Motown Unreleased

With My Eyes 'FULLY' Open - Motown Unreleased 'Mixes'

Disc22

The Motown Unreleased remain the ‘Holy Grail’ of Four Seasons Collectors like me and others and whilst recently I have very much left it to Anthony Colatrella on our Motown
Unreleased Campaign Facebook Page to analyse and extol the merits of the Snapper Music Box Set DISC 22. He has captured the sheer quality of production,writing and performing in the long unheard and therefore unappreciated LOST MASTERS in his daily Facebook posts on the tracks ‘approved’…...’lost’ that is until our efforts found a ‘patron’ and Bob Gaudio relented to long term pressure and allowed their release. That in itself is worth a well voiced social media thread re ‘how and why!!!!’ Over to you Anthony…...

 

Whilst Anthony has focused on the 13 tracks approved by Bob Gaudio for this set, little attention has been paid to the additional ALTERNATIVE Versions that make the Disc up to 21 tracks. There is much to be studied in the variation of these extra tracks and their quality and differences. They are not simply underdubs. But HOW INTERESTED are Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons fans in such alternate TAKES or MIXES? At present with so much in the Box Set to absorb, many will not know that some of these are the ORIGINAL MASTER mix which were finalised and copied for release on Master Tapes for an unissued album in May and June 1974. Bill Inglot found and sent transfers of Side Two of this proposed album but never found the Tape for Side One. It remains amongst the 200+ unmarked Reels unresearched in the Four Seasons Partnership Storage in LA. The original Master Album Tapes are P5084 - Side 1 and P5085 – Side 2 in the Motown Vaults. However I can confirm that they were copied as ‘listening copies’ and sent to Bob Gaudio, as he Frankie Valli and Bob Crewe were concluding that it was better to try to negotiate the purchase of these high quality MASTERS as they sought to leave the label. We all know from Frankie Valli interviews that the Motown Executives [and maybe Berry Gordy?] were uncompromising and wanted more money than was considered reasonable by Crewe,Valli and Gaudio. But Valli knew that one track had ‘hit’ written all over it and performance in concert in summer 1974 had shown the appeal to audiences. They had copies of ‘My Eyes Adored You’ on the listening tapes to model the LIVE version and it can be heard on Disc 43 – The Bachelors III LIVE Concert from mid 1974. As we all knew since then Bob Crewe negotiated as Producer the purchase of the MASTER for circa $4,000. Amongst the Alternate Versions on Disc 22 is the NEW MIX done on 25th June 1974….as a listening copy showing that many alternates exist on the 16 tracks MASTER SESSION TAPES that I have documented as still existing in the Motown Storage at Iron Mountain, New York.

I will write more re these ‘alternates’ in due course but wanted to emphasise WHY a full research and curation project is needed on the tapes and to let you all know that I did not include all of the known ‘versions’ we have found during our research and included in the BONUS TRACKS for Disc 22. I had hoped that Snapper would go back to Bob Gaudio in 2021and ask would he consider approving MORE unreleased tracks we knew existed?. Snapper failed to do this despite Bob Fisher and I wanting them to. They felt they had enough BONUS Tracks we had supplied or researched to make the set attractive to you fans. Since 2021 we have had confirmation that many of the tracks in my FINAL LIST [See my previous blog re this] exist and [some] have been copied to Bob Gaudio by Vault Services at Motown, but not approved for release. The question “WHY?” remains unanswered.....and did all of the tapes get fully researched with listening tests?

 

The ALTERNATE Versions [8 Tracks] as BONUS TRACKS were found by Bill Inglot as part of the storage tape research as ‘half-track’ tape copies sent to Bob Gaudio back in 1973 and 74 for his ‘listening tests’. Snapper instead of asking for more decided to include the ‘back-up’ set I had compiled. The case for a properly ‘curated’ and engineered project is illustrated by just one of the tracks found but not included in the Box Set Disc 22.

 

The amazing story behind this track can now be revealed. ‘With My Eyes Wide Open’ was an unreleased track when the ‘split’ with Motown happened and was left behind to be lifted and released on the ‘Inside You’ Album [Motown M6-852S1] in September 1975 in the USA [Nr 203 in the BB album Chart]. That ‘released’ version is included in the Box Set on Disc 21. It is a bass,strings and echo laced mix which research has show was mixed by Russ Terrana [who had worked on the 'Chameleon' mixes] on 20th August 1975, nearly a year after they had left the label and as part of Motown's decision to cash in on the success of ‘My Eyes Adored You’ and ‘The Night’[in the UK]

 

However this is not the ‘original’ mix. The Artists Card shown below indicates that 2 other STEREO Mixes were made way back on 2nd February 1973 and the Master Tape Box Scan we were supplied [the only one but more of that later!!] shows the MASTER MIX Tape details of the 15 multi-tracks recorded dated 9th December 1972. A MONO MIX and the two STEREO Mixes were found on the ‘listening tape’ of 2nd February 1973. I have all of these MIXES. All of these are very different to the released MIX on the ‘INSIDE YOU’ album. The You Tube video below will reveal to you how different this track was. Bob Gaudio had complained after the release of that album that he had NO INPUT on the final mixes included and this is clearly a claim that applies to this song. Both Bob’s had contributed to the tracks and there is a reference to LIVE ‘strings’…..but when these strings were laid down is unclear. Did Russ Terrana add these in 1975? And we know although listed as a FOUR SEASONS recording it did in fact feature Motown in-house backing singers…..but saying that they are quite superb.....and well mixed in these versions.

 

WMEWO Artists Card

 

WMEWO - Motown 16 Track Tape Box

 

I have uploaded to You Tube the ‘second’ STEREO MIX found in the research for the BOX SET and it appears to be the pre-Russ Terrana mix as shown on the Artists Card. It excludes the opening ‘fade in’ strings intro BUT is dominated by two guitars in each channel competing with each other [listed as Dean P. and Mike D.on the Tape Box scan] and the vocal harmonies are mixed ‘high’ with Frankie’s vocal. The echo too is missing. Instrumentally it is a totally different version with a different ‘feel’. Frankie is ...well just Frankie!!!

I personally prefer this mix [titled the ‘Guitar Mix’ by me] but it demonstrates to me why the ‘curation’ and sound engineering research is needed…...and there should be a further release of this period of Frankie's career as the only time that has left behind in the analogue era 'surviving ‘multi-tracks'.

 

But whether there are enough fans willing to buy a compilation/box set based on these superb studio masters remains debatable?. It is down to contributors like you as readers to confirm your wishes and maybe there will be enough momentum created on our social media MOTOWN UNRELEASED page to persuade Bob Gaudio to spend the money on the research and for a deal with Motown[Universal] to release the tracks. Whilst there may be arguments re the ‘ownership’ of the ‘unreleased’ masters as reverting to Valli after 50 years in the vaults, the best approach would be a negotiated curation. Motown Vault Services have big questions to answer re the Snapper Project and their ‘lack of disclosure’ and incomplete ‘annotation notes’ re the tracks, but that is perhaps a subject to be expanded on in our 4 Seasons On Saturday podcasts.

 

I hope you enjoy this MIX as much as I do…….

 

 

Ken Charmer- Master Track Adviser – Snapper Music Box Set 2023

PS....

 

As a ‘postscript’ to this article it is important to remember the context for both Motown and Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio at the end of 1972 and Frankie having to cope with developing hearing problems[as well as personal circumstances]. Motown backed Crewe and Gaudio as writers and producers as they embarked on new recording sessions but they saw potential problems with studio production and we see in retrospect that they did not have confidence in the vocal capability of the group at that time to deliver in the studio. We believe they appeared on ‘Star’ and perhaps some of the unreleased tracks but by December 1972 they had commissioned Motown backing singers on the sessions and it is clear from this tracks superb studio musicians and vocalists that the group at that time [which Frankie Valli would sack in the spring] could not deliver songs such as this either instrumentally or vocally. Failure was obvious given the group membership, although the anthemic ‘How Come’ [with Motown backing singers] was released but not promoted. It was not until Lee Shapiro’s and Gerry Polci’s recruitment that the group were able to demonstrate their potential via the ‘I Wonder Why’ session. But there remains questions re the promotion by Motown of the Frankie Valli SOLO tracks during 1973 and the Bob Crewe productions of the re-formed Four Seasons in 1974 leading to their departure from the label. A good decision commercially by them clearly and it is all part of a story that is slowly falling into place and our understanding as to why such great ‘productions’ remained unheard until today…..and more remains ‘unheard’. The question of ‘why it remains unheard ?’does no credit to the current FSP and their only partial response to the Snapper Music contract and to the late Bob Fisher and I as committed compilers of the set. I personally feel it was disrespectful to us and the fanbase to not even give us clarity and feedback re the research we have done since 2000. But perhaps that is down to Universal Motown in terms of how much could be released in this set? Reliable sources have confirmed up to 15 tracks could also have been added. Why they were not included remains a mystery.

 

 


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