Reggie Lucas – Survival Themes (1975)

Reggie Lucas - Survival Themes (1975)
Artist: Reggie Lucas
Album: Survival Themes
Genre: Fusion, Jazz-Funk
Origin: USA
Released: 1975/2015
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Slewfoot (Lucas-Jackson) – 3:07
Tender Years (Lucas) – 4:32
The Barefoot Song (Lucas) – 9:45
Survival Themes: Season of the Monsoon/Faces of Fortune/Tabarca/Electric Reflection (Lucas) – 23:12


Well… now. I think we have something here, don’t we? I never heard of Reggie Lucas prior, but seeing he’s the guitarist in the great Philly based disco/funk ensemble MSFB, that already brings a smile to my face (not to mention a session guitarist for a slew of big names including Miles Davis). I hadn’t run into his Inner City LP after all these years of crate digging, though I probably just passed right over it without giving it a second thought. Don’t make that same mistake now, folks. I went ahead and forked over for the Japanese CD sound unheard based on a reliable tip from Gnosis Mike, and it proved to be money. ‘Slewfoot’ is a foot stompin’ Funkadelic like psych rock groover, with plenty of Lucas’ wonderful guitar along with horn accompaniment and Clavinet. ‘Tender Years’ is the only “period” piece here, a sunny and tropical romantic 70s cruise ship dinner number that gets all parties at the table in the right mood. And probably was the “bait song” that ultimately maddened those looking for similar type sound. Lucas must have been bored out of his mind by now, as he moved right along with a fusion psych piece in ‘Barefoot Song’, that features plenty of melodic interplay amongst the psych guitar madness. And this leads us to the side long title track, that is at once experimental, as well as off the rails insane. Hand percussion and heavily phased guitar define this most wacky composition from this most unlikely source. The final 8 minutes actually reminds me of the eerily and similarly titled Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush live piece ‘Electric Reflections of War’. Given that both pieces were released at the same time in the US (though Lucas’ album was originally released in Japan in 1976, hence the CD release from there…) makes it that much more intriguing. It’s just the kind of payoff track I look for to ultimately be enshrined into the Wonderful Freaky Underground of albums. This album has zero commercial potential and makes you wonder what on Earth was Lucas thinking. Well he wasn’t… Thinking that is… Just awesome.

Personal collection
CD: 2015 East Wind (Japan)

Unusual in that the original version is from Japan, and wasn’t licensed to Lewis’ native USA until two years later. Inner City must have had a bout of madness to even bother issuing this title – at least from a financial perspective. As such, original LP copies are obscure, though can be found easily as I write this. Both CD reissues are from the original parent label. I didn’t know about the 2002 mini-LP until I saw it in Discogs. I’m guessing it was quite rare until the new pressing came along this year. And it’s in a standard jewel case, which is not the norm anymore for Japan. Because of this, the price is very reasonable and I suggest you pounce on this title soon before it too becomes rare.