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Traditional Music >> Performers >> Scottish Folk Groups >> Folk Philosophy

Folk Philosophy

folk philosophy"Folk Philosophy" was the result of a Scottish Folk Group Annual Championship [1], the dreamchild of Bill Houston and Watt Nicol. There were an astonishing eighteen heats, with semi finals being held in Glasgow and Dundee, and the grand final in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, with The Corries as guest artists. All proceeds went to the Scottish Council for the Care of Spastics.

I have been told that the winners of the Championship were The JSD Band, whose prize was an album deal and contract with EMI. The winners of the heat held at Perth City Hall were Bitter Withy. They won £50 but couldn't take part in the semi-finals because of work commitments.

The other seven finalists were featured on an LP - Folk Philosophy and received six month contracts. These groups are listed below. Any further information about any of the groups would be gratefully received (email me).

[1] = "Annual," although I have no evidence that it was ever repeated.


The Gowries

The Gowries (1969-1973)

Forfar-based The Gowries first got together in the summer of 1969. Brian Hendry and Dave Fyfe had been in The Anchor Folk Four until they split. They met Ian Lamb (who had played before in The Shannermen) and Elaine Nicoll through the Forfar Folk Club. They played a mixture of traditional and contemporary material and were resident at the Forfar Folk Club at the time, where Ian was president. They played a lot in Tayside and Fife playing mostly contemporary folk along the lines of The Seekers and toured a bit with Watt Nicoll and Whisky Fizz. Latterly they were playing mainly pubs (where the money was) and switched to electric guitars and bass doing chart cover stuff. The Gowries played their last date in September 1971 when Dave went off to Edinburgh University. Brian and Elaine continued singing as a duo. The group reformed in December 1972 for a special one-off appearance supporting Watt Nicoll. The Gowries came 6th in the Scottish Folk Group Championship.

Track on LP: Call On Me (Iain Rankin)


 Originally called Arizona Eggplant, this threesome came from Lochee, Dundee. After a line-up change, they went back to being called Arizona Eggplant and were resident at hotels in Arbroath and Broughty Ferry. The lead singer was Willy McNally.

Track on LP: Whiskey On a Sunday (Hughes)



Town Choice

This trio was from Edinburgh. Shortly afterwards two members of the group formed a band called Both Sides (unrelated to the Dundee-based group of the same name). Lead singer of Town Choice, Harry Cullen, is now manager of the Oxford Bar in Edinburgh

Tracks on LP: Kid's Colour Bar (Harvey Andrews); For Bobbie (H J Deutschendorfer)

Chorda Cleich

A quartet from Edinburgh. In 1971 they dropped the "Cleich" and were known simply as Chorda. Lead singer John Croall later helped form Jock Tamson's Bairns. Chorda Cleich came 3rd.

Tracks on LP: Until it's Time for You To Go (Buffy St Marie); Three Score and Ten (trad)

chorda cleich


The Galloways

From Edinburgh. Member George Grant moved to Dundee and joined Both Sides. The Galloways came 5th.

Track on LP: Dainty Davie (Burns)

Ailsa Craig

This group met when they were all students at Strathclyde University. The group consisted of William Devine, Frank McArdle, Frank D'Ambrosio and Arthur Loughran. According to the photograph, one of them plays mandolin!

Tracks on LP: Peggy Gordon (trad); Johnnie Cope (trad)

ailsa craig


Pert & Dobbie

From Clydebank.

Track on LP: Bogie's Bonnie Belle (trad)

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