“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jackson in Hinds County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Ace Records

Ace Records Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jeff Lovorn, November 13, 2011
1. Ace Records Marker
Inscription. Ace Records, founded in 1955 by Johnny Vincent (1925-2000), was the most successful Mississippi-based label of the 1950s and 1960s. Ace’s extensive catalog of blues, R&B, pop, rock, and soul included records by Mississippi blues artists Arthur Crudup, Sam Myers, King Edward, Pat Brown, and Willie Clayton, as well as hit singles by Louisiana singers Jimmy Clanton, Frankie Ford, Huey “Piano” Smith, and Earl King. Ace was based for many years on this block of West Capitol Street.

Johnny Vincent, born John Vincent Imbraguglio (later modified to Imbragulio) on October 3, 1925, became fascinated with the blues via the jukebox at his parents’ restaurant in Laurel. After serving in the Merchant Marine he started his own jukebox business in Laurel, and in 1947 became a sales representative for a New Orleans record distributor. In the late ’40s Vincent purchased Griffin Distributing Company in Jackson and operated both Griffin and a retail business, the Record Shop, at 241 North Farish Street. He started the Champion label in the early ’50s, issuing blues singles by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup of Forest and Jackson musicians Joe Dyson and Bernard “Bunny” Williams. In 1953 Vincent signed on as a talent scout for Los Angeles-based Specialty Records. His most notable production for Specialty
Ace Records Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jeff Lovorn, November 13, 2011
2. Ace Records Marker
was “The Things I Used to Do,” recorded in New Orleans by Guitar Slim, aka Eddie Jones, a native of Greenwood. Featuring Ray Charles on piano, the song was one of the biggest R&B hits of the 1950s. During his tenure with Specialty Vincent also supervised sessions by John Lee Hooker, Kenzie Moore, and others.

In 1955 Vincent started Ace, named after the Ace Combs brand. The label’s first hit, “Those Lonely, Lonely Nights” by New Orleans bluesman Earl King, was recorded at Trumpet Records’ Diamond Recording Studio at 309 North Farish Street. Ace became the first important regional label for New Orleans music, scoring national hits by Louisiana artists Huey Smith and the Clowns (“Don't You Just Know It”), Frankie Ford (“Sea Cruise”), and Jimmy Clanton, a “teen idol” whose “Just A Dream” topped the R&B charts in 1960. Among the Ace artists who recorded either at the New Orleans studio of Cosimo Matassa or here in Jackson in the 1950s and ‘60s were Sam Myers, Joe Tex, Bobby Marchan, James Booker, Charles Brown, Joe Dyson, Lee Dorsey, Rufus McKay, Scotty McKay, Big Boy Myles, Tim Whitsett, and Mac Rebennack, later known as “Dr. John.”

In 1962 Vincent signed a potentially lucrative distribution deal with Vee-Jay Records of Chicago, but that label’s bankruptcy in 1966 was catastrophic for Ace. In the ’70s Vincent revamped Ace, making new recordings as well as repackaging old hits, but had only limited success. He turned to various other enterprises, including a restaurant, but returned to the record business with full force in the early ’90s, as he reoriented Ace to the contemporary soul-blues market with a roster that included Mississippi-born singers Cicero Blake, Robert “The Duke” Tillman, J. T. Watkins, Pat Brown, and Willie Clayton. The latter pair had success with the duet “Equal Opportunity.” In 1997 Vincent sold Ace to the British firm Music Collection International but started a new label, Avanti, and continued to record soul-blues artists. Vincent died on February 4, 2000.

content © Mississippi Blues Commission
Erected 2009 by The Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 87.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 32° 18.025′ N, 90° 11.378′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker is on Capitol Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jackson MS 39201, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 217 W. Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Edwards Hotel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Scott Radio Service Company (approx. 0.2 miles away); Trumpet Records (approx. 0.2 miles away); Greyhound Bus Station (approx. ¼ mile away); The Alamo Theatre (approx. ¼ mile away); Otis Spann & Little Johnnie Jones (approx. 0.4 miles away); Smith Robertson School (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Jackson.
Additional comments.
1. Status of Ace Records marker.
Was traveling thru Jackson and went looking for this marker to take a requested wide shot of marker area. Marker appears to be no longer there. Last year the whole street was renovated and possibly the marker was temporarily put aside for safekeeping.
    — Submitted October 19, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

Categories. Arts, Letters, Music
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Jeff Lovorn of Florence, Mississippi. This page has been viewed 594 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Jeff Lovorn of Florence, Mississippi. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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