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Amazing Rhythm Aces Biography

Amazing Rhythm Aces Biography

The Amazing Rhythm Aces is an American music group. The band has characterized their music as "American Music" — rock, country, blues, folk, reggae and Latino. They are best known for their 1970s hit "Third Rate Romance". The Aces were first a local band in Knoxville, Tennessee in the late 1960s early 1970s although they went by another name. The band consisted of founding members Russell Smith, Jeff Davis, and Butch McDade. They left Knoxville for greener pastures in the early seventies. The Aces came together in Memphis, Tennessee in 1972, first with bassist Jeff Davis and drummer Butch McDade, who had recorded and toured with singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester. Davis and McDade recruited vocalist/guitarist Russell Smith, keyboardist Billy Earhart III, lead guitar, multi-instrumentalist, Barry 'Byrd' Burton, and pianist James Hooker to develop a sound mixing pop, country and blue-eyed soul. Stacked Deck, their debut album released in 1975, resulted in two crossover (rock and country) hits, "Third Rate Romance" and "Amazing Grace (Used to Be Her Favorite Song)," the group's lone Top 10 country single. In 1976 "The End Is Not in Sight (The Cowboy Tune)," from the album Too Stuffed to Jump, won a Grammy for Country Vocal Performance by a Group. Burton left the group after the release of 1977's Toucan Do It Too, and was replaced by Duncan Cameron. In 1978, the Aces released Burning the Ballroom Down, followed the next year by a self-titled effort featuring songs with Joan Baez, Tracy Nelson and the Muscle Shoals Horns. Both albums received critical approval, but sold poorly. They released another album, How the Hell Do You Spell Rhythum, before disbanding.

Smith became a successful songwriter, Earhart joined Hank Williams, Jr.'s Bama Band, and Cameron joined Sawyer Brown, a group that found significant chart success in the 1980s with a sound similar to Amazing Rhythm Aces. Hooker joined Nanci Griffith in 1987, and remains the leader of the band The Blue Moon Orchestra A year after the release of Out of the Blue, Butch McDade passed away after a long battle with cancer on November 29, 1998. Barry 'Byrd' Burton went on to become a successful producer and legendary session guitarist. He released a solo instrumental country effort in 2002, titled Byrd Braynz (ADF Records). Barry 'Byrd' Burton passed away on March 10, 2008 from complications of Myelodysplastic syndrome (a rare form of blood cancer). The Aces reformed in 1994. The group, composed of Smith, Davis, McDade, Earhart, Hooker and new guitarist/mandolinist Danny Parks, released Ride Again, an album of new renditions of their biggest hits. They began composing songs for a comeback album; although McDade's cancer-related death on 29 November 1998 slowed the release, Chock Full of Country Goodness appeared in mid-1998.

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