Blog Project

8 Track Underground

1979 meets 2011

“Forget your records and your CDs. Don’t need cassettes or MP3s…”

– From the song “8-Track Underground” on my album Cadillacs & Tarantulas.

My father recently unearthed two 8-track tapes of his mom, Frances dePrisco, singing some old gospel tunes. Recorded in her living room in 1979, these tapes (which include backing vocals by my aunt and uncle in a couple places) are somewhat historic in terms of my own musical journey, so I’ve been helping my dad convert them to digital files to help preserve the recording. Pictured here is an old Century 8-track player interfaced to my MacBook. It’s a bit comical really, given the utter insanity of the 8-track format. Four blocks of program time that require the play head to “jump” from one track to the next.

I grew up listening to a few 8-tracks, such as The Worst of Jefferson Airplane and Led Zeppelin II.¬†If you’ve ever seen one of these tapes go bad, it’s easy to see why the format didn’t survive very long – with their one endless loop of tape around a precarious spindle mechanism… revolutionary at the time I guess. The format and age of these tapes makes this little side project even more time-sensitive, since at any moment the tape (or the player) might just die. As it is the recording quality is not very good, but we’re lucky to have anything from this era. It’s nice to know some of my audio editing skills can be put to use.

My dad is researching the song titles and original artists. So far the songs we’ve recovered include:

Jesus And Me
Learning To Lean
I Found Peace With The Lord
If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
Shake Hands With Mother Again
Near The Cross
Where He Leads Me
I Won’t Have To Worry
Send Me A Message
Sweeter Gets My Journey
God’s Love Reaches Out
Thank You Lord
One Day Too Late
I’ll See You In The Rapture
Jesus Lives In My Heart

1/5/12 Update

Tape #2 was much more degraded and had some problems with the track jumps. A few songs were only recoverable in part, at least the first time around. It has also been more difficult to determine the song titles, as they were not documented, so the ones below with an asterisk are questionable:

* You’ll Never Be Lonely Again
That’s The Man I’m Looking For
When Jesus Gave His All
Consider The Lilies
* Anywhere I Talk To God
* If You’re Waiting To Be Invited
Jesus Will Outshine Them All
Lord Don’t Move That Mountain
* The Story Of Your Love
Wasted Years
Christmas Day
* Follow Him
* Let Me Feel Your Spirit Once Again
Standby Me Jesus
* Jesus The Light Of My Life
Don’t Go Home Tonight Unsaved
Old Christmas Card

If you have any information on these songs, feel free to contact us.


By jjdeprisco

Sonic explorer, sound artist, guitarist in Fricknadorable, software designer.

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