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Horslips Short Stories / Tall Tales album cover
2.29 | 17 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Guests of the Nation (3:33)
2. Law on the Run (2:50)
3. Unapproved Road (3:40)
4. Ricochet Man (3:21)
5. Back in My Arms (4:14)
6. Summer's Most Wanted Girl (3:29)
7. Amazing Offer (3:12)
8. Rescue Me (3:21)
9. The Life You Save (3:57)
10. Soap Opera (3:23)

Total Time: 35:00

Bonus tracks on 2010 reissue (Live, Roosky, Ireland, March 1980) :
11. Amazing Offer
12. Ricochet Man
13. Summer's Most Wanted Girl
14. Law On The Run
15. Unapproved Road
16. Soap Opera

Line-up / Musicians

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

- Steve Katz / tambourine, producer
- Declan O'Doherty / piano (9)

Releases information

Artwork: O'Lochlainn Design Associates

LP Horslips Records - MOO 19 (1979, Ireland)

CD Outlet - MOOCD 019 (1993, Ireland) New cover art
CD Edsel Records ‎- EDCD 671 (2001, UK) Remastered by Peter Mew, new cover art
CD Horslips Records ‎- MOOCCD019 (2010, Ireland) With 6 bonus Live tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HORSLIPS Short Stories / Tall Tales ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (47%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

HORSLIPS Short Stories / Tall Tales reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
2 stars The last studio album by the best thing to come out of Ireland since St. Patrick did his act with the snakes is a far cry from the band's Celtic roots, as even a cursory glance at the cover art will all-too obviously indicate. The Polaroid portraits show a quintet of fashionably clean-cut rockers, casually attired in the anti-Prog uniform of the late 1970s: spotted bow ties, colorfully striped tee shirts, and retro-'60s sneakers (although I'm only guessing on that last detail).

The instrumentation is likewise (sadly) up-to-the-minute, with no fiddles, mandolins, or tin whistles anywhere in evidence. And for the first time there's no thematic connection in any of the music to local Irish mythology or culture, and only a hint of The Troubles in a few of the song titles ("Guests of the Nation", "Unapproved Road").

All of which points to an album of watered-down New Wave music that wouldn't be out of place on the same shelf as GENTLE GIANT's "Civilian", another well-meant but misguided compromise by a band ill-suited to the Brave New World of post-Punk power chords. It's too bad, because the energy is still there, and the playing is tighter than ever. "Law on the Run" and the aforementioned "Unapproved Road" are two tracks with a lot of drive, and the acoustic "Rescue Me" is one of the more charming ballads in the HORSLIPS catalogue.

But in the end the album fails the first test of any self-respecting Irish band, by not sounding at all Irish. Maybe it was a deliberate bid to broaden their fan base beyond the Emerald Isle, or maybe the group was just doing their best to keep pace with changing times. Nobody, after all, wants to be accused of living too comfortably in the past, but did they have to completely jettison their musical identity along with their counter-culture wardrobe?

You have to admire the band's commitment and stability: the same line-up that recorded "Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part" in 1973 was still together six years and ten albums later. But after making the transition from Folk Rock troubadours to something resembling a generic, hard-rockin' American bar band, they must have realized it was an aesthetic dead end, and (again, not unlike GENTLE GIANT) wisely called it quits.

Review by Heptade
3 stars Horslips started as the Irish Fairport Convention but had morphed by the end of the 70s into a very competent mainstream pop/rock group. Their later albums, mostly free of violin and other trad instruments, are regularly lambasted, but I disagree strongly. People have a habit of unfavourably comparing different phases of a band's career to the time when they first established their sound (see: Genesis), but perhaps it's best to take a given record on the terms of what it is offering you, not what the band was offering five years before. Taken on its own terms, Horslips' last record is a very nice album that fits in well with the kind of things that Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Graham Parker and the Cars were doing, while still retaining a noticeable Irishness in the melodies and chord changes. "Guests of the Nation" is the best known song here, a catchy number with Horslips' usual emotional lyrical content. Other highlights are "The Life You Save", a great Celtic rock number that Big Country could have done a lot with, and the acoustic "Rescue Me". This album contains songs that are moving and fun, with melodies that stick in the brain. Not as good as "The Man Who Built America", the best album of Horslips' melodic rock phase, but a strong 70s rock album that Horslips enthusiasts should not pass by.
Review by obiter
2 stars Yes well ... an album I bought on release.

This is a mediocre album by a band which had tried to move on from their roots. That in itself is not a bad thing. Witness Rush change thorugh time, sometimes with strange birting pains.

Problem is that it would appear that the change did not sit comfortably on the shoulders of the Horslips. I say "appear" becasue I have absolutely no idea: the band may have loved this album as they shed all semblance of folk and irishness. But whether they di or didn't love it, the album is seriously mediocre.

I could not in any sense describe it as prog and it's certainly not folk.

I put it aside for about 5 years before I listened to it again. Confirmed my thoughts and put it aside for another 5 years.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Horslips goes New Wave!

There is no denying that the sound of Horslips changed over the course of the 70's, but up till and including their previous album, The Man Who Built America, this change had been one of degree and not of essential nature. With the present album however, the change was radical. The Folk purists had probably been crying "sell out" for a few years already at this point, but it was really with Short Stories, Tall Tales that Horslips finally did sell out; they sold their Folk souls for Rock 'N' Roll, or rather for New Wave and Punk. The music found on this album really has much more to do with those styles than with Folk or Prog. It is very hard to even recognise which band it is!

Already on the previous couple of albums the songs had become somewhat shorter and the Folk influences had faded somewhat into the background, but with Short Stories the songs really became just that, short; the longest track here is just over four minutes and the shortest is under three minutes. Song length is, of course, not a certain sign of musical decline, but it is part of "the story". It is very hard to find anything on this album that would arouse any kind of interest in a fan of The Tain or Book Of Invasions. The Folk influence is almost totally absent here! The acoustic ballad Rescue Me is a nice folky tune, however.

In fairness, I must add that this is a professional recording and someone with a taste for New Wave or "Pop Punk" music might enjoy this. But for me personally, it is very hard to find any interest in this album whatsoever. For Prog fans, this is just an embarrassment!

Only for completionists this one

Latest members reviews

4 stars I am currently listening to this album as part of the magnificent "More Than You Can Chew" box set, where it is presented in it's own mini-gatefold sleeve with proper art work, and notes in a separate hardback book which comes in the box. Although the notes are frank, saying this was produced b ... (read more)

Report this review (#2894779) | Posted by ralphgmw | Saturday, February 25, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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