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Restoration of a Rare 8-Track!
How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love The Left Banke!


Recently I came across the following 8-track in a giant score box. It is a very rare (the only one I have ever seen) copy of The Left Banke's debut album "The Left Banke", AKA "Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina". Since this album was released in '65, and was not in print for long, this tape is truly a golden oldy! Plus, the Telepro cartridge is almost identical to a 4-track, even to it's ratchet mechanism to keep the tape from moving when removed. Unfortunately in the dim and dark past of the early seventies, a previous owner had ripped off most of the front cover (see below) and written RECORDED on it. As you all know, seeing RECORDED on a otherwise cool tape is not a good sign! So, I flipped it over, and much to my dismay, the back had a new written playlist on it! What a thrill!! Expecting the worst, I played it, and sure enough, out came a really bad dub of Badfingers "No Matter What".

leftbank frontleftbank back

So, I threw it into my junk box, and wrote it off for dead. Since I had never even seen the lp of this album, I could not expect to rebuild the playlist. Then, along came Napster! It took me about about two weeks of tracking down the tunes, but I did it! Some are stereo, some are mono, and one even sounds like it came off a record, but there they were! I then started the search for the album artwork. This was tougher than I expected! The only fan site out on the web only had a really cheesy picture of the album that was totally unusable. So, it was the 8-track NG (alt.collecting.8-track-tapes)  to the rescue. I posted that I was looking for some scans of  the artwork, and someone came through for me! THANK YOU TOM FORNOFF!

I rebuilt the cover art in Word and Photofinish, and rerecorded the tunes in the correct order. I was even able to use the original tape. The first program has a little drop out in spots, but overall it sounds great. Amazing that 34 year old used tape is still recordable. I was kinda stuck on what to do about the back cover. I could have scanned it in and cleaned it up, but that would have removed any originality from the cart. So, I decided to leave it alone, and consider it part of the history of the cart.

Here is the final result...

leftbank restored

I almost removed my fingerprints trying to remove the peace sign from the top. I may try to get the rest of it later. The tape looks dirtier in the scan than it does in real life. Soft Scrub works wonders!

A cool cart returned to life! Thanks for reading my story about it!


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