Another Bunch of Winners

New Additions
The newest batch from Turn It Up in Brattleboro, VT

Well, I have done it again! Success at the record shop! Sometimes, I’m looking for something in particular and other times I’m totally winging it. This time it was a beautiful combination of the two.

I will acknowledge that this blog (dreadful word) is seemingly exclusive to cassettes but the truth is that I don’t often buy tapes. I have a modest tape collection complete with gems and duds alike. I typically purchase CD’s and they account for 90% of my total library (140 out of 200+/- albums).

I have added Jet’s Get Born, Robert Cray’s I Was Warned, Keane’s Hopes and Fears, and Continued Story/Hi How Are You by Daniel Johnston.

I have been thoroughly enjoying Robert Cray’s sound, if you are unfamiliar think Ben Harper meets B.B. King. I have a soft spot for Keane and their anti-guitar sappy pop reminiscent of Coldplay. However, that is all very unimportant; the subject of focus here is Daniel Johnston. This double album is a door to another world, Daniel’s world. It exists within the world that we know but the rules are very different. Daniel’s unique perspective allows him to note and share slices of truth that would otherwise escape a normal person’s scope. I can hear elements in his work that sound in the realm of Nirvana and the Violent Femmes. If you are a fan of lo-fi, honesty, introspective songwriting, experimentation, simple truths, or direct human communication you need to hear this material!

New mixes are in the works and I have been thinking about adding the original Mind Meld Mixes track listings.



The Oldest Cassette I Own

The two oldest cassettes in my collection, dated 1974.

Here we are, celebrating a month of sharing good music! I would like to thank everyone that has taken the time to stop by and check out what’s going on!

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty! Cassettes, I will admit (as should anyone) are vintage/retro/out-dated technology. They don’t make cars with tape decks anymore. They don’t sell as many Walk-Mans as they used to. Despite superior analog playback, cassettes don’t last forever – or so we would think!

The title of the oldest cassette in my collection is a two way tie that belongs to both Kiss’ first album and a compilation of hits from Les Paul and Mary Ford entitled The World is Still Waiting for the Sunrise, both of which were released in 1974.

The older material belongs obviously to Les Paul and Mary Ford who parted ways via divorce in ’65. This material combines the sultry vocal styling of Mary Ford, who has one of the most gifted and pleasing voices of the 20th century, with Les Paul’s virtuoso level guitar playing. I mean, this guy was playing guitar so well in the ’50’s that it would make Eddie Van Halen blush! It’s a beautiful combination of jazz, pop, and pure human expression. I would suggest that any fan of music check out the title track or perhaps the classic, How High the Moon.

As for KISS’ debut album, many people are just purely opposed to KISS for reasons usually unrelated to their music, which they’ve heard little of considering they have 30+ albums. The record (or tape in this case) kicks off with a bang from Strutter and closes out in a major way with Black Diamond, both songs being better examples of their catalog. In my personal opinion, this album is a solid 9/10. There are no truly terrible songs on this album, however, there is one song that I do consider to be a scar – a cover of Kissin’ Time. Management insisted that the band needed a hit song and figured that this cover would help them gain some radio play. I believe that this attitude of pandering was sewn into the fabric of KISS at this time and contributed to their over commercialization. Every other track is listenable and this album is more or less a ‘greatest hits’.

Find these albums on any format you can and enjoy them fully. I promise you a good time!


Challenges of a Limited Collection

New Finds
Some recent additions to the collection.

One challenge I face when making a mixtape is the limitation of my own collection. I make mixtapes by transferring CDs and tapes (and potentially vinyl!) to tape.

My taste is somewhat wide in overall scope but ultimately not extremely deep. I specialize in “Classic Rock” with an appreciation for most ALL genres. Obviously, there are some outliers from that form in my collection but that is what sparked me to start the project – there’s so much good music out there that I am totally unaware of. In the past year I have ‘discovered’: John Prine, Robert Cray, Rory Gallagher, Blossom Toes, Atomic Rooster, Electric Wizard, Electric Octopus, Goliath, Taj Mahal, and so many more!

But, here’s the thing: knowing of it and owning it are two different things! It usually happens in some way where I make a tape or a track list and the instant it is finished, WHAMMM! I get hit with the perfect song but it’s usually one that I don’t own. This creates another dilemma which is whether to wait or not. Sometimes, I’m so focused and full of enthusiasm that I can’t stop. Other times, I head down to the record shop in search of a specific album for a specific song, so I can include it in a specific mix.

This project has sent me to the record shop a number of times already and we’re only 2 (two) tapes in! I’ve had the pleasure of recently acquiring: Some Girls – The Rolling Stones, Maggot Brain – Funkadelic, Get Born – Jet, Second Winter – Johnny Winter, and Fat of the Land – Prodigy.

This is the beauty of the program! There is no possible way for you to know everything that I post. If you search around enough, even the most cultured audiophile will find something new. By the same token, I don’t know everything that you know! Hell, I don’t even know who you are. I am going to continue to keep sharing the music I love and as the tapes begin to roll in, I will receive the gift of knowing about new music that has already made an impact on someone’s life!


Most Surprising Cassette

Wishbone Ash - Here to Hear CassetteYou already know, sometimes one of the best tapes in your deck came from out of nowhere. Some album you’ve never heard from a band you’ve never heard of. Then WAMM! You discover something genuinely tastey.

I was standing in a Saver’s (thrift shop) in Manchester, CT. After studying the 10 cent tape rack for some time, I picked up Here to Hear by Wishbone Ash. Once I listened to it, I kept it on deck for months. Although, I am the type to listen to things repeatedly to the point of brutality.

The songs are smart and the album is genuine compared to the many contrived sounds released at the time (before and after). I must admit, I gave it a shot because I know that Wishbone Ash is a cited influence of Iron Maiden, but this album is smart pop/rock/prog , and sonically, not much like Maiden.

Wishbone Ash – Here to Hear (Youtube)

Keep an eye out for those hidden gems! (You never know, you never, never know.)

– Derek/CTEP/O’KNC


Getting Started

20170619_025842The idea came to me while I sat cross legged on a floor littered with CD cases. There’s a distinct joy that comes from exploring your collection and sharing your hidden gems with other music lovers; it filled my heart as I was recording the ‘perfect’ mixtape for a roadtrip.

My objective is to share my collection while allowing others to do the same. I will be spending time looking for members to enlist. Participation is simple: If you send in a tape, you will receive a tape. Make a tape with the theme in mind and send it in. A tape made by another member will be sent to your return address. That’s it!

The theme will change as an effort to keep things fresh while presenting an enjoyable challenge to any Mixtape Maestro!

Lets see how far this goes! -Derek