It's been a little while since we greeted you on a Monday with a mixtape from the not quite legendary Somewhat Alphabetical Mixtape series but we're here, you're here so why not. Today's tape is II.
- TDK SA90? CHECK!
- An assortment of tracks from my vinyl collection at the time dubbed onto tape? CHECK! CHECK!
- Handwritten artists and titles on tape's j-card? CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!
Wait, did he say "vinyl collection at the time"? Yup. Back in 1986 (when tape II was more than likely dubbed) I had amassed a vinyl collection of nearly 2000 albums and singles, mostly thanks to the fine folks at Columbia House, RCA Music, Hollywood Records (the chain of locally-owned stores not the Disney-owned record label) and PDQ. My income from my job as a fast food manager was supplemented by a less-than-thriving mixtape provider to co-workers and campus frat houses too cheap to hire a live DJ. In November 1986, I bought my first compact disc (Bruce Springsteen's Live 1975-1985) and by the time my friends pitched in on my first CD player for Christmas, I had several dozen of those shiny round discs in my collection as well. I went on a tear in early 1987, maxing out credit cards with dozens and dozens more compact discs. That all came to a screeching halt when my girl told me we were pregnant and we got married. Despite both of us being gainfully employed, neither one of us had medical insurance back then - she was mere months away from it when our daughter was born in September 1987. Then the avalanche of medical bills came and I sold off my only tangible asset: my music collection. I set aside 100 albums, singles and CDs to keep but offered the rest up to friends and DJ acquaintances. One of my friends had recently won $3M in our state's (then) new lottery and he bought the majority of my compact discs at $8 apiece - when CDs were still relatively new, they had tremendous value. Wisely, my wife had me type up a list of the CDs I was letting go of in the hopes that one day I could reassemble the entire collection. While I am fairly certain I still have that list - typed it up on neon pink paper - I have yet to lay my hands on it. Unfortunately, I did not do the same with my vinyl collection though I do have a record of my 1985 record buying and an extensive index card library of my vinyl and CD collection:
I randomly pulled the above four cards - two from each box, scanned front and back - and figured out a bit. I think the red X next to Camouflage title means it was an album I sold off. Also, note the CD designation on the Led Zeppelin card topline. At one point I tried numbering the cards though I cannot figure out how I started initially (it wasn't alphabetical by artist or title) though I later acquired a sequential stamper that made that job easier. You can also see that one particular index card had a life before I wrote on it - that's my wife's handwriting and she jotted down the name and number of the first cable company in town before Cox came a few years later.
Side A of II is all flashback with the oldest track ("Heart of Glass") from 1978 and the newest track ("Here To Go") from 1984. The average release year of the nine tracks on Side A is 1982, the single greatest year in music. There are two extended remixes (both within the first four tracks) in addition to three other tracks longer than 5 minutes on the first side of II.
Five of the seven tracks on Side B of II are extended remixes while the two remaining tracks are both 45 single edits. The oldest tracks are form 1983 while the newest tracks are from 1985 so naturally the average year clocks in at 1984. Four of the songs are over seven minutes long - two of them are thisclose to being eight minutes long.
Tape II tells no story and advances no narrative. What it seems to be is a collection of 16 songs chosen to show off a car audio system and in her tricked out midnight blue 1976 Camaro, my girl had a top of the line Alpine deck and speakers. Her affinity for listening to cool tracks in the confines of her vehicle while burning fossil fuel was yet another in a long list of why I fell for her. Now when we shop for vehicles, our checklist goes like this:
- "cute" or "pretty" (only she knows what that means)
- high safety and crash test ratings
- good gas mileage
- great factory installed sound-system or at least the potential to upgrade (I always have a playlist handy to put it through its paces)
- seat warmers
- individual climate controls
- LED headlights
listen to II on Spotify
(incomplete - missing 3 tracks: A3, B4,B6)
listen to II on YouTube