Wednesday, 23 May 2012

My new toy - a cassette to MP3 walkman. The Siddeleys, etc

An Amazon email a few days, tailor made to my previous searches concerning recording equipment, included a cassette-MP3 converter.  Like a Walkman, but with a USB cable to connect it to your PC, it plays the cassette and records it to your PC as an MP3 file straight into itunes.  A bargain at £20 I thought.

In the garage, I have two boxes of cassettes, mostly Peel show edits and live bootlegs.  There are over 250 of the former, starting in 1979 and continuing to 2001.  At my peak of recording around 1990, I would record every Peel show during the week onto a reel-to-reel tape recorder, then edit out the tracks I liked while I studied for my professional exams in the evening. 

I am therefore embarking on a huge project to transfer all 250 cassettes (some are bound to be lost) onto my PC. 

I started today with Tape 149 featuring one of my all time favourite Peel sessions by The Siddeleys.  Some internet searching reveals a website for them, listing their handful of records, none of which I was ever able to find and none of which are available now.  I'm still amazed that they weren't hugely successful.  In the end, I did manage to find a handful of tracks by them on youtube.  Listening to them again for the first time in perhaps 5 years was just wonderful.  The highlight of my week/month.

Another band on one of the tapes that I hadn't heard for ages was Yeah Yeah Noh.  Clever lyrics or what?  I don't know what happened to them either, but I do remember listening to tracks like Cottage Industry, Bias binding and Stealing in the name of the Lord loads around 1984/85 (?). 

Then Tape 144 featured the amazing session by King of the Slums.  Leary Bleeder was a fantastic track, the wild electric feedbacking violin sound - outstanding

Finally The Happy Flowers - what more needs to be said about them?  Possibly the most bizarrely original band ever (on a par with Captain Beefheart perhaps).  Today I heard I ate something from the medicine cabinet and Charlie got a haircut for the first time in ages as well.  What a breath of fresh air they were.  Where are they now when music so obviously needs them?  Probably US senators by now I would think.

My first 6 Peek show transfers.  Number 149 featuring Peel sessions by The Telescopes and The Siddeleys; number 150 with a live set by Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares and a Pixies session; number 213 with Peel sessions by Dinosaur Jr and Bikini Kill; number 214 with no Peel sessions; number 144 with a Ukranian Wedding Present session, Dinosaur Jr, My Bloody Valentine and the stupendous King of the Slums session.  Finally number 140 featuring a Darling Buds session (never liked them!)

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