This years UK Tour has provided us with an opportunity to let Frankie Valli know there are a number of unreleased songs in either acetate or 'live' show versions that are in the hands of fans. Some have been around for years and some are new discoveries. I promised to compile sleeve notes re the tracks so here goes.
Track 1 – Like You
Our latest discovery thanks to one of our longest standing 'music detectives'. Recovered from acetate this song he tells us comes from sessions Valli did at the same time as he did the 'Be My Girl' session with the 4-Evers. If so this would date the session as early 1964. Perhaps producer Al Kasha was involved but the writer was Bob Gaudio[see his BMI listing]. Perhaps Valli's earliest idea for a 'solo' career whilst with the 4 Seasons this remains our top find in recent years. A song and delivery reminiscent of solo artists of the time like Bobby Vinton. The acetate was clearly in good condition and we were able to clean and re-master to a very enjoyable version.
Track 2 – Hymn To Her
Again the same 'music detective' discovered acetates produced by Bob Crewe from the sessions in December 1973 after Bob persuaded Motown he could generate a 'hit'. Bob Gaudio was not involved and Crewe was confident that assembling past expertise would make a difference. He persuaded Nick Massi to come back to arrange vocal harmonies and Charles Calello to arrange and he had a bunch of songs he'd written with Kenny Nolan [a singer songwriter with a studio group Crewe was producing called The Eleventh Hour]. 'Hymn To Her' returns the Seasons backing sound to an anthemic harmony with Valli hitting falsetto in his traditional style. An unusual but intense lyric that hints at religious connections[“my very own Madonna'] this acetate dub was sufficient for us to recover a very listenable version. It remains in the Motown vault as a completed master Nr 62523 and although it didn't convince the Motown Execs it was slated [in mid 1974] for album release just when the group left the label.
Track 3 – You Are The Sunshine of My Life
This Stevie Wonder original was arranged as part of the NEW Four Seasons 'live' shows during 1974. Frankie Valli had promoted the young Lee Shapiro to be his musical director/arranger for live performances. It was a transitional period for Frankie and the group. He had enlisted Gerry Polci, Don Ciccone[who sings the lead in parts] and John Paiva had joined the backing band, joining Joe Long in what some rate as the best 'ever' Four Seasons. John Paiva's personal tape collection allowed us to salvage these tracks from their Bachelors III Cabaret Club show in mid 1974 at Fort Lauderdale. With many of Frankie's 'New Jersey friends' there this show contains more 'unrecorded' songs than any other we know of.
Track 4 – I Wonder Why
Mid 1974 with a new 'settled' line-up Lee Shapiro and Joe Long persuaded Frankie that they should show Motown bosses that this line-up were capable of good things and so the group whilst on the road, wrote and produced this song as a demo and presented it to Motown boss Susan De Passe. The full story is told here. This copy survived on tape which although somewhat deteriorated shows a great song and the groups ability as writers, producers and performers. We'd like to find a better copy for re-mastering and wondered if Lee Shapiro had one? But thanks to Joe Long at least we have this. I'd forgotten we had re-mixed a stereo version of this and I'll try to find it in September
Track 5 – Hickory[Alternative Extended Mix]
Whilst the shorter version of this was released in 1974, this original extended version with extra verse at the beginning and a falsetto ending comes from a Bob Crewe acetate. The Master tape we believe still contains this version from the December 1973 sessions. Motown Master Tape 2664 will reveal that.
Track 6 - Killing Time
This left-over track has been around for a while. It didn't make the 'cut' for the 1984 album 'Streetfighter'. We don't know why as it is a very strong song and performance. Perhaps it's length didn't allow it to fit the vinyl format. It's source is unknown and we have just added to the mp3 version some EQ and punch.
Track 7 – Michael and Peter
Bob Gaudio did a whole album of demos of the 'Watertown' project for Frank Sinatra and sang most of the songs himself but this track was done with Jake Holmes opening the song in spartan style before a tremendous fully arranged solo by Frankie Valli. This has been around collectors circles for many years and a cleaner version [with less clicks and pops] was not possible without a better original dub and top sound engineering skills.
Track 8 – I Got Love
This song was an fairly frequent opening 'live' show number from around 1970 till this concert in 1974. From the stage show 'Purlie' it was allegedly arranged by Charles Calello but never done as a studio recording. Always a favourite with the band members this slightly shortened version still rocks. Recovered from the Bachelors III Show tapes it has been specially cleaned and re-balanced by the late Stefan Wreidt and Ken Charmer.
Track 9 – Golden Slumbers
When the tribute movie/album to The Beatles was being done in 1977[All This And WWII] Frankie Valli appeared on TV doing 2 Beatles songs which he never did for the album. A fan at the time recorded the [to us in the UK] unknown song on we believe 'reel to reel' and it subsequently surfaced on cassette. This is the first of these. We've added EQ and Punch to improve this for CD and it once again shows Frankie Valli's vocal interpretation skills
Track 10 – If I Were A Carpenter
Another Bachelors III salvaged track done quite often in concert in 1974 this is another example of Lee Shapiro's arranging skills and the great playing skill of the NEW Four Seasons.
Track 11 – One Man
Discovered in the Mercury vault by a researcher looking for Lesley Gore tracks this was on a tape can that said, “One Man - Mono Master : The Four Seasons” it was donated to us in 1997 on the basis that we make it a free issue to fans. From the 1970 final sessions at Philips this Bob Crewe-Larry Brown song has a somewhat 'dated' lyric and unpolished production. Perhaps raw and unfinished it remains all we have of the 'several' unreleased Bill Inglot reported tracks discovered during tape research. This good tape transfer has been re-mastered from the original cassette copy for this CD.
Track 12 – Bridge Over Troubled Waters[Medley]
A big production 'live' track in shows since 1970, Joe Longs skills are all over this arrangement and although not the best group performance of this medley it is the best sound quality version we have. By combining the title track with The Long and Winding Road and McArthurs Park Valli and the group created a stunning mid-show classic.
Track 13 – We Had It All
Somehow a backing track surfaced 10/15 years ago of a song rumoured to be a Motown recording. Probably recorded to cassette at the session. Believed to be titled 'Walking In The Sunshine' for some time we had confirmation in 2016 it was completed by Valli as a Motown Master Nr exists for it. Nr 60769 means it sits between 'Touch The Rainchild' and 'The Night' in the Motown vaults. It's all we've got for now but is a demonstration of the 'treasure' still unreleased by Universal Motown.
Track 14 – All In Love Is Fair/The Way We Were [Medley]
A new arrangement in 1974 by Lee Shapiro for 'live' performances this medley survived through into the concerts of the mid to late 70s. This salvaged from tape version is from Bachelors III again and features great harmony support by The Four Seasons.
Track 15 – Close Your Eyes
During the early fan club days of the 1970s when audience recorded 'live' tapes were frequently in demand, the earliest cassette based recording of the 4 Seasons was from Clearwater in 1964. Poor sound of course but it contained this gem. When Nick Massi died and as a tribute to him this 'duet' with Frankie Valli was salvaged from tape and added to You Tube. It's amazing that we have managed to get as good a version of this from the tape as a demonstration of respect for Nick's unique contribution to the group.
Track 16 – The Fool On The Hill
The second Beatles song from circa 1977 recorded from TV by a fan. It is enhanced here for CD listening.
Track 17 – If
With 'Bread' amongst the most popular group's of the time in mid 1974 it was another chance for Lee Shapiro to show off his emerging arranging skills and for Valli to give a masterful vocal on this David Gates classic for the Bachelors III cabaret audience.
Track 18 – You're Never Too Old To Rock'n'Roll
This song was included in the early 1980s 'live' shows and was intended for album /single release. But with the record industry being in recession no company was prepared to offer Frankie and the group a recording contract and it remains unknown if a studio version of this exists. The writers are unknown but in concert Frankie Valli is said to have claimed he and Jerry Corbetta wrote it.
Track 19 – Natural Morning
I can remember the late Frank Rovello searching for this nearly 20 years ago as a relation to the writer[reputably an 11 year old?] was sure Frankie Valli had recorded it. Paper records discovered in 2015 confirmed it was recorded in 1968 with Artie Schroeck arranging but it seems it was never finished. This version is re-mixed to stereo from faded tape Mono versions and was in 2 parts....combined here. Not the best of songs but an interesting vocal and arrangement.
Track 20 – Lovers
Unfortunately this Bob Crewe acetate has been over-recorded during dubbing and the restoration of this superb Crewe – Nolan composition has been limited. It was recorded at the same session as 'My Eyes Adored You' and was slated for album release prior to the group leaving the label. Clearly a completed and superb recording it remains in the Motown vault. An alternative dub may be possible in the future but a Master Tape re-issue is our constant aim.
Track 21 – Make Your Tomorrow Tonight
The final acetate from the December 1973 Motown sessions this was clearly Bob Crewe taking a re-visit to the Wonder Who sound in 1973 as a joke for Motown execs. They were unimpressed with the result and although probably never intended for release we are unsure if a normal vocal was ever done. This did not make the 1974 proposed Motown album Master Tape.
With several of these tracks 'culled' from the Bachelors III concert in Ft. Lauderdale I thought the original article on this 'salvaged' concert would be relevant and interesting in the context of this 2017 collection. Here is the link.
Many thanks to all those who have contributed to this collection in terms of the music and the background. Anonymity is necessary for some but they know we appreciate their contribution and we are happy to have been able to share this with you to brighten your day. Casey Chameleon
PS The CD has been made available to members of our Four Seasons Motown Unreleased Campaign Facebook Group.