Wednesday, August 12, 2009

big sound of a low tech world

The last 8-track tapes I bought were from Woolco (Rainbow Plaza, Rainbow City, AL) before they closed back in the early 1980's. More people were buying cassette tapes back then. By the late 80's the 8-track cartridge was on it's way out. I was stocking up on them because I still had a player and the cartridges were going for fifty cents each at Woolco.

I don't know what it is about those clunky things. You'd be listening to the music and there would be a pause right square kadab in the middle of the song and 'CLUNKITY'. The track would change and the listener had a few moments to ponder the meaning of the lyrics he'd just heard before the rest of the song eventually came along.

Even so - I liked 8 track tape format for all it's flaws. I remember my brother Brooky had an 8-track player installed in his MGB with plug in for head phones. I remember a certain trip to Florida we made together with the top down, shirts off, and head phones on. Driving down narrow roads and through small towns listening to The Who, Linda Ronstadt, Moody Blues and Pink Floyd as the road unwound before us.

I had a portable 8-track player that my Uncle Pat gave me that I used to listen to through head phones. I'd sit beneath the shade of the eaves of my old home listening to the music of Cat Stevens, Harry Nilsson, and Randy Newman It was so compact and portable for that day that it was like carrying around a bagel toaster

There came a day when 8-tracks were no more. Even little cassettes are a rarity. Today people have wee-sleek little MP3 players that fit into a pocket that store hours upon hours of music. With all this new cleaner sounding streamlined tiny technology - why do you suppose we baby-boomers remember the 8-track with so much fondness?
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