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Ted Lucas - Same aka The Om Album (1975)

Ted Lucas flirted with fame in the late 60s in the Spike Drivers and Misty Wizards, studied with Ravi Shankar, went home to Detroit and played sitar for Motown, and recorded his album, referred to by family and friends as The OM Record (after Ted's private label name), in Detroit and Nashville.

Today the album is a cult favorite with few parallels. Ted Lucas, forgotten for so many years, is finally achieving the international recognition that eluded him in life.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 faire have I got a treat for you.

Written and produced by Lucas who also handled vocals and guitar, 1975's "Ted Lucas" is 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 ...  (source)

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adamus67 pisze...

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. He rubbed shoulders with Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent and every other major player on the Detroit scene. His pioneering early psych rock bands Spikedrivers and Misty Wizards managed to become legends with nothing more than a handful of singles and never tasted success.

By the beginning of the 70s, major cities/studios usually had a session guy who was the go-to for sitars, bells, & other frequently requested ephemera. In Los Angeles it was Emil Richards, and in Detroit it was Ted Lucas. Vocal overdubbing totally reminds me of Steve Miller (‘Fly Like an Eagle’), and the cover art is by the guy who did Journey’s logo (in fact, the cover art actually depicts what later became Journey’s logo). 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. The long-overdue reissue of Ted Lucas’ one solo LP (1975) is a collaborative effort between Yoga Records, Sebastian Speaks, and Riverman Music. It took a long time because we wanted to get it right. We want to say thanks for your patience.

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.

The Om Album (1975) combines the rawnes of Skip Spence, the emotion of Nick Drake, and the virtuosity of John Fahey, and the notoriety of Gary Higgins. Starting with psychedelic cover art by San Francisco graphics giant Stanley Mouse, the full intensity of Ted Lucas’ vision is on full display on this, his only full-length release. Lucas, though active until his death in 1992, fell into obscurity.


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