Johnny Ace

The Chronological Johnny Ace: 1951-1954

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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett

Johnny Ace's flair for loose-limbed emotional ballads made him a star, and the pressures that stardom brought may have played a hand in his death on Christmas Day in 1954, when Ace got a bit reckless with a handgun (whether he knew that there was a live round in the chamber or not is still being debated) backstage before a show in Houston. He left behind a legacy of 22 recordings, all of which are include here, all but two of them originally released on Duke Records. Among the highlights are his first big hit, "My Song," the emotional and in-no-hurry "Angel," the easy rolling instrumental "Aces Wild" (which spotlights Ace's considerable talent as a piano player), "The Clock," which sports a New Orleans funeral march tempo, and his posthumous hit "Pledging My Love." Also included are Ace's 1951 recordings with the Bihari Brothers, "Midnight Hours Journey" and "I Cried," which don't quite match the more fully realized vision of the Duke sides. Everything Ace recorded as a solo artist is here, making this the complete deal.

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