Black Ivory – 1972 – Don’t Turn Around

Leroy Burgess, Stuart Bascombe, and Russell Patterson were Black Ivory, an exceptional and occasionally brilliant soul group from Harlem that recorded throughout the ’70s and returned sporadically during the decades following. The trio developed out of the late ’60s as a group called the Mellow Souls and were eventually taken under the wing of Patrick Adams. Adams had been in a group called the Sparks, but he developed his skills as a songwriter, arranger, and producer with Black Ivory.

A1 Don’t Turn Around 3:30
A2 Surrender 2:30
A3 I’ll Find a Way 3:22
A4 I Keep Asking You Questions 3:06
A5 She Said That She’s Leaving 2:15
A6 If I Could Be a Mirror 2:35
B1 You and I 7:21
B2 Our Future 3:05
B3 Find the One Who Loves You 2:55
B4 Got to Be There 4:12

By Andy Kellman

Adams scraped together all the money he possibly could in order to have the group record their first single, “Don’t Turn Around“. Adams took the demo to several unimpressed labels before hitting Today Records. That label had a very different opinion and signed the group on the strength of the recording. “Don’t Turn Around“, written by Adams, became a Top 40 hit on the R&B chart, hitting number 38 in 1971. Black Ivory had their first taste of success. Not only that, but Today offered Adams – still a teenager at the time – an A&R position.

Another batch of singles that charted in the Top 40 supported the trio’s first LP, 1972’s Don’t Turn Around. The album remained on the charts for nearly five months and peaked at number 13, an impressive feat for an album released on a small independent, included “You and I” and “I’ll Find A Way (The Loneliest Man in Town).

Poet Wanda Robinson, on her album Black Ivory, used the instrumental track of “Don’t Turn Around” as the background for her poem “The Final Hour” and “I Keep Asking You Questions” for her poem “Instant Replay.” Robinson was Black Ivory’s label mate at Today/Perception.

The group’s hot streak was capped off that year with a second album, Baby, Won’t You Change Your Mind. That album spawned another series of singles and topped out at number 26. Today went through financial troubles and the group, unhappy about unpaid royalties, ended up riding out the last year of their contract.

 Once the contract with Today ran out, Black Ivory joined the Kwanza label for a brief spate. “What Goes Around (Comes Around)“, written and produced by the Akines-Bellman-Drayton-Turner team, hit the lower rung of the R&B chart. The group’s popularity was on a steady wane when they signed to Buddah, a label with a bigger budget, but further attempts at gaining back that degree of popularity from early on failed. Furthermore, Adams was no longer producing the group and was apparently out of the picture entirely.

Burgess left the group on good terms in 1977 to focus on a number of projects. However, he temporarily returned a year later to give the group its most spectacular song, the disco classic “Mainline“. Leonard Adams, the group’s manager at the time, called the departed Burgess and asked if he had any songs to give to the group, who were preparing to make another album. It just so happened that Burgess had two songs written that were originally intended for a project that didn’t reach fruition. So he provided those two songs, “Mainline” and “Hustlin’ (You Gotta Be Dancin’)“, and wound up returning to the group briefly to provide arrangements and backup vocals for those songs. “Mainline” became the group’s best-known song and an extremely beloved one on dancefloors.

By the dawn of the ’80s, Black Ivory was no more. The name was resurrected by Patterson in the mid-’80s, who partnered with David Hart and Lenny Adams. As one can guess, the fact that two-thirds of the original group wasn’t involved left the new Black Ivory hamstrung. This incarnation did not last long. However, Bascombe, Patterson, and Burgess hooked up again in the early 2000s to play sporadic dates. Burgess had long since become a cult legend as one of the primary instigators of house music. Under a gaggle of pseudonyms, Burgess was behind an even greater number of disco and boogie cuts that fans of melodic dance music continue to enjoy. He continued to collaborate on and off with Patrick Adams, another pioneer — and a primary influence — who arranged, produced, wrote, and played instruments on several seminal recordings. Patterson also worked a little with Burgess in the intervening years, contributing vocals to the spectacular Salsoul singles released in 1981 under the name Logg.

Black Ivory’s recordings have been sampled by numerous hip hop artists including Raekwon, Q-Tip, Nas and 9th Wonder.

Full Biography, Discography and more on the band’s site here

Now listen up this 7 minutes sweet soul gem

More albums by Black Ivory in our back pages here


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Conversation for album: Black Ivory – 1972 – Don’t Turn Around

  • Tony
    Posted at 16:10h, 18 June 2017 Reply

    This is nice, very nice. Thanks so much.

  • Caren
    Posted at 21:32h, 18 June 2017 Reply

    Soulful, seductive, old school charm…makes me want to slow dance…Now!!!

  • Monica
    Posted at 21:36h, 18 June 2017 Reply

    Born in the 60’s, love love this wonderful music! !

  • Eleana
    Posted at 13:30h, 19 June 2017 Reply

    Goose bumps !! Music from my childhood. Soo gooood.

  • wess
    Posted at 13:35h, 19 June 2017 Reply

    Fabulous sweet soul, love this site.

  • Sebastian
    Posted at 19:04h, 19 June 2017 Reply

    The good ole days! Love Black Ivory 💕💕

  • C j Mills
    Posted at 19:17h, 19 June 2017 Reply

    Proud to say I was raised on such vinyl and related groups like The Stylistics, The Ojays, Spinners etc

  • H2O
    Posted at 23:54h, 19 June 2017 Reply

    “I’ll find a way” is my jam, with Leroy on lead. Great times.

  • arsenio
    Posted at 08:55h, 20 June 2017 Reply

    A mellow soul delight. Thank u.

  • Randell
    Posted at 08:57h, 20 June 2017 Reply

    I could never forget this album. I came out, when this album did. I still have it!

  • Garcia
    Posted at 19:39h, 20 June 2017 Reply

    Great soulful ballads brings me back to the early 70’s.
    You and I is epic. my favourite song of the group by far.

  • Raymond
    Posted at 10:29h, 21 June 2017 Reply

    Thanks very much worth the download!

  • Kenni
    Posted at 00:30h, 22 June 2017 Reply

    Reminds me of a time when things were so much more meaningful and simpler.

  • Doc11
    Posted at 13:09h, 22 June 2017 Reply

    jammin like a fool!!! 🔥🔥

  • Pius Nderitu
    Posted at 17:19h, 22 June 2017 Reply

    Hello Fam,

    Is it possible to get Google drive links or any other links posted please?
    I am not dictating the channels it’s just that I suffer so much with uploaded and my downloads never start.
    Please assist me on this.

  • Oriol
    Posted at 20:15h, 22 June 2017 Reply

    Wonderful share man. Thanks a lot.

  • A Edmonds
    Posted at 12:26h, 23 June 2017 Reply

    Some soul pop diamonds in here. Great work once again.

  • Rea
    Posted at 11:36h, 24 June 2017 Reply

    Very nice music and thanks for sharing this album with us. I can’t think of anything better than listening to good music.

  • John Graham
    Posted at 11:40h, 24 June 2017 Reply

    awesome album. I’ve enjoyed it from the beggining to the end.

  • Alemao
    Posted at 13:57h, 24 June 2017 Reply

    oh what a treasure – thanks a lot for sharing!!!!

  • Scott
    Posted at 12:13h, 03 July 2017 Reply

    Been listening to this for years and I’ll never get tired of it

  • Kenni
    Posted at 23:44h, 06 July 2017 Reply

    Leroy was the lead singer when they were younger Stewart took over when they became older

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