2 August, 2022Print
Ace of Cups To Release Extended Play E.P. Via High Moon Records – Available 8/5 on all Digital PlatformsWith special guests—Steve Kimock, Sid Page, Terry Haggerty, David Freiberg, & David Grisman
(New York, NY) – Ace of Cups, the pioneering all-women band from the ‘60s San Francisco psychedelic scene, will release their new EP, Extended Play, on August 5th via High Moon Records. The new EP is produced by Dan Shea (Santana, Mariah Carey, Phil Collins), and features special guests Steve Kimock, Sid Page, Terry Haggerty,
David Freiberg and David Grisman. Listen to “You Don’t Understand,” the 1st single from the new EP, with its video premiere, and read more about the Ace of Cups here at Rolling Stone.
The EP follows their warmly received, eponymous 2018 self-titled debut, and the critically-acclaimed sophomore album, Sing Your Dreams, released fall, 2020. The music, a testament to creative persistence, came out fifty years after the band’s initial incarnation.
“These songs are like my heart. It’s like you have children that you kept in the closet. They never got to go out and play, and no one ever got to meet them!” explains Ace of Cups co-founder Denise Kaufman.
The late-60s San Francisco music scene—the epicenter of the cultural revolution that changed the world—has been scrutinized, mythologized, and anthologized since its inception. And yet there remains a wonderful, untold story embedded in the fabric of those times that is as magical and inspiring as any other. The story of the Ace of Cups began 55 years ago, when 5 young women, fueled by music, LSD and a paradigm shift of epic proportions, started a band that could hold their own ground, write incredible songs, play the hell out of their instruments, and harmonize with lysergic telepathy. In just a few short years, they wrote over 80 stunning, original songs, shared stages with - and were publicly championed by—the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and Carlos Santana, and sang on albums by Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Michael Bloomfield. They were genuine pioneers within a movement of pioneers, whose very purpose was to forge new paths, their star burning hot and bright and quick. By 1971, the band members were spending more time growing families and pursuing more practical livelihoods, and combined with the lack of imagination and old-boy’s club attitudes among the major labels, Ace of Cups dissipated like a dream before they had recorded an album, an historical misstep that would take over 50 years to remedy.
If it weren’t for It’s Bad For You, But Buy It, an electrifying compilation of archival live material released in 2004, Ace of Cups would have likely remained shrouded in myth and mystery, a tantalizing name on countless iconic San Francisco concert posters, and essentially unknown but for those lucky enough to have witnessed their transcendent live shows between 1967 and 1971.
In 2016, when High Moon Records had the honor of reuniting Ace of Cups to record their studio debut, the band faced a blessing wrapped in a challenge; to distill a catalog of 100 songs—exceptionally varied in genre, style and perspective—into a cohesive album as authentic and vibrant as the extraordinary women bringing history to life. It was a daunting task, and their debut quickly grew in size and scope until a triple-LP set began to emerge from the recording sessions. Eventually common sense prevailed, and Ace of Cups’ 2018 self-titled debut was released as a 26-song, double-LP that reflected all the essential facets of the band’s musical identity and their undiminished commitment to compassion, tolerance, and justice—the same values that had motivated them in 1967, playing music together in a cold-water flat in the heart of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. Ace of Cups was hailed as a triumph by critics and a revelation to thousands of fans new and old, including a humbling outpouring of gratitude from female musicians inspired by Ace of Cups’ musicianship, perseverance, and integrity. Invigorated by the album’s success, the band’s follow-up, Sing Your Dreams (2020), revealed another generous, vibrant batch of material that was essential to understanding the almost limitless scope of their creative powers.
Now, in summer 2022, the Ace of Cups’ significance as the living embodiment of the creative and humanitarian ideals of the Sixties countercultural revolution has been accepted, and they are poised to complete the cycle begun six years ago when they compiled that massive list of songs to consider for their debut. The forthcoming Extended Play E.P. (August 5th all digital platforms, LP & CD available late-fall) includes four sublime songs written more than 50 years ago, and two recent compositions that fit seamlessly into their exceptional catalog.
“You Don’t Understand” is a shimmering gem of Byrdsy psych-pop jangle, infused with Spector-esque tension, and propelled by the band’s lock-tight musicianship. The song was penned by Denise Kaufman, who had been active in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, when revered music critic Ralph J. Gleason caught her blowing fiery blues harp at a campus protest. The forefather of music journalism became a big fan of Kaufman’s, as well as a mentor to her. Kaufman went on to join Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters (as ‘Mary Microgram’) and perform at the Acid Tests. When she began playing with the Ace of Cups in 1967, Gleason asked to hear new material and Kaufman recorded seven songs on her reel to reel, and gave him the tape. Fifty years later, as the band was recording their debut album, the tape was found in the archives of Fantasy Records and “You Don’t Understand” was given new life.
“Baby Come Home” showcases the band’s Americana-roots material—a facet of their sound as integral as the turned-on, plugged-in electricity of their late-60s live sets. The song features flawless contributions from mandolin virtuoso, and genre-unto himself, David Grisman and buoyantly soulful fiddle runs from Sid Page, (Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Sly Stone, Van Morrison). The warm welcome of the acoustic arrangement and the simple, homespun melody allows room for Grisman and Page to shine, as do the celestial layers of vocal harmony the Ace of Cups channel so instinctively. Songwriter Denise Kaufman sings about yearning for her then-husband (Bay Area jazz legend) Noel Jewkes to return from tour, fresh-baked bread waiting, and no questions asked.
Ace of Cups Extended Play | Tracklist
1) You Don't Understand (3:11)
2) Baby Come Home (3:27)
3) Note To Self (3:29)
4) Yellow Petalled Flower (2:55)
5) Sleeping Alone (1:42)
6) Reunion (3:44)
Ace of Cups Extended Play Link: https://lnk.to/AceOfCups-ExtendedPlay
“Just by existing, the Ace of Cups are moving things forward for gender and age equality—a nice signal to the world that there’s no age limit on following your dreams.” — Billboard
“By finally bringing their songs into the studio, Denise Kaufman believes Ace Of Cups add a new dimension to the well-worn legend of late-’60s San Francisco: “What were women thinking about in that era? I think the messages of our songs are really timely.
I want people to know that we were singing about these questions and these thoughts and these feelings then – and still are now.”
—Rob Mitchum UNCUT
“I heard some groovy sounds last time in the States, like this girl group, Ace of Cups, who write their own songs and the lead guitarist is hell, really great.”
—Jimi Hendrix Melody Maker, December 1967
“Ace Of Cups are a Cameron Crowe movie waiting to happen.”
—Jason Anderson UNCUT
“Ace of Cups mixed high-intensity, badass rock and roll with lovely a cappella harmonies and created something magical, something their fellow musicians and audiences loved. The biggest challenge is deciding which is more remarkable, the songs or the story.”
—Dennis McNally (Author, Music Historian)
“The Ace of Cups were stand up, fearless girls with hearts made out of music, and plugged into some Universal frequency that generated warmth and joy with the consistency of a heart-beat. This album is not a time capsule. This is the work of seasoned artists who’ve never stopped growing and never started taking themselves too seriously. The joy, the fun, the funk is still here. They are still beautiful and undefeated—mothers and grandmothers who defy roles and stereotypes, and stay plugged in to the same sacred artery.”
—Peter Coyote (Actor, Writer, Zen Buddhist Priest)
High Moon Records focuses on rare and exceptional reissues, historic archival collections, and outstanding new artists, with a catalog that includes Love, Gene Clark, Terry Dolan, Marvin Gardens, Ace of Cups, Curt Boettcher, Ryan Martin, and the newly-released Sons of Adam Saturday’s Sons--The Complete Recordings: 1964-1966.
Upcoming releases include: Lotti Golden’s 1969 cult-classic Motor-Cycle; Arthur Lee’s (Love) Just To Remind You a never-before-heard collection of archival recordings from his final years; Final Solution Just Like Gold – Live at The Matrix, 1966, Laurie Styvers Gemini Girl, Jeannie Piersol, and deluxe box sets from legendary San Francisco rock clubs The Matrix and Avalon Ballroom (1965-1970), curated from thousands of hours of previously unheard archival tapes. High Moon releases feature beautifully detailed packaging and artwork, extensive liner notes, rare and exclusive archival photos, and bonus tracks that dreams are made of.