Just when you thought I'd forgotten about my incredible cassetterriffic find last Saturday at the Salvation Army in Bluffton....
There were many Ford "Demonstration Tapes" produced throughout the '80s and into the '90s, most of them 'samplers' put out by the big record label groups, usually part of their 'special products' line. There were even such compilations on 8-track for those leisure-suit'ed souls to shove into that big hole in the dash while driving their new '75 Galaxie Country Squire, faux-woodgrain side panels and all, off the lot.
Five such tapes went home with moi. In addition to the first tape which caught my eye ("Stereo for the '80s" -- which deserves a separate post, just you wait!), there were some later-day compilations. Three of 'em are ARISTA samplers. A 1991-era tape reads like a who's-who of Adult Contemporary oatmeal. Taylor Dayne, Hall & Oates, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, and -- "one of these things is not like the other" -- a 1982 Alan Parsons album cut from Eye in the Sky ("Mammagamma").
All of those later-day tape compilations, including the ca. 1985 tape my grandmother had, were on LORAN cassettes. The tape stock wasn't anything to write home about, but Loran's selling point was its "Lexan Thermoplastic" tape housing, supposedly more resistant to extreme hot temperatures in a car.
But -- as always -- I digress. Another of the ARISTA collections, this from 1990, contained Kenny G's "Going Home" (which brought back my own days playing Pine Bluff's midday answer to John Tesh on KOTN) .... plus Lisa Stansfield's "You Can't Deny It." And, in case you can't get enough of Kenny G's house-rockin' saxophone (Delilah and her steely-dan live for it, I'm certain), there's another track: "I'll Never Leave You." That's what I was afraid of.
That tape was from Ford Electronics: Technology With a Purpose. Ya don't say. If there's anything I cannot stand, it's technology without any kind of rationale behind it. On the spine, it reads "Music System Reference Standard." Yeah, sure. Look, people, it wasn't a high-end Nakamichi or Alpine deck you were listening on, it was a stock Ford OEM factory receiver. Stick it there, and listen to the lo-fi sound while running down the battery in your Tempo as you're on the side of the interstate waiting ... patiently ... patiently? ... for AAA. Seriously, Ford could've put their demo tapes on 3-for-99¢ "Concertapes", and the average Joe Schmo listening on his sputtering '91 Tore-Ups--um, Taurus would be none the wiser.
Back to the point at hand, here's another ARISTA tape, circa 1988. This was the kind of eclectic mix I remember from my grandmother's tape. "Back to the Future" by The Outatime Orchestra. And remember the '88 olympics and Twitney Houston's "One Moment in Time"? I wish I could still forget. Well, it's on here. Also, more Kenny G (I'll pause while the soccer-moms all faint and swoon behind the wheels of their minivans -- Ford Aerostars, of course). Other curios: "Jamaica, Jamaica" by Special EFX ... "In the Mood" by The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra/Erich Kunzel (sorry, no chickens) ... Satchmo's "What a Wonderful World" ... and, for the youngsters on our rrrrrrrreally big shew, Swing Out Sister's 1987 fluff-pop hit "Breakout."
Had enough of ARISTA? Me, too. I'll close this post with the lineup from a 1987 Ford demo tape from CBS Special Products.
SOMEWHERE / Barbra Streisand
...is that tow truck. I've counted the number of button-copy reflectors in that big green sign in front of me. Twice.
HEADED FOR THE FUTURE / Neil Diamond
....thanks to being witnessed by Brother Love. Hal-lay-lew-ah.
I GOT LOST IN HER ARMS / Tony Bennett
Can't go wrong with Tony.
I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU DON'T WANT ME / Rosanne Cash
That's what the Tempo kept asking me in 1993, when I was car shopping.
LIVING IN THE PROMISELAND / Willie Nelson
A reliable Tempo? Or in a false sense of security that the jackbooted IRS thugs won't find him?
FOOLISH HEART / Steve Perry
A true 1984 adult contemporary flashback!
FOREVER / Kenny Loggins
That was Jim Messina's answer when Kenny asked how long he'd keep Kenny's balls?
OH SHERRIE / Steve Perry
No, this does not have baggage. You-know-who d-e-t-e-s-t-e-d this song. All it took to make the woman apoplectic was to say, "Y'shoulda been gooooone!"
VOICES CARRY / Til Tuesday
I've always loved this song. A great '80s piece of power pop.
COURTSHIP / Bob James
In an '88 Taurus, broken down on the side of a lonely country road, just think of how much "courtship" can take place. Horsey sauce, anyone?
RESTHATHERIAN - THEME FROM THE COSBY SHOW / Grover Washington
Thursday night already? Damn, that tow truck is takin' forever......
OLYMPIC FANFARE AND THEME / John Williams
Ford Audio Systems. The official punch-line of the 1988 Olympics.
Comin' up ... a long distance dedication from Harvey, in a stalled Mercury Topaz outside of Inez, Kentucky, to Reuben at Wildcat Texaco in Paintsville ... "put down that ALE-8-1 and come give me a tow!"
Ciao for niao.
--Talmadge "Tempo Tapeworm" Gleck
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