"She controls the whip and she controls the cane"

Part of the Annotated Lyrics Horslips Pages

Recorded On - Behind the Scenes - Comments from Guestbook and Facebook - Comments

[Spoken Intro]

'Ah come on, give us kiss now, won't you? Come on. Ah if you won't so, you can make us a sup of tea.'


Now I was creeping through the night
Sliding through the shadows keeping out of sight.
Cos when you're lonely and on your own
You haven't got a basement you can call your home.
The last dance had come and gone
Lost my waltzing partner couldn't carry on.
And then I saw her dressed in silk
Leaning back on velvet she was white as milk.

Now I can hear it (hear it), high volume love
Now I can hear it (hear it), high volume love
Every time I hear that voice I want to run but I got no choice
Cos I can hear it (hear it), high volume love

Now she was lonely all her life
Always looking for a better slice.
And she was nervous or so it seemed
Anyone could shatter all her fragile dreams.
I was blinded couldn't see
Scarlet painted woman put a spell on me.
And I believed her when she lied
Told me she had love that couldn't be denied.


But now there's thunder in the air
Hear that devil's laughter ringing everywhere.
And I'm alone now but never free
High volume love has got a hold on me.
If you see me pass me by
Anyone would think I got the right to die.
But I'm a prisoner and I'm in pain
She controls the whip and she controls the cane.


Recorded On:

  1. The Unfortunate Cup of Tea
  2. Horslips, The Essential Recordings (2010 CD in Sunday paper)

Behind the Scenes:

All that vaudeville dialogue at the beginning with the monster noise was inspired by?... The photo. We imagined the couple abandoning their cup of tea for something more in -the- ear - whispery and then AAAAAAAAAAGH! .. eekamonster.


In some ways it's a bit like the start of Tull's War Child.. in which we hear the wife say "another cup of tea dear"?

The album was full of ironies, (we thought) and a song like High Volume Love was our own double entendre on turning up the volume (possibly to eleven) and Prince's exhortation to "come on, baby, let's make some noise".

Subsequently as I think you are aware, the photo was identified as one of a rare series of stereoscopic "images from Irish life" which are incredibly rare and hugely collectible. The person who identified them was that well known anorak, Brian May from Queen.

The cod-sleeve note was a parody of the kind of sloppy paragraphs we used to see on folk albums: "Poet and pauper alike", for instance.. the opposites are 'prince and pauper'. Oh, how smart we thought we were.

The lyrics: sort of a continuation of Night Town Boy, as you say, erm adventurous. It was around then that we were spending time in Berlin and Romy Haag and Muller and Schultz had lots of pale girls (or guys, you didn't look too close) dancing in the shadows It has overtones of scarlet lipstick and fishnets and dungeons .except we were Catholic boys so it didn't really have any of the danger of, say a Stones track like Little T&A.

In fact there's an element of Sticky Fingers or Exile on Main Street creeping into this album.. the lyrics of the next song"Ring a Rosey" are a bit like "Dead Flowers"... maybe that's what we were doing, subconsciously at least.

Can't remember who the girls [female background vocals] were.

A transition album, really. We got it out of our system and it cleared the decks for Book Of Invasions.

Barry Devlin, email to website, October 2010

Comments from Facebook:

I particularly love Eamon's bright, crisp drumming on this song, and that little turn between the verses with the tsst-tsst on the hi-hat absolutely makes the song.

Marianne Ashcroft, Horslips Facebook wall, 2011

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First Posted: 10 October, 2011
Last Revised: 11 October, 2011