The songs that made up Dancehall Sweethearts (recorded and released the following year to the Tain, '74) were, as author Mark J Prendergast stated in his book Irish Rock - Roots, Personalities, Directions (The O'Brien Press), "...loosely based on the travels of Turlough Carolan, the late seventeenth-early eighteenth century blind Irish harper."

Written while on tour, recorded during the World Cup finals of '74 in Rockfield Studios in Wales and mixed in Kingsway Recorders in London, Dancehall Sweethearts is credited to a different producer than Alan O'Duffy who supervised the earlier albums. Fritz Fryer had been a member of '60s English hit group The Four Pennies.

It's said the album title and cover photo were a double digit salute to a record company marketing department which had voiced its nervousness at the prospect of having to sell a concept album about a deceased blind Irish harper to a public who craved Elton, Mud, Wings and Leo Sayer.

In her book "Bringing It All Back Home", The Influence of Irish Music (BBC Books), Nuala O'Connor captures something of the flavour of this period. "At home in Ireland the purists were horrified, the critics dismissive, and young audiences wildly approving. Horslips had set out to provide an indigenous rock idiom and for a while they achieved this. Philip Chevron, now a member of The Pogues, remembers growing up in Dublin in the sixties hating ballads and Irish music generally and then being struck by the Horslips' thunderbolt: "Irish music as officially presented didn't speak for me or thousands upon thousands like me. But Horslips did and some Horslips fans then went away and listened to Sean O'Riada records." Chevron himself was one of those drawn by the tradition that inspired the band."


Nighttown Boy
The Blind Can't Lead the Blind
We Bring the Summer with Us
Mad Pat
King of the Fairies.
Lonely Hearts
The Best years of My Life

Produced by Fritz Fryer. Engineers; Fritz Fryer, George Sloan.
Assistant Engineer; Paul Watkins. Recorded at Rockfield Studios.
Mixed at Kingsway Recorders. Brass arrangements; Ray Russell Equipment; Master McGrass, Mr.Togog, Finbar, Billy.
Photography; Ian Finlay. Management; Michael Deeny.

Believe it or not , these tracks have traditional airs concealed about their persons.
Nighttown Boy ( Bill Harte's Favourite - Jig ).
Sunburst ( Follow Me Up To Carlow - Jig )
Mad Pat ( How Much Has She Got - Jig )
The Blind Can't Lead the Blind ( Fhir a Bhata - Slow Air )
King of the Fairies ( a set dance )
We Bring the Summer With Us ( Thugamar Fein an Samhradh Linn - traditional song )
Best Years of My Life ( Saint Anne's Polka )


Nighttown Boy

Don't try to play the fool
That's not my game.
You know I came because I'm cool.

Silver keys are in my hand.
They open doors
To worlds that you won't understand.

Big girls should never cry.
Caught red-handed's
not the time to come on shy.

False face against your door 
I'm calling back
Just after dark,to steal some more.

Cos I'm a little Nighttown Boy
And I bet that you can't satisfy
A little lonely Nighttown Boy
Who might try to make you cry 
With the hint of romance in his eye.
A little lonely Nighttown Boy.

Nighttown Boy don't need no invitation
He gets his lovin’ on the run.
Nighttown Boy don't need no confrontation
You call it kicks but he calls it fun.
Never try to stare me down.
You may have cash
But I've got flash,I've been around.
Some say we're easy meat.
But Nighttown Boys
Can slip and slide on graceful feet.

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The Blind Can’t Lead the Blind I don't like being left alone When I'm travelling on the road. I meet too many old ghosts, Souls without a home. They all ask me my direction Then they all fall in behind. But you can't trust a boy in love. The blind can't lead the blind. And love is blind or so it seems To make me offer you my dreams. And after all is said and done A blindman's dreams are not much fun There are times when I feel lost I think to love you would be fine. I promise not to hurt you With those old mistakes of mine. But there comes a time for leaving Then you ask why love's unkind But asking me is just like asking The blind to lead the blind. And love is blind or so it seems to make me offer you my dreams. And after all is said and done A blindman's dreams are not much fun. Well you can move to Boston Take a job in a small hotel. But that won't be the answer You'll still hear St. Patrick's Bell And when awake each lonely night You long for peace of mind You'll know that for a love to last The blind must lead the blind. Although the ledge on which you stand Is not wide enough for two There's a blindman at the window And he wants to get to you. I hear him ask you your direction You say "Down ' But do not mind, I've found a line which I can trust ……. The blind can't lead the blind".

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STARS Half of my lifetime spun between dance and light Easy connections lost in the cold twilight Clutching the powers that remain, Searching for ways to turn them to gain I wrestle the devil alone And turn, confused, to find I'm lost in the air. Then as we danced all the stars fell in the sea. Torn between madness and the need to get away Finding less reason to get better every day And knowing fortune's a jade Dismissing all the things she's made I find myself alone, A man obsessed with seeing things very clear. Then as we danced all the stars fell in the sea.

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I come down like an eagle An eagle from far on the sea Won't you set me free. Time spins down to a standstill My hands fill with all I desire I can feel your fire. I steal into your cities And pity the sleepers who say Time can't slip away. Light streams out from your doorway Your stairway is waiting to climb Then your sunburst's mine. Sun is shining on her wings Keeps her happy, makes her sing. But her talons flash upon the things She needs to keep her smiling. Prey is sighted from above It's moving fast but not quite fast enough Deathly grip - cruel love Take me to your sunburst. Want to feel your sunburst Sunburst deep inside of me Want to feel your sunburst Daylight creeps in your window You know all the promises made Cannot be betrayed. You wait for me to take you And make you a hunter like me When we're flying free.

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Mad Pat There was a country fiddler, A jester, a riddler, a joker, A singer of songs, In every town he passed He'd stop to help the dancing master Entertain his straw-rope-foot throng And from a green cloth on his back He'd take his fiddle And some goodbye snow Now singing high, now murmuring low Now in the middle with his magic bow And all the people would know. Mad Paddy's gone back on the road A wire string fiddle is his only load, He's kicking up turf everywhere he goes And he's on his own. From the houses all the people they stare At his Horslips and his emerald green hair You know he keeps on moving he just doesn't care When he's on his own. First he'll play a slow, slow air So fair, to drive away your cares And bring a magic sleep Then the pace will quicken As you burst out of your slumber And find yourself up on your feet But then his magic tune will change To something strange, there's something wrong What's going on. And through the tears you cry You'll look, you'll sigh, you'll feel like dying Cos the fiddler's gone Mad Paddy's moving on. Mad Paddy's gone back on the road A wire string fiddle is his only load He's kicking up turf everywhere he goes And he's on his own. In the corner there's a smile on his face His fancy is taking him to some distant place You know his tunes keep changing He can't keep the pace And he's on his own Mad Pat's on the road.

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Blindman Man of straw Shuffling down the night Going to visit little girls who never do things right. Scarecrow Wooden heart Finds it hard to love Dressing up in deadmen's clothes to charm the stars above. Do you ever feel like dancing When the evening turns to gold Or does life's simple melody Make you blood run cold. Blindman Halfway there Empty as a nun Your tears turn into diamonds at the eclipse of the sun. Scarecrow Out alone Play your pantomime I'd join you for the Late Late Show but haven't qot the time Do you ever feel like crying When swallows leave the rain behind Or does some crazy rhythm Drive your spirit wild Blindman…. tell me Tell me tell me do Can’t you see that I’m a blindman Just like you Scarecrow In the wind Let your thoughts blow free Got to tell the others what you once told me

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Lonely Hearts Night has fallen again, And I hardly even saw the day I just got out of bed And somebody said, We're leaving right away. So I grabbed a cup of coffee And made a bee-line for the door As we drove through the night I could see the city lights In the distance once more. Neon spells out my name But I enter from the alley outside All the faces I can see Think they own a piece of me There are times when I just want to hide. Sometimes I sit and ask myself Where is it going to end I sit and wonder what keeps me going Keeps me happy when I'm travelling round. Time is slipping away Every show is a lifetime gone For a summers living wage I drag myself on stage Singing someone elses song. Though my face is on the posters And my name is in the charts My only claim to fame Is I look like easy game To a million lonely hearts. Night has fallen again One more number will end the show When I get back to my bed Golden slumbers fill my head And the song becomes a dream.

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Best Years of My Life Oh the roads I've put behind me Ever rising like the dawn The loves I've put behind me I never trusted blindly And the low roads that I've taken every bone was achin' And the pleasure all was gone The best years of my life were spent in Barrowlands and Borderlands The best years of my life were spent in Galway. And the friends I've had around me Said I'd make it through Took me how they found me When the whiskey nearly drowned me And the ones who came to cheer me Why they hardly knew I'd play for those who'd hear me I'd like to play for you

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