old things

The Cassette Tape: Do you still remember these?

I’m actually thinking of an old cassette tape. My Dad said, in lieu of our moving, that he was going to throw away his whole collection of cassette tapes. These tapes I listened to when I was growing up. It’s how I first knew about Broadway musicals and then my Dad’s folk music like John Denver, Peter, Paul and Mary, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Diamond. When my Dad announced that he was getting rid of them and if we wanted to save any, my brother Jubal and I, would have to go to his room and rescue the ones we wanted.

Jubal immediately remembered this one cassette which was recorded from another cassette of a Japanese woman who sang songs like Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) and The Water Is Wide. It was melodic and I guess folksy but I’m thinking it might be classified as New Age because this was in the 80s. In fact, my Dad and my brother was able to trace the tape around 1986 to 1988, the years that my Dad went to Japan, only twice in his life. I remember listening to these cassette tapes when I was really young, even before I was in college, so the time frame must be right.

There was another song in the album but the title eludes us. My brother remembered it and sang the lyrics — Laugh, Poppet, laugh and the world laughs with you; cry, Poppet, cry and the world cries along — or something close to it and it hit me like a ton of bricks and immediately I was able to sing along. Yeah, that was a lovely tape. I tried to scour the net to find it using keywords like Norwegian Wood, Water Is Wide, Japanese, female, singer, cover, album, and other stuff. Nothing came out. There were a lot of sites about Haruki Murakami’s movie version of his novel Norwegian Wood but that wasn’t what I was looking for. Even putting the year 1986 1987, and 1988 didn’t help at all.

We even had a little bit of hope when my brother remembered that, in the tape, The Water is Wide was written as There Is a Ship. The title change might make it easier, make it possible to find this album. Unfortunately not.

The name of the artist and the album completely eludes me and I feel like if I can’t find the tape in my Dad’s collection I will never have this music available to me again. Desperately, I went through the net for over two hours looking at various websites that might hold the clue. I didn’t know there were so many cover versions done of the song Norwegian Wood and Water Is Wide. I’m so out of options. When my Dad wakes up from his nap, I’ll scour his collection and hope to God that it wasn’t lent out and never returned. I hope it’s still there because I want it. And if I can’t buy it off the internet but we have the cassette, I’ll bring it somewhere to have it digitized.

Those are memories from the past that I would like to keep. And the music, as I remember it, is gorgeous.


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