THE FOUR HORSEMEN - Nobody Said It Was Easy

Nobody Said It Was Easy FORMAT: CD
REALEASE DATE: 01.02.1991

Top 1991: #45
The Four Horsemen more
Frank C. Starr - voce
Dave Lizmi - chitara
Haggis - chitara
Ben Pape - bas
Ken "Dimwit" Montgomery - tobe


1. Nobody Said It Was Easy2. Rockin' Is Ma' Business3. Tired Wings4. Can't Stop Rockin'5. Wanted Man6. Let It Rock7. Hot Head8. Moonshine9. Homesick Blues10. 75 Again11. Lookin' for Trouble12. I Need a Thrill / Somethin' Good

Sometime around the end of the 80s, as a reaction to spandex rock that dominated the mainstream, a few bands appeared that claimed their authenticity by restoring the link to the 70s. For instance, The Cult, who, together with Electric (1987), gave up the last remains of gothic in favour of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC-inspired riffs. Then, The Quireboys, who in 1990 released A Bit of What You Fancy, perhaps the-best-Faces-album-not-written-by-Rod-Stewart-Ronnie-Wood-&-co. And, last but not least, The Black Crowes, a band that still combines hard rock with blues and soul, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin with Otis Redding and Willie Dixon. I could mention Primal Scream, a band coming from an indie background (Bobby Gillespie used to be a drummer in The Jesus and Mary Chain in the 80s), but with frequent incursions into the territory of classic rock, see the eponymous album of 1989 and Give Out But Don't Give Up in 1994.

From this current I would like to stop at the band that is perhaps the least known but dearest to me The Four Horsemen and their debut record, Nobody Said It Was Easy (1991). In their case, we are not only dealing with a homage to the 70s, but with a record that actually sounds like it was written by the end of that decade by a super-band made of Lynyrd Skynyrd and AC/DC members. What we have here is pure hard rock, played with visceral force by a band that has done its homework and perfectly combines Free Bird with Let There Be Rock to devastating effect. If you listen to the title track, an excellent southern rock piece, continuing with Rockin' Is Ma' Business, the band’s anthem and the record’s pièce de résistance, you realize what’s waiting for you over the next 10 songs. Can't Stop Rockin', Let It Rock, Hot Head, Moonshine, 75 Again, Lookin' for Trouble recreate the atmosphere of a chase through the desert, like the cult movie Vanishing Point (1971), fuelled by a lot of Jack and weed. Well, the more laid back pieces, like Tired Wings and I Need a Thrill / Somethin' Good make you think just of … Jack and weed.

I left Wanted Man last, the song that would put Jon Bon Jovi to shame when he sang “I’m a cowboy on a steel horse I ride / I’m wanted dead or alive”. Because, compared to the New Jersey-born, Italian origin east coast artist, the boys of The Four Horsemen were actually outlaws from the Wild West. Singer Frank Starr spent more time in jail for drug trafficking/consumption than he spent promoting the debut album. Add to this the overdose that killed drummer Ken "Dimwit" Montgomery during the recordings for their second album Gettin' Pretty Good... at Barely Gettin' By (1996), which caused the guitarist and founding member Stephen “Haggis” Harris (former member of Zodiac Mindwarp, another hard-rock revival band in the late 80s) to leave the band. It all ended when Frank Starr was hit by a drunk driver in 1995, while he was driving his bike on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; he was in a coma for 4 years, and could not be saved.

And this is how a band that was more appreciated in its time in the artistic environment (see the t-shirt James Hetfield is wearing on the Nothing Else Matters video, around 4:57, when the solo starts) than by the wider audience (hence the modest sales), was very unlucky and disappeared before its time.

Today, when classic rock is defining its own niche, promoted with magazines, shows and dedicated radio stations, I am still waiting for an album to come out that’s as powerful as Nobody Said It Was Easy.

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Posted at 23:15 |  06 Aprilie 2011  | 0 Comments  | 5201 Views

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