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Alvin Vance Smith was born in Laurel MS and grew up in Memphis TN. He started playing the guitar when he was around 13 years old. He played on the front porch of his family apartment in a housing project in Memphis called Lamar Terrace.

He played his first night club in Arkansas at the young age of 15 years old with a well known artist called Charlie Feathers, who happened to live right across from him in the same projects. Charlie at the time was recording at Sam Phillips famous recording studio SUN, so was Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, etc.

Alvin learned alot from Charlie about music and was like family all his life. Alvin began playing guitar with the Bill Black Combo . At 16, he took Regi Young's (famous guitar player) place, playing with Bill Black on the weekends.

The Beatles came over and Regi came back to play because they were touring with the Beatles, so Alvin started playing with Ace Cannon (famous Sax). Along about then Alvin changed his stage name to AL VANCE and recorded a 45 record at American Recording Studios in Memphis, called "Every Woman I Know is Crazy About an Automobile" for Gold Wax Records.

He then got drafted in the Army for two years. After the Army Alvin began playing guitar and singing again He played with a seven piece band, trumpet, sax, B3 Hammond, guitar, bass, drums, and a lead singer named Delbert MC Kinnon. They were called the 7 from 11 band, great rhythm and blues, and worked all over St. Louis, Memphis and Dallas.

Al Vance has played guitar with just about everybody in Memphis. B.B. Cunningham, one of the alltime greatest musicians in Memphis has known Alvin since he was 13 years old. B.B. today has been playing bass with Jerry Lee Lewis going on 8 years overseas and everywhere. Ask him about Al Vance he'll tell you, they are like family and have kept in touch all their lives.

Today Al Vance's only record he recorded is on ACE Records out of London England, and featured on many more labels all over the world. Alvin never received any royalties, although his song is still out there on many record sold. In a way he's like Charlie Feathers who never received anything either.

Today: Al Vance is working on a CD of original songs that he has written and hopes that it will be ready to be released by early 2005. It will be a mixture of all kinds of music.

Posted September, 2005

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