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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long-awaited re-release, 11 May 2000
This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
Perhaps Horslips most well-known album, and one of their best (after "The Book of Invasions", and "Aliens" IMO). A typically ambitious, and successful, fusion of folk and rock elements in a mythic framework.
The opening 20 minutes: from Setanta to Ferdia's song, including the legendary stomper "Dearg doom", is breathless stuff! After such a start the album struggles a little to scale the heights again, and is "only" excellent from that point :-)
This re-release is long-awaited. The Outlet recordings previously available were not sanctioned by the band, who spent 12 years in the courts fighting to get control of their own material.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Perfect, 13 May 2004
By 
Lee (Cheltenham, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
Before the Tain I'd never heard of the Horslips, so boy was I shocked when I did hear it? (The answers yes by the way.) Its fusion of rock and Irish folk is incredible and well pulled off. It is far less Irish than its predecessor, as would be the case for all their subsequent albums . I was truly taken aback and really enjoyed all the songs. There are many different song forms as well. The very Irish 'Charolais,' the rock based 'Dearg Doom' and the ballad song 'Faster than the Hound,' this album has it all, well, apart from the stuff it doesn't have. The first time I heard it I was dissapointed at the final song, 'Time to Kill!' but on reflection that was a bloody stupid thing to think. It's one of the album endings I've ever heard.
The point is I didn't and still don't particularly like Irish folk but the Horslips make it great. This is one of their best albums and I very strongly advise anyone who likes either Irish folk or rock to buy this album as it is superb, and a timeless piece.
My view: if you don't have it, get it!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique and genuine fusion of rock and folk music styles, 4 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
'The Tain' is the only genuine fusion of rock and folk music I can recall ever hearing. Excellent bands like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span were dubbed "folk rock" but that misnomer confused 'folk-rock' with 'electric folk'. Fairport and Steeleye simply plugged into a power supply and continued to play roughly the same material. That's not really 'folk-rock'. What Horslips did in 'The Tain' was to blend the sound, feel, essence and technique of both music forms to create a unique hybrid. It's a very satisfying musical achievement.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tain deserves Fame, 9 May 2004
By 
Oymaprat (Nowhere In Particular) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
When first hearing this album I was a Horslips novice, never heard of them, so to sit there in my uncomfortable chair to the beautiful fusion of Irish folk and rock took me a bit by suprise. I was truly mesmerised by the songs gliding into eachother (not crashing I hasten to add) add just fitting perfectly. The odd thing is I not much of a fan of Irish music yet this really took me in.
Some of the songs on the album are very much ballads, such as 'Faster than the hound' whilst, in the case of 'Dearg Doom' you are given a very Rock based song.
If you enjoy Irish folk I recommened this to you. If you enjoy rock I recommened this to you. If you enjoy music in general, I still recommened it to you. It's that good. REALLY!
Oh, and by the way. Once you have bought and listned to the Tain, one thing will strike you; 'how on earth didn't the Horslips make it big?'
We'll never know
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the original...and still the best: deserves more stars!, 6 May 2014
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This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
I was only 9 years old when Horslips released The Táin, so I won’t claim to have queued up and bought it on the day of release…but, my elder brother might well have, and it became a familiar and important part of the soundtrack to the rest of my childhood – even though we lived in a part of Belfast where celtic music wasn’t overtly embraced.

The story told in this concept album prompted me to read and, ahem, ‘borrow’ a copy of Louis Le Brocquy and Thomas Kinsella’s English translation of the Táin Bó Cuailnge from my school library…and I finally got round to returning it – anonymously – some years after I left.

At some point in my mid-teens I also bought my own copy of The Táin album, along with its predecessor Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part, however, I have a confession: in the mid- to late-80s, when vinyl made way for CD, I didn’t replace my worn copies of Horslips’ stunning debut and seminal follow-up, even when I sold my entire 500+ vinyl collection in the early 90s.
Not sure what brought Horslips back within my radar recently, but I hunted down copies of The Táin and their later, and often described as ‘career defining’, Book of Invasions…of which more elsewhere.

I can’t really believe or understand how or why I put The Táin to one side for so long: after 40 years (or 30-something in my case) The Táin is still simply stunning, from the atmospheric opening through emotive middle sections to draining conclusion…and it bears repeated listening.

Others have written detailed and effusive track-by-track reviews, which saves me having to do so…yet others have described how Horslips invented and/or defined the ‘celtic rock’ genre, which is a very astute and – IMHO – valid claim.
For me, The Táin is Horslips’ finest work: a 42-ish minute magnum opus…the original and still the best celtic / rock fusion concept album. Okay, so add The Book of Invasions to the equation, and we have a significant magna opera, and I have to echo another reviewers’ surprise that Horslips did not become huge.

If you have any doubts about this album, have a quick look at Amazon’s mp3 album listing…listen to the samples…and marvel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Time fan, 8 July 2004
By 
Lesley Dickinson (Morpeth, Northumberland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
Having owned The Tain, Dancehall Sweethearts and Book of the Invasions on Vinyl for longer than I care to remember, I was delighted to discover that at last some of Horslips music has come out on CD.
Though I consider the Tain to be their best, the others are all very worthwhile.
Dearg Doon (the red detroyer) is my favourite as I consider it to be the most successful blend of an Irish March and Rock music. - while I have aged since I first bought it, this music doesn't seem to!
Horslips were the first and possibly the only band to have successfully blended Celtic music and Rock.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You once told me where I could find my dream ..., 5 July 2010
By 
C. Wilson "Christine" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
Some people claim their early musical influences to be The Beatles or The Stones - maybe perish the thought Jedward or other X Factor 'stars' but for my generation of Irish teens it was the rock band Horslips with their take on traditional Irish music and celtic tales. The Tain is based on Tain Bo Cuailnge but in all honestly for the teenage me, it was just great great music coming from five of the best musicians I'd ever heard. I'd NEVER heard anything like it and it made me think differently about everything in life - nothing has to be the way we think. We can always make people sit up and listen. We can make them think we know something but in a different voice. But please don't think that the album does anything more than just sound great! The making you want to run out there and change your life just can't be guaranteed ...

This album is fabled in both N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and even found its way into the collections of discerning English, Americans and at least two Dutch people. It is rousing, thought provoking, sad and has a 'stadium' feel about most of the tracks including the famous Dearg Doom, adopted by the Irish World cup team some time not long ago. Also they are a stadium band, best seen live but even better listened to on vinyl or possibly better still dvd - close your eyes and remember your teenage self in loons and embroidered shirts and marvel at how great they still sound even if the loons thankfully no longer fit.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb effort, 14 Mar 2007
By 
Captain Howdy "none" (Outside. And above. And below. Looking in. Looking out. And looking at you.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
I first heard this way back in 1974. I was really excited by the sound of Horslips. They invented a sound that no-one had come across. A terrific musical coup.

As a teenager in Ireland, playing Horslips records, my mother used to bang on my bedroom door shouting "Turn that music up"!

So, maybe the lyrics were a bit dodgy. Big deal. Wasn't everybodys then ?

They delivered on this one, and "The Silver Spear" still gets me bopping !

Their previous release "Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part " is also an excellent offering. Give the "Slips" their dues and buy this album.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars before u2 came on the scene, 21 July 2008
By 
This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
this album came my way after listening to a john peel session many many years ago. the sound of this irish band completely blew me away and i went out and bought the album straifght away. many years later thank god the cd is here and i can lay my vinyl to a well earned rest. these boys take the concept album and make it real. just buy it and enjoy the pleasure
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just What Pocessed Them!!, 4 Mar 2010
By 
Michael Nicholl (Derry. Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tain (Audio CD)
An all time Irish Rock Classic and possibly one of Horslips finest moments. A concept album tracing the legend of The Cattle Raid of Cooley, a centre piece of the Ulster cycle of Heroic Tales, known simply as The Tain, or to give it it's full title in Gaelic 'Tain Bo Cuailgne' This was the second album released by Horslips back in 1973 and ranks along side Dancehall Sweethearts and The Book of Invasions as Horslip must haves.

The highlights of this album are hard to choose as each track merges seamlessly into the next, but Charolais / You Can't Fool The Beast / Dearg Doom / Faster Than The Hound, are all exceptional, but I would stress that the entire package is simply stunning, both instrumentals and songs. As was Horslips habit at this period in their career, there are traditional Irish airs intermingled throughout all tracks. For me this is the only way I could ever enjoy traditional Irish music. (In its natural form it is extremely stilted, dry and monotonous). Horslips breathed life into Irish music and made it interesting to teenagers such as myself back in the 1970s.

The production of Horslips albums were always superb, and this transfers superbly to CD format, BUT!!!!, why oh why spoil this by the inclusion of a bonus track of a very substandard recording of the first half of the album (live at My Father's Place NY 1974). The production is simply terrible and it really sounds at times like someone recorded this with their portable tape cassette. Added to this musically Horslips are sounding very rough and not quite together. This simply spoils a superb classic album and I feel was an un-necessary and unfortunate choice for a CD filler. I really should be awarding The Tain a five star rating, but was so disgusted with this CD filler that I cannot bring myself to better a four star rating.

A superb classic Irish Rock album. Get it and enjoy it, but ignore the bonus track.
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