Gaucho was mixed at Sigma Sound NYC. I was the summer lackey and one of my jobs was to clean up the
"tape vault" (ie storage closet with a semi-secure padlocked door). I vaguely remember seeing some
"Gaucho" tapes there at that time (summer of 1982), but it might have been rough mixes or safeties.
I think Steely Dan and MCA were pretty tight about keeping track of their tapes, so it's surprising
the multis went missing. A bigger problem would have been Donald Fagan's first solo album, which was
done on the 3M Digital (actually a co-development of 3M and the BBC) system. I hope they were able
to dub the multi-tracks (and the master, for that matter) before the last working 3M ceased working.
Maybe there still is a working 3M somewhere. I've heard conflicting reports about Hollywood.
There's a long history of record companies being irresponsible about keeping track of tapes. I'm
sure we all have horror stories. One I'll tell because it turned out happy ... A major NYC studio
was going out of business and a relative of mine saved boxes of tapes from the dumpster (basically,
he took them to his car instead of putting them in the dumpster as ordered, on the day they were
vacating the space). He lost interest in restoring a studio tape deck and went off to college and
the tapes sat in an attic for at least 20 years. I found them and noticed what was on them. In the
cases where they were clearly marked "Master" I reached out to the artists. Tapes reuinted in
several cases and happy letters from people. In at least one case, a new CD reissue resulted that
sounds much better than the early-era release made from a safety retrieved from a tape-duplicating
plant. The good news is that the studio chose to use Scotch 206 through the whole era of these
tapes, so they held up just fine to 20 years in an attic. The irony is that this relative did use a
whole bunch of "heads and tails" scraps sitting on a pile of hubs in the dubbing room for his own
tape recording. The tape type -- Ampex 406. Every one of the tapes became a pile of stuck goo.
Luckily for him, they were just dubs of his LPs, not even worth baking and transferring. I too made
the mistake of using Ampex 406/407 back in the day. Hubs of Scotch 206/207 cost the same and I made
a foolish choice.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Anderson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 6:41 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The EMI Vault
During my 5 years there, there were no problems except when searching for The Band's first
multitrack masters, couldn't find them anywhere.
It got mentioned to an engineer who had worked at A & R Studios in New York in the late '60s, he
said that they had been recording under the name The Crackers. And violá, the 1: 8 track masters
were found. I had the fun task of transferring them to Sony 3348.
But Universal had a hard time finding the multi tracks of Gaucho and Aja, eventually turned up after
several weeks of searching.
On Sep 19, 2012, at 3:21 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Steve:
> How did Capitol do with that. Iron Mountain managed to lose a few boxes of Polygram/Mercury tapes
> over the years and, worse, had a big fire in one of their facilities that destroyed much original
> artwork and paperwork. The record companies didn't learn from any of that, as I understand most
> vault stuff is still outsourced.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Stephen Anderson" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 2:14 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The EMI Vault
> I can't speak to EMI, but during my years at Capitol Studios, Capitol maintained archive storage
> at 2 Iron Mountain facilities, one in Carson, CA, the other in New Jersey. We designed special
> cases that would accommodate various media: differetns size reels of tape, discs of every type,
> etc., for when we needed to copy or transfer assets for film licensing, re-releases, etc.
> On Sep 18, 2012, at 6:35 PM, Clark Johnsen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Recently I read an assertion that the EMI vault "west of London" houses
>> everything EMI has ever recorded. Despite apparent ambiguity, the
>> implication is clear: These are masters. Yet I have also read that at some
>> point (during the war?) EMI lost (or destroyed?) many or most of their
>> metal masters and called upon RCA Victor in America to resupply them (with
>> metals? mothers? stampers?). What's the story?
> Stephen Anderson
> 631 E. Vista del Playa
> Orange, CA 92865
> [log in to unmask]
631 E. Vista del Playa
Orange, CA 92865
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