Ted Lucas

Band members                             Related acts

- Ted Lucas (RIP 1992) -- vocals, guitar

- The Horny Toads (Ted Lucas)

- The Misty Wizards  (Ted Lucas)

- Peace Bread & Land Band (Ted Lucas)

- The Spikedrivers (Ted Lucas)





Genre: folk-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Ted Lucas

Company: OM

Catalog: OM-5374

Year: 1975

Country/State: Detroit, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes lyric insert, but no Stanley Mouse postcard; also has bonus 'Head In California' 45

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1021

Price: $200.00



Hard to believe singer/guitarist Ted Lucas was the same guy who recorded with Detroit's The Spikedrivers ...  As such, let me just mention that if you're expecting to hear something similar to 'High Times' or 'Strange Mysterious Sounds' you might want to check around for a couple of free sound bites before investing relatively big money in a copy of Lucas' solo album.  On the other hand, if you're one of those folks who enjoy largely acoustic singer/songwriter material, have I got a treat for you. 


Written and produced by Lucas who also handled vocals and guitar, 1975's "Ted Lucas" was actually kind of schizophrenic.  The first side featured a collection of six largely acoustic singer/songwriter numbers.  Propelled by Lucas' likable voice tracks such as 'Plain & Sane & Simple Melody' and 'It's So Easy (When You Know What Your Doing)'  were surprisingly tuneful and attractive.  With a little bit of production work and promotional support something like 'I'll Find a Way (To Carry It All)'' would have sounded great on top-40 radio.  To be honest, to my ears some of side one actually sounded a little bit like "Clapton Unplugged". Okay, maybe not the moody 'It Is So Nice To Get Stoned'.  Elsewhere, the dulcimer-propelled 'Now That I Know' and 'Baby Where You Are' sported a nifty country-ish flavor.  Apparently recorded live, side two shifted the focus to Lucas the instrumentalist, in the process reminding me of something that John Fahey or Leo Kotke might have recorded.  Side two opened with a pair of bluesy acoustic numbers that showcased Lucas' chops, but weren't particularly memorable.  Clocking in at eight minutes, 'Love & Peace Raga' featured an entertaining mixture of folk, psych and raga influences.  Certainly not something that will change your outlook on life, though it did sport a cool Stanley Mouse cover ...  


"Ted Lucas" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Plain & Sane & Simple Melody   (Ted Lucas) - 3:26

In this case the title was pretty apt as 'Plain & Sane & Simple Melody' wasn't particularly sophisticated or elaborate - basically Lucas accompanied by strumming acoustic guitars.  Don't let that put you off since the thoughtful lyrics, pretty melody, and multi-tracked lead vocals made this a stunning way to start the album.   rating: **** stars

2.) It's So Easy (When You Know What Your Doing)   (Ted Lucas) - 2:59

Pretty, uplifting acoustic ditty, though not as immediately impressive as the debut.  Love the multi-tracked vocals.  In one of those ironies, Swedish singer Erica Bjuremark (probably best known as a member of the band, Any Exit), generated a bunch of attention when her cover of the tune was featured in am Audi commercial, which, thanks to YouTube, you can see at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3ZxEAqaybk   I guess I'll me in the minority again, but I actually prefer the Lucas original.   rating: *** stars

3.) Now That I Know   (Ted Lucas) - 2:25

So I really dislike duclimer which means this one started with a major disadvantage going for it.  And while I disliked the musical arrangement, the melody was upbeat and bouncy while Lucas raspy vocal was a winner on this one.   rating: *** stars

4.) I'll Find a Way (To Carry It All)   (Ted Lucas) - 3:22

One of the prettiest songs Lucas ever recorded; the sense of intimacy and vulnerability embedded in 'I'll Find a Way (To Carry It All)' should send English majors and hardcore introverts into spasims of delight.  Imagine an American John Martyn and you'd be in the right musical neighborhood for this one.   rating: **** stars

5.) Baby Where You Are   (Ted Lucas) - 2:27

To be honest, lots of Lucas songs suffer from a sounds-similar feel (strumming acoustic guitar), but the guy had such an interesting voice, those other shortcomings just didn't matter.   rating: *** stars

6.) It Is So Nice To Get Stoned   (Ted Lucas) - 4:27

Even if you disagree with the philosophy, you'll have to admit Lucas made it sound calm and comforting.   The band Okkervil River covered the tune on their "Golden Opportunities 2" EP.     rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) Robins Ride (instrumental)   (Ted Lucas) - 3:15

Forgettable live, blues instrumental.  rating: ** stars

2.) Sonny Boy Blues (instrumental)   (Ted Lucas) - 7:00

While it certainly underscored Lucas prowess on acoustic guitar, I can't say the live instrumental 'Sonny Boy Blues' was particularly enjoyable - maybe in a club setting after I had a couple of cold beer.   Here, it just seemed to go on and on and on ...   rating: *** stars

3.) Love & Peace Raga   (Ted Lucas) - 8:00

So Lucas studied with Ravi Shankar and played sitar on some Motown sessions ...  that didn't make this extended live track any more interesting.   Like the two earlier live numbers, it served to showcase his considerable technical talents, but after eight minutes, I was ready to go back to the side one folk material.   rating: *** stars



It seems to be inactive, but guitarist George Kerby used to have a nice Lucas tribute website located at:

http://www.tedlucas.net/   Lucas estate also seems to have set up a small website: http://www.tedlucas.net/ 


I've never heard them, but Lucas has a pair of tracks on "The Detroit Folk Scene, Vol 1" released on the CLB Archive label. 


Also, has anyone heard Lucas' non-LP 45 'Head In California' b/w 'My Dog' (Zonk catalog No. 1/ No. 2)?


To answer my own question; I stumbled across a copy of the 45.  Actually credited to Ted Lucas and The Horny Horns, 'Head In California' was a full tilt rocker complete with goofy, surf-styled vocals and some nice lead guitar moves.   Kind of reminded me of a cross between Merrell Fankhauser and The Beach Boys.