Monday, April 07, 2008

O.V. Wright - Ace Of Spade (Back Beat 615)

Ace Of Spade


Norwegian O.V. Wright afficionado Tom Pelvis had this to say over on The B Side:

"...I have a question regarding his 'Ace of Spades'. I have a compilation CD called 'The soul of O.V. Wright' that features a shorter version of AOS than the version on the album 'A Nickel And A Nail And Ace Of Spades'. Was this shorter (and better) version the one that was released on single? (I also have another long version released on the album 'Treasured Moments')."

I figured the best way to try and answer that would be to check out the original vinyl. One of Wright's biggest hits, Ace Of Spade spent 13 weeks on the R&B charts in the fall of 1970, climbing as high as #11. According to the label, it was penned by 'D. Malone' which, as we all know, is the pseudonym Don Robey used after he paid off the actual writers and claimed the composer's (and publisher's) royalties all to himself. Just a fantastic song, I wonder who really wrote it?

Now, as far as Tom's question goes; There is no time given on the 45, but my rip of it here clocks in at 2:16. That makes it longer than both the 'album' version on the 'A Nickel And A Nail And Ace Of Spades' LP (which is 2:11) and the 'single' version included on 'Treasured Moments' (which is even shorter at 2:08). I don't have that 'Soul of O.V. Wright' compilation, nor do I have the scratch to buy the new Japanese P-Vine box set...

SO, I'm not sure if that answered your question, Tom, but like I've always said:

"In Vinyl Veritas"

By the way, we are still accepting donations over at The O.V. Wright Memorial Fund website. Don't miss your chance to become a part of the team.

Thank You Very Much.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the original 45!
As far as I can hear, this is identical to the album version (same vocal and backing track).
(Minor difference: The album version fades a few seconds earlier and the album version does not include harmony vocals on the last repeat of "I brought it here" at 0:33.)

Regarding the alternate version released on "The Soul Of O. V. Wright" CD:
The backing track seems to be identical also in this version.
Even the same lead vocal track is used up until 1:09.
But from there on, another lead vocal track is used!
Wright skips a verse ("There are some men ...") and goes directly into "From the nine to the ten..."
I was mistaking when I thought this version is shorter.
The length of the track is the same (as this is the same backing track as the other versions)
so that makes room for a longer ad-libbing ending by O.V. (as he has skipped the second verse).

In the cd booklet it says "Originally Back Beat single 615 (1970) Previously unreleased on U.S. LP/Different performance of song used on earlier LPs"
It also says "Compiled by Bill Bentley" and "Digitally compiled from original Back Beat Records masters by Erick Labson, MCA Studios."

Perhaps this was a version released on single outside the U.S.?? Anyway, it's worth checking out for fans.
Personally I think the alternate Wright vocal for the last part of the song makes it a better version!

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


A Japanese soul music commentator & also collector, Mr. Hiroshi Suzuki wrote his thought in his book that the writer of "Ace of Spade" must be Melvin Carter who released some 45s from Peackok, Cat and other minor labels in the South and also pointed out that Melvin is singing this "Ace of Spade", too. As you are well aware, this song is featured in O.V.'s album "Nickel And A Nail And Ace Of Spades" on Back Beat label but try to listen to a reissued album which has been released by ABC label. The singer who is singing "Ace of Spade" in this album is different from O.V's voice (but very similar). It seems that the ABC wrongly put Melvin's version into O. V.'s album when they compiled.

Mr. Suzuki also indicated in his book that Melvin Carter was also a song writer and would had gotten some money by selling his rights for songs to the label owners, etc. as other song writers had often done the same thing as well. So, I believe he had sold his rights for the "Ace of Spade" to 'D. Malone' as Mr. Suzuki indicated in his book.

Naoya from Tokyo

8:37 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Naoya -

Right you are, my friend. 'Deadric Malone' never actually wrote anything.

Does anyone out there know whatever became of Melvin Carter? His Peacock singles are just great!

5:47 AM  
Blogger strandwolf said...

Hi, Now the b-side is an interesting item, aside from being pretty damn remarkable as a song: the composer credit is shared by "D. Malone" with a 'J. Seawood'. Seems sort of uncharacteristic of Mr. Robey. Haven't search that name yet but wouldn't be surprised if it led to more questions than answers.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Yes indeed, Wolf...

James Seawood is listed in the BMI Database as the sole composer of two other titles and, as you noted, is listed as the co-writer of the amazing "Afflicted" with Robey... a random check of some of the 103 titles listed under Deadric Malone (or the 701 attributed to Don D Robey) shows that he often shared songwriting credits (with Vernon Morrison on 'A Nickel and a Nail, or Darryl Carter and Charles Hodges on 'I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy' for example)... Makes you wonder why Melvin Carter didn't get the same treatment.


5:08 AM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

...we talk more about all of this here:


6:55 AM  

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