Yesterday (Monday) was a great day! Within an hour of sitting at my desk, a courier arrived with a large parcel in tow. It suddenly felt like my birthday and colleagues’ heads were popping up like a mob of meerkats.  No doubt my cheshire cat grin was giving away my excitement. “What have you got there then?” Olivia was eager to stop working for a few minutes and sidled up to me suggesting I open my brown paper embalmed box. I tapped my nose, stood up, and cool as a cucumber carried it out to my truck and propped it up on my passenger seat. The rest of the working day was an excited, clock-watching struggle.

Fast forward to 7:30pm in my workshop at home and I began to delicately cut the tape that held the box firmly together. A chopped up insulation board lined the inside to ensure the precious cargo was safely delivered, and then onto the bubble wrap. That was the moment. When the final sheet of air filled hemispheres parted and gave me my first glimpse…

I Picked this Sharp QT77E Double Cassette Recorder and Stereo up on eBay last week. This followed about 2 weeks of trawling for something that looked fantastic, had a great reputation when it was produced in the 1980’s and came from a seller with good, reliable feedback. It cost me £32 and was listed as tested and as boxfresh as can be for a used example from 1984 (my year of birth).

I stood back and looked at it for a while, all of the original stickers still in place and unfaded by the sun. I lifted it by the handle and stretched out the enormous before inspecting it fully, twisting dials and sliding buttons to get a feel for the way it worked. A vintage beauty. Would masterpiece be too strong a word? I’m very happy with my acquisition.

Specification:

  • Country: Japan
  • Year: 1984
  • Manufacturer/Brand: Sharp; Osaka
  • Power type and voltage Line / Batteries (any type) / 220-240 / 8 x 1.5 / 12 Volt
  • Loudspeaker 2 Loudspeakers / Ø 4 inch = 10.2 cm
  • Power out 7.6 W (undistorted)
  • Shape Portable set > 8 inch (also usable without mains)
  • Dimensions (WHD) 418 x 135 x 115 mm / 16.5 x 5.3 x 4.5 inch

 

Then came the moment to test it.  I attached the power cable and ran my eye over a selection of cassettes that I picked up last week.

It was at that moment that an additional flash of excitement ran over me. I had picked up a handful of unboxed, brightly coloured BASF C90 tapes to use as photography props in the coming weeks. Roy at Clocktower Music didn’t charge me for them and I had already forgotten that they were nestled in amongst my new additions. The thought of discovering something new seemed much more exciting than going through and choosing a track from the other tapes in front of me – I had absolutely no idea what (if anything at all) was on any of them. I picked out a Shamrock Green cassette and slipped it into the stereo – it was a moment that struck a chord with me. This is what had excited in the 90’s and this is what still excited me now This is the enjoyment of rediscovering cassettes. The anticipation I used to love when I prepared and swapped mixtapes with friends suddenly flooded back to me. That feeling is what I want to share via this project.

So what was on the tape? Only a live recording of the Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! It’s the second live album from the Stones, released in 1970 on Decca in the UK and London Records in the US. It was recorded in New York City and Baltimore during 2 shows in November 1969, just before the release of Let It Bleed. B.B.King & Tina Turner also feature! I shazammed the opening track to check out the digital copy the album which has been dubbed one of the greatest concerts of all time! That’s discovery for you…  What a bloody excellent day! You can see the moment I pressed play by clicking the link below.

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