Ace Wallace

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b. Herman Wallace, 18 June 1925, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, d. 28 February 1996, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. One of the unregarded mainstays of the St. Louis blues scene, Wallace spent the 50s and 60s as…
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Artist Biography by

b. Herman Wallace, 18 June 1925, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, d. 28 February 1996, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. One of the unregarded mainstays of the St. Louis blues scene, Wallace spent the 50s and 60s as a member of influential local bands led by trumpeter and disc jockey Gabriel and ‘Big’ George Brock And The Houserockers. Although born in St. Louis, when he was three, Wallace’s parents relocated to Indiana where his father worked in the steel mills. Eight years later the family returned to St. Louis, at which time Herman and his brother Calvin began to learn the mandolin and harmonica. However, following the divorce of his parents, Wallace dropped out of school and enlisted in the army. On his return from service in the Philippines, where he was inspired by a local guitar player, he took up the latter instrument via lessons at a GI ‘jazz school’. His progress was halted when, at the age of 25, he developed an eye condition and lost his sight. In the early 50s he came to the attention of Yank Rachell, who used Wallace as his back-up guitarist. When Rachell departed from St. Louis, Wallace took the name Ace (formed from the initials of his sister Anita and brothers Calvin and Edward) and formed his own band. Ace Wallace And The Trumps played regularly at James’ Jump Palace on 16th Street, St. Louis, where they were immediately popular. However, marital problems drove Wallace away from the city to Detroit, where he played with John Lee Hooker and Earl Hooker. Inevitably, he returned to St. Louis once again, this time to take up a more permanent role in ‘Big’ George Brock And The Houserockers. He also appeared on several releases by the aforementioned Gabriel, including the latter’s first effort, ‘I’m Gabriel’. Ill health saw Wallace domiciled to a nursing home for much of his later life, although he still recorded compositions with a drum machine and taught several aspiring child guitarists.