“It’s so easy when you know what you’re doing,” sings Ted Lucas on the second track of his 1975 self-titled LP. Maybe not intentionally created to be such, but that line sticks as a mantra for Ted as a musician. Spending hours daily practicing and learning, Ted effortlessly played and improvised on a slew of string-instruments, mainly guitar. A native of Detroit, Ted studied classical guitar at Wayne State University and various string instruments abroad. He was Motown’s “exotic string specialist” until they moved operations to Los Angeles. Technically best termed a rock guitarist, Ted was a founding member of The Spike Drivers, The Misty Wizards, The Horny Toads and more. But, none of his projects feel more meaningful than his solo, self-titled LP, sometimes referred to as ‘The Om Album.’
Released on Om Records (his own imprint) in 1975 and re-issued on Yoga Records in 2010, the album is a masterpiece of multiple genres and a cohesive melancholic feeling enlivened by a certain sense of hope. The first six tracks are smoothly and gracefully repetitive. Thickly layered harmonies and lyrical pictures are painted against a swaying backdrop of acoustic guitar. A blissful world of slightly psychedelic folk is created in the sincere delivery of the sparse arrangements, each track touching on a series of loving sentiments.
Continuing with a revitalized energy, the album goes on to explore the other sides of Ted’s musicality. “Robins Ride” is a rhythmically focused instrumental lead by syncopated guitar strums in all octaves. It nods more deeply to the more “exotic” types of music made with string instruments that Ted had studied, thereby separating itself from the tracks before it. “Sonny Boy Blues” furthers that distance from folk as it dives deeply into improvised blues that patiently progresses into a cautionary refrain. Ted appropriately ends on his most expressive and individualized number, “Love and Peace Raga.” Though not an actual raga, the song incorporates textures, rhythms, textures, and pacing from classical Indian music. Like the rest of Ted’s music, it captures a pervasive feeling in a transcendental musical journey.
You can read more about Ted and the creation of his only solo album from his friend and fellow musician Dennis Loren in the liner notes of the 2010 reissue.
Plain & Sane & Simple Melody
It’s So Easy (when you know what you’re doing)
I’ll Find A Way (to carry it all)
Baby Where You Are
It’s So Nice To Get Stoned
Robins Ride (with Danny Ballas on congas)
Sonny Boy Blues
Love & Peace Raga (with Carol Lucido on tambura)
It’s hard to find a stream of the the album online but this playlist includes eight of the album’s nine original tracks:
If the album artwork seems recognizable, it should. Stanley Mouse, the designer, created posters and album covers for a host of big names in psychedelic rock and beyond in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This album artwork was originally intended for Jimi Hendrix and later reworked for Journey.