Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Best Mixtapes I Ever Made

I am torn...I have very carefully stored most of my old cassette mixtapes and when I am shuffling through a pyramid like shelving unit in our kitchen and see all of them and pull them out to glance at the tracks, I am transported, like most of you out there who have mixtapes of your own, to the times and places of the past and the sweat and emotion that went into planning each one, the sequence of songs and such.

There are entire websites devoted to the mixtape era(cassettefrommyex.com)out there. Its like a lost art form that has been buried under the guise of ease and the crushing influence of technology.....I am hesitant to convert my mixtapes into mere "Playlists" that can be whipped up like an afterthought between the download and the lawsuit, stored on the device of your choice and filed away among 11000 songs and videos.

I don't think cassettes will ever catch on again on the nostalgic backside. The vinyl afterlife has been prolonged by DJs, baby booming anti digital disgruntled luddites, and those crazy kids who like cool old things like turntables, roller derby and kickball. besides...cassettes didn't sound great like a warm blanket of vinyl did...they were portable from walkman to Alpine in the 80s-early 90s. They got the job done. They fit in your jean jacket.

So as I ponder trying to find all of the tracks from my fav mixtapes in a digital format ...I thought we could share some of our best work with each other.... I named all of mine and titles are included. If you don't know the artists and really wanna know...contact me.

From 1992 Feathers on Your Feet Maxell XLII 100

I've Got A Feeling
Crazy Love
You Don't Have To Cry
Look Out For My Love
The Love Song
Murder Tonight In the Trailer Park
Here Comes Sunshine
I Don't Want to Know
Hissing Of Summer Lawns
Lost Paraguayos
Thorn Tree In The Garden
Aint Wastin Time No More
For No One

Sing A Simple Song
I Would For You
Boogie On Reggae Woman
Fields Of Joy
Although The Sun Is Shining
Haitian Divorce
Tell me That it Isn't True
Ten Years Gone
Come Down In Time
Running to Stand Still

The feeling is immediate: Martha's Vineyard on a deck, swordfish steaks, cusp of summer

From 1993 Semi Goosebump Blues TDK SA90
Let It Loose
Three Days
Dead cats Dead Rats/Break On Thru
Sister Luck
New Mama
Gasoline Alley

Call The Doctor
Loud Love
Leave My Blues At Home
Lord of the Thighs
Sea of Joy
I Need Some Money
Hear My Train a Comin'
Baboom/Mama Said
Torn and Frayed
Love at First Feel

The vision is clear: late night basement beer after delivering pizzas, Mazda truck seats smelling like long gone pepperoni.

From 1994 Illuminated Down TDK SA90
The Old Laughing Lady
Court and Spark
Dreaming My Dreams With You
Black Peter
No Quarter
Late Night
Moonlight Mile

Tin Pan Alley
Under Stars
Cars Hiss By My Window
Am I Inside
Lisa Says
Kingdoms of Rain
Down Where the Drunkards Roll
My Dream

Flashing before my eyes: hitting bottom on a nightly basis, shrouded in down, back in my hometown and proudly wallowing.

Man...its powerful, the pull. I remember how the songs flowed and how I felt when I knew what was creeping up next. And the fact that tapes had two sides(like albums)you could almost assign a mood/attitude for each side . You could plan it out ahead of time with your perfectly executed sequence.

Itunes just cannot do that for you. But I want to preserve the spirit, the snapshot..before the tapes wither away or a natural disaster claims my shelving unit.

Share with me your creations...............thoughts.....advice.


  1. So nostalgic Sean...I just found some of my mixtapes while looking thru old stuff in Austin. But I gotta say, coming from a younger generation (I know, that may have been unnecessary) I think mix CD's can have a similar hold, but I have to admit it's not the same as having Side A and B :)

  2. You made me a bunch of great mix tapes over the years. The best was "Black Jugular Thunder!" which introduced me to Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins, etc.
    Also a great AC-DC mix tape which I think was the best compilation ever created - forget the name of it.

    I do think you can create and ditribute playlists in a similar manner with mp3s. Not the same but give it a try.

  3. Looking at the first list sent a chill up my spine. I made similar mixes and 80% of the songs that you listed were choices that I made based on their durability for long distance driving.

    That Poco song has always completely floored me (and has turned up in the background at significant points in my life), but your Joni pick, along with the Neil, CSN and Steely Dan tunes rank pretty high on the "not been beaten to death with a stick by radio play" scale. They also found a home on tapes that I made way back when.

    Proof of parallel multi-verses right here on good old planet earth.

  4. Great stuff there, Sean! What I used to do is make compilation tapes of a particular artist. My goals were to include a song from each album and sequence it together as if you were to hear it in a concert. Came up with some pretty good stuff.