“Sandra Bell: Again”: An Excerpt From Dennis Callaci’s “100 Cassettes”

Dennis Callaci

Dennis Callaci is an esoteric guy. He’s the man behind the excellent indie label Shrimper Records, who have released music over the years by the likes of Woods, the Mountain Goats, and Dump. He’s also a talented musician and writer, with a new album and a new book both set to be released on February 14th. The album is The Dead of the Day; the book is 100 Cassettes. Along for the ride on the former are a group of musicians including Franklin Bruno; contributing an introduction to the latter is Jonathan Lethem. He’ll also be on tour during the second half of this month.

Callaci’s book and album are interconnected in other ways as well, with themes and images shared from text to songs and back again. As the title of 100 Cassettes suggests, it began its life as an art installation of hand-painted cassette covers. The book covers a wide range of musical topics, from Sun City Girls to Carol King to Lee Ranaldo. Below, the text of “Sandra Bell: Again” can be read as the title track of The Dead of the Day plays.

Here’s what Callaci himself has to say about the song:

This title track from the record features my favorite living pianist Franklin Bruno. This is a love song to stoicism and strength in the midst of the eye, that is what this song is about concretely. When I first heard Sandra Bell’s Dreams of Falling cassette on Xpressway in 1991, it struck me as an odd dichotomy of muscularity and toughness wrapped in a gauze of vulnerability and nakedness. I was floored. The chapter I wrote on Sandra Bell appears in the book 100 Cassettes and in this video, an abridged version as a subtitle for this song.  What a thrill to be sending love letters to artists that are still alive, to profess my love for their work. I humbly offer this, a time out from the in memoriams of these slumped down times; something living that can take the criticism of falling short of the line.


Photo: Catherine Guffey
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