Part 224: Rockin’ Is Ma Business

For a closer look at the album itself, check out 1537’s cool writeup!

RECORD STORE TALES Part 224:  Rockin’ Is Ma Business

In 1995, this guy I knew named Freddy was looking for more new tunes.  He’d been playing all the Gary Moore and Stevie Ray Vaughn that I could get him, but he wanted some rock as well.  Something a little heavier.

“Have you heard of the Four Horsemen?” I asked.

“Nope,” he answered.  “Who’re the Four Horsemen?”

The Four Horsemen were a great band.  They had a solid AC/DC vibe mixed in with assloads of southern rock.  They were an odd mixture of personnel, with members from Wales, America and Canada.  They featured ex-members of DOA and The Cult (Haggis), along with a charismatic unknown singer from Long Island who went by the name of Frank C. Starr.  They were a volatile band and the original lineup imploded, but there were also rumours of a reunion and second album.  (Sadly, drummer Ken “Dimwit” Montgomery passed away, and after recording the second album, Frank Starr would be close behind.)  They did manage to crank out a solid debut, helmed by Rick Rubin, called Nobody Said It Was Easy.*

Freddy was sold without hearing a single song, after I described how strong the debut was.  We had it stocked new for the low, low price of $14.99.  Freddy made his purchase and headed out.I was confident he would be satisfied.

A week later, Freddy returned.  He had a bone to pick with me about Nobody Said It Was Easy.

“It was good music,” he said, “But not what I was looking for.  You said it was more like AC/DC.  This doesn’t sound anything like AC/DC.  It’s more country.  I don’t know why you said it sounded like AC/DC.”

I was really confused.  How could you miss those AC/DC-isms?  The rock solid beats, smoking guitars, and screamin’ lead vocalist?  What Freddy was saying didn’t make much sense.

We talked for a while trying to make sense of each others’ side of the story, getting nowhere, so I asked him to bring the CD back in.  He did, and I put it in the player.  Sure enough, Freddy was right — but on a CD clearly labelled The Four Horsemen was music by Dwight Yoakam!  The voice was unmistakable.

How could this happen?  It was rare, but not impossible, for a CD to be manufactured but then labelled and packaged as the wrong album.  Dwight Yoakam was on Reprise, and the Horsemen on Def American.  Both labels were subsidiaries of Warner Brothers.  Obviously the CDs were also manufactured in a Warner plant, for this mix-up to happen.

I insisted that Freddy return the CD so we could make it right, but he didn’t want to!  He liked the Dwight Yoakam album and wanted to keep it!  I ordered him a replacement copy of Nobody Said It Was Easy, and he liked that one too.

A lot of people were surprised that a CD could end up with the wrong music or artwork (however you want to look at it) printed on it.  It was rare, but it could happen and did.  Fortunately Freddy was happy with both records!

*The Four Horsemen finally reached a wider audience in 2012, in the movie GI Joe: Retaliation. From their second album, “Back In Business” is featured completely out of context during a frantic action sequence. The lyrics of the song are clearly about getting screwed over by record labels and passing trends in music.


  1. It all worked out in the end!
    A friend loaned me this cd earlier this year, solid is the appropriate adjective – I remember thinking it was somewhere between The Black Crowes and AC DC, I’m glad to read you agree!


  2. After all your cranky customer stories, I’m glad you got one that was cool about it.

    Believe it or not, this happened to me too, back in April! I’d bought a Greatest Hits of Run DMC disc to send to my buddy Brian in CT (to go with the biography of them I’d found for him). I mailed these gifts to the States. I get an email from him a couple of weeks later, thanking me for the gifts, and genuinely confused that the CD of Run DMC was packaged and labelled as such, but the music was Leonard Cohen! He found it amusing, too.


  3. How’s this for coincidence? I haven’t played this record in a long, long time, so yesterday I decided to give it (and its follow up Gettin’ Pretty Good… At Barely Gettin’ By) a spin again and what do I see when I log in to FB this morning if not a review of said album. Cool. Well, not a review, maybe, but an article anyway.
    Great album. And yes, they know thieir AC/DC, but they were no clones like so many other bands out there. So sad that singer Frank Starr died back in 1995. He had some big drug problems so it’s a bit ironic that he died when he was hit by a drunk driver.


  4. I love the Horsemen…both albums just plain out rock…good ol fashioned hard rock!
    The Horsemen played here in at our old) now it’s a parking lot ) rock bar The Inntowner back in 1996. Me,my wife and buddy went and they had Ron Young (Little Ceasar) fronting them and they put on a solid show !(I still got the Tour Tee with all the dives in Canada they played on the back )…..Ron Young was hiliarious that night ,place was pretty full but the front of the stage no one was close..after about 4 songs in he told us all “hey is everyone here scared of the Tatooed freak from LA here” meaning himself!!! So no sooner do they launch into the 5th song a young intoxicated female walked up to the front of the stage wrapped her arms around his legs and preceded to act like she was giving him oral sex.hahahaha..the bouncers just left it be she finally stopped and buggered off into the crowd and Ron had a shit grin for the next bit……
    Solid band miss them..but hey they do have 2 great releases!


    1. 3 studio albums, an EP and a live album Deke! But I’ll respond with more details after work. The second second album had a different singer and was much more country…it is called Daylight Again. but I prefer Gettin Pretty Good at Barely Gettin By!


        1. Jon I have pulled out the album from my collection to examine.

          This was recorded BEFORE Gettin’ Pretty Good, but not released until recently. There’s no year on the album, but it was recorded around 93-94.

          All songs are written solely by Haggis. The lineup is Haggis, Tim Beattie on vocals, harmonica and guitar, Dave Lizmi, Les Warner on drums (from the Cult I think?) and Duane D. Young on bass.

          The Beattie connection is that Ron Young recommended him back in 1990, to play harmonica on Nobody Said It Was Easy. The harmonica parts were originally cut, but now restored to the new deluxe reissue of Nobody Said It Was Easy.

          I like this album, but it does not sound like the Horsemen. It’s country and southern rock, which is why Haggis chose not to release it until recently.


        2. Ok. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be released as a Horsemen album? I mean, both Easy and Gettin’ Pretty Good was recorded with Starr on vocals, so it seems a bit weird to record an album with a different singer in between those two…?


        3. Well there are extensive liner notes that reveal it was supposed to be the Horsemen, until Haggis pulled the plug because the sound had strayed too far. Lizmi quit and they continued playing gigs as the Horsemen with a new guitarist, but Haggis split and it was over. Then a short while later Lizmi reformed the Horsemen with Frank but Haggis was not interested. Haggis does say he likes the Gettin’ Pretty Good album.


  5. Mike tell 1537 that I clicked your link to his review and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
    I couldn’t leave him a comment as I don’t do FaceCrack!



    1. Thank you Derek & thank you Mike.

      I loved the Dwight Yocum story, not happened to me yet, or not so I’ve noticed yet anyway.

      You win, come payday I’ll be getting Gettin’ Pretty Good .. You’ve worn me down.

      Btw we’re Little Caesar any good? I’ve never heard a note of theirs.


        1. Dude left the house without his shirt, seemed to happen a lot in L.A back then. It’s okay, maybe a bit smooth for my tastes.


        2. Yeah, it was 1990. A lot of mainstream rock records from that year have a similar production.

          This dude was ALSO in Terminator 2. The bar scene at the beginning. Watch!


        3. You’ve reviewed everything!

          You know Ron Young was briefly with the Chili Peppers? Like a matter of days basically.

          Good to know they are still making quality music.


        4. Ron Young was also in Manic Eden, with Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge and Adrian Vandenberg, kinda like Whitesnake minus David Coverversion… sorry, Coverdale… ;-)
          But their album was really good. Young replaced James Christian (House Of Lords) in that band.


  6. No twitter either….I’m just a basic email gmail kind of guy…I’m the only one in the house(4 woman) that doesn’t have a cell phone!!!
    My wife and daughters tell everyone that the landline is my cell phone!!!
    I like it that way!…


    1. You have the iPad though so it’s not like you’re still living in the stone ages, right?

      I’m primarily email too but I have been begrudgingly dragged into the social media thing in a shameless desire to self-promote :)


    1. Might be mine, too. It was one of the first studio albums of theirs that I bought, if not the first.

      So last time we went from Skid Row to Richie Sambora, and this time we’re going from the Horsemen to Rush. Incredible!


  7. Actually today I thru on ACDCs Flick Of The Switch…man I love that record as much today as the day I bought it back in 83…..gone was the polish…back to the rawness ….


    1. So underrated album. I can’t it through my skull why it’s regarded so low by many AC/DC fans. Back In Black, For Thoses About To Rock and Flick Of The Switch are equally as good, in my opinion. However, after that album, things went downhill quite fast.


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