Five-A-Side is the debut album by the pop rock band Ace, released by Anchor Records in 1974.
The album landed on the Billboard 200 chart, reaching #11 in 1974.
The single "How Long" reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also reached #24 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #3 on the Canadian Singles Chart, and #20 on the UK Singles Chart. The song "Rock & Roll Runaway" peaked at #71 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.
The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios near Monmouth in Wales and at Trident Studios in London, England. It was produced by John Anthony.
“How Long,” the song that broke Ace and by many measures defines them, doesn’t necessarily present the most accurate picture of the band or its 1974 debut, Five-A-Side. Sure, Ace had a knack for a soft soulful groove that distinguished them from their pub rock brethren and in Paul Carrack they had perhaps the best blue-eyed soul singer the scene produced (Frankie Miller being a close contender for the title), but neither are the focal point on Five-A-Side, a record evenly balanced between the singer and quintet, as the title implies. Most of the ten-track record doesn’t ride the same easy rhythm as “How Long"; “The Real Feeling” and “Why” come close, containing some of the same ‘70s polyester sheen, but those bear stronger resemblance to the rest of the record, the songs that are heavily rooted in American roots rock, some of which are not sung by Carrack. Ace deftly mimicked the bluesy country-rock of Delaney & Bonnie, choosing to emphasize R&B over shaggy country-folk, thereby sounding quite different than their Band-loving peers. All this gives Five-A-Side a smooth, relaxed quality even on Ace’s relatively harder-rocking numbers like “Sniffin’ About” and that laid-back groove is appealing, partially because there’s just enough grit in their interplay to keep this from being lazy, partially because the songs – chiefly written by Carrack, who bears eight songwriting credits – are so strong, excellent pieces of straight-ahead rock & roll and blue-eyed soul that make this album something of a minor gem of its time.
Phil Harris - lead guitar, vocals
Alan "Bam" King - rhythm guitar, vocals
Paul Carrack - organ, vocals, piano, electric piano
Terry "Tex" Comer - bass
Fran Byrne - drums, percussion
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