Soulful Detroit Archives - January 2009 The Atlantic Vault Fires Previous Next

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Nabob (nabob)
4-Laureate
Username: nabob

Post Number: 117
Registered: 5-2005
Posted From: 76.122.74.34
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 6:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's been years since this happened. Has there ever been any confirmation of what was lost in the fire? Looking at Atlantic's output from the late 80s thru the mid 90s and Rhino's subsequent handling, we know what did survive. Would any one care to make guesses on what was destroyed?

I suspect some of the STAX tapes didn't make it. There were stereo LPs with their wide-field panning that never made it to CD. Much of that material has only been available in mono, even though the covers say stereo. Carla Thomas' output is an example. (B-A-B-Y, Let Me Be Good To You, etc) I did wear out a compilation cassette much like Motown's 16 Original Big Hits that had these two and some Mad Lads hits in stereo that never made it to CD.
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soul55 (soul55)
5-Doyen
Username: soul55

Post Number: 267
Registered: 9-2006
Posted From: 76.17.150.127
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 8:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nabob I believe the complete Stax singles Vol.1(through '68 ) had all the Mad Lad's and Carla Thomas output on it so thankfully I don't think that was among the music lost.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4102
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 8:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nabob:
I wish I still had the article that was published years ago regarding the Atlantic R&B Years 1947-74 boxed set because the subject of the vault fire was addressed in the piece. I just cannot recall what was said precisely.
Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Nabob (nabob)
4-Laureate
Username: nabob

Post Number: 118
Registered: 5-2005
Posted From: 76.122.74.34
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 11:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The question was directed at the stereo masters for the LPs. The Stax Singles box set is in the collection and is the only box set of that nature ever purchased. It's viewed as an expensive reference book that only gets used if no other source is available for extracting music. I've totally ignored and not purchased the Motown By Year box sets. I am not a fan of mono recordings unless that is all that is available.

KevGo, would you by any chance remember where the article was published so that a search can be done through some archives? Thanks.
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Bob Olhsson (bob_olhsson)
6-Zenith
Username: bob_olhsson

Post Number: 725
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 74.179.17.78
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 11:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My understanding is that Stax originally only had a mono tape machine.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4104
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 11:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nabob:
I believe it was Rolling Stone because that was the only magazine that my college radio advisor trusted us students with not stealing from the studio (Billboard and Radio & Records were locked up inside his office!). The article was published around 1985.

Bob:
Tom Dowd brought to Stax a four-track machine to record Otis Redding's "Otis Blue" album so it could be mixed & released in stereo. Stax kept the four-track for future sessions (tunes such as Soul Man [Sam & Dave], Soul Finger [Bar-Kays]& Tramp [Otis Redding & Carla Thomas] were cut on the four-track and mixed to stereo as well as mono).

Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Reese (reese)
6-Zenith
Username: reese

Post Number: 1962
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 204.152.13.243
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 9:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I read somewhere that most of what was destroyed was unreleased material.
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kamasu (kamasu)
6-Zenith
Username: kamasu

Post Number: 6681
Registered: 3-2005
Posted From: 65.54.97.153
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 9:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Reese, I read the same thing as you that it was mostly unreleased material and alternate takes that were destroyed in the Atlantic Records warehouse fire.

Which would explain why there's been very little in the way of unreleased tracks and alternate takes on the early Stax output and Atlantic acts like Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, the Drifters, Solomon Burke,
Barbara Lewis, etc.

There was a recent Coasters' boxed set that contained alternate takes
and some previously unreleased tracks.

And a recent disc like the 2 disc Aretha Rare & Unreleased have me wondering where these rarities came from?

Former Atlantic personnel such as Jerry Wexler, Leiber & Stoller, Ahmet Ertegun and Tom Dowd were said to have kept tapes and cassettes of rare tracks that might have been the sources of some of these rarities.

Anymore theories?
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Steve (steve_litos)
5-Doyen
Username: steve_litos

Post Number: 354
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 209.100.86.4
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 10:52 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe that the warehouse fire in the 1970s destroyed the session tapes & outtakes for Atlantic Records.

The session tapes for released material were destroyed meaning you cannot go back and re-mix anything which is a shame because Atlantic went 8 track in 1957 or 58.

The Coasters multitracks were being used for a Stereo project in the 70s hence they survived the fire.

The Atlantic Mono & Stereo master tapes (released material)were stored in a different facility
and survive to this day.
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Reese (reese)
6-Zenith
Username: reese

Post Number: 1964
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 204.152.13.243
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 11:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kamasu,

Re the recent Aretha collection, Jerry Wexler kept copies of a lot off her unreleased material. I believe they were used for this set.

During an 80s interview with Gerri Hershey, he played her some of the songs, like HAPPY BLUES and MR. BIG MAN YOU. He mentioned that the masters were destroyed in a fire, but that Atlantic was considering using his copies for a collection.
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Wonder B (wonder_b)
6-Zenith
Username: wonder_b

Post Number: 1862
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 86.196.71.210
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 1:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The lucky part in that fire disaster was that a guy named Kurt Mohr had been copying all the tapes info and numbers for weeks before the drama. Therefore any subsequent release had to go through him for people to be able to find the tapes for which they had lost all data...

Talk about great timing...
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popcorn (popcorn)
6-Zenith
Username: popcorn

Post Number: 640
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 206.53.30.83
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 3:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Does anyone know how today's music is being archived? Are the 'big four' using professional
data protection and recovery services like Iron Mountain?
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4151
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 3:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Universal Music Group have a tape vault located in New Jersey, near their mastering studios.

Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Bob Olhsson (bob_olhsson)
6-Zenith
Username: bob_olhsson

Post Number: 731
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 74.179.17.78
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 12:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Universal uses Iron Mountain for long term storage as do a number of others.
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Tim Stantion (tim_stantion)
3-Pundit
Username: tim_stantion

Post Number: 55
Registered: 9-2005
Posted From: 64.12.116.18
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 3:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bob, where did Motown store its master tapes when it was located in Detroit? Were they stored at one of the Motown buildings, or off site?

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