4 Rick Cua Remastered Legends of Rock Classics on CD

 

 

RICK CUA REMASTERED CDs

Pre-orders start late January, 2022

4 Rick Cua classics albums have been completely remastered in these officially licensed, limited edition Legends of Rock™ CD pressings with expanded booklets, collectors trading cards and restored original covers.  

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Below are write-up about each album along with Rick Cua himself gives his thoughts and reflects on each album.  

RICK CUA

Rick Cua is a force to be reckoned with in the world of contemporary Christian music. He’s an Italian American and sports a cool leather jacket. Cua became a believer in 1977 and played in local bands in the mainstream market. A couple years later he landed the opportunity to become the bass player for the successful Southern rock band The Outlaws. For several years he toured extensively with The Outlaws and helped them reach three million albums in sales. 

Another widely-known musician, Joe English, former drummer for Paul McCartney & Wings, introduced Cua to the Christian music industry. While still in The Outlaws, Rick followed his heart and wrote gritty rock and adult contemporary songs as a vehicle to share the love of God. His songs have tackled issues current amongst young adults. He also brings in seasoned musicians from known bands. With over three decades in and twelve albums, six #1 songs, nine top 5 hits, and a Dove Award nominee, Cua remains passionate to record and perform, inspiring people to live in the fullness of Jesus. On occasions, he continues to play in Blues Counsel, a band made up of members who have been jamming together from twenty to forty years.  

 

My first experience with Rick Cua music.

 

 

KOO-AH'

Just in case you did not know how to pronounce Rick’s last name, he made it incredibly easy on us by entitling his debut album with the phonetics of his family name. Rick was in The Outlaws when Joe English introduced Rick to the workings of the Christian music industry. At that time Joe was riding the CCM charts at number one with his Refuge Records debut. Refuge was a label created for general market artists to share their faith-inspired music. Cua wrote his first Christian song You Can Still Rock & Roll, which caught the attention of Refuge, hence a record contract. Koo-ah, released in 1983, created a solid buzz in the CCM market. The supporting cast of musicians on the album include Joe English, Jimmy Hall and Mike Duke of southern rock band Wet Willie, four band members from The Outlaws, and Robbie Dupree, who made the charts in 1980 with his hit Steal Away. The rollicking You Can Still Rock & Roll reached number one on the Christian music charts. 

Tracks like Fly Me To Heaven, The Rock Was Rolled Away, and Crossfire feature hook-laden guitar, solid drumming, vibrant keys, and female backing vocals, all prime ingredients conducive for Southern-flavored rock. Eternity is a memorable mid-tempo rock ballad with a textured interplay between the key arrangement and the soaring guitars soloing. On Crossfire, there is a lyrical mention of Rosasco’s Roadside Bar which may well be tongue-in-cheek since John Rosasco was Cua’s manager.  

Another steady rocker, I Wanna Be Like You, divvies out some fun guitar lick exchanges between Muscle Schoals player Will McFarlane and Freddie Salem of The Outlaws. There is also that signature drum sound of Joe English. The closing track, Melt My Heart, is a swinging honky-tonk tune with Cua laying down funky bass, Mike Duke of Wet Willie plunkering out bar room piano, and Robbie Dupree wailing on his harmonica.

Koo-ah is a classic well-loved album that showed up at a pivotal time for Christian rockers. –Doug Peterson, Down The Line zine

  1. FLY ME TO HEAVEN 3:38
  2. SPIRIT 3:53
  3. THE ROCK WAS ROLLED AWAY 3:14
  4. ETERNITY 407
  5. HEAVEN WAS MADE FOR EVERYBODY 3:34
  6. YOU CAN STILL ROCK 'N ROLL 3:01
  7. CROSSFIRE 3:19
  8. JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE 3:56
  9. I WANNA BE LIKE YOU 446
  10. MELT MY HEART 2:53

Rick reflects on Koo-Ah

Koo-ah was my first contemporary Christian album. I was doing double duty when I recorded it because I was still in the Arista group The Outlaws. The first record I made with The Outlaws put me on the big stage and went gold in the US and Canada very quickly. It was a fun time for sure and with great people that became lifelong friends. As amazing as that experience was I knew God had other plans for me as well.

The thought that propelled me into a new season was this; if I had 90 minutes with an audience I wanted to use that time not just to entertain them but give them hope in Jesus for the rest of their lives. I stayed with the outlaws for 3 1/2 years but then left the band and took a big risk that I remain grateful for to this day. 

Koo-ah started it all and the making and touring of that record brings back memories that still put a huge smile on my face.

 

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NO MYSTERY

No Mystery is an elated trip down memory lane for those of us who grew up with this music. The output is definitively album-oriented rock which dominated the FM airwaves in the ‘80s. While Cua had his own signature sound, I do hear inflections of the familial Night Ranger or 38 Special, for music referencing (which is a compliment, btw!). Unlike his debut that had mostly southern-tinged rock with a smattering of rock-pop ballad-type material, No Mystery is contagiously consistent.

As with the debut album, the musicians on this album are pejoratively an all-star cast, the most significant being Ian Bairnson from Alan Parson Project on guitars. There is also the addition of Andy Richards of the Strawbs on keyboards.  Another noticeable variation from the debut album is how David Dix of The Outlaws allows himself to go more wild on the drums on the rock numbers. That guy can sure pound the skins.

It can not be emphasized enough that one of the defining elements of No Mystery is the three pensive rock tracks that kick the album off. He Lives In Me, the second chart-topper for Cua, One Way Out, and Changed all bear the stamp of great song writing. The Power, another guitar-ripping southern rocker, was penned by Mike Mead, who went on to play drums for Phil Keaggy and Chagall Guevara.

The closer, Help Me Out, is fun blues rock in the New Orleans style. I had to chuckle when I heard these lines sung:  

“I just left a bad situation
Got kicked out of my own house
The woman I loved turned into a lion
And tried to turn me into a mouse”

It’s not too funny when this situation actually happens, but boy do I love how this song is delivered!  –Doug Peterson, Down The Line zine 

Rick reflects on No Mystery

My second CCM record, No Mystery was recorded in the United Kingdom. For 8 weeks my wife Diana and I, with our 2 daughters, Niki & Nina, lived in a London flat in a typical English neighborhood, which was walking distance to the studio and some great restaurants. 

While I was recording daily Diana and The Kids toured London with their tube passes. At the end of the day we would catch up on our adventures over a nice meal. We were very fortunate and thankful for that opportunity both recording wise and culturally. 

No Mystery yielded our 2nd #1, He Lives In Me, and brought me deeper into the world of Contemporary Christian Music. 

 No Mystery

  1. HE LIVES IN ME 3:55
  2. ONE WAY OUT 4:37
  3. CHANGED 3:54
  4. JUST VISITING 4:10
  5. THE POWER 3:10
  6. HIGH SCHOOL REUNION 3:22
  7. CREATE IN ME A HEART 4:18
  8. A.S.S.E.F. 2:52
  9. BRIGHT LIGHT 3:17
  10. HELP ME OUT 4:14

 

 

 

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 YOU'RE MY ROAD

This is Rick’s first album on Sparrow Records, trading the Southern grit and alnum oriented rock for a more polished sound. Dave Perkins, who played guitar and keys on this project, sits in the producer seat as well. The production is top notch, maybe even flawless. Background vocals are expressive without sounding over-powering. The guitars are given equal distribution with the keys. Overall, the song craft is punchy and inspired.   

A few of the significant players include drummer Mike Mead and guitarist Peter York, who played with Second Chapter of Acts and later Phil Keaggy. Additionally, Rob Frazier, who released his notable debut album a year prior, added background vocals.  

The opener is the Southern rock Don’t Say Suicide, co-written by Rick Cua’s wife. Being parents of two teenage daughters at the time, Rick felt compelled to address the issue. The song has received befitting feedback over the years.

Other stand-out tracks are the fast-paced You’ve Only Got One Life, House Calls, featuring great sounding electronic drums, and yacht-rock sounding Runaway, which has some fine saxophone soloing. The Old Man picks up the tempo a few notches with catchy cleverness: “You’re not going to see the old man, I want to make it clear, I’m not going to be the old man, I drove him out of here.”  What a great way of expressing the truth that we are not the same as who we once were.

If you are a fan of John Elefante, Bryan Duncan or Phil Keaggy, you will likely enjoy this album.—Doug Peterson, Down The Line zine  

Rick reflects on You're My Road

The cover photo for my third project, You’re My Road, was taken on the old Shelby Street bridge in Nashville. I loved making records and the images were an important part of the marketing but honestly I couldn’t wait to get that done and get back in the studio. 

I remember, shortly before we started the project, Time Magazine did a feature on teen suicide. Since we had two teenage girls that article really caught our attention. After reading it my wife Diana went into the bedroom shut the door and starting to write the lyrics for one of You’re My Road’s lead songs, Don’t Say Suicide. She brought this one to myself and Bob Halligan Jr. and the 3 of us finished it.  

God used that song in the lives of many and to save the lives of some. We heard beautiful testimonies about people choosing life in the eleventh hour and I’m sure there are many stories we won’t know about until heaven. Writing songs like that with life saving messages is what motivated me to devote a big chunk of my life to Contemporary Christian Music. 

  1. DON'T SAY SUICIDE 3:30
  2. YOU'RE MY ROAD 3:54
  3. ONE CHILD IN PAIN 3:40
  4. WE ARE THE CHOSEN 3:51
  5. YOU'VE ONLY GOT ONE LIFE 3:40
  6. HOUSE CALLS 3:14
  7. RUNAWAY 3:33
  8. WE ARE YOURS 3:22
  9. HE OLD MAN 4:12
  10. CANT' STOP 3:07

 

  

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 WEAR YOUR COLORS

 This is the second album of Rick’s to be produced by Dave Perkins, who also played extensively on it. One look at the album cover, Rick holding up his black bass guitar in his frayed leather jacket, and you know they had a rock album in mind. And it shows up in the larger-than-life stadium rock numbers. The songs on Wear Your Colors are uber-catchy and danceable. The guitar work is inspired and full of energy. Drums resonate deep and sharp. Throw in Rick’s tough-sounding voice and shouted background vocals and you have an album to jam out to.

 Some of the old guard musicians (Mike Mead, Joe English, Bob Halligan Jr, Dave Perkins) from previous albums return to find new ways to breath life into these songs.

The title track is a charisma-laced anthem rocker that never lets up. Flex starts with a guitar-drum intro that reminds me of Def Leppard, though it changes gears to a contagiously sing-along tune more in line with something emulating Midnight Oil. This Raging Fire is up next, a mid-80’s rocker with an admonishment that the fire burning in us will keep raging regardless of our present circumstances. The last song Line Of Fire has a super catchy chorus and memorable guitar work.

Wear Your Colors may not have the multitude of tried and true infectious songs as on No Mystery, but the standout cuts on here really work.  A solid album with character and edge.  --Doug Peterson, Down The Line zine

Rick reflects on Wear Your Colors

    Besides being incredibly grateful and excited to record the songs of Wear Your Colors we were so uncomfortably hot in the process. I don’t think there was every a time that our two main recording environments were without sufficient air conditioning! 

    We started tracking in mid-Summer at Grand Slam Studio in West Orange, NJ, a huge warehouse location. We were pretty happy to see that our lunches would be nicely covered by the Italian Deli down the street. And, for a Syracuse, NY Italian American, that had recently relocated to Nashville, this was no small favor!

    At Grand Slam we were welcomed in with an apology, “our air conditioning is out of commission but we have two large industrial fans for you.” The fans were 5” tall, 2” wide, round and LOUD! We wound up tracking in our boxers, running the songs down with the fans on but shutting them off when we recorded so not to capture the noise on tape. 

    Then, back in Nashville, we continued with overdubs at our church, Oak Hill Assembly, with our producer Dave Perkins’ ReelSound Bus, a classic 1948 blacked out Flexible, capturing everything in the parking lot. Interestingly with full sun, the outside temps around 100 and all the heat from the electronics we had to get creative with a garden hose! So, we bought a couple of soaker hoses at our local Home Depot and serpentined them on the roof of the bus secured with rocks and ran the water to try and cool things down. Not sure how well it worked but we had one crazy water bill that became a significant part of the budget. 

    So many more stories but the best one is this; With Perkins, Bob Halligan Jr. and a killer group of musicians from my band and beyond we wound up with a record that was hotter than the heat we had to deal with and one that would encourage people with principles and truths of The Gospel in a language our audience could understand…and That’s Wear Your Colors. 

    Wear Your Colors

    1. WEAR YOUR COLORS (3:53)
    2. FLEX (3:27)
    3. THIS RAGING FIRE (3:50)
    4. HUNGRY (3:22)
    5. LEMME AT EM (3:36)
    6. GOT THE ROCK (3:03)
    7. UNCHAINED (3:41)
    8. NIGHTFALL (4:02)
    9. HATS OFF TO YOU (3:06)
    10. LINE OF FIRE (4:10) 

     

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