Newly discovered live recordings of Bob Marley and the Wailers are being restored via an audio process that is lengthy, careful, state-of-the-art.
LONDON, ENGLAND — A collection of live recordings by Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley — the seminal Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician, and guitarist — have been restored after being considered damaged beyond repair. 13’ 2” reel-to-reel analogue master tapes were found in the basement of a Kensal Rise hotel in North-West London, where Bob Marley and the Wailers had stayed during their European tours in the mid-1970s. Modern restoration technology has successfully recuperated sound from 10 of the master reels, enough, it has been reported, to “send shivers down one’s spine.”
The tapes were initially rescued by a fan, Joe Gatt, who recounts receiving a call from a friend happening upon the tapes while doing building clearance. The restoration was done by sound technician Martin Nichols of White House Studios. Given the water damage suffered by each tape, the process took almost a year to complete — just in time for the 72nd anniversary of Bob Marley’s birthday on 6 February.
On a related note, given the proximity to Marley’s birthday, see also news of the return in 2017 of the Smile Jamaica Concert, first headlined by Bob Marley on December 5, 1976 and now co-produced and headlined by son and seven-time Grammy Award winner Stephen Marley.