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Cua, Rick - 1982 Koo 'Ah

ARTIST: Cua, Rick
ALBUM: Koo 'Ah
LABEL: Refuge/Sparrow
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Rick Cua - lead vocals, bass * Will McFarlane, Freddie Salem, Hughie Thomasson - guitars * Robbie Dupree - harmonica, background vocals * John Rosasco - keyboards, background vocals * Jeff Levine - organ * Joe English, David Dix - drums * Matt Greeley - percussion * Jim Hall, Diane Tidwell, Lisa Silver, Donna McElroy, Marty McCall - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fly Me To Heaven * 02 Spirit * 03 The Rock Was Rolled Away * 04 Eternity * 05 Heaven Was Made For Everybody * 06 You Can Still Rock 'N' Roll * 07 Crossfire * 08 Just A Little Bit More * 09 I Wanna Be Like You * 10 Melt My Heart


The Christian music scene in 1982 was strange to say the least with numerous rockers from well known bands coming out of the 'born again' closet. Suddenly it was cool for religious bookstores to carry Kansas albums because of the 'conversion' of a couple group members. Fine and dandy, but when it came to light former Outlaws bass player Rick Cua was a Christian and released a solo album, you couldn't score a copy of 'Ghost Riders' in any Christian outlet to save your life, yet the religious press embraced Cua as one of their own, pumping every last drop of his hard rock to salvation story for all it was worth.

The Songs
Of course a musician's past does not guarantee a future and of all his solo albums, 'Koo-ah' is the most representative of his southern rock roots, although it's far from a kick ass, triple guitar extravaganza. Some familiar names pop up on the record, former Outlaws band mates Freddie Salem and Hughie Thomasson, west coast wonder boy Robbie Dupree, Jim Hall from Orleans and others contribute to an album that in my opinion never quite gets off the ground despite its all-star cast. The Bob Halligan Jr penned 'Fly Me To Heaven' is a promising start, as is 'Spirit' which brings to mind the early albums by Louisiana's Le Roux, but it's down hill from there, at least on side one. 'The Rock Was Rolled Away goes on way too long while 'Eternity' and 'Heaven Was Made For Everybody' just don't cut it as good songs, more as filler really with the latter a sing-along feel good tune so common with early 80's CCM that in the end just makes me want to cringe. Side two's cleverly(!) titled 'You Can Still Rock N' Roll' is just Ok, nothing spectacular, although 'Crossfire' and especially 'I Wanna Be Like You' are actually quite good and again the LeRoux comparisons are inevitable. It's too bad he didn't do more of this; it would have made for a better record.

In Summary
Despite this shaky start, Cua did pretty well for himself throughout the 80's and early 90's, touring relentlessly and selling a fair amount of product. I had a chance to see him at a local High School gym in 1992 and I was surprised by his ability to put on a good show despite some questionable material, although towards the end of the concert when everything turned 'preachy' I bolted for the nearest exit!

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
A buddy of mine had this and his second record ('No Mystery'), and he made me a cassette of them. Unfortunately, they're long gone. This one was OK, but 'No Mystery' was pretty good. Apparently Rick himself will burn a copy of those for you for $14 apiece ( I may just do that.
#2 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
I was trying to decide as recently as yesterday whether I should send Mr. Cua a check and get this and 'No Mystery'. I just happened to check Rhapsody today, and he has made these two available through Sparrow Records sometime since I wrote the above comment in April. So I took a trip down Nostalgia Lane, since I haven't heard these in over 15 years. This album is pretty good, with a couple of really good moments ('Crossfire' and 'I Wanna Be Like You' being great tunes). At moments, this is similar to what .38 Special was putting out around this time, although not as consistent overall. It is good to have this available again.

'No Mystery', the next album, is pretty darn good, just as I remembered it. It is definitely a step above this, and it reminds me a lot of that classic Van Zant release. I might get around to reviewing it.

Both of these albums are also on iTunes, if you're inclined to check them out. While I'd recommend the two songs from this one that I mentioned above, I'd recommend pretty much the entire 'No Mystery' release.

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