Saturday, January 10, 2009

The World's Finest 8 Track Collection

Ahh, 8 Track tapes: anachronistic, clunky, low-fi and heat damaged from all those hours in cars sitting outside in the screaming Texas sun. One of the technological miracles of the '70s was an 8 track tape that would play long after the label had the color sun-blasted from it. They were serious yard sale fodder of a generation ago, but they are getting a bit rare these days.

A disproportionate number of surviving 8 tracks are by artists like Ray Conniff or the Carpenters. Not that I am sneering at Ray, Karen and that guy playing the piano. But, really. Were all those Camaro and Cutless drivers that focused on staying in the middle of the road? Didn't anyone have a really killer 8 track collection back then? This question has not exactly haunted my every waking hour for the last 20 odd years, but I have wondered. A bit.

If you think about it (and although it is pathetic and sad, I do), the 8 track question really is one of survival. It would seem to me that your average rocker with a beater of a car kept his 8 tracks on the floor or the seat. His mom kept hers in the carrying case. So Ray and Karen survived and Pink Floyd went into the trash when the label was no longer legible. So that killer 8 track collection needed to have been owned by an anal retentive rocker (has one ever existed??) for me to find it all these years later.

Eventually all things come to he who waits. Just the other day I discovered that there was at least one person who had a great collection of 8 tracks and, in fact, stored it in an industrial strength suitcase. Maybe his mom made him do it, maybe it was his own unnatural instincts, but whatever. I am thankful. Here is a smattering for your viewing pleasure:

Mott the Hoople??? Savoy Brown??? There was even a Redbone tape in the pile. Several were quad tapes, and all were in great shape. Now I need to finish the 8 track receiver project and give them all a listen.

My compliments to the collector, whoever you were.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

any 8-track tape collectors out there? i just found a stash from my houston youth. the byrds greatest hits, iron butterfly, richard harris, blood sweat & tears, jeff beck, and if you act now !! i will throw in for free, Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle) Sings The Lord's Prayer and other hits. email me ASAP.

i'm in central Austin.