Various Artists

The Scepter Records Story

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Big Apple-based Scepter Records was among the handful of independent labels to have survived the British Invasion of the 1960s. Their longevity was rooted in a solid roster with something for every taste, ranging from the intricate harmonies of R&B vocal girl groups to loose raucous frat rock with practically everything in between. Remarkably, Scepter was not helmed by a business-savvy entrepreneur or a veteran music industry renegade. In fact, a middle-aged suburban housewife and mother was actually behind the scenes calling the shots. At the insistence of her daughter Mary Jane, Florence Greenberg was introduced to four of Mary Jane's mates who had performed in their school's talent show. In short order, those young ladies evolved into the Shirelles, and the elder Greenberg -- who was running the practically miniscule Tiara Records imprint -- would repeatedly take them to the upper echelons of pop and R&B countdowns less than three years from their first meeting. Another player in Greenberg's initial ascension was the immensely resourceful Luther Dixon, who she hired to compose and eventually supervise studio production, arranging, and publishing. They tapped into the luminous Brill Building coterie, attracting the likes of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, who penned the quartet's chart-topping crossover smash "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," as well as the equally brilliant team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The latter would score repeatedly, providing material for Chuck Jackson ("I Wake Up Crying"), Tommy Hunt ("I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself"), and of course Dionne Warwick, whose string of hits from the Bacharach/David songbook are worthy of their own multi-volume anthology. When rock & roll proved to be more than a fad, she signed the Kingsmen, who turned "Louie Louie" into one of the most influential three minutes in the history of recorded sound. As R&B progressed into soul, Scepter once again led the way with Roy Head ("Just a Little Bit"), the Esquires ("Get On Up"), the Isley Brothers ("Twist and Shout"), and Maxine Brown ("Oh No, Not My Baby"). Scepter was even the home to B.J. Thomas, whose interpretations of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," "Hooked On a Feeling," "No Love at All," and "Rock and Roll Lullaby" made it to the Top 20 . While the aforementioned titles are all included in this three-disc set, so are key entries from King Curtis, the Rocky Fellers, Ronnie Milsap, Fred Hughes, the Joe Jeffrey Group, and the Buoys. At the spry age of 63, Greenberg relinquished Scepter in 1976, but not before radically altering the pop music landscape for the benefit of all breeds of enthusiasts.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:04
2 1:58
3 2:41
4 2:09
5 2:33
6 2:19
7 2:30
8 2:21
9 2:16
10 2:19
11 2:43
12 2:25
13 2:42
14 2:37
15 2:44
16 3:24
17 2:32
18 2:32
19 2:43
20 2:37
21 2:10
22 2:40
23 2:49

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:53
2 1:55
3 2:37
4 2:20
5 2:16
6 2:44
7 3:00
8 2:59
9 2:55
10 2:16
11 2:34
12 3:13
13 3:00
14 2:38
15 2:26
16 2:36
17 2:47
18 1:52
19 1:59
20 2:51
21 2:29
blue highlight denotes track pick