Ira Robbins
August 07, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Scepter Records Story

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Various Artists
Producers
Capricorn Records
genre
Reissues

We gave it an A-

Although Scepter Records was a hit factory in the ’60s, the label never had the cachet of a Motown or Sun. Scepter’s commitment to picking top material rather than blazing stylistic trails was probably what kept its public profile low — and makes the three-CD Scepter Records Story such a thrilling surprise. This well-stocked jukebox of great rock and roll singles — the Shirelles’ torchy ”Soldier Boy,” the Isley Brothers’ raving ”Twist and Shout,” the Kingsmen’s classic ”Louie Louie,” and B.J. Thomas’ drippy ”Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” — must seem mighty eclectic. But when Scepter reigned, rock & roll was mighty eclectic — a confusion of R&B, pop, and country that embraced almost anything with a beat and a hook. More than three dozen Top 40 hits guarantee the box’s appeal, but, more important, it expertly depicts an era when music was just music.

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