In 1987 and 1988, I was a trainee working with a group of largely incompetent painters and decorators…. Papering walls, doing odd jobs, accidentally pulling down the odd ceiling, and once in a while being ordered to take a door off its hinges and burn it because the customer was so dissatisfied with the painting. Invariably, we’d have the radio on, and Voice of the Beehive tracks such as I Walk The Earth and Don’t Call Me Baby would keep us as enthusiastic as was feasible. When this Album – Let It Bee – was released in June ‘88, combining existing hits with new or lesser known songs, I bought it straight away. Continue reading
When I first heard talk of the ‘eighties band It Bites in 1986, the associated phrase ‘prog rock’ prompted me to steer as great a distance clear as I could. I was one of the kids who’d fully supported all attempts by the punk and new wave movement to completely wipe ‘70s prog rock off the map of musical history. I couldn’t stand endlessly long songs, self-indulgent guitar and drum solos, or technique for the sake of technique, and since those were the features I associated with prog rock, any band billed into that category would be a band for me to avoid. Continue reading
The BASF CR-E II audio cassette (or Chromdioxid Extra II, as it was identified on the outer packaging), filled the space in the range previously occupied by the Chromdioxid II. Despite the ‘Extra’, this tape was still BASF’s standard CrO2 offering, and I couldn’t really tell any difference between this and the previous Chromdioxid II. The CR-E II arrived in 1985, even sporting the same basic colour scheme as its predecessor, although the grey label on this cassette had a sort of metallic effect which changed the shade of grey as the shell was moved in the light. Continue reading
This generic-looking audio cassette, which I acquired in the late 1980s from a local producer of amateur bands, has proved impossible to identify so far. It has a white paper label, which appears to have been stuck on by the producer, rather than at the factory, and it has the appropriate sensor notches for high bias (CrO2-type) operation. The tape is dark, purple/blue-black, but it doesn’t have the ‘chrome smell’, or indeed any smell at all. It doesn’t sound very chrome-like either. It has a thicker tone more in keeping with a cobalt composite.
The producer in question was using a lot of these cassettes around the late ’80s and into the ’90s, but unfortunately I’ve long lost touch with him, so the source of these old tapes is a mystery which could take me a while to solve.
Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien was an instrumental rock guitar album showing off some truly stunning fretboard pyrotechnics. I was just starting to pursue the electric guitar at a more advanced level when this album was released, and after seeing the unmitigated praise it was getting in the guitar magazines, I bought it. Continue reading
I must say I got a serious buzz of excitement when I finally unearthed this. I knew I had at least one old 1983 Memorex HBII (High Bias II) audio cassette kicking around somewhere, but my huge hoard of old possessions is in such disarray that searches have long since fallen into needle-in-haystack territory. Continue reading
I first became aware of The Smithereens in the mid 1980s when they played live on a UK ‘alternative entertainment TV show’. I’m guessing it was probably Saturday Live, but if not, it was certainly a variety format because I remember one of the comedians cracking a rather cheap, desperate and poorly-executed joke about the lead singer’s comb-over. Continue reading