The Aces were considered to be the top Blues backing unit in Chicago. Its basic lineup included brothers Louis and Dave Myers, and in its definitive form, Fred Below on drums, though at times there would be other drummers. What made the Aces so special is that they seemed to fit into any Chicago Blues lineup, and raised the musicianship to that genre’s apex. Formed initially with Junior Wells as their singer/harmonica player, this band became most famous when Little Walter left Muddy Waters and struck out on his own, choosing the Aces for his backup band. The recordings made with Little Walter and the Aces would define the direction of the Chicago Blues Harmonica band format, and are considered evergreen classics. Throughout the 1950s, up until the 1970s, the Aces would appear on a multitude of recording sessions, both as a standalone band and a crack backing unit. Here are some memorable photos and clippings of the Aces and their associates to enjoy.
The Aces: Dave Myers, Fred Below, Louis Myers, Toulouse, France, December 1973. Photo Jean-Pierre Tahmazian.
Fred Below. Photo Jean-Pierre Tahmazian.
Dave Myers. Photo Jean-Pierre Tahmazian.
Louis Myers. Photo Jean-Pierre Tahmazian.
Louis Myers at Pepper’s Lounge, 1963, Photo Ray Flerlage.
Aces Promo Photo – 1970s
Note That They Are Standing on Lincoln Avenue Right in Front of Wise Fool’s Pub (Photo Courtesy of Kevin Johnson of Delmark Records)
Eddie Boyd, Buddy Guy, Fred Below. Photo by Brian Smith.
Fred Below and Big Mama Thornton!
Photo courtesy Arhoolie Foundation.
The Aces in France, 1971.
Louis Myers at Louise’s Lounge, Chicago – Summer of 1974
The Aces Held a Regular Blue Monday Jam There During That Time (Photo by Bob Corritore)
Louis Myers at Kingston Mines!
Saxophonist John Cameron, Singer Bobby Jones (Who Recently Resurfaced on the Mannish Boys CD Big Plans on Delta Groove Records), Dave Myers, Odie Payne Jr., Louis Myers – 1959 (Photo from Dave Myers’ Personal Collection, Courtesy of Scott Dirks)
Freddie Hall, ABCO (Cobra) Recording Session
Per Scott Dirks, Dave said this photo was from the session at Cobra’s studio on West Roosevelt Road, which would probably make it 1956. But, since there are no microphones, it is possibly at a rehearsal there. It doesn’t look like a gig at any rate. The drummer is Eugene Lyons (according to his union card, but mispronounced by Louis in an interview, and then known forever after as Eugene Lounge). Pinanist is Freddie Hall, Willie Dixon on bass guitar, and possibly Eli Toscano behind the drummer. Dave and Louis are in the center. (Photo From Dave Myers’ Personal Collection, Courtesy of Scott Dirks)
Dave & Louis – 1954
This is From a Gig That Dave Myers Said Was in Detroit, Where Little Walter & The Aces Shared The Bill With Muddy Waters’ Band; Therefore There Are Two Drum Kits. (Photo From Dave Myers’ Personal Collection, Courtesy of Scott Dirks)
Brothers Dave, Louis and Jimmy Myers. There were 5 brothers: Louis and Dave were best known as the founders of the Aces, Bob played harmonica in John Lee Williamson style, Curtis played piano, but Jimmy Myers was not a musician. Courtesy Illinois Slim. Photo Bill Greensmith.
Dave Myers. Photo Paul Natkin.
Dave Myers backstage at the Chicago Blues Festival. Photo by Bob Corritore.
Ad in the Chicago Defender – Late 1950s (Photo Courtesy of Scott Dirks)
Louis Myers and Leonard Morrison, 1960s, Peppers Lounge, Chicago. Photo Ray Flerlage.
Louis Myers & Fred Below – 1970s (Photo Courtesy of the André Hobus Library – Thanks to Photographers Bob Vanderschueren, Claude Meyer, Annique Massange, André Hobus & March De Jonghe)
Fred Below (Photo Courtesy of Scott Dirks)
Eddie Boyd, B.B. King, Miss Hi-Fi, Earl Hooker, Louis Myers, B.B’s Drummer – Robert’s Show Lounge in Chicago, Illinois – 1958
Excerpt From The Chicago Defender – October 20, 1956 (Photo Courtesy of Scott Dirks)
Little Walter & The Aces Appearing at The Apollo
Sunnyland Slim and Louis Myers. Photo Magnus Calais.
Freddy Below in the back seat!
Photo James Fraher
Louis Myers at the 1970 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival. That year The Aces backed up Johnny Young and Little Willie Anderson played harmonica. Photo by Jeff Todd Titon.
Sammy Lawhorn and Louis Myers. Photo by Stan Miesel.
Louis Myers in the recording studio making the album Southern Man for Advent. Photo by Frank Scott.
Louis Myers rehearsing for his Advent session at Frank Scott’s home in California, March, 1978. Photo Frank Scott.
Louis Myers did some touring with the Legendary Blues Band. Here’s a photo by Tano Ro from one of those tours.
Left to right: Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Madison Slim, Louis Myers, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones.
Poster from Japan’s first blues festival in 1974. Scan of this poster courtesy of Deck.
Louis Myers, Dick Shurman, Otis Rush. Photo courtesy Dick Shurman.
Fred Below and fan Dave Strauss at Louise’s Lounge, Chicago, 1975. Photo by Bob Corritore.
Photo James Fraher
Junior Wells and Louis Myers, Theresa’s Lounge, Chicago, 1977. Photo Stan Miesel.
Louis Myers cover story in Blues Unlimited.
Dave Myers. Photo by Bill Greensmith.
Louis Myers. Photo Bill Greensmith.
Freddy Below and Muddy Waters.
Courtesy Sonny Burnette.
Fred Below. Photo Jean-Pierre Tahmazian, courtesy Soul Bag Magazine.
Louis Myers. Photo Jerry Haussler.
The Aces with Robert Lockwood, 1974, Japan. Photo courtesy Hideki.
Fred Below’s draft card, front and back. Courtesy Edith de Ronde.
Fred Below spinning records at home. This was an emblem for France’s Soul Bag Magazine.