Ricky Warwick's complex soul exposed on When Life Was Hard And Fast

Black Star Riders frontman Ricky Warwick's panoramic When Life Was Hard And Fast is his seventh album under his own name

Ricky Warwick - When Life Was Hard And Fast
(Image: © Nuclear Blast)

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Ricky Warwick’s six previous solo albums have ranged from acoustic Americana to full-on rock (plus a Britney Spears cover) underlining what a complex soul Warwick is. 

When Life Was Hard And Fast mirrors that complexity. Mainly it’s a big rock record, made with former Buckcherry men Keith Nelson (as guitarist, co-writer and producer) and Xavier Muriel (drums), alongside Black Star Riders bassist Robbie Crane.

Joe Elliott sings backing vocals on the title track, Luke Morley plays guitar on another, Andy Taylor does likewise on a third… But then there are real contrasts such as Clown Of Misery (a lo-fi demo) or Time Don’t Seem To Matter, written for, and featuring, his youngest daughter Pepper.

By turns the album is fast and punky – as on the Mink DeVille cover Gunslinger or Warwick’s own compositions Never Corner A Rat and You’re My Rock ’N Roll – or delivering moments of Lizzy-esque majesty in Fighting Heart and Still Alive, and the Springsteen-lite I Don’t Feel At Home, featuring Dizzy Reed on keyboards. 

If the songs weren’t good, such a panorama wouldn’t hold together. But they are, and it does.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush. Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.