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Ace Records Ltd. was started in 1978. Initially the company only gained permission from the label based in Mississippi to use the name in the UK, but eventually also acquired the rights to publish their recordings. When Chiswick's pop side was licensed to EMI in 1984, Ace switched to more licensing and reissuing work. In the 1980s it also gained the licensing for Modern Records, and its follow up company Kent Records, whilst in the 1990s, the company bought the label(s) including all original master tapes.

(Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

Ace Records of the UK began as a reissue offshoot of Chiswick Records in 1978, borrowing the name of the US label of producer Johnny Vincent. Early releases played by Peel included compilation LPs in the five-volume “Ace Story” series, charting the history of the original Mississippi label, released between 1979 and 1984.

The DJ came to feature a huge number of Ace releases over the next two decades as the UK label grew into one of the country's premier sources of vintage material across a range of genres, including reissues of favourite albums by John Fahey and Country Joe & The Fish, dedicated artist compilations, and a wide variety of multi-artist collections of music from Peel's youth.

In 2003, he compiled a personal Ace Records Top Ten list for the label's printed catalogue, highlighting many items familiar to regular listeners, such as Camille Howard tracks from “Specialty Legends of Boogie Woogie,” as featured daily during his daytime stint sitting in for Jakki Brambles back in 1993.[1] His death, however, dashed hopes that he would contribute an introduction to the 2005 catalogue. Paying tribute, the Ace website commented:

“He was a keen supporter of the label … News of his death shocked all at Ace, he is sorely missed.” [2]

Associated Labels

  • Ace Records (US) was founded in 1955 by former Specialty Records producer Johnny Vincent and released hits including "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" by Huey "Piano" Smith, both sides of which were played by Peel on 21 March 1972.
  • Big Beat is a British record label and import distributor owned by Ace, specialising in garage rock both old and new. Its roster has included Peel session artists such as Cramps, Damned, Guana Batz, Meteors and T.V. Smith's Explorers. The DJ also played the Big Beat release “Peter Gunn Locomotion” by the Delmonas, featuring elements from a longtime favourite song.[3]
  • Chiswick was launched by Roger Armstrong and (former Skid Row and Thin Lizzy manager) Ted Carroll in 1975 as a subsidiary of Rock On Records, linked to the vintage London market stall and shop. Focused on new talent, it released records by Peel session artists including Count Bishops, Damned, Dr Feelgood, Motorhead, Meteors and Radio Stars, as well as the Nipple Erectors (featuring Shane MacGowen, later Pogues), 101ers (Joe Strummer, Clash), Johnny & The Self-Abusers (Jim Kerr, Simple Minds), and Riff Raff (Billy Bragg).
  • Kent was a Los Angeles-based record label, launched in the late 1950s by the Bihari brothers. It was a follow-up to the bankrupted Modern Records and reissued Modern's records. Since purchasing Kent, Ace has used the label to release various kinds of soul, including the “Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures” CD series (on Kent Soul) much played by Peel in the 1990s and beyond.[4]
  • Modern was an American record company and label formed in 1945 in Los Angeles by the Bihari brothers. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was the home of blues and R&B artists such as John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and BB King.

Ace Records v/a Compilations

(Note that the following list features only tracks played from various artist (v/a) releases on the Ace Records label and excludes plays from other labels in the Ace group such as Kent. Please add more information if known.)

Specialty legends
X temperaneous Boogie Camille Howard 1948 on the original Specialty label 78 record

X temperaneous Boogie Camille Howard 1948 on the original Specialty label 78 record

The Symbols - Last Rose Of Summer

The Symbols - Last Rose Of Summer

Don French - Lonely Saturday Night

Don French - Lonely Saturday Night

Sam McGee - Ching Chong

Sam McGee - Ching Chong

Earl Bostic - Flamingo

Earl Bostic - Flamingo