and a long awaited comeback
Ivery Bell in his own words
Little is known about the band Moment of Truth, their only album from 1977 enjoys great popularity among soul and disco connoisseurs on both sides of the Atlantic. The group, which unfortunately was to record only one album, consisted of Norris Harris, Ivery “Caprice” Bell, Michael Garrison and Billy Jones. The producer Reid Whitelaw writes in the liner notes “Moment of Truth is an album about the desire for love”. From the introductory song “Chained to Your Love” to the last song of the B-side “So Much for Love”this statement proofs to be true.The label Salsoul Records is better known for their “disco-heavy” releases, but Moment of Truth is more of an “uptempo soul concept” album. Since there is so little information about this group, we located and interviewed one of the lead singers of the group Ivery “Caprice” Bell in New York.
Ivery is not surprised that Moment of Truth are in Europe and even in Japan floor fillers in underground Discos. “I know that the releases of ‘Lovin’ You Is Killin’ Me’,’You got me hummin ‘and a few others have often been played, and what we have always regretted is the fact that we never had a chance to perform in Europe.” Ivery started singing at the age of 8, his first appearance was at no other location than the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The famous talent competitions that have produced the Jackson 5, among others, are legendary. Among a large number of first-class singers, he won the first place. “That was the wake up call for my family that I had great talent.
“At some point I put together my own group, so to speak my own Jackson 5 version. We then performed at parties and talent competitions.” Devoted to his music career, Ivery quit his job and set off each day for New York City to search for jobs that required singers.”I knew I had talent, but I was not sure if I should do it professionally, but I definitely wanted to try it.”The Village Voice newspaper has always been there to help him find vocal jobs. He discovered a display of the Studio Sound System 6, which was looking for singers. Ivery went to the audition with a friend and was selected for the group that was to be named ACE SPECTRUM. The group later had a hit with “Do not Let Me Be Lonely”. Reid Whitelaw, the auditor in charge, however, alerted Ivery to another group, Moment of Truth. “Moment of Truth was the baby of Reid Whitelaw, he had musicians recording in the studio, but no real group performing. Therefore, he was very interested in finding singers. At this time, Ivery and Norris, who were already working on the Moment of Truth tracks, met.”
“We held auditions ourselves at that time to find more members for the group, we chose Michael Garrison. We invited Billy Jones to get an impression of the group in the hope that he will also become part of the group. He was the ideal cast because we were looking for a singer with a “heavy and rough voice”. Billy, I knew from other groups where we sang together. In this formation, we then sang in front of Reid who took us immediately under contract “. Reid took the group to Ken Cayre, one of the founders of Salsoul Records, and we sang the track “Helplessly” in his apartment. That was the official birth of Moment of Truth, as Ken immediately signed us up for Salsoul Records. This time was terribly exciting for the then 19-year-old Ivery, everything seemed to be possible. “I’ll never forget the moment when I first heard myself sing on tape in the studio. Of course you are still nervous at the beginning, but after the second take, i felt comfortable. The duet between Billy and me “You’re All I Want To Be” will always be remembered as another highlight. To this day I just love this song “.
He is still in contact with Billy and is thinking about re-recording the song as many people still request this song to him. Ivery does not know why the cover pictures where changed in the European versions of the album as opposed to the US version. He thinks it’s very funny. There are many versions of their songs on the internet, and every time Ivery is surprised how creatively people deal with their music and what new remixes emerge.
When asked if there are still unreleased songs from that time, Ivery says, yes. He remembers the song “Spreading Myself Too Thin”, which he wrote himself. It was a ballad not an uptempo song and was written in 1983. “We’re thinking about finally releasing this song, it would be a good idea to do it as we’re back as part of a very successful disco reunion show.
Therefore, one can say Moment of Truth are back. I reunited the group for a reunion show, which took place last October at Resorts Casino NY. In addition to Tavaris (which also regularly occur in Holland), France Jolie (Come to me) and many other Well-known artists from the disco area.” We are already talking to some agents in order to continue to make a comeback.
Incidentally, we also learns that Moment of Truth also played in a then-popular Blaxploitation movie, on the soundtrack you will find greats like Gloria Gaynor and Vicki Sue Robinson. NOCTURNA is the name of the vampire movie from 1979. They also contributed two songs to the soundtrack, “Love At First Sight” and “I’m Hopelessly In Love With You”. The in-disco STARSHIP DISCOVERY 1 in Manhattan served as a location for many scenes from the film. (https://sites.google.com/site/cultoddities/home/nocturna/filming-locations) But shortly after the shooting differences within the group and the management stared. “We just wanted to have more influence on our music, also in terms of writing songs. We simply could not agree with the management, so we retreated and everyone moved in a different direction. ” When asked why there was no way for a follow-up album of the first album, Ivery laughs and says “politics” As far as Ivery is aware, producers Joe Cayre, Ken Cayre and Stan Cayre wanted to be involved in the group through a “personal ownership interest”. The inventor of Moment of Truth, Reid Whitelaw was of course not enthusiastic about this proposal. This led to a break from which the group should not recover. We were already in the preparations for a second album, as the label did not want to invest in the group due to these clashes. The debut album also sold very well in Europe and Ivery regrets that they never had the opportunity to perform in Europe.
“One of the big problems we had was that we were approached at concerts by many managers and producers who would have loved to work with us, but unfortunately, because of our contract, our hands were tied”. And it was not just concerts in discos, at the height of their short career, Moment of Truth played at Madison Square Garden. At the premiere party of the film Saturday Night Fever, whose influence is still present today and characterizes the image of the Disco Area, they performed that evening in the Disco Odyssey 2001 in Brooklyn, which were also the filming location of the film. There they were, next to Sister Sledge one of the “Main Acts”.
Soon after, Billy and Michael left the group, and then a new member arrived. Michael later came back to the group, but the moment of the group was just gone. After “Moment of Truth”, Ivery has been very focused on Gospel and released a lot of Gospel material along with O’Jays producer Dennis Williams. He also produced “Spreading myself to thin” in the early ’80s.
One day, Darryl Payne called him to alert him to the group Blue Magic. The group was looking for a new lead singer and they felt that his voice fit best with their material. He accepted the job and was for several years the lead singer of the group Blue Magic. “You must know there are several groups of Blue Magic. In between, I joined the Delfonics to sing again in another Blue Magic group. I did that for about 10 years. ” Since October of this year he is again very successful with his gospel material on tour and he has at least 40 appearances with a Motown revival group a year. Incidentally, he still finds the time to bring Moment of Truth back together. Ivery is a friend of Reid Whitelaw, who helps him to rebuild his plan of Moment of Truth. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to rebuild the original line up. Michael Garrison died a few years ago. Norris Harries is also no longer available, as he has a hotel in the Caribbean. They do not earn money on the album, and Moment of Truth also meets the fate of so many artists who signed contracts that were not in the main interest of the artist. Especially in view of the fact that the album was released in many countries and several times on CD, this fact hurts a lot. “First and foremost, we made money from the concerts. For the Movie we were paid for the shooting days, but we were not involved in either the soundtrack revenue or the box office earnings. Today it would not happen to me anymore, but at the age of 19 you were just very young and very naive.” For Ivery it is very important that the fans know that Moment of Truth is back and only looking for a promoter, so that they can finally appear in Europe. He thanks the fans for their support over the years.
SoulDisco can exclusively present some snippets of the never released songs from 1983.