As normal bias tapes went in the early ‘eighties, Sony’s offerings were pretty good. This is a 1983 Sony BHF 90 – the BHF being a step up in quality and definition from the lowly Sony CHF. Visually, these were an upgrade on the BHFs from the previous year, featuring a sort of metallic foil finish on the label rather than plain paper as in 1982. There may possibly also have been a slight improvement in sound, but my recording equipment in the early 1980s was so poor, and of course so much time has now elapsed since these tapes were new, that it’s very difficult to tell. These are good tapes though – with considerable treble response for normal bias ferrics.
I used this particular cassette to record local Birmingham band The Set, at the Fighting Cocks pub, Moseley, in spring 1983. Well, a mate did the recording on his Walkman, on my behalf. The Set – a six-piece rock/ska/reggae combo – were one of countless local bands who released material on vinyl, and got support work with high profile acts, but didn’t really register on a national scale. I first saw them supporting The Beat ( known as The English Beat outside the UK) at Edgbaston’s Tower Ballroom in October 1982. But tellingly, the Two-Tone movement (an amalgamation of British punk and Jamaican ska) which had helped drive up The Beat’s status, had taken a commercial nosedive the previous year, making the climb out of obscurity much more difficult for similarly orientated bands like The Set.