After thinking I had given in to reason, age and obsolescence and had actually tossed a number of my oldest homemade cassette tapes, I found a secret cache of them. Now I’ve been busily transferring them onto the computer, reasoning that I will never get around to putting all this varied vinyl into digital form, and finally accepting that if I was happy enough with the sound quality on cheap magnetic tape for all those years, I should be happy enough with it now. So direct into the computer it goes.
These tapes are mostly from about the time I was 19 and got seriously into avoiding my schoolwork by making compilation tapes until about the time I was 28 and got seriously into . . . well, you know the rest. The early tapes fed our daily music fix and were played incessantly on those early Walkmans. (High kudos to TDK for making tape that didn’t break and really didn’t deteriorate too badly over time.) They’re so familiar to me that if I hear a song from one of them in any other context, I expect the next song on the tape to follow. And yet, there were still songs and even groups that I had essentially forgotten about. For instance, there was a time when there was much more Laughing Dogs and Herman’s Hermits in my daily listening, not to mention The Vapors and The Undertones. Now some of it is still good, some has nostalgia value only, and some of it I wish would go away — which is convenient when I have to edit down a 90-minute tape (timed to the second, I assure you) to fit on a CD.
Not that I’m really playing CDs anymore. I have literally hundreds of them, but these days most of my music is played from the computer (low-fi sound and all), or on satellite radio. Sometimes I play them in the truck, but otherwise they’re basically a storage medium now. As soon as I get done recording these cassette tapes, both the tape deck and the minidisc player (do not laugh) are going into storage, and I think the CD collection may leave the living room.
Embarrassing playlists from the past are likely to follow. Stay tuned.