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What is "Scorpio"?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by seed_drill, Mar 2, 2018.

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  1. seed_drill

    seed_drill Senior Member Thread Starter

    Tryon, NC, USA
    Are they a distributor? A reissue company? Pirates? A mob front? All of the above?

    Scorpio pressings are identifiable by the bad photocopied artwork on glossy card stock. Sometimes there is a sticker on the shrink wrap identifying the album as a Scorpio pressing, especially if it's a 180 gram. Most of the ones I have seem to be from the Sony label group. The labels are usually the same contemporary labels those labels are using on their new releases (no retro 360 sound).

    Surprisingly, I've never had QC problems with the vinyl itself. The pressings are generally quiet and flat. However, it is assumed they are digitally sourced.

    So, my questions are, are they legitimate pressings? Are they "mastered" from CDs? what's the story?
    Platterpus and Saint Johnny like this.
  2. I also got a Miles Davis one once, "Miles In The Sky", the vinyl quality/pressing of which was perfect.
  3. Jerry James

    Jerry James Forum Reticent

    I'm guessing that "distributor" is the right word, but I'm not certain. I know that there is a small sticker on the back (usually lower right corner) stating Scorpio. I've seen them on a lot of jazz title reissues from various labels. I bought a few some years ago, but they were all poorly pressed by Rainbo; so I stopped. There generally are better reissues of those titles done by a company with a greater commitment to the sound/pressing quality. Not that these Scorpio issues are bad; but they are usually (if not always) CD sourced and Rainbo pressings are verrrry hit-n-miss.
  4. matthew2600

    matthew2600 Forum Resident

    There's earlier threads on the subject if you haven't searched. They're hit and miss at best if you care about sound, people like some of them. They're cheap though and they do cool titles so y'know it is what it is. One of the Scorpios I still have I looked up on discogs just now and it just lists it as "unknown" label reproduction, no mention of Scorpio but we all know that's what it is.
  5. Saint Johnny

    Saint Johnny Forum Resident

    Asbury Park
    From my memory being from NJ, and knowing certain people back in the 1970s, I'd say Scorpio had some type of mob connections or tangential connections to some unsavory characters.
    I know if I post more than that bit of info here though, it'll probably be rabbit holed. So I'll just leave it there. Ok.
    I may be mistaken but I do believe Scorpio also had some type of connection with the original 'counterfeit' pressings of Let It Be, when the UA contract with Apple lapsed in the early 1970s, but Scorpio probably even predates that infamous pressing.
    nosliw and seed_drill like this.
  6. Platterpus

    Platterpus Forum Resident

    There was a short lived series of CDs from Sony Music Special Products in the late 90s under the series name of: Scorpio Music

    Here is the 3rd Kaleidoscope CD album "Incredible" but is only titled Kaleidoscope for this reissue:

    Crimson jon and seed_drill like this.
  7. Platterpus

    Platterpus Forum Resident

    The first two albums by British band Gun were reissued on CD by Sony Music Special Products/Scorpio Music during this time as well:

  8. Saint Johnny

    Saint Johnny Forum Resident

    Asbury Park
    I will add, if you care to investigate some.

    Though I don't believe it is explicitly mentioned, as 'Scorpio' as such. And it's been a few years since I have read it.
    Some of the same people and some of the same business connections, that kinda intersects with 'Scorpio', and it's business activities are pretty fully explored in Tommy James autobigogrphy, "Me, The Mob, And The Music"
    And Tommy names, names, too, for the most part. It really is a pretty entertaining, but also a very enlightening read.
    And also look for the book, 'Hit Men' by Frederick Dannen.
    Both are well worth reading IMHO.
    seed_drill, nosliw and mick_sh like this.
  9. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Planet Earth
    Didn't earlier Scorpio releases have a "Manufactured by Rhino" sticker on the back while the front had the classical black/ gold "The nicest thing you can do for your stylus" hype sticker? While all had the catalogue no of the first US release? Except for "Troutmask Replica" which aped a 1978 reissue.
  10. Nostaljack

    Nostaljack Resident R&B enthusiast

    Washington, DC
    Many of their 180-gram releases were CD-sourced, correct?

  11. Scott S.

    Scott S. lead singer for the best indie band on earth

    Walmartville PA
    It's an instrumental that I believe made the top 10 in the early 70s.
  12. dance_hall_keeper

    dance_hall_keeper Forum Resident

    Let's give a listen:

    "Scorpio" - Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band, 1971.
    Al_D, pobbard, Pelvis Ressley and 7 others like this.
  13. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Scorpio has some sort of mysterious connection to Princeton Record Exchange:

    Visit Scorpio Music from Princeton Record Exchange

    Scorpio Music Distributors has been wholesaling music since 1969, and for the last 16 years has grown to become the largest reissuer and distributor of Vinyl LP's. If you are in the business of selling vinyl and do not buy from them, you are missing out on profits and in these times in our industry that is not something to miss.

    Scorpio can e-mail you catalogs by genre, such as R&B, Rap/Hip-Hop, Jazz, Rock, Latin, etc. with customized catalogs on CD, LP, Cassette, DVD, VHS, etc. For further information, contact Steven S. Parelman, 609-890-6000,


    Steven S. Parelman:
    nosliw and Saint Johnny like this.
  14. Jerry James

    Jerry James Forum Reticent

    Those are exactly the one's I'm thinking of. They're in most record stores around here.
    bibijeebies, nosliw and Neonbeam like this.
  15. conjotter

    conjotter Forum Resident

    From what I understand, Scorpio produced many CD-sourced LP reissues, including cheap Blue Notes.

    The vinyl was usually flat, but the sound quality ranged from meh to poor.

    The upside is they were cheap. About $10.

    You could tell it is a Scorpio by looking at the address on the Blue Note record label. They say "Park Avenue South" or something like it.

    I bought a few but got rid of them. There are way better Blue Note reissues out there (if you care about sound quality)
    nosliw and Nostaljack like this.
  16. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Lotus Land
    In the late 1990s, I bought at least 8 Scorpio vinyl reissues of Columbia LPs. At the time, none of those LPs were available digitally. All these years later, I am aware of only one of these 8 being released domestically on CD, and another released by Basta in Europe.

    These 8 LPs clearly were not sourced from vinyl, so I assume they were mastered from a digital source or analog masters, likely the former.

    So my question is this: Did Columbia digitize these 8 titles specifically for Scorpio to release the LPs? Or was Columbia methodically digitizing their back catalog with no specific plans for CD releases?
    seed_drill likes this.
  17. jimac51

    jimac51 A mythical beast.

    My suspicion: Sony found out when the titles hit the street.
  18. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Lotus Land
    Thanks, but that's not the question. Under what circumstances would Scorpio have had access to masters - either analog or digital - when none of these 8 titles were available on CD at the time? Sony clearly granted access to digital (or analog) masters. I am more curious as to why Sony was the digital masters were made in the first place. Were the majors actively digitizing back catalog titles they had no intention of releasing themselves?
    funknik likes this.
  19. nosliw

    nosliw It's a hairstyle, not real cat ears :P

    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Wow, I never thought that Scorpio have connections to organized criminals. Very interesting information.

    Is Scorpio still tangibly connected to any criminal syndicates these days? It seems like that label is still releasing grey releases.
    Fullbug and Saint Johnny like this.
  20. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Who amongst us can say for sure? But it sure seems likely.
    Saint Johnny likes this.
  21. Saint Johnny

    Saint Johnny Forum Resident

    Asbury Park
    I have no knowledge, even tangentially, any longer.
    As I no longer work in the record business, nor do I see/know any of the same people I knew from back when I did.

    Who knows Scorpio could be totally, 100% legit today, they probably are to some extent. Or just using the name of the old entity.

    Actually until I saw this thread, I had completely forgot about Scorpio and 'those guys', and thought they had just faded into oblivion as most other independent labels/distributors/pressing plants, by the early 1990s,
    when vinyl production was completely phased out. I had no idea the were still in business in any capacity.

    If you have read anything about the history of the 'music/record business', in the US.
    From the 1940s, at least until 1980s, most small, independent, regional/local labels, if not all, from coast to coast, had some form of mob ties, if they were not just out and out fronts for organized crime.
    Some of the big names involved behind the scenes, and their labels are now legendary. Like I said, Tommy James autobiography is a really good primer, and look into that world.

    A classic example is, the story behind the making/selling of John Lennon's, "The Roots", album. Look it up sometime.
    nosliw likes this.
  22. bibijeebies

    bibijeebies Forum Resident

    Amstelveen (NL)
    Steven Parelman on LinkedIn is manager for Scorpio Music
    A French label and publishing rights house, founded by Henri Belolo in 1976.
  23. bibijeebies

    bibijeebies Forum Resident

    Amstelveen (NL)
    There was a court case in 2014 from Warner Music Group versus Scorpio Music Inc. and Steven S. Parelman.
  24. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Lotus Land
    I would still like to know how Scorpio accessed the masters for the Columbia albums I cited. Do you think the mob sent a guy to work undercover as an overnight janitor in the tape storage facility?
    Fullbug likes this.
  25. Saint Johnny

    Saint Johnny Forum Resident

    Asbury Park
    Oh come on. I'd venture to say that is NOT how it works.

    How does any questionable product get copied, sold, released? Unless you're the ones involved, I doubt anyone knows how these things are accomplished.

    Perhaps you should call someone at either/or Columbia or Scorpio and ask.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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