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Traditional Music >> Performers >> Scottish Folk Groups >> Silly Wizard

Silly Wizard pic

Silly Wizard

Scottish Folk Group

A good pocket history of Silly Wizard can be seen at Bob Thomas's site (have a look). The Silly Wizard story started with Bob and Gordon Jones in 1969. After a few early line-ups they become Silly Wizard in 1972, and shortly afterwords Johnn Cunningham joins. Another member during the early to mid seventies was Maddie Taylor, later of Mirk.

At the end of 1974 Andy M Stewart joins on vocals and tenor banjo, with Freeland Barbour (later of The Wallochmor Ceilidh Band) on accordion. In '76 Johnny's younger brother Phil takes over on accordion, and with Martin Hadden the band enjoys a steady line-up (although Bob Thomas drops out at some point) and great success.

Some of Silly Wizard's recordings are detailed below:


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Silly Wizard: Silly Wizard (Transatlantic XTRA 1158, 1976)

Side One: Pibroch; Jenny Gray's Whiskey; Wind That Shakes the Barley/The Ale Is Dear; Carlisle Wall; My Loves In Germany; Election Jig
Side Two: The Heron Election Ballad No.4; Atholl Braes/The Drunken Piper; The Shearing; The Fairy Dance; Land O' the Leal

Johnny Cunningham (fiddle, viola, mandolin), Gordon Jones (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, autoharp, bodhran), Bob Thomas (guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, concertina), Andy Stewart (vocals, tenor banjo, mandolin), Alistair Donaldson (bass, flute, organ), Freeland Barbour (accordion, bouzouki, whistle, keyboards)

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Silly Wizard: Caledonia's Hardy Sons (Highway Records SHY 7004, 1978)

Side One: Mo Chuachag Laghach (my Kindly Sweetheart); The Isla Waters (Stewart/Hadden); The Twa Brithers; The Auld Pipe Reel/The Brolum; Glasgow Peggy
Side Two: Monymusk Lads; The Ferryland Sealer; Fhear A Bhata (The Boatman); Jack Cunningham's Farewell to Benbecula (Phil Cunningham)/Sweet Molly; Broom O' the Cowdenknowes

Phil Cunningham (accordion, whistle, synthesizer, harmonium, vocals), Andy Stewart (vocals, tenor banjo, mandolin, mandola), Bob Thomas (guitar), Johnny Cunningham (fiddle, viola, bouzouki, vocals), Gordon Jones (guitar, bodhran, vocals, mandola, bouzouki), Martin Hadden (bass, harmonium)

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Silly Wizard: So Many Partings (Highway Records SHY 7010, 1979)

Side One: A Scarce O' Tatties (Norman Mclean)/Lyndhurst; The Valley of Strathmore (Andy Stewart); Bridget O' Malley; A A Cameron's Strathspey/Mrs Martha Knowles (Phil Cunningham)/The Pitnacree Ferryman; The New Shillin'
Side Two: Donald McGillavry/O'Neill's Cavalry March; The Highland Clearances (Andy Stewart); Miss Catherin Brosnan (Phil Cunningham); Wi' My Dog and Gun; Miss Shepherd (Skinner)/Sweeney's Buttermilk; McGlinchey's Reels

Andy Stewart (vocals, tenor banjo), Phil Cunningham (accordion, tin whistles, Overton low D whistle, Moog synthesizer, electric piano, vocals), Martin Hadden (bass, harmonium, guitar), Gordon Jones (guitar, mandola, bodhran), John Cunningham (fiddles, vocals)

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Silly Wizard: Take the High Road (Highway Records SHY 100, 1980)

Side One: Take the High Road (Arthur Blake)
Side Two: Donald McGillavry/O'Neill's Cavalry March

Andy Stewart, Phil Cunningham, Martin Hadden, Gordon Jones, John Cunningham

John and Phil Cunningham: Against the Storm (Highway SHY7011, 1980)

Side One: The Arran Boat; Birkenburn/Loch Ordie (both James Mackintosh); 79th's Farewell to Gibralter/Soldier's Return; Sleepy Maggie; Mary Thorburn Cunningham (P Cunningham)
Side Two: Fingal's Cave; Raddigan's/Father Kelly No.1/John Brennans/Ril Bheara; Lanachree and Megrum; The Wild Irishman/Golden Keyboard; Cameron McFaddyen

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Johnny Cunningham (fiddles, bouzouki); Phil Cunningham (accordion, piano, synthesisers, whistle, guitar)
with Bob Montgomery (drums); Gordon Jones (bodhran); Roy Ashby (drums); Douglas Bogie (electric guitars)


John Cunningham: Thoughts from Another World (Highway SHY 7013, 1981)

Side One: Thoughts from Another World Part 1(J Cunningham); Linden Rise (J Cunningham); PM Cunningham's Odd Dance (J Cunningham)There's Naebody Tae Blame But Ma Sel' (J Cunningham); Taladh An Leinibh Losa; Thoughts from Another World Part 2 (J Cunningham)
Side Two: Limerick Lasses/The Mountain Road; Trip O'er the Mountain; Brisk Bob; The Crossing (J Cunningham); Farther Along the Line (J Cunningham)

John Cunningham (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals)
with Gene Galligan (electric piano, synthesizers); Jim Couza (hammer dulcimer); Gerald Trimble (cittern, 12-string guitar); Kurt Johnston (pedal steel guitar, 5-string banjo, acoustic piano); Vinnie Moos (bass guitar); Wayne Johnston (electric and acoustic guitars)

Silly Wizard: Wild and Beautiful (1981)

Side One: If I Was a Blackbird; Pipe Major Donald Campbell (J Wilson)/The Orphan/The Kestrel (Phil Cunningham)/Come Up Alang; The Pearl (Phil Cunningham); The Fisherman's Song (Andy M Stewart)/Lament fr the Fisherman's Wife (Hadden/Cunningham)
Side Two: Hame, Hame, Hame/Tha Mi Sgith; Tha Mi Sgith/Eck Stewart's March (A Stewart/P Cunningham)/MacKenzie's Fancy; Miss Patricia Meagher (Andy Stewart)/Laura Lynn Cunningham (Phil Cunningham); A B Corsie (The Lad from Orkney) (Cunningham)/Ril Bheara/Richard Dwyer's

P Cunningham, M Hadden, A Stewart, G Jones


Silly Wizard: Kiss the Tears Away (Highway SHY 7025, 1983)

Side One: The Queen of Argyll (A Stewart); Golden, Golden (A Stewart); finlay M MacRae (Phil Cunningham); The Banks of the Lee; Sweet Dublin Bay
Side Two: Mo Nighean Donn, Grádh Mo Chridhe (P Cunningham); Banks of the Bann; The Greenfields of Glentown/The Galtee Reel/Bobby Casey's Number Two/Wing Commander Donald MacKenzie's Reel (Phil Cunningham); The Loch Tay Boat Song

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Phil Cunningham (accordion, whistles, keyboards, mandola, classical guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals), Martin Hadden (bass, fretless bass, acoustic guitar, string synthesiser), Andy M Stewart (lead vocals, tenor banjo), Gordon Jones (acoustic guitar, bodhran)

John Cunningham: Fair Warning (Green Linnet SIF 1047, 1983)

Side One: Celtic Society's Quickstep/42nd Highlanders Farewell; Archibald McDonald of Keppoch; Planxty Drew/Planxty Wilkinson (Carolan); Sad Is My Fate; Lord Drummond/Lady Margaret Stewart/Crarae
Side Two: Logan Water/The Drovers Lads/The Mug of Brown Ale; Waulkin' o' the Fauld; Fair Warning: Blair Atholl/The Cairin O'/Lexy McAskill

John Cunningham (fiddle, synthesiser)
with Gene Galligan (keyboard); Zan McLeod (guitar, bouzouki); Tim Britton (flute, Uilleann pipes); Dave Paton (concertina); Vincent Moos (percussion)

Phil Cunningham: Airs and Graces (REL Records REL474, 1984)

Side One: Andy M Stewart's Reel/The Harsh February; The House In Rose Valley; Miss Rowan Davies; Jackson's No.2 (trad)/Jean's Reel (Bobby Macleod)/Moving Cloud (trad)
Side Two: Flodigarry Island/The Wee Man from Skye (Donald Macleod); Joey's Tune (Finlay MacRae); The Log Splitter Jig/You'll Have a Dram; Margaret MacKinnon of Digg; Farewell to Ireland (trad)/Hogties Reel

All tracks composed by Phil Cunningham unless otherwise noted

Phil Cunningham (accordion, whistles, Prophet 5 synthesiser, Roland Vocorder and string machine, cittern, acoustic guitar)
with Finlay M MacRae (Highland bagpipe); Koos Koos McKafferty (piano)

Silly Wizard: Best Of Silly Wizard  (Shanachie, 1985)

Valley Of Strathmore; Donald McGillavry/O'Neill's Cavalry March; A.A. Cameron's Strathspey/Mrs. Martha Knowles/The Pitnacree Ferryman/The New Shillin'; The Fishermen's Song; Queen Of Argyll; Finlay M. MacRae; The Pearl; Isla Waters; Mo Chuachag Laghach (My Kindly Sweetheart); Broom O' The Cowdenknowes; Green Fields Of Glentown/The Galtee Reel/Bobby Casey's Number Two/Wing Commander

Johnny Cunningham (fiddle, viola, vocals) Phil Cunningham (accordion, guitar, harmonium, keyboards, mandola, piano, Synthesizer, Vocals, Whistle), Martin Hadden (bass, fretless bass, guitar, harmonium, piano, synthesizer, vocals) Gordon Jones (bodhran, guitar, mandola, vocals), Andy M. Stewart (mandolin, tenor banjo, vocals, whistle), Bob Thomas (Guitar)

Silly Wizard: Golden, Golden (REL Records RELS 478, 1986)

Side One: Miss Shepherd/Sweeney's Buttermilk/McGlinchey's Reels; Donald McGillavray; The Blackbird; Scarce o' Tatties (Norman MacLean)/Lyndhurst
Side Two: Golden Golden (AM Stewart); Mac's Fancy/The Cliffs of Moher; The Rose of Red Hill/Clootie Dumplings/The Laird o' Drumblair/Sleepy Maggie; The Broom o' the Cowdenknowes

Johnny Cunningham (fiddle) Phil Cunningham (accordion, guitar, harmonium, keyboards, mandola, piano, Synthesizer, Vocals, Whistle), Martin Hadden (bass, fretless bass, guitar, harmonium, piano, synthesizer, vocals) Gordon Jones (bodhran, guitar, mandola, vocals), Andy M. Stewart (mandolin, tenor banjo, vocals, whistle),

Silly Wizard: Glint Of Silver (Green Linnet, 1986)

Roarin' Donald/The Man Who Shot The Windmill/A Glint Of Silver (Stewart); The Secret Portrait/Wha'll Be King But Cherlie?; Lover's Heart (Cunningham/Stewart); When Summer Ends (Cunningham); The Chill Eastern Winds; Willie Archer; Simon MacKenzie's Welcome To His Twin Sisters/Farewell To "The Heb"; The Blackbird Of Sweet Avondale

Johnny Cunningham (fiddle) Phil Cunningham (accordion, guitar, harmonium, keyboards, mandola, piano, Synthesizer, Vocals, Whistle), Martin Hadden (bass, guitar) Gordon Jones (bodhran, guitar), Andy M. Stewart (banjo, vocals)
with Kathy Stewart (backing vocals)