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.