Original Format: cassette
Everything here was originally recorded onto some kind of magnetic tape in the studio, then pressed onto vinyl. I recorded that vinyl onto a cassette in 1999; converted the cassette to mp3 a few weeks ago; then uploaded it to the miraculous Mixcloud. You’d think after all that it would sound tired, but it still sounds pretty great to me.
Googlephonics Steve Martin
Weirdly enough, it really is spelled that way on the record, though Google was not thing in 1979. The number that Steve is talking about, which is 10 to the 100th power, is actually a “googol.”
The Black Hit of Space The Human League
This fan-made video I found is pretty nifty:
Qu’ran Brian Eno & David Byrne
This song appeared on initial pressings of the album, then was deleted after some religious types complained. They can bite me.
Birds in the Majic Industry Pavement
Many years later, the vocal version of this was included on one of the big Pavement reissues. It’s terrible; releasing the instrumental was the right call.
Jive Talkin’ (excerpt) The Bee Gees (45@33)
“The Bee Gees chose to record their 1975 album, Main Course, in Miami, a decision that proved genius. The city’s vibrant nightlife undoubtedly energized the group, while the local dance clubs gave the musicians a peak at the developing disco trend. Still, the Bee Gees needed inspiration and it would come from an unlikely place: the Julia Tuttle Causeway bridge. ‘Every night, we were going back and forth to Criteria Studios from Biscayne Bay,’ [Barry] Gibb later explained, describing the band’s commute. ‘The bridge made a clickety-clackety sound. It stayed in my head, and one night, coming back from the studio, I just started singing this thing over top of the rhythm.’ Gibb called his new song ‘Drive Talking,’ and his brothers quickly caught on to the idea: ‘Robin and Maurice picked up on it, and we actually finished the song late that night.’ While listening back to a take of ‘Drive Talking,’ the Bee Gees noticed that Barry Gibb seemed to say ‘Jive’ instead of ‘Drive.’ The band members had heard the word ‘jive’ thrown around in clubs and determined they liked it more, even though they weren’t exactly sure what it meant.” —Ultimateclassicrock.com
And Now, the Long Version Howard Hesseman
R.I.P. Howard, a.k.a. Dr. Johnny Fever, still my ideal of what a DJ should be.
Los Dangerous (Vocal) Haiku D’Etat
“Haiku D’Etat’s self-titled debut picks up where Freestyle Fellowship left off, exploring the outer boundaries of hip-hop with a bohemian aesthetic steeped in a love of wordplay, poetry, and the limitless possibilities of hip-hop. In the world of Haiku D’Etat, real MCs ride bicycles instead of Bentleys, join forces out of a love of collaboration rather than a desire to consolidate fan bases, and make albums rooted in the sum history of black music, from jazz to soul to dancehall. It’s a terrific world.” —Nathan Rabin, The AV Club
Bullets for Bafazane Juluka
I have to think this song was the inspiration for this:
The Bubblemen Are Coming Love and Rockets
I can still remember when I came across this EP, released by L&R under the name of their alter egos the Bubblemen, at a record store in Santa Cruz. I had never even known it existed. That was a good day.
Slow Drip Lizard March Violets
At some point here I ran out of ideas and just started putting in some of my favorite songs from the 80s that were not yet available on CD, like this one. Now it is on Spotify for anyone who wants to listen to it, which has been done 121,041 times to date.
Fly Robin Fly (excerpt) Silver Convention (45@33)
“This disco classic contains the fewest unique words (six) of any non-instrumental Hot 100 chart topper. The chorus simply repeats ‘fly, robin, fly’ three times, with an ending of ‘Up, up to the sky!’ The song was written with very few lyrics because this German group couldn’t speak English and therefore were unable to memorize a page of lyrics in a language unfamiliar to them…. This was the first #1 US hit with a species of bird in the title. ‘Rockin’ Robin’ — both the Bobby Day original and Michael Jackson cover — stalled at #2. The next bird song to reach the top was ‘When Doves Cry’ by Prince in 1984. We’re not counting ‘Disco Duck’ because ‘duck’ is not a species.” —Songfacts.com
Waiting for the Man OMD
Proof positive that this song can be translated successfully into pretty much any idiom.
Any Second Now (Pt. 1) Depeche Mode (45@33)
Slowing down this 12-inch single really emphasizes the clockwork precision of Vince Clarke’s arrangement, and further deepens those booming bass notes. I could listen to it all day, but four minutes is probably enough for most people.
Brink of Collapse Shriekback
“Bjork loves this song.” —YouTube commenter Beau Spencer
The Party’s Over David J. & the Jazz Butcher
This already-bittersweet song becomes even more so in light of the Butcher’s recent demise. On the bright side, I saw David onstage with Bauhaus just a couple months ago, and he looked and sounded great. So the party’s not completely over yet.
Hello, I Must Be Going Groucho Marx
“Hello, I Must Be Going: Groucho and His Friends is a 1978 biography of Groucho Marx by Charlotte Chandler. The biography was written towards the end of Groucho’s life (and published after his death), and chronicles many interviews between Chandler and Groucho. When asked for an interview, Groucho declined, however he invited Charlotte to his house so he could tell her no in person. After several hours of conversation Groucho asked ‘Why aren’t you writing?’” —Wikipedia
Goodbye to Duane
This is from One of One (Snapshots in Sound), a compilation of one-of-a-kind records people made on home “recording phonographs” or in booths they rented for a few precious minutes. One wonders where Duane was going… off to war maybe? I hope he made it through OK.