Various Artists

The Best of Ace Records, Vol. 1: The Pop Hits

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In the late '50s and early '60s, Ace was one of the most successful New Orleans-based rock & roll labels, recording hits by Huey Smith, Frankie Ford, and Jimmy Clanton. This 14-song compilation isn't the best way to hear the Ace catalog, though. Ford and Smith, both of whom have tracks here, are better represented by full compilations of their work; Ford's magnificent "Sea Cruise" is here, but Smith's only big hit, "Don't You Just Know It," is strangely missing in favor of a couple much less renowned tracks. Clanton recorded some nice hits in the teen idol style ("Just a Dream," "Venus in Blue Jeans," and "Go, Jimmy, Go"), all of which are here. But these sound misplaced next to Ford and Smith, and the other Clanton cuts are weak. There's also a rare early single by Joe Tex, "Charlie Brown Got Expelled," an answer record to the Coasters' "Charlie Brown."

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