Ted Lucas

In 1968, Ted Lucas returned to Detroit following a stint in Los Angeles that saw the release of Reprise singles with his psych-rock acts Spike Drivers and Misty Wizards. Then a new father, he paid his bills by working as Motown's in-house Indian instruments specialist, playing sitar on tracks by the Temptations and the Supremes. At home he focused on his acoustic guitar technique, studying with Harihar Rao and, later, Ravi Shankar. A manic perfectionist, he devoted days at home to recording miles of raga guitar tracks, not atypically on a Gibson J-45. "Raga in D," the track which opens The Detroit Folk Scene, Volume 1 (Volume 2 never surfaced), may or may not be a transcription of a preexisting Indian raga. This was around the time that Ted founded an eclectic blues/modal Middle Eastern/folk band called the Horny Toads. An omnivorous listener and night owl, Lucas could rock out with the best of them, but left to his own devices, he seems to have been drawn back to the sort of quiet, mysterious chords heard on this track. One self-titled solo album would follow in 1974, but though Ted continued to play, he never released another album. He died in 1992.

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