March 22, 2009
Discovered Opry tapes being restored
A Boston audio engineer says he is attempting to restore hundreds of recently found tapes featuring some of Grand Ole Opry's biggest country music stars.
The engineer, identified only as J Franze, said the discovery of the audio tapes last year in a southern Pennsylvania barn confirmed a long-standing rumor that recordings of renowned artists as Hank Williams Jr. and Dolly Parton were lost somewhere in the Northeast, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.
Everybody had heard about these tapes, he said.
But nobody really believed they existed.
The unreleased recordings were made at high schools, dances, fairs, festivals, and auditoriums in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and elsewhere. The more than 1,000 recordings date back to the 1940s, with most of them from the 1960s and '70s.
The recordings were made by Ken Alexander, who once headed up a sound services company, but now belong to producer Richard Pittman.
The Globe said Pittman located the lost recordings with the help of highway worker Matt Whitsel and the restoration began soon after.