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HORSLIPS

Prog Folk • Ireland


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Horslips biography
Founded in Dublin in 1970, this creative quintet is considered Ireland's most critically acclaimed folk-prog band ever and possibly the genuine purveyors of the term 'Celtic Rock'. At one point, they enjoyed a bigger fan base (domestically) than Rory Gallagher, THIN LIZZY and The BOOMTOWN RATS put together. Often likened stylistically to STEELEYE SPAN and FAIRPORT CONVENTION, they drew on their distinctly Irish roots to combine traditional Celtic mysticism with driving hard rock. They consisted of Barry Devlin (bass, vocals), Sean Fean (lead guitar, vocals) Eamonn Carr (drums, vocals), Charles O'Connor (violin, mandolin, vocals), and Jim Lockhart (flute, tin whistle, keyboards, vocals). As opposed to bands such as JETHRO TULL, for example, who were a vehicle for one performer's antics, no single member of HORSLIPS really dominated the group. Long after their break-up in 1980, they have (and still) maintain a strong cult following.

During the course of a decade, they recorded nearly a dozen studio albums and two live ones; numerous compilation LPs/CDs were also later released by various labels. Their first six studio albums are by far considered their best although the 5th one, "The Unfortunate Cup of Tea", was a bit of a disappointment; luckily, the following (and excellent) "Book of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony" amply made up for it. With the subsequent albums, however, their folk approach took a back seat to more mainstream rock and by the end of the 70's, each new album sank so low into commercialism that some of their material has been likened to that of John Cougar Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen. The original cast has recently reformed for the release of "Roll Back" in 2004, an album featuring some old favourites getting a rich acoustic treatment while others, performed in the band's original style, are completely reinvented.

The first half of HORSLIPS' repertoire will definitely delight any serious Celtic folk prog fan. Highly recommended.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :


: : : DISCOGRAPHY : : :
ALBUMS:
Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part (1972)
The TŠin (1973)
Dancehall Sweethearts (1974)
The Unfortunate Cup Of Tea (1975)
Drive The Cold Winter Away (1975)
Live (1976)
The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony (1976)Aliens (1977)
The Man Who Built America (1978)
Short Stories Tall Tales (1979)
The Belfast Gigs (1980)

COMPILATIONS - LIVE - BEST - EP .
Tracks From The Vaults (1977)
...
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Buy HORSLIPS Music


Greatest HitsGreatest Hits
Bci / Eclipse Music 2005
Audio CD$3.25
$2.24 (used)
Greatest HitsGreatest Hits
Import
Celtic 2007
Audio CD$69.30
$7.39 (used)
Happy to Meet, Sorry to PartHappy to Meet, Sorry to Part
Wounded Bird Records 2008
Audio CD$29.99
$31.90 (used)
The Book of Invasions a Celtic SymphonyThe Book of Invasions a Celtic Symphony
Amherst Records
Vinyl$99.98
$3.49 (used)
HORSLIPS: The Man Who Built America (2010) remastered w/ bonus tracksHORSLIPS: The Man Who Built America (2010) remastered w/ bonus tracks
Celtic Airs / Horslips Records
Audio CD$20.98
$25.91 (used)
Celtic Collections: HorslipsCeltic Collections: Horslips
K-Tel 1997
Audio CD$8.36
$3.66 (used)
Live at the O2Live at the O2
Import
Talking Elephant 2011
Audio CD$11.47
$29.27 (used)
TainTain
Wounded Bird Records 2008
Audio CD$19.55
$14.39 (used)
Best of HorslipsBest of Horslips
Import
Edsel Records UK 2001
Audio CD$39.99
$10.19 (used)
Live With the Ulster OrchestraLive With the Ulster Orchestra
Zyx Records 2013
Audio CD$9.83
$10.50 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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HORSLIPS "Celtic Collections" (The Ultimate Folk Rock Album) 1996 Compilation CD USD $8.97 Buy It Now 3 days
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HORSLIPS shows & tickets


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HORSLIPS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HORSLIPS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.37 | 33 ratings
Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part
1973
4.16 | 55 ratings
The Tain
1973
3.79 | 21 ratings
Dancehall Sweethearts
1974
2.72 | 14 ratings
The Unfortunate Cup Of Tea
1975
3.03 | 15 ratings
Drive The Cold Winter Away
1975
3.99 | 61 ratings
The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony
1976
3.27 | 18 ratings
Aliens
1977
3.12 | 16 ratings
The Man Who Built America
1978
2.05 | 11 ratings
Short Stories - Tall Tales
1979
3.52 | 10 ratings
Roll Back
2004

HORSLIPS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.36 | 11 ratings
Horslips Live
1976
2.85 | 8 ratings
The Belfast Gigs
1980
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live At The O2
2010
2.50 | 2 ratings
Horslips and the Ulster Orchestra at the Waterfront, Belfast
2011

HORSLIPS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 1 ratings
The Return of The Dancehall Sweethearts (A film by Maurice Linnane)
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Road To The O2 - A Film About Getting To The Gig
2010

HORSLIPS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.67 | 7 ratings
Tracks From The Vaults
1977
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Best Of Horslips
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Horslips History Vol.1 (1972-1975)
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
Horslips History Vol.2 (1976-1980)
1983
3.00 | 1 ratings
Folk Collection
1984
1.50 | 3 ratings
The Horslips Story: Straight From The Horse's Mouth
1989
2.05 | 2 ratings
Celtic Collections
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Best Tracks
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Treasury - The Very Best of Horslips
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential Recordings
2010
2.00 | 1 ratings
Biography
2013

HORSLIPS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Johnny's Wedding / Flower Among Them All
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Green Gravel / The Fairy King
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
The High Reel / Furniture
1973
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dearg Doom / The High Reel
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Nighttown Boy / We Bring The Summer With Us
1974
3.00 | 1 ratings
King of the Fairies / Phil the Fluters Rag
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
(If That's What You Want) That's What You Get / The Snakes Farewell to the Emerald Isle
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Daybreak ( Excerpt from a Celtic Symphony ) / Oisin's Tune
1976
4.00 | 1 ratings
Warm Sweet Breath Of Love / King Of Morning Queen Of Day
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Exiles / Speed the Plough
1977
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sure the Boy was Green/Exiles
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Power and the Glory/Sir Festus Burke
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tour - A - Loor - A - Loor - A - Loor - A EP
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Guests Of The Nation - Excerpts From Short Stories/Tall Tales
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Horslips presents Horslips The Man Who Built America
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Loneliness
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Man Who Built America / Long Weekend
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rescue me / Rescue me
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Shakin' all Over / Shakin' all Over 12 Promo
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dearg Doom
2002

HORSLIPS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Unfortunate Cup Of Tea  by HORSLIPS album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.72 | 14 ratings

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The Unfortunate Cup Of Tea
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Among aficionados, some of the lesser works of established artists can be victimized by the harsh judgments that plague the overly familiar. A specific "yardstick album" becomes that against which all other offerings are compared, and these rank and file releases may suffer more by unfair comparison than by "objective" lower quality. In the case of Irish legends HORSLIPS, the standard bearers would be "The Tain" and "The Book of Invasions", although their debut might also qualify. "The Man Who Built America" would exemplify a worthwhile alteration of their sound that has not always been judged by its own considerable merits. Conversely, "The Unfortunate Cup of Tea" receives more praise that it warrants, as even measured against conventional rock albums of its day it is remarkably pedestrian; when factoring in the band's legacy, it's best ignored.

The previous "Dancehall Sweethearts" had already veered uncomfortably into undistinguished hard rock on a number of tunes, somewhat balanced by a few outstanding tracks, but here the trend is extended, and so are the worst songs. The seven minute (!) dumbed down hard rock of "If that's what you want", the 6 minute "Self Defense" and the five and a half minute "High Volume Love" all signify a band with a dearth of inspiration and a surprise studio booking. Luckily, "Flirting in the Shadows" suggests they did have a few ideas in the can, as it's an eerie and progressive ballad that tackles the mundane with imagination. The closing instrumental "The Snakes Farewell to the Emerald Island" demonstrates that they were capable of parlaying conventional blues rock into a captivating instrumental, which only accentuates the enfeebled attempts elsewhere. Luckily, the stain left behind by "The Unfortunate Cup of Tea" was dispensed with the following year.

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 Roll Back by HORSLIPS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.52 | 10 ratings

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Roll Back
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Putting Horslips' "roots rock" album back into perspective after ten years time.

When Horslips announced their reformation and issuing of a "new" album in 2004, it shocked and delighted many that were caught off guard. Unfortunately, the reworking's of past classic songs into near acoustic treatments was not so welcomed at the time, especially among fans of the Irish group's prog fans.

However, with only one true progressive concept album under their belts (The Tain from 1972), this album has been viewed in a very skewed light. The band was always a roots/folk band at heart and the reshaping of the songs found on Roll Back was not the group's version of jumping on the unplugged band wagon that was left over from the nineties, as was the case with the Strawbs and Fairport Convention, who also had financial interests in their acoustic touring line ups. It was simply cheaper to tour without a drummer and keyboard player's instruments.

Roll Back gave Horslips the ability to play these tracks in the original way that the songs were demoed or envisioned by their creators and the results are stunning. The newer versions of both The Man Who Built America (redone in waltz time!) and Flirting In The Shadows are now the definitive versions of these songs to me as is the wonderfully evergreen Faster Then The Hound. Guitarist Johnny Fean's voice has developed a wonderful deeper timbre which really nails all his vocals as well as the fact that fiddle/guitar/mandolin player Charles O' Conner's voice hasn't changed at all in thirty years and is still as expressive and mysterious as ever.

Bassist Barry Devlin's voice has not fared as well and has picked up a more gravelly tone that works well for the more world weary songs such as Furniture and Guests Of The Nation.

Musically, this is still a world class group and three songs are great solo guitar instrumentals incredibly performed by O'Conner on acoustic slide guitar (Huish The Cat and My Love Is In America) while Jonny Fean resurrects the old piper practice tune Ace And Deuce.

So, is the Roll Back album a Prog Folk essential? Perhaps not. Then is it a Folk Rock essential? Definitely. 4 stars and get your Irish up.

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 Drive The Cold Winter Away by HORSLIPS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.03 | 15 ratings

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Drive The Cold Winter Away
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

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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 Live At The O2 by HORSLIPS album cover Live, 2010
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Live At The O2
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars An excellent and welcome return to the stage from Celtic rock pioneers.

Absent from the big stage for 30 years, the rebirth and renewal of Horslips was recorded for all prosperity with this great sounding live reunion album. All of the key songs are featured excluding perhaps The Hall Of Mirrors. But that's a small complaint.

Anyone who has the excellent Roll back album released in 2005 know that the boy's chops are still intact but that their voices have changed a bit over time. Johnny Fean has a deeper delivery while the ever young Charles O'Conner sounds the same 30 years on. Barry Devlon's seems to have suffered the most and has a sand papery feel to his delivery.

Fean, who stayed active after Horslips split up, is the most improved player with a more blusey feel added to his blistering leads. Devlon, who had not picked up the bass in almost 30 years, acquitted himself well as did stand in drummer, Johnny's brother Ray (who replaced Eamon Carr for reasons unclear to me.)

The sound mix is incredibly detailed and clear. My only complaint is that it's a tad flat sounding, but you can't have everything.

The only thing that surprises me, given that there was about 10 minutes of unused audio space at the end of the second CD (don't worry, there's two full hours of music here) is that some, or even any, of the lively stage banter that this band is known for, was not presented in the recordings. These guys are expert at taking the piss out of each other and this was a celebration as much as a concert, after all. In a way, it makes this 2 CD recording feel more like a greatest hits compilation, as the only real extended song is Speed The Plow. Perhaps the DVD of the concert will preserve all. 4 stars.

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 The Tain by HORSLIPS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 55 ratings

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The Tain
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars This was such a well-recorded, produced and pioneering album of music! From the opening notes of "Setanta" (1:52) one cannot quite be sure what one is in for: blistering electric guitar riffs seemingly randomly dispersed over disjointed and disorganized instrumental play. Surprising yet mesmerizing! By the time we get to the third song, "Charolais" (4:04) we are able to get a sense for the style that Horslips are going for--not far from that of Jethro Tull with electric guitars and flutes over drum and bass foundations with folk-styled vocal story-telling--though much more folk feeling than that of JT. Reels and rock, Celtic and military drumming, electric guitars and a variety of flutes occupy pretty equal lead time throughout. The vocalists are quite oriented in the stylings of the Sixties--British bands like The Beatles, Donovan and The Buckinghams--but they are notable for the remarkable variety. All in all this is a very nice listen, start to finish, one that grows on the listener over time. It helps that the album ends on such a strong note with the final two songs, "Morrigan" and "Time to Kill!" I can see how and why many regard this as a masterpiece of progressive rock music--certainly exemplary of the era. As this album is new to me I am not yet so willing to declare it so. Give me time.

Favorite songs: 13. "The Morrigan's Dream" (3:26) (9/10); 14. "Time to Kill!" (5:07) (9/10); 5. "You Can't Fool the Beast" (3:40) (9/10); 8. "Chu Chulainn's Lament" (3:02) (8/10); 7. "Ferdia's Song" (2:44) (8/10); 10. "Faster than the Hound" (5:38) (8/10), and; 4. "The March" (1:34) (8/10).

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 The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony by HORSLIPS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.99 | 61 ratings

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The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I don't know this band quite well except from this site and finally I listened to this album at my first experience. I was impressed by the simplicity as well as traditional elements contained in this album and I really enjoyed it at first spin. The opening track Daybreak is a warm instrumental piece that sets the overall tone of the album, followed beautifully with a very shor instrumental comprising acoustic guitar and keyboard March into Trouble. The second track is actually a bridge to the next one called as Trouble with A. It's a very captivating song with good melody and rhythm section indicating influences from other forms of traditional music. The inclusion of flutework is really nice from start to end. I would have thought that the bridge short track March into Trouble should be integrated into the third track as it's sily to separate them.

The Power And The Glory starts nicely with a keyboard solo work followed with a pop-rock style music with good melody and excellent vocal work. This is basically a straight forward track with excellent guitar work and many keyboard that maneuvers the music brilliantly. The following The Rocks Remain is more like a pop song with good arrangement blending good vocal and rhythm section. Dusk is an interesting short track with traditional music elements and it brings the music to the next one : Sword of Light which is another pop rock music with traditional elemnts that makes it different than any other music.Dark is another instrumental bridge that brings the music at the end of first movement of this album.

Warm Sweet Breath Of Love is another pop rock with upbeat tempo combined with elements of traditional music. It flows nicely to Fantasia - My Lagan Love with guitar solo. King Of Morning, Queen Of Day is an interesting track with a very good blend of traditional music of Scotland (?). The music then moves to the last movement with three tracks under it: Sideways To The Sun , Drive The Cold Winter Away , and Ride To Hell.

Overall, this is a very good album with prog folk sub genre and the experience listening to this album is unique.Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Biography by HORSLIPS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Biography
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars A singles collection

Being a fan of Horslips, I was immediately intrigued when I saw that there is a new release out from the band. When I realised that it is just another compilation, not a new studio disc, I was of course disappointed. However, given that it includes a few tracks not previously available on CD, there is a least some reason for a fan like me to rejoice. Biography is a slightly misleading title though, "Singles Collection" would have been a more appropriate title, since this is exactly what we have here. It is a two-disc set with the first disc containing single A-sides and the second disc holding the B-sides.

Four of the tracks on disc one are different from their studio album versions, and two of these are not just edited version, but single "remixes". The latter two, More Than You Can Chew and The Power And The Glory, are worth hearing for serious fans, but most people will be just fine with the original album versions. In no case do we have something here that is better than what is contained in the band's regular studio output.

The real interest lies on disc two. Here there are a few tracks that have not been previously released on CD, including Sir Festus Burke, a medieval-styled, harpsichord instrumental; Bridge From Heart To Heart, a rather mundane rocker, and Red River Rock (live); a throwaway instrumental that we frankly could have been without.

Biography is a much better compilation than the incoherent Tracks From The Vaults, but still it offers little new for someone who already owns the band's studio (and live) catalogue. The music contained within Biography's two discs is mostly excellent, but it is generally better heard on the original studio albums.

For fans only. Anyone else should begin with the regular studio (and live) albums (which are generally worthy additions to any Prog Folk collection)

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 The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony by HORSLIPS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.99 | 61 ratings

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The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by sinslice

4 stars It is a continuous work well basted. No deliberate instrumental expressions, but rather contribute to a product group. So be exhibiting trumpets, flutes, whistles, with ubiquitous acoustic guitars, mandolins sometimes, and good keyboard parts.

Irish folk rock music would be a good description, incorporating progressive dose here and there. The main melody is repeated at times and unifies well the different sections. Is a uniform piece in which no parts protruding in a projecting manner, but there is no filler parts.

The sound is crisp and clear. While there are musical variety and color, with repeated listening becomes monotonous, but it is a classic that innovated at the time by his audacity.

3.5 stars really

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 Tracks From The Vaults by HORSLIPS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1977
2.67 | 7 ratings

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Tracks From The Vaults
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars In the grip of motorway madness

By its very nature, Tracks From The Vaults is a release for completionists and hard core fans and collectors. The contents is a mixed bag of old b-sides and out-takes that showcases the several of Horslips' many faces. As such, we get some pure Folk, some pure Pop, and some straightforward Rock 'N' Roll. Notably absent is the progressive attitude that so successfully shaped their best albums. The collection opens with Motorway Madness, a dull, middle-of-the-road rocker. This one later re-appears (among the four CD bonus tracks) in an every bit as unexciting live version. Familiar songs such as Dearg Doom and King Of The Fairies appear here in demo-versions inferior to the later album versions. Instrumentals such as The High Reel and Johnny's Wedding too can be found in better versions elsewhere (as on Horslips Live).

The silly Beatles tribute songs Beatles Come Back and Fab Four-Four (released under the name of Lipstick) are the real low points here.

Among the tracks not available elsewhere, there are some rather nice folky tunes. Some of these could have worked fine as link-pieces on some of the band's albums, but hold limited interest in their own right. These are interesting for a fan like me to hear once or twice, but are not really enough to make Tracks From The Vaults a worthwhile experience as such.

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 The Belfast Gigs by HORSLIPS album cover Live, 1980
2.85 | 8 ratings

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The Belfast Gigs
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Trouble with a Capital "T"

During the period between the release of their first live album in 1976 and this, their second, live album in 1980, Horslips had gradually degenerated from Prog Folk to straight Rock. This transformation was taken to its logical extreme on 1979's Short Stories - Tall Tales, the band's final studio release and also their worst. Thankfully, only one track from that album is featured here in the decent Guests Of The Nation. The other three studio albums that had been released since Horslips Live was recorded are however not bad at all. The title track from 1978's The Man Who Built America, another decent rocker, represents that album here. Somewhat disappointingly there is not a single number from the often overlooked Aliens from 1977, however. Finally, the excellent Book Of Invasions - A Celtic Symphony is represented with Trouble With A Capital "T", The Warm Sweet Breath Of Love, The Power And The Glory, and (as a bonus track on the CD version) Sword Of Light. It is primarily the latter songs together with older classics like Blindman, King Of The Fairies, and Dearg Doom that prove that Horslips never strayed as far away from their roots in the live arena as they did in the studio setting. As a live band they still remained true to their past, at least to a larger degree.

The out-and-out Rock 'N' Roll number Shakin' All Over is the only real disaster here. This awful boogie could easily have been replaced by something more interesting (by a track from Aliens, for example). Other drawbacks of this live album is it's short running length and the fact that three of the nine songs had already been featured on Horslips Live. Still, The Belfast Gigs constitutes a much more fitting ending to the band's career than the poor Short Stories - Tall Tales (though, the end was not final as the band has recently reformed).

Compared to the two other live albums I've heard from Horslips (Horslips Live and the recent Live At The O2) the present one is clearly inferior. Make sure you get those others, as well as most of the band's studio albums, before turning to this one. But The Belfast Gigs is nonetheless a decent, though certainly not essential, addition to a comprehensive Horslips collection.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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