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Does anybody remember cassettes? / Life laundry underway slowly / History in my hands

22 July 2008 1,994 views No Comment

Well the life laundry clearing of the loft hasn’t thrown up that Houston 1977 videotape…but I did find a host of cassettes – hundreds of the buggers. Was the day when these spools of joy were at the centre of our collections.  Easy to copy, easy to swap and trade and easy to send in the post. There was always immense anticipation when you pulled open a package of freshly recorded Memorex /TDK / Phillips / musicassettes to give them there full name.How can such a much loved format become so redundant in such a short space of time? But that’s what happened with the advent of the CDR and mp3 file.

I did throw a fair few out this week mainly old mix tapes / compilations etc and Sam’s Spice Girls ones (they won’t impress anyone at Uni Sam honest!), but found it hard to lose the many Zeppelin live tapes I’ve accumulated. For historical and nostalgic reasons alone they have to stay. I also stumbled on a few cassette rarities including a Robert Plant Canadian only compilation to promote Manic Nirvana, the original In The Forest Kidderminster Collage cassette that contains the Band Of Joy’s Adriatic Seaview and all the Zep albums on cassette. I couldn’t resist snapping a few of them on – one in particular that was marked ‘Old Grey Whistle Test Graffiti previews’.

This is a recording of two tracks aired on the much loved BBC 2 programme introduced by Bob Harris on the night of February 21st 1975, a few days before the album’s official release.

Now I remember this cassette well because it contains unique DL mixes of Houses Of The Holy and Trampled Underfoot. Unique in the sense that when they were recorded off our TV on the night using a portable mic from my Phillips cassette player, all surrounding noises found their way on to the recording. Thus throughout those tracks you can clearly hear our pet budgerigar of the time Georgie chirping merrily in the background. Not quite the backing vocals required.

In the middle of all this life laundry came a visit from Mark Harrison and Cliff Hilliard. It was great to see Mark – despite his health problems his enthusiasm and spirit are admirable. We marveled at the Earls Court May 25th clips of Heartbreaker and Communication Breakdown – and we were in complete agreement that the encores performed that night are as good as it gets. Cliff showed me yet more of his simply amazing Zep ticket collection, providing an opportunity to hold history in my hands via rare tickets such as Nottingham Boat Club 1971, Royal Albert Hall 1970 and Aberystwyth Kings Hall 1973.

It’s a busy week back at work in prospect and the final proof read of TBL21 ahead. Always an exciting stage as we see the many hours of work finally come to fruition. Playlist inspiration is on hand via  Bob Dylan Hard Rain and Planet Waves (thank you Terry), Gilles Peterson’s Kings Of Jazz compilation (thank you JL) and Led Zeppelin Boxed Set 2 which always hits the mark. I’ve got that one on a rare promo cassette as well and to paraphrase the aforementioned Dylan “It ain’t going nowhere”.

This life laundry lark isn’t going to be easy…  

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