Love, The Prudent Groove
The eventual overflow of media consumption often yields an entirely new media with which to consume. 8-tracks aren’t new around these parts, we’re just finally starting to get serious about them. With any collection, the bar is set, achieved, then moved. This endless cycle continues without rest or hesitation. The current bar is The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society, an 8-track only two people in the online community own. Both have refused my offers to purchase this holy grail of magnetic tape sound recording technology, so this dimly lit search trudges on.
Special thanks to my folks for nabbing up $0.25 8-tracks on their many thrift store adventures.
Hunting for elusive and quintessential records while at the same time tracking down (see what I did there) casual listening and essential 8-tracks is a bit of a full time job. Lucky for me, my folks support and encourage this practice, and gobble up each and every much needed 8-track they can find. Perfect example, this double 8-track comp by the Beatles titled, 1967 – 1970 from 1973. They were presented to us just the other day, and by the sounds of it, were nabbed for a cool $0.50. Thanks, M & D for the mounding stash of GR-8-tracks, for the constant support, and for turning me on to The Beatles!
Interesting slight of hand with this vintage 8-track. I’m curious to find out if Benny Goodman actually appears on this Big Band Series / Collector’s Edition, or if it’s just a collection by those who list him on their resume. Either way, we can’t wait to plug in this beast on our next Throwback Thursday. (Please note that tomorrow’s Throwback Thursday has been postponed due to previous obligations.)
Is it weird that I’d rather house quarter of a brick of cheese than a thin slice of chocolate cake? I kind of feel my musical intake follows this same allusive guideline, in one form or another. Anyway, nothing to do with that, here is a picture of my latest 8-track snatch. $10 at a brick and mortar up in Ventura, County. She was purchased untested, but plays perfectly fine on the Hitachi home stereo system. This Friday was one for the books… more to come, when I have time. Happy listening weekend!
Tonight’s rendezvous with social abnormality was Gin Rummy and the Beatles’ self-titled release on 8-track. What I lost in strategy, I gained in audio entertainment, and solid company. It’s all about the random Tuesday evenings in front of a lifeless television listening to vintage mediums and playing card games made famous by our grandparents… or, at least, it damn well should be.
I was all excited to post about my favorite Beatles album on an obscure and improbable medium… until I test them out. Part 1 works like a champ, but Part 2 done do shit! I contacted the seller and he suggested that the tape may have flipped over… not at all sure what this means. Anyway, White Album party will have to wait for the damn Part 2 to get its shit together.
I’m so absolutely beside myself to finally own a working copy of Muswell on 8-track that I’m thoroughly on board with the complete reworking of the playlist for this bass-heavy medium. Have a Cuppa Tea, followed by Skin and Bone, wait… TO CLOSE OUT THE ALBUM?! I continue to tell myself how fortunate I am to have finally found this 12-song, 8-track cartridge of perfection, and will, obviously, welcome it into the family with open, outstretched arms despite its, lets say, unorthodox and creative reordering. I now own Muswell a total of four times, but really, who’s counting?
I set out to acquire the Jaws soundtrack on 8-Track for the upcoming annual Jaws Day (July 3rd, don’t forget), and I ended up with a dirt cheap, fully functioning set of the following, all on glorious 8-Track: Jaws (Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Star Wars (The Original Soundtrack from the 20th Century-Fox Film), and this copy of Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back. All in (just about) perfect working condition. I never thought I’d enjoy the romantic static and bass-heavy warmth of 8-Track sound as much as I do… makes me glad I keep the player in the living room. My SO on the other hand…
So, as far as I’m concerned, Amoeba Hollywood, and the collective employees with which they frequent, can kiss my collecting arse! I got burned on a $30 Dark Side… picture disc a few years back, and I got burned today on a Van Morrison 8-track that does exactly one thing correctly… not fucking work. Their overpriced population has taken its toll, and I for one am over their rhetoric.
We touched upon the unauthorized “collateral” vinyl version a few years back, but I just got my grubby mitts on an 8-track copy of the 1973 lawsuit-inspiring classic comp, The Great Lost Kinks Album. Featured here are both the cartridge and the original sleeve (which is essentially the same sticker used for the tape, covering a generic black cardboard sleeve). I need to get an 8-track cleaner to fully enjoy this historic little gem, but my 8-track obsessed mind can gleefully cross off yet another Kinks Stereo 8. Next on the coveted list of “must haves” is 1971’s Muswell Hillbillies, arguably my favorite Kinks package. The Prudent Groove… collecting obsolete and sub-par music formats since 2013, and not second guessing a minute of it.
“In your home… in your car… or wherever you roam!” So true is the versatility that RCA stereo 8 cartridge tapes bring to, (well placed comma, don’t you think?) your home, your car, your jet, and your cruise ship (icon to specify, just in case you can’t determine between the options).
The new and exciting way to enjoy Eddy Arnold and Perry Como on virtually any extended day travel situation. With “up to 60 minutes playing time,” your 8-track stereo cartridge tape will get you from Wilshire west to Burbank, in only 4-full cartridge flips (only 19 miles). RCA knows your need for portable, cumbersome libraries, and having been “adopted by all major U.S. auto companies,” your mundane trips to and from the unemployment office will feel like a warm, summer’s breeze… if that warm summer’s breeze came complete with the entire back catalog of Mr. Floyd Cramer.
Roam, to the blissful, warbling sound, of RCA stereo 8 cartridge tapes.
Just like how function trumps fashion, so too shall quality (eventually) trump quantity here at The Prudent Groove. For too long I’ve been lacksadaisically (it’s a word… I think) thumbing my procrastination button and parading through an inferior product (since day one). So, as a mission statement (if only to myself), I, out-of-turnly proclaim, that tomorrow’s focus will showcase a much more thought out analysis (read: sarcastic observation).
What you see here (obviously), is an 8-track cassette of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. Acquired today for a cool $1.99, this lil’ jammer will squat within the vacant garage currently residing in our living room in the shape of an empty (wood-paneled) 8-track player. Gone (and thoroughly missed), is my red cassette copy of Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., and in its place, and abridged version of Zeppelin’s most commercially proclaimed outing.
“Do you own an 8-track player?’ – Record story Guy
“Have you read The Groove?” – Me (to myself, and several hours later)
When 7-tracks aren’t near good enough, it’s time for the heavy artillery. Here is, save for a few, the “less than complete” 8-track collection. The player ate Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., so we’ve been reeling Janis Joplin, CCR, and the brothers Doobie as of late. Analogue entertainment is still prominent around these here parts, and with any collection, the end is never near.
Shots of vinegar, coffee brewing at 11pm, and this, Klean Machine 8-track stereo tape player cleaning “machine” at the ready. It takes only ten seconds once every ten hours of operation to insure a klean machine. Thank you, Sears! Now, my warbling 8-track stereo system can sound fresh and clean, thanks to the ¾ 8-track shaped stereo tape player cleaning machine.
It seems as though my yesteryear machines have needed some love as of late… lucky for me, love can be purchased at Sears circa: 1978.
(Personal tip: the Klean Machine stereo tape player cleaning machine doesn’t actually clean the stereo tape player listening machine… buyer beware.)
It’s not often that I fire up the 8-track player quietly sitting under our big screen. The same hi-fi, wood-paneled unit solemnly connected to our living room speakers… and this is a shame for several reasons. The warm, comforting cloud of ecstatic ear food that emits from our otherwise digital spewing speakers is something that cannot be replicated (unless said scowl is shouting from our dining room hi-fi). The issue, above all others, concerning bygone audio formats, is the rapid lack of obtainable cassettes. I recently became aware that The Clash’s London Calling was released on 8-track (with some songs omitted, of course), but that fetches a hefty sum, and I already own this particular album in a few other formats (cassette, digital, LP), so the immediate “need” for such an album somewhat falls into collecting obscurity.
I love every conceivable music-replicating format, and the 8-track is certainly no exception. I just wish there were more punk-like album released… perhaps THEN would I open the expanding door to this already optional format. Instead, I’ll cycle through the disco chart toppers, the Croce hits, and the Star Wars soundtrack, until I stumble across the Mecca of 8-track gold. The burgeoning beginnings of yet another format collection may in fact be eclipsing the horizon… God help us all.
I found this sleeve insert hiding inside a 1976 Mercury Records release of a Statler Brothers album. The story strives to inform the record owner of the hundreds of millions of dollars lost to 8-Track pirates. Bruce Meyer, who was apparently a UPI feature columnist, writes the story that still seems relevant some nearly four decades later. Jerry Lee Lewis makes a cameo.
Here is the story for your reading pleasure:
Tape Piracy… Everyone’s Problem
Next time you’re out shopping for records or tape—watch for pirates. Not the kind with skull and crossbones and rusty cutlasses—watch for music pirates. There are plenty of them around and, like their 18th Century colleagues, they’re breaking the law, to the tune of $200 million a year.
The modern pirates’ racket is duplicating and selling sound recordings that don’t belong to them, usually as a tape cassette or an eight-track cartridge. Their income goes right into their own pockets.
Lewis One-Man Pirate Smasher
While many recording artists have actively engaged in promoting the fight against antipiracy by appearing before state legislatures and acting as witnesses in court cases, Jerry Lee Lewis has taken the bull by the horns.
John Polk, RIAA investigator based in Nashville, told a NARM antipiracy seminar, that Lewis recently pulled up to a gas station in the south and noticed a rack of pirate tapes in the station. He asked who owned the rack and when told that an unidentified man serviced it weekly from the truck of his car, Lewis took the rack outside the station and smashed it. When the station operator asked him what he should do when the route man came and asked what happened to his rack, Lewis replied: “Tell him ‘Killer’ was here.”
A music pirate simply buys a record or tape and—without authorization from the company that released the original—makes copies of it. The copies are sold to wholesalers or retailers—or sometimes directly to the consumer.
The price of a pirate tape is usually lower than the original simply because the pirate can make huge profits at a lower retail price. He has none of the expenses of a legitimate recording company. The pirate picks only hit recordings, which means he supports none of the thousands of unknown artists legitimate companies carry at a loss in their search for the music the public wants to hear. The pirate pays no royalties to the performers whose work he steals and usually makes only token payments to music publishers to maintain a semblance of legitimacy.
Piracy flourished despite both federal and state laws against it. Recordings released before February 15, 1972, are protected under the laws of 26 states. Recordings made and releases since that date are covered by the Federal Copyright Law (as amended by Public Law 92-140).
Piracy hurts the record companies, of course. The $200 million that pirates pick up represents some 10 per cent of the total for the music industry and more than one-third of the legitimate industry’s tape sales. But it also hurts the artists, the unions, music publishers and honest retailers and wholesalers who refuse to handle pirated recordings. And in the long run, it’s bound to hurt you—the record buyer—because your money is going not to support the performers you enjoy, but to line the pockets of a criminal.
Watch for pirate recordings. The easiest way to spot them is the label.
IS THERE A PHOTOGRAPH?
Legitimate companies spend a great deal of money to make their products look attractive. Besides quality, multi-color printing, nearly all legitimate tapes and records have professional cover art. But pirate recordings usually have plain labels, often nothing more than a listing of title, artist and the names of the songs.
IS THERE MORE THAN ONE ARTIST ON THE SAME TAPE?
At times legitimate record companies put more than one artist on a record or tape, but it is rare. However, pirates frequently put together tapes composed of the current top hits, therefore many artists are represented. These tapes are often called “The Big Hits” or “Top 20” etc. Make sure you check these multi-artist tapes before purchasing.
WHAT IS THE PACKAGING LIKE?
Also record companies use distinctive cover art for each album and tape, generally depicting the artists in some way. Pirates seldom use photos or drawings of the artists and multicolor printing and art work is rare. Often just a list of tunes and artists appear on the cover and the same design can be used over and over with the titles changed to fit the piece of product. Even the shrink-wrap around an album or tape can tell the story. Legitimate product is professionally wrapped and fits tightly. Pirate tapes and albums usually fit loosely.
IS THERE A STATEMENT ON THE LABEL, something like “Copyright Law complied with” or “Fees and royalties paid”? If there is, it’s probably a pirate; legitimate companies have no need to put such statements on their labels.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU SPOT A PIRATE?
Contact your local police and describe to them exactly what you observed. (In most cities, music piracy is handles by the Bunko-Forgery Division). They will know which local, state, or federal laws may apply.
Alternatively, contact your local Phonogram distributor, the distributor for any legitimate recording company, or the local representative of the Recordings Industry Association of America (RIAA).
It’s up to those who are being injured by the pirates to stop them. That includes those in the records and tapes industry…. and you…
Story by Bruce Meyer UPI feature columnist.
So, Jerry Lee Lewis smashed a rack of 8-Track tapes. Ok, but who had to clean it up?