"This album was tremendous when it was first released, and it's even better today, thanks to the Amazing Rhythm Aces' re-mastering and the inclusion of the lyrics along with original art. Yes, there are in fact "twofers" available of this title, but this one is the real gem (and since the Aces probably aren't making anything off those inferior versions, it would be great to support them and not another record label that just wanted to make a few bucks off their hard work.)"
Six stars, on a scale of one to five
imsighked | Albuquerque, N.M. | 09/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my "two-fer" vinyl albums, meaning I liked it so much I wore the vinyl out and bought a second copy to use soley as a master for making cassettes to play. I searched in vain for years before finding it on compact disc. This is one of those rare albums in that there is not a clunker on the set. The Aces deftly mixed country, bluegrass, R&B and their own brand of Memphis soul to become one of the most eclectic, entertaining bands of the 1970s. "Third Rate Romance," a wry song about the free love atmosphere of the 1970s, was a Top-40 hit that got a lot of airplay when this album hit the airwaves in '75. The song (along with a video) was recently covered by country artist Sammy Kershaw. My favorite tune on this set is "The Ella-B," another Russell Smith-penned song taking the listener on an R&B flavored trip on a Mississippi River paddleboat. "Life's Railway to Heaven" is a nice introduction to this band's instrumental virtuosity in a bluegrass tune with a neat false ending followed by some incredible picking. "Who Will the Next Fool Be?" and "My Tears Still Flow" feature the band's tight harmonies and some tasty James Hooker piano, while "Amazing Grace (Used to be Her Favorite Song)" got some FM radio airplay as a clever, tongue-in-cheek country parody. Emma Jean is a hilarious, Carribean-tempo song about a rather dense man with a crush on a lesbian. The album wraps up nicely with "King of the Cowboys," a wonderul homage to the "dying breed" of the American cowboy. This is THE Aces album to own, although you might consider the two-for CD that includes this album and "Too Stuffed to Jump," a more uneven effort that is worth picking up solely to get the tunes "The End is Not in Sight (The Cowboy Tune)" and "Dancing the Night Away." (Tanya Tucker did a nice cover of "Dancing the Night Away" in the late 1970s.) This band recently reformed and began touring, and would be well worth seeing, although original pianist James Hooker, long-time bandleader for Nancy Griffith, decided not to rejoin the Aces."
What A RIDE!!
Bill Taylor | Romney,WV | 08/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this on vinyl about 25 or 26 years ago and boy,I was hooked! Russell Smith can sure write the tunes,and sing 'em too! Butch McDade made use of the hi-hat and other cymbals as no other drummer ever could,the point,counter-point of James Hooker on piano and Billy Earheart on keyboards,Stick Davis laying out any ol'foundation on bass one could imagine,and Byrd Burton on that swwweeettt guitar,God,when these guys got a riff going,watch out!! This set covers the southern roots of these guys,produced by no less than one Sam Phillips and his son Knox. From the opening tune to the close this one was heavenly,as Jerry Lee Lewis once said"if you can't get it from this,you must be dead,cause it don't get any better than this"!. And,on cd it just gets better and better, BUY this one and go get the rest of the Aces,they are overlooked gems,that should never have been."
Will Lowe | NYC | 01/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stacked Deck has been a favorite of mine since its release in the early '70's. Astounding country/rock in every sense--instrumentally, vocally, etc. Russel Smith is an outstanding vocalist and guitar works is fabulous. Unfortunately, Amazing Rhythm Aces didn't receive the acolades they deserved when this album was first released--they were too intelligent for mainstream country and too country for most mainstream (intelligent) rockers. That's all changed. I rate this and the Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo as the two best country/rock albums ever (and I'm a picky music fan). The other ARA cd's are all quality but none can compare with this gem. Don't hesitate--you will never regret getting your hands on this one!"