Unspooled:  An Adventure in 8-Tracks

BOOK REVIEW: Unspooled – An Adventure in 8-Tracks by Tim Durling

UNSPOOLED:  An Adventure in 8-Tracks by Tim Durling (2022)

Every collector is different.  We cannot be painted with a single brush.  I, for example, collect music formats that I have the equipment to play.  I don’t own any reel-to-reel and only a couple 8-track tapes for that reason.  Tim Durling on the other hand doesn’t care.  He loves 8-tracks even though he has no way to play them, nor does he really have any interest in getting into the players.  Restoration of the players and tapes themselves is a expensive hobby that many do enjoy, but Tim is all about the collecting.

A single Journey tape sitting in a desk drawer was the modest beginning, years before Tim really dove into it.  His passion for collecting the bands he loves is at the heart of Unspooled, Tim’s first book and a great resource for 8-track tapes.  If the praise that Martin Popoff throws down in the forward isn’t enough to convince you, then I give up!

Unspooled is a visual feast.  Every page pops with vivid print, and many are loaded with photos of tapes that you never knew existed on 8-track.  Tim was fascinated early on to learn that record clubs such as Columbia House sold 8-track tapes through the mail, long after they were available in stores.  These “RCO” tapes can be very difficult, but rewarding to find, especially when you have a love affair with collecting.  See for yourself, how pretty the 8-tracks look when photographed next to their cassette, CD and LP counterparts.  How many albums do you own in four formats?

Tim includes lists of known RCO tapes from 1981 to 1988.  Wait…1988?  Yes, somebody in 1988 was still ordering 8-track tapes from record clubs!  Astounding.  And Tim’s got the proof.  He also has pictures from his childhood (sweet GI Joe’s, dude!) and of obscure tech like the infamous 8-track to cassette car adapter.  Chapters are named after related songs, but there are plenty of surprises along the way.  I’ve never seen a Bruce Springsteen box set on 8-track before.

Interviews and stories from friends and experts help colour in the picture a bit.  Information you wouldn’t just find yourself.  For example, what is a “coffee can tape”?  8-tracks were notorious for unspooling and being difficult to fix.  Often customers would carry the mass of unspooled tape in a coffee can to be repaired.  And here’s something else I didn’t know, but should have expected.  Counterfeit tapes are a problem now in the collector’s market.  Some of these tapes go for serious coin today.  Stuff that you used to find at a garage sale for 10 cents, or worse, in the garbage.  Contributions comes from characters such as Marco D’Auria the Contrarian, Ryan Murphy from RushFans, and yours truly, LeBrain.

Yes, that means I am biased, but I don’t think my review would be any different otherwise.  Take Martin Popoff’s word for it.  Limited copies of Unspooled are still available.  Contact Tim’s Vinyl Confessions to order yours.

5/5 stars

 

Unspooled… Unboxed! We opened up Tim Durling’s new book live on the LeBrain Train

It has come! And I’m in it!

Tim, Marco and Meat list the Top 5 Closing Tracks of All Time

Tim Durling from Tim’s Vinyl Confessions, and his fellow Contrarian, Marco D’Auria, were the special guests on this week’s LeBrain Train and they absolutely nailed their lists!  The topic:  Top 5 Album Closers of All Time.  This was probably a more challenging set of lists than Album Openers was.  There was very little crossover, but many excellent selections from the mainstream to the obscure.

Insightful and entertaining banter abound.  Watch the show to the end to get the “bonus tracks”:  the runners-up that were just as exciting as the songs that made our lists.  Another bonus:  Our picks for worst album closer of all time!

Thanks Tim and Marco for spending your time with Eric and I tonight.  We had a blast.  Let’s do it again!


 

Top 5 Album Closers with Tim and Marco

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and the Meat Man

Episode 84 – Cinco De List-O: Top 5 Album Closers with Tim and Marco

A couple weeks ago, the LeBrain Train charted the Top 5 opening tracks of all time.  (Thanks to Harrison Kopp for your participation in that episode!)  That set of lists inspired Tim from Tim’s Vinyl Confessions to suggest a logical followup — Top 5 closing tracks!

The Meat Man and I decided to invite Tim and his fellow Contrarian, Marco D’Auria, to go up against the two of us for this list show.  (Sorry Harrison, but you will be back soon!)  We have not talked to Marco since March so we have a lot to catch up on.  We’ll ask him for an update on his film project about the band Mystique, and congratulate Tim for fully funding his book Unspooled:  An Adventure in 8-Tracks!

 

Friday October 15, 7:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

Tim Durling gets Unspooled with music and stories on the LeBrain Train

Have you ever had a conversation when you just knew what the other person was about to say?  Not like a déjà vu, just a…synchronicity.  A crossroads in time and space, intersecting with a very specific subsection of music fandom.  I experienced that tonight with Tim Durling, but you will have to watch this episode yourself to hear the stories.  Keywords:  “Soundtrack to the Video Historia“.

Tim has just written what could be the very first book dedicated to the subject of 8-track tapes.  You can support Tim’s project by clicking here!  As a collector, he has sought to determine what exactly has been released on the format and what has not.  There are a lot of unknowns in this little-documented realm, but what you will find in his book is only information that is 100% verified.  If he wasn’t satisfied that something was released, it didn’t go in the book.

I can’t wait to get my copy of Unspooled, and you have until October 23 to kickstart it.  The colour photographs of these tapes are sure to melt your eyeballs.  But before that happens…watch the show below!  Thanks again to Tim for stopping by.  And thanks to Aaron for co-hosting!

Unspooled! Author Tim Durling joins the LeBrain Train Friday at 7:00 PM

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 83 – Unspooled with Tim’s Vinyl Confessions

8-track tapes:  While many of us know what they are, very few of us have ever played one.  I still remember the clicky-clacky of the tape changing tracks!  So does Tim Durling, from Tim’s Vinyl Confessions.  But he’s not here to talk about vinyl tonight.  Tonight we talk 8-track tapes!

Unspooled:  An Adventure in 8-Tracks is the title of Tim’s forthcoming book, which you can help fund right now on Kickstarter.  Tim’s knowledge of the format, and his mighty collection, have enabled him to write a must-have book loaded with pictures of ultra-rare releases.  If you have ever been curious about this most intriguing of formats, then this is an episode that you do not want to miss!

Joining us for co-hosting duties will be Aaron from the KMA.  Tune in, won’t you?

Friday October 8, 7:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.