Selected tracks from the band’s Big Beat CD of 2003, plus a previously unissued version of ‘Simplicity’. Pressed on 180g black vinyl in a thick cardboard sleeve with copious notes on inner bag.
San Francisco in the late 1960s: an incredible socio-cultural arena, a true crucible of creativity, and ground zero for much of the best (and conversely, some of the worst) rock’n’roll of the time. And a locale so populous, not every deserving voice would get to be heard. One that was indeed most deserving was that of a group of young women by the name of the Ace Of Cups. The concept of musical combos comprised solely of women was of course nothing new, dating as it did back to vaudeville times, and the post-Beatles group explosion had already liberated many young women into forming self-contained bands – there were plenty even in mid-60s northern California. Women were also already at the forefront of the local alternative rock scene in groups such as the Jefferson Airplane, the Great! Society and Big Brother & the Holding Company. To aficionados of the genre, the Ace Of Cups have achieved a posthumous notoriety as the first all-female rock band taken seriously enough to be given an equal share of the stage with their male peers. Yet their music had to wait decades to be heard.
The ladies of the Ace Of Cups all went on to have varied careers in music. Mary Gannon became a popular and highly respected community music teacher in Hawaii. Diane Vitalich, Mary Ellen Simpson and Marla Hunt have all played regularly in different professional combos in northern California, and Marla in particular got to see some of her songs recorded in the early 1970s, during which time she founded and supervised the popular Fairfax Street Choir. Denise Kaufman also played in a number of bands and went to music school and studied bass, in addition to devoting herself to her other two passions: surfing and yoga. In 2003 the original CD issue of this album finally gave tangible form to the Ace Of Cups’ legacy.
In a miraculous happenstance, there has been an unexpected coda to their story, with the recent release of a self-titled double album on High Moon Records. Consisting of both revamped Ace Of Cups repertoire – including fresh interpretations of some of the vintage songs included herein – and powerful new material that reflects the women’s paths in the intervening decades, the long-awaited Ace Of Cups “debut” may have arrived a half-century late, yet it remains as vibrant and captivating as the innocent sounds of their youthful first incarnation. Both eras are imbued with the special magic that only the Ace Of Cups can create.