281 1/4 Feet

That’s the average length of tape in a C-30 cassette. For those younger than 30, the compact cassette tape was THE most portable audio medium between the early 1970s and the early 1990s. If you wanted college radio play, you pressed a 7” 45 single with your two best songs. Maybe you scraped enough cash together to press a full vinyl 12” LP like your rock hero’s. However, if you wanted to make a quick buck or two at your show AND make sure someone heard your music (on their Walkman or in their car), you went with the cassette. It was the cheapest and most convenient way for a band or musician to distribute their music to not only fans but to prospective record labels as well.  They were relatively cheap to duplicate at home and you could Xerox your DIY artwork for the insert yourself. If you wanted to step up your game, in Northeast Ohio in the late 80s/early 90s, you had your project duplicated by Duane Abarca at A to Z Audio complete with labels screened onto the custom cassette (no paper labels if you wanted it to look professional). As the cost of mass duplication of compact discs came down, bands started to release their material on that medium as the CD could be both played on the radio and sold at gigs or be sent to prospective record labels.  The use of the cassette went by the wayside although it seems to have made a niche comeback in the past few years (think “Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1″ from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie).

Since May, I’ve been privileged to organize and curate over a hundred cassettes in Jim Benson’s local music collection.  I’ve truly enjoyed listening to a lot of great local music from the 80s and 90s while converting the tapes to the much more preservable and shareable digital audio format. Particularly, I loved listening to the cassette EPs.  For my purposes, a cassette EP runs no longer than 30 minutes when the time for both sides is combined and contains no more than six to eight songs. Why?  Because it’s my blog, that’s why!  LOL. In no particular ranking, here are 20 of my favorite cassette EPs so far:

I Said – Adults
S/T – Sleazy Jesus & the Splatter Pigs
The Fifth Season – The Walk-Ins
S/T – The Dandelion People
Spinning In Infinity – Jericho Turnpike
Relation Shifts – In Fear Of Roses
S/T – Gypsy Moths
Zero Percent – Jehova Waitresses
East Coast Slo – The Waynes
Grandma’s Medicine – Medicine Men
The Coffee Sessions – Rotary Ten
S/T – Blue Taxi
S/T – Odd Girl Out
S/T – Ronald Koal Band
Sex Party – Indian Rope Burn
Don’t Ask – Rasch
Relations – The French Lenards
S/T – The Earl Rays
S/T – Back Pages
November – North By Northwest

Yes, I included my former band’s cassette EP (again, writer’s prerogative).  Click on any of the above titles.  The link will take you to my You Tube page and you can listen to that particular cassette EP.  I still have quite a few more to upload to You Tube, but I am interested in hearing about some of your favorite cassette EPs from the era.  Post here or email me at chris@listenclevelandmusic.com. If you have digital copies and are willing to share, please do, otherwise I will do my best to find a copy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.