As proof that Ace remains committed to the music that helped build its reputation as a foremost archivist of vintage R&B, this month we bring you our second package chronicling the output of Modern’s longest-running subsidiary of the 1950s, RPM. “Speak Easy” joins the RPM catalogue at the end of 1953 – the point where we left it on the first volume – and carries on through to the label’s final releases of late 1957. Although the focus is primarily on blues and R&B, a smattering of pop and rockabilly is also included. Every one of the important artists to record for RPM is heard on at least one selection – more in the case of bigger names such as B.B. King.
Wherever possible we’ve used previously unreleased or hard-to-find alternate takes and previously un-reissued recordings. Of the 54 featured selections, 33 have never been on an Ace CD before. The remaining 21 have been mastered from new transfers of the original tapes, or best-available dubs on the few occasions where the tape is lost. Nothing here is exactly as heard on any prior Ace CD.
Although this wraps up the RPM story, there are still plenty of other labels where it and Flair came from. Next on the agenda will be Crown, with Kent to follow. All this and we haven’t even started on parent label Modern yet.