The attempts at repair didn’t work. I went ahead and did what I could, but really, the quality is pretty bad for much of it. Two of the musical pieces are absolutely dreadful — not the musicians, just the recording. Wow and flutter and distortion.
I’ve asked the sister who originally sent it whether she has a better copy.
If not, then I’m done with the cassettes.
When I cut out the silences and rattles and footsteps as speakers walked to and from the lectern (or maybe the pulpit), and the blank stretch at the end, the ninety-minute tape wound up less than an hour.
I missed the memorial service; I was a thousand miles away and didn’t consider it worth the trip. Listening to this, I was right. I loved my father and I miss him, but there’s nothing in this service I needed to hear, and a few things would have annoyed me.
So I went on to see if the reel-to-reel works.
It mostly does. There are some issues. I needed to clean the heads, for one thing. And I’ve jiggered one of the regulator thingies that was seriously over-regulating, stopping the tape dead any time one of the reels jerked even slightly. Inserting a Q-Tip took care of it.
Now to weed out all the tapes where I already have that music. First up was a tape that claimed to have four Jethro Tull albums on it: “Thick As A Brick,” “Passion Play,” “War Child,” and “Minstrel in the Gallery.” Except Side 1 actually had “Thick As A Brick,” “Passion Play,” and part of “Aqualung” — two tracks to fill up the side.
I had all five albums on CD, so this tape is just going away.
So that left fifty-one. Then fifty; a tape of “Tommy” backed with “Jesus Christ Superstar” and filled out with two tracks from “Live At Leeds” finished up, and I have all those already, since they were just taped off my LPs.
That’s roughly 160 hours of tape left, I guess — I mostly used 1800-foot tapes recorded at 3.75 ips, which come out to just over three hours apiece, but there are also a few 2400-ft. reels mixed in, and even (I think) one 3600-footer. There may be some shorter ones, and stuff recorded at higher (or lower) speeds, as well.
They aren’t all full, by any means.
A lot of these were taped off my own records, because I liked being able to go 90-96 minutes without turning anything over; I remember in college I’d do my classwork with a tape running, and when I noticed it had ended, that meant it was time for a break.
(Observe that I don’t say “when it ended,” I say “when I noticed it had ended.” That could be anywhere from immediately to an hour or two later.)
Fifty to go — and I need to figure out what to do with the tapes after recovering whatever’s on them that I still want. Nobody still uses reel-to-reel, do they?