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The Complete Singles Collection

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It’s unfortunate that star-crossed R&B heartthrob Johnny Ace is condemned to remain more famous for his violent death by misadventure on Christmas Eve 1954 than for his considerable recorded legacy, as his brief moment of stardom neatly pinpoints the time when the thrilling, dangerous world of underground R&B began to find an audience among a generation of sheltered, rock 'n' roll–hungry teenagers. The Complete Singles Collection features the entirety of Ace’s sessions with crack Memphis combo The Beale Streeters and his oft-anthologized sessions produced by Johnny Otis. It also includes sides that'll likely be unfamiliar to even the most ardent Ace devotees, such as “Midnight Hours Journey,” a demo he cut while sitting in on an early session with Bobby "Blue" Bland, and “I Cried” and “Trouble and Me,” a pair of Earl Forest–sung ballads that feature Ace’s beautiful piano accompaniment.


Born: June 9, 1929 in Memphis, TN

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '40s, '50s

The senseless death of young pianist Johnny Ace while indulging in a round of Russian roulette backstage at Houston's City Auditorium on Christmas Day of 1954 tends to overshadow his relatively brief but illustrious recording career on Duke Records. That's a pity, for Ace's gentle, plaintive vocal balladry deserves reverence on its own merit, not because of the scandalous fallout resulting from his tragic demise. John Marshall Alexander was a member in good standing of the Beale Streeters, a loosely...
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The Complete Singles Collection, Johnny Ace
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