"The best and oldest furniture..."

Part of the Annotated Lyrics Horslips Pages on comebackhorslips.com
Compiled by Lee Templeton, San Francisco

Album and CD information, General Notes on Album, Album Artwork, External Site Reviews and Resources

Album and CD Information

Oats: MOO3/Edsel Records: EDCD 661

Produced by Alan O'Duffy and Horslips


  1. Jim Lockhart -- Keyboards, generation whistle, concert flute, vocals
  2. Eamon Carr -- drums, bodhran, percussion
  3. Johnny Fean -- Electric and acoustic guitar
  4. Barry Devlin -- Bass, vocals
  5. Charles O'Connor -- Fiddle, mandolin, concertina, vocals

Photography: Ian Finlay, Sleeve design: Charles O'Connor, Artwork: Chris Ellis


  1. Happy to Meet
  2. Hall of Mirrors
  3. The Clergy's Lamentation
  4. An Bratach Ban
  5. The Shamrock Shore
  6. Flower Amang Them All
  7. Bim Istigh Ag Ol
  8. Furniture
  9. Ace and Duece
  10. Dance to Yer Daddy
  11. Scalloway Ripoff
  12. The Musical Priest
  13. Sorry to Part

General Notes on the Album
This stereo record can be played on mono reproducers provided either a compatible or stereo cartridge wired for mono is fitted or it is not a Monday or inland or fifty/fifty or Tom is not down the road at Carndonagh.

Notes on Happy to Meet Sorry To Part, Oats Records

Happy to Meet was a sort of snapshot of where the two year old band was at the time. The Táin was already in gestation and we'd been playing some tunes on the road and in the garage (which in our case was Galerie Langlois on Crow Street) for two years. But when we brought the Rolling Stones Mobile studio over to Longfield House, it made headlines in the daily papers. The concertina sleeve was designed by Charles O'Connor, as was every other sleeve, poster, badge and label. Oh, and costume...Barry Devlin has never really forgiven him.

Notes on Horslips, The Best of..., Edsel Records

For their debut album Horslips wanted the up-to-date facilities of a London studio but didn't relish the idea of clocking in and out every day. So they hired The Rolling Stones mobile (the one they'd used for Exile On Main Street) and installed it at Longfield House which they'd rented in County Tipperary. This splendid old building had been the home of Bianconi, the man who introduced the first commercial transport system (horse-drawn carriages) to Ireland centuries earlier.

Visiting journalists testified that, yes, reports that the rambling old house was haunted were indeed correct.

The album was recorded during the autumn of '72. Bales of straw were borrowed from a local farmer to act as baffles in the makeshift studio which had been erected in a drawing room. Soon mites, tics and other insects crawled out of their nests to check the action. The band itched. (More)

from the The Stonehouse album page.

"It was a wonderful environment in which to make an album, and very cheap too," says O'Connor. Subsequently mixed at Olympic Sound Studios in London and released in November 1972, the album marked the first time a 24-track studio had ever operated on Irish soil and media reaction bordered on hysteria. Until Abba reached their commercial height in the late '70s, Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part remained Ireland's fastest-selling album. "It became a shaggin national event - the Irish equivalent of Beatlemania!" says Devlin. No one had seen anything like it and by spring 1973, Michael Deeny decided it was time to conquer the rest of the world.

Mark Cunningham, Shamrock Chronicles, Hot Press, 1995

Album Artwork
The group photograph on the last page of the CD booklet on the Edsel release was taken during the album recording sessions at Longfield House.

from the The Official Site album page.

Marianne Ashcroft Speaking of Carndonagh, I have a question I've always wanted to know the answer to! On the sleeve notes of "Happy to Meet" it says, "This is a stereo record, but it can be played... (usual stuff) provided it is not a Monday, or 50-50, or Tom is not down the road in Carndonagh." Tom who? And what was the story behind that? Concerned Inishowen resident living 4 miles from Carndonagh wishes to know!

Horslips It was Big Tom - for the non-nationals, he was Ireland's biggest country singer in the 70's, and with his band The Mainliners drew huge crowds anywhere he played. So the stock excuse for a band getting a poor turnout was that Tom was etc etc... In the aforementioned Lilac, as it happens. 50-50 meant you weren't getting a 60/40. Ah, but they were simple days... There were a couple of great Big Tom-related stories set in that area, but they'll have to wait for another day - this is a family website. LockyJim

Facebook Wall exchange at facebook.com/horslips 2 Aug - 3 Aug

External Site Reviews and Resources
The second in my series of reviews of albums that every folkie should consider for their collection is Horslips 1972 debut album "Happy to Meet and Sorry to Part".

I never knew a lot about Irish folk-rockers Horslips. Even my normally reliable "Guinness Book of Folk-Music" has little to say on the band's ten-year history. They were, however, my inspiration to play electric mandolin which I first heard on their two albums "Happy to Meet..." and "The Tain". I bought them from a second-hand record shop in the next town, which I used to cycle to when I was 19.

I got further into the band a few years later when, on the way to a Fairport gig, I mentioned them to a colleague. He said that he had all of their albums and he would lend them to me. So, all of a sudden, I had another 6 or so albums through which their style developed into a full-blown rock - although still making use of traditional material.

Their first album remains their classic - their playing seemed relaxed and loose, but in other ways very precise and tight.

Online review at Mandolinking.com, link no longer active

When I first heard this, in the wonderful l.p. version that was die cut like a concertina, it made me proud. In the era of Tull and Fairport and Steeleye Span, an Irish group finally opened up rock listeners like myself to traditional music, which for my young self had been poisoned by my parents' generation of showband crooners and unctuous Bing Crosby covers. With Horslips, I could drink from the well, so to speak, and my erstwhile (pre)punk cred might have been a bit tainted, but the energy and intelligence of this debut made its own claim for attention confidently yet sensitively. (Full review at link...)

John L. Murphy, Amazon.com review, August 10, 2006

The album has a very warm and intimate feel throughout, and there is no sense of tension or anybody trying to "show off". It's fairly accessible but will have the seasoned proghead coming back for more. The musicians themselves are quite good but not virtuosos, it's the way the pieces are written and how they handle they're instruments that make this album so beautiful. John Fean is an excellent guitarist, and his guitar style is similar to Wishbone Ash in this album, same sense of melody and soloing. Jim Lockhart and Charles O'Connor are the guys that make it so "Irish" with they're wide variety of traditional instruments. It's great to hear a tin whistle harmonizing with an emotional guitar melody. (Full review at link)

Mike Perron, Progarchives.com review, November 2, 2007

First Posted: January, 2005
Last Revised: 7 August, 2010