Sigma Sound Studios is long gone, though the original building at 212 N. 12th Street is an officially recognized “historic site” in the City of Philadelphia.

Thousands of audio recordings were nearly lost with it.

In 2005, according to the NBC Philadelphia, the owner of a storage facility called Drexel Univeristy’s Music Industry program and revealed he had the contents of a long-abandoned storage unit on hand. Insider were thousands of reels of audio tapes.

“The man said the tapes all had the same labels on the side: Sigma Sound Studio.”

Sigma was a legendary studio in the history of ’70s dance music and soul, and the names on the sides of the piles and piles of abandoned tapes yielded a glimpse of all the music that had been generated in its famous rooms: David Bowie. Teddy Pendergrass. Stevie Wonder. Gladys Knight.

One full “lost” album – The Nat Turner Rebellion’s Laugh to Keep From Crying – has already been reconstructed and released by Drexel’s student-run “MAD Dragon Records.” Just one member of the band is still alive. The department estimates they’ve only digitized about “10 percent” of the music in the collection.

“The students there are probably not even aware of the significance of what they are doing… But they should have our grateful thanks for what they do in ensuring this music can be preserved and enjoyed for generations to come.”


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