THERE WAS a time when Black Ivory, three young teenagers from New York, looked destined to become one of America's leading vocal groups. Then they slipped into a period of inactivity that has only recently been broken with the release of a single on a new label for the trio. It cannot be considered an accident that the company that the trio were originally with has gone into bankruptcy and it seems that it is the classic situation of a potentially good group being stuck with a small but not progressive recording company....
"It's more than a year since we had a release,'' explained Stuart Bascombe, one of the three members of the young group. "We were under some pressure from the company while we were there so we didn't record for the last year of our contract. We felt they were continually messing with our royalties and it was the case of where the company wouldn't concentrate on one or two acts — such as perhaps the Fat-back Band and us — but they would go for quantity rather than quality. That way, nobody got a fair shot."
The group has been intact for more than four years now and consists of three twenty year olds, Stuart Bascombe, Leroy Burgess and Russell Patterson. They were originally known as the Mellow Souls but their producer at Today Records, Patrick Adams, came up with the name of Black Ivory.
Their first release was "Don't Turn Around" and it was a hit. Then came "You And I" and "Baby Won't You Change Your Mind."
That's yesterday — today finds the threesome on the Kwanza label and their first release, "What Goes Around." is already scurrying up the American charts. It also marks Black Ivory's first recording experience in Philadelphia. Produced and written by Akines, Bellman, Drayton and Turner — better known as either the Corner Boys, Silent Majority or the Formations and who penned "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You" for Wilson Pickett — it was recorded at Future Sound Studio in Philly.
"It's a change of mood for us," reflects Stuart, "but we feel we had to try something new. Till now, we have always recorded mainly ballads and it's hard to put together a show that consists of only ballads.
"You see, my job in the group is to supervise choreography and it makes it all that more exciting if you have uptempo material to dance to. Russell designs all the group's clothes whilst Leroy concentrates on the musical side of things — he's also the lead singer, by the way."
It's a well known fact that Today Records did their best to let Black Ivory get cold but the success of "What Goes Around" shows that you can't keep a good act down.