A collection of lost Bob Marley & the Wailers recordings have been discovered and restored in London.
Coinciding with today being Bob Marley’s 72nd birthday, reports are that 13 tapes were found at the Kensai Rise hotel in north London, where Bob Marley and the Wailers stayed while touring Europe in the 1970s.
Being called “the lost masters”, the tapes are of live concerts in London and Paris between 1974 and 1978.
The reel-to-reel analog recordings were done on a one of a kind, mobile 24-track studio device – which belong to the Rolling Stones, who loaned it to the Wailers.
Believed to have been therefore more than 40 years, the tapes were found by a man hired to clear the refuse from the hotel’s basement.
The man took the tapes to fellow Marley fan and friend businessman Joe Gatt, who passed them to jazz singer Louis Hoover, gave them to sound technician specialist Martin Nichols of White House studios.
Nichols said the tapes were so severely water damaged that had anyone tried to play them they would have been lost forever. He said he spent hours on hours, inch by inch, painstakingly cleaning all the gunk until they were ready for a process called ‘baking’ that would allow them to be played safely.
Of the 13 tapes found, 10 have been transferred to digital format and are said to be very high quality as they were very professionally made. 2 were blank and 1 was damaged beyond repair.
The repairs, restore, and transfer time cost £25,000 (US$31,000).