Amazing Rhythm Aces
"Chock Full Of Country Goodness"
Born out of soul music's ashes, this six man ensemble played country music - meaning the music defined by Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, and sometimes Al Green. As Lyle Lovett did years later, the Aces created a melting pot of musical traditions, wide ranging styles, soulful performances, and sly humor. After disbanding in the mid-80's, lead singer/songwriter Russell Smith attempted a solo career then paid bills by writing songs. The other Aces kept their chops through steady touring and session work.
When the Aces recently regrouped, they quickly rekindled their groove that's as comfortable as a worn easy chair. "Chock Full Of Country Goodness", the second release of new Aces music, highlights Smith's talents both as an observant writer and expressive singer. "Chock" rocks, swings, and shuffles further demonstrating the Aces' grasp of
country music's diverse forms.
Perhaps this record's deliberate choice of country over soul that permeated their last CD, "Out Of The Blue", marks the recent passing of drummer Butch McDade to cancer last year. One of the handful of soulful drummers to ever pound the skins, he shared much of the Aces' creative load with Smith. McDade wrote many of the Aces finest songs and provided the band with vocal harmonies and occasional leads.
"The Rock", which not coincidentally features some of the record's only soul leanings, serves as a fitting testament to McDade. Through the allegory of a broken romance, the song pays tribute to the solid, dependable people in life and what it means to lose them. It
insightfully reveals what the Aces will miss in his absence.
- Jim Markel