GETTING MORE TALE returns! You have spoken — you like the series and you like the numbering system. Therefore we aren’t changing a thing. Here’s chapter 641!
GETTING MORE TALE #641: Farmer’s Market Tapes
Much of my highschool downtime was spent trying to build a complete Judas Priest collection. While I was still in grade school, my first Priest was Screaming for Vengeance in 1985. Defenders of the Faith was taped off my buddy Bob. Then came highschool. I bought Turbo at Zellers in 1986. It was followed Priest…Live! in 1987, cementing my love for the band, for real. Collecting began in earnest.
The local Zellers store always had a number of Priest tapes in stock. Adding British Steel, Point of Entry, and Hell Bent for Leather to the collection was just a matter of time and allowance money. Anything before Hell Bent was much harder to find, at least on tape, which was my format in the 80s.
We are fortunate in Kitchener to have two excellent farmer’s markets. The one downtown is cool, but just a little to the north is the big one in St. Jacobs. In the summer, my mom would take my sister and I to the market. Sometimes Grandma would come with us. You could buy anything at the St. Jacobs market. There have always been music dealers with tables there.
July of 1989, I thought I struck rock solid gold at the market. One vendor had a bunch of Priest I’d never seen on tape before, ever. Tapes were $8 each, no tax.
Sad Wings of Destiny and The Best of Judas Priest came home with me that day. I didn’t really know any of the songs, except one: “Rocka Rolla”. Earlier that summer, I bought the Rocka Rolla album on vinyl from Sam the Record Man, figuring I’d never find the tape. The market had Rocka Rolla on tape, and then some! For good measure, I also bought Unleashed in the East that day.
It was wonderful being inundated with fresh Priest. So many tunes I’d never heard before! “The Ripper” and “Victim of Changes” immediately blew me away. “Diamonds and Rust” kicked my ass some more. But something was wrong with two of the tapes.
Sad Wings and Best Of were both originally released on Gull records, and then reissued and reissued and reissued again, often very cheaply. The two farmer’s market cassettes had very nicely printed cover art, but the tapes were utter garbage. They were so shitty that there was only music in one channel. The left side was fine, but there was nothing but a faint echo on the right. Unleashed in the East, released on CBS, was fine. Sad Wings and Best Of were awful. After a few listens, I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was heartbreaking because I was enjoying the songs, but listening to those tapes was horrendous. I eventually replaced them with better copies, and stuck the cover art to a school binder.
Buyer beware! Tapes and their quality issues are no longer really a problem today, but if you’ve never heard of the issuing label, you might want to do your research.