“How Long”, Ace (1974)
From it’s funky opening bass, it’s great keyboards and smooth vocals, this is pop/funk at its best.
This British group formed in 1972 was the training ground for singer Paul Carrack who would go on to sing lead in many popular groups.
Originally the band was called “'Ace Flash and the Dynamos”, but quickly shortened to just “Ace”. The first album they release was “Five-A-Side”, with the single “How Long” which did very well in the U.K. and went to #3 in the U.S. in 1974.
I always thought this was a song about a relationship breaking up, and it was but not what you would expect – it was about Paul finding out that bassist Tony Corner was secretly working with other bands and was going to leave Ace.
The funky sound that Ace had, particularly with “How Long” is said to have influenced Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs, all the members of Ace, being very competent musicians. Carrack himself has been a studio keyboard player for the Pretenders, Rodger Waters, the Smiths, Elton John, B.B. King and many more.
The very excellent voice of Paul Carrack is familiar to many. He went on to be in the “Squeeze” which did the hit “Tempted”, “Cool for Cats” and many other U.K. hits. After that he was in “Mike+the Mechanics” who had the hits with ”Silent Running”, “Living Years”, and “All I Need is a Miracle”. You have heard his voice for sure!
Corner did return to Ace to play on “How Long”, which is good otherwise we would never have had that very cool opening bass line before Carrack's forlorn plea of “How long has this been going on?”