Cua, Rick - 1983 No Mystery

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ARTIST: Cua, Rick
ALBUM: No Mystery
LABEL: Refuge, Sparrow
SERIAL: RO-3853, SPR-1109
YEAR: 1983

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Rick Cua - lead vocals, bass * Freddie Salem, Ian Bairnson, Ron DeRollo, Buz Cua - guitars * Bob Halligan Jr., Andy Richards - keyboards * David Dix - drums * Diana Cua - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 He Lives In Me * 02 One Way Out * 03 Changed * 04 Just Visiting * 05 The Power * 06 High School Reunion * 07 Create In Me A Heart * 08 A.S.S.E.F (Anytime Special Supernatural Everyday Friend) * 09 Bright Light * 10 Help Me Out

Background

Rick Cua had been a member of The Outlaws for several years when he released his debut Christian album 'Koo 'Ah' in 1982.

The album contained some excellent songs in the Southern AOR vein, though not sounding much like The Outlaws. He left the band after that album to pursue his solo career full-time.

He got a little more say in the sound for his next album, and he got some songwriting help with Bob Halligan Jr. As far as image, he lost the beard that he sported on the cover of 'Koo 'Ah' in favor of a more clean-cut look that bears more than a passing resemblance to Rick Springfield. And his strong voice was guaranteed to appeal to God-rockers everywhere.

The Songs

The album opens with 'He Lives In Me', which is a pretty typical early 80's CCM song both in sound and lyrical content. It does rock harder, though, than most of what you'd hear in the genre back then. It sets the tone nicely for what is to follow.

And in spite of the title, it does not directly mention any of the Holy Trinity. In fact, you don't hear the names of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit until much later in the album. I wonder whether this was an attempt to make this an album where you could kinda sneak in some religion to your heathen friends without hitting them over the head with it.

With 'One Way Out', Cua starts to tap into the Southern AOR sound that many of us loved back then. This is a song that should appeal to many of us - strong keyboards, rockin' guitars, nice groove. Similarly, 'Changed' hits the same high notes. This is really good stuff and is another song that deserves to be investigated.

'Just Visiting' slows things down, mainly a keyboard-driven song. If you think Christians can't rock, 'The Power' should dispel that notion. Heavy on guitars, with some nice piano sprinkled into the mix, this is another winner.

'High School Reunion' has more of a Southern sound, similar to some of the album tracks from the .38 Special albums from this period in time. I'm going to my 30-year high school reunion in a couple of months, and I've been to a couple of earlier ones, so I can appreciate the insights in this song better than I could when I was actually in high school.

Halfway through 'Create In Me A Heart', we finally hear the name of Jesus mentioned. This is a very nice mellow keyboard-laced song, with a nice synth solo.

'A.S.S.E.F.' (Anytime Special Supernatural Everyday Friend) is a very pop-ish song that sounds like you'd think a CCM song from that era should sound.

'Bright Light' is one of the highlights on here. It starts slowly and builds to a nice chorus. Another song that should appeal to most of this audience. We end with a nice honky-tonk romp in 'Help Me Out'.

In Summary

Cua established his potential with the debut album, and he delivered on it with this effort. Ten strong songs, with at least three that I consider to be killer tracks for that age. No wonder I kept this cassette close to my tape player at all times.

He followed this up in 1985 with 'You're My Road', but I somehow missed that one. I've since discovered it, but it doesn't hold the magic or memories of 'No Mystery'. This has become widely available on the major online music stores, so you have no excuse not to give it a listen. You're welcome.


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