Saturday, March 13, 2010

Horslips: The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony

I was introduced to the music of Horslips in late 1978 when, Joyce Burley McCracken, a fellow grad student at Marshall University gave me several albums. Knowing that I was a fan of all kinds of music, Joyce felt these albums needed a new home as she wasn’t listening to them. She had gotten them from her brother who worked at a WEA (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic) distribution center.

One of the LPs was Horslips’ debut album from 1972: “Happy to Meet - Sorry to Part” on ATCO. The album was designed like a concertina and was shaped as an octagon. It was one of my favorites of the five or six LPs that Joyce had given me.

The feature album today, Horslips’ sixth LP “The Book of Invasions,” did not catch my ear until three years after its 1976 release. In 1979, West Virginia Public Radio signed on their third station in the system – Huntington’s WHPW (now WVWV). Dave Alley was the afternoon jock and he always had a very interesting show comparing bands with divergent influences.

For example, one day Dave compared the 12 string Rickenbacker sounds of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to Roger McGuinn’s music with the Byrds. On the day he featured “The Book of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony” LP, he was comparing the music of Horslips with that of Jethro Tull.

Within days, I owned a copy of the album and my favorite cut was “Trouble with a Capital T,” our signature song of today’s feature album. The song was the first single off the album and on the album “March into Trouble,” the opening cut, led into this tune.

March into Trouble / Trouble with A Capital T

“The Book of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony” is a concept album that is based on the 12th century volume that chronicles the history of Ireland with the various conquests the Emerald Isle. While modern scholars consider the book, named Lebor Gabála Érenn in Gaelic, as a mixture of actual events, legends, mythology, and Christian interpretation. The story begins with a pagan race called the Tuatha De Danann who was supposedly the original inhabitants of Ireland. Once defeated, the Tuatha vanished completely. Although they were schooled in all matter of knowledge, much like the mythical Atlantians, the only remnant of the Tuatha Da Dannan is what is written in “The Book of Invasions.”

It is their absolute best album – the “Dark Side of the Moon” or “Sergeant Pepper’s” of Horslips.

The Power and the Glory / The Rocks Remain

Sideways to the Sun / Drive the Cold Winter Away

Sword of Light

1 comment:

  1. With respect, Dark Side Of The Moon is not Pink Floyd's best album and this is not Horslip's great though it is. that crown goes to The Tain