Johnny Ace is R&B's unsung hero, an early crooner whose silky vocals and swinging delivery made some of the surest moves on the chessboard of '50s R&B. Ace's reputation ranged far and wide, even finding its way into the writings and music of punk icon Patti Smith. Unfortunately, the singer died in 1954 in an ill-fated game of Russian Roulette, and became something of a legend because of it. But don't dwell on the tragedy; the few recordings Ace made stand the test of time. Besides hits like "Pledging My Love" and "Cross My Heart," lesser-known tunes like "Yes Baby," a duet with Big Mama Thornton, truly rock.