his new albums has and probably always will be a priority for me but Vive Le Rock did not make a good first, second or even third impression with me. But, for whatever reason, I did put the title track on the tape and the album has actually grown on me since then.
- The last track on Side A is the B Side of an imported twelve-inch single of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" released in 1985, a track entitled "Mega-Idol Mix". A medley composed of three previously released Idol songs, including remixed versions of "Flesh For Fantasy" and "Mony Mony", that ended with "Dancing With Myself". It's really nothing spectacular and can be easily recreated with a PC and some editing software but I've always had a soft spot for such medleys and megamixes. To the best of my knowledge, "Mega-Idol Mix" has yet to appear on CD.
- Side B of U kicks off with Vanity and Prince trading insults over the phone in "If A Girl Answers Don't Hang Up". I guess I liked the song a lot more then than I do now but there are still a few really catchy tracks on the Vanity 6 album. (For those of you paying close attention, that's Prince's second of three appearances on tape U.)
- In what must surely rank as one of the worst transitions ever between songs in mixtape history, Vanity 6 is followed up by "Heartbreak Hotel" from the King himself. Thank you, thank you very much.
- Torch Song's "Prepare To Energize" follows and man this song sounds great. Had to turn up the Klipschs for this one. "Prepare To Energize" is also a great headphone track with a wide soundstage and many directional sounds.
- Jeffrey Osborne shows up with "Stay With Me Tonight" and its on. Great track, great performance and, in hindsight, a none too subtle suggestion from me the tape maker to my special girl, the intended listener.
- "Cherish" by Kool & the Gang is not a favorite song of mine by any stretch but my girl liked it so here it is. At least it's not "Joanna".
- Chicago's "Baby, What A Big Surprise" was and is a favorite of both of ours but "Against All Odds" is all her.
- Journey's live Captured album was a new addition to the collection and in the context of some of the other songs choices here on Side B, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' " was a fitting choice though my favorite track on the album is the lone studio track tacked on at the end of Side 4, "The Party's Over (Hopelessly In Love)".
- Keeping the live vibe up, Paul McCartney and Wings are the next to last track on the tape with "Maybe I'm Amazed" from Wings Over America. I am equally fond of both the studio and live versions of the song and she knows exactly what I mean when I write MIA on the steamed-up mirror while she's showering and it's not missing in action.
- At this point in my recent listening, I notice that the total elapsed time for this side of the tape is right at forty minutes and I'm wondering did I go with one four or five minute tune to finish it up or did I push my luck with a couple of shorter tracks, hoping the tape runs long and can hold more than forty-five minutes worth of music. Once the opening notes of Prince's "Do Me, Baby" begin, the answer becomes clear: I went with a longer song and would probably fade it out just as tape ran out. More than seven and a half minutes later, I realize two things:
- the tape did indeed run long, capable of holding nearly forty-eight minutes of music per side which would have been nice to know going into Side A as I could have squeezed another track in and
- back in 1985, as a nineteen-year-old college sophomore with no game, I lacked subtlety.
Based on the evidence presented in 1985: A Vinyl Odyssey, I am 97% confident in saying tape U was dubbed sometime in late August or early September 1985.
click on song titles to listen
click on artist name to visit the appropriate page of 1985: A Vinyl Odyssey