Forgotten Treasure: Black Ivory “Mainline” (1979)
I found this album (which has been on my Discogs wantlist for quite some time) at a local record shop just days before djing a disco-only after-party. It’s not rare, it’s not worth much, but it’s good (and that’s what counts). Once in my hands, I couldn’t stop romanticizing the most ideal scenario at which to drop the dance floor-burning “Mainline”. Well when that moment finally came, the amp blew out. I know I’ll get another chance soon, but till then I might as well share the joy with you guys right?
Here on Hangin’ Heavy (Buddah Records), Black Ivory teams up with great singer/songwriter/keyboard player/producer Leroy Burgess (“Get Down Friday Night”, “Release Yourself”) as well one of my favorite disco songwriter/producers Patrick Adams (Phreek, Inner Life, Rainbow Brown, Bumblebee Unlimited). With this information in mind, the masterful arrangement of horns and strings in combination with the catchy-yet-clever choruses come as no surprise.
After hearing some covers and a handful of house tracks which sample Mainline, it’s safe to say that nobody even comes close to the magic that happens on the original. In fact, just as I was writing this I saw that Tensnake is releasing a very uninspiring version himself, so I’m glad I get to share “the real deal” with you before this song title gets overloaded with a bunch of undeserved hype.
Organic instrumentation wins this round. You can’t deny the power this track has when it ditches it’s narrative verses before the halfway mark in favor of a loopy disco hook, percussive-break down and cheerful lyrics that will stay in your head forever. Please play this by my bedside if I ever end up in a coma. Seriously.
Also, check out this Leroy Burgess interview on Red Bull Music Academy