We don't this every day but today we're featuring two tapes from the beloved Somewhat Alphabetical Mixtape Series: LL + MM. Both are dubbed onto TDK SA90 cassettes and unfortunately, both tapes lack any writing on their respective j-cards apart from their designated double-letter somewhat alphabetical matrix on the spines and labels on the tapes themselves.
- "Rock Me Amadeus (Extended Version" - Falco Tape LL kicks off with this percussive, polarizing, stuttering song and no that's not a mistake on my part with the record label pictured below. Some of the singles have the 8:20 Salieri Version and some have the 7:05 Extended Version but to the best of my knowledge both versions have the label pictured below. I'm not too embarrassed to admit that "Rock Me Amadeus" was once a favorite of mine though, in typical snobbymusicfan fashion, I liked it less and less the more and more popular it got and was all but over it when it finally peaked at #1 but my lady liked it (and says she still does) so here it is.
- "Everybody Dance" - Ta Mara and the Seen Ta Mara aka Margaret Cox was a veteran of the Minneapolis music scene when she was "discovered" by Jesse Johnson - newly solo from The Time himself at the time - and he got her a label deal, co-writing every track on the album while producing it as well. Within three years, the Seen would splinter and Margaret would record an album with Prince that has yet to be officially liberated from his legendary vault.
- "Cry (Extended Remix)" - Godley & Creme I'm on record as being a big fan of this song and early in 1986, it was featured in the final scene of an episode of Miami Vice which only made me like it all over again.
- "I Do What I Do" - John Taylor Anyone else think the 9 1/2 Weeks soundtrack is underrated? No? Just me? Nevermind.
- "One Vision" - Queen I remember this one getting lots of local airplay between Thanksgiving 1985 and New Year's 1986 and I picked up the twelve-inch single shortly thereafter. But this is the album version which leads me to believe this tape was dubbed in June 1986 when I picked up A Kind Of Magic on the day it was released.
- "Obsession (Dance Remix)" - Animotion If you've learned anything from my track selection for tapes in the Somewhat Alphabetical Mixtape Series its that sometimes I chose songs that advanced my lustful agenda, like "I Do What I Do" above and this song which all but spells it out loud.
- "Ghostdancing" - Simple Minds And then there are moments like this when I randomly throw in an unheralded deep cut and I feel redeemed. This is why she chose me, I tell myself before bracing for the next track, hoping it's not too ridiculous...
- "Prepare To Energize (The Fong Test)" - Torch Song I guess it depends on what you consider embarrassing and what your frame of reference is. If you saw the Tom Hanks film Bachelor Party, then you know why I chose this song. If you have not seen the film, that's fine because if he was smart, Hanks used some of that Bubba Gump shrimps money to buy all existing copies, prints, and negatives of it and sank them in the river when he was playing Sully. I love the way this song sounds on a good-to-great car stereo or better than average pair of headphones.
After the eight tracks from side A, there is no telling what is on side B so I flipped the tape over and pressed Play and heard the Yellowjackets, likely the one jazz group I could possibly pick out of an audio-only lineup. After the first song finished, another Yellowjackets track began. It was followed by another and another. And after nine Yellowjackets songs dubbed off three different albums, side B was over. Hadn't I already done this? Didn't I fill an entire side of TDK SA90 with the music of the Yellowjackets? Close. Back on tape V, after tracks from Patrick Simmons ("So Wrong") and Jan Hammer ("Miami Vice"), I featured eight Yellowjackets tracks from the same three albums pictured below. And they are all different from the songs included here on tape LL.
Based on the release date of the Queen album, I'm thinking that LL was dubbed near the beginning of June 1986, nine months before the person I made the tape for became my wife.
Listen to LL
- "This Time" - INXS A great song from a great album kicks off tape MM. Not sure its as positive a song as I may have thought it was back in 1986. The only question is how am I gonna screw the rest of the tape up? What song would you follow "This Time" up with?
- "Why Me?" - Planet P Project I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love the music of Tony Carey and the killer line in this song full of killer lines is "Now I'm riding on a fountain of fire". "Why Me?" is actually not a bad way to follow "This Time". So the next song has got to be a sharp left turn, right?
- "(Sittin' On) The Dock of The Bay" - Otis Redding Great song, some of the same sentiments as expressed in "Why Me?" but just an awkward transition musically.
- "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" - Scritti Politti Great underrated song. It is probably a stretch to say I was connecting Otis Redding to Aretha Franklin with this choice but for now, I have no other explanation as to why I jumped from a quiet acoustic 1968 soul classic to a helium-voiced 1985 dance track.
- "Absolute Beginners (Full-Length Version)" - David Bowie All is forgiven once this song settles in after a full minute long intro and Bowie begins to sing-speak. This is my message, the one I got to get to my girl in the line "I absolutely love you". We had only broken up 2-3 weeks before this tape was dubbed - a miserable time commemorated with this breakup tape - and I was eager to put the events of the recent past behind us and pick up where we had left off, that I loved her completely and absolutely...
- "Greatest Love Of All" - Whitney Houston ...and our love was strong enough to be the greatest love of all. I have no doubt that if we were in the same situation in 1992, this song would have been replaced by Houston's take on Parton' classic "I Will Always Love You".
- "Plane Love" - Jeffrey Osborne This song is irrelevant to our situation and only included due to the fact that we both really like Jeffrey Osborne's voice. At least that is what I'm thinking thirty-three years down the line.
- "Rip It Up" - Billy Rankin The third and final single from his album Growin' Up Too Fast, its not as good as "Baby Come Back" but it's not too shabby either. May have to break this album out for a spin or two because it has been a while.
- "Her Strut" - Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band This sounds like a track I'd pick to put on a tape for the girl I was deeply attracted to because it reminds me of her. I'm also pretty sure you could interpret the lyrics as being about a dancer in a gentlemen's club as well.
- "Some Like It Hot And The Heat Is On (Extended Version)" - The Power Station Great song, great drums courtesy of Tony Thompson, and a great way to end side A of MM.
- "The Sam & Dave Medley (Long Version)" - Stars On 45 featuring Sam & Dave Another key piece of evidence for the prosecution in the case of The People vs My Mixtape Song Selection.
- "Brass In Pocket (I'm Special)" - Pretenders But the defense is strong with songs like this one.
- "Too Low for Zero" - Elton John Pretty sure I used to really like this album but now I'm not so sure about it. This song in particular just seems too long for one thing though I like the hook. Lingering feelings from The Breakup? Perhaps.
- "Rough Boy" - ZZ Top A rare ballad in the band's songbook, I was never sure if being a rough boy (as defined here) was what she wanted. Probably wasted more time thinking about this than I should have.
- "If You Were Here" - Thompson Twins From the final scene of Sixteen Candles but you knew that.
- "The Belle Of St. Mark (Dance Remix)" - Sheila E. If you listened real hard, you may have heard what sounded like three ballads before this little drum machine ditty, written and performed by Prince with vocals and additional percussion from Sheila Escovedo.
- "Roll With The Changes" - REO Speedwagon Sometimes it seems like I'm just putting songs on her tapes that I like without even thinking she may not like them.
- "Rock N Roll High School" - Ramones Sometimes it definitely seems like I'm putting songs on her tapes that I like without even thinking she may not like them.
- "With You All The Way" - New Edition According to my concert ticket stub collection, we saw New Edition in concert on May 8, 1986, which is probably why this ballad is on the tape.
- "China" - Red Rockers Another great track, one that gets almost no radio play (only 47 spins in 2018, less than once a week, according to Mediabase) closes out tape MM. We were supposed to see Red Rockers opening for U2 on The Unforgettable Fire Tour in March 1985 but she got sick that morning and I had to take my little sister instead. Don't feel too bad for my baby as we eventually saw U2 together three times with opening acts like Lone Justice, Public Enemy, and B.B. King.
Listen to MM