Ford Motor Company Presents Stereo For Today - RCA DPS2-0195 - 1976 promotional 8-track tape
- Publication date
- 1976, Ford Motor Company, Ford, car audio, in-car, automotive, 8 track, promotional, RCA Records, RCA Victor, middle of the road, disco, soft rock, jazz, light music, funk, popular vocals, instrumental covers, 8 track tape, stereo 8
There were at least a dozen tapes in Ford's "Stereo for Today" series, released from the mid 1970s until the early 80s, and replaced the previous short-lived "Family of Fine Music" tape series. The main difference between the two series was in their distribution: FFM tapes were distributed to deallers specifically for in-car playback during a test drive and had generic labelling consisting of only a playlist, and were not given to the customer. They are uncommon today, but they do turn up sometimes. Stereo for Today served the same purpose, and was used by deallers in the same way, but were complimentary promo tapes intended to be given to the customer, and had full album labelling with cover art, usually a photograph or illustration of the Ford headquarters in Detroit, Mich. Of the later "For Today" releases were at least two quadraphonic entries produced near the end of the 70s, and as is often the case with quad carts they are quite rare by comparison. By the late 1970s as 8-track carts started to fall out of favour Ford began releasing cassette tapes, initially simultaneous distributions of their 8-track compilations until they discontinued carts entirely in the early 1980s. Ford continued releasing cassettes into the late 1990s, through RCA and later Arista, the latter mostly being slight remixes of the same basic "Ford Audio Systems Demonstration Cassette" light rock compilation from 1991. I have no idea if they ever released complimentary/demo compact discs; if they did I have yet to encounter one but I imagine they must have at some point.
A few auto companies, such as General Motors, also commissioned simultaneous complimentary LP versions of their cart offerings. These typically had the same selections in the same order as the cart version, only as a single or double long-play record (e.g. the Oldsmobile 1973 "Complimentary Tape Cartridge" on Columbia, also released as "Complimentary Record Album").
Sides 1 and 2 of this particular tape consist primarily of contemporary popular songs (well, easy listening covers very tastefully interpreted by the World's Greatest Artists, though there is at least one new original cut) and sides 3 and 4 are mostly instrumental and orchestral music.
Since RCA 8-tracks were of highly respectable build and production quality, by 8-track standards anyways, the transfer reveals very little tape hiss even with the boosted treble. The tape did not need major repairs before running; I did replace the foil splice* as a precaution since it was threatening to fail (but still partly intact). RCA tapes were like that. I have applied equaliser correction since the equipment I used for the transfer in 2012 was of sub-par quality, but usable; this also explains the variance of timing between sides. The player was a mid-1970s Realistic portable, running on a 12-amp hour, 12-volt lead-acid battery which was fully charged. The unit's power supply filter capacitor was dead-shorted so there was loud mains hum when running on domestic 120-volt AC, hence the need to run it on a DC power supply. The amplifier had poor EQ characteristics with a strong resonance around 210 Hz, even with the lowpass filter ("tone" control) wide open, so I attempted to de-emphasise this range somewhat. Treble was boosted +7.0 using the bass and treble adjustment in Audacity 2.0.3.
[ * This was a real hack. I didn't have any foil sensing tape so I had to improvise. Basically I stuck about an inch of regular 3M plastic film splicing tape to the back (graphite-coated) side of the tape, leaving about a 1cm "gap" between ends of recording tape. The gap was filled with a piece of Reynolds Wrap foil, to simulate the foil sensing tape 8-tracks would normally be spliced with. Kludgy and totally nonstandard, but it works. ]
SETLIST (* Asterisk next to title indicates original artist being covered)
1, Hues Corporation; Rock the Boat
2, Chet Atkins; Everybody's Talking (* Harry Nilsson)
3, Harold Wheeler Consort; Feel Like Making Love (* Roberta Flack)
4, Floyd Cramer; Soulful Strut (* many; popularised by Youngholt Unlimited)
5, Doc Severinsen; Touch Me in the Morning (* Diana Ross)
6, Perry Como; For All We Know (* Carpenters)
7, Jack Jones and Susan George; We've Only Just Begun (* Paul Williams; popularised by Carpenters)
8, The Brothers; Never Can Say Goodbye (* Jackson Five)
9, Ed Ames; This Guy's in Love with You (* Herb Alpert)
10, Henry Mancini; I Can't Stop Loving You (* Ray Charles)
11, New Glenn Miller Orchestra (Ray McKinley); In the Mood
12, New Glenn Miller Orchestra (Ray McKinley); String of Pearls
13, Laurindo Almeida; Wave (* Antonio Carlos Jobim)
14, Perez Prado; Mambo Jambo
15, Joao Donato; Samba de Orfeu
16, Chet Atkins/Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops; The Last Waltz (* Engelbert Humperdinck)
17, Anita Kerr Singers; Love Will Keep Us Together (* Captain and Tennille)
18, Morton Gould; Guantanemera (* Joseito Fernandez/Jose Marti, popularised by The Sandpipers and Celia Cruz)
19, Perry Como; The Way We Were (* Barbra Streisand)
20, Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops; Les Sylphides: Waltz in G-Flat, Op. 70, No. 1 (Frederic Chopin/Alexander Glazunov)
21, Eugene Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra; Voices of Spring, Op. 410 (Frühlingsstimmen) (Johann Strauss II)
Cover photo: Cartridge front-cover scan was from an Amazon listing and was colour-corrected. Cartridge back-label photos from Discogs, and are perspective- and colour-corrected: https://www.discogs.com/Various-Ford-Motor-Company-presents-Stereo-For-Today/release/13357629
UPDATE (2020 Dec 10): I noticed that Archive curiously filed this recording under the evidently newly-created category "Various Cassette Tapes" despite it not being from a cassette, which in casual usage is typically taken to mean the Philips Compact Cassette format. Not sure why, but I guess they must not have a category for 8-track tapes yet.
When downloading this recording e.g. for local listening or to post elsewhere, please select only the original high-bitrate PCM ("WAVE") option. The MP3 version is intended for immediate previewing in the Web player and was encoded by me using the -b320 -ms -o -q0 options in LAME 3.99.5 Linux, to replace Archive's automatic derivative, but should not be considered a substitute for the PCM version. The FLAC files listed are Archive's own derivatives and I do not guarantee their fidelity or integrity, and cannot provide any technical help if you download them. Master files are in 2-channel 44100 Hz, 16-bit little-endian linear PCM format with RIFF header.
To stream this programme as a sequence in an external media player (e.g. VLC), open the "VBR M3U" file in your player's playlist editor and select "play". To stream individual files, load the file you want from the "PCM" (preferred) or "VBR MP3" option into your player directly.
See header. For personal (home/headphones/car) listening only; commercial use or sale absolutely forbidden. Republish but do not sell. So there.
- 2020-03-15 01:47:22
- Run time
- 1h 07m 13s
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