If you were to look up the definition of rock n’ roll in the dictionary, scrawled alongside the likes of Lemmy, you’ll find the name Ricky Warwick. An Irish-born, Scottish-raised musician brought up on a diet of Johnny Cash, New Model Army, and Thin Lizzy, Warwick has been a staple of the British rock scene since the early ‘90s earning his stripes as frontman for grease rockers The Almighty, Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders as well as, in this case, a solo artist in his own right. Now on the verge of releasing his fifth solo album, Warwick is a man who lives, breathes and bleeds his music.

When Life Was Hard and Fast is unmistakeably Ricky Warwick. Gritty, brash, and laced with Warwick’s unforgettable gravelly vocals, the title track kicks this album off complete with backing vocals from another Brit rock legend, Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliot who is one of a number of guests who appear throughout the record. Ranging from Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses on the heartbreaking “I Don’t Feel At Home,” Luke Morley of fellow Brits Thunder on “You Don’t Love Me,” to Warwick’s own daughter Pepper who he shares vocal duty with on the heartfelt “Time Don’t Seem To Matter.”

Listening to a Ricky Warwick album is never a difficult experience. It’s never an effort or a struggle because you know that, before the first note has been played, or the first words have been uttered, this is going to be coming straight from Warwick’s heart. Every ounce of emotion poured into every single song is straight from Warwick’s soul. There are no filler tracks on Ricky Warwick albums. There are no “radio singles” on his recordings because when Ricky Warwick writes music he feels every last second of it. When Life Was Hard and Fast is no different. Songs like “Fighting Heart” and “Clown of Misery” are written by a man who has lived, laughed and battled for his music. Put on a Ricky Warwick album and you know it’s going to come with some hard-fought scars.

Fittingly, the album ends with “You’re My Rock ‘N’ Roll,” a song Warwick describes as an ode to the life-affirming addiction to rock ‘n’ roll. It’s the kind of raucous, foot to the floor anthem that brings this album to a full throttle finale and shows exactly why the world of rock ‘n’ roll is a much better place with Ricky Warwick in it.

When Life Was Hard and Fast Track Listing:

1. When Life Was Hard and Fast
2. You Don’t Love Me
3. I’d Rather Be Hit
4. Gunslinger
5. Never Corner A Rat
6. Time Don’t Seem To Matter
7. Fighting Heart
8. I Don’t Feel At Home
9. Still Alive
10. Clown Of Misery
11. You’re My Rock ‘n Roll

Run Time: 39:42
Release Date: February 19, 2021
Record Label: Nuclear Blast

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.