The Reel Deal

Sharing stuff found on magnetic tape in the reel-to-reel format.



I just this very night got the word that the hard drive that puked got restored, and all the archive files, as far as I can tell, are intact! So, this means that you now can peruse all the musical files you thought were gone forever. Don't feel bad, I thought they were gone, too.

A Great Big Shoutout goes to Duane & Diane for getting the drive restored intact... Duane is the connection between myself and the hosting site, and Diane is a veritable wizard when it comes to network and site admin. Massive Blessings to both of you for the assistance!

The bad news: I am back on the night shift for 6 weeks, so new material may be slow to happen, but there'll be some great stuff coming! I have boxen and boxen (inside joke) sitting in here....

And to all of you, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE, as well as thanks for your kind offerings on the PayPal front.




If you're wondering where everything went, the box that hosts all of the pic and sound files has taken a massive POOP and will be down for a while. I don't know when it will return, but it should some time soon.

Pray that it wasn't the hard drive....


Bel Canto Nutcracker Suite

OK, so Mitch Miller isn't holiday enough. No worries. This should make up for it, though.

In amongst the haul of Bel Canto 2-tracks is this little number by the infamous Hamburg Philharmonia: The Nutcracker Suite. It's the standard suite, even though the names of the movements are a little "French-ized". Don't ask me why, they came from some silly Wiki link. But, and if you can believe WikiPedia, this would be one of the first stereo recordings of the Nutcracker. Antal Dorati did the complete Ballet with the Minneapolis Orchestra in the mid-1950s, and the first full recording of the ballet in stereo was in 1958. That, of course, was on LP. If anyone has a GOOD Bel Canto discography, then I'd sure like to know when this was recorded.

I have also seen this on the 4-track version, but I still think that the 2-track Bel Canto tapes are far superior. Even if Bel Canto *did* do all the Dot library (things like Pat Boone and Lawrence Welk...), but they also did the HiFi label, as well as some of the early Liberty catalogue. Honestly, I don't know why people aren't collecting Bel Canto stuff, their LPs were BRILLIANT, as are their 2-track tapes.

Oh well, enough blather, I give you the usual full-size scans:
The front of the box, and
The back of the box.

Note that this was part of a promotinal deal (as seen on the back of the box)... does this make it a "rare Bel Canto"? Only time will tell...

Meanwhile, rack this one up and enjoy The Nutcracker Suite!

Mitch Miller - More Sing Along with Mitch

Here's another piece of two-track goodness, this time courtest of Columbia, and NOT Columbia House! I have this and three more Mitch Miller & the Gang 2-track tapes, I'll put 'em up if people want...

I loaded this up on the Otari and again was simply AMAZED at how GOOD this sounds! I remember watching Mitch Miller on television in the 60s (on an old Magnavox dial-tuner black & white set at my grandparents'), and, frankly was kind of ho-hum about it all. Even worse were the scratchy Mitch Miller LPs you'd always find at thrift stores and yard or boot sales. They sounded like BLEAH-on-toast. So, I was kinda expecting audio torture when I loaded this up, but NO! This sounded GOOD! You could hear all the things you're supposed to hear in a gerat recording...

Granted, the songs are kind of smarmy (they were all written in the Shellac era), but they sound soo GOOOOOD....

Unfortunately, I can't get scans of the liner notes (they're on the inside of the box), and the back is the standard Columbia 2-track back, which is nothing but a tile of Magic Eye symbols... so you only get a scan of the front of the box this time around.

So, my friends, rack up this tape on the two-track deck of the imagination and enjoy More Sing Along with Mitch!


Eric Rogers Chorale - The Glory of Christmas

Another piece of Yule-dom for you to make your holiday cheer factor a little cheer-ier :)

This was released in the late 60s methinks, because of the Phase-4 label on it... it's a nice set of the usual Yule classic-type tunes, sung very well (except for one Soprano in a couple of places), with a decent orchestra and organ (and you can REALLY hear the pedal tones in places!)... perfect for those snowy Christmas Eves when you want to remember the reverence of Christmas.

I had this tape up on eBay and it sold, adding a few pennies into the coffers... it was in pretty decent shape, actually!

I can't think of too much more to say, except that I hope you enjoy this'un, and if I find any more cool holiday type reels, I'll post 'em up!

Again, may the Season bring you and your family happiness, togetherness, and, most importantly, the Blessing of Peace.

Here are the full size scans of:
The front of the box, and
The back of the box.

Something for when the snow is falling and you want to gather the family around the fireplace... The Glory of Christmas!


A Christmas Greeting In Stereophonic Sound

In the mid-1950s, when stereophonic tape was in its' infancy, Ampex had a nationwide dealer network selling their tapes and decks. So, it was a natural that Ampex, the then-leader (perhaps self-proclaimed?) of stereo tapes, made a little Yule greeting gift that was sent out to "friends of Ampex", which meant dealers and people that bought decks.

This has been hawked on eBay a few times as "the first Stereo Christmas Greeting" tape, and it is not too bad, musically... the recording is full of 60-cycle hum and lots of thumps and stuff, but what would one expect from a tape recorded in, what, 1954?

Well, enough kvetching, this IS a nice little 10-minute Yule tape, done in 2-track stereo, the choir is directed by John Halloran, who I assume does the vocal segues as well.

COnsider this my Yule greeting to all of you, especially those who have thrown a penny in the Poor-Man's hat (or PayPal box) :)

May the Season bring you and your family happiness, togetherness, and, most importantly, the Blessing of Peace.

Here are the full size scans of:
The front of the box, and
The back of the box.

May you have a Most Blessed Yule, and here's A Christmas Greeting In Stereophonic Sound!



A change of pace... a DRASTIC change of pace!

I saw this one up on eBay (thanks to your donations... that helped snag this rarity!) and just HAD to bid on it... it came yesterday, and.... boy is it different!

Kangaroo is a band I have NEVER heard of, kind of like Jefferson Airplane meets Country Joe & the Fish. From the address on their fan club, this seems to be a New York City group that had maybe one labum in the 60s and then faded into obscurity. I have NEVER seen any kind of LP or CD, so I assume that this one is safe to post...

The music is psychedelia but not too over-the-top... there are a couple of light-hearted bits in here, and the usual Longhair Love songs... it's an interesting listen!

The tape wasn't in the greatest shape, but I think I got the best I could out of it on the remaster process... it's an Ampex dupe, done at 3.75 ips, and the tape is showing a little bit of stretch wear... but the TEAC handled it nicely enough to get at least a fair remaster of it.

Here are the full size scans of:
The front of the box, and
The back of the box.

Fire up those Moire boxes and Lava Lamps! Here's Kangaroo!


Clebanoff Strings - Moods In Music

More two-track goodness for you this week... This came from an estate sale via eBay (with help from your donations!) and WOW is this GOOD! It's mood music, not even really lounge, but when I mounted it up on the Otari and played it, ooOOoo lush lush lush, and dynamic range that you just can't really get on a 4-track recording. This is your basic Mercury stereo tape from the late 1950s, recorded really well, so well that you can hear chairs scraping in a couple of places!

The music runs almost a full 30 minutes, it's really good, it's great for that romantic dinner, and it sounds, just, utterly FANTASTIC. I'm putting this reel up on eBay and I'll probably not get as much as I should for it... I can't understand why audiophiles aren't falling all over this stuff, really.

Here are the full size scans of:
The front of the box, and
The back of the box.

Enjoy this piece of audiophilia: The Clebanoff Strings - Moods In Music!

My work schedule will be cooling off after Thanksgiving, so I should be able to do some more postings on all four blogs during December... STAY TUNED!


Stereophony Sampler, Vol. 2

Well, I seem to have a thing for Second Volumes of stuff... take for example this stereo demonstration tape from an outfit called Stereophony Incorporated, out of St. Paul, Minnesota. This demo tape, done in wonderous 2-track stereo, dates from around 1957, I believe, and has the usual fluffy pop and light classical things that audiophiles of the day drooled over. And, even though there is a tracklist of sorts on the inner liner notes, all the tracks are still announced, by a Real Announcer Guy! I can never get his name, but he's got one of those Real Announcer Voices...

The music... there is, of course, an assortment here, including a nice cut of gospel singing, and something called a "Voicestra". The explanation is this: a Voicestra is a group of human voices backing up a solo instrument. Novel, I think... very 50s. The remaining cuts do a good job of showing off just how spiffy and keen stereophonic music could be. Remember, a vast majority of the recorded library out there was monophonic, except for those audio geeks that had the stereo tape machines. Also consider that people were paying anywhere from 8 to 15 1950s dollars for tapes that had a run length of 15 to 20 minutes! The norm for the time was a mono tape that you could reverse... to get to the B-side, or 2nd mono track, you had to flip the tape over... 2-track stereo tapes only played ONE DIRECTION!

To give you an idea of what was out there, I have also included scans of the leaflet catalogue that came with this tape. Granted, this isn't the offering of a COlumbia or an RCA, or even a Bel Canto, but they were a quality house, even though they only lasted in the consumer market for a relatively short time.

I dubbed this on the Otari, as it does the best job for 2-track tapes (duh! silly me, thinking I was gonna get a decent dub off of a 4-track machine!)... I switched over to 4-head mode after the dub and boy! What a DIFFERENCE! This makes me want to go back and re-dub the Dixieland In Stereo tape...

So, I give you the full size scans of:
The front of the box,
The back of the box,
One side of the inner liner notes,
The other side of the inner liner notes,
One side of the catalog leaflet, and
The other side of the catalog leaflet.of the reel box.

Sit back, put on your audiophile smoking jacket, and enjoy the Stereophony Sampler Volume 2!


"Your Kind of Music"

Well, when it rains, it pours, I reckon... not 2 weeks go by when I get the Revox A77 running, I get a call on the phone from a friend saying "I have a 2-track reel deck here, you want it?"

After I pick myself up off of the floor, I QUICKLY agree, and we set a date for me to come pick it up. Last Friday night, I took posession of a VERY nice rack-mount Otari MX5050. FINALLY I have something to play the NAB reels on, and it will do 15 ips as well (I have some 15 ips 2-track stuff here that needs to get dubbed off, and you'll hear it when I do get that dubbed off).

The first thing I ran through the Otari was a NAB-hubbed reel of a half-hour radio program called "Your Kind of Music", done as a syndicated thing in the late 80s for an automobile sales outfit in Springfield, MO, on KTXR Radio. The program was produced by Kingsbury Broadcasting Systems, and done on 2-track stereo at 7.5 ips, of course on the big 10.5 inch reels. I tried a pass of this on the Revox, but really wanted to see what it would do on a 2-track machine (the Revox is a 4-track deck)... and HOLY PINCH ROLLERS... I got dynamic range out the WAZOO! I had forgotten jsut how good 2-track stuff sounded on a 2-track deck!

The tape came in a plain white plastic box, so here is the cue sheet for the show, which I'll give you in one mp3 file... Here is the cue sheet...

Sit back and enjoy this, it's neat! THere's a little clipping on some of the tracks but I attest that to sloppy production, as the rest of the material is really really good. Here's Your Kind of Music... right-click to download!