Trevor Lucas (b. 1943) was one of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters Australia ever produced and although he was held in high regard in UK folk-rock circles, he remained virtually unknown in his homeland. The deep-voiced singer issued his ultra-rare, debut folk album See that My Grave is Kept Clean on the East label in 1964. He also contributed a studio version of Gary Shearston's `Voyager' to the otherwise live Various Artists album Australian Folk Festival on the obscure Score label. Also on the album, recorded in August 1964, were other folkies like Tina Lawton, Martin Wyndham-Read, Brian Mooney, Paul Marks and Lenore Somerset. A single `Folk Attic'/`Presents' also appeared that year.
Even before Lucas had made a name for himself in Australia, he travelled to the UK in late 1964 and settled in London. He established himself on the folk circuit, performed at the International Folk Fest at the Royal Albert Hall and recorded another rare and highly sought after solo album, Overlander (1966). The album included the single `Waltzing Matilda'/`It's On'. In August 1967, he formed cosmopolitan folk-rock group Eclection; the band's contemporaries on the burgeoning UK electric folk scene included Fairport Convention and The Pentangle. Eclection recorded one self-titled album for Elektra in 1968 but, despite an excellent reputation, the band failed to break through. Lucas dissolved the group at the end of 1969 to form Fotheringay with his lady Sandy Denny. Denny had just left Fairport Convention following the recording of the seminal British electric folk album Liege and Lief. In 1970, Denny was voted Britain's number one female singer. She was most widely known, in rock music circles, for her duet with Robert Plant on Led Zeppelin's `Battle of Evermore'.
Fotheringay lasted until January 1971 and issued one self-titled, UK Top 20 album on the Island label. Denny launched her solo career, and Lucas worked with her on the albums The North Sea Grassman and the Ravens (1971), Sandy (1972) and Like An Old Fashioned Waltz (1973) for Island. Lucas established himself as an in-demand session player and producer, appearing on albums by Bronco, Julie Covington, Al Stewart, The Strawbs and Richard and Linda Thompson. At the start of 1972, he assembled a bunch of English folk musicians (including Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and other members of Fairport Convention) under the collective title of The Bunch, in order to record a studio album for Island. Rock On featured vintage rock'n'roll covers performed with a folk-rock slant. The album was received so well that, in August 1972, Lucas was invited to join Fairport Convention as producer, singer and guitarist.
The Fairport line-up of Lucas, Jerry Donahue (guitar), Dave Pegg (bass, vocals), Dave Swarbrick (fiddle, vocals) and Dave Mattacks (drums) issued the albums Rosie (1973) and Nine (1973) on Island. Lucas and Denny were married on 20 September 1973. In March 1974, Denny rejoined Fairport Convention, and she and Lucas remained with the band until January 1976. During that time, the Fairports recorded the albums Live Convention (a Moveable Feast) (1974) and Rising for the Moon (1975). Denny resumed her solo career with the Rendezvous album (May 1977), but she died from a brain haemorrhage in April 1978 after falling down a staircase at a friend's house.
Lucas returned to Australia and, following a period of re-evaluation, formed the film company Andromeda Productions to produce documentaries and children's dramas. He returned to music production at Music Farm Studios in northern NSW. He produced albums for Paul Kelly and the Dots (Talk), The Bushwackers (Faces in the Street), Goanna (Spirit of Place), Redgum (Frontline) and Strange Tenants (Movin' In). Lucas also began to make sporadic live appearances at venues like Melbourne's Troubadour Cafe. He co-composed, with Ian Mason, the soundtracks to the feature films Jenny Kissed Me (1986) and Slate Wyn and Me (1987). In 1987, Lucas and his family moved to Epping, NSW and he came into contact with one of Fairport Convention's early managers, John Penhallow, who had also relocated to Australia. Lucas and Penhallow began to issue a series of limited edition, private-sale cassette releases, Attic Tracks Volumes I to IV.
The tapes contained previously unissued, or rare, alternate takes of material that Lucas and/or Denny had recorded between 1972 and 1984. Lucas died on 4 February 1989 and Penhallow assumed custodianship of his and Denny's musical legacy. In 1995, reissue specialists Raven compiled 18 of the best tracks for release on the essential collection The Attic Tracks 1972�84. Among the tracks Lucas performed were a gently soulful version of Richard Clapton's `Girls on the Avenue' (from 1977) and the original rendition of the self-penned `The Ballad of Ned Kelly' (from 1974), which Redgum later recorded under the title `Poor Ned'.