Still amazing, still aces

When you hear of the Amazing Rhythm Aces, you almost certainly think of “Third Rate Romance.” And rightly so. It’s a first-rate tune.

But if you think they’re just a country band, I am here to dispel that notion.

The Aces came out of Memphis in the early ’70s, putting together a tasty stew that mixed R&B, soul, country and even a little bluegrass. Russell Smith’s laconic vocals topped off plenty of tight, winning performances from this six-piece group.

They hit it big in 1975 with “Third Rate Romance.” You know that one.

Listen, then, to a couple of cuts from “Stacked Deck,” their debut album from that year. Both are written by Smith.

“The Ella B” is a little bit of swamp rock, a little more lighthearted than Joe South or Creedence.

With its elegant piano line, “King of the Cowboys” echoes Jackson Browne and the early Eagles.


“The Ella B” and “King of the Cowboys,” the Amazing Rhythm Aces, from “Stacked Deck,” 1975.

The Aces’ albums, particularly those from the ’70s, have gone in and out and back into print in various formats since. The link above is to a CD that pairs “Stacked Deck” with the Aces’ second album, “Too Stuffed to Jump.” That’s a nice combination.

As for the Aces, they broke up in 1981, then reunited part-time in 1995, then full-time in 1997. They’ve since recorded and toured sporadically, re-recording some old material on a couple of albums and putting out four albums of new material.

This year, they released a new CD, “Midnight Communion.” To learn more, check out their web site or their MySpace page.

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Filed under October 2007, Sounds

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