Apr 6, 2011

HORSLIPS - THE TAIN (OATS 1973) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

The most ambitious and successful of their early albums, Horslips' most progressive creation, and maybe the most successful rock concept album ever done. The Tain is rock put into the service of epic storytelling (or is it the other way around?), based on the Irish saga Tain Bo Cuailgne ("The Cattle Raid of Cooley"), part of the Ulster Cycle of Heroic Tales. It tells of war and carnage brought about over the possession of a white bull, inspired by events estimated to have taken place around 500 B.C. This is a long way from Chuck Berry or Little Richard, but it does rock hard, and unlike a lot of progressive rock, The Tain displays considerable tension and momentum. Some listeners will detect modest similarities to Jethro Tull's work (especially on "Charolais"), but there's a lot less meandering here than there is on any Tull album, the flute playing is better, and the material moves forward in a fairly nimble fashion. It would be easy to praise John Fean's guitar, but Jim Lockhart's flute is just as impressive, Charles O'Connor's violin playing is gorgeous, and Eamonn Carr's drumming is dazzling. And the vocals are quite good too, sweet but earthy and honest, and not self-consciously profound -- these boys had ambition, but they weren't full of themselves or too given to pretensions.[allmusic]


Anonymous said...

A nice album, for sure, and well worth having (thank you!) but the Allmusic review is ridiculous. The flute player might well be better than Ian Anderson, but there is no evidence of that here - just some nice, competent work. As for the violin, again, it's good but nothing exceptional. Someone at Allmusic got overexcited.

Anyway, a nice post and a very, very good blog. Thanks.

Georgie Hirezola said...

I don't care for the flute or the violin (technically speaking)...who cares...& no comparison to Jethro Tull of course,
(someone at allmusic got overexcited...ha ha ha I agree!) but I still remember that the day I first listened to this album I was really impressed...
( speaking for a still largely unknown group even to these days!)