SEATTLE — It's got to be somewhere. A rumored 1961 session with Jimi Hendrix just before he enlisted in the army is said to be among the massive collection left by Seattle record producer Kearney Barton.
Barton, who is recognized with shaping the “Northwest Sound" passed away in 2012 and left his collection of 7,000 reel-to-reel tapes to the University of Washington.
John Vallier, UW School of Music's Ethnomusicology Curator is tasked with organizing and cataloging the treasure trove.
“Kearney Barton really put the Seattle sound on the map,” Vallier says. “Bands like the Sonics and the Wailers, The Nirvanas and the Soundgardens too, have a lot that they owe to the sound that Kearney developed.”
Seattle recording engineer Kearney Barton (1931-2012) began crafting sounds in the early 1950s. His portfolio arcs over genres: rock, opera, jazz, folk, bluegrass, classical, cabaret, gospel, and even the occasional accordion-infused Nordic novelty song.
Light in the Attic Records compiled some of the best music discovered on the tapes Kearney donated. The CD, Kearney Barton: Architect of the Northwest Sound was recently released.