Horslips – The Tain (1973)

Horslips – The Tain (1973)

Perhaps the best known of the Irish bands’ albums, this 1973 release was a concept album, detailing one of ancient Erin’s most famous folk tales. Combining mournful traditional Celtic music with long haired rock was a masterstroke which can be heard to fine effect on this reissue. An album that appeals to folk rock and progressive rock fans alike.

By any standards this album is a masterpiece of quality celtic rock.
Concept albums rarely work, but this does so spectacularly. It tells the ancient legend of a cattle raid in Ulster in prehistoric times, using traditional tunes as the basis of the songs and mixing traditional instruments such as fiddle, pipes and concertina alongside the standard rock format. There is a flow and coherence which is truly marvellous. Even more remarkable is that they repeated the feat with the Book of Invasions a few years later.
It is helped by the fact that the band are musicians of the highest order, but their strength is the magic of the songs and tunes which are constructed quite perfectly. There are no fillers and no tracks which fall below the general standard of excellence. The stand out tracks include Dearg Doom, with its phenomenenal riff which makes it a disco hit 30 years later, Faster Than the Hound and Charolais.
Comparisons have been made with Jethro Tull, largely due to the extensive use of the flute, but Jim Lockhart plays it even better than Ian Anderson, good though he is. (progarchives.com)


1. Setanta
2. Maeve’s Court
3. Charolais
4. The March
5. You Can’t Fool The Beast
6. Dearg Doom
7. Ferdia’s Song
8. Gae Bolga (1:23)
9. Cu Chulainn’s Lament
10. Faster Than The Hound
11. The Silver Spear
12. More Than You Can Chew
13. The Morrigan’s Dream
14. Time To Kill

Horslips – The Tain (1973)

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19 Responses

  1. Eddie Riff says:

    I’ve loved Horslips since hearing “Happy To Meet Sorry To Part” decades ago!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Much obliged.


  3. Donno says:

    Super album! Anything by Horslips is fine by me, greatly underrated band this side of the Irish Sea.

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Pope Leo says:

    I’ve been curious about their early albums. You’re the best. Cheers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    yep, anything by Horslips is a winner!!!!! if you’re not familiar with them – now is a good chance to discover one of the great “unknown” bands of the world.

  7. gammon says:

    Another interesting post, cheers

  8. Xtabay says:

    love horslips used to have the lp many moons ago now I can listen again thanks

  9. Mr Boubou says:

    so good.

  10. Seamus says:

    Having listened first to the Decemberists’ “The Tain” EP, I’m intrigued about this one (which I didn’t know so far). I’ll have to investigate it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this post and so many others.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this post and so many others. I am finding music here that I never thought I would hear again.

  13. jswissman says:

    Excellent album…

  14. Anonymous says:

    A great band – and this is one of their best albums. Dearg Doom has one of THE great rock riffs! I also like how “More Than You Can Chew” has the riff played on uillean pipes. If you like this look out for their “Book of Invasions” which is another concept album based on an Irish legend. And if you like THAT, you’ll just have to work your way through all their albums in order! I have just got their DVD which has some fabulous footage of them playing live in the 70s in outrageous glam costumes!

  15. Anonymous says:

    interesting information… Keep it UP

  16. andre says:

    i like this BLOG

  17. ferdw says:

    I had The Man Who Built America on (don’t laugh) 8-track. I was so pleased with myself for having discovered something so good that no one new of. I guess the crowd I hung with at the time wasn’t well informed; but then, neither was I.

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