Soul/R&B Review Various Review Vinyl

Scepter Records’ Soul Sounds: powered by Florence

Title: Out in the Streets Again: The Soul Sounds of Scepter

Label: Sundazed

Scepter was one of the most important independent, US-based soul labels and run by…a woman! I’m not being facetious or even chauvinistic when I exclaim those words. For a lady to have run a record label, back in the 60s, within such a male-dominated industry, was truly a ‘big deal’. Florence Greenberg was that legendary name. Sundazed itself quotes Greenberg as describing herself as “…a white woman in a black business who couldn’t carry a tune!”

The Shirelles

Under her umbrella moved such luminaries as Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Luther Dixon, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson and Van McCoy. She also signed the Shirelles (who appear here with Groovy Guy), her debut signings but other greats sang with Forence such as Dionne Warwick, the Kingsmen, B.J. Thomas (here with I Don’t Have a Mind of My Own) and the Isley Brothers.

On this LP you’ll also find the wonderfully monikered Irma & the Fascinators. Lost Love is typical of this compilation. Sharply recorded, tight and compressed to emphasise the texture of the voice for output on portable radios and cheap record players, the song has been created for maximum impact while, by contrast, Candy & the Kisses’ Out on the Streets glories in the smooth, expansive backing harmonies during the chorus that flows like cream.

irma-and-the-fascinators-lost-love-scepter

As Stan Greenberg said of his mother, “She was not capable of being told that there was something she couldn’t do. It was a concept she couldn’t understand. If she wanted to do something, she would have to do it, until she couldn’t do it. Nobody could tell Florence your not going to do that. Nobody got anything because of who there were and what their name was. It’s what they were capable of doing and being that was important to her and she ran her company that way.”

Candy & The Kisses

Candy & the Kisses

Full of energy and a period-like sonic presentation, the LP has been pressed on red vinyl. All 15 songs are offered on mono so, please, do the music a favour and play the thing with a mono cartridge. Don’t make do with a stereo cart while flicking your phono amplifier into mono mode. You will only receive 50% of the musical experience. Grab a 0.7mil stylus tipped mono cart and hear the full glory of this LP.

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