DescriptionBob Keane's Del-Fi Records Ampex Reel to Reel Portable Studio Used to Record Ritchie Valens' "Donna" as well as Songs by Chan Romero, Sam Cooke, Dick Dale, the Addrisi Brothers and Others (US, 1957-1962). This Ampex Model 601-2 professional-quality portable dual-channel tape recorder (Serial #7H 407) was purchased by Bob Keane in 1957, while he was with Keen Records, and was installed in the basement studio at his home. He kept it when he was forced out of Keen Records and used it heavily as he discovered and developed artists on the legendary Del-Fi label. It is housed in a tan Samsonite suitcase, 13" x 24.5" x 8" deep and weighing approximately forty-two pounds. Included with it are two Model 620 Amplifier-Speakers (Serial #6730 and 6736), also in matching Samsonite suitcases of 13" x 16" x 8" and weighing approximately twenty-five pounds each. Just think of the great songs that were recorded on this tape machine back in the day- Ritchie Valens' "Donna" and all his other stereo records, "Hippy Hippy Shake" by Chan Romero, "Cherrystone" by the Addrisi Brothers, and the list goes on. As a matter of fact, the famous trademarked "Delphonic Sound" was developed on this tape deck; Keane's idea was to cross the channels of this two-track deck and in doing so, he achieved a tape delay-based type of reverb, used to great effect in his later surf music recordings. This very recorder and speakers were used and can be seen in the 1987 Valens biopic La Bamba. This studio set-up is in amazingly nice condition considering its age, Fine overall. Not tested as to functionality. Included is a copy of the COA from Bob Keane to the purchaser in 2007, the text of which is found on our website. Also included is a modern printout of the original owner's manual for the Ampex 601 (mono version).
In his autobiography The Oracle of Del-Fi: My Life In Music (Los Angeles: Del-fi Books, 2006), Keane tells the story of meeting Ritchie Valens for the first time. At the advice of a friend, he went to a little theater in Pacoima to see Valens perform in May 1958. "Seated in the back of the theater, I stayed for the whole concert. When it was over, I walked up to the stage to meet him. Ritchie seemed almost shy. I was suddenly uncertain how to approach him and open the conversation. Finally I managed, 'Hi, Ritchie. My name is Bob Keene. I own a record company called Del-Fi. Someone told me to catch you here at the show, and I thought you were great. I'd like to hear more of your music sometime. Maybe we could cut a record.' He was very polite but didn't seem particularly interested. I gave him one of my new cards, which he looked at briefly. 'Thank you, Mr. Keene,' he said. "I'm glad you liked my singing." I invited him to come up to my little one-room home studio where the only recording equipment I had was my Ampex tape recorder and two microphones. To be truthful, I really didn't expect to ever hear from him again. However, to my surprise, a few days later Ritchie called me, and we scheduled a meeting for the following week at my home on Dillon Street." (pages 59-60). The rest, as they always seem to say, is history.
"This Ampex 601-2 Reel to Reel Stereo Recorder serial number 7H 407, catalog number 30070 1, with Matching speakers, serial numbers 6730 and 6736 and catalog numbers 9419 were purchased by Bob Keane new in 1957. Bob Keane recorded Ritchie Valens at Bobs home on Dillion street in Los Angeles with this recorder. The only known stereo songs by Ritchie Valens were recorded using this recorder, including the original demo versions of Donna and the final master of Donna. Ritchie recorded most all of his songs on this machine at Bobs house. Bob Keane also recorded Chan Romero's hit "Hippy Hippy Shake" using this machine as well as Chan Romero's following songs "If I Had a Way", "Rock House", "My Angel", "Baby Doll", "My Little Ruby", "I'd Like to Know"(unsure of actual title), "Boppin' and Hoppin", "La Bamba", "I Don't Care Now", "Playboy", "Why oh Why"(unsure of actual title). Bob Keane also recorded the Addrisi Bros. song "Cherrystone" using this machine. Bob Keane used this machine to record most all his groups he managed until 1962. This machine was also used and is seen in the movie "La Bamba". On June 11th, 2007, Bob Keane sold this machine to Anthony Giovanno. [signed] Bob Keane"
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