Aces Combo, The

Band members               Related acts

- Howard Caywood - drums

- Michael Earnhardt - bass

- Tim Ervin - lead guitar

- Johnny Nance - rhythm guitar

- Johnny Yarbrough - rhythm guitar



- none known





Genre: garage

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Introducing the Aces Combo

Company: Justice

Catalog: 134

Year: 1966

Country/State: North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: vinyl shows lots of light lines, but plays without any skips and with minimal noise (was sold to me as VG+, but it isn't); minor aging on cover and lower left corner has minor tear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4575

Price: $300.00

Cost: $140.00


Okay, okay, okay.  This mid-1960s slice of amateur surf and frat moves isn't going to be fore everyone.  It isn't even going to appeal to all Justice fans.  Still, poised before dad's station wagon, there's something charming about this crew's vision of rock and roll fame and fortune.  Call it a long lost slice of Americana and grab it while you can.


In terms of bibliographical information, there isn't much to go on; what little I can find coming from the liner notes on their sole album.  Drummer Howard Caywood, bassist Michael Earnhardt, lead guitarist Tim Ervin and rhythm guitarist Johnny Nance all met in high school, while second rhythm guitarist Johnny Yarbrough was a junior high school friend.  Caywood was apparently the driving force behind the band, having decided to start the group and having recruited the others to his particular vision of rock and roll fame.  Judging by the cover photo and the back cover group picture, they were original known as 'The Aces'.


Signed by the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Justice Records, 1966's "Introducing The Aces Combo" found the group plowing through a fairly standard mix of then-popular pop and soul hits.  Justice's typical bare bones production work didn't exactly hide the group's musical limitations, but the ragged tempos and blown notes somehow served to highlight the album's low tech charm.  The same is true with Ervin's strained vocals, which were occasionally borderline painful (check out their cover of 'Laugh It Off').  Those overlooked charms were only underscored when you consider that these guys were only 14 and 15 years old when they recorded the album.  Admittedly, musically you're unlikely to find anything here that will drastically change your life, but there is something quite charming about the band's enthusiasm and drive.  


Every time I read the liner notes I have to laugh and wonder how a record company could misspell the word rhythm, as in "Johnny Nance is 15 years old and rythm guitar player."  As an added bonus, they managed to mis-title two of the cover songs.  The correct title of 'What Ever Shape' is actually 'No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)', while P.F. Sloan's song is actually entitled 'Secret Agent Man'.)

"Introducing the Aces Combo" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Pied Piper - 2:15

2.) Apache (instrumental) - 2:46

3.) Laugh It Off - 2:40

4.) What Ever Shape (instrumental)   (Burland) - 2:25

5.) Come Home - 2:43

6.) Secret Agent (instrumental)   (P.F. Sloan) - 2:34


(side 2)
1.) This Boy   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 3:16

2.) Monkey Time - 2:52

3.) Wipe Out (instrumental) - 2:35

4.) Shake a Tail Feather - 2:18

5.) My Girl - 2:16

6.) Under the Boardwalk   (Resnick - Young) - 2:45





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