Last year, I sold my Ford Econoline 350 Super Duty to a friend’s band and I bought a 1976 metallic blue Datsun B210 for $3,000 off Craigslist. The B210 was built during the first oil crisis to combat high gas prices and became known as “The Nifty Fifty” for how many miles you can get per gallon (I get about 35 miles per gallon with regular gas today).
It’s a 4 speed manual that maxes out at 72 mph (though the speedometer always reads 15 under the actual speed). It only weighs 2,500 lbs, has got blue vinyl seating, no A/C, the horn goes AWOOGA, only has a driver’s side mirror (I’ve become one hell of a parallel parker), and it's the best anti-depressant on the market. I cannot tell you how many thumbs up and honks and smiles I get a day that turn my mood around. My friends call it “The Death Trap”. Also, Dr. Dre has one in Straight Outta Compton.
The other terrific feature of my B210 is the working 8-track player. In LA, you spend so much time in your car and my radio doesn’t work, so I am constantly searching for 8-track tapes. I go to record stores and thrift stores in search of these horrible sounding fuckers.
The format was really only around for certain amount of time so there are only certain types of albums you can find, making my Datsun a real time machine. Because of the horrible way they are taken care of, more often than not, they snap after one listen. But I have a few 8-tracks that have not died on me yet and they happen to be some of my favorite albums ever.
Daryl Hall - Sacred Songs
Favorite tracks: “NYCNY”, “Urban Landscape” & “Why Was it So Easy”
In 1977, Robert Fripp produced this Daryl Hall solo album that was deemed so weird that RCA wouldn’t release it for three years. There are post-punk experiments, soft rock ballads, sarcastic demonizations of the record industry, and intrumentals of backwards guitar soundscapes (Frippertronics, baby). I love the elasticity of Hall’s voice on here. He can go from singing so soulfully to a primal shout and yelp in the length of one syllable.
Sly & The Family Stone - There’s A Riot Goin’ On
Favorite tracks: ALL
I have almost all of Sly’s albums on 8-track, but I chose this one to feature because of it’s alternate 8 track cover. It’s my ultimate come-down album after a night out. Beyond just 8 tracks, it’s in my top 5 of all time. You know those records that you put on all the time and you even think, “Jesus Christ, I put this on all the time!”, but its really all you wanna hear all the time? That’s this record for me. Half of the time, only my left speaker works so I only get certain instruments, voices or harmony parts, but that never bugs me on this album. It’s such a thick soupy sounding album that when parts are taken out, you notice new intricacies that you never heard.
David Bowie - David Live
Favorite tracks: “Rebel Rebel” & “Moonage Daydream”
Bowie for me is a touchstone. So many people talk about him as a cultural icon and stylist, but I think he’s neglected as a brilliant songwriter. The proof of a timeless song is that you can dress it up anyway you like and it still comes out of the changing room looking like a badass. Nowhere is this more apparent than “David Live”. It’s recorded during the Diamond Dogs tour, but he’s knee deep in what will soon be “Young Americans”. Almost every song gets the Philly soul treatment on here. I’m a huge fan of phaser on guitar and saxophones and congas and white suits in general and he spreads it all on thick here. Bowie’s voice is so raw and coked up and dirty and he really goes for the histrionics on these.
Bee Gees - Main Course
Favorite Tracks: ALL
There are very few things better in this world than driving a beautiful car with a dangerous girl, a little high, singing along to “Nights on Broadway” at 3 a.m. in LA.