2018 album. The record features contributions from friends like Bob Weir, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Taj Mahal, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and many more.
The 1960s Bay Area psych-rock band Ace of Cups will release ‘Ace Of Cups’ their debut album via High Moon Records. Although the group shared the stage with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, they never recorded a proper album and called it a day in 1972.
An all-women ensemble that could flip from barbershop-style harmonies to mind-bending psychedelic jams at a moment’s notice, Ace of Cups didn’t find commercial success in their day. This was partially due to their uncategorisable presence in the rock n' roll boys’ club; back then, label suits would routinely ignore the band to schmooze with and sign their male peers. Or, as original guitarist Denise Kaufman puts it to Billboard - “They would just look at us and go, ‘What are you?’”
There were other, simpler reasons for the split, too; most of the band had become new mothers by the end. With no tangible commercial success on the horizon, the Ace of Cups began to make less sense on a practical level. The five musicians - Kaufman, bassist Mary Gannon, organist Marla Hunt, lead guitarist Mary Ellen Simpson and drummer Diane Vitalich - amicably went their separate ways in the early ‘70s, with each working various supplemental jobs. But crucially, no member of the Ace of Cups ever lost touch with the other nor hung up their instruments.
Instead of being lost to rock history, the Ace of Cups have enjoyed a spectacular - and highly improbable - second act 50 years later. A collection of rehearsal demos, TV soundstage audio and other ephemera from their brief run resulted in the great compilation “It’s Bad For You So Buy It!” and renewed interest in the long-defunct band. And when George Wallace, head of the ‘60s and ‘70s rarity label High Moon Records, initially approached the band to release more of those tapes, it turned out to be a no-brainer as to what the Ace of Cups’ next move should be: finally making a record.
And what a debut it is, brimming over not only with great songs, but a formidable guest list from the band’s ‘60s peers Bob Weir, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Taj Mahal and more. It’s the sound of four maximum-eclectic musical lifers, unfettered by old frustrations in the biz and purely ready to jam.