The Aces were initially known as the Four Aces featuring Carl, Patrick, Clive and Barry Howard. Their impromptu harmonies led to an association with Desmond Dekker, who, on hearing them in 1965, supported the group in an audition at Beverley’s studio with Leslie Kong. The producer arranged for the group to provide backing vocals for Dekker, initially on the classic ‘Get Up Adinah’, credited to Desmond Dekker And The Four Aces. They provided backing on many hits, including ‘The King Of Ska’, which featured the group under the curious guise of Desmond And His Cherry Pies. The group’s successful association with Beverley’s and Dekker resulted in a number of pop and reggae hits, including ‘007’, ‘Israelites’, ‘Shing A Ling’, ‘Pretty Africa’, and the winner of the 1968 Jamaican Song Festival, ‘Music Like Dirt’. By 1967 the Aces’ line-up had been reduced to Barry Howard, performing alongside James Samuels. In 1969 the success of ‘Israelites’ in the UK and USA led to further promotional touring, although Dekker elected to travel without the group. However, in 1970 they recorded ‘Mademoiselle Ninette’, which reached the reggae charts and established the group in their own right. By 1971 the modified line-up settled as a duo featuring Carl, who had returned from the USA, and Barry. In 1972 they released a version of the Little Eva classic, ‘The Loco-Motion’, retitled ‘Reggae Motion’. In spite of the resulting criticism, a series of hits followed, including ‘Take A Look’, ‘Oh I Miss You’, ‘Call Me Number One’, ‘Be My Baby’ and ‘Sad Sad Song’. In 1973 the group released ‘Working On It Night And Day’ through Trojan Records, which almost crossed over into the pop chart amid accusations that the duo had abandoned their roots. Undeterred, the duo signed a short-lived partnership with EMI Records in 1975, releasing ‘She’s A Gypsy’ and an album. By the 80s the Aces languished in obscurity, although they resurfaced briefly in 1982 with the release of ‘One Way Street’.
- Chicago, IL