I don't suppose he anticipated it but a new hero has emerged for music collectors. The release last week of 'Go Ahead and Back Up' the 'Lost Motown Masters' – Bobby Darin from Real Gone Music in conjunction with Second Disc and Motown Universal has produced the 'goto' CD of the summer.
Darin's time at Motown like several white artists Berry Gordy recruited post 1970 was never fully understood or appreciated until now. It can now be seen as a creative close to his life....which sadly he knew was coming. Any discovery of 'lost music' can be either a treat or a complaint[what the hell was he trying to do?]. But reviewing such art needs 'context' and 'timeline' When an archjvist and a fan combine the result is a flowing journey for a listener that the artist would appreciate.Andy Skurow, the 'librarian' [ie archive manager] responsible for the Universal Motown archive has provided a fully annotated review of the recording history of 24 tracks which surpasses anything seen in a Motown related release for many years. Joe Marchese of Second Disc has filled in the story. The music?......well it's not the Motown Sound[as it is 'defined' by many] or the Booby Darin trademark sound but a testimony to an artist,writers, musician,back-up singers and producers searching for new expression.
I'll leave the Amazon reviewers to assess the results musically......but they are refreshingly diverse. The interest for me and the importance for Four Seasons fans is in the process and the results achieved but also in the commitment. Harry Weinger Universal Motown's CEO enabled Andy with highly respected Sound Engineer Kevin Reeves to 'interrogate' the data bases and uncover the tapes this artist left in the vaults. What is so profound for me and I would guess for Bobby's family and friends is the list of material started but never finished. This is a common occurrence with Motown research. A song listed somewhere may only be a backing track with no lead vocal[in this case 29]. Completed tracks may be prepared for album release and then for vague or unknown reasons shelved.
This set was firstly committed to by Bobby's family as they have always wanted to find ways to celebrate his life and talent. That is the primary ingredient Motown Universal require if they are to undertake a project. Artist commitment! There is clearly here a commitment to apply Andy Skurow's skill in identifying, locating and salvaging the work. The result is a credit to his professionalism. The data in the sleeve notes encapsulate everything anyone would want to know about the recordings to enhance the listening experience. Andy even found the Tapes [P4325/6] containing the 'unreleased' album mixed and copied from the main 16 track session tapes.
These tracks immediately precede and overlap the known 'unreleased' tracks from the first Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons contract at Motown. What we also know of the Valli/Seasons sessions is that similar preparations were also made for [at least 2] unreleased albums whilst at Motown. One in August 1973 and one in May 1974[we even know the tracks on this one]. We'll keep Frankie and Bob informed that we have a Project Plan ready to share with Andy Skurrow and team when the time is right and there is commitment to such a project.
The question to Valli/Gaudio will be 'constantly' over the next few years......i'f they could do it for Bobby....then why wont you let them do it for you.?' Casey Chameleon