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  1. #1
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    RIP Joe Tarsia [Sound of Philadelphia Engineer]

    From SoulTracks.com-
    He was often called the man who “was the Sound of Philadelphia,” for his key role in establishing the lush, soulful sound of the 1970s and 80s that came to be associated with the City of Brotherly Love. Today we mourn the passing of legendary recording engineer, Joe Tarsia.

    Tarsia was an integral part of literally dozens of all-time pop and soul hits. He was the founder and owner of the iconic Sigma Sound Studios, where so many Philadelphia International Records #1 smashes by the O'Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Patti LaBelle and more were recorded. Known for its clarity of sound, Sigma, with Tarsia on the boards, gave a new gravitas to soul music. As the great Tom Moulton [who posted an obituary on Facebook] said, “Joe gave Soul music the tuxedos to wear when the Philadelphia Sound was being created.”
    Tarsia began as a service technician for recording studios before becoming lead engineer at Philly’s fames Cameo Parkway Records in the early 1960s. He took that knowledge to open Sigma by the end of the decade, turning it into the “go to” studio for not only the PIR artists, but other pop and soul acts. He ultimately opened another location in New York City, which catered to such East Coast stars as Whitney Houston and Paul Simon.
    As the new millennium arose, Tarsia sold his studios and cut back on his recording and lecturing. He was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2016.
    Joe Tarsia quietly changed the musical world in ways not fully understood by general music fans, but certainly appreciated by all who have enjoyed the cornucopia of great songs on which he worked.


  2. #2
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    Yes a very influential engineer and studio owner. Again, one of the benefits of growing up in the time of vinyl and lps, when they listed the personnel involved in the making of the record. I got to know his name of some of his background and then would look for his name when reading books or articles.

  3. #3
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    Definitely a name I grew up reading in countless liner notes and on dust jackets. Rest in power and thank you.

  4. #4
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    Same here. I came across Sigma Sound and Joe's name while reading the notes on the back of albums by The Intruders and Archie Bell & The Drells. That sound was magic to me. Does anyone know if his wife is still living?

  5. #5
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    I forgot about this but back in the 80's, I sent a letter to PIR to ask about when they would get around to releasing The Intruders albums on CD. I never got a reply and then I sent a letter to Sigma. They didn't have an answer for me but they were nice enough to send me a Sigma Sound T-shirt and a nice book of information on recordings made at the studio [[which I still have).
    Last edited by mr_june; 11-05-2022 at 06:32 PM.

  6. #6
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    ^^ Nice mr june

    As important as any other name when it comes to the success of the Philly Sound. What a legacy, what a satisfying life.
    With gratitude, RIP Joe Tarsia

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    ^^ Nice mr june

    As important as any other name when it comes to the success of the Philly Sound. What a legacy, what a satisfying life.
    With gratitude, RIP Joe Tarsia
    Well said.

  8. #8
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    This man should be on the Mount Rushmore of sound engineering! Even the most dated tracks cut at sigma sound studios sound just as fresh as the stuff on mainstream radio today. RIP Joe and thank you.

  9. #9
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    Sad to hear this. He was a wonderfully talented man!

    I must say that those Cameo Parkway 45s certainly jumped out of the speakers!

  10. #10
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    So sad to hear about Joe Tarsia's passing. What Motown was to the '60s & '70s, Philly Soul was to the '70s and early '80s. A big credit for that lush, soulful sound was Joe's Sigma Sound Studio which he designed and engineered -- tailored and tweaked to produce The Sound of Philadelphia, just as Motown had tailored Studio A at Hitsville to best complement The Motown Sound. Joe and his many talents will be sadly missed.

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