Black Ivory

Battle of the Bands: Round One

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Round one of Sequel's Battle of the Bands is uneven track-wise; Black Ivory does 12 tracks and Odds & Ends eight. New Yorkers Leroy Burgess, Stuart Bascombe, and Russell Patterson were Black Ivory, and Philadelphians' Wanda and Larry Butler and Jim Grant (siblings) were Odds & Ends. The Black Ivory cuts were culled from their first two Perception/Today albums, and 99.9 percent of the plums made the set: "Don't Turn Around," "Spinning Around," "Time Is Love," "You and I," "We Made It," and "Find the One Who Loves You." Sequel's only mistake was omitting "No ifs, ands, Buts" and including "Our Future," an idiotic idea swiped from the Five Stairsteps and Cubie's "New Dance Craze"; the snapping-contest track was originally intended for child prodigy Lucky Peterson. The outnumbered Odds & Ends land some heavy blows; it's easy to see why many think of them as a female group. Wanda Butler, a honey-voiced singer who could lullaby the baby-from-hell to dreamland, handles the leads accompanied by her high-singing brothers; on some tracks additional female voices were used for sweetening. Listening to Odds & Ends is a pleasure. An update of Deon Jackson's "Love Makes the World Go Round" bests the original, as does a makeover of "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" (Jay & the Techniques); "Give Me Something" shuffles sweetly, and the slow, rapturous "Talk That Talk" is a grade-A ballad. The trio contributed material as well, including the up-tempo "Foot Track" and "Let Me Try," an icy beat ballad.

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