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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Horslips - Belfast Gigs

Name: Horslips
Album: Belfasrt Gigs
Year: 1980
Style: Celtic Rock
Sounds Like: Genesis, Jethro Tull, Yes, AC-DC, ZZ Top, Blasters
One-Word Review: Celtic-Prog-Metal
Based Out Of: Ireland
Label: Mercury

Belfast Gigs - Cover & Record Belfast Gigs - Back & Record
Belfast Gigs (1980)
  1. Trouble (With a Capital T) 3:45
  2. The Man Who Built America 3:38
  3. The Warm Sweet Breath of Love 3:47
  4. The Power & the Glory 3:31
  5. Blindman 3:11 /
  6. Shakin' All Over 5:20
  7. King of the Fairies 3:20
  8. Guests of the Nation 4:04
  9. Dearg Doom 7:16
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5
Members & Other Bands:
Jim Lockhart - Vox, Keys, Flute
Eamon Carr - Drums (Tara Telephone, Zen Alligators, Host)
Charles O'Connor - Vox, Guitar, Violin, Sleeve Design (Host)
Barry Delvin - Vox, Bass
Johnny Fean - Guitar, Vox (Sweet Sweet, Jeremiah Henry, Zen Alligators, Host, Jacobites, The Treat)
Chris Ellis - Artwork
Billy Moore - Artwork
Steve Katz - Producer
Peter Mew - Remastering
Ralph Moss - Engineer
Tim Morris - Tape Operator
Paul Thomas - Tape Operator
Sue Byrne - Photos
Michael Deeny - Management

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of them. But being a live album, and proclaiming with a sticker on the front, that it features the song “shakin’ all over,” they must be somewhat popular. But not to me, be it fortunately or unfortunately. I like the blurred artwork and the font on the cover; both give me an impression that it might be a punk-like effort. I also like the energy captured in the shots on the back, which give them a more hard rock and roll vibe.

Album Review: From what I’ve read, I probably should have heard of them. They are said to be a very inspirational and important band in the history of Irish folk/rock. They were very popular in Ireland, where they are from, and are somewhat responsible for the blend of traditional Celtic music and rock, or were one of the first popular bands to do so. This is a live album near the end of their (first) run.

“Trouble (With a Capital T)” introduces us to the band with the crowd in Belfast chanting the band’s name. Cheers as they take the stage are followed by a jammy sound that also lends itself to prog (such is the verse). This song features traditional Irish instrumentation mixed with rock guitars and bass. The vocals are deep and nasally.
“The Man Who Built America” begins with what sounds like an old carousel organ. Then vocals are added and quickly followed with guitars, and this is a straightforward arena rock pop song. It has a Mellencamp feeling of middle-America, but the song is simpler and catchier. The flute is nicely layered right below the verse. It is a tremendously positive song.
“The Warm Sweet Breath of Love” is started with synth prog keys, and it delves into a skip-step pop-rock song. I’m reminded of the Blasters here, but with better vocals. Maybe a little of Wings too.
“The Power & the Glory” progs out with a very wizardry keyboard sound. It also has heavy guitars to balance out the keys. The vocals are light and uninspired, much like southern rock. It is catchy, but it feels like it could fit well on a ZZtop album. Although the fiddle in the instrumental bridge stakes claim to its Irish heritage.
“Blindman” comes in with no break. It is a quiet earthy medieval prog song. It would feel at home in a movie like Excalibur. I don’t know them very well, but I imagine this is a good example of Yes’s sound. The rock value is added as the song progresses, along with a nice new wave organ sound.

“Shakin' All Over” initiates side two with a power rock groove. It is immediately driving and feels bluesy at the same time. Perhaps a heavier J Geils Band. There is a long rocking instrumental, with the electric guitar hammering away as the repetitive groove chugs along. It exits into the chorus nicely, and the song picks up without missing a beat. It ends in a grinding energetic instrumental marathon, and the crowd goes wild.
“King of the Fairies” has is a pounding drum and guitar rhythm at the outset. And it just gets heavier from there with a violin/fiddle then flute added, the band really gives a nice display of blending Celtic and Rock music here. Oh, and its all instrumental.
“Guests of the Nation” has a Who & lighter AC-DC feel to it. It is another simple catchy powerful song. It features a new wave organ, which gives it that feeling of an A’s song. There is a power pop bridge with the chorus sung over it near the end of the song.
“Dearg Doom” starts with traditional flute and drums. Then wah-wah guitars and effects bring the song up to a metal/prog style. It is a long instrumental introduction (3 min), and grows in its impatience with wailing metal guitars and a hurried slightly disco bass/drum beat. There are even elements of psychedelic rock with the keys in the background. This is supposedly their first big single, and they indulge the audience with a long extended jam session version.

Stand Out Track: Guest of the Nation

Links:Official Site
Fan Site
Fean & Travers
Tribute Page
Carr's Cocktail Shack
Tara Telephone

1 comment:

  1. This is a good album, but I tend to break out "The Book Of Invasions" when I am in a Horslips mood.

    It's a great concept album (source for "Trouble With A Capital T" and "Power And Glory" on the live disc reviewed above.

    If you like the "Songs From The Wood" style Jethro Tull, you ought to like Horslips (although the band would probably hate the comparison).