Friday, March 19, 2010

The Eight Track's Rich Man

I never thought John Cusak and Tiny Tim would ever be the jumping off point for a blog post, but an odd bit of serendipity has made it so. It started this morning with a post on BoingBoing, wherein Cusak picked a 10-minute video clip of Tim to share with all the happy mutants. It got me to thinking of James "Big Bucks" Burnett, who managed Tim and produced his last record. I had the honor and pleasure of working with Bucks at Dallas' premier dysfunctional, snob-topian record store, Pagan Rhythms, in the late '90s.

Bucks is world big-time famous for a lot of reasons. Yes, there's the Tiny Tim connection. But he was also the president of the Mr. Ed Fan Club. He also tangoed with Robert Plant and had smaller hair than Jimmy Page during the '80s. But Bucks is most famous for his eight track tape collection. So famous, that Texans have seen fit to give them their very own museum. Even the world famous Wall Street Journal has noticed Bucks' famousness.

My personal recollection of eight tracks in my life is spotty. I know they were around in some measure, but it was probably more tablespoons than quarts. I remember an eight track tape of Christmas music at my grandparents' house-- it was a compilation of the classics: "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry, "Frosty the Snowman" by Burl Ives, etc. Though I remember well the dynamite-blasting players, I can't remember any other specific eight tracks in the LP-centric household of my youth.

That fact doesn't stop my nostalgia meter from pegging into the red. If I were in Texas this month, I'd certainly find a way to make it to the Eight Track Museum. But if I'm honest, it would probably be more to visit with Bucks than to admire his stacks of unopened Rutles eight tracks.

I just hope Texans find a way to make it permanent. It would be a real shame to see this museum go the way of the minidisc.


  1. My mom had an eight-track player in her car when I was a kid and Waylon Jennings Greatest Hits was my favorite tape. I remember when cassette tapes first came out, she bought a huge cassette adapter that you put into the 8-track player and the portion that stuck out of the player had a little cassette player. That would be a great addition to the museum of obsolete technological artifacts.

  2. I thought you would find the headline amusing....

  3. I did find the headline amusing.