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Trevor Lucas Biography
Trevor George Lucas was born in Melbourne, Australia on December 25, 1943. Trevor initially learned to play the guitar because of his dyslexia - the family doctor suggested to his mother that she get him “something to do with his hands.” He trained as a carpenter in Melbourne while pursuing his interest in music by night. At that time he performed folk and folky blues songs in the local clubs and also became interested in C&W during the '70s. Trevor's recording career started in 1963 when he appeared on the EP The Folk Attick Presents (Folksong, 1963). He soon recorded his first solo album, See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (East, 1964). He moved to England in 1965 and started working his way through the English folk clubs as a solo artist and accompanist. Several tape recordings of his early folk club performances still exist today.
He recorded his second album Overlander (Reality, 1966), guested on Bert Lloyd's Leviathan (Topic, 1967) and appeared on the film soundtrack Far From The Madding Crowd (MGM, 1967). Trevor joined the band Eclection, playing the bass guitar. He recorded one album with them, Eclection (Elektra, 1968) and stayed with the band until the group folded in the second half of 1969. Also in 1969, he guested on the Fairport Convention album Unhalfbricking (Island, 1969). At that time Trevor was already going out with Sandy Denny, who would later become his wife. When Sandy left Fairport at the end of 1969, Trevor and Sandy formed the legendary folk group Fotheringay with Trevor on acoustic guitar and vocals, Sandy on vocals, guitar and piano, Jerry Donahue on guitar, Pat Donaldson on bass, and Gerry Conway (also from Eclection) on drums. They produced only one album, Fotheringay (Island, 1970) which is still considered a classic today. Fotheringay was disbanded before their second album was finished. Later that summer, Trevor recorded several songs for The Great Australian Legend (Topic, 1971). After a Farewell Fotheringay UK tour early 1971, Sandy Denny went solo. Trevor was planning to hold a band together with himself as lead singer, and recorded a few songs with Jerry, Pat and Gerry but the plan was shortlived.
Also from 1970-1971, Trevor worked with various acts such as Bronco, Luther Grossman and Al Stewart, and appeared on Sandy Denny's solo album The North Star Grassman and The Ravens (Island, 1971). Later that year, when ex-Fairport members rejoined the band on stage for renditions of some old rock'n'roll standards, Trevor got the idea of making a 50's rockers classics album. This resulted in The Bunch's Rock On (Island, 1972), a collection of rock classics performed by mainly Fotheringay and Fairport members, including Sandy Denny, Richard & Linda Thompson, and of course Trevor himself, who also produced the album.
Trevor was working for Island Records at that time, honing his skills as an engineer/producer which led to the offer by Richard Branston to try out his new recording studio in the converted mansion known as The Manor. The Bunch was in fact a tryout for the studio to see that everything worked and that it had a good `sound' and the concept of living and recording for a couple of weeks in the country retreat took off from there.
Afterwards, Trevor continued to work with acts such as The Strawbs and Stefan Grossman. In spring 1972 he performed on and produced Sandy Denny's solo album Sandy (Island, 1972). During the summer of 1972, Dave Swarbrick and Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention asked Trevor to give them a hand with the production of their new album Rosie (Island, 1973), and whilst he was doing this they asked him to join the band, which he did. Jerry Donahue, also a former Fotheringay member, was to follow later. Rosie was followed by Nine, also produced by Trevor. Later, Trevor performed on and produced Sandy Denny's third solo album Like An Old Fashioned Waltz (Island, 1973). As this album showed, romance was in the air because Trevor and Sandy got married on 20 September 1973. By the end of 1973 Fairport started on an ambitious world tour, including Australia, which resulted in Live (Island, 1974), also produced by Trevor.
By that time Sandy Denny had rejoined the band, which resulted in the much underrated album Rising For The Moon (Island, 1975). This album included Trevor's magnificent Iron Lion. Fairport started a promotional tour (late 1975), after which Trevor & Sandy left the band. The last few concerts of Fairport's `Trevor & Sandy lineup' were captured on photo on 17 December 1975 in Amsterdam. A rare, high-quality studio performance of Sandy & Trevor with Fairport was shown on the Dutch TV network on 6 January 1976. Unfortunately, copies of this show have yet to surface.
On April 21, 1978, Sandy Denny died tragically young, following a fall down a flight of stairs. Trevor was left with a small daughter, in fact he was home in Australia showing off their new baby to his parents when Sandy fell, though he'd rushed back to England before she actually died. After Sandy's tragic death, Trevor moved back to Australia for good with their daughter Georgia (only child of Sandy Denny and Trevor Lucas) and remarried. He had a son (Clancy) with his third wife (Elizabeth).
Back in Australia in the 80's Trevor gravitated from the recording industry where he made his mark as a producer. He produced The Bushwackers' albums Dance Album (Avenue, 1980) and Faces In The Street (Avenue, 1981), as well as 33° South - a Melbourne band fronted by the NZ songwriter Brent Parlane and the NZ C&W singer Peter Colston. (33° South, Polydor, 1980), followed by Goanna's Spirit of Place (WEA, 1982) which has the distinction of being the first ever all Australian Album to go straight to Number One in the National Album Charts in the first week of release in Australia. In '83 or '84 he did an album with the actor Garry MacDonald for Garry's alter ego `Norm Gunston'. It was a take off of Boy George's Painting by Numbers and was called Join The Dots (Plaza, 1983~1985). Trevor appears on the credits as `Ferrari McLintock' - this was a joke name that he'd made up. One day he was going to do an incredible red neck C&W album and bill himself as Ferrari - Join the Dots was Ferrari's `debut' so to speak.
After reaching that peak in his career he got more offers for work as the Music Producer on Australian film projects so consequently got more involved with film scores in the studios with his friend Ian Mason (keyboards, vocals). They called themselves `Bluey & Curley' and produced film scores like Jenny Kissed Me (1985), Slate & Wyn & Blanche McBride (1985) and Cassandra (1987) with Trevor producing the whole film. Trevor later produced Mullaway (1988), again on his own. In the meantime, he kept producing such well-known bands as Redgum, Goanna and The Bushwackers.
In 1985, Trevor returned to England for the last time. As well as appearing at Cropredy, he spent a great deal of time compiling the ultimate tribute to Sandy, in the form of the 4 album / 3 CD boxed set Who Knows Where The Time Goes? (Island, 1986). Ten years after Sandy's death, in 1988, Trevor once more went through his private collection of odds'n'sods, and compiled a cassette of them, The Attic Tracks Vol. 1 which includes his own classy cover of Girls on the Avenue. Trevor died of a heart attack in his sleep on February 4, 1989, leaving his children in the care of his widow Elizabeth.
Trevor, in his time with Fairport was the most politically vocal of the band as is evident from the Woodworm tape from Cropredy in 1982, he also supported causes like the green protest about the building of the Franklin Dam in Tasmania and gave his time for just a fee for Redgum to produce their smash Australian single I Was Only 19, that gets played at least once a year on almost every Radio Station around Australia on Anzac Day in honour of the surviving Vietnam Vets and their dead mates.
Trevor, Lucas, (engineer, producer, singer, songwriter and guitarist) never really got the attention he deserved, partly because he had to compete with an abundance of similar male folk singers, and - perhaps to a lesser degree - because he was very much a technician who skilfully but unobtrusively worked in the shadow of more charismatic personalities like Sandy Denny and Dave Swarbrick.
However, Trevor's impact on both Fotheringay and Fairport Convention was considerable. His deep, dark, powerful voice made a very distinct impression, to such an extent that his work with Fairport is now regarded as the `Denny / Lucas era'. In real life, during concerts, the public never failed to show its appreciation for Trevor's vocal abilities and at that time Fairport needed Trevor as much as they needed Sandy.
Little is known about the life of Trevor Lucas. Background information and pictures are hard to find. The least we can do is to keep his memory alive by playing his music and remembering what a great folk pair Sandy and Trevor really were.
This biography was compiled by gathering information from various magazine articles. I gratefully acknowledge the help of John C. Falstaff for kindly allowing me to use excerpts from his forthcoming book, The Fairport Connection; Hokey Pokey magazine and Fiddlestix magazine for generously allowing me to use their magazines as an information source; and John Penhallow and Elizabeth Hurtt-Lucas of the Australian Friends of Folk for their highly valued help and feedback.