Friday, April 10, 2009

(Part 39) Recording The Chris Lucey Album in 1965


Along with Randy Wood and Abe Somer there were a couple of others who shared offices in that suite that made up Mira, Surrey, Ranwood, etc. Records. Phil Turetsky, one of the best people I met in the music business also had an office there. Phil had, amongst other things, Pacific Jazz Records. He was also a business manager and his primary client and, music partner was Johnny Rivers who at the time was going great guns, both with live performances at the Whiskey A Go Go and with hit records like "Memphis". I got to know johnny pretty well later on through phil, but prior to that time phil just use to take it all in stride, in a very quiet and reserved way.

Phil new where all the bodies were buried let's say. He wasn't like anyone else I knew in the music business. He didn't make moves on you, or if he did, they were so subtle and well placed that you either didn't notice or didn't care. I liked Phil and we got to be very good friends over time as you shall see later. As I continued writing songs for Chris Lucey I ended up with nine completed songs and a tenth one without lyrics. It was good enough for Randy who was chomping at the bit to get into the studio and start recording them. Like I said, Marshall Lieb was not a pleasant guy to work with so when I would try to get him to talk with me about what his plans were for the album he refused to tell me and would not allow any input from me.

I complained bitterly about this and threatened not to cut the damn thing if he kept it up. Randy intervened to some degree, but not enough to give me much of a chance to have any real say, such as, who was gonna play on the damn thing. Marshall pretty much had his mind made up from the outset and I guess it worked out ok in the long run. I did not know any of the players that he got for the Chris Lucey album. To this day I can't tell you who played on that record. I don't know if it was a union date or was all done under the table. We recorded it at American Studio's, on Ventura Blvd., in North Hollywood. It had been a house and was converted into a recording studio by the engineer who I believe owned it. I do not remember his name.

This may all sound pretty vague to the reader, but that's the way this record was done. Everything about it was hit and miss. Randy was so cheap that I would assume the whole thing was done under the table and recorded at a relatively unknown studio on purpose. He just wanted a record any way he could get it. I was not paid any more for playing on the album or singing all the songs. All I ever got was the original $200 or $250 for everything I did on that record. As we began to lay down the first basic tracks I was pleasantly surprised to hear how Marshall had charted them out. They began taking on a distinct personality as we progressed and I was able to interact with the musicians more and more as it all continued to take shape.

Randy was pleased with what was happening and I think surprised that the whole thing was ending up being a lot better than what he'd originally anticipated. Marshall's choice of instruments was odd to me at first, but grew on me with each song, as we thought up different ways to use each instrument in the best possible way. Like the echo on the piano in "That's The Way The World Has Got To Be". "I Got The Blues" was distinctly folk rockish and was most likely influenced by the recently released Byrds version of "Mr Tambourine Man" which came out in 1965. The album's problem, in one way of looking at it, was that it couldn't decide whether it was blues, jazz, pop, or folk rock so what you get is a combination of all of those elements mashed together.

The song "Saline" has a guitar part that was played, by the engineer, directly through the mixing board so it has a distinct and very alive sound. The echo chamber in this place was an old tile covered shower stall with a stand up mic in the middle of it. Patch cords everywhere and things that worked and didn't work with great regularity. The song "I'll Remember Them" was the tenth song I mentioned that I hadn't written lyrics for. I told them just play the track and I'll make something up. So the lyrics to that particular son, were made up as I recorded it, one take, one song. That, more than anything else sums up Chris Lucey. If you don't have it, wing it.

The whole damn thing was "winged". It's also part of the magic, if there is any, to the whole damn project. Everybody was inventing it while we made it and that's what gives it it's particular feel. Various changes in music were occurring every day in the industry and Chris Lucey was being made while these change were happening. This is not an over statement! One day, no Byrds, the next day The Byrds, or Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." Everybody was scrambling to try and figure out what was happening musically. At the time this was a state of massive confusion. It is far easier to look back now than it was to see forward then. Anyway, in the midst of all this Chris Lucey was born out of a mistake with contracts with another artist and a printer who changed the letter D into an L. That's why and how Chris Lucey even exists. It was born out of a fluke and I became it's voice, it's music, and words.


  1. So you have photos of both covers here, does that mean that some of the LPS were released with the name Ducey on them?

  2. Yes! The Ducey cover was the original, but it was changed to Chris Lucey and released. When they ran out of Chris Lucey covers they used what was left of the Ducey covers. You can find the Chris Lucey album in either cover, but the music will always be the Chris Luce version of the album.

  3. I wonder what ever happened to the real Chris Ducey, and his recorded tracks? I've heard bits and bobs of your "Lucey" version (I've ordered it from Rev-Ola) and it's great stuff, by the way. OK, it's not the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" , but what the hell is? The Byrds recorded some crap, too, you know. It's a wonderful album, great feel, has a little bit of swing to it.