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Horslips - The Tain CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.16 | 64 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars the tain is horslips masterpiece. this perfectly takes the irish trad/prog folk sound of their first album 'happy to meet,sorry to part' and adds just a little bit more of a rock edge.

this is a concept album based around the great irsh myth of the tain bo cualligne (the cattle raid of cooley) where queen maeve of connaught wishes to steal the great bull of cooley in order to equal her husbands wealth. her attempts lead to a war between the irish provinces of connaught and ulster with the great hero of ulster cu chullain having to face his old friend ferdia in a the climatic battle which leaves maeve's army defeated.

the horslips use melodies from old traditional irish tunes and spice them with a (then) modern rock sound which is a perfect musical backround for a fascinating tale. many tracks on the album are instrumental sections used to set the scene and the like but it is the songs themselves that make this album. opening song 'Charolais' is preceded by two excellent insrumental passages which tell of the birth of setanta who later becomes cu chullainn. The ritornello theme of the first half of the album is introduced here.The second instrumental sets the scene in maeve's court. 'Charolais" makes use of some insidious traditional melodies which are finely crafted into riffs by horslips guitarist John Fehan. The lyrics are excellent and tell of Maeve and her husband arguing over their wealth and leads the concept into fruition. An amazing flute solo by keyboardist/flautist Jim Lockhart is a hint of early jethro tull and could well fit on "Stand Up' or 'Benefit". An amazing guitar solo by John Fehan illuminates the song also and truly wakes up the listner after thw two instrumental tracks. This is then followed by a further two very short instrumentals 'The March' parts I and II. The next track is the wonderful 'You Can't Fool The Beast" which benefits from some more classy flute playing and a rousing chorus. Followin g this is the immortal 'Dearg Doom". Equally notable for Barry Devlin's sublime bass playing,Johnny Fehan's brilliant riff and Charles O'Connor's vovals, 'Dearg Doom' is the Horslips most well known soong and is a tour-de-force from beginning to end with the fantastic lyrics telling of the coming of red doom-Chu Cullainn. the next song is 'Ferdia's Song' Which tells of the immortal battle betrween the two age old friend cu chullainn and ferdia, the two are locked in a battle for days until in a rage cu chullainn unleashes his spear the 'Gae Bolga" , the title of the next track and kills his old friend. the use of the ritornello theme in 'Ferdia's Song' Is excellenmt as it highlights how difficult it was for cu chullainn to kill his old friend. Other fantastic songs on this album are 'Faster Than The Hound' which has brilliant lyrics and a sublime descending bassline, 'More Than You Can Chew' which has excellent uilleann pipe p[laying blending effortlessly into a prog rock song and the final track 'Time To Kill" which fuses a traditional irish slip jig in 9/8 timi9ng into one harmonious, excellent finish to a magnificent progressive folk/celtic rock concept album

A true classic.

Dearg_Doom | 5/5 |


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