Pulling together my collection of the best sounding 'unreleased' tracks has been a real treat this year and to make it available to as many people as possible who collect Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons music has generated great encouragement for the research to continue. With a recording history of 55 years it remains necessary to make Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio aware of this 2017 collection as we press for research and release of those efforts left collecting dust in the Motown Universal vaults and in the Partnerships archive.
So before I move on to sleeve notes for this years UK 'Unreleased' collection, [our 'best' discoveries to date]let me sum up what we know today about Four Seasons 'related' unreleased tracks that need to be researched and released.
There is no evidence to suggest any tracks remain from the Vee-Jay days as all the masters were passed to Philips after the court settlement in 1964. All were released apart from a rumoured copy/re-recording of the Village Voices songs.
It is apparent some 'project' tracks could exist in demo/acetate form from the 1963 pre-Philips months when sessions were done with Larry Santos and the 4-Evers but whether these survived we do not know.The Four Seasons had no contract whilst in litigation but did backing work which seem to have created some Valli solo work which could have survived on 'demos'.
Philips sessions are documented and we have listed the unreleased recordings in our session masters listing on our web site where paper records have listed these. No listing has surfaced for the final sessions at Philips which we have heard have left several tracks in the Partnerships archive...some [we are told] may be incomplete.
The Motown period we now know contains the most completed but still unreleased tracks with at least 30+ tracks known to be on Motown Tapes or as completed masters [There is some evidence of partial 'digital' recovery of some]. The ownership issues around these tracks remains an issue [surfacing in 2008]with the Partnership lawyer[and allegedly Bob Gaudio] refusing to acknowledge their existence and Motown Universal not willing or able to negotiate over this. From 2021 these tracks if unpublished MAY revert to the Partnerships ownership under copyright law. Our Facebook group Campaign continues to publicise these and call for their release.
Private Stock recordings seem to be all released and we have no indication of 'lost' material but according to anecdotal evidence from the Four Seasons members at the time a full 'second' album was recorded at the 'Helicon' sessions and remains in Bob Gaudio's control.
Some evidence exists in paper records that suggests the Mercury vault has unreleased tracks from Bob Crewe's final sessions for the 'Heaven Above Me' album.
We have a track left over from the 'Streetfighter' album and we heard that before that an album was recorded in 1983 but was never picked up by a record company during a music industry recession. There are no doubt later sessions which remain unreleased and rumours abound of tracks no-one has heard throughout the 90s and up to today.[at Valli's private studio]
This all demonstrates the potential 'treasure' that exists for music detectives battling against a management that has always denied the existence of such material. Why? You may well ask. With so many artists today trawling their past for such material we continue to be amazed that we are the only researchers calling for such material to be issued. But if we keep the research going perhaps one day someone will agree this music should be made available to music historians and fans in a commercially produced series.
If anyone knows more or can add to this 'status report' then let me know and I'll keep the record of potential sources up to date.