Great Compilations: #2 Ace All – Time Greats

Acelogoblue

This one wasn’t an official release but given away free with Hi Fi News & Record Review magazine in 1994. I can’t find that I ever bought another copy of the magazine at any other time but if I did, the compilation cd attached to the front cover has been put somewhere very safe indeed. So safe, I can’t find it.

I must have bought my first cd player in the summer or early autumn of 1990. I know this much because Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches – released in November of that year – was one of the first cd’s that I bought. It was a Denon, part of a tower system with the turntable proudly perched on top. The unit finally gave up the ghost around a decade later; good value for money if nothing else.

And, of course, it was so much more than that; music always has been.

At the time, I was torn between the switch between vinyl and the new, supposedly indestructible, music medium. All those claims about the end of the musical world as we know it are no different from those we hear – or heard – about streaming services such as Spotify. It’s an industry moving with technology, as it always has in the past and will in the future.

I digress. It isn’t hard to see why I would have bought this compilation. With a large vinyl collection, I was loath to replace lps until absolutely necessary and there were always songs that I liked which I didn’t have to hand. Even two years after the event, there was still some novelty in owning cds.

Any compilation which begins with Isaac Hayes magnificent Theme From Shaft is always going to get my attention and then including my favourite Damned song, the full-length Smash It Up sealed the deal. That and the inclusion of Jerry Lee Lewis Send Me The Pillow are the curios, almost out of place with the rest of the selections. Their inclusion highlights the diversity of the catalogue Ace had to choose from.

Whilst there was a warming familiarity with the songs from Sam Cooke, The Chordettes, The Standells and Johnnie Taylor, there were some fascinating discoveries for me. Dana Gillespie’s upbeat bluesy big band sound with its unsubtle vocal phrasing is superb whilst the lowdown bass of Joe Simon’s Philly Drowning In The Sea Of Love is typical of the early 70s.

Most enjoyable though was B.B. King with the Duke Ellington Orchestra; Don’t Get Around Much Any More proves he’s not just King of the Blues but versatile to be a tremendous jazz vocalist.

I’m intrigued as to how I’d have come across this. Was it an advert or comment in another website. The nascent web? I don’t think so but it might have been I suppose but I suspect I just happened across it, drawn by the purple Ace Records logo on the bright yellow background.

A Spotify playlist is below this tracklisting, with videos of two the three missing tracks (marked * below). When Vernis Rucker’s Stranger In The Sheets turns up on YouTube or Spotify, I’ll add it in.

Enjoy.

Track Listing:

Isaac Hayes Theme From Shaft – Album – Remastered
B.B. King Don’t Get Around Much Any More
The Chordettes Mr. Sandman
Johnnie Taylor Who’s Making Love
Sam Cooke, The Soul Stirrers Touch The Hem Of His Garment
John Lee Hooker Women In My Life
*Jerry Lee Lewis Send Me The Pillow
*Mel & Tim Too Much Wheelin’ And Dealin’
Elmore James Sunnyland
The Standells Dirty Water
Dana Gillespie Big Ten Inch Record
Hadda Brooks That’s My Desire
Dexter Gordon All Stars Cry Me A River
Albert King All Shook Up
Little Johnny Taylor Part Time Love
Slim Harpo I’m A King Bee – Single Version
$Vernis Rucker Stranger In The Sheets
Joe Simon Drowning In The Sea Of Love
Millie Jackson My Man, A Sweet Man
The Damned Smash It Up Parts 1 & 2
Rockin’ Sidney You Ain’t Nothing but Fine
Jessie Belvin Good Night My Love
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