The Amazing Rhythm Aces were one of the best county-rock bands to come to life in the seventies. Before the end of the decade they had released classic albums like Burning The Ballroom Down, Stacked Deck", and the great Too Stuffed To Jump. The band included many talented singers and songwriters but the most prolific and important was Russell Smith. He has a full baritone voice that you'll remember all your life and recognize forever. Many have called him one of the greatest (unknown) voices in American music.
The band was not very successful commercially and in the 80's they disbanded. In the late 90's Stereo Review polled its readers asking them to choose what records should be transferred to CD, and to everyone's surprise the Aces topped the chart. But we had to wait a few more years to have their albums reissued. By that time the band had reunited and released a few live and studio albums, but these were only a pale comparison to their records of the 70's. When they disbanded Russell Smith started a solo carrier, but his output has met the same fate in the pop marketplace. A core of very loyal supporters, but he has had a hard time reaching a wider public. He fared better as a songwriter, and his songs were covered and reached the country music charts. Most of his releases are out of print, although a compilation of his solo carrier has recently been released. Only three CD's are available on Amazon. This one, released in 2001, includes new songs and two renditions of The Aces' The End Is Not in Sight", and Third Rate Romance. The new versions are more rock than the country-rock they were in the band's hands. They are interesting but not as good as the original tracks. The rest of the CD is full of great country-rock, with rock being stressed more than on his other CD's. Drums many times lead the mood, as well as electric guitars. Russell Smith is a great singer. His voice has not changed a bit since the 70's. He also shows no slack in his songwriting skills.The End Is Not In Sight is highly, very highly recommended to those looking for the country-rock sound of the seventies and to the new fans of alt-country acts like Ryan Adams and Son Volt.
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