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Just short of a quarter of a century since they last blitzed the nation’s ballrooms, Ireland’s most fondly-remembered and (lest we forget) culturally influential outfits finally return to the studio.
Colm O Hare, 19 Nov 2004
Who would have thought it would ever happen again? Just short of a quarter of a century since they last blitzed the nation’s ballrooms, Ireland’s most fondly-remembered and (lest we forget) culturally influential outfits finally return to the studio. Recorded at Grouse Lodge and featuring all five original members - Eamon Carr, Barry Devlin, Jim Lockhart, Johnny Fean and Charles O’Connor - Roll Back is essentially Horslips Unplugged. The results are far better than even they might have dared to hope and it has the warm glow of a relaxed, informal session with little pressure other than the aim of making some good music.
As the title suggests Roll Back draws from their 10 album recorded legacy concentrating on better-known numbers and live favourites. Despite the acoustic backing, the opener, ‘Trouble With A Capital T’ has an unexpected funkiness with some great bottleneck guitar, while classics like ‘The Man Who Built America’ and ‘Furniture’, shorn of some of the production excesses of yore appear in a whole new light – these are genuinely great songs in any genre. The passage of time appears to have had little affect on the protagonists and there are terrific harmonies on ‘Faster Than The Hound’ and some stellar playing on the Dancehall Sweethearts track ‘Mad Pat’. Some might quibble at the absence of ‘Dearg Doom’ but who knows what else was recorded at this inspired re-union? Other long-time favourites include ‘Faster Than The Hound’, ‘Guest’s Of The Nation’ and ‘Cu Chulainn’s Lament’ but the highlight for many will be their live anthem ‘The Power And The Glory’.
It might be too much to expect a fully-fledged live re-union but this will do for now.
Happy to meet…again!