It has been a huge year for the touring Frankie Vall and the Four Seasons with amazing summer dates this week in Tel Aviv, Israel[4th July] and Cork, Ireland on Thursday and a 'private' London wedding on Friday. Lynn Boleyn will be in Cork and will post this blog with her thoughts soon but as we reflect on the immense appeal of this 'live' show it is interesting to consider the big differences of a legendary career spanning 55 years since The Four Seasons first major musical success.
When the UK fan club started Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were already an 'oldies' band and during the 1970s they became truly legendary as the 'renamed' Four Seasons hit Nr 1.
Live performances today and back then have their very different styles. We've accepted the development and celebrated the songs then and now.
This Tel Aviv performance is well videoed and recorded and captures what we enjoyed so much about the April concerts in the UK. When the UK fan club started Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were already an 'oldies' band and during the 1970s they became truly legendary as the 'renamed' Four Seasons hit Nr 1.
But I was talking with John Paiva today about the 'aura' the whole group had back in 1976-78. We argued about then and now. 'Today' John said is the 'show sound' Frankie wants to project [an evolution of Jersey Boys]whilst I argued that the sound of a 'Band' not enhanced by technology with Frankie's voice at its peak is unsurpassed!! I experienced as will some of you reading this the stunning Four Seasons(featuring the 'sound' of Frankie Valli') during the early 60s (some may actually remember seeing them!)but [surely?]they never truly became 'legendary' till the mid 70s. John and I agreed the merits of both but as I've said before we celebrate all eras of the Four Seasons today [one joke going the rounds is that to date there may have been '4000 Seasons'....all but 4 'employees']
During the UK tour in April we told Robbie Robinson about our research to uncover 'unreleased' tracks for this historic 2017 Tour. We looked at how much the groups recording career and live performances have meant to us. Our research team of US and UK collectors had gathered 21 of 'collected' unreleased recordings from acetates/demos/masters and live performances for 'The Best of the 'Unreleased' UK Collection 2017'. A set assembled to preserve the rarities from the past in as good a quality as possible[given their source quality] We asked Robbie to pass it on to Frankie for him, his sons and to share with future generations of fans. Some tracks have been around for years and some are on You Tube but some are only recent discoveries, now digitally enhanced for CD /digital storage for the first time. Every track has a story behind it and we'll document as much as we know about their background in due course.
In a letter to Frankie we made it clear that our Campaign on Facebook continues in an attempt to persuade Universal Motown to act to preserve [and commercially release] the 30+ completed tracks which we now know are in their tape vault of recordings done by Frankie [with Bob Gaudio, Bob Crewe and the group] between 1971 and 1973 which have never been released. Bob Crewe prepared acetates of some of these Motown sessions in late 1973 and we have been fortunate enough to get hold of tape dubs to salvage a reasonable restoration of these. The masters we know are still in Motown's vault. Plus we have 'never recorded' songs from the 1974 Bachelors III shows at Ft Lauderdale which are in excellent sound. The resulting CD[with some recently discovered gems] is, we believe, an enjoyable and historic celebration of the tremendous career and the work of Frankie, the group and other collaborators.
Our research promises to uncover more salvaged songs from old fans cassette tapes over the next year.
Another project we have completed focused on digital preservation and took 3 years but resulted in digital copies of all the MONO 45 mixes recovered from best quality vinyl and re-mastered to preserve these often unique mixes which we know never survived the Philips contract. These are reference copies for anyone researching the 'original' music in the future. We've forwarded these to Bob Gaudio as a reference set. We have also archived all of the Vee-Jay 45 MONO mixes including the rare 'B' side version of 'My Mother's Eyes' done before the Philips 1967 LP version with a different arrangement.
We re-assured Frankie that as the 'unofficial' [but recognised and accepted] UK fan club we have never operated or intentionally acted in breach of copyright and will continue to do all we can to preserve and educate for new fans, the legacy of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, in all line-ups and in every decade. All our music restoration is focused on preserving/assessing the 'art' of Frankie and the group.
The hope is that one day maybe Frankie or one/all of his sons will agree that his legendary career could be better researched, documented and published with 'unreleased' tracks made available. [This has happened with Roy Orbison's sons who now manage his archives]
More from Cork soon