Horslips: The Tain
I first got into Irish progressive rock/folk band Horslips with their The Man Who Built America album. For whatever the reason I lost touch with the band's music at the time but as I have recently discovered their back catalogue is very much worth investigating. The Tain is the band's sophomore album and was originally released in 1973. This classic album has now been re-released on Horslips Records.
The Irish folk lore myth 'Tain Bo Cuailgne (The Cattle Raid of Cooley)' is the basis for this full-fledged concept album. A war is started between a promiscuous Queen Maeve and a cattle owner named Cooley. The CD reissue contains a synopsis of the story that is said to have taken place around 500 BC. You will have to buy the CD to learn more but suffice to say it is an interesting story and the band had done remarkably well translating it into these fifteen tracks.
The opening track ""Setanta" is a short instrumental with psychedelic infused guitar and keyboards leading directly into the more traditional Irish folk of "Maeve's Court" where concertina, flute, fiddle and mandolin weave a wonderful melody. On the rocky "Charolais" the band channels Jethro Tull, especially in the vocal, guitar and flute department. More hints of Tull can be heard on the folk rock charmer "The March" while more excellent flute and guitar work can be heard in the supremely catchy "You Can't Fool the Beast". As the tempo speeds up the fiddle really gets a workout. The rocking "Dearg Doom" is another catchy earworm leading into the softer "Ferdia's Song" with its gentle acoustic guitar and vocals. The band's progressive roots crop up in the psychedelic tinged "Gae Bolga". The guitar work is particularly inspired. The trippy folk rock of "Cu Chulainn's Lament" and the Beatles-like "Faster Than the Hound" with its '60s psychedelic pop flavourings are more highlights.
This digipack edition comes with a live sixteen minute bonus track recorded at My Father's Place, Long Island, NY, 1974 where the band's energy and aplomb is on full display.
Really, nothing much more needs to be said. If you like '70s rock in the vein of Tull, Steeleye Span or Fairport Convention and remembering these guys were really pretty unique, you need to acquire this disc as soon as possible.
2. Maeve's Court
4. The March
5. You Can't Fool the Beast
6. Dearg Doom
7. Ferdia's Song
8. Gae Bolga
9. Cu Chulainn's Lament
10. Faster Than the Hound
11. The Silver Spear
12. More Than You Can Chew
13. The Morrigan's Dream
14. Time To Kill!
15. Live Extended Sequence: Setanta, Maeve's Court, Charolais, The March,
You Can't Fool the Beast, The Clergy's Lamentation
Added: October 31st 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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