I first heard about Horslips when AllMusic said The Decemberists had elements of this band, as well as Pentangle and the Fairport Convention in their music. Since I love that band, I figured I should go exploring.
“Horslips are an Irish Celtic rock band that compose, arrange and perform songs based on traditional Irish jigs and reels. The group are regarded as ‘founding fathers of Celtic rock for their fusion of traditional Irish music with rock music and went on to inspire many local and international acts.”
This is as Celtic rock as you can get… and the Prog Rock elements are well in place, too. Songs like “Gae Bolga” are outright trippy…
You will immediately hear a strong resemblance to Jethro Tull, especially on the track “You Can’t Fool The Beast”.
I really like this album, which I find both odd and confusing.
Many of you know I cannot listen to Jethro Tull. It’s a very peculiar thing, but I have a strange and uncomfortable sensation whenever I hear their music… as if something bad happened in a previous life.
I can listen to this… so obviously it has nothing to do with the flute or the heavy Irish influence!
The Táin is their second studio album, and “is based on the Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), one of the most infamous legends of Early Irish literature, dealing with the war between Ulster and Connacht over a prize bull. The songs tell the story from the points of view of Cúchulainn, Queen Maeve of Connacht and Ferdia, among others.”
AllMusic says: “At one point in the mid-’70s, Horslips seemed poised to become Ireland’s answer to Steeleye Span. But they also had a shot at being the next Jethro Tull (only a better hard rock outfit), or maybe Genesis, or even Yes in their folkier moments. Those events never quite happened, but Horslips released half-a-dozen superb albums along the way, becoming Ireland’s most acclaimed folk-rock and progressive band.”
So they never quite hit… but the music is well worth a listen… I don’t know how often I would turn to this… and I do need to give Steeleye Span more of a listen… They seem to be a lot more traditional and folky… but for today and every once in a while, this hits the spot… I will most definitely pop this on, on March 17th!