Went on the hunt for an open neutral. Found 3 of them. 1st was in one of the previously installed (and functioning) fixtures where there was a poor marette job with 3 house wires were crammed in ineffectively, pushing one of the white wires out of the small marette, the 2nd was the same problem but at one of the vacant spots ...and the 3rd was simply 2 wires hanging in one of the vacant spots that were simply not hooked together. I used bigger marettes, which I think helped. Even though I'm a rookie when it comes to electrical, I'm left wondering, what the hell kind of electrical job was done at this house? Yeesh. Anyway, PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!! Let there be light!
Thanks for the replies and advice.
Needless to say, I've got this forum bookmarked! Thanks again.