February 4, 1989 – Trevor George Lucas (Fairport Convention) was born in Bungaree, Victoria, Australia on December 25, 1943. He learned to play guitar in order to help with his dyslexia. In his youth, Lucas studied to become a carpenter and performed nights at local clubs in Melbourne from 1961 or 1962.
He released his first solo work in Australia, two tracks, “Old Time Religion” and “Dem Bones Gwine to Rise Again“, on the Various Artists’ extended play The Folk Attick Presents (1963). In mid-1964 he married his first wife, Cheryl. In late 1964 Lucas released a solo album, See That My Grave Is Kept Clean on EAST Records. He also appeared on a compilation album called “Australian Folk Festival”, which was recorded in August that year with other folk musicians, Tina Lawton, Paul Marks, Brian Mooney, Lenore Somerset and Martyn Wyndham-Read.
On New Year’s Eve 1964 Lucas boarded the Greek ship, RHMS Ellinis, and relocated to United Kingdom with Cheryl. In London he worked as a solo artist and accompanist at various folk clubs including The Troubadour. He performed at the International Folk Fest at Royal Albert Hall. Lucas released his second solo album, Overlander (1966), on Reality Records. In August 1967 Lucas, playing bass guitar, formed the folk band Eclection with fellow Australian Kerrilee Male on lead vocals, Georg Kajanus (as George Hultgreen) on guitar and lead vocals, Michael Rosen on guitar and lead vocals, and Gerry Conway on drums. In August 1968 they issued a self-titled album and continued until their breakup in October 1969. Lucas recalled the group, “a very underground, flower power group, based on a cross between the Jefferson Airplane and the Mamas and the Papas [it was] a good apprenticeship in electric music. I don’t think it created anything devastatingly good … We were all very naive … We got ripped off terribly”
At this time he was dating the lead singer of Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, and appeared on Fairport’s album Unhalfbricking.
In late 1969 Lucas, Denny and Conway formed Fotheringay after Denny left Fairport Convention – other members included Pat Donaldson on bass guitar and Jerry Donahue on guitar and vocals. In June 1970 Fotheringay released a self-titled album where Lucas provided acoustic guitar and vocals. The album included the Lucas-penned track, “The Ballad of Ned Kelly” (aka “Poor Ned”) and “Peace in the End” co-written with Denny. Fotheringay released only the one album and the band broke up the following year.
In 1972, Lucas organized and produced a one-off album “The Bunch” which featured 12 classic oldies favorites performed by past and (then) present members of Fairport Convention, as well other friends. He became a session musician and record producer for Bronco, Julie Covington, Al Stewart, The Strawbs and Richard & Linda Thompson.
In July to August 1972 Lucas was helping Fairport Convention record their album Rosie (February 1973) when he joined the group with Donahue. On 20 September 1973 Lucas and Denny married and shortly thereafter Denny rejoined Fairport Convention. In late 1975 Fairport started a long promotional tour and shortly afterwards Lucas, Denny and Donahue left the band. Lucas and Denny left because “we’d spent eight months on the road touring, and we’d been thinking of having a family and all that sort of thing”. Lucas assisted on Denny’s further solo work. In the mid-1970s the couple relocated to the village of Byfield in Northamptonshire, in July 1977 Denny gave birth to their only child, a daughter, Georgia Rose Lucas.
Then in April 1978, tragically Sandy had a fatal fall down a flight of stairs, leaving Trevor to raise their newborn daughter, Georgia, by himself.
Note: Sandy Denny had apparently suffered from substance abuse problems for some time, and by 1977 her addictions were obvious to others. Linda Thompson told The Guardian that shortly after the birth of their daughter Georgia in July 1977, Denny “was crashing the car and leaving the baby in the pub and all sorts of stuff.” Thompson also noted that the child was born prematurely, yet Denny seemed to have little concern for her new baby.
In late March 1978, while on holiday with her parents and baby Georgia in Cornwall, Denny was injured when she fell down a staircase and hit her head on concrete. Following the incident, Denny suffered from intense headaches; a doctor prescribed her the painkiller Distalgesic, a drug known to have fatal side effects when mixed with alcohol. On 13 April, concerned with his wife’s erratic behaviour and fearing for his daughter’s safety, Trevor Lucas left the UK and returned to his native Australia with their child. Four days later, Denny collapsed and fell into a coma while at a friend’s home. On 21 April, she died at Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon. Her death was ruled to be the result of a traumatic mid-brain hemorrhage and blunt force trauma to her head.
Lucas returned to England for her funeral, then in August, he was back in Melbourne, “I came here because it seemed like a good refuge … I’ve got a lot of family here, and I thought it was important for Georgia, my 13-month-old daughter, to have that sort of security”.
Lucas settled permanently in Australia after 1978. From 1979 and into the 1980s, Lucas was producing albums for Australian artists and later started working on scores for the film industry. In the 1980s, he was producing more albums and later started working on scores from the film industry. In 1985 he returned to England to work on a tribute album to Sandy Denny.
On 4 February 1989, Trevor Lucas died of a heart attack in his sleep, in Sydney, aged 45 years old. His children were left in the care of Elizabeth Hurtt-Lucas – his thread wife – who administered the estates of both Denny and Lucas. According to Australia rock music historian Ian McFarlane, Lucas “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.”