by Marty Weil @CHIBLUESHISTORY

At Wise Fools, The Aces are in a groove playing Hoo-Doo Man
Tremendous vocal power 

gospel and shout singing 
high-volume, hard-rocking 
A loveless love 
kittens on the keys 
Who Will The Next Fool Be?

The Aces were one of the earliest and most influential of the Chicago blues bands in the 1950s. The band was led by the guitarist brothers Louis and Dave Myers, natives of Byhalia, Mississippi. The legendary band went through a dizzying array of name changes as new members were added. For instance, when Junior Wells joined the band, they rechristened themselves the Three Deuces and then the Three Aces. When Fred Below joined in 1950, they became the Four Aces and finally The Aces. 

Clearly, branding wasn’t a strong suit of the Myers brothers, but they did excel at musical innovation. For example, in the 1950s, Dave Myers switched from the guitar to the electric bass, becoming one of the first Chicago blues artists to adopt this relatively new instrument and helped to popularize on the Chicago blues scene. Further, The Aces drummer, Fred Below, is credited as the creator of much of the rhythmic structure of Chicago blues, especially its backbeat. This is to say nothing of the wondrous innovations that Little Walter brought to the blues harp.

For those new to The Aces, I recommend beginning your journey into their catalog with the band’s 1970 release “Chicago Beat,” which was recorded in France with guests Eddie Taylor, Jimmy Rogers, Willie Mabon, and Mickey Baker. It’s an overlooked blues masterwork that deserves a serious listen.

Epigraph: An excerpt from a poem in Marrow Bones and Cleaver Music by Marty Weil (2014)

Marty Weil is the editor of @CHIBLUESHISTORY on Twitter. Marty is a blues researcher, educator, and social media influencer.