“Life comes alive here! The most amazing place on earth.” wrote Mr. Gary Clayton of Kingston, Jamaica, in the Orphic Gallery guestbook upon visiting the Eight Track Museum in Roxbury on March 9th of this year. The museum is very pleased to announce we will be celebrating our first anniversary as the World’s Second Only Eight Track Museum this Saturday evening in conjunction with the opening of the EXCEPT THE DOLLS exhibit at the Orphic Gallery.
The Roxbury museum, declared “the newest addition to the list of Catskills oddities” by Julia Reischel of this very publication, opened in gala fashion last October 13th and has been visited by patrons from Denmark to Auckland over the course of its first year. It is a permanent outpost of the original Eight Track Museum opened in Dallas, Texas, on Valentine’s Day 2011 by James “Big Bucks” Burnett. Of this momentous occasion, Mr. Burnett avowed “I am now counting down the 99 years until our centennial. I look forward to seeing everybody in Roxbury in 2112.”
The museum is comprised of eight tracks and players from its permanent collection, eight track merchandizing displays, and illustrations of the technology from sources diverse as advertising copy to patent drawings. Also on display are installations highlighting the central role of the automobile in the development of eight track technology - Conceived in Cars - and the unique dilemma of bootlegging that confronted the eight track industry which was one of the music business’s first major confrontations with widespread piracy – Hot Wired from the Start.
One special feature of this exhibit is The Timeline of Musical Technology that will trace the development of the technical means of reproducing music for the mass market from wax cylinders to mp3s with an emphasis on the place of eight track tapes in that continuum. To illustrate the progression of these technological developments the exhibit showcases means of musical storage from phonograph records to CDs, and devices on which they were broadcast ranging from record players to boom boxes. For this exhibit the gallery displays specimens of musical technology from The Eight Track Museum’s permanent collection and also examples loaned by private collectors.
The icing on this stupendous curatorial confection - the museum exhibiting for the first time anywhere in the world the rarest and most treasured of 8 track tapes. The album entitled Sinatra/Jobim, a collaboration between Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlo Jobim, is known to afficionados of the format as The Sinatra.
Set to be released in 1969, the 8 track versions of Sinatra/Jobim were the first format manufactured and shipped. For some reason, subject to intense speculation in the 8 track world, the release of the album was called off, manufacturing of the LPs and cassettes was cancelled before the process was even started, and the eight tracks, the only production in any format of this project, were immediately recalled and destroyed.
If you have not seen the museum in its present glory, you are highly encouraged to do so this fall as plans are underway to rotate some of the present exhibit to its mothership in Dallas (including The Sinatra) and parts of the current galleries may be closed due to an anticipated expansion of the museum. The museum, located at The Roxbury Corner Store at 53525 State Highway 30, is open from Wednesday through Sunday from 12-5 pm and by appointment. For more information on the museum, please see eighttrackmuseum.com and orphicgallery.com or call (607) 326-6045.