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  1. #1

    Motown 60000 Series Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

    I'm researching Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons period atMowest/Motown 1971/74 and need the help of sound engineers who eitherworked at the label or know the recording process from those times.

    When Motown moved to LA from Detroit in 1970 they adopted a different system for recording, storing and releasing recordings.

    This was the Motown 60000 series of Master Numbers and this can be seen here.
    These Master numbers appear on the released 45 as seen in the Cat45 listing above.
    I'm trying to analyse the approach to session and recording management and decode some of the data records from the time based on the AnalogueTape Index and the Artists Cards.

    What I believe happened was that studio sessions that resulted in a completed 16 track song generated a Master Nr [for example 60516 –Walk On Don't Look Back].
    An ArtistsCard was produced[a simple card index] which showed the Title/Artist/ProducerMaster Number/ Tape Number. The Tape Number [1stLocation] was a 4 digit code preceded by a predominantly P[ProductionTape?] or T[Safety Copy?]. Example Tape P2110– The Night

    This is the first aspect I want to clarify. The relationship with P and T Tapes and the index system. I have a listing from the Tape Indexrelating to the P Tapes.

    TheArtists Cards were subsequently used to note transfers and copies as they are made [They are generally to T tapes but sometimes P tapes ]and this shows their locations[Master Mix[Remix]] and Dub Cuts. Thesemay also be Safety Copies.

    Codes [inthe Comments column] are hand written or typed and these need translation..They include.......

    • 16tRhy – which I assume is a 16 track copy
    • 02tsmx – which I assume is a stereo mix
    • SR6smx – which is a mystery

    Sometimes there are references to the alternate mix Numbers which in the caseof The Night number 43. Occasionally dates are shown and engineers initials. RT is probably Russ Terrana but others are a mystery

    Some notesindicate that copies have been made to 'New Album' P Tapes presumablyfor pre-release.

    Collating the Artists Cards with a Tape Index has shown over 30 tracks withMaster Numbers by Frankie and the group that have never been released. Further research is ongoing with a view to eventually find a Record Company that would want to work with Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli at The Four Seasons Partnership. Universal Motown I believe would not initiate a project[ I've been asking them for 10 years!!!]We [fans] believe that these 'assets' still exist and warrant detailed research.

    Our Facebook site 'The Four Seasons Motown Unreleased Campaign' contains current data and research and anyone interested is welcome to join.But some help on interpreting for definite the process and status andlocation of the tracks on Motown Vault Tapes would be a big help. KenCharmer


    PS The length of the 60000 series and the labels and artist involved does indicate that many other artists efforts must remain on tape in the vaults and I am told there are many thousands of tapes. All cover the post Detroit - LA base and are located in the New York vaults

  2. #2
    Thanks for all the work you're doing Ken - I'd love to see those Seasons tracks on a proper CD.

    Fascinating subject - and there will undoubtedly be folks on here who will know some of the answers - anyone involved in producing the TCMS series perhaps. As for me I've only got more questions - do Motown own the rights to all those 60000 masters, for example.

    I know that UK singer Matt Monro recorded some tracks at the Mowest Studios - so wonder whether they would have been given Motown numbers (or most likely not as they were recorded on behalf of another company).

  3. #3
    And I'm assuming you've seen this very recent thread too which may suggest some movement?


  4. #4
    The tome that is "Off The Record" also lists 2793 master numbers in the 60000 series. Do you have this book and, if not, would it help if I listed for you the FV&FS tracks I can find in the list along with the relevant numbers?

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  5. #5
    I think I have this data but can't check.

    My list shows 32 unreleased.....21 released. (Excludes alt versions of 61747,62521 and 62525)

    The big question is does a Motown Master Nr indicate a completed track?


  6. #6
    1) I think I have this data but can't check.

    ++++ Ken - the data you have far exceeds what is available from "Off The Record" so there's probably nothing to add from that.

    2) My list shows 32 unreleased.....21 released. (Excludes alt versions of 61747,62521 and 62525)

    ++++ But perhaps you also need a list for "unaccounted for" which would include the "Chameleon Rejects"?

    3) The big question is does a Motown Master Nr indicate a completed track?

    ++++ Someone with more knowledge will surely answer that - come on guys.

    ++++ My thought, for what it's worth, is that it doesn't indicate a completed track because of the number of unaccounted for tracks that also had a master number (e.g. "After I'm Gone", "Thank You For Yesterday" and so on - more famously "My Eyes Adored You" but then .....). But if it does - then the number of unreleased tracks that might make a great CD would swell. That would be good.
    Last edited by mysterysinger; 03-31-2018 at 06:25 PM.

  7. #7
    From what I've been able to glean from the info that I have about the 60000 series, it looks as if MoWest followed the same practice with numbering masters as was followed in other major recording companies at the time (e.g. Columbia). A master number was allocated at the first recording session for the track, and used again in subsequent overdub sessions. Sometimes a suffix (-1, -2 etc) was added to indicate a take number. Sometimes a complete re-make was given a new master number, sometimes just a new take number.

    So the short answer to the question posed here is No: a track having a master number does not mean it was completed. It might be just a backing track.

  8. #8
    Thanks for the posts. There are also many tracks that don't have Master numbers and could be just demos but previous VIS reports of the Motown database indicate tracks we have never heard of before which seem to exist. Do they or is it a case of get the tape and listen to what exists?. I plan to contact Bob Gaudio re all the data we have in due course with an action plan to research all we have gathered. Several tracks have emerged recorded by other Motown acts in the last 2 days alone and there are several tracks by him and Crewe which are likely to be completed. We know of the two unreleased albums with Stereo Mixes copied to final Tapes and these would be a good stating point for any tape research....Tape P5084/5 contain a whole album copied for release before they left the label. Includes the demos we have of Hymn To Her and Lovers which are on You Tube.

  9. #9
    Following the discipline published in this forum by a 1960s sound engineer re DM's(Duplicate Masters at Detroit) which probably carried over to LA studios the Master Number was allocated at the end of sessions when it was decided to keep the track for quality assessment and acetates were made. We have three completed acetates from Bob Crewe's final sessions[Nov 1973- they are on You Tube]....which also resulted in 'My Eyes Adored You' and the Anthology CD set from 2008 includes 2 previously unreleased versions clearly salvaged as complete from Master Tapes. So researching these whilst revealing unfinished work will more than probably result in 'unreleased' Masters. There is just too much evidence that a good number will be completed Masters. Why undertake the admin work of recording a track on the system if it is not cleared by the producer and engineer for next stage assessment. There is plenty of evidence of titles probably unfinished....but the Tape research project of KEY Tapes identified in the Artists Cards shows many cases of copying to other 16 track and Stereo Mixes. Russ Terrana and others would have only done this with completed Masters.

  10. #10
    All very very interesting and fits with what Keith said above in that a number would be allocated to a track judged fit for further assessment but possibly still without vocals which could be added later.

  11. #11
    One thing the research has revealed is that matrix number 60516 was allocated twice - once for FS "Walk On Don't Look Back" and again for The Blackberries "But I Love You More". Seems slightly odd though we know WODLB received another, later number as well.

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  12. #12
    Hmmmmmmm not sure I agree with that..I still believe a Motown Master Nr 60000 indicates a completed 16 track.[records show these mixed to Stereo by Russ Terrana]. Keith has access to the tapes and can check but as I understand it he has not researched or reviewed any of the P tapes from this period. However the engineers who did the 'singles' box sets did to find the singles to 1972 and Ellen Fitton on the FV/4S Motown Anthology 2008 DID find the released Masters and uncover completed 'unreleased' versions of 'Charisma' and 'Listen to Yesterday' so these P tapes have been accessed. So Motown engineers know the process for recovery and we know the locations of many tracks.[If the Tapes still exist?] Pity that we don't have Bob Gaudio's backing YET for more detailed research. But a Plan for reviewing all the 'core' tapes is almost complete.More soon.

  13. #13
    You may well be right but wouldn't there then need to be a system of recording tape locations in another way for tracks still being worked up to a completed enough state for a master number to be allocated? Probably just my ignorance. However "Time Will Tell" (or someone in the know will).

  14. #14

    The Vaulted Four Seasons Revealed

    Quote Originally Posted by mysterysinger View Post
    You may well be right but wouldn't there then need to be a system of recording tape locations in another way for tracks still being worked up to a completed enough state for a master number to be allocated? Probably just my ignorance. However "Time Will Tell" (or someone in the know will).
    Well it is now 2020....and the 29 16 track P tapes have been transferred to Bob Gaudio and reviewed. How long this took and in how much depth he was able to do this we do not [YET] know but the supply by Universal Motown uncovered unknown demo's tracks being worked up such as 'Chained'[cover of the Marvin Gaye track] and others.

    But in whatever time Bob had he has found and approved 13 tracks for release in Snapper Records 40 CD career spanning BOX Set due out later this year. What this shows is that 'I told you so!' is an apt comment for me to say as these are [in the main] superb and 'complete'unheard productions......some we never thought were complete. I've described the tracks at The Four Seasons Motown Unreleased Campaign on Facebook as recovered in this exercise. But most revealing is the fact that in several cases 'different' versions/mixes were already in the Four Seasons Partnership Archive for an unreleased album and single prepared in May 1974 before the group left Motown. But amazingly they left with a different version of 'My Eyes Adored You' which we have discovered. The Multi Track tapes also are the only 'multi-tracks' of any of their sessions[career-wise], and now they are in Bob Gaudio's possession. None of the session masters are known to exist as they remain at the studios at other labels like Warner-Reprise, private Stock, MCA....or even the Vee-Jay[now with Concorde] or Mercury Philips as only 2 track MONO and STEREO Safety Copies were kept by the Partnership. This Motown 13 will be the release of the year for many Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons fans and Motown Collectors.

  15. #15
    In Detroit, a DM number was assigned to each individual mix (which we called a "master.") I assume that practice was carried forward since the same people were involved with the LA tape library.

    Something I'll never forget was meeting Larry Miles at the studio prior to our plan of going out to dinner. Larry's session was running over so he and the producer invited me into the control room. I had no idea who these people were until the singer opened his mouth and out came THAT voice! The producer turned out to be Bob Gaudio. It was chills.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by mowestchameleon View Post
    ............. But amazingly they left with a different version of 'My Eyes Adored You' which we have discovered.
    Look forward to hearing this!!


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Ralph Terrana

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