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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Moxy - 1978 Under The Lights
 
Moxy - 1978 Under The Lights



ARTIST: Moxy
ALBUM: Under The Lights
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: SRM-1-3723
YEAR: 1978

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Michael Rynoski - lead vocals * Earl Johnson - guitars * Buddy Caine - guitars * Terry Juric - bass * Danny Bilan - drums

Additional Musicians: Scott Cushnie - piano * Tracy Richardson, Sharon Lee Williams, Colina Phillips - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 High School Queen * 02 Under The Lights * 03 Maybe I'm A Dreamer * 04 Sing To Me * 05 Sailors Delight * 06 Thinking About You * 07 Easy Come Easy Go * 08 Livin' And Learnin'


Background
Big in Texas and parts of the Midwest, I've often wondered why Moxy never broke in the remainder of the U.S., but you could have asked REO Speedwagon the same question prior to 1981 and received shrugged shoulders, blank stares and a quick escort to the door. America's a big place and what was popular in San Antonio and St Louis, didn't necessarily guarantee success in Syracuse or Seattle. Moxy certainly had the talent to achieve greater heights yet even in their native Canada, the band were never as popular as their contemporaries Trooper, Rush and April Wine much to their frustration. It didn't help the Moxy cause that vocalist Buzz Sherman's excessive lifestyle and troubled vocal chords were starting to take its toll on the band and in late 1977 he was out, replaced by a young British Columbia vocalist - Mike Rynoski who in the'80s would find arena rock platinum several times over as Mike Reno in Loverboy.


The Songs
Rynoski's or for the sake of familiarity - Reno's only recorded appearance with the band was this LP and it's been trashed not only by those involved, but by plenty of fans who consider it to be something other than a true Moxy album. Since I've never been the biggest Moxy fan on the planet, they know more than I do and I respect their opinion, but taken on its own and ignoring the first three classic albums 'Under the Lights' really isn't that bad. Reno is firing on all cylinders here from the opening 'High School Queen' to the Nazareth influenced title track. I think this is prime time '70s hard rock in line with Starz, Rex and Legs Diamond so I wonder what I'm missing.'Maybe I'm A Dreamer' highlighted with tasty piano work from Scott Cushnie whose work graced Aerosmith's 'Draw The Line' opus is one of the albums better cuts and so far, so good. 'Sing To Me' is a sweet slow moving road ballad, the sort of thing REO Speedwagon used to pull of in their sleep featuring really nice vocal interplay between Reno and the female background vocalists. Ok, 'Sailor's Delight' is a little too close to Black Oak for my tastes I'll give you that, but there's nothing wrong with 'Thinking about you' or 'Easy Come Easy Go' which again is similar to what Legs Diamond were doing during the same period.


In Summary
Overall 'Under the Lights' is decent listen although there are a couple negatives. The production by Jack Richardson (The Guess Who, Badfinger, Bob Seger) is dull and lifeless and the guitar sounds are just off - lacking punch where they should be loud 'n proud and buried where they shouldn't be. On these points I'll run with the Moxy pack in total agreement. Following the records release Moxy hit the road, securing a spot in the 'Canadian World Music Festival' and some dates in obscure ice rinks across the hinterlands of northern Ontario supporting Triumph, but it wasn't long before guitarist Earl Johnson would leave the band and despite some radio air play, 'Under The Lights' became cut-out bin fodder on both sides of the border for years to come.


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This article has been tagged
Tags: Moxy 
 
Comments
#1 | rkbluez on March 23 2009 10:22:15
I like the album a lot...I'm a die hard Moxy fan and don't know what everyone's problem was with Mike Reno...he stepped in at a difficult time in their career and delivered...maybe if they had the chance to be together longer the next album would of been a killer...it's not as good as the Buzz Sherman albums but to me those were so good it would be tough to top them anyways...but it does have some nice rockers...I'm glad to have 'Under The Lights' in my CD collection.
#2 | sabace on December 08 2009 14:31:39
i have the riding high lp and it is superb!
#3 | gdazegod on December 21 2010 03:19:11
This album gets bagged a lot. It's not as bad as people make it out to be.
 
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