Buddy Ace | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Vocalist Buddy Ace hails from Texas, and he's got the suave sophistication one might expect from a Lone Star State bluesman who cites Bobby "Blue" Bland as one of his primary influences. But he's capable of steamy funk as well as mellow balladeering, and his Old Testament prophet appearance--white suit, flowing mane, regal beard--adds to the genial sense of patriarchal authority his lyrics convey. Ace is known among aficionados for his hard-to-find early recordings on Don Robey's Houston-based Duke label, but he's had his glimmers of recognition on the national charts as well: "Nothing in This World Can Hurt Me" (1966), "Hold On (To This Old Fool)" (1967). Since the 60s nationwide hits have been slow in coming, but he's continued to score regionally with tunes like 1990's "Root Doctor," the song he's probably best known for around Chicago, and the more recent "Fix It Man." Ace's fans are uncompromising in their admiration, and his shows are gatherings of the faithful. For this event, the second annual Blues Bowl, he shares the bill with Clarence Carter, Tyrone Davis, Johnnie Taylor, Denise LaSalle, and virtually everyone else on the contemporary black-oriented blues world's first team. Saturday, 8 PM, pavilion, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1140 W. Harrison; 247-6514 or 559-1212.

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