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Short Stories/Tall Tales
Horslips
Short Stories/Tall Tales
Genres: Folk, Rock, Metal
 
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Reissue of the folk/rock/progressive act's final studio album, originally released in 1979. Remastered at Abbey Road from the original tapes with repackaging from the band. Standard jewel case. 2001 release.

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Horslips
Title: Short Stories/Tall Tales
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Outlet/Homespun
Release Date: 1/1/1993
Genres: Folk, Rock, Metal
Styles: British & Celtic Folk, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1

Synopsis

Album Description
Reissue of the folk/rock/progressive act's final studio album, originally released in 1979. Remastered at Abbey Road from the original tapes with repackaging from the band. Standard jewel case. 2001 release.

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CD Reviews

Not the band-approved CD, and not a great record
John L Murphy | Los Angeles | 08/10/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The item sold here is the unapproved 1990s-era Outlet CD, not the band-remastered version that I review which came out on Edsel in 2000. The earlier versions of Horslips on CD suffer enormously from poor sound and shoddy packaging.

That said, I rate this 2 out of 5 only by comparison with the band's finest albums, Tain, Book of Invasions, and Happy to Meet--5 stars; Tracks from the Vaults: 4; Dance Hall Sweethearts: 3; and the closest equivalent not in sound but in effect to SS/TT: the Unfortunate Cup of Tea. I am a Horslips fan, but to be honest, this album is a letdown.

Fans of Aliens and Man Who Built America would like this most. Those eager for more of a progressive folk style should stick to the earlier triumphs, for they will find almost no trace of the band's best songs and stirring concepts on SS/TT. For a band that long had suffered under Tull comparisons, this does, true, mirror the stage reached by the early 80s with Tull. But, fans of both bands generally would have to admit that this period was not the peak for either the Irish band or their English peers.

Followers of the fab five tend to mark this low; the reviews on Amazon rate it overall higher than other critics have. Yes, it does have a sparkly keyboard and sprightly guitar combo. The guitars are the most recognizable feature, the one instrument that despite genre changes by the band, still has a distinctively identifiable Horslips sound. You'd never guess if you had not been told, however, that the final studio track by Horslips here, "Soap Opera," with its synth hiss fadeout, is by the same band that began their first album with a cough and tin whistle and wheezy concertina.

So, this is the end of the line. The concept of matching lyrics to short stories, evident still from the title, seems to have been (as was the Carolan comparison for "Dance Hall") jettisoned. Two F. O'Connor stories do survive as titles and their storylines can be dimly discerned in Flannery O'C's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" in the lyrics here, and a bit less allusively in Frank O'C's considerably grimmer than the song here's attitude, "Guests of the Nation." Guests is the standout tune on the LP; "Rescue Me," with its tender folk return to the band's roots, shines as well and stands here as a poignant reminder of the spirit that infused the band at its peak.

The other songs? Well, none reach the nadir of the opening track on Dance Hall, "This Is What You Want," although even that celtic disco fusion from '75 at least tried to be different enough to stick in your memory a bit--for better or worse. The same problems the band had mid-70s when they veered into mainstream hard rock repeat at the end of the decade. On SS/TT, the other eight songs shuffle along into MOR rock circa 1980. This final phase of the band has been labelled "new wave," but this is in the same league as when Dire Straits and Huey Lewis were marketed with that same musical category, after bar bands had cut their hair and jumped on the post-pub rock bandwagon.

None of the eight songs sink totally, and this is to the credit of the consistent vocals that had always distinguished the band's accomplished singers. The guitars do chug along with echoes of an Irish trad influence however faint, and the drums can be as thunderous as they were on previous LPs. But, the energy has dissipated. It's a brief ten songs, barely over 35 minutes, as if the effort to come up with five-a-side did the band in. Added up, the total lacks dynamics. If the band had kept at it, had taken their time to write stronger songs, and had sustained their earlier innovation, perhaps the promise of "Rescue Me" and the force of "Guests" could have sparked other and stronger songs for the rest of the LP. But, sadly, the creative flame burns low and here eight times out of ten only flickers barely above the nondescript embers."
Cannot compare with the band's best
John L Murphy | Los Angeles | 08/10/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The item description for this CD is rather unclear; the band re-released remastered and restored versions of their catalogue on Edsel in 2000. The item listed here may not be band-approved, and you should know that shoddy sound hampers such non-Edsel CD releases.

Warning over, here's another admission. I rate this 2 out of 5 only by comparison with the band's finest albums, Tain, Book of Invasions, and Happy to Meet--5 stars; Tracks from the Vaults: 4; Dance Hall Sweethearts: 3; and the closest equivalent not in sound but in effect to SS/TT: the Unfortunate Cup of Tea. I am a Horslips fan, but to be honest, this album is a letdown.

Fans of Aliens and Man Who Built America would like this most. Those eager for more of a progressive folk style should stick to the earlier triumphs, for they will find almost no trace of the band's best songs and stirring concepts on SS/TT. For a band that long had suffered under Tull comparisons, this does, true, mirror the stage reached by the early 80s with Tull. But, fans of both bands generally would have to admit that this period was not the peak for either the Irish band or their English peers.

Followers of the fab five tend to mark this low; the reviews on Amazon rate it overall higher than other critics have. Yes, it does have a sparkly keyboard and sprightly guitar combo. The guitars are the most recognizable feature, the one instrument that despite genre changes by the band, still has a distinctively identifiable Horslips sound. You'd never guess if you had not been told, however, that the final studio track by Horslips here, "Soap Opera," with its synth hiss fadeout, is by the same band that began their first album with a cough and tin whistle and wheezy concertina.

So, this is the end of the line. The concept of matching lyrics to short stories, evident still from the title, seems to have been (as was the Carolan comparison for "Dance Hall") jettisoned. Two F. O'Connor stories do survive as titles and their storylines can be dimly discerned in Flannery O'C's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" in the lyrics here, and a bit less allusively in Frank O'C's considerably grimmer than the song here's attitude, "Guests of the Nation." Guests is the standout tune on the LP; "Rescue Me," with its tender folk return to the band's roots, shines as well and stands here as a poignant reminder of the spirit that infused the band at its peak.

The other songs? Well, none reach the nadir of the opening track on Dance Hall, "This Is What You Want," although even that celtic disco fusion from '75 at least tried to be different enough to stick in your memory a bit--for better or worse. The same problems the band had mid-70s when they veered into mainstream hard rock repeat at the end of the decade. On SS/TT, the other eight songs shuffle along into MOR rock circa 1980. This final phase of the band has been labelled "new wave," but this is in the same league as when Dire Straits and Huey Lewis were marketed with that same musical category, after bar bands had cut their hair and jumped on the post-pub rock bandwagon.

None of the eight songs sink totally, and this is to the credit of the consistent vocals that had always distinguished the band's accomplished singers. The guitars do chug along with echoes of an Irish trad influence however faint, and the drums can be as thunderous as they were on previous LPs. But, the energy has dissipated. It's a brief ten songs, barely over 35 minutes, as if the effort to come up with five-a-side did the band in. Added up, the total lacks dynamics. If the band had kept at it, had taken their time to write stronger songs, and had sustained their earlier innovation, perhaps the promise of "Rescue Me" and the force of "Guests" could have sparked other and stronger songs for the rest of the LP. But, sadly, the creative flame burns low and here eight times out of ten only flickers barely above the nondescript embers."