Bob Marley Live Rainbow Theatre Bootleg Tape

Bob Marley Rainbow Theatre Live Audio Cassette

I’ve spoken before on the blog about the record fairs of the early 1980s, and the bootleg tapes that featured so prominently in their trade. Extremely erratic in quality, and often pedalled by people who knew little to nothing about the artists, these tapes (usually of live performances or radio sessions) were frequently Continue reading

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The Very Best of Dexys Midnight Runners (Cassette)

Dexys Midnight Runners emerged in 1979 as a British band from the Birmingham area, timing their arrival perfectly to coincide with a mod revival, and the rise of Two-Tone. True, Dexys were not a ska band, or for that matter specifically a ‘mod’ band, but their sound and style appealed to both camps. Add to that the fact they they had some remarkable songwriting skills, and you had a recipe for major public attention.

Very Best of Dexys Audio Cassette (1991) Continue reading

The Damned – Final Damnation Audio Cassette (1989)

The Damned were one of the ‘big three’ original British punk bands, alongside the Sex Pistols and The Clash. They released the first ever single to be acknowledged as British punk rock, in autumn 1976, and whilst their path was far from smooth and continuous, they remained active and high up in alternative public consciousness right through the early and mid 1980s.

Through the one decade plus from ’76 into the late ‘eighties, the band’s musical style morphed, and I suppose you could say ‘matured’ – although that would imply that original format punk was immature, which I don’t believe was the case.

The Damned Final Damnation audio cassette (1989) Continue reading

BASF LH Extra I Audio Cassette (1984)

1984 BASF LH Extra I Audio Cassette

BASF were very well known for their high bias chrome formulation cassettes (see the INDEX for numerous posts relating to those), but they also made some very nice normal bias Type I tapes. A case in point was this, the LH Extra I, probably made in 1984. Continue reading

The Type I Normal Bias Audio Cassette

The Type I normal bias audio cassette was the standard and most widely compatible tape format – the direct descendant of the original compact cassette. The tape preserved sound by means of a ferric-oxide coating, and first appeared on the consumer market in the mid 1960s. Even though the new high bias (Type II) cassette appeared in the early 1970s, through the rest of the decade the standard (Type I) format remained so dominant in the market that it wasn’t felt necessary by manufacturers to overtly distinguish it as a type. Only in the 1980s, when high bias tapes really began to take off, did type designations routinely start to appear on cassette shells and/or labels.

mid 1980s Sony HF-ES90 Audio Cassette Continue reading

Sony AHF 90 Audio Cassette (1981)

1981 Sony AHF 90 Audio Cassette

The Sony AHF was an excellent normal bias cassette from the renowned hi-fi manufacturer. At the dawn of the 1980s, there were three normal bias ferric oxide tapes in the Sony range. The CHF was the basic offering. Light on treble definition, fairly noisy, and low in price – but in its class, still pretty good value. The next step up was the BHF. This had noticeably better treble response, and whilst noise/hiss wasn’t exactly minimal, it was certainly more under control than with the CHF. The price was typically around 30% higher than that of the CHF. Stepping up again to the most expensive Sony ferric, you found, this, the technically superior AHF. Continue reading

Akai SX90 Audio Cassette

Akai SX 90 Audio Cassette

I can’t, unfortunately, give much information about the period of manufacture for this Akai SX 90 audio tape. I’m guessing it’s not any earlier than 1987, and it can’t be any later than 1999, because that’s the year the cassette was given to me. Sorry I can’t be more specific. Continue reading