HAPPY TO MEET ...SORRY TO PART.
Horslips had recorded their first two singles (released only in Ireland on their Oats label), Johnny's Wedding and Green Gravel, at Trend Studios.
Eamon Andrews Studios was the other prime recording location in Dublin at that time. (Ian Whitcomb and Bluesville had recorded their American hit You Turn Me On there in the mid-'60s).
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.
Thanks to the generosity of Paul McGuinness, the acoustics in the room were further improved for recording by the donation (on loan) of the stage curtains from the Trinity College Players (Dublin) theatre.
Some instruments were recorded in the cellars. The title track was recorded, audio verite, in the library.
Everything was mixed at Olympic Studios in London. The Eagles were recording there at the time. Johnny, who celebrated a birthday there, met Jimmy Page. French rocker Johnny Halliday visited the studio. And Stones saxman Bobby Keys came to hang.
The album was on the racks in Ireland within weeks of being completed.
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.
In his book Race Of Angels, Ireland And The Genesis Of U2 (The Blackstaff Press), John Waters recalls hearing An Bratach Ban for the first time:-"This was not merely a rocked-up version of a traditional tune, but a reinvention of the medium for a different version of history. It was as though we were being given a glimpse of what the radio might have sounded like if the past eight hundred years had happened differently. It was as though the underground stream of Irish music culture - the way it might have been - had suddenly erupted through the ground into the living rooms of early seventies Ireland. Horslips changed the history of Irish popular music, and possibly much more besides....."