The Wayback Machine Makes A Miracle!

László

Too Many Notes
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
34,847
Location
Michigan
A few months back I mentioned that the drummer in my college band was cleaning out some old boxes and found an old cassette tape of part of a campus-wide mixer we played at the U of Michigan Student Union building back in 1968. It wouldn't play, so he found a company that was able to extract the audio and put out some digital files.

Sure it sounded dull, primitive, distorted and awful, because his cassette machine was a dictation machine not made for music recording, but heck, it was still audible, and was a blast from the past I was pretty happy to have.

As far as we knew, it was the only record of our college band that we had so much fun playing in. Who from my generation gets to go back in time like that? I felt so lucky.

Since I got it, I've been working with my audio tools to make it sound better, more lifelike, restoring some high end and naturalness, and now you can hear the vocals, the drums, etc. But there's still a lot of distortion and hiss, and there's only so much you can do, even with the best tools.

I finished working over the 9 songs from that cassette last night and got them back to our drummer, Gerry. He was happy with them. I was happy with them, given the quality of the original.

Today I got a surprise.

Gerry had just located Tom, our bass player - a guy we thought must have been kidnapped by aliens long ago, because neither of us could find him, and it was not for lack of trying - and was on the phone with him for about an hour and a half. He mentioned that we'd send him the restored music of the 9 songs we had from that show.

Oh yes, there's more...

Turns out that Gerry's tape of 9 songs was dubbed from an open reel tape Tom made at the gig using a portable open reel machine. And he still had the tape.

Better yet, Tom had already converted them to FLAC and mp3 files a while back and archived them!!

And there were 21 songs on that open reel tape, not nine. Pretty much all of our sets from that night (including a 14 1/2 minute version of In A Gadda Da Vida, with the obligatory drum solo (yeah, it was that era and got us the best applause of the evening), but I digress ;)).

They sound pretty good for tapes made in 1968 in mono on a portable machine with a single inexpensive mic.

Much, much, much better than the old cassette that was restored. There's a lot less distortion, you can hear high frequencies, everything sounds pretty OK for a portable open reel machine of that era.

I'm going to do a little audio magic with them to see if I can improve the audio further. Am I ever stoked!

Even better was that I called Tom right away and was so happy to talk to him. Still a great guy!
 
Last edited:
A few months back I mentioned that the drummer in my college band was cleaning out some old boxes and found an old cassette tape of part of a campus-wide mixer we played at the U of Michigan Student Union building back in 1968. It wouldn't play, so he found a company that was able to extract the audio and put out some digital files.

Sure it sounded dull, primitive, distorted and awful, because his cassette machine was a dictation machine not made for music recording, but heck, it was still audible, and was a blast from the past I was pretty happy to have.

As far as we knew, it was the only record of our college band that we had so much fun playing in. Who from my generation gets to go back in time like that? I felt so lucky.

Since I got it, I've been working with my audio tools to make it sound better, more lifelike, restoring some high end and naturalness, and now you can hear the vocals, the drums, etc. But there's still a lot of distortion and hiss, and there's only so much you can do, even with the best tools.

I finished working over the 9 songs from that cassette last night and got them back to our drummer, Gerry. He was happy with them. I was happy with them, given the quality of the original.

Today I got a surprise.

Gerry had just located Tom, our bass player - a guy we thought must have been kidnapped by aliens long ago, because neither of us could find him, and it was not for lack of trying - and was on the phone with him for about an hour and a half. He mentioned that we'd send him the restored music of the 9 songs we had from that show.

Oh yes, there's more...

Turns out that Gerry's tape of 9 songs was dubbed from an open reel tape Tom made at the gig using a portable open reel machine. And he still had the tape.

Better yet, Tom had already converted them to FLAC and mp3 files a while back and archived them!!

And there were 21 songs on that open reel tape, not nine. Pretty much all of our sets from that night (including a 14 1/2 minute version of In A Gadda Da Vida, inducing the obligatory drum solo (yeah, it was that era and got us the best applause of the evening), but I digress ;)).

They sound pretty good for tapes made in 1968 in mono on a portable machine with a single inexpensive mic.

Much, much, much better than the old cassette that was restored. There's a lot less distortion, you can hear high frequencies, everything sounds pretty OK for a portable open reel machine of that era.

I'm going to do a little audio magic with them to see if I can improve the audio further. Am I ever stoked!

Even better was that I called Tom right away and was so happy to talk to him. Still a great guy!
Fantastic!
 
ARRRR... more, higher quality, buried treasure unearthed!

So nice to have better source material to enhance.
 
Oh wow, that’s so cool! Makes me think I should organize and keep better track of what I’ve got.
 
And the tape wasn't found in the tomb of one of the pyramids of Giza or in the Kings Valley?

Very cool that musical pieces had been conserved from those days. That was pretty much a very dymanic time with the Nam protests. One year prior Woodstock Festival.
 
Last edited:
A few months back I mentioned that the drummer in my college band was cleaning out some old boxes and found an old cassette tape of part of a campus-wide mixer we played at the U of Michigan Student Union building back in 1968. It wouldn't play, so he found a company that was able to extract the audio and put out some digital files.

Sure it sounded dull, primitive, distorted and awful, because his cassette machine was a dictation machine not made for music recording, but heck, it was still audible, and was a blast from the past I was pretty happy to have.

As far as we knew, it was the only record of our college band that we had so much fun playing in. Who from my generation gets to go back in time like that? I felt so lucky.

Since I got it, I've been working with my audio tools to make it sound better, more lifelike, restoring some high end and naturalness, and now you can hear the vocals, the drums, etc. But there's still a lot of distortion and hiss, and there's only so much you can do, even with the best tools.

I finished working over the 9 songs from that cassette last night and got them back to our drummer, Gerry. He was happy with them. I was happy with them, given the quality of the original.

Today I got a surprise.

Gerry had just located Tom, our bass player - a guy we thought must have been kidnapped by aliens long ago, because neither of us could find him, and it was not for lack of trying - and was on the phone with him for about an hour and a half. He mentioned that we'd send him the restored music of the 9 songs we had from that show.

Oh yes, there's more...

Turns out that Gerry's tape of 9 songs was dubbed from an open reel tape Tom made at the gig using a portable open reel machine. And he still had the tape.

Better yet, Tom had already converted them to FLAC and mp3 files a while back and archived them!!

And there were 21 songs on that open reel tape, not nine. Pretty much all of our sets from that night (including a 14 1/2 minute version of In A Gadda Da Vida, inducing the obligatory drum solo (yeah, it was that era and got us the best applause of the evening), but I digress ;)).

They sound pretty good for tapes made in 1968 in mono on a portable machine with a single inexpensive mic.

Much, much, much better than the old cassette that was restored. There's a lot less distortion, you can hear high frequencies, everything sounds pretty OK for a portable open reel machine of that era.

I'm going to do a little audio magic with them to see if I can improve the audio further. Am I ever stoked!

Even better was that I called Tom right away and was so happy to talk to him. Still a great guy!

"Who from my generation"
 
About 10 years ago I was going through a bunch of junk in my garage. I found a box with a bunch of stuff including a poster of my old band from the 80s in which I had a beard. I barely remembered having it thankfully, because I looked the shits.

I also found a cassette of me playing over a bunch of pre-programmed progressions and some modal progressions that I programmed into my Yamaha GW-50. For those who don't know the GW-50 was a "performance enhancer" from about 1992?, which consisted of a bunch of effects and a sequencer. The sound was crappy, but my playing, although not great, wasn't horrible.
 
I came across a promotional flyer from one of the bands I formed many years ago. My wife is the one that found it in some old papers we had. I am betting she still has it somewhere. It is kind of fun looking back at some of these things.
 
A few months back I mentioned that the drummer in my college band was cleaning out some old boxes and found an old cassette tape of part of a campus-wide mixer we played at the U of Michigan Student Union building back in 1968. It wouldn't play, so he found a company that was able to extract the audio and put out some digital files.

Sure it sounded dull, primitive, distorted and awful, because his cassette machine was a dictation machine not made for music recording, but heck, it was still audible, and was a blast from the past I was pretty happy to have.

As far as we knew, it was the only record of our college band that we had so much fun playing in. Who from my generation gets to go back in time like that? I felt so lucky.

Since I got it, I've been working with my audio tools to make it sound better, more lifelike, restoring some high end and naturalness, and now you can hear the vocals, the drums, etc. But there's still a lot of distortion and hiss, and there's only so much you can do, even with the best tools.

I finished working over the 9 songs from that cassette last night and got them back to our drummer, Gerry. He was happy with them. I was happy with them, given the quality of the original.

Today I got a surprise.

Gerry had just located Tom, our bass player - a guy we thought must have been kidnapped by aliens long ago, because neither of us could find him, and it was not for lack of trying - and was on the phone with him for about an hour and a half. He mentioned that we'd send him the restored music of the 9 songs we had from that show.

Oh yes, there's more...

Turns out that Gerry's tape of 9 songs was dubbed from an open reel tape Tom made at the gig using a portable open reel machine. And he still had the tape.

Better yet, Tom had already converted them to FLAC and mp3 files a while back and archived them!!

And there were 21 songs on that open reel tape, not nine. Pretty much all of our sets from that night (including a 14 1/2 minute version of In A Gadda Da Vida, inducing the obligatory drum solo (yeah, it was that era and got us the best applause of the evening), but I digress ;)).

They sound pretty good for tapes made in 1968 in mono on a portable machine with a single inexpensive mic.

Much, much, much better than the old cassette that was restored. There's a lot less distortion, you can hear high frequencies, everything sounds pretty OK for a portable open reel machine of that era.

I'm going to do a little audio magic with them to see if I can improve the audio further. Am I ever stoked!

Even better was that I called Tom right away and was so happy to talk to him. Still a great guy!
I Love Hearing This Kind Of Stuff!
 
A few months back I mentioned that the drummer in my college band was cleaning out some old boxes and found an old cassette tape of part of a campus-wide mixer we played at the U of Michigan Student Union building back in 1968. It wouldn't play, so he found a company that was able to extract the audio and put out some digital files.

Sure it sounded dull, primitive, distorted and awful, because his cassette machine was a dictation machine not made for music recording, but heck, it was still audible, and was a blast from the past I was pretty happy to have.

As far as we knew, it was the only record of our college band that we had so much fun playing in. Who from my generation gets to go back in time like that? I felt so lucky.

Since I got it, I've been working with my audio tools to make it sound better, more lifelike, restoring some high end and naturalness, and now you can hear the vocals, the drums, etc. But there's still a lot of distortion and hiss, and there's only so much you can do, even with the best tools.

I finished working over the 9 songs from that cassette last night and got them back to our drummer, Gerry. He was happy with them. I was happy with them, given the quality of the original.

Today I got a surprise.

Gerry had just located Tom, our bass player - a guy we thought must have been kidnapped by aliens long ago, because neither of us could find him, and it was not for lack of trying - and was on the phone with him for about an hour and a half. He mentioned that we'd send him the restored music of the 9 songs we had from that show.

Oh yes, there's more...

Turns out that Gerry's tape of 9 songs was dubbed from an open reel tape Tom made at the gig using a portable open reel machine. And he still had the tape.

Better yet, Tom had already converted them to FLAC and mp3 files a while back and archived them!!

And there were 21 songs on that open reel tape, not nine. Pretty much all of our sets from that night (including a 14 1/2 minute version of In A Gadda Da Vida, with the obligatory drum solo (yeah, it was that era and got us the best applause of the evening), but I digress ;)).

They sound pretty good for tapes made in 1968 in mono on a portable machine with a single inexpensive mic.

Much, much, much better than the old cassette that was restored. There's a lot less distortion, you can hear high frequencies, everything sounds pretty OK for a portable open reel machine of that era.

I'm going to do a little audio magic with them to see if I can improve the audio further. Am I ever stoked!

Even better was that I called Tom right away and was so happy to talk to him. Still a great guy!
BEST STORY EVER!
 
As usual, a great post from you on your historic discovery. And, a happier ending story than you even anticipated.

Question for you, Les: After you've finished applying the final coat of ear candy to the audio files, are you going to share them with us?

To be completely honest, I may skip In A Godda Davida (no offense - I listened to it plenty back then, but it's become lame to me somehow over the years).

But, it would be a real hoot to hear your band's songs of yesterday get "re-released" today. Especially the Who, being the avid Who fan that I am.
 
Speaking of which, two of the tunes on the tape were 'Pinball Wizard' and 'Cant Explain'. We loved The Who.

This was in the days when I wasn't writing my own music. I didn't think I knew how!

I love the Who to this day.

I was the opposite of you, I thought I knew how, but I had no clue.

In the really really early days I could play simple covers, but I didn't even know what chords were in each key. I knew how to combine the major/minor pentatonic a little. but I didn't even know the major scale.

Gave me a real jolt when I started trying to learn/use modes. Oh, I see...to learn the modes of the major scale, you actually have to know the major scale. I guess I better get on that. lol
 
Back
Top