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Posted By: Jim Liddane on: 05/03/2009 16:46:58 EDT
Subject: RE: Jimmy Clanton - Venus In Blue Jeans - 1962

Message Detail:
John wrote...

However, Kent (divison of Ace UK) issued the Ace Records (US) stuff, on CD. Is Ace (UK) a division of Demon?

Jim replies....

Between Ace (USA), and Ace (UK), and Kent (USA) and Kent (UK), it is difficult to keep my head clear!

Ace (UK) have no connection with Demon, who own lots of labels, and are now one of the top (if not the top) indie label in the UK, but oddly enough, there is a sort of connection between Ace UK and Ace USA - in that Ace (UK) actually took their name from Johnny Vincent's Ace Records, which they thought was more or less defunct, but which they admired a lot.

In fact, he was pretty inactive at the time, but they wrote to him asking if they could lease some masters, and also use the name Ace, and he agreed around 1980 or 1981 I think.

Ace in the UK put these masters out on on Ace imprint and some people over here actually presumed that Ace (UK) was in fact a subsidiary of Ace USA, but it was not the case - they had simply chosen the name as a tribute to a label they liked.

What may have caused the confusion is that Ace UK also did a similar deal with Kent (USA) and again, used the Kent name for those reissues!

Years later, in 1996, Vincent let it be known generally that he wanted to sell up, but surprisingly, Ace UK did not buy the company - why I do not know - it would have been a nice fit.

Instead, in 1997, Demon Records acquired Ace USA, and it is Demon Digital who have since re-issued all the Jimmy Clanton albums in the UK.

John wrote

Quite a talker Johhny Vincent was, was he? Why does this come as no surprise, being a Producer.

Jim replies

Vincent was a real old-fashioned type of record guy - he was still going quite literally up to the end - making money wherever he could, including doing things like letting amateur singers record over his stars' backing tracks for a small fee as long as they used his studios!

He would press a hundred singles, and go around the radio stations. If enough of them liked it, he would press anouther 900 and put them in the shops. If they didn't like it, he'd forget the whole project and sell the backing track to another producer.

He also was capable of some slightly iffy practices.

"Sea Cruise" was one example.

The guy who wrote it, Huey Piano Smith was signed to Ace and was coming off a solo hit with "Rocking Pneumonia".

As the session for "Sea Cruise" progressed, Vincent decided that the song was a guaranteed hit, but that Smith was too "adult" looking for the teen audience. On the other hand, the studio janitor, Frankie Ford, was young, good looking, and a great singer.

So Vincent offered to treat Smith to "lunch" to the nearest bar half way through the session.

The "lunch" went on so long that Smith had to cancel the rest of the session, as he was due to start a tour the next day.

Half way through the tour, he heard "Sea Cruise" on the radio, sung by "Frankie Ford Accompanied By Huey Smith & The Clowns".

Not only that but Ford had changed some words, and as a result now had a co-writer credit as well!

But what really annoyed Huey was that Vincent had decided to put some bells and horns on the record, but had not bothered to tune the horns in with the brass section, so that the start sounded really off key.

Vincent could not understand the fuss - it was a hit, and Lewis got his songwriting money anyway!

Love the Cascades hit - had not heard that take before.

The same label, Valiant, also had Barry & The Tamerlanes who sounded very like The Cascades.

They had only one real hit "I Wonder What She's Doin Tonight", written by Barry (DeVorzon) for the Cascades, but not recorded by them, so he put it out himself.

He went on to write lots of movie music and if I recall rightly, the theme from the TV series "Dynasty".

They did an excellent version of "Rhythm Of The Rain" using the Cascades backing track.

I was told some years ago, that Barry & The Tamerlanes were to have a CD release, but I have never seen it.

I wonder if it ever happened?

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