Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Donald MacGillavry - Silly Wizard

Silly Wizard

First release 1979 on the Album "So Many Partings".
A powerful fast song that forces people to dance.

Song Lyrics
Donald's gane up the hill hard and hungry,
Donald comes down the hill wild and angry;
Donald will clear the gouk's nest cleverly,
Here's to the king and Donald Macgillavry.
Come like a weigh-bauk, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like a weigh-bauk, Donald Macgillavry,
Balance them fair, and balance them cleverly:
Off wi'the counterfeit, Donald Macgillavry.

Donald's run o'er the hill but his tether, man,
As he were wud, or stang'd wi' an ether, man;
When he comes back, there's some will look merrily:
Here's to King James and to Donald Macgillavry.
Come like a weaver, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like a weaver, Donald Macgillavry,
Pack on your back, and elwand sae cleverly;
Gie them full measure, my Donald Macgillavry.

Donald has foughten wi' rief and roguery;
Donald has dinner'd wi banes and beggary,
Better it were for Whigs and Whiggery
Meeting the devil than Donald Macgillavry.
Come like a tailor, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like a tailor, Donald Macgillavry,
Push about, in and out, thimble them cleverly,
Here's to King James and to Donald Macgillavry.

Donald's the callan that brooks nae tangleness;
Whigging and prigging and a'newfangleness,
They maun be gane: he winna be baukit, man:
He maun hae justice, or faith he'll tak it, man.
Come like a cobler, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like a cobler, Donald Macgillavry;
Beat them, and bore them, and lingel them cleverly,
Up wi' King James and wi' Donald Macgillavry.

Donald was mumpit wi' mirds and mockery;
Donald was blinded wi' blads o' property;
Arles ran high, but makings were naething, man,
Lord, how Donald is flyting and fretting, man.
Come like the devil, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like the devil, Donald Macgillavry;
Skelp them and scaud them that proved sae unbritherly,
Up wi' King James and wi' Donald Macgillavry

Silly Wizard were a highly acclaimed Scottish folk band, forming around a nucleus of musicians in 1971 in Edinburgh. The founder members were two like-minded students—Gordon Jones (guitar, bodhran, vocals, bouzouki, mandola) and Bob Thomas (guitar, mandolin, mandola, banjo, concertina) who were later joined by a rather youthful Johnny Cunningham (fiddle, viola, mandola, vocals) still studying at school at the time. They ran and performed at the Triangle Folk Club for a time, then went on a tour of France in 1972. Soon after, they signed to Transatlantic Records to record an album with Maddy Taylor, who had sung with them on the tour. The album was recorded but has never been released.
The band then added Phil Cunningham (accordion, tin whistle, harmonium, synthesizer, guitar, vocals), Alastair Donaldson, Martin Hadden (bass, guitar, piano) and Andy M. Stewart (vocals, whistle, banjo). Their first LP to be released was Silly Wizard, and they began touring throughout Europe. There were some line-up changes prior to recording their second LP, Caledonia's Hardy Sons (Highway Records).
Silly Wizard played a variety of Scottish folk music, both instrumental and vocal, from fast jigs and reels to slow airs. While the majority of the items they played were traditional songs or tunes, the band did write many compositions of their own. Phil Cunningham wrote generally instrumental music centered on the accordion, and Stewart wrote several songs in a style often distinctly traditional. Once Andy's singing and the driving, impassioned instrumentals of the Cunningham brothers had established themselves at its centre, the group's overall sound changed little until their final album, A Glint of Silver, which introduced the synthesizer as a prominent part of the band, giving them a slightly New Age sound. It can be said, though, that certain albums (e.g. So Many Partings and Wild and Beautiful) show a thematic or musical development that makes them more than an arbitrary succession of tracks—in fact the last five tracks on Wild and Beautiful were often played as an opening set to their live performances.
They continued recording until the late 1980s, when the band decided to dissolve after performing for seventeen years and releasing nine albums. Johnny Cunningham died on December 15, 2003 in New York.

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