New old tapes! Vol. 2 Part 3
Compared to the previous drawers, this one contains less tapes than the other two. But for the blog this does not matter because we end this blog with an extensive conclusion.
We walk through the drawers from left to right and take a close look at a few tapes at a time. Anyone who has read part 2 of this blog series will know more about the publisher you see here, in short: the publisher IMD is essentially an illegal tape printing company from Saudi Arabia, presumably active somewhere between 1970 and perhaps early 1990. The previous owner of these tapes bought the them in Lebanon, which supports the story of these so-called 'bootlegs'.
For the full story behind IMD, the bootlegs, and why these tapes exist, it's best to read the end of Part 2 of this series.
We start with the albums of Styx and Olivia. Despite the illegal copies, the print quality of the 'coverart' can still be called decent. The type of paper used for the covers is also very similar to normal editions, namely laminated paper, the difference lies in the printed details, the insert cards contain the titles of the songs on the tapes but no in-depth information about, for example, the artist/ band, creation of the album or interesting illustrations.
Another detail that keeps coming back to the tapes is that one has a sticker where the other is printed directly on the housing. My preference lies in the latter, because if you look at the stickers, they are often carelessly pasted on, are crooked, full of wrinkles, folds or are coming off.
The tapes also have a different color, this has to do with how they have been stored. When I turn both tapes the colors are the same, the right tape has probably been used more often, or has seen more temperature differences compared to the other. Finally, the casings of the cassettes were produced in Japan, which can be seen in the top right corner of both cassettes.
The tapes next to the insert cards, anyone who used to work with tapes probably knows the problem, you open the box and find completely different tapes than what is stated on the box...
In this case I find Olivia in the box, not so much 'Physical', but 'Platinum 2'. Astute readers may already know more, but we'll skip the physical release of Physical for now.
The next two in line contain a well-known album. Dire Straits with Making Movies, further a compilation album by Unicef. With songs from all kinds of well-known and slightly less well-known artists and bands.
The content is not much different from the previous two tapes, the corporate identity of IMD is a fixed thing, only the font changes often.
We zoom in on the cover of the Unicef Concert cassette. Although it is initially funny to look at the many caricatures, there is another less funny detail...
"Proceeds from this album benefit Unicef and all the children in the world"
Do you think that proceeds of this illegal expenditure really benefited Unicef or even a child here on earth?
I doubt it...
The fact that it is printed on this cover can mean anything, but I suspect that they didn't pay attention to this when printing, just scan the original cover, paste the IMD logo above it and copy!
Time for the next two tapes, The best of Kenny Rogers Vol. 2 and John Denver with I Want to Live.
I don't know what happened to Kenny Rogers' tape, but it almost looks like poor Kenny had been tossed around in the car a lot. Also the tape itself doesn't look very fresh anymore. If this is "the best of" then I don't know what is...
The John Denver tape looks a bit better, nevertheless the sticker is already coming off here, not that it was ever so neatly pasted...
Remarkable is the mention on the card "Stereo Mono", a stereo edition but in mono? Or vice versa? That must be a world of difference in terms of listening quality...
They probably mean that the tape can be heard in both stereo and mono, but why bother to state that clearly?
Next!... Dolly Parton with her 18 best hits next to Top Country Hits.
I have to admit, I only know Jolene from the list of songs, maybe I recognize more when I listen to them.
Top Country Hits will have to wait a minute, because we have an intruder in our midst...
It is house cat Fred who comes to see how things are going here. Despite the 'male' name she is a female, but who cares about the name. As long as the name is accompanied by the word food, everything is fine.
She meows happily when I try to make it clear to her that I'm busy, nevertheless she gets a treat and I cuddles with her for a while before she climbs back into the window frame to going outside again. We can continue with the blog...
Okay, back to the subject, here's the tape with Top Country Hits. It opens with the same artist from the previous cassette, Dolly Parton, she ends up appearing three times on this compilation album. It is striking how many songs on this 'Country' cassette are about love, either positive or negative.
This brings us to the last two tapes in this row, they are also the last two IMD releases for this blog.
Cliff Richard and the Shadows - Thank You Very Much
The Best of Country & West Vol. 3
I can't really say much about the band, both Cliff Richard and the band The Shadows are recognizable names but other than that they don't tell me much...
When I look on the internet and listen to a few songs, it turns out I know more song than I thought I would.
In order to briefly mention something, I'll share some work by Cliff Richard and his band The Shadows.
Apache - Cliff Richard, The Shadows (note that this is a cover of the original).
Living Doll - Cliff Richard and The Drifters (not featured on the cassette).
In retrospect I must confess that Cliff Richard really isn't that bad to listen to. After some further research, it appears that he is (or has been) incredibly popular in his home country of Great Britain and that he has even been knighted for his skills, so I should really call him Sir Cliff Richard!
Time to move on, in this case: 'The Best of Country & West Vol. 3 '
I am completely unfamiliar with Country and Western, but I can tell from the tape that someone is a big fan of Porter Wagoner's song 'Big Wind'. The song appears twice in a row at the end of side A . It is even mentioned on the cover however someone forgot a space on the first mention...
This brings us to the end of the first drawer and we move on to the next.
With the releases of IMD behind us, we can start looking at tapes with homemade recordings.
Personally, I find these tapes much more interesting, it is often a surprise what is on them. What kind of music did the previous owner like and more importantly are they worth keeping? Let's go through them first before we answer that question.
The first three tapes in a row, the tapes contain all kinds of recordings, with the middle tape exactly says "all kinds of". The tape with the text "All kinds of" is numbered, there are also more tapes with the same text on it, so I'll put these aside for now.
The second set of tapes again contain recordings from all kinds of artists. Most recorded on TDK tapes and a few on BASF tapes.
Although again a number of tapes have a weathered appearance, some still look quite good. Also this BASF tape that looks noticeably better than the others, the design is also quite interesting with the rounded window in the middle.
One last set in this drawer with recorded tapes. I am curious to listen to what's recorded on these tapes.
Also in the last drawer a handful of tapes, again self-made recordings and a single tape by Kenny Rogers with an appropriate album title in this case.
The cassettes of the last drawer together with again many different artists.
Now that we've checked all the tapes in the box, it's time to sort them out...
In the box of Olivia we came across the cassette with Platinum 2, in the first blog of this series I had exactly the same thing but then reversed, in the box of Platinum 2 was Olivia, so I switch them around.
I have come across several 'Platinum' editions and now I wonder, do I have a complete serie?
Not quite... We have edition 2, 3 & 4 but number 1 is missing here. What a missed opportunity this is.
But there are more releases with multiple editions. Let's put them together, maybe we'll have better luck with other cassette series.
We still have 'Super Hits' with volume 1, 2 and 2... Is this collection complete or overcomplete?
I search the internet for a while, but the name Super Hits is so general that I can't find a third edition, even the first two editions above can;t be found on the internet...
The series with Elvis tapes is also far from complete, where volume 1 and 2 are missing, I do have volume 3 and 4.
When you have so many incomplete series, I also get sentimental. Here 'Sentimental Favorites vol. 4 and... 4.
As if it couldn't get any worse...
- The best of Kenny Rogers Vol. 2
- ABBA Greatest Hits Vol. 2
- Fleetwood Mac LIVE Vol. 2
- The Best of Rock 1981 Vol. 2
Yes, it can certainly be worse...
Super World Hits Vol. 17.....
I also make a face like that when I realize that there is not one complete edition in this entire collection.
48 pieces with cassettes from IMD. With the question, what to do with this collection of tapes?
I've made a selection that might be worth keeping, I say "might" because the tapes are cheap productions where there's a good chance they don't sound that great.
Piece by piece I rewind the tapes, play a part and listen to the quality. At the end I have to decide which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of. In the end, the decision was made quite easy. All pre-recorded tapes from publisher IMD are going out. While some tapes are certainly interesting, I prefer to look for better quality ones. Some of these tapes sound very dull, or the low tones are too high, or the highs stand out way too much.
Although the tapes are reasonable to listen to in a HiFi setup, they sound awful when you listen to them with headphones.
With the headphones on, the noise on the tapes can be heard very well, noise reduction is not used on these tapes, so switching it on only make you lose the high tones, making everything sound even worse. That, together with the fact that they are ferro (type I) cassettes, makes them not worth keeping. Nevertheless, I am writing down the names of some tapes so that I can still buy them in the future if I find an official and better edition.
But there are other tapes besides IMD's. A whole pile of self-made recordings. They undergo the same treatment. I rewind them and listen to some of the songs on them and decide if the recordings are worth it. But again there are no recordings that are worth keeping. The recording volume is too low, a channel is missing or the recording in general is mediocre at best. Nevertheless, some cassettes are good to be reused, I'll make a selection of these.
Of the original 91 tapes, I eventually have 6 left that I'll wipe clean to use again.
Two of the BASF cassettes have an interesting design, and the stickers are also in good condition and without writing.
In addition, there are two Philips tapes that are in remarkably good condition, by far all other Philips tapes that I have encountered so far were not in such good shape. Written or damaged stickers, inserts that were missing or heavily discolored or the tape was so bad that reusing it was no longer an option. But these two still look as new. Only the back side of the 60 minute insert card is somewhat discolored and the text 'Rock and Roll' is written on it.
Afterwards I decided to provide the C-60 cassette with new tape, the original tape was not good anymore and suffered from the so-called 'stick-slip' effect where the tape sticks/pulls along the head with a high pitch tone.
Finally, there are two Denon cassettes, which I have not seen before. Something tells me that the quality of these tapes probably isn't that bad. Nevertheless, the stickers do need to be replaced.
The only thing I can do about that is replace the stickers with a copy of the original. I carefully peel off the sticker and stick it on a sheet of paper. I run this through the scanner and edit it so that it looks like new again.
And so I make a new sticker from the old one in the simple drawing program MS Paint. The new one looks a bit pixelated, but once printed, this is no longer noticeable. The only thing I can't replicate is the silver shine on the original sticker.
Okay maybe the new stickers are not as nice as the original ones, but have to admit that despite it's an improvement compared to the weathered old stickers.
Those who may find it interesting and need new stickers for their Denon 60 & 90 minute cassettes can download these stickers from the downloads page under 'Cassette downloads'
Anyway, what to do with the remaining batch of cassettes that I am not going to keep? These will get a new owner and will soon go to the other side of the country to a good friend of mine.
This brings this three-part blog about the tape box to an end. I hope you have enjoyed this series of blogs, it will be the last one for a while.