Bob Marley concerts heard again after lost tapes are restored by studio near Weston-super-Mare

PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 February 2017

The documentary about Bob Marley is coming to the Watershed from tomorrow

The documentary about Bob Marley is coming to the Watershed from tomorrow

Archant

Lost tapes featuring Bob Marley’s unmistakable voice have been heard for the first time in decades, thanks to the painstaking work of a Kewstoke recording studio.

Martin Nichols.Martin Nichols.

The 13 tapes made of the reggae superstar and The Wailers in concert in 1974-1978 were discovered rotting in a London hotel basement.

Joe Gatt and Louis Hoover took the tapes to Martin Nichols, who has run White House Recording Studio, in Kewstoke Road, since 1987.

Mr Nichols told the Mercury: “They were in appalling condition, the worst I have ever seen.

“They had been water damaged, which is not normally a problem, but these had been left in muddy water and dried out very slowly.

“Mould had grown on it, and the spool had rusted and burned into the tape.

“I didn’t want to disappoint them, but I wasn’t holding out too much hope.

“I was more than happy to help because he is an important artist and I wanted to do what I could.”

It took a year for Mr Nichols to clean and restore the tapes, which feature some of Mr Marley’s greatest hits, including No Woman No Cry, I Shot The Sheriff and Jammin’.

Mr Nichols said he did not fully appreciate the significance of the recordings at first because he was so focused on the work.

He said: “My focus was on the audio quality and whether there were any issues to address.

“I didn’t get a ‘step back and listen to it’ moment until quite a bit later.

“The bit which gave us the ‘wow’ moment was when Joe and Louis came to listen to the audio.

“It was a week or so after I had finished the job and we sat in the studio and switched it on and it gave me tingles up my spine.

“I was amazed at how much had survived.

“My hope is negotiations will come to a productive conclusion and it can be released. I have been astonished at the interest.”

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