The Beck Oeuvre: Song #6 “Ace Of Spade”

Throw the chicken! Break the wine!

This song, being the first we hit from the old tapes, has led to some reflection about the old tapes themselves. And a cool photo depiction of the song!


There was a period of time — back in the day, after the Beck mailing list shut down — when I was cut off from the greater Beck internets. I had not yet discovered the BBS and, even once I had, it still took me awhile to get into it and use it. I’m pretty sure I was in second year university when I finally returned to the Beck fold. One of the first things that I had discovered is that a new demo tape, Don’t Get Bent Out of Shape, had been unearthed (by Chonk I believe).

I love One Foot in the Grave (the album, though also the song). I love rare Beck stuff. Here was an entire album’s worth of brand new folksy, bluesy rare Beck shit! Hells yes! I was really stoked to discover this.

‘Ace of Spade’, among others on DGBOOS, caused my roommates at the time to ask “what the hell kind of tribal music” I was listening to. I guess through walls and closed doors the bassy recording, hard strumming, and occasional guitar thump sound like crazy tribal rhythms.

This is a darn good song.


I was thinking I would note the bluesiness of this song, and especially the lyrics, here. But upon re-listening to the song a bunch of times, I’m struck instead by Beck’s voice. He does not do anything really noteworthy, it’s that half-talk, half-sing type of voice. But he also nails the youthful exuberance, which is certainly as much the joy of these early tapes as the songs themselves.



When I was a kid my dad had a ton of vinyl, and I loved watching him listen to his favorites on the turntable in our basement. He was, and still is, very much a Stones/Fleetwood Mac/Mamas & the Papas kind of guy. I adored that stuff and still do too, but it was just as fun to visit my friends’ homes and listen to various different kinds of music with their parents. My friend Joanne is the one who had the hippie parents who were into folk music. I don’t remember discussion of specific artists, but I’m pretty sure that’s how/where I first got familiar with Woody Guthrie.

“Ace Of Spade” reminds me of being at Joanne’s house, which always felt like a big hug when the music was on. And it always was.

This is where I get to out myself as a latecomer to being an uber-fan. I didn’t become an online-active Beck fan until after Guero came out. I found the hub then and downloaded like crazy, including the old tapes, but a lot of that stuff I haven’t really listened to since then. Finding this song again and listening to it for this project has put a big smile on my face. It reminds me of how much more open I’ve become again to different kinds of music through exploring Beck’s oeuvre and his roots. I think it’s phenomenal that this one man is like a musical village. I used to have to go from house to house as a kid to get exposed to different kinds of music. But through his life’s work, Beck’s kind of compiled so much of that and become a conduit for so many of us, leading us to seek out even more and to have many more musical adventures. I’m incredibly grateful to him for that.

Next, a trip to “Acropolis Now”!

2 Responses to “The Beck Oeuvre: Song #6 “Ace Of Spade””

  1. RockMeDiabeetus says:


  2. mikeC says:

    Great Posts, I still havent heard this album or song, that’s the great thing about bek you can always find something new once in a while. As long as it’s not Replica.

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