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  • Ace Records History Part 3

    13th January 2016

    1987

    1987 was the transformative year for the label as we started to take on the rest of the Fantasy catalogue: Stax and the Creedence Clearwater Revival albums; then, in 1988, Prestige, Riverside, Milestone and all the other jazz Fantasy had tucked away. Pablo was added in 1989 and this all culminated in all the jazz labels being housed under the OJC umbrella in 1992. More of this later, but it had a big impact on what we were doing and even in the new Harlesden premises we were rapidly running out of space so we bought two adjoining buildings to expand the warehouse.

    We also started two new labels to accommodate very different styles of music.

    Initially BGP stood for Baz [Fe Jazz], Gilles [Peterson] Productions. The label was aimed at a different dance floor from the one that the Northern soul of Kent records was being played on. Named Rare Groove back then, though it went through a number of name changes, including Wah Wah Jazz. The first BGP release was a Mongo Santamaria compilation, the ideal Latin/jazz mix for the times. Right through its life the vast majority of BGP releases were drawn from the Fantasy jazz labels..

    BLUE HORIZON was producer Mike Vernon’s label. It started in 1965 with a Hubert Sumlin outing and eventually mixed US-licensed material with recordings by Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, Duster Bennett as well as US bluesmen like Otis Span and Eddie Boyd.

    The early recordings ended up in the maw of CBS Records but Mike retained the label name. So, together, we resurrected it and as expected he brought us impeccably produced recordings by Blues And Trouble and Louisiana’s Lazy Lester and over the next nine years a series of mainly local blues and R&B artists. Mike also features in the Ace story as producer and later member of Rocky Sharpe and the Replays. A real gent to do business with.

    We gradually eased into the deal with Fantasy, initially taking in the Stax catalogue and then Creedence Clearwater Revival. Our contact was their overseas licensing person, the highly knowledgeable Bill Belmont. He brought the labels to us piecemeal. At the start we weren’t sure we could handle such huge catalogues, so easing into them was actually a blessing. 

  • Ace Records History Part 7

    9th January 2016

    2007

    A year of deaths, celebration and buying catalogues.

    In March, Hy Weiss of Old Town / Barry Records died in Florida. The idea of deaths as ‘burning libraries’ certainly applied to Hy, a fount of insider knowledge about the music business from the mid-50s onwards. He was frank about it being full of scams and dodges. Most of his artists we met had no illusions about him, but also real affection. Plus, he could tell you a thing or two about them, too. He featured in many books, some more discreetly than others and it is a shame he never did tell his own tale. What tales he had to tell: tall, frighteningly honest and often very funny.

  • Ace is 40!

    25th June 2015

    It was 40 years ago this September, give or take, that the team behind Ace Records first made a record. We have been going in and out of style ever since and hopefully over the years have contributed in some measure to the business of human happiness.

  • Sister Ray, Shoreditch

    2nd March 2015

  • Music Mania

    30th January 2015