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But the Ace label has its heart in Rock and Roll, its precursors and offspring. It all started with Country, Blues, Vaudeville and Sacred Music in the first part of the 20th Century. Gradually a music industry grew alongside the publishing business, as demand for records was fuelled by the ever increasing access to Radio. After a shaky start and a hiatus during and immediately after WWII, a strong and vibrant music industry finally emerged, issuing hundreds of 78s per week across America. Independent record companies soon thrived, providing local music, mainly for local consumption. It is from these Indies that much of the Ace label catalogue is drawn. Country and its cousins, Western Swing and Hillbilly (Boogie) catered to the white rural market. The Devil's Blues and Gospel fought it out on Saturday night and Sunday morning and the former added an Urban beat to be coined as Rhythm and Blues. Doo Wop evolved across the racial divide with an accent on melody. Local variations appeared in far-flung corners, with each genre producing distinct regional styles. New Orleans Rhythm and Blues had its own unmistakeable feel, and also in Louisiana the Cajuns produced their own French rockin' boogie and its Afro American counterpart, Zydeco. Influences were taken on board later from the outside world to produce Swamp Pop. But this whole cacophony coalesced in 1955 and exploded across the Nation as Rock N Roll. The impact of the original Hillbilly cat and his Rock-A-Billy sound was to reverberate for decades. It shook, rattled and rolled over Beethoven and anyone else who got in its way for a few spectacular years, before being arranged back into a neater and tidier Teen Pop. Such flames burn bright but briefly. And all of the above can be found on Ace Records, producing the very best from the Golden Age of Rock and Roll, and its immediate progenitors.

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