Unseen Tapes Vol. 1, 1994​-​1996 (Fractured)

by James Botha

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The purpose of this website is to showcase a careful selection of the hundreds of songs I've written and recorded over the years that have yet to see the light of day.

I bought my first 4-track recorder in the early 90's and, with the help of my Tascam Portastudio and little more than a shure microphone, I would hole myself away in my bedroom or basement, recording any song idea or sound I could come up with. Thus began my life as a home recording enthusiast. I was inspired by all the low-fi releases popular at the time in the indie music circuit. I wrote many songs in those early years and I loved hearing them come to life, one overdub at a time, on the little blank cassette tapes I bought in bulk. Some of the recordings were demos for the bands I was in, but most of them were songs I'd write just to compile onto mix tapes in order to give away to friends. Now all those cassettes sit in storage, under my bed actually, collecting dust, half-forgotten.

I somewhat recently decided to blow the dust off of those old tapes and digitally archive the songs I felt were worth preserving. While doing these transfers I found some of them were actually pretty good and felt it a shame no one else has heard them, so I decided to make a compilation of the choicest recordings and post them online.

There was a lot of material to choose from, and it took me years to edit down the tracks to a manageable number and figure out a way to organize them. I've decided to group them into 4 separate collections, chronologically divided into the different places I've lived: Volume 1 is Washington DC, Vol. 2 is Philadelphia, Vol. 3 is Manhattan and Vol. 4 is Brooklyn. Each volume gets about 9 or 10 songs. Most of the songs are remixed and improved sonically from the original hissy and muffled mixes (although there's still plenty of hiss to be heard on the early recordings). Every one of them was originally recorded on cassette, using the portable 4-track and, by Vol 3, an 8-track.

I've mostly put this online collection together for myself, since I don't know too many people out there who would even be interested in this stuff. But I hope there are at least a few people who listen to and hopefully even enjoy the songs. They're really a part of me and a part of my life and I'm glad they're finally emerging from under my bed to see the light of day. Enjoy.

James Botha


released January 1, 2012



all rights reserved
Track Name: 100 Yrs of Sleep
I got so much work to do in this life I think I'm losing my mind
I always feel that I'm missing out on what's happening
I think I'll lose my reality this time

I lost so much blood, sweat and tears I think I'm going insane
I got so much to remember I'm afraid I'm going to blow up my brain
I think all I need is a 100 years of sleep

All I need is a 100 years of sleep
Track Name: Nice Big 40oz
Got my nice big 40oz, now I can hold my own
All I need is something to read to help me get back home
Do you want a sip of it or do you want your own?

Take me down to the local bar, I really feel at home
It's warm and it's good and I'm thinking that I should
Get away from being alone

I've worn that style and it's been quite a while
Since I've seen you on your own
And now that you are I think you're gonna be a star
So sign this picture please
I really want to know you now, I really want to stay

Got my nice big 40oz, now I can hold my own
All I can see is the way I want to be
The way I was way back home
Track Name: Shubha
Shubha, you know that I love ya
You know I wanna do ya, 'cause you're so cool-a
Oh dear Shubha, I feel so good-a
When I'm all around ya, I love you Shubha

When I met you that fateful night
I knew you were the one
Wrapped you up in my pleather skin
Having so much fun

Shubha, you're so brand new-a
I don't want any other woman than you-a
Oh baby Shubha, business major
You're driving me crazy, I got no number

Meister brau is in your hand
You know I'm your biggest fan
Can't stop thinking I'll never see
You in this whole wide world again

Shubha, you know that I love ya
I love ya like no other
I feel so cool-a
Darling Shubha, you know that I love ya
Track Name: The Death Song
Black will fade into the sun
And I will bleed into one
Crimson tide will turn to gold if I'm sold
In my head, I am dead
In my head, dead

Smokey lives, having fun
All is done
Take my time, don't read the signs
It's my time to go
How can I? Will I know? Should I go?
Will I stand, head in hand?
Will I stand alone?
Track Name: Elevator Love Song
Wait until we fall in love again
Till the time we say hello again
That's the day I'm gonna miss
The way we used to kiss
The day we fall in love again

When the birds fly through the summer air
And we talk again without a care
Once when we were making love
Below the sky above
That's when I'll fall in love again

Strike a sword into your neck
Eat your food without a safety net
Put a weight upon a disco ball
Shine your shoes while tripping in the mall

Wait until we fall in love again
Till the time we say hello again
That's the day I'm gonna miss
The way we used to kiss
The day we fall in love again

Throw a rock upon your head
When you find out that your boss is dead
Strike a match into the gaping hole
Walk the dog while talking to a mole
Open up the seed and let it grow
When you want some traffic drive real slow
Here's a snowman crawling on your back
Put the money back inside the sack
Count the fire crackers, sis boom bah
Meet the man and kiss the sun god Ra
Tie your lucky penny in a knot
Rob your teacher blind and don't get caught

Wait until we fall in love again
Till the time we say hello again
That's the day I'm gonna miss
The way we used to kiss
The day we fall in love again
Track Name: 20th Beer
My life's on fire, the girl of my desire
Has gone away and took my 2 weeks pay
Know it aint easy to be taken for a fool
That's something I'll have to remember
As a rule

My can of beer is cold and in the clear
My joint is gone, I passed out on your lawn
Thought of just how to just get by for now
Then it all runs away
(Sassafras Pay)

Here comes the sun, my booty's all undone
My number 1 went out and got a gun
And so I tell ya'll don't listen to me here
Because I'm on my 20th some-odd beer
Track Name: It's All Over
I cannot see anything in my room
So very dark like a cold empty tomb
(leaves are growing in my own bed)

Leaves are growing, things are showing
Room is dark, lights turned out
Night is falling, leaves are falling
Very quiet, it's all over

You cannot hear
(take it down again) (my instruments are flowing)
You cannot know
(you know when it's well)(the gravity is showing)
Nothing is real
(take it down again)(my heart is slowly beating)
You are not here
(you know when it's well)(the temperature is heating)
You cannot heal
(take it down again, you know when it's well)

Leaves are growing, things are showing
Room is dark, lights turned out