Zoned In: Ted Lucas: Ted Lucas

By Ric Leichtung

It's astounding how unsung heroes resonate more than any other. Ted Lucas is no exception. A local Detroit legend, Lucas was a Motown studio musician who specialized in exotic strings, and appeared on recordings by The Temptations, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder. He played in a slew of '70s bands with goofy names-- The Misty Wizards, The Horny Toads, and Boogie Disease-- who opened for stadium-grade acts like The Eagles, Frank Zappa, and Yes, but never tasted success. Lucas, though active until his death in 1992, fell into obscurity.

His only solo effort, nicknamed The Om Album, circulated among record diggers and evolved into a cult relic alongside Nick Drake, Linda Perhacs, and Vashti Bunyan. A stunningly beautiful folk album, it topped best of 2010 lists at The Village Voice and Other Music after being reissed by Yoga Records. His string skills are positively arresting in "Love and Peace Raga" and "Sonny Boy Blues," but his voice is what steals the show. The first taste of his weathered timbre in Om's opener, "Plain and Sane and Simple Melody," is that of a sweet sadness, both unique and otherworldly. The marriage of deeply introspective lyrics and full-bloom harmonies in "I'll Find A Way," "It's So Easy," and "Baby Where You Are" makes eyes water, hearts yearn, and minds linger. Essential listening.

MP3: Ted Lucas: "Plain and Sane and Simple Melody" (1975)

MP3: Ted Lucas: "I'll Find A Way To Carry It All" (1975)

Get Yoga Records' reissue of The Om Album, get to know the history of the man on the Ted Lucas official website

Tags: ted lucas, zoned in, audio

Posted by alteredzones on 02/17/2011 at 4 p.m..

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