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24 Carat Black / Ditalians

Cincinnati, 1965-75 

24 Carat Black were a group, like many other Ohio artists, gained a much larger following long after they had disbanded. The group only released a few 45s and one LP during their time, but the LP has become a favorite for sampling and DJ mixing all over the world. 


The group started as the Ditalians (also listed as the D'Italians), who got their name apparenly because one of the original founders had some Italian ancestry. They recorded a couple 45s for the Saxony/Trip label. The first one "Philly Dog New Breed" got some local sales. The second one "I Gotta Go" is real pounding garage soul winner with ripping guitar. Both 45s include "Egypt Land" as the flip. The songs were written by lead singer Bruce Torbert, and arranged by Dale Warren, a former Motown arranger who had recently been one of the main writer/arrangers for the Shrine label from DC. Warren had worked with Cincinnatian Gordon Neal. which is probably how he was connected with Saxony. The records were recorded at King. Other members included Forrest Hutchinson, Andrew Jones, William "Sonny" Talbert, Willie Cottrell, Tyrone Steels, Larry Cottrell, and Wendell WIlliams. 

The band played numerous local shows, including a shot on a 1971 TV show called "New Faces".  A 1968 show had them included as part of the Steven Reece Review, along with Cincy singer Barbara Howard and the Dapps.

In August 1969 Bruce Torbert was shot and killed. We don't know if he was sill in the band. Also in 1969 they recorded at K&S studio in Dayton, what became of those recordings, who knows?

In 1973 they were still together as the Ditalians, and reconnected with Dale Warren, who by now had been a succressful writer/arranger for Stax records, working on big selling records by Isaac Hayes and the Wattstax concert/film. Warren and the group came up with a 'concept album' about life in the ghetto. The album was recorded in Ypsilanti, Michigan and released on the Stax subsidiary, Enterprise. At the time of the recording the band was William Talbert (organ), James Talbert (electric piano), Ernest Lattimore (guitar and vocals), Tyrone Steels (percussion and vocals), Larry Austin (bass), Jerome Derrickson (tenor sax), Ricky Foster (trumpet), Gregiory Ingram (alto sax), and William Gentry (trumpet), Princess Hearn (vocals). Those are the LP credits. 

There were no 45s issued from the LP sessions which meant the LP was probably not going to go anywhere, which it didn't. The group recorded more material with Warren that remained unreleased at the time. They disbanded in 1975. with members William Talbert, Steels, Ingram, and Lattimore forming the group Shotgun.

The first LP has been reissued several times, and a second LP from the 1974 recordings was assembled and released by the Numero label in 2009.

There is a 45 from 1970 on the Mercury label credited to Billy Best and the Ditalians, it's not clear if they are the same group, none of the credits are in common.

Philly Dog New Breed / Egypt Land - Saxony 1011, 1966 (two pressings, solid blue Rite pressing and two tone RCA pressing)
I Gotta Go / Egypt Land - Trip 1012, 1967
LP - Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth - Enterprise 1030, 1973