Favorite Solo Mix
"Sex Cells" is excellent, especially Side 1, which includes some of my long-time favorite songs like the Moody Blues' "Question," the Stones' "Angie," Bad Company's "Seagull" and Townshend's "Getting in Tune." Honorable mention to "It Snowed in Boston Today" because it was the debut tape, the set of tunes that started this tradition. Listening to this recently it's amazing how fresh and relevant Black Oak Arkansas sounds. Deep Purple's version of "Help" still gives me chills.
Worst Solo Mix
"Garage Sales Without Receipts" has technical problems and seems rushed, because it was. There are several places on the tape with short gaps between songs, and just when you think Iron Butterfly's "In the Crowds" closes the tape, the middle of an Alex Lifeson solo comes in (obviously, I had taped over Rush to have a blank tape). Honorable mention to "Missing Data" because I no longer have the tape (I believe it was the casualty of the Allston flood). "Missing Data" is a fabricated name because neither Mike nor I could locate the name of the tape. The songs aren't bad, but the circumstances surrounding the tape are sketchy. "Pin the Donkey on the Tail" kind of sucks because most of Side 2 was recorded weeks later because we blew the speakers out during Shandi's Addiction's cover of "Dr. Love."
Favorite Combo Mix
"Dirty Asian Women" is hands down the strongest set of music we've ever compiled. This was recorded during a second fall session, which was put together on a whim. Because this was a bonus day, we were pitching with a 10-0 lead and playing with the house money. We just let it rip. Many of these tracks are rock classics, and Side 2 simply soars, beginning with Steel Dragon and rocking through the likes of Sabbath, Purple, Zeppelin, Zappa, Hendrix and the Who. Pleasant surprises for me were Crack the Sky's "Nuclear Apathy" and Hendrix's brilliant instrumental "Paligap" on the creatively constructed Side 1. If I were to keep just one combo tape, this would be it. We struck gold here.
Worst Combo Mix
At the time I thought it was pretty good, but our second live effort "Brazil" falls flat in a few places, especially on Side 1. The Dead's "Feedback" slows down the mix and Neil Young's version of "Blowin' in the Wind" is terrible. The song goes on and on. There were much better choices from "Steppenwolf Live" than "Draft Resister" and Uriah Heep has more to offer than "Sweet Lorraine." Honorable mention goes to "Brad Paul Clicks Drumz on Waterloo." Christine came home early at the beginning of Side 2, and I was clearly choosing tunes that should would like. Hence the Duran Duran, Sinead O'Connor and KISS Dynasty.
The fall 2001 session holds special meaning to me because it was just a few weeks removed from 9/11, and I was still healing. The music was vivid that day, and it was a nice distraction to get lost in the taping. Honorable mention goes to the first-ever session, because this was the evening that started it all. We were thawing out from standing in the freezing rain and snow all day at the Watertown-Belmont football game. This was my first real sportswriting assignment and I was excited to be pursuing a new career. Of course, the second fall 2002 session simply rocked and has to be mentioned.
Probably the 1991 session in Worcester. I was living in a tiny studio with thin walls separating me from my neighbors. We had to be real quiet. It wasn't that we had a bad time - it was just very tame. The 1990 session at Maria's place needs to be mentioned because I had a sneezing fit from the cats. My sinuses hurt for the next few days.