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Dancehall Sweethearts: Remastered Original recording remastered, Import

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Amazon's Horslips Store


Product details

  • Audio CD (6 Mar. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Import
  • Label: Edsel
  • ASIN: B00004U08C
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 776,587 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Nighttown Boy
  2. The Blind Can't Lead The Blind
  3. Stars
  4. We Bring The Summer With Us
  5. Sunburst
  6. Mad Pat
  7. Blindman
  8. King Of The Fairies
  9. Lonely Hears
  10. The Best Years Of My Life

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sunburst / Retro 70's Splash Party Option 21 April 2001
By C. Legreid - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
DANCEHALL SWEETHEARTS by an odd Irish troupe with the moniker 'Horslips' hit American shores in 1974. For those seeking to capture the magic of that era, this album is a good place to start. A fun frolic full of play, these are a fine quartet who wrote wonderful lyrics. 'Stars' has a fun refrain that screams 'romance' rekindling that moment when "The stars fell in the sea' while 'SUNBURST' evokes images of busty women wiggling jiggling and just driving the boys & girls crazy. Step back in time in attitude, listen to the playful lyrics of 'Nightown Boy' and discover its rauncy core. As for 'Mad Pat' perhaps it holds a secret, you'd have to ask the band, but both 'The Blind Can't Lead The Blind' and 'Blindman' are blinding in the intensity of what they reveal, while 'Lonelyhearts' evokes the raw energy that the band poured into touring. 'We Bring The Summer With Us' is a hauntung instrumental while 'King of the Fairies' is just such good fun, you might find yourself doing a sprightly jig.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irish rock at it's best! 13 Sept. 2000
By Joseph - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Unlike it's predecessors, this release from Horslips strays a little furthur away from the blends of traditional Irish music and rock and enters into more of an Irish-"pop"-rock sound. Excellent music, happy, progressive, complex w/harmonies, jigs and reels... Tullish. This band was definitely ahead of it's time as I guess this release is dated back to the mid 70's, it's still extremely current expecially with the new surge of "world music". You can't go wring with this particular album. If you are looking for something a little more traditional, see if you can find a copy of their first releases, "Happy to meet-sorry to part" or, "The Tain". Both excellent!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the dancehall as well as the home 7 Mar. 2015
By Northern Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Like others mentioned, in the States, i found this in a cut out bin late in the 70s and boy was i amazed.... just listened to it again and it still holds up as a classic. There is a mix of irish folk and rock and progressive and just about anything a listener could ever want all on one lp record, cd, file etc..... This was a magical time and here's a comparison i never thought of there are a few moments where this reminds me of Jefferson Airplane experimentation without Grace Slick, a few may know what i mean if your a fan of late Airplane music.
In any case, i hope this continues to find an audience here as well as overseas where they still have a following. You won't be disappointed if your a fan of good music.
3.0 out of 5 stars Transition from prog-folk to folk-pop-rock 22 July 2006
By John L Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
(Note: Amazon has two entries but both I believe are for the remastered 2000s-era issue; see my note at the end of this review.) I had never heard this one on vinyl; I have all but a couple of their output on LP and some on CD now. I wondered how this fit in to their progression from folkier hard-rock on "Happy" and "Tain" albums that preceded it. I knew that it's followed by "Unfortunate Cup of Tea," which is considered much less of a success than their first three LPs.

Well, "Dancehall"'s a transitional album--3 1/2 stars more like but since it falls short of their best, I keep it at 3 for comparison--showing what would only become a more dominant influence around four years later for the band: Jim Lockhart's keyboards are favored over winds and pipes; Charles O'Connor's guitar takes the stage and not the traditional instruments that on the two previous albums had mixed into the semi-prog blend a more identifiably Celtic style.

I paraphrase the album's admission that "these songs have traditional guises concealed about their persons." You can find out more about such drapery on the Come Back Horslips site. Apparently this record's the remains of a concept album on Turlough O'Carolan, the celebrated blind harpist. This topical and tuneful semi-concealment appealingly opens the album, as Nighttown Boy and then The Blind, Stars, We Bring the Summer all merge a more pop ambience into a lighter sound that moves nimbly along. Sections do grow on you with repeated listenings, although the pace slows after the most trad workout here, King. The best other track is the mix of choir with song on The Blind--this cross-genre appeal was taken up in a more keyboard new-wave style a decade later by Pierce Turner.

Vocals are gentler, and the sprightly keyboards keep the first four tracks going, at the expense of the folk elements themselves but showing that Horslips manages to stay balanced, even if many fans prefer the albums that came before and a bit after this one. These tracks expand their sound akin to what Jethro Tull was doing around the same period, or even Steeleye Span--a harder metallic edge was entering to replace the earthier late 60s & earlier 70s attitudes of these influential British bands (both of which Horslips toured with).

Given the grandiosity of this period for almost any artist who plugged into an amp, at least Horslips seems aware of the advantages from a subtler delivery of light pop-folk-rock if on less traditionally-based instruments. All of these four tracks move along nicely and cheerfully. The most traditionally-sounding track for fans (if for Horslips this means combining high volume with trad!) is King of The Fairies, the most popular song from this LP judging from compilations.

What was Side 2, however, wears out its welcome. The songs do not at first sound that much different than the first four on Side 1. But the four on Side 2 seem to take forever. They get mired in arrangements that fail to propel them forward. The propulsion that floated tracks 1-4 is missing from tracks 5-9. These prove in retrospect too diffused for the band, at least in succeeding at blending a more hard-rock style of delivery while keeping it accessible and recognizably Irish-based.

This is 1975, granted, and thankfully the excess is not endless unlike the efforts of so many of their ambitious peers! The cover photo shows the band in appropriately glam-pomp attire! But, to be honest, tracks 6-9 fail to stick in the memory after they've been heard. The album's redeemed by a tender and simpler song that for this becomes all the more effective, The Best Years.

(P.S.: As with all of the band's albums elegantly and faithfully remastered on Edsel/Demon circa 2000, these far surpass the muffled tapes that were released without the band's control on Homespun/Outlet in the 80s/90s. Make sure that you buy the band-approved versions.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those neato oddball classics... 5 Oct. 2000
By Kirk P O'Brien - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There are two types of classic albums. There's the type that defines a genre of music (e.g. Exile on Main Street or Born to Run) and spawns a horde of imitators (see Aerosmith and Bon Jovi). The there's the classic album that is so idiosyncratic and unique no one could ever possibly make a reasonable imitation of it (e.g. Swamp Dogg's Total Destruction to Your Mind). Due to their oddness, this second group of albums usually wind up languishing in obscurity despite their excellence. I've always been a sucker for this second type of classic, and here's a great example. This is an amazing record. Around every corner lurks something unexpected, different, and perfect. Here's a female chorus singing in Gaelic, here's a brassy horn section over a traditional tune, here's some funhouse organ, here's god-knows-what piled on top of heaven-only-knows. And it all somehow works. By turns, the songs are joyous, melancholy, playful, and mournful. There's a strong traditional element to the tunes-- in fact, may of them of them are based on Irish traditional music-- but by the time the band piles various instrumentation over top of them or strips them down to their base, they're transformed into something unique. Lyrics, a weakness on their two prior albums, here reflect the good humour of the playing. The band has recently regained the rights to and control of their recordings, and they've done this reissue right. The sound is clear and precise, and the insert reproduces all the original artwork plus an extra photo or two. There's an instrumental bit and extra verse on "The Blind Can't Lead the Blind" that wasn't on the original album and, unlike many later additions to classic albums, actually works. Like everything else on this excellent album.
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