The concept album The Tain by the Irish band Horslips came out in 1973 and has given me a great deal of pleasure ever since I first heard it. The band's second studio album it was recorded in Wales and is loosely based on the Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), one of the most infamous legends of Early Irish literature, dealing with the war between Ulster and Connacht over a prize bull. The songs tell the story from the points of view of Cúchulainn, Queen Maeve of Connacht and Ferdia, among others. Horslips continued their Celtic Rock style of fusing traditional Irish music and rock, using traditional jigs and reels and incorporating them into their songs. For example, Dearg Doom is based on O'Neill's March, while The March of the King of Laois forms part of More Than You Can Chew. Dearg Doom was arguably the most popular track on the album, along with Faster Than The Hound it was performed by the band on BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test.
The album is great fun but is presented in the most serious of tines. I avidly read all the sleeve notes, including the quotation "We Irish should keep these personages in our hearts, for they lived in the places where we ride and go marketing, and sometimes they have met one another on the hills that cast their shadows upon our doors at evening." W.B. Yeats. March 1902.