Charlie Ace

b. Valdene Dixon (27 December 1945 - mid-1980s), Jamaica, West Indies. Dixon began his recording career with producer Joe Gibbs in the late 60s. Very little material resulted from these sessions, however, with only 'Seeing Is Believing' appearing on the producer's own Amalgamated label in the UK and Jamaica. Dixon gained a higher profile when he recorded as Charlie Ace with Lee Perry. Under this name, Dixon released a number of ribald chants, including duets with the exotic Fay. Notable combination hits included 'Mr Whitaker', 'Punany' and, in response to Judge Dread's pop hit, 'the official reggae version' of 'Big Seven'. In addition to recording with Perry, Ace also appeared on other productions, including 'Book Of Books' for Phil Pratt and 'Creation Version' for Sonia Pottinger, while with producer Alvin 'GG' Ranglin he released 'Hot Number' and 'Lover's Affair Version'.

He was not considered to be in the same league as the likes of U-Roy or Big Youth, although he featured on the classic Upsetters release of 'Cow Thief Skank' in combination with Lee Perry. The release was greeted with suitable enthusiasm, topping the reggae charts, although other releases from these sessions failed to match the single's success. Other releases include 'Do Something' and 'The Creeper', while in combination with the Inswings he recorded 'Hot Butter Dub'. Following his career as a DJ, Dixon decided to take the hits to the people by converting a Morris 1000 van into the mobile 'Swing A Ling' record shop, driving around Kingston with the latest releases. His venture is frequently featured in Jamaican Tourist magazines and appeared on the Channel 4 television documentary Deep Roots Music.

-- Courtesy (AllMusic.com) --

Charlie Ace's Mobile 'Swing-A-Ling' Recording Studio | Kingston Jamaica 1974

Charlie Ace
Charlie Ace's Swing-A-Ling van, Kingston 1970s.

A common sight in the ghettos of Kingston back in the 1970s was Charlie Ace's colourful Swing-a-Ling mobile recording studio, a moveable feast of sound from which Ace handed vinyl pressings like leavened bread for the crowds. Footage of the man at work is pure vintage. "C'mon mon, I've got a lot of people to serve today!" he hectors one dawdling customer who pisses him off. Working from a converted Morris van, most of the material Charlie sold was his own.

Born Vernel Dixon, Charlie Ace in fact remains one of music's largely forgotten deejay originals. Initially making a name for himself after working with Lee Scratch Perry, cutting "Django Shoots First", "The Creeper" and "Cow Thief Skank", and delivering the goods for Vincent "Randys" Chin on "Country Boy". He also worked on the 1973 Rasta classic "Father and Dreadlocks" for Coxsone Dodd. He put out a number of records on his Swing-A-Ling label included "Firing Line" - a reworking of a popular disco hit - credited to Charlie Ace & the Inswings and released in the summer of 1974.

Charlie Ace
Charlie Ace, the man and his work, certainly deserve a place in history - along with his iconic truck.

Tragically, he was shot and killed in 1980 - although details of the exact circumstances of his death remain unknown. It is a fate sadly not uncommon among a number of Jamaican reggae artists.

-- Courtesy (Geoff Stanton -- fromthebarrelhouse.com) --