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Old September 28th 2011, 04:17 AM
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Default LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

From time to time the same questions come up about the LATE pocketwatch tape, the versions, are they real, how do you know etc etc.

I've been slowly working on some stuff to put together some info on the Pocketwatch versions. It's still a work in progress but I can now at least post a first version that can be worked on from here. I know of FOUR versions now. While every man and their dog worries about the different COVER versions, it may surprise some people to know that it is actually the different CASSETTE versions that really probably tell the biggest part of the story. It's important too to match the tape layout with the covers.


Version 1: Black On Yellow With No Overlay:

http://i1179.photobucket.com/albums/...hNoOverlay.jpg

Yes that's right I am semi sure that this is actually the first version that was actually released. It just sold on Ebay today and went for more than I could afford but I haven't seen another one like it. I say no overlay because it clearly has no red rabbit, and the red late that is on this one does look like it matches the handwriting of the over printed LATE versions, but is not over the pocketwatch. I don't have this obviously but it looks like it may well be hand written onto the cover.

Why all of this is important and why this is probably the first edition is because of the cassette itself. Once you study these damned things a while you realise that this version in fact has an entirely different address on it for Simple Machines - 3510 North Eighth Street Arlington Virginia, not po box 10290 Arlington like all the others. A quick bit of detective work tells anyone interested that yes indeed many of the very first Simple Machines releases were released with this address and that it seems to have changed to the po box right around the time or the Late release.

My money is that it was a sure bet when people found out who LATE really was they got a little worried about being inundated with visitors... could be a mile of the mark but it's definitely a plausible theory.



Version 2: Black On Yellow With Red Overlay:

http://i1179.photobucket.com/albums/...RedOverlay.jpg

So if the North Eighth Street tape was the first release, then it stands to reason the next one was the version that brought in the red late as an overlay onto the pocketwatch and added the rabbit. It's fair to say that the layout of the text does make it look as if the rabbit was meant to be here the whole time - so version one could just be a very early promo version. Anyway the tape address has now changed to the PO box number. Cassette retains cut off top corners, but now has straight bottom corners. What they do both share though is the fact that the "pocket watch" and "simple machines" logos start a little distance from the left hand edge of the label, so this seals the deal for me that they are one generation apart. Because then the tapes changed again for version three below.

I'd say I've seen this maybe half as often as the third release (but again this is purely just a personal assessment).



Version 3: Red On Yellow With Black Overlay:

http://i1179.photobucket.com/albums/...kOverlay01.jpg

This is the "standard" version you see most often. Tape label has cut corners at the top and now has ROUNDED ones at the bottom. "pocket watch" and "simple machines" logos are now both hard against the left label edge. po box number address on tape. Why the change of colour on the labels is anyone's guess, maybe to denote the change of tape (if it was a different make or something) I don't know, it could be that someone just thought the opposite colour scheme looked better.

Either way this is definitely the one you see most often and that would make sense, by now it was probably well know it was Dave's release so they probably had to make quite a lot. The best guess I can make is that anywhere from 500 to 1500 were made - but it is just an educated guess based on info I've seen over 20 years.



Version 4: Red On White With No Overlay:

http://i1179.photobucket.com/albums/...hNoOverlay.jpg

Very similar cassette to the third edition above. Tape corners cut at top and rounded at bottom. "pocket watch" and "simple machines" logos are both hard against the left label edge. po box number address on tape. Takes a while to see why it is actually yet another different tape. The po box address is the same but it's in smaller font that finishes half way across the right hand spindle hole.

Other than version 1 which I've only seen once this is the second rarest. My personal opinion from some pretty good info is that it was issued in a hurry over a pretty short period of time when the cassette sold much better than anticipated and they were caught short on stock of the third version. Hand cut J-Card (often slightly out of square) with the correct colour red but on white card inlay with no "LATE" and no Rabbit. People that ordered two from Simply are confirmed to have received one of each, So it is definitely a real issue.

My best guess is that they ordered a new lot of tapes and when they arrived they said "we have the tapes, make some fucking J-Cards quick and let's get them in the god damn mail..." If you are talking percentage of the third release maybe 10 or 20 % at the most. So 50 to 300 is my guess.


I am almost certain that ALL four are real versions, there is far too much proof in the consistency of the detail to really doubt it when you put it all together.

So anyway if you were after a starter on the Late tape this is it. There could be better out there somewhere, but this is the best I can come up with. If you read all of this and feel you have something worth adding chime in
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Last edited by FooZealand : September 28th 2011 at 04:29 AM.
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Old September 28th 2011, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

Wow! That's awesome! I will comment on this in more detail when I have a bit more time but good work!
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Old September 29th 2011, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

Nice thread FZ!

I've always been iffy about these tapes, but only because they all look so homemade!
I dont know if they still exists, but back in the days you could get cassette labels sheets which you could feed through your printer, and print whatever you wanted with them. And those labels just remind me of them!
And the covers could easily be replicated.

I know Im just being sceptical, I think its because I spent alot of my youth making personal cassette and CD covers.

But obviously given the chance, Id LOVE to have one in my possesion!
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Old September 29th 2011, 06:43 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

I have what you list as version 2. I was skeptical for awhile about it being real as almost every one I saw elsewhere online was version 3. Was much later when I found some info about the different versions and was sure I had the real thing. Very cool to see all of this compiled in one location. Awesome job, FZ!!!
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Old September 29th 2011, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

Thanks for the nice comments folks. I had all of this in my head for ages so it was a nice feeling to get it all written down and to share it, and this last new version (the first one) coming up just made me determined it was time because it really helped make the pattern seem a lot clearer.

If you do have a copy of LATE, what would be good to know is if your copy does have the same combination of J-Card and cassette as in the photos for that version. There will definitely be some made that cross over etc (I've seen them already) but these seem to be the standard combination. But it would be good to be able to confirm any patterns that us folk here might be able to establish.

I can then just edit the first post as we go. No rush - hell... 20 years and counting to get this far lol
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Old October 3rd 2011, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

I just got the tape that matches number 2 and I already have number 3. I will compare and update later today.

Would they count as separate entries on Discogs?

I'm also curious about numbers. For years these were rumoured to have been limited to around 250 copies. Hence the value. On the Simply Machine site they mention only ever having two master tapes which they burnt out doing duplications.

Realistically, how many copies could you make from two masters? 1500 seems high.
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Old October 4th 2011, 03:30 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

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Originally Posted by IronThumbDrew View Post
For years these were rumoured to have been limited to around 250 copies.
I would say there is no chance of that. The number must be much higher. The tape was available for years, and right before it went out of print Simple Machines was getting something like 50-100 orders per month. Their master (which, if I remember right, was itself a generated copy from Dave's master tape) was getting serously degraded, and with so many orders for the tape piling up, Jenny Toomey of Simple Machines asked Dave if he would let them release a CD copy. The answer was a flat no.

Last edited by OldFooFan : October 4th 2011 at 03:32 AM.
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Old October 4th 2011, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

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Originally Posted by IronThumbDrew View Post
I just got the tape that matches number 2 and I already have number 3. I will compare and update later today.

Would they count as separate entries on Discogs?

I'm also curious about numbers. For years these were rumoured to have been limited to around 250 copies. Hence the value. On the Simply Machine site they mention only ever having two master tapes which they burnt out doing duplications.

Realistically, how many copies could you make from two masters? 1500 seems high.

Bare in mind my estimate was 500 to 1500 and I am pretty sure they created their own masters at some later point (which were by then 3rd generation as the tapes they got themselves originally were 1st gen copies in the first place).

No they wouldn't be separate items on Discogs, they are variations on the same release. The rules are pretty clear that it counts as one release and various notes and photos get added to that release. That's my take in this case anyway.
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Old October 4th 2011, 04:14 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

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Originally Posted by OldFooFan View Post
I would say there is no chance of that. The number must be much higher. The tape was available for years, and right before it went out of print Simple Machines was getting something like 50-100 orders per month. Their master (which, if I remember right, was itself a generated copy from Dave's master tape) was getting serously degraded, and with so many orders for the tape piling up, Jenny Toomey of Simple Machines asked Dave if he would let them release a CD copy. The answer was a flat no.
Yes I agree with all of that - exactly how I understand it too.
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Old November 15th 2011, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

I just recently purchased this cassette from a guy who had the whole Simple Machines Tool Set. It's the Version 3: Red On Yellow With Black Overlay, but it has Simple Machines - 3510 North Eighth Street Arlington Virginia as the address. Don't know if this is a common variation.
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Old November 16th 2011, 07:40 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

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Originally Posted by suckafoo View Post
I just recently purchased this cassette from a guy who had the whole Simple Machines Tool Set. It's the Version 3: Red On Yellow With Black Overlay, but it has Simple Machines - 3510 North Eighth Street Arlington Virginia as the address. Don't know if this is a common variation.
Interesting. My list etc isn't gospel, it's still all educated guessing. What you have though could well be left over tapes used in the later cover, or ones found or something like that. Simple was known to be very inconsistent, The tape with the original address is very nice to have though either way

And we'll add that as another combination if it comes up again.
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Old November 29th 2011, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

ive got vinyl of simple machines that has a track from the pocketwatch collection

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref...type=3&theater

ive managed to upload a better res pic than my fb page now.

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Old November 30th 2011, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

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Originally Posted by peco_foo1 View Post
ive got vinyl of simple machines that has a track from the pocketwatch collection

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref...type=3&theater

ive managed to upload a better res pic than my fb page now.

Yes indeed, there are a few of us here that have the Neapolitan Metropolitan box set.

Dave is E2 on the white 7 inch:

http://www.discogs.com/Various-Neapo...elease/1199902
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Old October 13th 2012, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

Just to add to this...

Now I'm settled in the new house, I'm re-erecting the Wall of Grohl! Took the opportunity to pull out my Pocketwatches from their frames and add them to The Grohlography.

http://www.grohlography.co.uk/2012/1...etwatch-us-cs/

Release 2 is the same but I have a different release 3. What do you think? Should there be a release 4 with round bullets, empty circles, single line address, no pocketwatch, bold late before going back to release 5 with the white but diamond bullets?

Also, any difference in the colour of the tape? My 2 is light brown and my 3 is dark brown.
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Old October 15th 2012, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

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Originally Posted by IronThumbDrew View Post
Just to add to this...

Now I'm settled in the new house, I'm re-erecting the Wall of Grohl! Took the opportunity to pull out my Pocketwatches from their frames and add them to The Grohlography.

http://www.grohlography.co.uk/2012/1...etwatch-us-cs/

Release 2 is the same but I have a different release 3. What do you think? Should there be a release 4 with round bullets, empty circles, single line address, no pocketwatch, bold late before going back to release 5 with the white but diamond bullets?

Also, any difference in the colour of the tape? My 2 is light brown and my 3 is dark brown.
Just giving you a bump here bro - have read and this is very interesting. Shiited for time at the moment and don't want to rush anything so I will review all of this in the weekend. Bottom line, I'm totally sure there are probably a couple more variants, someone from Simple knew someone I've crossed paths with and I was told it was often a seat of your pants job getting stuff done. True Indy spirit - true nightmare for collectors

As a nice side note - the company is still holding a web site even though they have stopped releasing - same kind of attitude to keeping alive what they DID do - I love it lol

http://simplemachines.net/
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Old January 18th 2013, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

I know I'm missing some more posts on this from new purchases. I have "Some" new images from saved auctions but they seem the same to me on a quick scan. ITD / Pat etc please post/ message me the new variants and I will (at some point soon) make sure the orig post gets updated. I do believe we are at 5 or 6 versions now which doesn't surprise me, I was expecting there would finally be that many maybe more.
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Old January 30th 2013, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

It would be interesting to gather audio files from all the PW variants and compare the sound quality from earliest to latest?? Perhaps we could make it happen??? Cassette audio to digital conversion is easy and cheap Just a thought
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Old January 31st 2013, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

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It would be interesting to gather audio files from all the PW variants and compare the sound quality from earliest to latest?? Perhaps we could make it happen??? Cassette audio to digital conversion is easy and cheap Just a thought
Good thought, major problem is you could have a first gen master tape, and if its gotten slightly wet it will sound like shit. Quite simply (there I go again with the accidental puns lol) you'd have to have all gens of the tape kept in the same conditions to get accurate test results. And they would have to also have the same play-life. Ain't ever going to happen
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Old January 31st 2013, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

I've heard at least half a dozen tapes transferred all of varying quality and completeness through FFL and other places, after all of those we decided on one copy which was the best quality last year. This one, if you want it.

However because of how they were made and as you point out tape degrade through time and wear the more tapes we transfer the better, an even better copy could be and probably is out there.

It's important they're transferred on a high quality tape deck though, just any old tape deck will probably not get the most out of it. If anyone has a tape they want getting transferred I can arrange that, either in Europe or the US. It's obviously hard to get many takers because of how valuable the tape is.
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Old January 31st 2013, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: LATE Pocketwatch - The Tapes

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I've heard at least half a dozen tapes transferred all of varying quality and completeness through FFL and other places, after all of those we decided on one copy which was the best quality last year. This one, if you want it.
Hey thanks a lot! That's a lot better than the version I downloaded a couple of years ago.
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