The Flying Aces - Seashell

Album Cover

It's taken the best part of 30 years, but the Flying Aces finally get their own CD release. Some of these tracks also feature on the Help Yourself / Happy days release, but that duplication is a minor gripe. There's a brief sleevenote from daughter Jo, but I would have liked to have seen more detailed documentation. The centrepiece of the band were husband-wife team of Martin and George Ace, while other musicians were of the usual suspects variety - Ryan, Leonard, Morley, Charles, Ryan, Treece and Whaley.

Seashell opens and closes the set, a beautiful song sung by George Ace, and some very atypical bass from Martin. This song is cetainly the pick of this collection. I prefer the vinyl version, though the tape version, featuring more clearly enunciated vocals and heavy on the organ and piano, is just fine too. Waiting at the Station and Beautiful You are decent songs which could probably be classified as 'pubrock' if you insist on a category.

I've never thought spoken humour really works on a music release, so I'll bypass those parts, but musically, Elephant is a hoot, while Larry is a strange piece of cowboy soap opera... I think. Of the other tracks, Magic Carpet Ride and Atlantic Roller stand out, but they are all well crafted songs, and benefit from George's voice.

The Flying Aces were a more relaxed outfit than the Man band musically, so don't expect any extended soloing - this is clearly a song oriented outfit, despite their association with the theatricality of Happy Days.

They certainly deserved more recognition than they got at the time; a glance in Mannerisms shows they played plenty of gigs, and thanks to that masterwork, I can confirm it was on March 11 1977 when I actually saw them. For various reasons the details are fuzzy, but I do recall I enjoyed the evening. But if you never saw them live, well, that alone is reason enough to get this CD.

Originally issued in April 2002

Available on Point Records, PNTVP122CD

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