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Horslips Drive The Cold Winter Away album cover
3.08 | 26 ratings | 5 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rug Muire Do Dhia (Mary Bore a Son to God) (1:53)
2. Sir Festus Burke/Carolan's Frolic (3:41)
3. The Snow That Melts the Soonest (4:29)
4. The Piper in the Meadow Straying (2:36)
5. Drive the Cold Winter Away (2:32)
6. Thompson's/Cottage in the Grove (2:43)
7. Ny Kirree Fo Naghtey (The Sheep 'Neath the (2:22)
8. Crabs in the Skillet (2:18)
9. Denis O'Connor (2:50)
10. Do'n Oiche un I Mbeithil (That Night in... (3:31)
11. Lullaby (2:26)
12. The Snow and the Frost Are All over/Paddy... (2:50)
13. When a Man's in Love (4:13)

Total Time: 37:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Charles O'Connor / fiddle, mandolin, concertina, Northumbrian pipes, vocals
- John Fean / guitars, fiddle, banjo, mandolin
- Jim Lockhart / keyboards, harpsichord, celesta, piano, pipe organ, table organ, recorder, flute, tin whistle, Uileann pipes, vocals
- Barry Devlin / bass, vocals
- Eamon Carr / bongos, bodhrán

Releases information

Artwork: Chris Ellis

LP Horslips Records ‎- MOO 9 (1975, Ireland)

CD Outlet ‎- MOOCD 009 (1989, Ireland) Remastered by Peter Mew, new cover art
CD Edsel Records ‎- EDCD 665 (2000, UK) Remastered by Peter Mew, new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HORSLIPS Drive The Cold Winter Away ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HORSLIPS Drive The Cold Winter Away reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Another usual Horslips album with their usually high standard of Celtic folk rock oozing from the Irish boys. Again with this album we are on the outside of the scope of the ProgArchives as this has little prog contents. We are dwelling on the jigs and other old tunes from previous centuries (if they were not written by the group members , one could believe so anyway) all very pleasant music (I actually like this stuff but in small doses - a full album is too much for me) from very gifted instrumentalist. Most comparisons to Jethro Tull are exagerated IMHO but a few tracks (a small minority of them) have evident links to it.

You might want to save your $$$ for more progressive stuff since you are on this site for prog. Still worth a spin though.

Review by Tony Fisher
5 stars Actually, I lied. This has nothing to do with prog rock at all so cannot have 5 stars according to the criteria of the site. However, it is so brilliant it's getting 5 anyway. Anyone who objects can go hang. It is a totally acoustic album (except for a bass guitar), initially released solely in Ireland for Christmas and designed to raise enough money to fund The Book of Invasions. The songs are all traditional and beautifully arranged, being performed masterfully on a huge range of traditional instruments; in particular, Jim Lockhart's harpsichord work is magnificent. I doubt if any other band on the site could have done this (possibly Gryphon and Gentle Giant?) and few would want to try. Many songs are instrumental, some are in Gaelic (or even Manx) so you may have no idea what they are about. And it matters not a jot. Next Christmas, put this on your pressie list and expand your horizons: it really is the perfect Christmas record and totally timeless.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Drive the Hard Rock away

A warning is in order: this is radically different from the other Horslips albums! After four rather hard rocking Prog Folk albums, Horslips released this collection of pure Celtic Folk music; mostly acoustic and instrumental and without drums. It is a high quality recording and it is a nice listen, but for those who expected anything like the band's three first albums or the couple of albums that came after it, it must be considered a disappointment.

The sound here is based on acoustic guitars, fiddle, mandolin, flutes, uilleann pipes, tin whistle and some very sparse keyboards and percussion instruments. The occasional vocals are alternately in English and traditional Irish language. Overall, I find this album an enjoyable listen, but it is hard to take it all in one listening session. The diversity and fusion of Folk and (Prog) Rock that was so successful on albums like The Tain and Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part is totally absent here. I think this is best considered as a side-project of the band rather than an entry in their regular discography.

This is by no means a bad album but, needless to say, this is not the best place to begin with Horslips (unless you have a thing for pure acoustic Celtic Folk music).

Primarily for fans and collectors this one

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars While Horslips' ancient celtic roots were never far from the surface, at times on "Dancehall Sweethearts" and "The Unfortunate Cup of Tea", one could be excused for dismissing them as Irish upstarts who couldn't quite play straightforward hard rock. This says nothing of what came after "Book of Invasions". Because they tended to prudently couple the modern and the well worn, it was only when they fell in one direction or other that they could be accused of sell out. Yes, "Drive the Cold Winter Away" seems the oddest sort of concession to the commercial market, an out and out return to their forefathers' roots in time for Christmas and mulled wine and all.

None of this would matter if they had bothered to impart their own take on the traditional more than on occasion, but unfortunately what we have here is simply a holiday album of traditional tunes and songs, the likes of which we have heard many times before by the BOTHY BAND, CHIEFTAINS or myriad other celtic agglomerations. The most interesting aspects are the brilliant harpsichord work by Jim Lockhart, and rare deployment of the lovely Irish tongue. "Mary Bore a Son to God", "Sir Festus Burke", Denis O'Connor" and "That Night in Bethlehem" illustrate these aspects best. Unfortunately, several promising tunes overstay their welcome, like "The Snow that Melts the Soonest" and "When a Man's in Love". For HORSLIPS, this is just too pretty and sterile - where are the tawdry edge and the sneering vitriole?

I accentuate that this is well played basically traditional celtic music that is appealing as such, but in my quest for the more edgy proponents of similar styles, I fear this Horslips collection will drive me stark raving sane before it delivers on its promises. 2.5 stars rounded down.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars To someone living in the northeastern United States, an album titled "Drive the Cold Winter Away" would sound very appealing this time of year (as I write, in near-blizzard conditions downwind of Lake Erie).

The 1975 LP remains a novelty in the Horslips catalogue. It's the most overtly Irish of all their albums, paying affectionate tribute to the ancient airs and antique ballads that inspired the band's more popular Celtic Rock fusions. There's no original music in any of the songs collected here, and the arrangements are faithful to their sources, ranging from stately medieval hymns to quaint 19th century ballads, all of them suitable for playing "on mono reproducers or on Christmas Day; or both", according to the sleeve notes.

In other words, the project was a departure from the amplified jigs and guitar-heavy Gaelic foot- stompers that made the band's reputation. The music isn't entirely unplugged: Barry Devlin's bass guitar and some of Jim Lockhart's keyboards were discreetly electrified. But drummer Eamon Carr was more or less allowed a paid vacation during the recording sessions.

Remove every trace of Rock from a nominal Folk Rock band, and here's what's left: an album of strictly traditional music, performed with obvious pride and historical sensitivity, but missing the legitimacy of genuine folk music anthropology. And yet the melodies are always lovely, in particular "The Snow That Melts the Soonest" (not soon enough, in western New York) and the haunting instrumental title track. Horslips was often unfairly compared to JETHRO TULL, which would make this album analogous to the 2003 Tull "Christmas Album", but with a little more cultural integrity behind it.

The album also marked a casual farewell to the band's more homespun early sound. Later Horslips LPs would aim for arena-rock modernity, with mixed success. But this was music to curl up with on an overstuffed chair, late at night in front of a glowing hearth, a wool blanket across your lap and a pint of dry stout within easy reach.

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