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Amazing Rhythm Aces

Out of the Blue – 1997 (Breaker)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Amazing Rhythm Aces

One of the arch fiends of the Twentieth Century is the rapscallion who absconded with all the master tapes of the Amazing Rhythm Aces great '70's albums, leaving their classic output totallyunavailable on CD. In the years since the band broke up, its members have all remained musically active. Lead singer Russell Smith became a major songwriter, penning hits for the likes of Randy Travis and Ricky Van Shelton and seeing his masterpiece, "Third Rate Romance," become a hit all over again for Sammy Kershaw.

The original group reformed recently to cut new versions of their hits for the album "Ride Again." Now they keep it going with an album of all new material. This isn't nearly as eclectic as earlier albums and doesn't have any hard country material. But Smith still has one of the most wonderfully distinctive voices anywhere, and the band hasn't lost its groove. With the exception of the swing styled closer "Get Down," The Aces are mostly in an Al Green mode - slow to mid tempo songs with a solid Memphis funk backing. If you dug it before, you'll dig it again.