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!


Tape #2: Summer 2017

Tape #2: Summer 2017 – from Sean Paul to the Stones!

A second tape has been made now that summer is in full swing! A tape full of upbeat rhythms and good vibes (despite occasionally getting off track). This tape served as the official soundtrack to my 2017 trip to Hampton Beach, NH. This is an annual pilgrimage for my family and I. My lovely girlfriend made her debut appearance at this particular beach, so I wanted to make sure I included some of her favorite songs on this tape (which explains some of my choices). The water was cold and refreshing and the sea food was without end!

Okay, lets get to business! Here’s the official CTEP: Summer 2017 track listing:

1. Sunshine – Jonathan Edwards, Jonathan Edwards 1971
2. Summer Romance )Anti-gravity Love Song) – Incubus, S.C.I.E.N.C.E. 1997
3. Walkin’ on the Sun – Smash Mouth, Fush Yu Mang 1997
4. The Ocean – Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy 1973
5. Lady Demeter – Tim Armstrong, A Poet’s Life 2007
6. Hold My Hand – Sean Paul, Imperial Blaze 2009
7. Mexican Home – John Prine, Sweet Revenge 1973
8. Irene – Marcy Playground, Leaving Wonderland… in a Fit of Rage 2009
9. The Diner Song – State Radio, Us Against the Crown 2006
10. Daisy Cutter – 311, Uplifter 2009
11. Ball and Biscuit – The White Stripes, Elephant 2003
12. Big River – Johnny Cash, The Complete Sun Masters 2008 (1958)

1. Santa Monica – Everclear, Sparkle and Fade 1995
2. Starry Safari – Mad Conductor, Renegade Space Rock 2007
3. Before they Make us Run – The Rolling Stones, Some Girls 1978
4. To be Alone with You – Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline 1969
5. Off the Record – My Morning Jacket, Z 2005
6. With My Own Two Hands – Ben Harper, Diamonds on the Inside 2003
7. Roadhouse Blues – The Doors, Morrison Hotel 1970
8. Don’t Put Your Feet on My Table – Dharma Brown, Slick Interpretations 2006
9. So Much Things to Say – Bob Marley & The Wailers, Exodus 1977
10. Paper Thin Walls – Modest Mouse, The Moon & Antarctica 2000
11. Stadium Love – Metric, Fantasies 2009
12. Summertime – Wayne Hancock, Thunderstorms and Neon Signs 1995

Dasss’it! Maybe we share some summer classics! Maybe you’re looking at this list in disgust! Either way, I’d love to see some other examples of Summer/Beach/Good Vibe mixes!

Thanks Foo’!

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


The ‘1st’ Tape: Driving/Exciting/Up-Tempo

20170619_160329I made my first mixtapes in the late 90’s/ early 2000’s. Recently, I started making a series of tapes called the ‘Mind Meld Mix‘ as a way to keep my long drives interesting. The goal of these tapes was to explore the range of genres in my collection. I take great pleasure in lulling someone into a relaxed state with an old folk tune only to blast them in anxiety with some screechin’ metal.
However, the lack of a theme makes the tapes a very ‘hit or miss‘ experience. Everybody liked a song or two but no one enjoyed the piece as a whole. The CTEP was born during the construction of a tape that I will call my 1st tape. The theme was Driving/Exciting/Up-Tempo, the track listing is provided below.
Side A:
1. Peace Frog – The Doors, Morrison Hotel 1970
2. Take it Back – Cream, Disraeli Gears 1967
3. Why Must You Always Dress in Black – Ben Harper, White Lies for Dark Times 2009
4. Make Some Noise – The Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two 2011
5. Smoke and Wine – Hank Williams III, Straight to Hell 2006
6. Hypnotize – The White Stripes, Elephant 2003
7. Stand By Me – Atomic Rooster, Made In England 1972
8. The Mob Rules – Black Sabbath, Mob Rules 1981
9. The Rocker – Thin Lizzy, Vagabonds of the Western World 1973
10. Dare – Gorillaz, Demon Days 2005
11. Prove My Love – Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes 1983
12. Resurrection – The Misfits, American Psycho 1997
13. Halftime – Nas, Illmatic 1994

Side B:
1. Mary Had a Little Lamb – Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Texas Flood 1983
2. The Prisoner – Iron Maiden, Number of the Beast 1982
3. I Love Everybody – Johnny Winter, Second Winter 1969
4. The Red & The Black – Blue Oyster Cult, Tyranny and Mutation 1973
5. Liquid Swords – GZA, Liquid Swords 1995
6. Billy Boo the Gunman – Blossom Toes, If Only for a Moment 1969
7. I Against Osbourne – The Dead Milkmen, Beelzebubba 1988
8. I Want You – KISS, Rock and Roll Over 1976
9. Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, Safe As Milk 1967
10. Yekermo Sew – Mulatu Astatke, New York-Addis-London: The Story of Ethino Jazz 1965 – 1975 2009
11. Secret Society – Title Fight, Floral Green 2012
12. Never More – Elf, Elf 1972

Well, there you have it! Use this as an example and have some fun! Throw together your own Driving/Exciting/Up-Tempo mix and send it in!


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