Masters and Sound Quality

Lost Masters Searching - Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Example 5 inch reel with Master Tape elsewhere

The Lost Tape still somewhere in the FSP Storage

For those who have the Snapper Music Box Set and wonder how we found material for inclusion, and the problems we faced, then you should watch the Podcast below in which legendary Sound Engineer Mark Linett and Alan Boyd with Darren Paltrowitz discuss their role as ‘Music Detectives’ as they assembled the Beach Boys ‘Catalogue’ from all sorts of sources. It is a fascinating window into historical research and finding surviving Tapes and very reminiscent of our experiences.

Both Mark and Alan led the drive to find more sources of lost tapes for the Beach Boys and it has paid off. The message is that such research projects are not necessarily profitable in the short term, but history and museums are profitable in the long term if backed by the owners. But the Beach Boys ‘owned’ and ‘preserved’ most of their Master Tapes, and whilst the Four Seasons Partnership[FSP] owned most of their ‘masters’, the Snapper Music Box Set has been the first and only time a record company has committed the cost to do an in-depth research project of their catalogue. Back in 2002, Bob Gaudio indicated in interview that this was a big task…...and he has said before receiving the tape transfers of the Motown tracks ‘with no guarantee that Frankie is on them or in what condition, [he] believes this is not worth the chase.’ Well by now he knows the ‘Gold Mine’ of music he has….and he responed enough to give you 13 tracks.

He may be right regarding the rest [but I doubt it] and my aim in these blogs has been to get connections on the www to find us the tapes and videos in good condition [that fans want] and so maybe there is a way to spread the word and find the still ‘lost’ tapes. Listen to the experts here……

Maybe this BOX SET is the best that will ever be possible as at 76, I don’t have enough ‘lifetime’ or appetite to keep pushing for the fanbase anymore without a 100% financially and emotionally committed team. My years in my chosen profession as a Project Manager have shown me this is what is needed. The achievement of the Box Set issue after over 4 years work and the many unreleased tracks included [at least 30% unreleased from fan sources] does not out-way the still missing Motown tracks. Also we experienced the decades of lack of empathy from the FSP during which time I lost several fan friends including close ones in Stefan Wriedt and Bob Fisher who missed out on this ‘overdue’ release. Decades in which millions were made by the FSP from re-releases and Jersey Boys. Universal Motown were ‘leery’ to supply us the Tape Box scans and only Bob Gaudio was supplied with tracks for review. Snapper would not even ask why we did not get more tracks when we knew they were with Bob Gaudio and complete recordings. But after 25 years of denial that they existed it was familiar treatment.

In compiling the Box Set, although the Motown ‘Unreleased’ was to be the cornerstone, Bob Fisher and I only had access to the FSP Storage in LA and we did not have the time to fully research all Tape Boxes there, as Bill Inglot had a commission to find the Album Tapes only and the potentially ‘unreleased’ tracks surviving. 98% were 2 track Safety Copies with only a few Multi-track tapes were found. As I now remain the FSP’s main ‘Archivist’…...more by accident than by intent…….I had an opportunity to gather nearly all of the released Masters as ‘Master Track Adviser’. I was able to discover and salvage and advise Snapper and now fans[via this blog and the Box Set ‘Collectors Notes’], in terms of what did and might still exist as ‘unreleased’ and where these tracks may be. There are still many good recordings which remain ‘unreleased’. Maybe a future Project Manager will believe the music is worth the trouble and be paid for the research.

Alternative versions and different ‘takes’ may not be on the FSP or many fans agenda’s now, as we follow a band that never had the surviving ‘charisma’ of the Beach Boys. I really think that without some level of support from the FSP, that seeking more is a fairly pointless ‘campaign’ now as the COST of research and engineering time is regarded by the FSP as an issue when the return on investment is mainly ‘reputational’. The research needs a tape researcher, transfer engineer, archivist/collator/historian and a re-mastering engineer and of course access to the tapes and the cost of buying or claiming ownership of the source recordings. If that sounds expensive then it would be. I did the Master Tape Research without any paid contract arrangement, but now, enough is enough, when the owners just want to secure an easy ‘copyright’ [as in ‘The River Runs Deep’]

‘Working OUR Way Back To You’ was an apt title by Snapper Music but will the FSP or anyone else in the Music Business regard the fan base as significant or the material recovered marketable? Snapper currently have to sell the rest of the 2500 limited edition sets with around 1000 sold nearly 3 months after release. But for them the hopes are it will prove a good Christmas present …...for grandparents from there grandchildren …..which it remains a superb achievement!!! It was their investment and we are all grateful they gave us the opportunity to share it with you.

Recovery of the still unheard tracks for historical reasons seems unimaginable given that it has taken 20 plus years of campaigning to get what we got in the Snapper Music Box Set…...and that was short by 20 to 30 tracks available….BUT ….we couldn’t get them. We provided all tape and rare vinyl sourced and salvaged tracks that were original or unheard important recordings [including HQ LIVE only recordings] from our Four Seasons UK Appreciation Society Archive which has collected salvaged tracks since 1990 and Rex Woodard’s interviews with Tommy DeVito…...for ‘THE WORK’ [as their draft bio of the original Four Seasons biography was labelled by the Jersey Boys Court Cases]

So for those who want to know what are the remaining sources of ‘unreleased’ tracks here is what I know there could be as ‘historically important recordings’……

  • The Motown Session Tapes – 16 and 24 track recordings of which at least 15 unheard and completed songs remain plus alternative versions. We still have a few that survived as ‘test’ mixes from the FSP Archive but Bob Gaudio, now, should have been supplied all of these and it remains up to him to judge if these can be heard. He already withdrew ‘I Will Love You Like A Man’ for reasons not disclosed but perhaps due to Bob being socially aware of feminism and a response to the ‘woke’ culture? None of the paper record researched unreleased tracks were shared with the Snapper Music Team during the project other than the 13 approved for release. The remaining BONUS tracks found in the FSP storage were ‘alternate’ mixes found by our team.

  • Bob Gaudio’s personal ARCHIVE. This is known to exist from a 2002 interview with the late Stuart Miller re recordings transferred by Bob Sobo to digital storage, none of which was shared with the Snapper Music team.

  • Frankie Valli’s Personal Studio - Recordings with Artie Schroeck and The Modern Gentlemen

  • Bob Crewe’s Personal Archive. Bob Crewe did, before his accident and subsequent dementia, commission Crewe Studios team to digitize on Pro-Tools all of his remaining vinyl and acetates which may include tapes from past decades. Dan Crewe who inherited Bob’s Estate has never been prepared to discuss any access or research to this material despite requests, but he has not blocked re-release of any of Bob’s published/recorded material with royalties going to the Bob Crewe Foundation which supports young ‘local’ musician’s

  • Drexel University – Sigma Studio Tapes Archive[NYC storage] This contains 2 tracks formally registered and copies of session tracks which became the LOST DISCO album. More recordings may exist including multi-tracks.

  • The FSP Storage in LA – It is known that Bill Inglot could not complete any further ‘in-depth’ research of tapes which contained some 192kHz [HQ] reels and some 16 track ‘1970’ Philips reel transfers plus the 200 plus ‘unmarked’ 5 inch reels which would include the 5 lost ‘Philips registered’ titles marked on a Tape Box that contained the wrong tape.[See image above]

1970 Transfers Box 1

All of these sources would, I believe, reveal many ‘unreleased’ tracks and there are also ‘fan collectors’ out there that have never disclosed or shared tapes rumoured to have been salvaged from the 1960s and 70s. [e.g. The ‘Close-Up’ album session ‘unreleased’]. There may be tapes from the Vee-Jay and Philips sessions ‘smuggled away’ at the time but this seems unlikely to me after all of this time.

Perhaps the release of the Snapper Music Box Set will have satiated the appetite of the ‘core’ fan base for any more of this material.? If not the ‘OUT-TAKES’ collection left over from before and during the Snapper Music Project Research is over 60 titles and I feel confident this will be collated to salvage the remaining tracks of sufficient quality for ‘preservation’. If there are ‘Curators’ of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tracks out there then they can maybe contribute to the MASTER DIGITAL ARCHIVE which is being assembled as the Fullest Preservation SET of the vinyl[and previously unreleased commercially] as a digital library of all recorded material. It will include the Snapper Music Set as DIGITALLY preserved but much more. This will be passed on to the next generation of fans… version of potential ‘succession planning’.

Our Facebook group as a Campaign for the release of the rest of the Motown Unreleased track will remain a research base as it has been since 2016 and you can have your voice heard there. I have completed the last 4Seasons On Saturday video podcasts and as the up to 2000 or so dedicated fans slowly absorb the reality of the Box Set, I remain satisfied we did as much as we could to bring all of the music to you. Enjoy the music folks …..wherever you are. As Frankie Villi sings ‘ come back and make the music play’. I know most will be available on ‘streaming’ some day….but as for the rest….in OUR archive…….I am passing the ‘baton’ on as the ‘relay’ teams do….but will the FSP drop it?…...or will they continue to be WORKING their way back to you all?

I will remain a rare and unreleased ‘blogger’ as information or tracks surface giving my own commentary on any NEW discoveries including a potential Northern Soul Mix previously unheard.

Ken Charmer



















































Four Seasons UK Appreciation Society

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

The Typepad Team

Recent Comments