Friday, April 10, 2009

(Part 37) Writing The Songs For Chris Lucey


Randy Wood and Marshall Lieb screwed around for another week or so trying to get someone they knew to do the work on the Chris Lucey album, but came up empty. Let me clarify something here which I have noticed in reading what has been written about this subject that is completely out of whack. Chris Lucey/Chris Ducey was not and was never intended to be a big album release. Surrey Records was a budget line label of Mira Records, rack jobber stuff. That means it was always destined for metal racks in super markets where you could pick up unknown records and artists for cut rate prices when you bought groceries. It was bottom of the barrel stuff.

The reason Randy Wood was so hung up on getting it released was that it was a key part of a bigger deal involving a whole line of Surrey releases in Europe. It was the maiden voyage of his Surrey Line and he didn't want the thing screwed up, because of one lousy album. So references to a big ad campaign regarding the release of the Chris Lucey album are completely inaccurate. The big ad campaign has already been discussed with regards to Tony Alamo and Billboard Magazine, in 1964. The two things have nothing to do with each other.

Pam Burns finally gave me the word to come back and meet with Randy again about the Lucey record. That was the first time I found out how much I would make for writing 10 songs and recording them all. I would make either $20 or $25 a song. That is for writing and recording them. It was either $200 or $250 I can't remember which. There was no contract and no discussion of publishing or any other rights. I would just get a couple of hundred for doing the job and Randy would get off the hook. He was still leery of me, because he'd never heard anything I'd done. He was going on Pam Burns word completely, but he trusted her and her judgement.

It was arranged so that each evening after the offices closed Pam and I would come up and I would work on writing the songs. This started immediately. Every night I'd pick out one of Ducey's titles and work out a song that could be construed to have been written with that title in mind. Some of them were matched pretty well others are a bit vague as to title and content of lyric, but that is why the album is like it is. Not only did I have to use some title of Ducey's I had to get this all done in less than 2 weeks. I finished 2 songs the first night and Pam said they were great. "Wait till Randy hears this, he'll be knocked out." She said. "I hope so," I replied.

Randy was knocked out and had no problem letting me know it. I guess it was partly a sense of relief for him that Pam Burns had come through with the goods and Randy's problem was solved. His attitude toward me improved greatly and he started treating me better. I never got too worked up about writing the songs, because I never had any trouble doing it. If I had of had more time Chris Lucey would be a better album. What I did was as well as I could do under the circumstances presented to me at the time. As far as the money goes, I was broke, I did it flat out for the money. It was not a career move it was just a job that I did. Who knew where it would end up decades later.

There are other inaccurate stories about the making of Chris Lucey that I would also like to clear up such as references to the group "LOVE" and Arthur Lee who I knew nothing about nor had I ever heard when I wrote and recorded this particular record. "Love" was known amongst other names as "The Grass Roots" in 65, but had to give up that name and changed it to "Love." There first record was in 1966. I met Arthur Lee after I made Chris Lucey in 65. If I copied someone's work I would freely admit it, but in the case of the Chris Lucey album it just doesn't apply. To this day I have heard very little of Love's work. Once again I leave it to the reader to decide for themselves what it is that they believe, I am just telling my story.

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