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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly one of the greatest Albums i ever heard
When i first heard this album, i had never heard of the horslips, after track 3, my jaw hit the floor. Now i know the horslips inside out, this for me is the best Horslips album, songs like "Mad Pat", "The Blind can't lead the Blind" are extraordinary, and the arrangements are magical. To coin a phrase "They just don't make them like this anymore".
Just listen to the...
Published on 11 Jun 2004 by saltym

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit-and-miss classic from Irish folk-proggers
Horslips were immensely innovative in the '70s. When other Irish acts were cranking out fairly standard folk material, Horslips wedded folk melodies and instrumentalisation to rigorous rock energy. Their first album, Happy to Meet Sorry to Part revealed them as multi-talented interpretters of traditional tunes and equally at home with the sort of rock material that gets...
Published on 21 July 2003 by Jonathan Rowe


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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit-and-miss classic from Irish folk-proggers, 21 July 2003
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This review is from: Dancehall Sweethearts: Remastered (Audio CD)
Horslips were immensely innovative in the '70s. When other Irish acts were cranking out fairly standard folk material, Horslips wedded folk melodies and instrumentalisation to rigorous rock energy. Their first album, Happy to Meet Sorry to Part revealed them as multi-talented interpretters of traditional tunes and equally at home with the sort of rock material that gets the windows shaking. Second album, The Tain, experimented with high concepts (a musical rendition of the legend of Chu Chulaind). After that, they seemed to flounder...

So, in 1974, "Dancehall Sweethearts" also started off as a concept album, based around semi-legendary blind Irish harper Turlough Carolan. Although every track has got "traditional airs concealed about their persons", the concept got diluted and "Dancehall Sweethearts" has an unfocused feel to it. In fact, it's the sound of a band in transition, moving towards the heavier rock sound of The Book of Invasions that so infuriated folk-purists at the time.

That said, however, there are standout tracks on this album. "Nighttime Boy" comes in hard, with an electric blues riff backed up by a fierce sax chorus and frankly amazing electric violin virtuoso work from Charles O'Connor. It doesn't really go anywhere, though, and ends up feeling over-long. "The Blind Can't Lead the Blind" switches direction, with arresting use of female backing vocals that appear, along with the horns again, on the swirling blues-y "Sunburst" - my favourite track on the album. The instrumental "King of the Fairies" is a defining Horslips moment, electrifying a traditional reel to great effect.

Other tracks are less innovative. "Stars" and "Lonely Hearts" foreshadow the sort of guitar rock that would come to dominate later albums. "Mad Pat" and "Blindman" feel dated in a different way, being slightly fey pieces of folk-psychedelia. Closing track "The Best Years of my Life" epitomises Horslips' problem at this stage - are they prog-rockers with a folk twist? electric folk-blues? trad folkies with an electric guitar and an amp? They don't seem to know themselves.

Eventually, of course, the electric-blues won out, subordinating first the progressive elements, then subsuming the folk roots. "Dancehall Sweethearts", then, is the crossroads album for Horslips, the point at which they could have gone off in other directions - though the acoustic folk element made a quixotic resurgence on Drive the Cold Winter Away the following Christmas.

Not one of the "major league" Horslips albums then, but an interesting one nonetheless and definitely a musical milestone that belongs in any serious folk-rock collection.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly one of the greatest Albums i ever heard, 11 Jun 2004
This review is from: Dancehall Sweethearts: Remastered (Audio CD)
When i first heard this album, i had never heard of the horslips, after track 3, my jaw hit the floor. Now i know the horslips inside out, this for me is the best Horslips album, songs like "Mad Pat", "The Blind can't lead the Blind" are extraordinary, and the arrangements are magical. To coin a phrase "They just don't make them like this anymore".
Just listen to the brilliant traditional jig "King of the Fairies" (recently done by the band "KingBathmat") and the way they have rocked it up. Back when this was released, it must have caused a serious stir, excellent!
No matter what music you enjoy, you will find it hard not to be mesmerised by sheer amount of melodic, musical genius that is found on this record, and you will wonder how the hell you had never heard of them before.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some classic tracks..some not so classic, 25 Feb 2007
This review is from: Dancehall Sweethearts: Remastered (Audio CD)
The best tracks on this are Nighttown Boy, Mad Pat, Blind Man, and the instrumental King Of The Fairies. The rest of the album is not bad, but rather humdrum by comparison. Engaging guitar playing and soloing on some tracks.

Far superior to the following year`s Unfortunate Cup Of Tea effort.
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