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Horslips The Man Who Built America album cover
3.15 | 25 ratings | 4 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Loneliness (4:24)
2. Tonight (You're With Me) (3:23)
3. I'll Be Waiting (6:29)
4. If It Takes All Night (3:35)
5. Green Star Liner (3:26)
6. The Man Who Built America (3:43)
7. Homesick (4:02)
8. Long Weekend (3:41)
9. Letters From Home (4:19)
10. Long Time Ago (3:33)

Total Time: 40:35

Bonus tracks on 2009 reissue:
11. The Man Who Built America (Recorded At Park West, Chicago 1980) (3:35)
12. Loneliness (Recorded At Sigma Sound, Philadelphia 1978) (4:19)
13. Homesick (Recorded At The Bottom Line, New York 1979) (4:13)

Line-up / Musicians

- Charles O'Connor / fiddle, mandolin, concertina, vocals
- John Fean / guitar, vocals
- Jim Lockhart / keyboards, flute, whistle, vocals
- Barry Devlin / bass, vocals
- Eamon Carr / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Billy Moore

LP Horslips Records - MOO 17 (1978, Ireland)

CD Outlet - MOOCD 017 (1989, UK)
CD Edsel Records - EDCD 670 (2001, UK) Remastered by Peter Mew, new cover art
CD Horslips Records ‎- MOOCCD017 (2009, Ireland) With 3 bonus Live tracks, new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy HORSLIPS The Man Who Built America Music

HORSLIPS The Man Who Built America ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HORSLIPS The Man Who Built America reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars It's time someone stepped forward to champion the later efforts of this hard-working Irish band, after they finally shed the last trace of shamrock-colored folk melody from their repertoire. The music wasn't anywhere in the neighborhood of Progressive Rock anymore (was it ever?), but they hadn't completely mothballed their flutes, fiddles, and concertinas just yet, and a few lingering echoes of the early HORSLIPS sound could still be heard behind all the dominant electric guitars.

This 1978 album concluded an unofficial thematic trilogy that began with "The Book of Invasions" and continued in "Aliens": a loosely bound chronicle of Irish exile from the 12th to the 20th Century. But it also marked the end of another cycle, charting the band's transformation from Celtic Folk balladeers to Arena Rock superstars (in their own country, at any rate).

Needless to say, it was a mixed blessing, especially to longtime fans with fond memories of "Dancehall Sweethearts" and "The Tain", two of their more distinctive mid-'70s attempts to update traditional Irish music in a modern rock vernacular. If their previous album, about the Irish-American immigrant experience, was titled "Aliens", this one might well have been called "Assimilation", and not just because of the historical subtext. Every song has been so thoroughly chewed, swallowed, and digested into the radio-friendly rock 'n' roll mainstream of the late 1970s that they could almost be the work of an entirely different set of musicians.

But there are silver linings. The production is more dynamic than on any of their earlier releases, in particular during the album opener "Loneliness" and the foot-stomping title track, two songs packing considerable hard rock punch (and with hooks to match). The ballad "I'll Be Waiting" has a big, room-filling sound Phil Spector might have applauded, and there's a welcome touch of Old World nuance in the melancholy "Long Weekend", crooned in that always attractive and unmistakable brogue.

Diehard fans (Horsheads?) may have cried "sell out!" at this point, but at least the music was loyal to the spirit of genuine rock and roll, unlike the post-Punk meltdowns of too many ex-Prog rockers (step forward, Phil Collins). The way I see it, if you have to go commercial, do it loud, and do it with energy. Measured by that yardstick, HORSLIPS was still a long way from the glue factory in 1978.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Leaving Horslips in charge of traditional Irish folk was a bit like allowing Hells' Angels to babysit your precious 2 year old. Sure, your baby would survive safely, but you may not recognize her anymore when it's all over. They proved this time and again in the 70s, such that when they turned to hard rock with nary a vestige of the reel on "The Man Who Built America", we were somewhat prepared. This even got considerable airplay in the capital of Canada in its day, and was generally touted for what it was, the modernization of the Horslips sound, certainly with a view to the charts but with enough strong material to satisfy the rock if not the stodgy folk audience.

The album roars to life with the uber-catchy "Loneliness", later matched by the title track. Both are nearly unrelenting melodic hard rock tracks with a few celtic touches, featuring a superb mix on the vocals and a constant attack on rhythm guitars, not to mention masterful endings. The power ballad "I'll be waiting", the sinewy "Green Star Liner", and the Tullish "If it Takes all Night" are other highlights that snuff out some of the heavy handedness of the other cuts.

"The Man Who Built America" sadly turned out to be one of Horslips' last albums, and their last original work of interest. A shame, since at the time it seemed to lay the groundwork for a new sound to build upon.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Aliens part II

As every Prog fan knows, the late 70's and early 80's meant some changes in musical direction for almost all our favourite bands who originally started out in the late 60's or early 70's. Horslips was no exception to this general trend and The Man Who Built America is a good case in point. For Prog Folk bands in particular it was often the case that the Folk influences became less important with each subsequent album and the Rock and Pop elements became stronger. This is true for Strawbs, Gryphon and to an extent also Jethro Tull (but for the latter the change came a bit later). The present album is not that far away in style from Strawbs' Deadlines and to a lesser extent Jethro Tull's A. These are not bad albums and The Man Who Built America isn't bad either. It might, however, be considered a somewhat guilty pleasure from the Prog fan's perspective.

With regards to those Folk influences, this album is the very opposite of the Drive The Cold Winter Away album for which Horslips opted for a pure Celtic Folk approach with little or no Rock aspects. The Man Who Built America is a Rock album with only hints of Folk left to speak of. It is, however, not entirely void of Folk and also Prog influences, but it is miles away from band's early albums like The Tain and Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part or even the more recent (at the time) Book Of Invasions.

The previous album, Aliens, was a concept album about the Irish emigration to America. The present album is also a conceptual album and this time it is rather about how those (Irish?) people who came to America helped to build what that country is today. The concept is, however, not particularly obvious and the songs are wholly independent from each other musically. The songs are generally in the three or four minute range and there are no real deviations from conventional song structures (but was there ever on Horslips albums?). There are, however, several short but tasteful flute, fiddle, keyboard and guitar solos. The flute sound still has a very Ian Anderson-like sound, but the vintage keyboards and Hammond organs are replaced with the latest synthesisers of the day.

The songs are generally catchy and it is hard not to feel a desire to sing along. There is a nice balance between rockers and ballads and there are no really bad songs to speak of even if a couple of choruses are a bit simplistic both lyrically and musically. The vocals are generally stronger than on the early albums and the production is much improved. This is indeed a professional and polished affair, but it is not too glossy. They have not lost their Hard Rock attitude even if the grittiness of The Tain is nowhere to be found.

Needless to say, this is not one of Horslips best albums and anyone who contemplates venturing this deep into the discography of this great Irish band ought to see to it that they have acquired several of their other albums first. But for those who have all or most of the band's previous albums, The Man Who Built America is a worthy addition.

Good, but by no means essential

Latest members reviews

4 stars I dont really think of this album to be a 'prog' album really, just more a really enjoyable pop-rock album. Its of course still a great wee album as it is Horslips, just a more...compactable version, the songs are very short and many do not have that folk vibe that many of there early albums had, ... (read more)

Report this review (#290102) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Monday, July 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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