Black Ivory, Continuum, Classic Soul, Patrick Adams, Leroy Burgess, Dont Turn Around, You And I, New York, Today Records
Album Review: Black Ivory – Continuum
Some 40 years ago (damn! has it been that long?), I added, BLACK IVORY as one of the groups I came to enjoy in style and substance. “I’ll Find Away” is among my all-time favorites of ‘ALL’ of the songs I like to listen to even today. The ‘Industry’ can be cruel to recording artists and thus, cruel to the fans of recording artists. They set their own criteria for what they are willing to support, I suppose, based on a bigger picture. I’m being kind. They kick to the curb what ‘they’ don’t want or think is viable to their business ‘objectives’. We have seen it repeatedly.So BLACK IVORY was yet another casualty of this ‘process’. But NOW….
“CONTINUUM by BLACK IVORY” has come into being. A ‘reunion’ of sorts of the three young men, Stuart Bascombe, Leroy Burgess and Russell Paterson we embraced some 40 years ago. They have come a long way from, “Don’t Turn Around”, but in many ways, this album is reminiscent of the style of vocals and harmony that their followers and fans were drawn to.
Don’t Need No Rehab
He Said, She Said
Win At Love
Lookin’ For Love
O Just Wanna Live.
As I am prone to do when ‘The Juice’ asks me to do a review on an album, I stick it in the car for a few days. When I’m ‘impressed’, I take it out of the car and put it in my CD tray in the computer while I ‘go about my domestics’. This is what happened with this album. In part because I always liked Black Ivory, but mostly because I liked the songs and the singing. We don’t get to hear so much ‘group harmony’ as we did back in the day and “I” will always gravitate to that. In the ‘tradition’ that is Black Ivory, there are colorful vocals, applying some ‘studio razzle dazzle’ with overdubs of expanded vocals with counterpoint and fuller harmony structure. It’s ‘easy on the ears’.
It would appear that even though they weren’t ‘on the scene’, they were still being creative. Some of these songs sound as though they had been written and arranged a little while back. This isn’t a bad thing. The ‘focus’ is on the group. The music and the arrangements are ‘supposed’ to be in support of the ‘group’. It’s there’.
Some classic artists try to sound ‘contemporary’ with sounds that their fans may not appreciate and the ‘young-uns’ aren’t even going to listen to. Aside from a short ‘rap’ portion in, “Lucky Tonight”, the men have stuck to their ‘vocalist guns’ and the musical standards that their fans will accept, appreciate and maintain the identity they established that made them
They were best known for their ‘Slow Jams’, but they did a good mix in of up tempo dance tunes. I like the ‘kick’ in “Don’t Need No Rehab” and “Get Down”. Along with those are some more ‘moderate tempos’ that groove along nicely, and at the forefront, Black Ivory harmony.
There is a sort of ‘campy/novelty’ song in “Lookin’ For Love” that talks about a ‘blue dress’ that was in the news some 15+ years ago. Just thought I’d mention it.
If there is a song that might be considered ‘traditional Black Ivory’, it is ‘Back Home’. I tend to ‘look’ for that thread to origins when I listen to classic artists. This tune did it for me. I could of course relate to the story as it is about an artist who was on tour for a while and was eager to get back to his woman. But more than that, it is Black Ivory as we remember them some 40 years ago (damn! Has it been that long?)
“CONTINUUM by BLACK IVORY” is an album that the fans of Black Ivory will find a nice refreshment of a familiar sound. Putting aside the fact that we have become accustom to the ‘canned drum sounds’, and some of these tracks would have been fatter with a ‘live’ drummer, “CONTINUUM” doesn’t go far astray from what we appreciated in BLACK IVORY. Strong lead vocals and lush background vocals sit well out in front, reminding us of what ‘Vocal Groups’ was all about.
Now…I have some ‘runs’ to make and I am putting CONTINUUM back in the car. I still love good vocals!
|I’m not sure who first made the mistake but it seems to be perpetuated everywhere the history of Black Ivory is written. Maybe this can be the first site to start making the correction. The original name of the group Black Ivory was the Mellow Souls not the Mellow Sounds. As an original member of the group you can trust this information.
Additionally, Leroy Burgess is the oldest remaining member of the original group, later joined by Stuart Bascombe and lastly by Russell Patterson. The group was first founded by Lawrence Newkirk, Vito Ramirez and Michael Harris all of whom attended Power Memorial High School in NY. (The same school Kareem Abdul Jabbar AKA Lou Alcindor attended.) Leroy Burgess and Stuart Bascombe, both friends of Lawrence, joined separately and shortly afterwards.
If memory serves correctly, their association with Patrick Adams started the same day Stuart joined after Patrick listened to a rehearsal over the phone. During the following year Michael left the group, the name changed and the group started performing at talent contests and block parties. Vito was replaced with Russell Patterson and the Larry left to attend college. The resulting trio shortly thereafter signed with Perception/Today Records and released their first single Don’t Turn Around.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Hope this is helpful.
Black Ivory Overview
|Mmmmmmmm…… The sounds of sweet soul music stirring in the taste buds of hungry music listeners. Around the early 70”s, there were quite a few of these wonderful sweet soul groups such as, The Delfonics, The Chi-Lites, The Stylistics, The Fuzz, Chocolate Syrup, Soul Generation, First Class, Continental Four, and The Main Ingredient, and so on, to satisfy our desires, and to have our musical souls sweetened. Well, this group that hails from New York City, decided to add their magic touch to create a yummy ingredient for tasteful soul. Sweet soul fans,
I give you………… Black Ivory !!!!!
Black Ivory was formed in 1969 by fellow members, Russell Patterson, and Stuart Bascombe. Later they asked their friend Leroy Burgess III to join and sing lead. They called themselves Mellow Souls. While shopping around for labels to get a deal, they met a songwriter / producer named Patrick Adams, who was in a group called ” Sparks”. Patrick of course was no stranger to the music industry, knew the tricks of the trade and took the group under his wing. He took the group to a newly formed label named ” Today”. The Today label was a subsidiary of the sister label, ” Perception”, which at time featured ” The Fatback Band” and great poet ” Wanda Robinson”, who would record her first LP on the label, using Black Ivory’s music as a background, during for her poetry reading. Patrick Adams didn’t care for their name ” Mellow Souls” and changed it to the name “Black Ivory”.
Even though Black Ivory released some great singles during the 1971-73 period, their label Today Records was going though some financial problems, so the group vowed to get out of their contract. After being released from their contact in late 1973, the group signed with the newly formed ” Kwanza Records label in early 1974. ” Kwanza” was a subsidary of Warner Bros. They recorded a funky get down single called “What Goes Around ( Comes Around)” and released it around the spring of 74,along with an appearance on tv’s Soul Train. The label would fold very quickly, which prompt the group to sign with Buddah records in early 1975. They recorded a LP,” Feel It” and release another great ballad, ” Will We Ever Come Together”. They continued to record for the label until their last LP in 1977, ” Black Ivory”. By then steam was running out for the group and Leroy Burgess left the group, leaving Bascombe and Patterson to form Black Ivory as a duo. Their last hit as a twosome was a dance club favorite named, ” Mainline” in 1979. They split up in early part of the 80’s.
Leroy Burgess went on to become a successful songwriter / producer in the
Black Ivory is definitely a very talented group that should not be overlooked of forgotten in a world of classic sweet soul. They had made great contributions in the power of love, such as candlelight dinners, walks though the park with someone you love, or a day or evening of just sitting back, just maxin’ and relaxin’ with your headphones or playing your stereo, and just reflecting on how true love can be so wonderful and sometimes painful.
Black Ivory Discussion
|DONT TURN AROUND Today Records 1972
1. Dont Turn Around(P.Adams)
For those of you who have never heard of them, Black Ivory was a great example of the “east coast groove”, serious “slo jammin music” !! They were also a group that hailed from… …..NYC, they were teenagers, had HUGE ‘fros’ and all of the young ladies in my neighborhood swore that they would eventually marry a member of Black Ivory
.I just dug their music !!
recorded by Black Ivory 1971 on Today Records and E.U 1989 on Virgin Records
DON’T WALK AWAY
IT’S ALWAYS HARD
(C) 1971 PAP MUSIC/PATRICK BRADLEY MUSIC(ASCAP)
Thanks, Good Luck