Thanks in advance to anyone who might respond to this question, your
expertise is greatly appreciated.

I'm an engineer who has just enough experience in audio preservation to be
quite dangerous, which probably is the worst kind of experience when it
comes to preservation. Anyway, in my free time I'm also a writer,
screenwriter to be exact, in the midst of finishing my 'magnum opus.' A
little tale about a seedy little jazz club tucked away in the bible belt
where the musicians in the house quartet have reached mythical proportions
amongst jazz enthusiast and connoisseurs despite the fact there are no known
recordings of the quartet... and bad things happen to those that try to
obtain a recording.

Since I have written extensive backgrounds on all of the musicians in the
quartet, we('we' meaning my current and other people that
like to denote money to risky but worthy causes) have decided to make a
short mockumentary based on one of those characters to possibly draw
investor interest in the feature length script...

<BIG BREATH> to the point...

A major plot point turns on a few technical accuracies that I'm not quite
sure about when it comes to analogue tape...I'll deliver the question in the
context of the story so those that are interested in replying might be able
to fill in some holes or discredit any silly school girl ideas I have in my

All the trouble gets started when a German collector buys some old analogue
tapes from an estate sell that turns out to be Masters of what is suppose to
be a once well known European Jazz Quartet -- the tapes are in pretty bad
condition, oxide shed and one step from goo basically -- He is able to
transfer the tapes and realizes the musicians on the tape have American
accents, not European when speaking in between takes... needless to say he
tracks down the published recording and the European Quartet is credited for
the recording. All a bit fishy, listening a bit closer reveals someone
muttering a name... this is the name of the character that the mocumentary
will focus on that happens to have died around some mysterious circumstances
recently ...The tape sets in motion a doco team coming to this Southern town
to get to the bottom of it all.

My question concerning the tapes is... can you glean specific information
from an analogue tape that has some age on it, not only an idea of when the
tape was manufactured, but where it might have been -- I've seen several
post on mold and other nastiness growing on these tapes on this discussion
board. i.e. Has someone come across something that is specific to a certain
region and would only be found with a tape stored in a particular
environment? Say in the South? I never encountered any of this in my travels
with analogue tape, but it occurred to me that many of you are not only
archivist, but part time research scientist and super sleuths.

Once again, thanks for your time... and I know this isn't the normal
question in this discussion forum and hope it isn't going vastly off topic
or disrupting in any way...