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Celt-rock classic sounds just as remarkable today


Happy to Meet -- Sorry to Part

(Horslips Records)


Horslips' debut album, released 40 years ago, is a milestone recording in the history of Irish music. It's widely considered to be the first Celtic rock album and it set the Dublin-based fivepiece on the road that would lead to international acclaim and pave the way for their definitive album, 1976's The Book of Invasions.

This re-issue includes 30 minutes of additional live music, recorded at the Latin Quarter, Berlin, in 1976 in a period when the band were at their blistering best.

Despite its seminal status as a game-changer, fresh listens show that conventional trad arrangements are retained and respected. Several of the tracks are instrumentals and they are delivered with the sort of élan one might expect at a joyous, beer-fuelled seisiún.

But it's songs like The Shamrock Shore and the remarkable Furniture that best illustrate just how innovative Messrs Lockhart, Devlin, Fean, O'Connor and Carr were. (The latter track sounds especially incendiary during the show at Berlin.)

The reissued CD features the striking, original octagonal-shaped artwork that accompanied the vinyl original, although the smaller size simply doesn't do justice to what remains a landmark in sleeve design.

Partly because of the collectable nature of the artwork, and mainly because of the music, the album was a big seller here in 1972. It shifted more than 30,000 copies in Ireland in the first six weeks of release making it the country's fastest-selling album ever.

Key tracks Furniture; The Shamrock Shore

Day & Night