We’ve always wondered what happened to the Four Seasons
multi-track masters and now we have photographic proof that Frankie Valli
destroyed them himself. !!! We knew he was a demanding performer but isn't this a bit extreme! Fans will be sad that they will never get to hear
‘Ronnie’ in stereo.
Photo courtesy of George Schowerer – Sound Engineer
And below his photo of the latest technology as it was back
then. The very first Ampex G-1000 on the day it was installed in the Mirasound
studio in NYC. George told us that it was
used later in the day to record The Platters on ‘With This Ring’ with Luther
Whilst reading ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, I was reminded how
collectors of 60s and 70s music view the record companies who hold the masters
of this music. The hero of the book finds himself in a place that made me think
of the vaults of old tapes that must still exist.
“Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘Cemetery of Books’.A labyrinth
library of obscure and forgotten titles”. These books were often the last
remaining copies of old books……So it must be in the vaults of the big music
companies. Who are the keepers of these libraries and do they even know what is
Well we know that the team with Harry Weinger at Motown are
continuing to discover material as they play tapes from the vaults and find
things on them that shouldn’t be there, whilst finding tracks missing that
should be there.
We can only hope that this year will bring some relics out
for the first time since they were recorded some 40 years ago from all the
major vaults still in existence.
As another year starts for Four Seasons collectors there is
the promise of a number of releases to support the increasing profile of the
music. Obviously the Partnership’s 'business plan' aim is to respond to the increased
awareness of the Seasons sound as a result of the musical Jersey Boys and to coincide these releases with
the progress of the touring show, thereby expanding potential sales of all
Valli/Seasons material over the next few years.
This year will bring the re-mastered 76 track compilation
box set with DVD from Rhino…so although long-standing fans will not get any new
tracks they will have to buy the box set to get the DVD and Charles Alexander’s
amazing notes(we’ve seen them and they are!). Then there is a new album recorded
last summer by Frankie Valli that still awaits a release date…………but the
prospect of anything from the vaults remains a dream. The material is there
even though Bob Gaudio has always maintained there is nothing unreleased.
A few years ago we picked up a sessionography which listed
an interesting unreleased track as Matrix No 38006 (which puts it in 1966 right
after the ‘Working My Way Back To You’ sessions). ‘Bad Can Be Good’ remains a
frustrating question mark. BMI lists this as written by Tommy Roe. So it did
exist as a song?...... but why the Four Seasons should record it we don’t know.
Then there was Steve Tudanger’s claim(ex 4-Evers member)
that they backed the Four Seasons on a version of ‘Ramona’. We will probably
never hear this like so many lost tracks by artists from those days.
Back in 2001 we had the copy of ‘One Man’ found in the vaults
at Philips and clearly recorded around 1970 when the Ben E King version of the
song was released. There is definitely more to be uncovered from the Philips days.
Although the original multi track master tapes were allegedly lost in the 60’s
we know the current masters contains unreleased tracks like ‘One Man’. We
understand the Partnership library doesn’t contain either the mono masters nor
the multitracks -- only the stereo/mono masters are available.
And of course there are the Motown unreleased which
according to reliable sources include some 19 tracks never heard since their
recording, and another potential 27 tracks in the database which Motown haven’t
as yet found. Whether or not these are multi track masters we are not sure.
However now that Rhino are in charge of the back catalogue
we can only hope that Bill Inglot cares as much as we do about the music and
can persuade Bob Gaudio to consider their release. A CD of the remains of the
Philips era must be possible and surely Harry Weinger will let Bill Inglot
review the Motown tapes and maybe he can persuade Bob Gaudio to give us these
lost musical moments. Or will they continue to collect dust in what is becoming
‘The Cemetery of Tracks’. Maybe it is a case of demonstrating that such
releases would sell very well.
We will keep pushing for these because those of us who
experienced the 60’s are becoming less by the day and as they say in
‘Neverland’ “"It is all the work of the ticking crocodile. ‘Time’ is
chasing after us all." We need to hear these tracks before the curtain
A ‘Seasons’ Connection track that helped start our research into Bob Crewe, Charles Calello and the Four Seasons has just popped up on t’Internet .
‘One Night’ by the Four Kings was released on Canadian American 173. The guy singing lead on that track produced by Seasons Nick Massi and Tommy Devito has just issued it on CD. Here is the link to read about him and hear the track. http://cdbaby.com/cd/waynetevlin We are unsure if he was on the B Side ‘Lonely Lovers’ but we’ll try to find out more. These tracks appeared for the first time on the bootleg CD ‘The Fantastic Early Years’ back in 1995.Thanks to Kingsley Abbott for spotting this.
As Jersey Boys roars into another successful year on
Broadway the reason for its success remains puzzling…..well perhaps to those
who haven’t seen it! Rick Elice has perhaps captured some of the reasons why in
an interview at insidebayarea.com.
The mystery of why?.....continues as Rick explains.
“This is something for the theater: a compelling story,
characters you care about, music to make the hair stand up on the back of your
neck and make you thank God for the day you were born ……………But what happens
when the audience is there is more than any of those things. It’s the extra
bit, and I suppose with any hit show there’s something magical in the
relationship between the stage and the audience. With our show, I think it’s
that people are familiar with the Four Seasons’ music but not with the guys.
The audience may not be in a band, but they know what it’s like to want to
belong, to be respected, to find home.”
We highly recommend this interview. Click above or the link
in the side bar