Four Seasons from the UK

The Four Seasons at Motown – The UNRELEASED Story in 2022

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As we approach Thanksgiving, which is not a ‘holiday’ we celebrate in Europe, I recognize it is a time to celebrate as a family of fans what we have achieved in researching and finding the Unreleased work by Frankie Valli….AND The Four Seasons…..either as a group or solo entity and much of that research has resulted in the transfer of many 16 track Masters to Bob Gaudio [The Four Seasons Partnership – FSP] for his evaluation and for the approval of 13 previously unreleased tracks for inclusion in the forthcoming Snapper Music Box Set coming to release in 2023.

Even allowing for the delays, it will be the biggest and best release ever of their work after revisiting their analogue tapes. But it will not be the full story as I will document re potential sources of stored masters in the future from our research. For now, here is the latest known research of the Tapes at Universal [Motown] as we advised Snapper Music and the Universal Library Manager and Bob Gaudio [via Snapper].

There seems to be little in terms of paper records re the Four Seasons with the Universal Library Manager re this peiod apart from tape Boxes wheras we have Spreadsheet Records and Database Printouts as well as Artists Cards that detail the recordings done and the registration in many cases. We know that Tape Box research was done and Tapes Ordered from the Iron Mountain Storage for checking but only one tape box scan was supplied to the UK research team which confirmed what we knew of that tape to be correct. The issue of the cost of mixing down 16 track songs was admitted to by Bob Gaudio when it was clear the limits of visual Tape Box Review showed ‘listening tests’ were necessary. The budget issue arose. The songs that 'appear' [from the partial Tape Boxes inspection by the Library Manager] to have vocals.....were listed....BUT..... 'This is not a guarantee.  They could be demos or scratch vocals, or miss-marked.  They will need to be transferred and played to see if they do. [exist] ‘.  We had a Database and Artists Cards which coincided with these titles but our records of mixes and Masters were not used in this research.

Working through the Tape Index in numeric order now, this is the latest information we have of what UNRELEASED tracks MAY exist based on paper records and demonstrates what remains to be confirmed or not.

Recordings started in October 1971 on a contract for 8 potential tracks by Frankie Valli solo with various in-house ‘producers’ and a ‘self-contained’ group effort of 12 songs as confirmed by Bob Gaudio in interview in 1971. Below are our finds from paper records gathered over the last 22 years re the 16 track session Master Tapes for tracks identified as potentially complete and ready for release[i.e.with a Motown Master Nr] either from SMX [stereo mixes done at the time] or Mix-Downs from the 16 track Master. The Motown Master Tape Database indicates that there are 32 UNRELEASED tracks given Master Nrs as completed/registered tracks in sessions.  Tapes not highlighted below remain unknown from the Librarians Tape Box review. As far as we are aware Bob Gaudio was sent copies of 16 track tapes but we have no knowledge if he or the Universal Librarian have conducted full ‘listening’ evaluation or if Bob Gaudio has received all of these tapes. As was said...'Lastly, there are songs with possible alternate vocal takes, but it depends on if Bob Gaudio wants these alternates available'........Clearly some completed tracks have been found and mixed down and approved for release which we are all happy about. This current Motown Master Tape Review is solely based on my records and reported Tape Box lists.

The big benefit of the last 12 years work was to demonstrate a ‘goldmine’ of LOST tracks by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons at Motown and now both Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli know the inherent value of these tracks. They are in my opinion exceptional and well worthy of release in what I believe will be groundbreaking Catalogue Review. Whilst they did not get any royalties from their contract at Motown they have we assume gained some agreement with Universal for the release as expected of 13 tracks in 2023 as highlighted, and we believe and have been told that over 20 tracks as highlighted should exist in some form. The remaining tracks are listed in paper records at Universal Motown but have not been revealed as existing. However as I have said we have no evidence from Snapper that full listening tests have been done by either the Motown Tape Librarian or Bob Gaudio [and possibly his son Shannon]. This is not a complaint…just what we understand at this point in time. However enough have been reviewed for Bob Gaudio to have mixed the 13 approved tracks for inclusion. The rest MAY NOT be deemed good enough for release….but what about  any of the alternative or extended versions found on acetate or in FSP storage as evaluation copies.? We know of several such versions. We have been able to ensure knowledge of some of the above as acetate dubs on You Tube…just search …. Four Season Motown Unreleased You Tube.

Any issue of such ‘unreleased’ material is, of course, the right of the FSP but it is worth considering that any unreleased tracks at Universal Motown will drop out of copyright by December 2023 [under UK Law], although these would have to be purchased for anyone to release them and extend the copyright. The UK Government website says of sound recordings that copyright exists for …”50 years from the year in which the sound recording was made. If during that period the sound recording is published or made available to the public (e.g. by being played in public or broadcast), copyright lasts for 70 years from that year.”  That means that unreleased tracks due for release in 2023 start to fall out of copyright as ‘sound recordings’ this month.

This is our final listing of the paper records at MoWest and Motown and a listing for further review of the tapes stored at Iron Mountain regarding Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and a reference point for any ‘listening tests’ to see what has survived. This is an ‘aide-memoire’ for anyone wishing to do further research in the future.

Ken Charmer – November 2022.

Music Historian – The Four Seasons UK Appreciation Society

The FULL and Final list of Unreleased Tracks and the known status can be downloaded here.

Download Final List at Motown Nov 2022 as pdf


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Four Seasons UK Appreciation Society

Dr. George Ingram...Newsletter Editor: Ray Nichol—Record Researcher: Lynn Boleyn—Secretary; Ken Charmer—Webmaster/Researcher

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